Thursday, April 29, 2010

Checking In

I got to work from home today, which has been a blessing.  It was a lot of fun to go outside with Noah at lunch and play catch for a while.  He's been a little bit of a pest in coming down to the basement, but I can certainly forgive that.  It's hard to be upset when your little boy wants to spend time with you.  I'm writing as I wait for a process to finish at work.

I got Lily from the bus today.  Noah was sitting on the couch when we got back.  When he saw Lily he said, "Hi, Lily!"  Then after a pause he asked, "How was your day?'  He may have worded the second question a bit differently, but the intent was there.  It's encouraging to see that we are showing him the right way to greet someone when they come home and even more encouraging to see him pick up on it.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Happy Gilmore

As I've written before, Noah absolutely loves his Little Tykes golf set.  He is happy to smack the ball up and down the front yard.  Yesterday he added a cup for a target.  It's a little tricky to get the ball into the cup, but he likes to try.

The thing is that he is not sure if he's playing golf or hockey.  Sometimes if he hits the ball really well he'll throw both hands up (club included) and yell, "He scores!"  He got that from watching Caillou.  He's not quite sure which sport he's playing, but the important thing is that he is really enjoying it.  I'm working with him to explain the difference between golf and hockey.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Once Again

Noah has a habit of waking up screaming.  The problem is that we are putting him in a diaper for the night and he needs help with it if he is going to relieve himself.  The other problem is that he cannot handle the potty duties by himself.  Even if he were better at dealing with his pants I am afraid that we would wake up to some puddles in the morning.

The good news is that he usually settles down pretty quickly after these midnight emergencies.  He is showing more signs of independence with this, so I think that these days are numbered.  The really good news is that his diaper is dry almost every morning now.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Whirlwind Trip

I'm back from a quick trip up to Cleveland.  My step-aunt Linda passed away in February and we had the Cleveland memorial service for her yesterday.  I went up to support my Uncle Joe and make an appearance for the family.  It was a nice time, though a really brief visit.

Meanwhile, Amanda took the kids to Spring Daze yesterday.  They met up with another family and had a nice time.  One of our neighbors always has a booth there, so it's fun for Lily to see her in another context.

Today Amanda and the kids went to a neighbor's house for tea.  We see them at the bus stop.  They have a fifth-grader, so this is the last year that we will see them there.  They are very nice and it was a good break for Amanda.

Back to the grind now.  Between the zoo and the quick trip north I feel kind of out of it.  What I do know is that I need to get a little extra sleep tonight.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Day at the Zoo

One of the great perks of working at First Citizens is that we get 16 hours each year for "school functions."  It's a fairly ambiguous term that can mean lots of things.  My boss also has small children and we think that it means that we can chaperone field trips. I did that today for Lily's class trip to the zoo.

The way they did it was to give each parent 2 or 3 kids, including their own.  Lily and I toured the zoo with Kimberly.  Kimberly was very sweet, but as with most kids her attitude started to fly south a bit as she got tired. It's tough not being able to employ any of my usual tactics because she isn't my kid.  I felt like the typical impotent parent in just asking her to do what I'm asking her to do, such as not to climb on the railings or to stay on the path.

Overall, I think we all had a good time.  I know that Lily and I did.  We ended up with incredible weather, though it was cool and slightly drizzly at the start it never really did rain and it ended up being sunny and mild by the afternoon.  The polar bear at the NC zoo is a lot of fun. The chimps were entertaining as were the gorillas and the baboons.  I really enjoyed seeing a scarlet ibis.  Just put an OSU scarf on it and you're all set!  We also liked seeing a momma elephant bathe herself and her baby tried to chase a goose.

I look forward to seeing what next year's field trip brings.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Little Slugger

Noah took his first really good spill yesterday.  He was running around in the cul-de-sac and fell.  He ended up with a little cut above his lip and a skinned knee.  Amanda said that he was a bit less stoic than usual, which is certainly understandable.  But he still ate a good dinner and was in fine spirits when I came home from class.  He was in bed singing and I came in to tuck him back in.  He greeted me with an enthusiastic "Hi, Daddy!"

You just can't put a price on that.

Plus, he was laying in bed doing Tom Hamilton home run calls.  I kept hearing him say "Waaay back....gone!"  He loves to dream about hitting home runs and will ask me to set up a situation for him, so I'll say something like:

EVERYbody on their feet at the corner of Carneigie and Ontario.  Hafner at third...Peralta at second...Indians trailing 4-2 with two down at the bottom of the ninth.  Rivera sets.  Checks the runner.  Now the 2-2 pitch to Pook...

Swung on and BELTED.  Deep to right.  A-waaaay back......gone!  It's a game-winner.
(long pause)
A three-run walk-off home run for Pook.  And Pook...about to get mobbed at home plate.  The Indians win, 5-4.

He'll make me do that over and over and over again.  I'm more than happy to oblige.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

New Shoes

I took Lily on a daddy-daughter date Sunday.  We went to Southpoint and she had a wild cherry icee.  This has become her treat of choice ever since we went to mini-golf.  I have since learned to buy them at Sam's Club ($1.08) instead of someplace like the mall ($2.95).  That's a free tip for you dads out there.

I think the highlight for Lily was our trip to Target.  She got a new pair of shoes.  If you're interested, you can see what they look like here.  Lily is ecstatic about having the little bit of heel.  The trick is now going to be keeping her from scuffing them up.  She still has a tendency to do a lot of running and skipping, which is great for a little girl.  However, that does not lead to well-kept shoes.

It is abundantly clear that Lily is going to need to be watched lest she become a fashion hound.  She loves new clothes and new shoes.  She is all girl and that is great.  However, we need to watch out that this does not become a problem for her.  The good news is that she paid for half of these shoes with her allowance money.  She is starting to get a better sense of the value of money as a result.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Adopt an Orphan

Our church was blessed to have the Watoto Children's Choir perform this weekend.  As you can see if you follow the link, this is a group of kids from Uganda who tour the US raising money and awareness of what AIDS  has done in Uganda.  From what I can tell, the Watoto model is a good one.  They don't just throw money at the problem, but they actually provide a structure and environment to help these kids.  They get fed, clothed, educated, and, most importantly, they learn about Jesus.

They have a way for you to "adopt" an orphan.  For $35/month you can provide for the needs of one of these orphans.  We do something very similar through World Vision.  I think both are good charities and we certainly don't need the money as much as our orphan does.

The concert was open for all school-age children.  We had Noah in his class, but Lily enjoyed the concert with us.  She got very excited about this adoption business.  We told her that we already supported an orphan, Sophia.  She was confused.  She kept talking about "really" adopting one.

Turns out that she thought we were going to bring a child home with us.  She loved that idea.  Then on the bus we explained that she wouldn't be the oldest sister anymore because these kids are older than her.  She wasn't sure what to make of that idea.  She still wanted to adopt a child.  We explained to her how it works.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


I may have created a monster with Lily.  I wanted her to see an example of "tough" so we started watching YouTube clips of the Rocky training montages.  She loves them.  We've since graduated to watching some of the climactic fights, though I think we're going to stay away from "Cut me, Mick."  Lily gets all excited and starts punching at the air.

Then as she sits on the couch with Noah he drops something on her knee and she starts to cry.  I'm not sure that she's quite making the connection.  Rocky Balboa she ain't.  But that's OK.  I just don't want Noah to be quite so ready to cry every time he gets a little ouchie.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tooth Fairy I.O.U.

Lily lost her second tooth last night.  She hurt it while eating dinner as it was so loose that it started to go sideways.  She went into the bathroom and after much wiggling she got it out.  There was a little bit of blood, but fortunately she wasn't too freaked-out.

Then I made a major parental whoops.  She had the tooth on the kitchen table and I inadvertently included it in the various crumbs that I wiped up and put in the sink.  I felt around in the drain, but could not find it.  Lily dictated a note to the Tooth Fairy that she left under her pillow.

Amanda made a cute note with a tiny pink font and rolled it up with a pink ribbon.  Lily was very glad to get it.  Now Lily wants to get a photo of the Tooth Fairy and her castle.  I told her that she would have to request that next time and then the following time she might get the photo.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


We had beautiful weather yesterday and I had class.  Amanda took the kids out for a picnic.  Amanda was a little disturbed that a group of older boys wanted to hang around Lily.  They weren't ridiculously older, but they were probably around 5th grade.  Lily enjoyed the attention of course, but Amanda made sure to keep an eye on things.  I suspect that this is a preview of things to come.

Noah had a rough night last night.  He woke up around 10:30 or 11:00 screaming.  Amanda took him to the potty, which usually does the trick.  He wouldn't settle down.  I eventually ended up giving him some Motrin around midnight, which did settle him down eventually.  It's tough to deal with a borderline hysterical 2 year-old in the middle of the night, particularly when his verbal skills aren't the best even in more lucid moments.  We got through it though.

Today is shaping up to be another lovely spring day in the Triangle.  I suspect that there will be time in the park for Amanda and Noah today.  You have to take advantage of these days as they come.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Working Hard

We really like Lily's school.  She has a new principal since her former principal went on to a middle school.  He seems very attentive and Lily likes him too.  She has a good teacher, teacher's assistant, and even a student teacher.  She has a good circle of friends and really seems to enjoy going to school.

What amazes us is the homework she gets.  As I've written, Lily is good at math.  However, their solution is not to give her harder math problems instead of the regular problems.  Rather they give her harder problems in addition to the regular problems.  Given that she does the regular problems very quickly this isn't a big deal, but it really is a lot of work on Monday afternoon.  She has her regular homework to do.  Then she has to do some of her extra math problems.  She then has to start working on her new reading and spelling words for the week.

Fortunately she got through it without too much trouble yesterday.  She still doesn't particularly enjoy being challenged, but we're working on it.  It's hard to believe that we're down to the last two months of school already.  Lily will soon be a second-grader!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Making the Grade

In the middle of all the drama with our air conditioner I forgot to mention something significant for Lily.  She got her Q3 grades on Friday.  She is at grade level in everything except math and art.  She got a 3* in math and a 4 in art.  For those who don't have the secret decoder ring, that means that she is above grade level in math and exceptional at art.  I'm still not seeing what her art teacher sees, but she is the pro.

Amanda and I found it remarkable that the principal hand-wrote a note on Lily's report card.  I've got to think that he did that for all the students.  His advice was that Lily should keep practicing her spelling.  Lily is quite good at writing stories and generally aces all of the spelling pre-tests on Thursday, but she gets a little unfocused when it comes time to write out stories.  She is also a bit resistant to practice old words as she doesn't seem to think it is necessary.  We'll work on it though.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Night Out

No, this isn't about a date night for Amanda and me, though I need to work on planning another one.  I had a busy week with class on Tuesday and Thursday nights and the class Amanda and I taught Wednesday nights.  Amanda promised a "girls' night out" to Lily, so I had a "boys night out" with Noah.  We finished dinner and went our separate ways.

Amanda and Lily went to the park and then got some Drumsticks for dessert.  Noah and I went to Goodberry's.  After all, I'll take any excuse to eat Goodberry's.  Then we went to Barnes and Noble so Noah could play at the Thomas table, but it was so crowded that he wanted to leave pretty quickly.  As a consolation I took him to the mall across the street and we rode up and down the escalator at Dillard's.  It was a fun evening.

I think I may take Lily and/or Noah out tomorrow afternoon.  We're enjoying some incredibly beautiful weather and we need to take advantage of it.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Still Sticky

I thought that the air conditioner was working when I got it to cool the house yesterday morning.  I'm not sure why, but I managed to get the condenser and the blower working simultaneously.  Alas, it was not to be for the rest of the day as it was quite sticky when I came home from work and remained that way all night.  We have someone coming out this morning.  Ironically, we're supposed to have thunderstorms today and the weather is supposed to cool off considerably for the rest of the week.

Brenna and Uncle Bill came over yesterday evening while Amanda and I taught a class in the marriage seminar at our church.  We had a lot of fun doing the seminar.  I'm not sure how much fun Uncle Bill had, but he said that it was fine overall.  Both Lily and Noah like playing with Brenna, but the interactions aren't always the best.  Lily can get a little bossy and Noah can get a little pushy.  He's used to Lily tackling him.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Heat is On

We are having an unusual warm spell for this time of the year.  The daytime highs are approaching 90 and it is only getting down to the high 50s at night.  It's a good ten degrees warmer than usual.  I noticed on Easter that it was a bit stuffy in the house, but I didn't think too much about it.  When I got home from class last night I noticed that it was really stuffy.  Our A/C appears to be broken.

The good news from what I can tell is that the condenser seems to be running fine.  The problem is that the blower doesn't blow.  Cool air just creeps out of the vents.  I have made a couple of calls and hopefully someone can come out today.  We have grown accustomed to refrigerated air.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Happy Easter!

We had a very nice Easter celebration.  I made a ham and Amanda prepared some asparagus and baked some lovely rolls.  Tiffany brought scalloped potatoes and a big bowl of carrots.  Eric and Natalie brought Clark, which was just fine.  She offered to bring rolls, but we didn't want a new mom working on food.

The kids enjoyed the annual Easter egg hunt.  It was beautiful weather for it, though everything is coated with yellow pollen.  Overall, the kids played well together.  And, thanks to the lack of nap, Noah even went to sleep right away and is still sleeping.  Maybe we need to get him over-tired and over-sugared more often.  Maybe not...

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Early Easter Pics

We were good Hopians and attended our Easter service last night.  It felt a little weird, to be honest.  However, the service was great and our pastor gave a crystal-clear presentation of the hope that the Christian has.  Anyone can worship a great teacher.  As Christians we worship a risen Savior.  If you go to the tomb of Abraham you will find bones.  If you go to the tomb of Mohammed you'll find bones.  But when they came to Christ's tomb they couldn't find Him.  No one has ever produced a body, even though that's all it would have taken to stop the movement in its tracks.  Plus, I can think of no other explanation for the newfound courage of the apostles who were willing to be martyred for Christ.  The 9/11 hijackers died for what they believed to be true, but how many men would be willing to die for what they know to be a lie?  Certainly not over 12 of them.

On a lighter note, here are the pics.

Friday, April 2, 2010

April Fool's

I had a great day with the kids yesterday.  We left the house a little before 10:00 and went to the airport observation park.  Noah had fun playing with the various balls that other boys brought and Lily made a great sand "castle."  The kids played there until a little after 11:00 and then we went to the only place for lunch -- Chick-Fil-A.  After that we headed over to the Barnes & Noble so they could play at the Thomas Table.  The big highlight came after that when we went to Adventure Landing for some mini-golf.  Lily actually had a legitimate hole-in-one.  We got home around 3:30 or so.  It was a long day, but a fun one.

On the way back we cooked up a good April Fool's joke for mommy.  I had Lily tell her that I bought her a fish.  Amanda bought it, but I had Lily let her off the hook pretty quickly as I knew that Lily would crack.  Later Amanda told Lily that we got an email from her school's new principal stating that he has a policy that girls cannot wear dresses anymore.  They can only wear pants, shorts, skirts, or skorts.  Lily got pretty upset until Amanda told her that it was an April Fool's joke.

Overall, I was very proud of Lily yesterday.  She plays really well with other kids.  She got a hole-in-one in mini-golf and even was willing to take a little instruction.  And she did a great job delivering the joke.  I'm most proud of the first thing though.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Falling Down

Lily has a mild obsession with eschatology, or "last things."  We have explained to her that Jesus is going to return someday to set up His kingdom.  She refers to that as "heaven coming down," which is as good an explanation as any.  We have explained to her that in the new heaven and new earth things will be perfect.  You won't be able to get hurt.  As a rapidly-growing and somewhat klutzy six year-old, she takes that to mean that we won't be able to fall down anymore.  That seems very appealing to her.

I have a great video about this, but now the only way to post videos is through YouTube and we don't necessarily want our kids there.  Lily very deftly rode her scooter down our street and occasionally did so with one leg sticking straight out to the side.  Ballet is doing her good.