Saturday, January 31, 2009

Date Night

It was great to get out last night. We enjoyed a great dinner. We started with an order of fried green tomatoes with a shrimp remoulade as well as an order of hush puppies with a basil mayo. For our entrees Amanda got pan-seared scallops and I had venison meatloaf. We finished with a hunk of chocolate cheesecake accompanied with carmelized bananas.

The rest of the evening was not as glamorous. We took advantage of the babysitting to hit the thrift store where I got some new sweaters and shirts. It's nice to be able to retire some of the ancient shirts I have that are full of holes. We actually ended up staying out until nearly 9:00 PM! That's pretty late for us.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Going Out

Amanda and I have a date tonight at a restaurant in Durham she wants to try. I'll let you know how it was tomorrow. Either way, a bad meal without the kids beats being home with them!

Amanda went to Lily's school for "book and a bite" today. That's where she reads to them at lunchtime. I stayed home with Noah and we played some video games. Well, he watched me anyway. Lily also had an assembly. I guess today was a North Carolina sports theme and they sang Carolina-related songs as a class. Of course, she can't ever remember what they all are.

We've decided that Noah is teething rather than sick. We give him some Motrin before bed and that does the trick. He and Lily are such Motrin junkies though. They love any excuse to have it. I remember feeling the same way about children's Tylenol. I loved that cherry flavor!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Between the Lines

Amanda recently discovered that Lily's door had been tagged with her name in ink. Amanda came up with a good idea for a consequence. Lily had to write lines last night. Specifically, she had to write "Ink goes on paper" 20 times. It took her a while and she certainly didn't enjoy it, but we hope that she got the message. Of course, she also has to clean the ink off of her door, but the magic eraser should do the trick for that.

Noah has added a new word to his repertoire. According to Amanda, he said "apple" yesterday while they were enjoying a fruit cup at Chick Fil-A. The bad news is that he had a very rough night last night. Amanda thinks he is getting a cold. He was very snotty and very needy. Amanda did make it out to run this morning though.

I managed to put the homework on hold for one night so Amanda and I could watch Fireproof together. It was hard to watch for a couple of reasons. One is that it is not the best movie ever made. It's not terrible, but not the greatest acting or directing. The more significant reason is that it reminded me too much of what a selfish jerk I used to be and still can be. However, for that reason alone I think it should be mandatory viewing for all married couples. It is a great reminder that love is more of an action than a feeling, which is a reminder that I need frequently.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Noah Lexicon

I thought I'd give a working guide to Noah-speak:

b'lewn = balloon. The key is not opening your mouth when you say this.
ho-ho = hot cocoa. The first h should be guttural like the h in "Hannukah."
moahr = more. He knows that this will usually get him more food.
lee-lee = Lily. This is how he says big sister's name.
bah-bahll = ball. This can really refer to just about any spherical object.
uh...huh = I want that. This must be pronounced with a distinct down-up in pitch. Always accompanied by pointing.
dah or dah-dah = Daddy. Sometimes repeated over and over.
mah or mah-mah = Mommy. Again, sometimes repeated over and over.

The neat thing is that he understands what we're saying and with yes or no questions you can usually figure out what he wants. He doesn't do much for a negative response, but is usually quite enthusiastic about affirmative.

Now if you happen to spend time with Noah you can communicate thanks to this handy guide to Noahish.

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Day Off

Just when you thought it was safe to be home during the day, Wake County Public Schools brings us...a teacher workday. We plan to break it up a little bit with a family lunch at my office. Lily says that she wants to see where I hang up my coat, so she wants to see the office rather than meeting somewhere for lunch. I haven't decided if we'll eat in the cafeteria or go out.

Yesterday went well. It was a gray and cool day, so everything was done inside. I did take Lily and Noah grocery shopping yesterday after Noah's nap. We had a little scuffle with Noah's Harris Teeter balloon though. I had it tied to the cart and he wouldn't let go of it for me to load him in the car. Through the scuffle it came off the string and floated into space. Fortunately, there was a boy around 10 or so who gave Noah his balloon. It was very nice. Their mom also told him to take our cart for me. Little things like that really make the day better.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Getting Fruity

Thanks to Blue Cross and the Blue Points program I've had something of a dietary renaissance. If I eat 5 servings of fruits & vegetables combined daily for 5 days/week, I get 100 Blue Points. These points can ultimately be redeemed for legitimate things like restaurant gift cards, for example. This is in addition to the points that I already was getting for exercise.

As a result I've been bringing more fresh fruit into the house. They've had clementine oranges at Sam's, so we have been eating those all week. Noah loves them. In fact, yesterday he mostly ate fruit for lunch and dinner.

Remember how he was a little bound up? Well, it hasn't been such an issue lately. It seems like it's feast or famine with him these days. That goes for his mood too. He's been kind of grouchy in the afternoons lately.

One thing I forgot to mention yesterday is that his vocabulary is slowly increasing. I took them to Petsmart for doggie day camp. Lily stayed and watched the dogs while Noah traipsed around the store. Periodically he would stop and yell, "Lily! Lily!" At least I think that's what he was yelling. It's still a little hard to tell with him.

Note: I apologize for the poop-related posts lately. Those of you with kids understand and those of you without will just have to wait for more interesting stuff. Sorry.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Amanda needed a break today, so I took the kids to Krispy Kreme for breakfast. We then ran a few other errands which took up the better part of the morning. Noah and Lily held up pretty well, though Noah got pretty fussy at the end. Still, it was great for Amanda to get a break.

The rest of the day will hopefully be pretty uneventful. I do have a bit of good news to report in general though. Amanda found our camera yesterday. It had been missing for over a month. It turns out it was behind something on the TV cabinet. I'm glad because that's $200 I wasn't looking forward to spending to replace it.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Irregular Pookie

Noah had quite a day yesterday. Amanda called me at work to tell me that Noah was particularly crabby in the morning. She couldn't figure out why, but when we put our heads together we realized that he had not had a good poop since Monday afternoon. This put him in quite an ill-humor. However, three poops later he was back to his normal cheery self. Amanda says that it is time to get him back on oatmeal for breakfast more regularly.

The other significant thing is that he has a new word. Amanda made herself some hot cocoa. Noah asked for it by saying, "ho-ho." You can almost hear a hard c sound in the first syllable, but not quite. It's kind of guttural like the way "Hannukah" is properly pronounced.

Lily enjoyed her first day back at school. Unfortunately, she had to do three days' worth of homework last night. It's not as if she had to do dozens of math problems, but it did take some time. Her writing is pretty good, but she doesn't stay in the lines too well. I wrote her words for her to model and she wanted to count my writing as one. She thought Ms Snoots would get confused by mine and hers. I assured her that Ms Snoots would be able to tell the difference.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Almost Back to Normal

I'm headed back into the office today and Lily is back to school. For some reason they are being extremely cautious and are on a 2-hour delay. I went jogging this morning and can attest that the roads are in great shape. I guess it's better safe than sorry when dealing with the munchkins though. I am somehow reminded of when all the parents in Springfield put their kids on the bus for Kamp Krusty and then busted out the champagne as soon as the bus was out of sight.

Lily spent yesterday working on a craft project she got for her birthday. She painted a heart-shaped jewelry box purple. The next time she is shut in she will work on gluing beads on it. Noah is his usual self.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Snow Day II

Wake County had already canceled school today by 8:30 last night "due to anticipated hazardous road conditions." To be fair, the roads are likely pretty rough right now. It got warm enough to melt some of the snow yesterday and then it dropped into the high teens last night. I am sure that there are patches of black ice out there that no one wants to hit. I certainly don't want Lily's bus skidding around the one bridge they have to go over to get her to school.

However, this is not great news for Amanda. Yesterday someone at work said that, "everyone loves a snow day!" I told him that everyone but stay-at-home moms loves a snow day. My work is delayed until 10:00 AM, but there is a chance that I will be able to work from home again today. It's nice not having to deal with the roads.

Lily had a great time in the snow yesterday. She got to do some sledding. She made some snowballs. She made tons of snow angels. It seemed like Amanda had the dryer going all day as we cycled through Lily's clothes. An older neighbor boy named Felipe helped Lily out. The funny thing is that Lily thought his name was Fuquay. We couldn't convince her otherwise until she talked to him again.

Noah enjoyed the snow too, but he doesn't have the shoes for it. His only shoes are basically leather slippers. He had fun out there, but I brought him in before his little feet could get too cold and wet. I knew it had to end when he stepped into some slush.

While it won't warm up too much today (high in the upper 30s) it should be close to 50 tomorrow and Friday. That should take care of the ice and snow.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Snow Day

We have approximately 4 inches of snow on our lawn and maybe 1 on our street. Therefore, school has been canceled today. Amanda isn't real excited about this prospect, but the kids should have fun with it. While they aren't particularly long, our neighborhood does have its share of steep hills. I suspect that Lily will try to get in on Cooper's sledding down his hill. Noah should have some fun with the snow too.

Here's hoping that I don't get hit by someone who thinks that they can follow my car just as close as usual...

Monday, January 19, 2009

More Branching Out

We made a curry chicken dish in the Crock Pot yesterday. At first, I planned on giving Lily nuggets because I didn't think there was any way she would eat it. However, we thought we should at least make her give it a try. She didn't care much for the veggies, but she did like the chicken and rice. Yes, Lily ate curry chicken. Perhaps the chocolate brownie with ice cream motivated her too, but it was good that she ate it. In the past even a great dessert would not have motivated her.

Noah had his 18 month well baby visit today. He is doing fine. He is 25 3/4 lbs and 32 3/4 inches. That puts him squarely in the 25th percentile for both height and weight. He's doing well developmentally, though his vocabulary needs to grow. He is babbling more than he used to, so we figure that it will come. He still does a lot of pointing and grunting to communicate.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


For dinner last night we had baked breaded chicken breast, gnocchi gorganzola, and spinach salad. We thought we'd have Lily at least try the chicken and force her to eat at least one bite of gnocchi. It turns out that she couldn't get enough of either. Plus, she asked for me to cook some broccoli for her. She can't get enough cooked broccoli.

Meanwhile, Noah hardly ate. It's as if our two children are stuck in one of those 80s role-reversal movies. Is it Freaky Friday?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Go Imps!

I took Lily to see the Cary Lady Imps take on the Fuquay-Varina Bengals last night. We got there in the 4th quarter of the JV game. Cary was down by about 5 when we got there, but ended up falling apart and losing fairly badly. Then the varsity team came out and wiped the walls with Fuquay using some tenacious defense. I think the score was 12-3 at the end of the first quarter and the final score was something like 57-26. What's interesting is that as of this past week Cary was 2-11, so apparently they had one of their best games of the year.

I can't say that I'm in any hurry to see another girls' HS basketball game. I lost track of how many jump balls there were, but I think there were at least 10. They spent a lot of time on the floor. We did see a couple of nice drives to the basket and one really nasty block courtesy of Cary's #20. If we go to another game I think I'll take Lily to see the NC State women play.

The important thing is that Lily had a lot of fun. She jumped up and cheered every time Cary scored. She didn't really understand much of what was going on, but she got the basic idea. She got to sit by the cheerleaders, but wasn't as interested in them as I thought she'd be. It might have helped if they cheered a bit more. In the end they had small green basketballs to throw out and one of the cheerleaders handed one to Lily, which she appreciated.

It was a fun night out with Lily and a quiet one for Amanda after she put Noah to bed. I guess that's a win-win.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Going Bombaloo

The garage door was open when I came home from work yesterday. Amanda often uses the wagon to take Noah to the bus, so this was not particularly unusual, plus Lily sometimes rides her bike right after work. I decided to come in through the garage so I would remember to close the door (I sometimes forget and leave it open all night). As I approached the door to the house I could hear crying.

Lately it has not been unusual for Noah to have mini-fits over this or that, so I thought it was him. I was surprised to find dinner just about ready and Lily crying. She wasn't happy with the pasta and meat sauce that Amanda prepared. As I walked in Amanda was sending Lily to her room, so I chimed in with the same even before I took off my jacket. Of course, this made Lily go bombaloo.

Once dinner was ready I told her to come back down if she was ready to settle down and eat. She said she was, but then started whining and crying again. We have a zero-tolerance policy for this now, so it was time to take her back upstairs. I was just going to give her a time-out, but as I put her over my shoulder to carry her she bit my arm. That of course earned her a spanking and even more time-out. However, I did invite her back down to dinner after her time-out.

She came down, put a single piece of spinach in her mouth, choked on it, and spit it out. That ended the meal and her evening. She spent the rest of the evening in her bedroom while Noah and I played in the basement and Amanda went out for a haircut (which looks great, BTW). At bedtime Lily was all sweetness too.

We haven't had an incident like this in a long time. Hopefully we won't have another one for a while. However, we're not going to have her live off of chicken nuggets and fish sticks either. She can eat pasta with meat sauce with the rest of us. And tonight she can eat the tilapia that Amanda makes in the Crock Pot.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Night Out

Amanda got a night out with her sisters last night. Well, technically it was a night in because they were at the McKenzies. However, any night sans kids is a good break for her. Meanwhile, the kids and I held down the fort. We ate some leftovers to continue our fridge/freezer purge before the next round of freezer cooking. Lily and Noah can't get enough broccoli these days. I guess that's a good thing, right?

There really isn't a whole lot to report. Noah is still sweet, but a bit cranky at times. At least he's getting all of his teeth pretty much at once. Lily and I had fun playing the PS2 last night. However, she keeps coming into our bedroom reporting nightmares. We're not playing anything too scary, but I wonder if all the tension and excitement is too much. We may have to cut it out for a few days to see what happens.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Little Scholar

Noah really doesn't seem to care much about his toys, but he absolutely loves his books. He will ask us to read the same books to him over and over again. We're kind of excited about this on one level as we are both readers and we want our children to be too. On the other hand, Amanda knows firsthand the problems that come from reading to the exclusion of all else.

Plus, on a practical level, one can only read Corduroy's Day so many times without going a little cuckoo.

Do we need to heed this warning?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Thinking to the Future

As I put Lily to bed last night she asked about how old mommy is. I told her that she is 35. Then she asked how old I am and I told her that I'm 35, but that mommy is 6 months older than me.

Lily said, "That means that she will die before you." I had to explain that was not necessarily true. I think she has the idea that everyone only lives for so many years and those who are older will always die before the younger.

Lily has had a lot of questions about death lately. This is good in that it helps us to talk to her about Jesus. On the other hand, it does get a little morbid after a while.

Monday, January 12, 2009


We had it out with Lily last night because she took so long in the bath that we didn't have time for any games. Amanda tried to point out all the good stuff that we did yesterday (bike ride, shopping, church, brunch), but she was of course focused on the moment. We tried to tell her to hurry with her bath, but in her mind "hurrying" took 20 minutes.

It was not a fun lesson, but hopefully she will learn from it. Speaking of which, I need to get moving for work...

On a less fun note, Noah is cutting multiple teeth. The bad news is that he is kind of grouchy. The good news is that he tore through some ribs yesterday. We had some country-style ribs frozen in the freezer and I heated them slowly with some sauce in the oven. They came out very tender and Noah and Lily loved them.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Where Are We?

While going between Food Lion and the Harris Teeter shopping center yesterday we had to stop at the intersection of Harrison and Maynard. Lily made a note that the bus went down the hill when they went on their field trip.

This doesn't make a ton of sense unless you know the area, so let me try to explain. Normally, Lily's bus picks her up, goes through our neighborhood, and then goes up Harrison to get to her school. However, for the field trip the bus went the other way as they went on the highway to get to the field trip on Friday. Lily noticed that and wanted to make a comment about it.

In other words, she still likes to know where she is. It's comforting when she goes for a ride with a grandparent to the grocery store that Lily can help them find their way home if necessary.


We had a nice meal and heard a great message last night at the convocation. These events tend to show us that, while we're all united as brothers and sisters in Christ, we don't quite fit in with that crowd. Nevertheless, it was nice to enjoy a meal without the kids. Lily had fun in her room and Noah did pretty well in his. We brought the blanket so that he'd have some familiar comfort and that seemed to help. He was pretty glassy-eyed when we got him after 8:00 though.

Lily is riding her bike like crazy now. It's great to see her come down the hill after a ride with Amanda and not hear the training wheels. Her confidence seems to keep growing, which is great.

I made her and Noah eggs for breakfast yesterday. We've sold eggs to Lily with the fact that they will help her grow. The problem is that every time she finishes a plate of eggs she stands in the doorway where we measure her to see if that plate of eggs has helped her to grow any. She insists that she has grown, but we explain that it is more gradual than that.

I took Lily and Noah to the pet store (free zoo) by Harris Teeter yesterday. Lily wants to buy a rodent for a pet and we have to keep talking her out of it. She saw someone getting a hamster and was intrigued. Amanda hates mice and hamsters are too close to mice for her taste. Meanwhile, Noah is fascinated by the bin of mini tennis balls that they sell for smaller dogs. He kept pointing and saying "ball." He also enjoyed walking around the store. We should take him to nursing homes because the sight of him walking makes just about everyone smile.

Sorry for the lack of continuity, but I wanted to get at least some stuff posted this morning.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


I finished the coursework for my class this morning. I have some writing to do, but it will be nice to get back to normal again. The good news is that the kids behaved fairly well for Amanda and they did have some good distractions some evenings too. I'm looking forward to spending some time with Lily and Noah this afternoon. Amanda is going running with a friend today. It's a perfect day for it too -- low 50s and sunny.

We have my spring convocation tonight. It won't be the best time we've ever had, but it will be nice to have a little time together sans kids, even if it is just for a short while.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Fashion Police

Amanda and I are going on a cruise in March. In preparation of this Amanda needed to get a new dress. She found a couple yesterday and we have to decide which one she is going to keep. I haven't seen them yet, but I understand that one is red and one is black. Lily thought that Amanda should keep the black one because it has some shiny bits on it and "it will sparkle if you're on stage dancing." It's interesting to see how Lily thinks in terms of not only dancing, but dancing on stage.

I was in the basement this morning clearing out some work email when I heard Noah crying through the baby monitor. This is fairly normal in the morning routine as he either gets mad about someone leaving him, wants something he can't get, or Lily does something to him. Today it was the latter. It seems that she decided he would look better if his hair was wet down so she could part it. He didn't think that was such a great idea.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

In the Closet

Amanda reported another good day with the kids, though something kind of funny happened. She was sitting in the living room after Lily came home, but before dinner. She heard Noah screams coming from the kitchen area and of course had to investigate. It turns out that Lily decided to shut Noah in the laundry room.

Lily didn't get spanked because she was already terrified of Amanda's reaction. It took a little pressing, but she did remember this incident as something she had to ask God to forgive her for when she said her nightly prayers.

I'm not too concerned because I figure her day is coming in a few years when Noah is bigger and stronger than her. These things have a way of coming around.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Hanging On

Last night ended up being OK. Everyone needed a bath, so they piled into Amanda's tub. Noah loves having a bath with mommy and big sister. I'm told that he likes to sit down in the tub so that just his head is above the water. Amanda says that this is amazingly cute. He loves to splash around in there. Of course, Lily has her own antics as well. The good news is that this passes the time.

My class went well, though he did keep us until 9:15 last night. I kind of hit the wall at 9:00 and felt like I could just put my head down and sleep right there. I made it through and am looking forward to tonight's class as well. The class is on the parables of Jesus, so it is certainly interesting.

We are now getting into the tougher stretch where I have to go into the office today and tomorrow. I will only see the kids in the morning, so the evenings may be a bit rough for Amanda.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Busy Week

I have class every night this week from 6:00 - 10:00 PM. Well, those are the scheduled hours, but our professor has already told us that 10:00 PM is an hour past his bedtime. Last night he let us out at 8:45, which was nice so I could watch the Fiesta Bowl at the McKenzies' house. It's good to get out early, but it still leaves Amanda with the kids every night at dinnertime and until bedtime. Fortunately, I'm working from home today and I hope to Friday as well. And, while it's hardly a great date, we do have childcare for the Spring Convocation on Saturday evening.

So far, things are good. Lily and Amanda played some Rat-a-Tat-Cat last night after Noah went to bed. Noah was good at church this morning and is now happily napping. I'm looking forward to picking Lily up from the bus stop at 4:00ish.

It still has all the makings of a long week though. I am glad to have next week off from school before the semester begins.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

More Strides

We're still beaming over Lily riding her bike without training wheels. She's about 7 1/2 years ahead of where I was, so she's doing pretty good by my estimation. If nothing else, it was reassuring that she trusted me to hold on to her bike.

Noah is hardly giving soliloquies, but he is starting to use some words now. We've got him to start saying "more" when he wants more food. He said "ball" when he saw a soccer ball in a neighbor's yard. He will say "Ma" or "Da" to refer to us, but he will also use those words as babble sometimes too. He is making progress though.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Biggiest Girl

Nana used to call Lily "Biggie Girl" whenever she hit a milestone of some sort or just demonstrated some big-girl behavior. Well, today is a banner day for Lily as she has started to ride her bike without training wheels. I would upload a video, but we still aren't sure about where our camera is. However, I did take a low-res photo with my PDA for a record of the event.

The deal has been that Lily can grow her hair out once she starts riding without training wheels. Since today is such a nice day we thought it would be good to give it a try. We started with Lily practically in tears with fear, of course. I held the handlebars and the seat, which comforted her. We went around the cul-de-sac a couple of times that way. It seemed like she was getting the hang of it, so I did the classic slow release and waited a moment to tell her. She did fine.

She has only had one fall so far and that was when I asked her to ride around the other direction. She surprised me by trying to turn around on her bike and she fell down. I also explained earlier that one of the conditions was that she had to get back on after a fall. She did do that too.

It's a pretty exciting day here. The next thing I know she will be riding to her friends' houses to play. Don't talk to me about driving...

Friday, January 2, 2009

Ringing in the New

We were glad to find out that Lily and Noah behaved themselves fairly well for the McKenzies. Of course there were some times when Lily and Brenna needed a referee, but you'll have that no matter what. Brenna is at the stage where she has a hair trigger emotionally and just about any perceived slight will create a paroxysm. A good clue is often hearing Lily run behind her yelling, "Sorry, sorry, sorry!"

Noah seems to be turning a bad corner with eating. He used to just pack it away but he is now becoming a bit more fussy. He isn't as regular as he once was either and that may be a factor. He's also been pretty snotty for a few days and may just not be feeling well. Still, it feels strange when Noah doesn't keep shoving food down. We remember when Lily went from eating everything to becoming a bit more discerning about what she ate. She is getting out of that now and will eat a lot more things. Let's hope it doesn't take Noah 3+ years to get through this. Right now he won't hardly even touch chicken nuggets.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Quiet Morning

All is very quiet here at the house. The reason is because Noah and Lily are at the McKenzies'. It's nice to have a little break from time to time. We will enjoy hosting Brenna one night so they can have a break too. In fact, as the kids get older I could see having fairly regular sleepovers.

Amanda and I got to go to a party last night. It's nice to hang out with grownups and not have to worry about kids. It was also nice to hear whining and crying but not have to deal with it. Somehow the whining isn't as bad when it isn't your own kid.

I'd say the only real negative from yesterday is that the gazebo blew off our deck. It's stuck in the mud in our backyard right now. I'm afraid that I'm going to have to take it apart. Now we need to figure out if we are going to replace the sides and roof that got all torn up.