Saturday, December 27, 2003

12.27.2003 - WE GOT THE NEW CAR!

A brand new dark blue oh four Sienna for which we paid a most ridiculous price to replace the "shit brown minivan"! Unfortunately, the word shit ended up being associating more strongly with 'minivan' part than with the "brown"color. Too unreliable! Hopefully we will have better luck with this vehicle.

Christmas at the Shaw house in Leesburg - 12.25.2003

Sorry, no time to really comment. Christmas was a blast! Lots of family, lots of presents, the kids were in heaven all day. Sam had his first Christmas. Tons more to talk about,b tu tomorrow we leave to head up to New York to spend time with my side of the family. So its a long drive, and then more holiday merriment.

Peace and Joy to you all--Pete

Friday, December 19, 2003


Okay, so here is the dweal with tree. It fell over. We've covered that already I suppose. The very nice sturdy christmas tree stand we got ids great. Its a big heavy thing, all rebar and very solid. But the way it works is that you normally buy your tree from a place that drills a big hole up the center of the trunk.

We didn't have that luxury. I guess the real key thing is the special rack they put the tree on when they drill the hole. This ensures that the christmas tree is properly aligned, and that the tree will be nice and straight. Only we didn't have the rack. I just laid the tree over on its side and tried my best to bore straight up the middle of the wonderful eight foot white pine that was rapidly becoming a spokesman for the people who buy artificial trees for christmas.

On the positive side, from the kitchen the tree looks fairly straight and quite pretty.

On the other hand, once you are in front of the tree, things get a little, well, slanty.

But do I care? No! It looks fine to me. FINE! Its got that slanty sort of charm that I like in a tree. That's my story and I'm sticking with it.

Okay, some more photos from the last few weeks. First, here is Sam, smiling as usual. What a cutey.

And now here are a couple of PJ at his very fiorst recital at nursery school. He is the singinest dancingest little guy you ever did see. The second photo is witrh PJ's two teacher from school.

The last one is of Anna from thanksgiving. I managed to convince her to let me take her picture. Camera shy the poor little thing is. Its so rare to see her come out of her shell. (NOT)

Monday, December 15, 2003

I am at work eating my lunch, which my wife made me while at the same time watching the season finale of Survivor part 18: the musical!

Let me make a brief list of the contents of my lunch:

1.)One ziplock bag full of cut pieces of carrots.
2.)One ziplock bag full pf cut pieces of broccoli.
3.)One thick ham and cheese sandwhich with lettuce and mayo.
4.)One ziplock bag with 3 homemade chocolate chip cookies.
5.)One microwave popcorn - light)
6.)One orange

Now lets look at the details. I like the mayonaise between the lettuce and the bread, not between the lettuce and the cheese. That is where it is.

The orange is scored, around the edges, to make it easy to peel. A co-worker saw that the other day and remarked in awe "You must have the most thoughtful caring kind wife! That is so incredibly kind of her to do that for you!"

So I am just pausing a moment now to be thankful for this nice lunch and the loving hands that made it. Thanks babe-- you spoil me! Now pls excuse me, I'm kinda hungry.

Saturday, December 13, 2003

UPDATE FOR NANCY: In answer to your question, the tree fell over specifically because Anna was dancing around on the couch like a mexican jumping bean on too much caffeine, ignoring the babysitter, and standing on the edge of the couch HOLDING THE BRANCHES for support, thus causing the already teetery tree to fall over." We have fixed this problem and I will be posting more on this matter this weekend, in an post titled "The Leaning Tree."'

You see? You have only to sign the guestbook and ask. All your questions shall be answered. :^)


I haven't been posting much stuff lately, mostly because of this second job I have been doing which has taken up a huge chunk of my already scarce free time. Hopefully I will get a chance to kick back for a chunk of December, and here's to that.

Sam has started to say "mama"! With the other two children, "dada" was the first wrd of choice, but the Samster is on his way to proving himself quite the mama's boy, and let me tell you, mama doesn't mind a bit.

We got a christmas tree last weekend, lugging a big eight foot white pine over the river and through the woods only to pay roughly what it would have cost at Home Depot. The tree is big, slightly missshappen, and ungainly. The other night after I got home work, and then immediately went downstairs to keep working for the other job I have been working on. Audy, the babysitter, was upsatirs with the children. I was working downstairs when all of a sudden I heard a pounding on the floor.

"Daddy?" It as Anna.
"You have to come up here right now, Auddy needs your help."

So, of course the usual visions of poison, broken bones, blood, lawsuits, all leap into my mind. Approximately 1/2 of one second later I am upsatirs. The christmas tree has fallen over, and is laying across our living room floor leaving a trail of broken and unbroken ornaments everywhere. Anna, is dancind nervously across the couch, jumping from cusion to cusion. Auddy is holding Sam. PJ is playing with some toys on the floor. I don't think he even looked up. I look around. Anna spoke first.

"It was a acc-ident." She says, raising her arms away from her shoulders. An accident. To Anna, "an accident" is just some kind of get-out-of-jail-free card she can play whenever anything bad happens. She's good at figuring out loopholes like that. While I admire her ingenuity, sometimes it really makes me just purple with anger. So its a mixed bag I guess (grin).

So we are putting the tree on a larger tree stand this weekend, one that won't tip so easily. Only problem is that this tree requres you to drill a vertical hole down the middle of the trunk, so that the tree is resting on a spike for stability. I haven't quite figured out how to do this yet without removing ornamanents from the tree.

PJ has discovered my cache of arcade games downstairs, and spends most of the day asking if he can go down and play them. Today we got a chance to go down for an hour or two, It was cool. Gettin some use out the old things.

I have been fighting off a bad cold this week. Despite this I managed to get caught up on my work, I have gotten some things around the house, things seem to be settling down, at least for just a little while.

Kathleen and Ann just walked in, they were just visiting Rita, who is recovering from some minor surgery. Gotta Go!--Pete

Friday, December 12, 2003

My Aunt Maren died this past December 1st after suffering with illness for some while. I remember we all went and stayed with them up at Schroon Lake in the summer of 2001. That's where this picture was taken. While it is sad to see her go, I am glad that she is no longer suffering; and of course we all send our condolences to Uncle Bernie and all the family.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003


Okay, I'll admit it. I've been really lame about posting stuff up on our web site here lately. Too much work, too much other stuff getting in the way. Too much life. But, in light of the lack of words, I am posting a big old bunch of photos from halloween and a day hike in October I took with anna and PJ. This may take some time to load. Enjoy!

Friday, November 14, 2003

ADVICE FROM BLOGGER-- What to do if your Mom discovers your blog...

I only think these links are funny b/c I know my mom does read this blog frequently.

This also explains why my references to blatant drug use are so infrequent! Naaah, just kidding. :^)

(As a side note I apologize for the recent lack of content. I am getting slammed at work. Hopefully things will settle down around December or so.)

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

(click on link to view)

I don't normally post links but this was too funny. Note--this is a humorous web site I link too and a fictional article --Pete

Tuesday, November 11, 2003


Lots of neat stuff going on, but no time to write about it. Went to deep creek last weekend, with a bunch of friends to a beautiful place and did basically nothing all weekend. It was wonderful. Before that, last week, a microcell storm came and pummeled our neighborhood, knocking over a big honker tree in our back yard and hurling a small play cube off into space. Also snapped the Bradford Pear in the front yard. And there's more, but who has time? I'll try and write more and post pictures later on.

Monday, October 27, 2003


The Peejster was in fine form this weekend as he entered his fourth year and completed his third one, an accomplishment we here in the states call turning three. "I am free!" he would yell and hold up three fingers.

Of course Nina and Poppa flip were around all weekend. Also, Gagi and Poppa and Uncle Edward made it out as well on Sunday for the party proper. PJ got some great toys but for the most part was happy playing sonic on the dreamcast. Go figure. I'll try and get some photos up later today or this week. Remember, I've got this fancy new guestbook that might (gasp!) actually work and not lose the entries of people nice enought to sign it. ---pjs

Saturday, October 25, 2003


My mom and flip are visiting this weekend. Today we went to the pumpkin patch and took a hayride and drank apple cider and looked at pumpkins. All very fun. Kath was tired and hung out at home with Sam.

We found ourselves tired and with some time on out hands and went to that den of childish glee, the venerable Chuck E. Cheese, also known as Nolan Bushnell's other great idea. They had a machine there that would give you a custom computer generated charcoalized portrait for a single measly token. Here are the results of a few tokens.

First is Anna's, and I really like the way this turned out.

And ehre si Nina and Poppa Flip, looking carefree and happy.

Here's that goofy dad guy. Will he ever grow up?

RUN FOR THE BUS 0-25-2003

This Thursday Kath and Mom, and Flip and PJ and Sam were all at the outlet mall. As Kath was returning a shirt she happened to ask what time it was.

"2:25 PM" the clerk answered.

"2:25?" Kath said. Her blood ran cold with fear. The school bus was to drop Anna off at 2:40. Across town, a ten minute drive. And getting this crowd back in the vehicle was like herding kittens into a bathtub. Not to mention the fact that she was in the middle of exchanging a shirt with one of those time-lapse retail employees who seem to be able to spend their entire working day running at half speed.

"Could you please hurry please, my daughter is getting dropped off by the school bus in fifteen minutes?" Kathleen asked.

"I-'-M S-O-R-R-Y, I N-E-E-D T-O T-A-L-K T-O M-Y M-A-N-A-G-E-R T-O V-E-R-I-F-Y T-H-I-S P-R-I-C-I-N-G I-N-F-O-R-M-A-T-I-O-N." The clerk responded. Her words were thick and slow and sounded like molasses. Clearly she didn't understand the urgency of the situation.

Kathleen finally finished the transaction minutes that seemed like hours later. One more snag though: the "Dragon Stroller"

The Dragon Stroller is a cute little stroller you can rent at the Leesburg Premium Outlet mall to make your shopping experience more pleasurable. The children just love getting toted around in the stroller that looks like (this is the best part) a "dragon". Pretty, cool, eh! When rented, you leave a deposit and just need to go and return the stroller to --OH MY GOD! ANOTHER CLERK FROM HELL! WE ARE ALL DOOMED! DOOMED!

But luckily that part went fairly expeditiously. The Dragon Stroller was finally returned. 2:35. Kathleen leaves Mom and Flip by the curb (intentionally) and makes a dash out the car. Sam under one arm, PJ holding onto the other hand and furiously trying to keep up, his stubby little legs pistoning with effort.

Sam buckled in the car seat. Check. PJ Buckled in the car seat. Check. Get in the car. Burning rubber out of the parking lot, the minivan transmission groaning with effort. Wait, Mom and Flip. Oh--Sh**. Back to the curb. Get in! Get in!

Red Light taking forever. 2:37. I know from experience its can take as long as ten minutes from across town, which would leave Anna alone on the curb, with no one there for her. Poor little Anna, sitting there on the curb, Must not let that happen.

Weaving through traffic. Another red light. Why do these things take so blasted long? More traffic. Honk honk! Out of my way! Pulling of the bypass. Pulling into the neighborhood, the driveway. No one in sight. Is that a good thing? 2:48PM. The bus is late, just coming down the hill seconds after we arrive. Everyone goes to meet Anna and ask her how her day at school was.

Friday, October 24, 2003

THE NEW GUESTBOOK -- part two 10-24-2003

I was sorry to find out my previous guestbook provider was not actually saving guest entries but instead was sort of firing them off into oblivion. I have switched to a new provider, and hopefully this will work a little better.

As always, please please please sign my guestbook! I am up to about 200 hits a month now and would love to see comments from anyone who enjoys the site. This also gives me incentive to keep the content fresh. And as always, we thank you for your support.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

NOPJ'S 10-21-2003

NOPJ'S 10-21-2003

Just saw this one tonight. Anna's is starting to write AND want her privacy.

ANNAISMS - 10/21.2003

I got two Annaisms for ya.

The first one took place after a long day of work, I get off the bus and head to my car. I usually call home to find out if Kath needs anything from the grocery store I can pick up on my way home. Anna answers the phone.


"Hello, Anna?"

"Yes. Who is this?" Kathleen has been teaching Anaa how to answer the phone lately.

"This is Rumpelstiltskin." I say. "May I speak to your mom?"

A big pause. "This isn't s-s-tiltskin. This is daddy!" She knows my tricks.

"That's right sweetie. Could you please ask mom if she needs anything from the store?"

Another pause. I here them talking but can't make it out. Anna picks up the phone.

"Dad, do you know that thing where you put a piece of paper on a thing and it spins around really fast and you have this paint in tubes and you put the paint on the paper and it makes these pictures that are really cool. Can you pick up one of those?"

The second Annaism was when Kathleen was driving aroung Leesburg the other day. Anaa has started spelling things. They drove by a bank."

"Mom, what does B-A-N-K spell?"

"Well, what does it sound like?"

Anna tried to sound it out. "B-A-N-K. bee ahhh ennnn kay. beeahhennkay. beankay. Bankay." Then, more confident. "Bankay!"

"Well, that was close sweetie, but its pronounced Bank."

Short pause, amd then the revovery. "Mom! I was just saying it in spanish!"

Wednesday, October 08, 2003


I went camping with Anna and PJ this past weekend, along with Brad and 4 year old Ethan and Mike and his 3 year old daugter Michelle. Verrrrrry relaxing. We basically sat around and watched the big BBQ-Smoker Brad brought do its stuff. mmmmmm.... ribs.

This cabin rocked! One of the nicer of the PATC collection, it had running water and electricity. Hardly roughing it at all. We went on some nice long walks in the woods. Cooked some s'mores, at least until it started raining. The porch had an absolutely fantastic view of Fort valley. Here are some photos. An unqualified success!


Tuesday, October 07, 2003

I remember when Anna was born, what a tough time we had. She had colic. What's more, we didn't know any better. Kath and I would take turns trying to get her to rest. On weekdays, my turn would be from the absolute second I entered the house until around 2 AM. Kathleen would be waiting for me to get home, her eyes bloodshot, teeth grinding, ready for the hand off.

[the proud big brother and sister]

I subscribed to a lot of pay-TV movie channels; HBO, Cinemax, Sundance, The Movie channel. I don't know why I bothered. The whole time she was screaming at my head. I couldn't hear anything. I usually ended walking around the outside of the house a lot. That seemed to calm her. Patra thought it was great too. So there we were, Patra, Anna, and I walking laps around our little house in Falls Church, with the sound of an ambulance screaming down route 50 every 20 minutes or so. The thing of it was though, we didn't know any better. That was part of what made it so tolerable. We just thought that was what bringing a living being into this world entailed.

[PJ tentatively embracing his future play pal]

Now when PJ was born, things had changed a bit. For one thing, we had moved out to Leesburg and had a little more space. For another thing, PJ was not colicky. It was a revelation. We kept wondering why he was so quiet and why he slept all of the time. He would sleep for seven or eight hours at a spell. It was incredible.


Now finally we have had Sam, our third and hopefully final child. Sam is just off the chart happy. He is seven months now, and is just getting over a cold. He is gurgling in flem, and coughing. The cough is loud and scratchy. It sounds like it hurts. He is sitting up in his high chair. He sees me. That's all it takes, just a glimmer. A smile crosses his face and he is beaming at me. I smile back. He starts laughing at me. Then the cough cuts back in and he's a sick little baby again.

I've put Sam to bed before by just kind of tossing him in the crib. I had to put him down for a second to get the others kids to bed. When I look back on him a few minutes later, he is asleep. I've gone to get him in the morning only to see him awake in the crib, just lying there. He sees me and there is that moon-faced smile again. "Oh, its you, that guy who's not mom! So happy to see you! I was just laying thinking about how great it is to be a baby."

I tell him now every day "Sam, you don't have to get any older if you don't want to." He's the last one I think to myself. "You just stay as a seven month old baby just as long as you wish." His little arms are flopping up and down against me as I hold him. "It's okay little guy, I won't mind if you don't get any bigger." I hold him in the air and rub his stomach against the top of my head. I can feel him giggle.





Thursday, September 25, 2003

This just in: SIGN MY GUESTBOOK!!!! Please. This will help me validate my puny insignificant life and provide proof that that 1200 or so number on the counter isn't just me sitting on my butt at work and hitting the refresh button again and again and again. The link is in the left hand column. If enough people sign up I will reward you with another comical story about my adventures in home improvement. If not, well then, I'm going to start describing my workday in long boring painful detail. Thanks!

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

SLUGGY! -- 9.23.2003


I still remember the way he used to look at her. I'd see them playing in the yard, and couldn't help but smile. He's gone now, and all that is left is a crazy patchwork of memories. But I'm going too fast. Let me start at the beginning.

The first time Anna met Sluggy was after a long rain. Sluggy was stretched out across the sidewalk, lounging, or maybe just trying to stay out of the rain. Anna saw sluggy and that was just it. She knew right away that she had to have him for her little bug house. She knew that she had made a friend to last.

But alas, fate was in the way. Or rather, nothing was in the way. Nothing that could block out the hot sun that baked Sluggy as he sat out on the deck in his little bug house. Anna showed the box to me that evening. "He's not feeling well." She said to me. I looked in the box. Sluggy had shriveled to the size of a raisin.

"Lets put him back in the woods, sweetie. Maybe he'll get better."

The second time Anna met Sluggy was after a long rain. Sluggy was stretched out across the sidewalk, etc., etc.. This time Anna was more careful with him, and fed him lots and lots of grass and water. She kept telling me (and everyone else) that she had taught him to fetch. I saw him on the picnic table as I left for work.

Then one day, coming home from work, Anna met me at my car.

"Dad, do you know what?"


The words came out at once and all tumbly, "Today Madison and I were playing with sluggy and I was going to show her how sluggy can fetch so we brought him on the slide and we thought it would be really cool for him to slide down the slide only he didn't and the Madison went down the slide to push him only he sort of exploded and got blood all over the slide and so now he's dead."

So there you have it. Sluggy's gone on. And we'll miss him.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

THE QUEEN - 9.19.2003

Just a quick bit. Driving home yesterday, pout of the blue, Anna asked Kathleen, "Mommy, will you bow to me?"

"Will I bow to you?"

"Yes" Anna replied.

"Why should I bow to you?"

"I am the Queen." Anna said simply.

"The Queen?" Kath asked.


"Of what?"

"I am the queen of everything."

Thursday, September 18, 2003


I am going to post periodic updates to my website throughout the day. Last night at 7pm the federal government decided to shut down due to the upcoming hurricane Isabel, which was predicted to run straight through the region dumping 6-12 inches of rain and blasting with consistent winds of 40+ Mph. I will be posting periodic updates to the weblog during this hurricane day. Also, since the federal government shut down I get the day off. Woohoo!

7:30AM -- Blissful sleep. Sweet blissful sleep. Then the phone, ringing. I answer.
"Did the hurricane hit yet?" "Hi Mike." My brother. "Sorry, did I wake you up?" "Yes" "Is it windy?" "No." "Okay, bye." "Bye Mike." Grumble grumble. Went to get the paper.

11:00AM -- Some spitting rainfall. Very quiet. We are stocked up on Pokemon movies, toilet paper, and flashlights. Little gusts of wind. We clear out the last bits of lawn furniture. The house is oddly quiet, and the lawn is rather neat looking with anything that could possibly blow away having been locked down and stowed away. I am enjoying the day off.

1:46 PM -- Isabel has landed in North Carolina. Anna is looking over my shoulder as we type this. Kathleen went to the store in what will no doubt be a humorous attempt to get some coffee milk and a few bags of junk food. I spent the last few hours doing what many people did. I took an old computer that I bought on ebay and set it up in the basement as a headless print server in my running windows NT and remotely administering it using RealVNC. Now we are waiting, hanging out, and watching the wind grow.

5:05 PM -- Kathleen got back from the store. The power went out around four. Back on just now.

11:00 PM -- Power went out again around 8PM. Time for bed kids! More wind, rain, nothing scary. We sat on the porch and watched the rain fall. The neighbors powered up a generator, which made a noise that marred an otherwise peaceful silence. Kathleen drank a bottle of wine (three buck chuck!), and called several of her friends on my cell phone and engaged them in loud, boisterous conversation. Power came back on around 10:30PM

Frdiay Morning 8:04 AM -- Federal Government is closed again today, but the storm has passed. We missed the brunt of it. Lots of leaves in our lawn, but our basement is dry, I have the day off, and internet connectivity to boot (thank the lord :^)). Life is good!