Saturday, June 27, 2009

Fireworks

Went to see the fireworks in Maple Shade tonight. By far the best display they've had in a long time; it lasted about 30 minutes or so.

Dillon and Jason did not have such a great time because they didn't like the really loud explosions. We'll have to see if we can even convince them to go to another fireworks display.

Last night we saw Red Orange Morning and Action Set perform in Audobon, NJ. They both put on good performances, and afterward we hung out at "Oaklyn Manor" in Oaklyn, NJ with some friends (including a long-lost friend or two) which was very nice. It was great catching up. It made for a late night, though, so we were extremely tired when we got home.

Today was the usual lawn mowing chore for me in Maple Shade, while Angie cleaned and did laundry in Mount Laurel. We went to dinner at Hoolihan's in Cherry Hill and then went to Mom Mom and Pop Pop's to grab the kids (well, the twins), get some ice cream at the ice cream stand and then meet up with Chad (Angie's cousin), Angel (his wife), and their two daughters, Sofia and Olivia. We all walked to the Maple Shade HS baseball field to watch the fireworks around 9:30pm. Oh, and then we put up with the whining and complaining on the walk back to my parents' house ("I have to go to the bathroom", "I'm tired", "Are we there yet?"). But all are home in bed now...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

BSG 4.5

Angie and I started watching the last half of the final season of Battlestar on Sunday night. Last night we finished episode 15, so we only have 5 to go! It's really good. Some of the things that I thought the writers would hold off on revealing until the end of the series were already revealed (like the "last" of the final five Cylons, what happened to Earth, etc.). If you haven't seen it, I don't think I've given away any spoilers because, you know, the devil is in the details. The writing is consistently great, and the cast is amazing. Definitely worth watching if you can dedicate the time to watching in excess of 40 one-hour episodes of the show (not including "Razor" and any other spin-offs).

So say we all...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

NJ State Tax Refund

Despite e-filing through NJWebFile in February of this year, we still haven't gotten our state tax refund yet (it's only $50). Typically, we get it within about 8 or 9 days of filing, but this year we received a letter from the Department of Treasury about a month after filing saying that we needed to provide copies of our W-2's, social security cards, and driver's licenses. I did all of that within a day or two and mailed it back. Here we are in late June and we still haven't seen the refund.

I called the Treasury Department last week and (thankfully) the person I spoke with was able to track down our information and told me that, yes, they did receive all of our stuff back on March 16th (over three months ago now). When I asked if there was something the matter, she said no, that they've just been slammed with returns and ours will be processed soon. I understand if they were slammed, but they've had my return for 3 months! When does the "slamming" begin? I would assume around April 14th-15th!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day

The twins made me Fathers Day cards at summer camp and gave them to me this morning. They also made me little booklets with cardboard covers that day "Dad" on the front and blank pages inside. I guess we're supposed to fill up those pages with drawings, writings, and photos. We'll have to start today!

Adrian learned to say "Happy Fathers Day" this morning and did very well. (He's such a charmer!)

Angie took all of the kids to church and breakfast with grandmom, so I'm having a relaxing time enjoying the rainy, overcast morning. We're having Angie's dad (and Nancy) and my dad (and mom) over for dinner later today, and I'm looking forward to it. Angie's hoping we can fire up the grill for some chicken and steak, as long as the skies clear up. Maybe we could even dine outside on the patio. The twins are looking forward to seeing all their uncles at one time: Uncle Jake, Uncle Ian and Uncle Ryan will all be here visiting at the same time. That's a pretty rare occurrence, I think.

To all the other dad's out there: Happy Fathers Day!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I owe, I owe...

...it's off to work I go...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Weekend Update

I went over to our Maple Shade house to cut the lawn yesterday around 11:30am, and within 15 minutes it started to rain. I tried to "mow through it", but it turned into a downpour in a matter of minutes. Luckily, Don had left the back door open because I had forgotten my key. Unfortunately for Don, I tracked some grass into the house. I tried to clean it up as best as I could, but it was a futile effort since everywhere I went grass was falling off of me.

So I had to abort the grass-cutting mission half way through (at least I had finished the front yard completely). The back yard was about half cut.

Today Angie took the kids to church and then out to breakfast with Grandmom (who still hasn't purchased a new car yet!). While they were out, I loaded my mower back into my trunk and went back to Maple Shade to finish the job.

After that, I came back here and had lunch. Everyone came home around 12:30pm or so, just in time for Adrian's afternoon nap. While he napped, I took Dillon outside to play while I cut the Mount Laurel house's lawn (Angie went to the bookstore with Jason for a little bit). Dillon had fun driving his Jeep around while I cut the grass (takes me about an hour and 20 minutes to do front and back). When mommy got back, we treated ourselves to some Mister Softee ice cream and watched some TV (well, the kids did - I went back out and trimmed the hedges).

Angie gave the kids a bath and now everyone's in bed...

Now it's time for more of BSG Season 3.5

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Pictures from Six Flags

Here is a link to some...

Pictures from Great Adventure 6/12/09

Alternatively, you can click the Picasa Slideshow link in the right hand column of my blog. Either way, just scroll through the pictures until you get to the elephant...

Six Flags Great Adventure

We (me, Angie, Dillon, Jason and Adrian) spent the day at Six Flags Great Adventure yesterday. We had our two Coke cans for "Buy One Get One Free" tickets and drove straight to the Safari entrance (it was around 11am by the time we got there, I think). With the coupons and paying $10 each for the Safari, it was about $150 with tax (Adrian was free for everything, of course). The Safari was really cool and everyone really enjoyed it. It was a great time of day to go because all of the animals were out and about (mostly eating). One giraffe started "tasting" a car in front of us at one point, which was pretty funny. The kids all got a kick out of that.

Then we ate our pre-packed lunch at the Safari "Exploration Station." We grabbed a picnic table and sat down to eat there. Just when we were finishing up, it started to rain (and we had already paid for our theme park admission). So we went back to the minivan and waited about 10 minutes or so before heading over to the big parking lot. We paid $15 to park (they do not accept cash anymore, either, it's all credit card), and opted not to pay an additional $10 for "Preferred Parking." Attendance seemed to be down anyway, and we were able to park in the first row after the "Preferred Area" anyway. So it seemed silly to pay another 10 bucks to be one row closer (although I saw a handful of cars that did this).

By the time we got into the park, it was pretty humid, but the rain had stopped and the sun was out. We also realized at this point that we had forgotten Adrian's stroller so we had to rent one for $10 (thank God we "saved" that 10 bucks on not parking in the preferred area!). We headed straight to the little Looney Toons "National Park" where they had little rides for kids. We did a few of these and made our way around back to the left. We all did the big carousel, even though Jason was very nervous about the horse going up and down. I think Angie did the big tea cups with Dillon and Adrian at this point. After that, Dillon and I went on the log flume while Angie waited with Jason (who said he didn't want to go) and Adrian. I saw people with kids Adrian's age on there, but Angie didn't feel like it would be safe. Then Angie did the Runaway Train with Dillon, while Jason (who opted out again) sat with me and Adrian. There were no lines at all on the rides, so when Angie/Dillon came back, she suggested I go on it with Dillon right then (which we did). It was great, we went right up to the loading deck and got right on. Days like that are the best!

We then made our way to the back and headed to the back right corner of the park. On the way, we passed some kiddie roller coasters (Blackbeard's Treasure Train) that mommy went on with Dillon and Adrian (Jason again opted out so I waited with him).

Oh yeah, somewhere around this time Adrian started nodding off in the stroller, so since we were near "El Toro" (a relatively new wooden coaster I hadn't been on yet, ever), I asked Angie if she'd park while I checked out the lines. There was no waiting, so I jumped on the very next train that was departing. Man, this thing is a beast!! No loops, but the coaster maintains a very fast speed (something like 68 MPH) the WHOLE TIME! There are so many steep drops that I was cracking up laughing the whole time. If you haven't been on it and you like roller coasters, make it a point to GET ON THIS RIDE. I told Angie afterward that she had to go on it, so I waited with the kids (Adrian was still sleeping) while she walked over to the track. About 10 or 15 minutes later she came back looking completely shocked with a huge smile on her face. I know she was blown away by it, too. Totally crazy coaster... You have to do it!

Next we stopped off for some ice cream at Coldstone Creamery ($16 for three "smalls" that were more than enough for all of us).

I tried talking Dillon into getting on Rolling Thunder, but for some reason he didn't want to. I think the name freaked him out. Although, Jason and Dillon kept pointing to "Skull Mountain" on the map. It's all they talked about and was their goal for the day, it seemed. When we finally got to it, Jason was about a 1/2 inch too short and got turned away, but Dillon was tall enough so he and I entered the dark mountain. Some teenagers were whopping and screaming on their way through the tunnels and this really freaked Dillon out. He started to run back to the entrance, but I grabbed him and picked him up. I carried him all the way to the loading deck where he calmed down for a second or two. Then all he kept saying was "I don't like the dark. Why does it have to be dark in here??!" I told him I'd sit right next to him and hold his hand, but he really lost it then. So I carried him across the coaster and we went straight to the exit of the ride and met up with Angie again. He was still sobbing when we got outside. Maybe next year!

After that we went to the Wiggles park where all of the kids got to enjoy some rides (flying planes, driving cars, flying in the spinning balloons, etc.). And we did the large ferris wheel (not a soul in line when we went up to it - I was totally shocked).

By this point it was almost 7pm and we hadn't had dinner (and the park was closing at 8pm). So we let the boys pick a couple of rides that they wanted to "re-do" and they chose Log Flume (Dillon) and the Looney Toons National Park (Jason). But there was enough time to get Jason on the log flume (he finally relented and had a great time) and on the Runaway Train (which he loved). We hit the gift shop, bought some souvenir Scooby-Doo and Bugs Bunny cups and headed out of the park (after making a pitstop at the restrooms, of course).

Dillon dropped his cup just outside the exit, and it (of course) broke. I was ticked off (more at myself for letting him carry it), but decided to go back into the park to see if they would switch it for a replacement (they did). We hit McD's for dinner and went home for baths and bed.

Long day, but it was really fun and I think everyone had a really good time... I'll post some pictures soon.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Dillon and Jason: Great Adventure

On the small tea cups ride.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

BSG S3.0 and PS3

Moving right along through Seasons 2.0 and 2.5, Angie and I started watching Season 3.0 last night. We're totally hooked and just motoring through the seasons. Thanks to Matt, we were able to watch Seasons 1, 2, and 2.5 on DVD, but Season 3 we're watching via AVI files that I grabbed off the Internet. At least we're able to watch them in the family room using the PlayStation 3. The quality isn't the greatest, but it's definitely watchable.

I have Season 4.0 on DVD waiting in the wings, but we'll have to get through 3.0 and 3.5 using these computer files first. I'm going to keep looking for higher quality versions, but for now these will have to do.

I actually learned something about the PS3 that I think is totally ridiculous. For months now I've been trying to watch computer video files (MPG, AVI, etc.) on the PS3 (either via wi-fi or USB thumb drive), but never had any luck. Then last night I had to figure it out because we finished up Season 2.5 and were dying to watch episode 1 of Season 3.0. Once again I copied the AVI file to the thumb drive and popped it into the PS3, but it said "No files" when I clicked on the thumb drive's icon. This ticked me off because I knew the file was on there. I went online and did some "research" and found out that instead of clicking the "X" button when I clicked on the thumb drive, I should be clicking on the "triangle" button which then brings up the "Display All" menu option. Once I clicked that, the stupid thing displayed all the video files on the thumb drive! Like, WHY should I have to do that??! Totally ridiculous...

Anyway, we'll be watching 2 or 3 more episodes tonight...

Saturday, June 6, 2009

T-Ball League Photos

Jason and Dillon's t-ball league photos:

Adrian at the park

Friday, June 5, 2009

BSG S1

Angie and I finally started watching Battlestar Galactica last week (on DVD). We started with the Season 1 discs, which include the original 4-part miniseries, and I must say we're both completely hooked. We averaged about 2 or 3 episodes per night and polished off all 17 episodes within about 5-6 days. The season-ending cliffhanger was a doozy! I never saw it coming...

Dr. Gaius Baltar ("No more Mr. Nice Gaius!!") is a fascinating character. I hate him, but I love watching him in every scene he is in. He's such a weasel, but I love laughing at the predicaments he gets himself into while talking to Number 6 (in his head). The scene where Number 6 appears on Galactica as a doctor's assistant is a classic since Baltar assumes that she is in his head and no one else can see her. The looks on the other actors' faces in that scene and every other scene where Baltar is talking to himself are priceless.

Great series... I'm actually glad we didn't watch it when it aired because now we can steamroll through them as fast as we want.

Now it's on to Season Two!!