On October 17th we celebrated Mikaela’s 13th birthday party. Yup, it’s official – she is now a teenager.

Here are a sampling of the better pictures taken at the event.

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Lori always has this deep down feeling that one of the nefarious purposes of photography is to make her look bad (in other words that she is aphotogenic). I think she looks amazing in these pictures taken recently during our trip to Space Center Houston, so they are well worth posting. I’ve also posted one of these into the Hubcrate/About page. I think Daelynn was the photographer in this case, so kudos to her!
Picture of Ben and Lori Huber

Picture of Ben and Lori Huber
Ben and Lori Huber at JSC

Picture of Ben and Lori Huber

One of my favorite song stanzas is from Casting Crowns song “Angel”:

After all the changing seasons
Have turned to years
The crowns are gone
And the suns have faded

I’d still be here
Holding you
When thanking heaven
For my angel


I was just playing with an Adobe app on my iPad (Adobe Shape CC) which creates vector drawings from pictures taken. So, here is the test – what is going on in the following “inkblot” picture?


For the past few (18?) years, we have chosen to do a family activity rather than go trick or treating at Halloween.  This year, some of the folks at the culdesac we lived on last year invited us over for their Halloween block party.  Ben, Lori, Davison and Brock headed over to join in the festivities. 

Danaya, Daelynn, Mikaela, and Heidi hosted a Girls’ Night with some friends at our home, which included pizza and ice cream, handing out candy (we’re in a quiet area so not much activity), a fire in the fireplace, and watching a movie.

The boys had fun with their costumes.  Davison wore the armor that Rett made for him Christmas 2012 and toted a plastic sword and shield.  Brock went all out, getting the girls and Mom to help him create a robot costume. 
I didn’t get a picture of Davison in costume, but here are some Brock pictures.  Both boys ended up with a whole lot of read “way too much”) candy.

Assembling Brock
The 8-15-C 0165K Brock 7 robot
Lori and Brock trick or treating

Here are some additional pictures from our volunteer work last week at the Poodle Rescue Society of Houston.






One of Mikaela’s long standing dreams is to be more involved with dogs. Shortly after we moved to Houston, she began researching Houston organizations that allowed 12 year olds to volunteer. The only one that she was able to find was Poodle Rescue of Houston. After we purchased our Houston home, we discovered that Poodle Rescue of Houston was located very nearby, in fact about 100 yards as the crow flies; slightly longer if you aren’t allowed to climb a fence to get into the back end of the property.

Poodle Rescue of Houston currently has over 140 dogs that they are looking after (in a facility geared toward handling 70 dogs). Last year they adopted out over 500 dogs, pretty much all with a reasonable cost to the adopters, so they are not giving the dogs away, but are trying to ensure they are going to good homes.

A couple of Saturdays ago, Daelynn (who apparently also likes dogs), Mikaela and myself (Ben) attended the monthly volunteer orientation session. It turns out that 12 year olds can volunteer, but need a parent with them until they are 14 years of age, which resulted in me filling out the volunteer form as well. We will probably be going a couple of times a week for volunteer work with the dogs. This consists primarily of taking dogs from their cages to a larger area, letting them run, and then petting and cuddling them for a while.

Here are some pictures from our first volunteer and training visit. (Lori had to go too due to the need for adult supervision).
Mikaela with dog
Lori and DDaely
picture of young lady with dog

Things are cooling down in Houston, although it is still 81 degrees as I write this just before 9:00 pm on a Friday night in early October. The cool down includes the pool, so last Saturday we got out the wetsuits (originally purchased way back when for our Oregon trips). In Fact over the years, you’ve probably seen pictures of all of the kids wearing them. They work quite well in cutting down the chill from the water. But they also provide some extra buoyancy, which is welcome to some of our kids who have heavy bones and don’t float well (like Davison).
So here are a couple of pictures from this evening. They aren’t very good as I took them with my iPad (no flash) and then used Photoshop Touch to jack the light way up.



In my last post I talked about the fun that we were having with the pass and play portion of the Galaxy Trucker iPad app. Over the last couple of days we (Dad, Davison, Brock) have been exploring the Campaign mode of the game. This is more of a longer term adventure where you are travelling around and exploring a galaxy (well in all likelihood it will be a very small galaxy with fifty locations or so). On each leg of the trip you are competing against 1 to 3 other ships in building your ship and then going through a number of adventures cards trying to accumulate credits and keep uour ship together. In this mode, the ship building phase is like the physical game where dexterity, speed, and mental clarity are all needed. I’m more of a meticulous ship builder, taking the time to get it, but usually being the last ship to be built which puts you at a disadvantage during the adventure resolution part.
Brock, on the other hand is rather haphazard, usually using each piece that he turns over (whereas you normally put them back in the pile if they don’t fit in with your plans) and building a less than complete and optimal ship. The funny thing is that he is doing it so quickly that the competing computer players also end up with rather haphazard ships as well. On one of the runs that Brock did yesterday, after he built his ship, he observed, “Oops, I forgot to give it any engines.”
Davison and I watched him tonight, and snagged the following screenshot of Brock trailing (that’s his ship at the bottom of the screen consisting of two modules. – crew module and an engine, the two bare essentials to finishing a run) with 3 adventure cards yet to turn over. Brock ended up winning this run, as the ship in front of him got blown to bits and his was the sole ship to complete the trip.


A couple of days ago, the Galaxy Trucker app for the iPad came out, so I promptly spent the required $4.99 to pick it up. We have enjoyed the physical boardgame for a number of years (although my brain doesn’t seem to work as fast as the kids, and the speed/dexterity limitations encountered usually meant that I ended up with inferior pieces and usually launched my ship last). Last night, Brock, Davison and I had a pass-n-play game of it. We went three rounds which took quite a long time. The ship building mechanism is turn based so mental laggards such as myself have a chance to compete.
Brock enjoys building ships with the physical game, but struggled a bit more with this one where you had limited pieces initially available and had to visualize a little further out on what you wanted your ship to look like.
Anyhow, here’s some screenshots after we finished round two of the game. Brock had lost about half of his ship to asteroids and pirates. I think Davison (“Dude” in the screenshots) had lost a handful of components on the right hand (would that be “starboard”) side of his ship, and mine made it through intact. The iPad implementation of the game is very good.




I took some video clips on our trip to Yellowstone National Park in August 2014. It was a low end video camera and I think the SD card that I had in it wasn’t fast enough, so I was getting buffer issues. Consequently, there’s some footage (like Old Faithful erupting) that I missed. Anyhow, here is a montage of my video clips of the geysers that we saw on that fateful day in August.
The Geyser Video