The past day or so have been laden with good, geeky happenings.  First, my family got a Wii for Christmas.  The sheer delight of my kids as they tore off its wrapping paper and shouted ‘Wii!’ in unison was wonderful.  They (and us) have now spent hours playing tennis and bowling against each other.  My younger daughter’s found some way to really scream the tennis ball on her serve: I haven’t been able to figure it out yet.  It’s nearly unreturnable, at least for me, anyway.

Next, I got to reference a teen boy from my church who was griping about wanting to do Unix-like things on his Microsoft laptop to Cygwin.  Now, what makes that even sweeter is that when the youth group was over at Christmas, when the guys had a tech question, they immediately turned to my husband.  No knocks against my husband; he was able to answer their questions, and frankly, does have certain tech areas covered much better than I do.  However, given that they don’t know him really at all, I was a bit peeved that the assumption was that he would be the person to answer the question.  It was nice to toss a technical morsel to at least one of the guys.

Lastly, my Facebook Scramble score went up by 32 points this weekend.  I had held the lead position in my circle of friends for months by some 15 points, but hadn’t been able to beat my personal best.  I beat it, and then beat my new top score, to really annoyingly widen the lead.

So, I’m happily geeking out.  No coding as yet this weekend, though I’ve seen a few headlines in the tech world I want to poke at.  Merb + Ruby?  Two technologies I haven’t played much with have now merged: hmmm…  time to do some poking.

We decided to use our new addition this weekend.  It turned out, REALLY use our new addition this weekend.  In past years, we’ve hosted a gingerbread party, where the kids decorate gingerbread cookies.  The kids get to invite their friends, we have a bunch of fun with them, and we’re happy to have a mess made in our house.  We clean up the house beforehand, so it sort of all nets out to where it was before we had a horde of kids.

This year, we upped the ante.  We did crafts with a ton of kids.  We’re so crazy, we gave the kids glitter.  We imported two teenagers to help, we fed ’em stuff we picked up at BJ’s, and just generally let them play when they got bored of crafts.  I’m a big fan of just letting kids play when they’re done with whatever stuff’s at hand.  Note that we’d have been in a world of hurt had we had a fire, as I’m not sure exactly how many kids we had.  I know it was more than 15, probably less than 25.  But we were just having a great time with these kids.   And the kids went home with crafts that they had made, and ran around playing with my kids, with other kids.  It was a blast!

And then we had the teenagers from church over.  Teenagers, it turns out, bring lots of teenagers.  And they take up a lot more space than do first graders.  We had more than 30  (!!!!) teenagers in our home.  We munched on food with them, did a white elephant gift exchange, went caroling around the neighborhood…  my kids, my husband, and I had a WONDERFUL time hanging out with these high schoolers.   I had talked my husband into letting us host the high school youth group, figuring we were already set up for a party, teenager parties are low key, and heck, what’s a new addition for if not for making it available for gatherings like this.  As teenagers kept pouring in, I really started to wonder if I had done the right thing.  Folks were stepping over and around each other.  All I can say is, I’ll do it again next year if they’ll let me.  One daughter picked one teenager to hang out with.  The other daughter picked another teenager.  All three kids were delighted to get to go caroling with the big kids.  And it’s a wonderful juxtoposition to see these kids, some of whom I’ve seen grow up in the church, in the same house as my kids.

So weekend’s over, tomorrow’s a back to work day.  But I really enjoyed our tremendously busy weekend, and all of the folks who flowed into and out of our house.  If you were one of them, thank you for coming!  We really enjoyed having you!

Cora’s started to read.  Actually, she started to read last year in kindergarten, and is now going gangbusters.  So things that I didn’t have to worry about her noticing before are now more of an issue.  We were at the mall yesterday, and she saw a release notice for ‘Sex and the City’.  She asks me ‘what’s S-E-X spell?’  Minor gulp.  ‘Sex’, I tell her.  ‘What’s that?’.  More major gulp.  ‘Um, good question – let me think of a good way to explain it to you’.  After some spurts and fumbling (and several more questions on her part), we get to the mechanical question – how’s it work?  So I say, well, you know that Daddy and Cameron have something that you and I don’t, right?  She answers: curly hair?  Nearly shot soda out of my nose…

For those of our friends who have younger kids than us, remember, Cora’s 6 (!).  Your time is quickly approaching.  So start considering answers soon to the most interesting questions you can think of.  The ones that have an odd hand grenade quality – dropped unexpectedly, they tend to make you want to scatter.  And malls just don’t have nearly enough cover.

I just asked Cameron to put his Daddy’s shoes away.  He did – he’s a good little helper.  And then I stopped to think about what he’d just had to understand and figure out, and just how amazing it is that our brains put these pieces together.

First, you need to know that Daddy’s shoes were in amongst several other pairs of shoes in a group near the front door.  Our family tends to do a good job of taking shoes off when we come in; we’re not as good about putting those shoes away, so there were at least four pairs collected there.  So Cameron had to sort out a few things: one, which items in the room were shoes, which were Daddy’s shoes, and then grab just those two.  (He did, and then commented ‘Heavy’.)

Then I realized he had to figure out where to put them.  I hadn’t told him where Daddy’s shoes were to go, just “away”.  He parsed that to mean, take them down the hall, and put them in Daddy’s room.  Taking a quick peek, he not only put them in Daddy’s room, he put them in Daddy’s closet, and even on Daddy’s side of the closet.

I got into computer programming because I wanted to teach computers how to think.  I’ve now spent some 15 or so years in the profession, and no program I’ve ever written intuited nearly as much as my not-yet two year old putting his Daddy’s shoes away for his Mommy.  “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made” – Psalm 139:14

A friend of ours sent us some pictures she took at various points earlier this year.  Her daughters and our daughters like to play together, and Cora thinks of Sammy as her best friend.  In amongst the pictures were a few shots of Cameron.  What I noticed about the picture is that Cameron still had straight hair: I think of him as my curly-haired little man, and in these, his hair hadn’t yet “sproinged”.  This was only a few months ago: just looks like a different little kid to me.

Cameron with “sproing” versus Cameron pre sproing.  (Pre sproing picture taken just a scant two months ago…)

My princess-savvy girls have discovered Lego Star Wars, the XBox game.  They’re too young to watch the Star Wars movies, but they make those Lego parts fly with their light sabers.  And, of course, they fight over who gets to be Princess Amadala.  Even better is when they’re BOTH the Princess…  all sorts of confusion ensues.

Peek at some screenshots here

I’m at 36 1/2 weeks into this grand adventure called pregnancy, not that I’m counting down or anything. Who wouldn’t be counting at this stage, I wonder? The things to count down to:

– clothes that fit again

– no longer having an aching back

– having more energy

– going to the gym again (eventually)

– holding our baby!

The corollary list of things to count down to (since having a baby isn’t all sweet smelling baby powder)
– not sleeping more than 3 hours at a time

– changing diapers again

– LABOR!

Someone asked me yesterday whether we were ready for our lil’ guy. My response was that yes, we’re ready, but mostly because this is kid #3. That means we’ve already got a car seat, we’ve already got a bassinet, and our expectations of what this kid will need on the day he comes home from the hospital are much lower. We’ve got some clothes washed, some diapers ready, and some new receiving blankets. Callie’s willing to share her blankies, but we figured we’d use her expertise to pick out some nice new ones for our baby boy. Toys? I think we have a new rattle for him. A decorated room? Well, we are getting the carpet redone, but that’s needed to be done, anyway. A matching crib set? He won’t be in the crib for a bit, anyway: there’s still time. Most things just don’t seem as critical anymore as they did when we were newbie parents. And if it does turn out to be critical, we’ll go out and get it then, rather than overstocking our house in advance. Given that this’ll be the first maternity leave period where we’ll have both parents at home, this is looking like a relative vacation. I’ve been mentally making a list of techie topics to explore whilst on my “vacation”. (I understand that as long as you’re drawing short-term disability pay, you’re not allowed to perform actual work for your employer.) And did I mention that I’m looking forward to going to the gym? :-)

My girls are big into princesses, both of the Disney variety and otherwise.  So I count it as high praise that my Mother’s Day card this year noted that ‘Mommy is a prince’.  Not sure why the use of the male royalty title…  One of my little girls then called me a Queen!  That’s more like it…

There was this running joke at my last job, that we were looking to hire Tina 2.0.  Tina 2.0 was the person who would step into my fairly large shoes (both in terms of responsibility and actual size) when I moved onto bigger and better things.   At the time, we all thought that that would mean a new project within my company, but that’s another story.  I was a bit troubled with the release notation: it implied that this would be a major upgrade of me, when in fact it was more of a substitutionary or cloning kind of thing (and no, I don’t want to explore that particular phrase).

So now I’m wrestling with release numbering yet again.  Our family is comprised of parental units 1 and 2, and child units 1 and 2.  We could call ourselves P1, P2, C1, and C2.  Heck, maybe we could get Cat in the Hat/Thing inspired t-shirts.  But there’s no Thing3 in the Cat in the Hat, and there’s the rub.  C3 (whose diaper will be filled not with P0, but with Poo [or, as P(not me) put it, P-ewwww]) has a targeted released date.  C1 is highly excited (“Mommy and me are going to have a baby!”) and C2 is oblivious.  P1 and P2 are so busy with C1 and C2 that I don’t think it’s really hit us yet.  But, oh, it will, it will.