Sunday, December 06, 2009

Getting Ready

We are getting ready for a long trek home and that takes a lot of planning with cats and kids. So, it has been a little busy. We all had a good Thanksgiving in Bethlehem with family.

I am hoping to work on creating a Christmas card soon as I would like to send them out before we leave. I will be creating my own and the most difficult part is creating a good scene; I am not creative enough for that (and lighting sources are bad).

Nolan is doing great! We experienced our first burn when Nolan was sneaky and grabbed the flat iron. Luckily he only touched it with a small part of his middle and ring fingers on his left hand. Although he cried for a couple hours, he is doing very good now and now knows the word band-aid. He also knows his name. I think he also tries to say it, but he only really says the first syllable of words now. He can also help us read books to him now! I am still working with him to learn colors and to count to two. His pictures from November are posted on our site ( and you can see that he loves to show off his big smile.

I probably won't be able to post much until later in January so have a Merry Christmas!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

PC Remote Access

I am looking for recommendations for free remote access programs to use while I am back in Indiana over Christmas. I really only need file access, but can get by with desktop access only. For years I used Avvenu, but that was taken away last year, and I haven't needed anything since then.

I have used VNC in the past, but only inside my firewall. I have also heard good things about LogMeIn, but no real details. I currently use Windows Remote desktop within our home network.

Anything else you use I should consider? Any schemes through firewalls you have found secure and easy?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Little Guy

Nolan is 16 months old. I wanted to capture/share what he has been up to. By the way, he is 21 lbs and 31 in.

We read many, many books. It is getting old because I now have them all memorized, but I will keep reading them as long as he keeps bringing them to me. (Secret decoded message, no toys for Christmas, just books). He can point out some new things. He knows most of his body parts (eyes, ears, nose, mouth, teeth, tongue, knees, hands, fingers, toes). He can now point out some shapes (circle, square, heart, diamond, triangle). We are working on colors now. Hopefully he will be able to do it by Christmas. We are also working on counting. He knows one, but I don't think he understands two yet.

He has also gotten good at balancing on my back for horsey time; he doesn't have to hold on anymore. It is hard for me as it feels like he is going to fall most of the time, but he doesn't fall. He can now climb up on the chairs and couch. The problem is he doesn't quite understand that falling will hurt. He can get down safely, but occasionally goes over the side.

Lastly, we finally bought him a toothbrush. Here is a picture of him learning and having fun with it.

Also, check out my YouTube channel for videos ( I uploaded him playing at the park last week.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Halloween Activities

This year turned out to be more than we imagined with Halloween. While missing Fall Festival at CGPC is a let down, there turned out to be 4 different free activities for us at MIT. I was going to write up what we did with pictures, but Kacey already did it. So, I am going to be lazy and just direct you to her post.

All of our Halloween pictures are already posted at in the Nolan section.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Are You Prepared? Keep Your Family Safe!

This past Saturday night at about midnight, the file alarm went off in our apartment building. Being a fairly new building, the alarm system here is top notch. We instantly knew it was a fire alarm, but living in houses our whole life, we both had the feeling that the whole thing was false. Why is this? In an apartment fire, chances are you can't see fire or smoke immediately. This is different from a house fire where you know instantly. So, we did some things wrong! (e.g. no coats or shoes)

On a side note, after the fire department cleared the building, Kacey worked to get Nolan back to sleep. Unfortunately, about 60 seconds after he fell asleep, the alarm went off again!

So the next morning, I realized we definitely failed the fire alarm. It was time for a plan and here is what I did. I started a small list of things we should and can easily grab. I realized that most of the things are in the diaper bag (basically provisions for the baby). Then the standard things for leaving- keys, wallet, phone. Additionally, while we have a fire extinguisher in our apartment, I didn't grab it during the alarm; in the future I will always carry it out with us. Lastly, Kacey and I discussed what we do with the cats. While we figured out a plan that varies based on who is home and where the fire is, I won't go in to details here. Email me for our decisions.

The next thing I did was talk to my bro-in-law Eric, a fireman, (thanks Eric!) about his experiences with apartment fires. After describing our building to him he confirmed that we are pretty good here. He mentioned that it is ok to lock your door behind you if you are unsure if there is really a fire. He also mentioned that our fire extinguisher should not be stored in the kitchen if it is our only one. So until we get a second one for the bedroom (so we can fight our way out if needed), it is moved out of the kitchen. He reiterated keys, wallet, phone, and provisions for a baby for 3-12 hours.

We now have a sign posted by our door with these items written down in marker:
- Keys, wallet, phone
- Diaper bag
- Shoes & coats
- Extinguisher

While readers may find this list very obvious, if you are in a new house or apartment, or have never thought about your fire escape plan, and have 30 seconds to react in the middle of the night, this quick exercise may prove to be extremely helpful in the future.

Some other things for you all to think about. Did you know that most smoke detectors only last 7-10 years? Consumer Reports just did an article about choosing good replacements if you think yours are too old (date should be stamped in to each one). Also, carbon monoxide detectors help you where you can't help yourself by detecting deadly odorless fumes. How many fire extinguishers do you have? If you say none, please go buy one today. If you say 1, think about where it is and where you may be during a fire. Lastly, get a fire safe! After years of putting it off, we finally bought one in March. It was less than $100 and holds passports, titles, SS cards, birth certificates, and backup DVDs I make every month or two from the computer. It is an easy thing to put off, so please consider getting one soon!

If you have specific questions, don't hesitate to ask a fire fighter. They love to help, that is why they do it!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Tumble Gym and other Goings On

Today I took Nolan to the tumble gym, Together in Motion. He of course loved it. He ran around for about 90 minutes non stop, kicked balls, and climbed on equipment. And, it was only $5. I will definitely be taking him every week now. Here are a couple pictures and a video.

I climbed up!

In the tunnel!

Nolan has also been doing some other fun things. He can now give me 5! Kinda fun. He also has two molars in and probably another one or two on the way. His hand was the only thing that could reach his gums that far back, so his hands spent a few days in the back of his mouth. He understands many words and can point out many things. I am currently working on pointing out shapes with him. He can moo like a cow and roar like a lion. We are now on a new nap schedule; he goes down around 1:30-2pm and sleeps for 2 hours or so. I think he understands yes and no better, but he still doesn't always listen to no.

I try to get him to a park once or twice a week, at least while the weather still permits. A couple of times now we have stopped at the Royal Pastry Shop before the park to pick up a snack for after play time. Nolan loves the fig bars (easy to eat, not too messy, only $1)!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Nolan The Goof

Nolan is being quite silly lately! Here are some pics and a short video of what he has been doing the past couple weeks. There is also another climbing video.

His "No No No" dance

Climbing in his high chair

Playing peek-a-boo

New method for eating cheerios

Just give me my pizza already!

Nolan brushing up on his o-chem

Million Dollar Ideas

For years, I have had what I call million dollar ideas. I have no idea if they are actually worth that, I am just putting the idea in context to others. These ideas usually come from frustration of no easier way to do things and I come up with an idea of how to do something better.

Sadly for years, I have also never written any of these down. I also have not tried to build anything in years. Not due to the fact that I can't as I am quite handy, I just loose interest after the idea. I even recall telling friends these ideas occasionally and saying to them "you can have that idea". I realized the other day that something needs to change.

I have now started a method of capturing these ideas. This will prevent me from forgetting as my memory is bad. This also lets me quickly view all ideas in the future to see if any more thoughts come to mind. I may also come up with a method to prototype something.

I have one idea I may try to make in the apartment as it should be easy and not require much building; I don't think this one is worth a million. I have another idea from last year that I still think every working, nursing mom would want to buy. I never prototyped but still want to do so!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Nolan The Climber

Just thought I would post these pictures of the new place I find Nolan a couple times a day.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

So, What's Been Going On?

Nolan has been growing and learning a lot lately. I thought I would share a couple things.

The past couple weeks, he absolutely loves reading books! He constantly brings me a book and plops down on my lap. I am to the point that I now make up different stories than what the book says. It does get old, but I always tell myself to never deny him doing fun and positive activities. I have always told myself that and try to make it a rule of us being home together, as I am here for him.

He runs and climbs a lot. The climbing hasn't been too problematic yet, but it will probably get that way soon. He is very close to being able to climb in to situations he can't get out of. I let him learn and show him ways to always "get down safely".

He is able to understand many words we say, especially in relation to his toys and books. We are still working on the word no. We usually only need to use no when he is transitioning from playing by himself to wanting attention, as that is when he starts doing some wrong things.

Lately he sometimes uses this screaming thing to get my attention. He doesn't do it constantly so after he screams a little, I then go to him and tell him he can ask me for help. I have been using the word help a lot lately to encourage him to learn and use it. I use it a lot when we are playing and I help him with a toy.

We have been playing a game similar to hide and seek. I say "I am going to get you!" and chase after him. Or I say "You can't get me!" and he chases after me. This usually makes him laugh a lot.

Nolan also gives hug and kisses to us. I usually try to extend the length of time he wants to do it :) I know he won't do this for too long, so I am just trying to soak it up while the gettin' is good!

So other than Nolan, we are working on planning our visitors coming in October. Kacey's parents are flying out for a few days and then my mom is traveling via train for a few days after that. It should be good times!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Trip to upstate New York and Vermont

On Monday morning (August 24) we left Cambridge and took I-90 all the way to Albany, NY. For the afternoon we headed up to Saratoga Springs and after eating a quick lunch at a random Mexican restaurant (El Mariachi, pretty good and cheap buffet), we stopped by the Saratoga Spa State Park. We were looking to do some hiking and site seeing. Before paying to enter the park we asked the attendant what we should do as we only had a couple hours to hike. She suggested we *not* pay, drive up to the next entrance, and take the nature trails from there. Great!

This is a pretty small park with short trails. What we weren't expecting, though, was the natural springs there. We saw Island Spouter and Geyser.

Island Spouter
After a quick session at the playground, we decided to head to our hotel in Albany to get checked in so we could head downtown to eat dinner. After checking in, Nolan and I went for a quick dip in the pool so he could splash around and use up some energy.

We then headed downtown Albany for site seeing and dinner. You would not guess that this was the capital except for that there are a couple tall buildings. We got downtown around 5:30 and it had already pretty much shut down. We searched for a place to eat dinner and happened across Katrinella's Bistro. It was decent (and priced far better than the other two Italian restaurants near by). We talked with the gal that owns the place with her husband; they opened the place earlier this year and have been doing ok so far. I got Ziti Genovese (pesto with marinara sauce added). It was different but good.

Tuesday morning we woke up to head up to Lake George in the Adirondacks. I had previously written down a couple possible hikes, but I wanted, as always, to stop at the Visitors Center and ask the locals. We were directed to drive up Prospect Mountain and then hike Buck Mountain. I also asked for a sandwich recommendation and was told to visit the Sandwich Works. Since Nolan was sleeping, we decided to drive up Prospect Mountain first. As we entered the area I noticed many signs "selling" this drive which I thought strange, we are already on the road to drive to the top. That is when I assumed "Oh, they are going to charge me to drive up". I was right. For $8/car, you drive up ~4 miles with three scenic overlooks along the way. Nolan woke up as we entered the first lookout, so we let him out to run around some. At the top parking lot they have a shuttle you can take to the very top or you can just walk up (not far at all). We walked up, not getting our $8 worth, but it was a nice, quick, steep climb. The weather was good Tuesday so we could see probably almost to Albany.

View from Prospect Mountain looking toward Lake George Village

We headed back in to the village to get sandwiches and get moving to our hike. The sandwiches were not too bad and the price was reasonable considering this is a little tourist town. We drove on to the Buck Mountain trail head near Pilot Knob, about 10-15 minutes north of the village on the east side of the lake. We drove up, ate in the parking lot, and then thought about the climb. We had 3.3 miles up, 2000' ascent, and it was about 1:30. We also realized we didn't fill up all the water bottles. We decided to drive back and stop at the first place that looked like we could get water. Kacey noticed the Post Office and she figured she could get water there, and it worked. So by 2pm, we started a climb up the mountain. The first mile of the trail was easy so I wanted to make good time as I assumed it would get harder. We did the first mile in about 20 minutes but then the grade picked up. This was not a difficult trail (except for maybe the last 5% at the top), but a steady, steep grade. As the forest thinned, I knew we were close. About 90 minutes in to the climb was the last push, a pretty daunting rock face; especially since I am carrying about 30 pounds on my back! My legs were burning on the rocks, but with the end in sight I forced my legs to lift us up. The best map I could find to show the summit is this. This is the Bing Bird's Eye View of the summit rock. There are almost two lookouts here. The first one we sat at for 10 minutes or so while Nolan ran around because it was a great view looking south, and it felt like the top. I knew it wasn't, and another couple on their way down told us it was not much farther to the summit. We decided to ascend and made it to a north and west looking view.

I couldn't resist using this photo of the summit!

It was around 4pm and I was not looking forward to the pain of using unused muscles climbing down with 30 pounds on my back, but I knew we had to get going. We rationed out some water and headed down. We stopped maybe half way to share an apple and that was the only food we really ate on the hike. It took us about 100 minutes to get up and about 80 minutes to get down. I thought this was a very successful hike! Luckily it is almost all shaded until the summit which made it much easier. There are a few creeks to cross so old shoes with good grip should be worn. There are two rock climbing sections toward the top, but they are definitely doable without any rock climbing experience if you take your time.

For dinner Kacey had found a restaurant online and we wanted to try it, but our appetites were off after the strenuous hike with probably not enough water. We walked around the village a bit and decided to go for it. The Taste of Poland restaurant is not to be missed if you enjoy this type of food ($4 off for mentioning the web site)! The homemade pierogies were fantastic (on par with the Fetcho Christmas celebration) and the homemade polish kielbasa was great! We asked the waitress what technique they use for making their pierogies. She said the family makes about 1000 per week on the weekends using the assembly line method the Fetchos use; and I thought 350 were a lot! They also sell frozen pierogies by the dozen to take home. We then walked around just a little more, long enough to find some ice cream at Nina's Sweet Shoppe‎. It was good!

Wednesday we woke up to start the hour drive to Bennington, VT. I had a couple ideas for trails in the Green Mountains National Forest, but we stopped at the Visitor's Center to ask for their opinion. We picked one hike I had found online - Harmon Hill. We decided to first check out the large war memorial seen driving in to town, get lunch, and then go hike.

Bennington Battle Monument
Bennington Battle Monument was neat. It is the second tallest monument in the country, is the tallest structure in Vermont, is only $2 to ride the elevator up, and has some great views! We then drove in to town to get sandwiches at Izabella's Eatery. I got the Figgie Sandwich; while good it just isn't a lot of food. Kacey's sandwich was so-so. I think other options in town may satisfy better than this place.

We then headed down the road a few miles to the trail head. The trail description indicated that the ascent is immediate, steep, and rocky.

Trying to show the severity of this climb
This is very true. This was daunting, especially with 30 pounds on my back and weak legs from the day before. Part of the way up we heard rain hitting the canopy (this trail is also heavily wooded) and decided to find a weather report before continuing on as rain was supposed to hit later in the day. After reaching Mr. Fetcho (thanks Eric!) for a weather report, we felt it was safe to resume as we had about 3 hours until storms. Once the ascent is finished, the trail is a nice winding and partially muddy walk through the forest.

We made it!
The lookout here is about 45° looking toward Bennington. It was still a nice hike and we got a move on to beat the rain getting out of the forest. Unfortunately along the way, our efforts to keep the Nikon dry resulted in the loss of my beloved lens cap. Luckily the Hoya UV filter is really the lens protector, not the cap. Any suggestions on good, cheap 72mm lens caps?

Once we returned to the car, we changed out of wet clothes and started our drive toward the interstate in Brattleboro. Kacey wanted to go ahead and eat here, so we drove around a bit and happened across the Flat Street Brew Pub and Tap Room. This place, along with several others in Vermont, includes all taxes in the price of items. I personally love this, which is why I mention it. The prices looked very fair and selection adequate. I got the Texas in Vermont burger which had chili and Vermont cheddar cheese; over cooked but good. They sell Berkshire Brewing Company beer at a pretty good rate so I enjoyed a BBC River Ale. I definitely recommend this place if you are passing through!

My last thoughts on this trip are simple. I am glad I got to spend some time in Vermont, and I have now been to every state east of the Mississippi. I still have 8 states left to do and 4-5 I hope to do all in one trip to the northwest some day. The Adirondacks are touristy due to the skiing aspect of the region, but a good time can definitely be had. The rest of the pictures should be up very soon on our web site. Pictures are here.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Break Time!

Kacey has finished her summer semester of LGO. During her week and a half break, I want to catch up on a few things. Like computer backups, system updates, hard drive cleaning, new car battery, taking some photos, apartment cleanup, reviewing the budget, cleaning the car, things like that.

I also decided I want to back up my blog. Blogger provides an export to xml; this is a good start, but I want more. I would like hyperlinks and photos too (or links to photos at least). Anyone out there know how to do this? I looked around some and didn't see an easy answer. Doc or pdf would be great.

We are also thinking of taking a quick trip during this break. We are considering the Adirondacks. Anyone been there and have suggestions? We would want to do some hikes and see some sites and plan to stay to the south near Lake George.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Nolan and More Biking

I won't be doing the monthly update as usual, but I will be posting updates on him occasionally. Nolan got in two more bottom teeth! He cut them right around his 13 month birthday which brings the total up to 8. He has been running around a lot too, and also we have been playing kick ball in the apartment! It is fun! He can point to my ears, nose and mouth when I ask him to do so. He is recognizing a few toys too. If I ask him to get his ball, penguin, or boat, he can go get them. This skill came on in about a week, it was amazing watching him learn!

Yesterday and today he is sick. He probably caught something at the Stone Zoo on Friday. We were only there for maybe 90 minutes and I cleaned his hands a couple times, but oh well. He is being a trooper about it even though he is hot and can't breathe that well due to snot. I wonder who will get sick next...

The Stone Zoo was not that interesting. While we did go when many of the animals were asleep, it just isn't that big or exciting. No pictures of him there, but he did see some antelope-looking animals, wolves, monkeys, birds, llamas, and goats. He also petted a large skink!

Yesterday I biked the Charles River Bike Trail. This trail runs both sides of the river from the Charles River Dam to Watertown. It is a nice ride with good stops on the Boston side, so take the Cambridge side first. It is a shared use trail, so there are runners, walkers, and skaters along the way, and in most places it is wide enough for 2 bikes to easily pass. The trail total is around 17 miles.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Quick Music Review

I haven't done this in a while, but I also haven't purchased much new music lately. Shinedown's latest album, The Sound of Madness, came out in June 2008; I didn't pick it up until earlier this year. I think I missed the release due to other things going on at the time, but I am glad I didn't forget about it. This is really a great album! I have still been listening to it quite a bit. It has a great mix of rock, lyrics, and harmonies. Favorite songs of mine include Second Chance, What A Shame (a truly beautiful song), and Sound of Madness. Give them a listen!

Red is a great Christian band who knows how to rock; and I love that. Their sophomore album, Innocence & Instinct, doesn't disappoint. It's nice to know there are guys out there that are not afraid to rock yet give all the glory to Him. There is a nice cover of Ordinary World by Duran Duran on this album. In my opinion, this album sounds a lot like their previous work and builds very little on End of Silence. I was hoping to see more growth out of Red in this album.

Heard anything lately you think I may like? Let me know!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Biking and Pizza

Two unrelated topics, but both on my mind.

Today I biked about 13 miles. This is roughly what I did. I walked around Pleasure Bay aka Castle Island. There is a small beach here, the Fort, and lots of playground area and pick nick tables. I also rode by Cheers, which is an easy to miss tourist trap. I then headed to the Boston Esplanade. I rode around a bit and headed north up the Charles River to the Charlesbank Playground. There is a good size playground as well as a wading pool. I think I may take Nolan there this week. I then headed over the Charles River Dam and came back home. I have been wanting to bike more, but I don't get to do it much with Nolan as he is too small to come with.

There is a lot of good food in Cambridge. We don't go out to eat that often, especially now, but occasionally we like to get pizza. I am on a quest to find the best pizza around. That means trying many places (of the 189 places that deliver to our apartment, 42 have pizza)! We have already determined that we are ordering pizza tonight, but I am trying to figure out which place to try next. One of these days I may write about the pizza places we have tried, but we have not tried enough places yet. If you are reading and know of a good pie in Cambridge, drop a comment!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Cambridge Parks

I thought I would post my thoughts so far on a few parks we have visited in and around Cambridge, MA.

Costa Playground
@ Charles St & Lopez Ave
Good sized, well shaded grassy area and decent size jungle gym. There is a community garden here that if I trusted the area more, maybe I would have tried to use it. This is on our way to the mall, which means I don't go that far too often. There are a few metal seats and a water fountain as well.

Kennedy School Playground
@ 6th St & Hurley St
There are two playgrounds here; a toddler area and a kid area. The toddler area has some baby swings and a small but sufficient jungle gym. There is a metal-frame car to sit and pretend drive on. This area is fenced with a gate you can close. It is shaded and not too large. The larger kid area has a large jungle gym, swings, and a small water spout. Next door there are also some tennis courts, basketball courts, and a soccer field. As this park is three blocks from us, I usually take Nolan here when I want to let him swing.

Gore Playground
@ 6th St & Gore St
This is on our way to Shaw's, which I don't walk to that often. There is a small water spout, swings, and it is semi-shaded. It is next door to an indoor skating rink and a large baseball diamond. This playground is mostly fenced. There is an area for bigger kids and an area for smaller kids.

Donnelly Field
@ Berkshire St & Marney St
There are a few large baseball diamonds here as well as a kids park and community pool. The fields provide an area in which to run around if desired. The playground is not that big or great, and neither is the water spout. The pool is a 3-9 ft pool with no baby pool, and there is a $0.75 entry fee. Parking is limited.

Veterans Memorial Swimming and Wading Pool
aka Magazine Beach
719 Memorial Dr.
Don't let either name fool you. While it is on the Charles River, there is not a beach. Also, I did not see a wading pool, just one large pool. We did not venture in as I wanted a small pool for Nolan. But if you are at MIT, this is close and free!

Artesani Playground Wading Pool
1255 Soldiers Field Rd.
So technically this is in Brighton, but oh well, it was only across the river down near Harvard. This place came recommended and I also recommend it. Large, free parking lot. Two playground areas (toddlers and kids) and both are fenced. It is right on the Charles River and a popular activity is to feed the ducks and geese. You can rent kayaks near-by if desired. There is also a decent size wading pool with multiple water spouts and lifeguards on duty. There are changing rooms. There are many pick-nick tables and large grassy areas. There is a combination of shaded areas and open areas. And oh yeah, it's free.

We have been to Boston Common, but it's not close and was packed each time we were near.

I hope to head across the river to West End and check out the couple parks near there soon.

Here is a little more information on parks in the area. The park map at the second link is just a pdf, so hard to navigate and read due to it's size.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Home, for A While

The past two weekends we have traveled out of state. Two weekends ago, we traveled to Ocean City, NJ for the annual Fetcho family vacation. We drove down, which should take 5 1/2 hours, except for the fact that we have to drive through MA, NY, and NJ. It took 7 to get there and 6 1/2 to get back. Ugh. And tolls driving from MA, rough trip, were $22. While the stay was short this year, it was still fun to hang out with family (minus Lindsay) and hear about college life, ride a surrey, play in the pool, and eat way too much Mack & Mancos. Nolan loved the baby pool! I now need to find a pool here to take him to.

Last weekend we flew back to Indiana for Sarah and Adam's wedding! It was a long weekend, which started with waking up at 4am on Friday to catch a 7am flight out of Logan. We flew to Indy because we found a good fare there, visited my grandparents for a couple hours, then borrowed their truck to drive to Ft. Wayne for the wedding. There was plenty of grandma time too, so that was fun. The wedding was great and it was nice to spend time with friends not seen in a while. Sunday morning we drove back to Indy to visit with my brothers for lunch, then caught a flight back to Logan. We arrived late to a house with no food, and Kacey needed to get to a group meeting. So, we grabbed some sandwiches and fruit at one of the places open in Kendall on a Sunday night and I took Nolan home while Kacey went straight to campus.

So, we are tired. I am catching up on cleaning, laundry, and replenishing the apartment with food. We are contemplating a trip to Indy and Toledo at some point (can't say when on here), but this will be a long, tiring trip while we should be trying to relax for once.

On another note, we got a call on Friday that a day care spot may have opened up here in Cambridge. You know what that means... Chris has to decide what to do with his life. I have some thoughts, but I am allowing my head to try and negotiate with my heart. I want my heart to win, but we could really use income. I am really torn. Meanwhile, I keep thinking that I am done with corporate America and want to do something else, that is once we move back west. Who knows, only time will tell I suppose.

Ok, I should get off the computer and go play with my boy.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Living in Boston - First Two Months

Living in Boston has been interesting so far and full of challenges. Here are some things I am working on.

It is hard to not go out a lot here because there are so many food options! According to, there are about 180 places that will deliver to us. We have decided that we can go out once a week and we always look for cheaper options at that restaurant; I generally get a $10 sandwich. I am also attempting to try many pizza options in Cambridge to find the best for the price. So far, Basta Pasta is it. Beauty's is close second due to slightly higher prices.

As far as groceries go, we have Shaw's and Stop and Shop. Shaw's is a 15 minute walk if I desire to do so. But, in general their prices are higher than Stop and Shop. Shaw's does have a better selection sometimes, including the only place to buy Smucker's Natural Chunky Peanut Butter (something we decided we would not void ourselves of), and a much better generic cereal selection. Generic cereal is one way I have found to reduce my grocery bill. So every couple weeks, I quickly run to Shaw's for those things. Every week I take Nolan to Stop and Shop and fill up on what ever fruits and veggies are on special that week, and replenishing staples. So we can eat relatively healthy and cheaply throughout the week. I think so far, I am averaging ~$250 month in groceries. Also, things like berries and soy milk are expensive here, so I don't buy them anymore. There is always a brand of ice cream on sale, and every few weeks Boca goes on sale, so I stock up. Brand loyalty is out the window now as we try to conserve money.

We have visited two churches here in Cambridge. Since it is the summer, many people are gone. One church has very few people coming now (maybe 20?) and has a nice feel to it. Not many young people but enough for there to be a couple kids that go downstairs during the sermon. The other church is larger with more people, and I liked the music there much better. There appeared to be more, younger people here. Neither place has felt like it could replace CGPC and we honestly have not been going every week. This is something that is missing from our lives and hopefully in August when students return, a church home may present itself. We miss our CGPC small group!!!

There are many opportunities for seeing sites in Boston! So far I have seen the JFK Library, Quincy beach, tall ships, New England Aquarium (not really a great one), walked the piers, Acadia National Park (Maine), Portland (Maine), Cape Cod, walked a lot around Cambridge and downtown Boston, walked the Freedom Trail, USS Constitution, Boston Common, walked around North End a lot, Harvard and MIT of course, and watched the 4th of July fireworks over the Charles River. Coming up will be the Science Museum, Fenway, a boat ride, Boston Harbor Islands State park, and I am sure many more things. I will take suggestions from those who have lived in the area!

Not Working
Due to not being able to find daycare, I am not working and am staying home with Nolan. This is fun, hard, and rewarding. I have not yet decided if I will work when daycare becomes available. There are plenty of good, high paying job options for my field if I choose, but staying home is also fun and we are considering our time in Boston as a chance to try new things. So while it would be nice to have some income for our extremely expensive rent and not live off of and clean out savings, we will take it one step at a time. Selling our house last week has made this decision much easier (Yay by the way).

It is hard to be a stay-at-home dad. The few people with kids near Nolan's age we have met are all women; this is fine, except that it is hard to really become friends with them. Maybe I need to just give it more time as they are all very nice. As Nolan is still nursing, this makes being dependent on mom another complication that stay-at-home moms do not have to worry about. He gets cranky for milk sometimes, and I take him to MIT every day to eat with mom.

Luckily, the program that Kacey is in is partially sponsored by partner companies; so she is getting a top 5 MBA program degree for not too much money. But as I am not working, we are living off of savings. Technically, this is what savings are for, but it would be nice for it to not all go away. Hopefully, Kacey can find a few scholarships, but we will also need a school loan. Most of the loan will go towards rent; while sad, it is part of the college expense, especially in this city. We are finding ways to reduce the money we spend yet still enjoy living. We will constantly learn how to do this. We are limiting ourselves to going out to eat once a week; and even then we try to do it cheaply. I now review grocery store circulars before going shopping. I review the web for coupons, but there are very few things we buy that have coupons available. We save maybe a few dollars a month with coupons and that is it. I look for free things and discounts. A Charlie Card gets you discounts on many things around Boston. Also, there is a company sponsoring different free events every Friday throughout the summer. We have utilized a few and hope to do a few more. I welcome any other tips you have out there.

If I keep trying to think of more things to write about, I will never publish this post. Hopefully now going forward I can write things as I think of them and not bottle them all up for a monthly post.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Nolan is One Year Old!

Well, we made it! Our little guy turned 1 on July 11th. Even though we are now in Boston, we were able to see some family on his birthday. My mom was visiting us, Kacey's parents were live via web cam, and my brothers, sister-in-law, and niece/nephew-to-be also joined via web conferencing. My vimeo account shows some video from the occasion.

Here are the stats:
19.5 lbs
29 in
Fully walking and trying to run a lot. I think he now walks more than he crawls because it is faster that way.
He can almost pull himself up on the couch.
He is learning to point things out like trees, lights, and daddy.
He is eating almost everything we give him, so let's hope that continues.
He is getting goofy! He likes to play head-bobbing games, peek-a-boo, and is ticklish.
We think he is working on cutting his 7th tooth as he is currently chewing up all his books.

Pictures from his big day!

Nolan and his homemade birthday cupcakes

First taste of icing. The verdict is...

Good! Digging in!

Big bite

Thanks, mommy and daddy!


Grandma and Grandpa Fetcho joined in on the festivities

Grandma Phillips was here too

The LGOs had a cookout for dinner. Here Nolan is playing with the other kids.

Pictures are posted up to June.

Thank you Lord for the wonderful blessing of our son, Nolan Isaiah Phillips.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Nolan is Eleven Months Old!

Sorry I missed the ten month update, but we were in the middle of our move. He has grown up so much since the last update, so here we go.

19 lbs
28.5 in.
He takes steps! To this point, he has evaded the camera during his walking time.
Says mama and dada occasionally.
Hair is finally starting to get long in the back and is still blond.
His personality is really starting to show. Nolan is very goofy and fun to play with during the day.
He is starting to get ticklish.
He loves to climb on stuff and is trying desperately to climb on the couch.
He claps. When he first started clapping he would do it when he was mad. Then he stopped for a few weeks. Now he claps when happy.
He loves to "read" books. Sometimes he will stop playing, crawl to his room and start flipping through books. It is very cute.
He eats lots of food including spaghetti, bell pepper, potatoes (sweet and white), lots of fruit, green beans, zucchini, squash, crackers, bread, and what ever drops on the floor.
We had to call Poison Control for the first time. He ate a little deodorant, but is fine.

April pictures are posted on May should be up soon.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Just Trying to Keep Up

So the past week or so have also been pretty interesting, especially that last few days.

Kacey started school last week. We had a few get-togethers with her classmates and it was nice to meet them. There really is a great group of people in this program. Also, June 4, 2009, Nolan gave us his first intentional, successful step! At the end of May, we got a successful step, but I really don't think he meant to or understood what he did. He has been very close to walking for a while now and this was a "giant leap" for our little man. As of today, a few times I got him to put a couple steps together and both Kacey and I got to witness it. I will give an eleven month Nolan update later this week, hopefully with a video of his walking action.

On the job front, I received a good offer from a great company based out of Cambridge. Unfortunately, we don't have daycare, and daycare for young ones is very hard to come by around here. After much deliberation, praying, and reviewing the details, I have decided not to work at this time. This is huge as we will now have no income during school. I know I will not regret this decision, but it is still hard to make the decision especially since I have been offered a great job. Family needs are much more important and I am going to take care of those for now. We will have to wait to see what the future holds.

Lastly, on June 5th we received and accepted an offer on our house! This is great because we know and trust the family who desires to buy our home, and I have been told they are excited for the opportunity. Now we have to survive two home inspections and then we can sign it over. This helps our current (lack of) income situation because we will not have to be making two large payments every month.

Thanks to those that read this who have also been praying for us. God is working in interesting ways now and I am just trying to hang on for the ride without going crazy.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Reason for the Lack of Posts

So I have not posted much this year except for Nolan updates. Here is a brief update of what went on this spring.

March - Kacey got accepted to the MIT Sloan school as a fellow in the LGO program. She accepted! We started the process to sell our house, sell our belongings, sell my car, quit our jobs, and find a new place to live in Cambridge, MA.
April - Kacey stopped working mid-April. We visited Cambridge for an orientation for Kacey and an interview for me. We spent time visiting friends and family while continuing to sell our things.
May - I quit my job. On May 16th, we packed a moving truck with our remaining things (many thanks to all our family and friends!!!) and on May 17th, my brother and I drove from Indianapolis to Cambridge with two cats sitting in the cab. It was a long day!

So we are now living in Cambridge near MIT. Our house is still for sale, hopefully not for too much longer. Life has drastically changed in 60 days! God has provided the direction thus far and while we continue to figure a few things out, I am sure he will take care of us.

I look forward to posting Nolan updates and also updates on our new life in Cambridge. Don't worry, though, these posts will not contain the text "Go P_atriots" or "Tom B_rady rules". So far we have walked a lot of the Freedom Trail, visited Acadia National Park in Maine, and walked around Cambridge.

If you visit Boston, let us know!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Nolan is Nine Months Old!

Here is an update on my boy

17 lbs 9oz
28 in
eating avocado, banana, apple, potato, apricots
using a sippy cup for some water
walking along the couch, and considers not holding on sometimes
we think he tries to say "hi" sometimes
waves occasionally while saying "hi"
claps his hands (we think when mad)

It has been a busy month, but he keeps growing!

See new pictures on

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Nolan is Eight Months Old!

Or, he was a couple weeks ago. It has been a very hectic March, but more on that to come. Here are his stats.

16.8 lbs
28 in
Crazy crawler!!! He is all over the place.
Pulling himself up on anything that looks semi-stable.
Tried potatoes and bananas.
Top two teeth are pushing through (he is now grinding his teeth).
Having fun at school.

Monday, February 23, 2009

A Quicky

I have not posted much this year because, as usual, I am spending lots of time with my boy. There are some other things going on in our lives that has preoccupied my mind, so posting has been deprioritized for now. I can't really go in to it at this time, but probably in the next few weeks the cat will be out of the bag.

I have, however, posted pictures of Nolan from December and January. So if you have a few spare minutes, enjoy!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Nolan is Seven Months Old!

It seems like these updates are coming faster and faster!

16lbs 6oz
Belly crawling/scooting - He gets up on his hands and knees but when moving forward, he drops to his chest to move his arms forward.
Finger painting! - He painted at school and had lots of fun.
Eating rice cereal
Traveled on an airplane, and he did very well

Nolan is doing well at school. He likes to watch the older kids who can get around better than he can. He has already mastered the art of removing socks as soon as they are put on. We got videos on Nolan eating cereal and crawling; they are posted on Youtube.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

January 2009, Recap

January was a whirlwind. Life has felt like a whirlwind since Christmas. I was in Liverpool for work for a week, we traveled to the east coast for a long weekend, and between starting daycare and trying to catch back up at work, I feel like I have no time. I understand this is probably part of life now, but I feel like I need to find ways to get some more minutes out of my afternoons while home with my boy.

If you are in Indiana, drive safe out there. It's not worth yours or someone elses life to get home a couple minutes early; and especially should not be speeding. I really wonder what people are thinking on a day like today when people in an old car feel safe and in control driving 45 on a road that has not yet been cleared, with 2 feet of clearance on either side of them. I need to end this rant...

I should have some pictures from January up soon. Nolan is trying so hard to crawl and I have some pictures of him trying.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Night and Day

But where??? Comment your guess. (If you already know where we are, please don't reply).



Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Nolan is Six Months Old!

Our little guy turned six months old! He is such a great boy and such a joy to be around. Everyone that sees him gets a glimpse of him and his smile just gets huge. His little personality is starting to come through. He loves to smile and even gets a little shy when seeing someone giving him a smile.

Nolan's stats
16 lbs
26.5 in long
16.25 head
Trying really hard to crawl. We expect it to be soon! He gets up on his hands and knees, and while trying to push falls on his tummy and then wiggles like a turtle.
First sickness - Chest congestion started on his 6 month birthday, got a slight temp, and at the doc she noticed he had an ear infection! Boo! The doc was surprised because he sure wasn't acting like he had an ear infection.
He loves to bounce!
Mommy has found another tooth. She lost count, but maybe 5 or 6?
He is grabbing for the cats, but they don't like their fur to be pulled :)

Nolan's first airplane trip is coming at the end of the month, but more on that later. Luckily it is only a two hour flight and non-stop to our destination.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The First Week is Over

This was Nolan's first week at daycare. He did great; mom and dad, not so much. He is good at keeping himself entertained and doesn't mind all the different helpers that come in to play. He has ate and slept well there too. Mom and dad had a pretty sad week. Everyone says it gets better, but after a week I don't feel much better about it. We won't rush to any decisions, though. We will give it at least a month. The Phillips Family may have some changes coming in the future which is why we won't rush to any decisions here as they may work themselves out.

Nolan turns six months old tomorrow and we are hoping to make it to the Fort tomorrow to visit family. If not, we will have some fun here while we update his baby book with pictures and his milestones.

Now that I have been back to work for a week, things are extremely busy. I have been trying to accommodate everyone since I have been gone, but that means I didn't say no much this week. My to-do list got a little too big, but I should be able to get it under control by the end of the month.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Let's Bounce!

Happy New Year everyone. Nolan has been jumping a lot lately so for Christmas we got him an activity center that he can also jump in. Just yesterday, he really figured out how to make it go. Check out the video.