Friday, July 30, 2010


Amanda really got on the ball yesterday.  Lily's school published its required school supply list and she was able to get most of them yesterday in the afternoon.  She then took Lily out after dinner and almost completed the list.  They got home after 8:30, but that was because of the trip to the thrift store.

Apparently Lily has a good sense of fashion for an almost 7 year-old.  What I find interesting is how consistent she is.  She picked out lots of tops with sparkles on them.  She also got some jeans with sparkles.  She very patiently tried on a ton of clothes and when all was said and done she was almost completely set for school for around $40.

It's times like this when we're very glad that we've raised Lily to think that the thrift store is a normal place to buy clothes.  She occasionally gets something new, but we've been very happy with the thrift store purchases so far.  Why mess with a good thing?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Grumpy Boy

Yesterday evening was a bit rough with Noah.  He reluctantly ate dinner and ended up throwing some blueberries on the floor.  He spent all day begging Amanda to play a game on the Wii, but when I played it he lost focus after about 10 minutes.  He went to bed OK, but he clearly was not right.

Lately we've been getting him up for one last pee when we go to bed.  He barely wakes up for this, but it helps him get through the night and well into the morning.  But last night he woke up around midnight.  I helped him go to the bathroom, but he started crying again shortly afterwards.  The problem is that he had to poop, but he wouldn't do it.  Amanda ended up getting up with him twice last night, but he was so out of it that he didn't go.

Let's hope that a little activity today will grease the works.  He had been doing really well with this lately, so hopefully this is just a single aberration.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My Daughter

Oftentimes Lily will do things that seem like she is a carbon-copy of Amanda.  This is particularly evident when she puts on a show, though I did some of that when I was younger too.  But today she did something that very clearly evidenced my influence.

I am working from home today and I volunteered to take her to piano camp.  There are two entrances to Meredith College and I wanted to try one that she had not taken before.  She told me it was wrong and talked me out of turning the van around.  As we went farther down the street I realized that I was right and so I turned the van around.

Through this whole time she was screaming her head off.  You would think that I was trying to drive the wrong way down a one-way street.  She was so frantic that she even grabbed the back of my collar to get me to stop.  The problem was that she did not know that way and was not sure that it would work.  Since Amanda went home out of that entrance yesterday she thought that it was only for going out.  However, once she saw that it worked she got quiet.

The tough thing for me was not laughing through all of this.  I really had to work hard not to laugh for a variety of reasons.  The good news is that I paved the way for Amanda to take her that way tomorrow.

Piano Camp

Lily had her first class at piano camp yesterday.  This was held at Meredith College, which is a women's college about 15 minutes from our house.  This is also where Lily took swim lessons in the past. Incidentally, she has decided that she wants to go there for college.  We'll see about that.

She was very nervous about going to the camp.  She kept asking if she knew anyone in the class and we kept reassuring her that she would make friends.  She was so nervous that she didn't really eat much breakfast yesterday.  But of course she made friends and had a good time.  She learned about the accidentals yesterday and two songs where she plays them up and then plays them down.

We're hoping that this will spark an interest in the piano.  She needs to learn an instrument sooner or later so she understands how music works.  We figure the sooner the better.  We don't expect her to be a virtuoso or anything, but we know that if she learns the piano it is something that she will appreciate down the road.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Pest Control

Like most residents of the South, we have critters.  These guys crawl up through the drains and sneak under the doors.  It's pretty much impossible not to have any in your house at all.  I spray periodically, so I find lots of dead roaches in the basement, but we see live critters in the house from time to time.

Today was one of those times.  I was using the half bathroom in off the kitchen when I hear Lily let out a blood-curdling scream.  I had seen the critter as I went into the bathroom, but I figured I'd deal with him when I was done.  Lily was not happy about this at all.  Imagine the heroine of a horror movie.  Lily thought she was auditioning.  Move over Janet Leigh.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Busy Afternoon

Lily got double activities yesterday.  First, Katie and Sarah's mom too her to our neighborhood pool.  Lily swam her little heart out, which was great.  The problem was that she had to go to dance class immediately afterward.  She just wanted to rest, but it was time to go.  She said that there were times in dance class when she just wanted to sit down.  But she pushed through.  I'm very proud.

As I write this it is 7:24 AM and she has not got up yet.  You know that she was pretty tuckered-out when that happens.

As a return for all the hospitality they've shown us, we've invited Katie to spend the night tonight.  Tomorrow's blog may be interesting.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Discipline Tool

If you really want to get under Amanda's skin, walk up to her and ask, "Can we pway bow-wing on the Wii?"  Why does that bother her?  She hears it dozens of times a day now.  In fact, she's not sure that buying the Wii was such a good thing because of this.  The boy is obsessed.

The good news is that it served as a great motivational tool last night.  "Noah, do you want to play the Wii tomorrow?  Then stop crying and let me get you dressed."  Sure enough, that worked!

I'm working from home and I can hear the sound of his plastic bowling pins hitting the floor.  I think it may be time to find Noah a shirt that says "Bowling is Life...the rest is just details," because that's how he's living right now.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Yesterday was a big day for Lily.  Everyone visited at Aunt Tiff's pool at lunchtime and they got home in the late afternoon.  We ate a fairly quick dinner and then went to the local pet store.  Lily picked out a 1/2 gallon bowl, a little sunken castle, some gold/pearl fake stones, and a beautiful blue and turquoise betta fish.  Of course, being such a beautiful fish it is actually a male, but Lily has decided to give him a girl's name.  I don't think he'll mind too much.

My fear now is that we will mess something up and he will die before his time.  However, I understand that they're pretty tough little fish.  Let's hope that Lily enjoys a couple of years with him (her).

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Every year Lily gets a voucher from school for a Bulls game.  Since the Columbus Clippers are in town this week I chose to take her yesterday.  It was great to see some of the AAA players for the Indians, but of course that was not the main point of the trip.

We started with milkshakes at Chick-Fil-A, though Lily actually got full sooner than I expected.  Nevertheless, she enjoyed it.  We got great seats behind home plate, which was fun for Lily when balls would go back up the screen.  I tried to talk to her about the game, but she still is not interested.  She did insist that we stick around until the top of the 8th when Wool E. Bull drives his go cart around the warning track.  Then she insisted that we stay until the end of the game.  It was a very long one with the Clippers winning 8-3.  The Clippers also left 13 men on base, so that gives you an idea of how each inning went.

On the way home I asked Lily if she liked the game and she admitted that she doesn't really care.  I told her that we could do other things besides go to baseball games, but she said that she went because she didn't want to hurt my feelings.  On one hand, it's very sweet that she is thinking like that.  On the other, I'm not sure how much we want her to fake things like that either.  Overall, she said that she had a good time, which was the important thing.  As for me, I really need to get to bed before 11:15.

Monday, July 19, 2010


We added a new member to our family yesterday.  We bought a Wii off of craigslist.  Our old DVD player is dying, so I got a Wii.  Some of you may wonder why I got a device that does not play DVDs to replace our DVD player.  It can, if you do some research and don't mind a little technical elbow grease.  I never had to crack it open or anything and we enjoyed a movie last night.  Meanwhile, the kids can't get enough bowling on the Wii.  It's a little frustrating that Noah can't quite do it himself, but he will get there.

The other exciting thing is that Lily finished reading her Beginner's Bible. Per Amanda's agreement with her, Lily can now get a fish.  We are going to do that tomorrow because Lily and I are going to the Bulls game tonight.  I'm looking forward to seeing the Columbus Clippers as it's always fun to check out the Indians' farmhands.  Anyhow, we should be able to get out of the pet store for under $20 with a female betta fish.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Lily's Island

I took Noah bowling last night.  Lily didn't want to go because she wanted to hang out with Amanda.  Amanda took a bath and Lily told her about an island that she has dreamed up.  This is an island in the ocean, but the waves never go over you.  If it's a bit wave it will make you taller.  The sand doesn't stick to you.  There are mind-reading devices that will produce whatever you want.  For example, if you think of a song you can hear it.  Or if you want a certain food then something like a Star Trek food replicator will make it happen.  I don't have all the details of this island, but you get the idea.

This is pretty impressive for someone who has not been exposed to much if any science fiction.  Lily is nothing if not a creative storyteller.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Crooner

I am writing this near the end of a work from home day.  Noah is standing by the table in the basement holding a Karaoke Revolution microphone and singing "Blue Skies."  He heard the song when I looked it up and came running over saying, "That's my song!"

The plan this evening is for some homemade pizza and then bowling.  I can't think of a much better Friday with the kids.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Buzz Lightyear

Noah was starting to get a little shaggy. In fact, he kind of was getting some wings and feathers on one side. I didn't realize this, but apparently Noah's friend Reid is of Mexican heritage and has been adopted. Perhaps they can go as Ponch and John for Halloween this year.

Here are before and after photos of Amanda's work.  As you may have noticed in the previous post, young John Zwahr has a very close haircut.  Amanda decided to give Noah something similar, so she got out the clippers with the #5 guard.  Here is Noah before.

And here is Noah afterwards.  He was not a happy camper through this experience.  In fact, Amanda sent him to his room afterwards.  I went up to give him a bath and found that he had put himself to bed.  I made him get up to change clothes and pee one last time before bed, which made him very unhappy.  He went right back to sleep after a little consolation and prayer though.

Blueberry Picking

Amanda went with her friend Kristin and her kids to the blueberry patch today. Here are a couple of photos. The second is Noah with their son John. Apparently Noah did more blueberry eating than picking. Noah eats blueberries like they are M&Ms. In fact, I think he is probably more likely to leave M&Ms on the table than blueberries.

Keeping Busy

Amanda and the kids had a whirlwind day yesterday.  They met Aunt Tiff and Brenna for a movie at the theater just around the corner from our house at 10:00.  Then they came back here for lunch.  Everyone left around 3:00 or 3:30 and then we had some dinner.  I took the kids out bowling and then it was back home for bath and bed.

Bowling went well.  Noah had a strike and a spare back-to-back.  Lily and Noah both opened the second game with spares.  In fact, Lily beat Noah in the second game 76-74.  When Noah only got 3 pins with his first ball in the 10th frame of the second game I had to kind of think things through.  I didn't exactly tank the last shot, but I didn't go out of my way to get him 4 more pins either.  It was really important to Lily that she score higher than Noah.

Now I have to decide if that was a good idea.  Despite what Captain Kirk says, sometimes losing is a part of life.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Catching Up

Yesterday was something of a recuperation day for Amanda and the kids.  Lily spent a lot of time playing at Katie's house.  Amanda did laundry.  Noah bowled and bowled and bowled.

Katie's house is something of a different world to Lily.  They have a lot more snacks there than we do here.  Also, Katie was playing with makeup and gave Lily some blush and lipstick.  The problem for Lily was that she did not wash off the lipstick very well.  We did not get very mad at her, but we did make it clear that she is not to be wearing makeup.  It's appropriate for ballet recitals and maybe a birthday party, but that's about it.

Lily does not listen to much of the Jonas Brothers at home either.  I guess that they're safe enough.  She sees a lot more TV there than she does here too.  So far it hasn't been too much of a problem, but of course we're keeping our eyes and ears open for things that we may need to correct.  We don't want to keep her in a bubble, but we also want to make sure that we help her process what she gets exposed to.  It's definitely a different world.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Noah News

We had something of a potty breakthrough at the beach.  When we went up to Pennsylvania we managed to get rid of the traveling potty ring.  He's confident enough that he can hold himself on a toilet seat now.  This was really made evident when we were at the anniversary party and the toilet was really just a very deep hole.  I was probably more nervous about him falling in than he was, but he managed.  He's done well ever since.

The big breakthrough at the beach was that I got him to pee standing up.  This is definitely not a seamless process.  I'm glad that we have wallpaper in our bathrooms or else we may be looking at painting soon.  However, we are making progress.  We did have one setback early this morning when he still wanted to sit on his potty seat and I convinced him otherwise.  Nevertheless, we're making progress with this.  It was great for him to use the urinal at Bojangles yesterday.

The Pook is growing up!  This is one phase of life that I don't think I'll miss.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Back from the Beach

We were invited to spend two nights at the beach with Amanda's Aunt Claudia, her son and his wife, and his mother-in-law.  We are not ones to pass up a trip to the Outer Banks, particularly when the accommodations are paid for, so I took the day off on Friday and we made a long weekend of it.  The only tough thing was that I was supposed to help break down after a banquet on Saturday evening, but I knew that there were others doing it and I couldn't very well not go because of this.

We left at 6:00 AM sharp Friday morning and arrived at the house by around 10:15 or 10:30.  During this trip Amanda learned the joys of Bojangles' biscuits.  We had a nice day at the beach and by the pool and capped it all off with a lovely dinner at the house.

Saturday was more of the same, but with less driving.  Noah and I fetched dinner Saturday evening, so we made ourselves at least somewhat useful.  Meanwhile, Amanda, Aunt C, and Sarah went out to check out some art galleries and to do some shopping.  Again, we had a nice time in the evening.

Today was a little more hectic.  We were actually the last ones out of the house, so we netted some groceries out of this little deal.  We spent the morning at the beach, had a nice picnic lunch, and then stopped back at the house just as the housekeepers came.  We wanted to rinse off using the outdoor shower, and they were nice about it.  We had an uneventful trip home and are now all crashing.

I'm saving some big news about Noah for tomorrow morning.  Stay tuned...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Quiet Day

Amanda and the kids had a very quiet day yesterday.  Monday was very busy and today proves to be as well as they are supposed to enjoy some time at Aunt Nat's pool.  It's a good day for it too as it is supposed to be around 101 muggy degrees today.

Everyone slept in, which was good.  Amanda started the day off by making some scones from a mix she got as a gift.  The kids loved that.  It finished with some leftovers for dinner while I was away taking a test.  I came home, gave the kids baths, and put them to bed.  It was nice to have a simple, quiet day inside the air conditioning.  It's times like these when I kind of miss living in Northeast Ohio.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Old and New Friends

A few months ago we had Amanda's college roommate spend a few nights with us.  This roommate's brother is driving up the east coast from Florida and had not seen Amanda since college, so we stopped by for a brief visit.  It was a nice visit, but the kids were just crazy.  Lily loves having a new audience and she was all over him.  When we mentioned it to her later she said, "I'm a ballet dancer, so of course I like having an audience."  Hard to argue with that.

We then went bowling as a family.  Noah had a strike, which made his night.  He also got a spare.  Lily didn't have any strikes, but I think that she did have a spare at one point.  We finished the evening with dinner at Chick-Fil-A and milkshakes from Cook Out.  The milkshakes at Chick-Fil-A are OK, but I would never have one there if Cook Out was available. 

Today is back to the groove.  I will be home late this evening because I am taking a test for Historical Theology 2.  If you want to know anything about Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Knox, or Jan Huss, just let me know.

Monday, July 5, 2010


Overall, we had a pretty low-key fourth.  I got to teach at a friend's ABF (Adult Bible Fellowship - like Sunday School) at the church that hosts my seminary.  I really enjoyed doing that and I got a lot of good feedback.  That took up the morning.

I made some burgers to grill.  Noah took one look at the plate of raw burgers and said, "I don't like that."  Then I told him that they would become cheeseburgers and he threw both hands in the air and said, "Yay!"  Lily and Noah certainly make the whole Mars/Venus thing come into focus.  Noah is so much easier to please than she is.  Frankly, I'm concluding that boys are just simpler.  Give Noah the right food or offer to play a game and he's a happy little tike.

After dinner I took Lily out for Goodberry's and fireworks.  We got to the park a little after 7:00.  We played a couple of games of backgammon, though Lily's attention started to wander a bit during the second game.  She was upset that we didn't bring any sparklers or glowing things.  The official scorer can chalk that one up as E-Daddy, for those of you scoring at home.

The fireworks started around 9:10 and lasted a good 20 minutes.  Lily really enjoyed the show.  It was tempting to be one of the families that started walking away before the show was over, but I didn't want to do that.  We waited for fireworks and we were going to see the whole show, by golly.  It took a good 45 minutes to get out of the parking lot once we got into our car.  Everyone got to bed around 11:00.  It really doesn't seem like a very good use of time in that the whole thing was about 4 1/2 hours for 20 minutes of action (kind of like going to a football or baseball game), but it was completely worth it to Lily.  Therefore, it was worth it to me.

I think next year it would be fun to get another family or two to go early and have a picnic.  I would also plan on hanging out for a good hour after the show.  It takes at least that long for the traffic to dissipate. 

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Striking Out

Amanda watched our nephew Clark last night, so I took the kids bowling.  Last night may have been our best night at the lanes yet.  Lily had two strikes in one game.  Noah had a spare.  I came back from a dismal first game to bowl a 140 in the second.  We had dinner at the bowling alley, but I'm not sure that it was of any higher quality or any cheaper than going to Chick-Fil-A.  All I know is that Lily wanted to try eating at the bowling alley at least once, so that's what we did. 

I'm hoping that today can be a productive one.  We're having a fairly cool morning, so it looks like a good day to get some outside stuff done.  I'd rather study for my upcoming test, but you need to carpe diem when you get a cool morning.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Keeping Busy

Lily's Fairtytale camp ended yesterday.  Apparently the coronation ceremony went well.  Then they all went over to Aunt Tiff's for some time at the pool.  They came back and enjoyed a brief Skype session with Grandpa and Nana before dinner.  It was great to have an evening where they were not particularly rambunctious.  No one got seriously injured.  Noah chose not to eat his dinner, but we could live with that. 

The plan today is for some time at the creek with Noah's friend Reid.  We are supposed to have a nice break in the weather today.  Instead of 100 and muggy it is supposed to be around 82 and dry.  August in Raleigh is long enough without experiencing it twice.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Better Than...

We had some minor medical drama with Lily last night.  She and Noah were playing before dinner and Noah inadvertently poked her in the eye.  If you listened to Lily you'd figure that we'd better fit her with a hook for a hand and eye patch because her eye was done for.  It was a little bloodshot, but I think she'll be OK.  She ended up snuggling with Amanda after dinner and fell asleep around 7:00.  It would seem that she was more tired than anything.

The first real week of summer vacation has gone well.  Lily has enjoyed Fairtytale camp.  Amanda visited a friend's pool on Tuesday and they're going to Aunt Tiff's pool today.  So far, so good.