Tuesday, June 30, 2009

First Lesson

Lily's swim class has 2 other girls and 2 boys in it. Amanda tells me that she is not the best nor the worst swimmer in the class either. She's still a bit tentative, but she is doing well. She was very excited to tell me on the phone how she did "bombs." That means sticking your head in the water and blowing bubbles. She isn't quite sticking her whole head underwater, but she is getting her face down there.

The biggest problem now is Noah. Apparently he wants to jump in the pool with Lily, so Amanda has to take him outside. I'm working from home today, so I plan to keep him. Maybe if Lily has Amanda's undivided attention she'll be a bit more brave.

Speaking of Noah, he is getting a little more talkative. Last night Lily went down to the basement for something. As soon as she left Noah yelled, "Yeelly! Where are you?" He's making progress.

Monday, June 29, 2009


Lily has her first swim lesson of the summer today. She has lessons Monday - Thursday this week and next. This is the level two out of four. Hopefully by the time she is done with this she will be a lot more comfortable in the water. Last year she got the hang of the kickboard. Perhaps the best thing to come out of last year's lessons was that she can now wash her hair in the tub.

Besides that Lily and Amanda are working on a schedule for how Lily is going to spend her summer days. This may seem awfully rigid, but we find that Lily does better with some structure. Otherwise she is constantly nagging Amanda for something to do. This way she will have limits on her computer time, video time, mommy reading time, etc. Of course, Noah is something of an x-factor in all of this too.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


We usually try to do something at least a little bit special for breakfast on the day we don't go to church. Today Amanda made some scones and we took a picnic to Lake Crabtree. The kids enjoyed splashing in the lake a little bit and then had some fun in the playground. I even coaxed Noah into climbing the big ladder with some help. It takes him a few minutes, but he is getting braver.

Now we're back home and Noah is napping while Lily is watching a video. Amanda may take a nap of her own and I am going to study for the test I have tomorrow. Tonight I plan to grill some chicken since it's such a nice day for it.

Hmm...seems like we're maybe a week early for an All-American family day.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Pizza Party

We hosted a pizza party for the neighborhood kids yesterday. We had all the usual suspects: Cooper, Kelsey, Sarah, Katie, Michael, and Emily. Everyone seemed to enjoy the pizza, watermelon, and the cookies stuffed with icing.

However, things went a little bit south shortly after the meal. In fact, Lily wasn't even done with her cookie when Cooper was rallying everyone to play hide-and-go-seek around the yard. Lily didn't really want to play it, so he told her that she wouldn't have to be "it." Yet by the time the game started she was "it." I asked Cooper about that after the round was over and he said that she raised her hand (or maybe it was that she didn't raise her hand).

Then Cooper was trying to lead everyone back to his house to play. Basically, they weren't playing what he wanted to play so they were going to ditch Lily's party. Amanda explained to them that it is rude to eat and then ditch the host like that. They played in the basement for a little while and then went out to the neighborhood to play. Meanwhile, Michael (age 3) and his sister Emily (2 1/2) were kind of left with Amanda and me since they couldn't really play with the big kids. Of course, we had Noah too.

After I put Noah to bed we found Lily sitting on the curb crying. Apparently she got ditched yet again after they were playing "cops" and she mysteriously was among the first "shot." The good news is that Katie came down to apologize. We had a talk with Lily to explain this deal with her friends.

What it seems to boil down to is Cooper is the ringleader and he doesn't really care that much about what Lily wants or feels. I'm not saying that he needs to think otherwise, but Lily needs to understand that he really is not on her side. We need to find a different boy for her to have her little crush on than Cooper. The thing is that Lily wasn't even trying to be bossy at all. Everything just seemed to happen around her and she had zero input. Some party, eh?

Hopefully she will have learned a little bit from this experience. Mere proximity is not necessarily the best reason for friendship.

Friday, June 26, 2009


Lily had a playdate with a friend from kindergarten yesterday. Her mom also goes to Hope, so it's nice to have a connection there. Lily's friend Courtney is the next-to-youngest out of 4 children, so the dynamics there are a bit different.

When I came home from work they were both wearing princess dresses. They had a nice little tea party after the day's picnic at the park. The kids had fun playing by the creek too. Hopefully they don't get bored with the creek any time soon as it is a great activity for them.

I hear a lot of stomping upstairs while I work from home. Last I saw Noah had put on a pair of Lily's plastic "high shoes." The boy loves shoes. I'm not too concerned about him wearing purple princess heels yet. If he still wants to do it at 9 then we may have a problem.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Doing Battle

Had a little skirmish with Lily at bedtime last night. Amanda had some friends over for a movie. Lily wanted to go back downstairs to tell her good night, though she had already done so. I told her that I didn't want her to interrupt them again and she didn't like that. I told her that if she didn't settle down we wouldn't do her Bible reading. When I told her that she turned her back to me in a huff. I then got up to leave, which is when she freaked out.

Several minutes and spankings later I had extricated myself from the room (she was like a monkey on my neck when I hugged her after spanking her). I had to go back when I heard some loud noises as she was banging on her bed to get my attention. After another spanking I explained that she didn't really want me to keep coming back in there. We had some more hugs and another tearful departure, but she did settle down to go to bed.

Later that night the real battle began. I had to do something in the garage and as I turned on the light I saw something scurry. As everyone who lives in the South knows, big brown roaches are pretty common in garages, especially if you have your recycling in there. However, this scurrying creature was 4-5 inches long, gray, and had a tail. I put my sandals on, found the traps, and set them with some peanut butter. As of 0530 today we still have not caught anything. I did leave the garage door open for a few minutes last night in hope that the critter would escape.

I suspect Amanda is going to avoid the garage for a day or two. I'd like to as well, but it's in my job description to rid us of vermin.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I took Lily to the Bulls game on Monday night. I had an unredeemed season ticket and she had a voucher from school. We had a happy surprise in that there were fireworks afterward. This motivated us to stay for the whole game.

We got to see a great game because both starting pitchers were on rehab assignments. The Bulls ended up winning 3-1. I think the highlight of the game for Lily was John Jaso's solo shot to right. They still light up the bull's eyes and get the smoke going out of the nostrils even when the home run does not hit the bull. She really liked that.

Of course, the fireworks were the big hit. At first she plugged her ears, but then she got brave. She was pretty surprised by the two loud ones at the end. The show lasted for two songs -- Celebration by Kool and the Gang and then Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond. They played Sweet Caroline because the Bulls were playing the Red Sox. The Boston folks were pretty happy.

What really encourages me is that Lily sat still enough for me to keep score in the program. I didn't do my usual pitch-by-pitch, which felt a little strange. She is very intrigued by keeping score and wants to do it herself next time. I'm excited to show her how.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sunday Pics

Here are a few photos from Sunday's celebrations.

First, Daddy and Noah at the ballgame.
Noah reaching for a cupcake.

Pete Vukovich has nothing on Noah
Cousins enjoying the game.

In the Pool.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Double Celebrations

We had a great combination Father's Day/Noah's Birthday yesterday. I got the family some donuts for breakfast, to the delight of all. I also filled up Noah's new kiddie pool. It's nothing fancy, but he and Lily seem to like it. After that it was lunchtime and naptime.

While everyone napped I got a few things done. Then we went to the ballgame. Noah wasn't into it quite as much as I had hoped he would be. I wasn't expecting him to guess whether the pitcher would throw a fastball or offspeed pitch on a 2-1 count or anything, but I did think he would be more excited about watching them play ball. Maybe we were too far away from the action.

Even though he didn't watch much of the game he did seem to have a lot of fun chasing Lily and Brenna around. Everyone had a good time, though sadly the Bulls lost. They had a great rally going with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth, but the batter lined out on a nice play by the shortstop for a double play. We didn't stick around for the ninth as it was already getting late.

I promise to get pics posted soon, possibly tomorrow. Lily has a free ticket to a Bulls game, so I think we're going tonight. I hope to work from home tomorrow in which case I should be able to get some pics up.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Busy Day

Amanda had quite a day yesterday. Lily's dance teacher is in Kenya for a missions trip, so Amanda volunteered to help her mom out by taking the kids off her hands for an afternoon. Amanda picked them up at 11:30, took them to lunch, and then took them to the park. Everyone had a lot of fun splashing in the creek, but didn't like the walk back up the hill too well. It got to the point where Alex (almost 3 years old) kept stopping and sitting down. Amanda volunteered to carry him, but he wouldn't have it.

Lily really enjoys playing with Ruby. The only trouble is that they both have fairly strong personalities and both want to be the leader. Ruby is taught that when you have guests you defer to what the guests want. Therefore, when she is a guest here she expects Lily to defer to her. That's pretty natural and it is good practice for Lily not to be the top dog all the time.

Tomorrow is the big day of Noah's birthday party. I'll post pics and/or videos tomorrow evening once I have them. Go Bulls!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Home Architecture

Lily has shown an interest in waterfalls lately, partly due to the nature videos she has been watching with Amanda. I mentioned to her that we could put a waterfall in our yard. The way I see it, we have the hill and it wouldn't be that hard to put in a pump and recycle water up some of it. I don't think we'd actually do it, but it could be done.

Amanda mentioned that we also could build a treehouse, which is true. It was more true before the Town of Cary clear-cut our backyard for the sewer easement, but it is true that we could build a treehouse. Lily said, "Splendid idea!"

I'm not quite sure where that came from. I can trace the origin of many of her words to how Amanda and I speak, but I don't think we say "splendid" very often. Lily is full of surprises.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Beach

We made our day trip to the beach yesterday. The trip to and from was very smooth, though it was harder to find ice cream than I expected (we did ultimately prevail). The weather was beautiful. The water was warm and there was a nice long shelf that Lily could walk on without it getting too deep. Amanda packed us a great picnic lunch that we all enjoyed.

I'd say the only negative was that the sunscreen washed off the tops of my feet and I have a pretty good sunburn going on them. Lily got a couple of small burns where either she didn't get enough sunscreen on or she wiped it off. Noah looks fine though.

Lily has already been spoiled by our week-long stays at the beach. She said that yesterday was fun, but she would have liked to stay overnight. We will certainly do that again sometime.

Here are a few photos for your enjoyment.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Recital Footage

Here is the edited video of Lily's recital. It's a little tough to see her because of the Queen of the Sun in the camera's way, but you can get a pretty good sense of how she did. I think it was better than last year, which is good to see. As a reminder, the dance is based on this story. The clip starts with the sun shooing away the wind.

Miss April has invited Lily to do the class with the second-graders next year. Lily and two other girls her age are going to be in there. April's idea was for Lily to be in class with kids who were a little more serious. Lily take ballet class very seriously.

Lily Update

It was a rough night last night. Lily ended up snuggling with Amanda. Consequently, Amanda didn't sleep very well from about 3:30 on. Amanda took Lily to the doctor's today and confirmed that she does indeed have an ear infection. She got some antibiotics and should be right as rain soon.

This is good because we're supposed to take a day trip to Wrightsville Beach tomorrow. We're doing it on a Monday in hopes that there won't be quite as much traffic. It will take a little over 2 hours of driving each way, but it should be fun. Noah loves splashing in the water and playing in the sand. Lily is excited to build a sand castle. I just like walking on the beach.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Recital Photos

Here are a few photos of Lily in her dress. The theme this year was Aesop's fables and she was part of the sun in the story of the sun and the wind. She did a great job on stage this year and I'm working on getting some video posted. We recorded the whole 5 minutes of the story, but she's not in it until about 3:00 in. I can't post a video that large to the blog, so I'm trying to trim it down.

When we came home she complained of a terrible earache. She complained about it before we left too, but some Motrin covered it up. It was so bad that she was screaming and crying for a while. Then suddenly it started to feel better. She's sleeping soundly now. I'm not saying that she was faking it, but it does seem like she was making a bigger deal of it than it really was. Then again, she's never said much about her ears before. All I know is that I looked in her bad ear and it looked the same as her good one.

Time will tell tomorrow. In the meantime, enjoy the photos!


Noah is most definitely not like Lily. Amanda got him a cute pair of sandals a couple of months ago. We figured that he could wear them all summer since it is always sandal weather here. The only problem is that he has already outgrown them.

We're not sure where he gets these big feet from. Amanda's feet aren't huge, though they aren't tiny either. Mine are certainly smaller than average. In fact, Amanda can wear my sandals, though they are maybe a half size too big. So where does this come from?

Maybe we do have a budding basketball player after all. Time will tell.

Friday, June 12, 2009


Lily was sick yesterday. She wasn't terribly sick, but she did have a low-grade fever around 100. This made the day a little rougher than it otherwise would have been. Amanda made her take a little nap and she had some Motrin after her nap. She was in good spirits for dinner and for recital practice. However, she did throw up in bed last night.

Amanda tells me that it is almost a tradition in her family to get sick the first day of summer vacation. This happened to me in college and it happens to some degree for me with seminary. However, I don't think Lily was really under that much stress.

Check back in next year to see if the tradition continues.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Grand Opening

Yesterday began a new era. As readers of this blog know, Sam's Club is a big part of our lives. I take the kids there at least once a week and sometimes more. The one 5 minutes away has closed and they opened a new bigger one down the road a piece. Now it takes 10-15 minutes to get there. Last night was the first day for the new club.

We all went as a family and had a pretty good time. The new club is beautiful and they had samples galore. I did indulge myself with some bourbon praline pecans. Noah likes them too. Lily ate a pretty good dinner and then she ate like a horse at Sam's too. You can never quite predict how she is going to do with these things.

Meanwhile, today is also the first day of summer vacation. Amanda is already trying to line up things for Lily to do. Tonight is the stage rehearsal for Saturday evening's recital, so Lily has that to look forward to. Last year the stage rehearsal didn't go so well for Lily. I think she fell asleep in the car on the way there. Hopefully it will be better this year.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dropping Hints

At dinner last night Lily let us know that her friends Jada and Mikayla both get to stay up until 9 o'clock. She also told us that their parents stay up until 11:00.

We let her know that she still needs to go to bed by 8:00. If she doesn't she is very grumpy the next day. What she may not realize is that we need for her to be in bed by 8:00 as well. I don't know when either of us would have any quiet time or time together if we didn't have the kids in bed an hour or two before we go to bed.

Today is the last day of school. Yes, Lily is going to be a first-grader. We've already decided that she is not going to stay up late all summer. She is welcome to sleep in though. It still amazes me that she won't wake up for school days, but on the weekends she is up right at 7-zero-zero.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Last Day

Today was the last day for Amanda's small group until the fall. More importantly, it was the last day for Noah to be in Mr. Paul's room. Mr. Paul would bring in the basketball hoop every week so Noah could play ball. As you might imagine, this became a source of great joy for Noah each week.

Noah will be moving up to the two-year old room the weekend of July 4th and 5th. It's hard to believe that he is moving out of the nursery hall. The little guy is growing up right before our eyes!

He's still the same cherubic Pook for now though. We're in no hurry to lose that.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Little Sneak

I had two surprises from Noah yesterday. The first happened while Amanda was at tea. I had gone down to the basement to order some special birthday food for Amanda and left the kids unattended upstairs. That's not a big deal as we do that all the time. The house is pretty safe for Noah.

As I came upstairs and went into the kitchen I was surprised by what I saw. Noah had climbed up onto one of the kitchen chairs and got into the box of doughnuts from breakfast. He was standing there stuffing his face with a chocolate iced with sprinkles. There were sprinkles everywhere. I also found that he took a couple of bites out of a creme-filled. He must have decided it wasn't worth his time because he never made it to the creme. I yelled Noah Chamberlain!, got him down, and cleaned him off. He didn't get a treat after dinner.

The other surprise was after his bath. He doesn't like being wrapped up in the towels after his bath anymore. I conceded by drying him off and letting him walk back to his bedroom. The only problem is that he stopped part way to pee on his carpet. Fortunately, it was only a little bit.

We didn't have such problems with Lily. There was nothing subtle about her mischief. Noah is going to be a little tougher. Fortunately, he is more complaint when you give him instruction. Nevertheless, we hear the footsteps coming for the terrible twos.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Birthday Pics 2

Birthday Pics

Here are a few shots from our picnic today at Lake Crabtree. This was part of Amanda's birthday celebration.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Date Night

I have been sorely remiss in not taking Amanda out on a date since we got back from the cruise in March. We weren't really in the mood through March, April was busy with Easter and school, and May just kind of slipped away from me. That doesn't make it right for April and May, it's just how it was.

Nana and Grandpa Jack came over to watch the kids last night while I took Amanda out to dinner. We had a nice meal and it was good just to get away without the kids. It is just so incredibly liberating to eat a meal out without any kids. Although, to be fair, Noah is really the tough one these days.

The kids had fun last night too. In fact, the first word out of Noah's mouth this morning was "Nana." He got a little nervous last night when he saw them, so I reassured him that we would not be leaving for 8 days this time.

Incidentally, he is starting to reject sippy cups. I guess this is good in a way, but it's also a little scary at mealtime. Amanda tells me that if he is going to go with big-boy cups then I get to sit next to him and have milk spilled on my feet. That seems fair.

Uncle Mark might be interested to know that Noah really likes my old Tupperware cups that used to be an object of so much teasing toward me. If that's not a testimony for Tupperware I don't know what is.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Gearing Up

We've got a big weekend coming up. Today is Cousin (Niece) Brenna's 4th birthday. Amanda and Lily will go for the celebration of that tomorrow morning. Then in the evening we are celebrating Grandpa Jack's birthday. Sunday is Amanda's birthday and I have a few things in the works for that. Plus, Grandpa and Nana have graciously offered to come over tonight to watch the kids so I can take Amanda out.

In the meantime I just hope that we get a break in the thunderstorms when I need to pick Lily up from the bus.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Babysitting Central

Amanda seems to have waves where she does lots of babysitting and this is one of them. Yesterday she had over Ruby and Alex, who are the children of Lily's dance teacher. Their mom is going to Kenya for an short-term missions trip and needed someone to watch her kids while she got shots. The good news is that Noah did well with them and he didn't even mind napping while they were here.

Today Amanda is going to watch Ava who lives kitty-corner behind us. It will just be for a few hours in the morning. Hopefully she and Noah will get along. She's 4, so it's hard to say what she will think of a 2 year-old boy.

Lily gets a little bit sad when she misses kids coming over. However, she does enjoy her kindergarten class. It's hard to believe that there is only a week left of kindergarten! We're working on things to keep her busy over the summer, but not too busy. We hope to get her going on the piano. Amanda got her a video for learning Spanish, so we'll see how that goes. Amanda is going to sign her up for serious swimming lessons (8 45-minute classes) so she will be safer in the pool. I'm sure that there will be playdates.

One sign of maturing I've noticed in Lily is that she wants to sleep in on school days, but is out of her room promptly at 7-0-0 on the weekends. I certainly don't want for her to start developing the habit of staying up late and sleeping in until 9:00, but we wouldn't mind it if she slept until 7:30 on Saturdays and Sundays.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

More Koalaty Kids

In the middle of this little video is Lily introducing the next song at their "Kindergarten Celebration of Success" (not to be confused with a graduation, though they did start with "Pomp and Circumstances"). Please forgive the squished-out distortion of everyone. I had to film it with the camera on its side because of the angle I had. I assure you that Ms. Snoots (back of the head in the pink shirt) is not nearly that wide. Quite the opposite actually.

This other video is Lily really performing for a song. She got a LOT of comments about it. Hey, when they tell her to do a move she does a move.

Springtime Lillies

Here is a shot I took this morning before walking out to the bus. What amazes me is that the lillies you see started off as one plant that we got a few Easters ago. It just keeps spreading like crazy. They sure are pretty now.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Handy Sunday

Saturday evening was kind of a rough one for me. Amanda and her friend went out to dinner, which left me with the kids. That was fine, but the kids were a little grouchy and I was starting to get a little short after being with them all day. Then Lily was trying to get some ice out of the freezer door only to have the door get stuck. In my attempts to fix it I made things worse. It got so that the flap covering the opening wouldn't close all the way.

On top of that I had to do some work on Amanda's laptop. Plus, the Indians and Cavs got stomped in their respective games. It wasn't pretty.

Sunday morning I decided to tackle the freezer door problem. Thanks to some useful online resources I was able to get it done in an hour or so. The trickiest part was getting the cover off the dispenser. I felt pretty good about getting it repaired, especially since Lily thought that I would have to call someone to do it.

In the evening we went to a picnic for our new church campus in Morrisville. It was good to meet a few new people and enjoy some time outside in the nice weather. The kids had a great time. There were balls there, so Noah was happy!

The only complication was that there was no room on the side dish table for our potato salad. Now I have a big bowl of it to eat. I wonder if we're going to get a visitor from California at our door to help out?