Maggie’s Music Graduation

I mentioned a few weeks back that Maggie had won the chord contest and got a nice trophy for her efforts. This past Friday night she had her Music for Kids graduation. The group performed several songs and each student had their solo to play. Maggie did a wonderful job with hers. You could tell that she really enjoyed this night with her classmates. I even saw a few high fives.

The night was made even more special due to her Aunt Tammy and Uncle Clarence making the trip over from Florida to attend. It was very much appreciated and made for a great weekend with family. I know that Maggie really enjoyed the extra attention and we all enjoyed the great visit.

So with this graduation, we  finish up close to ten years of the music program. It started back in September of 2005 with Quinn and Hayden starting and ended on Friday with Maggie. So many days of bringing the kids to class. So many times that Connie worked with the kids during their practices. Lots of music and music theory. You just can’t imagine the effort that has gone into this program and ultimately our love of music and desire to share it with our kids. It’s a gift that we gave to them freely and we love that each of them did so well. I hope that we continue to get enjoyment from their love of music for many years to come. What a blessing.

Mother’s Day 2015

This weekend was the first one that Connie has been away from the family. It’s hard to believe that that’s the case with Quinn being 16 years old, but it’s never been something Connie wanted to do. Granted that I don’t think she wanted to be away from the kids this time either, but it was an opportunity for her to spend some time with friends and I’m glad that she took it. It’s usually me that’s away on business or on an outing with friends. Connie doesn’t usually get away, but she seems to really enjoy where she is… and that’s with her children (and husband). A trait that is less and less common these days.

Now that I’ve been working at home for the last year and a half, I get to see a lot more of what goes on during the day. Let me tell you, it’s a lot. Between household chores and teaching chores, there are very few hours (perhaps minutes) of leisure for her. The commitment that she has made to the family is stunning and humbling. It’s hard to adequately show our appreciation, but I’ve seen how much the kids miss their mom this weekend. It’s just not the same without her. We are all ready for her to back home. What a blessing that she has been for our children. Our love for her is never ending.

The Death of Windows Media Center

Windows Media CenterThere were rumors this past month that Windows Media Center would not be included in Windows 10. Sadly, this was confirmed this week via a tweet by Gabriel Aul (General Manager of OSG Data and Fundamentals team at Microsoft).

We can confirm that due to decreased usage, Windows Media Center will not be part of Windows 10.

And with that sad news, I can now move on to the planning of my next media management solution for my family. But before that happens, I’ll continue to enjoy the benefits of my WMC until Windows 7 becomes outdated.

Continue reading The Death of Windows Media Center

Schools Out for Summer

Connie and the kids put in a late night after church to finish up the school year. They awake this morning to SUMMER! I don’t know if it merits all caps, but …. yea I guess it does. Nothing says “eager to finish” like doing economics after 9pm. Just judging from reactions, I would say that Connie and then the girls are the most excited about it. The girls got a good bit of enjoyment from throwing away their math workbooks (which did cause me a little pain).

Congratulations to all of them! I’m always amazed at how hard they work and that all books, courses and workbooks are completely finished (no stopping at the second to last chapter). Enjoy your time.

The Beep of Battery Backups

As is part of my morning routine these days, I was checking the weather for our area. I could see a line of strong thunderstorms headed our way. It looked like it would be a couple hours, so I continued working on bring up some servers in Houston (likely brought down by the same storm). It was definitely coming through though and it looked to be more than the normal thunderstorm. The kids were still sleeping and soon it would be breakfast & then school time.

In general, we rarely watch broadcast TV or listen to the radio (preferring Netflix and MP3s), so we don’t get the hazardous weather notifications. About mid-morning, our cell phones started buzzing with a tornado warning for the area. The sky grew darker, the wind was picking up and we could see lightning in the distance. Again our phones buzzed with another tornado warning. Watching the radar, I could see that we were minutes away from the arrival of the storm. At this point, it looked like 10pm outside. The sky was completely dark.

The entire family was here at home. Work, school and home emergency preparedness was rolled all into one. Following the instructions in the tornado warning, we moved everyone away from the windows and into the interior ground floor room (which was easy with a single story dwelling). I powered down our computers/server. Emma had her flashlight in hand. I took this time to discuss the reason for being prepared is because of the risk (high probability) of adverse conditions and not just the existence of those conditions. Seemed that everyone felt at ease even as the wind dramatically pick up in speed.

Just about that time, the electrical power went out. We could hear the buzzing of battery backups (we have several) around the office and living room. I walked around and turned those off (with the exception of the cable modem and router). We were able to track the storm and see discuss topics that the kids would bring up. A lot of sarcasm as would be expected. The whole weather event lasted about 30 minutes and within an hour the power came back on.

We were fortunate as there was little damage to our property. It was primarily a lot of limbs down and only one section of our fence. The bird feeder survived as did my grill. After work, I picked up the limbs and toured my lot. During my evening run I could see that there were quite a few trees down around the neighborhood. A few very large trees came down, but fortunately I only saw one house sustain damage (and it was cosmetic). Most people had already pilled up the limbs along the road.

Looking back on the events of the day, it was good that we were able to walk through the weather event together as a family. We were able to discuss things with them and respond to their own reactions to the extreme weather. I felt reassured that our cell provider sent out the notifications to our phones. Overall it seemed that it was a good dressed rehearsal for other emergencies that might come up in the future.

Stop by for a few words on what is happening with the Callahan's.