Wednesday, December 28, 2011

More Skype Please

Smiley has a few friends and family members he chats with using Skype.  But as the rainy days arrive he has said he wants more.

Since I no longer use Facebook to read how friends are doing, I would also enjoy more chatting with old friends.

(It's not that Facebook has grown less useful for keeping in touch.  But the boys get jealous when I am paying attention to the computer and they are not participating.)

My user name on Skype is just my name squished together: davidvanslyke.

December Videos

After a very long break from processing any home videos, a few from recent days are online.

During the days before Christmas you can see Gallant trying to crawl and playing in his exersaucer and Smiley making gingerbread cookies on a krumkake iron.

You can contrast Gallant's tired jumper play from his normally active jumper play.  He really leaps about!  (Smiley never enjoyed the jumper that much.)

On Christmas day my wife's parents and brother were with us.  Smiley opened a magnetic number set from his aunt and uncle, a big Richard Scary story book from his grandparents, a toy tool set from us, and a tiny duplo set from his brother.  He also helped distribute presents.

Gallant was napping when we shifted from brunch to presents.  Once he awoke he played with a present and enjoyed some nice tummy time.  Then both boys played more.  Gallant's last present was a noisy one from his aunt and uncle.

The last nights of Chanukah also had a few more "big" presents from their great-grandmother and other relatives, but we did not film those being opened or used.  Gallant got a Mozart Cube since that was one of his brother's favorite toys at that age but it broke from so much use.  Smiley got some puzzles, a magnetic days of the week chart, and a second Frog and Toad book.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Werner Herzog reads Curious George

Here is something delightful I found today after wondering if YouTube had any Curious George cartoons for Smiley to watch as a reward.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Local Wood, Revised

Back in January I wrote about needing a new source of firewood.

Today we had two cords of madrone delivered.  I had not seen only madrone sold since 2008--when I check (which admittedly is not often) only fir or "mixed hardwood" has been offered the past few years.

This wood is great for a small, hot fire.  Very clean wood, cut to the desired 14", and with pieces neither too small to burn long nor so large they force a needlessly big fire.

My inexpensive moisture meter reads 16% to 19%, which if accurate is acceptable for seasoned wood but not superb.  But madrone burns wonderfully slowly and hotly.  Even if at the moist end of what counts as seasoned, this may be the best load of firewood we have ever had.

The wood's supplier is a friendly fellow named Steve Wright.  If you need nice firewood, his e-mail is

UPDATE: I had a moment to do some quick math.  But different internet charts disagree about how many BTUs of heat are in an average cord of fir and madrone.  Fir is listed as 21 to 26 million BTUs per cord.  Madrone is listed as 29 to 31 BTUs per cord.  So fir, which sells for $160 per cord here, costs $6.15 to $7.62 per million BTUs of heat.  Madrone costs $250 per cord, so $8.06 to $8.62 per million BTUs of heat.  The fir costs less money but more of your time since the stove needs refilling much more often.  One stove full of madrone also burns all night leaving big coals in the morning; fir needs refilling during the night or lighting a new fire in the morning.  (I can't find any estimate for the cost per million BTUs for our electric furnace.  It is substantially more.)

Friday, December 02, 2011

Gallant at Six Months

(Hm.  I cannot find any blog post for Smiley's six month checkup measurements for comparison.  Odd.  The best I can find is his nine month measurements.  Sorry!)

Today Gallant had his six month checkup.  He was 25 inches tall (8th percentile) and he weighed 15 pounds, 6 ounces (15th percentile). His head size was 43.7 cm (50th percentile).

But we already knew he was a bit small, chunky, and had a big head.

How is Gallant doing?

He has learned to sit up very well without support.  Of course, reaching to the side for a toy makes him fall over since he does not mind that outcome.

I already wrote about his learning to eat and his first foods.  Eating solid food is his change with the biggest effect for me since a surprising amount of time is taken up preparing his foods and feeding him.

He is farther along towards crawling.  He still cannot hold the crawling position on his own, but can slowly scoot forward by using his back legs and the side of his forehead in a manner that makes me wonder why he does not have a forehead rug burn.  We have the baby corral set up in the sitting room as a safe floor play place when I am away for more than two minutes.

But I am quite happy that Gallant is not crawling as early as Smiley was.  I can still set Gallant down on the floor and know that he will still be there a couple minutes later, which allows Smiley to "babysit" (which he loves) in any room while I go warm a bottle or move clothes to the dryer.

What else?  Gallant now rolls over better, from his back to his tummy and back, without problem.  He is sleeping better but still not through the night.  He still chews as if teething, but no teeth are imminent.  He still will not use a pacifier.