My latest app: After That

Here’s my latest app: After That

You can find it on the iTunes App Store, Google Play, or Amazon.  Information is also posted on Logan Apps.

After ThatThis app is a story-telling tool that can be used in a group of people or by yourself.

The way the tools works is simple. Shake your device and you get a word. Start a story and make sure to use the given word during the introduction. If you are having troubling thinking of a beginning, simply shake again so you have a second word to work with. When you are done with the start of the story, simply say, “After That”, leaving the story plot open for the next person.

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The next person takes the devices, shakes it, and gets a new word. They continue with the story making sure to use the new word. When they want to let the next person go, they simply say “After That”, and the next person takes a turn.

Smaller children may not have the ability to develop a plot with a given word as easily. They may simply take their word and state, “After that he saw a (WORD). After that…” Therefore, you may want to make sure that those people capable of expanding on a story are spread out to allow the story to stay on track.

If you’re not in a group, such as doing creative writing or simply telling a story to kids, simply use “After That” to get a prompt for the next part of the story.

And yes, the next version will allow you to create your own words.  This first version was something I quickly did over Thanksgiving weekend.

Let me know what you think!

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An ER visit

Out of all my children, Micah is generally the most unpredictable. His labor was weird, he took a few more months than any other of my babies to get into routine, his eating habits are unpredictable, etc. Now, he usually doesn’t get sick. The last time I called the nurse line our bring him in for something before this was at 5-6 weeks for a sudden onset of excessive spitting up. We’ve had a good run. This fall has been THE WORST though for sick kids. Everyone is sick. We ran through so many bouts with the sniffles that I never got the kids in for a flu shot.

Then, right before Thanksgiving, the entire city started battling with a stomach bug or the flu or both. The stomach bug ran its course at our house, and I thought we would be fine, but less than two weeks later, Micah ends up with a fever and upper respiratory symptoms. Boo. I hunkered down with him and held him as we fought the low grade fever and other symptoms. Mostly, we turned on Curious George and let him nap in my arms, but he had a terrible time sleeping the night before and didn’t really seem any better today, so for the first time in almost two years, we called into the nurse line again. Hearing his symptoms, she said to bring him in in the next four hours.

So, I started preparing to bring him in. I lightened the diaper bag so I could easily carry him and it, and I grabbed a phone charger. That was all I needed because he was just going to sleep on me anyway like he had done all day long, plus he had been refusing food and drink, so we were good. Bryan buckled him in, and I took off. He was still super quiet. Usually, he has to tell you about every truck on the road, so I kept checking on him. I parked in the nonemergency lot which is good because the emergency lot was full, and I packed him in. We got checked in at the desk with assurances that it would be awhile because pediatrics was packed. I expected this since the whole city has been sick. So we sat down where I expected to snuggle a sleeping baby and repeatedly check Facebook and Twitter, but he popped his head up and starts telling me about the baby over in another seat and the grandpa (maka) with a hat.

Suddenly, he wants to get down and run around. It’s 8 pm. That’s past his bedtime. I didn’t bring any shoes along. I feel his forehead. The fever I haven’t been able to touch all day was suddenly gone. ARGH! This isn’t allowed. Oh well, we’re already checked in, at least we’ll make sure he doesn’t have an ear infection. I pull out my phone to let him watch some videos because he has no shoes and we’re in the germiest place in the city. I talk with him, walk around a bit, watch more videos. Around 10, we finally get back to take vitals after which we get sent back to the waiting room. I’m wishing we would have left. He was the cutest, most cheerful toddler getting vitals checked at 10 pm ever. I feel like a liar. The nurse assures me that this is common, and it would be good to get the ears checked anyway. I still feel awkward and reactionary. I want to say, “Hey, check my records! We have never actually been to the ER before! I’m not a crazy mama!” but I’m afraid that won’t really prove my point. Plus, if I was a crazy mama, I have a feeling that would be surreptitiously noted on our records.

So, we go back out. I start walking with him and singing trying to get him to get some rest. He mostly wants me to sing “wheels on the bus” and take requests for which verse to sing next. He likes to sing about dogs and cats best, and I cannot resist when he asks for cats by saying “menow, menow”. So cute. We sing, and he notices a baby. He says, “Hi Baby” to which the baby responds by blowing him kisses. This exchange is related several gloriously adorable times until he notices that the baby has milk. Now he wants milk, but I brought nothing because he was going to sleep the whole time and refuse food and drink. Thankfully, I have cash which I never do, and we head to the vending machine. They have milk there. It’s not whole milk, but he’s basically drank nothing for several hours. I think it will do except he doesn’t drink out of a milk jug yet. After several attempts which get his favorite shirt wet which he hates vehemently, I get an idea. Digging in the diaper bag, I find a pen. I rip the pen apart down to the barrel to MacGyver a straw. This is my finest parenting moment. He drinks some milk. We wait some more. Finally, around 11 we’re called back. After the resident and the supervising doc see us, we head home. He’s fine. The nurses,  though, they may have fallen in love and had their hearts broken as he was bent on charming them.

The fever was fine all the next day. We had a slight recurrence on Wednesday and I thought for sure we were headed to ear infection town and another ER visit, but he rallied after a little Tylenol and has been fine, although with a small cough, ever since.

Have your kids ever been miraculously cured by a visit to the ER?

Posted in Family Updates | 2 Comments

Subscription boxes

What’s up with all the subscription boxes? Now, don’t confuse these with “(Blank) of the Month” clubs.  Those have been around for a while.  You pay something, and you get a sample of that item every month.  But they’re pretty specific.  Jerky of the Month, Nuts of the Month, Salsa of the Month.  You sign up for this, and you know what you’re going to get.

But at some point, people decided to say, “Hey!  We’re being to specific.  Can we generalize our concept even more?”  And they didn’t go to “Snack Food of the Month”, or “Chip dip of the Month” to expand their horizon.  They jumped to categories that basically define reality show contests for those first few episodes until you know their names. Beauty, Athlete, Suave Guy, Sassy, Nerd, Gamer (yes, there’s a distinction between the two), and more.

Now, I personally have a hard time spending my money on unknown stuff. Can I drop a quarter into a gumball machine not knowing whether I’ll get a purple or yellow gumball?  Yes.  Am I willing to spend $25 to $100 on a few items I have no control over? Nope.

You can go onto YouTube and watch these videos (search for the box name followed by “unboxing”) to get an idea of what’s included. Many of the boxes include some items whose MSRP is $39.99, but you can find the item on Amazon for $3.99.  Some boxes included knockoff items that were just junk.  I saw one where the guy got a portable speaker.  Some includes items you just can’t use (sorry, not everyone has an iPhone 6, but thanks for including that $9.99 $.99 screen protector that I can’t use).  We even found one that included a “cologne” in the box.  It was geared to the “comic con” crowd and not the “sophisticated man” crowd. The person opening it pretends to be excited to get “Hulk Cologne”, even though you probably don’t want to smell like the Hulk, and the dude still has the bottle of Thor cologne from last month.  But the box swears it’s worth $24.99, so you’re getting a steal!  They also included a lot of stickers. I’m just curious what the heck people were doing with all their stickers.  You’re not in elementary school anymore.

Found one where it costs $100.  They even listed the previous month’s content on their website. I searched for the items on Amazon, and you were paying $100 to have someone send you something you could get for $38 via Amazon Prime.

Have you ever gotten one of these mystery boxes?  What was your experience?

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Thanksgiving 2014

Bryan and I stayed up later than usual watching a movie, so morning came a little too early for me. Bryan was already checking out the online prices of some purchases we’ve been planning, and the girls were getting ready. I herded everyone to the kitchen where we made these cute Thanksgiving cinnamon rolls I found on Good Cheap Eats.
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After breakfast, the girls and I started working on dinner foods. Hannah worked on mashed potates, and Emma started cranberry sauce. I got the turkey started, and then got ready for the day. We made rolls, stuffed peppers, and green beans. I had made desserts yesterday. A little after noon, we sat down to this.
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After a little cleaning, Micah, Bryan, and I were ready for a rest. The girls were ready to play in the snow. When Micah finished his nap, we called the girls in and had some dessert.
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Micah was a big fan of “cookie pie”.
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We chatted with my parents over Skype since they ended up home alone for the holiday.

Now, we have a little cleaning to do to get ready for the big decorating day tomorrow.

But before we go, or family has been so blessed this year, we thought we’d share our Top Fourteen of 2014 Thankful List for this year all together and in no particular order.

Of course, we are thankful first for God and His Word and Jesus’s sacrifice for us. We’re thankful for food, clean air and water, shelter, Bryan’s job, and all of the computerized/internet automagic that goes with living in 2014. We’re deeply grateful for our family and those love. We’re thankful that all of us are in generally good health, but here’s the rest of the list

The Logan’s Top 14 of 2014 Things to be Thankful For

  1. Micah beginning to talk more and more and all the time
  2. Hannah getting braces
  3. New skills- Emma cooking, Micah walking, etc.
  4. Amie’s opportunity to teach Emma’s Essentials class
  5. Variety of weather (warmth after long winter, new snow to play in)
  6. Books! And weekly trips to the library we started this year
  7. Trip to Valley Fair
  8. Trip to Inspiration Point
  9. Redoing the kitchen
  10. Bryan expanded to the Apple App store
  11. Hannah’s alarm clock (Mom doesn’t have to get her up anymore!)
  12. Monster trucks (this mostly applies to Micah)
  13. Participating in Bible Bee another year
  14. Both girls got to participate the same choir this year, and Hannah loves being in older kids choir

What is your family thankful for this year?

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Giving thanks when there’s a hole

I was reading Psalm 9 the other day and, being close to Thanksgiving, the first two verses caught my attention.

I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;
    I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and exult in you;
    I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

But, then, the Psalm seems to veer off and talk about enemies and the wicked.

I don’t think to give thanks to God in those situations.

I don’t give thanks in illness and broken relationships and unfulfilled longings.

But David did, and he tells us why in verses 7-10

But the Lord sits enthroned forever;
    he has established his throne for justice,
and he judges the world with righteousness;
    he judges the peoples with uprightness.

The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed,
    a stronghold in times of trouble.
 And those who know your name put their trust in you,
    for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.

Whatever our situation, we can give thanks because God is on His throne. His justice and righteousness will prevail. He is our stronghold, and He has not forsaken us.

He sent Jesus. My substitute in punishment for sin. No, He has not forsaken us. God has shown His immeasurable love by sending His Son to die for us. To give us hope. To give  us a refuge in this life and eternally.

No matter what circumstances life is throwing at you this Thanksgiving. No matter what gaping hole seems to be consuming you: job, relationships, loss, hardship, illness; God’s unfailing love is the constant. He longs to be your comfort, your salvation.

We can give thanks because of Him.

I hope God has put you in a place that you can count many, many more blessings, but if He has not, He is still an advocate, a comforter, and supplies all that you need.

We’ll have a post later with all of our Thanksgiving fun, but what are you doing for Thanksgiving?

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Cuter than duck face, that’s for sure

You know how when your little person is fussing, sometimes you carry them over to a mirror and show them the baby? I found out by laziness accident serendipity, that the front camera on your phone serves the same purpose. He stopped fussing, but then, he surprised me by making faces. Amused and taken aback, I used the camera for its actual purpose to capture the moment.

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Toddler happy. Mission accomplished.

What do you do when your kids are crabby? Obviously, I could use some fresh ideas.

Posted in Family Updates | 2 Comments

This is not in my personality description

So, when you’re painting cabinets, you have a lot of time to think. Sometimes I turn on a podcast, but other times people are sleeping. So I’ve been thinking a lot. And I’ve thought about how some people custom paint cabinets professionally. And after, I thought, “Why? They could have done anything, ANYTHING else.” Then I wondered, what kind of personality type are the people who paint cabinets? What does their Myers Briggs look like? I’m an INFJ. I’m pretty sure cabinet painters aren’t that, or else I probably need to turn in my card and get a new type, and I think that’s hard to do. Then I think, this is probably a result of too many fumes, you should get some air.

What’s your personality type?

Does it like to paint cabinets?

Posted in Random | 3 Comments

Kitchen color schemes

I’ve mentioned before that we’re remodeling our kitchen. Because Bryan and I have defined our style as cheap and bland, we’re going with some browns and beige colors primarily. But, as we’ve talked about it, I’ve verbally designed kitchen spaces for each of my children. I gave Emma a very traditional kitchen, Hannah a very colorful kitchen, and Micah a kitchen with easily accessible snack cupboards. After this, Hannah told me it would be awesome to paint her kitchen by putting some paint cans in the middle and then setting off some dynamite in the midst of the paint cans for a splatter effect. Because of this interesting insight, I gave each of the kids their own kitchen printout to color as they would design their own kitchen. Here are the results.

Emma

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Hannah

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Micah

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I think the pictures speak for themselves.

What’s your ideal kitchen color scheme?

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In defense of the selfie

Every so often, you see people complaining about “selfies”, aka pictures that you take of yourself, usually using your cell phone. But they never give actual reasons why the selfie should be “banned”.  Doing “rigorous” research like I normally do for this blog, I see one guy saying it should be banned because “my giant head completely obscured any cool nature scene” and “Self-portraits are at best uninteresting and at worst annoying”.

So let’s breakdown the complaint about his giant head obscuring anything.  The picture he shows is at a 4:3 ratio.  His Twitter feed reveals he’s an iPhone user.  The last iPhone with a 4:3 front camera resolution was the iPhone 4s.  So in January 2014, this guy who writes about tech was using a phone released in 2011.  Really? You didn’t bother to upgrade to the iPhone5 or iPhone 5s tech writer?  Also, it’s not your head that takes up that picture.  It’s your torso. There’s plenty of room for scenery.  JUST ADJUST THE ANGLE!  With my arm extended and choosing the right angle, I can get my head to take up about 1/6th of the frame (the right third of the bottom half). You know what you can also do? Take a second picture.  Seriously.  Even back in the old days when people developed film and paid for each picture, they’d take pictures of two different scenes.

So onto the next complaint: Self-portraits are at best uninteresting.  I guess if you’re not interested that your friend went on a trip, is a self-portrait or a professional portrait going to change that?  Nope.  You know what is uninteresting?  Pictures of extremely popular things without people in them.

“Oh, you took a picture of the White House?  Interesting.  I wonder what it looks likes.” – No one ever.

If I want to see a picture of the White House, I can just search Google for one.  And it’s probably going to be better quality that whatever someone else took.  If I don’t care about a friend’s trip, whether or not they’re in the picture probably won’t make a difference.  Also, take a look at your yearbook.  It’s pictures of people.  People in pictures make for better memories.

Before the selfie, someone else was taking picture.  It was probably mom or dad.  This means that you’d very rarely have the whole family in the picture.  If you did, it was done either with a self-timer or you had to rely on some stranger taking it for you.  But no one wants to hand a stranger their phone.  That contains a whole bunch of important stuff, it’s very expensive, and it has a high resale value on the black market.

Maybe selfies are one of those things that people want to make fun of because it makes them feel like they’re the Siskel and Ebert of culture.  They’ll mock selfies, Nickelback, tshirts that are actually comfortable, and more just so people think they’re knowledgeable.

Do you think there’s anything wrong with the selfie?

Posted in Family Updates | 3 Comments

Coke names

Have you noticed the Coke bottles with names on them?  They started appearing earlier this year.  They say “Share a Coke with …..” and then the name of someone.  To be honest, I have yet to purchase a Coke to share with a person with that name.  To be fair, the opportunity hasn’t arisen.  The closest I got was getting a bottle with the name of one of the guys I work with.  But he started working remote a few weeks before, so I’m off the hook.

If I found a bottle with one of my close friends’ name written on it, would I buy it for them? Sure.  But that situation hasn’t arisen yet.

Now, the true goal is to find your own name.  So how have we been doing here?  Well, according to http://www.shareacoke.com/#find (no longer works to search), the best our family can do is 60%.  “Amie”, not unexpectedly, is not available.  Neither is “Micah”.  But that’s fine because the sugar and caffeine would not be good for him. According to that page, “Bryan” is available.  I haven’t seen it yet, but it is a change from my younger childhood years. I’ve sometimes thought my middle name should be “With-a-y”.  But the spelling on that would be awkward.  Withuhwhy? Whithuwheye?

At work, it’s been busy, so I’ve been getting a soda more often.  I’ll walk and check the two machines to see if any have one that would be good to get.  Earlier in the summer, I got “Hannah”.  I was exhausted, so I drank “her” Coke, but she has the bottle and enjoys it.

I also check at the gas station.  I was able to snag an “Amy”, which is the closest she’ll get. But yesterday, I gassed up and saw it………

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We’ll call that a victory for the whole family.

My dad was able to get this:

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But it’s Diet Coke, so it doesn’t count.  But I saw this in the machine at work:

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And that was good enough for me, because I’m a problem solver:

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Did you find your name this summer?

Posted in Humor | 3 Comments