Sunday, December 25, 2005


PJ Said to me yesterday. "Dad, I like traffic." This was of course
while we were in a car and sitting in traffic.

"PJ, why do you like traffic?"

"Because you just sit there and you don't have to do anything!" He
said, and he really meant it. Kind of scary.

We went and looked at Christmas lights Friday night. One house had a
really nifty setup, lots of lights and displays. There was even a guy
dressed up like Santa in the front yard. We pulled up.

I rolled down the passenger window where PJ was sitting. Anna jumped
out of her seat and stuck her head out the window as well. Santa
walked up to the car and leaned forward. "Ho, ho, ho! he began."

Suddenly, I think Isis didn't like how close this stranger had gotten.
She jumped forward, and there now was a big dog head next to the two
children. "Hello there!" Santa chuckled, a little startled. That's
one way to scare santa.

Anna was unsuccessful in her quest to spot Santa. Santa came early
and left his presents before her alarm went off. Undeterred, Anna is
looking forward to next year.

A big MERRY CHRISTMAS to everybody. Also, my apologies to those who
didn't get Christmas cards this year. Mark MacGregor, we don't have
your current address. Jeannie and Tom Cahill moved I guess, there
card bounced back Nancy Wallace's mail didn't get forwarded, but I
think we sent out a replacement. Anybody else we missed? Shoot me an
email or sign the guestbook and I'll put you on the list.

Pete Shaw 12-25-2005

Friday, December 23, 2005

I WANT THE TRUTH 12.23.2005

I had a very interesting conversation with Anna last night. She
had been talking again about how she wants to wait up to see Santa.
Kathleen was telling her she needed to stay in her room.

"But I just want to know the truth?" She said in a frustrated voice.

I'll handle this, I thought to myself, "The truth about what, sweetheart?"

"I want to know the truth about whether Santa Claus is real or not."

I faked a big laugh. "But if Santa Clause isn't real, then who brings
everybody presents on Christmas day?"

She didn't hesitate or even blink. "Parents"

I had the curious sensation of trying to keep a straight face while at
the same time inhaling about six ounces of iced tea into my sinuses.
I managed somehow to sound authoritative. "Sweety, you just need to
go to sleep on Christmas eve, or else maybe Santa won't come. What
would happen if Santa saw you down there?"

Or what if he didn't I thought to myself. I was thinking of her earlier plan to catch santa. You and your brother PJ hiding behind the red chair with a net, ready to capture Santa like a butterfly and hold him hostage until your greedy little plan is

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Anna's trip to New York Fall 05: an artistic rendition

Anna drew this in art class and it tickled me. Enjoy!

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Friday, December 09, 2005

Photos from Anna and Kathleen in New York! 11-01-2005

Acutally, it is my cousin Jenny, who was nice enough to host, who is in all the photos with Anna. Kath was behind the lens so to speak. They had a great time, so thanks again for so generously donating your time, space, and energy for such a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, December 08, 2005


I know, I know, the downtime was excruciating, wasn't it my dear readers.

I have switched to another guestbook for now, and may switch again depending wether I like this service, and also if the hordes of viagra selling creepy spam people descend on this blog as well. 

My apologies for all of the lost comments.  Nothing is forever though, you know what I mean?  Least of all a free weblog guestbook.

back to work for me --P

GUESTBOOK DOWN - 12-08-2005

Sorry, Dreamhost was not allowing me to manage the guestbook, which in turn to allow creepy spammers to post their nonsense. I am searching for an alternative.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Once is not enough 11-25-2005

The other day I asked Anna to do something.  She ignored me.  Not unusual, they all do.  But this time I lost it a little and yelled at her, "HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO ASK YOU TO GET YOU DO SOMETHING?"

She looked at me curiously.  "You only asked me once." 

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Halloween Photos 10-31-2005

I am behind in posting photos here, but here are a few of the kiddies from this past halloween. Everbody had a hoot of a time, and we have all gone through our sugar withdrawals now.

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Chirstmas comes early... 11-20-2005

My mom is up visiting (or down visiting I should say) for the weekend, and we are all having a great time. Last night we built a fire, watched "the Grinch that stole Christmas" the real one, not that Jim Carey crap, and listened to Christmas music. It was all very nice. I also discovered the recipe for bourbon sidecar, which I will now share...

Scale ingredients to [Max field length is unknown] servings

2 oz bourbon whiskey
1 oz triple sec
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice

Pour the whiskey, triple sec and lemon juice into a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice cubes. Shake well, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and serve.

We were celebrating "St. Nicholas Day" which is a germanic custom of St. Nick leaving presents by your window around December 7th. Its kind of early, but it was my Mom's idea, the kids don't question presents much at all. So I kept wanting to go downstairs, so that I could sneak out and bang on the door. The presents, trinkets, really, were out on the porch already. So I say to Kathleen.


Kathleen looks at me, kind of annoyed, and says something like, "okay, whatever."

I go downstairs. Kathleen, thinking that I was really checking my email and not trying to be the knock of Saint Nick, sneaks out from the garage around to the front and knocks on the door, and runs back inside. I sneak out around the other side of the house, looking in the windows to make sure no one sees me, and just as I get to the door, Anna and PJ and Sam all come tumbling out.

I freeze in my tracks, back up around the corner, run back downstairs, run upstairs, out to the front door, and act surprised. These are the little dramas you miss out on when you are a child. You don't get to see the men and women behind the curtain, bumping into each other and cursing while they make the firey face of oz. You just remember how much fun it was when there was a nock on the door weeks before any sort of holiday, and how there were snacks and presents outside just waiting for you.

Speaking of which, I need to go rent "The Wizard of Oz" for thanksgiving. I remember watching it every thanksgiving and I want to start the trend again.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


PJ has been swearing once in a while.  At first it caught me off guard.  He hunches his shoulders, faces the floor, and snarles "Dammit!"

The thing is, he got it from me.  Not just the word either, its like he is a little actor, a mini-me, acting close enough to me to seem like he is some kind of parody of me. 

So now, the interesting thing is that he is doing this, despite his knowing that I disaprove of this behavior, because he wants to be like me.  He would rather be like me than have my approval.  Its cool.  Now I just need to remember to watch my mouth a little more.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

looks can be decieving 11-10-2005

PJ walks up to Kathleen today and says, with an admiring tone, "Mom, you know what?"

"What PJ"

"Sometimes you make stuff that looks really gross but tastes great!

She could do nothing but say thank you and take it as the high compliment it was meant to be.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

PJ helps with mowing the lawn 10-29-2005

So far he is doing this voluntarily. (heh, heh)

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Friday, October 28, 2005

miscellaneous ramblings as halloween approaches 10-28-2005

I like the way in olden times people would write cheezy poetry to commemorate great occasions.  I would like to bring that tradition back a little bit, maybe post some way-too-corny poems around the holidays.

Sam is healing.  I have gotten a lot of great feedback about Anna's list, and her wonderful little mind that keeps churning up stuff.  I asked Kathleen the other day if she knew that Jack Black was in the upcoming movie "King Kong".  She looked at me.  Then I asked if she knew who Jack Black was.  Anna piped up.

"He's in Shark Tales.  He plays a shark."

"How do you know that?"  I asked.

"I saw it in those words at the end of the movie."

Well, first off my seven year old daughter is reading the movie credits.  But more amazing, she remembers things from them?  This is pretty much disconnected information, so to remember this she is having pretty much cold recall.  Wow.  I, he who can not remember to take his lunch to work unless you physically tie the car keys to them, am amazed.

Back when PJ pushed Sam over and he hurt his head I had several long talks with PJ.  I wanted to make an impression on him, and I didn't want to yell, or just punish him.  So I tried talking.  We talked and talked.  I thought it had helped.

When grandma was watching the kids so that Kathleen and I could soak in Roman Tubs in the Berkely Springs, PJ was acting up.  Rita told him to stop goofing around.  He continued to goof around.  She told him to go to his room.

"My daddy just talks to me!."  He said.  Great!  So now daddy is a wimp.  I'm not even as tough as grandma.  Oh, well, there are worse things I suppose.  I can see it now, PJ holding something, and me saying "PJ!  you put that down this second or I'll, I'll, expose my sensitive side to you in calm discourse!  I am serious!  I am going to start counting!  3 - 2 - 1..."

Sam is saying things like, "I can't like that daddy."  and in addition to adding "why" to every explanation, he is offereing up "because" as a generic answer.  Last night I put all the kids to bed.  Sam seemed upset, so I went into his room.

"Sam, is everything okay?"

"unh-unh" He said, and shook his head from side to side.

"Is there something you want?"  I asked.


"What can I do for you, Sammy-boo?" I asked.

"You go out"  He said.

"You want me to leave?"  I asked.

"unh-unh"  He nodded his head.  I left and he went back to sleep.  He probably just didn't want me to talk to him.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Anna plans a Santajacking 10-20-2005

As I hold this paper in my shaking hands, I can only think that I must warn him somehow. Be careful Santa. My children are waiting for you.

Anna's Plan for Christmas eve

1. set my alarm clock late
2. wake up when alarm clock goes of
3. wake up pj
4. tip toe dounstares
5. find spider web and bones
6. put bones on pj
7. go in to tv room
8. hide behind red chair
9. wait
10. when santa is in the chimney let pj go out
11. put webs on chimney bottom
12. let pj tell the truth
14. get bottles 2 white 2 spray 2 water bottles take cap off
15. fill spray bottles with ice cold water
16. fill water bottles with snow
17. fill white bottles with ice
18. help with stackings
19. put ice cold water snow and ice on people we don't like
20. go home
21. torcher him to give us extra present and rain deer and raindeer sled




The backstory behind the listmaking is pretty interesting too, but less funny. Anna has been having a tough time lately on some of her longer homework assignments, and I showed her a neat little procrastination breaking trick. You break down the assignment into little five minute chunks, make a list of each chunk, and set a timer for five minutes. Your goal for that five minutes is just to knock out one item on the list. She loved it! Having one little five minute goal is much less onerous than a great big hour long goal, and she sailed through a couple of big homework assignments pretty easily, knocking them off bit by bit. And now she is demonstrating her organizational skills with a cool little list and a plan for kidnapping good old Saint Nick. I am just so damn proud of her.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

update on Sam's injury...

Kathleen and Sam got back three hours later.  Sam was asleep. 

Sam was a trooper in the emergency room, and waited the two hours in the emergency room with nary a cry.

Evidently Sam had needed one subdural stitch, which is a layer of fat and muscle under the skin. He also needed five exterior stitches. So it was a very deep cut, but other than that not a serious injury.  All is well. 

After the stitches were put in, he pretty much fell asleep/passed out before the nurse could get back.

I tried to explain to PJ and Anna why they need to be careful when rough-housing with your siblings, and I restrained my knee jerk reaction, which was to slap PJ in the face and say loudly "In this house we don't hurt each other!" 

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

SAM's turn at the emergenc y room

Tonight we all went to church dinner. We came home, and were all watching "The Most Extreme" on Animal Planet, which is a favorite with the kids.

PJ and Sam were playing in the hallway. Suddenly, Sam was crying, not any more than the usual "I fell down" kind of cry. Kathleen scooped him up.

I checked on Kathleen a few minutes later, when I noticed she was still in the bathroom. She lifted the cloth covering Sam's forehead and raised an eyebrow at me. There was a gash, deeper than I could tell, about as wide as nickel, just over Sam's left eyebrow. Stitches, I thought to myself.

Kath and Sam left shortly. I am still waiting to here back from them. Loudoun's ER usually backs up pretty bad, so it may take a while. Hopefully they will get back soon. I'll post an update when I hear more.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Sam just went through a round of stomach flue, and threw up in the following places.

On himself.
In his bed.
In the kitchen.
In the family room.
On the red chair.
On the sidewalk near the office supply store.

and the number one place Sam threw up is....

In the hallway outside the principal's office at Anna's school! 

Monday, October 03, 2005

blackmailing the tooth faerie 10.2.2005

Anna was writing a note when Kathleen came into her room the other day.

"What are you writing?" Kathleen asked.

"Nothing" Anna replied and hid the note quickly.

"Can I see it?" Kathleen asked, now curious.

"No, its a secret." Anna said.

"Allright, fine." Kathleen just waited until Anna was asleep and then snuck in her room and read the note. She does stuff like this all the time. She is way sneakier than I am. For that matter, so are the children.

The background to this story is as follows. The tooth faerie has been coming for many years to our children, and originally gave them a single silver dollar, the same as Kath recalls from our youth. Anna was griping that this dollar cannot be spent, and so the tooth faerie, in a moment of generosity, began delivering a combo package; a single dollar bill and a silver dollar, thus simultaneously satisfying the need for nostalgia and practicality.

Anna's note read:
Dear Tooth Faerie,

I will not give you any more teeth until you leave three dollars.


Sunday, September 25, 2005

How to create a computer game. 9.25.2005

Anna and PJ were down in my office today for a while. PJ just plays computer games, while Anna is always making things. She remains convinced that all she needs to do is dig out a CD from my trash, write on it with a marker, put it in an envelope and decorate it, and she will have some new, working, computer game.

I just noticed she had tried to run it on the computer upstairs. The title, inscribed in fat scribbly letters, was, "The Advanteres of Anna hood." I'm really curious what she expected to happen when she inserted the disk in the computer.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

OK, you can take my picture... Now. 9-22-2005

Originally uploaded by peteshaw.

Don't take my picture 9-22-2005

I love this photo. PJ was mad because he didn't want me to take his picture. Approximately three seconds later, he was fine.

Originally uploaded by peteshaw.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Isis is sitting behind me as I write this. She always wants to be where everyone else is, and you have to be very careful when taking a step backward. We are so fortunate to have such a wonderful dog. The only thing I have found out that is not positive is that she may be six years old, and not three and a half as we were told. Even so, it is a small price to pay for such a great dog who has so effortlessly become a part of our family.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Laying around the house 9-18-2005

Spent the day lounging around the house in our pajamas. The highlight of the day was getting the car washed. Sometimes you need to chill out.
View the complete Flicker set here.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Isis joins our family! 9-17-2005

We adopted a beautiful 3 year old german shephard named Isis this weekend. She is intelligent, alert, calm, just a wonderful pup. I hope we all get along!


Kathleen had to go to some girl scout thing Monday night, which left me alone with the little gelflings for bedtime. Then, just as she was leaving, she dropped the bomb on me. "Oh, yeah." She said, "I didn't want to deal with this tonight, and I am not asking you to deal with it either, but I thought you should know. Anna was sent home with a letter from Mrs. Eshbaugh." Then she paused, for dramatic effect. "But the note was supposed to come home on Friday. Anna hid the note from us."

Now this was a bad thing. Being disrespectful is bad enough, but lying to your parents, now that was bad too. What to do?

So, everybody gets fed, and I'm thinking about what to do. I come up with an idea. "Anna" I say, "you have to write two letters. One to your mom and dad, apologizing for not bringing that letter home when you should, and another to Mrs. Eshbaugh, apologizing for being disrespectful. Both letters need to be at least fifty words."

Anna now starts screaming and crying as if I had just told her she would spend the rest of her life as merchant seaman. Yelling "Noooooo...." and "I want my mommy!" But I hold to it. I stand over her and won't let her do anything but write. She cries and cries.

PJ and Sam meanwhile, are watching TV. PJ never finished his dinner, so he wasn't allowed any jell-o. But then he comes to me and shows me an empty bowl, and asks me if he can have his jell-0, his green jell-o, and I, being occupied with the children's resistance front of Anna, say sure, PJ, go have your Jell-O.

Big mistake. Children can tell when you are overtaxed, distracted. They seize on your weakness. PJ brought his Jell-O past me an into the TV room something he is not supposed to do.

Anna is still fighting me on the letter. I think we had gotten as far as "Dear Mommy and daddy,..." When I look up, and find PJ's green Jell-O in piles on the green lazy-boy in our living room. Great, I think to myself, one more thing. "PJ!" I am shouting now, "go get a paper plate and pick that mess up!"

Back to the letter. Anna is crying still, as though each letter is racking her soul with torment. But we are progressing. I look up. PJ has smeared the green Jell-O into the chair! Luckily the chair is green. The chair is sticky and slimy. I take all three of them up to bed.

Sam, meanwhile, has been eerily calm throughout all this. He is lying under an afghan, his legs hooked over the side of the red chair, watching TV quietly. He goes to bed quietly too. Thankfully. They had me outnumbered. If Sam had turned on me I probably would have just given up and gone home. Tell Anna she can skip the letter, give PJ a putty knife and some more Jell-O, point him at some of the other furniture.

I finally get everyone to bed. Anna finishes her letter. I say prayers with PJ, and then ask him about the Jell-O. "PJ, you know you're not supposed to have jelly-O in the TV room."

"I forgot. I'm sorry."

"But why did you drop the jelly-O on the chair?"

"Awww, that was an accident."

"Okay," I said, really curious about this one, "but why on earth did you spread the Jell-O into the chair?"

"I'm a little confused about that myself." PJ says, his voice edging on tears. I leave his room, shaking my head and muttering to myself.

Everybody is finally sleeping now. Its quiet now. So quiet. The silence is wonderful.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

photos from Sampson! 9-10-2005

OK, we came, we saw, we gotup at 6AM with Sam, we drank wine, and finally, we left. It was an awesome time this year, and I always leave looking forward to the next foray.

To see a slideshow of photos from Sampson, follow the following link.

Sampson Photo Slideshow on Flickr

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Anna 's first day of Second grade. Mom was very happy. Gotta go, Sampson awaits!

Monday, August 29, 2005

PJ Pee-pee Issues

Kathleen took the kids to the beach last week. While out there, PJ has started to demonstrate certain 'issues'. Let me give you an example. Kathleen's brother Paul was out at the beach, he was sort of wresting around with Anna, PJ, and Sam.

So then all of a sudden, in the middle of the playing, PJ starts peeing on Paul! Paul got pretty grossed out, and went to go to take a shower. I am guessing that this was some boudary that PJ got confused by, the all important 'don't pee on anyone because they tend to react badly' kind of boundary.

I talked to Paul later on. I didn't know what to say. What do you say to someone when your child pees on them? "I'm sorry" just doesn't seem to cut it.

Later on, PJ also peed in a garbage can at the beach house. Rita only noticed this a few days later when it started to smell. I asked PJ about it. He said "I just wanted to trick her." When I asked him about Paul, all he had to say was "I said I was sorry!"

Friday, August 26, 2005

I CAN HEAR YOU 8-24-2005

I go to visit this recruiter yesterday. Its pretty common that they just want a face to face meeting before they market you, so its a prettty casual meeting.

I am waiting in the lobby, at 12:30pm. No one is in the waiting room, and no one saw me come in. I can here the woman I am supposed to meet talking in her office just down the hall. I am supposed to meet her at 12:30. I look at my watch. It's 12:35.

I call her from my cell phone. I hear her phone ring. Some one else answers the phone.

"Can I help you?"

"May I speak to XXXXXXX?"

I hear the man walk in to her office. I hear her say "Shit, I'm running late. Just tell him I already left the office"

The man comes back on. "I'm sorry, but she just left for the day. Would you like her voice mail?"

I say in a voice loud enough so they can here me without the phone, with just the edge of a growl in my voice. "I'm in the your office now. I can hear you." I manage to restrain myself from adding, "dude, you are like, soooooo, busted."

After the meeting, I laughed all the way back to my office.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

This and That 8-24-2005

I apologize for the long silences. Life can get so busy it is hard to remember to keep loging things. The french invasion is over and our third studen, Sigo, has returned to france. Nice to have some visitors, nice to have the house back to ourselves.

Kathleen is at the beach with all three children. I went and saw "The 40 year old Virgin" at the movies tonight. Pretty funny. It is also pretty funny that I went by myself, and that I recently turned 40. There were a bunch of kids watching the movie and sitting behind me. As I left I turned to face them, raised my fist and waived it, saying, "don't look at me, I have three children." Well not really, but the thought struck me as a funny one.

I found out yesterday that come the end of September I will be once again entering the job market. Another short term contract. What a drag.

Monday, August 01, 2005

S-U-R-P-R-I-S-E-! 7-29-2005

I had some potato salad in my lunch today and it made me smile. What was so cool about the potato salad was that Kathleen made a huge batch of it. And that was so cool, not because Kathleen had simply made it, but because she had made it for a party. A party for me.

A surprise party for me.

This past Friday I came home, and Kathleen told me the babysitter was coming over so that we could go over to our friends Neil and Karen. Neil was having a birthday party or some kind of get together. It was a big set up. Although Neil's birthday had been a few days back, the party was for me.

I came around the corner at the back or there house. I saw Neil.
"Hey Neil, happy birthday How old are you anyway?"

"Thirty five." Neil said.

"Wow, man, you're old." I was being funny.

"Not as old as you." That's when I noticed my brother and sister-in-law, who had travelled almost five hundred miles to get here. Also there was a big "Surprise" sign. I just stood there like an idiot for a couple of minutes saying "holy mackeral" over and over. It was awesome. I have never in my life been so surprised, or felt so special.

I am trying to gather up a bunch of photos. I will be posting more in the near future. What a surprise! What a great party. Thanks to Kathleen for pulling it off, right under my eyes, thanks to Neil and Karen for hosting, and thanks to all who made it a great and memorable night!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

ERRATA 7.21.2005

You know, they say that travel broadens the mind, I think its also true that merely talking to people who travel can broaden your mind as well, if perhaps to a lesser degree. Here are some interesting things I have learned this week.

--In France they use all different kinds of salad dressings, and the dressing we see at the local Safeway as "French Dressing" is merely some nasty american concoction, which as far as I know, no one has ever actually eaten.

--The Simpsons episode where Bart becomes a foreign exchange student in France does not, in fact, accurately represent living conditions in modern France. I am beginning to think that I might have to base my ethnocentric world-views on some other program!

--French Fries are not actually French in origin. In France they just called the "fried potatoes", in fact french fries were mistakely named that because they were invented in Paris, Texas, and a newspaper reporter mistook a reference to Paris, as one to the French city of the same name.

(thank you google, see link for more info.)

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

a hike to Bears Den in Western Loudoun 7.10.2005

Just a few photos from a hike to Bears Den in Western Loudoun County with PJ and a couple of English Language students from France. Juliet is staying with us, while Hugo, is staying next door. In the view you can see Signal Knob, the northern tip of the Massanutten ridge, on the left side of the photo.

Friday, July 15, 2005

TRILINGUAL 7-15-2005

I thought this was pretty funny, Kathleen had to take the kids to the doctor, so when I got home, our two English Language students, Barbara, who is from the Basque province of Spain, and Juliet, who lives near Paris in France, were watching the Simpsons. It was disc 1 season 1.

They were watching the Simpsons with audio dubbed in French, with Spanish subtitles. The funny part was, I started watching it with them, and I didn't need either the audio or the subtitles, since I have long ago used up valuable memory space by memorizing mostly all of the older Simpsons episodes.

Juliet didn't understand. She changed the language back to English, being polite. "No,its alright. Look!" Bart and Lisa were playing scrabble. "Bart's next word is KWIJIBU. K-W-I-J-I-B-U." Sure enough, the Bart played that work. We watched a few more episodes, and I real feel like I have accomplished some progress towards global unity, courtesy of a certain four fingered yellow disfunctional family.