October 31, 2004 – Happy Halloween

Regrettably, it has been far too long between updates here at our family website.  So, it is time for another one – Halloween 2004.  We had twin Bob The Builders today, and another one thrown in (Neighbor Ben) for good measure.  Emma Rose (from next door) was a Fairy Princess.  Much kissing ensued!  A Splendid Time was had by all!  As I write this (6:20 p.m.) we’ve got two boys with major “sugar highs” and we wonder if they’ll ever go to sleep tonight.  Carolyn and I are hopeful for a major sugar crash. 

Additional Pictures:

  1. A Bunch of Kids
  2. Cody, looking like a hoodlum
  3. Daddy and the Boys
  4. Cody again
  5. Bailey, Cody, and Ben

August 8, 2004 – T-Ball

If you’ve never seen a two year old boy playing t-ball in a full leg cast, then you’ve come to the right place!  These pictures are worth the price of admission.  Today, after the boys’ nap, we went out into the backyard to play some t-ball.  I think both boys are naturals at playing baseball.  I definitely know that both of them enjoy playing, and watching baseball on TV too.  Okay, so here are some more picture:


Swing and a miss          Home Run Swing          Another One    Solid Contact


August 8, 2004 – Dona’s Party!

Last night was Dona Baker’s annual summer bash, a Fiesta themed event.  It was a fantastic party (as always) and Dona and Brian made sure everyone had a blast.  They are gracious hosts and made everyone feel welcome.  A lot of pictures were taken - you can click here to download the entire collection (of mine, anyway) or click the links below for selected shots. 


Dona and Brian            Dona and Brian Again!             Two Hot Chicks           Two Hot Chicks          


Paul and Kathy from KC          Family Scott     Mike and Sarah            Mr. Ben           John&CarCar


Shiela and Taylor          Carrie and Cody           Terri     CarCar & Sarah           Best Friends


July 12, 2004 – Adventures in Emergency Rooms, Plus Other Updates

This past weekend was a series of adventures, culminating Sunday in our family’s first trip to the Edwards Hospital Emergency Room, after which came a follow up visit to a pediatric orthopedist for acast for Cody’s new broken leg.  The little gymnast took a tumble down the basement stairs, resulting in a hairline fracture of his tibia.  (Excellent x-rays here and here.  I do not see the fracture in these x-rays.  I guess that is why we go to the experts!)  From the Edwards Hospital notes, “the tibia is the larger of the two bones in the lower leg.  The other lower leg bone, the fibula, is often broken along with the tibia.”  This did not happen in Cody’s case.  The exam notes also say that “if the bones are lined up well, Cody’s leg may be in a cast for three months” though the pediatric orthopedist says it will likely only be four weeks.  It seems like this was a fairly clean and small hairline fracture, though Cody had some real problems sleeping Sunday evening.  The hospital had put on a small air-cast which did not adequately immobilize the leg, and every time he rolled over, the leg was in pain.  Now, he is in a relatively full-leg cast, though one which provides his with some mobility, and the doctor says his mobility will increase as he gets more used to the cast.  The good news is, with the leg now largely immobilized, he is in a lot less pain. 


On a happier note, Patty and Ken Voigt visited from Saint Louis this weekend with their two boys Colin and Brendan, too.  (They left before Cody’s eventful fall Sunday morning.)  We got to watch two of the games from the Cubs/Cardinals series, both of which were won by Saint Louis.  Naturally, much taunting ensued.  (The Cubs won the final game of the series and head into the All-Star Break seven games behind the Cards – I still think the Cubs will catch them.)  We also went to a Kane County Cougars game, and Colin and Brendan got to go out on the field and get some Cougars autographs.  We had a *lot* of fun at the game, as we always do at Cougars games.  We did not see the end of the game since the boys started to crash once the sugar and adrenaline rush wore off.  But it was really nice to see Ken and Patty and their two boys as well.  Colin and Brendan are two of the most well behaved boys, and they were really terrific with Bailey and Cody. 


Also on a happier note, and baseball-related, the boys are taking to practicing tee-ball in the yard.  (This is including Mr. Ben from next door.)  I am pleased to report that Bailey looks like a real natural –left handed hitter and thrower, and using the t-ball stand, he can really jack line drives.  He started out hitting the post most of the time (and still does, sometimes, especially when he is tired) but quickly learned that the object is to hit the ball, not the post, and now he hits mostly solid liners.  I look forward to the time when he is playing organized ball!


That’s it for this update…..we’ll put more pictures up of Cody in his new cast over the next few weeks…..


June 21, 2004 – The Boys’ New Bedroom!

This update is mainly for CarCar, who is still in NJ at the Shore House visiting her parents.  I’ll be back Sunday, to pick you and the boys up and take everyone home!  I moved Cody’s bed into Bailey’s room, creating a whole new “boy’s room” for them!  Here are the pictures I promised to post – this is where Bailey and Cody will be sleeping from here on out:


Picture 1                       Picture 2                       Picture 3                       Picture 4



June 21, 2004 – Jersey Shore Time!

Last week we had our annual trip to the Jersey Shore for a week-long vacation with CarCar’s family.  Actually, it is a two week vacation for CarCar and the boys, who are still there.  (I’m flying back out there Sunday to pick them up and drive back home.)  As always, it was a great week!  We drove out on Sunday, June 13th, and stayed at a Holiday Inn Holidome in Beaver FallsPA.  This makes the drive out there much more tolerable for the boys, and hence, much more tolerable for their parents too.  Basically, the boys love to play in the pool, and it gave us an opportunity to try letting them sleep in the same room.  (A different room than ours, mind you, but at least it was connected.)  Bailey is still somewhat deathly afraid of the water, resulting in a death grip around a parent’s neck whenever you try to get him to swim.  However, he does love to splash!  Cody, on the other hand, really enjoyed swimming, splashing, and generally playing in the water.  The boys also enjoy eatingout in the restaurant


The next day, we arrived at the Shore House, where much playing on the beach ensued.  (Note the awesome sunglasses!)  There was plenty of ice cream to be had, and lots of opportunities to play withPop Pop, Gags, and their cousins Sean and Casey Dwyer.  Aunt Mare took the occasional nap.  Pop Pop fished in the surf with Casey Dwyer.  There was climbing and playing in a local park.  There was a super cool visit to a local aquarium.  All in all, it was a spectacular week, and we are grateful to have had the opportunity to spend more time with Carolyn’s parents at their beach house.


More updates later when everyone is back home….stay tuned!


May 31, 2004

We’re behind on updates, so this one will be a two-parter.  First, we were able to have Cody’s belated second Birthday Party last weekend.  He is two now, and is as perfect as any boy we’ve ever met. He is polite, friendly, happy, healthy, he loves to share, and as of this weekend, he is now in a big boy’s bed.  (That went surprisingly well, after an aborted first attempt to get him in a big boy’s bed in Bailey’s room.  He is now safely and comfortably ensconced in his own room, in his own bed, and the crib is permanently unassembled.)  Here are a few pictures from his Birthday Party:


  1. Cody tucking into his birthday cake.
  2. Cody and his Grandma.
  3. He needs work with his fork skills.
  4. Big brother Bailey having a sip after finishing his cake.


Second part of the update:  Today we went to the Kane County Cougars game.  The weather was less than perfect, by we still had a great time before we had to leave between thunderstorms.  If you scroll back to last summer’s updates, you can see how much the boys have changed and grown up.  If you scroll way down to two summers ago, you can see when we used to bring Bailey to the games in a car seat.  So, we’ve been going to Cougars games for a few years now.  Every year, the boys enjoy it more and more, and today we even got a foul ball, which was autographed after the game by a few pitchers from the South Bend Silver Hawks.  Anyway, here are a few pictures from earlier today:


  1. Cool Cody with his sunglasses pushed back.
  2. Bailey and his mom, and his cool sunglasses.
  3. CarCar’s three boy-o’s.
  4. CarCar and her cool sunglasses.
  5. Bailey and Cody in their Wood and Prior shirts – check out the seats!  That is the Silver Hawk’s bullpen right in front of our seats. 


Just For Fun – May 3, 2004 – via Scalzi from ages ago….. 

Set up a play list of all songs on your personal music device (MP3 player, I-Pod (like me), whatever).  Then choose that play list and set it on random.  Disclose the first ten songs that play, and comment on them.  Here are my results.  (I have 73 CD’s by a total of 49 artists, comprised of 15 genres on my device, according to I-Pod.) 


  1. Gun Shy – Liz Phair – cannot really comment, it is a fairly new purchase from I-Tunes.  I’m a huge fan of I-tunes, however.  Does that count as a “comment?”  Interesting that this is the *first*song that showed up on this new playlist!
  2. Not The Doctor – Alanis Morisette – from Jagged Little Pill.  Excellent album. I listen to it a lot when I am running.  And, the good news is….I’m running a lot more these days than I was when I first bought the album!
  3. I’m Jealous – Shania Twain – Great song from a great disc. Shania Twain is, for me, the answer to the famous Steve Auerbach question “What music do you like, that you are embarrassed to admit that you like?” I’m slightly embarrassed that I like her work, but I do (he says, hormonally…heh heh).  I can live with it!  Can you?
  4. My Doom Again – Amy Miles – I almost gave this CD to my nephew Sean Dwyer before I burned it to my I-Pod.  I’m glad I kept it.  I knew less than nothing about Amy Miles when I bought it from CD Baby, but this was a purchased based upon a recommendation by John Scalzi at IndieCrit.com which is a site that I’ve used to find interesting and excellent independently released music. I highly and strongly recommend it. 
  5. In The Garden – Johnny Cash – from Unearthed IV – My Mother’s Hymn Book – “he tells me I am his own”  I have been a fan of Johnny Cash since the mid-60’s when I was five years old.  I caught the affection for “JC” from my dad.  I’m thrilled that this song and album showed up on this list.  In a word – Johnny Cash rocks.
  6. Endgame – R.E.M. – from Out of Time – interestingly, I watched a video of a concert of R.E.M. from Scotland on the flight from Sydney to Tokyo.  That makes this song topical, in my mind. This is a great song, though it was not on the video I saw earlier today. 
  7. Travelin’ Soldier – Dixie Chicks – from the Home album.  I don’t know if it says more about me that my first-ten play list is so heavily loaded with country music or with female rock divas, but there ya go.  Funny story – when I was in our Sydney office, I mentioned that my I-Pod was heavily laden with diva-rock, but my colleagues in the Sydney office heard something else.  I’m trying to remember what now, because it was hilarious, but it is slipping my mind.  When I think of it, I’ll update again!
  8. The Legend of John Henry’s Hammer – Johnny Cash – from the compilation of Johnny Cash’s recordings for Columbia fro 1958 through 1986.  Heh heh, Johnny Cash is the only artist who showed up more than once on my “first ten list” which probably says something about the number of Johnny Cash songs on my I-Pod.  I’ll never regret that!  I’ve got 135 Johnny Cash songs on my I-Pod.  That far and away outpaces every other artist.  And this is a fantastic song, the longest one of ALL Johnny Cash songs on my I-Pod, coming in at 8:27.  “You can’t beat a steel driving man…..”  “Listen, a hammer swinger is talking to you…..”
  9. All I Want To Do – Sheryl Crow – From Tuesday Night Music Club – “We are drinking beer by noon on Tuesday” which seems appropriate since I am drinking beer before noon on Tuesday (inTokyo).  And, I’ve had a really good beer buzz all morning!  Interesting (again) that this showed up on my first-ten list (if not my top-ten list).
  10. Sunday Morning Coming Down – Johnny Cash covering a Kris Kristoferson song – a truly fantastic song, as Johnny Cash appears again, for the third time on my first-ten list.  This song was one of my dad’s favorites – he loved both the Johnny Cash version and the Kris Kristoferson version.  “And there’s nothing short of dying, that’s half as lonesome as the sound, of the sleepin’ city sidewalks, and Sunday morning, coming down.”  The lament to the smell of fried chicken:  “And Lord it took me back to something, that I lost somewhere some how along the way…..”  The “laughing little girl who was swinging….:”  The “far away a lonely bell that was ringing.”  Absolutely fantastic song.  (Missing my family….feeling blue, wanting to cry!)  Oh man, I’m wishing Lord that I was stoned!  Cuz there’s something in an (airport) that makes a body feel alone…..


So, those are my I-Pod’s first ten – but, hey, you’re missing out on a *lot* of excellent music if we ignore the rest.  Here is some of the rest of the artists on my I-Pod at the moment:


10,000 Maniacs – CarCar’s and my “wedding song” is “These Are The Days”

The Neville Brotheres – New Orleans Jazz in the Emeril Lagasse Style

Amanda Marshall – recommended by Dave Andruchuck – and I’ve never regretted buying her music.

Beth Thornley – via Indie Crit – as Scalzi put it – Beth Thornley would be a great woman to have as your girlfriend until……not so much.  (paraphrased)

Brenda Weiler – I cannot remember if I stumbled on her music at Indie Crit or somewhere else…..but she’s a super-earnest Minneapolis-based independent artist.  I-Pod/I-Tunes labels her music under “rock” though I think I-Tunes needs to expand their “labels”…….

Catie Curtis – via EJ Last – I was already into the whole Melissa Etheridge lesbian rock thing when EJ told me about Catie Curtis. I was well into listening to her music as itself when in first actually listened to the lyrics and realized a *lot* of them were lesbian anthems.  As it stands now, I’m simply a fan……

Sam Bisbee – via Indie Crit – modern rock, independently released!

The Chieftains – okay, here is your traditional Irish music,

The Commitments – heh heh, non-traditional Irish music!

The Cranberries – slightly more traditional Irish music, but only slightly

Hootie and the Blowfish – 90’s rockers

Jennifer Marks – via Indie Crit (I think) – exceptional indie music.
Jenny Bruce – if you search on I-Tunes, they ask if you mean “Lenny Bruce” – and I don’t.  Jenny Bruce is another independent musician who’d CD’s are excellent. 

Jimmy Buffet – He hardly needs me to recommend him, but CarCar and I really enjoy his music!

Joan Osborne – The one album I have of hers (Relish) rocks!

Liz Phair – I really like her newest album, even though it was panned by the critics as a sell-out.

Melissa Etheridge – A social conscience in a modern rock-diva.

Monica Schoreder – this one is definitely via Indie Crit – and to quote Scalzi, “oh that voice”…..unbelievable music.  Highly recommended – it is on the constant playlist at our house.

Neil Young – surprised he did not make the “first ten” list.  His is the only music who’s sheer volume rivals Johnny Cash on my I-Pod.

Pearl Jam – 80’s / 90’s/ rockers…..’nuff said

Sarah Harmer – also via Indie Crit – Do yourself a favor, buy this woman’s two or three CD’s from CD Baby or bn.com.  You’ll be as glad as we are.

Sarah McLachlan – The founder of Lilith Fair.  Does my obvious affection for female rock-diva’s leave you surprised that that she made my I-Pod?

Sting – he hardly needs *me*to promote him!

Bruce Springsteen – ditto!

U2 – ditto again!



Hello Tokyo – May 3, 2004

No pictures in this update.  So, I’m sitting in Tokyo’s Narita Airport.  Nothing much to report – it is a large, and largely empty, airport.  I am *so* done duty-free shopping.  If you’ve been in one large airport recently, you’ve been in Narita.  Except the one you were in probably did not have fresh sashimi, nor grilled eel with curry rice, which I had for lunch.  Other than that, nothing much to report.  I’m on about my 15th Kirin Beer (slight exaggeration) – feeling quite sleepy.  My plane leaves at 6:25 p.m. local time, which is about five and a half hours from now.  So all I’m going to do between now and then is recharge my I-Pod, browse the world wide web, and relax.  The greatest news is…..I’ll be home in less than 24 hours.  Actually, it is about 16 hours from now.  My watch is still set to Chicago time.  It has been set to Chicago time since I left three weeks ago.  (That way I could tell exactly what time to call CarCar and the boys.)  I’ve been computing in my head, translating Chicago time to Sydney time, while I was in Sydney.  I got used to it, but being just one hour off from Sydney time (plus all the Kirins) is throwing me off.  I’m praying that I don’t miss my plane!  (That would be hard to explain and justify!)  So, that’s all for now – CarCar, if you are reading this, I’ll be home for dinner Tuesday!  Holy Moly, it seemed like AGES ago that I left.  But now we are down to mere hours before I get back…….I love you, cannot wait to see you, to see the boys, to see the dogs even!  To see the house!  The garden!  Wow man, the three week trip to Sydney is behind me.  Onward and forward to great things this summer!  *I love me life!*


UPDATE:  I just checked, and it is 1:40 p.m. locally (Tuesday afternoon) in Tokyo, which translates to 11:40 p.m. Chicago time Monday night.   My plane starts boarding at 5:40 so I only have four hours to wait.  After that, I’ll presumably have dinner, watch a movie, crash some (if I can) and get some sleep, then I’m back in Chicago, Aurora, seeing CarCar and the boys.  Jeepers, this has been a long business trip!  Just thinking…..I went on an equally long business trip before the boys were born, and it did not seem so long, either for me or for CarCar.  Let that be the lesson from this trip: Kids change *everything* - CarCar had to work *much* harder without me being there overnight and on weekends.  And I missed CarCar *and* the boys even more than I thought I would. 


Okay, ‘nuff said for now….the next update will truly and actually be from Aurora.  Stay tuned!


Goodbye Australia – May 2, 2004

Sydney, Australia is one beautiful city.  The people are wonderful, the weather is fantastic, and food is terrific.  The wine rocks!  The only thing that has been missing lately is my family.  The good news is, I’ll be seeing CarCar and the boys less than 72 hours from now.  It occurred to me that one might not actually believe I’m in Australia – I might be hiding out in Aurora, and simply be posting pictures of Sydney that I downloaded.  Allow me to dispel that myth – aside from being able to provide witnesses, I can provide this picture.  And this one.  See?  That’s me in front of the Sydney Opera House, with the Harbor Bridge in the background.  The pictures were taken from Sydney’s botanical gardens, which is a true haven in the city.  (Requisite “artsy” shot from the botanical garden here.)  These is also the last picture of the Sydney Opera House that I’ll be taking for a while.  I need to get over my Opera House obsession, so I am going cold turkey…….


Lest you think that the Opera House is the only building I’ve taken any pictures of….here is one of the Sydney Center building. 


So let me share one little tidbit of information I learned on this trip.  Myna Birds.  Myna birds are very aggressive birds that live in Australia.  A lot of people don’t like them, because they chase away other birds.  But they are cool – they mate for life.  And, I was told, that if someone shoots one of a pair of Myna Birds, the other one will die from sadness.  I cannot wait to get to home to my Myna Bird.  CarCar, *you* are my Myna Bird. 


Okay, so this is a wrap on my updates from Sydney.  At least for this trip.  The next update will be from Aurora.  Stay tuned! 


ANZAC Day – Lest We Forget  April 25, 2004

More accurately, lest they forget.  ANZAC stands for Australia & New Zealand Army Corps.  ANZAC Day is the Australia equivalent of the American holiday of Memorial Day, a day when this nation takes a moment to remember their war dead.  My sense is that Australians make more out of it than Americans do.  Certainly they’ve been talking about it on the local news for several days, and ANZAC Day is not actually observed until tomorrow (as of this writing).  There have already been a lot of ANZAC Day services and observances and events.  Last night, my colleague Jason Fleckenstein (shown here, eating McDonald’s in Syndey – yes,McDonald’s – I’m pleased to report that have not had McDonald’s since I arrived)…anyway, last night Jason and I went to a local pub to have some fine fish and chips, some fine Australian beer, and to watch the big ANZAC Day rugby game (called football locally) between Australia and New Zealand.  Australia won.  It was a close match for the first half, but in the second half Australia blew the match open, and went on to win handily.  Here and here are a few more pictures of the Sydney Opera House.  I cannot seem to stop taking pictures of it.  (I’m glad I have a digital camera and don’t have to pay to develop all these pictures!)  The Sydney Opera House is one compelling example of modern architecture.  I supposed if I lived here and saw it every day, I wouldn’t give it much of a second glance.  (Sort of like I feel about the Sears Tower now – I look at that building and think….eh.)  But this is only my second trip to Sydney, and I think the Opera House and the Harbor Bridge are both spectacular.  And at least those are a slightly different view of the Opera House!  I took them after I walked out to the point in the harbor under the bridge.  Here and here and here are some pictures I took of a fountain in Hyde Park.  (Requisite “artsy” picture from Hyde Park.)  Here is a picture of a bride and one of her bridesmaids I took while wandering around in a park under the Harbor Bridge.  Why did I take her picture?  I don’t know – I think I was feeling lonely and slightly depressed and missing my own bride back in Chicago.  I have the most spectacular wife, I miss her superterrificness a lot!  And I miss the two most handsome little boys in all of Aurora, IL.  Actually, the three most handsome little boys, if we count our neighbor’s boy Ben.  (Hi Mr. and Mrs. Scott – how come you guys don’t e-mail me???  For that matter….CarCar, I’ve only received two e-mails from you since I left.  Okay, okay, we are talking on the phone several times every day, but still……and anyone else who is reading this…..where are your e-mails?  (Link at the top of this page to my e-mail address….hint hint.)) 


The good news is, one week from today (Saturday) is my last day of work in Sydney, then I have one day (Sunday) for recovery, then Monday is my travel day home. 


Okay, that’s all for the ANZAC Day update. 


Pictures from Home  April 23, 2004

I am still working in Sydney.  Working a lot, I might add, but that helps the time go by, so it is fine by me.  Today I received a bunch of pictures from CarCar of theboys, from their little excursion to the zoo last Friday with Mrs. Scott and Ben.  It looks like it was a beautiful day, and everyone had a very nice time.  I know theboys always love trips to the zoo.  It made my day to get the pictures!  (Keep them coming, CarCar!  Get some of the boys and your mom and I’ll put those up too.) 


CarCar also sent some pictures of the pear trees in full bloom.  They are great pictures but scarcely do the trees justice.  We planted these trees for our boys, one when Bailey was born, the other when Cody was born.  We call them the Bailey Pear and the Cody Pear trees.  Our little flowering trees (the two pear trees, plus three crab apple trees, plus all the Bednar’s flowering trees next door), really make for a nice splash of color in the spring time!  I’m bummed that I have to be eight thousand miles away while the trees are in bloom, but the pictures make up for that, a little. 


I’ve been here a little over a week now, with only a week and a half more to go before I head back to Chicago.  I can’t wait to get home to see my family! 


SydneyAustralia  April 19, 2004

Okay, so I’m in Sydney for the next few weeks.  I arrived Friday morning, after leaving Chicago Wednesday evening.  (Lose a whole day at the International Date Line – ugh!)  Man, Australia is fantastic, but *really* hard to get to!  A comparatively short flight from Chicago to LA, followed by a *long* flight from LA to Sydney.  (It amazes me, still, that airplanes can stay aloft for that long!)  Okay, so….reporting from Sydney….obviously I’m here for work.  Friday was a work day, but after all that travel, little enough was accomplished.  Saturday, sadly, was also a work day.  Working with Jason, helping get him settled in for his three-month stint on the Global Help Desk.  Saturday night Jason and I had a fabulous dinner, and two unsatisfactory bottles of wine, at Doyle’s Restaurant on Sydney Harbor. Sunday was spent in Manly, a little surfer / beach town outside of Sydney.   (It is near the end of the earth, at least compared to, say, the Chicago metropolitan area.) Monday it was back to work. 


A few observations about Australia.  (And who am I to talk – having scarcely been out of the Central Business District?  Still, I’m here, and it is likely that you are not, so just listen!)  First of all, putting aside that it is way to far from the U.S., it is someplace that I think everyone should visit.  The people here are super friendly. The city itself is gorgeous.  (I’ve had several nice long runs over this bridge!)  The food absolutely rocks!  The freshest seafood, excellent fish and chips, great restaurants on every corner.  The beer is excellent too.  And the wine……second only to France in excellent local wines. Australia is a nation of athletes, sportsmen and sportswomen, and competitors.  Check out these pictures from the ferry to Manly – there was several hundred sailboats in Sydney Harbor.  When I go for runs, the paths are clogged with other runners, bikers, and strollers.  (Requisite “artsy” shot here – I *love* my new Canon EOS Rebel digital camera!) 


Long and short – I hate being away from CarCar and the boys for so long – I’ll be here until the first week of May.  But once I accept that I have to be away, Sydney is my first choice of places to be. 


CarCar, if you are reading this – I miss you desperately and totally.  I love you and the boy-o’s with every fiber of my being.  I’ll update the website again later this week…..


Easter Sunday – March 11, 2004 – Saturday morning, our neighbors and great friends Bill and Carrie Norteman have an Easter Egg Hunt in the Cul De Sac.  This year was really exceptional.  The kids had an absolute blast, and the adults did too.  It reminds us of how nice it is to raise kids in such an environment.  Our Cul De Sac is filled with kids, one better than the next, but none who bring us as much joy as Bailey and Cody.  (Scroll way down to last year, if you want to see how much all the kids have changed in just one year!)


Here is our handsome little family before church on Easter Sunday:


Picture1       Picture2       Picture3       Picture4       Picture5


The next update will either be from Sydney Australia (hopefully) or else a month from now after I’ve returned from Down Under.  Technically, I should be able to update the website from afar.  But, motivationally, we’ll just have to see what happens.  Happy Easter from the Needhams!


March 28, 2004 – Okay, I’m not one given to extensive hyperbole or exaggerations (heh heh, yeah right!) but I think that the Brookfield Zoo is one world-class institution.  Yesterday we took the boys there, on a somewhat circuitous route.  We had promised Bailey that we would take him there on a train.  Those of you who know Bailey know about his love of trains.  So, Carolyn dropped me and the boys off at the train station (here and here are pictures in the car), where we boarded….an express train to downtown.  I realized this when we blew through the Brookfield station.  So, me and the boys had a long train ride downtown, then ashorter ride back to the zoo.  Meanwhile, CarCar had a rather long wait at the zoo, after she drove there.  We finally made it to the zoo about an hour late, and met up with CarCar.  There, we took a long stroll though the Bears Cove, we saw some sea lions, we saw one really big cat, and the boys got to get really close to him (behind some thick glass, of course!).  We saw some really hilarious meercats (slightly blurry picture), that kept the boys in stitches with their digging in the sand. After the meercats, we had a picnic lunch for the boys (requisite “artsy” shot here), and wandered over towards the pachyderm house.  On the way, we passedAustralia where we saw kangaroos (look close) and wart hogs.  In the pachyderm house, we saw rhinos, elephants, and hippos (unphotographed).  Then we headed over to Tropical World to see all the primate exhibits.  Check out these gorillas!  And this little babyswinging around, under the watchful eye of his mother.  And this gorilla too!  All in all, it was a spectacular day, if a long one.  The boys really enjoy the zoo, and we enjoy taking them there.  We hope you enjoyed this post!


Quick Update on the entry below – March 27, 2004 – We took a few pictures yesterday with the new camera (see below).  Here is one of Bailey and Mr. Ben, here isCody, a Ben close-upCarCar and BaileyColin and Colin’s mom Kathy, Ben and Mrs. Scott (okay, that one is a little blurry, I need practice), CarCar, and a bunch of people.


NEW – March 26, 2004 – Whoa!  Check out our new digital camera.  (Yes, you can go ahead and feel all covetous and jealous now!)  Okay, the real reason we (mainly John) wanted this camera was that I already had a Canon Eos 35mm camera with several lenses, and I knew that the digital camera used the same lenses.  So, now we have a nice digital camera with which I can use my old lenses, and take much better pictures.  *Much* better, I hope.  Stay tuned and let me know whether the quality of the images on this site improves.  Certainly I’ll try to update more often. 


That’s all for today – I’ll update with more pictures this weekend.  We are going to the Brookfield Zoo Saturday and I’ll take some pictures then. 


March 15, 2004 – This weekend was the Naperville Saint Patrick’s Day Parade, an annual event for our little family. Bailey was *really* looking forward to it – fire trucks (real ones!), ambulances (all those sirens!), pickup trucks, horses, everything a little man can look forward to!  He and Cody had a real blast, even if it was too cold for comfort.  Here are a handful of pictures from this weekend:


1.     CarCar & the boys with their Irish sweaters.

2.     John and the boys with their sweaters.

3.     Bailey on the parade route.

4.     Cody bundled up.

5.     CarCar and the boys at the parade.

6.     CarCar and the boys again (excellent picture!).


This is also my way-late update for February – we had a great weekend visit from Carolyn’s sister Mary Ann Dwyer, and her two boys, Sean and Casey.  Our boys had a great time visiting and playing with their cousins.  Here are a few pictures of all four boys:


January 23, 2004 – Day three of “Daddy at home alone with the kids, without Mommy.”  I never really failed to appreciate how hard a job CarCar has, day in and day out, at home with the boys, the dogs, and all the domestic chores.  Still, I never really appreciated just how much laundry two little boys can generate; how much food they can eat (when they are eating at all – dinner is *always* a challenge); how much extra effort goes into making sure that the kids’ needs are all met, often to the exclusion of the adult’s. 


I had breakfast today around 1:00 p.m.  Lunch was abandoned entirely.  Dinner consisted of cold leftover meatloaf eaten directly from the container in the fridge, standing at the sink, while Cody refused to eat his own dinner, and Bailey wolfed his down.  (Bailey got cookies for dessert, Cody did not.)  Cody refused to nap, completely.  (Might that be because of the sugar high from the M&M’s they both had for dessert after lunch?  We’ll never know, but he will be going to bed *early* tonight!)  Bailey got up early from his nap – he’s going to bed early too. 


Today was not entirely a lost cause, however.  We went to the Dupage Children’s Museum this morning.  The boys played with light displays.  They played withthings that spin.  They played with percussion instruments.  They played with blocks.  And, this is scary, Bailey played with computers.  (Apples – hey, what can I do?  I an IBM/MS guy myself.  Still, he looks like a natural with a mouse in his hand.) 


We came home, ate lunch, had a brief visit with Mr. Ben from next door.  Lunch was a major success – hence the “bad idea” dessert.  The afternoon was less successful, and the evening has skidded into disaster-zone. 


Pray for us, why don’t you?  And, CarCar, if you are reading this in NJ – come home!  Soon!


January 21, 2004 - Couple of quick updates:  First of all, Carolyn has a *new car* and how exciting is that?  Yes, we are rid of the old minivan and now have a new SUV.  Click on the links to see Carolyn and her new ride.  Secondly, the same week that CarCar got her new ride, she went home to NJ to visit her parents.  So, yes, John is home playing the role of Mr. Mom, taking care of the boys.  (As of this writing, this has only been going on for like 12 hours.)  So far, things are going swimmingly!  This morning, we had breakfast, played with some Play Doughand had McDonald’s for lunch, a round of naps, followed by playing and dinner.  No trips to the Emergency Room yet (knock wood) and none expected.  And, after all, a fork in the neck and trip to the emergency room is the standard by which we are allowed to measure ourselves, in the Hardy Family, at least.  (Thanks to Tom Dwyer for setting this standard for us all to follow!) 


More updates during the week of Mr. Mom to follow, so stay tuned……


January 11, 2003 – Bailey’s 3rd Birthday Party – Our oldest son, Bailey, joined us three years ago tomorrow.  He was born on January 12th, 2001, and we can hardly recall a time when we were not parents.  Today we had a small birthday party for him.  For those who want to (and have high speed internet connections) you can download a whole bunch of pictures here.  A better approach might be to just click on the links below to see some of the pictures:


1.     A picture of the Birthday Cake.

2.     Bailey gets his first piece of cake.

3.     Bailey and John Henry Roth.

4.     Bailey w/ Grandma in the background.

5.     Bailey and his mom.

6.     Ben gets some cake.

7.     Ben again.

8.     Bailey trying to blow out the candles.

9.     CarCar

10.  Cody gets some cake.

11.  Cody again.

12. One more of Cody.

13.  Emma Rose’s first piece of cake.

14.  Emma Rose again.

15.  Grandma.

16.  John Henry

17.  Mrs. Scott

18.  Mr. Scott


January 4, 2004 – HAPPY NEW YEARS!  Today we got our first real snow of the 03/04 winter.  It was not all that much, maybe three or four inches, far less than the six to ten inches predicted.  The boys were out playing for the first time in the snow.  Bailey enjoyed it immensely!  Cody, on the other hand, was inconsolable. He hated having his feet in the snow.  (This was largely the same thing he experienced last summer in the sand at the beach on the Jersey shore.  Generally, it seems he cannot tolerate unusual feeling on his feet.  Not the he was barefoot in the snow, mind you!)


Here are a few more pictures: 


1.     Bailey playing

2.     CarCar and Bailey

3.     Daddy and the Boys

4.     Bailey again

5.     One more of Bailey

6.     CarCar and Cody

7.     Cody and Daddy


p.s. We *would* have included more pictures of Cody if he had been in a better mood!  We swear!  This is *not* an example of “second child” syndrome!


Anyway, the holidays are behind us, Christmas was wonderful, Thanksgiving, before that was wonderful as well.  Readers, guests, friends, family, and anyone who just stumbled on this website while browsing the world wide web:


The Needham Family would like to wish all of you a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2004. 


January 4, 2004 – EDITOR’S NOTE:  I need to recant.  By the time the snow ended today, we were able to coax some snow play out of Cody, and it turns out that, under the right circumstances, snow play is highly enjoyable for him.  Those circumstances include Daddy or Mr. Scott pulling him around in a sled.  (We both need to get in better shape before these kids get any bigger!)  At the end of the day, he wound up have a *lot* of fun!  See the pictures below:


1.     Ben and Cody Sledding

2.     Another one

3.     CarCar and Cody

4.     Bailey & Ben

5.     Three Boys Sledding

6.     Mister Ben


November 26, 2003 – It is the evening before Thanksgiving. 


Eric Zorn makes some good points about why most Americans think Thanksgiving is the best holiday here.  He says it better than I could, so I’ll let his words stand in for mine.


Like most Americans, we consider this excellent holiday to be special.  In our case, it is the most special holiday in the calendar year.  It is a time when most everyone pauses to reflect on the many blessings we’ve been given throughout our lives.  For Carolyn, me and the boys, this will be a particularly poignant holiday.  For the first time, we will be spending the day away from all family, except for ourselves.  Work pressure precluded us from our annual cross-country trek to New Jersey to spend the holiday with Carolyn’s family.  That loss is tempered by the fact that we get to create our own holiday.  We have an excellent menu planned, and will be breaking bread with great friends and neighbors. 


Carolyn and I are many-times blessed – we have each other, great friends, and great family.  We have our boys.  We live in a great neighborhood, in a great city, in a great nation.  There is much to be thankful for in our house.  We hope and pray the same is true in your house.


Others are less blessed.  Please take a moment to review the entry from November 14th (below).  I encourage everyone to make a small contribution to this excellent cause.  Thanks in advance for considering!


Carolyn and I would like to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving! 


November 14, 2003 – There is a writer and web journalist named John Scalzi, whose work I’ve enjoyed over the past year or so.  He is now having an online fundraiser for Reading is Fundamental.  He is asking people to donate just three dollars to RIF; in return, he will provide three Christmas-themed holiday stories electronically during December.  (He is requesting only three dollars, but that does not mean you cannot donate more!)  If interested, please read the details here.  You can make online donations using his PayPal account here.  To enjoy more of this original thinker’s writing, you can click here.  I encourage everyone who is interested to please make a small donation to this most excellent cause, and to enjoy the holiday stories as well. 


P.S. – For non-Christians, he promises that the stories will still be worthwhile:


(Note to those of the not-Christian faith: Yes, I'm focusing on Christmas; it's the holiday I grew up with. But I promise to make the stories accessible and enjoyable to all.)


Please consider making a donation!  Thanks!


October 31, 2003 – Happy Halloween everyone!  Our two little guys were Bob the Builder (Bailey) and a Lion (Cody).  (The lion looked a little like Tina Turner, but hey, what can we do?)  Here are a few pictures of the kids in the Cul de Sac:


1.     Bailey with a sucker.

2.     Bailey with Mrs. Scott.

3.     Cody with his Tina Turner Hair.

4.     Cody with Mrs. Scott.

5.     Bailey, Emma Rose, and Mr. Ben (the moose)!

6.     Bailey, Ben and Emma.

7.     Ben, Emma and Cody.


Last two pictures – these need to be seen.  Back on October 10th, I mentioned Cody’s insistence on feeding himself.  He’s still at it, though the results are largely the same.  Here are two pictures of him eating one of CarCar’s most excellent cupcakes:


One             Two


October 17, 2003 – Well, the Cubs blew it again, blew a 3 – 1 lead in the NLCS, blew a 3 – 0 lead in game six, with just five outs to go, five outs to get into the World Series, succumbing to the “curse” yet again.  Why, oh why, do we continue to have hope, to believe??  It is folly, I say; a true fool’s errand to believe the Cubs will ever change……This excerpt sums things up nicely:



told you. You didn't believe me. But you believe me now, don't you.

And, my God, it was perfect. Yes, yes, you're in pain, I know. But, honestly, now. If you had to lose -- and you did -- isn't it betterthis way? Not just to lose, but to lose big, to lose historically, to lose epically, yea, verily, to implode. Think of the stories you'll have. Let's just trot this dog right out and shake its shaggy paw: The Cubs had a collapse of biblical proportions. Biblical. This is the Book of Cubs, which reads rather suspiciously like the Book of Job, except, of course, that after God tests Job's faith, Job isrewarded.

Cubs fans, on the other hand, are precisely personified by the unfortunate Steve Bartman: Hopeful and groping towards history, yet destined to be personally implicated in, and to feel personally responsible for, the Cubbies' failures. Do not blame Steve Bartman, Cubs fans (and certainly don't kill him). He is a 200-proof distillation of everything it's been to be a Cubs fan for the last nine decades, the eye-watering, throat-desiccating, head-spinning Everclear of Wrigleyville. Pointing your angry, shaking finger at him is merely pointing back at your own disappointed self. He is you, with a better seat.

Click HERE for the full text, credit to http://www.scalzi.com/whatever which is the web log (aka “blog”) of John Scalzi.


October 10, 2003 – One of our little princes, Cody, has decided to exhibit his independence by insisting on feeding himself.  He gets quite messy.  Here are a few pictures from last night’s dinner, raviolis and bananas:


          Cody’s Pictures                                           Bailey’s Pictures


1.  Ravioli boy                                             1.  Bailey likes to start with cookies

2.  Feeding himself                                       2.  He is a much neater diner

3.  Cody “using” a fork                                3.  Sip of milk

4.  It is easier using hands                             4.  His other cookie

5.  He’s also willing to share                         5.  Big grin

6.  Bananas for desert                                   6.  Now the chicken nuggets

7.  Messy face                                             7.  He also eats with his hands

8.  Banana shampoo                                     8.  Bailey after dinner

9.  After dinner food coma



September 22, 2003 – Just back from an all too brief visit to Saint Paul for a benefit concert by the legendary band Trax to Hooterville!  This event was part-time college reunion, and part-time benefit to raise money for the Cindy T. White-Cameron Scholarship Fund.  It was an excellent event, and raised a lot of money for a truly excellent cause.  The band was excellent – here are a few pictures, or click HERE to download all of the band pictures.  (Some of the pictures are too dark – blame the photographer, not me!)  (Editor’s note – I’ll do some work on these pictures in the next week or so (red-eye reduction, etc.), but just wanted to get them out there now.)  (Editor’s second note:  I’ve fixed some of the red eye – you’re welcome in advance, Mary McKeown!)


1.     Band-1

2.     Band-2

3.     Band-3

4.     Band-4

5.     Band-5


There was much dancing:


1.     Dancing-1

2.     Dancing-2

3.     Dancing-3

4.     Dancing-4


Some old and great friends:


1.     Mark Von Orsow – aka Birdman, married the longest of any of us, with a daughter in college already (while ours are still in diapers)…..

2.     Okay, not a college friend, actually, our son Cody, dancing.

3.     Jim Twohey’s daughter Erin and our son Cody.  (She *loved* him!)

4.     Jim T. and Erin

5.     Jim Twohey and Jeff Johnson

6.     Jamie Palmquist and Maggie Knack (aka Perrault)

7.     Jim Twohey and Bailey

8.     Jamie and CarCar

9.     Mary McKeown

10.  Steve Page – now lives in IL, better call us soon!

11.   Paul Belsito and Bailey

12.   Paul & Cody


September 19, 2003 – This update is in two parts.  First there is a page with a bunch of pictures from the annual trek to the Jersey shore for a vacation with Carolyn’s family.  Click here for that page.  There are some excellent pictures of the boys and some of their cousins there!


Secondly, here are a handful of new pictures of the boys, taken on August 24th, 2003:


1.     Cody playing at the local park

2.     Bailey the same day

3.     Bailey trying to go down the slide

4.     Cody was not really into swinging that day

5.     Cody and I walked home, but Bailey got a ride from CarCar in the Jeep



July 26, 2003 – Today we had the SunGard Golf Outing.  Here are a few pictures, plus a link to download the entire set of pictures.  (Apologies in advance to those who I did not get to see on the course – I had to leave right after the round, to pack for out annual trek to the Jersey Shore.)


1.     Kate, Tom, Lorraine, and Joni

2.     Kristin Driving, first hole

3.     Matt Vaughn Chipping (his foursome finished four-over-par)

4.     Matt Putting on the 18th Green

5.     Our Foursome, after the round – we won (no surprise)

6.     Rick driving, first hole

7.     Rick really duffed this one

8.     Rick Putting

9.     Steve after a tough round

10.   Al Chipping

11.   Billy Driving

12.   EJ Chipping

13.   Jerry, Manuel, Steve and Adam (they lost too)

14.   Katie, Tom, Joni and Lorraine (also lost)

15.   Glenn Chipping

16.   Glenn chunked this one

17.   Glenn and Manuel

18.   Glenn, Jason, Al, and Joe (another foursome that failed to win)

19.   Jason Chipping, 18th hole

20.   Jeanette Chipping


Click here to get the entire set of 60 pictures. 


July 13, 2003 – Weekend is over.  (It is 8:45 p.m. as I write this.)  We had a nice, relaxing weekend.  The only real excitement was a Kane County Cougars Game on Saturday night.  It was a GEORGEOUS night!  So, in keeping with great traditions, here are a few pictures from that:


  1. A Picture of Elfstrom Field
  2. Bailey and Daddy
  3. Carolyn & Cody
  4. Carolyn & The Boys
  5. Cody in Carolyn’s Lap
  6. John and Cody
  7. John and The Boys
  8. Why We Left Early!


July 6, 2003 – The holiday weekend is behind us.  We went to the Naperville Rib Fest on Friday, then had friends and neighbors over for a barbecue Saturday.  We had Kane County Cougar tickets on Sunday but wisely decided to bail on that, so Carolyn was able to take the tickets back to the stadium and exchange them for a later game.  Whew!  What a great weekend!  Here are a handful of pictures:


First, from Naperville Rib Fest – it was boiling hot, and the pictures reflect that!


1.     Bailey at Rib Fest

2.     Carolyn and Cody

3.     Cody alone

4.     John & Cody


From the great barbecue (beer-boiled brats with kicked up onions, cheeseburgers, baked beans, etc.) the only picture I have is from desert – Sheila Scott’s Independence Day Fruit Pizza:


Here is the picture…..


Oh, and Carolyn bought a small inflatable pool for the boys to play in.  Since I am a “boy” too, I decided to join Bailey and Cody in there one day last weekend….


  1. Us in the pool.
  2. Again in the pool.
  3. One more….
  4. Last one in the pool
  5. one last picture, Bailey with the dogs…


NEW – June 20, 2003 – Tonight we went to the Bon Apetit Wine & Spirit Focus event at the Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier.  It is an event with lots of wine producers and Chicago area restaurants presenting wine and food, and it all benefits the Make a Wish Foundation.  It was an absolute blast, but I’m bitter that I did not win the Dennis Franz decorated plate at the silent auction.  We got all dressed up, got a sitter (thanks Sheila) and went downtown for a terrific evening.  Here are a few pictures:


1.     Carolyn outside at Navy Pier at night.

2.     A dark picture, but the Chicago Skyline at night.

3.     Both of us on the “boardwalk” at Navy Pier at night.

4.     Us at the Silent Auction.


Fathers Day 2003 – June 15, 2003 – We had a terrific weekend.  For Fathers Day, we had a picnic at the Morton Arboretum with fried chicken, cole slaw, and potato salad.  The fried chicken was from a recipe from Penzeys Spices (click the link for the recipe) and it was fantastic.  We’ve FINALLY figured out how to do fried chicken right!  Afterwards, we came home, the boys had their naps, and then we decided to just hang out. 


Here are a few pictures of the boys from today:


1.     Cody

2.     Bailey trying to blow some bubbles

3.     Bailey and Ben from next door

4.     Daddy & Cody


NEW – May 11, 2003 – Mothers Day 2003 – Today, we had a Mothers Day Brunch for Carolyn, Sarah and Sheila.  The husbands (John, Mike and Jeff) provided the food and refreshments, not to mention all kinds of other “services” including cooking, clean-up, and laundry!  Here are a few pictures:


1.     Sheila and Ben

2.     Carolyn & The Boys

3.     Sarah and Emma Rose

4.     Cody

5.     Bailey on the stairs

6.     Sheila and Ben again

  1. Sarah and Emma Rose again


May 3, 2003 – Cody Ambrose Needham turned one year old on May First.  He had his birthday party on Friday, May 2.  Click here to see a few pictures of the big event.


We also went to the Kane County Cougars game on Saturday, May 3rd.  We have a season ticket package.  Here are a few pictures from today.


1.     Cody and Carolyn

2.     Carolyn and the boys

3.     Carolyn and the boys again

4.     Cody at Elfstrom Field

5.     Cody again


Click here to see a few pictures of the two boys taking a bath together.  (Yes, we’ve got these pictures, and will be torturing the boys forever with them!)



April 19, 2003 – Today we had our First Annual Cul-de-Sac Easter Egg Hunt!  Thanks to Carrie Norteman for arranging everything!  Click here for a few pictures.


August 30, 2002 – First, here are a few pictures of Carolyn and Bailey and Cody’s vacation at the Jersey shore:


1.     Bailey playing on the beach.

2.     Another one…..

3.     Bailey and his mom at the shore….

4.     Cody and his grandma…..

5.     A GREAT picture of Cody!

6.     Bailey with his Uncle Ken  (Bailey has his toy binoculars in his little hand….)

7.     Bailey and Cody with their Grandfather Pop Pop!

8.     Here is one last picture, Bailey and Cody with all of their cousins, at least the ones from the Hardy side of the family…..


Also NEW August 30, 2002 – Just a couple of pictures from last Saturday, when we had the boys at the Brookfield Zoo.


1.     Bailey with a goat.

2.     Bailey petting that goat!

3.     polar bear….

4.     An ostrich…..

5.     And three elephants….




July 7, 2002 – We had our SunGard Golf Outing on July 6, 2002.  It has all be extensively documented photographically.  Click here to see the photographic evidence of our company’s extensive golf acumen!  (To those for whom I failed to document your golf exploits, I apologize.  To those who had their exploits documented, I also apologize!)


July 4, 2002 – We had a great independence Day holiday, with brunch with our neighbors Jeff and Sheila Scott, then the a Kane County Cougars game.  We’re not sure if the Cougars won – we had to leave early since the boys are not into staying up late.  Yet anyway!  Here is a page with just a few pictures of us at the game…..


June 4, 2002 – Seven new pictures of the two boys:


Picture 1  Cody asleep in the boppy pillow


Picture 2  The first picture of Cody and Bailey together


Picture 3  Bailey and Cody together, again!


Picture 4  Bailey on his Fire Engine


Picture 5  Bailey checking Cody out


Picture 6  Cody on his boppy pillow


Picture 7  Cody grinning up at the camera




On May 1st, 2002 at 8:13 a.m., Cody Ambrose Needham was born at Edward hospital in Naperville.  He weighed in at a whopping 10 pounds 2 ½ ounces, and was 21 ½ inches long.  He is back home now with his proud parents and his big brother Bailey.  Everyone is doing great!  Click the links below to see a few pictures of Cody.


Picture 1


Picture 2


Picture 3


Picture 4


May 9, 2002 – courtesy of Clark and Maureen Minker, we’re adding these pictures:


                Mommy and Cody


                Mommy and Cody Again


                Mommy and Cody Closeup


                All four of us


                Colin and Brendan


                Cody and Bailey with Daddy