Monday, December 31, 2007

More Landmarks

As you recover from the news about Lily voluntarily giving up her blanket, I thought I should share a couple more tidbits. One is that Noah now weighs over 18 pounds. It has become increasingly obvious that he could not continue in the infant seat anymore. This was confirmed on Christmas Eve when I lugged him from church to the satellite parking lot much to the chagrin of my biceps. Lily was also outgrowing her seat.

We finally broke down and went to Babies 'R Us on Saturday and got a new seat for Lily. She will use the 5-point harness until she outgrows it (I'm thinking probably 8th grade at the rate she's going). Seriously, she will only use it until she hits 40 pounds and then the seat will work as a seat belt positioning device. Noah is now in Lily's old seat. This is new for him as he is now more upright in it. Hopefully he will sleep well in it.

It's hard to believe that we're standing on the precipice of 2008. I feel like 2007 was a good year, though it was a tough one. As I look ahead to 2008 I am glad that I'm not taking three classes per semester. I'm excited about what I will be taking though. I'm looking forward to all the growth we should see with Noah in 2008 as he starts to move around, talk, grow teeth, etc. Lily will start kindergarten in the fall of 2008. Imagine that!

We may break tradition this year and actually be awake on purpose for midnight. We'll see if I can stay up for it. Midnight is kind of late for this early bird.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Ready for the Press

Lily has two cartoon videos that feature America's favorite polyethelyle princess, Barbie. One is a version of "The Nutcracker" and the other is "Swan Lake." According to Amanda, both are pretty faithful reproductions of the original ballets. Amanda told me that Lily was watching the special features on the "Swan Lake" DVD the other day and one of the features was interviews with some of the dancers.

Apparently this interview involved dancers from the New York Ballet at various age ranges. There were girls as young as 8 and there were the principal dancers as well. They talked about where they studied, where they go to school, their teachers, etc.

Lily was in the dancing mood after this, so she decided to do her Bella Dancerella. (Note that she got it as a gift and I don't think the giver paid nearly that much for the set.) As you can see, it comes with a DVD, a plastic ballet barre, and a mat with feet for the steps you are supposed to do. As Lily set it up she pretended she was being interviewed and said things like:

Yes, and I like to use Bella Dancerella. I like to use the plastic barre. My teacher is Miss April. I go to preschool.

As you see, Lily takes all of this very seriously.

Friday, December 28, 2007

A Landmark Day

Today turned out to be a very significant day in Lily's life. 99% of the day was the usual. Amanda's sisters came over for lunch, so Lily enjoyed playing with her aunts and her cousin Brenna. Amanda tells me that it was a little tough because Lily and Brenna both seem to enjoy having an audience and there was a lot of screaming. While Amanda doesn't have everyone over for lunch every day, that wasn't so amazing.

The evening was pretty normal. Lily was her normal bossy/fussy self. She has lately decided that any cross word in her direction is "a rude thing to say." I told her at one point, "No, it's not rude, it's parenting." I realize that didn't help things, but it made me feel better in a sort of twisted way.

The extraordinary thing happened at bedtime. Lily announced, "I don't need my blanket anymore." I asked her if I could take it and she said yes. I told her that I would put it in our closet and that we would not throw it away. She said that she still likes it, but she is going to sleep without it.

If you know Lily you know that she and her blanket are not much different than Linus and his, when it comes to being in bed. We've been pretty tough about her not having it outside of the bedrooms unless she is sick. I remember May of 2004 when we were on the airplane flying home from Mom's graduation and we couldn't figure out how to settle her down. Everything clicked when we saw her chew on her blanket. From then on it became the magic talisman to a restful night for the family. I remember one time when we left it at Bill & Tiffany's house. I had to meet Bill halfway for an exchange. It was that vital.

It looks like those days may be behind us. Our little girl is growing up.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

After Christmas

I think we're officially in post-Christmas mode now. We're enjoying leftovers for dinner. I brought in some sugar cookies to have with my lunch today. Lily had a blast with some of her toys, though she already broke her princess paddle-ball set. She had great fun with her Polly Pockets stuff last night. I don't think she's quite got into her littlest pet shop stuff yet, but that's coming. Right now Amanda is just trying to figure out where all this stuff is going to go.

We had fun playing with my new backgammon set last night too. There is an outside chance that I've found a game that Amanda can get into a little bit. She likes the chance element with the dice.

I now have over $38 in Goodberry's gift cards to work with over the course of the year. That won't go as far as you might think, but it should at least get me to Father's Day.

We have some good video of Christmas morning, but I need to transfer it to the computer and then to Google. Don't hold your breath waiting, but it will come soon.

Noah has his six-month checkup today. I'll post some news as it comes in.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Eve

We had a great time with family last night. Our church service was good, though of course hearing "O Holy Night" is kind of a tear-jerker for everyone on Amanda's side of the family. Her grandfather used to sing that every Christmas Eve, so hearing someone else do it always brings back memories.

Amanda and I got a little break to go out and try a White Peppermint Bark Mocha at a local coffee shop. It was nice to get out and talk about a few things. Sadly, we did not have time to go to Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

Grandpa and Nana put the kids down to a short nap before we went to church. This is how I found Lily when I went in to rouse her:

Merry Christmas to everyone!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas is Coming!

Again, I must apologize to those who are hungry for news. What has happened since my last post?

  • Lily had a dance recital. It went pretty well
  • Grandma Judy came for a visit. We did some shopping and dealt with Lily's 'tude, but had fun
Grandma's visit meant not a lot of computer time for your reporter. I can tell you that everyone is doing well. I seem to have got whatever Amanda had, but I think I'm getting over it a bit more quickly. The cold has moved from my head to my chest.

Noah is eating his cereal like a little champ. Grandma says that he takes after his dad in that respect.

Grandpa Jack and Nana are with us tonight. Then tomorrow we have Christmas Eve preparations to do. I'll write as I'm able.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Postscript on the Day

Things did improve as the day went on. We have Lily fairly faithfully saying "yes, sir" and "yes, ma'am" to us. We've decided to play the Southern game. It does seem a lot more respectful, which is something that she could use.

The dance recital went well. Her tumbling could use some work and she wasn't quite in sync with the music when dancing, but she gave it her all. Overall, it was a great time. The highlight for me was meeting someone who recently moved to the area that has his Master's of Theology from Gordon-Conwell. We were talking about theology, my seminary, Colonial Baptist Church, our church, etc.

Lily and I went back out after dinner to get a gift certificate for one of her preschool teachers. Tomorrow is the Christmas party. Amanda still has a lot to do tomorrow. She's got to clean the house, attend a party, and finish up various other sundry tasks. Things aren't getting any easier, but at least Lily's attitude improved after our heavy chat.

Not Getting Easier

I did my usual check-in from work today. I like to call Amanda sometime in the 8 o'clock hour. That way I can be pretty sure that everyone is awake and moving. I like to just see how things are going before she gets her day started in earnest.

Things were not pretty. Lily was up to her old tricks. Noah had woke up at 4:30 for a feeding and Amanda had a hard time getting back to sleep. Everyone ended up sleeping past 8:00. She called me later and told me that she ended up having to spank Lily over what outfit she wore to preschool.

I came home from work since today was supposed to be a work from home day and I got Lily from preschool. We had a long trip home because I had to stop twice to spank her. The first time was for lying and the second was for more disobedience. We had some timeouts when we got home too. Lunch was no picnic either, but she did actually eat.

Hopefully the problems with her attitude are becoming clearer to her. She's been much better this afternoon. She has a dance recital tonight, so hopefully that will improve her attitude. I'm glad that she behaves better for her teachers than she does for us!

Monday, December 17, 2007

A Rough Day

This is usually such a happy time. It's stressful with various gift-giving obligations, to be sure, but it's usually happy. Personally, I've always enjoyed the two weeks between my birthday and Christmas. The month of December usually flies by for me.

However, this year has been tough. Amanda is still battling something with her sinuses. Lily was particularly difficult today. Apparently at one point Noah was on the floor and she danced on him. Then as I was about to take her and Noah out she was trying to make a point about something and nearly poked in him the eye. She had been warned about touching his face, so this meant a spanking as we were about to head out the door. We're still eating the leftover roast beef from my birthday, so Amanda made some rolls on Saturday and we had french dip sandwiches last night and tonight. Lily decided from the beginning that she wasn't going to eat it, but we finally got her to eat some. She stopped with about three bites to go, despite being told that she wouldn't get any treats tonight.

We've decided that her refusal to eat dinner has to have more repercussions the next day. In the future, she isn't going to get any treats the next day either. Funny how last Monday she ate her pasta because she knew she wouldn't get any doughnuts on Tuesday if she didn't. She wasn't too full then.

On the other hand, she does have some really sweet and/or funny moments. For example, she and Amanda saw the Polar Express yesterday. I guess there is a part where water is chasing after someone. She said that if the water caught them "they shall surely die." I'm pretty sure she got the expression "shall surely die" from her Bible. It warms my heart to see it coming into her speech.

Overall, we could use prayer.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Passing the Bug

We've had a rough weekend here. Yesterday was supposed to be the family celebration of my birthday with brunch at Brigs. Unfortunately, Lily had a fever (which she still has), so we had to cancel. Fortunately, with some Motrin she is at the Polar Express in IMAX (and 3-D) with Amanda while I finish up some schoolwork.

Noah is starting to eat the cereal much better, but it isn't helping his sleeping. If anything, we've gone backwards. He now wakes up once in the middle of the night. We had been putting him down around 8:00 PM, but we may have to go back to having him awake with us and then feeding him when we go to bed.

Amanda has been stuffed up for about a week now. She may need to go to the doctor and get some antibiotics. I felt a little rough yesterday, but I think that can be attributed to the end of the semester. I just emailed my last bit of work to my professor and will enjoy some rest for the next couple of weeks, though I do want to get ahead in my reading for next semester.

Let's just hope that everyone is well this time next week. It would sure make Christmas a lot more fun if we are.

Friday, December 14, 2007


I'm actually done with classes. Unfortunately, I have a small assignment still hanging over my head. We have short papers to write for each book we cover in Old Testament and I have one to write for Ezra/Nehemiah and one for Esther. They are due Monday. It's just a matter of sitting down to do them.

After some talk with Amanda we've decided that it is better for me not to take 3 classes/semester. My seminary offers some distance learning options over DVD and I plan to take advantage of those.

Lily has been a pill lately. Amanda is fighting another cold, which has really got her down. It's not that she feels completely terrible, but she is sick enough that it slows her down. Plus, she has been sick almost continually since Thanksgiving and she is just tired of sick, if you will. Combine that with Lily's headstrong nature as well as Noah's new nighttime fussiness and you've got a bad combination. I'm glad to be done with classes so I can be around in the evenings now.

Life could be better here. However, it also could be much, much worse.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Beautiful Day

We're having some unseasonably warm weather here. I realize that most of you who read this are dealing with ice, snow, rain, or some combination thereof. For whatever reason it was almost 80 degrees here today and sunny. I met Amanda, Lily, and Noah for lunch at Five Guys in Morrisville. I roasted some beef on the grill and fried some potatoes and onions for dinner. Amanda made me a butterscotch pie for my birthday. All in all, it was a nice day.

What made it even nicer is that the old Noah seemed to come back after dinner. His wide, easy smile seems to be returning. We sure hope that he is feeling better because it's been a long 5 days or so since he started having a fever.

Tomorrow is the big Christmas show at Lily's preschool. Hopefully I can get some video posted of it tomorrow. I'm in the throes of my finals week, so it may take a day or two to get it up.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Getting Better all the Time

Noah appears to be back to his old self. He was still a little grumpy this evening and he is making some noises in his crib now, but he doesn't appear to be in the bad state he was over the weekend. Amanda gave him two meals of cereal today and that is getting better too, albeit very slowly. On a related note, Amanda has decided to go back to eating chocolate. It seems like he has reflux either way, so she may as well enjoy it. Besides, the cereal should help.

Lily seems to have an admirer in a neighbor boy named Cooper. He lives across the cul-de-sac from us. We asked Lily what she likes about him and she said that it is "because he doesn't run away" from her. I'm not sure how old he is, but I would guess maybe 6 or 7. He rides a bike without training wheels. Is this kind of like a 14 year-old interested in a boy who can drive? I think it's a bit more innocent than that.

Lily seems to be turning into a member of the neighborhood pack. She seems very interested in going out to play with her friends now. This is a good thing for a couple of reasons:

  • It means that she is being social
  • It gets her out of our hair
Still, we do need to be a little bit careful. She's such a tiny thing and tough to see if you're driving. Fortunately, our neighborhood is pretty quiet. Nevertheless, we do want to take this slowly. I imagine it will be a while before she gets to stay out after dark.

Looking ahead, it's going to be tough to get her to bed next summer. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Noah's First Cereal

It's a rough morning here at Casa de Chamberlain. We had a couple of power outages last night which caused all kinds of beeping in the house. Lily's alarm needs a backup battery so she knows when 7-0-0 happens. I hurried back from my run thinking that she would get up at 7:00, but she stayed in her room because she wasn't sure.

I didn't sleep well. It seems like Amanda is getting sick and she is sleeping. Noah still isn't quite right, though he does seem better. Basically, it's just Lily and me today.

However, we did try something bold today. Enjoy.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Feeling Better

Noah seems to better this morning, though he's still not quite at 100%. I took Noah and Lily out shopping this morning while Amanda attended a training at church. He was still a bit whiny, but at least now he can manage the trace of a smile. He's also still a bit warm, but not like he was.

I'm glad to have my Christmas shopping done. The only problem with this is that I sometimes will pull a Clark Griswold. I think it was last year that I discovered a gift that I had bought Amanda two years earlier. Or maybe even three years earlier. It wasn't anything big, but it was silly nonetheless. It's hard to believe that this will be our fifth Christmas in North Carolina.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Journey to Bethlehem

Amanda has found that my class evenings go more smoothly when she takes the kids out. She took them to this show last night. A few funny things happened as a result of this.

One was that Amanda didn't really know where she was going. She thought it was one church, but it wasn't the one she thought it was (I'm afraid I'm rubbing off on her). She asked for directions and was able to find it. She recalled the story to me in front of Lily and Lily repeated what she heard, "There is a big curve daddy, but you don't go around that..." Amanda tells me that is almost verbatim what she heard from the guy she asked. Lily is a bit scary that way sometimes.

Another was that Lily made a lot of friends. She walked up to other little girls and said, "Hi. I'm Lily. What's your name?" We told her that is how you introduce yourself and it seems to be working.

Finally, Amanda tells me that she started asking Lily about the whole show when they got back to the car. She asked Lily what she thought of baby Jesus to which Lily replied, "Mommy, that wasn't baby Jesus!" Not much gets by her!

On a different note, today was a rough day because Noah has a fever. The poor little guy is burning up. He was very snuggly with mommy tonight and particularly whiny. We gave him some Tylenol, which will hopefully help him sleep. Tonight was going to be the first night of solid food, but we're postponing until he feels a little better.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Sitting Tall

Bill brought back the high chair today and Amanda put Noah in it. We're going to give him some cereal at dinner tomorrow night. We're really hoping that this will help with the reflux problem. The high chair may also help the dinnertime fussies because he likes to be in on the action. Of course, this is all very exciting for Lily as well.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Seventy Times Seven

Lily had an incident at dance class today. She was on the balance beam and fell off. She wanted to do the whole thing again and her teacher gave her permission to do so. One of her fellow students didn't really understand what was going on and accused Lily of cutting in line. This set Lily off into an inconsolable rage. She wouldn't even stop when the classmate came over to apologize.

Amanda and I have both had talks with her about forgiving her fellow student. She reneged with Amanda and made the decision that she didn't ever want to go back to dance class. I have since talked to her and she says that she is ready to go back.

This is a good chance for Lily to learn both how to forgive and how to control her temper a little bit. Lily does not respond well when someone speaks a cross word to her. She's going to have to get over this someday or she is going to be one miserable person.

Dinner didn't go so well tonight. At least Lily is pretty consistent!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Christmastime in Cary

Christmas has arrived at our home. Lily and I picked out a tree yesterday. I was leaning toward the 7 foot trees, but Lily picked out a gorgeous 7 1/2 foot tree. I did manage to get the angel on it, though I had to bend the top of the tree over a bit to get her on. There is probably a good inch or two between her head and the ceiling. It really is a beautiful tree and Amanda thinks it is our best out of the 9 trees we've done.

We also made sure to put some lights up outside. Lily has started taking notice of the neighbors and what they are doing. She started saying things like, "Everyone has put up lights except us," when in reality there are only a few houses on our street with lights. Most have very tasteful white lights, but I've recycled some old colored lights that we got way back in our California apartment in 1998. We don't have a Griswold-esque lighting spectacular or anything, but it does add a festive note to the house.

I think this is the first year that Lily is really aware of Christmas. She made up a song yesterday with the words "Christmas is tomorrow" in it. I showed her the calendar and explained where we were (December 1) and showed her how many days had to pass until we got to Christmas Day.

Amanda said that she had to wait until 7:00 to get up on Christmas. I think I got up at 6:00, but we had to wait for mom to get home from work to open gifts (she worked as a nurse 11-7). Since I'm the early-riser I'll have to decide what to do with Lily. The key is understanding that these decisions set precedents.

Noah continues to charm. He also continues to spit. We had some good chocolate cake at a great Peter Pan themed party yesterday. I think Noah had some reflux as a result, but that's OK. I'm about 99% sure that he will have some rice cereal before his 6 month birthday.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

An Unwelcome Guest

Lily has a pumpkin bucket full of candy that we keep in the cupboard. It basically gets filled twice a year -- at Halloween and Easter. If she eats a good meal she gets a treat out of her bucket. She got her bucket out after lunch yesterday, but we were surprised by how some of the candy looked. There was a Butterfinger bar that looked like small bites were taken out of each side, all the chocolate sucked off, and then put back in the wrapper. There was a Kit Kat with the sides nibbled off. This seemed strange, so we confronted Lily and asked her if she was getting into the treats when she wasn't supposed to. She vehemently denied the accusations.

As we looked further, we saw some of the little candy bars had just a tiny bit taken off the corner of the wrapper and a little bit of the chocolate got eaten. That's when we realized that Amanda's worst fear was coming true. We had a mouse.

Amanda is pretty tough when it comes to household pests. She is merciless when killing a bug or a spider. We have a snake that lives under our garage and sometimes suns itself in the yard or on the bushes next to the steps. The snake doesn't bother her one bit. However, rodents are a chink in her armor. She made it clear that I had to address this problem yesterday.

I took Lily and Noah to the local Lowe's in search for the perfect mousetrap. They were all out of the standard wood-and-spring "snappy" mousetraps that you see in Tom & Jerry cartoons. I figured a rat trap would be way too big for what had to be a pretty tiny mouse, so I had to look at the fancier traps. I ended up with one package of these. Just before bed I put a little peanut butter in each one and set them in the cupboard.

First thing this morning I checked to see if I had caught my quarry. Sure enough, there was a mouse stuck in one of them. It looked like he tried to run past it and it caught him in the middle. I gave the trap a little tap with one of the nearby BBQ utensils to make sure the mouse was dead. He didn't move, so I got out my leather gloves and grabbed the trap. His beady black eyes were all bugged out. Given where the trap was, he must have tried to scurry away from it, but he couldn't break free.

Unfortunately, when I tried to drop him in the outdoor trash can I also dropped the trap into the can. I admit to being a bit squeamish when it comes to these things. I feel like I protected my household adequately, but I still would rather not have to handle the little critter.

Friday, November 30, 2007

The Visit Up North

I'm working from home today and have a few minutes to write about our visit. Hopefully I'll hit the high points:

The drive was long, but uneventful. Lily got bored with "Mary Poppins" partway through, which was a surprise for us. She won't nap in the car, which seems bizarre to me. What better way to pass the time?

We had great weather for the trip until about Canton. I think we got to Mark & Jen's just before the weather hit up there because it didn't come down hard until Mark started cooking dinner on the grill. It was nice to find Akron at a balmy 60, but of course that didn't last. Lily and Mark had great fun with the umbrella and discussing how she would have to "go to the cave" for various infractions.

Lily really enjoyed playing with Uncle Mark's 2-AA cell MagLite and even had it in her room. This was important because she slept without a night light and the flashlight gave her a sense of confidence.

The weather was officially starting to turn. It was pouring when I was stretching, but by the time I went out to run it was a fairly pleasant 48. As I finished my run I walked maybe 30 yards past the house to cool off and was just sort of absent-mindedly looking at the house. I was a little surprised to see flashing in one window. I thought maybe Jen was up and watching TV, though that seemed strange to me. Then I realized that Lily was awake at 6:30 and playing with the flashlight.

We had a fantastic dinner and it was great to see Chris, Krissy, and the twins. By the end of the day the rain had turned into sleet which turned into a heavy, wet snow. The Westsiders had to deal with some of that on the trip home, but it went well.

We spent the day with Grandpa E and Grandma Judy. We hit some snow as we passed I-480, but it wasn't a bad trip. Lily got to see Grandpa E's alma mater and she also got to take a carriage ride at Legacy Village. We enjoyed yet another great meal and even got to take some pie home besides. My personal highlight may have been getting out of the car at Mark & Jen's house and seeing football highlights on a TV through a neighbor's window. I wasn't sure how it happened, but I did know that Arkansas players running with their helmets held high was a good thing for OSU's national title hopes.

The big event of this day was the Akron Christmas parade. Mark, Jen, Lily, and I bundled up and went out. Lily was nearly run over by a classic fire truck from Hudson as she tried to retrieve a poorly-thrown candy cane with her mittens on. If you look very closely you can see us in the bottom-right quadrant. Look for Mark's green jacket, my red hat, and Lily's pink hat and scarf.

We met Chris, Krissy, and the twins for dinner Saturday night. We shared a nice meal to end our visit.

We didn't really rush as we left the house and left at 9:00. The trip went pretty well, but we did run into some pretty heavy traffic in spots. Surprisingly, we didn't have much traffic in Wytheville, VA, but we did have a long wait for cheap gas. I'm starting to think that it's just not worth the wait to save a penny a gallon. We also had a slow ride home on I-40 because of a few fender-benders.

Overall, it was a great trip. We may have to come up in the summer so we can enjoy some of Cleveland's good stuff. Cleveland is not at its best in late November.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Quick Update

I hope to write a more detailed description of our trip up north tomorrow. However, in the meantime please enjoy a couple of photos we snapped with my PDA. Enjoy!

Here is a photo of Grandma Judy, Lily, and me in the carriage at Legacy Village on the day after Thanksgiving.

While it wasn't bone-chilling cold it was much colder than what we typically experience here in North Carolina. Amanda brought a cover for the infant seat. I just love seeing Noah peek out of it.

We had a really great time visiting everyone. It was a long drive home, but it was worth it. We may even make a trip up some time next summer just to come up for a little mini-vacation. I keep telling Amanda that she hasn't seen Cleveland at its best yet.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Always Scheming

We had a pretty slow Sunday here. Lily woke up 3 or 4 times last night and I was only able to go to her once. Amanda fielded the 10:30 and middle-of-the-night wakeups and I took care of the one at 11:30. It turns out that she was getting sick. In fact, she and Amanda stayed home this morning while I took Noah to church. He and I had to be bedecked in our scarlet & gray, after all.

Lily and Amanda spent a lot of time together, but I did play with her some this evening. I put her to bed this evening at around 7:30 so she could get a little extra sleep. We also gave her a tiny bit of NyQuil in hopes that she will stop coughing and sleep like a rock.

When I first put her down I suggested that if she keeps coughing she could use two pillows. I wasn't downstairs for 2 minutes before she was shouting and crying for me. She opened her door and announced that she needed another pillow, so we told her to get one out of Noah's room. She went back to bed, but I heard even more screaming and crying.

It turns out that she is afraid that there might be a bug. She asked what she could do if she saw one and I told her she could find me. Then she asked about a thunderstorm. Or maybe even a thunderstorm and a bug. Basically, she was looking for reasons that would get her a chance to sleep with us. It's hard not to laugh as I respond to her questions.

I'm pretty confident that this mild autumn night will produce no thunderstorms. It probably won't produce any "funderstorms" either.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

O-H !

We spent the day with Bill and Tiffany and watched the OSU-Michigan game. It turned out well if you are an OSU fan. We started off with some breakfast and finished the day with some nachos. Of course, we enjoyed some buckeye candy as well.

Lily and Brenna are getting really cute together. It's funny to see how Lily and Brenna mirror their respective mommies when it comes to getting in trouble. From what I understand, Amanda was always pretty much an in-your-face troublemaker. Tiffany was more subtle. Fast forward about 30 years and you see Lily being pretty obvious when she is doing something wrong, but Brenna is kind of sneaky. Either way, they had a lot of fun chasing each other around the house. I spent some time wrestling/tickling with them too. It's fun to carry around little kids when they all weigh less than 35 pounds.

On the other hand, I think I'm going to have a sore neck tomorrow. It's worth it though.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Four Year Photos

Lily had her four year-old photos taken today. We have a friend who is an excellent photographer and she took some good outdoor shots of Lily. We will post some samples once we have them. Amanda tells me that it took a while to get a smile out of Lily. I guess it's appropriate that she likes to pretend that she is a cat.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


What is it called when the air gets too cold to contain the amount of water vapor in it and the water turns into tiny droplets and falls to the ground? I remember this phenomenon from times past, but I haven't seen much of it here. I think it's called rain.

I've been vigilant about keeping an eye on the forecast every day hoping for some of this stuff. We haven't had much this past summer, but we have had a little relief in the past few weeks. We had a band of it coming in when I woke up this morning, so I rushed outside to fertilize. I'm not sure how even my distribution was since I was doing it at around 5:20 AM today, but the lawn was only slightly damp when I got the fertilizer down and it has since received a pretty good soaking. Let's hope that gets the grass through until the spring.

And here I always thought that maintaining a lawn was kind of boring. It turns out that it is full of adventure and quick decision-making. I wonder if there will ever be an agronomy video game?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Trippy Experience

Amanda takes a variety of paths when she exercises. Sometimes she walks with Noah at Bond Park. Sometimes she walks around here. Sometimes, if I am home, she goes jogging and leaves Noah with me.

Last week she was walking with Noah around North Cary Park and tripped. She caught herself as she was falling, but Noah was still a bit shaken by the experience. Today as she approached the same place he started crying, but then he stopped as she past it. In other words, our little 4 month-old remembered the spot where Amanda tripped, or so it seems.

He and his sister are veritable GPS systems.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Almost Daredevil

Lily is starting to get a bit more brave on her bike. The problem we have now is that she doesn't stop so well. She is reluctant to use the brakes, but I'm not sure why. She will just coast with the pedals and think that she's braking. This then causes a minor panic and she yells, "It's not working!" when I tell her to brake. We tried an experiment where I ran alongside her and then pushed down her right leg at the knee so she could feel the brake and the bike stopping.

We have a little hill on our street of which we are at the bottom. Lily had a wipeout yesterday as she approached our driveway. Amanda was there to snatch her up and we made her get back on her bike and start going around the cul-de-sac again. She said that she doesn't want to brake because she likes going fast. I think that's her mommy coming out in her. I guess she does have a bit of daredevil in her when she is comfortable with what she is doing.

At any rate, she is starting to look rather brave on her bike. It is something to see her with her frog-helmeted head down and pedaling for all she's worth. I hope that she doesn't get burned too badly with her head-down pedaling...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Little Angel

Amanda and I had a date tonight. We didn't do anything fancy, but we dropped Lily off at a friend's house and took Noah out to Biaggi's. We get coupons in the mail for Biaggi's and we hate to waste them. We enjoyed a wonderful lobster and crab dip appetizer and then split a meal. We finished up with some pumpkin cheesecake. We had a nice conversation as well. What made it really nice is that Noah was good through the whole meal and just happily sucked on his thumb.

We then walked over to Panera Bread and we split a pumpkin pie latte. I think I may have finally found something a little too sweet for my taste (the whipped cream and caramel on top may have done it), but we had a nice time there too. Noah finally got fussy after we were there for about 30 minutes. It's so nice when he is mellow. Amanda now plans to get him out of the house on one of my two class nights each week. He seems to do better around dinnertime if he isn't in the house.

Lily is becoming part of the neighborhood gang. There is a two year-old boy named Michael that she likes to boss around. She also has become pretty tight with Katie (age 4) and Sarah (age 5 or 6) just up the street. In fact, she spent a good hour at their house today and is invited by their parents to come back at anytime.

Yep, our little princess is growing up into a big girl. Just think -- this time next year she should be well-established in kindergarten!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Sour Puss

Lily and I ran some errands today. We went to Trader Joe's to replenish Amanda's supply of fish oil. Then we came home from lunch, but went back out to do more grocery shopping and to get the oil changed on the Camry before our trek up to Ohio.

Our grocery store trip entailed some walking because I also ordered more return address labels from the Staples at the other end of the plaza. At Lily's request we made a stop in the pet store as well. Then we hit Harris Teeter and Lily pushed around the "shopper in training" cart. It was a lot of walking on a cool, dry day.

Lily had complained about being thirsty and I figured we would hit a drinking fountain at Sam's Club. As she got into the car she noticed one of her sippy cups. She immediately grabbed it and started drinking. I commented on the fact that she was drinking old water, which is pretty gross once it has been in a hot car. Lily made a face and then started spitting up what she had drank.

Turns out the cup had milk in it from who knows how long ago. We went back into Harris Teeter and she rinsed her mouth out in the drinking fountain. Not a pleasant experience for Lily, but I had to laugh a little bit.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Life Comes at You Fast

We got a call from my dad today. It turns out that my stepmom had an accident with a stepladder yesterday. She fell off and dislocated her shoulder as well as breaking her tibia. Fortunately, the leg was only broken a little bit. Nevertheless, she is going to be immobilized for quite a while.

It's a good reminder that you never know what a day will bring. We'd appreciate your prayers.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Something New

We had quesadillas for dinner last night. We do this with any leftover chicken as a can of black beans turns this into a fairly hearty meal. We don't expect Lily to eat these with chicken, beans, and sometimes rice, but we are working on getting her to eat more of what we eat instead of nuggets all the time. I made her one with American cheese (door cheese). She turned her nose up at it.

Knowing how she operates, I gave it to her for breakfast this morning. She still wouldn't eat it. You see, she plans ahead to breakfast when she doesn't like dinner. She knows that she usually has a choice at breakfast, so she cuts her losses with missing a meal. This time we got her. She still wouldn't eat it, so we made it her snack for preschool. She finally ate some so she could get a special treat with the class. Fortunately, her teachers were in the know. As a reward she got a corn dog for dinner.

Another change is that she is sleeping in a nightgown tonight. She often complains about the mark that her panties leave by her waist. We figured that a nightgown might alleviate that problem. You should have heard her tonight! She was not happy about a change of night clothes. I insisted that she give it one night to try. She kept asking me about thunderstorms and about hearing noises in her room during the night. In other words, she was plotting her way into our room.

Got to watch this one, we do.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Family Day

We had quite the All-American family day today. We started off by going to church, which was good as usual. We then took a picnic to Lake Crabtree using Amanda's birthday present. She got a picnic basket complete with silverware, glasses, and plates; however, we have not used it yet. We packed some leftover subs from our party yesterday with our childbirth education class. The day was really gorgeous and we had a good time. Lily especially liked playing in the sand, but was mad when we told her that she had to leave after she kept kneeling down in the wet sand against our instructions.

After we got home we spent more time outside. Lily got to play with her friends from up the street. I even managed to coax her into riding her bike around the cul-de-sac. She is definitely a chip off the old block (me) when it comes to new physical things. Basically, she starts off as a coward. It took me a while, but I found the right buttons to push.

We finished the subs with dinner and then spent some time hanging out together as a family. Lily beat me in both Chutes & Ladders as well as Trouble. I guess it's good that she usually wins those games, but it would be nice if I sometimes caught a break with Trouble.

We're trying an experiment of putting Noah to bed a bit earlier. Our goal is to get him in bed around 9 so that we have calmer evenings. Actually, we'd like to get him in bed at 8 when Lily goes down, but he needs to show that he can sleep in a bit before we do that. We don't want him waking Amanda up at 5 or 6!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Some Fall Festival Photos

Here are some photos from the Fall Festival at Hope. There are a couple of bonus photos of Noah as well. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

First Fire

I apologize for the lack of updates over the weekend. We stayed really busy with some babysitting Friday night, a combined birthday party on Saturday, and the church's Fall Festival on Sunday. I actually went to bed a little after 8 on Sunday because I was starting to feel a bit sick. After a while I guess you just need to sleep.

We had our first fire of the season last night. Lily is really getting into it. She likes "building campfires" in the back yard. This means that she makes a pile of sticks. Now she gets to help do it for real in the fireplace. It's been getting down into the 30s at night, so it is starting to get a bit chilly. We still haven't turned the furnace on yet, but I suspect that day is coming.

Noah was really fussy yesterday. It seems like he is starting to go through a growth spurt. We'll keep you posted.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Tea Party!

Lily had a friend from preschool over for tea today. As usual, Amanda pulled out a lot of the stops. She baked bread in the heart and flower-shaped tubes. She made little sandwiches out of them with either strawberry jam and cream cheese or peanut butter and honey. They hung out for a couple of hours and then Amanda got things cleaned up. When I came up Lily was wearing her princess dress, so I know that she must have had some fun.

I'm not sure if I like our son being exposed to such things, but I hope he's too young for it to make too much of an impression. It's too bad the State Fair is done or I could take him to a tractor pull or demolition derby.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Four Months

Noah had his four month checkup today. Other than a yeasty diaper rash he is doing great. He weighs 15 pounds, which puts him right at the 50th percentile and his is 25 inches long, which puts him in the 70th. His head is still in the 10th percentile though.

Poor little guy got 4 shots and had to drink something for rotovirus. Not a fun day for Pookie, but he is doing well now.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Happiest Boy

Noah is truly a delight these days. Sure, he still has his fussy times. We can count on a few sustained blocks of crying, gurgling, and general fussiness. However, the good times really leave those in the dust. It seems like every time I lay him down and look at him he has a little smile for me. He's starting to even do little laughs.

He was really happy tonight. I was responding to a blog about the Indians debacle over the past 4 nights and I heard the telltale sounds of a poop coming out. I didn't think too much of it, but I did when I picked him up and found out that it went all up his onesie. I had to carry him in front of me with my hands under his shoulders. He didn't like that too well and he didn't like my efforts to get his onesie off without laying him down in poop.

However, once I got him undressed and started to wipe him up he just became the happiest little guy. He lay there all naked, clean, and kicking. I got him ready for bed and he just kept on smiling. Amanda tells me that he didn't have a poop yesterday. I guess I'd be pretty happy if I were him too.

Lily's actually getting a bit better at listening when we tell her what to do. We still have to deal with some attitude, but I don't remember the last time we had to do a timeout in the basement. She seems to be learning that we're serious when we threaten. Consistency, consistency, consistency...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Pullen Park

We had a picnic at Pullen Park yesterday. For those of you who aren't familiar with Raleigh, this park is one of the best government resources around for spending a nice day with family. We took a picnic and enjoyed it by the small lake. We took a paddle boat ride, though I'm still looking for a paddle boat with an adjustable seat so I can extend my legs all the way. Lily tried to act as our helmsman, but we found that she seemed to prefer being the captain.

I took Lily on the carousel, which was good except that when I was trying to go back to sleep this morning after being paged I could hear the music from the restored Wurlitzer organ. Unfortunately, they did not have the train operating.

All in all, it was a really fun day. We ended our day with some BBQd bratwurst out in the gazebo topped off with some of my homemade pumpkin ice cream. Noah was wonderful all day. Life is good.

Friday, October 19, 2007

A Fair Time

I took Lily to the State Fair this morning. The gates opened at 9, but the rides and games didn't start until 10. I figured it was important to get there early because the crowds would be thinner and it was not supposed to rain as much this morning. Unfortunately, it was drizzling off and on as we got there. I decided to eschew the umbrella because I thought we'd make it. Oops.

Once we got in we quickly found the barn for the FFA (Future Farmers of America). Lily enjoyed looking at the various animals, but seemed particularly fascinated by the crowing roosters. It was nice to go through before it got crowded.

I was then on the hunt for more livestock. We walked through the midway to get to the petting zoo. There were all kinds of interesting animals there. A llama came over to me looking for some food. They had porcupines in a pen in the middle of the barn (not for petting) as well as kangaroos. I don't think I had ever seen a yak before today. Lily wasn't interested in petting, which was just fine with me. We set off for the next livestock exhibit.

As I walked through the midway I heard the carnies talking about the day. I kept thinking of Austin Powers' one fear in life. I can't say that I felt real great around these folks either. Lily was blissfully ignorant.

We got to the main exhibition building and none too soon because the skies opened up. We went in to check out the animals. Lily got to see a cow getting milked by a machine. It really speaks to our suburbanity to say that I used Mommy's breast pump as a frame of reference for Lily. We got to see a cow leave some patties on the floor. I explained to Lily that you never want to walk behind a cow for two reasons:

  • Poop
  • You might get kicked
I shouldn't have told her that. We couldn't navigate through the exhibit hall because she was terrified of getting kicked even when we were well behind the cows. She was even worried of being kicked by cows that were laying down. It was also tough because Lily kept one hand pinching her nose to block out the smell. It seems that she doesn't like the smell of poopy straw. Even though I grew up in the 'burbs I associate it with visits to my grandparents' house in Hamilton where my dad grew up, so I kind of like it. Lily was not sold on, "it's not that bad". I don't think Lily is going to be a FFA.

It was still raining, so we found the main exhibition hall. We saw a pumpkin that weighs over 1100 pounds and I found out how they do it (genetic engineering and constant drip watering with fertilizer). We saw prize cucumbers and some bizarre looking veggies. I saw a sweet potato as big as my head. We spent some time chatting with the beekeepers and sampled some fresh honey. We learned that there is a woman who gets bees mailed to her weekly so they can sting her as the poison helps with arthritis. Lily wanted to go out into the rain more than being around the stinky animals (there were also animals in another part of the huge building).

I eventually relented, but fortunately the rain did too. We looked at some of the rides, but I could only sell her on the carousel. Maybe next year.

Lily and I had split an ear of corn at around 10:30 and then Lily had her first corn dog. She was tentative at first, but once she got going she wouldn't stop. Later on I had perhaps the best Italian sausage sandwich I've ever had in my life. We got a freshly-made cup of butter pecan ice cream for the way out and we also visited the grist mill reproduction and enjoyed a free hushpuppy (I had one bite and Lily ate the rest). On the way out I decided to pass on the free smokeless tobacco samples, despite the very attractive young lady they had trying to draw people in. As we walked by her I decided to instead look at Lily and ask her if she enjoyed the fair. I didn't get asked if I wanted to come into the tent.

It turns out that Lily did enjoy the fair. I got my hand stamped so I can go back later today, but I don't think that will happen no matter how much I want to try the fried oreos. I think I've had enough fair for a year, and hopefully Lily will be able to enjoy it even more next year. And hopefully she will grow another 2 inches so she can ride more rides if she is so-inclined.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Note from the Teacher

Amanda got this from Ms. Sandy, who is one of Lily's preschool teachers:

Amanda and Jason,
Just a note to let you know that Lily is really a great kid. We were playing color and shape Bingo in our room today. For some reason she had four or five spaces covered before anyone else at her table. Needless to say they were feeling not so good. However, Lily cheered them on. She started cheering every time they had one on their card. We very seldom ever get to witness such compassion from a four year old. She had such a great time and was laughing and playing the game with such enthusiasm.
You should be very proud of her and it speaks highly of you as parents. God Bless both of you, Ms Sandy

I'm not sure what we did to engender this behavior in her, but I'm glad for it!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Evening Games

It turns out that it was good to have my Greek midterm tonight (it went well, BTW). It wasn't a very long test and I got out of class at around 7:00. That got me home at around 7:20, so I could do Lily's bedtime routine. The latest evening game here is hide and seek and we take turns hiding upstairs. She's getting better at it and almost never giggles when I'm getting close now. A year ago she would always come running out of hiding. Her seeking skills are also improving.

She prefers playing this game with her new walkie-talkies. According to her, when we play that the game is called "Walkie-talkie Hospital Ambulance". I'm not sure what that's all about.

On a side note, summer doesn't seem to want to quite let go. We have nice days with highs in the high 70s, but it isn't getting very cool in the evenings. We have the house open, but it's not particularly comfortable in here. If we can hold out to Saturday night we'll be OK.

Monday, October 15, 2007

It Doesn't Get Much Cuter

Amanda and Lily are upstairs napping. I'm working from home. Amanda dropped off Noah as he doesn't always sleep during this time of the day, but I can handle the crying.

I love the way he has his hands together in this one.

There really is very little to report these days. Things are going well. We're very blessed.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Roller Derby

Lily got some very cute roller skates for her birthday from her Aunt Nat and Uncle Eric. She likes to put them on and walk around the rug we have in the living room. Since the weather is so gorgeous today Amanda thought it would be fun if we went out skating together on a local greenway trail. Frankly, I was pretty skeptical about Lily on the skates, but I thought we should get out, so off we went.

We started off with Lily on a basketball court. She was excited to get her skates on, but once she stood up the fun ended. I tried holding her hands and gently leading her, but she wouldn't have it. We also tried it on the nearby double tennis and volleyball court, but she wouldn't have that either. Amanda got in a few minutes on her skates and I tooled around the courts for a few minutes to get my feet under me.

We ended up taking a mile walk on the greenway. Listening to Lily you'd think that we did a forced march through the snow. She kept complaining about how thirsty she was and how tired her legs got. Amanda decided to carry Lily on her shoulders for the last half-mile, which is reminiscent of this (look at about 1:40 in the video).

Now everyone is napping and I should be preparing for my Greek midterm on Wednesday.

Friday, October 12, 2007

More Planned Chaos

We're watching our niece Brenna today. OK, Amanda is actually watching her and I'm just around periodically. Nothing helps me stay downstairs and work like having an extra child in the house. Today they went to the park for a couple of hours. Lily pushed Brenna in the stroller as long as the path was not uphill. However, Amanda had to carry Noah in the Baby Bjorn. They were gone for about 2 hours and it sounds like it was a LOT of work.

We had lunch and then Amanda made tea for them. Not really chaotic so much as messy. There were plenty of sugary milky puddles to mop up when this tea party was done.

Everyone is napping now. I slept in this morning as I desperately needed to catch up. I suspect that the house will get moving again around 3:30 or 4:00, which will give Amanda another hour of chaos before we feed Lily and head over to the NC State Fair for the MercyMe concert.

I'm a little concerned about the overwhelming nature of the Fair. Tonight is the first night and it may be a little crazy. Plus, we need to walk completely across it to get from parking to the arena. It's going to be yet another level of chaos. I'm looking forward to eating some fried delicacies, though.

Tomorrow is a picnic and chapel service for my seminary. It's been nice to have the week off school. I haven't worked quite as furiously this week, which has been nice with mom's visit and the baseball playoffs going on.

In case anyone is wondering, Noah continues to do well. He is smiling and almost laughing now. He has a generally sweet disposition and we're very thankful for that!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Breaker, breaker

Lily got some walkie-talkies for her birthday from Grandma Judy. She had wanted them for a while and we're having fun with them. One thing we've done is play hide-and-seek, but each person has one. We played outside the other night and I hid behind the house, which is somewhere Lily would never look. I was able to give her hints to find me.

Lily's hide-and-seek skills have improved considerably in the past year. I've even got her to hide in a room without turning the lights on. The problem is that I'm running out of good places to hide in the house. Our yard isn't very good either. However, I need to remember that kids like repetition, so even if I hide under her bed a dozen times she probably won't get tired of it.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


I actually mowed the lawn today. I was a bit thrown off by how it looked. I'm used to a bunch of stiff bermuda grass with the occasional tuft of fescue. However, as a new lawn I have a fairly dense group of blades that lean over when mower wheels go over them. It kind of looked like what happens when you run your finger over a really soft plush toy.

I am told that mowing promotes horizontal growth. I sure hope so!

Friday, October 5, 2007

A Big Whoops

I had class yesterday during the Indians game, but did manage to get in the car before the pivotal fifth inning. Fortunately, you can get 1100 on the radio here once the sun goes down. Once I got home I got the Gameday Audio feed going as quickly as possible. I was too late to hear the Victor Martinez HR, but did get to hear the other damage the Indians did.

Amanda had quesadillas for dinner, and the salsa didn't agree with Noah. He was fussy and spitting up a lot, so of course I grabbed him to take him downstairs. I came up for a glass of water and decided to use my Indians mug instead of one of the A's mugs I have. As I was filling it at the tap on the fridge Noah started to spit up. I don't know what I was thinking, but I dropped the class to catch his spitup.

To make matter worse, I tried to catch the falling mug with my foot. So in the end I had a smashed big toe on my right foot which hurt so much I couldn't sleep well last night, a broken mug, and Noah with spitup on him anyway. The good news is that the Indians kept piling on runs.

I'm really not looking forward to limping around all weekend.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

A Big Weekend

We've got a lot going on this weekend. Grandma Judy arrives tomorrow and will be staying until Monday. The Indians are playing the Yankees in the ALDS, and we're going to want to catch those games. Hopefully the Indians will take care of business in 3 games, but stuff happens. Lily has a birthday party to attend on Saturday morning. Of course, there will be church on Sunday as well. Mix in a few activities with Grandma Judy and we've got ourselves a busy weekend!

The good news is that I have a week off from classes. It feels good to be able to catch my breath a little bit.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Getting Braver

Lily had a watershed moment yesterday. We were out grocery shopping yesterday evening and she announced that she had to go potty. I asked her if she could hold it because of the bathroom situation. Lily has always been afraid of public toilets. She doesn't like how the seat is split in the middle and she doesn't like how loudly they flush. Don't get me started on port-a-potties.

She decided that she could hold it. I quickly got our last two items and then went to the self checkout. Lily likes to help and Food Lion has carts with one low basket, so she was helping unload that. The problem was that she was squatting while she did that. Suddenly she exclaimed that she really had to go potty and I smelled something foul. Something crept out a little bit. I asked her if she could make it back home or if she could go on the potty there. She decided to go for it there at the store.

It wasn't the worst grocery store bathroom I've seen, but it wasn't the nicest either. I put Noah down in his bucket on the floor of the handicapped stall and held Lily on the potty. She bravely sat on the edge and let out a very long poo. She took care of business and we were done.

This was a big moment for Lily. Hopefully we're getting past the bathroom phobias. Of course, desperate times call for desperate measures. Keep in mind that this is the girl who held her bladder from about 11 AM until about 7 PM the day we went to the air show.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


Lily woke up in kind of a funk yesterday. We were afraid that she was getting sick because she was just acting strangely. I guess this is one of those things where parental instincts kick in and we know when something is amiss. She was also yawning quite a bit, which is unusual for her.

Amanda wanted to have a nap yesterday afternoon, which meant that Lily had to nap. Lily refused to go down for her nap and ended up getting spanked three times for leaving her room. In fact, Amanda had to lock the bedroom door so Lily wouldn't come in. Not good. One of her consequences was an early bedtime.

Through it all we ended up with the best of both worlds. Lily ended up having a very good and much-needed nap, plus I put her to bed around 7:00. She has gone to bed at around 8:00 lately, so this was a good thing for us. What's amazing is that she didn't fight it and she stayed in her room until 7:00 this morning.

Today seems to be going much better. However, Tuesdays are tough for Amanda with dropping Lily off at preschool, getting over to Hope for her small group, getting back to preschool to get Lily, eating lunch, then getting Lily to ballet class. Everyone is ready for a good nap on Tuesdays!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Back in the Groove

It's good to have Amanda home. Lily made it to preschool today and is talking about colors. Amanda and Noah enjoyed a walk in Bond Park and then Amanda did her Bible study lesson for tomorrow. I'm still stuck working from home every day. It is nice in many ways, but kind of a distraction in others.

It's good to have life as usual back.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

On the Lake

Way back in the spring we had the idea that it would be fun to go out on Lake Crabtree. Amanda wanted me to take the sailing lessons for the sunfish sailboats, but I haven't taken the time for it. My idea was to go out on a rowboat. Besides, I figured it would give me some exercise and the weather today is what I would call perfect (mid to high 70s, blue skies, breezy).

I talked it up, packed a picnic, and took Lily to Lake Crabtree. My idea was that we would eat our lunch out on the lake, but it was a little too windy for that and the boat rocked a fair amount when I wasn't rowing. Nevertheless, we had a good time. It did of course start out a little rocky as Lily was pretty terrified of the motion in the boat as we left. I just ignored her and kept going. I think that she eventually resigned herself to her fate and eventually started to enjoy it.

I don't think it would be possible to capsize one of these rowboats. You could lose your balance and fall out of it, but I don't think that you could capsize one if you wanted to. I got some exercise in and we both had a good time. Overall, I'd say that it was $5 well-spent. Now I look forward to taking the rest of the family out on it. Maybe we can talk Grandma Judy into it next weekend?

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Friday Night Lights

I took Lily to her first football game last night. We saw the Cary High Imps take on the Athens Drive Jaguars. I haven't looked up the final score, but Athens Drive was just dominating the game when we left. They converted several 3rd and longs on their first drive then Cary scored on their first drive. Cary recovered a surprised onside kick, but went 3 and out. We left about halfway through the second quarter and I believe Athens Drive was up 14-6 and driving.

Lily enjoyed eating her hotdog. She liked looking at the cheerleaders, though the Cary cheerleaders were kind of boring. I was surprised that the band didn't have a pregame show. Frankly, the Cary football team didn't seem particularly jazzed about the game. From what we could see across the field, the Athens Drive cheerleaders were more gymnastic as they practically had floor routines going on. I write about the cheerleaders because Lily was VERY interested in them.

We left because Lily was getting tired, though she didn't think so. She was paying attention to everything but the game. That was OK, but when she stepped on my toe I had enough of it. It was time to go. She ended up getting to bed just before 9, but fortunately she slept in for almost a whole hour too.

What dawned on me at the game was that most of those kids had not been born when I last attended a high school football game. I think I must have gone to at least one game in my senior year (1990). I also noticed that much of Cary has bad knees as it seemed like a lot of people had trouble climbing the bleachers.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Star Wars

Lily and I used to play a lot of Lego Star Wars II. For those who don't know, this is a video game that is a terrific blend of the LEGO Star Wars pieces and the stories from the movies. Amanda and I discussed it and came to the conclusion that this was not the best way we could spend our time together. Lily loves it and I enjoy playing it, but it really is not the best use of the time. We gave it up about a month ago.

However, we gave it up with the promise that we would watch the movies the weekend Amanda is gone for her retreat. This is the weekend. I took off work today and Lily and I have been hanging out since Amanda left at around 11:30. We did watch Star Wars. At first, Lily was terrified. However, she quickly got used to seeing Darth Vader and all the other stuff in the movie. She had set up the fear of Darth Vader in her mind, but as I explained a while back, she could handle it now that she is four.

We had a great time watching it. At the end she was cheering Luke on to outrun Darth Vader and his two wingmen. She was very happy when Luke "won the race" as she put it. Then we played some Lego Star Wars II.

She is now playing Blues Clues on Amanda's laptop. It's a good game that helps learn reading. I have to write my short papers for my Old Testament class, which is why I'm blogging.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Our Funky Baby

Amanda has given Noah the nickname "Pookie". Like all good nicknames, this one just sort of sprang out of nothing and it has stuck. Sometimes she will call him "Pook". In a tribute to the Cohen brothers, I've called him, "El Pookerino in case you're not into the whole brevity thing". (Note: There is some profanity in the quotes for that movie. Actually, tons)

Knowing this nickname explains today's story. Lily was pretty revved up around Noah's naptime. As Amanda changed a diaper Lily was running back and forth from our bedroom to Noah's. All the while she was saying, "Won't you take me to...Pookietown?"

She is definitely our child.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Celebrating Discipline

Lily had her 4 year checkup yesterday. The doctor wondered about Lily's eating habits. Amanda had to tell her that Lily really only gets excited about chicken nuggets and peanut butter sandwiches. This morning I made the mistake of asking Lily what she wanted when I had already decided to make her eggs. After some wrangling I got her to agree to eat eggs.

I made her eggs and Amanda even shared some of her bagel egg sandwich. Lily ate about 1/3 of her eggs and then quit. I tried bringing in the big guns by threatening to take away many of her new birthday gifts for a week, including her new favorite video. Lily ended up helping me gather the "high shoes" to take out to the garage.

I'm not sure what to do with her. I don't think that "the beatings will continue until morale improves" tactic will work here. She is a tough nut to crack. What's annoying is that we're going to have to buy her an intermediate car seat. Noah is going to outgrow the infant seat soon and Lily still needs to gain 8 pounds to get into a booster seat with no harness. Lily may not be able to sit in the front seat of a car when she goes to prom at this rate.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Off the Concrete

Perhaps I am finally starting to show a little bit of green thumb tendencies. I have told several people that my dad could get grass to grow on concrete. It turns out that I've done roughly the same thing. I've got grass growing in the thin layer of dead bermuda and topsoil that is on my steps.

I tore some of this out and put it on one of the bare patches to see if it will take root. I'm not counting on it. I have noticed that I'm getting a few shoots coming out of the bare patches. I think that is where I buried seeds a bit deeper than in the other areas. At any rate, it's coming along nicely!

A Couple of Lily Photos

I took one of these at Chick Fil-A as Lily was enjoying an ice cream cone. She is normally not wild about ice cream because it is "too cold". However, she liked the idea of getting an ice cream cone. I bought a small, but this is what we ended up with. We ended up splitting it three ways.

The other was taken at Sam's Club. I took it as evidence that she liked another type of cheese besides "door cheese" (American). We were at Cary Town Center one time and she refused to get on the carousel until I showed her a photo that proved she once rode it and enjoyed it. I decided to take this photo as future proof that she likes provolone cheese too.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Noah at Rest

This is what happens after 30 minutes of screaming. The problem is that he settles down about 15-20 minutes before it's time for me to go to bed. However, I'll take what I can get.

Lily's Gifts

Lily finally got to try her bike this evening. She was a little tentative at first and found that you've got to work at it to pedal up our little hill. She didn't want to ride back down the hill, but once Amanda and Noah came out to watch she got a little more courage. Here is a pic of her at the top of our cul-de-sac.

Uncle Eric and Aunt Nat are getting her some pink adjustable roller skates, but they haven't arrived yet. That should be very interesting since Lily is, frankly, a coward when it comes to pain. She is definitely a girly-girl. We've been working on "brushing it off", and it seems to help a little bit. I've already explained to her that she is bound to fall at some point while bike riding.

It will be interesting to see if I can still use my roller blades. I don't think I've put them on since we got married, so that's been over 9 years. Still, it will be fun if we can skate as a family.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Day 3

Lily's princess ballerina tea party went well today. She is really soaking in all the attention from all these parties, but I think she was a good hostess today. Her friend Nicole (Niki) stayed longer than everyone else, which was good since she is Lily's best friend. The are very cute together and really enjoy each other's company. Poor Niki was in tears when it was time to go. I guess that's a sign of a good party!

At the end of the day I watered the front lawn. Lily sat down on the top step of the porch and we watched the sprinkler for a few minutes. It definitely brought back happy memories of sitting on the top step in Medina with my dad. It's a nice way to spend the end of an evening.

Noah had a mega-sleep today. I took him to Beef O'Brady's with Grandpa Jack and Uncle Bill so we could escape the estrogen flowing through our house today. We watched some football and ate some wings. It was a good time, but Noah insisted on being held the whole time. He slept when he was held, and then fell asleep on the ride home (he is his father's son). He slept for a long time while Amanda led the cleanup efforts and then just kept on sleeping. Basically, he slept through a meal. Let's hope that he sleeps tonight!

Friday, September 21, 2007

More Signs of Life

This surprised me today. I was glad for it though!

The Feast of Lily

As most of you know, I'm taking seminary classes. This semester I'm taking Old Testament I, which is a survey of Genesis - Job. We just discussed Exodus this past week, which means that I kind of have the Torah on my mind. If you've ever read it you will know that there are several chapters that explain how the feast of the Passover is to be conducted. It's a week-long process with some meticulous guidelines.

I think we're doing something like that with Lily's birthday. She officially turns 4 today, but the celebration goes way beyond today. Amanda brought in donuts for her preschool class yesterday because she doesn't have school today. We woke her up this morning with 4 candles in a leftover donut and sang Happy Birthday to her. Then we ate donuts as a family. Later today we're going to Chick Fil-A.

Tomorrow she is having a ballerina tea party. Amanda is stressed about some of the preparations and I don't know when I'll get the cake ready, but I know it will all come together in the end. Hopefully the weather will hold.

Sunday we are having family over for burgers and dogs. She will get even more attention lavished upon her and more presents. This is weekend is truly all about Lily. I'll get some pictures posted soon.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Sign of Life

Today is day 7 of my lawn renovation project. I am seeing a sign of life in my yard, but I don't think it's the kind of life that I want to have. Last time I checked, tall fescue is a monocot rather than a dicot. I remember this happened in California too. I just hope that the fescue does come up and eventually choke these little buggers out.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A First

Amanda has a brutal day on Tuesdays. She has to get Lily to preschool by 9:15 (but no earlier than 9:10), get over to church to lead a Bible study, get back to the preschool by 12:15, eat lunch with Lily, and then get Lily to dance class by 1:15. Monday was not the easiest day and we had been very sleepy for various reasons over the weekend (i.e. thunderstorms one night brought Lily into bed with us). That night as we went to bed I prayed for a good night of sleep.

I got up around 5:30 and had my normal workout. I didn't remember hearing Amanda feed Noah, but that could have just been because I was sleepy too. He got up around 7:00. Turns out that he slept from about 10:30 PM to 7:00 AM.

In case you're wondering, he hasn't repeated that. He was up around 5:00 today. The good news is that he slept until 8:30 after that feeding. Life is so much better for all of us when Noah sleeps well.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

First Aid

We had some excitement yesterday. I was working from home and heard everyone come back from some time at the park. I heard Lily screaming, which is nothing new. I came upstairs expecting to have to take her downstairs for a timeout. Turns out that she closed the car door on her left thumb. Amanda said that it was wedged in there pretty good and she actually had to open the door to get it out.

It was a little purple and a layer of skin tore off. I got some ice in a paper towel and sat on the kitchen floor with her to administer a little first aid. After a few minutes of ice she was fine. She says it feels fine today too.

It's sad that my first instinct is that the screaming means that she is being disobedient, but that's what the track record shows. I guess, as they say, past performance is no guarantee of future results...check your prospectus carefully.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Bad Boilers

It seems that a little stomach bug is making its way around the house. Last night Lily didn't eat much for dinner and we quickly determined that she had a mild fever (around 100). Today Amanda has a terrible stomachache that started just after lunch and my tummy doesn't feel great either, though not as bad as what Amanda reports. So far Noah seems unaffected. Got to love those antibodies in the breast milk!

Last night was not such a great night. Noah wouldn't go down very well, so that kept us up until around 10:30. We actually did have some storms yesterday, which brought some nasty wind and rain. Though there wasn't thunder, the combination of wind, rain, and fever woke Lily up and she was screaming. We let her come into bed with us at 1:30, but no one really slept until after the storm abated and she went back into her own room at 2:30. Then my alarm went off at 5:00 so I could get my run in before going to church for the men's conference. I actually got out of bed at 5:30 as Noah was making noise. I brought him in to Amanda and came downstairs to do my morning routine (prayer, bible, stretching, checking the articles on the Indians). I heard Noah screaming on the baby monitor, so my run kept getting delayed by trying to soothe him.

I did ultimately get out after persuading Lily that she shouldn't leave her room until eight-zero-zero, though according to Amanda she still freaked out at seven-zero-zero. I got back around 7:40 and found Amanda lying in bed awake (since 5:30), Noah dozing, and Lily ready to get up.

We're supposed to babysit for friends tonight, but it might just be me going over there. No matter what, it's been kind of a rough day.

The good news is that the weather is gorgeous outside and I've found my pattern for watering the lawn.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Pray for Rain

I seeded the new lawn today. This process started when guilt and shame overtook me while my dad was visiting. My lawn had a preponderance of crabgrass. It also had a pretty nasty mixture of dirt, clumps of fescue, and some pretty healthy bermuda in the places not shaded by the pear tree. This was kind of a shame to my heritage considering that if my dad lived in Cary he would have the only green lawn on the street while everyone else's suffered the effects of our prolonged drought.

It felt good to work the land a little bit today. I put down some starter fertilizer, used the garden weasel to work it in, spread some seed, weaseled that in a little bit, then put down a little extra seed just for good measure. That last bit may have been a waste, but I just wanted to be sure...

I had planned to do this tomorrow, but we're supposed to get some rain today. I figured it would be good to get natural water on it rather than the sprinkler. Plus, it's been a crazy week at work, so I used about 90 minutes this morning to get this done. Amanda was walking with Noah during some of this time, so I had Lily outside with me.

As I was weaseling the yard Lily announced, "I'm getting tired watching you." Funny, but she wasn't the one with beads of sweat on the end of her nose.

I'll post more photos as we start to have actual seedlings.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Searching for Bobby Fischer

As readers of this blog know, Lily and I play games together. This is good because Amanda doesn't really care for playing games. I grew up as an only child and have always wanted a consistent partner for board games. I'm starting to get one.

A few months ago I bought a checkers set. I was looking for the traditional Pressman brand set, but I couldn't find one for checkers. Lily had played checkers at a friend's house and insisted that our checkers be red and black (Lily can be very particular). I found one that was red and black and it also came with stuff for Bingo and for chess.

Lily was very intrigued by the chess pieces. I put off talking to her about it because I know how complicated it is to learn. However, Sunday night she asked me to teach her how to play chess. We've played the past two evenings.

She is starting to get the hang of how the pieces move, which is good. She is still confused by the knights and the pawns, but I think that is pretty normal. Hopefully she will really learn how to play one of these days. I'm not expecting much for a while. I think that she is probably a year or two too young for this right now, but I'll encourage it as much as I can.

Her favorite thing is to play little games with the captured pieces. I think she enjoys that more than the actual game.

Drying Out

Our water woes are behind us! Through the magic of the internet we found a great plumber. He ended up charging around $300 to come out and fix the problem. He had to chip away some concrete and run a new pipe through the wall. What I didn't expect was that he put a lot of the dirt back in the hole. That was an unexpected, although welcome, bonus.

It turns out that our main supply line is what is known as "blue poly", which is the stuff that had the class-action lawsuit against it. In other words, it's a matter of time before we end up having to replace the main supply line. I'm not in any rush to do that though.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

All Wet

I wrote about this in my other blog, but I think that this bears mention in the one that everyone actually reads. For the past couple of weeks I've noticed a hissing sound near the water pipe in the basement. I turned off the main shut-off in the basement, but I could still hear the hissing. I turned off the water at the meter by the street and the hissing went away. I called our general contractor and spoke to some coworkers who are knowledgeable about home improvement. We all came to the same conclusion -- trouble.

I started digging yesterday afternoon. I hit paydirt in the form of some serious Carolina mud. I could see the general source of the water, but I couldn't pinpoint it. I figured that I would have to do more digging today, but it turns out that I only had to spend another half hour or so on it. I found the source of the leak. It is really spraying out from inside the wall. I had hoped that we just had some PVC coming from the water meter and that I could just repair the break, though I dreaded how much I'd have to dig out to accomplish that.

So the good news is that I don't have to dig anymore. The bad news is that we need a professional to fix this. I have someone coming out on Monday. In the meantime, we're sort of camping out. We keep the water turned off except when we really need it. For those who are wondering, we save $90 by waiting until Monday to get this fixed. Personally, I don't think running out to the street to turn the water on and off is that big of a deal. I suppose if it went on for more than a few days it would be though...

Friday, September 7, 2007

A Big Sleep

We had a happy surprise last night. Noah slept from around 10:00 PM to 5:00 AM! What's more is that he wasn't really even fussing at 5:00.

I don't think that this is going to be the norm, but Amanda was very glad for it last night. He didn't get up again until around 8:00.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

First Day

Today is the beginning of Lily's academic career. We were a little afraid that she would have a fit when we left the school, but she was all smiles. She gave both of us big hugs, kisses, and wished us good days. I felt a tad choked up, but Amanda was all smiles too. Amanda isn't one to get too emotional over things like this anyway, and on top of it I think she feels a certain sense of freedom. She is pretty excited to have her mornings free. One nice thing is that one of Cary's premier parks is just across the street from Lily's preschool, so Amanda plans on walking with Noah. She did it today with the Baby Bjorn. It was hot, but it was a good walk.

We originally forgot that today was also dance class day for Lily. She learned how to Releve today. Apparently she totally crashed when it was naptime today. These are all good things.

Monday, September 3, 2007

A Quiet Labor Day

After this busy weekend we had a nice day of just relaxing. Lily and I went shopping for some non-chocolate treats for Amanda at Fresh Market. We did OK, but nothing great. The BBQ we were going to fell through because one of our hosts was sick. I ended up doing brats on the grill instead. It felt just like a Sunday except we didn't go to church in the morning.

Right now I'm working on reviewing my Greek vocabulary and Noah is trying to relax in the bouncy seat. He likes it on vibrate. The problem is that we loaned it to some friends and they lost the cover for the battery compartment. The battery doesn't sit in it firmly, so it makes an awful vibrating sound. Still, I'll take vibrating over crying!

Tomorrow is the first day of preschool. I look forward to writing a report of that...

Sunday, September 2, 2007

A Very Full Weekend

We're having one of those weekends where we just don't seem to slow down much. Yesterday I finally got around to hanging the wallpaper border in Noah's room. I also got the crib parts down from the attic and put that together. Noah is now sleeping in a room that resembles a nursery, except for the queen-sized bed that is in it. At least it has a border, a crib, and matching curtains. I don't think he cares much, but we're glad for it. It's nice not to have that hanging over our heads anymore.

Today has been a solid party day. We went to church this morning and then met at Carrabba's for Natalie's birthday lunch. We went over to Nat & Eric's apartment for the party, had some dessert, hung out, and then came home so Amanda and Lily could nap. Noah and I went to Sam's Club to get some much-needed supplies and then I did some homework when we got home. I woke up Amanda and Lily so that we could go to a BBQ hosted by one of my coworkers. We had a good time there and Lily was really into chasing their dog around. We got back home, I gave Lily a bath, and now I'm in the man-cave with Noah while Amanda has some quiet reading time.

Tomorrow should be a bit more low-key. One of my coworkers is coming by for us to go jogging and then the rest of the day is free until we go to another BBQ at another friends' house. It's been great to stay busy with good stuff. However, I do feel like we need to take it more easy tomorrow afternoon. I have homework to do besides.

Friday, August 31, 2007

A Great Night

We got to bed at our normal time of around 10:00 PM last night. I had the alarm set for 5:15 so that I would have time to work out before I had to start my day of working from home. I woke up around 4:30 or 4:45 to the sound of Noah eating next to me. It turns out that he slept from about 10 to 4 last night. Amanda fed him, put him back down, and then he slept until about 7:30. Overall, I think Amanda got over 8 hours of sleep! Of course, it was still interrupted, but she feels pretty good this morning. I think that it was a much-needed rest.

Meanwhile, Lily seemed to wake up on the wrong side of the bed. She ended up getting a timeout in the basement because of her attitude. In fact, she got so hysterical that she ended up spitting up at the top of the basement stairs. I made her clean it up though. Hopefully she will learn that there are wrong ways to address mommy and daddy.

To paraphrase Darth Vader, "The Force is strong with this one".

Thursday, August 30, 2007


Amanda verified that chocolate is a factor in Noah's GER. She had a little bit last night despite her chocolate fast and he spit up a lot more today. The thought of a chocolateless existence is a bleak one for Amanda. It's been a rough day. For better or worse she has to take the kids to Lily's open house tonight. I would go, but I have class tonight. I am looking forward to going for Lily's first day on Tuesday though.

If you can please do pray for Amanda. We know it will get better, but it's hard to see that sometimes when things are so dark. I plan to work from home tomorrow, which might help except that they are having guests in the morning. Amanda is hoping that she can nap while Lily is at daycare since Noah tends to take good naps then.

We're working on it, but always appreciate prayers.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Feeling Thrifty

Amanda is looking for teacups for Lily's upcoming ballerina tea party. She figured that she could get some cheap at the various thrift stores in the area. She went to one today and came up dry. However, she did find two dresses and a jumper for Lily. They were only $2.50 each and Lily was very excited to get them.

When Lily and I were saying prayers tonight I asked her what she was thankful for. We talked about the dresses. I explained to her that some little girls don't have any dresses. She thought about it for a minute and asked, "They only have shorts?" In other words, to Lily there are only dresses and shorts/T-shirt combinations. I explained to her that some girls don't have any clothes (I was thinking some of Africa, for example) and she said, "Then you can see their panties?"

It's just not conceivable to Lily that anyone could be completely impoverished. I guess it's tough for me to conceive either. I've never really wanted for anything in my life. Lily hasn't either. I'm glad that we're providing for her, but I do think that we might want to do a family mission trip at some point so that we can get a dose of what reality is to some people.