Sunday, August 31, 2008

Back from the Wedding

We got back from Pennsylvania today. It was a whirlwind trip with an 8 1/2 hour ride going there on Friday (thanks to D.C. and Baltimore traffic) and a 6 1/2 hour ride home today. Amanda took over just south of D.C. and kind of got into a zone. We didn't change until we stopped for gas in Raleigh. My fuel calculations worked almost perfectly as we had only a little more than a gallon of gas left when we stopped. No wasted time with us!

It was great for Amanda to see a lot of family and for a lot of family to see Lily and Noah. Seriously, Amanda and I both enjoyed hanging out with her family. I almost have all of her first cousins straight now. Amanda and I discussed it and we can't imagine how the wedding could have been any better. The wedding party all looked great, particularly the bride. She is very pretty, but has the good sense to realize that just because one can wear a dress doesn't mean one should wear a certain dress. In other words, she looked tastefully beautiful. The food was excellent. The music for dancing was good too. The wedding was outside and the weather brought us back to our wedding a little bit, though it wasn't quite as buggy or hot. It was equally muggy.

Lily was an outstanding flower girl. She had a basket of petals to spread and took the job very seriously. She was a bit conservative with them for the ceremony, but she made up for it later by giving everyone she saw a petal. I didn't see much of the ceremony because I was out with Noah as he crawled around. Lily did a good job of standing through the ceremony, though Amanda did notice Lily do some nose picking at one poin. It was a little scary for her before the wedding because I had to leave her and go back for Amanada and Noah. The Maid of Honor befriended Lily and they had a good time. The bride said that Lily helped to break the tension just before the ceremony because she kept asking how much longer they had to wait. She was good comic relief.

Noah was a little rough for some of the ride home. He wouldn't eat much lunch, but he did have a good dinner to make up for it. Lily actually did eat well and was very well-behaved. She started watching videos and wouldn't stop. We love the portable DVD player!

Overall, it was a good trip, but it is always nice to be home too. As expected, this weekend's B&B getaway wasn't quite as relaxing as last week's. It's nice to be back at a place where we don't have to worry about where Noah is going. There was a lot of room for mischief at the B&B.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Little Pill

Yesterday was an extremely difficult day. Amanda reckons that Lily disobeyed more than she obeyed. We're not quite sure what is going on with her, but perhaps it has to do with coming down after the first day of kindergarten. Either way, we're hoping that today is a better one.

What's incredible is her ability to forget. When we prayed last night I asked her what she had to tell God she was sorry for. She said that she couldn't remember. I asked her to think hard about it and then she remembered. "Sorry, God, for disobeying Mommy."

We're off to Pennsylvania on Friday for a wedding. Lily is going to be a flower girl on Saturday. The other time she was a flower girl she wasn't quite 3. I hope that she does better this time. We plan on letting her go solo. Last time she had a very serious look while Amanda held her hand going down the aisle.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

First Day

Lily's first day was pretty uneventful once she got to kindergarten. We tried to send her on the bus, but it turns out that the bus comes earlier than published. We thought we heard it just as we left our front door and it seems that we were right. We waited in the slow drizzle for about 10 minutes and then I took her in the Civic on my way to work.

I found the carpool lane for the school dropoff, though I was afraid of being told "you're doing it wrong"(a la Jack Butler). That didn't happen right away, but I was shooed away by a teacher when I tried to take some video of Lily going into the school. I won't bother posting one second of Lily walking away, though I will post some when we get her actually boarding the bus.

When I gave her the nap mat to carry I explained that she would have to carry it. She replied with a sigh, "Oh, okay."

Amanda said that it was difficult to get many details from Lily about the first day. Here is what we know:

  • She mistook the goldfish in her lunch for her snack, so she never got to the healthy snack.
  • She didn't really nap at naptime, but did lay there quietly while listening to quiet music
  • She made friends with an older girl on the bus
  • She found her stop on the way home just fine
  • Amanda was nearly late for the bus home because it too was a tad earlier than expected
I think we're past the first-day jitters now and next Tuesday will go just fine. I wonder where the Sorting Hat put her?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Bedtime Blues

Amanda and her sister's are training for a 5k this October. As part of this they get together on Sundays at a local park and train. This left me home with the kids last night, but that didn't scare me too much. It's always nice to have a quiet house.

The problem was that Lily seemed to have a mild fever as a leftover from when she was sick over the weekend. We want to make sure she is ready for kindergarten tomorrow, so we figured she should go to bed early. She and I played chess in her bed until it was time for Amanda to leave. Her room is too dangerous for Noah, so I told her that she had to go to sleep while I gave Noah a bath.

Lily decided that she was scared from a movie that she watched over the weekend. Of course, this movie never scared Brenna, but Lily gets scared for unknown reasons (we also realize this is an offshoot from limiting her exposure to TV and movies). She came out while I was bathing Noah and was explaining why she was so scared. We talked about how God is always with her. We went over the meaning of Psalm 23. This was tough because it was tough to sort through how much this was a stall tactic, how much she was really scared, and how much her being sick played into all of this. By this time it was 6:45, so I told her that she had to try until 7:00 to sleep.

She started screaming and crying almost from the moment I closed the door, but she stayed in bed. I got Noah all ready for bed and just as I was about to put him down she came out and declared that she had "throwed up." She had it down her camisole too. Fortunately, she really just dry-heaved because it was mostly clear with a little bit of cookie from dinner in it. I was pretty upset with her because I think that she basically made that happen, though being sick was likely a factor. Still, there were no spankings.

We got her and her carpet cleaned up and then I put her down again. I tried to help her think of some good things to replace the scary movie. I kissed her, closed her door, and went to our room to unpack my bag from the trip.

I had just started to put my shoes away when I heard her yell "Dad!" I came in there expecting the worst, but then she declared, "Dad, I'm OK now. It worked. I'm not thinking about the scary anymore."

So through it all that was a nice way to end. It's nice to see some immediate parenting payoff, especially with Lily.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

3 Generations

This is a particularly good photo of the three generations of Chamberlain men. Amanda noted that we all have some red on. I told her that it is a preview for when we attend Noah's graduation from Ohio State in 2028 and we all have on OSU gear for that.


Yesterday was much less strenuous on the legs. We had to go up to Tennessee to find water, but it was worth the trip. The Watauga river is controlled with a dam. Apparently Saturdays are good for rafting because they release a bit more water to make a bit more electricity. We had a total of 55 people on the school bus that took us to the site where we started. Most of those people were from various church youth groups.

Fortunately, there were 3 other grown-ups who sought us out as partners. We had a raft with only 5 people and our guide. Tim was a great guide for us. He was laid-back and a lot of fun. The river was mostly very tame except for the 30 yards or so where everyone on the raft got wet. That gave us a lot of time to get to know the people we were riding with. It was worth the 90 minute drive in each direction.

We had our nice anniversary meal last night as well. Amanda had a rack of lamb and I had meat loaf. We enjoyed the dessert, but it wasn't as good as some others we've had. Nevertheless, it was very good.

We find ourselves in little hurry to get home, though we do miss the kids. Going back to reality is part of every vacation. Otherwise I guess it wouldn't be vacation.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Forced March

Amanda and I have this habit of getting ourselves into long walks when we are on vacation. Back in California we camped for a night in Mendocino and ended up taking a long hike in our sandals. We didn't mean to, but we just kept going. The problem was that our feet were so tender afterwards that we couldn't walk on them for the rest of the evening. That made camping tough.

We had something similar happen in Rome, though at least I had decent shoes on for that. I have no idea how much we walked, but it wasn't a trivial distance by the time we were done.

We did it again yesterday. Our B&B gave us one of those tourist maps that has sort of a cartoonish look to it. We made the mistake of thinking that it had any kind of scale. As a result we ended up walking between 7 and 8 miles in our sandals. The difference between this and Rome is that Asheville is full of hills. It's not like we just had to go down one hill and we were there. We were up and down a bunch of times.

The good news is that we had a nice tea at the farthest point of the walk. We made it back to the B&B, enjoyed a glass of wine and some time on the hammock as well as the porch swing, and then put on our running shoes to walk back out for dinner. That made things a lot easier.

We're going rafting today. The original plan was for the French Broad river, but it is mostly dry now with the drought in this area. Instead it looks like we are going to the Volunteer state to ride on the Watauga River.

So far this has been a great trip. Thanks again Bill & Tiff!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Ten Years!

Amanda and I celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary today. It's funny how time goes because as I look back I can remember some things like it was yesterday and other things seem very far away. I can say that each year gets better and better the farther away I get from my use of pornography.

We're on our way to Asheville today to spend a couple of nights at a Bed & Breakfast. It will be very nice to get away without the kids (thanks Bill & Tiff!)

Since I won't have any idea what is going on with the kids for the next few days this blog may be quiet. I know that I'm going to make a point of not bringing up the kids any more than is necessary. It seems like life gets so wrapped up in the kids sometimes that it is easy to stop working on our connection.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Jumpin' Bean

Lily had a big day yesterday. She played with a friend in the morning and had a birthday party at Jumpin' Beans in the afternoon. I stopped by the birthday party so I could bring Noah home. I'm pretty impressed with the setup at Jumpin' Beans. It's a nice way to let kids play in a pretty safe environment. They even have a camera set up so that you can watch what is going on inside the big inflatable play area.

She did not wake up with one of her nightmares yesterday. Amanda figures that she was too tired to even do that. Maybe she will sleep in this morning. That's about as likely as me receiving a big check in the mail from some anonymous source...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Chessmaster - part 2

Lily seems to know how all the pieces work now. She is starting to understand the ideas of capturing, attacking, protecting, and check. Can you tell I'm excited about this?

Noah had a rough evening last night. He woke up crying twice between 8:00 and 9:30. I gave him some Motrin which seemed to help. He's going to have a whole grill soon as his 2 front teeth are coming in.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Lily has developed a pattern of shouting out around 9:00 PM every night with what seems to be a nightmare. The weird thing is that she isn't really awake when we go in there to comfort her. She will do strange things like get out of bed and put her stuffed dogs someplace random. She will almost never speak when you try to ask her what is wrong. She usually pops back up when you try to lay her back down too.

Amanda attributes this to Lily seeing too many scary images in Star Wars and some of the games we've played. I think she may have a point there. I think chess is ultimately a better idea, especially since she is starting to like it. I got her an inexpensive set for her birthday with pink and blue pieces. That should be right up her alley!

Amanda has also noted that I do things like this too, though I don't shout. I have been known to sit up in bed and carry on a nonsensical "conversation." My roommate in college said I did the same thing. It's fun to see some of your traits expressed in your children, but maybe not this one.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Sweet Little Boy

Noah is definitely that, isn't he? However, the dad in me flinches just a bit every time I hear that. Instead, I want him to hear more lines like this one.

Definitely one of the all-time great inspirational lines in the Rocky movies.

Kindergarten Kickoff

We went to the Wake County kindergarten kickoff yesterday. We got there right at 4:00, which is when it was supposed to start. I was surprised to find a line that reminded me of when Amanda and I went to see the Vatican. This line didn't wrap around the borders of a country, but it did go around the block. Fortunately, like that line this one moved pretty quickly.

It was a pretty neat experience for both of us, though it was a tad overwhelming for Lily. They had a live band playing some children's favorites. It was held at Marbles Kids Museum (nee Exploris), so there were lots of fun things for her to do. I'm very proud of the photo below. They have a giant chess set with a king that is probably 2 feet high. Of course, most of the kids just randomly threw pieces around, but now Lily nows how they all work. I had Lily take the starting square of the white queen. Fitting, no?

The highlights were that Lily got to go through the lunchline. I had her take her own tray, etc. I hope she will be OK opening the little cartons of milk as she may have trouble with that (I know I do). She ate her oversized nuggets, ate a few bites of mashed "potatoes," and ate a green bean under coersion. I think the whole thing really hit home with me when I watched her take her tray to the trash. She is turning into a big girl. This is good, but it's tough to watch sometimes.

She also got to board a real school bus (I don't remember air conditioning in ours) and she now has a library card. Plus, the various sponsors conspired to give out backpacks with school supplies in them. Not a ton of supplies, but it was enough to get someone going. It was worth going just for the backpack and the school supplies. She also got a t-shirt, but that may not fit her until 4th grade.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The New Do

Here are a few photos of Noah with his hair trimmed. The first is the standard little boy bowl look and the other two are with the side part.

Got to love those chubby little cheeks, don't you?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Changes for Noah

Noah is going through some transition now, so I thought I'd let everyone share the fun.

One is that his other front tooth is coming in. It's subtle, but it's poking through. I'm sure it doesn't feel real great.

We're working on getting rid of the morning nap. This is a tad inconvenient right now because it means that he eats lunch a bit early so he can go down. Today he was done eating lunch at 11:30 and he went down shortly thereafter. The first day Amanda tried to remove the morning nap he actually fell asleep in his high chair! He is waking up now (around 2:30), so that was a pretty good nap. Hopefully he will fall asleep more readily when he goes to bed at 7:00.

Amanda trimmed his bangs and the sides today. He looks a bit less flopsy and more like a little boy. She still left the curls in the back though. If we part his hair to the right he is unmistakably my son!

Amanda and Lily are at a ballet birthday party right now. It's been very quiet for about an hour and a half. I've never seen a Precious Moments doll of a 34 year-old man napping on a couch, but these moments are definitely precious to me!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Household Moments

I called Amanda from work yesterday morning just to see how things were going. She was in the bath and called me back a bit later on. She called from the bedroom and had all the kids contained within the bedroom and bathroom areas. As we were talking I could hear Lily screaming. Then Amanda said something that you really only hear when you call a house with a 1 year-old in it:

Lily, could you please investigate what your brother is doing? Is he playing in the toilet?

Turns out that he was. He loves splashing in water and doesn't really care where the water comes from. As he starts walking we are going to have our hands full.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Almost Fangless

One of Noah's front two teeth is coming through. It hasn't quite made it down to the level of the fangs, but it is getting there. He wasn't in a real good mood yesterday evening and we think that may be part of the reason why.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

One-Handed Pook

We think Noah is getting close to walking on his own. He likes using the walker he has, though he sometimes has trouble keeping up with it. He will take a few steps but then it gets too far away and he ends up on a knee. However, he does seem to be getting better at it.

He pulls himself up on anything he can find -- couch, table, leg, toilet, etc. As he tries to interact with things he will sometimes hold on with only one hand. He also has had a few freestanding moments where he hasn't been holding on to anything. It probably won't be too long before we post a video of him taking a few tentative steps on his own.

The tricky thing with Noah is that he is very tall and has that baby reach where he can somehow stretch and get things that we think are safe.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Chessmaster

Lily has been going through the Chessmaster introductory lessons. She is starting to understand how the pieces move, though she is having some trouble with the knight. That's OK since everyone has trouble with the knight at first.

We had tried this before, but she wasn't ready yet. It's going much better this time. The key is not to do it just before bed because she has trouble concentrating. I'm hoping that we can stay on this and she will be able to play before she turns 5. We'll see.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Now We're Cooking

Yesterday was the once-a-month cooking day for Amanda and Tiffany. That meant that I got to spend a lot of quality time with our kids. I took them over to the McKenzie's so that Noah could get a nap in. Unfortunately, Lily and Brenna never quite clicked yesterday. The climax came when Lily bit Brenna over some rules violation in a game of Memory. Things had to escalate to get to that point, but it was bad no matter what.

It seemed clear that staying was not going to work out, so I took them for an errand at Crossroads, brought Noah home to nap, and then took Lily back out. We stopped at the game store as well as the free zoo. After a quick stop at Borders we went to church. I had to do nursery registration for the second service, so Amanda took the kids to Chick-fil-A. I got home a little after 7:00.

It was a long day, but it's nice to have a ton of food in the freezer. We may not have to do any serious cooking until October, which is nice. It was a hard day for all of us, I think. However, you don't get something for nothing.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Newfound Respect

I have often told coworkers that Amanda has a much more difficult job than I do. This becomes intensified when you throw a 3 year-old niece into the mix. We had a good day today though. There were some small communications barriers with Brenna, but we overcame them. Walking with her in the mall reminds me of trying to get her dad to the first pitch of a ballgame on time (though we never missed one in '93).

Lily was a bigger problem at the mall. She insisted that she had to go potty and couldn't wait until we got home. Then when she saw the automatic flusher on the toilets she refused to go, despite threats, spankings, and the eventual removal of her stuffed animals from bed tonight. To top it all off she didn't go when we got home until bedtime tonight.

Overall, it was a great day. It was good for Amanda to get away a little bit as a happy belated birthday present. I couldn't have asked for better weather in mid-August (it only got to the high 80s and wasn't super-humid).

On a side note, I feel great and was able to mow the lawn today. I think I'm going to hold off on running a bit longer though.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Feeling Better

Noah is back to his old self today. As predicted, he ate a lot of breakfast. He ate a half a bagel and some fruit. That is more than Lily typically eats at breakfast.

Tomorrow is a big day as Amanda and her sisters are going to hang out while I get the kids and Brenna. I plan to distract them with some grocery shopping and a trip to the Streets at Southpoint. Hopefully a combination of that and videos will give me some peace. It should be interesting.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Little Tummyache

You know Noah isn't right when he won't eat. He was very fussy this morning and we figured it was teething. Noah did manage to get down a little toast and some applesauce, but not much else. Lily had an early morning playdate at the park (8:00 AM) and Noah threw up twice at the park. He also threw up once at home too.

He did manage to eat some yogurt and some applesauce at dinner. He was just whiny and not right all day. It turned into kind of a long one for Amanda. That happens sometimes, but that doesn't make it any easier.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Very Quiet

We're enjoying some sultry August weather here in the Raleigh area. It's perfect weather for Amanda and the kids to visit with Lily's friend Nicki for a pool party. I've enjoyed a very quiet day working from home.

My healing appears to be going well. I haven't had to take any Motrin today, which is nice. I am getting anxious to mow the lawn, but I'm going to hold off on that for a few days. I do hope to do some hunting and gathering later at Sam's Club.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

More Star Wars

Lily has now seen all three of the prequels. We had to fast-forward through the very end where Anakin turns into a Post Toastie because it is pretty grisly and scary. The cool thing was that we paused Episode III in several places so we could talk about what was happening. As she gets older I think we'll watch all of the movies again so that we can talk about the choices that were made.

I am feeling better. I'm not ready to go running yet, but I am feeling better. I hope to be able to take a walk for exercise on Friday. That will be a full week after the surgery. I'm tired of feeling all lethargic from not exercising.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Little Walker

So nothing is safe around Noah now. We are getting to the point where we have to remove things from the tables or else he will do it for us. He isn't opening drawers yet, but we do have the locks on them anyway. He also likes to climb stairs now so we had to put up the gate.

By the way, I'm feeling good. I'm not going to go jogging for a while, but I don't feel too bad at all. I'm taking it very easy today and tomorrow.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Family Planning

Today was my day for some minor surgery. I won't get into the gory details, but suffice it to say that we are 99.99% sure that we won't have any more children.

I'm feeling pretty good. Lots of ice and not much moving. I'm about to take a couple of percocets and hit the hay...