Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

As we were preparing to celebrate Resurrection Sunday yesterday Lily started talking about how she had a surprise planned for us this morning. All we knew was that she was going to make some breakfast, but we didn't know anything else. After the kids found their baskets Lily asked that we all stay upstairs until she "rang the bell" (which ended up being a wooden spoon in a saucepan).

We came down to an appropriate Easter song playing on the laptop. Lily made pancakes, but she made the chocolate chips spell out "He is alive." She had the table set and everything out for us. Really it was a very good job.

The next step in her breakfast education is to teach her how to make bacon. As a great lover of the salted meat she is very excited about this prospect. After that Amanda is going to teach her how to make her signature scones. 

The weather today is rainy and cool, so it is not good for any egg hunts outside. Since we don't get back from church until around 1:00 and since that is when the Burns family goes down for Sunday naps, we are going to have a later dinner today. The plan is ham and various fixin's. The good news is that Lily and I will have egg salad for lunch today with our decorated pagan fertility symbols...I mean Easter eggs.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Party Time

The kids had fun Friday evenings. Lily got to go to her friend Grace's birthday party which was also a sleepover. It started with the girls going to see Oz. Then they came back for pizza and cupcakes. I don't know what else went on, but Lily said that they didn't get to sleep until 1:15. The girls wanted to make it past midnight and they did. I wonder if the energy of pre-adolescent girls could change our nation's dependence on fossil fuels.

Meanwhile, Noah spent the night at the McKenzies' because Amanda and I attended our church's membership classes that were on Friday evening and Saturday morning. He had a great time watching Ohio State beat Iona in the NCAA Tournament with Uncle Bill. They went out to Bob Evans for dinner and he very much enjoyed his pancakes.

As you might imagine, Lily was a little grumpy Saturday evening. She decided that she wanted a bath instead of a shower, which was fine. Amanda went out with a friend in the evening, so I had the kids to myself. Noah and I played a video game and when I put him to bed at 8:00 Lily was already sound asleep. Apparently Amanda found her asleep in the tub at around 6:30 and sent her to bed. She explained that it is dangerous to fall asleep in the tub, though I'm pretty sure Lily would have woke up. Nevertheless, our little Peanut was all tuckered-out. She did much better yesterday.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Talkin' T-Ball

Noah had his first T-Ball practice yesterday. We are doing Upward T-Ball at Colonial Baptist Church. This is the same church where I went to seminary. I applied to be a head coach, but was rejected because I refused to take a lifelong vow of abstinence from alcohol. I did make the cut to be an assistant though. Noah's friend Nathan's dad is also an assistant, which is good because he actually played some baseball. The head coach seems like a good guy too, so I think we will have a good time.

We only had six players show up for the first practice, which was understandable because there was not a lot of notice for it. There are two other boys and one is the coach's son. We also have two girls, one of whom may have never thrown a ball before. We're working on it though. Everyone seems to have a great attitude and as coaches we're trying to stay upbeat.

I thought it was funny to see the pile of kids in soccer and basketball, but that didn't quite prepare me for watching six kids go after a ground ball. We're working on "I got it!" but we know that it is going to be a process. Fortunately, we have a few practices before our first game.

Monday, March 18, 2013

How to Buy a Car

Our van was starting to have a strange burning smell coming from the engine. It also had about 83,000 miles on it and I figured that we were approaching the time of four-figure maintenance. From the beginning we wanted something smaller, but it wasn't available. Since we are coming into a little bit of money I thought that this would be a good time to look into a Mazda 5.

I planned on getting one used. Carmax had the color we wanted, but it was a fleet rental (danger!). It had 40k on it and they were asking about $16k for it. As a lark on Friday I started looking for new cars and found that the MSRP was $21,400. I filled out a few web forms to see what kind of deals we could get.

I was first contacted by a gal in Goldsboro at Frema Motors. She got some information about our existing van so she could give me a proposed trade-in value. While she was working on all of that I got a phone call from a dealer at Capital of Cary. He gave me the old "The MSRP price is $21,400 and the invoice is $20,400, so we're probably talking around $21,000." Shortly thereafter I got an email from Frema with a price of $17,271. Needless to say, that got my attention.

I explained that before we did anything for sure I wanted to test drive one and see how all the features work. We also took our van to Carmax to get it appraised there since we got more than I expected for our Camry. I also emailed my contact at Capital of Cary to let him know what she bid. He did the traditional, "Wow, how can they do that? We need to put our heads together here..." He came back with an offer of $16,979. I had promised the gal from Frema that I wouldn't take a local offer if there wasn't a significant difference (her exact words were, "don't show someone there my offer and take theirs for $50"), but I considered $300 significant. We test-drove what we thought would be our car that evening, but I wanted to wait until they gave us a number for taking our van. That evening I emailed my contact at Frema to let her know that she was underbid.

The next morning I received a call from Goldsboro before I heard from the folks at Capital. The general manager there told me that he would beat the offer I had by $500. At that point I stopped haggling and agreed to the deal. They delivered the car to our house as well, which was nice. We signed the paperwork at our dining room table and then I took the van to Carmax to get our check for $6000.

In the end, I got a new car for $500 more than what I would have paid for one used at Carmax with 40k miles on it. We got the color we wanted (the dark red in the link above) with gray interior. I'm kind of partial to red and gray, after all. All in all, I could not have been happier with my experience. The moral of the story is that you want to have two dealerships courting you. It is definitely a buyer's market.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Long Night

Our Friday night was one of those nights that come with the territory of being parents. First, I got paged for work at around 10:30. This was not too big of a problem as I went back to sleep very quickly thereafter. But then at 11:45 we heard Lily in the bathroom. She came to our room saying that she had thrown up. When Amanda got up to check on her I asked if she needed help and of course I was hoping that she would tell me she didn't. Unfortunately, she needed help.

Lily not only threw up, but it was all over her bed in a puddle. It was on her sheets, her bedding, and her dog. Amanda started getting the laundry going while I gave the dog a mini-bath. It was pretty gross having vomit all over his head. Of course, he didn't mind!

Lily wanted to snuggle with Mommy, which I fully supported. Our bed is probably big enough for the three of us, but I decided that it would be better to take my chances elsewhere. I climbed into Noah's top bunk and then had to make the bed in the dark. I had stripped the sheets when Noah threw up and we never remade it. That was interesting. I eventually settled down and went to sleep.

My phone went off again around 2:45, but I was able to settle back down after that. Nevertheless, it was not a good night's sleep. I waited in bed until Noah started to stir and then I brightly said, "Good morning, Pook!" He wondered, "What are you doing in my top bunk?" with a big laugh. That made the night all worth it.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Noah's Busy Weekend

Noah had himself quite a weekend. On Friday we did date nights. Lily and I tried the Doritos Locos Tacos while Amanda and Noah went to Pizza Hut. They went to YoLo, which is our closest frozen yogurt place. Everyone had a great time.

Saturday started with an 8:00 AM basketball game. Noah had easily his best game of the season. By my count, he had 12 points and 6 rebounds. He would have had 2 more, but his teammates' shots didn't touch any iron.

Amanda hosted a tea party for the ladies in our church's home fellowship, so Noah and I made ourselves scarce. We went to the cheap theater to see Wreck-It  Ralph, which was a lot of fun. We killed a little time afterwards at the game store, had dinner at Chick-fil-A, and then killed a few more minutes at Five Below. We then met his best friend and his dad to go to the Hurricanes game, which they won 6-2. It was fun to see them score 3 goals in the first 9:32 of the game. When asked later what his favorite thing was about the game he said that it was "getting ice cream."

Sunday was less remarkable, though he did enjoy joining Lily and me for a trip to the hardware store to get some paint samples. The local hardware store has free popcorn, so that was fun.

Unfortunately, it seems that the weekend caught up to him. Amanda discovered that he threw up next to his bed last night, though he doesn't remember it. He hasn't eaten this morning, but seems to be more or less OK. He has had to miss school, but I think he will be fine by tomorrow.