Monday, December 18, 2006

Chasing Santa down the road! December 10th, 2006

It was Sunday night, and we were putting th ekids to bed.  We had just finished brusing teeth and were about to read bedtime stories.  Suddenly I heard a police siren, that was getting louder.  Odd, I thought to myself, the police don't ever come through here, I wonder if there is a fire?

I wasn't thinking.  Sometime a week or so before Christmas, one of Santa's helpers catches a ride with the Leesburg Volunteer fire department and takes a tour through all of the neighborhoods in town.  So the kids are in pajamas, and Anna looks out the window and catches the side of Santa as he waves his arm and drives down the street, away from us.  Anna shoulders slumped down. 

"Come on, Kids!" I spoke.  "We are going to get in the truck and catch up with Santa!"

And we did!  The kids tumbled into the back of the truck, and we zipped down to the other end of the neighborhood and we managed to catch Santa up with and his fire truck, and his two assistants who were dressed like snowmen and looked vaguely creepy.  We caught up with him, and then when he left, we followed him.  We followed him down Lakewood over by the Library, and through some other older neighborhoods.  It was a hoot!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Saturday Night Skating - December 9th, 2006

First of all, I just noticed that my daughter has started commenting about a post relating to her. I am going to have to start locking down my computers more, she is getting a little too proficient.

As all five of us were driving to Ashburn, we had the following conversation. Anna was trying to listen to the Christmas music, and Sam was yammering on about something, I can't remember what, he was probably expressing his amusement with the word 'baloney' or something like it. But Anna said, "can someone please get Sam to be quiet! I am trying to listen to the music and he is making so much noise that I can't here it!"

Kathleen and I, without hesitation and simultaneously said, "welcome to my world."

Sam could not skate at all. Not even the teeniest bit. His feet would shoot out in any direction they were pointed. But Sam wasn't scared, or frustrated, no Sam thought this was the funniest thing that had ever happened since the Marx brothers. You would hold him in the air, and every time he tried to stand up on the ice, his feet would start scrambling all over the place and he would get this deep belly laugh and would just keep laughing. It was impossible not laugh with him.

PJ, was by contrast, trying harder and learning faster. He was also taking a lot of spills. He would, fall, and fall again, every time saying "I'm OK! I'm OK!" Even when he thumped his head against the ice, or when he fell hard on his but. He kept inching his way around the edge.

Anna has been out five or six times now, and relative the rest of the family is Dorothy Hamil. She was off skating on her own for the whole time we were there, and was doing better than mom and dad. It was a very 'family' night for us, and a good time was had by all. Especially Sam, even though he never actually could stand up.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

I am so grossed out! Dec 2nd, 2006

The kids are down in the basement with me while I take care of some computer stuff in the basement. They are playing arcade games. Suddenly Sam comes over to me.

"I hurt msyelf!"

"Oh Sammy Boo" I say to him, where did you hurt yourself. This always has a double meaning, and it is a crapshoot to see whether the kids will answer with "my arm" or "on the couch".

"Over there" Sam says, pointing at a video game. "I hurt my teeth"

"Aww, did you fall and hurt your teeth on that arcade game?"

"Yeah." Big pause. Then he says, "will you kiss it and make it better?" and opens his mouth up REALLY WIDE.

Monday, November 27, 2006

wipe out! November 27, 2006

wipe out! 061128
Originally uploaded by peteshaw.
PJ had an endo on his bicycle today. It seems his foot got caught in teh spokes of the front wheel, and he went right over the handlebars. Luckily, other than some truly gnarly bruises, it appears that no harm was done, other than him getting shooken up a bit.

Poor little guy. But I told him about all of the bike crashes dad has had and it seemed to help. Luckily he was wearing a helmet, something kids in my era had neither the sense nor the encouragement to do.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The kids meet santa November 24th, 2006

The kids meet santa
Originally uploaded by peteshaw.
While down in Staunton for Thanksgiving, the children got a chance to meet Santa at the local mall. Santa was very nice and the children were suitably impressed (or in Sam's case, amazed).

Friday, November 24, 2006


We spent yesterday morning driving down here, and arrived around One thirty. It was a wonderful, lazy, sit around the house and do nothing but eat kind of day. I wasn't feeling good, or maybe I was tired, but I spent most of the day dozing off in this chair, under a heated blanket. The children actually behaved themselves for the most part. Maybe they like Thanksgiving as much as I do. I remember as a child going to my uncle's house and watching the wizard of oz, which always seemed to be on, and always playing Tripoli and eating turkey sandwiches later that evening.

Kathleen's grandma was here, recovering from knee replacement surgery. She showed me the incision, which was a big vertical line up her knee still held in place with big cloth butterfly stitches. Sam came over and looked at it with genuine concern, and said "awwwww, Gigi..." his voice trailing off while he stood there. Thankfully, Gigi seems to be feeling better.

I slept in until 9:30 this morning, which is pretty decadent for me, and then Kath and her mom were off like a shot to assault the black Friday gauntlet. Later today we are going to take the kids to go see Santa at the Staunton mall. This early in Christmas, and this far away from northern Virginia, we seem to do pretty well in dodging the wait for Santa lines that seem to be everywhere. We drive back home this evening. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Back from Vegas 11-20-2006 (linked)

Just got back from Las Vegas, where I was at SharePoint training for the week. On Friday, Kathleen flew out to meet me and we saw the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon.

This was about a 250 mile drive from Vegas, but worth every mile. We ate at a 50's diner on Route 66, enjoyed burning down highway 93 in a rented ford mustang convertible with the cruise control set at 90, a cool breeze in the air, and not a cloud in the sky. It was, briefly, heaven.

Sunday night we returned to Vegas and got to enjoy such local favorites as the fake Eiffel tower, the Fountains at Bellagio, losing money at gambling, and waiting in huge lines to eat, check in, check out, and do anything else that doesn't involve gambling. Vegas's rule number 1 is: no lines for gambling.

Funs over now though, so its back to work for a couple of days, and then, thanksgiving, black friday, and MORE CHRISTMAS MUSIC. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! (Christmas music makes me nutty!)

Monday, November 13, 2006

Getting Anna ready for school 11.9.2006

The other morning I got up with Anna to get her ready for school. She was grumpy. She is always grumpy at that time of the morning. I asked her what she wanted for breakfast.
She told me she wanted a grapefruit. No problem, I can do that, I thought to myself. I handed her a grapefruit.

"Uh dad?"

"Yes, sweetie?"

"Aren't you going to cut this up llike mom does?"

Uh oh. Those fateful words. Like mom does. "How does mom cut the grapefruit up?" I asked.

"I don't know, she just takes the seeds out, and then cuts it into little pieces."

I dig through the drawers and find the grapefruit knife. Crudely, I start hacking away at the large yellow fruit. Finally I produce a smalll pile of triangular pieces. I am very proud. I hand the grapefruit pieces to Anna. Long moments pass.

"Uh dad?"

"Yes sweetie?"

"Could I have some cereal?"

I don't argue the point, and get her her cereal. Then it soon becomes tikme to get dressed for school. This is always an ordeal. Anna never wants to get dressed, she never wants to brush her hair.

"Anna! I'll make you a deal. If you can get dressed and ready for school, including your shoes, in the next five minutes, I will give you a wizard point." I pause, and then suddenly grab a large knife from the drawer. "But!" I cackle "If you do not then I will chop off the little finger of your left hand!" I slam the knife against the cutting board for effect.

"Dad, you're just joking." Anna says. She is on the floor putting her shoes on and doesn't even look at me while she says this. She has been schooled by wife, as all my children have been. They don't believe a single word I say. On this morning though, she is ready in five minutes, and catches her bus to school by 7:10AM. I get another cup of coffee.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

MIke's Deer

Originally uploaded by peteshaw.

My brother sent me this cute and funny picture of a deer that he found sleeping in his garage. I was worried that he was looking kind of sick, but Mike assures me that the cute little bambino was up and eating hostas in no time.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Brothers in Arms - November 2nd,2006

Tonight, Mom had to go downstairs early to watch Survivor, because she is a die hard fan of such stuff. Anyway, I was upstairs reading bedtime stories to the kids. PJ was first, Sam, was second, and Anna was last.

When I started to read to Anna, I had to warn the two boys not to rough-house or carry on. "Guys - You can stay here if you are quiet, but if you fight or make noise I am going to send you to bed."

PJ looked at me, then to Sam, and then took him by the arm. "C'mon Sam" he said. Then he turned to me and said, "Sam and I are going into my ROOM to FIGHT." Then they started to walk out of the room, arm in arm.

Sam looked at me as he was leaving and said, "We are going into PJ's room to fight," and nodded his head at me.

But of course, by starting out with the objective of fighting, they couldn't help but play nice for the few minutes before bed.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

more halloween news Oct 31, 2006

Anna broke free and went trick or treating with her friends, which was a first.  I stayed at home because my broken toe is hurting me.  Anna came home with a ridiculous amount of candy.  Between the campground, trick or trunk-ing at church, and our neighborhood, we are literally floating in candy.

Sam woke up at his usual 6 AM onTuesday (the 31st) and came into our bedroom. 

"Mom, what day is it?"

Grumbling from under the sheets.  Muttering.  "Its Tuesday."  She croaked.

"Yeah!  Its Halloween day!"  Sam exclaimed with childish glee.

that night, PJ must have heard his parents talking about candy, because as he was trick or treating he would say, after getting his candy, "Thanks!  I'm going to be SICK for DAYS!"

Monday, October 30, 2006

Happy Halloween! 10-31-2006

Originally uploaded by peteshaw.

We took our maiden voyage in the camper this weekend (photos follow) and also enjoyed a great halloween party at the campground.

Tonight we carved pumpkins, and tomorrow- trick or treating. What fun!


Originally uploaded by peteshaw.


Originally uploaded by peteshaw.


Originally uploaded by peteshaw.


Originally uploaded by peteshaw.

Monday, October 23, 2006

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PJ - 10/23 2006

today is PJ's BIRTH DAY!
On Saturday we went to CHUCK E CHEESE which is the COOLEST place you  can possibly go, especially because the have METAL SLUG 6!  A bunch of my friends came along, and the later that day we went to papa and gagi's COW HOUSE, where we played outside and drove around on this ELECTRIC TRUCK they had bought for us.  What a great weekend!  Maybe one day dad will take a picture of me and post it on this WEB PAGE.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Nothing much happening here - October 14th, 2006

PJ has the flu today.  I think he got it from Sam, who has been sick earlier this week.  He just threw up orange ibuprofen syrup and waffles that he had for dinner.  Poor buy, he is just lying on the couch, looking pitiful.

My first clue that he was sick was when we went to Chuck E. Cheese today.  He suddenly stopped playing video games and went to our booth and was sitting there bent over, with his head down on the seat and his but in the air.  "Are you okay, Peej?" I asked him.

"Yeah.  I'm just resting."  Was all he said, but his face was starting to turn pale.  Plus, anything that can prevent him from playing Metal Slug 6 must be powerful in scope.  It would be like me being too sick to get on the plane to go to St. Martin.  The others had a great time at Chuck E. Cheese.  I was looking for Sam once and found him in the photo booth with some other child his age.  I was worried that Sam had bullied his way in, but the other kid seemed quite happy.  "We have our picture taken!" he said and grinned at me.

It is funny the three different ways the children spend their arcade tokens at Chuck E. Cheese.  Anna like to get tickets so she spends tokens like water and comes back to me on minutes, asking for more tokens.  Then, fifteen minutes after we arrive she has spent all of her tokens and is taking them to the counter and going shopping.  PJ takes ten tokens and then never comes back.  He is so good at video games that his money lasts a while, and when he runs out he has usually made friends and some other boy's dad is putting money in the  machine for him to keep playing.  Sam is just a maniac.  I found him once on a jet ski  arcade game, sitting behind  some other boy, riding along.  Another time he was in a photo booth with  a little boy Sam's age.  I asked the boy if he minded, and he just smiled and said "we got our picture took." 

Mike and Loretta and Molly and Andrew visited last weekend, and we had a blast.  No pictures, because I just plain forgot to keep the camera out to take pictures, but we all had a great time.  Mike helped me get a bunch of RV stuff taken care of, and this led to a lot of what-is-now-amusing stories about backing up a 25 foot trailer in the dark when you have no experience doing so.  But its okay, it got put away, and what's a family get together when you don't have any yelling anyway?  It would be like a hot dog with no mustard.

Friday, September 22, 2006

No, I said I wanted an Arby's! September 22, 2006

Originally uploaded by peteshaw.

We finally went out and bought an RV, god help us! More pictures to follow. It is a 25 foot 2003 Coleman trailer with two slides. On a related note, I have noticed that all of those "you might be a redneck if..." jokes are just not as funny as they used to be.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Back to School September 06

It is that most wonderful time fo the year. And this time, for the first time ever, Sammy goes to Pre-School. All three children are in school for three hours a day three days a week. PJ is in Kindergarden five half days. Anna is school all day. Summer is over. Life is good.

Back to School September 06

Originally uploaded by peteshaw.

Back to School September 06

Originally uploaded by peteshaw.

Back to School September 06

Originally uploaded by peteshaw.

Back to School September 06

Originally uploaded by peteshaw.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Don't Forget to say Goodye 9.11.2006

As I walked through my dark bedroom this morning, Sam was already awake and had crawled in bed with mom.  I said goodby to Kathleen, and then went over to sam and said goodbye.  Always gotta say goodbye.
I went downstairs, and there was a file I needed to email myself at work, so I was delayed by a few minutes.  When I cam back upstairs, Kathleen, Sam, and Anna were all downstairs.  Anna was lying on a couch being grumpy.  I got a cup of coffee and said goodby to Anna, then Sam (again), then Kathleen.   Always gotta say goodbye.
As I schlepped my Monday morning baggage out to my car, which included my backpack, my lunch, my gym clothes, my portable DVD player, a planner, a text book, and other junk.  Sam runs out to me by my car.  "Look at this book I got daddy!"  We went to the library yesterday.  Its a about a horse with bad hair. 
"That's great Sam!"  I try to sound excited.  Now go inside, daddy has to go to work, okay?"  Always gotta say goodbye.
As I am driving down the road to the commuter bus, my cell phone rings.  It is my wife, and she is upset with me.  I forgot to wave at Sam as I drove by the front door of our house.  Sam is very upset by this break in his normal ritualistic lifestyle.  The life of a happy three year old is lived within simple happy patterns.  I talk to Sam on the phone.  "Hello Sam"
"Hello Dad."
"I am sorry I didn't wave to you."
"Are you mad at me?"
"Well, I am sorry, but I have to go now, okay Sammy?"
"Okay, bye, daddy!"
"Bye Sam!"
Kathleen stayed on the phone long enough to tell me that Sam was waving goodbye to me into the phone.  I said goodbye and resumed my commute.  Always gotta say goodbye.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Sampson 2006 "The rainy weekend"

We came, we camped, we got rained on. That, in a nutshell, was our weekend. We arrived Friday afternoon, and around 11pm or so it started raining. It didn't stop until Sunday morning. Still, it was a good time, and Sampson always seems to signify the end of the summer, and the start of the school year. Happy times!

Sampson 2006

DSCN2822, originally uploaded by peteshaw.

Mike tries to stay dry...

Sampson 2006

DSCN2834, originally uploaded by peteshaw.

Wagner's parking lot - could it be any wetter?

Sampson 2006

DSCN2838, originally uploaded by peteshaw.

Sampson 2006

Sampson 2006

DSCN2842, originally uploaded by peteshaw.

Sampson 2006

Sampson 2006

DSCN2847, originally uploaded by peteshaw.

Sampson 2006

Sampson 2006

Originally uploaded by peteshaw.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

You *MET* Mom? August 24th, 2006

I am down in the basement with PJ. I show him an old picture of Kathleen. She is about 18 or 19 in the picture.

"PJ, do you know who that is?"


"Do you think she is pretty?"

"Uhmm, no, not really."

"Well, I think she is pretty. Are you sure you don't know who that is?"


"That's MOM!"

"Oh." Big pause. "Is she a teenager?"

"Yeah, she was when we met."

"Dad, you MET mom?"

"Yeah, what, do you think she we just knew each other forever?""

Big pause. "No."

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

I got me a new pickup truck! August 21, 2006

Originally uploaded by peteshaw.
I am the proud owner of a brand new Nissan Frontier SE 4WD Pickup, with which I can haul stuff all over the place with gay abandon. The Saab was sold last Friday to a nice guy from Clifton, who got it a great price. So now I have a car payment and 17MPG. Whoopee!

Monday, August 14, 2006

A FUN DAY AT WORK - August 14th, 2006

Have you ever had a pen explode in your pocket?  You know how embarassing that can be?
Well, I had the cap fall off of a highlighter in my backpack.  The writing end pressed up against the bottom of the pack, which also happened to be sitting on my lap on the hour long bus ride to work today.  The phosforescent yellow ink blotted up the corner of my pack, and soaked through to my pants.  Now I look like I have been marked by the game warden.  I have this bright glowing yellow clot of ink on my trousers where the front right pocket is.  I am going to try and hide at my desk all day.
Had a great weekend.  No photos - but we went to Gettysburg and camped with friends.  The weather was wonderful and cool.  The kids had a great time. 
Did I mention it was my birthday?

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Marshmallow on Sill August 4th, 2006

Originally uploaded by peteshaw.
I notice this one today. Somehow a marshmallow appeared on the sill ten feet above our front doorway. I'll have to drag the ladder up from the basement to take it down.

Of course, no one admits responsibility. There too smart for that. Except Sam, and trying to get an talking to him is like talking to the magic eight ball. "Sam, did you throw that marshmallow up on the wall?"


"Sam, did you?"


"Sam, did you throw the marshmallow?"

"I want a marshmallow"

"Sam, you can't have a marshmallow."

"But I want a marshmallow!"

Then I just give up. They don't tell you about stuff like this in parenting class. They don['t tell you that you'll have to deal with anonymous marshmallows in strange places.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Can I watch TV with you? 7.28.2006

Last night I had to go get PJ from Ed and Rita, who had taken them to a convention in DC. He had been running a fever, of 1a 103.5 degrees. I picked him up at the metro and rode home with him.

Once we were home, after Sam went to bed, I took a shower with PJ, to bring his fever down. I told him afterwards, he could crawl into bed with me until he fell asleep, then I would put him into my bed. We both got into bed. Skip forward. I am waking up at six and going to work. What happened to PJ?

I had fallen asleep, and PJ had gone downstairs, and said to Kathleen, "Mom, Dad said I could stay in bed with him until he fell asleep, and now he's asleep. Can I watch TV with you?"

He stayed up watching TV until 11PM.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Stop telling jokes, Dad - July 25, 2006

Last night PJ came up to my bedroom. I had just gotten home from work and was changing my clothes.


"Yes, PJ"

"Could you, just, well, could you not tell any jokes tonight?"


"I don't like it when you tell jokes."

"Well, PJ, I am glad you told me that, because I was going to tell you about the most fantastic thing that happened to me at work today. Do you want to hear about it?"


"Well, while I was at work, a black hole appeared at my desk and it sucked me in! It spit me out of a quasar at the opposite end of the universe. There I was floating through space."

"Wow! Did you get hit by any shooting stars?"

"Yeah, but I just brushed them aside with my hand."

"No way! A shooting star is like a million times bigger than you. You would be have been totally burned up."

"PJ, I am just joking with you."


"Yeah, PJ?"

"Could you not tell any stories or jokes tonight?"

Monday, July 24, 2006

Schroon Lake 2006.07.07

Originally uploaded by peteshaw.
Anna and I climbed up a small mountain on the north side of Schroon lake and took these pictures.

Schroon Lake 2006.07.07

Originally uploaded by peteshaw.

Schroon Lake 2006.07.07

Originally uploaded by peteshaw.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Bet - July 4th, 2006

Originally uploaded by peteshaw.
Some of you might remember a bet Mike and I made as of the new year, about losing thirteen percent by 4th of July?

In short, Mike lost a little and I lost a little more but neither of us made it to our goal weight, so Mike put on a skirt, and I had to wear a girly top, both picked out by Molly and Nina at the local thrift shop,

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Schroon Lake - July 4th 2006

Originally uploaded by peteshaw.
Late Monday night Juliette (our guest from France) showed up. Kath and Loretta went and got her from the airport in Albany.

Mike and I went fishing in the morning in more bugy creeks, and interrupted long fishless hours with brief moments of "uh-oh I dropped my beer can in the stream, quick, catch it!"

We watched the fireworks just up the road, which turned out to be perfect as there were no crowds, and it was an easy drive back. Sam's first fireworks, these were, and he was I believe, suitably impressed.

Schroon Lake 2006.07.03 - Gull Pond

Originally uploaded by peteshaw.

Schroon Lake 2006.07.03

Originally uploaded by peteshaw.

Scroon Lake - Day 3 - July 3rd 2006 - Monday

Originally uploaded by peteshaw.
We went for a hike to Gull Pond, which actually should be called "Pond in woods infested with giant thirsty mosquitoes." We stopped at a curte little place called "Picks and Sticks" on the way home, or some ice cream.

PJ asked me later that day. "Dad, are we real?"
"I think we are real"
"How do you know you're real?"
"That's a good question."
"If we weren't real we'd have lines like they do on tv" he said confidently, if only to possibly comfort his dad.

Scroon Lake - Day 2 - July 2nd 2006

Originally uploaded by peteshaw.
it rained overnight. The lake's level continues to drop. My mom came by and was of course very happy to see the everybody. We went grocery shopping, and then went for a long swim. Finally, pasta for dinner, and then it was time for bed.

Friday, July 14, 2006

how I spent my summer vacation - Schroon Lake Day One - July 1st 12006

Originally uploaded by peteshaw.
The drive up was awful. Binghamton had flooded so badly that we had to drive through New York City, and got to sit in many hours of bumper to bumper traffic on the throughway. Once we arrived a large portion of
Sandy Point was under water. Note the picnic table and the dock. Sam and PJ were enjoying there first sunset. We had enough time to get in a swim before it was time to go to sleep.

A random summer photo

Originally uploaded by peteshaw.
I like this photo because it has Isis in it, before she had to leave our family. She looks small in the photo, when in fact she was probably half again bigger than Anna. Anna has a look of angst to her. Also PJ looks like he is practicing to be a mime.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Happy 4th of July!

Originally uploaded by peteshaw.
Picture of PJ, circa 2003 I think.

Anna at the Shenandoah Discovery Museum June 26,2006

Originally uploaded by peteshaw.
Kathleen took the family out to Winchester to play and learn at this wonderful place, and so they did.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Sam gets the newspaper in his UNDERWEAR June 25, 2006

Sam gets the newspaper
Originally uploaded by peteshaw.
Fashionably equipped with his froggy umbrellla and his newly earned Scooby Doo underwear, Sam retrieves the Sunday Washington Post for us on a rainy Sunday morning.

Did we mention Sam is wearing *UNDERWEAR*? (Picture mom and dad dancing a happy dance of diaper free life.) This is huge, this is very huge.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Weekend in Strasburg, PA June 18th 2006

we spent the past weekend in Strasburg, PA, camping with an old college buddy Rusty and his wife Cindy and their chilldren Abigail and Dustin.

We visited the Strasburg railroad, where they were giving rides on the Thomas the Train. It was great fun. Then later we went camping at a small campground in Strasburg.

Then we got a treat at the campground: An amish fellow and his two daughters came by on his buggy selling cookies, pies, and jam. We bought some Shoefly pie and some cookies, and he took the kids on a buggy ride through the campground. The kids loved it! The Shoefly wasn't that good though. Oh well. Live and learn.

Friday, June 16, 2006

The National Aquarium June 16th, 2006

I met Kathleen, Anna, PJ, and Sam downtown today.  Anna wanted to see the National Aquarium, although I think she may have really wanted to see this one instead.  I metroed downtown from work and met them in DC.

After a fun hour of navigating bottlenecked traffic, security roadblacks, and gridlocked traffic, I was picked up at the curb, and we stumbled on a metered spot.  We enjoyed a deluxe meal of half-smokes, hot dogs, chips, pretzels, and sodas courtesy of ye old corner vendor.   But it was all good.

I left the family to enjoy the national aquarium, which is located in a dimly lit corner of the basement of the Department of Commerce (yes, really), across the street from the Ronald Reagan building. 

PJ remarked later, "Wow!  That was TOTALLY not as big as I thought it would be."

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Hot Dog - 6.11.2006

Last Sunday we went to a church picnic after regular services.  It was a big crowded event, and one of the first things said was "Please! Do not let your children run around."  which to me sounded like only so much wishful thinking.  This is Loudoun county, and it seems like everyone has three, four, five, or more kids.  Thirty years from now they are going to find out that some secret government experiment was allowing fertility drugs to be leeched into the water supply.

But anyway, there we are in line for lunch.  Of course PJ and Anna ran off somewhere, so I am standing in line just hoping I can get a plate of food and choke it down before somebody breaks something.  I also get a plate of food for PJ.  I get him a hot dog on a bun with ketchup, one of his favorite foods.  I also get him some beans and macaroni, just to balance out the plate, since I know he won't eat it.  PJ is sort fo a food purist.  He will only eat white rice, noodles with no sauce, pizza with only cheese. 

I finally get to the end of the line and then make my way back to my table.  We all sit down.  I get up, and go track down PJ and Anna, who are running around along with virtually every other child in the room, in complete disregard for the earlier plea for peace.  But its okay, its sort of a controlled chaos, and everyone is having fun, or at least they are until I tell my two that they have to sit down and eat dinner.

We get back to our table, and PJ takes a look at his plate.  He pulls his feet up into his lap, and starts kicking the table, ignoring the food.  This goes on for many minutes.  Finally I ask, "PJ, aren't you going to eat your hot dog?"

"I don't want THIS one!"  PJ says, kicking the table.  Some lemonade splashes off my glass and falls on my glass.  I look over at a giant bin of hundreds of identical hot dogs.  "Well Okay PJ, but you need to go and stand in line to get another one.  PJ gets up, and walks over to the big bin full of hot dogs, and cuts into the middle of it.  I run over and grab him and bring him back to the table.

"PJ, what about this hot dog?" I ask.

"No, I don't want that one."  He starts to make these loud wining noises, and he gets up and runs off into the crowd again.

I catch up to him.  I tell him we will stand in line together.  By now, the line reaches into some other room, maybe into another church even.  We walk to the end of the line.  We wait and wait.  Finally we get to the front of the line.  By this time Kathleen and Anna and Sam have left to go outside to the playground.  PJ takes his hot dog and goes back to his table.  

I am eating a cookie.  I stare at him.  He has this empty look in his face.  He pulls his knees up and starts kicking the table again.

"PJ!" I say, the veins standing out on my forhead, "aren't you going to eat your hot dog?"

"No" He said and paused, his big eyes swivel around the room.  "I'm not hungry." He said, and kicked the table again. 

Monday, June 12, 2006

A Windshield Wiper 6.11.2006

After we got back from Church on Sunday I was busying myself doing some chores around the house.  The first one I was to put a bike rack onto the roof rack of my car.  Sam and Anna were out bugging me while I was putting the rack on.  Sam was holding parts for me for a while, and Anna kept asking me about setting up the inflatable pool Kathleen had bough on Saturday.  I finished putting the rack on the car, and headed in the house.

It was pretty cool for a June day, but I got a big drink for myself anyways.   I went into the backyard, and started to get the parts for the pool out.  I realized I would need to clean out some things from under the deck in order to make way for the lawn mower, which would have to be moved in turn to make way for the pool filter.  A lot of shuffling around.  Anna and PJ were playing around under the deck and sort of help me, and they were being rambunctious and just sort of playing around.  I brought a few things out from under the deck.  I wondered where Kathleen was.  I asked PJ where mom was.  He said that she was sleeping on the chair in the front room.

Kathleen was taking a nap in the front room.  Anna had put her bright blue princess sleeping bag over her like a blanket and she looked very comfortable.  I went back out the backyard.  I started to unroll the pool.  I asked Anna if she had seen Sam around, because I suddenly noticed I hadn't seen him in a while and Kathleen was sleeping.  This was all a little odd, because this time of day Kathleen is normally up and puttering around the kitchen or sitting on the deck, and she does things like yell out "hey!  is Sam out there?"  But I figured Sam must be in the basement, because that is where he goes this time of day.  But I made a mental note to check on where Sam was.

I then grabbed a few pieces of garbage that needed to go out to the garage.  I brought the stuff out to the garage, and as I went around the corner of the garage I saw one of the windshield wipers on my car, which was sitting out in the driveway, was propped up like post straight out from the windshield.  "That must have been Sam!" I thought to myself, and as I walked towards the car my heart lurched up into my throat when I  saw Sam climbing around in the back seat of my Saab.  His head was dripping in sweat and he was upset, although he wasn't crying.

I brought Sam inside and gave him some ice water and wiped off his head with a wet rag.  He didn't seem to be suffering from heatstroke.  I think he went back out into the front yard, and wanted to back into the car so he opened the door and climbed in.  Because I had been working on it, I had forgotten to lock it.  He had then shut himself into the back seat of the car and because both of the back seat doors had child locks he could not open them.  At first I had thought I had shut him in when I had gone inside from the car the first time, but I couldn't have done that because it wouldn't have explained the windshield wiper. 

The windshield wiper, which happened to be standing up like a flag to grab my attention, was the only thing had brought me over to the car close enough to see Sam.  In 75 degree weather, the temperature in a car reaches a hundred degrees in ten minutes. 

So, imagine Sam had not gotten sidetracked to play with the windshield in his little adventure, and instead headed straight for the car.  Ten minutes later, I drop off the garbage, and don't notice him there.  I go to the back yard.  Maybe I ask Anna to look for Sam.  Maybe she listens, or maybe I have to ask her again a few minutes later.  Finally I go inside, and wake up Kathleen and ask her if she has seen Sam.  I look in the basement.  The next place to look is all through the house, the backyard the neighborhood.  So instead we would have found him fifteen minutes later, after twenty five minutes of one hundred degree heat. 

Bu then I might have seen him, too.  Maybe I would have heard him cry when I took the garbage back.  Maybe, a few minutes later I would have found him in the car, just sweaty and hot and scared, just a few minutes later.  Maybe either way it would have worked out just fine.  Maybe it wouldn't gotten that hot and he could have been in the car for an hour without any ill effects, and we would have certainly found him by then.  But you don't know, you don't ever know these things, and its the weight of that "what if" that weighs down on you when you take the time to think of it.  When you think that he might have died out there locked in a car on a summer day.

Still, thank god I saw that wiper.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

PJ Breaks his wrist (again!) June 6th, 2006

This weekend we went fishing/boating on Saturday.  At one point PJ had been in the van doing something, and then all of a sudden he was running at me and crying, holding his arm.  We put some ice on it, and 45 minutes or so later he was fine.  tough little guy.  He went fishing with us, and *tubing* which entailed holding onto the handles very tightly, and didn't cry or complain.

On Monday Kathleen noticed him holding his hand.  Sam bumped into PJ's arm and he winced, and made an "ow" sound.  When touching his wrist, it was tender his wrist was swolen.

I got to bring to the ER Monday night after dinner.  Of course, there had been a bunch of car accidents a few minutes earlier and the ER was standing room only.  Eventually we got in.  PJ charmed everyone with his many humorous antics.  He sees an orthopod on Thursday, and we are hoping that he will be able to swim inn time for our vacation in July.

For those of you who don't remember, he broke his other wrist a couple of years ago, and there was of course the trip to the ER for quarter-eating.  Sam was the one who broke his collarbone last summer.  Anna has remained mysteriously uninjured.  She climbs, jumps, and lands on her feet like a cat.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Sunday Morning, June 4th, 2006

Kathleen dissapeared for the weekend with her friend Karen for a girl's weekend.  They said they were going to Lancaster county in Pennsylvania, although who knows where they actually went.  Atlantic City?  Vegas?  Branson?

I went boating yesterday with the children out on a friend's boat.  They trailered down to Pohick bay.  It started out cloudy and got nicer as the day went on.  We went fishing, and then went tubing and took a boat ride.  it was a great day.  Then we went home and  I let the kids stay up late and watch a movie.

Sunday morning Sam was the first up, and he came and woke me up.  I started to put on a shirt.  "No, I want you to put on this shirt."

"But I already have this shirt right here."  I said.

"No, this shirt, asshole."  He said.

"What!"  I said, not believing my ears.

"This shirt HAS HOLE" he said carefully, pointing to a big one under the arm. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


The weekend started out kind of sad, when we brought Isis back to her foster dad.  She was a sweet doggy and great around children in the house, but she just thought everyone outside our house was the enemy.  We miss her, but hope that she will soon find a new home.

Saturday we had a barbecue over at our house.  Later that night I had planned on setting up a "drive in movie" outside, an elaborate contraption created by daisy chaining an overhead projector, a laptop computer, a lcd projector panel, and a small boombox.  While setting it up, the laptop decided to stop working.  I got a "blue screen of death", something that has never happened before.  I actually started to get very stressed out.  The children were running around in a frenzy.  "Where is the movie?"  they kept asking.  I was feverishly trying to download a driver and install it on this laptop, in the dark, on a picnic table, in my backyard, while being heckled by a crowd of 11 children with an everage age of 4.  Finally, I dragged an ancient laptop out of the basement, and got that to work.  But it was very cool, and so, I guess, worth it.

Sunday we went over to our neighbors for a pool party, and my aqua-children got in a few hours of serious pool time.  Then after more time in the sun, we retired, and the children got some more good sleep time in.

Monday we saw "Over the Hedge" with some friends, and later I went bowling.  It was good weekend, sort of busy, but all things that stayed close to home, and that was very nice.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Gettysburg Bluegrass - Tony's Birthday party

This past weekend we accomplished a very nice relaxing weekend.  On Saturday, Anna went to her elementary school for a Boardwalk party.  
I hung out with the kids at home, mowed the grass, chilled out.  It was very relaxing.

Sunday all the family came up for cousin Tony's first birthday party.  Sam and PJ went up with Mom and they all had a great time.  Anna and Dad, however, had a different agenda.  Getting up early, they hit the road at 8AM, and bet feet up to Granite Hill Campground in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania for the 52nd annual Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival.  GBF is a more traditional festival, with lots of Gospel and old-timey bluegrass, and we stayed the whole day.  The weather was a little cold, and very windy, but it didn't rain.

We got to see Dry Branch Fire Squad, and the Lewis Brothers, and Shiloh, and the Seldom Scene finished off the day by Four PM, which allowed us to make it home in time for dinner.  Very enjoyable.   I look forward to when we take the whole family to these things, and stay for three four days and not just one. 

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Nina goes home, Pete, PJ and Sam get lost May 14, 2006

We dropped Nina off at BWI on Saturday morning after a wonderful week with us. Thanks again to my mom for helping on the drive down and for spending the week with us. Thanks Nina!

Later, I met up with some freinds and went hiking for an hour or so at Turkey Run. Then we got lost. Three hours later, lost in the forests that more or less Surround CIA headquarters in Langley, we were still slugging it along.

The kids were real troopers, especially Sam, who didn't hardly complain even though his leather sandals were soaking wet and must have been hurting his feet. PJ kept saying "This way, that way! Where are we going! I want to go back to the car!". Made it home eventually, and went home for a good night's sleep.

Kathleen and Anna were doing an overnight with Girl Scouts, so they missed out on all of the fun.

Speaker Heck May 7th 2006

A few photos from our picnic on Speaker Heck Island, Lake George, NY

speaker heck island May 7, 2006

Originally uploaded by peteshaw.
A few photos from our picnic on Speaker Heck Island, Lake George, NY

speaker heck island May 7, 2006

Originally uploaded by peteshaw.

A few photos from our picnic on Speaker Heck Island, Lake George, NY

speaker heck island May 7, 2006

Originally uploaded by peteshaw.
speaker heck island May 7, 2006

A few photos from our picnic on Speaker Heck Island, Lake George, NY

speaker heck island May 7, 2006

Originally uploaded by peteshaw.
speaker heck island May 7, 2006

A few photos from our picnic on Speaker Heck Island, Lake George, NY

Friday, May 12, 2006

trip to New York - photos - May 5, 2006

Originally uploaded by peteshaw.
Anna, Molly, PJ, and Andrew all climbed in the maple tree in Nina's front yard.
A trip to New York- May 8, 2006

I took Anna PJ to see their cousins Molly and Andrew and their uncle Mike and Aunt Loretta, and of course their grandmother Nina this past weekend up in New York. Everyone had an excellent time. We left around 3:30 on Friday, after Anna got home from school. The drive was as long as it normally is,but the kids were really good and it was nice for me to get a chance to kind of clear my head of all the stuff that's been stressing me out lately.

I barely saw the children for most of the weekend, as Aunt Loretta had all sorts of things planned for the children like taking them to "bounce-a-palooza", this expo center full of huge, bouncy things, and also taking them to a party at a neighbors house.

On Sunday we went for picnic on Speaker Heck island, on Lake George. Lake George has a network of hundreds of camping and picnic sites on its many islands on the lake. This early in the year the summer crowds haven't arrived yet so we had most of the island for ourselves- except for an angry goose and an older couple named Dave and Gene.

The kids had a great time wandering around the island. It was a beautiful day- in the 70's and clear. After we returned to Glens Falls Anna,PJ, and I went back to Nina's house and all went to bed early for the next day's trip back to Virginia.

We hit the road by 9:00 Monday morning. Nina road with us, which was a treat for the kids and she didn't even complain about my driving to much. We had a great time, as did Kathleen who was glad to get some time to herself (well, with Sam).

Sunday, May 07, 2006


I went up to New York to visit family this weekend, and I took Anna and Sam with me. 
Kathleen has been enjoying her time with Sam, sho is still a busy busy boy, but when it is just Sam, its way easier than it is with all three of the little ones.
Saturday morning Sam woke Kathleen up around 6:30AM, like he normally does.  But, since there was nothing else going on, Kathleen dozed off, with a side awake three year old in the room with her.  She woke up, about half an hour later, and the first thing she noticed was that Sam was eating something. 
While Kathleen was sleeping, Sam had gone looking around, and found a bunch of unopened girl scout cookies in her office.  He grabbed a box of Samoas, crawled back into bed with Kathleen, and started eating.  He was halfway through the first sleeve of cookies when she woke up.
Now, from Sam's point of view, this must have been huge!  "Here I am on a Saturday morning, cozy in bed with mom, eating cookies." he must have thought, "how great is this!"

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

from the archinve: Christmas 2002

Originally uploaded by peteshaw.
This is a cool picture from the first Christmas that PJ actually "got".

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Sam, being cute - September 2005

Originally uploaded by peteshaw.
Sorry, not much content lately. I'll try and post a photo now and then to keep things interesting.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

From the archive: Feb 2001

Originally uploaded by peteshaw.
This was taken in February 2001 I think.

Left to right: PJ, Molly, Anna, and Andrew. PJ was 1, anna was 2 1/2.

PJ says: 4.5.2006

Last week at nursery school they were teaching about child animals.  So a baby sheep is a lamb, a baby goat is a kid, etc..  When it was PJ's turn, they asked him what a baby cow was.  Without hesitation he answered, "Hamburger!"

Also, last week, as we were putting Pajama's on I remarked that Sam is built more like me (chunky).  PJ said that he wanted to look like me.  I told him that his face looked like me, but that he inherited traits from both sides of his family, from mom and her parents, and from myself and my parents.  PJ paused, then looked at me.  "Wow, I can't believe your dad is dead!  He must have died a liek just before I was born!."  His tone was amazement, as if I had six fingers or had suddenly grown a third eye.

We were at the Seven-Eleven this weekend, getting slurpies.  Slurpies can actually become a food group if you eat enough of them.  A young aguy at the corner asked PJ, "I bet you can't wait to go fishing, huh?"

"No, we're going to Best Buy to get Yoshi's Island for our Gameboy."

"Yoshi's Island, wow, I used to play that on my Super Nintendo.  Do you remember what a Super Nintendo is?"

"I have a Super Nintendo, I like to play Mega Man on it."

"Mega Man, oh that's tight.  Which version of Mega Man do you like?"

"I only have Mega Man 1"

"You should get Mega Man 3.  Mega Man 3 is the best.  I used to have a Sega too, I..."

"I have a Sega, well, I can play Sonic, but only on the computer."

"Ok, PJ," I interrupted, "We need to go"  there were at this point about twelve people waiting to buy there morning coffee and cigarettes, and they didn't look very happy about PJ and how he was bonding over video games with the Seven-Eleven guy.  "Say thank you."

"Thank You."  He muttered.  He always mutters, when he says please or thank you, and he looks at his feet when he says it.  

From the archive: Feb 2001

Originally uploaded by peteshaw.
This was taken in February 2001 I think.

Left to right: PJ, Molly, Anna, and Andrew. PJ was 1, anna was 2 1/2.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

from the archives: halloween 2000

Originally uploaded by peteshaw.
I don't know why, but this old halloween photo of Anna creeps me out just a little. She looks likes just a little too intense for a two year old.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Samuel Owen Shaw: The destroyer

Originally uploaded by peteshaw.
On Monday, Kathleen comes downstairs to check on what Sam was doing. He had been left unwatched for a while. Just a little while. But he was bored.

Sam pulled a stool over to the refridgerator. He then opened the door, climbed to the second highest shelf, and took out a carton of eggs (yes eggs). Then he got down, leaving the door open, took the eggs to the den, behind the green chair, which is one of his favorite places to hide.

Then he began (and this is the best part) STEPPING ON THEM! How brilliant is that, if you are a bored three year old? Of course, mom was more than a little nonplussed when she found him.

I asked Sam about this today. I said, "Sam, did you step on some eggs the other day?"


"How many eggs did you step on?"

"Two and a half." He said.