A Green Screen Birthday Adventure

When one is having a birthday celebration for your kids, there is one big rule: Always take photographs so your kids will remember what happened.  For example, I made sure to take plenty of photos since NHL, JSL, and Cousins S and B had a huge adventure to celebrate NHL turning 11.

First, we boarded an airplane.  Note: Keep an eye on your kids at all times when on airplanes.  I looked away for a second and found them on the wing of the plane.

Kids On An Airplane Wing

Don’t ask me how they got there or how they withstood the force of the air against them.  Getting them back in was tricky, but we somehow managed it.

When we landed, we immediately went to our destination: Disney World!

Kids At Disney World

Um, kids, I don’t think you’re supposed to stand there.

Kids In A Parade

Hey, get out of that parade!

Kids On The Monorail

Again, don’t ask me how they got atop the Monorail… Or why they looked so big atop it.  I was too busy at the time worrying that they’d fall off.  (And taking a quick photo or two.  Priorities, people!)

Next, we went on a safari drive in Animal Kingdom.  You’d think that by now I’d have learned my lesson about looking away.  The kids pointed to an ostrich in one direction, though, and when I looked back…

Kids On A Giraffe

Long story short, we’re not welcome back there again.  Thanks a lot, kids!

At least we were able to go to Epcot, though.  You know, the park with the iconic Spaceship Earth…

Kids On Spaceship Earth

WHAT?!!!  How’d they get there?  No wonder people were screaming as I took this photo.  That also explains the security guard who dragged them back to me.  Silly kids.

At least that’s the wackiest thing they could possibly do, right?

Kids On A Flower

Nope.  They just *had* to sneak backstage and find Wayne Szalinski’s shrinking machine from the old Honey, I Shrunk The Audience attraction.  It took us a few hours before we spotted them on this flower.

At that point, we decided to cut our losses and get home before the kids decided to leave the planet or something.

Kids On The Moon

Wait, was *that* where they disappeared to when they took my camera?  How did they even get to the moon anyway?  (I *thought* I saw a blue phone box in Epcot’s England area next to the red ones!)

Thankfully, we got everyone back home and back to the proper size…

NHL on His Cake

Uh oh…..  Well, happy birthday anyway, NHL!

NOTE: All photos above were taken by me with the exception of the Moon photo which comes from NASA.  (All NASA photos are public domain.)  The "green screen" originals are thanks to a green screen in the Children’s Museum of Science and Technology (CMOST) in Troy, NY.

Happy Birthday NHL!

Today, NHL turns 11.  Don’t ask me how this happened.  It’s still a mystery to me.  One minute, we were bringing him home and then I blinked and he grew up.  Now he’s headed to middle school in a couple of weeks.  NHL has a habit of asking me if I’m proud of him, usually for getting some random video game accomplishment.  Here’s what I’m really proud of NHL for:


  • He’s a very kind individual.  At a recent family function, he kept hugging family members over and over.  To the point that he hugged a complete stranger – I think he was a waiter – because he mistook him for a family member.  NHL cares about people with all of his heart and hates to think of them being sad.


  • He’s passionate about what he loves and isn’t afraid to flaunt that passion.  Whether it be video games, super heroes, math, or Doctor Who, NHL is always ready to tell anyone everything they could ever want to know about the subjects that he loves the most.


  • He’s honest.  Ok, at times he can be honest to a fault.  He shouldn’t blurt out to one of his cousins which cousin he likes the best.  Still, this is all part of his learning how to navigate the social rules.  In general, though, he hates lying and prefers to tell the truth.


  • He’s not afraid to speak his mind to stand up for himself or ask for what he wants.  This can be tough for some with Asperger’s.  They will assume that they will mess something up socially and will just shut up and take whatever comes their way.  I know that I’ve been guilty of that far too many times in my past.  NHL has been learning to speak up when he needs to, though.  Again, he will sometimes take this too far and speak up when silence would be best, but this is just him learning the social rules and regulations.  I’d rather him have to dial it back a bit than to think he shouldn’t speak up at all.


Part of me can’t wait to see how much NHL grows in another year.  However, another part of me doesn’t want him to grow up anymore.  That part of me just grew when I had to pour over old photos of NHL to compile a special video highlighting NHL’s growth.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll leave you with the video while I cry over my baby growing up.  Happy birthday, NHL!

Happy Birthday To Me

birthday_cakeYesterday was my birthday.  I turned 39.  Only one more year until I need to bid farewell to my thirties and hello to my forties.  (I may be planning out a mid-life crisis already.  Don’t want to leave something like that to chance.  My ideas of a techy mid-life crisis might be the subject of a later post.)

I woke up in the morning, very tired.  The previous night, I had been moving a website I manage from an old server to a new one and it wound up taking longer than I thought.  Thankfully, the boys let me sleep late.  Finally, it was time for a quick breakfast and then come up with something special to do.

That’s when I blanked.

For the life of me, I couldn’t think of one thing I’d like to do that wasn’t really an activity for the boys.  After spending much time racking my brains, B made a genius suggestion.  She asked if I wanted to see Guardians of the Galaxy.  I did but was on the fence as to whether the movie would be fine for the kids to see.  After reassuring me that a friend of hers took her young kids to see it and that most of the inappropriate moments were related to cursing, not violence.  We decided to take a chance on the movie.

guardians_of_the_galaxyWe got to the theater and attended a showing at a Regal Cinema’s RPX theater.  This wasn’t a 3D showing (as JSL doesn’t like 3D movies), but the RPX screen is huge.  It goes from just above the floor of the theatre to the ceiling.  The previews came on and NHL immediately put his fingers in his ears.  As I’ve written about before, NHL is Autistic and has sensory issues.  One of these involves sound.  The noise of the sound system was overwhelming to him.  Thankfully, once the previews began, the volume seemed to level off and NHL seemed to be able to handle it.

Guardians of the Galaxy was amazing.  It was funny, suspenseful, action-packed, and had incredible visuals.  Did I mention it was funny?  I glanced over during many of the jokes to see B and the boys laughing.  The crowd in the theater kept bursting out laughing as well.  I’ve seen all of the Marvel Avengers-line movies (Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Captain America, and Avengers) and loved all of them.  This one was definitely one of the best of the bunch – and that’s saying something.  Not to spoil anything, but I want a dancing "baby Groot" for my desk.  (As with any Marvel movie, stick around until the credits are done.)  I now think the boys might be able to watch the other Marvel movies with me.

After the movie, we made our way out to a Mexican restaurant for dinner.  I had the Enchiladas Mexicanas – which were cheese, spinach, and refried bean enchiladas served with Mexican rice.  It was delicious.


After this, we picked up my cake from Price Chopper and went to B’s parents house for dessert.  B’s parents gave me a cell phone accessory that everyone should have.


Yes, this is a portable Unicorn horn.


Wait, it’s a cell phone stand? Well, it’s multi-functional.

It was a wonderful birthday.  I’d say I can’t wait for the next one, but forty is looming large.  I plan on savoring this next year and hope it crawls by slowly.

Happy Seventh Birthday To JSL

JSL-lightsaberSeven years ago today, we welcomed JSL into the world.  B, NHL, and I all fell in love instantly with the little bundle.  Over the following years, we’ve watched him grow into a wonderful little boy.  Actually, I should correct myself here.  A wonderful big boy.

Though JSL will always be my baby to me, he’s growing up so quickly.  He’s already finishing up the first grade and getting ready to move into the second grade.  He’s a wonderful little brother.  For every moment that JSL and his brother are at each others’ throats, there are a couple of moments when they are playing video games together, reading together, or just playing together.

I’ve also watched as JSL has grown as a geek-in-training.  Last year, I introduced him to Doctor Who and he quickly fell in love.  He mourned the loss of Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor, the loss of David Tennant’s Doctor, and recently saw Matt Smith’s Doctor remove his bow tie for the last time.  He wanted a sonic screwdriver of his own and insisted that I make him a fez.  (Because fezes are cool.)

JSL also recently completed watching the Star Wars trilogies.  He loved the whole thing.  He even liked Jar Jar Binks.  (What can I say, the character might disgust me, but it is the perfect mix of silly and potty humor for kids.  Out of place in Star Wars, definitely, but perfect for kids.)  He now has a line of Jedi Force figures that he plays with constantly and foam lightsabers to battle with outside.

That’s the other thing I’m proud of with him.  His imagination.  He is constantly inventing games that his Lego minifigs and/or action figures play.  With just the refrigerator and an odd assortment of magnets, he can create vast stories and characters.  If we go to a diner, he will insist on turning his paper placemat over so he can write a detailed story about what happened during his day.  (Yes, I believe we’ve got a blogger-in-the-making.)

While JSL can be agreeable and selfless, he can also be forceful and determined.  When I told him about a tabletop game idea I had, he told me that I was not to work on it at all unless he was involved.  When I took the training wheels off his bike, he was insistent on learning to ride.  (His current record is 14 seconds pedaling on his own.  Pretty good considering he’s two been practicing for two days.)

He’s my little helper, my little geek, and my sweet little boy.  He might not be my six year old anymore, but I can’t wait to see what seven brings.

Happy birthday, JSL!

Happy Birthday To The Most Wonderful Wife and Mother Ever

happy-birthday-bethToday is the birthday of the most important person in my life.  She’s beautiful, intelligent, caring, and doesn’t back down when something threatens her family’s well-being: especially if she thinks her kids aren’t being treated right.  She gets between NHL and me when our Aspie sides collide.  She comforts JSL when he’s feeling anxious about something (just before launching an attack against that something if need be).  Whereas I’m the one who makes a phone call if we need a calm, reasonable voice, she’s the one to put on the phone if you want someone who will stand their ground, never give an inch, and fight tooth and nail.

On the other side, she’s proud to show her geek side and will show her knowledge of Disney or proudly wear her Donna Noble shirt to show her love of Doctor Who.  She’s my wonderful angel and I love her with all of my heart.  (Were I a Time Lord, I’d love her with both of my hearts.)

Happy birthday, Beth!

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