§ A New Home


We took up residence in our new town home on 1 April 2004. The entire place was very functional within a week. I didn’t have a decent camera until the fall, so pictures are few, but I was pretty busy playing Mr. Mom.

These first pictures show us on our patio. My picture was taken slightly later. The pictures of Damien, Jacob and Maxwell were taken using my flip phone.

Notice the sun in Damien’s eyes. I loved eating on the patio, but it seems that the sun or the insects were too often a nuisance for the boys.

It looks like Jacob is using his favorite melamine plate – Sponge Bob. We had an eclectic collection of melamine dishes in all of the boys favorite characters.

Notice the duck waddling across the open lawn. They were regular visitors. Later our friends from the UK will take up residence a few doors down and begin to feed the ducks.

On our first weekend we took our first walk along the canal to Meridian Centre Park. Jacob noticed baby snakes on the hill alongside the path, and we realized that there were hundreds if not thousands. It was memorable but not photographed. They were excited to explore their new home. A special hit was the fort in the basement made from a washing machine box, a dryer box and a refrigerator box.

§ A Fall Visit with Grandma


Grandma could not have picked a better time for a visit. The weather was beautiful. Every year we went to McCracken Farms, no longer in business, for a hayride to the pumpkin patch. There was a petting zoo, a hay structure for climbing, photo ops and more. It was great to have Grandma along.

Jacob has already bagged his pumpkin and is taking a rest. You can see the rest of us standing in another picture. It looks like I have a bag of empty bags, so we need to go find our pumpkins. The pictures on the bumpy hay wagons didn’t work out too well.

Carving pumpkins is a very serious business. You can see Max intently scooping the guts out of the pumpkin. Grandma is holding a bag for Max to place the messy innards. The other two boys were not so enthusiastic about putting their hands into the slimy inside of a pumpkin.

We always use a reciprocating power saw to carve our Jack-O-Lanterns. You can see me carving the face of our first Jack-O-Lantern. It takes a while since each boy has a pumpkin.

The kitchen seemed so spacious back then! It helped that the boys were rather small, but we had less stuff in those days.

Our trip to Hurd Orchard was especially memorable. The boys loved picking the apples. The weather was beautiful. This was our first trip to the orchard, but it was to become a regular practice.


§ Halloween Costumes


Halloween was fun in those days! Damien loved his Woody and Bullseye costume from Toy Story 2. Jacob was obsessed with Sponge Bob Square Pants. Max was some sort of devil in a red cape, but the blood-oozing mask and pitchfork were not allowed at school.

§ Birthday Cakes


Damien’s birthday is 5 November. It was fun baking him a cake in my new kitchen. Of course we get the annual photo of blowing out the candles. Born in 2000 Damien would have been turning four. That was a fun age!

I made two cakes for Jacob, and the one on the plastic platter went to school. Jacob thought it was pretty cool to have two cakes.

You can tell it was autumn by the squash and pumpkin on the table. I am struck by the starkness of the walls that are now thoroughly adorned a decade later. They boys also fit around the table so easily.

§ Christmas


Thanksgiving and Christmas were both especially fun this year. My contract at The University of Rochester Laboratory for Laser Energetics had ended on 1 October, and I was burning cash at an alarming rate. Just before Thanksgiving I got a new job at ITT – Space Systems Division, but I did not begin until Christmas. It was like an extended vacation, and I was so calm, relaxed and able to enjoy the boys. It was my year for Thanksgiving.

The stockings were hung along the staircase, and the banister was wrapped in garland and lights. This scheme is still repeated each year. The boys cut stars by hand and decorated them with glitter glue. Hung from the ceiling they give a beautiful effect when the only light comes from Christmas lights.

The Christmas tree was a bit more sparse than usual, but we had all of the ornaments from Great Aunt Patt. I had the time to fashion a new tree skirt.

The boys made paper chains from green and red construction paper. They made awesome decorations.

How do you wrap a boy’s favorite stuffed animal? Put it in a giant felt Christmas bag. Damien loved loading that bag full of this and that and dragging it around the house, sometimes playing Santa. Jacob got Sully from Monsters Inc. Max got his favorite: Stitch. Nemo was perfect for Damien who couldn’t watch Finding Nemo often enough.

Grandma and Grandpa added to the Nutcracker collections. Max displays his.

Jacob opened his aquasaurs which were a huge hit. Max received an ant farm, and Damien got caterpillars/butterflies, but those could not be shipped until warmer temperatures arrived.

All of the boys got new Disney pajamas. That was the best deal for Damien who get them all as hand-me-downs later.

The dining room looked awesome set for Christmas dinner. A magical Christmas to remember. It may have been my favorite ever.