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.