Sunday, July 25, 2010

Caleb's iPod

For Caleb's birthday we bought him an ipod itouch. While your picking your jaw up off the ground wondering why I would spend more than $15 on my kids birthday gift, let me attempt to justify the purchase. We don't have a game console like a Wii or an Xbox and the $200 iPod and the hundreds of free or $1 games is much cheaper in the long run. Caleb has been playing with my iPhone for a long time it had become quite annoying that he always had my phone. It's been amazing how fast he's learned to navigate around my phone. I'm not sure if that means that Apple makes very user-friendly products or that Caleb is a genius? The clincher on buying the iTouch was that he was able to send texts while in wifi range. I knew that he'd love to communicate with me, Monica, and his extended family via text and since he's had it, he's struck up funny conversations with his Grandpa Wallace and other family members. On this first night with his text capabilities, he chatted with me a few times while I was at work and then ended the texting chat with "I'm going to sleep now. P.S. don't text me back." How cool is that?

He's learned all about his new toy since he had it and has even stated teaching me things. Compared to the other toys that's he's gotten that only keep his attention for a few days, he's always wanting to play with his iPod. Which brings me to the last reason that we bought him an ipod touch, leverage. With even a simple threat of taking away is iPod, we're seeing an great amount of behavior improvements. He's even doing his chores more! It may sound mean to some (probably people without kids), but leverage works great with kids. Just ask Santa Claus.

Mt. Hood with the Wallaces

We spent a week with my parents, brother, sister and their families at Mt. Hood, OR in July. My parents rented a house in Government Camp, OR where we all slept, yes, all of us. That's nine kids under the age of eight, for those at home counting.

We spent a day playing at local ski resort, Ski Bowl, that they've set up with all kinds of rides and games for the summer season. The highlight of the day was the alpine slide that we played on most of the morning. Describing the slide is similar to that of a mile long water slide, but without the water. We rode up to the top on the ski lift and then down the slide on plastic sleds. Since most of us adults had little kids with us, we were given different sleds to accommodate two people, and we soon learned that these two-man sleds were much faster than the other ones. Todd, Josh and I were soon racing as fast as we could down the mountain, but unlike most testosterone-raged races, we had small children with us for padding in the event of a crash. Even the kids had had blast. The five older kids Caleb, 8, Jaxon, 7, Michelle, 7, Abby, 6, Chase, 6, (our niece, Michelle, was also with us) rode up the lift and down the slide non-stop.

We did have one incident that day when Chase crashed his sled. We're still not sure exactly what happened, but somehow he ended upside-down on the slide. Caleb claims that Chase was going so fast that he ran into the back of Caleb's sled and crashed. Which begs the question, why was Caleb going so slow? But an adult who was on the lift above the crash said that Chase wasn't near anyone when he crashed. Since I know Chase's and Caleb's dads well and I'm very familiar with the trouble they caused as kids, I tend to believe that we're not getting the whole story. We may never know.

We also spent a day at OMSI in Portland. A great place that every kid in the Northwest should see. The kids got to see all kinds exhibits from dinosaurs to a tour of an actual submarine. My personal highlight was in a certain area of the museum where there were a bunch of types of puzzles and mind-teasers, and we all tried to solve them. Unfortunately for me, it was another one of those days that I have realized that I was adopted. To see my parents, brothers, sisters, and wife struggle so mightily with simple illusions was quite painful. I helped them as much as possible, but there was only so much I could do with their feeble minds.

(* Quick side-note before I see my wife and am banished to to basement couch, I may have gone to the information desk a few times at OMSI and looked up the answers to the questions. Some may call this cheating, by I call it using all my resources).

The other major activity of the trip was a day spent at the Portland Zoo. The kids had a great time seeing and learning about all the different animals. We even saw the elephants poo and pee again. I'm starting to believe there is a genetic trait in elephants that causes them to relieve themselves around my children.

The trip was a complete success. The days spent as a family are always filled with our own special mixture of laughter, cynicism, and political rants. The kids adored the time spent with their cousins. The food is always excellent and I'm fairly certain I gained 10 lbs.

A huge thanks goes to my Mom and Dad for all their generosity. We all had a fantastic time.

Please click on the link below to see the pictures from the vacation.

Spring Update

I know, I's been too long since I've posted on the blog, I'll try to be better. Here's a few highlights of the last few months.

*In a recent conversation with Caleb (8) about what he wanted to be when he grows up, he was naming off the different proffessional sports, trying to select just one. Abby, who usually says that she wants to be the lady at the library that scans the books, joined in the converstation by asking, "Dad, do rock-stars make money?" I laughed and said that indeed, rock-stars do make lots of money and then she anounced that she wanted to be a rock-star.
*We made a quick trip to Medford over Memorial weekend. The kids spent the whole time with Grandma, Grandpa, and cousins. While Monica and I ran a booth for her business at a scrapbook convention. Mon does a show like this 2-3 times a year, but this was the first time I had worked with her. I came away with a whole new perspective on Mon's business. I learned that Monica works very hard at these shows, not enouch play time for me. And I also learned that Monica is very popular amoung the scrapbookers of the Northwest. She's a celebrity! 1000 miles of driving in 5 days later and we were home.

Putting the sexy back into Scrapbooking

Wallace Men with a little Fyer

*I hate to become one of those parents who always boasts about how awesome their kids are...but my kids are awesome! Caleb has been doing very well in baseball this spring! You'll have to trust my biased opinion that he kicks butt. He's played 8-9 games so far and he's had a home run in every game. And yes, it's true that in his coach-pitch league, a ball hit into the outfield can usually turn into a home-run as long as the kid keeps running around the bases, but Caleb has had some great hits. Caleb, Abby and I usually play baseball, soccer, or football several days a week at Wallace Park (our huge front yard), so Caleb has had a lot of time with a bat and a glove. It's hard to tell if he's better than the other kids due to playing a lot more or if he has some natural talent, but one thing is for sure, he and I are both having a blast during little league.

*Our little princess Abby turned 6 in May. This spring she asked several times to learn how to ride a "two-wheeler" or a bike without training wheels. I must admit that though my kids have had many more opportunities than most kids (skiing, boating, motorcycles, etc.), niether kid has had the chance to spend much time on their bikes. Since we have a gravel driveway and live on top of a hill, riding around the house isn't ideal. Infact, we keep their bikes at Grandma and Grandpa Foster's house since they live in a traditional nieghborhood cul-de-sac. But Abby wasn't going to be denied her chance of being a "big girl" and after a few practice runs with me and her Grandpa Foster, she was flying around the neighboorhood with the other kids. We were given a older Barbie bike that she used despite it's wobley rear wheel. But to someone who's never riden a bike, she probably thought all bikes shook back and forth as they were ridden. After a couple months of doing the bike version of the Jitter-bug dance, she saw a newer, cleaner, less crooked(er) Disney Princess Bike. After a little haggeling with Abby doing her best puppy-face impression, she now has a bike at home that she rides nearly everyday. Which was quite comical at the beggining since we only have a small 30 feet by 30 feet concrete pad so she would just ride in circles all the time. She's since sprouted her wings and is now riding her bike up and down our long gravel driveway.

Princess Abby with Grandpa Wallace

Abby playing with her cousin Ella in Medford

Caleb's birthday. We're a fine looking family!