I’ve started a new project this year.Â I will be taking a photo each day and sharing it here on this blog.Â However, I won’t be posting them on the main homepage.Â To see them, please select the “Kaycee’s Project 365” on the side.Â I don’t want to clog up traffic here.Â I have shared the first 10 days of 2011.Â Please take a look and follow along as the year goes on.
Alright, so it’s the same old room with the same old stuff in it for the most part. Even the cats don’t appear to be overly excited in the picture. Still… it’s BETTER.
First of all we did our friend and professional furnitureÂ rearranger,Â Kelley, proud by rearranging all of our furniture for the first time in 5 years! Kaycee and I spent an hour pushing stuff around the living room to see how well it fit. I think we ended up with a really good arrangement that opens up more space and puts all of our storage in one spot.
As if that wasn’t enough, we also changed things functionally. Kaycee had the DirecTV rep crying in despondency yesterday as she heartlessly ripped away their $70+ per month allowance. See the rabbit ears on top of the TV to the right? That’s now our live TV feed along with a CM7000 DTV converter courtesy of our own tax dollars.
Right now, the rabbit ears give us a fairly decent digital signal. I’ll soon be boosting that BIG TIME by building one of these beauts for a couple of bucks.
The final thing we’ve done is integrate a Home Theater PC (HTPC)Â which is tucked in to the left of the entertainment center. Hardware-wise I built it from a throwaway machine and added a video card from our friend Nitin. It’s running UbuntuÂ as an OS, and uses XBMCÂ and PlayOn to play media from a variety of sources including DVDs, downloaded content, music, and live content from places like Hulu, Netflix, and YouTube. It’s a great little system that can be remote controlled by anything with a web browser, and will soon be remote controlled by… a remote control.Â
What’s left to do: Another shelf for the entertainment center would be useful for the Wii Fit (which you can see is kind of jammed in there). The speakers are in weird places at the moment and I’d like to correct that. I’ll be running some cable in the crawlspace for surround speakers, and also to wire up the HTPC which tolerates wireless but occasionally disconnects itself when it’s doing heavy lifting. All simple stuff, really.
Being out from under a monthly TV payment makes us happy. The kids are going crazy over old shows (Flipper, for example) and we’re not missing out on anything except for some live sports (*cough*Hurricanes*cough*). Overall I think we’ll be glad we kicked DirecTV to the curb.
We have snow in North Carolina!Â It doesn’t happen often, but it’s been snowing for several hours and there are still huge flakes falling.Â I think the prediction is about 4 inches and I think we’ll easily hit that mark.Â Gavin didn’t appreciate the snow at all, but he is grumpy with a cold to begin with so he was only out for a few minutes.Â
For any of you who know me, that may seem like an odd request.Â Â My heart is breaking today though as the world has lost a wonderful woman, Karin Faulkner.Â Â She passed away yesterday after struggling with many complications and organ failure after a bout of pneumonia this week.Â Â It was discovered in early September that she had Kidney cancer.Â Now, just three shortÂ months later, she is gone.Â She was only 34 years old.
I’m asking for you to pray for the family she had to leave behind….
her wonderful husband, Steve
their son, Kevin (4), who absolutely adored his Mommy
their son, Kien (1), who just joined their family this summer
their daughter, Aria (1), who just came home from Vietnam and few short weeks ago
While I am thankful she is no longer suffering, I mourn her passing as she was a truly kind and generous woman.Â She will be missed.
You can read her family’s story at http://karinupdates.blogspot.com/
Papa and I had to bring the kids to the polling place today.Â A volunteer immediately led the girls over to the “Kids Vote” booth.Â Â We did our thing and I went to retrieve the girls.Â I immediately chuckled as I saw their ballots.
Kaitrinn voted for McCain, because “he looked like a President.. old!”
Shealyn voted for everyone… filled in all bubbles to be ‘fair’
I love how kids think…
okay back to CNN… I’m determined to wait it out and cheer for Obama before I crash for the evening.
We go to a weekly park day with our local homsechool group.Â Some weeks, it’s even twice.Â Park day, if the weather is nice, means packing a picnic lunch and spending about four hours at the park.Â I’m tempted to do this everyday as this was the scence in the van for the ride home.Â Ahhh… peace and quiet.
We have a family membership to the NC Zoo.Â It expires at the end of the month and we wanted to squeeze in another visit.Â Gigi,Â Stan, Amy, and the kids joined us for a beautiful Fall day.Â We’ve always enjoyed our visits there and some areas had recently been renovated.Â We’ll definitely have to renew for next year!
I’m catching up on some recent activities…. This is how we spent a weekend afternoon two weeks ago.Â We’ve always been big on providing art materials for the girls.Â They are both quite creative and enjoy all projects.Â Â We were cleaning out the garage and I found these two large pieces of cardboard in the garage.Â Dig out the paints and have at it girls!
They had a wonderful time and the neighbors enjoyed watching as well.Â *laugh*Â I expected Gavin to join in but he quietly watched from the sidelines.Â He only approached it a few times and touched it with a single finger.
Yes, the paint IS washable.