Monday, March 11, 2013

It's time for another Claire update!

Well, folks, it's that time again...time for us to post a whole bunch of pictures & videos of Claire (a.k.a. The Reason Random Strangers Stop To Talk To Us Everywhere We Go). She's getting more & more busy these days, and also more confident in her walking (and running/escaping skills), so it's definitely a fun age!

Since we last did an update, Claire has been figured out how to walk up & down the stairs (holding on to our hands, of course, even though she'd LOVE to be allowed to try & walk down the stairs like a big kid!) She's gone to the Little Gym for her favourite gym classes, and has started to do forward rolls all by herself, as a result! We also had some play dates at Jabbers, a local kid's hangout place that has lots of fun stuff like a play house & a kid-sized grocery store - Claire loved it, and it was a great indoor option when the weather was gross (which was the ENTIRE month of January - when it wasn't snowing/freezing, the streets & sidewalks were covered in a sheet of ice!)

Claire likes to imitate us, whether it's words (such as "Woooow!" or "Oh Noes!", even using them in the correct contexts) or actions. Zach will sometimes flop down onto the bed on his stomach, and Claire now insists on being lifted onto the bed so that she can "flop", and will often "flop" onto the living room or kitchen floor! She also loves taking baths (and loves them even more than I thought possible, now that I've started making them bubble baths!) - once she gets the idea in her head, there's no distracting her, and she runs to the stairs, saying "BATH! BATH!! BATH??" Her vocabulary seems to be growing every day!

In January, for Claire's 15-month check-up, we switched her from a family doctor to a pediatrician, and so far, I'm impressed at the care & attention we got! She will be turning 18 months old (WHAT?! ALREADY?) on March 14th. It's unbelievable that she's almost 1 1/2 years old! What a fun, crazy 18 months it's been!
To celebrate, here are approximately 1 billion pictures & videos of Claire Elizabeth...enjoy!

Claire 18 Month Update Pictures!
Claire Walking Video Part 1
Claire Walking Video Part 2
Claire Belly Button Video
Claire Balance Beam Video
Claire Little Gym Video
Claire on a Swing Video
Claire Checks Out Snow Video
Claire Walks Up Stairs Video
Claire Walks Down Stairs Video
Claire at Little Gym
Claire Bubble Bath

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Lockman Butte Hike

I hadn't hiked a peak since last August and finally found a good opportunity to remedy that.  Katie was meeting a friend for lunch so I decided on a mid-afternoon hike to Lockman Butte, an obscure summit near Mountain Home not far from I-84.  I wasn't sure how to best approach this "peak" and after driving around a bit I settled on an approach from the end of Canal Road on the northern fringe of Mountain Home.  From here it was about two miles each way, crossing a dry ditch, two fences and passing some grazing cows.

The hike was very straightforward and crossed terrain consisting of exclusively low grasses, sage, and a few volcanic rocks.  The wind was whipping out of the northwest but with temperatures in the 50s it wasn't unpleasant.  Along the way I saw numerous cows, (two of which were deceased), an antelope, and a rabbit.  The summit was actually surprisingly pleasant as it felt wilder than most other summits on the plain.  I couldn't believe there was no road to the top and in general there are few roads in the area.  The original surveyor's tripod (presumably from 1955) was still intact (but toppled) and the summit has expansive views of the plain which I really enjoy.

In retrospect, I think a better way to climb this peak is from Martha Ave. on the north side of the peak.  This can be reached from either the Simco Road I-84 exit or Canyon Creek Road north of Mountain Home.  Some dirt roads branch off from this road and approach the butte.  This would likely allow avoiding the fence crossings and grazing animals.

Lockman Butte Hike Pictures!
GPS Track

Thursday, March 7, 2013

New job... again!

On February 19th, I started my latest career adventure.  Making a job change wasn't in my plans but I was contacted last Fall by a former colleague about a software developer position at Cradlepoint, a Boise-based maker of wireless (cellular and wifi) routers.  Since I wasn't too interested in switching jobs, it took until January before I was eventually convinced to talk to the team in sort of an informal interview.  The interview went well and perhaps most importantly I was impressed by the team and it seemed like the sort of place where I would fit in well.

Eventually they made a strong offer and I had to make a decision which took me the full week to make.  After lots of waffling and indecision I ended up choosing to make the change.  I wasn't excited about leaving SEL so quickly but I felt like the opportunity better matched my own career goals.  It was hard to put in my notice and give up all of the great things about SEL.  Even as I finished up there, I was still uncertain if I had made the right decision.

I took my birthday off in between jobs and started the day after on Tuesday the 19th.  So far I've been very happy with the change - the environment is pretty fast paced and I get to work with a variety of open source technologies.  The development environment features a lot of Python and JavaScript, with a variety of other languages mixed in.  The office pretty much runs exclusively on Linux and MacOS, which is a first in my career but a very positive one.  The gig also involves some pretty cutting-edge cloud deployment infrastructure, which has been a lot of fun to learn.  I think it's important to always be learning and growing and the past two weeks have been full of that.  Plus it is my first time working downtown and it is really nice to have lots of interesting lunch spots within walking distance!

Like any career change, it takes awhile to assess whether it was a good move.  But so far I've been very happy with the change!