Thursday, April 27, 2006

Around here, winters mean salt and spring means mud, so there's a dedicated area right inside our back door where shoes come off. You'd think that someone would make a classy, functional boot bench for spots like that.

Click for full-size image (111 KB)

You know, that way you wouldn't have a heap of shoes piling up, and you could actually sit down comfortably, right there, to put 'em on and take 'em off. The requirements are pretty straightforward:
  • it seats two people at once,
  • it stores ~8 pairs of shoes,
  • in the open so they dry, and
  • oh yeah, it looks nice.
You'd think it already exists, right? Evidently not. (Or if so, they're keeping it a well-hidden secret.)

Which is why last December, Paul spent an entire evening with a tape measure, the pile of shoes, and a neat 3D package called SketchUp, trying to design the perfect wooden bench. The net result? We'll spare you, because Kathy hated it. ;-)

Undaunted, he whipped up a totally different design on the spot, as shown above. In honor of today's release of a free version of SketchUp, we're also posting the underlying 3D model (28 KB) so you can play with it, asking questions like:
  • Is this design strong enough?
  • How would you put together the joints?
  • What tweaks would make this easier to build?
  • What's it likely to cost?
Bonus points for answers from craftsmen, woodworkers, and/or structural engineers.
8:54:00 PM

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Recently the kids drew self-portraits that we are having reproduced on T-shirts. Kathy, telling Bryn she would wear Bryn's self-portrait when she exercised, met with this response:
But you take turns [wearing Maya's self-portrait]. Don't forget!
...yet another example of how the kids are always thinking of each other.
7:38:00 AM

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Milestone: Maya read an entire chapter book--69 pages--all by herself! She casually sat down with Seal Island School by Susan Bartlett and read six of the eight chapters. Then, after taking a break to draw with her sister, she finished the remaining two chapters.

Until this point, the kids have been reading picture books by themselves--and the occasional chapter or two of a chapter book--so this is a huge leap!
9:10:00 PM

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Almost four years after one of Bryn and Maya's first conversations, we're still hearing the same theme in their exchanges:
Bryn [encouraging her sister, who is trying to balance manipulatives]: Maya, keep going; you're gonna get it, you're gonna get it!

Maya: I got it!

Bryn: Good girl!
Although we're not sure where "good girl" came from, we're tickled to hear another example of the kids' constant mutual support.
10:35:00 AM

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Off by three seconds this time.

On the plus side, our blogging tool now allows you to decide in advance when posts should arrive (a feature I don't think we've taken advantage of). On the minus side, it now rounds everything off to whole minutes.

So this is as close as we'll get to 01:02:03 04/05/06 (at least here in the States). To quote my grandfather, "close enough for government work".
1:02:00 AM

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

They're at it again:
Maya: Oops, I almost said the s word.

Bryn: Which one? There are two.

Maya: No, just one: [whispers] "stupid"

Bryn: And "shut up", too.

Maya: That's not nice, but it's not as bad as the other one.
The things these kids come home with!
9:08:00 PM

Monday, April 03, 2006

This weekend, for the first time, Bryn didn't use any flotation device during her swimming lesson--and Grummy and Farfar were there to witness it!
4:32:00 AM

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The kids have active imaginations, and some weekends they'll go off to play together for hours at a time. On the plus side, this leaves the grownups free to concentrate on other things, punctuated only by brief exchanges like the following:
Maya: What is eight minus twenty three?
Paul: You mean twenty-three minus eight? Fifteen.
Maya: OK. (leaves)
Sounds great, huh?

Well, that all depends on what other random snippets you happen to overhear. For example, this exchange is what first caught my attention this afternoon:
Maya: It's actually the John you married, and he did not change his last name.
Bryn: His name's not John Stevens, he's John Tuck.
Maya: No 'cause he changed it when I married him. It's John Stevens now.
Ah, the glow of parental pride. Our attempts at raising young feminists seem to be taking hold. So I can stop paying attention now, right?

Well, only if I wanted to miss any of these random snippets:
Bryn: I married all the Johns you married.
Maya: Matthew Stevens changed his hair when I married him.
Maya: None of my boyfriends wanted to marry you. They all still wanted to marry me.
Maya: Twenty-three, four.
Bryn: No, twenty-two.
Maya: Including me.
Bryn: Oh.
Maya: Sorry, but the vote is ... marrying Marissa! And Sara Stevens. They can't decide which, so they're going to marry both.
Bryn: No, the vote was selected again. A few of them changed their mind, and wanted to vote again. They thought there were too many people in the castle.
Maya: Who else?
Bryn: Eight actually. I just counted eight hands up.
Well, that explains the math problem, but if anyone has any clue what prompted this sudden flurry of polyandry, please let us know ASAP! Preferably before their mother wakes up from her nap. ;-)
Bryn: No, I tricked you, I wanted Matthew Tuck.
Maya: That is Matthew Tuck! This is my pet snake.
Bryn: I never heard of this kind of snake.
Maya: It's called a middle-stretched snake.
Maya: It's not silly putty.
Bryn: Can you get out of my house?
Maya: Which of your boyfriends are you going to make?
At which point, their befuddled father finally stops typing and gets up to see what in the world is going on.

And what did I find? Just two five year-olds, a piece of blue silly putty, and some wild, wild imaginations.
3:08:00 PM

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