Saturday, December 20, 2008

Space for Rent

Cozy space for rent on Kroeber Walk. Great views of the living room and stairs area. Short bike ride to campus.
Applicant must be 5'6'' or shorter and have a sunny disposition. Must love kids and doing dishes. The right applicant will have at least five older sisters and have recently returned from studying in Chile. Bedtimes stories about your encounters with penguins a plus.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Thanksgiving highlights

I know it is almost Christmas, but here are some pictures I liked from that other holiday.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Theory of Travel Toy Relativity

Not all toys are equal, especially when it comes to traveling by air. Some are not sufficiently entertaining to justify the space they consume in the carry-on luggage. Some are only slightly entertaining, but because of their size, worth having as an option.
In this holiday travel season, herein lies my newest theory. The theory of Travel Toy Relativity. Each toy gets a score for weigh/space and a score for amount of projected time (based on past observation) that they might entertain a toddler in a confined space. Extra points if these items are disposable. All toys that fall beneath the 1:1 ratio line are given a chance at a spot in the bag.

My best items on our recent trip was asking for extra cups from the beverage cart. We stacked them up pyramid style, moved pennies from one to another, and then tossed them.

Do you have any favorite travel toys?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Puerto Rico Photography Class

We voted a long time ago that our family photographer was going to be Vivian, not me. And I submit this blog as evidence that we made a good decision. I've never taken a photography class and generally don't know what I'm doing.  But when I've got a camera in hand and a little free time I can't help but tinker with it (is it the engineer in me?  I don't know.  Maybe it is the kid in me... Levi likes to push buttons too, right?). 

Since I'm pretty determined to never take any classes ever again in my life, I probably will never take a photography class. But I'd still like to turn in some assignments from time to time, so here are two projects I was tinkering with while we were in Puerto Rico.

The first is a long exposure of a stream in the puerto rican jungle.

The second is more of a photoshop project.  I took a bunch of pictures of the beach (Note: this is the beach that is one block from Carrie's home), and with a magic photoshop tool I was able to stitch them together into one panorama image.  Here are my two attempts.  I've been told that grades don't matter once you're in grad school, so feel free to leave me my grades for the projects in the comments.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Happy Birthday Mom!

One thing I know for sure is that I have a cool Mom. But when I say cool, I don't mean that superficial kind of cool that comes from too much makeup, trendy clothes, and fancy cars. I mean that my Mom is that kind of person that everybody respects and likes... literally everybody.

I think I really started to understand this when my Mom was a chaperone for our school's 6th grade field trip to Sonora, CA. I don't really know what it was that motivated her to volunteer for the terrible task of babysitting a bunch of prepubescent kids for an entire week, but she did. She slept in the girls cabin with 60 or so screaming girls (for an entire week, did I mention that?), and helped us pan for gold, visit museums, tour caves, count tree rings, etc. This was truly an amazing commitment from an amazing Mom. But the thing I remember most about this field trip was that girls would come up to me and explain over and over again how much they liked my Mom. They would say "she is the coolest chaperone" or "you are so lucky" and this happened at least 10 different times over the course of a week. I realized that I agreed with them, and I've never had any reason to wish I could have somebody else's mom. She's just that cool. Happy Birthday Mom.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Aruba, Jamaica, ooh I wanna take ya- to Puerto Rico!

Answers to frequently asked questions

How did Levi do?
With some good entertainment ideas from mom and Sarah, Levi did great on the plane. He slept 1/2 of each leg, including 4 hours of our 6 hour flight on the way back. He was a good sport and took his naps in restaurants, ferries, the car, and in the backpack.

Who went with you?
It was Jerry, Levi, me, and my old roommate Jen. We visited my sister Carrie, husband Chris, and kids Lucy and Theo.

What did you do?
Ate a lot of food. Went snorkeling. Visited the tiny island of Vieques. Jumped off cliffs in the rain forest. Went to an art museum. Tourist shopped with the cruise boat people. Swam in a bio-luminescent bay at night.

Did you need a passport?
No. Puerto Rico is in a lot of ways just like another state, but without full voting rights. They vote in the primaries but not the general election. Anyone born in Puerto Rico is a US citizen. They have a non-voting representative in Congress.

Some happenings on the trip:
Carrie found a dollar on the bottom of the ocean while snorkeling.
Jen asked the waitress what 'pan de agua' was, exactly. The waitress replied, "It's a water bread." Huh.
Lucy sang the saddest, most dirgeful "I am a child of God" you will ever hear, then cleared her throat and spit on Jen.
Jerry overheard the following question by a man in a souvenir shop: "Are these prices in dollars or Mexican?"
Vivian encountered a bee swarm and had to run away flailing. She got stung twice.
Somebody's kid threw up in the car, and for once it wasn't a Gregory.
Vivian and Carrie made up a super-cool snorkeling hand signal to mean "look out for that jellyfish over there", and then we actually got to use it!
Levi introduced Theo to the concept of 'ball'.

Some stats:

Spotted while snorkeling- a ray, 5 jellyfish, a pirate treasure chest that may or may not have been purposely planted by the Tourism Board, starfish, urchins, coral, and multi-colored fish.
Baths taken per day by Levi or Theo- 6. Baths taken together-0 Cousin who was opposed to sharing personal space: Levi
On a scale of 1-10 how cool it was to swim at night in a bioluminescent bay- 10. How cool we told Chris it was (who stayed home with the ninos)- 5ish.
Average daily temperature: 85 Average daily water temperature: 78
Percentage of time Theo was wearing more than a diaper- 2%
Percentage of time Theo was wearing less than a diaper- 10%
Most people crammed in the 7 passenger rental van- 9
Silliest restaurant name: Tie between Belly Buttons and Bananas

Monday, November 3, 2008

All Hallows Eve

Some old pictures I never posted, plus some more Halloween fun.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

Well THAT's an understatement

Jerry is a chronic understater. The legend goes that when he filled out the information for his driver's license, he actually took off an inch from his height. Once after an interview for a fairly competitive fellowship, I asked him how it went. He said, not too good. Then I was surprised when he got the fellowship.

Recently Jerry presented at a Grad Student Symposium along with 12 other Chemical Engineering PhD candidates who are looking to finish up their dissertations this year. I asked him how it went. His basic synopsis was that it went fine. Could have been better with this and that, but overall it was not noticeably terrible. Well, we've been married for a while now, so I added an inch back on to that story and translated it into- he did very well. Well apparently I still haven't gotten the interpretation down just yet. I was surprised again when a week later, it was announced that, not only did he do very well, but Jerry won the award for the best presentation. This is a very nice compliment because it is voted on by all of the professors in the department.

Good job Jerry. You once again exceeded expectations. Even when I had already adjusted for depreciation.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Two nerds in a pod

For many of you who know us, you know that it takes Jerry and I quite a while to make a purchase. The more expensive, the longer we will deliberate. I think our record on ratio of time to dollar amount was 10 months of research it took to buy our camera. When Jerry decided to buy a new watch, he started by reading about the history of watches. You get the idea. Claire found this comic and for some reason it reminded her of us.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

15 Months!

Levi Stats
Days on earth: 455
Current Height: 31.5 in (60th percentile)
Current Weight: 26.5 lbs (75th percentile)
Favorite Foods: Spaghetti, Nectarines
Most common foods: cous cous, beans, cereal
Levi likes to sign: milk, more, dog, bird, drink, all done, diaper, dad, cracker
Will change the subject if you ask him to sign: mom, cereal, banana
Most common sound: car engine (brrrrr)
Least common sound: any other word besides- ball.
Favorite book: My First Animal Book
Favorite toy: Anything with wheels

Note: I suggest going directly to the vimeo site so you can watch this in HD. It really makes a difference! Here is the link

Video Sampler 15 months from Jerry Thomas on Vimeo.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Happy October

I've been really in the spirit of fall time this year. I can't wait for Halloween and Thanksgiving. I was inspired by this and some size 5 cowboy boots I found at the swap shop to go on a little photo adventure to the pumpkin patch. Rileigh, Katelyn, and Jocelyn joined us for some pumpkin good times. Watch for the surprise photo at the end.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Will work for tacos

I took some family photos of our good friends, Adam and Roxanne and their two girls, Taylor and Esther. What a cute family don't you think? They are wonderful, fun to be around people and it was a fun photo adventure.
Of course I could not say no to them taking us to Lilly's Taqueria as a thank you. Lilly's could be its own post- it was that good. Tacos are the sole menu item at Lilly's and the meat derivations are plentiful. I recommend any readers in the SB area to go there next time you're in the downtown area and in the mood for $1.35 tacos. (which means if you're jerry- any time you're downtown)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

First date

Our backyard friend Laila got a new toy house and invited Levi over to play. They had a nice fireside lunch of cheerios and toy ketchup.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I love you Jerry

It was about a year and a half ago when I inexplicably lost my keys. I looked into replacing my keyless entry remote, but it was just too expensive. $100 for the remote plus $50 for the "labor" for the dealership to program it. No way. I did a little more shopping and found some really "reputable" looking sites with "all real" "authentic" remotes that were still over $50. I gave up. Then when Levi came along, it became quite a pain to get in and out of the car without it. But I still had it in my mind that it was a luxury item.
This year as a surprise for my birthday Jerry got me a new remote (wrapped in computer paper). He found it for sale on Ebay and his bid of $13.00 whole dollars won it. Then he did some more research and figured out how to program it himself. What a nice husband, don't you think? I smile every time I unlock the car.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Cookies are a "sometimes food"

For those of you who missed Cookie Monster on the Colbert Report.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Bet you wish it was YOUR birthday

My wonderful Grandma Ashby turns 80 years old on Wednesday. She asks for everyone to bring a talent to her party. I am short on the demonstrable talents category, so I thought I would try something new. A music video. Happy Birthday Grandma!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

August 08 fun

So I was supposed to be doing work today...

... and then this came along.

I guess I'm an engineer, and maybe that is why I got totally distracted trying to solve these puzzles. It kinda looks like a kid's game, but I wonder how old the kids have to be to enjoy this. Maybe I'll try it with Levi when I get home. You can never start too early, right?

Monday, August 25, 2008

L-Snax rolls to the sevy

He definitely got all his moves from me.

Its not just the food, life tastes better at Claire's

While Jerry was at a conference in Philadelphia, Levi and I went up to Davis to visit Claire. We had a good time together eating lots of good food, watching the olympics, and took a day trip into San Francisco.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Museum of Natural History Ty Warner Sea Center

We went with Krissie, Kevin, and Stellan to the sea center yesterday. Levi was extremely excited about all the exhibits. He would YELL and point, then look at me and smile with a big open mouth, then yell and point again. Check out Krissie's post about it-

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Photo shoot

Jerry had to work on saturday, so Levi and I went on a photo adventure. I've been eyeing this barn for a while as a possible photo location.

Monday, August 4, 2008


  I present my second evidence that Levi is now a toddler.

Toddler Walker from Jerry Thomas on Vimeo.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Salt Lake City Punks

Jerry's brother Nate got married in Salt Lake City, so we got to take a little trip and have some family fun.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Infant or Toddler?

  So we've been kinda busy lately and I haven't had much time to reflect on life (or keep the blog up to date).  But recently I came to the realization that Levi has pretty much transitioned away from the "infant" stage (at the same time I realized that I too am way past the "youth" stage, but that is the subject for a different post).  I don't think I noticed that we were even transitioning until we were well into the next stage.  But here we are.  The parents of a one year old "toddler".  I submit my first evidence.

Disclaimer: this is basically a 3 minute video of Levi in a planter filled with dirt.  If that doesn't sound interesting to you, feel free to skip it.

Also, I've been experimenting with an alternative to youtube that should allow for higher quality video.  If you would like to see this video in better quality, click on the HD button and go to the Vimeo website.  But beware, it may take a while to load.

Infant or Toddler? from Jerry Thomas on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Big One

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Carter, Ella, Esther, Guillermo, Jocelyn, Jacob, Kahlen, Levi, Sara, Stellan, and Zeke. Happy Birthday to yoooooou.

What do you do at a birthday party for 12 1-year-olds? You make them compete against each other!

Untitled from Jerry Thomas on Vimeo.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Some collected shots of the fire

Here are a few more shots of the fire from other people.  The first shows how dark the sky was yesterday.  It seems to be a little less smoky today.  Let's hope that continues.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Brushfire Fairytales

I was driving home from the lab kinda late last night and couldn't help but notice the hills looked a little different. I was pretty tired, but even I noticed this not so subtle difference on our horizon (check out the pics). Anybody else see this last night? The pics don't really do it justice. To me it looked like a volcano had just erupted, or maybe the world had ended. Something like that.

I realized I'm not used to being able to see the fire. Usually they are pretty far away or on the other side of the mountains so all you can see is the smoke (which frankly is not that different than our normal, smoggy atmosphere).

Update: I added a couple of pictures from today too. The smoke has slowly taken over the entire east half of the sky.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Jerry

29th year statistics

Most significant life event: becoming a father

Second most significant: becoming a Mac owner

Oz of salsa consumed: 384

Passion fruits harvested: 45

Diapers changed: 991

Miles bicycled: 858

Hours spent being a great dad: countless

Sunday, June 8, 2008

11 months (almost)

I haven't posted too many photos recently because I haven't really been able to take very many. I attribute this lack of photographic success to the fact that Levi no longer holds still. Here are a few photos from the past few weeks where I caught him being stationary.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Tournament of Champions

Background: A few months ago, while playing intramural ultimate frisbee with The Flying Spatulas I was invited to come practice with the Lady Condors, the Santa Barbara club team. Over the past 5 weeks I've been attending workouts and getting a feel for the real game.

Current: So this weekend we traveled to the first tournament of the season which was up in Santa Cruz. We came face to face with some of the highest level ultimate frisbee players in the world. The Lady Condors played such dignitaries as Team Canada (yes, the national team), Great Britain (again, yes), and a team called Fury who won the US nationals last year. I was just a BIT intimidated, if you can imagine.

So the games were intense and very fun. I didn't play that much, but really feel like I was lucky to have been on the team at all. The times I was in, I didn't make any egregious errors so- maybe they will let me keep coming to practice? I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Walka Walka

  Levi is lucky to have two personal trainers.  We put him through the paces each night.  We're trying to settle in on a goal, like maybe the racewalking event in the 2024 Olympics.  Since prosthetics are now allowed in the olympics do you think he would be disqualified for bringing his push cart?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

This one is for James

James Swensen is our friend who introduced me to the sport of ultimate frisbee and basically taught me everything I know about the sport. One of the first pieces of advice he gave me was "Ultimate players don't call it a 'frisbee' they call it a 'disc'". Levi has spent his fair share of time on the field at ultimate frisbee games and even has gone through the inevitable initiation of being hit in the face by the disc. We thought it a worthy second word.

Baby steps...

First words might be more ambiguous, but I know a first step when I see one.

Monday, May 19, 2008

First word?

I don't have much experience with first words, the last one I remember was Rachel when she would point at the cat and say "gunk gunk". So, I'm not sure how legitimate the sound has to be to warrant the esteemed designation "word". See what you think. Oh and I should say- he does this with some frequency, so its not as if I just happened to catch it on tape.

10 months old

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Levi does a photo shoot

One of our friends attends Brooks Institute of Photography and needed a child for one of her assignments. Levi seemed to have a good time and played along nicely. What do you think- the next face of Gerber or GQ Baby?

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Monday, April 28, 2008

Well I thought it was funny...

Levi has been laughing a lot lately. He scrunches up his nose and chuckles. He has also taken a liking to a toy that plays songs. Sometimes he tries to sing along.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Monday, April 7, 2008

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Friday, March 14, 2008

Friday, March 7, 2008

Playin some Ball

Thanks Grandpa and Gran for the soccer ball and basketball. Levi likes them, can you tell? I think my favorite part is at the end when I bounce one into his face.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

True Love

When Jerry said that he would watch Levi so that Rachel and I could go to the Banff Mountain Film Festival this year, I knew he must love me a lot. His only request as we walked out the door was- If you win anything in the raffle, I get it. I agreed. I knew it was a more than a fair trade. Its in a room of about 800 people, and they only have 5 or so prizes. Plus- I have been attending this film festival almost every year since 2001 and have never won anything in the raffle.

Until now.

When we arrived at Campbell Hall, Rachel, SLC Ian, Michelle and Andrew Magnusson and I all carefully filled out our raffle papers. Jen had reminded us to crinkle the paper so that it has some volume in the raffle box. We all proceeded to use different techniques to optimize the volume for a 1/2 sheet of paper. I also wrote "pick me!" in a few places on the paper. I also told my friends of my promise to Jerry. Then we put the papers in the box.

We watched two amazing films, then it was time for the drawing. They raffled a subscription to national geographic and an MSR stove. Those went to some losers with flat entries. Then they brought out a patagonia long sleeve polartec shirt. Ooh baby (These retail at about $85). They pull the paper- ITS WRINKLED! The guy with the mic says "well this person wrote 'pick me' on their entry, I guess it worked". As they call my name, I stand up in a victorious, two fists raised over the head celebration. Then he says something I never expected-

"Would you like the women's or the men's?"

With my arms still over my head I am stunned by the significance and weight of his question.

I am proud to say that it only took a moment to make the right decision. That, my friends, is true love.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Banff Mountain Film Festival

This film festival is coming to santa barbara tomorrow and wednesday. I can't wait to see it. Just watch the first 2 minutes of this trailer to get the idea. (Then skip over the advertisements to 5:05 to see the end)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Levi meets Levi

We went to watch the start of stage 6 of the Tour of California in downtown Santa Barbara today. It was kind of tough to get close enough for a photo with the current front-runner Levi Leipheimer. I had to chat with some race officials and let them know what I was trying to do. So when Levi L. came out of the team bus, they waved me over and Jerry took some photos as he was going by. Levi L. stopped and smiled at Levi T. and patted him on the back. What a moment.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Basketball Levi

"The little man, he took that basketball and he was dribbling it back and forth on the court as fast as he could...."

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Big Head

Levi's most recent stats
Weight- 21 lbs 4 oz (90th percentile)
Height (length?) 27.5 in (80th)
Head circumference- 46 cm (95th)
The pediatrician comes in and says, "alright who has the big head? it is you? dad?"
I don't think its me or jerry, so does anyone else want to fess up? grandpa guy, i'm looking your direction....

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Yam Face

For those of you who have never seen a baby eat a new food before, this is what it is like. Hilarious. No, we did not spike those yams with salsa.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Girl Push Ups

Does this look like trouble coming to you?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I've got a fang.

Ah milestones. Parents love to think about them, talk about them, and predict them. I think it is mostly because it is the most tangible evidence you have that this kid you have is in fact, getting older.
In the past 2 weeks, not only has Levi begun to wear his "12 month" clothes, but he has reached 3 other milestones for the books. He learned to roll over, he tried his first solid foods, and he has two little teeth poking through his gums. What a big boy.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Geography Challenge

This is what Jerry and I did for family home evening last night. Be careful- its addicting. I think the map is too small, so I like choosing a region to zoom in on from the list below the map. Good luck!

Here is the link-