29. October 2008 · Comments Off on The R2D2 Helmet Solution! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,

So we figured out how to keep that wide trashcan lid on Timmy’s head for his R2D2 costume. Thanks to Dave’s Mom (Grammy Vollmer) for the idea:

“As far as Timmy’s helmet–can you take one of his hats, cut off the peak and glue it to the inside of the helmet? Don’t know if this would work or even if it would stay on.”

I searched the house for an old baseball cap that we didn’t mind sacrificing to the hot glue gun, and found a chintzy Las Vegas hat Dave and I won through some geeky hotel promotion.

Instead of cutting off the brim, I simply turned it around and glued it in place. Timmy was thrilled with how comfy his R2 helmet fits him now.

As for pictures, you’ll just have to wait till Halloween 😉

29. October 2008 · Comments Off on My Future Fighter Pilot? · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags:

Timmy never ceases to amaze me. This is at the Early Childhood Center and Timmy has really taken to these foam blocks that you can form into assorted shapes.

He caught the attention of other parents and a couple of the ladies who work here, too.

28. October 2008 · Comments Off on Like Father, Like Son · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,

Note: This is Patricia posting here. Every once in a while you’ll see a post from “Dr. Dave Vollmer” and that’s me writing through Dave’s Google account, because I have run out of photo space on the Major Mom Google account and Dave’s “Weathersix” account is virtually empty.

Most of the time, Jacob looks like me. It’s obvious in his dark hair, dark eyes, and all-around know-it-all-ness.

That’s my boy.

Today Paul sent me this blog post, another one of those funny JC Penney’s catalog montages, a follow up to this one that circulated the e-mail world about a year ago. The new one even has a hilarious picture of Ricky…I mean, Rick Schroeder.

This got me thinking about all of the 70s photos Dave and I have of ourselves. So I broke out our photo albums and started looking.

Dave’s album has a lot more 70s fashion than mine. Probably because most of my pictures are of birthdays and Christmases and I’m wearing really pretty dresses that don’t look glaringly 70s. What do you call them? “Timeless?”

Meanwhile, Dave’s Dad and older brother definitely looked like they could have shopped in that Penney’s catalog! Dave was mostly in jeans, t-shirts, sweatshirts, sweaters. He was definitely an 80s fashion icon, though 🙂

But I did come across a picture of Dave that jumped out at me…it looked like a picture of Jake I had taken last month that he is thoroughly embarassed about. He said his smile looks funny. It isn’t his normal smile, but I think it’s a cute picture anyway.

So what do you think? Dave’s was around his 5th birthday, Jake’s is around his 6th birthday. Proof that Jake and Dave are indeed related?

From 2008 10 28 Dave_Jacob_SillySmile
From 2008 10 28 Dave_Jacob_SillySmile
27. October 2008 · 4 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,

So today we just about finished with Timmy’s Halloween costume. You can see the shots of pre-construction from earlier this week here.

Yesterday I painted the top of the trash can chrome-silver and it turned out pretty nice.

From 2008 10 20 R2D2_Costume_Construction

Today ended up VERY windy! Gusts exceeding 50 mph! We ended up having to do the rest of the paint work in the closed garage, and then setting it outside briefly to dry. But the dewpoints were in the single digits today, so it dried in no time at all! Dave took over the masking for the rest of the helmet and he did a really nice job:

From 2008 10 20 R2D2_Costume_Construction
From 2008 10 20 R2D2_Costume_Construction

Meanwhile, I grabbed a pile of multi-colored Sharpies from my craft stash and got to work on the body details. I used this picture of R2D2 as the guide.

From 2008 10 20 R2D2_Costume_Construction

So here’s Timmy modeling what we have so far. I recycled Jacob’s white sweats from his 2006 astronaut costume. The red light on the right side of the helmet is a red safety blinker.

From 2008 10 20 R2D2_Costume_Construction

Help! If anyone knows how I can make Timmy’s helmet look better, please speak now! I’m using a rolled up t-shirt to set it properly on his head, but otherwise it’s just balancing there like a bobble head…

26. October 2008 · 4 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags:

This is what happens when Jacob starts spelling and decides to help
his brother leave hints that it’s snacktime. Since Timmy didn’t eat
his lunch, I was making him wait till 2:30pm for his yogurt snack.

Today has been gray and rainy all day. Ugh.

Dave is in Michigan for a Google Earth conference. I’m jealous. I love Google Earth and would LOVE to learn how to write code for overlaying data!

So it’s just the boys and me tonight, so we had a laid-back afternoon/evening. We built Legos, ate macaroni and cheese for dinner, popped some popcorn, watched some Return of the Jedi, and had a video teleconference with FotoMom and her son Joey!

I have to share the popcorn experience with you. I picked up an ear of popcorn at the Arbor Day Farm.

From 2008 10 21 BigRedPopcorn

So this is it. About $2 from the souvenir shop.

From 2008 10 21 BigRedPopcorn

I like these instructions! So you can’t sue the company if your microwave explodes?

From 2008 10 21 BigRedPopcorn

So here’s the popping bag.

From 2008 10 21 BigRedPopcorn

And here’s the popping bag with the ear of corn it in, per the instructions.

From 2008 10 21 BigRedPopcorn

The instructions say to fold down the bag THREE TIMES, which is what I do here.

From 2008 10 21 BigRedPopcorn

The shots of the corn in the microwave popping didn’t come out, but this is the product when it’s done. For starters, I popped this about a minute longer than your standard Pop Secret or Orville Redenbacher’s and it DIDN’T BURN! The first kernels popping sends the cob bouncing in the bag in the oven, which the boys thought was really funny.

From 2008 10 21 BigRedPopcorn

A closeup of the cob — several kernels popped and remained on the cob. Cool!

From 2008 10 21 BigRedPopcorn

The finished product. The one cob gave us about 1 1/2 commercial bags worth of popped corn. Since this is about as pure as it gets, we had to season it ourselves. All I did in this case was drizzle 2 Tbsp. of melted salted butter on top. Perfection!

So the boys and I sat down and devoured this popcorn while watching the first part of Return of the Jedi. Then Maryann chimed in on AIM and we chatted for a few minutes. After all this time, I never got around to installing our web cam on our desktop computer…it’s a laptop webcam and Dave took the laptop with the software with him to Michigan. So we discussed letting our boys see each other and talk on the AIM webcam:

From 2008 10 21 VideoTeleconWithMaryannJoey

Joey and Timmy are showing each other their toy lightsabers. Joey’s is green (on the main screen) and Timmy’s is blue (on the inset screen). The laptop camera is on the left side of the picture, clipped to the left hand of my running trophy, which you can read about me winning here.

The boys had a blast with this — I put the camera far enough away on the desk that both boys could easily be in Joey’s field of view and they had the best time exchanging stories and telling each other how much they miss each other (awwwww….).

In a rare moment, I was able to get the webcam working in about 10 minutes…that’s the time it took to install the software and configure the video/audio on the webcam. Usually something goes awry when I’m installing new hardware, but tonight we were lucky — I figured I’d be jinxed for sure with 3 little boys’ happiness riding on whether the software installed correctly!

21. October 2008 · 2 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,

Today I got Timmy’s preschool portraits and I’m SO HAPPY with them! Even though they had different photographers, it was a pleasant surprise to see how both Timmy’s and Jake’s pictures are composed similarly (i.e., both simple head shots, no props or anything), so if they’re hanging side by side in the living room (my plan), they’ll look nice together.

21. October 2008 · 4 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,

Feedback please! I finally took the plunge into a 3-column blog, which I’d been wanting for some time, so I can put the “standard” widgets on one side and the “fun” widgets on the other.

Unfortunately, all of my widget code was lost in the transition, so I’m in the midst of reconstructing those.

I did this all Monday evening when I should have been viewing training videos for work…sigh…

20. October 2008 · Comments Off on A Work in Progress — Timmy’s Halloween Costume! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,

I can’t remember if I’d mentioned it before, but Timmy declared around Labor Day that he wants to be R2-D2 for Halloween.

And of course I agreed.

I already finished Jake’s costume, which is described here. I’m still trying to convince Jake to shave his head like Mace Windu. We’ll see…

After some discussion with Maryann about materials — her son Joey also wanted to be an R2 unit for Halloween, I figured a small bullet trashcan would be our best bet to fit onto Timmy. Maryann investigated those large cylindrical soda receptacles that you see at convenient stores, but ended up going with the bullet garbage can, too.

At our local Home Depot, we came across this Rubbbermaid small bullet can — perfect!

So we’re off! We also picked up some assorted R2-D2 colored spray paints (blue, chrome, white) and here we go!

First things first, Timmy’s going to wear the trash can as a tube, so we had to cut the bottom out of the can.

So first I used a drill to put holes along the sides of the bottom edge.

A close up of the holes.

So with a couple slices with a keyhole saw, the bottom popped right off. But we were left with all this debris. I started with some 100 grit sandpaper, but that was futile…

But a box-cutter was perfect! I was able to shave off the excess plastic, then used the 100 grit sandpaper to fine-tune the edge.

Next task, painting the wastebaskets. We could only find that silver/coppery colored can, so it had to be painted white…

I wanted low humidity and not much wind, but in Nebraska in the fall, forget it! Today is the last dry day for a while, but it was quite breezy so I just made sure to remain upwind of the spray and we did okay.

Presenting, the white-painted trash can! Coming soon, masking and painting R2’s…uh…accoutrements?

14. October 2008 · 4 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags:

I am a Florida voter.

(But I wasn’t a Florida voter in 2000 during the Bush-Gore debacle).

I’ve received questions along the lines of “How are you a Florida voter? You were living in North Carolina…now you live in Nebraska. Shouldn’t you be voting in Nebraska now?”

So I’ll point you here to discuss the laws that govern how military members vote, particularly in federal elections.

Florida has traditionally been a Republican state, but things seem to be turning. I don’t want to focus on the left-lean of her blog, but the Huffington Post points to some recent numbers that suggest that Florida will once again be at the center of attention this election season.

That being said, I’m starting to get wooed by folks suggesting that indeed by vote counts! My military absentee ballot will help drive the electors one way or another. And electors in Florida the Swing State might actually count for something…again.

But which way to vote?

I don’t know. Really, I don’t. To be honest, for the first time in my life, I’m not naturally drawn to the Republican candidate. There are many things important to me that the Democratic candidate is offering a better outlook on Iraq policy, energy, Veteran’s affairs, Social Security, helping Americans through our recession/depression, etc. But the Republican’s platform on immigration, health care and education are more appealing to me.

I don’t know what to do — I want to get my absentee ballot mailed off at the end of this week…this decision will be haunting me till then.