I was telling my mom the other day about how strange it was that Pittsburgh is all but closed down after the snowstorm on Saturday.  Even the major roads (5th, Forbes, Negley, Penn) are not plowed, or rather, seem to have been plowed after one foot of snow fell, but then they didn't come around again for the next six to twelve inches. (More)

Posted by Jon Daley on February 9, 2010, 10:45 am | Read 4559 times | Comments (5)
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Taxes weren't too bad to calculate this year, though last year we paid TaxAct, so apparently, they decided we aren't ever allowed to go back to the free version again, unless I sign up with a new username.  So, we ended up just doing them on paper, and discovered that in some ways, TaxAct makes it more difficult, since they require you to type in lots of extra information that isn't actually needed.  e.g. they make you type in all of the contents of the 1099-MISC forms, (and this year we have ten of them or something like that) and really all the IRS wants is a total number for all self-employed income, so the paper version is much quicker. (More)

Posted by Jon Daley on February 9, 2010, 12:19 am | Read 2458 times | Comments (1)
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2/1 - Jonathan, munching on dried cranberries, "I would have a happy life with air, cranberries, a Bible, and chips."

2/2 - Faith followed two-step directions:  go get her shoes (from the other room) and put them in the shoe rack.

2/4 - Jonathan, "Life is so fun, I can't resist it!"

The last several days, Noah has been spontaneously saying words with /k/ and /g/ sounds, and coming up to us to show us that he can do it.

The boys have been praying for another baby sister.  Recently, Noah thought he'd ask for two.  Then he commented, "Then we would have three!"  Noah can add!

I got a video of Noah showing me the bits.  If he didn't know one, he'd say, "hobo" or "hada" or some such made up word.  It's hard to catch what he says if you don't know it, so I'll write what he does say, "American Flag" (amehuhu a), "potato", "carrot" (eh-huh), "orange" (it's really a grapefruit, but you can't blame the mixup), "green grapes" (een ape) and my favorite "strawberry" (ah-bee-beh-hee).  I'd been wanting to record him saying strawberry for a while.

Posted by Heather Daley on February 8, 2010, 8:54 pm | Read 2916 times | Comments (2)
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We've added our pictures for the last couple months, as well as adding a bunch of pictures that Stephan took at the Maggie P and at Thanksgiving - the delay was mostly because I hadn't gotten around to figuring out how to add a credit in the bottom right corner for Stephan's pictures. And I just realized that Stephan's camera is not in EST; we weren't really up at 3 in the morning.

I think my favorite (non-person) picture is of the stump I purchased.  I would have liked to see that "stump" prior to it being cut and split - it must have been gigantic. Note, also the nifty racks we got to make stacking wood easier (and safer - the wood is much less likely to fall on someone now, though I am getting better at stacking free standing wood as well.

If you aren't on facebook, you probably missed my recent picture (taken from my new cool phone - that has a higher resolution than our regular camera...) of a TV that a friend of a friend gave to us, since it was broken, and he was hoping I could make good use of it.  It turned on when I powered it up, so I haven't worked on it yet, and I figured it was as good a time as any to get our Apple IIe back up and running.  A number of the disks are bad, so that was disappointing.  But, I found an old data disk (after investigation, it turns out it wasn't as old as I thought - I guess we were still using Apples in the 7th grade) but it had some fun documents - some papers for school, and a couple interviews of some teachers from that year (Mr. Kelley and Ms. Cronin), as well as this gem, which neither Pat nor I can remember what it was for.

Other good pictures (since we've published so many at one go, I imagine lots of you won't look through all of them) are our time at the zoo - the sea lions are a lot of fun.

And who says kids have too much energy?

Posted by Jon Daley on February 2, 2010, 8:50 am | Read 11462 times | Comments (3)
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Noah is doing great at his speech practice.  When he thinks about it, he can do /k/ and /g/ sounds at the beginning, ending, and middle of words.  Examples: "big pig" "good guy" "duck"  I'm so encouraged!


Posted by Heather Daley on January 23, 2010, 11:09 am | Read 7119 times | Comments (4)
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I figured I would post this here, since probably lots of you don't read our company blog.  Lime Daley is now a distributor for various electronic products (computers, memory, hard drives, batteries, PDAs, TVs, software, etc.)  The prices are sometimes better than what you can get elsewhere; it depends on what it is, and what deals they have going on at the time.  So, let me know if you are looking for something, and I can check prices.
Posted by Jon Daley on January 21, 2010, 11:44 am | Read 2504 times | Comments (3)
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Faith can crawl downstairs now, and off chairs and couches.

1/14 - Faith finally signed milk.  She still only does it with prompting, but it's a start.

1/13 - Noah said broccoli with prompting "bwah-kuh-wee"

We've been working hard on /k/ and /g/ in school.  On 1/15, he said "gum" correctly and fluidly.  This is a major accomplishment!  (Normally he leaves the tricky consonants off entirely.  When concentrating, he can say the sound with a space before the next sounds, like "c--at".  He can do a few sounds like "ca" and "kuh".  Then "kuh--t" (cut) but not "cut".  So this "gum" was a breakthrough.

Other things Noah says which I think are more normal mistakes are switching some consonants.  He says "wordl" for "world" and "mintuh" for "minute".

Some Noah quotes:

1/14 - He crashed when standing on a cchair and leaning over the back.  He seemed a bit shaken but did not cry.  I asked him if he needed a kiss.  The reply: "Superbats always okay when them fall over."

1/16 - At lunch, I asked Faith to "bite down."  Noah commented, "Or bite up."  Right.  Our lower jaws go up when we bite.  Why do we call it biting down?

Posted by Heather Daley on January 16, 2010, 5:23 pm | Read 8092 times | Comments (2)
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There is a bizarre issue with AT&T and their latest phone - the tech support folks (even the second level) haven't ever seen one, and the scripts they have are made for the original Tilt, and AT&T somehow hasn't realized that while it probably is possible to do it the "old" way, there is a much easier method, and has a side benefit of being cross platform compatible quite easily. (More)

Posted by Jon Daley on January 15, 2010, 3:51 pm | Read 66507 times | Comments (1)
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We spent two weeks in New Hampshire for Christmas.  It turns out that Faith doesn't really like snow.  She looked at me like I was from outer space when I offered her some to eat.  Hopefully this aversion does not last.  The boys, however, have a blast playing out in the snow.

Over the time we were there, Faith learned to say, "no" and "down"  which she pronounces without the "n".  She says "dow" to mean both up and down.

Jonathan and Noah got two sample karate lessons.

Jonathan went on a New Year's overnight with Grammy and her youth group to First Night in Burlington, VT.  He had "the best time ever!"

My wonderful mother-in-law (but I don't need a law to tell me to love you!) took me out to breakfast all by ourselves one morning.

January 3, Jonathan lost his second tooth.

When we got home, I rejoiced to see that God cares about the little things and prevented any mice from visiting my kitchen while we were gone!

1/6 - I discovered Jonathan and Noah using their new Christmas Nerf dart guns to play a geography game, shooting at the world map and seeing where they hit.

1/7 - All the kids were playing Rescue Team.  "Our number is 9-1-9, so if you need us, just call 9-1-9 and we'll come to the rescue!"  Pretty soon I had an emergency (there were bad guys locking the silverware drawer and I needed the forks to be rescued and put on the dinner table) and they came running.  The boys had their First Night bracelets on and their Nerf guns.  Faith had the play goggles on her face and a pencil in her hand.  She triumphantly stepped into the room, holding her pencil out and saying, "tada!"  It was priceless.

Posted by Heather Daley on January 10, 2010, 5:07 pm | Read 11011 times | Comments (3)
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In continuing my tv watching and catching up on the news from the last year, I see that Verizon has been doing lots of ads about network speeds and comparing them to AT&T.  And I found out that AT&T rates lowest on consumer satisfaction surveys, etc.  My brother said he has never heard of anyone who is happy with AT&T...

Since I am the first one he has heard of, I figured I should write about it.  We've had AT&T cell phone service for the last eight years, starting with a prepaid phone ($8/month minimum).  When they doubled the monthly minimum, we switched to a $20/month plan, with maybe 4 hours of minutes.  Once I started my company and the CDMA phones were discontinued in favor of the GSM phones, I was forced to upgrade to $35/month, and more minutes than I could use.  I am still basically on that plan, though it was changed to include rollover minutes a year ago.  Two years ago, I added a second data-only device, and I use it while on the road, and at various places where there isn't wireless, or where people have forgotten their WEP/WPA passwords. (More)

Posted by Jon Daley on December 29, 2009, 1:37 pm | Read 4626 times | Comments (6)
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Since I am in the category of people who is expected to see my health insurance double or triple, I wonder why people are spending so much on their health insurance.  I do see that since we are "poor", we'll likely get free or heavily discounted health insurance under Obama's plan.  It seems silly to me that you all should pay for my health insurance, but since that is the American way, I won't turn down taking your money.  (though I would vote against these silly bills - even if I was offered money for my state -- too bad the legislators sell out so easily; though they now know the right way to get more money for their state - publicly declare that you are waffling on the issue, and let it slip that if only there was $100 million in the bill for you, you might change your mind). (More)

Posted by Jon Daley on December 28, 2009, 11:09 am | Read 14659 times | Comments (18)
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Note: most links in the article are links to our pictures of the wood

As I've mentioned previously, we really like our woodstove, and since we've used the gas less than I thought, I decided to get some more wood, and so I found a guy on Craigslist, who had a decent price for delivering, and stacking, so we bought it, and it arrived today.

In the process of looking for that, I found a guy who cut up an old stump for someone, and he cut and split into large pieces, and then I cut and split it so it would fit in our woodstove.  The tree was a black locust, which turns out to be the hardest wood I've ever seen, and is near the top of the list for hardest known wood.  What that means is that it feels like a rock: when lifting it, splitting it, and when burning it. The picture shows the wood collected from the stump - it must have been the biggest stump I've ever seen - I estimate that there is about 28 cubic feet, around 1/4 of a cord, which is pretty good for an old stump.

But, I got the larger pieces of the stump split and cut (note the safety goggles when chainsawing in the picture...)  And when we burn it, it doesn't really light at first, but then tiny little pieces burn for hours.  The other day I tried to start a fire with tiny kindling pieces of locust, and one larger piece of cherry.  It took forever to get started, and the only reason it finally started was the large cherry piece caught, and then lit the kindling.  The kindling lasted for much longer than the log.  I am hopeful that now that we have locust, our fires will be able to make it through the night, as the cherry only burns strong for four hours, and then has a couple of hours of low burning, on its way out.

The wood we got today is approximately a third locust, a third maple, and a third elm, with some cherry as well.  The maple is softest we've had, so I am probably not going to like that as much.  And they tell me that elm makes lots of cresote, even though it is a hard wood - I haven't looked that up yet, but that doesn't sound good.  They also said the elm burns hotter than most woods.  The maple is supposed to light the easiest, so if we can keep track of which is which, maybe we can simply use the maple for starting fires, the elm for having nice hot fires during the day, and the locust at night.

The firewood guys were the first people that were surprised how little wood we've burned so far (under a cord); they said most people they knew were close to their second by now.  We do use a little gas sometimes, so that might make up for some of it, and since our stove is smaller, it probably takes us a longer time to burn the same amount of wood.  One guy guessed that we had good insulation, but this is the second house (two for two) that doesn't have any insulation to speak of.

They had a good price for stacking, so I got them to do that too (I helped too) and it is nice having four people stacking together - the 2+ cords we got this morning was off the truck and stacked in less than two hours.  And the final result:

In other wood news, we bought a gate that surrounds the woodstove, designed to keep babies away from it.  While all of our kids are careful with the woodstove (I think I'm the only one who has been burned (while putting logs into the stove)) when we had some friends over, the boys were rough-housing and were kind of close, and the mom was pretty concerned about it, and then a cheap/used gate came along, so we bought it, and my concerns (sticking out into the room too much and being a pain when adding wood) about it were unfounded.

Posted by Jon Daley on December 19, 2009, 2:44 pm | Read 19774 times | Comments (19)
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Noah has added a syllable to his pronunciation of Jonathan's name: "Ah-huh"

12/11 and following - My aunt gave us some plastic prisms and we have had a lot of fun playing with them in the kitchen (which is the sunniest room in our house.)  The rainbows come out quite nicely and the all the kids love to touch them and play with them. (More)

Posted by Heather Daley on December 17, 2009, 3:46 pm | Read 6238 times | Comments (4)
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So, any bets on whether I'm missing something?  I've just finished our 2009 taxes, tentatively, since we'll have a bit more income and expenses, and I didn't add in a couple other numbers that will be easier to calculate later.  But, thanks to all the new credits, we have a refund due, and we haven't even paid our 4th quarter estimate yet!

And, we're looking at a new record - under two hours to figure out the taxes.

Posted by Jon Daley on December 14, 2009, 6:45 pm | Read 2511 times | Comments (0)
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I mentioned our new wood stove previously, and asked some of you for recommendations, but never got around to writing about it here.  We've had it for a couple months, and it has been great!  We ended up buying an Englander 13-NCI. I don't remember what the 13 stands for, but 12 is the smallest size I've seen.  The "NC" means it doesn't have a catalytic converter, and the "I" means an insert, as opposed to a free standing stove.  (More)

Posted by Jon Daley on December 8, 2009, 5:45 pm | Read 86513 times | Comments (1)
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