Sunday, February 2, 2014

Noah's Big Day

Yesterday had to be one of Noah's better days in recent memory. It started with his basketball game, which went very well. His coach gave him the white star for effort, but on top of that he also gave him a box of M&Ms because his effort was exceptional. That was certainly unexpected, but it did seem warranted. Noah played very good defense and was around the ball a lot when it was time for a rebound. He also scored three times. I'd say the only knock was that he took too many shots, but he was open for most of them.

Things only got better after basketball. We came home, had lunch, and then went to Target. He had been saving his money for the Angry Birds Go Pig Rock Raceway, and since the first is allowance day he could finally make the purchase. We got it set up as soon as we got home and then he was off to the races. We even gave him some extra electronics time so he could play with the new karts in the game on Amanda's tablet. It was a special day, after all.

Meanwhile, Lily was playing at her friend Grace's house. Noah and I picked her up, but we did it by way of Gamestop. He still has a gift card from there, but he didn't find anything to buy. He did, however, enjoy playing the Wii U. He is pretty much all about the Wii U when he goes there, which isn't so bad. However, we don't get the welcoming vibe we get from Play N' Trade.

While the day was hardly like Christmas, it was still a really good day for Noah. It's nice when these things can happen once in a while.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Stormy Weather

We have had an interesting weather week. It was below 20 on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. Friday morning it was around 40, which was really nice for my run. This morning it was 60 and balmy. This was good because Amanda was really struggling with the dust and whatnot that came off the Christmas tree as we took it down. We opened up the windows and aired out the house.

We needed a few things from Sam's and the weather seemed OK, so we braved the tornado watch. As we were getting in line I got a text from Amanda about a tornado warning, which of course is pretty serious. I looked at the radar on my phone and figured that we could beat the storm if we hurried. It turns out that the radar was a little bit behind on my phone. The skies opened up just as the person ahead of us was starting to check out. I figured that I'd have the kids wait with the cart and I'd brave the sheets of rain to get the van.

Just as we started our order someone came running in from the door yelling to "get to the middle of the store." I got my card back, took the kids by the hand, and we calmly walked to the middle of the store. We hung out there for a few minutes until the all-clear. We had a nice pocket of calm to come home in, which was nice.

We saw a few downed pine trees on the way home and a lot of pine straw on the road, but that was about it. Apparently they clocked 89 MPH winds at the airport. Amanda said that it wasn't that bad by our house. Nothing blew around in our yard, so I think that we were spared the worst of it.

Lily was a little shaken by the ordeal. Noah was completely fine. It's a good reminder that we are not really in control. It's also a good reminder of how incredible it is to worship the Creator of everything who controls where the storms go. I don't claim to understand why He sends tornadoes or any other weather, but I take great comfort knowing that nothing happens apart from what He wants.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Fish Story

Those of you who follow me on Twitter (@freedjpc) may remember Noah's business case for a fish. We got back our fish stuff plus another aquarium from the family we gave Lily's fish to when she lost it. Armed with all this, we set out after Christmas in search of a new fish.

Everything has been great for Lily. We got a new filter for her aquarium and it now hosts two beautiful guppies. One is called Rainbow (or Ray for short) because of his tail and the other is some version of Indigo because of his color. We just vacuumed out her aquarium yesterday and things seem to be going well.

It has been a different story for Noah. We first got him a beautiful red betta fish that he named Laser. That was the name he wanted for the fish in his kindergarten class, but the class chose Swimmy instead. Laser seemed a bit listless and, sadly, he died after a couple of days. We took him back to PetSmart and got a pretty blue and red fish. We also got a heater since our house is a little cold for tropical fish.

Noah named that one Nick. We suggested Swish, but he liked Nick. This was of course after Nick Swisher. Nick did better than Laser, but he died after 4 days. It was very sad because we just got back from the pet store with Lily's second fish and Noah discovered Nick at the bottom of the bowl not moving. We got our refund from Nick as well and went to a different store to get yet another fish.

Now we're back to red. We got the fish on Saturday and Noah still hasn't named it. I asked him if he was going to name it or if he wanted to wait to see how it does. He decided to wait because "it's hard" to get attached. There is something about naming the fish that makes it harder to lose it.

It's hard to be optimistic about this one, but we will see. Noah cried at the loss of the other fish, but got over it in about 10 minutes. We will see how it goes if this one dies. Hopefully he will do better. I tested the water and it seems to be OK, so I'm going to be cautiously optimistic.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Long Night

We had a brutal night last night. Noah had a fever around Christmas, but it went away. He had complained of an earache, but it also went away. The earache came back with a vengeance last night. He first came into our room at around 10:30, which was only rough because we had just started to fall asleep. We gave him some Motrin and sent him back to bed. Then he came back around 2:00 and was really miserable. We tried warm compresses and Amanda made a solution with olive oil, garlic, and tea tree oil. These things helped a little bit, but he was still pretty miserable. He finally fell asleep, though poor Amanda couldn't move with him up against her.

We all woke up to Amanda's alarm at 7:00. She had set this so we could get up for church today (ha!). We were trying out the alarm through Pandora and were heartily greeted with this to wake up. That was a shock, to say the least. Noah didn't even notice.

I got myself up and started doing my morning stuff when I heard Lily come out of her room. She threw up twice and had some diarrhea. So that pretty much did her in as well. The good news is that Amanda and I didn't feel sick. We just felt tired.

I took Noah to the urgent care where he was promptly diagnosed with an ear infection. We started him on his amoxycillin and I think he is on the road to recovery.

Lily has started feeling much better. We're not sure what happened there, but she ate a good lunch and has been listening to an audiobook all day on her iPod. Noah is also feeling better and has been enjoying unfettered electronics. We do make allowances when sick.

As you might imagine, today has been a pretty mellow one here. I did squeeze a run in before the skies open up later. This isn't really how I wanted to finish up my vacation from work, but apparently God had plans that were different than mine.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas

We had a great Christmas celebration here. It started off a little rough because Lily had been feeling sick for a few days. She had an earache on Tuesday, so Amanda took her to the Urgent Care. They diagnosed her with a double ear infection and sent her home with a prescription for some amoxicillin. As always, once she started taking the medicine she felt fine. That was good because it would have been a very tough Christmas day otherwise.

 I also wasn't feeling great Monday evening, so we ended up not going to our church's Christmas celebration. We hated to miss it, but we also know that it was going to be a lot of work to attend it. I think by Monday evening the only person with the energy to do it was Noah.

We went to the McKenzies' for the family Christmas celebration on Tuesday. We had a lovely meal with ham, mac and cheese, and various other trimmings. A wonderful time was had by all.

Of course, to the kids all of this is just a warm-up for Christmas morning. My videography was not quite as extensive this year, but I did capture the highlights. Lily had a hard time coming up with gift ideas, so we got her a refurbished iPod Touch. Now she has her own device with a camera and won't have to clog up ours with her "artsy" photos and videos.

Noah got a lot of stuff through my involvement with Amazon Vine. He still doesn't know that his big gift is a series of golf lessons with me. He was happy just to get this basketball hoop. He also got a batting tee and a big net that you can use for hitting balls. He also got a few new games for the Wii. It's pretty nice that the Wii is an old system and the games can be had fairly cheaply now.

We ended the day with some standing rib roast, which came out really good. We kept the meal simple with roast, roasted asparagus, and mashed red potatoes and gravy. Nobody seemed to mind the simplicity. 

Everyone had a wonderful Christmas. Although I tried to do this at dinner, I think that we need to do a quick refresher of why we give gifts. After all, the incarnation of Christ was the ultimate gift to everyone who believes. So as we enjoy our new stuff, we need to remember that:

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

I hope that you and yours had as nice a Christmas as we did. Now that I'm off for over a week I look forward to catching up on some stuff and just relaxing a little bit. That and hitting golf balls.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Birthday Trip

We took a trip to Ohio to celebrate my 40th and Dad's 70th birthdays. We left on Wednesday after school and drove to Charleston, WV. We stayed at what has become our favorite hotel in Charleston and had a good night's sleep followed by a lovely breakfast buffet. The whole family enjoyed the pool for about an hour and then we hit the road to Ohio. It's not every day you get to swim in a warm pool while you can see it snowing outside. That did make for a cold run back to our room since the hallways were a bit chilly by comparison.

We had lunch in Marietta and got some coffee drinks for the road. It was in the low teens, so we decided to forego the riverwalk until another time. We got to Wadsworth and had a fun evening with Grandpa and Bubbe along with a great meal.

Friday was kind of a slow morning and then in the afternoon I went shooting with Dad while Amanda took the kids to see Frozen. After that my stepbrothers took me out to dinner, which was really fun. Of course, since this was a 40th birthday celebration and not a 21st we were still in bed at very reasonable hours.

Saturday was the really big day. While Uncle Mark went to the gym to run on the treadmill Aunt Jen took us to the local farmer's market and to the West Point Market. We got some goodies and then went home to get ready for Grandpa's birthday party. The video below was taken before lunch on Saturday.

What started this was Uncle Mark convincing Noah that he had to shovel all of his driveway, the neighbors, and the street (but only to the stop sign). Of course, Noah bought it. He and Lily enjoyed doing the driveway and even made a few bucks. Later that day when Lily saw Uncle Mark snowblowing the neighbor's driveway she exclaimed, "He has a snowblower?!?" She doesn't understand about keeping up when there is just a little snow.

We had a great party that everyone really enjoyed, especially Grandpa. It was fun to have him as the guest of honor and we even got to celebrate on his actual day.

Saturday night was fun because the twin cousins spent the night. They all slept in the same room and I think that everyone got to sleep fairly well. Lily had some trouble sleeping and she woke up one of her cousins to see the clock turn to midnight. The good news is that Lily was able to nap in the car on the way home.

Sunday morning started out a little rough because Noah threw up a couple of times. He didn't have breakfast, but his stomach seemed to settle down because he was fine at lunch and dinner. He also was fine today.

Now it's back to reality, at least for a week.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Sick Day

It's been a slightly rough day here. Last night Lily was really congested and complained about some symptoms that sounded like the onset of a bad cold. Today it was confirmed and she stayed home from school. The problem is that Amanda is now starting to show some early signs. Fortunately, it is nothing too debilitating, but Lily is going to stay home tomorrow after having a 102 fever tonight. The good news is that the little Peanut is pretty resilient and doesn't really seem to be too bothered. Right now they're watching The Voice.

This came at the end of a really fun weekend. Of course, Thanksgiving was fun with family and good food. Friday night the kids spent the night with the McKenzies so Amanda and I could go see Catching Fire, which was excellent.

On Saturday they brought the kids back and we all watched the Michigan game, which ended up being much more thrilling than we thought it would be. The McKenzies went home and then there were a couple of naps during the first half of the Auburn game. We all watched the end of the game together over a makeshift dinner and everyone agreed that it was well worth our time to watch it.

On Sunday we had some new friends over from our new church. There is some Polish heritage with Amanda's friend, so it gave me an excuse to make stuffed cabbage. It was a little risky making something new for guests, but between an online recipe and my own intuition I have to say that it came out great. I'm pretty sure the secret was including some good kielbasa from the Meat House. Nothing like a house that smells like cabbage and garlic!

The good news is that Noah and I seem to be OK. I feel slightly off, but I think I'm going to dodge this. Noah seems completely nonplussed. The highlight for him is that we spent time yesterday and today working on a video game. Good times for Pook.