Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bonus Material

The kids say and do lots of things during the day, but they aren't always appropriate for a full blog post. So, if you want to see more of what is going on with them you can either follow me on Twitter (@freedjpc) or you can friend me on Facebook. My Twitter account feeds my Facebook, though there is a delay of a few minutes.

Incidentally, don't expect a lot of interaction with me on Facebook as I rarely get on to Facebook proper. I do read all comments though, so if you read something you want to comment on, go ahead. This is primarily for friends and family anyway.

Also, I rarely post to Twitter. You won't often read about what I had for lunch today, so you won't have to worry about too much noise.

Comfortable in his Skin

I just got back from picking up Lily at the bus. Amanda wanted to go for a run, so I took Noah with me. He used to have a very sour attitude about going to the bus, but now that he knows Maren really wants to see him he seems to have a better attitude. That's fine with us.

He and Maren were playing and then Noah kind of peeled off and walked a bit down the sidewalk. He announced that he "had to go pee-pee." He then proceeded to drop trou right there and pee on a tree. Everyone at the bus stop thought it was rather funny. I apologized for him, but they didn't seem too upset.

This is a boy who is comfortable in his own skin. I take that to be a good thing, but we're going to have to talk about when it is appropriate to pee outside and when it is not. I'm glad that he sees the simple joy of doing it though. And when you've gotta go, you've gotta go. We'll work on it.

Monday, March 28, 2011

New Friend

Noah had a little playdate today. His friend Walker from preschool came over in the afternoon. Unfortunately, it does not look like they are going to be great friends. They got along just fine, but Walker and Noah are interested in different things and go at different speeds. Walker is a bit like how I think I was as a little boy - he's sensitive and not into all the physical play. Meanwhile, Noah wanted to do his regular stuff and when asked if he wanted to play too Walker would just say, "not yet."

The good news is that at bedtime Noah cited "playing with Walker" as one of the things he wanted to thank God for today. I'm sure that they will see each other some more since Walker lives very close by. It's a shame that they likely won't be closer to each other, but not everyone can be your best friend.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


We had a big day here at casa de Chamberlain. It was time for the Bradford Pear tree to go. It had survived many ice and wind storms, but it was just not doing well. It had sprigs of mistletoe growing in places. The upper branches were dry and nearly leafless. Overall, it was just not a happy tree.

My friend Rob brought his family and his chainsaw over for breakfast and tree-cutting. We enjoyed some creme brulee french toast and then got to work. Felling the tree was pretty trivial, but of course collecting all the wood was not. Being a miser, I saved it all. I'm looking forward to many campfires with the small logs and sticks we got from the tree. I'm also looking forward to some good fires in the fireplace with what I can split off of the trunk.

The really hard work came from busting up the stump. However, we managed to break it up with axes and mauls. I got some topsoil in the hole and planted some grass seed with Noah's help. We got that done just before the rains came today. It's supposed to be rainy for a good part of the week. I think that will make our grass seed perfectly happy though.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Losing My Marbles

I did my annual chaperone adventure with Lily's class on Thursday. We went to Marbles, which is the local kids museum. Our group was Lily, two girls from her table at school, and a boy who didn't have a group. Lily is not particularly fond of this boy, but I enjoyed his company well enough. I really had a pretty low-key time with it. By the time I arrived with the carpool of moms it was around 10:00. We had a class to attend at 11:00 on good nutrition. We played a little bit more then had lunch at noon. That left us with about 30-40 minutes to play some more.

Overall, I think it was a good time, though I'm not sure how much educational value there really was. I'd say that the lowlight was the wall of marbles. They have walls made out of metal with holes for marbles in them in a grid. You can run your hand up and down the wall and the marbles move under your hand. It is also really loud. I joked with Lily's teacher that every school should have a wall like that and she quickly disagreed.

I was back home by 2:30 and was able to finish up a project for school. I just got materials for a paper tonight and if I put my shoulder to the grindstone I should be able to knock that out in a week or so. That will leave me a single paper to write. But who's counting?

Jump Around

Noah got invited to a birthday party at the Jump Zone this past Tuesday. He went, and this time he actually enjoyed it. I can't be sure, but I think it may have something to do with the fact that his friend Audrey Kate was there. Either way, we're glad that he finally enjoyed himself at one of the jump places. Hopefully he will enjoy the bounce houses at Northwoods Elementary's annual Spring Fling. Last year I bought him an all-you-can-jump bracelet and then he froze.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Nap Time

We had a fairly full day on Sunday. First, we went to Cousin Clark's birthday party from about 11:30 - 2:00. After that we took care of some shopping we had to do. Noah fell asleep in the van on the way home. I stayed with him for a while after we got home, but eventually woke him and brought him into the house. You can see below how successful I was in truly waking him up.

He did that completely on his own. I guess when it's time to sleep it's time to sleep. I wonder where he gets this uncanny ability to nap in just about any situation? And why is he so sleepy in the car?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Riding Bikes

Here's a little video I shot of the kids on their bikes. Please pardon the wind noise.

Noah has come a long way since the first day he got on his bike. Now he's practically like Lance Armstrong going through the Alps.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

In Touch With His Roots

We had a beautiful day yesterday. It kind of reminded me of June in Ohio. It was in the low 80s with clear blue skies and low humidity. Normally Amanda and Noah go to a local park and Noah plays with his friends. But yesterday they had something special. They went to NC State's farm days.

Noah wasn't quite sure what to think about all of it. He was afraid to hold a chick, but he did pet it when Amanda held it. They waited in line for him to get to sit in the seat of the tractor, which he enjoyed. Amanda said that he wasn't wild about it while they were there, but when I asked him about the whole experience he said that he had fun.

He certainly has agrarian roots on both sides of his family. It was good for him to get a little taste of it since our lives are pretty much the epitome of suburban.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Growing Up

We had two interesting things happen today with the kids. One is that as I came up to shower this morning at 6:45 I noticed Lily's light was on and I heard noise in her room. When she came out of her room I asked her why she was up so early. She knew that Grandpa and Nana were coming for a visit and saw that her room needed to be cleaned. We explained that they were not staying with us. She was a little disappointed, but kept on with it. This was all a happy surprise for us as normally we have to fight her to clean her room.

Noah got a phone call tonight before dinner. It was his friend Nathan from preschool. Noah didn't talk a whole lot. After the call was finished we asked him what they talked about and he didn't know. But we thought it was neat that one of his friends called him. Nathan, Scott, and Noah are now known as the "Three Amigos" by their teachers. It's good that he has friends there.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Fun in the Sun

The weather here was absolutely postcard beautiful this weekend. We enjoyed blue skies and low 70s yesterday and blue skies with high 70s today. The humidity was negligible. Yesterday we took a picnic at Duke Gardens because I also had to do a little bit of research. I figured that it would be a good way to take a picnic and for me to get my work done. We all really enjoyed our time there. Lily even caught a tadpole in her shoe (she's wearing her purple crocs).

Today we went to Lake Crabtree. Amanda and Lily took the kayak out while Noah and I went to the playground. We all had a great time. Noah is extremely confident on the playground equipment, which is good to see. He's not at all like his sister (or his daddy at that age).

The goal of all of this seems to have been accomplished. With the time change it's a little tough to get everyone down on time. I don't hear a single peep from Noah on the baby monitor. In fact, I'm not sure that Amanda and I are going to make it to 9:00 ourselves. It makes for a quick transition to EDT.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

More New Friends

We now have two consecutive weeks of trading babysitting with some friends from the bus stop. They have daughters aged 6 and 2 (almost 3), so the kids get along well. So far, this has been on Thursday evenings. What's nice is that Lily and Adele get along really well so far. Amanda has reported no fights from them. Noah and little Marin get along well too, though she kind of shoves him around. I don't think he quite knows what to make of her. What I do know is that when I come to the bus stop without Noah she starts looking around for him.

It's nice to add to the circle of friends, particularly as we look ahead to summer. There are few things worse than cabin fever for the kids and Katie won't always be available for Lily to play with.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

New Friends

We took a trip to Burlington yesterday to meet some new friends. To connect the dots a bit, these are folks who knew my friend Rob from his days pastoring a church in Chicago. The chances are slim, but they might get involved in our church plant. We thought it would be a good idea to at least put some faces with the email addresses. We met at Burlington City Park, went out for lunch, and hung out at the park some more.

It was a nice time. They have sons aged 7, 5, and 3. Rob brought his 7 and 5 year-old sons, but his 2 year-old daughter was home sick with mom. The boys all knew each other, so there was that instant bond. Lily was a little wary of these crazy boys. They are great boys, but they are still boys. Not quite her speed.

Noah has a new friend though. He and 3 year-old Andrew (their birthdays are a few weeks apart) became fast friends. They were adorable riding the rides together. Noah kept talking about him afterwards too. It's nice to see the social side of Noah. Preschool has been really good for him in that respect.

If you're ever near Burlington and you want to kill some time with kids, I highly recommend this park. Also, Hursley's BBQ was quite good.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Maiden Voyages

We had two landmark events on Sunday. The weather was beautiful, so we took our leftover cheese and meat for another picnic.This time we went to Lake Johnson Park. We enjoyed our picnic, though Noah was extremely slow in eating his sandwich. While he finished I set up Amanda's inflatable kayak. She took Lily out for its maiden voyage. Lily was pretty scared at first, but she loosened up when Amanda took her back out. Meanwhile, Noah and I walked around. When they came back we all went out as a family. That was a good time.

On the way home we stopped at Target and picked up a bike helmet for Noah. We got him a bike for his birthday off of craigslist, but we decided to give it to him early. By the time we get to his birthday it is going to be hot and muggy. We figured that it made more sense to give it to him while the weather is nice. After a small adjustment of the training wheels so that the back wheel actually touched the ground he was able to figure it out. He now knows that he needs to get a little head start to get back up the hill on our cul-de-sac. He liked it so much that he wanted to go back out after dinner, and we had to explain that it was dark and he couldn't do it.

I'd say that these are two vehicular successes that will be used much in the coming months.