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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Holiday Weekend

We had a busy weekend where I was not on the computer much. Therefore, I did very little blogging. Let me try to sum it up.

Friday evening we went to a small party where the kids watched Peter Pan and the adults hung out. It was originally going to be outside, but we had some really nasty storms Friday that moved the party inside. The kids got to bed late and slept in a bit, which was just fine with us.

Saturday we cleaned out the garage. That led to a trip to Goodwill as well as some trips to local stores to get some storage supplies. I assembled some steel shelving which should help with our clutter problem. We now have two trash cans chock full of trash and recycling. The local waste convenience area was quite hopping on Saturday, as you might imagine.

Sunday was church. I took the kids out for some errands and Amanda took her kayak out. That evening we met up with our friends the Stansberrys (the people with whom we are planting a church) for a little picnic and hanging out. The kids had a great time. It was another late evening that led to them sleeping in.

Monday I played video games with the kids in the morning, took Lily out on a mini-date for frozen yogurt (I've decided that Skinny Dip is the premier frozen yogurt place I've tried), and then took Noah to Dick's for a legitimate purchase. I bought padded hooks for the kayak so we can mount it on the wall of the garage and get it out of the way. I came home and we grilled some chicken breasts, corn on the cob, and purple asparagus. I never had purple asparagus before, but if you see some and like asparagus I cannot recommend it too highly. Even the thick stalks are really tender.

So why no blogging in the evenings? We spent the last three evenings watching this on Netflix Watch it Now. If you like Sherlock Holmes at all you owe it to yourself to watch it. Now we're just a little sad that we're going to have to wait a year to see the next season.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Singing and Dancing

The Northwoods PTA had its annual general meeting last night. We approved next year's budget, elected officers, and approved bylaws. Now we are members of the PTA, but not particularly active. Amanda volunteers to do "book and a bite" where she comes in to school to read to the class. Other than that, we have not been very active. So why attend this meeting?

The PTA does something brilliant. They coordinate with the music teacher to put on a little show so that at least one class will come to the meeting. This year it was second grade. I don't know if it's second grade every year, but it was this year. Lily had the option of not going, but how could she pass up an opportunity to perform?

She started off a bit tentative, but found her stride pretty quickly. She did particularly well with the little dance routine they had, though she hammed up one of the motions too much and actually hurt her arms as she slapped the floor. At any rate, we were very proud of her as she did a great job. She said that she enjoyed it as well. I'm pretty sure that Great-Grandpa Cole, Great-Grandma Cole, and Great-Grandma Chamberlain are smiling in heaven. She comes from a line of performers, after all.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Our Houseguest

Tonight is the last night for us hosting the little corgi named Piper. He is really a wonderful dog. He is very gentle with the children, does not bark excessively, and is affectionate as well. He follows Amanda around like a shadow.

But therein lies his one flaw. It seems that most of us are allergic to him to some degree. Amanda keeps getting sinus headaches. My eyes itch a little bit and my throat is scratchy. Lily keeps sneezing and wiping her nose. Noah seems to be immune so far, which is nice. It's great that he wants to be close, but we get into trouble with his dander.

I'm pretty sure that if we powered through this for a few weeks we would all adapt and feel fine. However, we are not going to have that opportunity. Sadly, Lily has not quite got sick of taking care of him yet. I was hoping that she would. I think it will take more than a few days for that to happen. But all of us sneezing and getting stuffy is more ammunition against getting a dog. I'll take all of that I can get.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Recital

Here are two videos from Lily's recital. This year the recital was "Wizard of Oz." In the first video she is a poppy. In the second she is part of the Emerald City. Look for her on the right as a poppy. Look for the dark green dress in the back at Emerald City.

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Graduation

Here are two videos from my graduation. The first is me walking to get my diploma. The second is a short testimony I gave about my experience at Shepherds.

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Spring Fling

Yesterday was Northwoods Elementary's annual carnival that they call "Spring Fling." They typically have inflatables for bouncing, lots of music, popcorn, assorted treats, etc. Lily has enjoyed it to varying degrees in the previous two years. But this year she got to go with a classmate who invited her.Amanda said that she was pretty giddy when she picked her up.

I took Noah out for a milkshake since I had taken Lily out earlier in the week. Plus, Amanda wanted the house to herself. Noah has decided that he too likes Chick-fil-A's banana pudding milkshake. We split that, went to Sam's Club to get gas, and then hit Play N Trade just to hang out.

Today is a big day with Lily's dance recital. After that we'll probably eat a meal out to celebrate a successful end to another year of dance. After that Brenna is coming over to spend the night. And after that we are welcoming a very special house guest for a week. We're watching a corgi named Piper that belongs to our friends the Stansberrys. They have an opportunity to spend a week at the beach for free, so we're helping out with the dog. He's a great dog, but I suspect that he will send the adrenaline levels to 11 with the kids. That's OK as we don't have to get up early tomorrow.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Date Night

Lily had some problems with acting up while we had Grandpa and Bubbe here for their visit. I took her for a ride  and we talked about what was going on with her. Obviously she wanted attention and she was not seeking it in a healthy way. One thing we discussed was that she wanted to do more things alone with Amanda or me. Amanda and I agreed that this was fair as Noah tends to get the spotlight, which drives her crazy.

To that end I took her out for dessert last night. We went to Pink Frozen Yogurt, which is not as good as Marmalade Skies, but has the advantage of being a 3 minute drive from our house. Their flavors were better than usual this time as they had peanut butter and red velvet cake. We had a couple of great sundaes and enjoyed chatting. It was only a 30 minute date, but Lily said that she enjoyed it. That's the important thing.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Right Place

I need to share a little story that came from the party on Saturday. We had it in a park with a shelter and there were some areas for the kids to play in around us. One of the highlights was a baseball field that was unlocked. The kids played some soccer in it, which was of course a lot of fun for them.

In between the shelter and the baseball field is a short sidewalk of maybe 50 yards. The sidewalk goes through a very narrow band of trees and slightly downhill. Basically, when they made the park they left some trees rather than cutting them all down. It is a nice little spot.

Through the course of the party I felt the need to periodically get a sense of where the kids were. I was surprised one time in my search for Noah. As I walked down this little sidewalk I found him standing on the grass near the woods. His pants and underwear were down by his knees and when I asked him what was going on he said, "I found a good place to poo."

Sure enough, he had left two little piles of poo on the ground. He managed to do this without making a mess of himself, which was quite something considering he just had to squat down. I retrieved some wipes we had and when I came back I found him very angrily shooing away flies from his two piles. He was very upset about the "bugs."

It's not quite like one of the more famous declarations of finding the right place, but this was much funnier.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

New Groove

I apologize for the long silence on the blog, but the weekend was kind of busy. After my final final on Wednesday I went with a friend up to Wake Forest to get a loveseat we bought off of craigslist. On Thursday I ran some errands with Noah to use my day off well and to get him away while Amanda cleaned. My dad and stepmom arrived on Thursday evening.

We went out to brunch Friday morning, Sam's Friday afternoon, and then to commencement Friday evening. Saturday was dominated by a party at Bond Park. We had a mix of family, folks that I know from seminary, and friends from work. The weather held just long enough for us to get the party in. We went to church on Sunday, came home and had a big dinner, then the men and women did their respective shopping. Noah of course wanted to go to Dick's and grandpa Gary started scouting out a potential first rifle for him.

I was originally going to write that we're "back in the groove" now, but that's not true. The old groove for the past five years no longer applies. We are very thankful to move to this new stage of life. We know that church planting is a lot of work too, but it's a different flavor of work and will have a different rhythm. It's just nice to move to the next stage of life.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Social Butterfly

One of the benefits of preschool is that Noah now has a pretty good base of friends. Specifically, he is becoming pretty close to Scott and Nathan. He sees a little more of Scott because his mom has a kayak and she goes out with Scott while Amanda goes out with Noah. In fact, Scott, Nathan, and Noah are now known as the "Three Amigos" at preschool.

Nathan had a birthday party yesterday at the park. That meant another chance for Noah to eat pizza and cupcakes. As you might expect, he had a good time. I'd say that the only drawback was that he got some paint on his T-shirt, but Amanda can deal with that.

Life without the Wii is going ok for him. I do find that he has left the basement a bit disheveled most days, but we'll take that. In fact, he's probably going to be able to get the Wii back soon. Besides, he need show off his Mario Kart Wii skills for Grandpa Gary and Bubbe.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Early Mother's Day

We had planned on going to Falls Lake today for Mother's Day, but the weather forecast was not very good. On the other hand, yesterday was a perfect day to be outside. The humidity was low, the sun was shining, and the air was in the high 70s. We packed up a picnic and went to Falls Lake with the kayaks.

I can say that we heartily endorse the Beaver Dam area of Falls Lake. We had lunch at a picnic table right by the water. Then we got to work on the kayaks. The only negative was that Noah had to poop not once, but twice while we were setting them up. Amanda looked on the bright side in that he didn't have to while we were out on the boats.

Amanda and Lily manned the hard kayak while Noah sat in the back of the inflatable. It took me a little time to get used to it, but once I did I had a nice time. We spent about an hour and a half on the lake. Noah napped through most of it. I guess he wanted to be like Jesus taking a nap in the stern of the boat.

We had a great time as a family, but we were certainly tired by the end of it all. The way the day is shaping up today it may end up being something of a dud, so I'm glad that we got out yesterday. The important thing is that Amanda said that she had a good time.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Party

Lily got to attend a particularly fun birthday party yesterday. Her friend Adele from the bus stop turned 7 and had her party at Marbles Museum. Amanda dropped her off to start and then I picked her up around 8:00. I hung around the office and got some dinner while I prepared for my last exam. I'm going to be very glad when that is behind us.

Lily was not very glad to see me when I showed up because she was having so much fun. The good news is that years of "it's time to leave now" and sticking to it has paid off. She was not happy, but she went and didn't put up a fight. She ended up not getting to bed until around 9:00, but that won't kill her once in a while. The problem is that she didn't sleep in much today.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Detox

Noah has been rather obsessed with Mario Kart lately. It has come to the point where he sees all of life in terms of Mario Kart. He basically tries to draw parallels to Mario Kart with everything he sees. We decided it was time for some detox. He has not been allowed to play it for over a week while he learns how to play with toys again.

Mondays are Amanda's laundry days, which means that they spend a lot of time together. She said that he did a little better with toys, but really took his media energy and focused it on mischief. I don't remember all the things he did. I do know that when I came home he had green dry erase marker on his legs. One of the problems was that during a time-out he decided to take a nap in his room. He then had to be roused to get Lily from the bus. That never goes well.

Lily has been a good sport about this media fast, though I suspect she wants to finish watching Liberty's Kids. Lily likes playing video games, but isn't quite as obsessed as Noah. I can't imagine where he gets this obsession from!

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Better Time

We went back to Treasuring Christ Church and heard a convicting and challenging sermon, which was good. We enjoyed the music and fellowship. Noah made some new friends. He was nervous at first, but once he heard that they had balls to play with he was fine.

Lily even went to her class this time. She didn't have as much fun as she did at Hope, but she said it was OK. I suspect that she got more out of it than she would have sitting through the sermon at our church. Her attitude was much more sunny this week.

After church we had a picnic with our friends the Stansberrys. This is the family with whom we are talking about planting our church, so we're looking for ways to spend time together. The kids got along pretty well. Lily managed to attract the attention of some random boy on the playground without really meaning to. Before he and his family left he asked me where Lily was so he could say good-bye to her. That was nice. I don't think she thought a whole lot of him, but at least he was polite.

That stands in stark contrast with her classmate Jorge who once told her, "Be quiet, woman!"