Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Pics

This is Lily in her Princess and the Pea regalia. This was for "fairy tale day" at school, which should never be confused with Halloween. I wonder if this is a case where political correctness is the result of overzealous Christians instead of some other group?

This is the jack-o-lantern that I lovingly carved Friday night. I was afraid that the nose wouldn't show up and I was right. I learned a valuable lesson for next year.

Here we have the annual Diet of Worms cake. I tried to explain the 95 theses to Lily tonight, but I'm not sure that she quite got it yet. Her only context for "church" is our church, so it's kind of hard to explain how there was just one church for a long time (we won't get into the Eastern/Roman schism), etc. Either way, she and Noah both really liked this cake.

"You've grown up Annie."

I can't even begin to count how many compliments Lily got on her costume. The yellow face paint didn't show up in the dark, but it did make for a good photo. Amanda is getting pretty adept at the face painting. This costume was a reprise of her ballet recital outfit. She didn't have the wings or the face paint then, but she did have the pretty barrette and the dress.
I took Noah and Lily around our cul-de-sac. Noah was done with a house or two to go. He was glad to be home, get undressed, and get into bed. Lily and I went back out to do the neighborhood up right. Her plastic pumpkin bucket got heavy enough that she complained about carrying it. There is much chocolate to be eaten in the next several months.

I don't know why I do such a poor job of estimating how much candy we need. This year I only got one big bag at Sam's and that still ended up being way too much. I also bought a bag of peanut butter cups and a bag of butterfingers today, just in case. Coincidentally, both types of candy will be good in ice cream. Funny how that works out.

Getting Ready

We spent some time yesterday evening getting ready for today. This is the first time that we have carved a pumpkin as a family. Amanda found some templates online and after much discussion with Lily we found one that we could all agree on. We ended up with a pretty silly face. Lily is looking forward to seeing it lit up and, frankly, so am I.

Today is just a big day all around because it is also Reformation Day. In the spirit of that we are going to have a Diet of Worms cake. We may sing the Reformation Polka as well since Lily certainly knows the tune. There is also a helpful explanation of all the lyrics here. We may also listen to "Here I Stand" on the way to church today.

Of course, we're also going to go Trick or Treating tonight. Noah is going to reprise his Darth Vader costume and Lily is going to be a sun princess, which will recycle her costume from the last dance recital. Noah is only going to make a lap in our cul-de-sac, but Lily and I will go farther afield in the pursuit of sugar. Hopefully the rain will hold off.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Play Date

Lily got invited to her friend Ruby's house yesterday for a play date. It was a good use of the early release time that Lily gets every Wednesday. She had a lot of fun decorating little pumpkins and just generally playing with her friend. Ruby is even coming over Friday to play with Lily while she is off for a teacher workday. This will be a good distraction for Lily in what might otherwise be a long day for Amanda.

Today is "fairy tale day" at Lily's school. Lily's costume is from "The Princess and the Pea." She is going to wear a dress-up dress, pink tights, play high heels, a tiara, and carry around a pea in a gold jewelry box as well as a blanket to suggest bedtime. I'll post a picture once I have one.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pook Quotes

When we were at the Pumpkin Patch Noah spent some time in the smaller inflatable bouncer. He wasn't quite sure what to make of it, but he was having a good time. Then a bigger boy of maybe 4 came in. He knew just what to do in a bouncer and had a great time. Noah was a little unsteady at first, but seemed to enjoy getting bounced. Then the boy jumped up and landed on his butt. This concerned Noah and he asked, "Are you OK?" It was very sweet.

We had a little trouble with Lily yesterday over her not eating her lunch at school. Of course, there was much drama and tears. Noah said, "Don't worry, Sissy," and kept trying to reassure her.

As of right now, Noah seems like he has some physical toughness in that a little bump here and there may slow him down, but it doesn't set him off screaming. He also seems to have a tender side in how he deals with others. Maybe when he starts playing football he can be a Mike Singletary type of guy. Got to work on his crazed look first though.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pumpkin Patch

We went to a local pumpkin patch and corn maze yesterday evening. Here are some pics from the event.

First, our beloved leader and standard-bearer. Like any good leader, she knew when to listen to her people. Sometimes Daddy actually knows the right way to turn in the corn maze. We did find all 10 waypoints and got ourselves a free ticket. I may take her back some evening so we can try it in the dark.

The men of the family.

Queen of the hay bales.

Someone may usurp her crown one of these days soon. You can't tell from this photo, but Noah's feet are about 5 1/2 feet off the ground when standing on top of this pile of hay.

They had a tube approximately 5 yards long under the hay. Lily was pretty fearless.

Noah was not quite as fearless, but he did do it eventually.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


These really need no introduction nor is any introduction going to do them justice. Enjoy!

At the Fair

I took Lily to the 10th Avenue North/Jeremy Camp concert last night. We left almost as soon as she got off the bus so we had plenty of time to take in the things she likes. We watched the blacksmiths for a few minutes and then went off in search of the cows. Lily milked a cow this time and was very brave about it. She thoroughly enjoyed her chocolate milk that she got after she was done.

Then it was time for dinner. We ate some corn on the cob. I got a sausage sandwich and Lily had a piece of cheese pizza. For dessert I had ice cream and she had frozen cheesecake dipped in chocolate. We had some time to kill before the concert and Lily wanted to watch the blacksmiths again.

The concert was very good, though we had to deal with the safety police. They won't let anyone stand on a chair, which is understandable. However, they won't let you put your child on your shoulders either. I ended up having to hold Lily for a lot of the concert. They played a lot of songs that Lily knew and she enjoyed that. We hustled out just as the concert ended in time to see the fireworks. Lily really liked that.

It made for a late evening, but it was worth it. Hopefully my ears will get back to normal soon!

Friday, October 23, 2009

More Car Windows

We're enjoying summer's last gasp here. This morning it was in the low 60s. That's windows-down weather when driving, as far as I'm concerned. The problem is that the driver's window in the old Civic has been sticking more and more lately. Normally there is a sticky spot in the middle and I can just fight through it. Today as I tried to roll it up in anticipation of the highway it just stuck. When I got to work I realized that it was completely out of the track.

I was thinking about taking this afternoon off anyway so I could get a few things done. I didn't really bargain for having to do some DIY repair on the car. Thanks to the internet, the advice of some knowledgeable coworkers, and the right tool I am now back in business with a working window. I don't like the sound it makes when it is near the top, but I can live with that for now. Sadly, I used up most of that productive time trying to put my inside door panel back on. Now that I know the trick it will be quicker next time.

Now I'm hoping that the rain stays away long enough for Lily and I to enjoy the fair tonight.

Two Coats

Amanda took Lily and Noah shopping yesterday. Our church participates in a program called "boot buddies" where congregants take a name of a child and buy winter clothes for that child. Amanda intentionally chooses a girl around Lily's age. Lily used to have a real problem with this because she would want the stuff that Amanda would buy for the little girl.

This may seem like a form of torture, but this is slowly teaching Lily about how other kids don't have the stuff that she does. Based on what Amanda tells me, it went pretty well last night. The good news is that Lily needed a coat for the winter too and Amanda found them on sale.

Lily seems to be getting better at this idea of giving stuff away. We'll see how it goes someday if we take Noah to buy a ball for a little boy who needs one.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Spirit Sprint

Today is the annual Spirit Sprint at Lily's school. This is the annual fundraiser for the PTA. Rather than selling chintzy candles, etc, they are very forthright about the need to raise money. The kids then do laps around a course laid out with cones. I'd guess that the course was maybe 1/16 of a mile or so. They had about 20 minutes to do as many laps as they could. Lily ended up with 11 rubber bands (Update: the first thing she said to me upon alighting from the bus is that she dropped 3, so she made it through 14 laps). They get a rubber band after each lap, but the teachers are very explicit about the need to turn the rubber bands back in when done.

I'm glad that I was working from home today and was able to attend the event. Lily walked more than she ran, but she seemed to have a good time. First-graders don't really get the concept of pacing yourself. She was all-out or nothing. One thing for sure -- she will need a bath tonight!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Passing the Torch

We've had a few cool evenings lately, so Grandpa Jack has taken advantage of our wood-burning fireplace. Our fireplace is sort of like watching the grandkids in that he gets to relive some of the fun that he had with the wood stoves at their old house, but he doesn't have the ongoing responsibility of keeping the fire going day in and day out. We all enjoy the fires too, so it's fun for everyone.

Noah in particular is enjoying the fires. He also likes to help Grandpa build them. He balls up newspaper and tries to throw it in to the fireplace. He really enjoys the process. He and Grandpa had the fire prepared during the day, but they didn't light it until the evening. He kept saying, "We build fire? We build fire?" He was ready to see it go.

Obviously at 2 Noah is not quite ready to handle fire. However, it's good to see that he has a boy's interest in it. This is something being passed down from grandfathers on both sides as well as his dad. We've got to keep this going.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Let's Bowl!

We had a joint birthday celebration yesterday for Melanie and Tiffany. Since yesterday was cool and drizzly Tiffany decided that we would go bowling. We had a lot of fun. The advances in bowling technology for children amaze me. I don't remember automatic bumpers protecting the gutters when I was a little kid. Nor do I remember a metal ramp to help get the ball down the lane.

Noah used a 15 pound ball because I knew that he couldn't lift any of them on to the ramp. That actually helped make the ball roll a little more true. He actually had a strike with his first ball. Lily, on the other hand, used a 9 pound ball and it would often hang a right as it approached the pins. We did manage to get her a spare once.

Overall, it was a good time. It looked nothing like this.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Caring Boy

We were driving home from church this evening and Grandpa Jack had a big cough. Noah asked, "Are you OK Grandpa?" It was very sweet.

Third Day

Yesterday was an eventful one here, but not in a bad way at all. Amanda's parents are in town for their annual trek down to the Sunshine State and are staying with us for a few nights. They arrived in the early afternoon. Then almost as soon as I came home from work Amanda and I left for the state fair to see the Third Day concert.

We saw them a few years ago at the fair and enjoyed the show, but were not that impressed. This time the show was very good. We finally learned our lesson and got seats on the floor instead of up in the grandstand. The acoustics were much better and we could actually hear the vocals without a ton of echo.

Of course, no trip to the fair is complete without some fair food. I eschewed the fried snickers bar this year and instead opted for a waffle cone of pumpkin pie ice cream. Amanda got some fudge. Overall, it was a very nice time and it was good to get out sans kids.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Small Feat

We are starting to reevaluate some of our menu choices since Lily's doctor's visit. We need to cut down on the fish sticks and nuggets and go with some healthier foods. The main problem with this is that nuggets and fish sticks are easy to prepare and the kids will eat them.

Last night we had a dish that is adapted from something we got out of Real Simple magazine. Basically, you carmelize some onions with garlic in olive oil, add some sausage of your choice (it calls for italian, but I used chicken sausage yesterday), add cooked pasta (it calls for gnocchi, but we used whole-wheat penne), fresh spinach, and grated parmesan. It's easy and with our modifications it is fairly healthy.

The problem is that Lily hates pasta. There is something about the texture that she just can't handle. Last night I told her that she had to eat 2 noodles. Normally she pitches a huge fit about this, but last night she just did it by eating some of the sausage with it. We've been trying to get her to do that for a while, but something seemed to click yesterday and she did it without fighting or gagging. Hopefully this means she is on the road to actually eating pasta, but I'm counting on nothing.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Little Hiccup

Amanda called me at work yesterday morning with some surprising news. The back window in our van had been smashed in. We called the insurance company and it is getting repaired today. She called the police just to let them know and it seems that we are not the only ones to have this happen. The officer found a rock in our driveway that was likely used for the smashing.

It's one of those little annoying things in life, but we're not particularly rattled by it. I don't think that Cary is going to turn into Compton any time soon. Still, there is a part of me that would like to sit outside in the dark and try to catch the punks that did this.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Well Child

Lily had her 6 year checkup yesterday. She has caught up to the 50th percentile in height at 45 1/2 inches and is in the 50-75 range for weight at 49 pounds. The doctor is a bit concerned about her weight because she gained it faster than height. It looks like we may have to change a few things and watch her portion size. It's such a shift for us because she has always been so tiny and we wanted her to eat as much as she was willing. Now it looks like we may have to cut her off at one bowl of risotto.

The good news is that she is in good health overall. It's a good reminder of what a blessing it is to enjoy good health and not take it for granted.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Making Statements

Noah is getting better and better at talking, though his diction is still such that it usually takes Amanda or me to understand him. One of my favorites is when I ask him if he wants to be carried somewhere and he says, "I will walk." There is a certainty about his tone that is very cute.

It is also clear that he wants to express more than he is able to say. He will say "because...because...because..." while he is groping for words to express something. This is usually after being asked "why?" but not always.

He has also started to get into the "how come?" or "why?" loop himself. He'll start asking, "how come?" about something and just keep asking that no matter how we answer. I'll play along for a while, but eventually you just have to stop.

While these things are cute, he is also definitely a two year-old now. He is starting to form more definite opinions about how he wants to spend his time (watching videos, for example) and what he does and does not want to eat. The good news is that we can usually find a way to get him to try various foods and once he tries them he likes a lot of them. He is definitely off proteins now, but I'm sure he'll be more interested when he's ready to have another growth spurt. Small children and babies definitely give credence to the verse in Psalm 139 that states that we are "fearfully and wonderfully made."

Monday, October 12, 2009

Love Me Do

We're wrapping up Grandma Judy's visit today. She and Lily have had a really great time. On Saturday they went to Crabtree Valley Mall to buy Lily's birthday present. Lily ended up getting a LEGO Star Wars set. She also got three extra LEGO people and has been having a great time with them. It also helps that we've been playing a lot of LEGO Star Wars II lately as well.

Yesterday I had to attend a meeting at church, but I found something fun for them to do. Cameron Village was having its annual Groove Fest and they had a Beatles' cover band there. I dropped them off, went to the meeting, and then picked them up so we could come home for dinner. They had a great time. Lily wasn't even trying and she ended up getting about 6 feet of glow sticks. Grandma says that Lily was a bit tentative for around 20 minutes, but she warmed up to the show and was dancing like crazy after a while. That's our Lily.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Grandma in Town

Lily, Noah, and I picked up Grandma Judy from the airport yesterday. We had some homemade pizza and then Amanda had to run to get to a pesto-making party at a friend's house. Grandma and Lily had fun together. Lily was of course up to her usual tricks of extending bedtime as long as possible. With Noah in the room she ended up going to sleep in our bed and I transferred her before I went to bed. Noah popped up, but after a quick tucking-in he settled back down.

Lily's attitude was not the best last night, but we had some talks about it. She was very tired from being up so late on Thursday night. I knew that would happen, but I'm still glad that she got to go to the concert. She is getting better at learning how to control her reactions when she gets frustrated.

Friday, October 9, 2009


Our church hosted a stop on a Christian music tour last night. The original plan was for Amanda and I to go, but Amanda was sick and I took Lily. We had a pretty good time, though there were a couple of snags.

I bought her a glowstick for $2 so she could play with a blue glowing ring. She had a lot of fun with it until she managed to break it. The glowing stuff inside splattered around, which looked kind of surreal. It reminded me of the blood in Predator.

Building 429 ended their set with "O Happy Day," which is a song that Lily really likes. She stood on her chair for it, but got a little too far to the back and the chair folded on her. You'd think that she had a compound fracture of her lower leg, but oddly enough she was able to stand on it.

Lily's favorite part was the girl group "Kimber Rising." I was pretty unimpressed with them, though they did sound nice. She didn't want to talk to them afterwards though. She never does.

I really enjoyed Todd Agnew's show. He's very funny, but he's also quite challenging and deep. The main problem was that it was getting pretty late by the time he came on. We stayed until the end and then pretty much bolted. Lily didn't get to bed until nearly 10:30. Hopefully she has done OK in school today. I also hope that her attitude is OK with Grandma Judy tonight.

I wish I could have got video of Lily standing on her chair singing one of the songs she knew. She really gets into it. I think I'll have my chance either at the fair or at Winter Jam.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Change of Heart

Lily made a fairly stunning announcement a couple of weeks ago. She declared that she "hates the princesses now." When you consider that there was a time when everything she had involved the Disney princesses, that is quite a change of heart. She also decided a few months ago that she doesn't like Hannah Montana. That was just fine with us. We explained why Hannah Montana was not good for her and she seemed to accept it.

The princess news is a bit hard to take. I will admit to getting pretty tired of them. I think an argument can be made that they set up some pretty unrealistic expectations in little girls, but that isn't much different than all of us boys who want to be superheroes and save the world. While I won't miss them I will miss the Lily who loved them. I don't want to hold on to the past, but it's a good reminder to enjoy the stage that she is in now.

Meanwhile, the Pook is still obsessed with sports and I hope he stays that way for a long time.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Noah's Future?

I can envision Noah doing this someday.


Amanda tells me that Lily almost had a hole-in-one when they played mini golf on Sunday. In fact, she was so close to the hole that she counted it as a hole-in-one. Amanda had to tell her that was lying and that she really had a "2" for the hole. She understands that now.

Maybe golf is a good game for her to learn how to be consistently honest. Then again...

Monday, October 5, 2009


We had Lily's birthday party yesterday. She wanted to play mini golf, so that is what we did. Three friends came over. Amanda has been trying to scale the parties back a bit since setting the bar so high with the airport party and the tea party. This time we just had cupcakes and ice cream bars. Lily opened up her gifts as each guest arrived and we got a photo right then. Amanda did some face painting and then they went off to play mini golf. As you can see from the photos, a good time was had by all.

Left-to-right: Lily, Hannah, Courtney, Nikki.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Lily and I were reading the story of Jesus feeding the 5000 with five loaves and two fish. I try to talk to her about the story after we read it to make sure that she understands it. She came up with a scenario where there were 200 people at our house, but the Crock-Pot with risotto never got empty.

In other words, a bottomless pot of risotto is Lily's dream.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

More Growth

I'm not sure how Noah is going to handle it once baseball season is over. Now he actually asks for "recap." I asked him if he could say "recapitulation," but he wasn't keen on that.

I'm working from home today. I just overheard this from Amanda:

"Noah, what are you doing? GET OFF THE TABLE, NOW!"

Ah, life with a 2 year-old. Overall, he's very good, but there are moments.