Posted in Family outings, Family visits on July 26th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Jen’s family went to Callaway for 10 years when she was a kid where they met up with several other families each year. Four of these families went back this summer, reuniting after a couple of decades. We got to hang out throughout the week and enjoy activities together.

When visiting her mom recently, Jen found a picture from 1987 with the kids that went to Callaway Gardens every summer. Top row: Michael, Jen, Jen (Batson, now Sellers). Middle row: Kristen, Danika, Michelle (Batson, now Long). Bottom row: Andrew, Jessica, Andrew, Jonathan.

Callaway Kids 1987

And here’s another old Callaway picture we found in Jen’s collection (and seemingly taken by Jen). Possibly taken in 1992. This picture includes adults missing from the kid picture - Susan and Bob, Monty and Mara, and Howard and Chris. This was also one of the years that Jen’s Uncle Rick, Aunt Roxanne, and cousins Will and Sadie joined in the fun.

Old Callaway pic

And now here’s many of those folks all grown up, plus their spouses.


And finally, the kids of those kids - the next generation of Callaway kids.

Reunion kids

We hung out together at lots of activities throughout the week, but I’ll highlight one of them here. The pictures above were taken on the 4th of July, shortly before heading to the lake for evening festivities. The reunion families all found a spot together to watch the 4th of July Fireworks. Callaway was packed for the fireworks, but they roped off a section for those of us there for the SFA program, which was great.

Ready for fireworks

Jen brought lots of glow bracelets for all, which were of course a big hit.


The fireworks show was excellent.


Watching fireworks

Happy 4th of July!

Super Duper Hula Hooper

Posted in Family outings, Family visits, Leah on July 25th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

On Sunday night, Callaway Gardens holds a luau to welcome everyone to the Summer Family Adventure (SFA) program. Apparently all these kids need for fun is a checkered napkin.

Welcome dinner

Per tradition, the highlight of the evening was a hula hoop contest, and our three girls were ready.

Hula hoop contest

Leah opted for the minimal technique - crossed arms and no extraneous movements.


Molly was a bit more of a show off.

Show off

Emmie had hula hoop skills as well. All 3 of them made it to the finals.

Cousin makes 3

All but one of the finalists lost their hoop when they had to lift one foot in the air, leaving Leah as the champion. She was officially proclaimed the Super Duper Hula Hooper for the week.

Our winner

The Super Duper Hula Hooper and her prize (a cup that gets free refills all week long), with her two finalist attendants on each side.


And the eight of us, ready for camp to get started.

All of us

Headed to Callaway

Posted in Family outings, Family visits on July 24th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Two years ago, we went to Callaway Gardens for their Summer Family Adventure program with Jen’s family. It was awesome, and we talked about going back every two years. So, we were very excited to get to go again this year. Sadly, G’Mom and Grampa couldn’t join us this time around, but they wanted us to go on without them.

It’s a long way away, and we drive so we can bring lots of stuff (including our bikes). We decided to break it into 2 days. And rather than stay in a hotel, North Carolina cousins were kind enough to host us. Thanks Ann, Steve, and everybody else who was there! We even found time to play a little Spoons.

Family layover

Spoons is fun

As always on car trips through the south, we stopped at Zaxby’s for lunch.


We made it to Callaway Gardens with very little trouble by the middle of the afternoon on Saturday. We were very happy to get out of the car.


These cousins are looking forward to a week together.


Theater outing

Posted in Uncategorized on July 23rd, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Jen and I had an actual fancy date before heading out of town. We went to see Finding Neverland at the Hippodrome. It was quite good.

Theater outing

It was also fun to walk to the tech booth at the back during intermission to ask what software they were using for audio playback. They were using QLab - the software I make in my job.


Posted in Celebrations, Leah, Molly on July 22nd, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

For some time, Molly’s been asking to try out Hibachi. So, the week after school ended, we took the girls as a celebration of a great year of school. We went to Koto Sake, and the girls loved it. They were immediately planning to have future birthday dinners there.


Small Group Field Day

Posted in Church, Family outings on June 30th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

After several years off, our small group from church restarted the tradition of holding Field Day. While the events previously involved only adults, now many of us have kids old enough to join in the fun.

Small Group Field Day

Tom did an excellent job at adjusting the games such that adults and kids could all have fun together.


The three-legged race can make it tough to keep your balance.

Don't fall

Jen and I moved so quickly we were a blur for the camera.


The egg spoon relay returned to competition.

Egg spoon relay

Make sure to take breaks and stay hydrated.

Staying hydrated

Having fun

Molly jumped so fast in the sack race that her hat flew off her head.

Sack race

Nice air, Leah.

Nice air

There was a hula hoop chain.

Hula hoop chain

It’s the kids from BF2K7 (well, the three quarters that do not live in Texas, making it difficult to attend Field Day). They’ve grown a bit in the past 10 years.

BF2K7 returns

Dunk the sponge, pass it down, fill the bucket with water. Squeeze well to make sure you get every last drop out of the sponge.

Fill the bucket


Jen got a selfie with the official professional photographer.


Look out, some drops are getting away.

Bucket brigade

Here we all (minus the photographer) are as we transitioned from outdoors to indoors for the indoor games.


Tricycles again made an appearance for dizzy-bat tricycle. Observant readers may recognize the tricycle Leah is sitting on. Two of them were originally purchased for Field Day in 2009. When the day was over, we ended up hanging on to one since we had a toddler, and it became Molly’s tricycle. Then, it became Leah’s tricycle. Then, we handed it down/back to Tom (the original purchaser of the tricycle) since he then had a kid who could use it. And now it’s back at Field Day.


Field Day finished with a giant balloon war.

Balloon war

Thanks to the International Field Day Committee for putting on this awesome event. We hope that it can continue for many years to come.

Molly has no braces!

Posted in Molly on June 29th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Yesterday was the big day - the end of braces for Molly. Just before heading to the orthodontist, I got one last picture of Molly with braces.

End of braces

And a few hours later, she looked like this.

No braces

She still has the bottom bar, and now has a removable retainer for the top that she needs to wear when she’s home. She actually says having nothing on her teeth feels weird, and prefers to wear her retainer as much as possible since it feels more normal to her.

She had braces for exactly 15 months. For context, here’s what she looked like the night before she got her braces back then.

Before braces

It’s hard to see the difference in her overjet from a picture, but it’s huge. Nice smile, Molly.

First carpentry project

Posted in Leah, Molly on June 28th, 2017 by c-had – 1 Comment

The girls love their American Girl dolls. Since Leah’s birthday, they’ve been asking for a triple-decker doll bunk bed. After Christmas, I told them we could build one together. They got very excited about the idea, so we embarked on a long-term project to build one.

We started by getting some graph paper and drawing up some designs. From the designs, we created a materials list. Then we headed to Home Depot to buy wood, screws, and paint (thanks to a Home Depot gift card from G’Mom and Grampa). You’ll have to wait till the end to see what color they picked.

We worked on the project over several weekends. We started work in February, but it was very cold in the garage making it hard to motivate ourselves to make too much progress. We still managed to cut several of the pieces (I was the only one to operate the miter saw, but the girls were excellent helpers). They then sanded all the pieces smooth to get them ready to assemble. I used the router to create slots for the side rails.

In May, it warmed up so we managed to pick up the pace and make some significant progress. They also finally got to use some power tools. They used the drill press to drill holes (with counter-sink).

Carpentry project

Molly made sure to keep the screw straight up as she drove it in with the impact driver.


After a lot of work, we had 3 frames for the 3 beds.


Leah measured how long the slats needed to be so we could cut them.

Measure twice, cut once

And marked where I needed to cut.

Make your mark

And more sanding.


The impact driver works much better if you scrunch up your nose.


Nice job Molly (and nice photobomb, Leah).

Molly too

Once the beds were constructed, it was time to paint them.



We each painted a bed.

Painting each bed

Leah covered the bed well, and her face a little. We put two coats of paint on them (as well as a little touching up).

Face painting

The final step in construction was to drill hole in the top/bottom of the posts and cut dowels to connect them. Here we are with out finished project.

Put together

Jen used her sewing skills to make mattresses, and the dolls were ready to snooze.

Ready to use

Silly one

Another silly one

I loved working on this project, and the girls seemed to really enjoy it as well. I hope we can do it again soon.

Water guns

Posted in Leah, Molly on June 27th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

While Jen was out of town, the girls spent a day with their friend Matilda. They had a water gun fight, and were very excited about getting their own water guns when I picked them up. I of course loved this idea, so we went to 5 Below and picked up some Super Soakers.

Water guns

Schools out

Posted in Leah, Molly, School on June 27th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

The girls finally got out of school on June 14. They love school, but were very excited for summer vacation.

Last day of school


After school, the neighborhood kids again took a picture at the circle, as we’ve done every year.

Neighborhood kids

After the big picture, the 5th graders who are moving up to middle school took a picture on their own. Meanwhile, the other kids snuck off to gather water balloons. The 5th graders went from smiling to soaking in an instant.

Water attack

This, of course, led to an all out water fight.

Water fight

The girls then took a quick picture for me before running to a neighbor’s house for an ice cream party.

End of the school year

Let summer begin!