Palate expanders for Maria

Young Maria has a very crowded mouth these days, and her adult teeth are starting to arrive. We expect that she may need braces in a couple of years; for now, the dentist wants to make some room in her mouth for all of those new teeth on the way. Late last week our girl received her palate expanders, which will gently widen her mouth to accommodate her chompers:

Palate expanders

For those of you keeping score at home, that’s two Spergers out of five who are now in the midst of some kind of orthodontic work. Nick seems to be in okay shape for the moment, and Anna is still too young to tell.

FIRST Lego League follow-up: Josh Shapiro

After we completed our FIRST Lego League competition in January, I sent thank-you letters to the experts we had interviewed for our research project. One of the folks we visited was our state rep, Josh Shapiro:

Josh Shapiro with the FLL Team

This morning when I arrived in my office at work I found I had received a handwritten note back from Josh, thanking me for the letter and encouraging us to contact him if we need anything else.

It was, of course, the only word I’ve received back from any of our experts since the letters went out.

The way Josh runs his office might be par for the course among politicians. My sense, though, is that he’s an excellent retail politician, and he’s going to go places. You heard it here first.

Also, it’s a nice reminder of the enduring power of the handwritten note. If anything, I think notes like his have become even more valuable as a gesture. It’s easy to type things – that’s what I did with the thank-you letters. Writing by hand signals effort. I was certainly much more impressed than if I had received a form letter in reply.

Running man

A couple weeks ago we saw an advertisement for a kid’s triathlon in Doylestown. The requirements are age-appropriate – four laps in a pool, three miles of cycling, and one mile of running. Nick was interested in participating, so he has started training. Last evening we were out to the track at the old high school complex near the YMCA so that our boy could do some running. Naturally, he’s a social animal and he never runs alone:


Chelsea was out there running too, and I got some extra walking time for the day. (Anna was visiting with one of her dearest friends from school while we were at the track.) With the weather outside getting better every day, we have more opportunities to get out and stretch our legs. Great fun!

Unrelated side note: My point and shoot camera broke this past weekend, so I’m a little light on photography at the moment. (I took the above picture with my cell phone.) I’m getting a replacement camera soon.

Wayback Machine: Paris, Oct 2007

Chels and I got to spend a long kid-free weekend together in the City of Lights in October of 2007. It was amazing.

Here we are at Versailles:

At Versailles

We spent much of the weekend riding around on bikes courtesy of the Velib’ rental service, which is one of the coolest things going in Paris and an idea I fervently hope will make it to the States before long:

Notre Dame

There was a transit strike while we were there, which made the bikes especially useful. Sadly, that also meant that many of the museums were open for fewer hours than normal. Here we are at the Louvre, arriving just as it closed:

Chels at the Louvre

I can’t wait to go again someday.

Phillies tune-up vs. the Rays

My dad took us out to the ballgame on Saturday afternoon to see the Phillies in their last spring training game before the regular season, here in Philadelphia against the Tampa Bay Rays. In a way it was a repeat of their World Series play against each other – the weather here was cold (55F/13C) and windy, which probably felt familiar to all involved. All we needed was some rain or snow!


The wind was blowing wicked fierce:


Fortunately, we were sitting in a luxury box with very comfy indoor quarters:


Nick, having worn his Phillies World Champions gear every day in Tampa the other week to antagonize the locals, was happy to be on home ground once again:


Anna had a good time too:


Between the preseason nature of the game and the wild weather conditions, this didn’t really feel like baseball season. That said, it was great to get out to the park and wake up the baseball part of our brains after a long winter’s nap. Play ball!

The many birthdays of Nick

I think I’ve mentioned before that because of the timing of Nick’s birthday, we often end up celebrating multiple times – in Florida on spring break, with his friends, and with family here in Philadelphia. This past Friday was the kid event. Here is Birthday Boy blowing out candles for at least the third time this year:


Maria made herself an apple and marshmallow face to celebrate:


For the occasion, we took a handful of Nick’s friends to Dave and Buster’s:




We left the girls with my grandparents (thanks again, Nana and Gramps!), which freed us to wander around the place on our own:


Two of Nick’s friends stayed overnight with us afterward, and must have been pretty tired, because they started putting themselves to bed at 11:00 – very, very early for a sleepover.

Gone travelin’: Work trip to Boston

Blogger reminds me that I haven’t posted since March 31st. My goodness! Apologies to you, gentle reader, and thanks for sticking around.

I have excuses – don’t we all? – and this time I can blog about one of them. I had a business trip for work from Wednesday to Friday, and I traveled to Boston. Following is a selection of scenes from a business trip.

I flew Southwest from Philadelphia to Manchester, NH – I think I mentioned in a previous post that Manchester is pretty convenient for my trips to the SAP office in Boston, since it’s actually outside Boston in the northwest suburb of Burlington. Anyway, here we are coming to the gate in Manchester after a very lumpy flight thanks to those clouds overhead:

Arriving in Manchester

I finally got to take a picture of this sign at the Hertz pickup area in Manchester. It has been amusing me every time I’ve come through over the past year. The sign is a map of the pickup area, and the “Gold Room” is the Hertz office adjacent to the area. I think the use of “Gold Room” along with sparkly gold writing calls to mind some sleazy club in Atlantic City:

Gold Room at Hertz Manchester

My rental car this time was a Ford Fusion V6. It’s built on the Mazda6 chassis, and I used to own a Mazda6, so it was interesting to see the differences and the similarities. Overall it’s a nice car and I wouldn’t mind driving one again:

Rental car: Ford Fusion V6

Here’s my hotel room – I stayed in a Homewood Suites, which means a little kitchenette and living room in the suite. I bought a couple of groceries on the way in so I could eat breakfast in the room:

Kitchenette in hotel room

Hotel room

Self-portrait in the hotel

I spent a day and a half in the SAP Boston office, and then headed back home early Friday morning. We were forecast to have bad weather on the East Coast during the day Friday. Since we were having Nick’s birthday party that evening, I decided to fly back earlier than planned on Friday morning so I wouldn’t get delayed. That turned out to be a good call – my original mid-day flight ended up being delayed more than four hours. My early morning flight arrived exactly on time.

Gray skies once again in Manchester as we were leaving:

Leaving Manchester

But once we came through the clouds we got to see the sun:

Morning sun on climb out of MHT

The weather as we neared Philadelphia was much rougher. Our approach and landing was very bumpy, and once on the ground I could see why – there was a nasty, wind-driven rain falling, and the clouds reached almost down to ground level. I had parked on the roof level of the garage, and I took this photo of a plane disappearing into the clouds only about 20 seconds after takeoff:

See the plane in the mist?

Arriving early meant catching the tail end of rush hour in Philadelphia, so I sat in a decent amount of traffic on the Blue Route coming home:

Traffic on the way home

Isn’t business travel glamorous?