Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Little Man

After a brief setback a month or so ago we are trying to press forward once again with Noah and the potty.  Saturday night I left him in his underpants for bedtime instead of his nightly diaper.  He had been doing so well that I thought we should try again.  It's gone well for three consecutive nights.  One thing I have done differently is change his teeth brushing routine slightly.  I used to give him a few sips of water after he brushed his teeth, but have stopped doing that.  It seems to be helping.

Not only is he sleeping in big-boy pants, but we are working on peeing standing up.  So far it's a pretty messy process as he isn't quite sure what to do, but he is into it.  We realized that this was not something we could force, so I just kept asking him if he wanted to try.  Eventually he did.

It's going to be great when he can pull his pants up on his own.  I can see a day coming in the not too distant future when Lily and Noah each go to the bathroom by themselves.  I hate to wish away time and I want to enjoy Noah while he is particularly sweet, but I really won't miss these trips to the bathroom when we're out and about somewhere.  I would welcome correction on this point from any parent out there who has been completely through potty training.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Let's...Rock 'N Roll

Today was the third straight day that we went bowling, which I know is a personal record for me.  We are loving the Kids Bowl Free program.  The startup costs were kind of high with buying shoes for everyone, but we are getting hours of cheap entertainment out of it now.  I spoke to the manager at the bowling alley and he said that the goal is not to rack up shoe rental fees as one might think, but to get kids interested enough in bowling that they might join a Saturday bowling league that is complete with coaches.  That day may indeed come someday.  It would help if the kids could actually roll the ball, but they're having fun for now.

In other news, Lily has been invited to participate in Fairytale Camp for free this week.  That should be fun.  She likes bowling well enough, but I think being around her dancing buddies will be even better.  Amanda is glad for the distraction too.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Back Home

We had a fine trip home Thursday, though it was very long.  I gave in to the temptation to stop in Carlisle, PA to visit the Banner of Truth publishing house and bought two books for 50% off because they were slightly damaged.  We left at around 8:50 AM and got home around 8:15 PM.  It was a long day, but not a terrible one.

Yesterday was a catch-up day.  Amanda caught up on laundry.  I took care of a limb that fell off our pear tree.  I also got the van's annual inspection done.  I also find myself rebuilding the home computer yet again.  I wasn't planning on doing that nor am I very excited about it, but these things need to be done sometimes.

Not all was mundane, however.  As a family we collectively assembled Noah's Thomas table.  At first he wasn't that excited about it, but I think he may have just been overwhelmed at first.  He started using it quite a bit later in the day.  The cool thing about this table is that it will make a fine play surface for LEGOs someday too.

The other fun thing was a trip to the bowling alley.  Noah really enjoyed that, as always.  Lily gets a little frustrated because she wants to do better, but she just isn't quite strong enough yet.  We'll see how it goes as the summer progresses.  Besides that, we celebrated the end of my semester with a trip to Goodberry's.  It's hard to beat key lime as a flavor on an incredibly hot day!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Birthday Trip

We took a trip up to Watkins Glen for Noah's birthday. We had quite the trip. On the Monday we took Nana and Grandpa on a death march through the Gorge Trail. This included a little over 800 steps. The kids did pretty well, though there was some carrying involved. Lily did climb her fair share of steps. The views made it completely worthwhile.

Below you can find a photo from Noah's birthday celebration picnic on Monday:

We had a busy, but a little bit disappointing day on Tuesday. We had hoped to hike Robert Treman park, but it was raining. We ended up going to Wells so Amanda could show Lily her alma mater. Lily was suitably impressed. We ended Tuesday with a nice dinner including some giant marshmallows brought by the Pierces' old neighbor Bruce.

We split up today after breaking camp. The Pierces went home and we finally got in the hike at Robert Treman, You can see one of the waterfalls below. We finished up the day with a little walking tour of Ithaca and some shopping on the Commons.

It was a good trip and a nice visit, but it's time to go home. My next dispatch should be from the home computer.  Here are a couple of bonus pics with the kids:

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!

We managed to pull off quite a coup yesterday.  Amanda and Tiffany did the coordinating, but as a collective group we managed to surprise Grandpa and Nana for their 40th anniversary.  We had a very nice party at a local park.  It was a little warm, but not at all muggy.  We had a ton of food.  Everyone seemed to have a good time.  If they didn't it was their fault.

Most importantly, Grandpa and Nana were very surprised and very touched.  Today we're going bowling to celebrate Noah's birthday a day early because the alley isn't open on Monday.  Then we're going camping this week.  It should be fun.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Endless Mountains

We made a trip to Pennsylvania yesterday to visit Grandpa and Nana.  We had the typically long drive, but it was beautiful and without event.  We arrived to a nice dinner and Grandpa prepared a great campfire for us to enjoy.  Nothing like having s'mores for dessert.  They're even better when you can go and wash up all the sticky funk.

Amanda's grandma is also visiting, so the house is pretty full.  We have the kids sleeping in one room, grandma sleeping in another, and we're sleeping in tentasaurus outside.  It is nice to get out of the oppressive humidity of North Carolina.  I can't remember the last time I was worried about being cold.  It's supposed to warm up now, but we'll enjoy cool, foggy mornings while they last.  The plan is for us to do some camping up at Watkins Glen next week.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

New Shoes

I picked up Noah's bowling shoes on Monday.  They are a little big on him, but it doesn't matter too much.  He can walk in them and he can get up to the line to throw the ball.  That's all that really matters.  He is to the point now where not only does he eschew the ramp, but he wants to throw the ball with one hand.  I get him a 6-pound ball with "X-small" finger drillings.  He puts his fingers in the holes and I hold the ball with one hand.  We still do "one...two...three...THROW!"  It's now even harder to get the ball to roll down the lane in any consistent manner.  We did manage to pick up a spare one time.

We plan to take him bowling for his birthday.  It should be fun.  He can't get enough of it.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Dad and Pook

I spent a lot of time with Noah yesterday.  I had hoped to finally get the lawn mowed, but we had some thunderstorms late Saturday night and everything was soaked.  I was not about to do it after things dried out because the high yesterday was in the mid 90s and it was very muggy.  Instead Noah and I ran some errands.  We went to Big Lots and Wal-Mart to get some camping supplies for our upcoming trip and then Sam's for a few groceries.  After his nap we went out to a Thomas table.  I guess I'm going to need a different time-killer once he has his own table.

Amanda enjoyed a nice, quiet day.  I'm pretty sure that Noah's bowling shoes have come in and I plan to pick them up after work today.  That will make for a good time-killer on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Tea Party

Amanda and Lily had a lovely tea party with Nikki and her mom yesterday.  Amanda got everything together and they met at Duke Gardens.  It was hot, but they found a shady spot.  We haven't hit the time of completely oppressive humidity yet, so a little shade definitely takes the edge off a hot day.  Meanwhile, Noah went with Grandpa Jack and Nana to visit Aunt Nat and Clark.  Everyone had a nice time.

I stayed home with the kids in the evening yesterday while Amanda and her parents went to a wedding for a cousin.  The wedding was outside and I understand it was pretty hot.  Anyone who attended our nuptials knows about a hot day for a wedding.  Hopefully theirs was less buggy.

As I write Amanda and Lily are napping upstairs.  Noah is settling down.  We have a big evening tonight as we plan to celebrate 3 birthdays after church.  It should be fun, but I won't be surprised if kids are not getting to bed until 9:00 PM tonight.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Safe Travels

Grandma and Grandpa arrived yesterday.  The kids were thrilled to see them, so it was a little tough getting them settled down to bed, but we managed.  We put Lily down in our room to start because Noah tends to sing and stay awake in his bed for a while.  The problem is that Lily is not easy to get out of bed when she is sleeping.  She fights to keep the covers wrapped around her and then mutters nonsensical things when I pick her up.  Getting her into Noah's top bunk is not easy either, but we manage.

Lily's report card was good.  We have a few things to work on over the summer, but there are no big red flags.  She needs to practice reading and writing, but she has shown that she can read her Beginner's Bible.  If she reads the whole thing this summer we will buy her a fish.  It should also help with school.  I understand that the first schools were invented so children would learn how to read their Bibles.  That's kind of how we are looking at it here too.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Getting Ready

We have quite a weekend ahead of us and it's only Thursday morning.  Yesterday Amanda and I worked on a little something for when Grandpa and Nana arrive today.  Today Amanda is going to clean house.  Meanwhile, it is also the last day of school.  It was supposed to be yesterday, but today is a make-up day for all the snow we had that one week.  Incidentally, it was close to 70 degrees and muggy when I went out jogging this morning and that snow looks pretty good right about now.

Lily and Amanda are having tea with Nikki and her mom tomorrow.  Then there is a wedding tomorrow night, but the kids and I are staying home.  We're celebrating three birthdays Saturday evening (Grandpa Jack, Brenna, and Amanda).  Then on Sunday things settle down as the Pierces are going back home.  It's going to be busy.  I'll keep blogging as I'm able.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I took the kids to the pro shop to get bowling shoes last night.  This is starting to become a fairly expensive proposition, but if we go to the alley 8-10 times this summer it will have been worth it.  We had to order Noah's shoes.  They actually had little girl shoes in stock.  Lily's open-toed high-heel sandals from Target are a 13.  We figured that a youth 1 would be big on her.  She ended up going home with a youth 3, which are big.  However, I'd like to avoid this purchasing exercise next year.

Noah was devastated that we couldn't stay to bowl.  If nothing else he liked watching the folks bowl.  I think he's really going to enjoy the free bowling this summer.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


We celebrated Amanda's birthday proper yesterday.  The main thing is that I took care of the kids so she could go out and do her own thing without being tied to Noah.  She had lunch with a friend and did some other fun things.  We ended with dinner at Biaggi's and came home for a cake that is just about to 11 on the decadence meter.  One tip -- if you do make it be sure to poke some holes in the cake before icing it so you get some of the fudgy goodness throughout the cake.

Noah and I went bowling in the afternoon.  I wasn't able to buy his shoes because the pro shop I wanted to use didn't open until the evening.  Even with the rental it was still a great time at a reasonable price.  He eventually eschewed the ramp in favor of a 6 pound ball.  We rolled it down the lane together.  He didn't do as well with that as he did with the ramp, but he still had a great time.  As you might imagine, when we did nighttime prayers that was the highlight of his day.

Monday, June 7, 2010


The thing Amanda most wanted to do for her birthday this year was to go tubing.  In case you're not sure what this is, you can check out this link from the company where we rented our tubes.  We pushed the limits of a day trip with a 2 hour drive each way, but it was completely worth it.

Amanda packed a picnic lunch which we enjoyed on their site.  The only problem was that we were kind of rushed after eating and before leaving for our tubing adventure.  Consequently, I did not apply my sunscreen very uniformly and have a very patchy burn.  Now my skin color looks even more ridiculous with my shirt off -- something like a pink instead of a black cow.

Noah had one of the kiddie tubes with a bottom and a rope.  We tied the cooler tube to Amanda's.  The main problem was that although Lily had a smaller tube she was pretty nervous about it.  They didn't have a life jacket for her like we thought they would.  Even if they did she would have been very nervous.  She did relax about 1/3 of the way through.  Next time we'll get her a tube with a bottom.

The whole experience was very mellow and it was a great way to spend a 93 degree day.  There were 2 spots with a tiny bit of class 2 rapids and one spot with a 1.5 (if such a thing exists).  All that meant was that we moved a bit faster and got splashed a little bit.  Noah loved it.  Lily grew to like it too.  Amanda and I had a great time and would do it again in a heartbeat.  It would even be more fun with some grandparents or with another family or two.  And for those of you who are nervous about water -- there are very few spots where you cannot stand up comfortably.  I was glad for my faux Tevas though.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The S-Word

Amanda and Lily had an interesting conversation at bedtime last night.  Amanda almost said "stupid," which in our house is the "s-word."  Amanda said something about saying "the s-word," and Lily talked about how a boy on her bus named Wesley used another s-word.  We thought we knew what that was and said that we don't say that.  But then Lily surprised us by saying that the word was "six."

Of course, she misunderstood because the word was actually "sex."  Wesley is a little bit older than Lily and he seems to be trouble.  He is also the boy that got Lily into trouble by having her punch him in the stomach.  That earned her a trip to the principal's office.  We only heard about it from Lily.  I guess her teacher didn't think it noteworthy that a little kindergartner punched a much larger boy in the stomach.  Frankly, I trust her judgment on that one.

We're not ready to put her in a convent, private school, or homeschool her.  She's going to run into folks like Wesley eventually.  I'd rather she do it while we can still be strong influences on her.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


We took the kids camping last night at Jordan Lake as sort of a practice for future camping.  We had a lovely spot that was about 50 feet from the water.  We had a space big enough to accommodate our tent, which I have affectionately named Tentasaurus. It rained just a tiny bit right around bedtime, but not enough to get anything wet.  Overall, we had a good time.  There were a few problems though.

One was that everything in the area is slightly damp from the humidity and all the rain we've had.  The firewood I bought at the campground was not very well seasoned and it was very difficult to get a good fire going.  We did manage to roast hot dogs and make nutella s'mores though.  This was also a pain in the morning as we planned on eating pudgie pies (or hobo pies).  We did manage eventually.

The other problem was Noah.  He's not used to sleeping with someone else.  Once it became clear that he was not going to sleep well with Lily she and I swapped spaces.  I woke up many times with little feet digging into my back.  He's quite a dynamic sleeper, as most 3 year-olds are.

Finally, it was hot.  You kind of expect that when you camp near Raleigh in June.  It was still cooler than the time Amanda and I camped in Baja Honda in the Florida Keys for her birthday.  It was still very nice to get into the van and crank up the A/C when it was time to go.

Our next adventure will be at Watkins Glen when we visit Grandpa Jack and Nana.  After that we may take a weekend trip up to the mountains to check out Linville Falls and anything else we can.

Incidentally, I asked Noah what his favorite thing about camping was.  He liked doing somersaults on the air mattress in the morning.  He actually could go all the way over.  He and Lily had a great time in Tentasaurus.  Hopefully it's the first of many.

Friday, June 4, 2010


Amanda has a friend from church with two small kids.  Reid is almost exactly Noah's age and his little sister Halley (sp?) is just over a year old.  They came over so that their mom could get a little break while dad is out of town.  When I got home from work they were both in the kitchen hanging around Amanda while she got pizza crusts ready.  They were very well-behaved and seemed to have a good time.

It's really something to hear two not-quite-three-year-old boys try to talk to each other.  The good news is that, communication issues aside, they had fun playing.  This is what we're looking forward to with Noah going to preschool this fall.  He's got his shapes, colors, and counting down pretty well.  He needs to spend more time with other kids.  Hopefully one of the other boys will want to play ball every day.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Research Assistant

I am working on the paper for the class I just finished.  I want to get this done as quickly as possible, so I'm looking for any seams in the day to go to the library.  I decided to take Noah out last night.  Besides, I had to go to the grocery store.  Sadly, Lily was interested in neither.

Noah is not quite ready for the library.  Fortunately there was no one else there when we were there.  He did a lot of running around, which was just fine.  He also did some taking books off of the shelves, which was not fine. I had to make some copies from some reference commentaries.  Noah loved pushing the green button and "collating" the copies.

One of the books I copied just barely fit on the glass.  If I wasn't careful it cut off the edge of the text on one page.  I examined each sheet to make sure I had what I needed and tried to slow Noah down by saying, "I need to check this first."  Later, as he pulled copies off he would say, "I need to check this" and would give it a visual once-over.  It was very cute.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sunny Days

We had a busy family day on Monday.  It started with a doughnut run to Kroger.  At first I was disappointed that the doughnut selection looked old and they were really picked-over.  Then a woman came out from the bakery with trays and trays of fresh doughnuts!  We really enjoyed them.

Then we went to Lake Crabtree for some time on the water.  We rented a pedalboat.  Amanda and Lily did most of the work while I dealt with Noah crying about sunscreen in his eyes.  I made the mistake of putting the wrong kind of sunscreen on his face.  After washing his eyes with water about 2 dozen times he just got into the habit of whining.  Nevertheless, it was a good time and then we had a nice picnic.

Next we went over to the McKenzies' and the ladies took the kids to the pool while Bill did yardwork and I read a book for class (I also squeezed in a nap).  We ended our time there with some Dickey's BBQ.  It was a good day and the kids were really tuckered-out when we got home, as was Amanda.

Yesterday was also a good day.  Amanda did a bunch of baking and had a good day with Noah.  Hopefully today goes just as well.  Our bowling shoes should be coming in the mail soon and then Amanda will take advantage of the Kids Bowl Free promotion we signed up for this year.