Monday, August 11, 2008

Thoughts on the Yard & More

Before I go any further, this is Dave posting.

Amber has pointed out a couple of times that I don't post very often. The simple fact is that I haven't ever truly posted, and there's a good reason: Amber's got the photos. And we all know what a post without a photo is. Boring.

But be that as it may, I've decided that I'm going to post from time to time, just to give my perspective on things. And perhaps instead of pictures, I'll include fun or interesting links!

So on to the litany of fun subjects! First off is

The Backyard

Yes, we've put a lot of effort into the back yard this year. The reason is that I set a goal to have it completed by the end of this calendar year. I know, some people finish stuff like I'm doing in a month. But I'm notoriously methodical when it comes to yardwork. Furthermore, I really don't know what I'm doing. So I've taken copious amounts of time to study each aspect before diving into it. And the last part is this: it takes $$ to make a yard. And that hurts the wallet a bit less when spread out over time. The end result? 1 yard / 2 years. As long as Amber's OK with it, so am I. But I really like how it's turning out.

Progress may be slow for the next while, as monsoon rains and high temperatures rule normal work hours. But fear not; grass and the second flagstone patio are coming soon! Which leads me to something I work on in the mean time:

The Webcomic

Yes, your spellchecker will tell you this is not a word. I assure you that it is. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, a Webcomic is a comic - on the web. Tricky, huh? But here's the real trick: some of the best webcomics are only on the web. This means that you'll never (or almost never) stumble upon these comics by picking up a paper. But let's face it: print is dyeing. (That's a pun, people. You laugh now.) Newspaper readership is down, and they pay their artists 1950's rates. This drives more and more artists to skip the middle-man and present their product directly to you - the viewers.

"But wait!" I hear you say. "How on earth do they make a living without the Syndicate paying them??" Excellent question. The Webcomic Business Model is based on a smaller fan base which actually supports the artist directly, either through donations or merchandise purchases.

Before I proceed, I'll add a word of caution. The Web lacks one thing your newspaper has: an editor. This means that people are free to post whatever they feel like in their comic. Consequently, viewer discression is advised. You may have clicked through to the comics linked above. These are the only comics which I can whole-heartedly recommend, and even these may have mild violence or language. Once you go to these sites, there will be links to other comics which may not uphold the same values. There are several comics I find exteremely etertaining, but you have to be prepared to stop reading at the first sign of trouble.

And so we arive at the point of this topic. A few month ago, I began collaborating with Cannon Hamaker on a new webcomic. We've made a lot of progress, but we're not going to launch the site until we have 30 strips finished and several more in a buffer. (Did I forget to mention? Most webcomics leave their entire archive open to readers. Years of comics at your disposal!) A preview of some art can be found here. The title is subject to change, as is everything else. We'll let you know when the site launches!

So in short, I spend some of my time working on this. And Amber's a Saint to let me. She's also an invaluable resource for perfecting ideas and providing an outside perspective. Which leads me to the next subject:

The Family

You hear a lot from Amber, but she doesn't say a ton about herself in this blog. I just want to set a couple of things straight.

From my point of view, Amber's the best Mom in the World. She's beautiful, sweet, charming, sensible, patient, fun...oh, wait. That's my list for best Wife in the World! (She holds both titles.) It's clear to me just how good of a Mother Amber is when I come home and play with Abby. I know that Abigail's picking up all of her Mother's best characteristics, whether she's being taught them directly or simply by osmosis. It's simply a joy for me to come home to both of them every day.

I don't know if she's mentioned this, but Amber's also been scrapbooking for quite some time. I know it's not easy while Abby's awake, but she's made significant progress on both her old mission scrapbooks, as well as on new books for Abby. I'm grateful to have a wife who so creatively preserves our family history.

Amber's also involved in a couple book clubs. I'm personally jealous of the books she's read in the recent past. (Perhaps if I wasn't writing a comic...). She often summarizes the books for me, which leads to great conversation on many diverse, interesting topics. I love discussing them with her.

And Abigail! What a cutie! Amber's covered this pretty well, but she's just the smartest, cutest, funnest little 1-1/2-year-old ever. No, really. No, really!

Which leads me to the next subject for this post:

(Of the post)
(I'll post again some day)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

She's a Brick! (duhn duhn duhn duhn duh) House!

Et Voila! Here is the long-awaited sitting wall. There's still some work to be done on it, but this is the basic idea. It's awesome for . . . just sitting. The flagstone sitting around the edges will be used for a patio underneath where the hammock currently sits.

Aside from gluing down the capstones, the final garden wall is finished! It took a little more work than I expected, particularly in cutting the capstones, but it was worth it. Now we just need to plant something.

It's Abby! She's getting big, isn't she? She really likes sitting out in the yard. In fact, she loves running out in the yard. And digging. And playing. And swimming. Did I mention that she loves being outside?

Yeah, we're excited to finish the yard for her.

Posing. What a ham. But have you ever seen a cuter ham? Even on Christmas? I thought not.

So the Brickwork is (almost completely) done! It feels so good to look out there and see it all. I was skeptical at first about the colors, but it turned out really nice.

Keep on Growing!

Here is one of our pumpkins. Yeah! It grew really fast and is still growing. And yes, it is hanging! It amazes me how strong the vines are!

We've got a few watermelons growing too! These are Dave's favorites. Isn't this baby one cute?

It's a lot bigger than it appears. I'd say it's about 7" diameter and about 12" from top to bottom.

Our artichoke suddenly sprouted an artichoke! We thought it was dying and then (after a couple weeks or so of non-attending-to-the-garden-because my morning sickness would triple in the outdoors heat) we found this lovely surprise. Now, as you can see below, it looks like the plant's leaves are dying away, but it has a beautiful purple flower right in the center of the artichoke! Weird? Yes. But very pretty and cool! We haven't researched it yet, but we think it might be the start of the "heart" of the artichoke. Wouldn't that be rad? We'll keep you posted!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

When Daddy Goes Out Back with Abby to Play...

...she get's to have LOADS of fun!
Those are tiny, Abby sized foot and bum prints you see there!


And another Sunday... "All of the sudden she was in the pool..." he says! :)

Abigail is such a Daddy's girl! And Dave is an incredible father! I love watching them play together; they have so much fun!