New Pictures! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Eric   
Wednesday, 24 June 2009 13:18
As promised, there are new pictures of Alex and Erin in the babies section of the photo gallery. Enjoy!
6 months PDF Print E-mail
Written by Eric   
Thursday, 11 June 2009 17:43

Six months ago today we brought Alex and Erin home from the hospital. It's been quite ride! Now as I think about the fact that I only have 35 more 6 month periods with them before they are adults and off to college it seems like far too short of a time.

New pictures coming soon.

Last Updated on Friday, 12 June 2009 10:04
Subatomic particles PDF Print E-mail
Written by Eric   
Sunday, 08 March 2009 11:50

If there's one thing that people say about me, it's, "That Eric, he sure ain't no particle physicist!" And you know, they're right, I ain't no particle physicist. I prefer the more practical branches of physics. Partly because particle colliders are too expensive, and partly because I just don't care that much. But when it comes to the twins, there was no avoiding the comparison of the babies to subatomic particles. Particularly the transition of their behavior from a more boson-like state to a fermion-like state. Now I realize that I don't need to explain to my readers the difference between a boson and a fermion, but for the sake of a longer blog post I'll quickly describe the difference.

A Boson is what is known as a spin 1 particle. What is spinning exactly? Well it requires a lot of math and I'm too lazy to explain it, so let's not worry about it. What this spin state amounts to is that bosons don't interact with each other. The most common boson that you'll encounter walking down the street is a photon, which is basically just a tiny chunk of light. How can we show that photons are boson? It's simple really. Just get two flashlights and point them at each other. If the two beams of light pass right through each other and go on about their merry way, then your flashlight it full of boson flavored photons. If on the other hand you turn on the two flashlights and the beams hit each other, fall to the floor and make a big luminous puddle that stains the carpet, then you have fermion flavored photons. As far as I know the latter doesn't exist, but if you happen to do this experiment and do end up with the fermion type of photon please do two things. First, put some in a jar and send it to me. It would be a lot of fun. Second, go to the hardware store and get your money back because they sold you a defective flashlight. 

Fermions are particles that have a 1/2 spin number. The practical consequence of this is that these particles will interact with each other. A good example of a fermion is an electron. Electrons have a negative charge (actually the negative part is somewhat arbitrary and really only amounts to more complicated math and lots of half points lost on physics exams.) As you will remember from your childhood days of playing with plasmas and ion beams, charged particles do interact with each other. (They interact with magnetic fields as well, but I'm ignoring that fact for the sake of my metaphor.) Obviously the ability of these particles to interact with each other makes for some very useful applications like Van de Graf generators that can make your hair stick up and totally arbitrary gadgets like electricity. 

"This is all very interesting," you say, "but I don't care about physics. I'm only here to read about babies!"  Actually, you have been reading about babies. My babies are fermions. No, they don't repel each other. (And I've yet to see a magnetic field cause them to spin. And come to think of it, they don't give off photons as they accelerate...but that could just be that the acceleration is insufficient to give off visible light... hmm... this might be justification for that sports car.) But they do interact with each other, and not in the fun "babies laughing at each other" way. Nope, when one wakes up and starts crying, the other one does too. Yay! Two babies crying at 3am! Woo-hoo...

... I miss the days when they were bosons. Like I've said in the past, babies are funny... and a little bit quarky. 

Last Updated on Sunday, 08 March 2009 12:05
Nothing to report PDF Print E-mail
Written by Eric   
Tuesday, 17 February 2009 10:01

I've got nothing to report. Nothing unusual or even terribly exciting has been happening. My days start out at 6:15 when my bed side lamp turns on. (Yes, it does it on it's own. Why are you so surprised? This is the year 2009! We should all have lamps that turn on by themselves by now.) Fifteen  minutes later my alarm timidly goes off for a few seconds before it is subjected to some harsh treatment. I must commend it on its perseverance considering that it still goes off most mornings even though it is fully aware of the bludgeoning that awaits it. Once I finally get up I start my "get ready for work" routine. I brush my teeth, shave* and shower. (*Shaving is optional.) Then I try to pick out some clothes that will match the type of work I'll be doing for that day. I'm usually wrong and end up doing manual labor and am soaked in sweat while wearing my good clothes and dress shoes. Anyway, I go to work and work. Once that's done I come home and try to relieve Shannah from baby duty for a little bit. Then the next thing I know it is bed time and I get to do it all over again. So there you have it, nothing to report and you now know more details about my life than you  should.

 But since you read this far I'll reward you with some new pictures of the babies (who have started smiling!) 

 New Baby Pictures

Groundhog Day 2009


Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 February 2009 10:18
The Little Victories PDF Print E-mail
Written by Eric   
Sunday, 04 January 2009 16:03

It's interesting the way that being sleep deprived and constantly taking care of twins makes even the smallest victories seem monumental. A victory is a victory, you take what you can get, even if it is a somewhat bitter-sweet victory... or in this case, butter-scotch. Well, actually it was more like butter-scotch pudding, but only in color and consistency, not in smell, and I assume not in taste.

It all started a few nights ago when Erin stopped sleeping very well. This insomnia happened to coincide with the ceasing of diaper filling. We assumed that there must be some internal blockage in her plumbing that was starting to back up. She was uncomfortable. (At least that's what we interpreted her Wahs to mean. She may have just been talking about the weather, but once again there is that whole language barrier that we're dealing with.) We tried to give her some anti-gas pink stuff, which she really enjoys, but it didn't help much. When we could get her to calm down a little the gurgling and percolating in her bowels sounded like a peaceful babbling brook. But it was not a peaceful place. It was in fact a war zone.

Yesterday the war ended. There were casualties. Among them a cute outfit, a onesie, a changing table cover, a diaper, and a little bit of my dignity. Shannah was feeding Alex at the time and she very proudly announced to me that Erin had just filled a diaper and that since she was busy it was my task to get her cleaned up. I decided to start by assessing the damage. I took her out of the swing and put her on the changing table section of the Pack'n'Play that now lives in our living room. This was not going to be a simple fix that could be triaged down there. No, this was going to require all the might of the nursery, and perhaps the spare bathroom as well.

So we went up to the nursery. I took off the different pieces of clothing starting with the jumper she was wearing. Yep, it was done for the day. Then came the onesie. Also finished. There was some hesitation at this point while I pondered the practicality of just cutting her out of the outfit rather than trying to pull it over her head. Reason did prevail and I went ahead and took it off the normal way knowing at this point that we had a bath in our near future. I started throwing baby wipes at the problem before I even loosened the diaper. First I needed to clean the backs of her knees and every other boundary of the diaper. Then I finally broke the seal and dove head long into the regions of despair. (Interesting side note: If you rearrange the letters of “despair” you can spell “diapers.”) (A note of clarification: When I say I “dove head long” I am speaking figuratively, while the contents of the diaper were quite deep and flowing, it would not have been safe to dive. That's how people break their necks.) So I got the diaper off and started cleaning. Once I felt that the walls and carpet were no longer in danger of being irreparably stained, I prepared the bath, which was, happily, quite uneventful.

In the end Erin got a bath, and a new outfit to wear for the evening and I got a good story. And as a bonus, she slept really well last night.

(Note of apology to Erin: If someday you are reading this story and find it incredibly embarrassing, I apologize. It was insensitive of me to use your misfortune as a topic for a humorous blog entry; however, I can't guarantee that I won't tell the story to the first boyfriend you bring home, especially if I don't like him.)

Last Updated on Sunday, 04 January 2009 16:05

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