Tag Archives: birthdays

Five Month Radio Silence

From Family 2011

It seems I suddenly became a terrible blog administrator. I was doing fairly well for quite some time, only missing a month or two every once in a while, but then 2011 happened and it’s been five months since my last post (almost to the day!). I did do one little post on my personal blog in April, but that one wasn’t a very good one. So within the next couple of days I hope to have this one and my personal blog updated.

Going off our Family 2011 photo album, I can see that we’ve done quite a few things already this year. We’ve been to the tunnels of Crystal City, we went ice skating in Pentagon City, we’ve been to the Smithsonian, the Supreme Court, the National Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy hangar complex, and we enjoyed a visit from Grandma and Grandpa Haddad for Micah’s baptism. We all enjoyed our birthdays (they are all within the first four-and-a-half months of the year), Rochelle’s family had a wedding and a funeral (both of which she attended), and I may have finally decided on a career path (this is a big deal). Some friends of ours left the area, some came to visit, and we’ve made a few new ones. Overall, everyone has enjoyed good health, and we are doing well.

Oh, and I got to ride in a helicopter.

Books We are Reading


Despite the recently circulating rumors, I can read. In fact, I recently finished a book, and afterward decided it was time to catch up on the last eight months worth of magazines I had been letting pile up.

I’ve always been an avid reader of Popular Science and Popular Mechanics, the former being my favorite, and the latter having several practical elements that prevent me from being able to ignore it entirely. As a subscriber, upon the arrival of either, I would have it finished before the day’s end under normal circumstances, but with work being as stressful as it has been, I began piling them up back in August and hadn’t gotten around to reading them until this month.

For more about the book that I read, you’ll have to wait to read about it at my personal blog (that post is up now).


Rochelle just finished reading the Harry Potter series again. This is something she does regularly.

After finishing that, she began reading The Poisonwood Bible. It took until about the  halfway point before she really got into it, but she seems to be enjoying it quite thoroughly now.

How the Kids Are


From Family 2011

While many of you share our religious views, much of our family may not be familiar with our beliefs.

In an attempt to quickly and briefly address any questions, I will share our views on what I think are the most common differences between religions when it comes to baptism: how to do it and who should do it (at what age).

We believe in baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, as taught in the New Testament. We also believe that the ordinance should be performed by one holding the authority of the priesthood, that same priesthood that John the Baptist held (he being a descendant of Aaron, the brother of Moses).

Finally, we believe that young children, before they are accountable for their own actions, have no need for baptism since they are not yet in need of a remission of their sins. Yes, we believe that baptism is a necessary step in our journey to Heaven, but small children are innocent before the Lord. Therefore, only after they become accountable for their own sins, knowing and choosing their own actions, are they able to make the decision to be baptized.

Micah, having reached the age of accountability, decided that he wanted to be baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He made this decision knowing that it was not something we required of him and knowing that he could wait to make the decision later if he should so choose.

The photo above is just moments after coming out of the chilly water.

I have to tell you, I felt bad for him. That water was cold. Preparations had been made so that the water would be warm. They filled the baptismal font earlier that morning with nice, warm water. Before dunking him in the water, we had a small service in which we prayed, sang and listened to some remarks about baptism from my father. He smeared peanut butter on his face. The children loved it. Then we all went into the room where the font is located and were shocked to find that all of the water had drained!

So, with only a little water in the hot water heater’s tank, they began to fill the font again. Of course, rather than wait several hours to fill it full of warm water, we had to settle for a little hot water and mostly cool water. We didn’t even wait for it to fill to the optimal depth. Having served a mission for our church and having done a few baptisms before, I knew that I could get him under water no deeper than my knees. So we filled the font until just after my mother’s remarks (she spoke about the Holy Ghost, a gift we receive after baptism as part of our confirmation into the Church). Then we all went back in to the font room. The water was pretty cool. Micah shivered pretty hard. With just one good dunk though he was baptized.

Because the immersion under the water must be complete, people often have to be dunked more than once if any part of them fails to submerge. Micah only had to endure the biting cold water for one submersion though. He was glad.

In addition to his baptism, he has enjoyed seeing the museums with us, he enjoyed the ice skating, and he’s been doing well in school.


From Family 2011

Whether she’s cracking her mother up with the angry mean face, getting an MRI, or hanging out with me after work, Sophie is the brightest star in our home. She can cheer anyone up with a hug, melt anyone’s heart with a smile, or make even the angriest parent crack a smile with her antics. Undeniably, she has the cutest toes in the house, and she gives the best hugs.

Obviously, with five months having gone by, a lot has happened to tell about, but I can’t possibly remember it all. I’m really terrible about keeping a journal (these blogs are the best I can do most of the time, and we all see how well that’s working out).

In February she turned three. She is very aware of how old she is, and she knows she’ll be turning four next. She tells people this from time to time. Also, she understands relative age fairly well, tagging anyone younger than her as being one or two years old, and anyone older as at least four or five. Just recently she informed me that I am older than her, estimating my age as being four, then (seeing that I am obviously more than just one year older than she is) changing her guess to five (with an “oops, silly me” giggle).

Every now and then Rochelle and I share short little blurbs about Sophie on Facebook. Here are a few from each of us (more recent ones come first):


I was watching a movie with Sophie. Two people started kissing in the movie and she said, “Look at those two people kissing.”
I asked her how that made her feel and she said, “Huhuhu, jealous.”

Sophie: Don’t sing anymore. It’s my turn to sing.
Me: Okay, you sing it then.
Sophie: I don’t know how to sing this song!

Me: We’re going on a toad trip tomorrow.
Sophie: Rearry!?!
Me: Really.
Sophie: Rearry!?!
Me:Yes. Really.
Sophie with a wistful look in her eyes: Can you take me to see the lanterns?


Sophie (playing by herself) – “I did it! I am AWESOME!”

Sophie (holding MY flashlight): “I’m going to play with it.”
Me: “Can I please have it back? It’s mine.”
Sophie: “No, it’s mine.”
Me: “No it’s not.”
Sophie: “I’m Sophie and I’m the lost princess. It’s mine.”
I took it back. She’s getting better at this.

Rochelle: Sophie, say Wild Thornberrys.
Sophie: Wild Thornbabies. Wild Thornbabies to the sky!

As you can tell, we thoroughly enjoy having her in our family. She can be difficult, but it’s worth it.

Oh, and she’s in this video.

Also, her latest MRI looked clean again, so we won’t be going in for an MRI after three months like we had been. We get to wait six months instead.

Until Later

Despite five months worth of activity to report on, I wanted to keep this post short-ish to prevent you from taking one look and turning back out of fright. I promise I’ll try to be more regular than I have been so far this year. If you have anything you’d like to tell us, leave a comment or contact us using the contact information on the blog’s main page.

We love you all and hope you’re having as awesome a year as we are so far. Be sure to check out our Family 2011 photo album to see a few of the things we’ve seen thus far.



Filed under Exciting, Travels

April Showers

From Family 2010

As always, we’ve had an interesting month. It seems we do everything humanly possible to avoid boring you with our monthly updates. To keep things particularly “banging” around here (just coined that phrase myself, if you use it please reference me) I’m adding a new feature. And to keep you guessing, I’m not going to tell you what that new feature is until you happen upon it by yourself.

In summary, I’m giving myself a headache trying to remember everything that we’ve done in the last thirty some-odd days. Micah and Rochelle both had and celebrated their birthdays. We finally finished accumulating the rest of our camping gear, and we broke it in.

In more detail now, late last month we held a party for Micah and some of his friends in honor of his birthday. That’s when Rochelle made the fun cake you see above. We also stayed up waaaaaay too late the night before preparing some pretty nifty decorations that are still up. The party went pretty well, and Micah got several cool gifts. Among them, he got not one, but TWO Nerf guns from us, a few action figures and books from friends, and a party that lasted most of the day and nearly hospitalized his dear parents.

On April first, his real birthday, we gave him an apparently disappointing card that contained nothing but a lousy voucher coupon to freely spend thirty of his parents’ hard-earned dollars at the Lego store. He was not impressed. We decided he will not be getting any more coupons from his parents.

Rochelle got some fun stuff for her birthday. The main gift was a neat little device that she never knew she needed called the Fitbit. She had been wanting a pedometer for quite some time, and was interested in some kind of device that would help keep track of how much sleep she was getting. So, I found a device that does both (and more). Plus, it has a very impressive, magical screen that you would never know is there until it displays something. Very cool. She has been using it religiously to track stuff, and it is helping her feel a little better about being capable of executing some kind of regular fitness regiment.

I also gave her a massive bag of Twizzlers for her birthday. You know, to offset the “healthy” aspect of her gifts.

Her birthday was on Friday, and that night we all unrolled our sleeping bags in the living room and slept on solid ground. The following Saturday was “Outdoor Survival and Enjoyment Day.” I’m proud to say I didn’t even touch the computer OR my phone all day long. We went on a mile-and-a-half walk, we learned about the contents of our camping day-packs and survival kits, and I surprised everyone with the fact that I had already purchased our tent. We set it up (which wasn’t all that hard) and slept in it that night. The kids handled everything pretty well, and we’re looking forward to setting up a real camping trip before too long. I didn’t take any pictures at all, so next time I’ll be sure to better document our adventure so you can see the kids enjoying the outdoors.

And now, for the new feature.

Books We are Reading


The truth is, I claim to love reading, but I don’t make nearly enough time for it. Part of my problem is that I love to read books that teach rather than just entertain. I read a lot of nonfiction, which can be dry while still providing barely enough entertainment to prevent me from abandoning it altogether. So while I may want to finish a book, I have to force myself to pick it up every time I read until it’s done, at which point I am glad I read it.

I currently have book marks in at least six books (and perhaps more that I’ve forgotten about) and I have a stack of four additional books by my bed that I intend on reading soon. In addition to those books, I have an entire shelf in my bookshelf that is dedicated to books I plan on reading as soon as I can. This is all just the tip of the iceberg, as I have hoards of books listed in wishlists online that I just haven’t gotten around to purchasing yet.

So, I just recently forced myself to finish a somewhat dry but very informative book by Alice Cary called “A TrailSide Series Guide: Parent’s Guide to Hiking and Camping.” It came highly recommended in other books I had read, and got rave reviews online, but it is out of print so finding it was something of a challenge. It is packed full of useful information, but you have to weed through the author’s exuberant love of hiking, which she assumes you share with her.

The most recent book I put a bookmark in and started reading is “Philosophy for Dummies” by Tom Morris, Ph.D. (fancy, huh?). So far I’ve learned that the word philosophy means “a love of wisdom.” Being one who loves wisdom myself, and being one of religious faith who is willing and able to reconcile whatever facts man presents with the truth taught by God, I’ve decided that philosophy is something that I might enjoy dabbling in. So, I’m reading the “For Dummies” introduction before investigating more serious books and classes, should I wish to do so.


Rochelle recently enjoyed “Have a Little Faith” by Mitch Albom. It was a short read and she probably wouldn’t have read it if it weren’t for the book club she joined. Apart from the book club, she read “My Sister’s Keeper” by Jodi Picoult and finally got around to reading “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen (which she will probably never read again). She reads a ton of books every month, but I’ll be sure to make sure she mentions the ones she actually recommends here.

Currently, she is reading “Julie and Julia” by Julie Powell. She is reading it on her nook, which she still loves.

How the Kids Are


As promised, Micah wrote his own update this time, and he responded to the questions he got last month. Look for footnotes below.

From Stuff That Happened: 2010 version

One day, my friend Madison came to the park close to our house. She was nice. I also watched My Side of the Mountain (1). I played Bakugon (2) with my friends, but I didn’t get to battle. I also played Hot Potato, Soccer, and Basketball and Hoorse (3). And we’re going camping! (4)

My favorite Wii game is the Nerf Elite game (5). I like this game because I like Nerf guns. I do recommend this game for girls because girls would like to shoot the darts.

I like two colors.

They are blue and purple.

My favorite subject at school is science, because we do a lot of things that are fun. (6)

I do like to read.

My alltime favorite book is Campout. (7)

  1. We watched this movie in preparation for learning about camping and survival skills. We watched it after sleeping all together in sleeping bags in our living room, on the day of our dry run where we slept out in the tent in our backyard. Micah really enjoyed the movie despite it being forty-one years old and littered with clumsily delivered awkward lines.
  2. As far as I’m concerned, this is a cheap knock-off of Pokemon that has gained unusual popularity in recent years among children Micah’s age.
  3. He insisted on spelling it this way. His all-knowing, expert, erudite of a friend said that you spell it with two ohs when its the game. In attempting to verify this “fact,” Google offered to correct me – “Did you mean HORSE?” I’m siding with Google on this one.
  4. He seems genuinely excited about the prospect of really going camping, yet he has failed to adhere to certain “Leave No Trace” rules that I’m attempting to instill in him. He understands that I can’t take him camping unless he can show me that he can follow the rules, but his efforts thus far have been trivial. If we ever make it out on a real camping trip, we’ll have a pretty great post to share.
  5. Neft N-Strike Elite. If you’re even remotely interested in getting this, don’t hesitate. Right now on Amazon the package with the game and one Nerf blaster is selling for $17.54 – a whole .44 cents cheaper than the same Nerf blaster without the game disk. I’m not kidding. Go buy it. We paid thirty dollars for it.
  6. He wrote, “My favorite subject in school is science, because we do a lot of things.” I asked him to add just a little more information than that.
  7. The fact is, Micah is addicted to reading. This most recent book that I’ve actually asked him to read is designed to help prepare him for going camping. It covers things like the “Hug-a-tree” program so that kids can be safe when they go camping. Obviously we’re covering a lot more than that with him, but the book is a good way for him to take in some of the information on his own.


From Cell Photos 2010

The biggest new things with Sophie are singing, jumping and repeating. Lately, she can’t play or pass time effectively without singing loudly and sweetly the whole while. It is one of the most amazingly adorable things she does, and it hurts my feelings to spend all day at work and miss her hours and hours of beautiful music. She truly loves singing, and her songs are often as humorous as they are cute.

She is also jumping, a lot. Not just jumping straight up, but jumping off the bottom step of the stairs, and off the curb, and flying as far forward as she can. She is still a little apprehensive about it, and won’t do it unless she’s holding your hand, but with your hand in hers, she’s got the confidence to leap several feet ahead of herself. It’s really fun.

Also, she has lost nearly all of her apprehension when it comes to speaking. She’ll repeat just about anything you say now, and it’s often the cutest thing you’ve ever heard. She’s getting pretty good at forming her own sentences now as well, and she has officially said three full prayers all by herself without any prompting from adults. She’s growing up so big, and she’s getting even cuter every day.

Her interest in potty training is still minimal, and in the last month I’ve only taken her to the toilet a couple of times at most. Rochelle has maybe taken her a few more times on top of that. Sophie just hasn’t shown much interest, so we’re not pushing the issue. Of course, when she has an especially stinky diaper that causes even her to cry out in disgust, we do mention that she could have dropped her package off in the toilet before squeezing it into her diaper, and that would have avoided most of the mess and some of the smell. She hasn’t really caught on to the logic at work there, but she’s considering our proposals.

Until Later

One final note. If you didn’t notice, one of the photos featured in this post is from Rochelle’s new online album – Stuff that Happened: 2010 version. She’s started using her own digital camera a little, and will be posting her photos to her own online Picasaweb account. The link can be found in the family section of our links on the blog page (you can’t see the links in a feed reader, you need to view the article at our website address at https://brhaddad.wordpress.com).

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you liked the new segment I added about what we’re reading. Micah answered two people’s burning questions this month. If you’ve got anything you’d like to hear from Micah or anyone else, just leave a note in the comments. We love hearing from you, our favorite friends and family!


Filed under Celebrations, Exciting, Site Changes

Love is in the Air

From Family 2010

I couldn’t possibly tell you everything that has happened since my last post, but I will try (as concisely as possible).

We’ve been busy surviving around these parts. As I’m sure many of you are aware, our area has been hit with record snowfall this winter, and winter is not over yet. On the radio I heard that the last time this area saw snow like this was over a hundred years ago. Whether that’s true or not, I haven’t seen snow like this since I lived in Colorado (and even then it may not have been quite this much).

We’ve spent much of the last two weeks snowed in and stuck inside. We’ve made every effort to leave the house when it has been safe, and we’ve even played in the snow a bit, but a few of us are beginning to feel a touch of cabin fever (not me, I assure you!).

Although the initial snow caught us off guard and without a snow shovel, we’ve since remedied that. We are now the proud owners of, not one, but two snow shovels, and we are working hard to keep our sidewalk snow free.

We may not have had a snow shovel, but we were prepared with plenty of food and water to ride out each of the major “dumps” from the sky. Since we had just begun spending some of our tax return before the storms hit, we also had plenty to do around the house.

How the Kids Are


Micah woke up today (yes, this very day) with his first neck cramp. He had never had one before, and this one seems like one of those really bad ones.

Unfortunately, he is extremely intolerant of any pain that hurts less than broken bones. When he’s really hurt bad, you’d hardly know it because of how well he handles the pain. When it’s just a little scrape, bruise or neck cramp though, you’d think he was going to die.

And that’s how he sounded all day long. We couldn’t get him to relax to let the muscle loosen up, and he refused to embrace the pain long enough to work the muscle and rub the cramp out. So, all day long he walked around with his heck cocked to one side and screamed and cried like a little girl every time he had to move his head.

Needless to say, it wasn’t pretty. I’m just glad it wasn’t something truly painful. Like a muscle spasm. Even as an adult I’ve been known to scream and cry out in pain when I get one of those.

Outside of today’s incident, however, Micah has been doing relatively well. I’m thinking of letting him write up his own update next month. We’ll see. If I let him, it promises to be interesting.

Here’s a leftover photo from when we visited my parents in January:

From Family 2010

I wrote a caption for it. It goes like this:

Where Micah is, there also shall you find Horror Land.


Sophie just turned two this month, and got one of the best presents ever – A new baby cousin. On the same day as her birthday, my sister gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. If she starts a blog or anything more public than Facebook, I’ll let you all know.

Back in our family, though, Sophie had a really great second birthday. Rochelle worked hard and made a great breakfast for her (with strawberries – her favorite), and a really cool Tinker Bell cake. Sophie played out in the snow, played all day inside, pooped on the toilet for the second time (this was the first time without screaming and crying though), and got her very own big girl bed (which she happily slept in that same night).

I’ve got two videos to sum up the day. One is us playing out in the snow on her birthday. The other is a compilation of the rest of our activities that day (including cake, presents and playing).

My mom and dad sent Sophie a present before all the storms, but because of the snow, we didn’t get the box until a week after her birthday. Here’s a picture of Sophie looking at their card with her mommy:

From Family 2010

She really, really liked the card. It had a Disney princess on it. Sophie LOVES Disney princesses. She also really liked the gift. At our YouTube channel you can find a video of Sophie opening their present, and a video of her enjoying it afterward. What we don’t have video or photos of is her loving it even more every day. She has taken that doll to bed with her almost every night, and she carries it so sweetly, like a little mommy. It’s super cute.

We are going to have Sophie back in for an MRI sometime toward the end of this month or beginning of next month, and we’ll let you know what we learn then (if anything). So far she has been an absolute menace around the house, opening doors, moving furniture, telling people what to do, and pretty much acting like she’s the boss. I don’t think she’s having any problems with her brain. She’s got a bad case of the terrible twos, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Until Later

I’ve uploaded a total of seven new YouTube videos to our channel since the last post, and I’ve added about twenty new photos to our Family Photo album as well. When you get a chance, make sure you check them out since I only linked to a few of them from this post. As always, we appreciate all of your love, comments and support, and we look forward to hearing from you.

If you don’t mind, though, I’d like to just throw in a quick, shameless plug here. I’m currently running a fun little contest/giveaway that you may want to check out. I’m not promising you’ll like the prize that you could win, but entering the contest is fun to do if you’ve got nothing better to do. Click here to read the funny rules and get started.

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Filed under Celebrations, Holidays, Milestones

Family Birthday Party

From Family Stuff

Brownies and ice cream make this baby very happy.

In fact, anything with sugar can put a smile (or some other goofy look) on her face.

This was the scene after dinner last Wednesday (8 July 2009) just moments before we unveiled a present for each child and something special for mom. We chose to celebrate everyone’s birthday together this year since I was away at training from the sixth of January until the end of April, missing every birthday in our family calendar and our wedding anniversary.

To celebrate we ate brownies with ice cream and then went up to each bedroom where a present was waiting.

In Sophie’s room she found a Barbie tricycle (I don’t have photos, but there is a video on our YouTube channel). For the last several months we had noticed how she enjoyed playing on other children’s tricycles, so we found an inexpensive (yet girly) one on Amazon and had it shipped (free shipping) just in time for the joint birthday party. In fact, her gift was the last one we secured.

Then we all treked into Micah’s room where he found something waiting on his bed that he had been dying to have for a long time. Many moons ago LeapFrog created a video game system aimed at helping children Micah’s age learn things like math and spelling. It’s called the Didj. At major retailers (like Target) this toy is on display and turned on in the toy section. Every time we went there Micah would ask to play on it. One day, Rochelle was on Amazon looking at sale items (thinking about Micah’s upcoming birthday, I’m sure) and she found the Didj on sale for almost half off, so she got it and had been holding on to it for several months until last week. Micah was so floored that he had one sitting on his bed, that he was nearly speechless (something unheard of for anyone who has spent any time around Micah). Again, I didn’t take photos, but you can watch a video of the reaction here.

Finally, we all followed Mommy as she searched for the hidden present in our room. Once she found it, we went down to the living room to hear her try it out. For as long as I’ve known her, Rochelle has wanted to learn to play the guitar. We finally got her an affordable system for learning to play the guitar. She is putting a lot of effort in, and someday I’ll post of video of her playing a song on the guitar. On our YouTube channel you can watch video of the search in our room and the unboxing downstairs.

Also on our YouTube channel you can see new videos of Sophie and some of the cute things she’s been doing lately. I’ll embed a short one below, and a longer one can be seen here.

Thank you for stopping by. Remember to watch this site (or subscribe) for updates about once a month. Any time you come by remember to check the links for updates to our photo albums, YouTube channel or anything else. We love you all and appreciate the interest you take in our little family.

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Filed under Celebrations