Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Long Trip

We made it home safely from our trip to Cleveland.  It was good to visit with family.  We saw my mom on Thanksgiving and then spent time with the other side of my family Friday and Saturday.  My dad and stepmom have a new house in the Cleveland area and it was great to see their new digs.  We're going to have some very efficient visiting the next time we go to Ohio.

The trip home was brutal.  We got through most of the miles without incident.  Then as we hit the last 25 or so miles of Virginia traffic started to back up.  It turns out that there are a lot of people who have never seen a minor fender-bender before.  At least that's all I could imagine given how they slowed down.  The same thing happened as soon as we hit I-40.  What should have taken us about 3 hours took about 4.5.  But we did make it home after all.

We had a little problem with our new HVAC system Sunday night.  It got pretty cold, so the gas furnace should have kicked on.  Unfortunately, there was a problem with a wire and it never did, so it got very cold in the house.  They came out and fixed it on Monday, but we won't know if it worked until tomorrow night.  Until then we will enjoy the balmy weather.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ready to Roll

Amanda spent the day packing and I spent the evening prepping the van.  The kids are very intrigued by my setup of the DVD player.  I have it hanging on the driver's seat so Noah can see it hands-free.  This way he can play a plug and play video game without a problem.  Or so my theory goes, anyway.  I've thought about bringing the Atari, but I don't think that he can handle it yet.  It will be a gametime decision, but I am leaning away from it.

What's funny is that he is ready to go right now.  He just wants to play video games.  I figure that between music we all listen to, DVDs, games on the iPod Touch, the Leapster, and various flavors of Pac-Man, he should be good.  Meanwhile, Lily has about 8 hours of video she can watch on our respective iPod Touches.  The only problem with that plan is that she can watch the whole Star Wars trilogy in about 3 hours because she skips "the scary parts."  If you even mention Han Solo getting frozen she tenses up.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Getting Baked

Today was one of preparation.  Amanda is feeling much better thanks to the magic of antibiotics.  It turns out that Lily's ears are fine, but she is just now getting her six-year molars.  That's what is causing the pain in her ears.  A little Tylenol does the trick there.

Noah and I ran a few errands in anticipation of our trip.  We got a power inverter for the car from Tiger Direct/CompUSA.  I also got a Y-connector from Radio Shack so now we can play video games on the DVD player in the car.  Noah was ready to leave tonight because he is so excited about this.  He is very upset that it isn't Wednesday yet.

Meanwhile, Amanda baked, baked, and baked some more.  She baked a variety of breads and we look forward to enjoying them with our family in Ohio.  We just have to get through a couple of days here.  The big event tomorrow is Harry Potter on IMAX.  It will be nice to have a little date after Amanda being sick for about 10 days.


I apologize for the prolonged silence on the blog.  It's been quite a week.  Amanda has been laid up with a sinus infection, but we got her some antibiotics yesterday and she should be back on her feet soon.  Lily seems to have an ear infection and we will likely be taking her to the doctor today.  Noah still has a runny nose, but he and I have been spared the nasty stuff so far.

I've spent most of my free time working on my thesis.  I was hoping to have a draft done before our upcoming trip to Cleveland, but I don't think that will happen unless I forgo sleep for the next three nights.  Given the 9 hour car trip ahead of us I think that would be unwise.  Nevertheless, I hope to make some progress today.

That's been life at casa de Chamberlain.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hot Stuff

We have recently had something of a home improvement.  You may recall that back in the spring we had a leak in our air conditioner coil and it had to get charged.  Since Uncle Sam has generously offered us a $1500 tax credit for installing a new high-efficiency air conditioner, we decided to do it this year.  We had service people at our house all day Monday, most of the day Tuesday, and part of the day today, but it is done and working.

The beauty of this is that we now have a heat pump with a gas furnace supplement.  This means that we can keep the house warmer than 64 degrees in the winter without spending as much money.  It's still going to be cool at night though.  Given that I grew up in a room over the garage with windows that did not seal well in NE Ohio, that's how I like it when I sleep.  Fortunately, the family has adapted.

The big adaptation has been for Noah to sleep under a comforter.  I convinced him to do this with the carrot that almost always works -- the Wii.  So far, the Wii has been a tremendous discipline tool with him.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Eating with Noah

When Noah really likes something it's quite a bit like this:

It gets a bit annoying after a while, but you must appreciate his passion for food that he likes.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

DIY Fever

We had something annoying start last Sunday.  The blower on the fireplace started coming on spontaneously.  I tried turning it off with the remote, but it would turn itself back on.  I didn't really have time to deal with it, so I put it off until today.  After a lot of messy disassembly I discovered that there was a remote-controlled outlet under there.  I took Noah down to Lowe's and got a replacement for about $15 with tax.  Problem solved.

Noah had a great idea after I finished fixing the fireplace.  My copy of Burnout 3 stopped working some time ago and Noah thought today was a good day to fix it. 45 minutes and an ounce of Brasso later, we're back in business and Noah is happily crashing his car into other cards now.

I think I'm about maxed out for my DIY mojo for now.  I've got to get a few regular things done this afternoon.

Friday, November 12, 2010

New Duffers

I had yesterday off and it was a beautiful day, so I took the kids for a new experience.  We hit the driving range. Noah doesn't know that he is getting golf clubs for Christmas, so I thought we would get a little preview in.  He did fairly well, though he's still not sure if he is right- or left-handed when he golfs.

Lily had trouble for a while until I really emphasized the need to keep her eyes on the ball the whole time.  She actually hit a couple maybe 25 yards in the air.  Both of them said that they enjoyed the experience.  I'm trying to plant a seed here.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Don't Make Me Count to Three

I had today off for Veteran's Day.  I took Lily and Noah out for the afternoon, but I realized on the porch that I needed to look up directions on my iPod Touch.  Noah was not happy with the delay, so as he stood in the driveway he started saying, "One...Two..." and when I started to come he said, "Good, you listened to me!"

He's a sharp little guy.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Speaker of the House

Preschool has been good for Noah in the sense that we had hoped.  He's still very quiet when at school and he isn't particularly loquacious at home either, but he is definitely becoming more articulate when he does choose to speak.  Lily was watching something on the laptop this evening and I was trying to talk to her.  It was obvious that she was engrossed in her show by how she ignored me.  Noah was in the living room and as he was playing with the Elmo chair he said, "She's not listening."

That sentence is not going to change the course of human history, but for Noah it was quite an improvement.  Normally the only way to get more than two syllables out of him is when he wants a "basketball" instead of a "baseball."  He's making some strides with his language skills.

Sadly, he seems to be a bit under the weather this evening.  He didn't eat his dinner and was very snuggly with Amanda.  He also went right to sleep when I put him down, which he doesn't usually do.  He's even sleeping under a comforter.  We've been working on that in anticipation of winter.  Hopefully he feels better tomorrow.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Making the Grade

Lily got her first report card yesterday.  She got all 3s, which is good.  It's hard to read these crazy report cards with numbers on them because I'm not sure how to translate them into letter grades.  Last year she got 3+ in math, but not this time.  It's hard to say why that is, but we're not concerned.  Mrs. Slocum had nothing but good things to say about her too.

We have heard that Lily will sometimes "cut up" in class.  I feel like my genes are being expressed pretty clearly here.  I think we'll be fine as long as she doesn't end up with a desk by herself somewhere.  That's what happened to me in elementary school.  Then again, we didn't have these clusters of desks with "stations" either.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Circle Time

We are told that Noah is extremely quiet in preschool.  He behaves very well, but he doesn't say much.  This is very consistent with what we see at home.  He generally speaks only when he wants something, usually to play the Wii or to have a snack.

However, Amanda told me that he decided to be the teacher last night.  He was on the bed with Amanda and Lily and he decided to play "circle time."  This is when they all sit on the floor in a circle on their colored shapes. He didn't have the shapes, but he did ask who wanted to volunteer for a job.  It was good to see him doing some kind of imaginary game besides something with a ball or based on a video game.

It's also encouraging that Noah already knows his colors and his shapes.  He's not going to learn a ton at preschool, but he will hopefully get better in social situations.