Monday, October 24, 2011

Nimble Noah

I took today off because I have some extra PTO that must be taken by the end of the year lest I lose it. I have already planned on taking off the last two days of the year as a buffer in case of sickness, so this was just a day to take off more or less at random. It was nice to have a three-day weekend.

Today was also something of a day off for Amanda as I took over the duties of time before school while she stayed in bed and read. Lily is more helpful that she was a year ago, particularly in terms of knowing what needs to be done. I even put her hair in a pony tail, with her help. I'm sure it didn't look as good as if Amanda would have done it, but I think it was passable.

We are having a Chamber of Commerce day here with the weather, so to take advantage of it I packed a picnic for Noah and we headed over to North Cary Park right after preschool. After eating lunch he played on the playground for a while. After that we headed over to the soccer field for some time with his giant styrofoam airplane and the stomp rockets. We managed to stay for a little over an hour.

I took some video of Noah playing on the equipment. I never would have done this when I was 4, but he moved with confidence. Despite my narration, Amanda tells me that he plays on these frequently. She doesn't know why he was so tentative before. At any rate, you can see that the kid has some balance and sense of motion.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


It's customary for a traveling businessman to bring back gifts for his family or at least leave gifts for his family. Since I knew that I likely wouldn't find anything suitable for Amanda while in Anaheim, I took advantage of an Amazon Local deal for a zipline tour. This is something Amanda has wanted to do for a while anyway, so this worked out well for us. We set up babysitting with Uncle Bill and Aunt Tiff and then headed out to High Point.

I didn't take many photos since the video on their website really does a great job of showing you the experience. I did take one of Amanda getting suited up.

Although the various guides had some scheduling problems, the operation as a whole felt very safe and professional. I would be shocked if anyone had an accident there. Here you can see Amanda's first flight. The hollering and other random noises are from the people below. This facility has a corn maze and a bunch of other family things to do.

Here I am coming in for a landing. Note that I am so cool I do it 90 degrees differently than everyone else:

Finally, here is Amanda coming in for a landing at another platform:

Our final take is that we had fun, but we are not eager to do it again. Neither one of us found it to be that thrilling. Amanda is fairly fearless about such things and I trust physics. The reason I came in so slow in my video is that I tried to hold myself up by grabbing the trolley. You really can just hang and be fine. All it requires is picking up your feet and letting gravity do its thing.

Date Night With Lily

Lily has been on me all year to take her to a football game. Last night was senior night at Cary High, so we finally went after having dinner at Chick-fil-A and getting a cupcake for dessert at Harris Teeter. Lily insisted on the doggie cupcake, which was interesting because she was talking to it and making up stories about it just before I split it with a knife. I thought it was kind of macabre, but she enjoyed it.

The weather was a little cool, particularly sitting on aluminum bleachers, but we made it into the 3rd quarter. Lily enjoyed the halftime show, but I thought that the flag corps was dressed inappropriately. I also found it fascinating that the show was based on the idea that Stonhenge and Easter Island were left by aliens who are still living among us. Part of the show was members of the band making circles around these false stone monuments and bowing to them. Combine that with the uniforms that made the flag corps look like they were to be guests at a Roman orgy and I was left shaking my head.

When we left Cary was beating Green Hope 21-0, but it was 21-2 as we walked through the lot back to the car. In case you're wondering, Cary held on to win 28-8. Green Hope's football team is nicknamed "No Hope" for a reason.

Normally Lily insists that we stay for the whole game (that's my girl!), but we left early to head up to the fairgrounds. We finally got to see the fireworks show. We found a good spot to watch it from the parking lot and then were able to beat the traffic out. When it was all over Lily got to bed around 10:20, but it was worth it. Let's hope she sleeps in a little bit this morning as tonight could turn into a late one too.

Friday, October 21, 2011


Lily's school had a fundraiser at a local McDonald's yesterday. Amanda had a concert to go to, so it was up to me to take the kids. This was not easy for two reasons. One is that I really don't care for McDonald's much anymore. The other is that I woke up sick and still was not 100% when we went. Nevertheless, we went and the kids enjoyed their meal. As for me, I couldn't finish my salad, but I did enjoy my mango pineapple smoothie.

Here is some photographic documentation of the event. For some reason, Lily wouldn't sit still. This was even before she got her chocolate milkshake. She and Noah split one while I had the smoothie. I was impressed that McDonald's now puts milkshakes in a clear cup with whipped cream and a cherry. This whole event made me miss the days when they had these at Chick-fil-A. The problem is that McDonald's gives the school a much better cut of the night's income.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Big Girl

Lily had her annual checkup today. I'm always interested in the tale of the tape. She is now 51 inches tall and weighs 66 pounds. She has caught up to average quite well after being a tiny peanut for so long. I don't know what her reach is though.

She had to get a shot and by her account was very brave about it. It's hard to believe, but our little girl is really growing up.

The doctor also cleared up something we had misunderstood. The rule for booster seats is that the child has to be 8 years old or 80 pounds. We thought that it was both. This means that as long as the seat belt does not cut across her neck she does not need a booster. This makes things a bit easier for us.

I find that this is a good annual reminder of how blessed we are. Not everyone enjoys good health like we have. May we never take it for granted.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Be Careful What You Wish For

I have been into video games since I was 5 or 6 when we got an Atari 2600 console. It was supposed to be a present for my dad, but I ended up more or less taking it over. Later we got a Commodore 64 and I still have fond memories of times spent with that. Up until fairly recently I pretty much always had a game going on. I figured that this would be something I could do with kids too.

I used to play more video games with Lily, but she doesn't care much anymore. She will play Super Mario Galaxy 2 with Noah and me. Frankly, she is a lot more help as Player 2 than Noah. We have some fun with this.

Noah, on the other hand, is a full-fledged addict. He gets a total of an hour of electronics time every day. He can spend that playing games on an iPhone, on the laptop, or watching videos. The time we spend together does not count against this time. It serves as a nice way for Amanda to break up the afternoon with him, but it can cause some strife when it is time to quit. He doesn't always quit a good session of Angry Birds easily.

Where it gets me is how this dominates his thoughts and conversation. We'll be talking about something as a family and then Noah will just start talking about Bee Mario. It is at these times I realize that I have created a little mini-me.

This particularly annoys Amanda. We got used to Lily and how complex she can be. She thinks high and philosophical thoughts. Or she comes up with these imaginative worlds and stories. Noah just keeps talking about Bowser's Castle in Mario Kart Wii. We realize that this is a boy/girl thing and that it will get better, but for now it makes me realize that I am responsible for this and that we need to be glad that he wants to talk about stuff. It was touch and go for a while there with Noah and talking.

One funny bit that came from this though. The boss at the end of World 3 is Bowser Jr. Noah kept calling him, "Bowser Junior Mints."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

At the Fair

Watching the blacksmiths at work.

Noah was very excited to see the pumpkin after I talked it up. I think it's impressive to see a pumpkin that weighs over 500 pounds. There was a watermelon over 300 pounds behind it.

Noah and Lily getting in touch with their roots.

Lily still loves butterflies.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fair Weather

We enjoyed some stunning fall weather this weekend. It would be like normal early summer weather in Ohio. We had highs in the mid 70s with low humidity and it got down into the 50s at night. This worked out really well for fall activities here.

Saturday I took the kids to the NC State Fair. This is a big deal in these parts, though the kids don't really like to take full advantage of the Fair. We checked out the blacksmith shop and the FFA barn for starters. We were all fascinated by the prize geese. One of them had a neck about as thick as my forearm. Noah was very excited to learn that you kill a goose by chopping its head off. He and Lily both milked a cow, though Noah only gave a couple of tugs. He was afraid, but was still much braver than Lily was at 4. Noah also really enjoyed seeing a pumpkin that weighed over 500 pounds.

The kids didn't really want to ride any rides, but they did want to eat. Noah wanted me to buy something from just about every stand, but we managed to settle on just getting some corn on the cob, meat (Lily ate an enormous rib sandwich), and some ribbon fries. We were really intrigued by pig lickers (chocolate-covered bacon), but I told Lily that we would make that at home. I know I want to try it.

Yesterday we played some more tennis. Lily came with her rollerblades and did a great job skating around the double tennis courts. She also was a big help in retrieving balls. She tried using Noah's racquet and really enjoyed it. In fact, she enjoyed it so much that we went out and she spent some birthday money on one for herself. Now she and Noah want to hit balls to each other. We'll see how that goes, but at least they're excited.

I have a few pics from the Fair that I'll post from home. Also, I now have a way to get online from work, which means I should be able to post more regularly from now on.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Litte Connors

We've had some beautiful weather this weekend which just begged for outside activity. Noah has a tennis racket that he's been dying to try out, so this was an easy choice. We walked to the local court with some balls.

We started with me bouncing balls to him. He didn't do so well with that and really wanted to try serving. He got a few of them over the net, but didn't do too well. The hard sell was getting him to face the right way to start.

He wanted to go back today, so we did that after lunch. I bounced a couple of balls to him and he hit them pretty weakly. Then I had an idea.

I had him turn around and hit them left-handed. He started to really crank them after that. He hit them at my head and between my legs. He even hit a few over the net and in play.

He's pretty excited about this. We will have to do this again soon.