Monday, September 29, 2008

Spirit Sprint

I am amazed at how many fundraisers we have already had for Lily's school. Not that 2 is a lot, but it seems like a lot in a month. First there was the blind photo purchase that counted as a fundraiser. We had to buy the photos before we got to see the proofs. However, we did buy a small package since it was supposedly a fundraiser.

Now Lily is embarking on the Spirit Sprint (or Spirit Spread as she calls it). This is where she just asks for money from people. So far she has raised over $100 in pledges from family. Grandpa E asked a great question when he wondered if they were going to get candy bars or something. I had to explain that this is just a donation to the school.

The "sprint" part comes when they have sort of a field day for the school and everyone gets to run around the track in matching T-shirts. Unfortunately, Lily won't be there for that because we are making an unexpected trip to Pennsylvania for a funeral. Amanda's maternal grandmother passed away yesterday, so it looks like we're driving up Tuesday and returning Thursday. The blog probably won't get updated much this week.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Volatile Combo

We had Brenna for a sleepover Friday night. It gave Bill and Tiffany a chance to get out for an evening. Plus, we've certainly taken advantage of their hospitality with Lily several times.

Overall, it went pretty well. Amanda spent the evening at a friend's house, so it was pretty much the girls and me for the night. I didn't expect them to go right to sleep, but they ended up staying up much later than I had hoped. I don't think they were both asleep until 10:00. And, true to form, Lily was up at 7-zero-zero even though they were sleeping in Noah's very dark room.

There were two particularly notable incidents. The first came when Lily decided that she had to get up to go potty. Brenna declared "I have to go potty too," which was obviously just her joining Lily. She ended up not going potty, of course.

The other was when Lily took Brenna's blanket. I took her into our room to get the story. She was worried that she would get spanked, but I just talked to her. Turns out that she was trying to help Brenna go without a blanket. In other words, she took it to help Brenna mature a bit faster. I don't think Lily would have responded much better had the roles been reversed 2 years ago, given how Lily was with her blanket.

Lily was pretty grouchy Saturday morning, but we got through it. She figures that today will be a better day because we're going to church. Little does she know that I am taking her on a car ride up to Wake Forest so I can turn in some library books...

Friday, September 26, 2008

Surprising Deference

If you've read much of this blog you know that we sometimes have problems with Lily's attitude. Amanda is trying a new system where Lily earns a heart for every day that she is consistently respectful. Once she gets 10 she will get a special treat like a meal at Chick Fil-A or maybe a milkshake. If nothing else, these hearts have helped us to show her when she is starting to go down the wrong road so we can nip some of the outbursts in the bud.

We're having some rainy weather here, which is good for a number of reasons (we're getting out of the 2007 drought and I put down grass seed Wednesday). Lily got a new umbrella for her birthday with the Disney princesses and the handle looks like an unopened rose. She used it yesterday and was taking it to the bus stop today. Fortunately, it wasn't raining.

I offered to hang on to it for her so she wouldn't take it to school and potentially lose it. I told her that I would have it for her when I picked her up at the bus stop later today. She explained that she had it at school yesterday. We talked about it a little bit more and she said, "whatever you think is best, daddy."

That was a combination of very cute and very encouraging. Maybe she is starting to understand that we do know a few things. Either way, I let her hang on to it. Hopefully it will come home with her.

Early Release

Yesterday was Lily's first early release day from school. The bus got in around 12:45, which made for a potentially long afternoon for Amanda. Fortunately Lily behaved well. They had some hot cocoa and shortbread as a snack when she got home and they played Disney princess bingo. I could hear Amanda calling the game when I spoke to her on the phone. It's strange to hear "I-Belle", but that's how the game works.

I explained to Lily that she had some great-grandparents who would have loved to play bingo with her. I don't know if any of the churches around here have bingo like they did up in Cleveland when I was little. I'm sure that Lily would be a shark though. After all, it's in here genes.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Noah's Song

Amanda and I both independently sang the chorus of this song to Noah yesterday. We're working on it...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Plugging Along

We survived the birthday weekend. The party went very well on Saturday and everyone had a great time. We had some technical problems with the camera, so please be patient for pictures. We also had a good time with a very informal family BBQ on Sunday.

Amanda and Noah are at church for Amanda's small group. I'm working from home.

Not a lot to report, but I did want to make sure that I kept the heartbeat of the blog going.

School is going well, but keeping me busy.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Today is the day of Lily's big ballet party. In fact, she and Amanda are waist-deep in it now. Amanda planned only one major activity that required preparation and that wasn't too bad. It gave us a reason to get out the hot glue gun (thanks Cija!). The mouse ear headbands look great.

Noah is finishing up his nap upstairs. I took this chance to take a nap and do some homework. It's so great to have a quiet house. In fact, I should probably get a bit of work done on my paper for this semester. It's nice to get ahead a little bit for a change.

I told Amanda that once Noah woke up we would have to do some guy things. We're going to watch football, smoke cigars, pass gas, etc. We have to offset the princess ballet party somehow. Actually, we've watered the tomato plants (Noah tried to bite into a roma that was on the end table) and we've read some books. It's so nice that he can entertain himself for the most part.

I'll post some pics once we have them. I'm very happy with how the cake turned out.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

New Vocabulary

Lily has started calling us "weirdo" sometimes. I guess if this is the worst thing she picks up in kindergarten we'll be OK. I know that it won't be though.

Amanda and I had a good discussion at lunch today about the merits of homeschooling and private Christian school. We agreed that Lily would not do well in a homeschooling environment. We're also pretty sure that the only real benefit of private Christian school would be better academics and potentially fewer questionable things taught to the class. We are not naive enough to think that all peer-related problems go away because these little "angels" are being raised in Christian homes.

Lily still flashes a lot of 'tude at times. I think our job is helping her to harness that.

Noah can kind of take a few steps now. He's still pretty tentative and plops down on his bottom all-too readily, but he can take a few steps. It also seems like he is about ready to talk, but he's in no rush for that either. We will definitely post some video once he starts walking.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Lily Art

Lily drew this in church on Sunday. Lily has many gifts but art has not been one of them. Many kids her age (or even younger) color much better than she does. She also has shown almost no inclination to improve in her coloring. That is why we were extremely impressed with this piece that she brought home from church.

In case you're wondering about the red near the bottom of her dress, she had a little stumble in the parking lot on the way to church. That little bit of red is her boo-boo, even though her boo-boo never bled and barely scraped the skin.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Coming Down

It's been a very tough week here. Amanda had a terrible virus that laid her out for Tuesday and Wednesday. It wasn't exactly my finest hour in juggling family with work and school, but we have survived and I am hopefully a bit wiser for it. Amanda's grandma is in town and Amanda is visiting with her at the McKenzie's house. (thanks again Tiff!)

I went to the open house for Lily's school yesterday and got to meet her teacher and her teacher's assistant. Ms Snoots (her teacher) seems like an excellent kindergarten teacher. I see why she needs an assistant with all the stuff they keep track of. They send home a weekly report of how the kids do with keeping their "promises" (classroom rules). They have to keep track of attendance and mark absences as either excused or unexcused. They have a way of keeping track of lunch money. They send a folder home with the kids each day and have to keep track of that stuff too. Not to mention they are always herding a class full of kindergartners! Learning about their recordkeeping reminded me of my summer of keeping score for

It's finally sinking in that Lily is in school and it's for real now. She can't just miss a day without an excuse anymore. Amanda has to notify the school next week when she takes Lily to the dentist. Taking Lily on a non-educational vacation will be considered an unexcused absence. It's kind of like work now!

One thing that struck me at the open house is that Lily is in a very diverse environment. One of the first things they had the kids do was a "self-portrait" where they selected a circle of paper, glued on yarn for their hair, and colored in their features. These are up on the wall. Most of the faces were a shade of brown rather than cream. This is in pretty stark contrast to how it was for me in elementary school. Hopefully she will just see people as people regardless of the color of their skin. Given that her best friend at school is black, I think we're off to a good start with this.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Tough Morning

It's been a rough 12 hours here. I got home from class around 8:45 last night and was so tired that I went to bed almost immediately. I rarely do that, but I felt like I needed some extra sleep. I ended up being very restless because I had a jumble of Hebrew consonants and vowels going through my head. It was very strange, but pretty normal considering I just had Hebrew class.

I am on call this week and got paged at 3:00 AM for a legitimate problem. I got back to bed around 3:30, but it was hard to go back to sleep. I got up around 5:45 and just barely made it to my small group meeting this morning.

Meanwhile, Lily was up at 6:00 to go to the bathroom and Noah woke up at 6:30. Lily came into the bedroom with Amanda and Noah shortly thereafter, but was very difficult for Amanda. I should also mention that Amanda was congested and didn't sleep much last night either. Right now Amanda and Noah are napping and I'm working from home.

I hope things go better this evening. I need to be somewhat conscious for class tonight.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Weathering Hannah

Tropical Storm Hannah came and went yesterday. All we got was some rain and a little wind. I dragged my research assistant Lily to the library yesterday while I tried to get a jump on a paper I need to do. We just went to my local seminary library, but we still spent a couple of hours there as I tracked down what sources I could. Lily watched a DVD. That was fine once she realized that I couldn't stop to look at the DVD every 30 seconds.

Hurricane season is giving Lily a chance to get more mileage out of her ladybug raincoat and boots. Thanks Aunt Claudia!

I got to spend the afternoon with her yesterday. We played some Atari and she actually beat me in a game of Combat. I wasn't trying to let her win either. We then went on to 2 out of 3, but I managed to come back. Lily still doesn't do so well when she is losing. Hopefully more chess will help with that. It's good to strongly dislike losing, but she also needs to learn how to deal with it.

Noah is on the verge of walking. He stands on his own for a few seconds at a time now.

Friday, September 5, 2008

First Step

Noah took an unaided step yesterday. He's not motoring around the house yet, but he did manage to take a step to Amanda. We're not ready to check this off as a develomental benchmark yet, but he is getting closer.

We've noticed that he tends to be about a month behind things. I hope that eventually he catches up from being a preemie. I suppose that once we get these big milestones out of the way like walking and talking others will get a bit easier. He seems bright enough, so it's just a matter of time, we think.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


"You should always have a handsome boy."
- Lily, remarking on photos of her male cousins and herself at Chris and Sarah's wedding.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

First Day Stories

Unfortunately, there aren't many. We do know that Lily needs to have a smaller lunch packed for her because she doesn't get much time to eat. Anyone who has ever broken bread with Lily knows that she doesn't exactly wolf down food (except maybe crackers with herb goat cheese). Amanda is adjusting the meal accordingly.

Lily has a classmate that rides the same bus, so she has a kind of friend now. The good news is that the friend is at the first stop and Lily is at the second. They won't have much time alone on the bus as a general rule. She did ride by herself yesterday morning though.

I will share more stories if we actually get any out of her.

Meanwhile, Noah is doing well.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

First Real Day

Here are a few photos as well as a short video. Enjoy!

Monday, September 1, 2008


Sleeping upstairs in our house you will find one almost toddler and one almost kindergartner. It's hard to believe that today was Lily's last day as a preschooler. I think she's ready for kindergarten.

Noah had a very rough evening last night. He didn't really get to sleep until about 9:30. We think it was a combination of the trip and maybe a tooth coming in. He did a lot of chewing on his finger. He now has 6 full teeth, with 4 on top in the front and 2 on the bottom in the front. Of course, infant's Motrin seems to be a great cure-all.

We'll post some wedding and first day of school photos and videos soon.