A Blog by Scott Isaacs

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Beginner’s Luck

Last night my in-laws came over to visit for a while and we decided to play Yahtzee.  Of course, Charlie was immediately interested in the dice and the cup, so we let her have a turn rolling.  In one turn (three rolls) she had rolled a Yahtzee (five 6s)!  On her next turn she rolled four 5s in a single roll!  She had a number of other high-point rolls throughout the night (in between playing with a jar of ink pens, some blocks and Little People), but I think the best part for her was when we would all cheer when she rolled something good.  And that seemed to happen a lot. 

Beginner’s luck?

Recent Trips

Over the last six weeks or so I have made three trips to California.  I grew up in northern CA and most of my family still lives there wondering why I ever left to live in frozen "Wesconson".

The first of these trips was a whirlwind.  I flew in on a Thursday night and drove out on Friday afternoon with my new truck.  My parents were getting rid of their truck and I needed a new vehicle so it worked out nicely.  I had a nice quiet drive across the US from CA to WI, making Twitter updates along the way from my phone. 

Daddy and his PrincessThe second trip, Kelly and I took Charlie (our daughter) to meet Pops and Nana (my parents) at Disneyland in southern CA.  It was her first trip to Disney and she was so excited.

Charlie with Pops and NanaShe got to meet Minnie, Mickey, Tigger, Pooh, and many more.  I think Minnie was her favorite.  She also got a fancy Snow White dress from Pops and Nana to wear to the parade on Main Street.

We got to spend about 6 days with my parents and it was the first time they had seen Charlie since last December.  It was one of the most relaxing weeks I’ve had in a few years and I’m so glad we got to do it.

View of Half Dome from our camp site About a week and a half after we got back home, I made my third trip out to CA for a reunion trip, meeting up with some old school buddies at Yosemite National Park.  Eight of us met, and some of us hadn’t seen each other in almost 15 years.

Vernal Falls from the Mist Trail I would try to describe it, but I guess the trip wouldn’t really make sense to anyone that wasn’t there.  Lots of memories.  Lots of stories.  Lots of catching up.  Lots of laughing.

We golfed (I just drove the cart because I suck at golf), took a ride on lazy river rafts, hiked and hung out around the campfire.  I took a lot of pics and they are on Flickr.  (These are actually my first pics ever on Flickr, even though I’ve had an account for several years now.)  All in all, it was a blast and we are planning another trip for next year.

So there you have it — a short version of the ~13,000 miles I’ve logged in the last few weeks.  Each trip was a blast, but, for now, I’m glad to be home with Kelly and Charlie.  If the Disney trip could have lasted another 6 weeks, I would have been OK with that, but the two trips by myself were rough.

Updated Due Date: January 27, 2009

We went to the doctor the other day and found out from the ultrasound that our correct due date is January 27, 2009.  As of tomorrow (June 24) we will be 9 weeks along.

We’re very excited.  Unfortunately, Kelly gets very sick when she is pregnant and is on some nausea medicine that they apparently give to chemotherapy patients.

Isaacs #4, ETA January 2009

I’m very excited!  Kelly and I found out the other day that we will be having our second child soon.  We haven’t seen the doctor yet, but we’re estimating a January-ish due date for now.  Once we get the "official" word from the doctor I’ll update with that date.

You may have gathered from a previous post that we had a miscarriage late last year.  So this news is especially exciting to us.

Woo hoo!


I’m very excited because in a couple days I will be going with my wife and daughter to Disneyland in California.  We are meeting my parents there for Charlie’s first Disney experience, and I can’t wait to see how excited she will be.  She’s coming up on 21 months and really shows her excitement — she dances, stomps her feet (like those Irish tap dancers) and waves her arms.  It may sound cute, but it’s even cuter to see.

Also, between now and then I have a few phone calls setup.  I’m currently on the market for a new job, and so far things have gone well in my search since I started 6 days ago.  If you are hiring in the Milwaukee area, feel free to contact me.  My resume can be found at www.scottisaacs.com/resume.  It is slightly out of date, but 99% complete.  If time allows in the next couple days I’ll make it 100%.

A Christmas Shopping Story

Charlie Reading So Charlize and I were out Christmas shopping for Kelly a couple months ago.  We went to Barnes and Noble to see if there were any good books for Mommy.  We entered the store on the second floor through the kids section, so I grabbed a book for Charlie to read while I was shopping.

Charlie Reading While walking through the store, we got lots of looks.  I guess people have never seen a (then) 15 month old reading in her stroller.  What do they expect her to do in a bookstore?  Just sit there?  Well, apparently, the book was too elementary for her because, as you can see from the pictures, she finished it in a hurry.  She even read it 2 or 3 times.

Well, I was browsing the books and saw one that interested me, even though I was supposed to be shopping for my wife.  I stopped the stroller on the side of that aisle and took a quick look at the book.  (I don’t even remember what it was anymore.)  Since Charlie had already read her book 3 times now (maybe even 4 by this point), she started looking around and found one that looked particularly interesting to her.  She leaned forward in her stroller and grabbed this one off the shelf by herself.  Seriously.  She almost dropped it, but when I saw what she was doing I helped her out.

Charlie Reading The book she picked?  Blogging Heroes: Interviews with 30 of the World’s Top Bloggers.  I’m not sure what interested her most: the interview with Mary Jo Foley or the one with Robert Scoble.  In either case, she really seemed to be attached to this one and had no interest in me putting it back on the shelf for her.

Charlie's BooksShe read this book for a while, but never finished it.  I think it was physically just too heavy for her little hands.  Either that or she got frustrated reading about The Unofficial Apple Weblog.  Eventually, we left it with the first book on a table in the coffee shop after drinking a venti something-or-other and a bottle of Fiji water.  I’m thinking I should add it to her Amazon wish list.

I know I will undoubtedly miss many moments in her life, but I want to keep that to a minimum.  When possible, Kelly and I try to capture as many things on camera as we can so that we always remember those moments that we don’t miss.  And so we can share them with family and friends who don’t get to see her very often.  Thank God for camera phones.

My Secret Recipe

Tonight, I had Charlie* to myself while Mommy is at work.  I made her dinner around 6PM or so, and then let her go play while I was making myself something to eat.  She’s almost 18 months now, and she plays really well by herself.  It’s neat to see her start to play with little dolls and her doll house.  I even saw her take a "sip" from her little tea set tonight.

Anyway, as I was saying, after feeding her, I made myself some dinner: Kraft Macaroni and Cheese with Fried Hot Dogs.  Basically, you make the mac and cheese just like the box says, and in another skillet, you fry up some diced hot dog pieces.  When the mac is done, mix in the hot dogs.

Well, Charlie found her way into the kitchen while I was cooking and she seemed to want some more food.  She’s been eating a lot lately so she is probably growing.  So before I mixed the hot dogs in, I scooped out a little mac and put it in a separate bowl.  I let her keep running around, but she would keep coming back every few seconds for another bite.  Evidently macaroni and cheese is one of her favorites.

She’s also learning to talk right now and is just starting to pick up new words.  We’ve been stuck on "Mama", "Daddy", "uh oh", "good girl" and "what’s that" for what seems like forever, but the last week or so she’s been learning new words.  So I thought I would try to teach her to say macaroni.

Four syllables is too much for an 18 month old.

So I decided to go with just "mac".  Each time she would come for another bite (I almost typed byte right there… what a geek), I would say, "Charlie, say ‘mac’."

Each time, she said, "Cookie".  Guess what she’s been having as a snack the last couple days.

So anyway, I thought I would share my special recipe for any other dads that need to make a quick easy dinner for their kids.


1 pkg. Kraft Macaroni and Cheese
1/4 cup Milk
4 tbsp. Butter
2 Hot dogs


Boil enough water to cover the noodles.  After water comes to a boil, add noodles and turn the heat down so that it doesn’t boil over.  Dads like to cook on high, but trust me and my experience, scrubbing burned water off of the stove takes a lot longer than the extra minute or so you get for cooking on high.  While the water and noodles are boiling, cut two hot dogs into small pieces, roughly 1/4" cube.  After the noodles have boiled for a while (about 7 or 8 minutes), strain them and return them to the pot.  Add butter (for best results, cut the butter into smaller chunks first), the milk and the powdered cheese stuff.  Stir well.  Scoop a small amount out for your toddler.  Then stir in the cooked hot dogs.  Be sure to drop a couple on the floor for the dogs (optional, only recommended if you have dogs).  Makes a daddy-sized serving and a Charlie-sized serving.

That’s it.  I’ve made this meal a number of times since I moved out almost 15 years ago, so, yes, I typed it from memory.

I can cook other stuff, though, too.  Things that don’t come from a box even.  Things that aren’t written on a recipe card.  Things that other people have told me were tasty enough to eat again.  The problem with that is two-fold:

  1. I’m alone tonight and don’t want to make that much food.
  2. I really don’t want to clean up after making one of those meals.

Maybe if I get inspired I’ll share another recipe sometime.

So anyway, try Scott’s Famous Mac and Cheese and Fried Hot Dogs sometime and share it with your kid.  They’ll love it and you’ll only have two pans to clean.

* Yes, she has her own website.  It’s full of photos for friends and family.  You have to register to see the photos, but feel free if you wish.  Kelly just wanted to be able to make it harder for the weirdos to see the pics.

And Now This!

Kelly and ScottWithout really going into any detail, Kelly and I are facing some issues and are expecting to hear either really good news or bad news later this week or early next.  We’re both staying really positive, though.

Charlie in Mommy's glassesSo anyway, thinking about that, I started thinking about all of the things that we’ve gone through this year, and since we’ve been together over the last several years.  It hasn’t all been roses.  In the last 13 months, we’ve both lost jobs.  We’ve had some struggles financially due to a declining real estate market.  My grandma died earlier this year.  I’m sure if I tried, I could think of a number of other things. 

And now this!

Charlie's blue eyesIt’s so easy to get caught up in the "and now this" mentality, and just keep piling more things on.  It’s so easy to get discouraged, frustrated, angry, depressed, or whatever.  But for every bad thing that has happened, one or more good things has happened.

When I lost my job last year, within roughly a week, I had four job offers on the table, and I could take my pick, each better (in so many ways) than the job I lost.  Now I work with my childhood best friend, building a company doing things I never thought I would do.  There are struggles and stress to be sure, but it’s an amazing thing to be able to be in this position.  I never imagined that I would have been involved in designing and creating a product like this.  Or that our first client would be a company in the top 150 of the Fortune 500.  Or that it looks like our second client will also be a company on that list.

After losing her job earlier this year, KellyKelly now has three jobs (aside from the "mom thing"), and they’re all perfect for her.  She works a few hours a week at a place that loves having her and gets her out of the house to interact with adults.  She is also a work-from-home executive assistant to one of the top real estate brokers in California’s Central Valley, so she gets to see Charlie all day long between her tasks.  And to top it off, she is starting her own business.  (Buy something now!)  I can say, without a doubt, that I have an amazing wife.

We never did sell our last house.  But we found renters.  Good renters — a young family who pays their rent on time and takes good care of the place.

Charlie deep in thoughtMy grandma died earlier this year, and that was hard for me — especially since I live so far from the rest of my family.  Sometimes, being so far away, I forget, then I remember and feel sad all over again. 

Then I remember that just a few months before she died, before she even knew she had cancer, my grandma had a chance to meet and hold my daughter, Charlize.  I can’t imagine anything that has ever happened — or will ever happen — to me that could be as life changing as having Charlie.

And now this!

See, the thing about the "and now this" syndrome is that it works both ways.  You may have heard it described as being "on a roll", "on fire", "in the groove", or a million other phrases.

Charlie trying to steal the cameraI’m sure you’ve noticed that I’ve added a few photos to this post.  As you might have guessed, those are the things I am most thankful for this year.  For that matter, for the rest of my like those are going to be the things for which I am most thankful.

I love my wife.  I love my daughter.  They both love me.  That alone make any struggle or loss seem almost trivial.  I’m blessed and I don’t believe it’s coincidence.  To that, add the rest of my family, my close friends, my faith, my job, my new home, all of my opportunities, and the fact that, through it all, we’re happy.

And now this!

We don’t yet know what "this" is, and it may prove to be a painful process to find out.  But I do know that there is a "this" and when we find it, it will be amazing.

If you pray, please keep us in your prayers this week and next.  Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving from the Isaacs family.

Math Is Calming

Not gonna happen...Many of you know that I have a little 14 month old daughter, Charlize (we call her Charlie, and she has a website).  Some of you are aware that 14 months is around an age that is not an uncommon age for first steps.  A few of you may also know that our house is largely covered with wood flooring.

See where this is going?

Charlie has been walking here and there for almost two months, but is just now starting to really take off.  She’s finally at the point where she walks more than she crawls.

Tonight was no exception, and she was taking a few laps around the living room.  The center of the living room is carpeted (roughly 15′ square) and there is a 3′ perimeter that is wood.  Also, with the "open concept", the wood extends into the surrounding entry way, dining room and kitchen area.

You can always tell how tired she is by one or more of three indicators:

  • She rubs her eyes,
  • She pulls her knees up under her and lays her head on the floor for a minute (really cute by the way), or
  • She gets a little clumsy

Tonight she took a tumble in the entry hall and clocked her head on the wood flooring.  Basically, it went like this:

  • Smile, happy, walking around.
  • THUD!
  • Calm before the storm.  This part seems like an eternity, but scientists have proven that, in reality, it is only 1-3 seconds.  Somehow babies instinctively know how to mess with the space-time continuum.
  • Crying that makes you wish that pulling your fingernails out with pliers and then pounding them into your tear ducts with a hammer would make her feel better.

Nothing would calm her down.  I picked her up and held her for a minute and tried to soothe her.  I have no idea why I thought that would work, by the way.  Kelly took her and gave it a shot.  She tried the pacifier, which normally helps if she’s more tired than anything else.  She tried talking to her.  She tried singing.  None of the normal things were working.

Then my brilliant wife started saying, "1 + 1 is 2.  1 + 2 is 3," and Charlie started to calm instantly.  Even though she was completely calm by the "mid 2s", Kelly went all the way up to the "10s", and Charlie just watched her the whole time.

Is it possible?  Could it be?  Have the stars aligned?  Is this cutest little girl in the whole world really a geek at heart?  Let me tell you, it made this geek dad smile.  [:)]

By the way, if you have a little girl, or if you want to be really mean to your young son, Kelly is starting up a little side business making accessories for girls.  Buy something so we can send this genius kid of ours to Harvard or MIT in a couple years.

First Steps

Today Charlie took her first steps. 

She’s been standing and walking along things for a while, but took a handful of steps today while Kelly was working from home.  I can’t wait to get home and see if she’ll take more steps for Daddy tonight.

By the way, if you or anyone you know has little girls, Kelly has started a small side business making accessories for little girls.  You can see a few photos of what she has here, plus she does a lot of special requests, so if you want something in a certain color (style, size, etc.) just let her know.

Well, I guess it’s finally time to go buy a baby gate for the steps…

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