Category Archives: Jacob William


Today has the somewhat melancholy distinction of being the last day that Jake & Sam will attend the same school at the same time.

Their separation in ages – four years – means that when Sam reaches middle school, Jake will be a sophomore in high school; when Sam reaches high school, Jake will (one assumes) be a freshman in college; and when Sam reaches college, Jake will have graduated the previous (academic) year.

I’m trying not to think about college.

Jake & Sam will have their last day of school together, followed by a fairly busy summer; then, at summer’s end, attend their separate schools.

Jake’s summer will run about a month longer than Sam’s. I can hear the protests now: “It’s not fair!”

Isaac, Jacob & Samuel

I’ve been seeing some chatter lately about this video:

…in which Isaac Asimov talks (in 1989!) about computers, the internet, and their effect on education.

Watching the video, I thought: Yes, this is the future we were taught by science fiction to expect.

The reality of it, though, is that Jake & Sam use their computers & high-speed internet connection largely to watch YouTube videos of other people playing computer games. (When they ask to buy the games, I say: “You’ve watched the whole thing already, on YouTube. What’s the point?”)

Fun with technology

Jake was in the other room, watching YouTube videos on the iMac. I was sitting at the kitchen table, pecking away at the Macbook. I was thinking of the OS X text-to-speech system – i.e., trying to remember whether it really has one – when I stumbled across the following:

       say - Convert text to audible speech

       This tool uses the Speech Synthesis manager to convert input
       text to audible speech and either play it through the sound
       output device chosen in System Preferences or save it to an
       AIFF file.

And I wondered what would happen if I logged in to Jake’s computer (via ssh) and entered a few commands:

say Hello, Jake.
say This is your computer talking.

The results were…amusing.


Jake’s been sick for a few days: runny nose, cough. This morning, he said his throat hurt.

Sam woke up all quiet & clingy. He had a fever (102.5°), and said his ear hurt.

So instead of Saturday morning soccer, I took them both to Convenient Care. I’m pretty sure this is their first simultaneous visit. (I imagine it won’t be the last.)

The nurse took some vitals – Jake weighs almost exactly three times as much as Sam – then the doctor did her own (dual) exam. Jake got a q-tip down the throat, for a strep test; he hates those. Sam was lucky – the doctor just looked in his ears.

The diagnoses: Jake has a cold. Sam might have an ear infection in his right ear, but it’s currently impossible to see the eardrum: there’s something in the ear canal. The doctor couldn’t say what it is, and I couldn’t see it very clearly.

It might be a piece of crayon. Sam did come home from school a while ago – how long ago? I wish I could remember – with a story of getting a piece of crayon stuck in his ear. We were sure it had fallen out on its own.

Apparently not. Oops.

The Convenient Care doctor wouldn’t remove it, whatever it is; that has to be done by the ear-nose-throat fella at the main clinic downtown. (Union rules, or something.) First thing Monday, we’ll be calling to set up an appointment.

In the meantime, Sam is on antibiotics. Poor little guy.


Schools in Champaign are divided into three groups: elementary (K-5), middle school (6-8) and high school (9-12).

(It’s interesting how school districts around the country can’t decide whether sixth grade is late elementary or early middle school. I don’t suppose it matters much, either way.)

Since Jake & Sam were born four years apart, the 2011-2012 school year – with Jake in 5th grade and Sam in 1st grade – will be their last at the same school. Even if they end up at the same college – assuming they both go to college – Jake will likely graduate before Sam starts.

It’s a bit sad to think about.

(It’s also going to present certain logistical difficulties, getting two kids onto two different school buses every morning. But we will manage.)

Zombatar #3

Two months ago, I made zombatars for Jennifer, Jacob & myself. I posted Jennifer’s zombatar and mine, (they’re here), but never got around to posting Jacob’s.

An embarrassing oversight, hereby corrected:

Zombie Jacob

(Sam never showed much interest in zombatars, otherwise I’d have made one for him.)


Yesterday, Jake had a slight fever. We gave him some tylenol, and let him take it easy all day.

This morning, Jake still had a fever, but high enough that we kept him home from school.

It looks now like he’ll stay home at least one more day, and pay a visit to Convenient Care. I predict that this time tomorrow he’ll have yet another amoxicillin prescription to work through.

(Whatever he’s got, I’m sure to catch it too. I always do.)

Jake’s turn

Last night, Jake paid a late visit to Mama & Papa’s bedroom – fortunately, we were still awake – to announce that he wasn’t feeling well.

We set him up with an astronaut bed (i.e., couch cushions) on the floor, with the official Barf Bucket (an old Savoy 16 popcorn bucket) close at hand.

After an hour or so of moaning & groaning from Jake (who can make an upset stomach sound like an amputation sans anesthetic) everybody managed to fall asleep.

Alas, around 3am the Barf Bucket saw action.

Today, Jake was very quiet all day: didn’t eat much, didn’t play much. He just watched cartoons. He did seem to perk up a bit toward evening, so there’s hope he’ll be going to school tomorrow.

Poor little guy.

Jake R. and the Turtle

Jake wrote a story at school:

Jake and the Turtle, page 1

Jake and the Turtle, page 2

Jake R. and the Turtle
written by Jacob Rice

One day me and my mom went to the store to buy a webcin turtle.

We went to three stores at the last store we found what we were looking for.

At hall mark we found at lest ten defrent tipes of them.

P.S. Hes name is Webby.

[Spelling is not Mr. Jacob’s srong suit….]

On the boardwalk

This afternoon we took the kids to the Anita Purves Nature Center over in Urbana, for a walk in the woods.

On the boardwalk

We took the scooters, but – alas! – scooting in the forest is verboten. (Too easy to fall off the boardwalk & land in a pond, I suppose.)

The forest – aka Busey Woods – was a bit soggy from last week’s rain.

There’s a large stone frog perched near the parking lot:

Frog of Stone

So I took a picture of it.