Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Next Chapter

Well, the blog was active for almost 9 years, and it's about time to wrap it up. I fell out of the habit of updating after the holidays, and it seems like a good idea for the kids to start telling their own stories.

A quick recap of the first half of the year: the kids finished up school strong, with Bud doing a good job on his California mission project and in the school musical. Buster was extremely successful in his class, and both kids got great reports from school.

We celebrated the kids birthdays in the spring, with a soccer party for Bud at a local indoor soccer gym, and at home with a Minecraft theme for Buster. I can't believe Bud has been around for a decade now.

Bud did a very good job on his Black Belt test for Tae Kwon Do, and has been helping out in TKD classes since then. The test for the Black Belt was a whole different beast, lasting two days, and we discovered that Bud can run a 48 minute 10k. Buster recently earned his Dark Red belt in TKD summer camps, and is started to look really good in his movements.

The kids continue on piano, and had a great recital towards the end of spring. They've been taking a bit of a piano vacation during the summer, but are gearing up for a special 'duet' concert, and they've been working on a couple of pieces that they play together.

Buster continues to be very interested in Minecraft, and has taken to watching Minecraft videos / machinima on YouTube. I've helped him download some mods and supervised him playing on some public servers, but he and Bud primarily enjoy creating worlds. Bud has helped out a bit, but Bud's interests are more towards soccer and Clash of Clans, which he plays when he can. We set up our own clan, and a few of Bud's school friends have joined as well.

The kids have stayed busy with week-long summer camps this year, including the aforementioned TKD camps, soccer camp, swim lessons, and a fencing and archery camp. This week, for a change of pace, they're both enjoying chess camp. Overall, they seem to be enjoying their summer.

We took a family vacation to Disney World to meet up with Grandma W and Granddad B, along with Ruggermom and her posse. It was a great week, and we enjoyed seeing the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, a water park, and hanging out at the hotel. The kids were great to travel with, and overall we had a wonderful time.

Looking forward, Bud will be going into 5th grade, his last year at the elementary school. Buster will be going into 2nd, and both kids look ready for the next levels. They become more independent each day, and I'm pretty happy to have the opportunity to help them along the way.

Thanks all for reading along, and my deepest thanks and love to M-lady for being my partner in this whole parenthood undertaking.
So long for now,
SwingDaddy

Monday, February 09, 2015

Survival Mode

Buster crawled into be with us this morning about 5 minutes before it was time to get up. I rolled out of bed when my alarm went off, and he went back to his bed to pretend he was still sleeping. He was pretty good about getting up when we called him on it, though. Both kids were ready to go with plenty of time to spare, and M-lady took the kids to school.

They seem to have had a good day. M-lady got home a couple minutes before I did, and we said goodbye to Nanny J. Bud was playing out in the yard with the neighbors, and Buster was anxious to tell me about his day. We chatted for a bit, and took a look at his homework (which he'd done during the day) before I started getting dinner ready. M-lady wasn't feeling too well, so she rested a bit.

I called Bud in at about 6:30, and we all had some dinner together. After Bud finished up dinner, I looked at his homework while M-lady did piano with Buster. When Buster finished up, Bud took his turn, and Buster got to play a little bit of Minecraft. Buster opted to start a new game in survival mode (rather than 'creative' mode), and did a good job of surviving on his first day, which is really the hardest part. He was very proud of himself.

We had a snack after Bud finished up piano, and the kids took showers and got ready for bed. I sat with Bud while he played Clash of Clans for a little while before bedtime, and we turned out the light around 9:00.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Holed Up For The Weekend

We had a nice weekend, but it was raining for the majority of it, so we mostly stayed in. The kids were up fairly early on Saturday, and spent time playing Minecraft together until M-lady and I got up and joined them for breakfast. We started getting chores done around the house, Bud working on some long-running homework assignments, and both kids doing their piano practice.

M-lady headed out to run some errands, and we had a late lunch when she got back. Buster had a birthday party to go to in the afternoon, and M-lady took him while I hung out with Bud. It was a drop off party, so M-lady was back quickly, and Bud headed outside to play with the neighbors for a little while in a brief respite from the rain.

I picked up Buster, and Ama and Agu and Cousin C came over for dinner. The kids had a good time playing Minecraft for a while until Aunt O and Uncle C came to pick him up, at about bedtime.

Today, the kids were up fairly early again, but M-lady and I managed to pull ourselves out of bed before too long. The kids did get some time to play Clash of Clans together for a bit, though. We had waffles for breakfast, which the kids enjoyed, and then M-lady got started on making Valentines with the kids for their classmates.

I did a few odd jobs around the house, and then headed out to run a quick errand. The errand was totally successful, and I came back to find the kids working on piano. I helped with getting some lunch ready, and afterward spent some time building Lego with the kids.

A little while later Aunt O and Cousin C arrived, and the kids had a good time playing together. Aunt O and M-lady headed out to do some quick shopping, and I turned on the video of the hour record attempt which had occurred earlier in the morning. The kids found it mildly interesting, and watched a little with me before running off to play a bit more.

Aunt O and Cousin C took their leave a bit after 5:00, and I headed out with Bud to pick up some dinner. We brought it back and ate in front of the TV, doing a movie night. We started with checking out the opening scenes from Grim Fandango, which M-lady and I had played together a number of years ago. The kids seemed to be slowly getting into it, and we'll try and play more of it together going forward.

After Grim Fandago, we watched another episode of Planet Earth, and then the kids played a little bit more of Clash of Clans before it was time to get ready for bed.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Catching Up Again

Time to get back to blogging! Since the holidays my main computer has been in a less-accessible place: it's created an interesting change in habits. Unfortunately, one of the side effects is that I've totally fallen off the wagon in terms of blogging. Trying to get back to it!

Buster lost one of his front teeth last week, and has a really cute gap-toothed smile now. I was struck by how much he's grown... he's really getting big. He's been really getting into Minecraft since the holidays, but just this week he's started turning his focus to Clash of Clans, following his brother.

Bud has been busy, working on his California Mission report, as well as working on the paper for his upcoming TKD Black Belt test. The TKD paper is sizable, and I took a trip with Bud a little while back to get books from the downtown San Jose library. We found a few good titles, and we've been working to get the paper together.

Bud was turned on to Clash of Clans by his friends at school, who have created a clan. I sat with Bud last night before bed as he played and chatted with friends online for the first time... I expect he'll be doing more of that in the future. We have had a chat about the dangers of online social interactions, but it will be something we reiterate as well.

Aside from papers and games, Bud has been playing with the neighbors across the street almost every day. They really have a good time together. Buster joins occasionally, but has been more interested in spending his free time inside, preferably playing a video game. We've been monitoring his screen time, and send him outside to play from time to time, but he generally would rather be inside.

We've had some work done around the house, and the kids have helped a little bit. I've picked more of the Clementines from the tree in our front yard, and the kids (including the neighbors) have had fun catching the small oranges as I drop them from the ladder with their baseball gloves. Just need to keep them from dropping peels all over the yard...

The kids have both been watching 'Making of' specials about the first episode of The Hobbit with M-lady. I suspect we'll all sit down to watch the first part of the movie before too long.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Time Getting Away

Sorry, I hadn't intended to not post for a week...

The kids had a pretty straightforward week at school, and did their now-scheduled Tuesday/Thursday/Friday TKD classes. The Friday class wasn't as physically demanding this time, so the kids weren't sore the next couple of days. Friday was logistically interesting, though: M-lady got home in time to take the kids to their piano lesson, and I met them at home when they got back with dinner set up in my car. We loaded up and ate on the way to TKD class. M-lady and I transferred the kids to Nanny J at the TKD class, and headed up to see a Danse Libre show. Nanny J took the kids home, where they were met by Ama and Agu, who spent the evening with them and got them to bed. M-lady and I got home a bit later, after the kids were asleep.

On Saturday, we ran around doing errands (library and grocery store) before packing up and heading out at about 3:00 to drive up to San Francisco for a party with long time dance friends. The kids were content to watch Looney Tunes in the car on the way up, and then enjoyed the company of Friends Av and An during the course of the evening. The big dog L was there, who is super mellow, so Buster enjoyed hanging out with him a bit. The kids also had a good time with the iPhones and the Action Movie FX app, shooting quick segments of the guests and superimposing missle strikes and avalanches on them.

Bud had an accident with his copy of The Fellowship of the Ring, unfortunately, spilling a large quantity of grape juice directly on it. It ruined the book, and Bud was distraught until we came up with a plan to replace the book. We enjoyed the party well into the evening, and headed home some time close to 10:00pm. The kids stayed awake on the drive home, again watching Looney Tunes, and got into bed around 11:00, after Bud and M-lady ordered a new copy of his book for him.

We had another mellow morning on Sunday, and I got out for a bike ride in the late morning. Cousin C and Aunt O came over to play in the afternoon, and were there when I got home. I cleaned up and took a shower, and then spent the rest of the afternoon fixing the dripping shower while Bud mostly played outside and Buster and Cousin C played Minecraft.

After Aunt O and Cousin C headed home, we did a movie night dinner in front of the TV, watched a couple of Fred and Ginger dance numbers before turning on another episode of Planet Earth. The kids got to bed at a normal hour, and overall didn't seem to be affected by the late night previous.

Today, I got up a little earlier and we all had waffles for breakfast. Bud helped make the waffles, which was nice. After breakfast, the kids did their piano practice with M-lady, and the kids had a little bit of Xbox time before we headed out for lunch at Five Guys. The kid ate well, and we headed over to Aunt O and Cousin C's for the afternoon. The kids had a good time running around, and we came home at about 4:00. Buster and I had a nice video chat with Granddad B and Grandma Nese, and Buster showed them around the Minecraft world he's been building for the past few weeks.

I made dinner, and Buster got a little more Minecraft time in while Bud and I started the very first bits of research in his TKD black belt research paper. It's going to be a pretty big project, so we'll need to break it down into smaller chunks. The kids did a good bedtime routine, and Bud and I spent a little time checking out Clash of Clans for the first time, which a bunch of Bud's friends play, apparently.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Comet Viewing

Getting back into the swing of things!

We had a very pleasant break, mostly hanging out around home, and got to reconnect with friends and family. The kids played a lot with Cousin C and the neighbors across the street, and we overall had a lovely holiday.

The kids have adjusted to school routine again, and we're back to managing homework in the evenings. Buster seems to be growing and eating lots, and Bud wants to comb the front of his hair by himself now in the morning so he can impart some style. I can't believe he's going to be 10 soon!

This past Friday, the kids had their black belt prep TKD class in the evening, which was an hour of jumping drills and jumping kicks. Bud had trouble walking for the next couple of days. That said, he's a remarkable jumper for his size, and apparently has the admiration of a number of instructors and other black belts in the studio for his spring. Buster's doing a great job as well, but isn't pushing himself as hard on the jumps yet.

Minecraft is a big thing now, and the primary topic of conversation with Buster at all times. He has two guidebooks which he rereads constantly, and both kids enjoy playing in creative mode when they get the chance.

Today was fairly routine: I took the kids to school in the morning and met them in the evening at their TKD class, and we made it home by about 6:30. After shower and dinner, Bud got through his piano efficiently. I set up the telescope with him out front while Buster did his piano with M-lady, and we got it pointed at Comet Lovejoy after some calibration, which we were able to see very distinctly. M-lady and Buster joined us outside for a bit, and they both got to look through the scope as well.

After wrapping up and coming in, there was time for snack and getting ready for bed. Bud and I watching some Top Gear before turning the light out around 9:00.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Catching Up

Sorry for not posting for a while. But we're on break now, so I have a little time to catch up.

The kids wrapped up school before the holiday last week, with holiday parties and crafts. The kids are now off for two weeks, until the new year, and M-lady and I opted to take the time off as well. I headed in to work for a couple of hours today, but otherwise will be on PTO for the holidays.

Today, the kids were up and jumping in our bed for a little while before heading off to play. They've been a bit obsessed with MineCraft (although they haven't actually played yet), and spent some time this morning building MineCraft constructions out of Lego. They let us sleep for a little bit, but rolled us out of bed by 9:30 or so.

We got them some breakfast, and I headed off for my few hours of work around lunchtime. While I was out, M-lady took the kids over to play with Cousin C for the afternoon, and we reconvened at home at about 4:00. After playing for a little while, we headed out to Five Guys to get burgers for dinner, which everyone enjoyed.

We played a board game together when we got home, and then started on a murder mystery jigsaw puzzle. Buster lost interest in the puzzle pretty quickly, but Bud put in some good time on it. That brought us to snack time, and after Bud had gotten ready for bed he and I played Dominion together until bedtime.