Thursday, March 31, 2011

St. Patrick's Day

A few weeks ago the family joined our friends Ted, Molly, and their kids for the St. Louis St. Patrick's Day Parade.  St. Patrick's day is Ted and Molly's holiday.  We like to host the Christmas party, they like St. Patrick's Day.  When they host it they go all out.  They got there at 9:00 in the morning for a 12:00 parade.  They set up a tent, grill, and cordon off an area on the parade route so we can have our own little party with a great view of the parade.

Alyce and Luke had a great time at the parade.  They watched all of the floats go by with particular interest in the Irish Dancing Schools and Marching Bands.  When they would go by playing their music both kids would start dancing.  Alyce was showing off some of her dance class skills whereas Luke was just moving his hips forward and backward.

Ted and Molly provided hot dogs and bratwurst for us, however, the kids weren't all that interested in eating.  Luke, instead, was more interested in sneaking cookies off of the cookie tray while we weren't looking.  One time we made eye contact before he touched it and he just sat there waiting for me to do something.  It was a Mexican standoff.

By the time the last float passed in front of us the kids were ready to go.  They had lost interest 20 minutes earlier and were staying busy with sidewalk chalk and goodie bags.  Before we ventured out for the parade we had swimming lesson's so both kids were wiped.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dance Class

In January Alyce had her second parent's observation day. Like the first time this was an opportunity for us to see how far Alyce and her class have progressed. I am happy to say that Alyce's basic dancing skills have improved.

First the girls did some warmup exercises using the balance bar. It was neat seeing the teacher call out a position or a move and Alyce doing the exact thing. Following that they did some exercises where they each took a turn skipping, jazz running, or side stepping down one side of the room and back the other. I got a video of Alyce skipping and at the time she grasped the idea but her execution was excessive. Since then her skipping skills have improved and when she skips it looks normal.

After the ballet work the kids strapped on the tap shoes. I'm not sure if it's because it is at the end of class or if Alyce doesn't like tap but by the time tap comes up Alyce's attention is kaput. She still goes through the motions but she isn't enthusiastic about it.

Following this class the girls start learning their routine for the dance recital. We got to see a picture of what the costume would be and wouldn't you know it the costumes are purple fairies with wands, Alyce's two favorite things.

I can't wait for the recital.

Monday, March 21, 2011

That's Poop

Apologies for the title of this post but none other is really appropriate. Alyce has been very much into artwork lately. So much so that we got a note from her teacher saying how good she was at art and that it was her favorite subject.

A few days ago as I was leaving to go to work Mom and Alyce were busy painting a picture of a caterpillar that was sitting in front of them.

That night after I got home, during dinner, I asked her how her caterpillar turned out. She ran and got it for me off of the refrigerator.

Her recreation of the subject was impressive. I'd call it watercolor impressionism. I noticed one extra circle on the backend of the caterpillar. Talking to Mom earlier I knew that Alyce had run out of room to put a head on the caterpillar and that she gave up and put it on the other side leaving half a head on the bug's rear end. I asked Alyce what each part of the caterpillar was. She showed me the head and the body. When I pointed to the blob at the rear Alyce said without missing a beat "that's poop!". Mom and I just howled! Alyce and Luke looked on not knowing what was so funny.

I love kids

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Swimming Lessons Week 3

We are currently at the third week of swimming lessons. This week is much better than last because the pools heater is now working.

Alyce seemed to enjoy herself more than in other classes. Like normal she is slow to warm up to something but once she is comfortable she is very willing to be part of the group.

Alyce still isn't a fan of getting splashed and with a class full of boys it happens a lot. Maybe some goggle would help her. I figure she'll grow out of that in the future. Coinciding with that is Alyce is very reluctant to put her face in the water.

Singing For Speed

Mom and I thought Alyce should finish the school year at her current school and switch over the summer. On the mornings that I take Alyce to school I take a lot of back roads to get there.

During our rides Alyce and I have lots of interesting conversations. Sometimes it's about school other times it's about the cars or buildings we're driving by. When we are not discussing Alyce likes to sing. She sings to me because she thinks it makes us go super fast and we can get to school quicker. The songs typically start off with her singing "I love you every day, I love you every year, I like you every night" with the time frames and liking or loving being totally random. After that brief intro she uses the same melody but starts mixing all her vocabulary words together to make a string of gibberish that has structure.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Lunch at the Park

Today Mom and the kids picked me up for lunch at the park. It's the first time this year as the weather and our schedules finally lined up.
It has been a long time since I last saw Luke on some playground equipment and I was very impressed with how he progressed. He was able to manage the entire playground without our help. Also he was able to sit down and scoot forward to go down the slide all by himself. Very impressive indeed.
Alyce used a digger and with my help we were able to move some really big scoops of sand. Alyce enjoyed doing it however she did have some trouble doing it by herself. There are three different hinge points on the digger so it can be difficult to use them individually.
Afterwards Alyce had to use the restroom so we swung past my office. It is always fun to show off your kids to your coworkers. After they left I had more than one coworker comment on how big they are getting. I guess they are... I hadn't noticed.
I'm glad they came out and I look forward to doing it again.

YouTube Video

Friday, March 11, 2011


Tonight when I got home from work I was greeted by my two kids. Luke was happy to see me but went back to what he was doing; eating I think. Alyce on the other hand came over, I picked her up, and we gave each other a hug that lasted a minute or more. During that time she snuggled into my shoulder and relaxed. For those few seconds I felt love that only a parent and a child can have. I don't have the vocabulary to describe how it felt.

If only I could put that feeling into a bottle and save it.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Knock on Wood

Yesterday I had a moment when I should have knocked on wood but didn't. In writing a letter to my Mom, Onermark Grams I said that the kids were healthy. Well by the time I got home Alyce was afflicted with something.

She was in tears and had no appetite. When we asked why she was crying she said that she didn't know. Mom and I thought it was a blood sugar thing and pretty much forced her to take a few bites. When that didn't stay down longer than 5 minutes we knew something was wrong. We sent her off to bed in hopes of her feeling better in the morning.

During the night Alyce got up to use the restroom and I got up to help get her out of and into her footy pajamas. When tucking her back into bed she said to me half awake "thank you daddy" in the cutest voice. Stuff like that will just melt your heart.

This morning after my shower Alyce was in our bed watching Dinosaur Train and giggling. I asked her if she was feeling better. She sat up, got a serious look on her face, and said matter of factly "a little bit".

Just talking to Mom she said that Alyce is now running a fever of 103-104 but is still in good spirits and active. We are going to try a shot of Tylenol to get it down. I'm guessing she's got a double ear infection since she's had a cold and an elevated temperature in her ears.

If I were a superstitious guy I'd say I my words to my Mom is what got her sick. But in reality it's all the sick kids that still get sent to school because their parents don't want to stay at home with them.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Candy Land

Last night after I put Luke to bed I came down to see Mom and Alyce engaged in a board game.  Not just any board game, Candy Land.  Mom wanted Alyce to do something other than watch TV before bedtime and luckily was able to find it in all of the boxes around the house.  We had given this game to Alyce some time ago and she didn't really get it.  She followed the game but couldn't keep focused.  This time around she knew what was going on and completed two entire games.

I joined in for the second game and it was pretty much neck and neck until the final few bends.  I took the lead and won the game.  Rather than saying I won and got to go into Candy Castle I told Alyce that I would wait at the door for her and we could go in together.  Alyce came in second a few rounds later.  After that Alyce and I decided to wait for Mom so we could all go inside together.

One thing Alyce didn't get to do during the game is take the short cuts on the board.  In two places if you land on specific squares you get to jump ahead.  Lots of games have things like this and I can't remember a time in my past that I've ever hit one of those.  After the game was over Alyce asked if she could take bridge and after we gave permission (like we needed to?) she put her game piece on one side of the bridge and moved it across.  It's the small the successes in life that really add up.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Swimming Lessons

The family just recently joined the YMCA. We thought that we needed to take better care of ourselves now that life is settling back to normal. One other reason we joined was so that Alyce and Luke could learn how to swim.

We've pushed off lessons for Alyce for far too long. Luke is just at the perfect age. Luke's class level "skip" requires a parent to be in the water too. Alyce's class doesn't need parents, just 6 kids and the instructor.

Luke's class focuses on getting kids comfortable in the water. There were lots of babies in the class and a few around his age. The few times I checked in with Mom and Luke they seemed to be having fun. Luke already being comfortable in the water is definitely ready for the next level of classes.

Alyce's class consisted of 5 boys and Alyce. The instructor who couldn't be older than 18 took an immediate liking to Alyce. She said that she had a sister with Alyce's name. Alyce took a liking to her as well. The first half of the class Alyce seemed like a cat trying to get out of a tub. The second half of class she seemed to relax and have a good time. In her class they were learning how to kick, put the mouths in the water, and lay on their backs.

I'd say both kids enjoyed themselves and they wouldn't complain if we brought them back next week for another round of lessons.

YouTube Video

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

At the Car Wash

A few weeks ago we had a break from the Winter chill and the people of the neighborhood left their caves.  We, like everyone else in the neighborhood took the opportunity to wash the months of salt and grime off of our cars.  While I washed my car Alyce and Luke were in quiet time or taking naps.  As I finished with my car Alyce came outside asking if she could help wash Mom's car.  I agreed and got a little helper.

First we needed some new soapy water.  I let Alyce pour in some solution and she operated the hose to make the bubbles.  Next I gave her a sponge and sent her off to wash the car.  She did one side while I did the other.  When it was time to wash off a section of the car I walked around and looked at Alyce's work.  Needless to say she missed a few spots.  She was very much enjoying herself and she wasn't getting in my way so I allowed her to continue.  When it was time to spray off her sections I let her shoot while I held the hose behind her like a fireman.  When it was time for me to spray Alyce took position behind me and held the hose for me.
During one spray session Alyce's aim wandered and she started showering me with water.  I lightly protested this and rather than turning the hose away she continued to shoot me giggling the whole time.

I very much enjoyed my time with Alyce washing the car.  It was cool that she was so willing to help me.

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