Monday, June 30, 2008

June 2008 Photos

I've just posted some June photos to Picasa. Included are some more of Karen on Father's Day, some fun ones that Susan took during the day, and some portraits we just took on Friday night!

After you click the link to go to the album, click on the "Slideshow" button to see them full screen.

2008.06 Karen

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Baby2: Coming in February 2009!

Susan wasn't feeling so hot today, so she decided to take a pregnancy test. Much to her surprise, it was POSITIVE!!!!! According to the internet, the due date is February 27th, 2009. That's just one day after Susan's birthday! Here are a few notes....
  • We really don't know who will deliver the baby or where. Our homebirth doctors who delivered Karen have added a new fee called a "Home Fee" that is not billable to insurance. It is unclear what home I get to own after paying the "Home Fee."
  • There are some midwives on the north side of Chicago who do homebirths and would travel this far south. But you have to go to the north side for prenatal visits. And that's not going to be easy when Susan is nine months pregnant in February.
  • The other day, Susan said "You'd think that I'd feel better when I make a smoothie every day, but I don't." That was Thursday. The smoothies have protein powder, spinach, peaches, strawberries, rasberries, and lots of other good stuff. They certainly give me more energy, but Susan just wasn't feeling the improvement. Now, it seems clear that the smoothies have probably been helping with morning sickness!
  • Within the past month, Susan's sister Lori gave her a bunch of maternity clothes, well before we knew we were pregnant!  Thanks Lori!
  • A few weeks ago, we met Dave during coffee and doughnuts at St. Gerald's. The next day, Dave e-mailed us to ask if we wanted a jogging stroller with an infant carrier. He said it was free to a good home, and we were very grateful. Of course, Karen is too big for an infant carrier, but she'll have a brother or a sister someday. This morning after church, we went to pick it up, and when we got home Susan decided it was time to take another test. It is amazing how God's Providence works, even when we didn't yet know that we'd need an infant carrier! Thanks Dave and family!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Talk amongst yourselves, smoke detectors.

A co-worker at work subscribes to Consumer Reports and almost always consults them when he's making a buying decision. So last year, when he said that he bought new combination smoke/carbon monoxide detectors, I asked him which he chose. He said the Kidde Hardwire Combination Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Alarm with Battery Backup and Voice Warning was the one to get. Susan and I promptly purchased three, one for each floor in the house.

That was a year ago, before we even moved in to the house. In the meantime, the old smoke detector that came with the house has been working fine. Sure, it was located right outside the bathroom and would go off after a hot shower, but it was still sensitive, right? Then, we had a hot day a few weeks ago, and the smoke detector thought our house was on fire. Time to actually install the smoke detectors. That was the project for the last two weekends.

There are a few factors that make these smoke/CO detectors so cool.
  1. They are hard-wired into the circuit breaker box.
  2. They have a battery backup in case the electricity ever goes out.
  3. They talk to each other. When one goes off, they all sound the alarm.
  4. They speak. When there is a fire, the alarm says "Fire," and when there is a carbon monoxide issue, it says "Carbon Monoxide." In an emergency, it is important to know what the problem is.
The coolest feature of all is that they talk to each other. If there is a fire in the basement, it will wake us up if we are sleeping upstairs, and that gives us peace of mind. I wonder if we can get a discount on our homeowner's insurance?

In Cook County, all electrical wiring in a house has to be run inside of metal conduit. So, to complete this project, I had to run conduit throughout the house. The hardest part was figuring out how to get the conduit from the basement to the attic. Turns out, in a brick house, there is just enough room between the brick and the frame to slide a ½ inch conduit pipe straight up to the attic. The (now obvious) thing I learned was that it is a bad idea to put any kind of connector behind the wall, because if the fishtape is going to have problems going through anything, it will be at the connector you can't access. Once I replaced that section of conduit with a single piece, the project wasn't all that daunting anymore.

And we'll all sleep better at night. Unless of course there is a fire or a carbon monoxide leak, in which case we'll all be waking up, regardless of where in the house we are sleeping!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Father's Day 2008

Being a dad is great!

We celebrated Father's Day over and Grandma Bettie and Grandpa Ron's house. Grandpa Ron had made a lot of progress on the play structure over the last two weekends. But the Father's Day Project was still to attach the tube slide. But, once that was done, Karen and the nieces and nephews had a whole lot of fun going down the slide and playing on the other parts of the structure.

Click the image below to see more photos of the fun day!
Father's Day 2008

Saturday, June 14, 2008

T.E.A.M. SpringCM does Chicago Cares

On Saturday, about 25 SpringCM employees, spouses, and children participated in the 15th Annual Chicago Cares Serve-a-thon.

We went to Cook Elementary School on the south side of Chicago. There was a total of about 150 people there when you include the other companies. The SpringCM group painted 7 classrooms. Along with the other companies, we painted 19 classrooms, the hallways on both floors, and a mural.

Susan and I have been working on painting the interior of our house for a couple of weekends, and we've only got the primer up. A large team certainly can accomplish a lot more than one or two people. Together Everyone Achieves More, that's what T.E.A.M. is all about!

After 5 hours, it was amazing to see how much brighter the school is. As we were leaving the principal commented that she can't wait to see the childrens' faces on Monday as they walk in for summer school and the school is a whole array of new bright colors. That would be fun.

And a big thanks to Quiana for organizing the SpringCM bunch!

SpringCM at Chicago Cares