The plane didn’t actually land until 10:30 last night. The girls were tired, but everyone was in good spirits. We picked up my bags and headed back to the house.
We had two showings of the house today between 10 – noon, so we took off and played putt-putt. Isabelle was pretty funny playing. She would take her first hit and then run after the ball, pick it up and then drop it in hole. She would then put her hands up and say, “Yea!” At the front of the course there is a little pin and you can purchase food for some baby allagators. We couldn’t pass up that deal so we let the girls feed them.
I’ve been hearing a lot about Twitter. It’s basically an online social network where you post short posts of what you are doing right then at 140 characters max. I’ll start posting periodic posts there and I’ve also added it to the left sidebar on Frenchville. You can think of Twitter as mini-blog posts so you can answer the question, what is Jason up to between posts on Frenchville.
This past Sunday Jennifer left for a photography conference near Fort Meyer, Florida, leaving me with the kids for five days. This is definitely the longest I’ve ever had to take care of the girls on my own. So, I took off the week from work and played “Mr. Mom”. Everything went okay. We went shopping and played a little Guitar Hero II, but all and all it was a pretty normal week, except I was doing everything that Jennifer generally does. This was a rough time to take off from work as we are transitioning from our design phase into our production phase on the project I’m working on. I was able to push things along over e-mail, but I still felt out of the loop.
When Jennifer got home, she used some of the new lighting techniques she had learned to create a few great pictures of the girls. She also received a new background. She’s starting to get really good at photography. She now just needs to start getting more clients. She’s taken out more ads in the local newspapers. Hopefully, that will pick up some regular clients. She also learned a few marketing techniques at the conference that she’s considering doing.
This weekend I worked on giving Frenchville another face lift. You’ll notice the new theme, but there’s a few more new features as well. In the right panel you will notice “On This Date in Frenchville History”. This section will show previous entries over the seven years of Frenchville. In order to get this to work correctly, I had to import all of the older entries from November 2000 – October 2004. I have most of them in, but I’m still working on getting them all in. I think this is a pretty cool feature. You will also notice, that I have links to Flickr. I’m going to start putting all of my pictures up there so that you can see all the pictures I take, not just the ones I’m posting on the web site.
Jennifer has been getting on to me for a while to update Frenchville. Especially, since I had a Christmas tree at the top. Well, it’s now changed. We’ve been pretty busy for the past month, so I guess I will do a month in review.
For me, it has just been work, work, work. We are starting to wrap up our planning phase for the game I’m working on and we will start the actual construction of the code and making of the art assets. I can’t write any details on the web, but hopefully soon EA will put out a press release and then I will write a little bit more about it.
Jennifer has been getting more and more stuff for her photography studio (a.k.a. our front office). She has lights and a couple of sets she’s is working on. She’s been taking test photos of the girls in order to get the lighting just right. She will be starting to take photos of some of the neighbor kids in order to practice.
Abby has been doing fine in school. I’m amazed at how much they learn in Kindergarten. She has spelling words she has to learn. I don’t remember having to take spelling tests way back then. Of coarse, I don’t even remember Kindergarten, but oh well. She’s been struggling with writing out the numbers 11 – 99. She sometimes gets them reversed. We’re working on it often.
WeÂ had sad news a couple of weeks ago. Jennifer’s Grandmother, Helen Musselman, passed away. Her funeral was the following weekend, so we had to buy plane tickets and meet Jennifer’s parents in Muskegon, Michigan. The high temperature the day we arrived was 17 degrees and snow was on the ground. We flew into Grand Rapids and then had to rent a car and make a forty minute drive to Muskegon. We stayed in a hotel there in Muskegon and had the funeral on Saturday. On Sunday, we dove over to Jennifer’s other grandparents and visited with them and all of her aunts and uncles. Abby and Emily had fun playing in the snow, having never seen it before. It was tough having to always bundle up when we went outside. We were happy to get back to the warm weather in Florida.
If you are reading this, then you are looking at the new Frenchville. It doesn’t look much different than the old Frenchville, but I’ve changed hosts. Back in December we had a lot of trouble with our old host and Frenchville was down for almost a week. This past week it went down again for a couple of days and that was the last straw. This past weekend I moved everything to Yahoo!, a much more reliable host than the small one we were using. So, everything should be back up and going. I will post about Emily’s birthday tomorrow.
The service provider which hosts Frenchville was down Wednesday and Thursday. We tried to call the customer support number, but there was no answer. Jennifer and I feared the worst: they went out of business. The wost part of it was that I was stupid enough not to have a backup of all the text from two years of Frenchville (I have all the pictures backed up). We breathed a big sigh of relief when it all came back up today. I also immediately backed up all the text.
Our e-mail was down for two days as well, so if any of you sent us an e-mail you might want to re-send it, but it appears we didn’t miss any.
We are going to stick with this provider for now since we have a year contract, but if this happens again we are just going to cut our losses and go with another one. But one the contract is over, we are definitely going to be switching.
Ever since Abby was a baby, Jennifer has always loved having the girls’ portraits taken by a professional photographer. Her favorite ones have been themed portraits, but since we’ve moved to Orlando it’s been hard to find a photographer that does those sorts of portraits. She did find one recently, but she’s almost an hour’s drive away. This gave Jennifer the idea of why not learn photography and start earning some money. To that end I borrowed a Cannon D20 digital SLR camera from work and she’s spent the last two days practicing and figuring out all the different settings on the camera.
Today Jennifer and the girls went over to a friend’s house to swim. Jennifer took the camera and started taking pictures of the girls, two of which are in this entry. I think they are pretty good.
I spent most of the day re-doing Frenchville. Hope you like the new look.
It’s been a while since I’ve had the time to write on Frenchville. We are still in our crunch time on NFL Head Coach and I haven’t even turned on my computer in 2 weeks. In an attempt to get something posted to Frenchville, I’m writing this at work, right before I leave.
Today Jennifer took all the girls down to the Outlet Mall in order to get out of the house and go do something. They also went to the giant McDonalds down on International Drive for lunch. Lately Abby has been noticing that some people smoke cigarettes. She asks us why and we tell her that it’s bad and we don’t know why people do it. Today Jennifer and the girls were getting ice cream and Jennifer told Abby to go outside while she paid. After a few seconds, Abby came back in holding her nose saying that people were outside smoking and that it stinks. Jennifer said it was pretty funny.
Isabelle is on the verge of walking. She can easily stand up in the middle of the room and take one step. Then, she switches to her preferred mode of transport: crawling. It probably doesn’t help that Abby picks her up and carries her around the house all the time. Why learn to walk when you have a big sister who can carry you around.
I had some time today so I added a few features to Frenchville today. First, you will notice on the right of the page is “Jason’s News Shelf”. This is a list of tech news stories that I find interesting. This is provided by a site called digg. They call it a “social book marking” news site. Basically news stories are added by and voted upon by the users. The more “diggs” a story gets the higher it is elevated in the list of popular stories. The stories on “Jason’s News Shelf” are stories that I’ve “dugg” recently. Another addition is my Xbox Live Gamer tag under “Jason’s Game Shelf”. This shows the most recent games I’ve been playing on my Xbox 360 and other Xbox Live stats. Finally, I’ve added Google Ads and search on the left. The Ads are free and if I get some click throughs, then I get some money. So, I figured why the hell not.
Jennifer went to something different tonight. It’s called Super Suppers. You get together with friends and make meals that you go home and freeze and have later in the week. One of her friends at church heard about the place and so they went to check it out. She thought the place was the best thing since sliced bread. She came home very excited and with meals for the next 12 days.
Sorry it’s been a while again. I just can’t seem to get back into writing on Frenchville. This week we started our finaling period on NFL Head Coach. That’s where we stop working on new features that will be in the game and just work on fixing bugs. That’s also the time where I put in the most hours. So, sounds like a good time to take a week off. I was approaching my limit on PTO, so my boss told me to take a week off so that I don’t hit the limit. I can’t complain with that. So, I’ve been home since Thursday and I don’t go back to work until next Thursday. You would think that we would get out and do stuff, but we’ve really just been hanging around the house. We did go play putt-putt golf on Thursday, but that’s the extent of our excursions.
The terrible three’s have arrived from Emily. She just doesn’t listen to what we are saying. She is just off doing what ever Emily wants to do. Jennifer and I are reaching our wits end. Today she pushed Isabelle over and she bumped her head. Emily ran for her life once Isabelle started screaming.
Speaking of Isabelle, she has really been getting around the house. She crawls pretty much every where now and can walk down the edge of the couch. Yesterday she’s started wheeling herself around in this walker we have. We’ve been using it for weeks now, but it hasn’t been until recently that she’s noticed that she can roll herself around. Today’s picture is actually a movie. It’s suggested for high bandwidth Internet connection because it’s almost 8 MB. Isabelle has a special interest in this plastic duck.
I finished The Da Vinci Code yesterday. It was pretty good. I guess I was expecting much more since the book was so popular. To tell you the truth, Angels and Demons was better. I can’t wait to see the movie. Unfortunately a preview for the movie spoiled the ending of the book for me. I kept waiting for this one particular scene to happen and guess what? I happened at the end of the book. Overall, though, I thought it was a good book. I’ve now read all of Dan Brown’s books. I really like him as an author and I plan on reading anything he writes in the future. Now I’m back to the Dark Tower series again: Wizard and Glass.