Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Alyce has had her first serious illness, pneumonia! Last Thursday we could tell she was coming down with something. Alyce just wasn't her self. By Friday morning she was running a temperature. We kept her home from school that day. She had a classic case of the flu. Aches, watery eyes, fever, and a cough. We thought no big deal. Better this than a stomach bug. Tylenol was controlling the fever so we thought we'd save a dollar or two by skipping the doctor and letting it run its course.

Well Friday bled into Saturday then Sunday and finally Monday morning. With no sign of her fever breaking we knew it was time to go see a doctor. So Alyce, missing yet another day of school was brought into see the doctor. The doc listened to Alyce's lungs and wasn't immediately concerned. She said that if it were only a day or so old she would recommend letting it run its course. But since we were on day 5 she recommended a chest X ray. Mom took Alyce to the the radiologist and Alyce in the back all by herself she stood still for a film to be taken. Upon review Alyce did in fact have pneumonia. Lower left lung pneumonia if the location makes a difference? In any case the doctor prescribed two antibiotics to combat the infection if it were bacterial in nature. The morning after the first dose of medicine Alyce was a new girl. Her fever was mostly gone and her energy returned. Obviously we are keeping up with the course of medicine but so far the results are encouraging.

The improvement came Tuesday morning, however, Alyce had her last day of school for the year the next day. It was kind of a toss up as to whether she should go to school. We came to the conclusion that she shouldn't go to so that she wouldn't have a chance to pick up yet another bug right before Christmas. Alyce very much wanting to go to school to show off her newly lost tooth was itching to go to school. We didn't have it in our heart to tell her we were keeping her from school again. So instead we told her that school was already on Christmas break. It probably wasn't the best thing to do lying to her but in this situation there wasn't much downside to keeping it from her. So Alyce when you go about reading this post years from now understand we just didn't want to upset you.

The Solar System

The picture above is Alyce's rendering of our solar system. She drew this today at the house. In the bottom right hand corner is Earth; see the green and blue? In the middle on the bottom is the sun. The bottom left is Mars. Upper left with the orange center is Saturn. The stars cross the picture. And finally the black circle with a white center in the upper right is the moon. It is partially shaded to show the dark and light side of the moon.

The amount of detail in one picture just floors me. We've been reading a book that talks about the planets and she's watched a few television shows focused on the planets but this is more than I expected.

Oh and Jupiter is supposed to be in there as well but it was too big to fit on the page.

Friday, December 16, 2011

We've Created A Monster

There has been some unintended consequences with the lost tooth. Alyce is now fixated on the tooth fairy! Both last night and tonight Alyce keeps popping her head out of her room when she should be asleep asking all sorts of questions about her teeth and the tooth fairy.

Last night she asked that if she drank water her teeth would grow big like mine. Tonight she wanted to know how the tooth fairy knew that there was a tooth ready for her.  I had a pretty good answer already lined up for the second question. One of Mom's Facebook friends had a run in with her kid where he lost a tooth and didn't tell his parents. The Mom just happened to notice the tooth fairy pillow and was able to sneak in some money. When asked the next day the kid said he wanted to see if the tooth fairy was real; sneaky kid! The story I gave her was that Mom and I sent the tooth fairy a note telling her that she had lost a tooth and she needed to add Alyce to her list of houses she needed to visit. Alyce seemed fine with that response and back to bed she went.

So later tonight Mom sneaks into her room to switch out the tooth for the money and Alyce is still awake! Apparently Alyce is up late worried because she wanted to show her tooth to Grandma Onermark but the tooth fairy was going to take it away. Mom having heard my earlier story, said without missing a beat that she would send the tooth fairy a note asking her if she could wait a few days to come pick up her tooth.

Oh the drama!

Alyce wanted to show my Mom the tooth because my Mom gave Alyce a special present in honor of losing her first tooth. She gave Alyce her very own tooth fairy pillow! It is a cute little pillow that is big enough to not fall behind the bed and has a bunny with a purple skirt on it.

Build and Grow: Coal Car

Last Saturday morning the family took a trip to Lowe's to take part in what I guess can now be called a tradition. We went to build some Christmas trains. Throughout the year on Saturday mornings Lowe's puts on these Build and Grow classes. It's a simple project for kids requiring the use of a hammer and some nails. All of the pieces are pre-drilled, go together easily, with easy to follow instructions. The best part is that these little projects are free! While I appreciate the good gesture from Lowe's I know they want to build brand loyalty plus if you can get people in a store chances are they'll buy something. So far we have yet to let them down. Every time we've gone to one of these we buy something.

The project last week was the middle "coal car" car of the train. We kind of forgot about the caboose the week before and by the time we tried to register the only store with openings was 30 miles away. Alyce had built a caboose the year before so it wasn't a huge loss to miss that one. Once we got to the store and found where they were doing the builds we got our project pack, aprons, hammers, and safety goggles. They let the kids keep the aprons and goggles too.  Alyce was wearing both items. Luke, didn't want much to do with them.  He was too small for the goggles. That being said he really did need a pair as he kept encroaching on me and the hammer. I almost conked him in the head twice.

Mom helped Alyce and the two of them did a good job. Alyce hammered in a nail until the easy part was over then Mom would finish off each nail. Alyce also helped reading the directions and finding the piece for the next step. Luke on the other hand lost interest after the first few nails. He tried to use the hammer but his swings were pretty wild and only hit the nail a small percentage of the time. After that he moved on to playing on and around the boxes nearby.

When both cars were made it was time for the Christmas stickers. Both Alyce and Luke were very much into that. Alyce did all of the stickers herself with Mom helping with the alignment. For Luke I had to pull off the stickers and get them started. Once started he'd finish them off by pressing the stickers down.

When finished they pushed the cars all over the place having a great time. When we got home we took the new cars and added them to the existing train. They fit perfectly and behold we have a really big train! We are going back to Lowe's a week later to make the engine. Luke needs to start his own train rather than freeloading off of Alyce's.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Alyce Lost Her First Tooth

Tonight something amazing happened! Alyce lost her first tooth! I was working on getting Luke ready for bed when Alyce walks into his room saying "my tooth fell out". I was like "what?" and she opens her mouth and sure enough there is a hole where one of her middle lower teeth used to be. I asked her where her tooth was and she said she couldn't find it. I go into the bathroom and between the two of us we look all over the floor and I just happen to run my hand across it. As small as it is it was pure luck I found it. I was just happy she didn't swallow it.

For the rest of the night until she went to bed I fawned all over Alyce and the new hole in her smile. She kept messing with it too. She kept sticking her tongue through the hole.

As we both calmed down I talked to Alyce about taking good care of her teeth. I told her now that she lost a baby tooth a big tooth would come in and that it was the only tooth she'd get there. And if she wanted to keep it forever she needed to make sure to brush good. She seemed very keen to do just that. Judging by the health of the tooth she lost we don't have much to be worried about. The tooth is in perfect shape without any sign of plaque or tartar.

Following the public service announcement about proper tooth care I told Alyce all about the Tooth Fairy. Alyce knew about the Tooth Fairy and knew that she was supposed to put her tooth under her pillow. However when I told her that the Fairy takes the tooth and leaves money Alyce says "I'll get some money?" At that point she was keen on getting that tooth under her pillow. I convinced her to wait until tomorrow night so Mom could see the tooth when she got home from dance class.

Once Alyce was in bed I took a few minutes to see if a 5 year old is supposed to be losing their teeth yet. As per the Mayo Clinic kids are supposed to start loosing their teeth around age 6 with girls starting earlier than boys. I think everything is ok but I have a feeling that Mom might be calling the dentist just to double check.

Here comes Christmas with Alyce missing one of her front teeth. We'll have some great pictures!

Monday, December 12, 2011

How The Grinch Stole Christmas

Tonight I shared with the kids a Christmas classic, How The Grinch Stole Christmas. We watched the show created in 1966 based on the book of the same name. There was a remake a few years ago but I like the old classic better. I couldn't find this version of the show on broadcast TV so instead I found it on YouTube.

I grabbed both kids, put them on my knees, and pressed play. They were enthralled. Alyce and Luke laughed at all the funny parts and were a bit concerned as the Grinch was stealing Christmas. When it was all over they seemed pleased that the Grinch was with the Whos. Alyce said that her favorite part was at the end when the Grinch was having dinner with the Whos.

Having watched the show as an adult the theme shines through; that you don't need presents or decorations to have Christmas as long as you have each other. A pretty good theme even if it took me 33 years to figure it out.

Sunday, November 27, 2011



Thanksgiving this year was kind of a bust for our family. We spent the day home sick while everyone else was eating turkey and pie we were home trying to keep our lunch down.

The weekend before Thanksgiving Luke came down with a stomach bug. He couldn't keep much of anything down for 24 hours. The next morning he was mostly fine. He kept his food down however his appetite wasn't there. We thought we were in the clear when nobody else got sick for the next few days. Our luck ran out on Wednesday. I get a call at work from Mom that she has come down with a stomach bug that sounded eerily familiar to Luke's.  Mom like Luke woke up the next day feeling better and kept her food down. However, her appetite had not returned and is still missing.

Even Wednesday we knew we shouldn't be going out on Thanksgiving but we held out a bit of hope for some miraculous recovery that would allow us to make the trip. Alyce's upset stomach and a fever of 103 erased any doubt where we were going to be spending Turkey Day. Alyce luckily only got sick once and spent most of the day either taking naps or laying on the couch watching TV.

I took the opportunity to do some work on my wall. I received more than one awkward look from the neighbors as I was loading shovelfuls of rock into a wheelbarrow as they were off to Thanksgiving dinner. After explaining to them our situation you could see the understanding in their eyes. Each and every person I talked to offered to bring food back from their dinners. It was very neighborly of them and embodied the Thanksgiving spirit.

The aftermath of this round of influenza is still felt. Just yesterday Luke's appetite came back a full 7 days after the first onset of symptoms. Alyce never really seemed to lose her appetite however the quantity of consumption has gone down. Mom has yet to regain her appetite and is limiting what she eats. Not because she couldn't keep it down but because it isn't agreeing with her. I'm hoping that this will pass me by. If I am to get sick I can be thankful that I was healthy while everyone else was sick so I could take care of them.


Alyce's 5th birthday was quite some time ago. Sadly it's taken too long to get around to writing a post about it. Alyce's birthday was really more a birthday week than a birthday day. We did a little celebration on the actual day, next we had a family birthday party at our house, and finally we had a kid birthday party at McDonald's. It makes me tired just thinking back on it all.

The actual birthday was a simple affair after Alyce's dance class. We had cake and ice cream and a few presents. We didn't really need this night but Alyce had been focused on the day so much we didn't want it to be a fizzle. I think it was enough to keep her from being letdown.

The second birthday was the big birthday party where she got the big present from us. This party, held at our house, was for the family. We had grandparents from both sides plus aunts, uncles, and friends of the family. We had lasagna with sides, cake, and ice cream. Presents galore too! The big hit of the party was our gift to Alyce, a new bike! Looking at those pictures of her riding around the cul-de-sac on her old bike we knew she needed something more size appropriate. The bike is princess themed and purple. It has a snap in carriage on the handle bars were she can sit her stuffed animals. The night of the party and the next day we allowed her to ride her bike in the house. We knew we were asking for trouble by allowing bikes in the house but surprisingly enough she didn't hit a thing. With training wheels Alyce is a remarkably good driver. Once we brought the bike outside and got the tires dirty it was to never be back in the house.

The third and final party the friends McDonald's party was a huge success. We originally wanted to have the party at Monkey Joe's but thought it too expensive for what you got. So for a third of the price we held it at McDonald's. I had a McDonald's birthday party as a kid and had a great time. I figured Alyce would enjoy it too. I was right.

We invited all the kids we knew to the party. All of our friend's kids were in attendance including Madison from the neighborhood and Maya a friend of Alyce's from school. Another girl from her school, Ellie, had to cancel before the party. Before the party got underway it was pandemonium on the playground. The playground was a two story high affair with lots of tunnels an slides. Alyce, Maya, and Madison were a roving band of girls. Luke and Gideon were inseparable.

Happy meals were provided, as well as cake and ice cream. The chicken nuggets and milk were consumed quickly so the kids could get back to playing. Cake and ice cream was somewhat abbreviated as most of the kids wanted to keep playing. Present opening, well the girls in attendance wanted to see what Alyce got. Everyone else was running rampant.

Everyone had a great time at the party and I would recommend having a party there to anyone. For the next few days that party was all Alyce would talk about. Hearing from a few friends it sounds like the party was all their kids would talk about as well.

Mission Accomplished.

Friday, November 18, 2011

New Wall

We are only 9 months into living in our new house and I'm already working on a new retaining wall. Like last time Alyce is helping me with this wall too. Now that she is five she is able to contribute but more importantly isn't getting in the way.

For most of the digging she wasn't present as there wasn't a lot for her to do and because swinging a pick is dangerous work. Once the rocks and stones started being put into place Alyce came out to help. While I was setting stones Alyce would fill up an old Country Crock margarine container aptly named the "Butter Bucket" with rocks and dump them either behind set rocks or further up the trench.  What she did in one bucket I could do in a single shovelful but being efficient wasn't what our time together was all about.

There was some learning going on too. To put the rocks in the bucket she used a little gardening shovel that was pointy on the end. Being an active construction site there was lots of stuff for her and I to trip on. So she and I had a little talk about how to safely walk with her shovel. The gist of the conversation was pointy end down and no running. She being a good listener did exactly as I asked of her and was very cautious anytime she moved with the shovel. The lesson must have stuck as about a week later she had scissors in the house and walked with them point down and didn't run.

There was some fun during the project too. I had music playing on my phone to help pass the time. It was classic rock with a pretty good beat. On a few occasions I looked over to Alyce and she was bobbing her head or dancing in place. Also when we were done with our wheelbarrow of rocks I would take her on a wheelbarrow ride back to the front of the house for another load. On the way she would play tour guide and tell me the name of everything we passed by.
At the end of the day as I was cleaning up rolling the wheelbarrow and tools back into the garage Alyce says to me "Dad, I had lots of fun working with you". That gave me a warm fuzzy inside.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Dirty Belly Buttons

Most nights Alyce gets out of bed once. Most of the time she wants a drink or use the bathroom. Other times she has some weak reason for being up like her closet is open an inch. Tonight about an hour after going to bed she pops out to tell us that her belly button was dirty. The things that go through a child's mind.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011



This weekend Alyce had her big McDonald's birthday party. I'll be writing about that soon. This was the first party for her where we didn't know what she was getting ahead of time. So we needed to talk to her about how to handle duplicate presents or presents she didn't like.

The night before while putting Alyce to bed I talked about how if she gets two of the same present or gets a present of something she already has to say thank you and not mention you already had it. I went on to say that we could exchange it later for a different toy. I think she understood the thank you part but the exchange seemed to confuse her. She kept saying she would have two of the same toy but in different colors. I left it at that having done the best I could at getting my newly minted 5 year old to be gracious when receiving a gift.

I didn't tell Mom that I had the conversation with Alyce. It didn't come up. Well the next morning Mom gets up with Alyce and proceeds to have the same conversation. Alyce pipes up and says "Mooom, Dad already talked about this to me". Well apparently Alyce is turning 15 instead of 5 as she's got it all figured out.

When we opened presents at her party Alyce did get a duplicate present. Luckily the duplicate was sitting at home as it was a gift from one of her classmates that had to cancel. Alyce did a great job with her gift; possibly better than Mom or myself. When we saw a duplicate we turned and looked at each other with a look of horror on our face. Alyce said thank you like she was supposed to and then showed her friend how to use it. It wasn't a perfect reaction but I think it is better than one would expect from a 5 year old.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Close Enough

On Alyce's birthday we had a little get together at Grams and Papa's as it was Alyce's dance class night. While sitting around the table we were all telling Alyce happy birthday. Luke piped in saying "happy birfday". Alyce immediately responded with "close enough". We all busted up. It appears that Alyce received a sense of humor for her birthday.

Monday, October 31, 2011


Today was our first Halloween in the new neighborhood. We weren't sure what to expect as the neighborhood is packed full of kids and we weren't disappointed. We were told by the neighbors that there was going to be a lot of kids. Since we are the biggest neighborhood for miles around we get a lot of transplants from the county. I like to hand out full sized candy bars so we bought a few boxes and an extra bag of small candy bars for an emergency supply. Luckily we didn't need to dig into that and we can return the bag of candy.

Alyce was dressed as Strawberry Shortcake and Luke was Thomas the Tank Engine. Alyce has been bouncing off the walls about her costume for weeks. Luke has been kind of cool to his. He likes Thomas for sure but I think he didn't like it going over his head. I had to wear it for a few minutes before he wanted it on. He didn't want the hat either but eventually that went on and stayed on all night.

Mom did most of the candy handing out while I took the kids around the neighborhood. I met up with a friend from the neighborhood Cris. Cris along with his kids Keegan and Kennedy made up our trick or treating party. We are trying to introduce Alyce to more kids in the neighborhood and Cris's daughter Keegan is around Alyce's age. Keegan is a lot more outgoing than Alyce so she can get a lot from the relationship. They were first introduced at the neighborhood Halloween party last Friday night. I wouldn't say they hit it off but tonight they ran around together like kids should. I think a few play dates will solidify a friendship.

While rolling through the neighborhood Alyce and Keegan were leading the way. Luke was picking up the 3rd position. The girls would start off saying "trick or treat", Luke running a few paces behind them would pipe in squealing "twik or tweet", and then run to catch up. At first Luke didn't get the whole candy thing but after a few houses he was able to fend for himself and started to pick out his own candy.

Towards the end of the block the kids were starting to run low on energy.  We had to skip the last few houses as Kennedy, Cris's other daughter, had to go pee. She probably told 20 people in a row the exact same thing. Upon finishing the loop I packed the kids up in the wagon and rolled the back to the house.

The thing I am most proud of was how well behaved my kids were. They didn't run too much and they said thank you to every person handing out candy. They even stopped when I said to as they were about to run into the street without looking both ways.

Friday, October 28, 2011


Last week Alyce had her first visit with the dentist. A moment in any child's life that strikes fear into their soul. Well that is how I remember it as a kid. About six months ago Alyce went with Mom while she got her teeth cleaned. She went along just to see how the whole process went so that she would have some experience to draw when it was her turn.

Now 6 months later is was her turn. The visit went very well.  The hygienist went through every tool telling her what they did. He gave each tool a name and said what they did. The name I liked most was for the straw. He called it Mr. Thirsty.

The visit was fairly routine and no cavities were found. We were told that we should continue to help Alyce brush her teeth until she could point to Europe on a map. Next time they are going to do fluoride treatments. I hope that's been improved since I was a kid. That gunk was nasty and seemed to go everywhere.

Alyce came home with all sorts of swag like a toothbrush and toothpaste. Went I caught up after work she was  proud of herself. It probably helped that I asked her lots of questions and told her how proud of her I was. Later in the week when I told the hygienist how proud she was of herself he gave me some more goodies to reinforce the positive experience.

5 Year Update

Here we are 5 years after Alyce was born. No longer a baby. No longer a toddler. Just a little girl that isn't getting any younger. Much has changed in the last year. She can dress herself, get a cup of cold ice water, and can brush her teeth even though that needs some double checking. She's also grown a lot in the last year too.

She had her 5 year checkup earlier this week. She was running a fever so she skipped getting the 5 shots she had coming her way. It's kind of a bummer too. She had steeled herself along with having her bear Hearts for support. She was kind of let down when it didn't happen.

  • Height: 43 1/4 inches
  • Weight 37 lbs
The height puts her at 70% and the weight is still the 50%. I don't see how she could weigh any less than she does. We can almost see through her. I'm guessing the longer bones weigh a lot. If you are keeping score the numbers from last year were height 41 inches and weight 34 lbs.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cold Ice Water

Alyce is now old enough and tall enough to get her own cup of water. A cup of water from the water dispenser on our refrigerator. Our fridge also has its freezer on the bottom so Alyce can get ice cubes for her water. All that is left for us to do is to put the cups on her level and she can get water anytime she wants. Not that we want her to do that as we'd have spilled cups of water everywhere.

There is one thing that I find so cute about her getting a glass of water, how she asks for it. When she wants some water she'll come up to Mom or I and ask for some "cold ice water". I don't know why I find it so cute. Maybe it's just because it's funny because most water that has ice in it is going to be cold. I love kids.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Last night, Mom's birthday, the kids were behaving. If that wasn't gift enough the kids made finger paint artwork. Luke quickly lost interest but Alyce embraced the project and made a few pictures.

My favorite is one I'll title "beach". Alyce made a nice blue sky, orange sand, orange sun, and a purple shovel, bucket, and sea shells. I liked it so much I asked Alyce if I could bring it to work. Initially she was apprehensive but after Mom told her she could make another picture after breakfast she was ok with me making off with it.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Barbie Girl

Alyce has taken to singing along with songs while riding in the car. Her favorite song is "Barbie Girl" by the band Aqua. This song was a big hit in 1997 just after Mom and I graduated high school.  The song is pretty benign in that it doesn't have any questionable lyrics however there is a wink wink an a nudge on one of the lines of the song.

There is a line in the song where the singer Lene Nystrøm Rasted says "undress me everywhere". Now in relation to a Barbie I can see where you are playing with the Barbie and it's all clean. Throw your mind in the gutter and well you get the drift.

I went to all of the trouble explaining that because Alyce doesn't get the lyrics. In her mind she thinks they are saying "rescue everywhere" and sings along the same. So last week on the way home I'm driving the car and Alyce is signing along and says "rescue everywhere" like normal. After that she breaks from the song and asks me if she can rescue everywhere. Of course I'm not going to correct the lyrics for her so I say "sure". Alyce ponders that for a second and then says "I bet she is a super hero". Between bouts of laughter I agree that "yes, yes she probably is".

I love kids. I love the innocence. I love how they will ask a question regardless of how ridiculous it is and not worry about being made fun of. It's too bad they can't keep it forever.

In closing I present "Barbie Girl" by Aqua

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Riding Her Bike

A while ago we received a hand me down bike from the lady that cuts Alyce's hair. It was in decent shape but needed a little maintenance before it was ready to be ridden. Specifically the chain needed to be oiled, tires inflated, and training wheels put on. Since we received it I've been dragging my feet getting to it (much to Alyce's dismay). Dragging partly because I was lazy, part because the garage was a mess, and mostly because I wasn't ready for my little girl to start riding a bike. We live on a hill and while it isn't very steep it is long. If you were to coast the entire way down you'd pick up some serious speed. Having a bike makes you much more mobile and is another step away from the protection of your parents.

My fears aside I needed to get the bike ready because this past weekend on Sunday was going to be a neighborhood bike rodeo! There was going to be lots of stations to teach kids proper bike handling and safety. The only requirement needed was a bike and a helmet. I didn't want Alyce to feel left out and I figure there was a lot to learn so I took the plunge and got the bike ready.  I spent a good portion of Saturday getting the bike ready. When it was all said and done the bike was in great shape. Well as good as I could make it without sending it to a bike shop.

When finished we went inside and asked Alyce if she wanted to ride her bike (we hadn't told her we were fixing it up). She responded with a resounding "yes"! I stuck around the house with Luke and Mom took her up the street to the cul-de-sac where it is flat and without cars. Upon their return I got the full report. Alyce did good on the bicycle but was running a bit too heavy on the breaks. Mom cut it short because they went up there without a helmet and a brand new cyclist could use a helmet.

I took the next round. Alyce with helmet brought her bike and I brought mine too. Together we rode in circles around the cul-de-sac.  She did much better with me. Never once did she fall off her bike but she did run into the curb a few times. She didn't lean into the turns like she's supposed to but she did have good balance when going straight. I think she could have ridden in a circle the entire day if would have let her but sadly it was time for lunch.  We brought her bike back and gave it a special parking spot in the garage. I think she's going to like riding her bike. I'm just not too sure about our hill.

When Sunday came the bike rodeo was cancelled on account of rain which was a disappointment. But it got me to let go of Alyce just a bit more even if I didn't want to. Next up will be to get her a bigger bike. The one she's got seems a bit too small for her frame. I'm thinking a bike will make a perfect birthday present. Maybe a new helmet too. Do they make airbags for bicycles?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Helping Sweep

A while ago I caught up with the family while they were at Gram's and Papa's house. Walking outside I saw Alyce sweeping off the deck. She was doing a decent job considering how over sized the broom was.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Goodbye Pool


Labor Day has passed and it is time that we say goodbye to the pool for the year. It has been a memorable summer in the water. It was our first year there. Having bought the house in January this was our first time to enjoy the benefits of the neighborhood.

Alyce got over her fear of having water in her face, going down the slide by herself, and jumping in the pool. As the summer closes Alyce is now making running leaps into the pool even if I'm not there to catch her. With this sort of confidence I think she might be ready to learn from her swimming lessons. Her favorite activity this year with me was to run around a little circular section of pool until we created a current. Once the water was circling well we'd pick up our feet and float around in circles. We call it our "Whirlpool"!

Luke has never been afraid of the water. In fact he loves every minute of it. Now that we have such easy access to water I think he'll embrace water as just another place to play and will never have any fear of it. Luke has learned some things from the pool too. For example he knows that if he blocks one of the water shooter holes the other holes shoot out water even farther. He has pretty good aim and likes to shoot both Mom and I with water.

To compare the two kids I think it is safe to recommend that continued and lengthy access to a pool is the best way to get kids acquainted with and to enjoy the water.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Super Swinging

A while ago I caught this video of Alyce swinging. She had found her Super Girl cape earlier in the day and wanted to wear it everywhere. I thought it looked cool blowing behind her.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Enough with the Whining

Alyce is at the age where her language skills are developed enough that she can say what she is feeling or thinking. The downside to this is that the majority of what she has to say is whining about any and everything.

Most of the time she is tattling on Luke for some slight. An example would be a bus that Luke starts to play with that Alyce had been playing with previously. Alyce will yell out "Lukie! I had that first!" even though she had been finished with it for the last few minutes. She only wants it because he has it. The standard sibling junk.

Just today she comes running into our room whining that "Lukie thinks my room is his room and he won't give it back!". Oh My Gosh the horror! A two year old boy wants to take your pink and purple bedroom as his own. I think not. Anyway I walk into her room and Luke is sitting on her bed tossing a few things onto the floor. I ask Luke if Alyce can have her room back. He proceeds to get up, get off the bed, and leave the room without a single comment.

Seriously kid it isn't the end of the world when you don't get your way. I guess Alyce is kind of a drama queen. I'm hoping that most of this clears itself up in the next few years as she matures a bit.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Dancing in the Livingroom

Last night Alyce had her first dance class of the season. This year she is in the 5-6 year old class even though she is only 4. Of course she'll be 5 soon enough.

Alyce came home with the video for her dance recital from last June! She's been watching it ever since. When she sees her routine she dances along with it. Surprisingly she remembers all the moves. Beyond her own routine she's been watching the other class's routines and dancing along with them. Alyce is doing a pretty good job keeping up with their routines and ad-libbing where needed.

When Mom brought Luke home from school Alyce wanted the dancing again. Luke is now dancing in front of the tv too! It hilarious watching him go through the routines. He's stomping, stepping, twisting, and waving his arms all over and enjoying every minute of it. Perhaps he wants to start dancing too. I'd be ok with that. I guess...

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Last school year near the end of the year Alyce's class focused on plants. One by product of that subject was that each student got to take home a sunflower that they planted themselves.

When Alyce brought hers home it was a sad little plant so small yet full of hope. Hope that some day it would be big enough to make a flower. Well that day was today. After four or more months and numerous meetings with death Alyce's plant finally flowered!

They plant probably didn't reach it's full potential. I think most sun flowers can be upwards of 10 feet tall. This is probably 3' at best and has a wicked bend at the bottom. We didn't get it staked early enough to fix the bend.

Alyce has enjoyed this little project and has taken an interest in keeping it watered. Of course at times her attention wained and Mom and I had to drop a cup of water on it to keep it alive. We do really good at keeping outside plants alive. Interior ones are a different story. I'm kind of surprised we kept it alive this long.

Monday, August 29, 2011

No Way


Just before school started last week we took a quick trip to Kentucky Lake for a vacation. A full blown write up about that experience is coming. In the mean time I wanted to write about something funny that happened while we were there.

At the beach there was a big pirate ship with a slide that the kids were playing on. Besides the slide the most notable feature was this cool ramp leading up to the ship. It had rope hand railings and really added to the pirate ship look.

At some point Luke was blocking the ramp and Alyce was wanting to get up on top of the ship. We told her to use one of the 3 other ways of getting up on the ship that were available to her. She would have none of that she was focused on one way only. Mom and I then told her to ask Luke to step aside so she could go up. She repeated what we said and Luke replied "no way!" as he stuck out his hand in a stop sign motion. We erupted with laughter. Luke was smiling because we found something he did to be funny. Alyce didn't see the humor as much as we did.

Eventually she did make her way up to the pirate ship.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Day at the Zoo

Saturday we spent the day at the zoo. Surprisingly it wasn't too crowded. With the nice run of weather and school being back in session we figured there would be some pent up demand.
We were happy to see that the hippo exhibit was open. Last time we were here it was closed due to cracks in the aquarium. I could see why the zoo management would want to avoid a few thousand gallons of water and a hippo greeting their guests first hand.
A quick ride on the train and some lunch and before we knew it we were looking at some penguins. It was a pretty warm day outside and walking into a fake penguin habitat at 40 degrees was quite the shock. Mom and I enjoyed the weather however Alyce did not. I held Alyce close to save some body heat and we managed to see all of the penguins and puffins hang out on shore and swim in their tanks. Penguins are pretty cool. They look so clumsy on land yet fly like fighter jets when in the water.
After the penguins I took the kids for a ride on the carousel and after that we needed to leave. We had to leave  early because nap time was fast approaching and we still needed to see GiGi; she's at the hospital. Alyce was not too happy about this because she wanted to see the giraffes and we hadn't gone past the giraffe enclosure. It didn't help that the giraffe area was on the opposite side of the zoo, up a hill, and the point farthest from our car. She whined for a bit but gave up before we got to the car. She was dragging pretty bad on the walk back and I had to carry her about half the time.

It was a good day even if the kids were a bit whiny at times. The zoo is always a blast and with free admission you can't go wrong. Being a zoo friends member is also a boon. Free parking and train rides make the trip even easier.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Learning to Swing

A great byproduct of us having our new playground is that Alyce has learned how to swing! She isn't great at it yet but does well enough to get some momentum and keep it without adult interaction. Mom and I have been trying to teach her how to do it for some time by telling her to move her legs but she didn't "get it" or she didn't care to learn as we would just push her. Now that she can do it all by herself we only have to push Luke and he doesn't want to swing as nearly as much as she does.

Sibling Cuteness

I managed to grab a few cute pictures of the kids while they were out playing on the swing set. The swing set so far is working out great. The kids are always asking to play on it and make use of swings, clubhouse, and slide. If we can get a few years of use out of it I'd say that we got our money's worth.

First Day of School

Wednesday was Alyce's first day of her second year of preschool. She isn't going to the same school as last year as we moved last winter to our new town and school district. It is unfortunate that we had to pick her up from a known environment to something completely new and strange.

The first day of school this year was a bit hectic. Not really hectic for Alyce but more so for Mom and I. The day before we had just gotten back from a mini vacation and were not really prepared for school. Mom filled out all the necessary paperwork the night before. Also because we were gone we missed orientation for her school. I don't think we missed much but not knowing exactly where to go the first day is a bit unnerving.

Just like in years past we took pictures of Alyce on her first day with her new backpack on her shoulders all excited about what was to come. Luke managed to get into most of the shots but that's ok. I think he was excited for her. He'll get his turn soon. His school starts in September.

The environment at this school is different than her old school. At her old school the preschool room was a little cabin separated from the rest of the elementary school. It kind of had a Mr. Roger's feel that made you think you were part of a family rather than in a class. Whereas at the new school the classroom is in the lower level of the main building and the walls are cinder block. It has that "classroom" feel to it. Not to say it isn't inviting but you get the impression that they mean business. I may have that all wrong; it was only the first day.

When I got home from work that day I asked Alyce how her day at school went. She skipped and jumped towards me and said it was "awesome!". So I'm guessing she had a good time. I asked her what she did at school that day and she said that she played in the pretend area and pretended to be a cleaner. I'm not sure what that all entailed but more power to her if that is what she wanted to be.

Mom talking to her teacher got the scoop on her day. She said that Alyce had a good day, that she was really sweet, and played in the pretend area. While in the pretend area she tried on some fancy shoes. She went on to say that at the end of the day the class had a big bear hug and that kind of freaked her out. Mom and I weren't surprised to hear that.

Finally I heard from Alyce that one of the girls in her class had the same backpack. If this were prom that'd be horrible. However, I think Alyce thought that was pretty cool. The girl with the same pack pack, her name was Lana or Dana. I can't be sure which one it was because she was an identical twin. That should be interesting.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Lego Time

During our trip to Disney World we visited the Lego store at Downtown Disney. I'm not sure all that they had in stock but it seemed like they sold every active Lego set available. One set I picked up because it was rather unique and because I hadn't seen it any place else was a Lego Sea Monster.

The sea monster set was a replica of a giant Lego monster outside the store sitting in a lagoon. When Mom and I went to Disney World on our honeymoon we took the below picture. Now that we are back with the kids I thought it would be neat to have a Lego statue of it.

I waited until we got home to assemble the set; I didn't want to lose any pieces. Upon seeing the box Alyce was excited to help me assemble it. I was hesitant at first to let her help. I wanted it for myself and because I wasn't in the mood to find every piece for her and to tell her where they go. This all took place the day we got back from Disney World and I didn't have the energy to fight against her demands. So just before she broke into tears (she was exhausted too) I relented and let her help put it together.

Alyce did a really great job putting the set together. There were lots of little pieces but they were standard Legos and not weird ones so it was easy to find what we were looking for. In addition two of pieces of body were identical so after finishing the first one Alyce cruised through the second. Most surprising to me was how well Alyce handled the instructions. Once I showed her the pieces that were needed she would compare the current picture vs the previous and was able to put the pieces in the right position.

What I thought was going to an exhausting frustrating time turned out to be a pretty neat father daughter moment. Alyce isn't ready to graduate to big kid Legos yet but there's a preview of things to come.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Rock n Roll

Last weekend while Mom was at a spa night with some ladies from the neighborhood I took the kids over to Josh and Tammy's house for some fun and dinner. I use dinner lightly because between both kids they managed to eat about 4 bites of food. They were having too much fun to slow down enough to have a bite to eat.

Post dinner Alyce got up on the fireplace to entertain. She grabbed a guitar and sang some songs. She used an electric guitar at first but took a liking to the acoustic. Most of her songs were her babbling words and humming but there was one song about rock n roll where she just said "rock n roll" over and over again.

I had to take a video just in case 30 years from now when she's a big star and on the Jay Leno show they can pull up this video showing her humble beginnings. It's a long shot but you never know.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

New Swing Set

Today we finished enough of the kid's swing set for them to finally get to play with it. I think they really enjoyed it. I started work on finishing the set morning. After a bit Alyce came out to help me. She drove in a few screws and served up some pretend cookie dough ice cream. After a while Alyce said she was getting hot and needed some "cold ice water". She left me to go inside and a few minutes later she came back with bottle of ice water for herself and one for me. Never had water tasted so good.

The rock wall still needs to be attached and until I do that we'll have to hold it for them as they climb up. Later, Papa helped me get the swings installed. Immediately after the kids ran out to make use. Alyce didn't have any trouble getting on the swings, however, she was having a lot of trouble keeping her flip flops on. We didn't mind that she wasn't wearing them but she certainly did.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Strabismus Update

Before our trip to Disney World Alyce had her annual eye checkup. As mentioned earlier Alyce was diagnosed with Strabismus at an early age and had surgeries to correct it. Now every year we take her in for a checkup. I'm not worried about her eyes no longer aligning but the checkup also consists of a vision test so we know that Alyce's vision is tested annually by an expert in the field.

This year's visit wasn't without some excitement. Turning onto the road leading to Children's Hospital our car with Mom and Alyce in it was hit broadside by a driver that had run a red light. To see it in text makes it seem worse that it really was. Both Mom and Alyce had no injuries and 2 weeks without our car and $6,000 later (paid by his insurance) we were made whole again.

The worst part about these appointments is that you are always waiting. Waiting for the initial test. Waiting to get eyes dilated. Waiting for the dilation solution to work. Waiting to see the head doctor. It's all very frustrating. The whole thing took the better part of 3 hours and we were probably face to face with a care provider a grand total of 15 minutes.

Pushing all of that to the side Alyce's eyes are doing great. Her vision (focus) is fine and in the doctor's words "Alyce is the text book example of a successful eye muscle surgery". We were really pleased to hear that.

Alyce will always have a few hitches when it comes to her vision though. If she puts her head to one side or the other her eyes can go misaligned and it looks kind of weird. The doctors told us in the past there isn't anything they can do to correct that without affecting her normal heads up vision. You take what you can get I guess.

Alyce Helping With Her Swing Set

For the past few weekends I've been working on building Alyce and Luke a swing set. We purchased the set some time ago but were waiting on some concrete work to be done before it was to be assembled.  Now that Alyce is getting older and wants to be a builder I thought it would be fun to share the experience with her and she'd learn how to use some tools in the process.

The first few steps in construction I completed with my friend Josh's help.  The pieces were large, required some lifting, and we were under some time constraints so we kept Alyce away. Now that I'm nearing the end I wanted to include Alyce.

One night this week after dinner Alyce came out to help me.  The goal for the evening was to assemble and install the two seats for the club house and to assemble the rock climbing wall necessary to get up to the second floor of the clubhouse.  The first thing we did was to go over the instructions for this step and for me to show her what parts we needed. Alyce helped locate the tubes for the seats and helped get them in the right locations. While I was holding the pieces, she would run bolts through the holes, and I would tighten the nut on the other end.  Alyce got her first experience with a crescent wrench and its ability to adjust its size with swipe of a thumb. Getting the seats on the tubes was a little difficult. So much so that Alyce couldn't even turn the screw driver. She was a bit disappointed with that but after some encouragement she moved on.

Next we assembled the rock wall. This required lots of pieces of wood, some measuring, and driving of lots of screws. Alyce was a lot of help for me on this one. Together, working off the instructions we were able to get all of our wood lined up. I drove in a few screws to get everything lined up and after that Alyce and I shared the work. Alyce would hand me a screw for when it was time to drive in screws on my side and when it was her turn I'd start the screw and she'd use my cordless drill to drive it in the rest of the way. She didn't hold the drill correctly but I didn't mind. I also taught her the basics of reading a tape measure. I showed her how to count inches to see how far apart something was. I left fractional inches as a lesson for another day. When the wall was assembled Alyce found the rocks in the big pile of materials all by her self. By this point she was getting antsy to try out her new ladder so I rushed ahead and installed the rocks myself.

When finished I took the pieces and her out back to the assembled structure. I need to do some modifications before I can permanently affix the wall to the club house but it was still usable enough for Alyce to climb up top. She seemed very pleased with herself, however, without the slide being attached she didn't know what to do up there and wanted to get down after a minute or two. I need to hurry up and get that slide installed.

I'm really enjoying spending time with her. Sure it slows down progress but sometimes the journey is as important as the destination. I doubt she'll remember this instant but the next time Alyce sees a tape measure and knows how to use it it'll be because I've left a piece of myself with her.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Gift From Alyce

While Mom and I were at the movies Grams brought Alyce with her to go see GiGi. While visiting Alyce made a gift for Mom and I. It was a cutout of a heart and folded into the card. On the front of the card it read "I love you!" and inside it was a family picture. From left to right it is Luke, Alyce, myself, and Mom. Alyce seemed very proud of herself and we were very happy to receive such a nice gift.

As always it pleases me to see that when she portrays us we are smiling.


Last night Alyce gave everyone a good laugh. Alyce and Luke were over at Gram's and Papa's house for quiet time so Mom and I could go see a movie. Following the movie and dinner it was time for us to go. As we were putting the kids in the car I lowered all the windows to vent out the hot air in the car. Alyce must have not noticed the windows being rolled down because she started yelling to Mom and I "I can't roll down my window"! As the last word was rolling off her lips she reached up to touch or hit the glass.  Much to her surprise her hand went right through where the window would have been and outside the car. Immediately after we hear Alyce say in a sheepish voice "oh".

Thursday, July 21, 2011


I just wanted to post a picture of some of Alyce's latest artwork. It is proudly displayed on the refrigerator. The fireworks picture is done with crayons and stickers. The other two are with paint. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Swimming Pool Breakthrough

This weekend we had a significant swimming pool breakthrough! Alyce went down the slide all by herself! Up to this point Alyce would have nothing to do with the slide and if she did manage to get to the top of the slide she would wait for us to hold her hand before she would go down. Luke her younger brother of 2 years already goes down the slide by himself but Alyce would have none of it.  All of that changed this weekend. I'm not sure if it was peer pressure or just the decision to do it but Alyce started going down the slide by herself.  When she did go down the first time both Mom and I cheered and clapped for her. I think Alyce was proud of herself too.

On top of the slide Alyce also started jumping into the pool without holding onto our hands too! Before then she would jump in but always had to maintain contact with Mom or I. She'd still only jump when we were nearby and she wanted us to catch her but separating ourselves just a few inches away is a major step.

One item that has been the most help in getting Alyce to do these things is a hat. How can something as simple as a hat do that? Well our slide area has lots of sprays and fountains which make the whole area act like it's raining. Alyce hates getting her face wet so avoids the whole thing. This weekend I gave her my baseball hat and even though it was too big for her head it kept the rain out of her face and she entered the rain without hesitation. Her floatie also deserves some credit. Her floatie is a combination water wings and life jacket. It goes on easy, doesn't inhibit movement, and provides a lot of stability so she doesn't bob in the water. Both Alyce and Luke have them and they love them.

Good job big girl both Mom and I are really proud of you.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Disney World Day: 6 Part 2

The second half of our last day at the park was just as good if not better than the first half of the day. Following naps and dinner we hopped on the bus heading back towards the Magical Kingdom. We were going there to see the Electric Parade and possibly the fireworks show if the kids were up for it.

While waiting for the bus it started to rain just a bit. We didn't mind a light sprinkle and continued on. The closer we got to the park the harder it started to rain. By the time we walked in the front door it was really coming down. We knew all of the rides would be closed so we took the stores for a bit of shopping hoping the rain would pass like everyone else in the park. Mom also wanted to get one final autograph, Minnie Mouse's so we got in line for that as well. While waiting for all of that to come to pass I kept the kids entertained by showing them episodes of the Roadrunner and Wil-E-Coyote; blasphemy in the House of Mouse!

After our visit with Minnie and Mickey the rain had stopped and we went out pick our spots for the Electric Parade. I asked a nearby worker where would be a good spot to sit for the parade. His response was disappointing; the parade had been cancelled. I guess since it rained so late into the night Disney was unable to get the parade ready by its scheduled time. Mom and I were saddened. Alyce on the other hand was devastated. She had fixated on this one item and to have it taken away brought on instant tears. To salvage the evening Mom and I were willing to do just about anything. We immediately fixated on the cart selling glowing toys. I found it hypocritical that Disney would cancel their parade yet still continue to push their overpriced crap on overtired kids and parents at the end of their rope. I however was glad they were there because we gave Alyce a choice of any toy and $15 later Alyce was the owner of a new light up Minnie Mouse toy and the parade was a distant memory. The best $15 dollars ever!

We took a trip over to the Adventure area of the park and took a nighttime ride on the Aladdin ride. The Aladdin ride was just like the Dumbo right but held twice as many people. We walked right on and had a great time.

After Aladdin we used up the last of our snacks on some Mickey Mouse ice cream sandwiches. In my opinion the Mickey Mouse ice cream sandwich is the best ice cream available at the parks. I highly recommend you try one if given the chance. I also recommend Disney's chocolate cake. It comes in a small cup with chocolate icing and Mickey Mouse sprinkles. It's divine.

To finish up the night we ventured toward Tomorrow Land. We hadn't done a single ride in this section either so we tried to hit the ones with short rides that wouldn't scare the kids; we were mostly successful. The first ride we rode was the People Mover. This ride is as tame as they come. You ride a little cart throughout the tomorrow land area passing through different dioramas. I most we were traveling 5 mph. For about 30 seconds the ride rolls through a pitch black section and Alyce and Luke both flip out. Mom and I are like "what the heck" and tell the kids to pipe down having run out of patience for such things. Following that we rode on the Carousel of Progress. This ride had been there for ages and Mom and I have never rode on it. It was a pretty cool show that put how far technology has changed in the past 100 years. What I found funny was that a lot of things shown to be in the future are already here today. It's got a catchy song too.

Following Tomorrow land we caught the tail end of the fireworks display. After that we called it a night. When finally back to the room and the kids in bed the clock read 11:30. This night and the night before taught us the lesson we should have learned early on. It is better to keep the kids up late in the cool of the night than to force them through the hot of the day. Even though you'd be dealing with overtired kids it is better than hot kids. Too bad it took us so long to figure it out.

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