Friday, December 31, 2010

A Little Vanity

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that when you saw the title of this post you thought it would be about Lily.  Well, you're wrong.  Amanda had a doctor's appointment yesterday morning, so Aunt Nat came by to sit with the kids for a little while.  She reported some of Noah's funny little sayings.  It seems that he felt compelled to keep drawing attention to how cute he looked.  He was basically fishing for compliments.

We're not entirely sure where this comes from other than we do compliment him as often as we can.  We try to do that with both kids.  I think it's a good practice when appropriate.  I don't think that we have Noah puffed up too much.  Rather, I think he was in a flirty mood.  He gets like that sometimes.

We're going to have to watch this boy with those big brown puppy-dog eyes.  Once we teach him how to dance the girls will never stand a chance.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Date Night

I took Lily out on a date tonight.  While we were in Ohio Amanda discovered that you can get a kid's hot chocolate at Starbucks for $1.20.  Since we have a Starbucks a mile away in two different directions, we did that with Lily's new Mancala board.

Lily actually won two of the games and I was not letting her win at all.  We also tied one game.  I think that this is going to be good for her concentration.  Eventually we will work our way up to chess, but we need to take this slowly.  I think we went for chess way too soon.  That was the overzealous father in me a couple of years ago.

All I know is that for less than $5 we both had a great time.  I hope to make this a regular practice.  Noah and I do lots of things together already, so it's good that Lily and I have something we can do.  I get the sense that we are entering that critical stage where I need to make sure I have her heart or it could get ugly in a few years.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Yet Another Medium

We're still having problems with our used copy of Mario Kart for the Wii, so Noah and I made a trip down to Play N Trade.  They polished it again and we hope that fixes it.  If not, I may have to replace the whole drive in the Wii.  I replaced the laser back in the fall, but replacing the whole drive will almost certainly fix the problem.  It's still cheaper than buying a new Wii.

While there I browsed through the old PS2 games.  I picked up 4 games for about $8.  One of those is a new bowling game.  Noah is pretty excited about this.  This means that he can now bowl the following ways:

  • With the pins from the Target set
  • With his Christmas present
  • On Wii Sports
  • On the PS2
  • Three different games on the iPod Touch (or iTod Pouch, if you prefer)
He's pretty stoked.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Bonus Time

Today is one of the few days when a two-hour delay can work for Amanda's good.  My office is operating on one this morning.  However, since there is no school, it's all the same for the kids.  It will be nice to enjoy breakfast with the kids today instead of having to rush into work and the perils of ice on a dark road.

I suspect that everything is pretty clear today, but I'm not going to push it when given a gift of time like this.  Besides, there is little for me to do in the office that I cannot do from home this morning.  If only the snow had waited a day I'd be off work!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

More Surprises

The hits keep on coming.  First, we enjoyed a nice Christmas day as a family.  We had some chocolate brioche from the dough leftover from my birthday's pecan rolls.  Everyone was happy with their gifts.  Then we went over to the McKenzies' and enjoyed a lovely dinner and time with family.  But as we came home the weather was starting to turn.

We managed to try out Noah's stomp rocket in the light drizzle.  By the time the kids went to bed it had started to lightly snow.  By the time we got up this morning we probably had about 4 inches of snow and by the time it finished we had around 6.  This was not ideal packing snow, but pretty good and we used it to build a snowman (woman - we used Amanda's pink hat).  The kids got cold after a while, so we retired to the house.  The snow was a lovely surprise to Noah in particular as he doesn't really get it when we talk about the weather.

Meanwhile, Lily had another wiggly tooth.  Shortly after going to bed she came down to announce that it too had come out.  She has permanent teeth for her front 4 incisors, but the two on either side of the bottom front two are now missing.  Maybe one of these days she will be able to bit directly into something.  The poor tooth fairy is working overtime these days.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Small Surprise

When I spoke to Amanda from work today she told me that Lily had a surprise.  It turns out that she lost a tooth on the bottom.  She has 1 1/2 front teeth for Christmas, but she is now missing one on the bottom.  The problem is that she is sleeping in Noah's room with Grandpa and Nana visiting from Florida.

I think Lily may be on to the Tooth Fairy.  She suggested that she leave her tooth pillow on the shelves in Noah's room.  That was right after Amanda said that she should leave her tooth pillow in a place that is easy to get to.  Good thinking, kid.  I need all the help I can get tonight.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Prep

Today was a fairly significant day in our Christmas preparations because we got around to icing our sugar cookies.  Amanda made a bunch with Lily on Thursday and we iced them today.  We tried a new technique with very thin icing poured over them.  This makes for much prettier cookies, though the icing isn't quite as tasty as true buttercream icing.  We also made our annual sheet of peppermint bark.

I served at the bookstore this evening and Amanda had to babysit, so the kids got to spend the second service in an area called "intersection."  They don't get a class there, but just hang out and play games.  They also get fed some dinner.  Apparently Lily was quite nervous about going because she's "not used to it."  That's my girl right there as I was just like that (and still am to a degree now, but much higher-functioning).  Noah freaked out when they brought him over, but I was told that reading a book settled him down.  As always, when I came to get him he was watching Veggie Tales.

We came home and enjoyed a few cookies before their bedtime.  Tomorrow I plan to take Noah out and finish up my Christmas shopping.  I got close last week, but not quite there.  Hopefully the weather will hold.  We've had a lot of nasty "wintry mix" lately.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


The local weather forecasters are predicting a dusting of snow tomorrow morning followed by freezing rain.  Therefore, many school districts are closed and Lily will be on a two-hour delay.  I suspect that the whole day will be canceled if the forecast holds.  Perhaps we can have french toast.  Here in Raleigh the threat of snow sends everyone to the store for milk, bread, and eggs.  I can only presume that everyone eats french toast.

I apologize for the lack of posts lately.  I managed to turn in a draft of my thesis on Friday, which was exciting.  Saturday was busy with lots of reading and then going out to celebrate my birthday.  Sunday and Monday were errand days.  Now I'm back at it with work during the day and some projects at night.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Journey to Bethlehem

We did something last night that is sure to become a family tradition.  A local church puts on something called "Journey to Bethlehem" each year.  It takes a long time, but it's worth it.  First, you register and each family member is given a "shekel."  Your family gets a number and then you hang out while waiting for your number to be called.  Once it's called you move to the fellowship hall where you have 30 minutes to buy concessions.  We ate dogs and popcorn for dinner.  They make a little money on this, but not a lot.  Then you finally get called to begin your journey.

Our shepherd was named Jacob and he was in full costume.  Our tour started with a walk through the marketplace where we got to spend our shekels.  Noah bought juice.  Amanda bought bread.  Lily bought "leeches" (gummy worms).  I bought "fish" (goldfish crackers).  After we enjoyed our 2 oz servings we then moved to Herod's Palace.  There the story began to unfold.  Our goal was to find the Messiah who we heard had been born that night somewhere in Bethlehem.  The narrative at each station got us closer and closer.

Eventually we got outside and met the shepherds.  We got to see the vision of the angels with them.  Fortunately for the shepherds, they had a campfire going as it was legitimately cold last night, particularly in costume.  We made it to the inn and Lily got to be one of the kids to knock on the door.  Finally we made it to the stable with Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.  They had a real baby and he was eating from a bottle when we got there.

It was a great production and something worth repeating each year.  Noah had such a good time that he was talking about it at preschool today.  When I asked him last night he said his favorite part was "eating."  Lily said her favorite part was "Harold's palace."  She liked Herod's palace because there were dancing girls.  Their dance was very simple and very family-friendly.  I doubt it was the same for Herod, but I like the tame way better.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Noah the Star

Here is a video of Noah in yesterday's Christmas performance at preschool.  He didn't sing much, but was quite emphatic with the motions.  I think you can even hear him yell "NO!"

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sick Day

Sadly, Lily ended up getting what Brenna had Saturday night.  She didn't eat anything all day yesterday and watched TV in her jammies.  Noah did likewise, with a little Wii thrown in for good measure.  Of course, we hope that it stops with Lily.  So far, Amanda and I feel fine.  I think if we were going to get it we'd have it by now.

Today is my last night of class for the semester, which brings us all great joy.  The only downside is that I really need to be focused on my thesis and a project I'm working on.  I have not had too many late nights since starting seminary, but I think one or two may be coming this week.  The good news is that I have only 5 or 6 more hours of work to do before I can turn in a draft.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Changed Plans

Today has been a weird one.  Last night Amanda and I met friends for dinner.  However, because of job schedules we had to meet them pretty late, which got us to bed later than usual.  Then I got up and drove to Wendell for our biweekly church planting meeting.  I got back home around 9:30, exercised, played with Noah, then took a little nap before lunch.  After lunch Amanda took a little nap and I got a few things done before going to church.

The plan was for a babysitting swap this weekend.  Tiffany watched our kids last night and we were going to keep Brenna tonight.  Unfortunately, Brenna got sick at church and then on the way home as well.  So we ended up having a Saturday as a family.  Although Lily was sad to see Brenna go she was glad to eat some chocolate chip cookies I made.  They came out pretty good, if I do say so.

The other weird thing today was the snow.  We got 1-2 inches of heavy, wet snow that has made all the trees look really pretty.  Fortunately, the roads were too warm for it to stick, but it is wet and damp out.  Running tomorrow morning should be interesting.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Slot Machine

It's been a rough week for Lily and lunches.  She did better today, but this was the first day she ate.  We have decided to change our tactics a bit.  In the past we've told her ahead of time what would happen if she failed to eat.  Now we're going to give her the punishment afterwards.

You see, Lily is something like the Cooler King in The Great Escape.  She is good at deciding if the punishment is enough to change her behavior.  This way, she is going to have to gamble every time.  If there is one thing she hates it's gambling.  We have told her that the punishment could range from:

  • Extra chores
  • Grounding from seeing Katie for a week
  • Missing out on a special meal that we had not planned (i.e. doughnuts)
  • Time out
You get the idea.  Of course, now the challenge is on us to come up with good ideas.  If variable rewards work with slot machines, we hope that variable punishments work with lunches.  Nothing else seems to take.