Sunday, January 31, 2010

HD Victory In Sight

We decided that our combined Christmas/Hannukah president this year would be a new flat-screen TV...in order to replace the hideously outdated 19" TV/VHS combo I bought early on in grad school. Should be easy, right? Just waltz into Costco and pick out a cool-looking TV, right? NOT so easy--the entire process has been a grueling exercise. First, we had to pick out a piece of furniture to go with the TV--something high enough that the kids won't put their grimy hands all over the screen--which we DID eventually find and managed to deliver to our home by renting a U-Haul cargo van for a couple of hours. The next obstacle was figuring out how to actually lift the waterlogged box containing said furniture up our stairs in the pouring rain (see photo)...an obstacle which could not be overcome until I enlisted the aid of the Strongest Man I Know, the big Russian who works in my lab--thanks, Alex! In any case, the next step involved installing the TV onto the furniture (it has this stand which elevates the flat screen a few more inches above the furniture), a procedure which involved some frustrating maneuvers with a level, but eventually did get accomplished. The final step in our quest has yet to take place--I recently discovered that I will have to get a new cable box equipped for HDTV--but the end is in sight! I watched a few minutes of the Celtics-Lakers game this afternoon.

Oh, and here's some pictures of the kids painting at home:



Friday, January 22, 2010

Bonus Kid Pics

One recent pic each for my favorite son & my favorite daughter:


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Weekend with Aunt Susie!

My sister Susie came to visit this weekend and we packed a lot of activities in! Fortunately the New York City-to-Boston corridor was relatively snow-free and we were able to walk around outside quite a bit. Some highlights:

Ice-skating in Boston Commons! Sophie's first experience with ice skating was overall a good one, though she still needs quite a bit of support.

We took advantage of our family membership at the Boston Science Museum on Sunday.
Fun with the Science Museum distorting mirrors makes Sophie look like she has the same hairstyle as Marge Simpson.

Max enjoys being toted around on Aunt Susie's back.
Thanks for visiting, Aunt Susie!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Celts-Bulls Game Tonight

Just got back from witnessing first-hand the Boston Celtics lose to the Chicago Bulls at the Boston Garden tonight!  The two teams waged an epic playoff battle last season, and I was hoping they would recreate the same magic, but unfortunately, both teams looked a little sloppy, especially the Celtics.  Ray Allen missed a ton of open looks he usually makes, both KG (my fave) and Rasheed Wallace were injured, and thus Boston was forced to start the red-haired Brian Scalabrine, the team's only white guy, as its power forward.  When Brian Scalabrine is your starting power forward, you are in serious trouble.  Still fun to see the whole NBA spectacle, though.  

Sunday, January 10, 2010

It's so Easy

So easy to make Max laugh these days...just pretend to start chasing him by stating "I'm gonna get you!" and 9 times out of 10 he'll go nuts. Usually there's more actual pursuit than in this video, but you get the idea.

video

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Congrats to Andre Dawson

Congratulations to Andre Dawson, one of my favorite baseball players growing up, for being elected to the Baseball Hall-of-Fame.

"The Hawk" was at his peak while playing with the Chicago Cubs during the late 80s (also my peak as a baseball fan), though he played more years with the now-defunct Montreal Expos (and in my opinion should probably be inducted into the Hall of Fame wearing an Expos, not a Cubs, uniform, despite my allegiance to the Cubbies). I even picked my high school Spanish name ("Andres") after Andre Dawson.

When I was collecting baseball cards, me and my friends each selected three or four players each, and tried to collect as many cards as possible of these players. My cohort consisted of Andre Dawson, Ryne Sandberg, Ozzie Smith, and Fernando Valenzuela, the first three of which all made it to the Hall of Fame.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Last Remaining Frenchie Pics

A few last random pics from our Frenchie vacation, with brief explanations:

We stayed at a friend's apartment in the 18th Arrondissement, a few blocks away from this building unofficially labeled "Ministere Pour La Regularisation de Tous les Sans Papiers"--loosely translated as "Minister for the Regularization of All Those Without Official Papers", or illegal immigrants. It's a big issue in France, where relatively lax policies regarding letting immigrants into the country (compared to other European countries, at least) have led to a significant subpopulation of individuals who have been living and working in France for several years, but without the official right to do so.

Claire & Max at the Pantheon doors.
Sophie discovers "la feve" in her galette de rois, a traditional French pastry eaten around the holidays.
Sophie & her friend Anais on the Metro (both smiling, but unfortunately towards a different camera).
Meow!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Two Little Princesses

For me, the best part of our trip to Paris was getting together with old friends. In fact, a good chunk of our time while in Paris was shuttling back and forth from dinner party to dinner party (and eating an impressive overall quality of food, I might add). On Sunday, our last full day in Paris, we ate raclette with a bunch of my former colleagues from my days at Hopital Necker; the entertainment consisted of watching little Sophie and her friend Leilie dance and sing like the little princesses that they are. Enjoy, Mom & Dad.

video

Monday, January 04, 2010

Paris Monuments

We're back in Boston! That's right, we successfully navigated the ridiculously heightened security lines and made it back to the U.S. after a great 10-day vacation. Highlights of today's voyage include Sophie's puking massive amounts of orange juice-flavored vomit as soon as we landed. Kudos to her for waiting the entire flight before letting loose. Anyways, she's feeling better already, so here's a bunch of random Parisian monuments we saw while ambling around town.

Galeries Lafayette (one of the famous department stores).
Parisian Opera.
Arc de Triomphe.
Sophie inside the Arc de Triomphe.
Neat old carousel near Sacre Coeur.
Flocks of tourists at Sacre Coeur (a short walk from the apartment we stayed at near Montmartre).
The Pantheon--resting place of France's famous historical figures.
The Sorbonne.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

The Savage Coast

We took a nice walk last week along "La Cote Sauvage"--"the savage coast" lining the Atlantic Ocean, a little south of Brittany. It was cold and blustery, but still nicer than your typical Boston winter day. Here are some pics.

Lots of rocks & waves.
Cool rock formations.
Definitely jacket weather!
Playing a game of chicken with the waves.
Quality father-son bonding time.
Afterwards we went to the nearby town of Le Croisic for crepes and cidre.
Max eyes the cider with Mami Christine.
Night scene.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Crepes Galore

Check out this totally awesome industrial crepe-making machine I saw in downtown La Baule. It's kind of like a giant, rotating spider...that makes crepes! Would that mine own dreams be haunted by such a creature...

video

Friday, January 01, 2010

Guerande

One of the "field trips" we took last week was a trip to Guerande, a medieval city not far from Claire's parents' in LaBaule. The old part of the city (shown in this aerial view obviously not taken by my camera) is surrounded by a large wall and there's several cool little shops inside, as well as the obligatory large church.

Here's some other pictures of our shopping trip to Guerande:





Finally, Guerande is also known for its production of sea salt. Nearby swampland collects seawater, and during the summer months evaporation and farming allows for the harvest of sea salt.