January 31, 2010

"I AM PROGRAMMED TO BEAT YOU."

I got a COMP IV yesterday from the Goodwill and straight out of 1978. This thing is amazing! If the instructions were not included I never would have figured out how to play it. It's basically a logic puzzle where you have to guess a randomized number the machine generates. One would think the basic instructions might be on a sticker on the back. NOPE. The interface is so opaque my mind was blown. To make sure the machine is working correctly, you type 7E12345E and all the lights flash if things are good. Sweet.

January 28, 2010

January 24, 2010

Why are you making a mess, Alden?

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Something that has come with Alden acquiring language skills is that he either describes what he is doing while doing it, or asking why he is doing something while doing it. In this case he's declaring that he is making a mess. Other times he will approach a toy on the floor and kick it across the room asking "Why kicking, why kicking?". If he has food he does not like (like an apple peel, for example) he will earnestly ask "Why Alden dropping peel?" while he releases it and watches it drop the floor.Digging through Ilana's wallet.

January 22, 2010

Cleaning before the party

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Little helper

January 18, 2010

Alden's Second Birthday

For the third year in a row, a hefty snow storm marked the coming of Alden's birthday. By Gilg standards, that means it's officially a tradition. We feared that the snow would keep the revelers home again, but they came out in droves!
Alden is not a fan of birthday cakes, at least that's what we hear from his caregivers at daycare. Mothers of kids with birthdays bring cupcakes or muffins for everyone to share and Alden rarely does more than poke at the frosting. After brainstorming with Alden's caregivers and Kerstin, I settled an apple spice cake garnished with fresh apples as the confection with the least chance of offending. It was spicy, gingery and sweet, but not overly so, as it was sweetened with molasses and applesauce. I thought it was a rather complex cake and wasn't sure how kids would take to it, but they all surprised us and chowed. The biggest hit for Alden was the ice cream, though. It was his first taste of vanilla ice cream and he was enchanted. He spent most of the evening reliving the magic, muttering "ice cream... cold.... delicious!!"Our friends the Burnes' and my boss and family came to the party, as did Karen and John Carnes from the Artdogs, to whom Alden has taken a particular shine. Alden liked the birthday song and candle ritual so much that he asked us to do it twice. Evelyn helped him blow out the candles the second time. Neither of them really could aim, but they knew what to do and eventually they got it done. Go team!

When there was a lull in the storm, a small group of us went out to the backyard to try out a few sled runs. The new snow was really powdery and fast, but it took a while to get it packed down enough to make it all the way down the hill. We kept hitting embankments and coming to a soft halt in about a foot and half of powdery snow. Once our trail was established, it was much faster. We were also treated to an especially gorgeous sunset.
Alden seemed to have a really nice time and was genuinely happy to have everyone celebrate him. We skyped with family after the party and opened some gifts. Then I got to work baking a blueberry pie for the next day at daycare. I'm sure the mothers will curse me mightily tomorrow when they pick up their purple-toothed children with stained clothes and fingers, but I know that this is one treat my finicky little munchkin will eat with great gusto and to hell with the billowy chocolate cupcakes.

January 17, 2010

Two Fun Little Videos

For those who may not know, Alex is Ben's special lady. Alden digs her.

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Alden has a few thoughts about loved ones inside his cubby and invents a few new games. "Slipping" is a game where you lean your back against the curved wall of the living room and let your stocking feet slip out from under you. Alden invented this game and, not surprisingly, incurred a couple of head injuries while trying to perfect it (I edited that part out). The other game he came up with recently is a banging out "Frere Jacques" on an out-of-tune xylophone with the metal end of an electric guitar jack. Good times

January 15, 2010

Capricorn Ball 2010

Alden experienced his second Capricorn Ball on January 9 and he LOVED it.

This year's sculpture was built by Lihua Lei and had a spiral 'fuse' that coiled around a central effigy of a goat head, so instead there was more anticipation to the piece than usual. Alden liked the fire, but he especially liked the the drumming around the fire. Part of the ritual is that a variety of percussion instruments are handed out to various people and they are asked to play. Whatever rhythms are produced are done so spontaneously and somewhat arrhythmically. It's been this way for as long as we've attended the event, which is on and off for the past ten years or so.

Alden's cheeks and ears got a little windburn towards the end because it was quite cold that night (even with the fire). Even so, he didn't want to go back inside we felt he had enough. He just stared and stared at the fire and all the well-meaning percussionists in the circle.

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The really special time came when the band started to play inside. Alden loves music, but he has never seen a live performance until now. The band was the Zulu Leprechauns and Alden thought they were the best thing ever. He was also really into the people dancing and danced a little himself.

January 12, 2010

A few more New Years pix

Alden falling asleep during his tractor ride. Can you believe that? It happened twice.
Alden got a 'doll house' in a modern European style from Scott and Lydia. The animals quickly evicted the people and took over the place.
We hit the pond in the final hours of 2009 and lit torches and skated around. Here Aaron skates backwards through the fire he and Ben set on the ice for New Year's Eve. No one else had the skill on skates or the confidence to attempt this feat.Three generations of Hobson boys.

January 8, 2010

New Year's Weekend

Ice "dendrites" on Winona Pond.

We went to my Dad's house for the New Year's Eve weekend. Both my brothers flew out from their respective homes in the Northwest and Southwest. This was the first time we met baby Levin, Alden's first cousin and the first child of Aaron and Liz. This was also my Dad's first time meeting the little guy. We were very impressed by Levin's easy-going disposition, his ability to sleep, and his general sweetness. It amazes me just how different babies really are.
It was a very snowy weekend. Maine bore the brunt of the storm, but in NH all we had were a few days of flurries and maybe 6-8 inches amassed total. We took Alden out on the ice in a plastic sled that we pulled behind us. He was cool when my Dad or I pulled him, but went into fits of hysteria when Aaron tried it. In general, he was pretty dubious of Aaron, Liz, Levin and Ben. I don't know why he was so nervous around Ben when he grew up with him here. I guess he forgot about that.


There was a lot of time spent on the ice, including the new years countdown and a family hockey game.
Food, of course, is always a big part of the holidays, and this one was no different. Many great meals made by both the hosts and the guests.