Friday, August 27, 2010


Over the past few months Alyce has added something new to her bed time routine, dreams.  I'm not sure when it started but one night she asked us what she should dream about.  Maybe in response to us saying "sweet dreams" to her as we walked out of her room one night.

Now every night before we walk out of the room Alyce asks us what she should dream about.  Alyce is very discriminating about what she dreams about too.  Sometimes when our recommendations aren't up to muster she says "I don't want to dream about that".  So we have to keep recommending things until she fixates one one.  Usually we use an upcoming event as a subject.  For instance just over a week ago right before school started we recommended that Alyce dream about her first day of school.  Some nights she has recommendations too.  Her delivery is pretty cute too.  It starts off with "Mom" then a thoughtful pause and then "can I dream about xyz?" With xyz typically being her asking if she can dream about going to Six Flags to slide on the pirate ship slide with her friend Gideon.

The mornings after I ask if she dreamed about whatever we talked about the night before.  The usual response is "no".  Who can determine what they dream about anyway and who even remembers most dreams?  As long as she isn't having nightmares I think we are doing pretty good.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Welcome to School

Today Alyce missed her first of what I am sure is to be many day of school.  She started complaining of her throat hurting last night and was running a fever of 99.5.  This morning she was up to 100.5.  I knew that schools were breeding grounds for infection but picking up a bug on the 3rd day of school is hard to believe.

Alyce spent a good portion of last school year sick and we chalked it up as a necessary evil; something you had to endure so you wouldn't be sick all the time while in kindergarten.  I hope this streak of getting sick by being near sick  doesn't continue.  I don't remember always being sick where I pick up something right as I get over something else.  Maybe I was sick and just went to school anyway.  The policy at Alyce's preschool is that the kid has to be fever free for 24 hours before returning to class.  Somehow I doubt that all parents are following that guideline.

Here's to hoping my little girl gets better soon.  I'd hate for her to get sick on Monday, miss Wednesday and Friday, get better over the weekend, and start the process all over again the following Monday.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I Get to Take Alyce to School

This year I am taking on some of the responsibility of getting Alyce to school.  Last year Mom took Alyce to school and picked her up when it was over.  This year Alyce starts a bit earlier, 8:15 and that falls into the time I usually leave to go to work.  So I recommended that I take Alyce to school so Mom can have less stress in her morning.  I also want to be more attached to Alyce's school experience than I was last year.

Because different people are picking her up and dropping her off we had to get a second booster seat for Alyce.  Rather than getting another copy of her current booster seat we got her a pink, grey, and flowery version.  This one is pretty cool because it provides more head support than her current booster.  Mom and I are hoping that this will lead to her taking a few more naps on long car rides.

One of the best parts about taking Alyce to school is that she talks the whole way there about the things she wants to do at school.  She makes statements and also asks questions.  This morning she told me that she was going to make a picture of a happy face for both Mom and I.  She also said that she was going to make a picture of a purple butterfly.  As we were walking to the door I asked her if she was going to do anything else at school today.  After a thoughtful pause Alyce said "I think I am going to make a friend today".

Alyce's quest for new friends does seem to be bearing some fruit.  Alyce brought home an invitation from one of her classmates for a pool party on Friday after school.  The invitation was to the whole class and not singling out Alyce but any opportunity for Alyce to make friends is something we'd jump at.

Art and Learning

Even though Alyce has only been to school 3 times she is showing signs of learning new skills.  If not learning then advancement in her abilities.  Below are two examples of her advances.  The first one is a picture she drew using her magna doodle during nap time.  Mom came up to check on her and when she asked Alyce what that was a picture of Alyce replied "our dog Jake Man".  Even though it doesn't look like our dog it is pretty obvious she drew a face, ears, and legs.  The little squiggly bit to the left is supposed to be Jake's back legs.  Mom and I were very impressed with the picture.  Just months ago she was starting to draw shapes using crayons and paper.

The second example of Alyce learning things at school is that she has taken an interest in her own name.  Specifically how to spell it or reproduce it.  This weekend she and I sat down and I showed her each letter in her name and how to make it.  She tried for a bit but grew tired and moved on.  Today while playing with some paints at home Alyce managed to do a pretty good reproduction of her name.  If she would have jammed in an L she would have had the whole thing.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Things Kids Say

This morning I got up early to go to to the second day of a developer conference. As I was getting ready Alyce woke up, came into our room, and laid next to Mom. A few minutes later she noticed that I was getting ready to leave. She asked me where I was going and I responded that "Daddy needed to go to a conference for work". After a moment of reflection Alyce responded to that by asking, "is there going to be any popcorn there"?


Saturday, August 21, 2010



When mom dropped Alyce off at school her finger-painting from last class was waiting for her. Apparently it was too wet to bring home on Wednesday. Alyce also learned that yellow and blue make green.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

First Day of Preschool

Today was Alyce's first day of preschool.  Today she is taking the second step towards going to school on a full time basis.  Last year she attended Kids Day Out, a structured play environment that was to socialize Alyce, quash any separation anxiety, and give mom some time off.  Alyce is now going to preschool supplied by our public school system in the same school she will attend when she reaches kindergarten.  She attends school 3 days a week for 3 hours each day.  During that time the kids have free play, structured activities, time on the playground, and a snack.

School starts at 8:15 so our usual slow to rise morning routine has been usurped with a structured routine where we move Alyce from eating, dressing, and to grooming without any stops for toys or cartoons.  We didn't have any problems this morning with Alyce and her new schedule but I think she was way excited with going to her "new school" to give us any grief.  We've been building up preschool for the last few weeks and since orientation last Friday it has been at a feverish pitch.

Before we left for school we had to take the traditional first day of school picture. Comparing last year's picture to this year it is easy to see that our little girl has grown a few inches and grown out of her baby fat.

Dropping Alyce off at school was a complete nonevent.  The one thing Alyce wanted to do the most at school was to hang up her backpack on her hook.  Every kid has their own little locker with their name on it and they have a hook for coats and backpacks and a shelf for paperwork for Mom and I.  I'm not sure why she was so focused upon hanging up her stuff but she had been talking about it for days and was pleased when she finally did it.

After a quick hand washing (required of all kids and a brilliant idea) Alyce was off to play with a big pile of Play Doh.  At this time Mom and I said goodbye, gave a hug to Alyce, and left.  As we were walking out the door Alyce went back to playing as if nothing out of the ordinary was happening.  So much for separation anxiety.

3 hours later Mom, Luke, and I were back to pick her up.  The parents all have to wait outside of the classroom for the kids to be released. After a minute out comes a slow trickle of kids with Alyce being somewhere in the middle.  She seemed happy to see us but I think she was a bit preoccupied.  She was preoccupied with the picture of a purple dragon that she had colored in class.  She told us that she colored it for Mommy which was sweet enough to melt your heart.  Talking to her teachers Miss Mary and Miss Kit about what she did in class totally surprised Mom and I.  They told us that Alyce enjoyed the finger paints the most.  When I think of my little girl, the one who doesn't like to get her hands dirty, the very thought of finger paints would make me say "yeah right".  But enjoy it she did, so much that she asked me later if she could play with the finger paints next time she goes to school.

After school, during lunch, we asked her all sorts of questions about her day.  The playground must be pretty cool because Alyce said they have a twisty slide that goes around and around.  Alyce played with some sand and the sand table, painted some pictures with finger paints and markers, played with some Play Doh, ate pretzels, and drank some chocolate milk.  In the eyes of a three year old I'd say that is the makings of a perfect day.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Six Flags

Saturday, the second day of our crazy weekend brought us to Six Flags.  We were joined by Josh, Tammy, and Gideon.  We met up with them after nap and dinner time.  This is the first time that Alyce has gone to Six Flags with her best friend Gideon.

The first thing the kids did was to play on the playground for a while.  Seeing the two kids in action really shows the difference 18 months can make.  Alyce is 3 1/2 and Gideon turned 2 in June.  Gideon was moving pretty good up the stairs, across the bridge, and down the slide.  But for every two round trips he took Alyce would take three or four.  Alyce was a bit more sure on her feet and sure of her abilities because she would run up the stairs sometimes taking two steps at a time while Gideon would only go up the stairs slowly one at a time.  I find all of this interesting because when I think of Gideon I always think of him as Alyce's equal.

After the playground both of the kids rode the kiddie rides.  Both Alyce and Gideon rode the planes together making for a great photo op.  The planes are old hat to Alyce but this was the first time Gideon had been on them.  I think before this point he was reluctant to try.  Peer pressure probably had something to do with it this time around as he rode without hesitation.  After the planes I rode the balloon ride with both Alyce and Luke.

Later on after a few more rides we were confronted with the Tweety Bird ride.  This ride has been Alyce's nemesis for some time.  The ride isn't intense, in fact it is pretty tame.  However, it is loud and Alyce has been shying away from loud things for some time.  But peer pressure came to the rescue as Gideon had no qualms riding and Alyce followed his lead to get on the ride.  Once it was finished Alyce was super excited and wanted to ride again as all fear of the ride had fled.

After the kid rides we went to the Ferris Wheel as that was one of two rides that pregnant Tammy could ride.  The other being the steam train that we rode down from the kids area.  As we were walking towards the Ferris Wheel Alyce and Gideon did something totally cute, they started holding hands!  I'm not exactly sure what got them to start but the cameras came out in a flash to document the moment.

Towards the end of the night Six Flags had their "Glow in the Dark" parade.  This parade was pretty good, surprisingly so.  It would never hold a candle to a parade at Disney world, but it was well put together and worth seeing at least once.  It started at 9:00 but it was 9:15 before it made its way down to us.  Alyce and Gideon were doing just great as it wasn't too late past their bedtime.  Luke on the other hand was starting to tire.  But we bared our teeth and made it through the parade to be caught up in a flood of people heading for the exit.  It was so crazy that we didn't get a chance to say goodbye to Josh, Tammy, or Gideon.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Action Packed Weekend

Alyce had an action packed weekend.  Friday night she and I went out to my home town for the fair.  Saturday night the whole family plus Josh, Tammy, and Gideon went to Six Flags.  Finally on Sunday the family met Onermark Grams for dinner.  By the time we got the kids in bed on Sunday Mom and I were ready to collapse ourselves.
On Friday just Alyce and I went out to the fair.  Mom was going to a baby shower for Tammy and I knew we were going to be out really late so I left Luke with our babysitter, Shelby.  This is 2nd year Alyce has been to the fair.  Well the 2nd year she can remember.  Last year Alyce rode a roller coaster and some other fun carnival rides.  This year Alyce had another first; her first time riding in a school bus.  And judging by the squeals of delight coming from our seat I would say she enjoyed the ride.  Alyce enjoyed it so much I think we could have saved on admission and just rode the bus all night.  But with Onermark Grams in tow we soldiered on and entered the fair grounds.

The notable items at the fair include Alyce going into her first fun house.  The mirrored maze gave her a bit of trouble where she unknowingly walked right into a clear piece of glass.  Even though it made a loud "thock" Alyce would not be deterred from her goal, the twisty slide at the end.

This year Alyce had her first trip to the duck pond.  Or in her case the fish pond but the idea is the same.  You pay a few dollars ($2), you pick a duck (fish), and by the number on the bottom you get a prize.  You are guaranteed to be a winner and with a 3 year old a guaranteed win is what you are looking for.  Why this is so notable was that when my brother and I were little like Alyce my parents would take us at the end of the night to the duck pond so we could have a prize to take home with us.  It happened every night and year after year that it eventually became tradition.  Now I get to pass it on to Alyce.  Alyce's choice from the duck pond?  A tiara of course!

One item that I think we need to get looked at is Alyce's hearing.  At the fair a couple of times she commented that it was really loud.  Loud enough that she had to cover her ears.  When a tractor makes its run at a tractor pull I'd expect her to cover her ears but she was doing it at other times that were loud but not extremely.  Her noise sensitivity persisted throughout the weekend so it is something to bring up the next time she sees a doctor.

The cherry on the sundae that is the Fair would be the waffle ice cream sandwich.  That dessert alone is enough for me to pay the entrance fee.  A block of vanilla ice cream sandwiched between two hot waffles is the perfect way to end a summer.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Alyce at the Fair


We are right outside the gate getting ready for the time of our life.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Monkey Joe's

A while ago back in the beginning of July we along with Josh, Tammy, and Gideon went to a place called Monkey Joe's.  Monkey Joe's could best be described as an indoor playground.  What makes this place different from a playground at a mall is that at Joe's all the stuff you play on is blow up stuff.  Blow up stuff are things like bounce houses from when I was a kid but now it includes slides and obstacle courses.

The first thing that happens when you walk in the door is that you get a wristband for yourself and for your kid.  They won't let you out of the place without checking to make sure the numbers on the wristbands match.  There is so much chaos in this place that security measures like this really let you feel at ease.  On a few occasions I lost sight of Alyce for bit and I didn't really freak out.  Having Josh and Tammy there also helps.  Eight eyes catch a lot more action than four.

The first thing the kids played on was a little kids bounce house, slide, and obstacle course.  This area is probably perfectly sized for an 18 month old.  Alyce and Gideon were able to manage everything with ease and Luke had a bit of trouble.  That being said everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.

After a bit Josh and I walked Alyce and Gideon around the place to see if they would bite on any of the larger attractions.  Alyce has always been kind of shy with new people and new places so I wasn't sure if she would embrace the place.  The first big kid thing they saw was this big slide.  I'd say it is probably 1 1/2 - 2 stories tall.  You go up the balloon stairs in the middle and have the choice of two identical slides.  Both Alyce and Gideon seeing this slide made a mad dash for it (so much for my fears).  They both waited their turn on the slide and eventually their time came up.  I thought for sure Alyce would have misgivings once she saw how far the drop was.  I was preparing myself to coax her down.  I was completely wasting my time.  Alyce in one swift motion walked up to the slide, sat down, and pushed herself off.  As she got off the slide she was squealing with delight and racing to get back in line.  Gideon on his first run didn't have any trouble starting his slide but there was a bit of trouble at the end.  As he was coming in for a landing he turned sideways and the momentum flipped him head over heels.  It looked pretty brutal at the time (see the video below) but he didn't miss a beat and got back in line behind Alyce.  On a side note Alyce was a very considerate little girl.  She patiently waited in line for her turn even though a lot of other kids tried to butt in line.

Meanwhile Luke was hanging out in one of two kids bounce houses.  He did his best to keep his footing in such a bouncy environment but the best he could manage would be about 5 steps if he couldn't hold onto something.  He did end up going down the little kids slide but since he was too far away for adult help he ended up going down the slide head first on his stomach.  Aside from the occasional roll he did very well.  Later on he just leaned against a balloon pole and looked exhausted.  By the time we left 3:30 - 4:00 Luke was well past his nap time but was a trooper and didn't fuss much at all.

After Josh, Tammy, and Gideon left Alyce did one last thing, the obstacle course.  This obstacle is about 50 feet long and has walls to climb up and over, slides to go down, and areas to squeeze through.  I thought these seemed kind of technical and didn't even think Alyce would want to try.  For the third time that day I was wrong.  I was holding Luke and Mom grabs my attention to show me Alyce tearing her way through the course.  At the end of it she seemed very proud of herself and I was very proud of her as well.  Check out the video below of one of her runs.  Looking at her climb up that wall she looked like a little girl, kid, or whatever and gone was my little toddler who needed me to hold her so she wouldn't fall off a jungle gym.

By the time we left I think everyone was tired.  The kids were exhausted and Mom and I had enough of the constant droning of the fans.  I will say we will go back.  Monkey Joe's is a perfect place to take kids if it is either too hot, too cold, or too wet outside for kids to blow off energy at a park.  They do birthdays too so I figure we'll have one there at some point.

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