Studio711

Strawberry Tower

This is the last year for our planter boxes along the driveway. We decided to pull them out but we still wanted to have a few strawberry plants around. The back yard seemed like a good place to help avoid the deer so I put together a simple design for ladder style planter boxes. The whole thing is on wheels for now so we can move it around, but eventually the plan is to put them along the fence. I might have to move one of the plants to make room for it.

The structure is made out of 2×6 cedar and 1×10 cedar. The boxes are lined with plastic with some drain holes drilled through and then covered with landscape fabric. I also had some of the old fence stain laying around and since it’s going to be up against the fence eventually, I slapped on a quick coat.

If I made them again, I’d probably make a few changes to try to decrease the cost a bit, but overall I think these will serve us well for years to come.

First Baseball Season

Last winter, Tyla and I thought Elijah might enjoy trying out tee ball so I started doing some research and not only had we already passed the age group for tee ball, but it was almost too late to register for the upcoming season! Since Elijah and I have played a bit in the yard, I thought he’d be ok making the jump straight to a pitched ball.

Because of his birthday, Elijah was one of the youngest kids on the team and since he hadn’t played tee ball, he was a bit behind many of the other kids. It was a challenge at times but overall he had a good attitude and worked hard to catch up.

Pitching was done with a pitching machine. It was fairly consistent which was nice but some of the machines really ripped the balls in there. Elijah had a tough time figuring out the mechanics of swinging a real bat and hitting a real ball at that speed. He did get a few hits over the season.

He did learn a ton about the game. He knows where the positions are and has some idea of where to throw the ball if it gets hit to him. At the end of the year, his coach said he was the best ground ball fielder on the team.

It was fun to see him learning and being part of a team. I got a front row view for it. I wasn’t one the official coach or assistant coach but I helped out with many of the practices and all the games. Coaching was a challenge for me because it’s hard to watch kids throwing their gloves in the air and playing in the dirt. How do you draw the line between teaching them and constantly nagging them?

It will be interesting to see if he wants to continue when the next season rolls around. Hopefully he’ll want to continue practicing hitting over the summer as well.

Cell Phone History

We’ve had our Galaxy S7 phones for over 2.5 years now and they’re holding up amazingly well. I do notice deteriorating battery life, but the wireless charging makes it pretty easy to keep up with that. The features and performance are holding up much better than any cell phone I’ve had before. It’s still tempting to get something newer, but with the top tier of cell phones weighing in at around $1000, I think we’ll have these for a while longer (and I’m also getting more intrigued by the mid-tier phones that have very impressive specs.) Plus, now that Verizon finally has separated the price of the phone from the price of the plan, it makes more sense to hold onto a device for longer.

It got me thinking about the various cell phones that I’ve had over the years. I did a little research and was able to find models and dates for almost everything. Here’s the list:

Sanyo SCP-4000 (?)
May 2001
LG 4500
April 2004
Motorola Q
September 2006
HTC Touch
May 2008
HTC Touch Pro 2
January 2010
HTC Trophy
June 2011
HTC 8x
December 2012
Nokia Lumia Icon
January 2015
Samsung Galaxy S7
October 2016

Great Wolf Lodge

A couple weekends ago, Tyla, Elijah and I headed to Great Wolf Lodge for the second time. It was quite a bit different from our first trip because we were already familiar with the layout so there wasn’t a feeling of discovery and we were more careful/cheap with our time there. Instead of staying two nights, we stayed one night and made use of the water park on the day we arrived and the day we left. They’re quite generous with those policies so it worked out well. Another difference is that Don, Logan and Megan came along and I think they had a reasonably good time.

When we were at Disney, I had specifically picked a hotel with good water slides. He was afraid to try them until almost literally the last minute. He finally got the nerve to try one and LOVED it but we had to leave immediately to make some dinner reservations. That was our last chance at the pool. He was pretty sad but I think it taught him a good lesson. When we got to the pool this time he looked up and said, “Daddy, which slide is good for me?” Yes! I was very proud. We started on the yellow and red slides in the middle and he loved them. After doing those a few times, he was ready for even bigger challenges, He went down three of the bigger slides and loved them all too. The only one he didn’t do was the Howlin’ Tornado and he wasn’t tall enough for that. I was incredibly proud of him for his great attitude and willingness to try those slides!

It was neat seeing him so confident in the water too. He’s progressing quite well in his swim lessons. One I watched him get knocked off a play structure and land in the water. He immediately rolled onto his back and started floating and motoring to the side. I think he’s going to have a great time when we visit my parents this summer and spend hours in their pool.

So even though Great Wolf Lodge is a mess of screaming kids and thinly veiled attempts to vacuum money from your wallet, it was a good trip. Thanks for organizing it Tyla!

 

Memorial Day In Seaside

For the past few years, we have gone on a Memorial Day vacation with Tyla’s family. Don has a timeshare and is kind enough to share it with us so we have a convenient place to stay.

This year we headed to Seaside, OR in the northwest corner if the state. Our room looked right out onto the beach and the condo has a heated outdoor pool and a couple of hot tubs. Those pools got a good workout and it was fun watching Elijah motor around under his own power. He has a pretty good handle on swimming on his back.

Aside from digging in the sand and flying kites on the beach, our main activity was a trip down to Garibaldi, OR. Tyla and I were in Garibaldi with her family exactly 10 years ago camping there for the weekend while her dad did a job at the nearby Tillamook factory. This time we rode the steam train and afterwards, we attempted to visit Tillamook. It was insanely crowded and we basically walked right back out the door and headed back home.

This year we drove down on Saturday morning and came back on Tuesday. It was so much more relaxing to make those drives without the huge amount of traffic on Friday and Monday. It was still heavy but nowhere near as slow as we’ve experienced in the past.

Thanks again to Don for being so generous and letting us all share that condo with him!