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In the Middle


All photos in this post come from our Family 2013 Album and most of them were taken by Grandpa Haddad.

I’ve been trying to hold off on writing this blog post because we’re just in the middle of so many things. But it’s been so long that I feel bad every day for not providing any updates at all. So while this isn’t the blog post I wanted to write (I’ll have to wait a little while before these things all come to fruition), it is the blog post you deserve.

First of all, it’s been so stinking long since I last wrote (about 424 days, sorry) that I just can’t remember everything that has been happening. My memory already feels sub-par, and to expect myself to recall any details from the last year+ would be ludicrous.

So the plan is to resume posting as though you haven’t missed anything. You have missed some things (the cover photo is from a trip my parents made out here to visit us in April this year), but don’t worry about it. You’ll soon forget all about that big black hole in the middle of my already poorly spaced post history.

Unfortunately, this post will be somewhat lackluster since I really can’t reveal too much about what we’re in the middle of. There are a lot of things that I can’t tell you about until we’re done with them. No, nobody is pregnant and none of the unfinished stuff is bad news. But we can’t just go around talking about things and getting you all excited only to find out that things didn’t go according to plans. So that’s that. Speaking of which, a previously announced project has died. Just forget I ever said anything.

Books We are Reading

Brian

Reading? Uh… Since the last post I’ve completed two books. I’m a slow reader, and they were both embarrassingly short books. The first was hilarious and I recommend it to everyone: The Young Visiters[sic], or Mister Salteena’s Plan by Daisy Ashford. Look it up on Wikipedia. It’s a fantastic book with a rather (or should I say “rarther”) odd history.

I also finished Man-Eaters of Kumaon by Jim Corbett. Jim Corbett recently joined my short list of heroes in life after I discovered him on Wikipedia. He is witty, a great storyteller, and one heck of a man.

It’s interesting that both of these books come from the turn of the last century (late 1800s to early 1900s). I didn’t do that on purpose.

I am currently reading Harry Potter (the first book) to the kids (both Sophie and Micah – I’m so glad Sophie’s been able to sit still while I read to them) whenever I get a chance, and for myself I am in the middle of Start with Why. It’s not a great read so far but the ideas are sound.

Rochelle

Rochelle doesn’t stop reading. I have a hard time keeping up with what she’s read and what she’s reading. She got a new Kindle Paperwhite for her birthday this year and has been absolutely loving it. We’re thrilled that these wonderful devices are so inexpensive (relatively speaking). I’ve been using the now unavailable Kindle Touch for a couple years now and I’ve loved it. I have to admit that Rochelle’s Kindle is nicer. Mine works just fine for me though.

That being said, now that we are both kindle users we have been stockpiling kindle books left and right. We enjoy watching for books we love to appear in the daily deals (sometimes being discounted to just a dollar or two).

How the Kids Are

Micah


Like I said, we’re in the middle of some big things for and with Micah. I can’t provide too much of an update on what I want to talk about, but I can say that he has been enjoying his summer break. He and Sophie have been working hard keeping Rochelle as far from sanity as possible.

This week he’s been attending a daily scout camp. They’ve been going on nature walks and visiting museums and who knows what else. Perhaps we’ll have to bring back the feature where he writes his own entry here. He’s not terribly good at keeping me up to date with what’s been going on in his life. It’s not all his fault though – I’ve been working the night shift and I just don’t get much time with the kids. Everything I write, for the most part, is recounted to me by Rochelle.

Other than the scout activities, he’s been, like his mother, reading a lot. Beside that and what I’m not going to tell you about there just isn’t much to say. It’s 3:30 in the morning so I can’t exactly ask him for any additional input. Once more of our in-progress things have come to a close I’ll have a lot more to share here.

I often feel a little bad about how much I write about Sophie and how little I write about Micah. The thing is that Micah is generally quiet at home and keeps to himself. He’s very interesting, but he doesn’t often share with me or interact with us in a way that gives me good stories to tell.

Sophie


Sophie’s growing and getting ready for her first year of school. She’s getting very good at reading and basic (very basic) math. We often find her on the couch or in her bed sitting quietly with a book.

In fact, I wish I had the photo (I’ll try to get Rochelle to send it to me from her phone so I can post it next time) – recently we’ve been trying to get Sophie to skip naps since she won’t get naps in school. One day (this was a few months ago) she was sent off to play quietly in her room around nap time. She was specifically told that she didn’t have to take a nap. But when we went in to check on her a couple hours later we found her passed out on her back in bed with a book opened over her face. It was adorable, and we love that our kids love reading so much.

Edit: Here’s the photo. It’s great.

Though I don’t have many more details to share from the last year and change I can tell you two stories that Rochelle has recently shared with me about Sophie.

First, she knows she’s going to kindergarten this coming school year, but for the longest time when Rochelle would ask her if she was ready for school she would say something like, “um… no, not ready yet.” This went on for a month or longer. Then, just in the last week or so Rochelle was driving somewhere with the kids and Sophie was sitting quietly in her booster seat contemplating things (like she normally does when she’s not terrorizing Micah) when she broke the silence and said something to the effect of, “OK. I’m ready to go to school now.”

After giving it some thought for a while she has decided that she is ready. That’s Sophie.

Finally, several months ago Rochelle showed the kids a YouTube video she thought was funny. You’re going to have to go watch it, so I’ve embedded it below.

Anyhow, the kids call it the “trololo song.” When Rochelle showed it to the kids Micah expressed that he didn’t care for it (or something like that). As far as I know Sophie was indifferent. Since then, though, Sophie has figured out that she can bother Micah whenever she wants by humming or singing the trololo song. In the car (again) Sophie was humming the tune to the trololo song and it was really getting on Micah’s nerves. Rochelle told him something along the lines of, “if you don’t react that way she won’t keep singing it.” Micah has heard that quite a bit, and he doesn’t like that advice. This time he decided to come up with his own way of combating her annoying behavior.

“I know,” he said. “I’ll just sing something she finds equally annoying. That’ll get her to quit.” He thought about it for a second and couldn’t think of anything. So he decided to ask Sophie. “Sophie, what is your least favorite song that you think is really annoying?”

And without missing a beat Sophie leaned in real close and said in a very serious, matter-of-fact way, “the trololo song.” Micah was defeated.

Oh! That reminds me of another Sophie and Micah related story that also involves music. You’re going to have to watch another video to understand this one as well. Watch the whole thing (it’s short).

One morning Rochelle was walking Micah to school with Sophie shortly after showing this video to the kids. Micah loved this one and was singing the song the whole way. Rochelle, meanwhile, was talking to her mother on the phone. At some point Sophie ended up with the phone talking to her grandmother. Sophie decided she was done and it was time for Micah to talk to grandma. Grandma couldn’t hear it, but Micah was still singing, “I have a bad case of diarrhea” in the background. Sophie’s chosen method of handing off the phone was, “Grandma, Micah has something he needs to tell you.” Micah got embarrassed and couldn’t take the phone. Rochelle took it nearly in tears laughing. Grandma didn’t know what was funny until Rochelle explained it to her. I thought it was pretty slick of Sophie to think of saying it that way.

We are also in the middle of something for Sophie, but I’m not going to talk about it since progress has been slow. Ha ha. I was going to give you a clue but I decided not to.

Until Later

In addition to the thing with Micah and the other thing with Sophie, we are also in the middle of another thing that I can’t talk about. It’s not as big as the others, but it’s exciting for me. If you follow my personal (more nerdy) blog you might be able to figure out what the other thing is soon (I haven’t written the post yet, but I have a post planned relating to the thing).

Anyway, we’ll have a lot of exciting news in the next few months (if everything goes according to plan), and I’m hoping to blog a little more often than once every 424 days. Maybe I’ll just shoot for at least one more blog post before the end of the year. That way if I get two in I’ll feel really good about it.

Thanks for continuing to care for our family even if you thought we may have disappeared forever. We’re still here and we always enjoy hearing from you. We’ll enjoy any comments you leave and we look forward to hearing from you soon.

Since I’m in the video embedding mood tonight I’ll embed one more for you. It’s very short.

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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

Brian

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

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

Micah

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.

Sophie

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):

Rochelle:

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?

Brian:

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.

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Christmas Card

From Family 2010

We are terrible about sending cards out, so consider this your holiday card.

In a lot of ways, this is better than any of the other cards you have received this holiday season. This one has links to videos that are long and full of kids opening presents.

So go check out the final version of our Family 2010 album at Picasaweb, and watch the videos below.

Oh, and I’m not going to embed it here, but on our channel you can watch a really cute video of Sophie praying in her sleep.

We are continuing a family tradition from when I was a kid in which we open one non-Santa present on Christmas Eve before going to bed. Both of these presents came from a program at work where gifts are purchased specifically for children using donated funds. Pretty neat stuff.

The next two videos will immerse you in our Christmas morning present opening extravaganza. Many thanks to all the friends and relatives who helped make this possible. We love you all.

Later that evening I went around to see what the kids were doing. This is what I found.

That’s all for this year, folks. Halfway through next month y0u can expect our January blog post. Until then, many thanks and much love from the Haddad family.

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Christmas is Coming

From Family 2010

While there may have been no excuse for my negligence in posting here during the month of September, I hope that all of you know by now that I do not post normally during November. November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and I have participated for the last three years (and finished a winner every time).

Be sure to visit our Family 2010 album as the year is drawing to a close. There you will find photos from our recent date (no kids!) to an ice skating rink at the Pentagon Row in Pentagon City. Also be sure to visit our YouTube channel where you can see three videos that were uploaded since the last post.

Books We are Reading

Brian

I just finished NaNoWriMo. Give me a break. I’m still looking with guilt at my unchanging pile of books to read, and every day I feel that I inch closer to actually reading one. However, in the short term I really want to see if I can edit my NaNoWriMo novel into something bearable to read.

On a nostalgic note, I’d like to add that I’ve been enjoying playing an updated version of an old game I loved when I was younger. Nintendo recently re-released GoldenEye 007 for the Wii. It was originally one of the best Nintendo 64 games ever made, and they did a wonderful job refreshing it for the new system. If you ever played and loved GoldenEye 64, you must try it on the Wii.

Rochelle

Rochelle is currently re-reading “Reading Lolita in Tehran” for the third time. Reading has been relatively routine for her during the last several months, so she doesn’t really recall anything worth sharing. Keep watching this space for something interesting though, because I still haven’t been reading squat.

How the Kids Are

Micah

From 020

For the time being, I am giving up on trying to get Micah to write anything for this thing. Maybe it will be a summer only event. Until then, I’ll just fill you in on what he’s been up to.

He won three awards at school today. One for attendance because he thinks we’d sell him if he ever skipped school, one for being nice (while he is nice most of the time, we are a little surprised he got that one), and one for getting a 4.0 (the one in the picture, where he’s posing with his teacher, Ms. Reynolds).

He is both excited for and dreading Christmas, mostly because he really, REALLY wants a Nintendo DSi, but we’ve made it very clear to him that they are way too expensive for us to get right now, and we constantly remind him that he has a history of abusing electronics, and we wouldn’t want to let him have a DSi unless we knew he could handle it without breaking it. Plus, he manages to convince himself every year that he’s getting coal (and someday we’re going to get it for him as a prank, but when he’s older and won’t be scarred for life). Overall, he’s absolutely sure he’s not getting a DSi, but he’s still holding on to a last shred of hope that Santa will put one under the tree in spite of all we’ve said.

What he doesn’t know is that we have had a DSi for him sitting in my closet for over three months. We’re really excited about giving it to him, and we REALLY hope he doesn’t break it. We also got him a certain Pokemon game that he wants. I’m going to try to get good video of him getting this gift, because we’re sure he’s going to freak out. We are hoping for a reaction like this kid (YouTube Video), but it’s probably going to be more like this kid (YouTube Video).

I was going to just let you be excited with him, but in this case I decided to take you on our journey as the parents who are waiting as patiently as we can to give our child a gift he really, really wants.

Sophie

From Family 2010

No news for Sophie. She’s still just being cute. She now finds interesting words to append, “ies” to the end of (“pearsies for pears, “friendsies,” and many more). She has become quite a funny little girl. She even gets a lot more jokes now, and her little, “I get it” laugh is super cute.

Sophie has learned how to button buttons, and she helped extensively with the tree decorating (which happened almost two weeks late this year).

A long while back, when Sophie was learning not to be afraid of water, we used to have her lie down in the tub with a little water and we’d move her around “like a mermaid” (in her own words). I took a video with my phone, and finally posted it to YouTube. Yeah, it’s got a naked girl in it, but it doesn’t show anything she’d be too embarrassed about later in life, I hope.

She has had a strong interest in letters recently, learning to spell her name and recognize most of the letters in her name. Of course, when she spells her name, she goes through the, “S – O – P – H – I,” then she gets distracted by the “H, I” and continues with, “J, K, L…” She recognizes the “S” the “O” and the “P” most of the time, though sometimes “corrects” herself and says that the “O” is a circle (which it is, but not when that circle is being a letter).

For Sophie’s gifts, you get to be with her on her journey. I’m not telling what we got her, but it’s going to be good.

Oh, and in November we took Sophie in for yet another MRI. Things are looking great in that little girl’s head. No new tumor growth, and her brain is finally starting to look more like a normal one (some of the cavities that expanded when the fluid built up and where the tumor was may never go completely away, but they are minor and hardly noticeable now). Also, the one year anniversary of her surgery is this Saturday (the surgery was on a Friday last year). We are full of gratitude this year for all that happened last year and we are looking forward to spending the holidays with that beautiful little girl again.

As for what lies ahead, we still don’t know. We’re waiting to get an appointment with the man who can help determine what to do from here. We’ll let you know as soon as we know anything.

Until Later

Well, that’s it for this month. Shortly after Christmas I’ll make an effort to get all of the videos and photos we take posted. Thanks in advance to all of you who may or may not have sent or are sending gifts, money or love. We appreciate all that you do as our cherished and beloved family, friends and blog readers.

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Filed under Exciting, Holidays, Milestones, Sophie PMA

Really, Really Late

From Family 2010

I have AIDS. No, not THAT AIDS! I have Ambition Imbalance and Deficiency Syndrome. Sometimes I get a little overambitious, and other times I can’t muster enough ambition to even think about starting something. Often my ambition is killed off during the process of planning and anticipating an event.

For example, over two months ago I posted that we had some exciting things planned – and we did. And we did them. However, when it came time to do my favorite part – write about those events – my ambition was dead. I had planned on writing, I had anticipated writing, but when it came time to do it, I lacked the ambition to actually write about all the cool things we did.

So now, two months later, I’ll be scraping the bottom of my rusty memory bucket to attempt a portrayal of our exciting activities without leaving out the most important ingredient – the fun.

The first activity we had planned was the construction and use of a compressed air rocket launching system. The details of the build and our adventures launching the rockets can be found at my other blog in two parts. The first part details the building of the system and presents a few problems with it. The second part has some video of our launches, and includes solutions to most of the problems we encountered.

The cool thing about this system is that everything is reusable (no burning engines to replace for each flight) and the rockets can be made from common papers and things you have in your home already.

From Family 2010

Going out to launch rockets is a good excuse for a picnic.

In all, we uploaded five videos of the rocket launches ranging in length from ten seconds to a minute and a half each, plus two compilations – one lasting over two and a half minutes, the other being only forty five seconds. I suppose I could edit them into a single video for you, but I completely lack the ambition. So, instead I will take the time to list and link to each of them here.

Note that the first round of rocket launches were unsuccessful due to the rockets exploding. These launches were still fun though.

In addition to launching paper rockets, we took the kids camping finally. More about that under each child’s section.

The rest of the time since August has been spent doing nothing. Not really, but that sure simplifies the process of writing this post for you. I’d get input from Rochelle on what she wants to include in here, but it’s three thirty in the morning and I doubt she’d enjoy me waking her to ask what I should write about. If I don’t do this now, it won’t get done until next month.

Oh, and I’m not staying up late for fun – I’m on a night shift schedule this month. Hopefully, this should be the last round of night shifts for about nine months. I’m not holding my breath though.

Books We are Reading

Brian

Nothing. Still trying to tackle the ever growing pile of magazines that I subscribe to. My RAI (reading ambition index) is at a zero lately. I did manage to model a more modest dream home than the one I featured last time. Maybe I’ll make a video of this new one for next months post. Maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll actually start reading a book soon. There are so many that I want to read.

Rochelle

Rochelle has read or reread hundreds, maybe trillions of books since I last wrote, so we’ll leave this blank until next month when I will actually consult with her on what to put here.

How the Kids Are

Micah

From Family 2010

Micah has been struggling to come to terms with the fact that nearly everything Sophie does to annoy him she learned from him. I’m hoping he’s learning lessons that he’ll actually take and use from all of this.

Micah really enjoys the rocket launching, and he had a pretty good time on our camping trip. See for yourself:

From Family 2010

Really though, he had fun. He especially had fun when… well, I’ll get to that in a minute. It has more to do with Sophie than Micah.

Sophie

From Family 2010

Sophie also had a good time launching the rockets, and she was the one who insisted we take that cute picture of her and Rochelle above.

On the camping trip she was especially good and very cute (took lots of video – see the links below). She especially enjoyed trips to the camp restroom.

From Family 2010

We did have one minor incident on the trip though – Sophie burnt her hand while roasting hot dogs for dinner.

Funny story actually, she was really excited to eat the hot dog, and before we could properly instruct her on how to remove and eat the hot dog, she grabbed for it. The hot dog wasn’t what burned her though, it was the metal stick it had been cooking on. We had warned her that it would be hot, but she’s only two and these things are easy to forget. Actually, while she was still cooking the hot dog I decided to pull out my camera and take some video since everyone was doing such a good job and following directions so well. Just as I hit the record button, Sophie decided she couldn’t wait to eat any longer, and I got video of the whole thing. It’s the saddest camping video I’ve ever recorded.

Of course, when she dropped her stick it landed on Micah’s arm. While he tried to play it up for a bit of a bigger deal than it was, his burn was minor compared to Sophie’s. He looked like he got a light sunburn through a hole in a long sleeved shirt.

Sophie’s burn, though, was a pretty serious light burn. It wasn’t anything we had to go to the hospital for, but it hurt bad and took nearly a week to fully heal. After a little while she recognized it for the cool battle scar that it was.

From Family 2010

She had a great time climbing around and talking about Toy Story.

From Family 2010

Here are the links to the videos I took at the camping trip:

Finally, make sure you check out all of the new photos on this year’s family web album.

Until Later

Obviously, that’s not everything we’ve done for the last two months, but it’s more than enough update for you, I’m sure. If you’ve been counting months, you know that we should have taken Sophie in for an MRI recently. It didn’t happen yet, but we’re scheduling it this week (the referrals were just approved at the end of last week). As soon as we know what the results are, we’ll post something on this blog (just a quick update).

I can’t shake the feeling that there are big, fun things I’ve left out. Such is the nature of really, really late blog posting. I’ll be sure to post something next month. Thank you for all of your love and support. We love all of you, our dear family, friends and random Internet citizens.

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Filed under Exciting, Travels, Vacation

Trip to NYC

From NYC

First of all, allow me to apologize for posting so late. When we originally began posting here, I intended on posting every month around the 15th. Nearly two weeks have passed since then, but if we hadn’t waited to post you would have had to wait more than a week for these fun pictures (click the link to see all four pictures we took in NYC).

I’m adding a new feature to this site: Section Headers!

The Trip to NYC

As you can see, we went to New York City on Friday to visit my brother, Eric. He had been living up in Boston for a while, but now he is moving out west to California. Since California is a lot further away than Boston we decided to try and meet up before he leaves, halfway between Boston and the D.C. area where we are living – New York.

A quick side note:

Meet Karen.

Meet Karen.

For any of you who aren’t aware, before coming back east from Arizona (see our posts related to our grand adventure across the US) we purchased a Garmin Nüvi GPS unit. We didn’t realize it at the time, but that GPS unit would soon become a fifth member of our family. For much of the trip out here we played around with the different voices it can use to talk to us and we finally settled on a nice sounding woman from Australia named Karen. Her Australian English is nice on the ears and she is much more pleasant than the Arabic woman who sounded like she was mad at me all the time. So, now that you know our newest family member, Karen, I’ll continue with the story.

We left around eight in the morning on Friday after plotting a course with Karen using an address Eric provided us in downtown Manhattan. Karen was thinking we only had about a two or three and a half hour drive.

Especially headed into New York, we knew that traffic would be an issue, but Karen gets traffic updates via FM radio transmissions as we approach cities and she adjusts our course to avoid really bad jams. Around 11:30 our she was telling us we would arrive at our destination in an hour, but suddenly her cool, Australian voice chimed, “Severe traffic ahead. Recalculating.” At that point we knew she had finished downloading the traffic information for where we were headed.

I always like hearing that she is re-plotting a course that won’t land us in a long traffic jam, and she usually picks routes that don’t add too much to our travel time (she only recalculates when the traffic delay is longer than the workaround). She took a long time recalculating though.

Finally, several minutes later, she finished her calculations. The new arrival time had changed from 12:30 to 5:30 PM! Checking the map, she revealed a new course that took us nearly two hours north of NY City (we were approaching from the south, obviously), then we would be hooking back down to come in from the north. Since we had planned on leaving New York by six in the evening, the new arrival time was unacceptable.

Watching Karen react to NYC traffic was like watching a bloodhound track a skunk. When it got close enough to realize what it was smelling, it freaked out and looked for a way to get there without getting too close to the business end.

We negotiated with Karen for a while, finally deciding to tell her it was OK to use toll roads. Once she had that option, she found us a route that let us arrive around 2:30.

From NYC

Cruising NYC

Once we arrived, we met up with Eric and his girlfriend, Lindsey, and went to a little Chinese place for a late lunch. Then, with a couple more hours before we wanted to leave, we wandered around a while looking for the Nintendo World Store. We finally found it and it was awesome (especially since just about every one of us loves Nintendo in one way or another).

They had a really cool museum showcasing just about every major product and prototype Nintendo has ever unveiled (OK, maybe not EVERY major one), including an early prototype of the original Nintendo Entertainment Center (NES).

Sophie LOVES Mario (not as much as Tinkerbell though) and enjoyed walking around pointing at all of the Mario dolls, shirts and games saying, “Mario.”

As we walked around it rained a little, but Sophie really enjoyed it, laughing and squealing every time a drop hit her face. Micah just wanted to splash in all of the puddles, but his Uncle Eric came up with the fun idea of making it a game. Depending on the size of the puddle, Eric would give Micah points for jumping OVER the puddle, and take points away for getting IN the puddle. It worked perfectly.

Our meandering around took us through Times Square (the first picture above) and the Rockefeller Center. When we walked past the area where the Today Show is filmed, Micah exclaimed, “The Today Show!?! I’m in HEAVEN!”

Back in California Micah and Rochelle used to watch the Today Show on occasion while I was at work, but it’s been months. Recently, though, Rochelle asked Micah if would like to go to New York, and his first thought was voiced in his response: “Yeah, because I want to be on the Today Show!” Unfortunately, they weren’t filming when we walked by.

We ended up leaving for home a little later than we had planned, but the trip was a lot of fun. We all enjoyed Eric and Lindsey spending time with us and we look forward to visiting New York again in the future. Next time we’ll try to have more time to really look around though.

Office Picnic

Saturday, as if Friday wasn’t a big enough day, we had a big work get-together picnic thing for our families to meet. There was a little kiddie pool and playground that Sophie and Micah enjoyed thoroughly, and the weather was pretty good (though a storm system was coming and hit pretty hard last night).

Sophie really liked playing on the playground equipment – she loved going down the slide all by herself (it was her first time doing it without a lap to sit in).

How the Kids Are

Micah

Micah goes back to school tomorrow in the first grade. He is still obsessed with Pokémon and rarely talks about anything else, so there isn’t a whole lot to report about him. If you ever want to get an earful of Pokémon, just give us a call and ask for Micah.

Sophie

Sophie is getting cuter, smarter and bigger every day. Here’s a cell phone video of an old trick we had been trying to get on camera for a while:

These days her biggest efforts have been in vocabulary. She really wants to sound just like us. The most recent thing we noticed has to do with when we give her a choice. We’ll tell her, “you can have apple juice or milk. Which one do you want?” and she will really think about it, looking around and saying, “hummmmm…” Of course I think everything she does is super cute, but it’s not just me. She’s cute.

Oh, and she says, “mine,” now. A lot. She doesn’t do it to everything, but ocasionally she’ll grab something and say, “mine!” Most of the time it really is hers, so she even seems to understand the concept.

Also, now that she is a year and a half old, she goes all by herself to the nursery at church. The first time we left her in there alone for the full two hours I worried a little that she would cry. The nursery leaders reported that she didn’t cry even once. She loves it and has a great time. When we pick her up she’s excited to see us, but dropping her off is easy and she doesn’t even ask for us while she’s there. She plays nicely with the other kids and loves the toys they have. I’m very proud of how well she handles nursery – she is the only kid her age that doesn’t cry at all in there.

I’ll wrap up by reminescing about Sophie’s ever growing Tinkerbell obsession. She loves and watches frequenly the Tinkerbell movie and we recently puchased some new Tinkerbell shoes for her (visible in the photo of us at Nintendo World). The shoes were a stroke of golden luck – she loves shoes and she loves Tinkerbell. It’s perfect.

There is just one more thing I guess I should tell you. Sophie must be in pants or have something covering her diaper at all times now days. We used to let her run around the house in her diaper alone, but then she started removing it. That’s right, she takes her own diaper off. Not just when it’s full either, sometimes it’s clean, she just doesn’t want it on any more.

Until Later

So, again, I appologize to all of you who faithfully checked back recently expecting an update. I was late and I’m sorry. I hope this long entry has been enough to make up for the lost time. With any luck, you’ll see an update around the middle of next month, even though it’s only a few weeks away.

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