Tag Archives: fun

And That’s a Wrap

From Family 2011

I’ve gone more than seven months without blogging here. Gee, you’d think life has been stressful or something…

Gladly, the stress in our home has been mostly distributed among the adults. Micah and Sophie are happily unaware of the majority of our family stress, although I’m sure they feel it from time to time, especially on days when Rochelle and I are not at our best.

Regrettably (and gladly, I suppose), we are aware that a huge source of unnecessary stress in our home comes from clutter, disorder and excess physical belongings. They distract from our spiritual needs, they cloud our thinking, and they impart their chaos to our thoughts. I’ve been aware of this growing problem for many years now, but only recently has it become so acute that I began contriving a solution and countermeasures.

As long as I can remember I’ve had a fondness for simplicity, a longing for a concise collection of belongings that could be easily transported, sorted and organized. Of course I haven’t always lived that way very well. I tend to hang on to things that I may need one day. Just in case. I love to be prepared, but preparedness isn’t about excess, it’s about necessary necessities.

I remember with great fondness my mission time in Mexico and my time living in small spaces as a student at SCAD. Moving from place to place required no more than a couple of hours to pack, and most (if not all) of my belongings could be carried by me alone. I sorely miss that mobility, and now my goal is to get my entire family into a position where we know what we own, why we own it, and how each item of our belongings is essential to our goals and priorities.

This will be a slow process, and one that I hope to share with you along the way.

If you’re interested, I highly recommend a book that I read recently called “Simplify” by Joshua Becker. I believe it is for Kindle only, but it is inexpensive and can be read from any Kindle reading application, even in a Web Interface that Amazon provides.

If you do not wish to pay for the book, you should still check out Becker’s website. Most of the ideas in his book are outlined in ample detail in his many blog posts there. I should warn you that I find his tone regarding simplification to be a tad overzealous at times, often coming off as a bit preachy. Rochelle didn’t feel preached at when she read Simplify, but I did in a couple of places. So if you’re not one to be preached at, perhaps just following our adventures here with my sporadic blog posts will be sufficient.

Although, in my excitement I can’t promise I won’t preach at you either. Simplification is something that I believe we should all strive for.

That is our great endeavor this year. It isn’t a new year’s resolution, but it is a change in our home that began with the new year.

The rest of our family news will be covered in greater detail below, but suffice it to say that we’ve experienced a wonderful close to 2011, and we are all looking forward to 2012.

In the latter half of 2011:

  • Micah started at a new school.
  • Sophie saw a neuro-ophthalmologist.
  • We flew out to visit my parents in Arizona.
  • Rochelle and I got new shoes.

Books We are Reading

Brian

Hurray! I’m reading again. My main Christmas gift this year was a new Kindle Touch. Since I got my Kindle, I’ve actually read several books. Most of them have been small, free books (just to get my reading muscles warmed back up after such a long period of minimal use), but I did read The Hunger Games, book one. I enjoyed it, but I can’t say it was one of my favorites. The story was excellent, but I wasn’t able to connect with the characters, and the first person perspective paired with the present tense writing style didn’t agree with me. I think I’ll enjoy the movie, and I plan on reading the next book in the trilogy soon.

Currently, I am actually attempting to finish nine books that I’ve started in the last year. The one I started most recently on my Kindle is The Frog Princess. I’m not going to recommend this book to anyone except the most curious. It’s not horrible, but I’m only a third of the way through and I am going to have to force myself to finish it. I want to finish it, but it’s not the best writing for me.

If you really want to keep up with my reading, I log all of my progress on books I am currently reading, rate and review books I’ve read, and I even keep track of books I intend to read at a site called Goodreads. Here’s the link to my profile page there: http://www.goodreads.com/brianhaddad

Rochelle

Rochelle has always read a ton. She is currently knee deep in her twelfth read-through of the Harry Potter series. I think she’s on book 5 or somewhere thereabouts. I lose track of how many times she’s read them and which book she is on.

For Christmas she got all 8 of the Harry Potter movies on Blu-Ray. We’ve been watching them since we got back home from our little vacation, and so far we’re halfway through the sixth movie. I haven’t read the books, so I’m trying to enjoy the movies just as they are, but I can’t help but notice inconsistencies in the characters and holes in the plots – all of which Rochelle assures me is the result of the movies being inaccurate. I plan to read the Harry Potter series once the ebooks are released later this year.

Rochelle is also on Goodreads, and she too keeps track of books she liked, books she plans to read, and sometimes even books that she is currently reading (unless she is reading something that she’s read before). You can visit her profile there at: http://www.goodreads.com/rochellehaddad

How the Kids Are

Micah

From Family 2011

This year Micah started going to a new school. For his first two years here in Maryland he attended a school just outside of the military base where we live. The school was mediocre at best, often causing more problems than it solved with new policies and rules.

By the end of his second grade year there, Rochelle had nearly reached the limits of her patience dealing with the school, and to her great delight a new public charter school was granted permission to operate on  base.

Unfortunately, the new school, called Imagine Andrews, does not yet have a dedicated, official school building (they are imagining they have a school building). For this year they are stationed in a run-down, hastily remodeled maintenance building at the edge of one of the base golf courses. By next school year they hope to complete construction on an actual school building, complete with a much needed cafeteria, gymnasium, playground and additional classroom space.

The curriculum seems to be challenging Micah so far, which is good. There are several problems, since it is a new school being run by a new faculty in cramped conditions, but we are doing our best to remain positive and supportive of their efforts.

Micah, along with the rest of us, was excited to go back to Arizona to visit his Grandma and Grandpa Haddad. Amazingly, neither of our children showed any concern that Santa wouldn’t be able to find them in a different home.

Micah came home with plenty of cool gifts, including some fun games and projects, Lego sets, spy gear, and some books. He doesn’t know it yet, but his toy collection is going to be drastically reduced under our new policy of simplification, and we are going to help him ensure that his toys are limited to the most versatile, fun toys that he can find. Of course, we aren’t going to be totally oppressive with this, but it will be good for him to be discerning and thoughtful about what to keep and what to get rid of. I learned a lot as a child when my parents would make me dump my toy collection on the ground and think hard about what to keep. I’m hoping he’ll remember the activity with the same fondness that I do now.

Sophie

From Family 2011

Sophie is doing especially well. Every day she shows us new ways that she is smarter than we previously suspected, and she is developing an awesome sense of humor, along with a sharp attitude.

As mentioned above, she did have to see a neuro-ophthalmologist. It started when her last MRI in November generated some concern. We do not yet have any real reason to worry, but there appears to be some thickening in an area that her doctors are sure is merely scar tissue. It is not unheard of for scar tissue to thicken a little, even a few years after surgery. However, there is a possibility that this thickening could be a type of tumor growth.

Some of you have been lucky enough to see Sophie recently, and if you’ve seen her recently it’s likely she’s shown you her “eye trick.” She recently learned that she can roll her eyes up and point them in two different vertical directions. When she showed her doctors, they decided to send her to a specialist (the neuro-ophthalmologist) to see if the anomaly could be related to a new tumor growth.

With this new specialist, Dr. Avery, Sophie was a little angel. He was particularly impressed with her every step of the way through the appointment. He assessed her vision with one of the most in-depth eye exams I’ve ever seen, always amazed at her intelligence, cooperation and maturity. He couldn’t stop raving about how well she was doing.

Near the end of the examination he informed us that she would need eye drops to dilate her pupils. He said that it would “S-T-I-N-G a little” and that there was usually a lot of “S-C-R-E-A-M-I-N-G” with other children. Rochelle and I looked at each other, then told him that he didn’t need to spell it out with her. We explained to Sophie that Dr. Avery was going to put some drops in her eyes that would sting and hurt a little, but that it would go away fast.

I had her rest her head in my lap and helped the doctor hold her head still while he applied the drops. She barely budged, and didn’t complain even a little. Dr. Avery’s amazement was complete. He couldn’t recall precisely the last time he had seen such a cooperative, brave patient.

In the end, Dr. Avery concluded that the eye issue is a result of the original tumor and swelling that she had two years ago, though there was no visible sign that it was a direct result of the swelling (apparently you can see that sort of damage quite clearly even years later on the back of the eye). He was certain that there was no evidence that this eye problem was a sign of any new tumor growth, which came as a great relief to us all.

Sophie especially loved the trip out to Arizona, and had been talking about seeing her uncles, aunt, cousins and grandparents for several weeks beforehand.

For Christmas she also got some craft items, some books, a few toys and her favorite: a pink Nintendo DSi. She may not look terribly excited in the photo above, but she plays it nearly every day, and has a particular fondness for a certain princess game.

Sophie’s next MRI is in February (on Valentine’s day) and we will likely post an update after we get the results.

Until Later

Especially now that we have something specific to write about, and since its process will help me feel more organized about life in general, I expect to be a little better about blogging. But alas I’ve never successfully promised to be better about blogging, and I’m not going to make any promises!

I trust that you’ve learned to be satisfied with my ineptitude at blogging, and I should likewise be more forgiving with myself.

It is our deepest and greatest hope that all of you have transitioned safely and happily into 2012. We look forward to making sure we blog at least once this year, and we also look forward to your emails, Facebook posts, phone calls, text messages and old-fashioned paper mail.

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Filed under Celebrations, Exciting, Holidays, Sophie PMA, Vacation

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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Filed under Celebrations, Holidays

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

Craziness

From Family 2010

Wow. It feels like so much has happened in the last month, but when I try to think about the details, there really isn’t much to tell.

For me, one of the most exciting events of the month took place today. After owning our 2003 Ford Taurus for about a year now, I finally got around to figuring out how to set the door keypad code. I always thought it would be horrible to have that keypad by the door handle laughing at us in the event that we locked the keys in the car – taunting us with the promise of being able to unlock the car if we had only received the code from the dealer.

Since we didn’t get any papers from the dealer with the code or instructions on how to reset the code (no manual was found anywhere in the car), I had to scour the Internet and the underside of the dashboard for information. Eventually I found the factory code, and fifteen minutes later (after several failed attempts) found the correct instructions for setting your own code. Now we have a code so that keypad can be useful if we ever lock the keys in there. No more locksmiths for our vehicle. Of course, we’re not going to lock the keys in the car, so I like to think of these as precautionary measures.

Let’s see… There’s got to be more to tell.

Ah, yes. Rochelle and I attended our first concert together on Friday night (the 12th). After discovering the wonderful world of Jonathan Coulton several months ago, I began following his blog and discovered that he was going to do a live show in Alexandria, Virginia (about half an hour away from us). So, we bought the tickets immediately.

We had so much fun. Even his opening band (Paul and Storm), the wild card of the evening since I couldn’t find any solid info on them, was a bunch of fun. They are, to me anyhow, primarily a comedy duo with some pretty respectable musical ability. Jonathan Coulton is the other way around – a gifted musician who has some comedic ability. Overall, the evening was full of great music, healthy comedy (definitely rated PG-13 though) and decent food (the show was at the Birchmere).

Well, I’ll pause to think for a minute while you read about Micah and Sophie. Then, if I think of anything else, I’ll add it in the farewell section.

How the Kids Are

Micah

From now on I’m going to try to get Micah to write his own updates. I’ll try to prompt him to include things you’ll be interested in, and if you leave questions in the comments, I’ll have him answer them next month.

Without any questions or prompting from me, here’s what he wrote this month (if you only read the bold text, that’s exactly what he wrote). After he finished writing it out on paper, we edited it together for his benefit. I’m including my edits here and making them apparent through the use of strikeouts, [brackets] and numbered comments/footnotes in parenthesis and italicised (1).Obviously, if he misses something of significance, I’ll include it in italics as an intro to his writing. Also, I’m hoping that, with time, his entries will get longer, because this month his contribution is meager, cryptic and… “fun.”

  1. Footnotes look like this.
From Family 2010

A few weeks before this week, I’ve been haveing fun watch[ing] my dad play Endless Ocean Blue World. Also I liked playing Wii Sport[s] Resort. The sport I liked was Swordplay.

School was fun. I got to play with the hundred block. I got to push the cart (1). You should read the books at my school. We went to [on] a field trip. We watched a screen (2) about The Star Who Could. It was fun.

There was a[n] MSA (3) at school. We sang to a 3rd grade and a 5th grade class. It was fun too. (4)

  1. The cart he’s referring to here is the lunch cart carrying all of the lunches that the students bring from home. The students all rotate through this position of “lunch cart pusher” and it was his turn recently.
  2. He meant video – he decided on “screen” after pondering for several minutes about what to call it.
  3. He wasn’t sure what the MSA was since only the older kids participated, but when I guessed “Maryland State Assessment” he recognized it as the correct meaning of MSA, though he still didn’t know that there was any testing going on.
  4. Notice how he failed to mention anything about getting in trouble in school TWICE in the last week? He had been doing quite well for a while, and then, last week, something inside him snapped. We’re working with him, and he didn’t do anything too terrible, but it was an unwanted surprise after so many days of doing so well.

Sophie

From Family 2010

Not much to report on Sophie. She can tell you everything I can’t if you just check out this video of her reading, and the new pictures I added to our Family Album (new photos can always be found at the end of that album).

If you recall, Sophie will be having MRI scans every three months this year, and she had her first one since the surgery last Monday. Within a few hours of the MRI, we were lucky to have our surgeon call us. He had seen the scans, and even though the radiologist hadn’t issued the “final reading,” they had spoken on the phone and they agreed her images look great. Everything appears almost back to normal. There is a bit of inflammation around the area of the surgery (not scar tissue, just the brain’s reaction to being poked around in), but it was much worse right after the surgery than it is now, and Dr. Magge believes it will be almost gone by the six month scan.

There were no other abnormalities present in the scan. All of the cavities, drainage pathways and everything else were in the right place, they were the right size, and there were no signs of new tumor growth. We were relieved.

Of course, that’s just one small leg of the journey ahead.

In other Sophie news, a couple of weeks ago Sophie had a “big girl day.” She went a whole day without soiling a single diaper. She had several instances of urinary tract activity, and even had a rectal egression. She did well, but the next day and ever since, she’s returned to her casual, indifferent relationship with the toilet.

Until Later

I remembered a couple more things to share before I let you go.

Micah and I did some work on our table last weekend. The table had two sliding ends to accommodate extension leafs, but we didn’t get the extenders with the table when we bought it used. This left a part on each end of the table for Sophie and Micah to pull on and play with, and one side never quite went in all the way, leaving a crack for food and spills to fall into.

So, I got some bolts and had Micah help me secure the sliding parts underneath the table. He had a good time, and learned a little in the process. That day ended up being one of the best he and I have had together this year (so far). To round it off that evening, we played a few minutes of a new Nerf game we got for the Wii.

As he mentioned in his section, Micah has enjoyed watching me play a game I got to help manage my stress levels. When I get home from work, sometimes I can be a little edgy with people, and I don’t like it. So, after doing some research and finding that this game has some therapeutic value, I bought the newest Endless Ocean game.

Oh, and Luke? If you don’t have it, you should get it! (You can train and dive with dolphin friends/partners! I named my first one Gandolphin.) When or if you have it, we can dive together over the Internet and use Wii Speak to chat while we dive. I think it would be fun to try sometime, so give me a call when you’re ready. Seriously, at $30, this game is too cheap not to get.

Anyhow, even Rochelle has noted that the game seems to have helped my edginess a little, and I have been feeling better.

If you have any questions that you would like to see Micah answer next month, please leave your questions in the comments.

Thanks for reading. Remember that we all love you, and we are grateful to call you a friend or family member (circle the appropriate response on your screen, but please don’t use a permanent marker if you’re borrowing my computer).

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Filed under Normal Life, Sophie PMA

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

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

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

Let the Holidays Begin

From Holidays 2009

This is mostly a time of finishing. I finished my NaNoWriMo novel (which is why I haven’t updated here in so long), we finished our Christmas shopping, I finished waiting to get an awesome phone, we finished waiting for the New Super Mario Brothers for the Wii, and we’re nearly done waiting for Rochelle’s Nook.

We love the new Mario game. Sophie loves watching (she says “yario” for Mario and “peetch” for Princess Peach), Micah loves playing (even though he loses all five of his guys in each level and has to use a new continue every few minutes), and Rochelle and I play with or without the kids and still have fun. In this game they really went back to what made the original Mario fun and added a whole lot of even funner stuff. It’s really a great game.

Check our new Holidays 2009 album from time to time until sometime around January. Also, we got a few more videos up to YouTube, so check our channel out. A final note before talking about the kids, notice in the side bar that you can now subscribe via e-mail if you like. WordPress has made the feature especially friendly for non-WordPress users, so that all you have to do is type in your e-mail address and hit the “Sign me up!” button. Any time you want to stop your subscription, they’ve made that easy too. So try it out if you don’t want to use an RSS feed reader.

How the Kids Are

Micah

This month Micah got to present a project of his on his school’s morning news production. His class had a long lesson on habitats and he made his report/project about scorpions in the desert. Then he got to tell his whole school about it on the television in the morning. Rochelle got to go see him do it. She said he got super nervous and bashful in front of the camera. Funny, because that’s the opposite of what he does when I hold a camera around him.

We’ve seen excellent improvement in the areas of telling the truth and working harder at school. Overall I’ve been very proud of him lately.

Sophie

Sophie is a booger. She’s really been exploring how to use words to communicate. Sometimes her efficiency at letting us know what’s going on is a little scary. She’s too cute and I just can’t think of a good way to tell you about her other than pointing you to our photo albums and YouTube channel.

Until Later

Look forward to more holiday posts (we should have one about our Christmas tree soon, once we get it up), watch our photo albums, and don’t forget you can get automatic e-mail notification of new posts using the widget in the upper-right-hand corner. We love you.

**Edit**

If you haven’t seen it yet, check out our Santa Letters.

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Filed under Celebrations, Holidays, Normal Life, Site Changes