Saturday, October 31, 2009

Day 2.294: Healthy Halloween!

Well, maybe 'healthy' is going a bit far, but despite my slowed-recovery malaise and sending two of the kids to bed dosed with pain-killers last night, we were all much better than expected today.

We carved pumpkins (rather last-minute in the end), made some Christmas decorations (traditional Halloween activity anyone?) and then the kids did a good job of trick-or-treating in the rain. E5N1 debuted his turtle costume made out of a leaky turkey roasting tin (and a smile - most of the time) and the girls reprised their cute kitties. Mind you - maybe next year we should be dressing them up as witches, devils and other foul fiends.

Later, we had a few visitors who were greeted first by the morning's craft project...

...and then by two excited cats - just as happy to be distributing goodies as they were to be receiving them earlier.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Day 2.293: Enough!

Well, I wasn't well enough to work from home today - in fact I wasn't noticeably any better than yesterday which is not cool.

Before I realised that, I sent Exile #2 off to school without E5N1 - she snapped the girls taking part in a special assembly. I hear they did well so the utter terror on Exile #3's face was presumably only transitory. Meanwhile, I bored E5N1 so much he fell asleep on the sofa. In fact, as it turns out it was probably an early indication that he has what I have. Assuming this is indeed the swine flu, he's in a marginally high-risk group of serious complications given his age, but at the moment he seems tired and grumpy rather than seriously ill.

So, more drugs, more sleep and more hopes for a better tomorrow.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Day 2.292: Getting better

I've been feeling almost human for most of the day today. At some point I remembered that along with having the shakes, I was delirious on and off yesterday too. It's really hard to believe that I didn't have a fever, but the thermometer doesn't lie.

Anyway, today was much better - I didn't attempt to work except for a very brief on-line conversation. I don't think I was really up to it, but I hope to be able to work tomorrow - I'll stay at home though, I really don't want to give this to anyone else. So far, the rest of the family is doing OK - I hope that continues too.

I spent part of the day playing Assassin's Creed - it's ages since I spent any time playing that sort of Xbox game. I gave up on that particular one a long time ago, unusually for me, leaving it only partly complete. I think it didn't completely make sense to me until I sat down with it today - maybe it needed a partially absent mind to let me in. I also made it outside briefly as you can tell - I even felt well enough to try to get a picture worth posting here.

This evening Exile #2 and I watched Lars and the Real Girl after I happened upon it while channel-surfing earlier in the day. I thought it was great - a real surprise and recommended to anyone with a heart - although an experience of living through a northern winter might help too.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Day 2.291: Missing school

I felt OK this morning and headed off to work as normal, but by late morning my brain was turning to mush. I left and came home and slept for most of the afternoon. I don't have a fever, but as one of my friends kindly pointed out that doesn't rule out the possibility that I have flu.

I also missed out on a trip to school for the K-3rd grade pot-luck. Exile #2 gamely took all three kids on her own. The picture is at school, but not tonight, but I imagine there may have been shots of Exile #4 eating to be captured if I had been there.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Day 2.290: Aim...Fire?

It's not a great surprise to me to find a member of the family coming down with something at the end of the day today. I'm slightly more surprised that it is me. However, I think that the symptoms suggest a normal seasonal cold (AKA man-flu) rather than its more serious cousin.

I was fine for most of the work day, just getting tired at the end. I thoroughly enjoyed the first night of competition for Season 6 of So You Think You Can Dance tonight, but my energy levels are way below normal. Perhaps a nice warming fire would help, but not this one made by Exile #4 a few days ago - beautiful though it is, it's not going to give off much heat.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Day 2.289: H1N-wan

Her own styleExile #3 was out in the front yard in this fantastic outfit yesterday - causing a few double-takes from passers-by. She may have been looking out of place and a little pale, but considering that, of her eighteen class mates, only six were at school today - we should probably be happy she is on her feet at all. Apparently one of the absentees - who was also at the party on Saturday - 'has H1N1'. No direct word on the symptoms or condition of the other eleven. Not to worry - in the next few months they will all be able to vaccinated as supplies become available.

I'm inclined not to be too worried, but even if we get the normal fairly mild symptoms, the thought of the whole family coming down with flu is not exactly filling me with joy this evening.

Everyone is fairly healthy going to bed tonight - long may it continue!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Day 2.288: A team effort

We all pitched in this morning to mess up the girls' rooms. They were looking shockingly tidy, but Exile #2 suggested if we all helped, we could probably blitz them in five minutes each. It took a little longer than that even though this time-lapse version shows both rooms' transformation in only two and a half minutes. Even though it took a while, I think we can all be satisfied that we did a thorough job.

We were listening to Mark Ronson's Version - great messing-up music. The video has some different music (although it works fine in silence) - not sure why I chose it! I hope you enjoy the show.

Most of this is true.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Day 2.287: The tails of two kitties

We took two cats and a spider to the party this evening. E5N1 has a different costume for Halloween, but this seemed a bit more practical for an indoor party.

The sun was just about out when I took this picture which is fairly miraculous because it has been raining all the rest of the day. It was rather heavy as we were driving home in the dark - a last sting in the tail of this front as it passes.

Talking of tails, Exile #2 made these (and Exile #3's ears) out of some old holey tights. She also suggested today's title pun. E5N1 still pronounces some 'c/k' sounds at the beginning of words as 't', so cookie is 'tookie'. I think that we really should teach him to call cats, 'cats,' before someone gets the wrong idea.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Day 2.286: Peazai seetonanee?

It's very cute and all, but sometimes it would be easier to use the computer without him sitting on my knee - however nicely he asks.

Tomorrow we have our first costume party of the Halloween season. I will be going as 'man with short hair' thanks to a quick visit to get it cut on my way home. I'll keep you in suspense about the kids costumes. Watch this space.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Day 2.285: Hands down winner

The raking season is currently in full-swing and with the wind getting up tonight, even more leaves will be falling. Exile #4 was commenting to me yesterday that a lot of the leaves on the driveway were brown - she said they were mouldy and wouldn't be persuaded otherwise.

Many of the leaves that have fallen so far in our yard are from the maple trees - and they seem to hold on to their autumn colours much more effectively than most - even when piled by the side of the road. Exile #4 found these this morning and then noticed the likeness in her gloves.

Today the temperature got up to 70 °F - quite a shock after the cold weather of the last couple of weeks. Tomorrow's high is predicted to be 46 °F - it certainly pays to keep an eye on the forecast at this time of year.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Day 2.284: Percy Vierance

Exile #3 spent some of her sideshow winnings on this ball-bearing balancing game at the Fall Festival on Saturday. Exile #4 was determined to master it yesterday and had tried for some time before this triumphant moment (captured by Exile #2). When I got home she was able to demonstrate her new-found skill to me and complete it a couple more times.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Day 2.283: Lapses of judgement

When I posted the time-lapse of E5N1's first two and a half years, I commented on his fans out there in Internet-land. What I hadn't realised was that his biggest fan was right here in the house - E5N1 himself. I dread to think how many of the 59 views that video has had are him watching himself growing up.

The other effect has been some measure of "What about me?" from the girls, so without further ado, here are Exile #3's first seven years and Exile #4's first five, set to music and each compressed into about two and half minutes.

Exile #2 is still standing firm in her desire to be left out of the fun!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Day 2.282: Please tidy up...

Girls - did you tidy up the playroom like I asked?

Did you put everything away?

OK good. Where is your brother?

That didn't happen. Exile #3 was off school today after throwing up this morning. She has been fine all day since then, so we can hope to get back to normal tomorrow. Having said that, Exile #4 was just complaining of an earache, so - maybe not.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Day 2.281: Red and amber...

This morning we went for a walk in the woods.

Exile #3 was wearing red:

Run and Fall
E5N1 was wearing orange:

But Exile #4 was not wearing green (where was our forward planning?).

That reminds me of the red+amber phase of UK traffic lights and their polite, "I'm going to change to green, but don't do anything about it yet..." Here of course, it's red one moment and green the next, although most people have an idea of what the sequence is doing and are forewarned just the same. Of course traffic lights are one of US drivers' special areas of expertise - along with stopping on the far side of the street for a stopped school bus and knowing when it's their turn at a four-way stop. I like to think I've gained these skills without losing the ability to navigate a three-lane roundabout or sit in a traffic-jam on the M25, but only an extended period in the UK will tell I suppose.

On the way home from our walk E5N1 fell asleep, but woke up when I lifted him out of the car and sat him on the garage floor. Not so yesterday after our trip to school when he was so fast asleep that this happened:

Not that I don't know how he feels.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Day 2.280: Going up & my estimation

A few images from our visit to the school Fall Festival:
  • Exile #3 conquered the climbing wall four times.
  • E5N1 played some soccer with one of the big kids.
  • Some lovely Indian-dance story-telling.
  • The huge pot of candy corn I won by guessing the number of them (I guessed 1495 - real answer 1413).
  • The cake Exile #4 won in the cake-walk.
  • The girls enjoying some of the cake at tea time and Exile #2 missing out.
We had a really good day with much fun besides these things - walking the school trails with their architect (me), bouncing on the bouncy-bounce (Exile #4 and E5N1), retreating from the bouncy-bounce when the power temporarily went off (Exile #4), buying five tickets and winning four items in the tombola (Exile #3).

Friday, October 16, 2009

Day 2.279: Fall snow fall

snowy streetWe stood in the snow to wait for the bus this morning - quite surreal considering that it is only the middle of October.

Further south in Pennsylvania they had more snow - enough to make it look something like the picture above (but with more leaves on the trees). That picture was from last December.

Today, it snowed steadily for five or ten minutes - but so slowly and such tiny flakes that I don't expect anyone who was indoors would have noticed.

Here are the kids trying to catch snowflakes.

kids catching snowflakesCan you see any?the_exile

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Day 2.278: Put the cake in the bin?

'Bin' is a problematic word for us here. In general to us it means 'trash can' although in context it has other meanings. Here it generally means storage box.

The other day E5N1 and his friend were tidying in the playroom after a playdate. An American adult was helping and handed something to E5N1 'to put in the bin' i.e. put it away in the appropriate toy box. He dutifully carried it off to the kitchen to throw it out.

Exile #2 was able to rescue it

Not that any of that explains in any way this parking-lot trash-can's fussy food habits. As famously happened (perhaps) during the reign of one Louis or another in France:

My queen, the McDonald's workers have cleaned up all the burger buns!
Why, then - let them discard cake!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Day 2.277: E5N1X4300

Since a couple of you accused me of narcissism and suspected a large amount of work had been involved in my 1000th post last week, I thought I would repeat the very simple task for another family member. Since Exile #2 said, "You'd better never make one of those of me!" I thought I would do one of the kids and because I know he has some fans out there and the last two years and 277 days have been his story in many ways even though he didn't make an appearance until Day 88 - here is E5N1.

It turned out that between us Picasa and I have tagged him in something over 4300 photos. It took Picasa a long time to process them all into a movie, but once again - almost no effort from me (except staying awake to post this once it's done). I hope you like the soundtrack too - who knew this existed?!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Day 2.276: Fall foil

colourful leafNot only do we not have to leave our own yard to see all the beautiful colours of autumn, we don't even have to look at more than one leaf apparently.

'Foil' was as close as I could get to a singular form of foliage in case you were wondering.

I'm happy to say that everyone got a full night's sleep last night and the tooth fairy visited Exile #3.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Day 2.275: Out with the old, out with the new

Just as we are coming to terms with summer being over, the growing season officially ending (yesterday apparently), and are starting to enjoy the pleasures of fall/autumn (this was the first leaf-fight of the season) - here comes winter.

Last night we had a fairly hard frost overnight and today the five-day forecast contains three mentions of snow. Some of these things are related - the end of the growing season came about due to the frost. As Exile #2 just put it, "If you haven't done something about your growing plants by now, they're dead." As for snow, you may be wondering if I am exaggerating - see below for the evidence.

Exile #4 was spectacularly sick last night, so we had a rather disrupted sleep. In the excitement, someone must have disturbed the tooth-fairy coming to visit Exile #3 - hopefully the exchange of fallen tooth for cash will be completed successfully tonight.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Day 2.274: A walk in The Fields

Yesterday's other visit was to The Fields Sculpture Park at the Omi International Art Center in Omi, NY. We went thanks to a tip-off in Small-bany - a great blog of things to do with small kids in and around Albany.

We had a great visit - easier shown than described. First some mouse-over magic. The first for a while!

And here we are at the end of our two and a quarter hour walk around most of the sculptures (we missed one area - a great excuse to go back!) This place is less than an hour's drive away from Albany - how come we didn't know about it before?

Click on the picture of us all to link to my Flickr slideshow of our visit.

Today was quieter than normal as the girls' skating lessons were cancelled. We enjoyed some quiet time at home - raked some leaves and then went to church. A nice counterpoint to yesterday's excursion.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Day 2.273: Mind the apples and p...

For the second part of our outing today, we went to the orchards of a nearby pick-your-own farm to pick apples. Apples are big business in New York and are also a big part of traditional Fall festivities - apple picking, cider and doughnuts. The last two I have discussed and sampled before, but unlike the rest of the family, this was my first apple-picking trip. The trees were extremely laden and we got a very good crop. There were masses of windfalls, probably the result of some very windy weather we've had this week. One even fell on Exile #4's head while we were there. We ran into some friends we haven't seen in a while which made the visit even better.

After apple-picking we followed the sign to pick-your-own pumpkins. This experience was as surreal as the apple-picking was traditional. The pumpkin patch looked like this:

And this:

At a first glance it looked like these huge orange balls had been scattered here as some kind of a treasure-hunt amidst the wispy weeds, but although some were disconnected, closer inspection revealed the pumpkin plants and a few late, plucky-but-doomed flowers still hoping to have their moment.

By the time we had selected four pumpkins and paid our ten dollars to the nice man at the register, it was getting late in the day and we walked back to the car in the late afternoon sun feeling pretty good about life.

Sorry if anyone came here hoping for a cockney warning about holding the hand-rail on the staircase.