Saturday, June 27, 2009

Cheap tires aren't cheap

Took a little tandem ride with the kids yesterday. Here's Jacob doing a little trick on Grant's Trail:

We rode down to the snow cone shop on Reavis Barracks:

Then we rode to the far end of the trail, turned around, and only a few minutes later:

BANG! A blowout! Hutchinson Flash tires that I had picked up cheap from Nashbar for about $5 each. Hmm. They weren't very worn. I think I was running them at 90-100 psi; I thought they were rated for that, maybe not.

We walked the bike back up to Reavis Barracks Road (it was a hot day for a walk!). Thankfully, Trailnet was open, so we dropped in for a little air-conditioned comfort and awaited the support wagon (Rebekah and the twins) that had been phoned for immediately after the blowout. Rebekah brought a new tire and tube, and I did a quick repair in the parking lot. Then, she took the kids home and I soloed home on the tandem. Messed up the twins feeding schedule a little...
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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Baby contortionist

How does he DO that?
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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Friday, June 19, 2009

Mike & Marty 6-18-09

Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a real blessing!

Here is a quick description of the labor and delivery:

11:00 - got the call to come in for induction
11:45 - cheeseburger and apple dippers for Rebekah; double cheese combo for me.
12:00 - admitted to the hospital, hooked up to the monitors
1:00 - ultrasound - yep, "A" is down and "B" is breech.
2:00 or so - started the pitocin
4:00 - pitocin really working
5:00 - got the epidural going. The epidural seemed to take a long time to get effective. I guess it was because Rebekah's labor was advancing quickly, and the epidural couldn't keep up.
6:00 - getting the urge to push - call the doctor!
6:15 - WHERE is the DOCTOR?
6:30 - whisked into the operating room.

This part was really scary for me, seeing all those doctors and nurses in the operation room all gowned up. I am thankful for the many people who were praying for us.

6:48 - Michael was born. Rebekah did great! Pushed him right out!

Now Dr. Hermann started flipping Martyn around. Looking at his eyes, it looked like he was pretty concerned. I was concerned; I didn't want Rebekah to have to have a Caesarian.

7:03 - Praise the Lord! Martyn is pushed out!

more babies

Mother and babies doing well.

Marty in nursery.

Mike in nursery.
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Two more of Mike sleeping...

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babies 3

Burping Mike.

Mike sleeping.

Marty sleeping.

Marty's feet.
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Martyn getting footprinted.


Us four.
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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Garden

Today, my mom came over on her lunch break to plant our garden. First, she had to weed the whole thing. She is so amazing! Even more so because today began the hot and humid dog days of St. Louis summer. It was 96 degrees today, and about the same % humidity. Thanks, Mom! We love you!

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Monday, June 15, 2009

How to replace the LCD in a Casio Ex-Z750 Digital Camera

At the end of 2005, we bought a Casio Ex-z750. In my mind, this digicam marked the high-water-point for Casio's foray into the digital camera market. Perhaps they have improved since then, but I haven't paid attention.

It's a small camera with a slightly larger sensor than its peers, fairly small but not the tiniest. It's quick, takes good MPEG4 movies, and has tons of manual modes. That's probably why Ken Rockwell flipped for it.

Anyway, ours got dropped a few months ago. About 60% of the LCD started showing white lines. I thought about getting another one, but they were too expensive on Ebay. So I picked up a Fuji F100fd - $135 with rebate. A great deal, just a little bigger than the Casio, but brighter LCD, better low-light sensitivity, and wider zoom range.

Then I noticed that replacing the LCD was a viable DIY prospect. So I bought one from a Chinese eBay seller for $26... about two weeks later, it arrived:

Nice, says CASIO right on it, even has a little hologram for authenticity.

This was my first time working on a digicam. I saw that you are supposed to buy a dead camera for your donor LCD, so you learn on it. Hmm, didn't do that, so I'll just have to be careful.

Speaking of being careful:
DISCLAIMER! CAMERAS HAVE FLASH CAPACITORS THAT CAN SHOCK YOU BADLY! Look on the web to learn more about the dangers. Mine had been sitting around with the battery out for a few weeks, so I felt safe...
  1. Phillips #00 Screwdriver
  2. Patience
  3. Steady hands

STEP 1: Remove Battery, SD card, etc. You probably don't have to do this, but I'd feel safer with the battery removed.
STEP 2: Remove back cover of the camera. There are two small screws on each end:

And, on the bottom, two slightly longer screws:

Gently pull off the rear cover. Disconnect the mode wheel and the "Play and Record" switch board from the cover.
STEP 3: Remove LCD

The LCD sits on top of a backlight panel in a metal frame. This little sandwich is held together with vinyl tape and also held in with detents on the metal frame. Remove the tape. You'll need to remove the metal frame to run the LCD wire ribbon below it.

Once you have the frame loose, you can flip up the little black flap on the wiring connector and slide out the ribbon connector to the LCD.
Step 4: Install LCD
Remove the plastic sheet stuck to both sides of the new LCD for shipping. Set the new LCD onto the frame, and slip the ribbon connector in place. Flip down the black tab to lock it in.
At this point, I fired up the camera to see if it would work:

Success! The LCD is just sitting loose on the backlight here.
STEP 5: "Assembly is the reverse of dissasembly" Slip the new LCD into the metal frame and screw it down into place. Fit the "Play" and "Record" switches onto the back panel. Assemble the panel and insert the four short and two long screws.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

37 Weeks

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Today's report is 3 1/2 cm dilated, still 70% effaced. The babies are in the same position. This last week has been a nice time of relaxation and getting a few last minute things done. I haven't been anxious for labor to start; I've been able to try to enjoy the "peace before the storm" so to speak. Next Thursday, the 18th I'm scheduled to be induced if I haven't gone into labor yet.
I can hardly believe in a week or less we will have twin boys. I can't really imagine what it is going to be like having two newborns to care for. I'm excited thinking about finally meeting them and holding them.
Thanks to all for your prayers.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Playing Catch

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It's been about two weeks since a very big day for Jacob and me. I bought Jacob his first real (leather) ball glove. (I think it's a Wilson 425 something; I like it). At the same time, I bought myself my own first new ball glove. The whole time, growing up, I had a Spalding from a junk shop. The laces were dried out and broke, and it never performed all that well. We also got a tee ball bat for Jacob.
He loves it! During the day, he's throwing the ball up in the air and catching it. Sometimes he bounces the ball off our maple tree as a sort of pitchback. And when I get home, he's always ready for a game of catch or a bit of hitting.
It is amazing how quickly his baseball skills have improved in the last couple of weeks. He can catch the ball most of the time if the throw is good, and he can throw with pretty good accuracy. Here's a little video of a recent "catch" session. (Don't bother turning up the audio; it's just me pontificating about wide angle vs. telephoto.)

Thursday, June 04, 2009

36 Weeks!

By the grace of God we've made it to 36 weeks - it is now safe for the twins to be born. This will probably be the last picture of me taken. I'm really really hoping they will come soon. It's been an incredibly easy pregancy really - if no one had worried us and we hadn't know all the possible complications and I hadn't have had to go to the specialist's every 2 weeks we never would have even realized. But since we do realize all that could have happend, it makes us even more grateful and thankful for God's bringing the twins to this point. We praise Him for giving us these two precious sons and we trust Him with their futures.
These pictures were taken tonight, right before we went for a walk through our neighborhood. It felt great to take a walk. Although it was pretty painful for me I loved getting out there and pushing myself again. I've been taking it easy to keep from having contractions and just because I've been afraid of exherting myself. I can't wait to work out again and to be able to stretch and flex my muscles.
I had a doctor's appointment today. The news is that Baby A is vertex (head down), and Baby B is breech (head up). We would prefer if both babies were vertex, but they don't need to be in order to go for a V-birth - only Baby A who is lower needs to be head down, and he has been most of the pregnancy. So we are planning on trying for a regular v-birth, but it is possible for Baby B to not want to come out or for the doctor to not be able to get him to turn around, and then they would have to do a Ceserean birth for Baby B. My doctor has told me that he has only had one twin birth where the mother had to have both a v-delivery AND a ceserean. In other news, I am 2 cm dilated and 70% effaced. Yay!!!
So where we are now, is that if I have not gone into labor in 2 more weeks (babies will be 38 weeks) - they will induce me on June 18th or 19th. I'm hoping that will be unnecessary, but either way, Lord-willing in no more than 2 weeks we will have doubled the number of children in our family.

On our walk:

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