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.