Friday, December 17, 2010

Santa's Portable North Pole

Santa has a special message for Tristan and William this year...

Lego Calendar

Each year around this time, we get a Lego Advent Calendar in anticipation of the upcoming Christmas holiday. Thanks to Tom's love of Legos, this tradition long pre-dates the arrival of Tristan and William. We have augmented the Lego calendar with a Playmobile calendar as well so both boys have something to open each day. The theme for the Playmobile set this year is a black knight and a white knight with their accessories. The Lego set revolves around a family scene with toys, pets, family members, etc.
This morning I slept in and when I saw the boys I asked what they got in their calendars today. Tristan noted he got a "fire". This is an expected firepit for the knight's camp. When I asked William, he said he got a "shower".
Here I was a little perplexed. At 3, sometimes William has difficulty speaking so I asked him to repeat himself. Quite distinctly he repeated "shower". The boys were busy watching "Santa Claus is coming to Town", so they were getting a bit annoyed by my line of questioning, but I continued. "Tristan, what did he get?" "A shower, daddy" and he gave me a perplexed look, "you know what a shower is!"

At that point, I had to go over to the kitchen table where the calendar were set up and check for myself. The prior sets had included things like family minifigs, a toy crane, a piano, fireplace, a dog, a cat, etc. While these are all themed around household items, they seemed to focus on the living room and dining room, but not the bathroom.

Sometimes, it difficult to figure out what the designers at Lego had in mind with their design. But there is was. Clear as day. A shower.

This immediately led to some internet browsing to see if anyone else thought this was odd. Apparently, while the shower is a bit out of place, the really bizarre bit is what shows up tomorrow.

There's quite a bit of 'net traffic about the semi-naked Santa. While I had an "what the heck" reaction, I have no particular issue with this. The boys seem to think the shower is perfectly normal. Santa has a lot of work to do and he needs to prepare. Kate seems to think this is an outdoor shower, but I think that it would be too cold. Then the question is where is this shower supposed to be? Is this a new tradition? Does Santa shower in my bathroom during his global delivery jaunt?

Can't wait to see the boy's reaction tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Vineyard Catalog!

Earlier this year, we had some excitement when the boys appeared on the Vineyard Vines website. Imagine how crazed the Payne household got when we recieved this year's Holiday Catalog. Not only does it offer crazy pants for also contains a picture of Tristan and William sporting their whales!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Playhouse progress

The boy's playhouse is nearly complete. All of the hammering and cutting is finally over. (As you can see, the ork was done a while ago...the ofing old enough to have accumulated folliage)

All that is really left is the painting. I kinda like the natural look, but the trim and decking are not weather treated and will need some protection from the harsh nothern winter (and the cyclic global warming). So we had a discussion with the owners (Tristan and William) about color schemes. Tristan originally wanted white, so I was somewhat relieved when he now recently changed to green and orange. Still, these did not appear to be woodland colors that would blend into our charming backyard.

I tried for the "pumpkin and chocolate" that many of Tom's college friends will remember from the SigEp days, but Tristan would not hear of it. After several iterations with Tristan's design consulant (Jennifer), we settled upon "Orange Spice and Chlorophyl" (just rolls of the tongue).

It may take some time to get used to this:

Friday, September 17, 2010

Great quote...from a cat

I am going to have to use this someday...a quote from Bucky in today's "Get Fuzzy"

"I think he is like a shopping cart...he's slimy, he makes whiny noises when you push him, and he pulls to the left annoyingly...but he carries food home, so we put up with him."

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

More Surfin'

Here a great video we caught of Tristan catching a wave:

Here is another video where Tristan gets a surprise.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


When we arrived two weeks ago, Jennifer stubbornly went for a run, desperate for some kind of exercise, but convinced that she hated running. With no other options, Jennifer wound up running most days, first with Rob, later with Kate as well. Each day, Jennifer would brag about how she went a little farther. It actually appeared that she was staring to enjoy herself.

So when Tom was reading the local paper and learned about the "Harvey Cedars Dogs Days Roadrace", a five mile run, he thought it would pose an obvious challenge for her new found obsession.

Crossing the finish line (at 1:02:36)
We are all very proud of Jennifer's achievement. Horray to Kate as well (but she has done this before).

But it wouldn't be proper to allow this go without poking some fun, so...

Here we are waiting at the finish line
0:56 minutes into the race. Where is Jen?

This old guy is done...where is Jen?

Here's a guy with two kids in a stroller...where is Jen?

Here's a 6 year old...


This was to prove that other people did finish after her...

Including this guy hat I heard mumbling that there were times
when he didn't know where he was.


Race results: Jennifer and the other runners.


If you ask Tristan what his favorite part of the day was yesterday, I think he would be har pressed to pick one. It was the day he tok his first boogie board ride:

"I love this"

He got to play miniature golf (again):

Attempting to load the non-functional golf ball canon

And then he got to go to the St. Francis Carnivan and ride the Ferris Wheel:

William particiapted in all of this as well...except that he slept through the boogie boarding.


I am pretty confident, however, that his favorite part of the day was the carnival!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


After a full day of sun and fun at the beach, you need some time to just relax...and enjoy Thomas the Tank Engine with your buds. Here Tristan and William are hanging out with Gavin.

There is lots of work to be done at the beach. Most of this involves digging deep holes (even though city regulations limit the depth to 12"...just in case there are still live munitions left over from World War II). It's actually very rare to see Tristan or William digging a hole...usually they are busy filling-in the hole that they convinced daddy to dig for them.

There has not been much time spent swimming in the water yet. The water has been surprisingly cold and the boy are still a bit cautious of the waves. They do however love to frollic in the surf.


click here for more pictures

Sunday, August 1, 2010


Summer vacation started with our trip to Long Beach Island on the Jersey Shore. William was very excited and could not wait to run to the beach.

Tristan loves playing on the dangerous rock outcroppings that appear when the tide is low.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Rest in Peace, Boru

Our dear friend Boru the cat left us today. He was very sick, first suffering from diabetes, then Lymphoma and finally kidney failure. We think we extended his time with us in a meaningful way, but eventually, no matter how painful it would be for us, it no longer made sense to prolong the inevitable.

You will unfortunately never know how much we miss you Boru. You touched everyone who met you. You make cat-haters love you. You comforted us. Rest in Peace.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Jennifer is in the news...

With the latest season of MadMen just starting, the local press is buzzing about the Ossining/Junior League references in the storyline. This lead to an article featuring Jennifer and her take on the modern Junior League. Check it out. (click here)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

William just chillin

It must be tough to have recently turned 3 and have all that pressure and stress of life hanging over you. It's good that William can take a moment and relax

A Tree falls in Tappan: UPDATE

Well, it appears that my concerns were well placed regarding the hole in the side of the house:

When the lights came back on (and Deborah's important "stuff" were removed), a sizable hole was found in the base of my old bedroom closet. It typical Dr. Who fashion, the hole appears to be larger on the inside than it is on the outside.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Tree Falls in Tappan

You actually would have thought that a tornado passed through my parent's neighborhood in Tappan yesterday. When I got the call that a tree came down in their yard...and took out my childhood bedroom, I was a bit concerned. But then came the added "but there is not water coming in", I started to get a bit curious. A quick drive over to the house did show a great deal of damage, but all indications were that my old room was intact.

This was a pretty major tree. It took out the gazebo attached to the house, the little porch swing my dad built in the yard and the storage shed attached to the house. Amazingly, nothing touched my mom's new car..leaves all around it, but not a scratch.

The bit of serious house damage was to the soffit (just over my old room). It could have been much worse.

Personally, I think the most serious damage will be this whole in the side of the house. It just appears to be superficial, but replacing the siding will be a joy, I am sure.

Click here for more pictures.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tristan and William are officially "preppy"

We sent an email to the people at Vineyard Vines a while back...and totally forgot about it until today. Apparently, they people over there have an eye for cute matching outfits.  Check them out on the Vine blog:  (permalink)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy Birthday, William!

William celebrated his third birthday with a pool party for a bunch of his friends. It was actually a bit cool in the shade, so many of the kids spent their time playing on the swings and climbing the castle.

It's pretty clear that William had a great time!

On the day of William's Birthday, we celebrated with a big backyard BBQ (officially, a Shrimp Boil). The Spiderman theme followed over from the pool party, including a delicious cake and a Spidey pinata.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Playhouse

So, Tristan and William's dad got bored of spending his days in front of a computer and needed to pound a hammer and rip some wood. This has resulted in plans for a playhouse for the boys. Originally, this was supposed to be a simple kit from Toys R Us...

but when Tom found out that the shipping was as much as the playhouse, alternative options were explored.  After all, there was a simple playhouse at the boys' nusery difficult could it be? (And after reading the reviews, I am pretty glad we did not go down this route.)

Early Inspiration

Tom had a basic idea of how to build the walls. Studded wall are everywhere. He had even been lectured on the need for "headers" and the such around doorways and windows. The problem was how do the walls attach to one another? You see, 2x4's are not square. When you butt them up at 90 degree angles, they don't match up exactly. Enter the internet. Have you noticed how this is a great resource for almost anything?

Well, it turns out that this is not really a problem if you don't plan to using interior wallboard. But the web research did result in a basic plan that would provide many of the ideas for Tristan and William's playhouse.

The Rockler design was just what Tom wanted...but he refused to pay $9.95 for the plans. It would be much easier to work them out from scratch.

The only problem with the internet is that sometimes your kids are watching over your shoulder. One day, Tristan was watching as dad browsed the various links to various playhouse plans and he saw this Gothic Americam Playhouse.

While to Mom and Dad, this looked more like a country church, to Tristan, the dominant feature was the peaked front door...which looks just like the door to his real house. Suddenly, dad's vision of a rustic log cabin started to morph into a bizarre amalgum of design styles. The initial sketches were not pretty...

Dad's Initial Sketches

Designs did evolve...and it appeared that the door situation could be left "open" for the time being. Trips to Home Depot were scheduled...and wood was purchased. Taking two toddlers to Home Depot to purchase wood is not a trivial task. The real problem is trying to figure out how to get two 4x8 sheets of plywood and 20-odd 2x3's into/onto your SUV while there are car seats in the main section. It's not like you can just have the boys sit on each other's laps in the front seat...straddling the 2x3's. So this meant the wood had to be strapped to the roof. This also meant "committing" to the purchase...cause once you have the wood out in the parking lot, you need to get it strapped to the roof in some manner. This also tends to mean a very slow ride home...with hazards pieced of wood don't go flying hither and yon down the Saw Mill River Parkway.

Once the initial load of wood was purchased, the first part of the project was to establish a firm platform for the construction project. I specifically do not use the word "foundation" as this platform was just some weather treated 2x4's set on a level plot of dirt...leveled by some available bricks/rocks. Anything more permanent would potentially have zoning implications. With the platform in place, Tom could start to work on the sections of wall that we talked about so long ago...


More to come...