Sunday, January 31, 2010

Us, lately

We had preschool at our house the otherday. The highlight, of course, was snack time. Each child got a dollop of chocolate frosting and a gingerbread-man-shaped sugar cookie to frost "all by myself." Apparently, Grace did not think her dollop was big enough, and took matters into her own hands.

She looked so proud when I found her. "I'm having chocolate Mommy," she said. "On a spoon."

And it was cute. So I got out the camera before I took the frosting away.

This is silly, but when I uploaded the photos this afternoon, this one seemed like a representative metaphor of my life lately. There's snow outside. And gloves and boots and coats everywhere. And toys on the floor. All the time. And I'll admit the combination makes me grumpy sometimes. But there are those sweet, fudge covered moments too, if I take the time to notice them.

So here are some of the fudgey highlights of the last few weeks:

Sam started swim lessons last week. He was adorably nervous about it at first, but has ended up really liking it. Yesterday he came home and proudly told me about putting his head under water and blowing bubbles.

He's as creative and imaginative as ever. Every surface in our home is covered in drawings and lists. Here's a recent portrait of Jango Fett, Sam's hero and proposed namesake for Baby Miles.

Grace is giving me grief lately. She's always been opinionated, but over the past few months she's really grown into her role as self-appointed family dictator. In all of my daily tasks -- from driving, to peanut butter sandwich construction, I'm expected to bow to her expertise. As far as Grace is concerned, there's no such thing as a suggestion.

But then, she can be just so stinkin' sweet too. On the way home from church today, I saw her just sitting in her car seat, grinning. I asked her if she had a good time in nursery, and she said, "Yeah. I saw Daddy and ran to him."

"Oh, when he picked you up? Was that your favorite part?" I asked.

"Yeah," she said. And melted my heart.

Speaking of melting hearts, there's this kid.

He used to be kind of stingy with the smiles (except when Aunt Shana held him), but not anymore. Good thing too, cause I can't get enough.

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Pondering the iPad

I probably count as an Apple fanboy. At least, if enthusiasm for Apple gadgets is the measuring stick. But my enthusiasm is not unqualified--I wouldn't touch an Apple TV and I've never owned a Mac. When it comes to the iphone and ipod touch, though, there's just no comparison with anything else, and my kids will stand with me in my dedication to ipod funness.

When I got my ipod touch about a year ago, I also got an HP Touchsmart PC. I lamented at the time that Apple didn't have a tablet for me to buy, because I would have loved to just get something just like the ipod touch, but with a bigger screen and a keyboard accessory. The touchsmart seemed the best existing alternative, and it has turned out to be a huge disappointment. They say it has multi-touch, but it doesn't work. Everything a touch screen is really good for (besides handwriting), it does really really poorly.

With all the Internet buzz about the iPad, most of the commentary has missed what I think is the real point. This device is not everything to everyone. It does a limited number of things--the most common and pervasive things people need to do on-the-go--and it does them better than anything else. People keep comparing it to the *capabilities* of a netbook rather than the actual usability of a netbook. As someone who has owned tablets from Fujitsu and HP as well as a netbook for many years, I can tell you they ALL are horrible in terms of responsiveness.

People are disappointed it doesn't multi-task, it doesn't have a camera, and its software is tightly controlled by Apple. In my mind, these are the very design choices that let Apple make something that works so well. Multi-tasking on my PC is great, but also means that most of the programs I install try to slip an applet into the taskbar, squandering system resources and making the everyday things I do stutter and pause. It's just not worth it.

So, there. Call me a fanboy, but I'm excited for the iPad.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Fun youtubes

I've noticed a shocking lack of spontaneous production numbers at my place of employment. Perhaps I can come up with a plan to address this problem during my research months. Here's how it's done:

And just to show you it can be done in a hospital...