Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hair and More

A few people have commented on Jonathan's hair color and so I thought I would reveal the news. I think I've waited so long because I was really hoping for another redhead. My dream, as strange as it is, is to have a row of redheads. It was always so fun to go places with all my siblings and the first thing people would say to my mom is, "Are all these kids yours?" Mom's response was generally along the lines of, "Yes, all the redheads." It was fun.

So I wanted it too. The sad news though is that as of today, Jonathan has blonde hair. Yes, it could change tomorrow, but today it's blonde. My youngest brother had blondish hair that reddened as he got older so I will keep my fingers crossed.

Jonathan is a crazy kid though. He is trying to walk with all his might. He is constantly pulling himself upright and trying to take steps or practicing standing up all by himself. I can't take it. I don't want him walking yet. He's not 9 months old yet. He loves to do it though. We can hold his hands and get him to take a few steps and he just laughs and laughs. he thinks it is the greatest thing ever. What am I going to do? My little boy is growing up.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Final thoughts on ICSE and Vancouver

The past week was very busy, but very good. For me, the biggest benefit of going to conferences like ICSE is the chance to meet with other researchers. I got to see some old friends, make some new ones, and get some great ideas for future research directions. Even though the conference is long and takes a lot of energy, I come away excited about my research. Let's hope I can keep up that excitement.

It was also enlightening going to Canada for the first time. In the past, I'd often heard the joke about Canada being the 51st state, but I don't think that sentiment is justified. Even though there are many similarities to the United States, such as language and customs, I saw a country which attempts, and in large measure succeeds, to maintain a separate cultural identity. In the end, though, I'm always glad to get through customs and back on US soil (though in this case, it actually happened before getting on the plane in Vancouver).

Vancouver is also a neat city. I was surprised by the heavy Asian population I encountered, though not put off by it. The city is gearing up for next year's winter Olympics, so everything seems like it's under construction. I found the public transportation accessible and using it intuitive, all while seeing sites like Stanley Park and Capilano canyon. The weather turned out nice, which made the trip even more pleasant.

It's now time to turn toward ICSE 2010. Although I don't plan on having a paper in the main research track, I still want to go and be involved, probably through participation in a workshop, or maybe the MSR conference. The fact that it's in Cape Town, South Africa doesn't hurt my motivation any, either.

On the seawall, with Stanley Park on the left, and downtown Vancouver on the right

Friday, May 22, 2009

Scrammbled Eggs and a Fish Out of Water

That title begs the question, "What?", but I promise to enlighten. Jonathan loves to see what is behind all of our doors: cupboard doors, closet doors, bedroom doors, refrigerator door and so on. He has recently started charging into the fridge whenever it's open in an effort to get his little hands on the first thing available.

Today was no exception. I was getting milk, eggs and butter out to make some muffins for dinner. I had butter and milk in one hand and an egg in the other. He hustled right in the fridge and without thinking I grabbed his arm to pull him out. Well it is a little hard to grab a kid with a milk jug in your hand, so naturally, I grabbed him with the hand holding the egg. Well though egg shells are strong they are not that strong and Jonathan was covered in egg whites. By the time I put everything else down my floor was covered with them too as Jonathan went crawling around trying to find the next door to open.

Well I put Jonathan in the high chair and cleaned up the floor then whisked him into the bathroom for a quick bath. This kid loves water. He has no fear. For the five minutes he was in the tub he would not sit still. He seriously reminded me of a fish out of water. He was flipping, flopping and wiggling like a nice rainbow trout. Hannah and I were cracking up and he was having the time of his life. Guess I should bathe him more often. What a kid.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Temperate Rainforest

Here's a report from my first couple of days in Vancouver, British Columbia, for the 31st International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE 31).

Downtown Vancouver from the Granville Bridge

On Monday, I gave a paper to the open source software workshop. It generated some good discussion, and I found some new ideas for the further direction of my work. I also got to meet some people who are also doing research in the field, and hopefully this will continue at the OSS conference next month. It was a long day, though, and I was a glad for a break the next day.

Tuesday, I didn't have anything planned for the conference, so Justin Erenkrantz, Dave Woollard and I set out to explore Vancouver and its surroundings. Our first stop was the Capilano Suspension Bridge, a pedestrian suspension bridge 450 feet over Capilano canyon north of Vancouver. The bridge actually had quite a bit of movement as people walked across it, both up-and-down and side-to-side. After getting off the bridge, it actually felt like the solid ground was swaying. The same park had a boardwalk along the side of the canyon, and one from tree-to-tree, all through an amazing temperate rainforest.

Our next stop was Granville Island, a touristy area with shops and restaurants. It was fun as those type of things go, but I usually prefer museums, outdoors sights and doing things, rather than just spending money. (Although the $3 CAD dropped in the local arcade were well worth it.)

After walking past the Orpheum Theatre, I left Justin and Dave and continued my week-long adventure on Vancouver public transit to make my way down to the campus of the University of British Columbia and the Museum of Anthropology. Like most of Vancouver, the muesum was under construction, preparing for the upcoming winter olymipcs, so the range of exhibits was rather limited. However, I did get a chance to see some good First Nations artifacts and an exhibit on European ceramics.

All-in-all, it was a good day, a nice preparation for Heather and I's tour of Scandanavia next month.

Too Close

Today we went grocery shopping and as is customary Hannah begged me to grab her a free grocery store balloon on the way out. Today it was fun because they had several colors. Usually it's only white. What fun is that? Anyway we grabbed a green one.

I often tell her to have conversations with inanimate objects to help her understand a concept. If I tell her to do something she doesn't get it but if she gets to tell something else what to do we have much greater success. Like she puts the cars, and other toys to bed at night, aka. put the toys away. So anyway, a few weeks ago I told to tell the balloon that it had to stay in the car and couldn't escape. If it was patient it could have a good home with us. So again today she had this conversation with the balloon.

I thought that way pretty funny but onto my point. We have a couple fans in our house that only stop running from December to February. When we got in the house I promptly turned off the one in the living room. We've lost a few balloons to the ceiling fan before. While I was making dinner, Hannah and Jonathan were playing in their room. All the sudden I hear the quick pitter patter of Hannah's running feet. This is what happened next:

Hannah: Mommy, quick. Balloon, balloon . . .
Me: Hannah, what?
Hannah: Balloon, balloon. And gestures going around and around.

Well, by then I could hear the balloon being squeezed around between the fan and the ceiling. I quickly turned off the fan and retrieved the balloon. This is the best part. Once the fan stopped and I was able to get the balloon, I hear Hannah say, "Too close, that too close, mommy. Too close." So cute and she kept repeating that and sighinglike she'd been holding her breath.

It's funny the things kids pick up on. I sure hope I give her good things to pick up.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Name That Mountain

Yesterday, I was flying from Dallas to Vancouver, BC for ICSE 31. The past few days have been pretty crummy, weather-wise, but that meant that a high pressure system had moved over the western United States. Such systems are usually clear and dry, and this was no exception. Even though I have long legs, I usually fold myself into the window seat, just so I can get the a good view. As an additional bonus, on this trip, I was taking an afternoon flight, instead of an evening one, so the lighting was perfect for some great views.

I took the following pictures from my window seat; let's see if you can identify the mountains.

The first picture is of the High Uintas, a mountain range in eastern Utah. I spent a few days backpacking in that range several years ago, but not in that much snow!

The second image has Mount Rainier in the foreground, but I'm not sure of the 3 mountains in the background. I think they are Mts. Hood, Baker and St. Helens, but I'm not completely sure. Anybody care to enlighten me?

Friday, May 8, 2009

We have a puppy . . .

He is so cute. He followed me around all day today. He tried to climb up my leg. He chews on anything he can find. He weighs about 20 lbs. He is ticklish behind the ears and give slobbery kisses. He eats anything he can find on the floor. He loves the computer cables and he loves Hannah. If I'm not around she is a pretty good thing to follow around. He loves getting his tummy rubbed and really is a pretty happy guy.

This dog above is cute but Jonathan is our puppy dog. He has really started to show his attachment to me. Good luck, grandma, while we're gone. We love Jonathan and he really does remind me of a puppy these days.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Fast Sunday

For members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the first Sunday of the month provides an opportunity to fast or go without food for two meals. Elder L. Tom Perry described the purpose of the law of the fast as this, "The law of the fast has three great purposes. First, it provides assistance to the needy through the contribution of fast offerings, consisting of the value of meals from which we abstain. Second, a fast is beneficial to us physically. Third, it is to increase humility and spirituality on the part of each individual."

Today I had the opportunity to fast for the first time in over a year due to my pregnancy and nursing Jonathan. I feel impressed to share my small testimony of this law. We are asked to fast with a purpose and today in my fast I have felt my purpose heard by the Lord and his help given to me. I feel like those purposes Elder Perry mentioned have been a part of my life today. I look forward to continuing this practice in my life as I strive to come close to my Father in Heaven. I know that there is power in fasting. It helps me see what the Lord sees within me and for my life. It helps me become aware of changes that need to be made and also helps me find hope for tomorrow. I am grateful that Heavenly Father has given me tools to come closer to him in this life.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

What does our garden grow?

We spent a bit of time working in the garden again this morning. The carrots needed thinning, and weeds were starting to invade the periphery, so we took the kids out and spent a very muggy couple of hours hoeing and weeding.

Hannah in front of our tomatoes and corn

We've got blossoms on the cucumbers, tomatoes and beans, along with a few tiny beans already developing. The carrots we thinned were actually large enough that we'll enjoy them for dinner tomorrow night, and I suspect we'll be eating beans in a couple of weeks, at the latest. I hope with all of our travel this summer, we'll be around at the right time for the tomatoes and corn to come on.


By the end of the morning, Jonathan was ready to come in, but Hannah and Heather had had some fun with the hose. I enjoyed playing with the macro features on our digital camera, though I'm still looking for a "manual focus" button.

Tomato blossoms

Beans and blossoms