Sunday, October 31, 2010


Tonight was Halloween but the Halloween festivities weren't just limited to Sunday.  The entire weekend had sprinkles of Halloween fun.

Starting Saturday we went to the Boo at the Zoo at the St. Louis Zoo where we met up with our friends Josh, Tammy, and Gideon.  The Boo at the Zoo is an event at the zoo where everyone dresses up in costume and gets candy from so local radio stations etc.  Everyone in St. Louis must go to this event because by the time we arrived the parking lot was full and the traffic around the zoo was a mess.  Luckily we found a parking spot a few blocks away and after a short walk we were in.  Walking around the zoo most of the animal displays weren't that crowded as everyone was in line waiting for candy.  I'm sad to say they were wasting their time.  The lines for the candy were upwards of an hour long.  We decided early on to skip the candy but by luck we happened to walk past a candy station and got a handful.  Looking at the meager loot in Alyce's bag I was pleased that we didn't wait.  There were six pieces of taffy so hard they were inedible and a pack of sweet tarts.

Following lunch and the primate enclosure we walked past the bears and that is where Alyce fell apart.  I'm not sure what exactly happened but something set her off and she burst into tears.  We knew it was time to go at that point and Alyce didn't stop crying until we reached the car about 10 minutes later.  Pretty much everything she thought of was something to cry about; missing Gideon, not seeing the giraffes, and not wanting to leave the zoo were prime examples.  As we pulled away from the zoo area Alyce regained her composure and after a decent nap back at the apartment she was back to her old self.  I'm guessing she was just overtired.

To close, on Saturday I'd say that Boo at the Zoo was a bust and I doubt that we'll ever go back.  It just wasn't worth the hassle.

Tonight was a lot more fun.  After some naps from the kids they were ready to go trick or treating.  We went out to our old neighborhood as apartments are horrible places for getting candy.  Meeting up with old neighbors was great and Alyce seemed to enjoy seeing her friends again.  After a quick bite to eat it was time for some trick or treating.  Alyce was able to keep up with all of her friends this year.  As they were running from house to house Alyce was running with them.  At first she wasn't leading the charge but after a while she wanted to get up to the front because she wanted to "knock on someone's door."  It was awesome to see my little shy girl announce her opinion and make sure it happened.  She ended up moving to the head of the mob and sure enough she knocked on / run the doorbell of a few houses.  She picked up saying "trick or treat" at every door from the other girls and even started saying "thank you" without me having to say anything.  By the time we made a loop through the neighborhood Alyce had a significant pile of loot.  Enough candy for Alyce to say that her arms were getting tired holding it.  Later in the evening we finally got a look at how much she received and I will say this, kids nowadays get awesome candy.  She had 5 full sized candy bars plus a stack of other premium candy like fun size Snickers and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.  There was not a single piece of cheap candy in the bag.

Friday, October 29, 2010

So Maybe This Wasn't a Good Idea

Tonight the family decided to save a few dollars and stay in rather than go out to eat.  As part of the evening we decided to watch a movie with Alyce after we put Luke to bed.

The movie we watched was Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. The movie was pretty good and Alyce seemed to be enjoying herself up until the end. Then a combination of peril in the movie and her being overtired put Alyce in tears. She was worried about what was going to happen to the main character. We tried to reassure her that everything was going to be ok but it took until the of the movie for her to be convinced.

Following the movie it was close to 9:45 and Alyce was so tired that she couldn't keep herself together and the smallest infraction would lead to tears.  Luckily I coaxed her into to bed and was able to cut off her ramblings so she'd finally roll over and go to sleep.

Maybe we shouldn't have let her stay up that late. Next time we'll get the movie started earlier and with a bit less peril.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Alyce is This Many

Can you believe it? Alyce is 4 years old!  It seems like only yesterday that our little girl was brought into the world and now sleeping in the room down the hall is a 4 year old girl that is pretty much self sufficient.  A lot can happen in 4 years.

For the past few weeks the anticipation of turning 4 has been building.  It reached a fever pitch this weekend.  We had a birthday party for her on Sunday and a trip to Monkey Joe's today.  The party was at Gram's and Papa's house as our apartment is a little small for hosting parties.  GiGi, Onermark Grams, Trent Lisa & Shelby, Uncle Scott, Jeff Liz & Abby, Aunt Jean, and Aunt Sue were all there.  After dinner and before the cake Alyce opened her presents.  Another aspect of her getting older is that she no longer needs us to help with the opening of presents.  Alyce got a lot of great gifts but the most liked was the one Mom and I picked up for her, a princess scooter.  Alyce has been eying scooters for quite some time.  Her friend Zack from down the street has one that Alyce has used and she's pointed them out the few times we've been to Toys R Us.  We've been holding on to it for quite some time and there has even been a close call or two where Alyce could have seen it.

Tonight Alyce and Luke took a trip to Monkey Joe's for a bouncing good time.  Wednesday night is definitely the time to go as we had the whole place to ourselves.  Towards the end a few families filtered in with Alyce making friends with one of the girls.  Sadly they became friends about 5 minutes before we needed to leave.  Alyce and this girl kept riding the slide over and over again.  When it was time for Alyce to leave they shared a hug that melted our heart.  Following Monkey Joe's we met up with Josh, Tammy, and Gideon for burgers and ice cream at Culvers.

One funny part about the time leading up to Alyce's birthday was that she kept getting confused on how old she would be after her birthday.  Instead of saying the word four she would just hold up her hand showing four fingers and asking if she was going to be this many on her birthday.  After we'd tell her that yes she would be four she would then hold up five fingers and say "am I going to be this many after my birthday?".  I think by the time her birthday rolled around she finally figured it all out because when we asked her how old she was she'd very proudly say "four!".

Dance Class

A week ago Tuesday Mom and I were present for some epic cuteness; we got to watch Alyce during one of her dance classes.  That day was Parent's Observation day at dance class.  Up to this point and in the future Alyce's dance teacher keeps the kids and parents separated during dance class.  I didn't quite understand why she did this until being present for one of Alyce's dance classes this summer.  In that class it was pretty obvious that while Mom or I were within eye site of Alyce she would be extremely distracted.  Alyce's dance class has about 10 girls in it so imagine 10 distracted 3 - 5 year olds and the image of someone trying to herd cats comes to mind.

This week we were brought into the class to see what we've been paying for and to fill up the memory cards of all of those in attendance.  By the time I arrived the girls were at the end of the room waiting to start warming up.    I snuck in a little wave to Alyce and she waved back.  Also, I heard her tell one of the other girls "that's my daddy".

After a few stretching exercising the teacher went through a couple of routines that the girls had been working on.  The teacher would stand in front of the girls doing the routine and the girls would mimic her actions.  Pretty similar to an exercise class. The teacher also had lots of verbal instructions with directions like tap your left or right foot X number of times.  However, most kids don't know their right from their left so there is lots of bumping going on.  Alyce has made lots of progress since her summer dance class.  She wasn't the best dancer in the class, but definitely not the worst.  What impressed me most was her focus.  There were a few times where it wavered but for the most part she stayed on task.  The girls try to do the ballet moves very slowly and expressively seemed to be difficult for them.  Perhaps they are so used to gross motor skills that moving slowly requires a lot of concentration.

After the routines the girls did some ballet runs across the room.  Asking kids to walk on their tippy toes when they are used to heel toe yields mixed results.  Alyce did pretty good even though we weren't really sure she was going to stop running at the end of the room.

Following the ballet section of class Alyce donned her tap shoes.  In an instant the girls go from cute butterflies to bulls in a china shop.  I don't know what happened, maybe just the noisy shoes but every girls steps became over exaggerated, clumsy, and loud.  As their motor skills flew out the window so did their attention span.  Alyce even fell victim loss of attention as she started walking around on her heels.  Which is no easy task but not what she was supposed to be doing at the time.

As evidence that the fathers of today play an active role in their kids lives; when class was over all the guys got up, picked up their daughters, and gave them big hugs.  Most of them, myself included pulled ourselves away from work to be there and I'm glad I did as I would have regretted missing such a display of dancing prowess.

There was one heart wrenching moment of class.  One girl, most likely the youngest couldn't handle all the people in the room, or their attention, and burst into tears as the class started.  She just stood there with her hands over her eyes, red faced, and tears streaming down her cheeks.  The teacher in the class tried to console her as much as time would allow, but the mother just sat there rather than picking up her daughter and helping put her back together again.  Mom and I think that this girl just turned 3 and isn't capable of calming herself down thus needing her mom's help. It was pretty heart wrenching to watch as I would have picked Alyce up at the first tear.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

First Birthday Party

Mom and I took Alyce to her first birthday party today. Well the first birthday party for a classmate. It was held at BounceU a place a lot like Monkey Joes. This place however, is geared more towards parties and not general admission.

Mom and I not sure really what to expect both went to supervise. In reality only one of us needed to be there and barely even that.

It started off with all the kids playing in a big room going over all kinds of blowup rides like slides and obstacle courses. After a while we were ushered into another room with other types of things to climb on. The most notable thing being this giant spiderweb climbing thing that ended in a big slide. Alyce wasn't a fan and gave up on climbing after a few minutes.

Halfway through Alyce hooked up with her friend from school Haley. It was really neat seeing her play with friends without any adult input.

After all the playing was done pizza, cake, ice-cream, and presents were doled out. Alyce was sitting next to Haley and another kid roughly her age and none of them dug into their food. Maybe it is a developmental thing as to why kids don't eat unless forced.

Alyce seemed to have a great time and with the cost of a Lego toy for entry it seemed like a fair trade. BounceU does a pretty good job of hosting a party.

Friday, October 22, 2010

4 Year Update

This week Mom took Alyce with Luke in tow for her 4th year checkup.  That's right my little girl is almost 4 years old.  This is the first time Alyce's height and weight have been officially measured since her checkup last year.
  • Height: 41 inches
  • Weight: 34 lbs
Why is she only 41 inches when I just wrote a post that she was 42 inches at Six Flags this past weekend?  At Six Flags her height was measured with her shoes on while the doctor goes without.  Her height at the 3 year checkup was 37 inches and her weight was 34 lbs.  So in the course of the last year she has grown 4 inches!  This puts her back into the 75th percentile on height whereas last time she as in the 50th.  The 4 lb increase in weight is just enough to keep her in the 50th percentile.  I guess she is eating enough and maybe Mom and I are eating to much?

Mom asked about Alyce's ears and that she seems overly sensitive to loud noises.  The doc said she would talk to a aural specialist to see if any testing is needed or whether it is something she'll grow out of.  Her school is doing some hearing tests in the next few weeks so that might yield some more information.

The only vaccination she received was an annual flu shot and not a single tear was shed.  Impressive.

You're Always Taking My Stuff

Even though I wrote in the past that Alyce and Luke are nice to each other and can even be friends there are times when yeah, not so much.  A while ago while we were still in our old house Alyce was playing with something while sitting on the blue chair in the living room.  Luke had been pestering her off and on all day by taking something she had and running off with it.  After a while Alyce had had enough and blurted out "Luke, you're always taking my stuff!".  Of course Luke didn't care what she had to say and proceeded to try and take what she had in her hands.

I don't remember at the time whether or not she pushed him to keep him away but sometimes she does do that.  And that usually leads to some naughty corner time for Alyce.  The one exception to the naughty corner is that a few times she has pushed Luke while we weren't around and Luke's cries bring us into the room.  We ask Alyce if she pushed him and she tells us the truth that she had.  To encourage telling the truth we have her tell Luke she is sorry and give him a hug.  I'm hoping that the truthfulness will last, but who am I kidding?  I was a kid once.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

42 Inches

Saturday Alyce hit a major milestone, 42 inches!  42 inches?  3 1/2 feet?  What's the big deal with that?  Well 42 inches is the height one needs to be in order to ride the majority of the rides at Six Flags.  Before 42 inches and you are relegated to the more mundane rides like the Ferris Wheel, antique cars, and kid rides.

Saturday after handing over the deposit to the builder we thought a trip to Six Flags would be a nice diversion from all the craziness of the past few weeks.  Mom and I had talked in the past about Alyce getting close to 42 inches and thought now would be a good time to check her height.  After a ride on the Fog Horn Leg Horn train we stood Alyce next to a height check stick and behold she was 42 inches on the money!

You'd think the first thing we'd do is to get her on a roller coaster but that was not the case, in fact we took her to go ride down the slide.  For some odd ball reason the slide in the kid's playground has a height limitation of 42 inches.  You can run, jump, and play on anything else on the playground but there is a Six Flags employee at the very top making sure you are of proper height before going down a slide.  Proof positive that insurance companies are sucking the fun out of childhood.  Alyce in the past wanted to ride the slide and we thought this would be a great way to celebrate the accomplishment.  For the next 20 minutes she'd circuit down the slide, back around, up the steps, and back down again.

After that Mom wanted to take Alyce on her first roller coaster ride.  The two of them then stood in line for 45 minutes to ride the Tony Hawk's Big Spin roller coaster.  This roller coaster is pretty tame if only based on height, however, as the cars go around the track they spin.  For the 45 minutes I took Luke on a few kid rides but was back in time to catch a video of the two of them on the coaster.

Catching back up with Mom and Alyce I asked Alyce what she thought of the coaster. Her response was an unenthusiastic "that was really NOT very much fun".  She wasn't traumatized from the experience but wasn't jumping for joy.  Next we rode the carousel and that seemed to wipe any memory from the coaster from her mind.  We showed her a different less exciting coaster later and she said that she would ride that the next time we go to "Sfix Flags".

Saturday, October 16, 2010

We're Moving

Our family has big big news!  We're moving!  The story leading up to this point is a long one.  I haven't commented on any aspect of it up to this point because we weren't sure it was going to happen.

All of this started last February.  Mom and I decided that it was time to look for a bigger house.  We were fitting into the one we had well enough but there were certain aspects of our current house that we wanted to change.  So we put in a contract to build a house, however there was one problem we hadn't sold our house.  So we quickly got our house on the market with the hopes of it selling quickly.  We had showings, and showings, and showings, and showings but no contracts.  Then in early September we finally got a contract and so began the process of moving out of our house.  Last weekend we moved out.

While the new house is being built we need a place to live.  For the next five months the family is living in a 2+ bedroom apartment on the 3rd floor without a fenced in yard.  By 2+ the kids have bedrooms but Mom and I are living in the loft of the apartment.  Being on the 3rd floor without a fenced in yard at the moment is annoying but taking the dog out at 7:00 a.m. mid January will be brutal.

Today we cleared the final contingency and gave our deposit to the builder.  Ground will be broken sometime this week and our new home will be completed hopefully by the end of January.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Alyce and Luke have discovered that cabinets make fun houses especially now that they're almost empty!

New Hat

Here is a picture of Alyce in her new hat from Grandma. She loves it!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Siblings and Friends

Luke is growing up.  No longer is he a blank slate just learning the world.  He is now his own person with his own personality and it is a good one.  One neat aspect of him growing up is that he is now able to play with Alyce.  At first it started off with Alyce and Luke fighting over the toy the other person had at the time.  Then it advanced to Luke taking whatever Alyce was focused on and running through the house keeping it away and giggling.  Recently we pulled out an old toy of Alyce's that has gotten the two of them to play together, the cardboard bricks.

We gave them to Alyce for her 1st birthday and they were very helpful teaching her gross motor skills like picking up and stacking things.  Luke is quickly learning the same.  What is neat is that at times they work together to build up a tower, that they then knock down, and having a great time in the process.

A few weeks ago while we were out at Sam's Wholesale getting cases of green beans and discount pizza Alyce and Luke showed me siblings don't always have to be at each others throats.  While eating pizza and hot dogs Alyce and Luke shared a set of cute sibling hugs.  In the pictures we took it looks more like Alyce is strangling Luke but he was definitely giving her some "lovies" too.

Seeing the initial glimpses of what brother and sister life looks like gives me hope that Alyce and Luke will be friends as well as siblings.

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