Updating this blog

After not publishing my blog for most of a decade, I decided to get it online again and put up some new actual content. But my backups of the old site failed (rather I failed to back it up correctly) and I’ve restored as much as I could from old archive.org backups. I think most of the old content is up, but some of the pictures are still missing and some of the posts were not saved entirely. Still, it’s nice to have close to 20 years of thoughts back up again. I enjoyed remembering how I felt when I made those comments in the past.

Eddy’s first post

I tried for a while to save the domain names for our kids, and run a blog about each of them. This is from Eddy’s

Eddy Glen
April 7th, 2008 at 12:47 pm (Uncategorized)

Eddy wanted to write a story with my squishy, yellow, silicone keyboard. So here it is.



A lightsaber story
September 16th, 2007 at 5:11 pm (Uncategorized)

A lightsaber is a weapon only for Jedis and Darth Vader uses it. And Luke Skywalker uses it. It’s nickname is a “Lazer Sword.”

Han used Luke’s lightsaber on Hoth to cut open a Taun-tan. A Taun

Signing Time

Quite some time back, we caught an episode or two of a children’s show with a focus on American Sign Language. It was well put together, entertaining, and enjoyable for all of us. Then the local PBS station stopped airing it.

We eventually discovered Signing Time at the library and have since borrowed every episode at least once. These are fantastic videos! Each episode has a theme and focuses on several signs for each topic, each signed by children and the host, Rachel. And the songs will get stuck in your head forever.

Eddy, our five year old, discovered that if he signs the things he wants, we have to actually look at him, and pay that much MORE attention to him. hmmm….

Ruth, at 18 months, is obsessed with Baby Signing Time aimed at kids “3-36 months.” She’s picked up so many signs in just the short time we had it checked out and is now very good at communicating. Her pediatrician says that at 18 months her cognitive level is on par with many 2 or 2 1/2 year olds!

At 19 months, Ruth can say (pretty closely anyhow) the following:

Mom, Dad, Eddy, “Owie”, stuck, butt, asleep, red, fish, eat, “B” (for Ernie), “B” (for bird), mine, please, thank you, me, no shoes, toes, down, help, woof-woof, meow, wet, poop, hop, oops, wow, ear, noes, eyes, soup, shirt, juice, bottle, book, read, hi, bye-bye, moo, ball, hello, push, pull, hot, “ah-ah” (for count), fall, snow, nope, teeth, beautiful, back pack, pea, bite, food, stop, go, share, Here you go, hat, baby, frog, swing, uh-huh, boy, “elephant noise”, “rooster noise”.

She can sign:
Owie (hurt), asleep, red, fish, eat, bird, lease, thank you, shoes, food, stop, share, hat, baby, frog, boy, blanket, sorry, blocks, more, build, bear, car, paper, draw, bunny, cracker, potty, brush teeth, sad, awake, grumpy, bath, “StarWars (made up sign), “bottle” (her own sign), cheese, apple, candy, cold, milk, cookie, caterpillar, monkey, gorilla, tiger, train, popcorn, dirty, pig, surprised, all-done, school, play, penguin.

There’s a lot of crossover words between the two lists, and we were never worried that signing would make her speech delayed.

Since Ruth keeps asking for Baby Signing Time again and again, I had to break down and buy them.

Allison has really taken to signing with Ruth, as well. Actually, Ruth and Eddy know more signs than I do! I guess I’ll have to watch more with them to figure it before they start secretly communicating amongst each other.

See if your library has a set, or if you can find it on your local PBS station. Or browse the Signing Time Store.I hope you love it as much as we do.

Posted in Eddy, Fun, Ruth, Shopping | No Comments »

Second Child

I tried for a while to save the domain name for our kids, and run a blog about each of them. This is from Rowan’s (birth name Ruth).

Ruth Laurel
boy. I should check this more often
October 4th, 2007 at 5:33 pm (daily life)

I’ve been putting a few posts and video over at phillbecker.com.
Quick over view: she started crawling @ 6months, walking @ 9 1/2 months, running shortly after that. Spent the summer in NY at the cabin, birthday at Nana/Pop Pop’s place. Ear infection over and done while I was out of state in August, everything’s fine now. She is just now cutting molars: 4 at a time (yay).

Ruth is very physical and agile. She runs, climbs and beats Eddy up all the time. She’s a good eater and a snuggle bug. Lots of pictures and some video that just hasn’t made it online yet. I’ll get to it.


6 months now
February 24th, 2007 at 10:14 am (Uncategorized)

Ruth had her checkup the other day and is doing fine. Still no sicknesses, ear infections etc. Her first tooth cut a couple days after the checkup, she started crawling a little (actual crawling, not just “commando”) and decided standing was better.

Stats: 26 3/4 ” long
14 lbs 14 oz
43.7 cm head circ.

Why the heck does the medical system use 2 different systems for measurement. Go all English or give it up and go metric like the rest of the world. nevermind

She’s generally happy. Ruth definitely knows what she wants and how to get it. If she’s interested in exploring, don’t try to play. Standing and holding onto fingers or the walker is much more enjoyable than crawling. Now she can sit and play with thing. In fact, this morning was her first experience in a restaurant high chair and it went very well.

We’ve introduced spoon foods, and she still takes a bottle. She’s just about given up nursing, but not completely. Favorite food seems to be sweet peas. They spray really well when she goes “PBBbbBBBBBBBBbbbBBB!!!”

There’s this funny thing about giving her a bottle… she needs her head covered with a blanket. Otherwise she’ll grab and push the bottle away, grab your face or anything else she can reach. The blanket gives her something to hold onto and rub on her eyes. Of course, it also gives her a weapon to grab with both hands and sweep away the bottle from time to time.

Allison took her to a high school dance marathon last night. Where Eddy cowered from the noise and people and lights and mascots, she apparently grooved to the bass beat and had a grand time with all the people and stimulation.

Time to baby-proof the house, I guess

First Baby

This is all the content I put on my personal blog around the birth of our first child. None of the links are active now, and some of the opinions stated 20 years ago have changed as well.

Name: Eddy Glen Phillip Becker
Birthday: 10 Nov 02 (right on time!)
Sex: Male
Weight: 7 lb 3.5 oz
Length: 21.25 inches

Posts are listed in reverse order (newest first). To get the story in chronological order starting in September, jump to the bottom by clicking here


Well, its been a really long time. I used to have extra time to spend, but it seems to have all evaported once Eddy started walking.

So, as of today Eddy can:

Walk very fast
Eat with a fork
Point out most body parts (head, hair, eyes, nose, teeth, tounge, ears, neck, chin, cheek, shoulders, fingers, tummy, knees, toes)
Likes to go sledding in the snow
Makes animal sounds (bear, lion, elephant, cat, dog, crow, frog, duck, goldfish, cow, rooster, chicken, sheep, horse, monkey, owl…)
Makes his desires clear (pick me up, put me down -wee wee; sing to me; I’m hungry – num num;
Asks “what is that” and “what is this?”
Asks you to “do that”
Loves to read

The most amazing part is what he picks up from observation. Yesterday he picked up Allison’s contact lens case, stuck his finger in the case and then in his eye. This is not something we taught him. Most of the animals sounds and several body parts he got right the first time we asked because he had figured them out on his own already.

He is just getting over his second real cold of his life. Both times probably brought on by licking the handles of a shopping cart. Serves him right.

“No” is, of course, his favorite word. He like to say “NO” and point at what he’s not supposed to mess with… right before he tries it anyway. Other words include, Ma, Daddin, nose, toes, juice, whassat? whassis? apple, wow, uh-oh, shoes, hi, hey, and of course the animal noises.

Once this boy can replicate English, I don’t think he’ll ever stop.

When he starts croaking like a frog, or bubbling like a brook he probably wants to watch “Foolish Frog” – and old Chuck Seegar video about a farmer, his banjo, and a frog that jumps back and forth from bank to bank just because he’s nothing better for to do.

And he whistles about as well as Allison.
He likes to dance, and plays the harmonica, and has started drawing scribbles on paper. He knows pens and pencils and crayons and markers are for paper, but still hits the walls as well.

He spends an hour or two most weekdays at the Childwatch in the YMCA. Allison drops him off and I pick him up when I get off lifegurading at noon. (My whole life I’ve avoided the coffee addiction that seems to affect the men in my family, but 5:15 am – noon 5 days a week makes coffee a whole lot more appealing.) Eddy does fine playing with and around the other kids. He doesn’t like to be left, but you just distract him with something and then slip out. He’s fine until he sees one of us again later and is so dramatic with the crying and suffering. I don’t buy it though.

His birthday was a lot of fun. Tons of friends and family and presents and fresh cake and local ice cream… fun fun. There are a couple other boys about his age (all within a month) and they got together for a little party as well. They are so cute together.

And now that the temperature remains in the double digits and is actually up in the 40s and 50s during the day, Eddy is running around outside and leading us for walks around the sidewalk. And pointing out the birds, and the moon, and feeling trees, and splashing in puddles… at least he’s not a climber.

He’s really a great kid, and we’ve been very fortunate.


Well, I have a new photoalbum up and running. Click on the nekkid baby or the “photos” link to see it. Use the “home” link to get back to this page.

Still working kinks out. Like, I can’t add comments very easily.

“Allison” now links to a page she made for a class. It’s all about first year teachers and what to expect.



Ok, so it’s been a while. Instead of trying to tell you what happened when, I’m just going to fill you in on Eddy’s life as of now.

He’s mobile. Belly crawling quickly and pulling himself to standing. He can even walk a little holding on to things (like the crib railing, the couch, or his bouncer.) He has 8 teeth and is teething again. His coordination is good enough that he can sit on his hands and knees, reach out and grab something in one hand while balancing in the other, and look at it before it goes in his mouth. He likes to feed himself bread pieces between bites of spoon-food. Bananas are cool too – but they get messy!

After our trip to Oak Point on the St. Lawrence river, Eddy has discovered splashing and swimming. We take him out into the little kiddie pool every couple days (usually after the afternoon meal – to clean him up!) Barrel rolling is a favorite pastime now… especially right before bath time or while I’m changing his diaper. Speaking of diaper time, Eddy has ….. discovered himself shall we say. Diaper changes are a whole new thing to look forward to!

At night, Eddy will sleep about 9 hours. But no matter what time we put him down (we’ve experimented here) he still wakes up around 5:30. Sometimes earlier, sometimes a little later, but always early. If he goes to bed real early (like 6:30pm) he and Allison might be up from 2am until 4 or so. Then he’ll sleep till 6:30.

Everything goes in his mouth. Everything gets played with. And as of this last week, everything becomes a ladder (especially daddys).. He even made it up the first two stairs (with Allison watching.)

Eddy is growing faster than the pot garden I have out back. Potted garden. Plants in containers. LEGAL plants in containers! Like dill, mint, chamomile, stevia, mugwort, geranium, squash, and cilantro. (My dill plant stands almost to my shoulders, thank you very much!) And Eddy is growing faster than all of them. He does something new and exciting every couple days (he just started to actually crawl a little instead of belly crawl) and we love every minute of it. Except between the hours of 2am and 6am. Those are mommybaby hours that I wouldn’t dream of interrupting!

I’m going to add a couple pictures from the last three months or so. I may find a new way to post these pictures, and you’ll know when/if it happens.

Here’s a couple of messages Allison left on my phone while I was at work.
Uses RealAudio

He doen’t need me!

First tooth!


So, he’s got his first tooth coming in now. It’s not all the way in, but there is a definite hole in his gum with a SHARP tooth under it. He loves to chomp on things like fingers and noses and rags, but doesn’t like frozen chew toys. hmm.

And … he’s started on solid food. We decided to try some baby food when he started grabbing the spoon out of our mouths at dinner, and we had to keep our plates out of his reach. He had all the mouthing signs for being ready for a spoon (toung clicking, lip smacking etc) and he took to it right away. He loves vanilla yogurt and sweet potatoes. Not at the same time, but each on its own. Carrots go down ok, but apple anything is like candy to him. And it helps him poop, which is always a good thing. We have been using organic baby food in jars, ’cause we can’t seem to get the consistency right on our homemade baby food. Still trying though.

Have we mentioned how strong this child is? He can stand up and support his weight if we keep him balanced. He can flip over from his belly to his back with no problem, and seems to like to sleep on his side sometimes. And when he’s not ready to lay down, he wiggles a lot. Once he stretches out, that’s it. Might as well stand up and carry him around.

Sleeping is getting better. He usually goes down about 7, and wakes up between 2-4 for a feeding. Down again until 5:30-6:30 and then up until an occassional mid-morning nap. Sometimes napping during the day, usually at least once. One time he slept for 10 hours straight, and then started his day at 5am.

Smacking on things to see what type of noise they make is a favorite game. He loves keyboards, but a bright red plastic bag does just as well. So do beds, and walls, and pillows, and his own self.

You should see the wiggle fits on this kid! All you can do is just lay him on his back and laugh with him while he flops and flaps and flips and squirms and wiggles. Especially the nekkid wiggles right before bath time. Allison thinks he wiggles in antici……….pation of things like baths and diaper changes. I think he just likes to wiggle.

So, new pictures are up in Eddy and Family sections. enjoy


Oops. It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. Sorry.

Lets see… My parents came to visit at the end of January. That went well, even though they didn’t clean and make us dinner like some relatives did. (Well, they did buy dinner so that’s ok.)

Took 3 month birthday pictures and never posted them (until just now). And put up 4 month pictures as well.

He is getting so strong. He has rolled over from his belly to his back a couple times. If his arm is by his side and he lifts a leg up really high, he kinda falls over onto his back – it’s really cute! He has also started holding weight on his arms when he’s on his belly. Not a lot, and not for long, but he’s getting there. Sometimes he’ll inchworm across the bed when he’s playing with Allison. I’ve never seen it, but he’s on his belly and picks his butt up and then kinda lunges forward a little at a time. He desperately wants to be mobile!

He has also started crying. When he’s sleepy and knows he’s sleepy he’ll scream for 10 minutes or so before passing out. It’s really nerve wracking, especially when it happens between 5:00am and 6:30am. Those bouts tend to go on for 1/2 hour or so. Allison is really good with him in the mornings. Or so I assume because I usually cover my head with a blanket and pillow and pretend to be asleep.

We think he’s starting the teething process. He drools constantly, and chomps on anything he can get into his mouth. It’s kinda frustrating for him ’cause the teething toys are too big for him, and the little plastic chain links he likes to chew on only get 2 pieces of his gums at a time (they’re loops ya know?) This morning he just kept screaming until I stuck my finger in his mouth and rubbed his lower gums for a while. Teeth. yay.

He’s still such a joy and loves to play and get his “face time.” He likes to superman and play with the baby in the mirror. He’s started recognizing the bottle from a distance and even has favorite toys.

We have this crikly little “Cow Book” with all sorts of great colors and textures. Allison strung it on his mobile for color, and I was opening the pages while he was looking at it in the crib. He would start to fuss and cry after a while, so I turned the page, and he would smile and laugh. He did that for the whole book, forwards and backwards. I wasn’t reading, just letting him look at the pages until he was done. I don’t think that’s normal. Our baby might be too smart for us here shortly.


So, my cousins didn’t make it for christmas, but Allison’s aunt did. She drove about 14 hours or more and sent 3 with us. She really wanted to see the baby.

He’s getting really cute. He talks a lot (well, baby talk) and still cries very little. We are trying to get into a night time routine so he knows when it’s bed time – bath, book, feed, sleep. It worked once.

I am still working on editing video, and I may put a couple short clips online. We’ll see.

If anyone is interested in high res pictures, let me know. I can put a whole mess of them on a CD and send them to you. Ophoto.com does a really excellent job of printing digital pics and mailing them to you.


Happy Holidays everyone! This will be our first year to host family. Well, some family is vising us for a few hours if that counts. My cousins in CT are driving through the probable snow to arrive around 3am tomorrow. We will share some bottles of fruit wine I got (fruitwine.com – good stuff), maybe sleep, then start breakfast. Allison’s aunt from MI will be arriving a few hours earlier, but she opted to go straight to the motel and join us for breakfast.

I am “working” today and tomorrow. If you call snowboarding and teaching others how really working. well, ok at times it is challenging, but come on, I’m snowboading. I will take my cousins to the local ski bump mountain and throw them in with any lessons I get. It’ll be fun.

Eddy is getting books for most of his presents. It’s hard to wait ’cause I want to read them to him. Sammy (the dog) is getting a bath. Lucky her.

It’s probably going to snow.

Well wishes to everyone. Stay safe.


Been a while since an update. I guess this is a good time. He’s sleeping in a front pack right now while I type. Allison went to get a haircut – she has mixed feelings about getting out of the house. On one hand, she doen’t want to leave the baby. On the other, she has been cooped up for a month now so…

Since Allison was Group B Strep + we went to see the doctor at week one, just to check. He was fine. Week 2 was the normal visit, and he was a little low on weight. Week 3 was to recheck his weight. Gained a pound in a week. Week 4 will be his normal visit. Lot’s a doctors visits. We will probably go much less frequently after this next on.

Eddy seems to have inherited my metabolism, which means he eats all the time. As hard as Allison is trying, she can’t keep up with milk production. She might be stressed or dehyhdrated, but we have had to start feeding from a bottle after every other nursing session or so. Otherwise he would nurse for an hour 1/2 or so, and still make starving faces. Either way, it breaks our hearts. Feed him junk food, but food… or let him nurse at nothing and mom and baby just get frustrated.

All the wonderful things we had planned for this baby keep getting interrupted by life’s other plans. At least he’s as healthy as we can make him. He still only cries if there is something wrong (diaper, food, attetion) and has a more normal number of alert waking periods (now that he’s getting more to eat)

I am working on putting together some video of Eddy. I’ll make it available online in short clips, and I’ll try to get a video tape made by the holidays. Drop me an email if you’d like a copy.

He sleeps in bed with us a little more than half the time. He won’t stay long in the crib. Apparantly he likes sleeping on us as well. We went to sleep last night with him on my chest, until one of us rolled a little and he ended up between us again. We are very aware of him in bed, and make sure he has blankets and is not getting smothered. He really does sleep better next to us.

Allison calls him a little “cuddle bug.” We also call him: little guy, big guy, little man, big man, mr. man, mr. manly, eddy, mr. ed, eddy munster and the baby.

I would post more pictures, but until he can hold his head up, they all look like one of us holding him on our chest, or sleeping next to him. If I can find the pictures of Allison’s other baby shower, I’ll scan those in as well.

So… things are going well. This is the slow season for me at work, so I am home most of the time. Neither one of us sleeps much, but her less than me. With a light on in the bedroom so we can check on him more easily, and with the irregular sleep patterns, life is like one neverending twilight. It gets hard to tell what day it is.

Cloth diapering is going well. We are getting a few more diapers his size (we thought the others would fit him but… he’ll grow) and a couple more newborn diaper covers. With the covers, you don’t need pins or anything, just fold, wrap, and velcro – good to go. The hourglass shaped diapers that are too big won’t even require folding, just wrap and cover. I did order a few of the newborn size that shoud be here soon.



What an experience! Everyone came home from the hospital yesterday and is doing just fine. Allison is a little short on sleep though. The nusrsery nurses at the hospital kept coming in to check to take the baby’s temp and make sure he was eating. The other nurses kept coming in to check Allison and make sure she was OK. Then the student nurses kept coming in because Allison is just too nice a person and let them check her again. (She figures that since her job is basically supervising student teacher / mentor teacher pairs, that she owed it to the Universe)

Back at home and catching up on some sleep. I’m fine, but Allison is the one who has gets to nurse and hold him all the time. First night, I check the baby if he cries. Check diaper, burp, hold. Then if he’s still upset pass him over to Allison to feed.

He’s pretty good about not crying unless something is actually wrong. If it’s not one of those first things, then he just wants to be held. Not too bad, all in all – so far.

He can already pick up his head and toss it, but has very little control. Well, he can pick up his head and drop it again really. Very irregular sleep/feed pattern though. Well, it’s regular for him, I guess. Nurse/nap for 30 min to an hour. Nap. Nurse. Awake. Through some pooping in there randomly and realize that any session could last 15 min or an hour and a half. We’ll all figure out a schedule here soon.

Linda (Allion’s mom) is a big help. She helps watch the baby or Allison so I can get other things done, or she does things around the house so I can spend time with them. Never thought I’d actually say this, but it’s good to have her around 🙂

Sammy (the dog) adapted well to the baby. Some quizzical looks early on at the loud thing, then a few sniffs when we set him on the floor in a rocker, and that’s about it. The cat could care less.

I have off work a few days, and should get plenty of time at home ’cause this is the slow season at work. Not many people feel like taking a boat ride on an underground river through a cave in the middle of Pennsylvania in the winter for some reason. I have project to work on at home, so I’ll keep busy (for sure.)

I’ve been taking pictures on digital, 35mm, and video. Once I figure out how to get video to the computer, I’ll have those available too. Probably I’ll just burn a bunch of CD’s and mail them later. We’ll get some real pictures made too, don’t worry.

Thanks for all the messages and kind thoughts people have been sending. I think I said that last time, so thanks again then.


0830 hours
Eddy was born at 0508 this morning! Mother and Baby are fine, but sleepy.

more later.


2300 hours
No baby yet. After about 64 hours of labor and pre-labor (strong contractions – sometimes very strong and up to 10 min long) Allison opted for medication to increase contractions and to numb the sensations so she could sleep. All the nurses commented on her beautiful breathing technique and how relaxed she looked during contractions. She / we did everything the best we could, but running 3 days on under 7 hours sleep (not more that 2 hours at a time) is hard on anyone – especially if your insides are squezzing themselves together every few minutes.

We tried everything we could to make this childbirth as Natural as possible – we used relaxation and guided imagery, different positions, several tricks we learned in our childbirth class. They all helped deal with the contractions and labor, but she just wasn’t progressing. We knew not to be in a hurry, but at the rate of .8 cm a day, this baby was coming on Thanksgiving and we wouldn’t have slept until he did! She did try some minor pain relievers this morning to help her sleep. We were told that 80% of the time, patients would wake up after 2-4 hours rest in strong active labor. She woke up after 1-2 hours rest with contractions back to Thursday morning status. Lying in bed just isn’t conductive to effective contractions. We knew that, but were/are exhausted.

At 4:30 the broke her water to try and help things along. Very little water actually came out, but the midwife wasn’t especially worried. By 7, Allison had decided that in order to preserve a vaginal delivery, some measures would have to be taken. She got some contration medicine at 7, and an epidual by 10 (yes, 65 hours after contractions began). Allison said “after 3 days, I feel like I’ve experienced Natural childbirth.”

On one hand, I’m upset with myself for not coaching/prepping better. I actually sat in a dark corner and cried for a good while after she made the decision. Please remember the amount of sleep I’ve gotten – usually if I’m up that long there’s much alcohol and some old friends involved. On the other hand, she seems so much more at peace after the drugs took effect. She was talking and joking again, and finally able to sleep. She’s sleeping now while her mom watches her.

I figure if she can have an IV for hydration, antibiotics, contration drugs and pain relievers, I’m allowed to have a beer. So, I’m going to finish this beer, finish this update, and sleep for about 3 hours. Then I’m going back to sit in the hospital and make sure my son has the best birthday ever.

0046 hours
this is probably it. back to back contractions. going back to the hospital.


2300 hours
Her contractions slowed down while she was sitting in the chair, but picked up again when we walked the dog. Standing and walking seems to let gravity aid the whole babydroppingdown thing.

She is starting to look like she’s concentrating hard on her work. That’s one of the distinct signs of a progressing labor. We may go back in pretty soon. No water breakage yet, but it’s coming – I guess.

We went to the hospital around 10 or 11 this morning. Allison was between 1-2 cm dialated, progressing slowly, but definitely labor. We got something to eat, some ice cream from the campus creamery, rented some movies, and came home around 3pm. She promptly fell asleep. I was working on fielding phone calls, finishing up a mint jelly project I started 3 days ago, and cleaning a place for the motherinlaw to stay if she ever comes down. Allison’s contractions have gotten stronger again. No obvious transition signs, and she’s still handling them well. We expect to go back in the middle of the night.

Talked to folks some last night. My dad seems to think he’ll be born at 2:36 am (Eastern). Allison’s asleep right now, so that might be difficult.

She’s having contractions. They may or may not be real, but they’re harder then they’ve been. We started timing them, just in case.

It’s been like christmas around here! Boxes from everyone! Thanks all for the great baby stuff. It was sure nice to see pictures of Caitlyn, Susie’s baby. Oh, and everyone else, too. Mom and Joey and Di and Grammy and Susie and Melinda got together and threw us a reverse baby shower. They took pictures of them wrapping the presents and mailed them to us. We now have tons of clothes (mom sent us Glenn’s and my old baby clothes earlier) blakets, crib sheets, and all the other stuff these baby’s are supposed to need.

Allison is yelling at the cat for getting in the hospital bag. We’re finishing up packing right now, and he likes to get in things. You know, cats like to “help” by being right in the middle of whatever you’re doing. Now he’s digging in an empty box, trying to get in.

Allison wants to wait another 1 1/2 hours to call the midwife, so that would be 14 hours after these contractions started (around 5:30 this morning)

It could be real soon.

I will have pictures up (of the reverse baby shower) as soon as I can figure out how to make my new computer like my camera disk drive. Last time I tried to install the drive, I had to reformat the drive and start from scratch. So, the computer doesn’t like my camera, in other words.

It’s getting close!

We just bought a mess of cloth diapers and covers. The system we’re going to try uses hourglass shaped cloth diapers that fold up around the baby, and then put a waterproof cover over that. No pins, no mess (hopefully) and the diapers can be used inside the All-in-one diapers that we got as well. The AIO diapers are really like disposables (elastic leg openings, waterproof shell, velcro closure) they’re just made of cloth so they can be reused. We think the best ones are the Bumkins, but they cost $11.50 each so we only got a few of those. We have a handful of different types of diapers and covers to see what works best. Allison didn’t like my idea of just holding him over the porch railing after he eats, and then wiping him up. Can’t understand why.

The baby has dropped into Allison’s pelvis. She can eat and breathe more now, but walking is more difficult. Our last Bradley class is the first week of November. We have already schelduled a pre-makeup day in case we can’t make it.

I’m a little behind on posting here. Sorry.
Allison’s co-workers through her a suprise baby shower the other day (the 4th). She had no idea it was coming, and neither did I. I’ll get pictures posted as soon as I find the album they gave her. We got some more clothes, a “Snuggli” front baby carrier, and they had a cake for her. When she walked into the room, they had an overhead projecter with the message “Can’t wait to meet you, Mom. Love Eddy” up on the wall. Very sweet.

The baby (or really Allison) is getting huge. No one thinks he’ll hold out till the due date. Well, Allison does, but no one else. I think he’ll be here before Halloween, but I’m probably wrong.

Lot’s to think about, for sure.

So, I’m catching some flack about deciding not to vaccinate. When it’s your kid, you can make an informed decision on your own. Here are some places to look for more information:

  • Vaccianation Statistics
  • Dispelling Vaccination Myths
  • Informed Choice

Dad just told me that I only received 1 (one) of the recommended childhood vaccines early on. I’m fine, thanks.

I think Eddy got the hiccups today. Rhythmic pulses, not really kicks. That must suck… you can’t breathe and you’re already hiccuping. I hate the hiccups. I know a guy who went to the hospital because he couldn’t stop hiccuping and couldn’t get oxygen into his body. Although baby hiccups aren’t supposed to be so bad (they say).

More about the Bradley method of childbirth. The official name is “Academy of Husband Coached Childbirth.” Allison is supposed to practice her hip stretches (sitting poses) and Kegel exercises (strengthening of the “pelvic floor”) and perineal stretches. That last part is to assist in the actual passage of the child and to prevent vaginal tearing during birth. Yes, there are stretches for that part too.

Allison told me that Eddy was going nuts today. She had to sit and read and type and attend a 3 hour lecture today, and Eddy likes to keep moving. So… if Allison’s not, he is. Even the other people in her class could watch him dance!

Allison probably won’t have a baby shower, since her/our friends/family live all over the country. We have registered for a few things at two places online:

  • EcoBaby.com for diapers and such (EcoBaby home)
  • BabyCenter.com for hardware (car seat, co-sleeper etc)

We’re not sure what all we’re gonna need. Allison says she’s going to put out a call for old baby clothes to family. Consider this it, if you’re here. If you think of something else we might need, please let me know.

If you were planning on attending a baby shower, this page and those links may be you next best option. Sorry, no silly dress-up games or whatever goes on at a baby shower.

We just started our fist child birth class. We are studying the Bradley method. It’s a natural method that focuses on the mother and her coach (me) relaxing and breathing (rather than panting and screaming and doping and cutting)

We will not be having Eddy vaccinated. Especially not at the delivery. Maybe one or two vaccines in 6 months or a year, but probably not. I’ll post some links so you can do your own research. Our opinion is that:

  • vaccines dont work
  • vaccines are dangerous
  • the child’s health will be better if he develops his body’s immune response naturally.

We have also decided not to circumcise. There is no need for it. period.

more updates later


Snowboarding101 dot com

My first attempt at a commercial site. I had just started teaching snowboarding and was trying to generate ad revenue by writing tips. I hand coded the affiliate links because I wanted to choose the ads that appeared on my site.

Snowboarding 101

Ready to go snowboarding? Don’t have a clue what to expect?

No problem.

I’ve put together a couple of the basics here for you, in beginner lesson style. From how to dress for comfort (fashion comes later) to linking your first turns down the hill.

When you finish reading these lessons you will have the knowledge to head out to the slope and tear up the nastiest, steepest bunny hill you can find. If you attempt the terrain park you’ll be just one more obstacle on the ground. At the very least you will have a basic grasp on the fundamentals of riding.

You can always just rent some gear and head to the top of the mountain. I don’t suggest it though. You are more likely to hurt yourself or someone else if you don’t know how to control your board. Anyone can stand on the board and bullet down a mountain on groomed snow. Stopping is another story. Unless you want some personal experience with Newton’s First Law of Motion, learn to ride your board – don’t let it ride you.

I recommend reading through the lessons, take some notes, and go practice. Snowboarding is a physical skill, and requires your muscles to learn new things. If you practice bad habits, they will be damn near impossible to break and could limit your riding abilities.

good luck

Select a lesson from the list below:

Coming SOON!
  • Buying gear? check here for tips and tricks and the best places to look online
  • How to save money buy doing your own board tune-ups
  • Advanced Lessons
  • History of Snowboarding
Part One – Before the Mountain

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Save 35-70% on Snow Sports Gear


Clothing: Before you ever get to the slope, be sure you are dressed according to the weather. Let’s start from the toes up. Wear tall, thick comfy socks. Snowboard boots are supposed to fit snug, so you’ll want the cushioning inside. Wool blend sock with liners really help keep your feet dry and reduce blisters. I highly recommend SmartWool® socks – they are really the finest socks on the market. Period.

Wear pants that won’t absorb water or restrict your range of movement (blue jeans are right out). I like to wear a heavyweight pair of waterproof pants, with appropriate layering underneath. Think padding.

Layer your top according to the weather. Cotton is not a good layer to have against your skin because it absorbs sweat which will chill you quickly when you stop moving. Polypropelene or silk (or high tech if you want) make a great base layer. Your jacket should be comfortable, and allow free movement of your waist and arms. A jacket that covers your butt will help keep some of the snow from going down your pants.

Gloves or mitts are a must (waterproof are great), because you will be on the snow a lot. And wear a hat. Even if it’s not that cold out, wear a hat. Baseball caps won’t work here, think knit or wool. Most of your body heat is lost through your head and shoulders, so a hat is an easy way to keep warm. Plus it’s an easy layer to lose when you start to sweat. Plus a hat gives you a little padding when you bounce your skull off the packed snow. Trust me.

Hiking around on the bumps and hills can really heat you up, but just taking off your hat or opening up your jacket usually does the trick.

Don’t go all out here – just wear something comfortable that won’t get soaked. And bring spare gloves. If you don’t have anything fancy, thick cotton socks, jogging pants over your sweats, and cotton longjohns will work. Just bring a spare set for later on.

Here’s a good example of how not to dress. (PG-13)

Equipment: DO NOT GO OUT AND BUY NEW GEAR!! The rental shop at the mountain will hook you up with what you need. I wouldn’t even get a helmet yet, because you won’t be going up on the mountain on your first day. Trust me.

You will need to figure out which foot you like forward. If you skate, you would ride the same way. If you’re like me and never rode anything other than a bike, you just get to figure out what’s more comfortable for you. Try this to give you an idea: run and slide across a slick floor in you socks. Which foot did you put forward instinctively? Try the other way. Which is better for you? This is probably the way your going to ride as well. It usually has nothing to do with your dominant hand, so don’t worry about that at all.

Riders with their left foot forward are “Regular” and right foot forward are “Goofy.” I have no idea where this came from, but the rental shop will ask, so pick one.

Your boots will be tighter than your regular shoes. This is a good thing. The only way you have to control your board is with your feet, and if your toes and heels slip around a lot, that’s wasted movement and loss of control that could be going to your board. If your feet go numb after 20 minutes, the boots are too tight. If you can strap into your board and lift your heels inside the boots, they’re too loose.

A good size board is based on your height and weight. A good size would be from your chest to your chin, if one tip of the board is resting on your foot. If you have big feet (size 11+) ask for a wide board .

Make sure you understand how your bindings work. They will either be straps or click-ins. Each has benefits and drawbacks. Figure out what works best for you.

Part Two – First Time on Snow

Objective: After successfully completing a Level 1 lesson, students can name the parts of a snowboard and their applications. Students will also demonstrate ability to maneuver a snowboard on flat terrain, and show proper safety and stance while skating on a moving board over short distances.

Safety: Snowboarding is an active sport, with the possibility of injury existing. Most injuries occur from falling, and are more likely to affect the arms and upper body (where skier are more likely to blow out their knees). To minimize the risk of injury, always follow the skiers responsibility code and ride within your limits.

When you fall (and you will) never try to catch your fall on your hands – that’s a good way to jam a wrist. If you fall forward, keep your hands in fists up by your shoulders and try to take the impact across your entire forearm and body at once. If you fall backward, land on your butt and your forearms – not your wrists or elbows (unless you like pain).

If it makes you feel better, wear a helmet. I do.

Parts of the board: There are really only 3 parts you need to worry about for now: the bindings, edge, and base.

The bindings are where your feet attach. This should be a snug connection because this is the only way you have to steer the board. If you can move your feet in the bindings or in the boots, they need to be adjusted.

The edge is the metal strip along the outside perimeter of the board. If you do not have a metal edge on your board you probably have a sled that looks like a snowboard. The edge is the steering mechanism. All turning and stopping is done by controlling the amount of edge in contact with the snow. When standing on your board, the edge under your toes is the “toe side.” Any guess what the other edge is called… you guessed it – “heel side.”

The base is the flat part underneath that rides on the snow. If there is snow sticking and freezing to your base, take it back to the rental shop and ask for a little wax. It will make your life easier while doing your first slow movements.

Skating: Stand (or sit) on a piece of flat terrain. After getting your front foot strapped in, try spinning the board around you while standing on your other foot. You’ll notice a difference if the board is flat on the snow or if it is tipped onto an edge.

With the board flat again, point the front end at a target a little ways off (tree, pole, sign). Start with your back foot in front of your toe side edge. Using short pushes with your back foot get the board moving toward your target. If you take too big a step, you might loose your balance and end up doing the splits. After a few steps toe side, shift over and try pushing heel side. use which ever is more comfortable for you. You will use this skating motion in lift lines at the top and bottom.

Stance: Your stance on the snowboard should be a regular athletic stance. Knees bent, back straight, weight centered over the board. Riding, you weight will be shifted slightly to the front foot. The hardest part of learning to ride will be to keep from leaning onto your back foot as a brake. Trust me.

Gliding: Find a short, gentle down hill slope. Really 20 – 30 feet is plenty. Skate up to the top of this slope, and stop. Get your other foot onto your board on you stomp pad (the foam bit between the bindings) or pushed up against your back bindings. Keep a good stance and your weight centered and slightly forward. Ride the slope out and come to a stop at the bottom. If your slope doesn’t stop gently, drag your back foot as a brake until you can stop. This will not be graceful. Repeat until comfortable.

Part Three – Beginner Movements

“J” Turns: A basic turn and stop in one direction is called a J turn. Your track in the snow should go straight down, then turn and stop, just like in the letter J.

Sit down on the snow with your board in front of you. Pull up on your right toe, and push down with your left. Do you see how the board twists? This is the steering motion of the board. As your front foot flexes or extends at the ankle, the toeside or heelside edge will be in greater contact with the snow. Your board will move in this direction. The same is true on the back foot, but is used to complete turns not initiate them.

After you’re sure you know how to fall safely, strap your other foot into your bindings. Point your board down a gentle slope and glide for a bit. Remember upright stance and weight slightly forward. Pressing down onto your front toe will start to bring the board around in that direction. Increase pressure and it will turn faster. To complete this turn, put pressure onto your back toe.

A successful first J turn gets your board to change directions before you fall. Practice until you can turn the board and move across the hill and then stop under control every time. Now switch and do it on your heel side edge as well.

I must stress, this is a physical skill and needs to be practiced. Reading is not going to be enough.

Side-slipping: This move is useful if you get on a slope you can’t ride down any other way. You can always side slip down anything. It’s not pretty, but it works. It will also help you get a good feel for edge control.

You may need a buddy to help with this move. On a slightly steeper slope than earlier sit facing down hill. Now flip over onto you belly, feet still downhill. (This flipping over is an important survival skill for moving around on the slopes after a fall.) Keep your weight onto your uphill edge (toeside) by pushing down with the toes and/or lifting your heels. Now stand up. As you let your heels slowly drop closer to the snow, the board will move faster. This works for both feet. If your front foot starts pointing down hill, raise up with the heel to increase the edge pressure. Same for the other foot. Now try to slide down the slope for a while trying to keep perpendicular to the fall line.

Don’t look at your board. This just brings your body weight off-center. Try to keep your upper body straight, and look straight ahead (not necessarily downhill – you may need to look over your shoulder occasionally). Practice until this is comfortable. Now try doing the same thing heelside.

Traverse: Moving sideways across the fall line with only a little motion downhill is called a traverse. This is a useful move to get around an obstacle or move to a side you’re more comfortable with.

Set yourself up pointing across the slope and a little downhill on your toeside edge. Controlling the edge under both feet will be important here. If you start to move downhill, add pressure under your front foot. If you stop moving period, let up on your front foot to get gravity working with you again. Repeat on heelside the other direction.

Falling Leaf: Another good move for getting down tricky or steep slopes. Imagine a leaf floating down from the tree, drifting back and forth with the same side pointing down the whole time. That’s what we’re going for here.

Start facing downhill on your toeside edge. Let up on your front foot edge a little to get moving. Then increase the pressure to turn and stop. Now go back the other direction by riding switch with your back foot in front. Use the same edge pressure control to start and stop the movement again. Repeat.

Snowboarding 101


Snowboarding is not all that new, but has become quite popular in the last 10 years or so. There is a lot of physics involved in high-tech equipment, but basically you are riding down a flat board down a hill covered with snow. Do your own research if you want to know more. I may fill this in later, but for now, the lessons.

About the Author

My name is Phill Becker. I’m from Texas, living in PA now. I went snowboarding for the first time ever in the 99-00 season when I lived in Boston. After riding twice that season, I got some cheap gear and beat myself up at Wachusett Mt. about once a week the next season. Winter 01-02 I got a job as a snowboard instructor at Tussey Mt. near State College, PA. I’m still not sure how, but I’m glad I did. I guess I teach better than I ride, but constantly riding with better boarders really improved my own skills and my ability to evaluate riding styles.

I’m not the best rider in the world. I have a tough time on the steep and the bumps, and never mind steep bumps. I have just started jumping a little, but need a lot more work. I’m not that interested in rails and pipes, but I do want to work on my freeriding all mountain stuff so I can do some backcountry riding some day. I’m kinda jealous of some of these kids that are in “ski clubs” and come out after school every week. I’m from Texas… where the hell was I supposed to see snow? At college, we had a “ski hill” called Mt. Aggie. It was about 80 feet tall and covered with wet astroturf.

Private Lessons

I teach at Tussey Mountain near State College, PA. I am scheduled to work the 2003 season Sundays and Wednesdays, but am available for private lessons on request. Call Tussey for pricing, and email me to set up a time.

A private lesson is a great benefit over a regular group lesson. I don’t have to split my attention between students of different abilities, and consequently my private students generally progress much faster than other groups. Seven or eight years old is a good age to start, although I have taught as young as five and several adults.

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