sun protection for bikes

We love riding bikes; one of our favorite features of the house is that the back yard opens onto theĀ Cady Way Trail. But our bikes don’t like the Florida sun. Even kept in our covered porch, enough sunlight gets through the screen to do quite a bit of damage, especially this time of year with the sun so low in the sky. Additionally, while the screen keeps out some dirt, the porch is still a pretty dirty place. Yesterday, I set out to address these issues.

Inspired by this post, I designed a shelter to store all our wheeled toys. The whole thing is made up of three independent structures, each designed so I can move it out of the porch if needed and each only as tall as it needed to be. I didn’t want to completely block our view of the back yard with this project.

The dimensions of the three structures are approximately (depth x height x width)

  • 6′ x 5′ x 4′
  • 6′ x 4′ x 4′
  • 4′ x 3′ x 3′

The first stores full-size bikes, the second stores mid-sized bikes and our two-person bike trailer and the smallest stores plasma cars and tricycles.

I drew up my plans at 9AM, Charlie and I went to the Home Depot to get supplies (in only one trip!) and I spent the rest of the day assembling. I didn’t work uninterrupted (meals, school pick-up, baths, etc.) but I finished the job the same day, at 11PM

Eventually, we’ll add a tarp or drop cloth to the front to keep out the rest of the dirt, but for now, I’m calling it done!

jay and charlie testing the frame

a view from the outside

bikes in the rack

view from the porch door

Family Circles

Kristen and I have wanted to make a printable family tree for a while and what better motivation than Christmas gifts? We looked at a few ideas and the inspiration for the design we ultimately landed on is now nowhere to be found so we can’t link to them. Anyway, below are the three family “trees” that we created. And by “we” I mean that Kristen did all the design concept work and I clicked the mouse a few times in a graphics program with her supervision. We gave these to the grandparents and any other family members whose names we happened to draw and we’re happy to print more for other family members.

Houghton family circle

Vickers family circle

Perreault Family Circle

I will also point out that my very compulsive wife insisted that all photos be chronological by birth. Whether the aesthetics worked best clockwise or counter-clockwise, the second generation is in age order and then the third generation is in age order while staying within the bounds of their parents, etc.

Unfortunately, we didn’t do a circle for Kristen’s Dad’s family, the Westlakes. We don’t get to see that extended family often and obtaining all the required pictures would have been exceedingly difficult.

Thank you

Just a quick note to say “Thank You” to our vets at Tuskawilla Oaks Animal Hospital and the veterinary specialists at AVS for helping us provide Dolce with the care he needed to live 6 more months with us. We wish his time hadn’t been cut so short, but we are thankful for the time that we had. (Except for the first few weeks of recovery, you wouldn’t have known that he had been through major surgery.) The compassion shown by both offices is very much appreciated.

Dolce cared for us long before we had to care for him. When Kristen was pregnant with Jay (August 2009), Dolce made sure she took it easy and stayed warm

And later, when both Jamie and Jay were sick (June 2011), Dolce was there to make sure we got better

When Dolce returned from the Vet (September 2011), he had a little sweater on to hold a feeding tube in place, but he still wanted to be where everyone was, a part of the action

And even though he wasn’t back to 100% himself, he kept Jay company when Jay wasn’t feeling well, cuddling up next to him while Jay watched a movie

Curious Dolce

Over the past couple weeks, we have been looking through our old pictures, remembering Dolce. We hope you enjoy this and a few currently-under-development posts that will appear over the next few weeks. As Dolce was one of our original “kids”, we have plenty of photos by which to remember him.

Like all good cats, Dolce was very curious. He participated in numerous furniture assembly projects and new-purchase unboxings. Always wanting to be where the action was, he was an integral part of our lives through all events, large and small.

This "pet series" machine was overwhelmed by the amount of hair that our house contains
Dolce never missed an opportunity to try out new furniture, especially if it contained cubbies (boxes)
Helping Jamie assemble new furniture
Trying out the new furniture. This became a favorite spot for Dolce
Jamie assembling a dresser, with his helpers
Dolce was usually on top of any new box, but was content to yield his normal spot to Jay as needed
He just had to be a part of any event




Dolce passed away on April 6, 2012 (Good Friday).

We will post more pictures (and maybe a few stories) from Dolce’s life soon. We miss him very much.

brothers at play

Jay included Charlie in his play-time today and for the most part, Charlie didn’t mind

Jay went to his room to get his blanket so he could lie on the floor with Charlie
No, Jay isn't actually asleep. He stayed like this for all of 5 seconds