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!