Monday, November 30, 2009

Math Wizard

Lily came home with a big red paper apple that reads, "Great job in math!" She got this from her math teacher today because she got everything right. It isn't her regular teacher because they're trying something new where her teacher is working with the remedial kids and the other kids go to other classrooms. Her math teacher was thoroughly impressed with her today.

Lily explained that she has been playing blackjack with her daddy and that is why she is doing so well. She told me that the teacher was amazed. I suspect she was amazed at several levels, for better or worse.

All I know is that I remember learning about blackjack from my grandfather (the same one who taught me Rummy) and it was part of my ongoing fascination with numbers. Lily is enjoying it now and it's helping her in math. Plus, I hope that in the long run it will help her to understand probability a little bit better than the average Jane.

Putting up Christmas

With Thanksgiving being a bit later than usual this year we decided to get a quick jump on putting up Christmas. This will end up saving us from a little bit of the hectic pace that December tends to bring anyway. Besides, I like having the tree up before my birthday on the 11th.

Lily and I went down the street to the Christmas Tree lot that we usually patronize. We are officially in charge of picking out the tree. Last year we got a little crazy (I keep thinking of the old man in "Christmas Story" asking, "Don't you have a big tree?"). This year's edition fits better in the corner. Lily is getting the hang of putting on the ornaments, though she still tends to bunch them up a bit. Nevertheless, she is getting pretty good at it. She also had some very creative ideas for using bows and ribbons around the house.

I got the outside lights up too. While it may have felt a bit strange, there is something to be said for weather in the high 60s when putting up lights. It doesn't feel particularly Christmasy, but we'll take it for now.

Noah likes the decorations too. I think he is slowly getting trained about not playing with them. We're also working on him not throwing balls near the tree too. It's a process. I think that things will go better than they did last year anyway.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Going Out

Lily had the day off yesterday, but fortunately the weather was nice, albeit a bit blustery. Amanda took the kids out on a picnic, which of course they really enjoyed. It turns out that Noah really likes a Wendy's jr. cheeseburger. I think the boy has Ohio in his blood.

As I type this the kids are at Uncle Bill & Aunt Tiff's house. I took Amanda out to dinner last night and then we headed to Target to nearly complete our Christmas shopping. It feels good to have things mostly done for everyone on our lists, though there will be some small things for teachers at school and Sunday school teachers.

In a couple of hours we're going to get our kids and then take Brenna for the day and night. I'm planning on doing a little bit more shopping for Amanda so that Amanda's morning is mostly child-free. These child-free mornings are nice to have once in a while. I enjoyed not going out running until 6:40 after sleeping in until 6:00. And now I can get some reading done for school without worrying about getting breakfast together.

I do enjoy hanging out with our kids, but the breaks make the heart grow fonder.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Few More Pics

This is Noah in his rain gear.

Our sun fairy.

Noah sporting his puppy jammies.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I want to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving from the Chamberlain household. As this blog chronicles the ups and downs of our household it is sometimes easy to lose sight of the big picture. We have much to be thankful for including, but not limited to:

  • A roof over our head
  • Clothes on our backs
  • Food on our table
  • Good health
  • The freedom to worship as we choose
  • The security that comes from living where we do
  • Most of all, salvation purchased for us by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross
I hope that you take time today to consider all that you have to be thankful for.

Big Game

I took Noah and Lily to the Cary High men's basketball game on Tuesday evening. We got there partway through the first quarter of the JV game. Noah sat in rapt attention through the whole first half. Then the Cary High dance team performed at halftime and Lily was thrilled. Noah started to get a little squirmy as the second half went on and was downright antsy by the end of the game. I found out that the dancers were going to perform during halftime of the varsity game too, so per Lily's request we stuck around. We sat on the bottom row and I had to put Noah on my shoulders for the whole varsity game.

Noah really wanted to get out on the floor with the players. He also wanted to play with the ball. He didn't understand why that couldn't happen. Despite the squirminess and complaining, he clearly had a really good time. He spent the better part of yesterday evening asking me about going to another game.

Lily wants to go to another women's game. If we're going to see women's basketball I'm going to look into going to a college game. I think that might be more fun for both of us as I think it would be a better product. Plus, the cheerleaders should be more talented and Lily will enjoy that.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Gapes of Wrath

Noah is officially 2. He has been for 5 months now, but he is becoming a bit more terrible each day. He kind of woke up with a chip on his shoulder this morning and it hasn't quite gone away. For example, at lunch today Amanda gave him some grapes (or "gapes" as he calls them). She wanted him to thank her for giving them to her and he wouldn't do it. She took them away and he still wouldn't do it. We coaxed him for a good 5 minutes and he just wouldn't give in. He kept using his new favorite phrase which is, "I don't think so." I'll try to get that recorded so you can enjoy it.

I wish that this was an isolated incident, but it's not. He is becoming more wild and vocal about things. Last night he bumped his head in his crib because of his thrashing when I put him down. Yes, raising a boy is a lot different than raising a girl. On the bright side, I think it's good that he isn't too docile. Boys should have a little bit of fire in them.

Monday, November 23, 2009


The Band of Brothers from our church did a benefit concert for the Hope for Haiti Foundation. They cover a lot of rock songs from the 70s and 80s. The venue was not quite as good as the last one because we had to go outside to hear them. It was sort of gray and not quite drizzling, though it did start a bit as we left. Nevertheless, Lily and I had a great time there. The original plan was for Amanda and Noah to come for the show and we would have dinner there. It just would not have been good with Noah, so I picked up some Moe's on the way back.

Lily had a really good time dancing. She's not quite got the hang of following, but she is getting there. She has a strange proclivity for back-leading. Amanda thought that was quite funny.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


The highlight of the day yesterday was taking in the annual tilt between OSU and Michigan. I brought Lily and Noah over to Uncle Bill & Aunt Tiff's house to watch the game. Bill made breakfast and I brought buckeyes. He went all-out this year and invited some friends from a former job over. We even had a Michigan fan in the mix, though she was fairly quickly resigned to her team's fate as the second half progressed.

Noah is still at the stage where he just repeats back "O-H" to you when trying to get him to say "I-O." Nevertheless, he is extremely cute in his little OSU jersey. It's a number 28 and he turned into a little Beanie Wells at church last night when he decided that he wanted to run through all the people who were milling around. At his size it's pretty easy to navigate quickly through a crowd. It's a bit harder for dad to catch up.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


I had a late evening at work yesterday that kept me from getting home until 7:00. When I got home I found Lily and Amanda watching "Stomp" thanks to the Roku. There's nothing quite like watching one of your children laugh hysterically. She thought it was really great. Of course, some of the humor went over her head, but that's OK.

She was very upset when it was 8:10 and she had to go to bed with no card-playing. She still doesn't quite have a good sense of time, but instead things in terms of activities. I think in her mind she watched a video, should be able to get ready for bed, and then do what she normally does before bed. We got through it though. We still deal with the occasional hysterics, but usually we just get a scowl and some whining before she is resigned to whatever fate she has been assigned.

It seems that our years of not backing down are starting to pay off. As I watch how some folks at my office deal with news I think learning to accept unpleasant decisions is a life-skill she will very much appreciate someday.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Lily's school had a fundraiser at Chick-Fil-A tonight. I'm not sure what the cut was, but we filled out a little card with her information and some portion of the take from tonight will go to her school. Her gym teacher was there serving drinks when we got there. He spoke very well of Lily.

We had our usual high-quality Chick-Fil-A meal, but the atmosphere was lacking. I have to think that we were breaking some fire codes in that restaurant. Noah had a meltdown while I was waiting in line to get dessert. Lily got upset at the end because she saw some of her friends in the play area and wanted to play with them. We realized that we had to get out of there both for the common courtesy of freeing a table and because Amanda and I were ready to freak out.

I've been in Lily's cafeteria and that is way more orderly than what we experienced tonight. No matter what we got a good meal out of it and Northwoods made some money. The fact that Chick-Fil-A sponsors these events is reason #859 to eat there, I think.

Spa Treatment

I had a little bit of a surprise when I came to bed Tuesday night. My side of the bed smelled very strongly of Bath & Body Works lotion. It seems that Lily and Amanda gave each other spa treatments. Lily likes having her feet massaged. She also likes the little wood "happy massager," but she doesn't like having it pressed on her too hard. She'll work up to it.

Amanda is a very proud mommy.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Playing Cars

Noah did something kind of funny yesterday. Amanda usually plays with him for a few minutes between the end of lunch and his nap time. He decided that he wanted to play cars. While she may not enjoy it quite like the tea parties with Lily, she was happy to play cars with Noah. Noah led her downstairs and she figured that he had some cars down here that they could play with.

It turns out that he wanted for her to play some Burnout. That was definitely not going to happen. It does warm my heart that Noah enjoys it so much. When I restart a race or a crash event Noah always asks, "We try again?" It's very cute to see him sitting on the couch in rapt attention holding a PS2 remote that isn't plugged in.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Block Party

We hosted a fairly informal block party yesterday. Our church encouraged us to do something to get to know our neighbors since it is impossible to love those you do not know. We had maybe a third of the houses in our street represented. Many folks were out of town. Two households dropped by when they got back from their trips just to say hi. It was good to talk to some people that we have lived near for 6 1/2 years, but never really got to know.

Amanda came up with the theme of a chili cookoff. We had a total of 4 pots of chili, including ours. As you might expect, some were better than others. Nevertheless, it was a good time. I think it's something we may try to do next year as well. We need to recover from this one first though.

Noah did have a little bit of a rough patch in the middle. He somehow found his way into the backyard and got stuck. Amanda had to rescue him. It still amazes me at how quickly he recovers from small traumas like that compared to Lily. The boy is resilient.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Long Night

Thursday night was a very long one. Noah kept waking up crying. I got up a couple of times and Amanda did as well. She ended up bringing him into the bed with us. It wasn't a big deal for me, but he kept snuggling up to her and kind of pinching at her to make sure she was still there. He slept for a couple of hours.

We knew when he woke up because he started crawling around our pillows. He saw us sleeping and asked, "Are you feeling sick, daddy?" and, "Are you feeling sick, mommy?" I put him back in his crib and he cried yet again. This time we gave him a few minutes and he settled down.

The strange thing is that he wasn't sick yesterday. We're not sure what happened, but it wasn't a good night. Fortunately last night was much better.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Day Off

I apologize for the lack of updates this week. My morning schedule has been disrupted and if I don't blog before work it generally doesn't happen.

We all had the day off for Veterans' Day yesterday. I took a jog in Hurricane Ida, which was an interesting experience. Afterwards I got cleaned up and took the kids out shopping. We went to Big Lots and got some stuff for our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. Then we went to Crabtree Valley Mall to look around and do some tea shopping at the Teavana store.

Noah is just adorable at the mall, though he is also kind of a pill. He doesn't like to have his hand held. But if I don't hold his hand he gets very easily distracted and doesn't keep up. He can be pretty high-maintenance at times, but I'm still very glad to bring him. Lily seemed to have fun too.

Lily's friend Ruby came over in the late afternoon. Amanda baked them some scones that she had in the freezer and they had a little tea party. The two of them get pretty rambunctious together. It's not so much that they fight (though that happens), but that they just work themselves up into a frenzy as they play. I do think that they both had good times though.

Back to work for me today. It's a little strange having Wednesday off, but I'll take it.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Card Shark

Lily and I have been playing cards rather than video games lately. We usually play a game or two of crazy-8s, then some go fish, and usually finish with a little blackjack. She understands the basic concepts of crazy-8s, but needs to work on the strategy. The problem is that she doesn't really care about it that much.

She is getting quite good at go fish. Of course, her powers of recall are somewhat legend. The problem is that go fish with two people is not a lot of fun. It usually comes down to one card in the pile. But Lily enjoys it and it is something we can do together.

Blackjack is coming along. You may wonder why I would teach Lily how to play blackjack. Well, I suppose I could be argued out of it, but it is helping her practice her addition. Frankly, I think that it is good for the kids to understand how games of chance work. A basic understanding of probability theory will help them navigate life a bit more rationally than they otherwise would have. That, and there is a part of me that likes the story that Kate Bosworth's character told about learning blackjack from her dad in the movie "21."

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Few Pics

Here is Noah in all of his rain gear.

Lily in her sun princess regalia.

The shorn Pook.

Friday, November 6, 2009


I had to do some research at Duke yesterday. I went after dinner and took Lily along with me for the ride. I sold it by her being able to play with my iPod touch. Of course, parking is always at a premium at a college campus. Duke has a couple of circles in the long road leading up to the chapel. I found a spot and wedged the little Civic in there. I asked someone near his car parked in a similar spot if I'd be OK and he thought I would be.

It turns out that I was in a fire lane because I got a ticket. It was just a warning ticket though. It did tell me that next time my car would be towed. This made Lily very nervous. We had to spend about 10 minutes talking about this. She wasn't quite in tears, but she did keep saying, "next time you should park where you usually do." Normally I park in the parking deck for their clinic, but it is a good 5-10 minute walk from there to the library and I didn't want to spend that kind of time with Lily in tow in the dark.

Lily's anxiety about this reminded me of the time my mom and I were driving back from the Browns' playoff game in January of 1981. Mom got a little distracted and accidentally got on I-480 W at the split near the airport. I saw the signs for Toledo and was crying because I thought we were going to end up in Toledo. She got off at the next exit (incidentally, this is where we get off to go to Uncle Chris and Aunt Krissy's house), turned around, and got us back on track for home. It was still a lot for my 7 year-old mind to comprehend though. Amanda told me that I shouldn't have mentioned towing to Lily. In retrospect I think she's right.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Better Late than Never

A while back Grandpa E gave Lily some foam balls. They're a little bit hard to describe, but you've seen them. They're a little bigger than a softball and are covered with vinyl. These in particular have a Spider=Man theme to them. One has the Spider-Man red and blue. Another has yellow and green for Doc. Oc. Lily played with them a little bit, but now Noah is really into them.

If you ever have a chance to watch Noah and he asks for his "piderman ball," you'll know what he means now. Noah is still working on the "s" to start a word. While he needs practice with that, he doesn't need a lot more practice with basic throwing a catching. It's uncanny how well he can do that. He may catch better than Lily. When he does a two-handed underhand throw he does quite well. However, what he often wants to do is throw with one hand, which he does with a Nomar Garciaparra-like whip (though left-handed and not nearly as accurately). He also likes to pat the ball into his hand like a quarterback does with a football. It's very cute to see.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

First Thing

I am of the belief that what we think of first-thing in the morning tells us a little bit of who we are and what is on our minds. I've noticed a trend with Noah. It's pretty common to hear him giggling in his crib while talking about basketball.

I look forward to takin him to a high school game this year.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Parent-Teacher Conference

I met with Lily's teacher this morning. As expected, Lily is doing well and Mrs. Turner described her as a "sweetheart." Lily's main behavioral problem is that she does like to chat. She comes by that pretty honestly. I told Mrs. Turner that I usually had a desk off on my own. They have tables now and are pretty crowded, so they can't do that. The good news is that Lily gets a green dot every day for good behavior, so it's not that big of a deal.

Lily does need to improve her writing a little bit, both the mechanics of writing and communicating stories. She is pretty much where she needs to be, but it's something that could use a little work. She gets a little frustrated when she has to slow down with her writing. We'll work on it. She certainly has no lack of notebooks or pencils for writing.

I think Lily has a good teacher and will learn lots from Mrs. Turner. And hopefully Mrs. Wiggins can help her stay a little more focused at lunch time so she will actually eat the meals that Amanda packs for her.

Little Astronomer

I had to take Noah to Lowe's yesterday to get a couple of things. We went after dinner, so it was already very dark. As we got out of the van he pointed at a star and called it the moon. Fortunately we had a nice clear night, so it was easy to show him the full moon. I then explained that what he saw before was a star. Or, as he says, "tar." Hopefully he'll stop calling everything the moon. He also calls the sun "the moon." He's trying to figure it all out.

Either way, he was extremely cute in the car cart at Lowe's. It's nice that he enjoys going to the stores. Lily makes a point of saying that she doesn't want to go now.

Monday, November 2, 2009


Yesterday was a cool and rainy one. I took Noah to Sam's with his full rain gear on. He got a lot of compliments on his frog raincoat and boots. I carried him in to the store through the mist and the wind, but he still wasn't very happy. I tried to get him to growl and show how tough he is, but that just made him giggle. I guess a giggle is better than a grimace.

We have Noah's Christmas shopping done, but Lily is a bit tougher. We have a lot of stocking stuffers for her, but nothing big. I took her to Toys 'R Us for a little shopping and made a list. Her eye immediately landed on the $150 Millennium Falcon. I admit that it looked very, very cool. However, she's not going to get that. We saw some other things that looked interesting, but it was hard to find anything that got her really excited.

I guess it's good that she doesn't want for too much. If we had her spend a day in front of the TV I bet she could come up with more things she would want.