Archive for February, 2012

About a week ago, Anson came out to visit. It was great because it had been over three weeks since
I had seen him—I miss that guy!

He got to meet his newest niece, Nora. They make such a cute pair 🙂

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One of the best things about this visit was getting to see Uncle Anson and Mia play together. Mia LOVES Uncle Anson.  She gives him hugs & kisses, wants to follow him everywhere, and shares a common interest—gadgets! 

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She had him put bows in her hair and then taught him how to smile for the camera. So cute!

 

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And, of course, he had a great visit with Kira. She loves science and is currently very interested in animals.  She watched a Discovery Channel special on sea creatures and learned that shrimp can pinch their prey to death.  She then taught us all how to pinch like shrimp and took pictures of us.

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Uncle Anson was a bit more like a lobster. That’s okay—he’s learning 🙂

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We both had a lot of fun hanging out with our cutie pie nieces. Love them so much!

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We also had a great visit with the Horton side of the family.  We went to Mom and Dad Horton’s house for dinner and board games.

The game: Trivial Pursuit

The teams: Dad Horton, Grandma Horton, Grandma Johnson & Me VS. Mom Horton, Aaron, Daniela and Anson

My team managed to get around the entire board and get all the pie pieces while the other team only had one pie piece.  They spent a lot of time reading questions.

 

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My team spent a lot of time smiling and being happy because we were so far ahead 🙂

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Of course, my team couldn’t seem to land on the center. So, Anson’s team eventually won. Here are some pics of their celebration.

 

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Ah well! I played Anson one-on-one the next morning and I DESTROYED him.  No worries 🙂

It was a great visit and we got some cute pics with Aaron and Daniela.

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It was sad to see Anson head back to WA,  but it was great to spend some quality time with him in MD 🙂

On February 8th, after months of intense contractions, Angie headed to the hospital to be induced.  Nora Jane Dallavalle was born at 6:57 in the evening. At 8lbs 11oz, she is the smallest baby Angie has had—the little peanut!

Kira and I ran over to the hospital in our jammies to get a quick look at the new baby.

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You’ll probably notice that I’m using the black & white picture setting for most of this trip.  I don’t know why, but the pictures seem to be coming out better that way.  Maybe I’ll experiment with it a little more when I get home (one week from today!).

Over the last two weeks, we’ve gotten to know Nora quite well. She’s a super cute little girl who likes to eat and sleep 🙂

Kira loves to hold her baby sister. And she even took some pictures of me holding her as well!

 

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Mia is also a great big sister! She’s not old enough to hold Nora, but she likes to sit next to her and wave hello 🙂

 

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When Nora got home, she got to meet Pops for the first time.  Now she knows who to go to when she wants ice cream :)  (She loves Mamie too, but those pictures are on Angie’s camera)

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The best thing about Nora is that she likes to be soothed differently by each person. For example, Angie can just talk to her and she’s fine.  Kira and Mia can sing the “Soft Kitty” song (from Big Bang Theory) and she will calm right down. If I sing that song, she screams like a banshee. Go figure!  For me, I have to do Star Wars sound effects to the tune of the Imperial March.  I’m pretty sure she’s going to be way cooler than me when she grows up 🙂

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All in all, my newest niece is super cute! I can’t wait until she starts causing trouble…err…I mean talking and walking <he he he>.

Next post—Uncle Anson’s Visit!

I’ve been in Maryland for about a month now and just figured out that I can post to the blog from here.  Because this trip has been so long, I will probably write several blogs about it. I figure it’s best to start at the beginning.

It was a cold and wintery night on January 15th. I got the frantic call from Angie telling me her water broke.  Naturally, I hopped on the first available plane so that I could help out while she’s in the hospital. While wandering around Denver during my layover, I got the call from Angie informing me that she had not actually had her water break.  What had happened? Nobody knows. It’s a mystery. But what’s life without a little mystery? 🙂

We spent the next couple of weeks having fun while waiting for Nora to make her arrival. It snowed, so we were able to go out and play. Though, to Kira’s great disappointment, it was not “snowman-making snow.”  We still had some fun outside though!

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As Angie got more and more pregnant, she was less and less comfortable walking around. So, we decided to have some fun indoors. We had a couple of crazy hair pajama parties. Mamie and Pops even stopped by for a bit!  And my adorable nieces learned how to stick out their tongues in photos.  I may be guilty of teaching them that.  I stand by the fact that they are super cute when they do it 🙂

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And I’ll end this post by writing about the Superbowl. We had a little party.  Every year my dad and I make a bet and choose different teams to cheer for. This year, my dad won (though I maintain that Eli Manning won the game, not the Giants). At some point I’ll have to take him out to Dairy Queen to pay my debt. This was probably the least embarrassing football loss that I’ve had. The first time was when Seattle was in the Superbowl. My dad flew out to Seattle, came with me to a Superbowl party, and made me cheer for the Steelers. Even though the Steelers won, it still feels like a loss. And the absolute worst time? He made me cheer for <insert random team name here> when they played against the Nebraska Cornhuskers.  The next time I saw my dad was in NE where I took him to an ice cream shop and he informed everyone there that I was paying for the ice cream because I bet against NE.  I wasn’t sure I was going to make it out of that ice cream shop alive…

Anyway, here was our Superbowl party this year. I had the girls wearing red, white, and blue. And I taught them to say things like “Go Patriots!” and “I would NEVER cheer for the Giants! EWWW!” 🙂

 

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What happened next on my trip? You’ll have to wait to find out! 😛

About 2 years ago I wrote a program called Tivo to Media center because we have a Tivo in the family room and an Xbox in the bedroom.  The bedroom TV isn’t hooked up to cable, but we can watch dvds, streaming shows from the xbox, or television recorded by our Tivo (using Tivo to Media center).  It’s a generally painful process to copy the shows since it takes several hours, but with the program I can just let it do the copying overnight and then they are always available.  This has worked out well, though it’s honestly pretty rare that we end up watching the copied shows anyway.  Still, it’s nice to have the option.  The other choice, of course, would be to simply buy another Tivo since they support multi-room viewing.

Anyway, I was generally happy with the way it was working.  The other day I watched a show and decided I wanted to add it to the list of shows that were copied to our media center.  It had been a while since I’d let the program run, so I spun it up just to make sure it was working.  Of course, it wasn’t.  After a little investigation it turns out that the Tivo web server was returning 403 (Forbidden) for the downloading of those shows.  After looking into it further, it seems that the cable companies have started to annotate content with a bit that specifies whether the content can be copied or not.  Further, the FCC has required device manufacturers to obey this flag.  I looked through the 300+ shows recorded on our Tivo and almost all of them are now set to ‘copy once’.  This means that they can be recorded, but cannot be copied to another Tivo or computer.  Unfortunately this completely defeats the purpose of my app, and I can’t imagine Tivo is terribly happy about it either since it cripples their TivoToGo and multi-room viewing functionality.  In short, it’s lame.

Oddly this bit is being set by the cable companies, apparently in completely inconsistent ways.  I’m certain that some networks ask for their content to be ‘copy once’ only.  However, it seems that Comcast and Verizon, e.g., set the bit differently on the same shows.  That’s frustrating to say the least.  What’s more frustrating is that 15 years ago we could have just recorded the show on VHS and watched it on any device in the house. 

I can’t imagine that the cable companies believe this is a long term solution.  At least, I hope they don’t think that.  I am fairly tired of paying for cable service, a cable card, and Tivo fees all separately anyway.  It’s just silly, expensive, and apparently going backwards.  I continue to hope that XBox will make more deals with TV providers so that at some point we can dump the cable card and Tivo entirely.  Sadly the most recent deal with FIOS only works for Verizon customers and not Frontier.