Thursday, April 30, 2009

A New Club

It seems like one of Lily's friends, usually Cooper, is forming a club of some sort. Well this time Lily got to form the "spy club." I'm not sure how it was all going to work, but they had set up a base. Lily asked Amanda for a pad of paper to use at the base and Amanda agreed.

What we never imagined is how they had this base set up. Lily and her friends set up shop near our neighbor's air conditioner condenser. It really is a great spot for a spy club as it's kind of behind some bushes on the hill. Unfortunately, it's not really a good place for Lily and her friends to leave a bunch of stuff.

We made Lily clean it up before dinner and she was not happy. She kept protesting the unfairness of having to clean up after her friends too. We explained that we do not have the authority to have her friends come and clean up and that she is responsible for the mess that she and her friends made while it was "her club." She still wasn't happy and we had a rough evening.

The good news is that she made a call to Sarah and explained the problem. Amanda said that the call went pretty well. Hopefully we will avoid this kind of unpleasantness in the future. And maybe next time they can make the club under our deck or somewhere else in our yard.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Pretty Place

We have had to change tactics when calling Lily in for dinner. I used to stand on the front porch, cup my hands over my mouth, and holler for her. She would eventually spring up out of one of her friends' backyards.

Now we have to do it from our deck. She and her friends are now playing in the woods, which I think is great. The woods aren't what they used to be since the Town of Cary finished clearing the sewer easements, but they are still fun. Lily claims that there are a bunch of waterfalls back there.

We're very intrigued by this idea, as you might imagine. She and her friends certainly do not lack imagination!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A New Job

Lily has taken it upon herself to water the vegetables and herbs we have planted in the front yard. We decided today that it is going to be her job to water them before she goes off to school each day. She even gets the hose out and puts it away by herself. We'll see how long this lasts, but so far, so good.

I may end up springing for a hose container with a crank. The problem is that it may be too hard for her to crank it. It would look a lot nicer than the mass of hose we have now.

Either way, it's great to see her excited about this job. The plants are looking good so far!

Monday, April 27, 2009


Lily and I made it to the airshow yesterday. We didn't get there very early and we didn't make it all the way through the Blue Angels' show, but we did get there. The weather was beautiful, though a little hot in the sun. It was actually quite pleasant in the shade. 88 is not so bad if you aren't in the sun. We found solace sitting under an F-15. However, in the sun Lily was pretty miserable. She still wasn't quite right after being sick Saturday night.

The photo above is Lily with 1st Lt. Gerber, who is the WSO for a Strike Eagle. She very begrudgingly let me take this photo. Her favorite plane was the KC-135 because she got to lay down next to where the boom operator works. She thought that was "comfortable." One of the boom operators had a video on his camera of a mid-air refueling, which Lily enjoyed watching.

The other problem was that Amanda wasn't feeling well, so Noah spent some time with Uncle Bill, Aunt Tiff, and Cousin Brenna. He was happy to hear Tom Hamilton call the 9th inning with the finish of "Swung on and missed...ballgame!" as Kerry Wood closed it out. He also enjoyed watching LeBron finish off the Pistons.

It was a good daddy-daughter date, which we need to have sometimes. We managed to avoid sunburn and heatstroke. Now I need to get her out of bed though.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Bug Goes On

It was not a good night last night. Amanda ended up sleeping on the couch in Lily's room so she could hold the bowl for Lily to throw up in. I'm not sure, but I think Lily threw up at least 3 times last night, if not 4. Hopefully they will both sleep in a little bit. I'm not sure what this will do for our plans today. If we don't go it won't be the end of the world as I do have some homework to get done.

On the other hand, Noah and I are doing much better. I could really go for a big greasy breakfast this morning after hardly eating at all yesterday. I think my body is telling me something.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Bug Stops Here

You may recall that Noah was sick a couple of days ago. It seems to be going around now. I woke up twice last night to throw up. I slept for most of the day today, which is extremely rare for me. Meanwhile, Amanda doesn't feel great. Part of that is because she was up with me when I was sick and part of it is that she may be getting the bug.

Lily is definitely not right. Amanda subbed in Lily's classroom tonight and said that Lily didn't feel well about halfway through church. We put her to bed very early and she is having a rough time.

I'm still holding out hope that we'll make it to the air show tomorrow, but I'm hardly counting on it. We're not going anywhere if Lily is still sick. Even if we do go it will likely be somewhat abridged compared to the original plan. Lily wanted to get there early, but I'm thinking we want to minimize our time out in the 85 degree sun.

Let's hope tomorrow is a better day.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Why Did it Have to be Snakes?

Lily and I discovered that we have a small snake living under our front steps. It was hanging out on the brick facing of the steps near where I planted the rosemary and basil plants. We saw it when we were watering them last night. Lily was a little bit scared, but not terribly. She didn't want to kill it or anything.

She played outside by herself in the time between Noah going to bed and her bedtime. I went out to get her and was surprised to see Katie, Sarah, their mom, and their grandma with Lily around our steps holding sticks and looking for the snake. It seems that Katie is desperate to capture a snake.

Frankly, I'm not wild about the idea. We like having snakes in our yard because they eat bugs and other assorted vermin as they grow. As long as they aren't poisonous I think we can live in harmony with them. We're pretty sure that our snake will die shortly after Katie puts it in captivity. She won't mean to kill it, but that is what will likely happen.

At any rate, it's nice to know that we have a snake around again. I miss our big black snake that lived under our driveway.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Pukey Pookie

We had a very rough night last night. Noah threw up around 9:30 and then again at 10:30. We ended up putting his blanket in the wash, which of course led to all kinds of sleep problems. Amanda decided to take one for the team and went into the bedroom with him to sleep so she could be his security blanket. It didn't work too well for either of them. For better or worse, she was awake when the washer finished and put his blanket in the dryer. Then she was awake when the dryer finished, but he didn't like the way it smelled and that was little comfort to him.

They ended up having a nap this morning, but not one in the afternoon. Noah was in bed at 6:45 tonight and his fight against sleep was pretty weak tonight. Hopefully tonight is a better night than last night. I don't think Amanda can handle another night like last night.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Expressing Himself

I was changing Noah the other day. As usual, he was making all of his babbling noises. I commented that I wished I knew what he was trying to say.

He paused for a moment and then clearly said, "BALL!"

I brought him downstairs yesterday to watch a few minutes of NBA highlights. He started to get a little squirmy, so I let him down. He immediately found the case for the PlayStation game NBA Street 2 and started walking around with it. That's what he really wanted.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

By Sight

I had a surprise night off last night from class. My Hebrew class has dwindled to three students and two of them couldn't make it. Therefore, my professor gave us the night off. That gave me a chance to spend the evening at home. We enjoyed some leftover pizza and Noah had some more ham and bean soup. Lily officially likes Papa Murphy's Chicago-style pizza now. This is good news.

The big news is that Lily was able to figure out all of her sight words. She had to sound a few out, so she still needs a little practice. However, the fact that she got them all is a major accomplishment. She's getting there.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Home Safe

Amanda and her friends returned from the retreat yesterday. They had a great time, but it was little different than 10 year-old girls having a sleepover in terms of how much actual sleep happened. She came back spiritually nourished, but physically exhausted. Fortunately she was able to go to bed very early last night and won't have to get up for another 10 minutes or so.

Overall, the weekend with the kids went well. We didn't play nearly as much Lego Star Wars as Lily wanted or Amanda feared. We took advantage of the nice weather on Saturday and did a few things outside around the yard. We enjoyed our time at the McKenzies' yesterday, though Lily and Brenna are starting to fight more. Brenna has a very obstinate streak and Lily always wants to be the boss, so you can imagine how that goes over.

As has been noted many times, Noah loves anything having to do with a ballgame. He sat with me to watch some of the Jazz vs Lakers playoff game yesterday and was completely mesmerized. Were it not for the commercials I think he could sit through the better part of a basketball game. He just loves it.

It's hard to go back to work and to class today after Spring Break. I'm ready to finish up my classes and start the summer. However, I do think I will take at least one class online over the summer, if not two. I won't be idle, but I also won't be as busy as I have been. I only have two more weeks of classes and then finals. The problem with Spring Break being so close to the end is that it is something of a tease.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Hot Soup

I made some bean soup yesterday with the leftover ham bone. We had it for lunch and it was fairly well-received by all. Lily liked the ham pieces, but not the beans. Noah was initially skeptical, but ended up asking for a second bowl. He got a little tooty in the evening, but not too bad. I'm glad that they liked it since we have a bunch more.

I'm getting ready to head over to the McKenzies' for lunch. They were nice enough to invite us over while Amanda is away. Now that I'm done making an mp3 of the Indians' second inning from yesterday I am about ready to hit the road.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Solo Flight

Amanda left for a women's retreat yesterday morning and I've been with the kids. So far it has gone well. I had a little run-in with Lily when she came home from school yesterday, but otherwise things have been good. We got pizza for dinner last night. Lily had her free personal pan pizza coming to her for reading in March and I used a coupon for a Papa Murphy's Chicago-style pizza. It's not truly Chicago-style, but it's in the ballpark. As I hate it last night I was reminded of how much I've missed it for the last 6 years. Incidentally, Lily tried a pice of the garlic chicken pizza they had as a sample and loved it. She also liked the Chicago-style, though she did pick out a piece of sausage. Nevertheless, she ate pepperoni.

I've tried to get a few things done to surprise Amanda. I planted some herbs and vegetables, which she will be glad about. I also fixed the chain on her bike. I was going to clean out the garage, but I realized that I don't know what to do with a lot of the stuff in there. That will have to wait.

The kids and I played the PlayStation for a few hours this morning and then we went outside for yardwork and play. The weather is absolutely gorgeous and Lily is outside with her peeps while Noah naps and I have a little quiet time. We'll have to leave for church in about 20 minutes, so it's almost time to break the spell.

Tomorrow I'll write about a new culinary delight for Noah. As a preview I will just say that it is something you typically make after Easter and I feel for those who will watch him in the nursery this afternoon.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Major Award

You may recall that Lily won an award at school. This is a video of the kids singing the CLIMB song, which explains the award. Lily was chosen as someone who exemplifies these values.

Don't feel badly if you have to listen to it several times to get it. The explanation is about halfway through when they start doing the letters. Lily can sing the song too.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sight Words Update

Amanda went through the flash cards with Lily today. She is down to about 10 or so words that she can't quite get. She is having trouble with the wh words like who, which, and why. She also has trouble with said. These are weird words and they remind me of why I am glad that English is my native language.

Lily had a rough day today. She got sent to her room at breakfast because she wouldn't choose between an English muffin and cereal and freaked out when Amanda chose for her. Then at dinner she had problems because she wouldn't eat all the pasta with her chicken parmigiana. She was doing fine too, but we told her that any more whining and she'd have to go to her room. She tested that and discovered that I was serious.

Since we couldn't play Lego Star Wars tonight she ended up taking an extra-long bath. She thought it was amazing that her feet and hands got all pruned. You'd think she had experienced that before given her great love for long baths. Maybe she just never noticed.

Unlike the past two nights she went to bed on time. I think that is going to help her attitude tomorrow. It had better since Amanda will be flying solo while I go to the Bulls game with Bill.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Teacher Conference

Amanda had the spring conference with Ms. Snoots yesterday. Lily is performing above average in all categories, which is great. We found out that the reason she got in trouble lately was not because she was talking, but that she was talking too loudly. She was allowed to talk at the table, but she got too loud. I guess that's not so bad then. She comes from some loud stock, after all (on both sides, both near and far genetically).

We got a new project for her at home. She got a deck of about 72 "sight words." These are flash cards that she is supposed to be able to identify on sight. Amanda went through them yesterday and found that she already knows about 36 of them. She only got 17 when Ms. Snoots went through them with her. The problem is that she defaults to, "I don't know" without thinking too much about it. We're working on it.

My plan is to go through the sight cards at least daily. I have found that going through my Hebrew and Greek flash cards regularly has helped tremendously in learning vocabulary. The good news for Lily is that she is at that prime learning age where she should learn most of these in a week or two. I think we are close to having another reader in the house.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Egg Hunt

Here are a few pics from the Easter Egg Hunt courtesy of Uncle Eric.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Pics

We were dutiful Hope attenders and went to church last night instead of waiting for today. Here are a few of the better pics we took. Hopefully we can get a family photo taken today. The problem is that if everyone is wearing the same clothes we probably won't look so happy since it is only supposed to be 62 today.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Good Friday

There isn't a ton to report about yesterday. Most of the day was beautiful, so Amanda took the kids to the playground. The highlight for Noah was splashing in the Black Creek and throwing rocks in it. He napped on the way home, so he didn't take a nap at home.

Fortunately, my boss sent us home at 3:30 to get a jump start on the Easter weekend. That got me home in time to hear the good parts of the Indians game yesterday while getting supper ready.

I was going to give the kids a bath, but we had a nasty thunderstorm roll through then. I'll do it today. It's going to be a little strange going to church on the Saturday before Easter. 51 weeks of the year this doesn't matter much, but it does seem weird to go to church before the stone was rolled away from the tomb.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Maundy Thursday

It was an absolutely beautiful day yesterday. Lily and Ruby played all day. Amanda would have taken her home sooner, but we forgot to transfer the booster seat to the van. I took the girls home as soon as I got back from work and then we had a nice dinner. I put Noah to bed and took Lily to Sam's Club in preparation for Easter.

We were surprised when we got home to find Amanda with a bucket of water. We washed each other's feet, which was nice. What was really nice was that Lily understood the reference. She really got into the whole thing. We may wait a couple of years to get Noah into this. Right now he would just splash and make a mess.

Our church is having two Good Friday services today, but they can't offer childcare. That's fair considering how much work it is to have childcare. Unfortunately, that also means that we are not likely to go, at least not as a family. It doesn't make sense to attend a somber, contemplative service when you have a wiggly 21 month-old. Since there are services at noon and 6:00 PM we may split up for them though.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Spring Break

Yesterday was the first day of Lily's spring break. It was supposed to be Monday, but they had to make up for some weather days that were canceled before. Lily was good all day, but Noah is going through a very rough patch right now. He is definitely teething. This makes him more whiny and clingy than usual.

He woke up last night around 3:30 with a very messy diaper that Amanda got up to change. I heard him cry, but I hoped that he would stop. Amanda got up with the first intense cry and I could hear that it wasn't pretty. Compounding all this was that Amanda felt very woozy afterward. I helped her get back into bed, which is where she is now. Hopefully this morning will go better.

Lily's friend Ruby is coming over for lunch/tea party. It's not going to be a big fancy tea party, but Amanda will definitely make tea and some finger sandwiches for them. Basically, that means making PB & J and cutting the bread out with a cookie cutter, I think. Fortunately, Lily and Ruby get along pretty well and it shouldn't be too big of a deal.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Noah in Action

This isn't the most exciting video, but it is some cute footage of Noah stomping around with a basketball.

As a bonus for Bubbe, here are some photos of our house with the green shutters:

Monday, April 6, 2009

First Picnic

We took our first picnic of the season yesterday. Amanda had to help out at church during the first service, so I took the kids to Trader Joe's and got some stuff for a picnic. We went to Lake Crabtree and had a great time. Noah loves going down the slide, though he is still a bit timid about the climbing on the equipment. He's getting there though.

He also really liked sitting by the water for lunch. Fortunately he didn't try to make any kind of mad dash. He also enjoyed putting his feet in the water at the "beach" they have there. You can't really swim in the lake, but they do have some sand at the launching point for the boat rentals. Noah liked playing in the sand.

Overall, it was a good day. We don't get perfect weather that often, so we figured we'd better take advantage of it while we had it. We're supposed to have some thunderstorms today as a cold front comes in and the highs get back to the 50s. Hopefully it will be warm again by Easter.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Peak of Spring

We are enjoying maybe the nicest weekend of the year. In fact, it may not be this nice again until October. Fortunately, we took some advantage of it yesterday.

Amanda ran in a 5k with her sisters and was happily surprised by her time. It is a rough course that starts off with a 1 mile climb. The good news is that after the climb you get a mile downhill. She stuck to her plan and it worked for her.

Meanwhile, I stayed home with Noah while Lily hung out with Uncle Eric at the race. I got the lawn mowed and I painted the front door (I almost gave this post the title "Behind the Green Door"). I also hung a shutter back up that had blown off months ago. Now that it is screwed into the house I think it's there to stay.

Once Amanda got home I did a bit more yardwork. I got the pre-emergent down so hopefully the crabgrass won't be as bad this year. Today I'm going to apply some general weed control. The lawn is getting much better than it was, but we still have some weeds here and there. It's a work in progress...

We went to church in the afternoon and then went to Chick-fil-A to celebrate Lily's award. Poor thing was just exhausted by the afternoon. She protested when I put her to bed a little early claiming that she wasn't tired, but as we read her Bible stories she was practically falling asleep. She still came out of her room right after I put her down to tell me that it wasn't 7:30 yet. I told her that she still had to try to sleep. She managed to doze off somehow.

Today should be just as nice, so we'll have to find some things to do outside today too.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Koalaty Kid

Northwoods Elementary has a koala as a mascot. It's taken me this long to realize it, but their "koalaty" award is a pun on "quality." Lily won one at the assembly yesterday. Apparently hers was the "CLIMB" award, which is an acronym that we're not sure about. It was an all-around award for citizenship and learning. I think we'll have to go out to celebrate tonight at the restaurant of Lily's choice. I just hope it's not a place with a TV as the Final Four crowd may be thick.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Hats Off

One day Noah and I were in the basement and I left him down there to go upstairs. I don't know if I had to use the bathroom or what, but I went upstairs and he was still in the basement. That's not a big deal as he can negotiate the steps with no problems.

You can imagine our surprise with what he was wearing when he came up. I suspect this will make Grandpa Gary particularly proud. I promise you that I did nothing to encourage this. He found the hat on the floor and put it on. It's now one of his favorites.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

April Fool's!'

Amanda warned Lily yesterday that some people might play jokes on her. At dinner she tried to do this with me, but she wasn't quite getting it. We had this conversation:

"Hey Daddy!"
"Did you know you have a spider on your nose?" (said with a big smile)
I played along and brushed off my nose. She then proudly said, "April Fool's!"

She kept trying, but wasn't getting it. I forget exactly what the problem was, but she had a minor fit that got her sent to her room. She came back later and apologized. She was all set to play Lego Star Wars that evening and even wanted to go downstairs to play it on her own for a little while until Noah was ready for bed. I told her quite gravely, "Lily, before you go downstairs I need to talk to you for a minute." Then with a straight face I told her how Noah was playing with the Lego Star Wars disc and broke it. I told her that we wouldn't be able to play it anymore.

"Never again?" she asked.

I couldn't take it anymore, so I said, "April Fool's!" Lily was not very happy about the joke. I'm not sure that what we did falls under the rubric of godly parenting. Amanda did think it was very funny though.