Saturday, December 17, 2011

Water + waterproof electrical box = ????

What happens when water gets in a waterproof electrical box? Yup, it
can't get out and causes the GFI to cook itself. Now the box has some
weep holes in the bottom.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Blast from the Past

Eli's working on a biography of me for class.  He asked mom if she had any old pictures of me.  Well of course she did.  She dug into her archives and came out with these 8 oldies but goodies.  Enjoy.

Helping build the 1st deck.  I think the deck on on revision 4 now.

Science fair

February 27, 1982 - played Cuckoo
Piano workshop at UALR

March, 1982
First bike ride

Sam, Sarah (cousin), Erin

House construction

Garage Construction (Sam, Rachel, Dad)

Dad, me, Eli

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Nana and PawPaw's Pool

Nana and PawPaw finally have water in their pool, so we went to go check it out. Let's just say, it was brisk. The kids didn't care.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I know, I know (again)

Yea yea yea, I know, I know, I'm slacking.

Let's see, we went on vacation (I've got a draft post around here somewhere that I need to finish up). The kids competed on the neighborhood swim team. Errr, it's been hotter than blazes. We went GeoCaching today.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

$500 or $50 + about an hour

So the driver's side headlight on the Prius has been going on and off. So I started doing a bit of research. Apparently this is a sign that the HID (read EXPENSIVE) bulb is burning out. Toyota apparently got a bad batch of bulbs when they were building the '06 models. For $350 worth of parts and 1.5 hours of labor (I figure $500 total at least) the local dealership will be more than happy to replace both headlights for me (this based on Googling, not an actual quote).

So I headed to my friendly auto parts store. I figured I could do it myself. They wanted a mer $149 per bulb. Time to head to the great online shopping world. I found a place where I can get order a pair of bulbs for $50 shippped (with a 1 year guarantee, since they are willing to go upto a 3 year guarantee for $12 they will last a while). So, I figure I can swap them a couple of times for the $350 Toyota wants.

Then the fun began. First I tried following the instructions in the car's manual. They left out a few steps. Back to the internet, more luck (at least for the passenger side). To get to the driver's side bulb the 1st recommendation was to pop the top off of the fuse box to give you more arm room. This might work for someone with skinnier arms than me (and mine aren't that large). Back to the web. Ah, remove the entire headlight assembly, which requires detaching the bumper.

So, an hour and a half later, both headlights are swapped out. And now that I know how to do it I bet I can swap them in 30 minutes.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My Baby Girl is 5?

My baby girl turned 5 yesterday.  Where has the time gone?

Alicia made a doll cake

Eli made her a doll house out of cardboard boxes and egg boxes

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Dance costumes!

Alicia really took this and posted it, but emailed posts show up as me.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Easter 2011

We hosted Easter at our house again this year (10's a crowd but a good crowd).

Post hunt posing

The annual family pictures

Monday, March 28, 2011

Crater of Diamonds

We took a couple of days off from work during spring break and towed Nana and PawPaw's palace-on-wheels (aka The Camper) to Crater of Diamonds State Park.  It was a learning experience towing a 27' trailer behind the Excursion but our 40+' of traveling steel made it down the road just fine.

Saturday afternoon Paw-Paw towed the camper to his house we could load it, learn about it, etc.
Sunday morning I made a reservation for us for Tuesday and Wednesday night.
Tuesday morning we got up, loaded everything in to the Excursion and headed west to get the camper.  We got all hooked up, stowed, and headed out.  A little over 2 hours later we got to Crater of Diamonds, got checked in, and headed off to our campsite.

It took a couple of shots to get it backed into our campsite but after surveying what it was Alicia was trying to get me to make the camper do it worked out much better.

We got all setup, hooked up, etc relatively quickly.  Emily and I went off to find the playground (Eli wasn't feeling well).  We had decided to treat the kids to foil packs on a fire so I built a fire, then we played games, etc while waiting for them to cook.  Either the fire was hotter than I thought it was or I left them on too long, or some combination of the 2 but let's just say they were a bit on the done side.  We ate what we could of them and then broke out the hot dogs.

Wednesday morning we awoke to a beautiful day.  We had breakfast and then hiked over to the mine.  We all searched for a while, then Emily discovered a hole with "play-do" in it (clay).  She was hooked.  Eli joined in the fun as well.  We found lots of jasper and mica but unfortunately no diamonds.  After the fun meter had peaked we headed back to camp for lunch.  After lunch we headed off to one of the trails that took us down to the Little Missouri river.  The kids took their bikes and had a big time.  We then headed back, played on the playground some more, then grilled burgers for dinner.

Thursday morning we got up and had to turn the heat on.  We did around a bit then started packing up.  We got on the road shortly before noon.  After an uneventful trip back we backed the trailer into its parking spot at the Byrd Compound.  Took a bit of finagling to get the trailer hitch to release but we then headed back home to unload.

I'll get some pictures up tomorrow.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Emily has a new window

In our continuing home improvement saga we decided to tackle Emily's new window when we had two full days. Good thing, it too two FULL days. But, she has now been upgraded from a single window to a double window.

Required a new header (ohy, that was a chore).

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring Break Goals (aka ToDo list)

Our todo list for Spring Break is long
1. Finish trimming and painting downstairs windows
2. Finish prepping for upstairs windows
3. Install some of the upstairs windows (requires for them to arrive)
4. Paint Emily's room
5. Go camping
6. Yard work
7. Picnic at the park
8. Bike rides

Saturday's accomplishments
1. Primed 1 side of window grids (12) and 2nd side of 4
2. Started prepping camper for trip (including Home Depot run for a new faucet)

Sunday's accomplishments
1. Reserved a campsite at Crater of Diamonds State Park for later in the week
2. Primed 2nd side of window grids (8)
3. Painted Emily's room (ceiling and walls) (walls are yellow - surprise surprise, ceiling is blue)  We may add clouds or glow-in-the-dark stars later.

Monday's accomplishments
1. 4th coat of paint on Emily's walls (who knew brown was so hard to cover with yellow)
2. 1st coat of color on window grids
3. Window sashes removed, painted, reinstalled
4. Window frames painted
5. Dinner picnic at the park

More updates (and pictures) as the week unfolds

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Today we took a road trip to Heber Springs, well technically 5 miles east to Magnus Lake. Apparently about 20 years ago 3 trumpeter swans on their way to their winter home in Montana got blown off course and wound up here. Since families travel together, and the young learn the migration routes from their parents, Magnus Lake has become the winter home of about 100 swans. This is the furthest south nesting lake for trumpeters.

They share their lake with some ducks.

The swans tend to stay on the far side of the lake.

The kids had fun.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

More snow

Well, we got more snow than our kids have ever seen. Not the 20+ Northwest Arkansas got but we did get a solid 6.5".

First we have Eli surveying the situation.

Then Emily joined us

The snow was too dry and powdery for sledding. So, Eli decided to turn it into a bulldozer to help clear the driveway.

It was perfect for snow angels though.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Snowmen and snow angel

The kids decided to build a snowman today (we finally got a wet enough snow to be able to do so).

Eli rolling the base of his Snow Angel

Emily decorating their snowman. Note that Emily is standing on a stool. Alicia and I had to work together to lift the middle ball and head onto this thing. That snow was heavy.

Eli putting the finishing touches on his snow angel. (this is the only completed picture of the big snowman. Shortly after I took this the middle ball cleaved in half.

Emily with her mini snowman

Eli with his completed Snow Angel

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Let it Snow!!!

What's the best way to have the most popular kids on the street? Have the only sled when it's snowing.

Emily is currently making a snow angel in the street. I'll post more pictures later.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

The Week in Review

Well, I started off the year well, then I got busy. So, here's a review of the week.

So on Tuesday Eli started at his new school. In short, he loves it. Everyone in his class wanted to sit next to him on the 1st day. Our former neighbor is in the class next to his and they occasionally play on the playground. Emily was excited to get back to school as well (especially since she got to take her pillow pet with her).

Eli's rock polishing project that he started right after his birthday finally finished up. It worked pretty well.

We wrapped up the week with Alicia going to dad's doctor's appointment to talk with Dr. Baltz about histone deacetlylase inhibitors (see the other blog for an explanation). Seems he hadn't heard about them but he took one of her journal articles. We'll see where it goes.

Today we celebrated paw-paw's 60th birthday. My sisters, spouses, and kids came into town. Friends from high school and college, neighbors, church friends. Rachel's friend Jessica coordinated it for us. A good time was had by all. The kids got to stay up WAY past their bedtime so tomorrow could be interesting.

Monday, January 03, 2011

A day with the kids

It's not often that I get to spend the day with the kids by myself, Alicia usually gets solo kid duty. It's primarily been that way since she didn't have a job outside of running the house. But, now that we're a dual income family it just doesn't make sense for both of us to burn a vacation day just because school is out, so, I get the privilege of playing with the kids all day.

Anyway, we had a fun day. We built with Legos for awhile, tried yet again to get Alicia's Christmas present from Sam's Club (it's still not in - when the website says "pickup in club" it should be ready to pickup in the club), went to the toy store, went to the book store, had lunch, walked to the park, finished a puzzle, played with Legos some more, researched polar bears, etc.

Today wrapped up the kids vacation. They seem excited about going back to school Tomorrow Eli starts at his new school, he's excited. He's got lots of new supplied (different school different supply list). From what we've heard and observed it's a great school.

Wow, 3 posts in 3 days, I'm on some sort of a roll.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Up and Over

If you'll recall from yesterday's post we climbed Pinnacle. While on top Eli noticed a different set of blazes (those for the East Summit trail). So, since that trail is a bit more challenging I decided that perhaps I should try it first before attempting it with Eli.

So, today Alicia and the kids dropped me off at the East Summit trailhead and then headed back around to play at the playground (and await my arrival). Let's just say that 1/2 of Little Rock was at the playground (and the other 1/2 were on the mountain with me).

Anyway, back to the climb. Let's just say that Eli needs to grow a bit before he tackles the East Summit trail. You walk basically flat for about 1/3 of a mile, then you head straight up a boulder field. On the west side they have arranged the rocks to make them step-like. Not so much on the east side. They blazed a pseudo trail to guide you, but you essentially climb over boulders up the side of the mountain. There's a nice view but whew, I was beat by the time I got to the top (and I sill had to get back down). Here's a map of the trail.

So then I headed back down the west side. I kept getting caught in traffic on the way down. There was a ton of people on the mountain. Here's the west route.

Took me an hour to go up and over. By the time I hit the top of the mountain I was questioning the coat I was wearing (but it had been cold and windy yesterday). By the time I got down to the playground I was glad I had it.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

A good day to climb a mountain

Happy New Years. We may start a new tradition of climbing hills on new years day. Last year we climbed the Olympic hill in Munich, Germany. This year we climbed Pinnacle Mountain.

First some background. We've been using a marble based reward system for the kids for the past 6 months or so. It works kind of like this. You do good things, you get rewarded 1 or more marbles. Do bad things, you loose 1 or more marbles. When you fill your marble jar up you get to trade it in for money as well as a family outing. We started out with 2 rather good sized jars. A couple of months ago we decided to downsize to make it a more reasonable goal. Both kids polished their jars off last week.

Eli decided for his family outing he wanted to climb Pinnacle Mountain (2nd highest peak in Pulaski County according to the literature). It's a nice 1 1/2 mile round trip treck. The 1st half isn't too bad. The 2nd half is a boulder field that's challenging to adults and mountain goats. The kids tackled it though (and conquered it I might add).

We were joined on the climb by several exercisers (one older gentleman wearing way too little clothing for the temperature passed us several times, he said he climbs it 6-10 times a day). Don't get in their way, they will run you over - or will cut around you off the trail just so they don't have to stop.

Here's some pictures. You can see the fun the kids had climbing the rocks.

Here's Emily "bouldering" her way up

A nice fellow at the summit took our picture for us. It was chilly up on top so we didn't spend much time (plus it was time to get down so we could eat lunch).