Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Pics

Here are a few photos for your enjoyment. There is also a very menacing video at the end. Enjoy!

First, you get the cutest Sith Lord in the galaxy.

Don't mess with the princess

"Father" and daughter

You must be strong in the Force to hold your lightsaber that way.

This is pretty much like Vader's entrance onto Leia's ship, don't you think?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tea Party

Lily finally got her tea party with Jada yesterday. It was an interesting window into their relationship. Jada is a very quiet and very sweet girl. Lily bossed her around quite a bit. In fact, Amanda had to stop her several times because of the way she behaved. We're going to talk to Lily's teachers to see if it's like that at school too.

Overall, I think it's a good thing to see stuff like this. We can try to nip it in the bud now before it gets to be too much of a problem later on. We certainly have seen it before. Her sort of bossy attitude is not necessarily such a bad thing as long as it is channeled properly. That's probably going to be Lily's lifelong challenge.

No real news about Noah other than a slightly annoying habit he is developing. He's started waking up screaming at 3:30 AM. Amanda goes in, picks him up, and he is fine. This may be one of those things where he is training us and we have to let him go.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Big Day

All Hallows Eve is fast approaching and we need to complete costume for Lily. She wants to go as Princess Leia and Amanda is getting close on the costume. She has a wig that she can put into the cinnamon roll buns. The trick is coming up with some kind of white outfit. Amanda has been combing the thrift stores for a white men's turtleneck, but has come up empty so far. We hate to buy something new for this, but it may come to that.

One thing is certain -- we're not sending her out in a gold bikini.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Running Weekend

This is a big weekend for the Chamberlain family legs. I ran my first 5k yesterday and did much better than I expected (24:01). Amanda and her sisters are running in this one today. The highlight for me may be our dinner plans afterward as an extended family.

Amanda and her sisters have a pretty good outfit planned for the race. I'll post pics when I have some available.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Pajama Party

Lily has a pajama party at church today. I guess they're going to wear pajamas, bring sleeping bags, and hang out from 6:00 to 8:00 this evening. They also will eat pizza.

I am going to hang out at the church and try to get some homework done. I find that I look at every situation now through the lens of whether or not it will facilitate the completion of homework. This is one that certainly will.

On a fitness note, Amanda took Noah for a bike ride today. He really enjoyed it, but Amanda needs to get the hang of the gears on a ten-speed. I'm running in my first 5k tomorrow and Amanda has hers with her sisters on Sunday. Fortunately, the weather should be OK for the races.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The First Fall

I had written that there wasn't much to report about Noah. I did forget something that happened this weekend. We don't put the baby gate up as often anymore. He is fine going up the stairs and he has a system he uses to scoot down them as well. That system failed him one time though and he took a tumble.

What's amazing is that he cried for less than a minute when it happened. He's a tough little cookie.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Where's Noah?

Noah wandered into the bathroom cabinet yesterday. Amanda managed to get a few action shots. Enjoy!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Mina Meals

Amanda and I are participating in what our church has called the "5-Day Meal Challenge." It's kind of an exciting thing to try as it helps to give us some perspective on how a good bit of the world lives.

Give it a try and see what you think. And for further perspective, try plugging your salary into this calculator. Be sure to change the units to dollars instead of the default pounds.

Sorry I don't have anything more fun to report. Lily and Noah had pretty good days. Lily called me at work and, despite putting me on hold once and hanging up on me once, we had a nice little chat. Noah was kind of fussy this weekend, but was better today.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Enduring Saturday

Yesterday was not the best day here. Fortunately, the children behaved well. However, I was feverish all day. Amanda went to the McKenzies to do their periodic freezer cooking. I took the kids to buy some green coffee beans in the morning since we were running low and as we were killing time at Sam Ash I got paged. I had to get back home and take care of some business before I made the kids some scrambled eggs for lunch. Again, fortunately they ate really well (even Lily).

I put Noah down for his nap and tried to do some reading, but the Motrin started wearing off and I had a hard time staying awake. I laid down for what was supposed to be a short nap, but I just couldn't get up. Amanda came home around 2:30 or so and was very tired from all the cooking. We ended up just hanging out in the bedroom until dinnertime. I put the kids to bed and then was finally able to get a little bit of studying done.

I feel better this morning, though my throat still feels a bit tight. I'm hoping that today is a better day. This should help. It's a great opportunity for those of us in the area who love Jesus and Goodberry's.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Fair Time

Lily and I had a good time at the fair last night, though we didn't get to see fireworks. The cool rains had come in and they don't do the fireworks in the rain. Hopefully we'll get to do them next Friday. The nice thing is that you don't have to pay admission to see the fireworks. You can't very well hide fireworks.

Our menu last night included:

  • Hushpuppy samples at the grist mill
  • Roasted corn on the cob
  • Corn dog on a stick
  • Italian sausage sandwich with peppers, onions, and mushrooms
  • Deep-fried Oreos
  • Deep-fried Snickers
  • Lemonade
We passed on the free sample of fudge that was offered to us. We were pretty full after the deep-fried dessert. It's amazing what batter can do to things that are already good. It turns out that Lily likes powdered sugar too.

Lily wouldn't ride any of the rides, not even the ponies. However, she did like looking at them. She enjoyed the blacksmith shop. She also enjoyed the NC State Animal Sciences milking area. They brought in cows and people could pay $2 to milk them. Lily ended up getting a free milk even though she didn't milk a cow because someone didn't want her milk. I tried to get Lily to step up to the udder, but she wouldn't do it. She did enjoy it though.

I guess I shouldn't complain too much though -- Lily's tentative nature saved me quite a bit of money.

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Tale of Two Lilys

Yesterday was quite a day for Lily. We were going to have that tea party, but it didn't happen because of a meltdown she had before she went off to school. Basically, she had planned to buy her lunch but changed her mind just as they were ready to go out the door. Amanda wouldn't change and Lily freaked out. I think she was scared of the lunch line because she pulled basically the same stunt the day before, but with more notice. Anyhow, it led to the cancellation of the tea party. She had to apologize to Jada over the phone.

I spoke to her later in the day and she told me that she "changed her attitude." She was very sweet. She even managed to control her anger when she didn't get what she wanted. We know that the self-control is there, but it's a matter of her exercising it.

I took her and Noah to the grocery store in anticipation of Amanda and Tiffany's periodic freezer cooking that will happen Saturday. Noah was pretty whiny after his shots (he is fine, BTW) so I took him home after Food Lion. I then took Lily to Sam's Club. She stood on the front of the cart while I flew through the store to get what we needed. Then we finished by splitting a sundae with dark chocolate sauce.

A big part of me is ready for it to be 2011 so I can be done with seminary and starting my new career in ministry. However, I don't want to wish these next 3 years away. There's nothing quite like being on a date with your little girl and splitting a sundae. In some ways she seems older than her years, but then as I saw her get her hands and face all smeared with chocolate I was reminded that she is still just 5 and still my little Peanut.

In the same way, it would be nice if Noah were a bit more independent. But I also know that these are precious times where he is tottering in his first steps and looking at everything with a sense of awe. You just can't beat the nearly unquenchable curiosity of a toddler. Yes, it's difficult, but it's a fun time too.

Sorry to depart from straight news, but I was feeling a bit introspective this morning.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tea Party

Lily has another early release day today. That means she will be home shortly after lunchtime. This tends to be a bit of a dilemma for Amanda because it means that she gets an afternoon with Lily. As you know, that can be a recipe for disaster.

Amanda decided it would be fun to have a little distraction today. Lily got to invite her friend Jada and her sister Kamaya (not sure about the spelling, but that is it phonetically) over. Amanda said that Lily was pretty funny on the phone with the most notable line being, "Jada, I've got to tell you something..." Once she finished inviting Jada she said, "OK, now I need to talk to Kamaya." We suspect their mom will not mind having them somewhere else for the afternoon.

Lily also invited her friends Chloe and Claire from the bus stop as well as their babysitter. The three of them were disappointed when Amanda told them it would have to be another time. There were a couple of reasons for this. One is that the babysitter is hardly authorized to have a tea party at someone's house. The other is that Amanda wants to put a limit on the number of simultaneous guests for these tea parties. They will do it another time.

Meanwhile, Noah has his 15 month checkup today. It was supposed to be closer to his actual 15 month birthday, but we had to go to Pennsylvania. I hope to post news of his appointment as well as the tea party tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Earning Her Heart

Amanda set up a system where Lily can earn hearts for good behavior. She managed to earn one yesterday. However, since she is also able to lose previous hearts for extremely bad behavior that means she only has 1 in the bowl right now. Still, it's better than nothing.

We're finding that Lily cannot get very much slack. If we give her an inch she takes a mile. She can make her case sometimes, but once she gets loud and whiny that is the end of the discussion. Our job now is to be consistent.

I think I understand where Homer was coming from. However, we're not going to let up.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Gimmie Three Steps

Still Visiting

Grandma Judy arrived on Friday and we're having a great visit. She watched Noah yesterday afternoon so that Amanda, Lily, and I could go to a picnic for my seminary. These are mandatory chapel events, so I certainly had to go. It was a lot more fun this year without Noah there. Amanda and I could actually sit and listen to the message, chat with grown-ups, and just generally enjoy the day. Lily played on the playground the whole time. We all had a great time.

Noah is walking more, though not much on his own. He will do it with great encouragement. I'm considering putting him in the early walkers room this week rather than the crawlers room. I'm hoping that it will inspire him to walk more.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Taking a Walk

We just got Noah to take about 7 steps on his own. If he holds someone's hand he can walk fine, but he seems a bit tentative. We think that he is afraid to fall.

I'm really looking forward to him being able to walk. I love to see people at Sam's Club with their walkers stomping around the warehouse. Talk about a great place to practice! And not to mention a great way to kill some time when he is in a fussy mood and Amanda needs a break.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

More Academic

October has brought homework into Lily's life. She gets assignments Monday - Thursday. She can do them every day or she can do them all at once. So far we are trying the every day approach. Each day has a regular assignment and a challenge. We're having Lily try the challenge.

Monday was math. She had to count as high as she could. The challenge was to write out the numbers. Unfortunately, with dance class Amanda had her doing this at Chick Fil-A and all Amanda had was her fountain pen. The writing wasn't pretty.

Yesterday she had to write the words "we" and "it" 5 times. The challenge was to use them in a sentence and write the sentence. Lily wrote "We went to dance class" and "It is purple." Her writing was pretty good, but I think we need to get her some of the fat pencils they use. A regular #2 breaks too easily.

She's getting it. So far it is fun, which is good. Hopefully that will last.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Duo

Yesterday went fairly well. I took all 3 kids out to run an errand and kill some time all morning. We started at my seminary library, which was actually very fun for the girls as they chased each other around the stacks. Fortunately, no one else was there.

From there we went across the street to the Harris Teeter. I didn't have too many groceries to buy, but it was good for killing time. Our next stop was the music store so I could get some new guitar strings. Lily created a game where she hid a couple of hair clips in the store and wanted Brenna to find them. Brenna was completely disinterested, but did get upset when Lily told her that she would feed the hairclips to the monsters. Being an only child myself, I find it fascinating to watch these psychological torture games.

After that we went over to Petsmart for Doggie Day Camp. Brenna wasn't into it as much as I'd hoped, but everyone still had fun looking at dogs, cats, birds, fish, and snakes. Someone was there holding a bearded lizard and all the kids got to touch it. Lily is getting a lot more brave.

We walked over to the Lifeway and killed more time. Since the girls were behaving so well we stopped at Quiznos for a bag of chips and then headed over to Play N' Trade to see if I could use the coupon I downloaded.

We finally arrived back home at lunchtime and both girls ate a good lunch, which was a happy surprise. Noah was fussy because he dozed off in the van on the way back home. Who could blame him? It was a beautiful sunny day and I was driving with the windows down. I could have dozed off myself!

The afternoon went pretty well too, as did dinner. They took a bath together. The only problem with that was when Lily loaded Brenna's hair down with shampoo. That took a lot of rinsing to get out, but we did it. Finally, they bedded down before 7:30, but separately this time. Brenna did some crying for her mommy and daddy, but Auntie Dee talked her down.

We plan to do a picnic today after church. We'll see how that goes...

Friday, October 3, 2008

Home Safe - again

Three days and roughly 1100 miles later, we arrived home safely last night. The ceremony was a great celebration of her life and the weather could not have been better. We enjoyed nice weather and mostly clear roads for the trip home as well.

Overall, it was as good a trip as it could be given the circumstances.

Meanwhile, we have Brenna and Lily pretending to go to sleep in Noah's bed while Noah sleeps peacefully in Lily's room. I told them they could have donuts for breakfast tomorrow if they kept quiet. It looks like we're having cold cereal...