Rockets and Multi-Million Dollar Homes

From Family 2010

Over the past few months I have personally been submerged in some of the greatest work-related stress storms I’ve ever encountered. I hope the worst of it is over. To anyone who may have detected a sour note or two coming from my direction, I offer my apologies. Rochelle and the kids have handled it all very well, and we are glad to have pulled through the bulk of it.

Of course, during the mess, life went on. Though there isn’t much of anything exciting to share, I hope that this post can entertain you long enough to get to the end.

My favorite thing to do during times of stress is escape the chaos by retreating to dreams and fantasies where I retain more control over my world than I do in the real world. One of my favorite tools to do that is the computer, where I can run various “world creation” programs that give me complete control, total freedom and endless possibilities. I remember my father expressing a similar sentiment toward a blank sheet of paper. I was recently able to share this passion for my digital paper when Micah became interested in one of my favorite tools – Google SketchUp.

Earlier this week Micah and I sat down together and I walked him through the task of creating an object from scratch in the program. It was a tedious, often frustrating period spanning over four hours, but several times I saw him light up with excitement at how powerful the program could be. It is, in my opinion, one of the best, easiest to use 3D content creation tool. The best part is, the basic program is free. Here is Micah’s creation (he especially enjoyed adjusting the shadows by himself):

From Family 2010

Though I have used the program for many years, I only recently became interested in learning more about it. In researching SketchUp, I happened upon an interesting project the program is involved in. This project resonated deep inside of me, and I wonder what might have become of me had I had the opportunity to use SketchUp earlier in life, as a child.

Anyhow, for the last week or two I have been using SketchUp to build a dream house for Rochelle and I to build in Italy someday. It’s one of the most modest homes I have ever dreamed up, at a mere 18,000 square feet, but it is also only a rough draft. This time, Rochelle has been involved in many of the design decisions. We hope to reduce its size a tad and improve the design over the years. We are designing it around a single master bedroom and no bedrooms for children – we will retire there. It will, however, have two nicely outfitted guest rooms, and you, dear reader/friend/family member will be welcome to stay with us any time you wish.

Finally, by the next posting (or possibly the one after that in October) I hope to have video and photos of our first family camping trip and our next family project. We’ve begun researching local campgrounds and are waiting for a clear forecast on a mostly free weekend to get out and spend the night with the bugs. Also, we are pulling together the supplies necessary to construct a compressed air rocket launcher. While Estes rockets with their little burning engines are fun, they are also more of a hassle when you wish to launch – they require engines. If you’ve run out, you have to go to the store for more. While they aren’t all that expensive, the cost does add up over time. The compressed air launching system will be a little more expensive at first, but it will also be more fun to build, it will last a lot longer, and it’s practically free to operate. Rockets are made out of any paper you have lying around the house (reinforced with packing tape so they don’t explode when the air is released). We will document the whole experience visually and share it here afterward.

Books We are Reading


I’ve been spending most of my time working on the dream house or learning about electronics to make some small modifications to the compressed air rocket launcher design (today I calculated the values for the resistor I will need to prevent the 12 volt power indicator light I’m adding from blowing up on the 18 volt circuit it will be on). However, very soon I plan on attacking the growing pile of books I want to read. Newly added are two recommendations from a medical professional who has been seeing me regarding a few issues I was going through. The first is something about zebras and ulcers, and the other has to do with emotions.


When she is sick, Rochelle goes through books like a thirsty man in the desert. She finished a Harry Potter book in less than a day recently. I think she’s still finishing that series. Before picking Harry Potter back up for the hundredth time, she finished a book or two that she can’t recall because they weren’t great. She didn’t not like Peter Pan though.

How the Kids Are


From Family 2010

In all the excitement of the last four weeks, I neglected to have Micah write anything for the blog. I know you were really looking forward to another one of his candid, choppy contributions, but I promise he’ll have double the trouble ready for next month. School starts back up in just one more week, so he’ll be doing plenty of writing.

Actually, I can’t promise anything. Things could get crazy again and I might even forget to write. So scratch that. No promises except that we’ll try really hard.

As for updates, Micah has been excited because we’re letting him keep his handheld video game systems in his room. Therefore we haven’t seen too much of him lately, except that he does come down to watch movies with Sophie or go out with the family. He’ll also occasionally get on the computer and mess around with SketchUp or browse the websites we’ve authorized for his use.


From Family 2010

I really should have taken more video of Sophie for this month’s post. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any. If I had taken any video the first thing you would notice is that she’s talking a lot. I mean, she is super expressive, very funny, and dangerously articulate. She asks the funniest questions, has the oddest comments, and knows exactly how to get what she wants. She doesn’t always get it, but she knows how to request it.

Also, her ability to come up with random, vaguely funny saying has improved. Her old favorite saying was completely random: “Apple in the sky with Landon.” (Landon is a friend of hers.) I think that saying was born when we misunderstood something she was trying to say before she learned to pronounce words better. Today though she kept repeating the following: “Guess what? Hercules is going to fight… IN THE CAR!” She knows it’s funny, she loves to say it, and we’ve all heard it several times already.

Yesterday Sophie was walking around in her diaper when we noticed it was sagging especially low. This generally indicates that it needs to be changed. Wondering if she was poopy, we asked, “What do you have in that diaper, Sophie?” She responded, “My booty.”

Until Later

There weren’t many photos this month because I thought the camera was a goner at the beginning of the month, and we just didn’t do many photo-worthy things. The camera is working fine though, and we have some really fun plans for the next month or two, so watch our YouTube channel and Picasa Album for updates.


1 Comment

Filed under Normal Life, Unexciting

One response to “Rockets and Multi-Million Dollar Homes

  1. Autumn

    What a modest dream home! Yes, I will definitely come to stay. Seriously, those sketches are amazing! Very cool stuff.

    Charlie recently learned the word “booty” (our go-to words were either “bottom” or “bum”) from an Old Navy commercial and now thinks it’s the funniest word ever.

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