2005 Epsilon Exploits & Familial Foibles

If you care to comment, email me at bradley@wogsland.org with "Children Blog" in the Subject line.

31 Dec 2005

Welp, today's is the last entry of 2005. Next year will have a slightly different format, and a new location.

Yesterday we returned to our favorite hiking locale in North Georgia at the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, Amicalola Falls. Maxwell climbed all 604 steps and did most of the hike himself. No doubt it was the presense of Nancy who joined us with Ken, as Maxwell has never agreed to hike before. I also didn't bring the back carrier, as the sight of it usually leads to demands to be in it. I've been hiking around Amicalola for 16 years now, and she remains as pure and beautiful as ever. Several years ago steps were built up the face of the falls, allowing hikers to make a circuit rather than choose between views from the top or from the base of the falls. Yesterday the 8 of us made the circuit where once I hiked just with my parents and siblings, just with my girlfriend Cara, and just with my two daughters.

Tonight we're attending a fiesta to bring in the New Year at Tim Reeder's where we will no doubt encounter many friends of old. Most are establishing themselves in careers as tweens are wont to do. Odds are now some with which we have lost touch are now married, but no one we've kept up with. Tim invited alot of people so it should be fun!

Alora (holding Tilly), Meredith, Brittan, and Scott

Earlier in the week we saw Scott Vasey, who was has been a good friend to Cara and I since before we knew eachother and on through high school and college. When we lived at GA Tech Scott pratically lived in our apartment. Alora and Brittan grew up wrestling with him and getting cool toys from garage sales he went to. Since we've moved up to Knoxville it's been over a year since we've seen Scott. Since then he found love - right across the hall in the middle school where he teaches! Meredith is a wonderful gal and just as much of a proud nerd as Scott. They came over to my parents house for a short visit and ended up staying the whole evening. I've never seen Scott happier and more confident, whether she was prodding him to finish his book, bragging about him calculating the odds in his head while playing poker, or just playing on the floor with the kids. Scott, the quintessential nice guy, has finally found just as nice of a girl.

25 December 2005

Merry Christmas from the Godfather of Beer!

(Notice the Orange pants.)

20 Dec 2005

Everyone is now gone from Alpharetta - except us! The Hadsells are back in Maryland, the Cockrills have zipped off to Aspen, the Elias' are on a plane to Tahoe, and the Golshanis are honeymooning in Hilton Head. We Wogslands are chilling at the old homestead.

18 Dec 2005

Well, the rehearsal dinner was a smashing time. Parviz, Amir's dad, hosted us all for a Persian feast at his house in Alpharetta. Here are some pictures (I also added some for Amir's family to the pages of Wogsland.org):

The maid of Honor Sara and Jaime rehearse the wedding with Dave Benson,
who also married Cara & I eight and a half years ago

Amir's best man Nate and cousin Howie

Dell & Julie get nutty

Brittan & Alora dance with Aunt Jaime with Khosrow and Behnaz in the background

Amir instructs us in the nicities of Persian cuisine.

17 Dec 2005

Back in May, my sister Jaime got married. Tomorrow is the wedding. This is the sustained level of craziness of the world in which we live. Yesterday Auntie Dell through the bride a bruncheon. Last night were the "bachelor" and "bachelorette" parties. Jaime had sushi and everyone in Buckhead bought Amir a drink. Today is the rehearsing for the wedding.

13 Deciembre 2006

I learned a funny new word this past week, wog. It is a disparaging term the British use to describe near and far easterners. It makes my brother's name even more redundant and funny. Paki, as we learned at GA Tech, is an ethnic slur to Pakistanis. So Packie Wogsland must sound almost like a joke name to them!

12 Dec 2006

Yesterday Cara turned 26. Yipee! Of course, she completely forgot until she came home from work in the early afternoon and I wished her a happy birthday. I guess that's what happens when you join the ranks of the elderly... Nevertheless, I still took her out to a nice lunch and then we spent the evening watching the girls' in a musical performance. I've also started work on her new laundry room, about which she is very excited. Actually, I think it's the laundry room's future role as a crafty storage location that really got her jazzed up.

On the Zaraboo front, we've almost got a crawler on our hands. We're going to have to do some serious babyproofing when we get back from Christmas break. Right know she just gets up on her hands and knees and spins, but I don't know how many more days it will be before she learns forward locomotion as well.

5 Dec 2005

Deep Thoughts By Cara:

Don't you think it's weird that babies drool more when they're awake and with adults it's the opposite?

4 December 2005

Last night Alora, Brittan & I played poker for over 4 hours. For the past week or so we've been playing cards most nights after supper. The girls really enjoy it!

3 Dec 2005

Like with most things in life, Cara has provided a counterexample (actually several) to my generalizations yesterday. Maxwell does use "I" as his first person subjective pronoun in some sentences, like "I do!" and "I feed goggy", but I thought this usage was as of yet relatively rare. Naturally, SVO order will completely replace the OVS and VOS constructions at some point. My selective memory regarding Maxwell's speech makes me wonder if we selectively remembered and recorded grammatically correct or corrected sayings of Alora & Brittan. Alas, I was not much of a linguist when they were Maxwell's age.

So what is it that separates philosophical speculation from science? Experiment! So I listened to what Maxwell was saying and recorded 100 phrases. Here's the breakdown:

Type of Phrase Percent
ex: Want Daddy yight aber me. (light saber)
ex: Yaboo, Yaboo, you gon't cry.
Fragment or No Subject
ex: Daddy Sharptoo. (from Land Before Time)

So apparently Maxwell has already made the transition to primarily using SVO word order. I guess the odd constructions stuck out in my mind because of their oddity, or perhaps I just haven't been listening to him enough lately.

2 Dec 2005

I was pondering Maxwell's linguistic development today, and I realized just how weird he really is. Normal English sentences follow a pattern of subject-verb-object (SVO) and we lost most of the word order flexability found in the Indo-European family of languages along with our declensions about a millenium ago. Maxwell, however, has chosen to use a very confusing (to the native English speaker) VS grammar. The placement of the object varies though; some sentences are OVS and some are VOS. VOS is very rare among human languages, found mainly in Australia and the South Pacific. OVS, however, appears rather often in Indo-European languages which, like German, have retained their declensions. Thus, when Cara asked Maxwell why he went to time out the other day, he answered "Da hit me" because he had gotten angry and popped me in face. Since this OVS order is the exact opposite of normal English SVO, it can really obfuscate his meaning. Sentences beginning with the verb, like "Go car me", are a bit easier to deconstruct. One has to wonder how his little brain constructed the rule that the subject must go at the end of the sentence from hearing us speak. Since his first person singular subject pronoun is "me", I can only guess that he heard many sentences where he may not have understood the subject, but heard the verb then "me". Realizing that "me" was a first person pronoun, he must have incorporated that structure wholesale into his grammar.

Remembering back to Alora and Brittan's grammar at this age, they had picked up the SVO formula already, evidenced in sentences like "My want mla" (I want milk), "My-me ha bubooey" (I have boobs?), and "We play Football!" They had such a handle on English grammar that they called Polly Pocket toys "Pocket Polly" because Pocket was clearly the adjective modifying the noun Polly! Is this a twin thing or a girl thing? As twins they certainly had alot more conversation than Maxwell, who often plays by himself. Girls, however, seem genetically predisposed toward superior conversational skills and society does much to reinforce this. As with many such questions Zara will have to settle it (when she starts talking).

1 Dezember 2005

Tonight Alora, Brittan & I went to a meeting of the Beaver Creek Watershed Association (BCWA). A group of students from Karns High School had done some water quality tests and were presenting their results. I thought this would be a good experience for the girls. This part we found fascinating: science applied to our particular situation. Then the group descended into politics as the "adults" entered the discussion. Unfortunately my suspicions about the group's socialist leanings were confirmed. Their main tactic to achieve the goal of clean water is through political manipulation funded by grants from the TVA. Their stifling of development by regulation and political pressure is in stark contrast to the individualism I have hitherto experienced in East Tennessee. There are more local brands of gas stations, restaurants, department stores, etc. here than I have seen anywhere else in the country. To me, the obvious strategy for the BCWA would be to purchase land along the creek and establish a greenway to mitigate runoff from non point source pollutants, but that is not their strategy. The girls naturally became bored as the discussion focussed on which politicians to put pressure on to prevent the expansion of the Powell airport. We left early in disgust.

28 November 2005

For those who'd like to keep up the research I'm involved in, here's a presentation which I gave last week. Why, might you ask, is charmonium spectroscopy interesting? The strong force, which is what holds nuclei together, is not well understood at the "fundamental" quark level. Charmonium is a good system of quarks to study because there's only two of them and the bound states last a reasonably studiable period of time. But interesting events are very rare - like looking for a needle in a haystack. Actually, there are really about 20 needles to find in around 250 million pieces of hay. Characterizing these new states pushes the door to understanding the strong force open a little wider. And next year, when I'm DIRC commissioner at SLAC, it'll be useful to know what information is most useful in characterizing states. (The BaBar detector is like an onion and the DIRC is one of the layers.) Tonight we told the girls about spending a year in Palo Alto and, after the initial devestation at separating themselves from Courtney & Ty for a year, they were rather excited.

24 November 2005

Sometimes I think that we spend too much time musing about all the things we are thankful for that we forget those whom we are thankful to. So here's a doubtlessly inexhaustive list of the people I'm thankful to:

Thanx to my Mom for all the time and love she spent raising me.
Thanx to my Dad for providing for my needs as a child.
Thanx to Grandma for believing in me even when I didn't believe in myself.
And thanx to all my other ancestors, without whom I wouldn't be here.
Thanx to the University of Tennessee, which took a chance no one else was willing to.
Thanx to all my Aunts, Uncles and Cousins who've given me their time and their love.
Thanx to the scientists who came before me and upon whose work I build.
Thanx to all the men throughout history who helped develop and protect our freedom.
Thanx my children, who add enjoyment and meaning to my life.
And most importantly, thanx to my Cara for always being there to love me and to share my life.

Happy Thanksgiving!

23 Nov 2005

Heute - ein Tag wie andere. Ich habe nichts neu zu sagen. Die Kinder wachsen. Physik wachst in meinem Gehirn. Cara schlaeft, und spaeter wird sie einkaufen gehen. Gestern war ich junger and armer. Am morgen werde ich verstandnisvolliger, alter und reicher. So wie jeder Tag: aufwach, arbeit, spiel, schlaef ein and wiederhol. Dunkelheit oder ausgezeichnete Ordnung? Fuer mich meint neuer Tag neuer Meinung. Das Leben ist so schoen, weil es so kurz ist. Verstaendnis ist das Licht. Hier stehe ich. Ich kann nichts andere.

20 Nov 2005

Yesterday we spent our family day decorating for the Yuletide season - trimming the tree and the like. Alora and Brittan cleaned areas of the house with rare speed and purpose so that they might then decorate them. We were unable to convince Maxwell that the ornaments were not simply toys to be lined up on a shelf or on the couch in the most logical order. The nativity set gave him the opportunity to practice his veterinary skills, caring various animals around with a pair of pliers for a good portion of the afternoon. Zara liked the music. Surprisingly, the lighted tree did not command her rapt attention the way it did Maxwell's at that age. Zara, as in everything, is her own person. She even has strong food preferences already: Oatmeal will always be rewarded with a smile, but applesauce, bane of all that is good in her world, will lead Zara to try and roll over in her seat to escape it.

15 November 2005
Sleeping Arrangements

Zaraboo likes to sleep in our bed,
Which fills her father with dread.
In the morning you see,
Her feet point at me,
And she kicks and kicks at my head.

14 November 2005

Lately I've been playing a new Super Mario Bros. game I found on clearance. Maxwell finds it very exciting to watch and really wants to play himself. Tonight I gave him his wish - but with a much easier game. The best game for young kids is still N64's Goldeneye (James Bond). Playing multiplayer one can change the health so that I die after being shot once, but Maxwell takes about 100 shots to kill. With the auto-aim on he really only needs to press one button: shoot. Those who have seen Maxwell go "Pow! Pow!" and shoot you with his finger know how much he enjoyed this game. His eyes were as wide as saucers and his concentration complete as he made his character frantically run around the room shooting. We played nearly two rounds (10 games) before Maxwell's 2-year-old attention span kicked in and he moved on.


Brittan and Alora also fed Zara for the first time tonight. Zara got her first taste of apple sauce and decided she did not like it! No matter how many sweet and silly things Alora said to her, Zara was not happy about being fed the apple sauce. She did relish sucking on the washcloth afterwords though...

9 November 2005

As many have demanded for some time now, here are the 2005 Wogsland Family Wishlists. They're all on the page but you'll have to scroll down or print it out to see them. Oh, and don't worry, the green background color won't print.

8 November 2005

Today was a momentous one for the Zaraboo. After four months of dining exclusively on breastmilk, tonight Zara got her first taste of something else ... sort of. It was rice cereal mixed with breastmilk, so the breastmilk taste really was the dominant one. Nevertheless, the consistency was truly different from what she is used to. Expanding Zara's diet also gave dad a chance to get in on the feeding action which mom has hitherto monopolized. She ate well, but was obviously disturbed by this new fare.

Zara enjoys her first taste of rice cereal.

6 November 2005
Sunflowers Seeds and the Loss Thereof

For the past few years I have been tracking my weight on a semidaily basis to moniter it's seasonal variation and avoid establishing new maxima. Fat cells, you see, once made never go away. As you can see from the graph below, the period of oscillation is actually a little more than a year. The pattern also ended this past May when there was an upturn instead of the expected downturn. At first I thought it was a simple variation in the pattern, but as my weight continued to rise I realized that my body was seeking a new equilibrium. A higher weight equilibrium is not a good thing, so I have been systematically altering various parts of my diet for the past few months trying to mitigate this upward trend. Eliminating cheese, beer, soda, etc had no discernable effect. Then I had an epiphany. The arrow corresponds to my rather depressing trip to the densist earlier this year. To avoid a repeat, I stopped eating sunflower seeds. I always used to eat them while studying, but holding a salty bunch of seeds in your cheek turns out to be terrible for the teeth. The seeds also had a positive effect however: adding bulk to my diet. The nutrients in food are absorbed in the intenstines and the added bulk of the sunflower seeds forced the other food through more quickly, i.e. less nutrients were absorbed. Cutting the seeds out of my diet increased the time the food spent in my intestines and hence the nutrient absorbtion. It turns out that to avoid the higher equilibrium I needed to add to my diet rather than subtract from it! Substituting salad for the sunflower seeds has reversed the trend and hopefully will bring my weight back to it's former cycle. Science triumphs over nature yet again.

We also had a birthday party for the girls yesterday. Cara, party-planner extraordinaire, has written about it on her blog.

3 November 2005

Maxwell's quote of the day: "ee-hee, I feed goggy." as he threw egg on the floor for Molly to eat at breakfast today. The "ee-hee" was added for defiance, since Cara had already told him several times not to...

1 November 2005

Some parts of history are denser with events than others. Perhaps that is because history, like the rest of Nature, has fractal character. The events of this weekend have involved a majority of the readership of this blog, so I wondered if such events needed recording here. The dual purpose of this blog, however, as a venue to inform others of our doings and as a historical record, demanded it.

Thursday Alora and Brittan turned 8. Early in the summer they had gotten the idea that breakfasting at IHOP before school would be alot of fun, and so, being diligent parents, we awoke at 5AM to do just that. IHOP apparently serves chocolate pancakes with whipped cream on top - why you need whipped cream when you already have syrup is beyond me, but the girls enjoyed them all the same. After this leisurely event, we drove them to school bearing souveniers of their breakfast which they proudly showed to their friends and teachers. Unfortunately I fear this birthday breakfast may become a tradition. After school they opened presents and distributed them around the family room, before taking their new Furryville playsets over to Courtney's.

The IHOP Breakfasters

When I was in California, Kate lamented to me that I feed my children McDonald's entirely too often. Perhaps that is because I have so many happy memories of the place from when I was a child. Kate, you needn't worry about the trip that night because Courtney, Alora, Brittan and Maxwell surely burned more calories running around the playground like maniacs than they could have possibly eaten. After dropping Courtney off at home, we let the girls stay up past 8 watching a new movie: Ice Princess. The moral of the story: Why go to boring old Harvard when you can be a pretty figure skater. While Disney never fails to disappoint me, the girls loved it.

Friday we made our way down I-75 to Alpharetta, a town whose affluence becomes ever more apparent as it grows at breakneck pace. Much of my family was already there for two events: Jaime's bridal shower and my Mom's surprise party for her 50th birthday. We also planned Friday night to have a present-opening at Nanny & Poppy's. Dell flew in from Nevada; Amy & Kirk from Maryland; Jaime & Amir from California. Friday night was a wild event. Mom made several Lasagnas and the whole world it seemed descended upon the Wogsland's to give Alora and Brittan presents and watch them open them.

Grandma with some tweens: Caroline, Sara and Jaime
My parents have completely redone their kitchen and taken down several more large trees in the yard. Packie lives in the basement and the deck is falling off of the back of the house and will soon be replaced. A buried dog fence has replaced the old metal one. My former home is barely recognizable!

Friday night after the present-opening was complete the tweenies minus Cara went out to the bars. None of them really liked to be called tweens or tweenies, but I really like the word. Bar-hopping around an Alpharetta that just a couple years ago was said to have no nightlife is a bit surreal. It's almost as if the town grows to meet our needs. Actually, that really is the case! Everywhere we went we ran into Packie's friends. Most of us came home at two, but Packie and Amir stayed out until it was too late to get a cab home. So they walked.

The first event Saturday was Jaime's bridal shower, from which I was fortunately excluded. I was able to get some work done - the data I am using has migrated to IN2P3 in France, so I spent the afternoon transporting my analysis software to this new location. Meanwhile Kirk, Ken and Dad tried to figure out why an outlet in the family room wasn't working. Jaime got quite a pile of loot at the shower - who knows how they'll get it all to San Diego.

Amazingly no one let out the secret of Nanny's surprise party. We filled up a room at Pappadeaux's and partied for 4 hours. Mom could not have smiled more without breaking her face. Mr. & Mrs. Caruthers, who were my parents best friends when they lived down the street, even drove in from South Carolina. Mr. Caruthers is an engineer who used to work for Amoco, so naturally when I talked to him our conversation gravitated toward energy issues. We laughed at the charlatans and idiots pursuing Hydrogen as a fuel source (making it uses up more energy than you get from burning it), and discussed fusion, which seems to be humanity's best hope in a post fossil fuel world, but has been 20 years in the future for every one of the past forty years. Then he brought up Intelligent Design (ID), and our discussion became an argument. Science is about making theories that have testable predictions - postulating a diety to explain the complexity of life is not science, but philosophy. We had to leave it in friendly disagreement.

"You shit!"

Amongst our merriment, Nancy confronted me with the news that my genealogy site, Wogsland.org, has aroused the ire of some of our Wisconsin relatives. Nancy has always been somewhat worried about the site and wanted to keep the information more private. This defeats the entire purpose of the site. How would Jewelie Randall have discovered her cousins if the site were password protected? History must be written and read if it is to be remembered.

Sunday morning we all just bumbed around Nanny & Poppy's. Maxwell was nice enough to share his cold with me. Aunt Amy brought me some of Pop's papers and yearbooks. This was perhaps the most exciting event of the weekend for me. Pop died when I was a boy, and I have never before found anything he had written, so I never knew Pop as an adult. You can imagine my excitement at finding these papers he wrote as an undergraduate.

"The gods envy us. Life is so much more beautiful because we are mortal. We will never be here again." I couldn't get Brad Pitt's lines from Troy out of my head all afternoon. We played wiffleball on the field by my parents house. the same field I played on many an afternoon as a kid. Alora and Brittan were captains. Alora chose Kirk, Ken, Jaime and Nancy; Brittan chose me, Poppy, Dell and Amir. Alora found a helmet in the garage and wore it the whole game. I got stung by a bee on my belly while playing first. Cara wondered how long we were going to play, because we needed to get home. I don't know how many innings we played, but the final score was 9-16 in favor of Brittan's team. We had to quit after Dell broke the wiffleball with a crushing homerun. I imagine such a group as this will never be assembled for such a perfect sunny Sunday afternoon ballgame again.

We tried to leave, but Alpharetta would not let go. We stopped to pick up something at Ray & Bev's and Zara had to nurse; we needed gas; we needed dinner. As we finally got on 400, the window which had fallen off in Dallas and been glued back on began to whistle. So we stopped at Sam's for duck tape. Window repaired, we left Alpharetta around 7 PM.

24 Oct 2005

What's the only difference between dancing with a baby and dancing with a dog? Babies don't have teeth yet.

23 Oct 2005

Maxwell & Zara get silly in Mom & Dad's tent.
This weekend we took Zara on her first camping trip; actually as far as Maxwell was concerned it was his first too, because he doesn't remember the last time we all went back in May of 2004! We camped in the Smokies, but on the remote far southern edge at a campground called "Look Rock". The girls are old hands at this camping stuph after our adventures this past summer, and spent most of the time playing with the fire. I actually put them in charge of maintaining it, which they were quite able to do with the abundance of sticks in the nearby woods. Conservative Maxwell however, had no qualms about staying outside the "fire circle" which we drew in the dirt ~3 ft. from the edge of the fire. The closest he got was sitting on my lap to roast a hotdog - warm marshmellows were in his estimation not worth the danger. Cara, like her girls, is a pyro, but Zara limited her time to play with the fire. Zara, you see, has become very adept at rolling, and she desperately wanted to taste the little rocks near the pad she was on.

A family of six requires two tents, preferably with three people in each. After seeing a bear last time we were in the Smokies, Maxwell was convinced one would come visit our campsite. His terror of this inevitability drew more acute as night fell. He stayed right by Cara or I and repeatedly pointed and claimed to "see te bear" (all bears are teddy bears to Maxwell). Fortunately, Maxwell doesn't have a level of mental abstraction to realize that he is not any safer the flimsy tent which he called his "house". In there going to bed with Alora & Brittan he was without a care in the world, doing somersaults and getting very silly. Eventually the three fell asleep and slept soundly through the night. This does not mean that they cleaned up their silly putty before falling asleep though. Poor Molly's fur still has quite a bit of hot pink silly putty in it.

19 Oct 2005

Since I mentioned Brittan's cracked tooth, I probably ought to tell you about this crack in the concrete as well. Great tectonic forces lift mountains up, but they also push an equal amount of crust downward into the mantle. The mantle is what the crust floats on, much like a cork in water. As the top of the mountian erodes away the crust underneath is pushed upward trying to reach hydrostatic equilibrium, that is, if you cut off the top of the cork it will float higher in the water. That upward pressure is released in earthquakes, albiet usually smaller ones than those produced at plate boundaries. Such is the case in East Tennessee. Last Wednesday October 12th at 2:27AM there was a magnitude 3.6 quake not far southwest of us. Although the faults are poorly mapped in this part of the country (unlike California), they generally follow parallel to the mountains as one would expect from the physical processes involved in their creation.

Why do I bring this up? Our neighbors across the street noticed two weird things: 1) Chris tripped on the driveway where the concrete had subsided an inch or so, and 2) their freshly placed mulch on one side of the house was displaced from the house about 2 inches. I figured that such a small quake was unlikely to have affected us, but then the next day I noticed the above-pictured crack in the concrete slab under the air conditioners by my house which I had never noticed before. Fortunately there were no cracks in the nearby foundation. Below is the USGS hazard map for the southeast; you'll notice East Tennessee is in yellow ... as is Hilton Head.

Alas, I have been unable to gather enough information to prove causality, and the earthquake's magnitude would argue against it. Ergo, I leave you with nothing more than merely a suggestive correlation.

17 Oct 2005
Brittan vs. the Metal Pole

Today at school on the playground Brittan was playing tag. As many of you know, Brittan can take gameplay very seriously. So she was running to avoid being tagged, focused on the person who was it, when she ran smack into metal pole. The pole knocked off a chunk of one of her front teeth and cracked the other. Score: Brittan 0, Metal Pole 1. Fortunately, her teacher called home so Cara was able to set up a dentist appointment for this afternoon. Several hours later Brittan returned home with a brand-new tooth (er, part of it that is) and the remnants of a chocolate fudge sundae. The cracked tooth looks okay, but may break off sometime in the future. Knowing Brittan I'd say that's a certainty rather than a probability.



October 16th, 2005
Yesterday my mom turned 50, and she and dad came up to Knox Vegas to celebrate with us. We did the usual chillin' and grillin' while the kiddoes ran around the yard like maniacs. They enjoy coming up here to escape from their hectic lives in Alpharetta; how they discount our house as hectic is beyond me. Even though she's joined the ranks of the elderly, Sally's still a silly.

Nanny holding her Zaraboo.

9 Oct 2005

Alora recently learned to ride her bike without training wheels...

Can you guess who the other little girl is?

Actually, there've been a number of milestones the kids have reached recently I've neglected to mention here. Alora taught herself to bikeride without training wheels to surprise me when I got home from SLAC. Zara rolled over (back to front) for the first time on Thursday, so that ended her days sleeping in the basinet next to our bed upstairs. That night she slept in her crib the whole night through and has adjusted to this change in sleeping arrangements without much fanfare. It does make it interesting though, since Zara and Maxwell, who now share a room, have different bedtimes. Maxwell has also discovered that his mattress is somewhat more comfortable than the floor by the door, so he's started sleeping there sometimes. They really do grow up rather fast.

(Answer: Bev, Alora's grandmother)

8 Oct 2005

Fortbuilders Alora, Brittan and Courtney
The girls had their friend Courtney over for yet another sleepover last night. They made cookies, watched movies, and did crafties til after two. Craziness is multiplicative among children. They danced around the room during "Home Alone 2" and then this morning dressed up in full winter regalia, convinced that the 60 degree weather foretold of snow. I don't remember childhood being nearly that much fun.

Poor Maxwell, however, is sick with a cold. We've had to use the nebulizer to mitigate his asthma quite a bit the past few days, but he hasn't gotten really bad like he did every time he got sick last fall. Still, I worry about him if and when H5N1 develops the capacity for human to human transfer and enters the general population. Hopefully he'll have bigger and more robust air passageways by then. This morning Zara also appears to be sick, but she is just a happy little snotbot.

6 Oct 2005

Much to my wife's dismay, the most Zara has ever laughed was while being stabbed with a light saber today.

5 Oct 2005

Well, our little Zaraboo is turning into the sweetest little girl. Maxwell shortens her nickname to Zaboo and guards her vigilantly; he is usually the first to notice a "pi-u". He talks to her and Zara makes coos and rasberries for him. They are quite a pair. Zara is always ready to greet you with a smile. Soon she will be rolling over - she can already go back to front on the bed, but she ends up squishing an arm under her in the process. Like all Wogsland children, Zara likes to be hung upside-down and to watch TV. She'll even get mad if you lay her on the floor with the TV on and she can't see it.

3 Oct 2005

Here ye, here ye: my cousin Kristen has started a blog to join the rest of us trendsetters in the blogoshere. Check it out! And remember, everyone's webpages that I know of are linked from Wogsland.org.

2 Oct 2005

Right now I'm about 37,000 ft. over the midwest and feeling much more human after a good nap to augment the 3 hours of sleep I got last night. After dinner last night I went with Kate & Howie to a karaoke bar, where our crooning got more melodic with sufficient libations. Howie is such an anchor for Kate's free spirit, and the pair were made for California. It's nice to hang out with people whom you can be completely frank with. Kate told me they don't plan to have kids until they're 35, to which I quipped that she must have some desire for retarded children. Like many their age they do not what to give up the freedom yet and take on that responsibility. Such has been the arc of every civilization man has yet created, from the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates to the shores of the San Francisco Bay. The children of a wealthy society enjoy it rather than shoulder the burden of procreation and their genes are replaced by those of immigrants from harsher parts.

1 Oct 2005

Day 5 (the last) at SLAC - I got bored last night, so I played with Wikipedia for a little while. Try searching for me in the English or Deutsch versions. You too can add yourself as well as other things . . .

You see, the accelerator at SLAC is always doing something; 24hrs a day and 365 days at year. Last night we returned to the lab at midnight to visit a fellow Tennessean who is doing preliminary research for the next generation linear collider. This was after a visit to a brewpub in Mountain View first, of course. So today I am even more tired than yesterday - surely I will sleep well on the plane tomorrow!

Today we are taking tactile temperature measurements of sea suface temperatures in lieu of the midday meetings for a change of pace. I didn't get to use the hotel pool, but at least I got to use my swimsuit. Tonight we'll meet cousin Kate and Howie for dinner at an Indian restaurant - the Asian sort of Indian that is. Stefan's wife Maha (who is also his postdoc) is Indian, so he's rather developed a taste for it.

Stefan at Año Nuevo, where mating elephant seals bring in the New
Year. Unfortunately, the closest we were allowed to get was a cliff 100 yards away from the lounging beasts.

I am about to get my ass kicked by a wave much bigger than me.

30 September 2005

Day 4 from Palo Alto . . . Die Deutschen apparently don't get jet lag, because they kept me up entirely too late - until nearly 11 last night. So today I am tired and in a room with a hyper-active air conditioner. I wish it was boring so I could cut out early. At least I can eat lunch in the warm sunshine.

29 September 2005

Day 3 in CA - Dell is a nut. Then again, so are quite a few other people who go to the A's games. We sat in the fifth row behind the dugout, but, as Dell says, the first four rows are in the dugout. We arrived in the top of the first and no sooner had I sat down than an A hit the first of three home runs the team would have that evening. The A's owner was a couple seats over from us. For me baseball is still less than magical though. Dell introduced me to some of her friends who also attend many games, girls dressed like Dell all in green. One had a second job to support her season ticket habit. Now that's a fan! It was fun but strange to be back at a game in Oakland with Dell - echos of the past.

Today comes more physics and networking. I've got to meet everyone with whom I'll work when I come out to take shifts running the machine, and from whose analyses similar to my own I may profit. There's a cool breeze coming through my motel window now, but the cloudless sky tells me it will be another hot day - unless you're in the shade.

Later on . . . Stefan gave me a quick tour of the various lab buildings today, but of course there were many places I could not go because of radiation since the accelerator is currently running. I stood in the long building directly above the accelerator, which is a long straight line underground, and next to a giant concrete wall, behind which sits the BaBar detector. I did, however, get a nice look at several of BaBar's predecessors from the 70's and 80's where the J/ψ meson and Z boson were discovered. Alas, I have slipped into jargon. Tonight I'll get to use my Deutsch more at dinner - Strahlung, Teilchen und Antiteilchen, neue Experimente nach BaBar u.s.w.

28 September 2005

...behind the Stanford tower and through the afternoon haze you can just make out the mountains across the bay.

Day 2 at SLAC - Today is proving to be much more to my taste. It's really amazing all the different attributes of Nature people have been able to probe with the gargantuan BaBar data set. I will resist my urge to wax eloquent about it in specifics, but it will suffice to say that it is like putting a several billion piece puzzle back together. And no, I haven't had a chance yet to visit the inner workings of the accelerator that passes under I-280. We will become rather intimately acquainted on a later trip...

Tonight I'm going to an A's/Angels game with Auntie Dell, which should be fun although much to her dismay we will probably miss the start of the game. Dell roots for the A's, but I don't think I'll be able to. Born in Baltimore, the Orioles were always my team; so, when we lived in California the only A's games I ever went to were against the Orioles. Ergo rooting against the A's seems only natural. Dell is a bit worried that my heckling will embarass her. I rather have a knack for engaging players and claim at least partial responsibility for 2 errors of Mets outfielder in a game at Turner Field several years ago.

27 September 2005
Day 1 from SLAC - This week I'm in Palo Alto for the BaBar Collaboration Meeting. My advisor Stefan Spanier and I flew in last night through Chicago. For some reason this brachiosaurus pictured at right was hanging out by the tunnel between the B and C terminals. Right now I'm sitting in the middle of a series of rather boring plenery talks, as the SLAC management is rather focused on safety after the accident last fall. It looks like there won't be any physics until tomorrow. So ist das Leben. At least I was able to practice my German conversing with Stefan and a fellow named Klaus Schubert this morning.

19 September 2005

Today Maxwell passed a milestone on the road to bigboydom: he peed on the potty for the first time. This evening he is wearing big boy undies (Toy Story ones) to commemorate this feat. Maxwell even knew when it was coming, running to the bathroom saying "Ha pee. Ha pee." and peeing as soon as he sat down. No doubt the special potty-time laptop Cara bought Maxwell has helped him focus on this all important goal. Hip hip hooray for Maxwell!

15 September 2005

Today we went hiking in the Smoky Mountains down to Abram's Falls, Cara & Zara making the trek for the first time. On the way down we saw a big black bear. It crossed the path a mere 50 ft. in front of us, and we stopped to let the three or four hundred pound creature have its personal space. Fortunately Molly the oblivious dog did not see it.

12 September 2005

This past weekend my brother Packie came up. We were the best of friends as kids, but unfortunately we no longer have any common interests. Packie tried, and failed, to interest me in the Braves starting lineup of rookies, and I quite literally put him to sleep discussing the Japanese election. We did drink alot of beer though...

Yesterday we took Packie to the Smokies to engage in some good free fun at the "Y", which is a convenient place to swim near a fork in the road. I think he enjoyed all the young ladies in bikinis despite his jokes about our living in the country. The three big kids went romping up the stream with Packie and I, somewhat remaniscent of our youthful adventures. Unfortunately, our journey was cut short because Packie, who doesn't like to drive in the dark, had to go home. Nevertheless, after Packie left our fun continued, as Cara took the three big kids on another romp the other direction down the stream while I played with smiley little Zara. Then Brittan proved that even little girls can have heuvos, suggesting that I jump off the rock with her. Now although the rock at the Y can be jumped off of from as high as 40-50 ft., jumping off from 15 ft. up is enough to give this acrophobic author an adrenaline rush that lasts all day. It's 100% mind against instinct. This was the limit I set for the girls and I. Though I do not doubt that one day they will force me to conquer more of my acrophobia than I would like to, this was not that day.

Alora led the way up the rock, followed by the idea-woman herself and then their father, who is concentrating on the geology instead of the altitude. The rocks are a metamorphic schist I think, giving good purchase even though dripping wet from our predecessors. When we reach our goal Alora discovers a large spider web attached to the rocks below. Even though I assure her that she will not hit it, she insists Brittan go first. Brittan further suggests passing the buck to me. Even though I would like very much to be off that rock as soon as possible, I do not want to abandon the girls. After much discussion, I decide to offer a Happy Meal to Brittan, who is currently in the jump position. While not enough motivation for Brittan, by Alora's calculation this prize is enough to overcome her fear, and she leaps into the water. Brittan's growing fan club and I try to coax her to jump, but she is only capable of dangerous-looking false starts. By now there is enough adrenaline in my system to kill a small animal. I suggest to Brittan that I could toss her and she says okay, hitting the water below ten seconds later. I wait for her to drift downstream a little, and then I jump after her. After we swim to shore, Alora suggests we do it again. Maybe next time Alora. Maybe next time.

Alora putting her trust in Sir Isaac Newton.

4 September 2005

I never thought anyone could learn to hate the Beachboys. Alora & Brittan have many CDs: Beatles, Barbie, Star Wars, Disney princesses, Bollywood, etc. They listen to a wide selection in their headphones in the car and elsewhere, however, when they choose a CD to blast in their bedroom it is always the Beachboys. Always. I feel the good vibrations coming up through the floor, wish that I was older in the kitchen, and think about my little deuce coupe in the garage. It doesn't matter if they're playing American Girls, cleaning, working on crafties, or whatever, the Beachboys is what they listen to. Fortunately, they usually remember to turn it off when they go outside to play. I really like it when they play outside. Today, however, they're mass-producing diaries and other books out of construction paper, which means that they're listening, we're all listening, to the Beachboys.

3 Sept 2005

Today I was working in my office, Maxwell sitting nearby on the floor playing with a toy phone, and I decided to listen to some music. So I got out a CD and Maxwell jumped up saying "moo wash! Peez. Wash moo me." He stood next to my desk for a full minute after the CD started playing waiting for the movie to start on my computer screen, rather disappointed when it never did.

30 August 2005

Ah . . . Nerdom. Such a lovely place to inhabit. Today I published the first installment of my grandfather Neal's correspondence on Wogsland.org. I am also starting a new semester after the everdull summer hiatus. Mmmmm . . . physics. Last week my setting-up of Wogsland.org also bore its first fruit as it managed to attract one Jewelie Randall, a west-coaster who also happens to be my fourth cousin. Already she has provided me with quite a bit of information. Google is still ignoring the site though unfortunately. C'est la vive.

25 August 2005

Well yesterday for the passing of my 26th year we celebrated with a trip to the emergency room - what birthday would be complete without one? We have a large pine tree in the backyard which is climbing tree numero uno among the kids lately. Only Maxwell is wise enough not to enter up into its sappy realms. Unfortunately, being a rather large tree, there are quite a few smaller dead branches which break rather easily and yesterday Brittan chose one of these to help balance herself as she played on the lowest rung of branches 5-6 ft. off the ground. The branch broke sending her tumbling head first into the ground. Services will be held Monday at...just kidding. Despite all her bellyaching and my paranoid conviction that her head was dented, the nice people in the emergency room informed us that she just had a concussion. Hopefully now they will all take more time to assess the alive/dead status of branches before climbing them.

22 August 2005

Well, Amy and Kirk got married in a nice informal ceremony on the eve of August 20th - informal for everyone except Amy that is. She was wearing an incredible dress that would fit in at the formalest of weddings. Kirk read a letter he had written to god about loving Amy and then read god's reply. Amy sang a love ballad to Kirk. Then the spirits of wind, earth, fire, and water were invoked by various people throughout the room representing the four cardinal directions and Amy & Kirk were joined in matrimony. After that came dinner and dancing. Dad, Mom and I decorated the wedding couple's car before they departed in a sea of bubbles to enjoy a few days before the new Mrs. Hadsell starts teaching another new school year. After they left Debbie Malonee and I set to the task of drinking the leftover champagne (we failed) and I, being the youngest male present other than Maxwell, got drafted to carry heavy things out to cars and move furniture back to its proper locations. Then Cara and I stayed up with the Tsiopanoses (Brenna & Steve) talking til after 2.
Attempting to dance with Mrs. Hadsell

Alora, Hannah & Brittan
(and Maxwell's melon)

Ocean City, MD
Seeing that we were already on the Delmarva peninsula, I had the brilliant idea of taking an alternate route home; one that passed through a slight detour in Ocean City. The girls wore their swimsuits and had a lovely time playing in the waves and shopping on the boardwalk. Maxwell was also happy as long as we weren't trying to make him touch the cold water, the same being true for Zara except that she was mostly asleep. Unfortunately we adults had stayed up too late the night before, so we were a bit cranky. This was not helped when we later realized that my "alternate route" was much longer in terms of time if not mileage. We finally gave up about one o'clock and stopped to sleep for a few hours at a rest area in North Carolina. With this bit of rest under our belts we managed to make it home just in time to get the girls to school this morning. It's a good thing they all sleep so well in the car.

20 August 2005

Miracle of miracles, Cara went to sleep last night a little before 11 PM and was not awakened until a little after 6 AM. Zara, who is only 6 weeks old, slept 7+ hours. Zara slept through the night! For those who don't realize the magnitude of such a feat, Maxwell gave Cara little more than an hour of contiguous sleep for his first six months and didn't sleep through the night until he was over a year old. Ironically, we are not at home but in Maryland for Amy's wedding. Last night we slept at Geege's. Zara slept with us, and I guess she likes the beds here. Maxwell also slept with us - but not as restfully (he likes to kick).

Poor Geege is 3 days home from a trip to the hospital for a dog bite that got infected, so Cindy was over to take care of us (she doesn't have the space Geege does for guests). We ordered Papa John's and had a lovely evening and Christie and I stayed up til after midnight catching up.

17 August 2005
This past week we've spent many an evening harvesting and canning our pear crop. Okay, it's just one tree in the front yard, but man there are alot of pears on it. Surprisingly, Cara has never canned anything before! Canning also presents a natural lesson in applied physics for the girls. Maxwell is unfortunely still to young to follow such lessons, but he will nevertheless look on with interest. Two is a rather difficult age to go through. He's also dealing with the girls going back to school. They are his sun and moon. Maxwell's face lights up more with the appearance of the bus each afternoon than it did with any birthday present. Next week will be the toughest though, when I go back to school. The girls have also picked up a new activity in the afternoons, karate. Maxwell, not to be left behind in martial development, has taken to holding his sword aloft and calling on the power of Castle Greyskull. Zara has matched this with prissiness. She likes her air conditioning quite alot, and if you put her in a hot car before turning on the air she will express rather loudly her strong disapproval.

Beware of Ninjalora!

15 August 2005

This past weekend Georgie, the houndog across the street, had her puppies - two boys and four girls. They are very cute and we all got to hold them yesterday. Some of them still even had their umbilical cords. Cara has forbad my visiting them too much though, as I have a soft spot for puppies. Alora and Brittan, however, rushed over immediately after school to play with them.

Back in human babyland, Zara is developing into a rather interesting person. She has the strange habit of always spitting up out of her nose. Often it is quite fountain-like. Lately she has started making little cooing noises when we talk to her. Today I sat on the couch with her and we had a lovely conversation.

12 August 2005

Today was Zara's one month checkup - she's growing like a weed, already 10 lbs. 6 oz.

11 August 2005

The First Day of Second Grade!

August 10th, 2005

Cara and have been married 8 years today. This summer also marks over a decade as a couple. Wow, we are old! Not to old to be spontaneous though. We returned to Knoxville today from an eight day long Road Trip to San Diego. Since we had missed the opportunity to visit Jaime & Amir in Norfolk, we figured we'd better visit them ASAP in San Diego before we missed that opportunity, too. Today was pretty hectic for not having slept for the past two days. We got home this morning around 9AM, showered, and set out again. 10-11 was meet-your-teacher time at Karns Elementary, so we met Ms. McCoy and Ms. Harness (Brit's teacher and student teacher) and Ms. Byrd (Alora's teacher). Just an FYI, the girls are starting the second grade this year, but they are most excited about returning to the same school as last year, something they hadn't had the opportunity to do yet. After that it was straight off to Nashville to Brittan's cardiologist appointment at 2:40 central time. Brittan is still unhampered by her ventral-septal defect (VSD), which is good news. It is still only 4-5 mm in diameter, the same size as when she was a baby. Most likely it will remain as nothing other than a funny sounding heartbeat. To treat Brittan for her perseverence through this biannual battery of tests we gave her her first Cracker Barrel experience, which all the kids greatly enjoyed. We finally got back home for good after 9 PM tonight. The bus will come to pick up the girls tomorrow at 7:25 AM. And to think they started the week in México...

1 August 2005

This past weekend Maxwell turned 2! On Saturday we had a grand birthday party for the Mancer. The highlight, I think, for the party-goers was the massive squirtgun fight that involved everyone who wasn't a grandmother - Nancy was the favorite target for most. When ambushed without a squirtgun Cara improvised by throwing cupcakes but fortunately this trend didn't catch on. Several of Alora & Brittan's friends also came, and we had the slip-n-slide set up on the side yard for the big kids. While Maxwell avoids the slip-n-slide like the plague, his nutty little friend Spencer likes to be thrown down it (he is too small to generate enough momentum himself). We had so much fun that afternoon that it sent Dad and Nancy reminiscing about Uncle Bob's shindigs many years ago. Apparently they were rather fun, too. I remember one such event when I was very young where Bob gave me a live blue crab to hold by the backfins because he knew I would take pleasure in freaking out my parents with it.

28 July 2005

Zara is three weeks old today, and quite a happy girl. She's already up to 9lbs. 4oz. Maxwell is also happy, enjoying his last day of onedom. He has taken to screaming "bir-day" any time someone mentions his impending party this weekend.

27 July 2005

Dad with Jaime, Packie & me.
Well, the baby picture of Jaime got such rave reviews I decided to feed the demand for more retro pictures. So here's Jim Wogsland as Ned Flanders in the live-action version of the Simpsons! Kidding aside, I'm sure you'll appreciate the humor of this picture. Not surprisingly, there's a good reason for my dad to be standing along the roadside in the California summer sunshine. We belonged to a pool near our home in Dublin, CA in the late 1980's called the Briar Hill Pool Club (no, there were no briars and it was actually located in a valley, but there was a nice pool to swim in). Every year to raise extra money the Pool had a fireworks stand during the summer before the Fourth of July. People volunteered to man the stand, and on the weekends they had someone dress up in this lovely costume and stand by the road. How exactly they convinced Dad to do this I will never know.

26 July 2005

My Cara is a wonderfull mommy. She is busy tonight exposing Alora and Brittan to our experimental style of parenting by showing them all sorts of baby reflexes exhibited by Zara. This is not their first lesson though. She has taught them that newborn babies can only see in black & white, and that red is the first color they see. Cara had them make black and white and red pictures and watch as Zara looks at them with fascination. She has explained to them how babies learn their mommy's smells and the voices of family members, which are even recognized from the womb. Brittan put this knowledge into action when Zara screamed during her first bath in the hospital: Brit talked to her and Zara stopped crying. Cara has also taken alot of time showing them how breast-feeding works and how special it is. The girls have taken to helping record the feedings and poopings and peeings of Zara in the logbook we keep of her activities. It really helps when it's 3AM and Zara is crying to know exactly how long it's been since she's eaten. You can almost tell time by Zara's feedings - most of the time it's every 3 hours she gets hungry. Watching these lessons, Maxwell has taken to identifying everyone's boobs. Mostly he's concerned for his sister though. Any fussing by her within his earshot brings him running, saying "Tay Ya!" or "Kay Za!" (his consonants really aren't completely differentiated yet). I find it rather amazing to see such empathy in a 2-year-old. He also likes to stand on his lego table by the changing table when Zara gets a diaper change. Naturally, as mom's little man the transition has been hardest on him, but the girls have been very helpful including him in most of their activities. In addition, at the time of her arrival we instituted several "big boy" changes in his life - dismantling his crib and letting him have a chewable vitamin in the morning along with the girls. He's also undergone that verbal expolsion which facilitates real communication of his desires - a powerful thing indeed! The change was so abrupt while we were in the hospital that I think Nancy's watching him for those few days really had an effect. My theory is that he was forced to better enunciate his babble because Nancy was not as used to decyphering it as us.

24 July 2005

Karns Parade & Fair

Yesterday we had the full-on hometown America experience. I guess I never realized such idealized events as town parades and fairs actually still existed. In the morning we attended the 52nd annual Karns parade, which included more people, I think, than there were spectators. Nevertheless, the Knoxville police shut down Oak Ridge Highway for an hour so that we could watch everything from the Karns High School marching band, to vintage tractors, to politicians and beauty queens in convertibles, to every vehicle in the Karns Volenteer Fire Dept., and motorcycles go by. Many of the vehicles advertizing something were equipped with candy which they threw to the children watching the parade. Alora and Brittan thought this was great fun, but Maxwell prefered his vantage point on my shoulders - especially when the horses went by.

After the parade came the Karns Community Fair, held mostly in the Karns High School parking lot. First we saw the chicken contest sponsered by 4H, with at least a hundred different looking chickens. Then there were games with prizes which required tickets (Alora and Brittan each managed to win the grand prize of a stuffed teddybear) and games set up by the boy scouts, which were free. There were lots of booths with various tasties, and the parking lot was filled with all the vehicles in the parade, now being shown off close-up. The part which made me really feel as if I had stepped back in time where the political booths, where various politicians tried to curry favor with giveaways and handshakes. The best giveaway had to be the the handheld fans of the Karns Republican Club, which because of the heat were ubiquitously found throughout the fair. The kids would probably disagree though, because they got candy, popsicles, and their faces painted all for free. Of course, this led Alora & Brittan to be rather confused by the booths which actually had things for sale. Lastly we saw the lot full of large blow-up toys (a slide, an obstacle course, etc.) sponsered by the local mega-church, whose incredibly popular elementary school protects the local children from learning the evils of evolution. Their high school is currently under construction. It's hard to imagine having more fun without leaving Karns than we did at the fair. Next year we'll just have to find some way to be in the parade. If only I had an elephant . . .

July 22nd, 2005
Well, I've decided that I think Zara looks alot like my sister Jaime, much like I thought Maxwell looked freakishly similar to Pop's baby pictures. Naturally, I went on a hunt through all my old pictures of baby Jaime to see if I could find one to prove my point. I looked and looked and looked. The more I looked, the more I convinced myself that Zara looks like . . . Zara.

Nevertheless, I couldn't let all that hard work go for naught, so here's a picture of Jaime in all her crazy babyness.

July 19th

My mom's pizza is a little slice of heaven.

17 July 2005

Alora the militant reader - Yesterday our friend Margo came over to visit and see the new baby, having been around for much of the babyhood of Alora and Brittan. She had some books in her car she was taking to McKay's, a fabulous place in Knoxville where one can buy and sell used books. Well, Alora found a book in "The Boxcar Children" series which Margo said she could have. Last night she started reading it and this afternoon she finished it, walked in the other room, and started reading another book in the series. This is not a symptom of a particularly interesting book, but a general characteristic of Alora. She reads everything she can get her hands on. I've even started leaving Science magazines on the coffee table so she'll pick them up. Over the summer the Karns Library has a reading contest, awarding a bag full of prizes to children who complete twelve hours of reading over the summer months. Alora was finished in less than a month.

13 July 2005

Maxwell has decided Zara is "naish".

12 July 2005
When babies are breastfed, they develop a callus on their upper lip. As this callus starts to peel off it looks like a tooth. Last night we took Zara on her first trip out of the house: to the doctor's for a checkup. As it were, the elder siblings were feeling a bit neglected, so afterwords we got them all Happymeals at their favorite restaurant. Maxwell has never had a Happymeal before. When we walked into the McDonald's and he saw the toy display he went to go look at them. I asked him if he would like one, and a look of sheer amazement came across Maxwell's face as this new horizon was opened to him. Then he looked at mom for assurance because he knows dad is wont to pull his leg, and upon her assurance a look of sheer joy followed that of amazement. He was almost too excited to eat as he wolfed down his burger.

Count Toothula and her boob

Later he asked why the baby didn't have any food, and his face swelled with pride when I informed him that only big kids can eat hamburgers. This made him completely unable to eat his french fries and he had to go run around the playground with his elder sisters and their 3 new Neopets. Later in the calmness of the ride home he managed to wolf down the fries as well.

11 July 2005

Well, all of our family who came to visit are gone, so we're settling back into our routine. Just kidding. Zara is an incredible baby and has lots of awake time, so when she's up we set her up to have tummy time on a blanket in the family room. Right now Molly and I are sitting on one couch while Alora and Brittan make friendship bracelets on the other. Zara is watching me intently from her vantage on the floor as she wiggles. Now she's squealing so I'd better go pick her up...

10 July 2005

Maxwell finally decided he was ready to hold Zara...

7 July 2005


Today marks the entry of a new epsilon, whose exploits will herein be chronicled, into our family. Zara Anjali Wogsland was born at 7:27AM this morning, measuring 21 inches long and weighing in at 8lbs. 5oz. She is a healthy, beautiful Tennessee belle, and took to nursing right away. As you can see, she's got quite a bit of hair as well.

Labor apparently gets quicker with each pregnancy, so we made it to the hospital this time with a little over an hour to spare. Cara was quite glad to be done so quickly though, although I am still awed by her exertions.

Her sisters were very excited to hold her, but Zara's brother was convinced she would "quish" him. Nevertheless, he said hi and waved to her repeatedly. She was too tired to respond, however. Aunt Nancy came up to help out and is enjoying watching the girls and Maxwell while we're at the hospital.

Brittan and Alora admire their new sister

Mommy loves her new baby

A proud father with his progeny

6 Juli 2005 - Noch kein Baby.
3 Jul - How to use a laptop if you have no lap:

3 July 2005

Maxwell is really learning to relish the power of the word "mine". He has learned that by declaring that something is "mine" he can exclude others from playing with or sharing it. Naturally, he has sought to extend this power to things not currently in his possession. If he wants Cara's water he will point and declare "mine", and throw a fit if she does not relinquish it. If he wants a toy Alora is playing with he will point and declare "mine", and throw a fit if she does not relinquish it. Having two sisters that dote on him constantly make it somewhat harder to discourage this behavior. They love him so much they would give him almost anything that he asked for if we let them. The girls often play a game with Maxwell were he is the king and they ask his permission to do various things. If he says "yesh" they may proceed, but if he says "nyo" they may not.

June 30th - Well, it looks like we shant be able to call our new baby a June bug. Nevertheless, the longer Austria waits to be born, the better that facilitates birthday party consolidation. We already enjoy the luxury of having only two birthday parties per annum despite our having three children, and the later in July Austria's birthday falls, the more reasonable it will be to combine parties with Maxwell's on the 29th. Naturally, as their interests and invitees diverge as the two get older we'll probably experience a bifurcation.
June 29, 2005
We're coming down to the wire here with the new baby - it'll be 39 weeks (of 40 in the average pregnancy) on Friday. I can think of little else. Right now I'm sitting at work, and instead of concentrating on analyzing these monte carlo events I'm thinking about seeing her for the first time. It doesn't help that physicists at SLAC like kid cartoons so much. Babar the stupid elephant is a bit annoying but the add-on to ROOT which I am using is called Kanga, so all the documentation pages have a picture of Kanga and Roo on them. This doesn't help one who is trying to concentrate and not to think of his children. The excitement is almost too much to handle!

24 June 2005

This is Maxwell's nutty friend Spencer. Spencer is Kara's son and they have quite a bit of fun playing together. Spencer's nickname is "Danger Baby", and he really lives up to it. We've gone to the pool a couple times with Kara and her kids this week and it's instructive to contrast Maxwell and Spencer's varying behavior. Maxwell didn't even go into the pool without screaming until this evening, and then it was only okay if he was in the baby pool touching the wall. Spencer, on the other hand, has a jump-in-the-pool-if-I-can-escape-from-mom policy. Maxwell also enjoyed playing with Kara's daughters Kiley and Laurel because he misses his sisters so much. I'm really glad my Cara has found such a great friend in Kara - not to mention material for many jokes. Since she is a preacher's wife, Kara and I have an ongoing debate about geologic history. She holds to the literal interpretation of Christian scripture whereas I consider myself a man of science.

23 June 2005

I think that Maxwell is the most conservative child on the face of the earth - he does not like too much wildness if it appears dangerous and he takes meticulate care of his toys. Judging from the lego cars he enjoys building so much, he will probably be an engineer someday. Case and point is his care of books. The girls loved books like he does, but their love was a much more violent affair that the books often did not survive. Maxwell will take a single book off the shelf, read it, and then put it back. Chances are that if there is a kid book on the couch today a little girl left it there. Now Maxwell's favorite thing in the whole world is Barney (okay, maybe it's a tie with popsicles). Recently we got him some Barney books with paper pages - we had to keep these books away from the girls at this age because they would have been destroyed very quickly. Now he takes a Barney book to bed at night and we let him read it before falling asleep, and, even after we turn the lights out, he still tends to fall asleep upon it.

There are also other differences in the way Maxwell plays and the girls played at this age. Alora & Brittan's toys always seemed to be talking to eachother: "Hey mom!", "Hey lil' kid!". Maxwell's toys get orginized into rows based on their various attributes. Nanny gave him a tube of little frogs and turtles on a recent visit and I think I have seen them lined up in just about every possible permutation since. It is funny to watch him play Barbies with the girls because while Alora and Brittan's naked Barbies plot to off naked Ken's head in a car accident, Maxwell is busy very neatly organizing their paraphernalia.

20 June 2005

With kids away, dad will play...

The girls are away at HHI with Nanny and Poppy this week, so last night Cara and I took the opportunity to have some friends over. As you can see, I only invited high energy physicists.

Physicists and their women: Kari, Tony, Stephanie, Scott, Cara and yours truly

12 June 2005

I'm excited to report successful identification of one of the fossiled trees we saw several examples of on the beaches at Fundy NP as Calamites, a commonly found tree from the Carboniferous period. I've updated our roadtrip page accordingly.

June 11, 2005

Since Cara stopped working at Bed, Bath, & Beyond several months ago, we've reinstituted the ancient and noble custom of "family day". It was something we came up with when the girls were little and I got very engrossed in my work and ignored everyone for long periods. Basically, every Saturday possible we do something all together as a family. (Obviously, this was impossible when Cara worked most Saturdays). Today was one of our better ones. It was a relatively nice day, and Cara and I slept in to about 11. I decided we should go up into the Smokies and see Tennessee's tallest peak, Clingman's Dome (6,643 ft.). Naturely, convincing an eight-month-pregnant wife that this was a good idea took some cajoling - so I suggested we go junk shopping on the Cherokee reservation in North Carolina afterword. This clinched it, but we still didn't get out of the house until after 1 PM. Maxwell loves to ride in the minivan, so we all enjoyed the ride up to the mountains.

Up on Clingman's Dome it was about 30-40 degrees cooler that it was at home, but the steep half mile walk up to the observation tower kept everyone except the person with largest surface area to volume ratio warm enough. Atop this high mountain is an observation tower above the treetops that looks like something out of a Jetsons cartoon. Up there above the trees the wind was also strong enough to just about knock a person over. It is a beautiful view, but not one my acrophobia really allowed me to enjoy to it's fullest.

Brittan, Cara and Alora in the tower atop Clingman's Dome.

Afterword, we drove down to the warmth of Cherokee and peered around in the junk shops for a few hours. Cara's most exciting find was some decidedly boyish dress-up clothes for Maxwell. Right now our dress-up collection is rather tilted toward pretty dresses and necklaces, which our Barbie-crazed son enjoys quite a bit. The girls also enjoyed junk shopping, but Mancer (shortened from Cherriomancer and often pronounced more like Man-Sir) seemed to gravitate to the most breakable item in any store. After dinner we headed home back across the mountains. As luck would have it, we reached the Sugarland vistor's center on the western boundary of the park just in time to catch the 9 o'clock trolley to Elkmont. At Elkmont is a phenomena of entomological interest, the largest known group of sychronized fireflies. We couldn't pass up the great southern pastime of watching lightning bugs, so we paid our 50 cents apiece and hopped on. It really amazed me that over a thousand other people also thought this was a great way to pass a Saturday night. Despite the zoo of humans the lightning bugs put on their fascinating, if a bit disappointing, show - I have seen similar numbers and similar phenomena in the woods at Camp Glisson when I was a kid. The kids were also tired by this point and the girls did not take long to bore of fireflies. Nevertheless, on the ride home we all decided that it was a nearly-perfect family day

6 June 2005

Of all the dark arts in the world, dentistry is the foulest. Today I had my first round of fillings in teeth 18, 19 and 20. Not fun, but I survived. Surprisingly tonight it's my jaw that really hurts. Only three more rounds to go...

Recently I had the opportunity to observe two seven-year-olds in close proximity for long periods of time, and I think they can be well described in analogy to quantum mechanics. There are, of course, the continuum states, wherein their interaction is temporally isolated, and bound states. After careful observation, I have determined there are two bound states:

|Bickering> = |B>
|Silly> = |S>

|B> is the lower in energy of the two states, because the two girl system transitions naturally from |S> to |B>, but the system requires added energy (often by me) to affect a transtion from |B> to |S>. Cooperation also comes naturally in the |S> state but the energy given up by the system in doing so often causes a transition to the |B> state. Once in the |B> state cooperation ceases and each tries to shirk their duties in the task at hand at the expense of the other.

This morning I shaved off my beard for a change. Maxwell did not approve. He covered his eyes as I played with him and Cara on the bed and refused to look at me. Even this evening he's still covering his eyes playfully, and doesn't really like to look at me.

5 June 2005

Maxwell has really become verbose lately. He has reached the point where most of his communication with us is in sentence form - usually two word sentences like "moo gu", which literaly means "movie good", are used to communicate things like "I'd like to watch a movie". His first choice for a movie is often Barney, he'll ask "ba gu?", and that failing switch to the more general "moo gu?" Often such verbal communication is coupled with nonverbal signals like nodding and pointing at the TV, but it will sometimes suit Maxwell's fancy to request a movie when outside on the patio. Although, out there we usually hear "pa gu" (translation: "I would like a popsicle"), and that failing "pa pees".

Surprisingly, Maxwell doesn't really use "no" much. He usually chooses a nonverbal method like a foul grimace to signal his displeasure, or pushes away with his hand something he does not want. Yesterday we went to the Karns Volunteer Fire Dept's open house and I recieved a foul grimace when I tried to put him up into the big scary fire truck. Of course, then Alora and Brittan jumped up in it and Maxwell was forced to rethink his postion on the fire truck. It wasn't long before he was gleefully pressing buttons alongside them. There were several trucks, vans, ambulances, etc for the kids to climb in, and Maxwell approached each with a little less trepidation than the one before. When we finally reached the helicopter, he was ready to drive.

3 June 2005

Today I'd like to announce the official release of Wogsland.org, which I hope will become a famial hub on the internet. Basically the idea is to involve as many people as possible in writing our family's history and staying connected.

2 June 2005

Well, we're back from our roadtrip to the northeast. It was alot of fun, and I hope yall enjoy reading about it. (It's kind of a bare bones page now, but I'll do it up nice when I get some extra time). After we got home, Jaime and Amir stopped by for a visit on their way to San Diego. The newlyweds are relocating there because Amir, a marine, was transfered. It was so nice to entertain them and have Amir "officially" part of the family. The girls and Maxwell enjoyed wrestling with Uncle Amir, and had a great time toasting Jaime & Amir with kidswine (sparkling grape juice in a fancy bottle). Hopefully we'll get a chance to visit them in San Diego some day.

2:59 AM 19 May 2005

Tonight the girls and I went to see "Revenge of the Sith". It is the best of six.

syttende mai

I went to the dentist today and he said I have twelve (yes 12) cavities. They are nice and symetrically distributed (4DO, 5DO, 6ML, 11ML, 12DO, 13DO, 18MOD, 19MOD, 20DO, 29DO, 30MOD, and 31MOD). Here is a nice map of human teeth which shows the numbering scheme. The letters are latin: Distal, Lingual, Mesial, Buccal, and Occlusal meaning away from the midline (D), towards the tongue (L), towards the midline (M), away from the tongue (B), and on top of the tooth (O). Having never had a single cavity before I am rather disturbed by this news. It really forces one to confront one's mortality. It looks like I'm going to have to give up my favorite snack, sunflower seeds, if I want to keep my teeth.

14 May 2005

There's nothing quite like a slip 'n slide.

13 May 2005

Congratulations Newlyweds!

Jaime & Amir Golshani
May 11th, 2005

(Okay, the picture is actually from last christmas, but it's the best one I had of them.)

13 May 2005

Maxwell has had his hands in his mouth quite a bit lately. We thought this was perhaps an imitation of me, as I've been messing with the hole where my tooth was removed. A couple days I got a green bean seed caught in there, and I was unable to get it out after a half hour working on it in front of the mirror. Eventually the seed came out on it's own, unbeknowst to me until after it was long gone. Anyway, it turns out Maxwell was not imitating but exploring the interesting goings-on of his own mouth. Yesterday he came over to Cara and I while we where sitting on the couch talking to tell us that he had a new tooth, one of his two-year molars was coming in in the back.

12 May 2005

Cara's really transformed Maxwell's room this week in preperation for the arrival of his sister, Austria, for whom we have still not picked out a name. I imagine we'll probably continue our tradition of delivery room name choices. But even if we do decide on a name it won't be released publicly until postpartum to avoid any possible criticism - apparently most people think of a baby name as more final once it's on a birth certificate. Cara is a bit worried that Austria's name change when she is born will be confusing for Maxwell, but I think the womb-name tradition is just fun, and he'll understand, what with being the god of thunder and all...

With the twins we wanted them to have original names that made them sound like princesses as well as preserved something of the baby A and baby B names we knew them by in the womb. In addition, we wanted them to have names that were all their own. With Maxwell I was particularly swayed by the theory that children's names should give them something to aspire to, and by naming him after one of the greatest physicists of the 19th century we hoped to give him impetus to realize his own potential. We also thought this was an original name, but we have met many little Maxwells since.

Austria will be a princess, too, and we have joked quite a bit about naming her Oberta. All my fellow physics grad students have suggested naming her after Marie Curie, one of the greatest physicists of the 20th Century (as well as a great mother). Who knows what we'll decide...

9 May 2005

For those of you interested in what I'm doing over the summer, I'll be working on the BaBar experiment with an eye toward gaining enough spectroscopic acumen to probe strong decay. (The strong force is what holds the quarks together inside a proton for example).

May 7th

Jaime and Brittan get silly while mom folds laundry. (moms will be moms)
After Mom and Jaime came for their whirlwind (<24hr) visit, Cara took Maxwell and the minivan down to Alpharetta with them to gather our baby supplies from Mom & Dad's attic for Austria. This left me, Alora, and Brittan alone for an evening to run amuck. And amuck we did run...when the girls got home from school. We decided to go to a movie first, and picked Kingdom of Heaven. Starring Orlando Bloom and directed by Ridley Scott, I figured it would be pretty good. We got a bit scared before the movie started, because most of the audience was old ladies. I thought maybe they had been fooled by the title, but they all looked a bit like my Roman History teacher, so perhaps they were just midievalists. They seemed to have enjoyed the movie as much as we did though. Of course, it was the first movie we'd seen in theaters since moving to Knoxville (and I am a sucker for historical flicks). After our trip to the cinema, Brittan was feeling a little sick from gorging herself on a bag of candy so we headed off to the favorite diner of the under-ten crowd: McDonald's. Brittan's cheeseburger perked her up, but poor Alora couldn't eat hers because the sour candy she'd eaten made her tongue raw. I also was forced to content myself to delicately chewing some french fries as my wound heals.
Every weekend the girls seem to have a birthday party to go to, and this one was no exception. So our postprandial activity was shopping and wrapping presents (Mother's day is Sunday, too). Then we all fell asleep watching old episodes of the Simpson's.

Cinco de Mayo

Here is my number 17 wisdom tooth post operation. Notice the large hole. It took all of five minutes to be removed. Of course, with half my face numb and a cheek full of gauze, it's rather hard to talk now. Cara finds this very, very funny.

4 May 2005

It's nice to be done with another semester.
Last week the girls and I watched The Mask of Zorro and afterwords Alora prognosticated that there would be another Zorro movie. I told her "no, they won't" rather too assuredly. I am now eating crow, as The Legend of Zorro is due out this fall.
Tomorrow I am having another wisdom tooth that broke in half removed. Fun, fun, fun. After that, though, my Jaime is coming to visit para cinco de mayo. We are all very excited to to show her our new house.

3 May 2005

Today I will tell you the interesting tale of Paul Erdös, the most published mathematician of all time. He was born in the Austro-Hungarian empire (in the Hungarian part) to two math teachers. He got his doctorate in Budapest, but eventually had to flee the Nazis to England and then America. He was something of a nomad and lived out of a single suitcase most of his adult life, traveling from collaborator to collaborator. He had so many collaborators over the years (509 in all) that mathematicians rank themselves by Erdös numbers. Someone who co-authored a paper with Erdös has an Erdös number of 1, someone who co-authored a paper with someone who co-authored a paper with Erdös has an Erdös number of 2, and so on and so forth. One of my goals is to eventually have an Erdös number < 5. Now, being a nomad, Erdös never settled down and had kids, but he loved to play with them - calling them epsilons for the greek letter often used to denote a small quantity in mathematics.

1 May 2005

There has been some interest in pictures of the finished Fibonacci patio, even though I've yet to complete my paver-laying; that is, the walkway around the house has stalled in the backyard on account of rain and the end of the semester. My goal was to finish it in time for Jaime's visit later this week, but I don't know if I'll make it. Anyway, here's the Fibonacci patio:

The Plan
The Reality

30 April 2005

A minivan is like a giant pocketbook to a housewife...

28 April 2005

Today Alora, Brittan and I worked on their webpages. They made some changes, typing the html themselves after a short introduction to the subject:

Alora's Homepage
Brittan's Homepage

They are still rather uninterested in email however, and it seems that their inactivity has led their yahoo email address to expire. C'est la vive.

27 April 2005

Nature does very well for herself in Tennessee. Unfortunately, my house is seen as a habitat opportunity! This morning I discovered that my always busy wasps have begun work on a nest on the front overhang of the roof to compliment the one they already have on the back overhang (which I noticed Sunday). While examining the nest and thinking about how I really need to get some of that 20ft wasp spray, like, today, I heard a scratching noise coming from the attic over the garage. Looks like I'll have to put squirrel trap on the list next to 20ft wasp spray.

24 April 2005

Nanny and Poppy in the Egyptian exhibit
This past weekend was funfilled if a bit cold - last night the temperature went below freezing. Yesterday we went to the Physics departmental picnic where it was established once and for all that nerds who try and play sports are only a danger to themselves and others. After that Nanny and Poppy came up for a short overnight visit. We did alot of grilling and visited the McClung Museum on UT's campus. It was fun and free!

Brittan with a Chinaman

22 April 2005

Watching Alora and Brittan play video games is an exercise in patience. Tonight they are playing Finding Nemo, and they must have played the same level 50+ times. It is rather incredible the determination they show. Brittan will play awhile, and then Alora will take over. It is all I can do not to ask to do it for them, but I resist - spurred on by their determination to succeed. Finally Brittan managed to catch up to Mr. Ray and celebrated with dancing and high-fives.

21 April 2005

Two blogs in one day!
Several months ago I was extolling the virtues of Open Office to my dad, and he asked me the simple question: "How do they make money?" It was just the latest in a long series of such questions which have often forced me to re-evaluate the way I think about society. After much thought I think I have an answer. Ha! Ha! I have placed it in my oeconomics blog, which covers topics unrelated to politics or family stuph.

21 April 2005

Austria (δ-squirt's womb name) is moving around quite a bit inside Cara now, and the girls enjoy feeling her kick. For Maxwell, however, the distinction between between belly and boob is perhaps too fine. Today as Cara sat on the couch Austria started wiggling and Cara called the kids over to feel. The girls put their hands on the belly and Maxwell put his on a boob. Cara explained to him that the belly was where the baby was and that Austria would get milk from her breasts. Maxwell's word for a generic beverage is "wa" and so he sang "wa" to Cara's boob, before putting his hand back on it to feel the "ba-y".

20 April 05

Everyone loves their new sandbox!

16 April 2005

Maxwell loves balls. He will ask for one anytime he sees one in a store. Many times we'll let him carry one around a store while we're shopping. Yesterday afternoon he caught sight of a big white ball in the sky. "Pee. Mee. Pee. Pee. Pee." he said, pointing at the object of his desire. Maxwell's heartless parents, however, refused to get down the moon so he could play with it, claiming 'inability'.

13 April 2005

Today I finally convinced my wife to start Cara's Blog so that she can blog about the things she thinks ought to be blogged about and I don't hear anymore sentences that begin "You should blog about...". Please don't let her superior writing and obsessive picture posting lead you to neglect reading this blog!

11 April 2005

I think Tennessee ought to be called the grass-growing state. Mowing it once a week isn't often enough!

10 April 2005

Yesterday I started work on our patio out back. I had wanted to do part of a Penrose tiling (a non-repeating pattern that fills the infinite plane), but they don't seem to make pentagonal bricks or pavers or tiles or anything of that sort. So I settled for a logarithmic spiral of squares of circular spirals of 8"X4" pavers. I'm calling it the Fibonacci patio because the squares have sides of length 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, and 21 pavers. The architecturally minded among the readership will be happy to note that the ratio of length to width of the patio is approximately the golden mean 34/21 ≈ 1.62. The most impressive part is that when I originaly calculated the number of pavers needed I was off by a factor of 2, so, having made the same order twice, the people at Home Depot think I am a bit nutty.

Cara and I had a disagreement about whether or not the girls needed sunblock to play outside while I worked on the patio, so I refused to wear any to prove a point. Unfortunately I proved her point.

In the evening the Shepherds (that's the other Kara's family) came over and we grilled bratwürste for supper, the children enjoying sitting on the very small part of the patio which currently exists. Alora and Brittan built a treefort with Kiley (Laurel was unable to get up in the tree), and the four had great fun trying to escape me with the hose (their success led me to the conclusion that we need a longer hose). Maxwell and Spencer, who is about 6 months Maxwell's junior, played on the trampoline together for a long time. We have several giant balls on the tramploine, and the boys invented a game that involves Maxwell holding a ball that is almost as big as him and chasing Spencer trying to knock him down.

One of the mourning dove eggs also hatched yesterday, and we managed to see the little squab during the shift change at twilight - the male sits on the nest during the day, and the female does it at night.

Overall, I would have to say it approached perfection as nearly as a Spring Saturday can.

6 April 2005

The great and powerful Cara has got our wireless back up! So here are some much belated pictures from our recent trip to Hilton Head:

Chillin' and Buried Alive!

Bikini Babes - yes, they do grow up too fast.

We also took a jaunt to Fort Pulaski...

Cara with a baby human and yours truly with a baby gator - criky, I like my fingers too much to try an touch the little fella.

Trouble one, trouble two, and trouble in training.

April 5th

There are few things more pitiful than a little man wondering around the house puking on himself. Maxwell is sick today and very irritated with Cara and I for not giving him something to "eeeee!" as he puts it. Older kids know to spit back out the water they use to rinse out their mouths after puking; toddlers just drink it. Maxwell only made this mistake once though (or, more properly, I only made the mistake once). We've managed to trap him on towels spread out on the couch by letting him watch cartoon movies. Fortunately, unlike his sisters at this age, he will sit through an entire cartoon movie so long as it is not a scary one like "Bambi".

March 31, 2005

Sometimes daddies need toys too . . .

Bargain hunting in the toy section at Target today Brittan and I stumbled across a Darth Vader helmet that not only fits my head, but modifies my voice to sound like Darth Vader. Needless to say, I wore it while we finished shopping. Unfortumately Maxwell is not a fan.

March 30, 2005

It seems that, while we were at the beach, our property attracted a squatter:

It is appartently a morning dove (Zenaida macroura), and Cara says the eggs are blue. She has made her nest at about eye level in a tree just outside our kitchen window. Apparently morning doves nest March through September, so she's going to be here a while. Not only that, it seems that these doves go through several clutches of eggs in a season. They incubate the eggs for 14 days and then the chicks fledge for another 14 days. I smell a science project for the girls coming on...

March 26, 2005

We are at Hilton Head Island this week for spring break, and today Molly had an encounter with an alligator 5 or 6 feet in length. Molly was a good dog, if not always the brightest of creatures. She was also a sweetheart: we picked her out at a dog rescue place because she licked my toe. Molly will be sorely missed . . . when she dies. Fortunately large alligators run back to the water when stepped on by small dogs.

March 14, 2005

"Most of my family is dead." - Alora, writing about her ancestors in her homework

"I didn't do it. It was Brittan" - Alora, talking in her sleep

March 13, 2005

Last weekend was the Beaver County fair at Karns Elementary. There isn't actually a Beaver County, but we do live in the Beaver Valley near Beaver Ridge and Beaver Creek. Alora and Brittan won fish:

We won fish!

George, Goldie and Austria: the three who lived.

Twin puppies all dressed up for a storybook birthday party

We've also made some more digital videos of Maxwellinsanity:

Eating an Oreo
Chasing dad
Being a ferocious beast with Alora

March 10, 2005

2005 is really turning out to be a banner year for the family, extended as well as nuclear. In the past week my cousin Katie got accepted to Grad School at UC Berkeley (in Public Health), and my brother Packie took a job as an Associate Project Manager with Opus.

8 March 2005

You Might be a Toddler if...

...You sink both hands into a plate of food eating none of it, but you daintily pick up a piece of dirt off the floor with one finger and eat it.

...Anytime something falls in front of your eyes that's a signal to play peek-a-boo.

...You have more important things to do than have that poop wiped off your bottom.

...Getting "dressed up" means putting on seven Mardi Gras bead necklaces and a hat.

...You think toothpaste and fingerpaints are basically equivalent.

...You like reading picture books, if by read you mean rip out each page after your done looking at the pictures.

...You bark wildly every time you see a dog.

...Your first instinct when you get your hands on a hairbrush is to take off like a madman.

And finally, you might be a toddler if you think poop and fingerpaints are basically equivalent. Maxwell, unlike his older sisters at his age, has not discovered this art form. I like to think it's because boys are more cleanly than girls, but I think it probably has more to do with when he was born. It was summer when the girls were his age, and that means less clothing during naptime, i.e. more accessable poop. I am a scientist, however; and experiment must be the test of any theory, so to test which theory is right I'm having a baby girl in July, the same month Maxwell was born. This should provide conclusive anecdotal evidence.

6 March 2005

Tonight we watched Bambi while Cara was at work. Maxwell, our great lover of animals, smiled and giggled for at least the first half hour. He said "bird" together with Bambi and laughed hard at Thumper. Then Bambi's mother died. Maxwell got very disturbed and went looking for his mother. We told him she was at work but he still cried and had to be held until the movie got to a happy part again. Maxwell's a very sensitive little guy. When that mean old stag came along to fight Bambi he decided he'd had enough and it was time for a snack.

March 5, 2005

It's Spirit Day at Karns Primary!

1 March 2005


While it's not generally my policy to encourage truancy, on some occasions it's quite worthwhile. This morning it actually snowed, but school wasn't cancelled. Sunshine was forecast for the afternoon, and sure enough it came and melted most of the snow before 2 o'clock. Alora, Brittan, Maxwell and daddy had gotten in all their snowplay by then though. From snowball fights, to building a mini-snowman, to making snowpatties, to jumping on the trampoline we had a fantabulous time.

It's a shame such fun only comes once a year...

Brittan: Snow Queen

25 Feb 2005

δ-Squirt Update & Pics

Well, we're more than halfway to the July 8th due date and the baby is big enough to tell what sex it is. This leads one to ponder about just how far technology has come. Not long ago you couldn't find what a baby was until it popped out. A look at the pictures below should clarify how far even ultrasound technology has come. I asked the nurse how much the machine cost: $150,000. But they have a really nice one. Still, it's definitely going on my list of things to buy after we win the lottery. Well, after all this rambling, I still haven't told you what sex it is. You know, I don't think I'm going to.

Woops . . . I guess yall've got it figured out now. Some other details you might be interested in: Her heart was beating at 145 beats per minute as she wiggled around during the ultrsound. She weighs about 13 oz. She has all the parts and pieces and they all appear to be in working order - the ultrasound can also be used to analyze bloodflow, but I couldn't really tell what was what in those pictures.

I am baby Skelator!

She's got hands . . .

. . . and feet . . .

. . . really big feet . . .

. . . and arms.

This one is looking from the feet toward the head.

I think this will probably be her favorite one day.

19 February 2005

Tennessee appartently attracts a very particular kind of Cara. Below is a tabulation of similarities from a statistically insignificant sampling of them.

Cara Kara
Maiden Name Cara Ellen Craig Kara Lynn Krieg
Offspring two older girls, one baby boy two older girls, one baby boy
Home before TN parents' basement, GA parents' basement, KY
Son's allergies dairy products, peanuts? dairy products, peanuts, eggs
Husband's occupation teaching preaching

And the list goes on and on and on...

18 Feb 2005

If left to their own devices in cold weather children will naturally dress like homeless people.

17 Feb 2005

Today Cara, Maxwell, and I attended a most excellent award ceremony wherein Alora received the award for "Good Citizenship" in her class (one girl and one boy were chosen for this honor). So raise your glasses to Alora as you sup tonight, and join us in a proud toast of our daughter as she blushes and giggles.

16 Feb 2005

One of the most exciting things about having a barn like Maxwell about is the journey of exploration and discovery every day represents for him. Today I watched him open a box of Graham crackers and meticulously crush them inside the bag as tried to get one out for himself. Watching an MGM movie is always a treat, because he sets himself up with a blanket and pillow while you put in the DVD, only to run to your lap when that lion shows up. Lately he has been experimenting on us a lot, answering questions like: How many times can I hit Alora on the head before she reacts?, What will Brittan do if I bite her foot?, How much crying and display is necessary before dad will let me have his pen? It cannot help but bring a smile to my face to see Maxwell's sheer joy as he gains mastery over his world, the confidence only competence can bring. He tells us when he wants food, a drink, or has poop. He feeds himself with a fork, tickles his sisters, and can climb just about any piece of furniture. He also knows that ketchup makes the best hair gel and no one wants to have their face touched with slobbery fingers. Tonight he (unfortunately) unlocked the secret of the clicky-pen and illustrated his arm.

The girls, on the other hand, have reached a point where in many ways I often feel superfluous. Yesterday in the mall food court we all wanted different things, so after the girls bought their food I left them to eat and went to get mine. They are, of course, still seven and therefore unable to sit still for more than seven seconds, so Brittan, unbeknowst to me, soon knocked her tray - pizza, drink, and all - on the floor. So she went back to the Sbarro and explained the situation and got herself a new meal. Superfluous.

Some say that when a great person dies, things fall apart because they held everything together. I don't think this is true. When a truly great person dies there are plenty of other great people nearby who will step up and adapt to fill the void. A truly great person rubs off on everyone around them. A Greek philosopher (Aristotle I think) once said that love is the natural human reaction to goodness: beauty, virtue, things of that sort. In modern times love is often thought of as a more unconditional thing - an obligation rather than a natural reaction. Christianity got us so focused on loving our neighbors as ourselves that I think we missed the point of that little gem of wisdom: to look for goodness in everyone.

It is an odd thing to be a parent. You bring someone into the world and you are the most important person in their life - literally necessary for their survival. Then you systematically guide that person toward a level of competence that makes you 100% superfluous.

13 Feb 2005

My cousin Julie has started a blog too. You can check it out at http://muddle.blogdrive.com. It is much less spartan than the current work, if a bit repetitious.

9 Feb 2005

Ruth Marshall Moore

October 2, 1926 - February 8, 2005

We'll all miss you
Obituary and Video Tribute

8 Feb 2005

Maxwell is really into pointing out things lately. He points to his ear and says "ee". He points to the TV and says "tee". He points to me and says "da". I find this immensely cute. He also points to Cara and says "da". This frustrates her to no end.

6th Februaury 2005

Apparently, in East Tennessee the flu is as scary as snow flurries in many other areas. Thus the girls got a four day weekend. Thursday evening we went down to Alpharetta to escape our broken dryer and hunt for the elusive maternity clothes in the attic (which Cara did find, despite the previous exhaustive searches by myself, mom and dad).

asleep on the forbidden sofa

even Jedis fall in the mud sometimes

Friday we celebrated Ken and Packie's birthdays, and Saturday we drove home. Stuperbowl Sunday saw us finally finish putting the net on the trampoline and attend a party at the Ard's (a fellow physics grad student). The girls were initially perturbed at having to go to an event with no kids, but were excited to discover that there was a game room where chess and foosball were available when the adults got too boring.

birthday boy number one...

...and birthday boy number two

31 Jan 2005

This past week was the science fair at Karns Elementary School. Brittan did her project on Volcanos, measuring the amount of CO2 gas produced when mixing various amounts of vinegar and baking soda:

and Alora did her's on Conductivity, testing everything from bananas to Coke cans using a tester she built herself:

Meanwhile Cara and I did a science project of our own, disassembling the dryer to figure out why it isn't working. Unfortunately we were not as successful as our children.

23 Jan 2005

This past Friday I traveled down to Alpharetta to fetch our trampoline and bring it up to Tennessee. While there I saw Mom & Dad and Mom asked me herein to pen a

Funny Story About Mom & Dad
So I arrived at Mom & Dad's around 3pm because of a accident in Marietta and picked up the phone to call Cara to assuage her fears that I had perished en route. A nice voice, rather than Cara, greeted me and told me that the long distance service had been disconnected. I must pause here to give a little backstory. I have always been a curious person, and as a child I often had the misfortune of discovering bad things: termites on the deck, leaky pipes under the driveway, and other things of that ilk. One never likes to be the bearer of bad news though, you are are always suspect of being the author as well as the messanger. So I'm disassembling the trampoline and I notice that some bugs have had a go at the trunk of a nearby ironwood and that all it needs is a good push to be felled. The best place to fell it (away from the house!) was the current location of the the trampoline so I put that project on the back burner for a while. After an hour or so of disassembling I took a break to pet the dogs in the backyard - Mom & Dad have the deck and good bit of the backyard fenced in for them. The deck is the original one put on the house ~15 years ago and it's been through alot of dog-chewing, bee-chewing, termite-chewing and fungus-chewing. Not entirely safe anymore, especially since one of the dogs knocked over a support post on the far corner of the deck, under the hot tub. Naturally, this discovery led me to drain the hot tub before my parents' enjoyment of it led to mishap. Mom & Dad were happy to see me when they came home, but not the news I bore. Nevertheless, after I finished taking apart the trampoline, they took me out to dinner. Oh yeah, and I pushed over that ironwood and discovered the most interesting big old beetles were the culprits.

I managed to set up the trampoline (but not the net) in time to catch some snow on Saturday night...

18 Jan 2005
A Short Lesson in Maxwellese

mee - please, usually pointing at something he wants or looking cute to get what you've got
eez - cheese, as in "I'm smiling while you take my picture"
ee - eat, or a poorly articulated mee or eez
na - I want something to eat, probably a shortened form of "snack"
arf - I am a dog, or I see a dog and want to play with it, or hi dog, or can I have some of what you're eating?
bi - Brittan
rara - Alora
si - sister (mainly used when looking at pictures)
gu - good
ba - Molly (and sometimes other animals)
wa - water
ju - juice
da - your's truly
ma, mom - mommy
bees - pizza (no, I don't know why the food he articulates the best is one he can't eat)
bay - baby
yeah - yeah
ha - hat
bu - Buzz, the Georgia Tech mascot
And, yes, I have taught him how to make the real duck noise

17 Januarius 2005

The happy report of my success in the qualifying exam means that I am now officially a doctoral candidate, i.e. I need but to write a thesis and yall'll have to start calling me Dr. Wogsland.

January 15th, 2005

Abram's Falls, Smoky Mountains, TN

14 Jan 2005

This week Cara taught Maxwell how to say "cheese". Watch the video.

Nancy and Ken came up for this weekend, so naturally the girls are NUTZ! They've put on shows, played princesses, decorated the front yard, and we've still got quite a bit of weekend left. Tomorrow we're going hiking in the Smokies...maybe that will wear them out a little.

6 Jan 2005

There's nothing quite so much fun as pretending spagetti is your hair...

Tonight Maxwell dined on spagetti & meatballs. Actually, to be precise, he dined on meatballs and played with spagetti. He was having a lovely time piling the spagetti on his sippycup when Alora & Brittan called me into the other room for a moment. I should have realized he couldn't fit all of his spagetti ontop of his sippycup. I really wonder what thoughts passed through his little head when he found that anymore spagetti he put ontop of his sippycup just fell off. It would seem to me that the salt or the napkins would be a more logical place to place the remainder of the spagetti, however to Maxwell the next logical place to put spagetti was atop his head. It actually sticks, too.

4 January 2005

We were greeted last night upon our arrival home by the house we had left nigh on two weeks before shining its lights brightly in the warmth of the indian summer which often follows the advent of the new year. We greeted eachother, exchanged stories, and settled down to rest from the tasks now behind us. Over the night it was as if the house which had heretofore girded itself up for defense could now relax as its keeper had returned. I awoke to find that the lights over the garage, the smile that had greeted us the night before, had now been let go by the tape which had held it up. In the youth of the morning I cleaned up the lights and thought of the house which embraced this strange new family so warmly. Its previous keepers must have treated it very well indeed that it has so much kindness to spare upon us.

1 Januarius 2005

Everyone but Maxwell stayed up to bring in the new year. Christie and her friend Spring joined us for this festive event at Geege's. Actually, come to think of it, Geege went to bed about eight. I think one of the reasons she'll enjoy good health on her 78th birthday Monday is that she knows her limits and is not afraid to live by them when she's got a house full of tweens who're planning to watch the ball drop. This afternoon we're going over to the King's to see the whole gang. You'll find pictures of both events appended below. Also note that a new year seemed like a good time to start a new blog page, so there's a link at the bottom of this page to 2004's blog, as well as on the blog menu page.

Christie y Bradley con sus cervezas.

Previous Year's Blog:

Last Modified: 31 Dezember 2005 by Bradley James Wogsland.
Copyright © 2005 Bradley James Wogsland.