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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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Filed under Exciting, Travels

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

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

Home Again

From Family 2010

This last month has been a lot of fun. Sophie has been recovering superbly from her surgery, and her excitement, energy, laughter and happiness have contributed significantly to the spirit in our home.

Last week we flew out and spent a week with my parents in Arizona. They also enjoyed her random giggles, overpowering cuteness, and comical chatter. I know, you’re jealous. It’s OK. You should be. She’s cute. As a consolation prize for taking the time to read this post, I’ve added two super-cute videos of her on our YouTube channel.

Now, there are only six photos in it for now (and most of the good ones are embedded here), but I’ve started a new family album for the year 2010. I figure that some of you may be using dial-up, and a page with over 100 photos probably loads too slowly to be of use to you. So, I will do a new album every year to prevent them from getting so large.

How the Kids Are

Micah

I just have to say, Micah actually started a sentence like this today: “I can’t believe you’re forcing me to…” Now, it doesn’t matter what followed (the fact is, he was being asked to do something extremely lenient and easy, with a follow-up option to do something he really wanted to do). I just can’t believe (to use his words) that he’s talking that way to his mother.

In other Micah news, his jumping on our couch has finally paid off, and the whole thing collapsed yesterday. I managed to mash it back together for now, and once I’m feeling a bit better I’m going to wrap the broken areas up with a healthy dose of duct tape to hold it together until tax return season buys us some new furniture. We kept telling him that if he wasn’t gentle with the couch it would break one day. He must not have believed us, because when he saw that it broke, his face was hilarious. I wish I had the camera out then.

Micah dropped his jaw two times yesterday, in fact.  Later that evening he was in a bit of trouble and was being very rude (angry faces and all) to his mother and father. I carried the book we are reading at night into his room hoping his attitude had changed so I could read to him, but I was met by an angry troll face curled up in the corner of his room. So, I turned around to leave. He yelled something at me (it seems he wanted to talk about it), and it came up that he feels like his memory isn’t good enough to remember the few simple things we ask of him every day. So, I reached into his bookshelf and pulled out one of his favorite new books – a Pokemon reference book with over two hundred different pokemon in it. He’s got almost the whole thing memorized. I held it up and said, “I’ll bet you can tell me which Pokemon is number 150 in this book, but you’re telling me your memory isn’t very good?”

His eyes nearly fell out of his head and his jaw was jammed open for a moment. He was stunned into silence. Victory! I feel bad, because I used to use the same “I forget – my memory isn’t very good” argument with my parents, and I don’t remember them ever winning such a stunningly brilliant victory against me in that department. The moment was almost too perfect, and perhaps his feelings of defeat in the memory department are the driving force behind his rebellious statement this morning (“I can’t believe you’re forcing me to…”).

Either way, he seems to have realized the error of his ways from the two incidents yesterday, and it showed in his behavior a bit today. When he learns a lesson, he learns it well.

In completely unrelated news, it turns out Micah has a photographic curse. I just can’t get good photos of him. I try, I really do. He and Sophie could be right next to each other, doing exactly the same thing, and the photo of Sophie will invariably come out hundreds of times better than the photo of Micah.

Case in point: Take a second to scroll up to the top photo of Sophie playing on the rope web. Good, now look at this photo of Micah on the exact same web, from the same vantage point, at the exact same moment in the exact same lighting (no shadow caused the problem, I promise).

From Family 2010

I promise I didn’t alter either image in Photoshop or any other image editing software. Both photos were uploaded directly from the camera. It’s sad, isn’t it? I take a lot of photos of Micah, but as soon as he realizes he’s in the lens, he goes bonkers, and even if I get a decently lit and framed photo of him, I can’t post it. Either he’s blurred from moving too fast while going crazy, or his face is a grotesque mutation of the truth. So, from now on I’ll just post the photos of him that I get, even though I rarely get anything that I’m happy with for him.

Sophie

Sophie is cute. She has begun a real rambling streak, and we all love it. It can happen during play, during meal times, or whenever else she feels like it. She just starts “talking.” It sounds like talking, but it’s the most varied, random collection of fun noises and sounds that I’ve ever heard. It closely resembles what I once heard from a child (who is her age, but this was a year ago or so) who listened to talk radio with her mother all day. The baby would imitate the talk radio, and it was really funny. Sophie’s sounds area a little more varied than the noises that little baby could make, and Sophie really seems to know what she’s saying.

Of course, she’s also turned into a magnificent communicator. She tries hard to assemble whole sentences and a lot of her more recent attempts are much longer than the usual, “I like (insert something here).”

She’s more curious than ever before, thinking that there’s something interesting everywhere she can’t see, reach or be. She follows instructions really well, and understands a lot better than we thought she could.

I must say, after her brain surgery it was like watching a flower bloom. The child we thought we had opened up before our eyes and became something much more spectacular and beautiful. We are all happy for her and next month you can look forward to news about her future after the surgery as we are going to be meeting with her surgeon at the end of the month to discuss those things. For now, know that the biopsy did come back, but it was frustratingly inconclusive, so consider no news good news until we have something more definite.

From Family 2010

Until Later

On my other blog I wrote a single review for the two awesome movies we saw out in Arizona. The post is short, so if you’ve got a few more minutes, I’d encourage you to take a look.

I don’t want to overdo it, but I am too excited about it not to mention it – I’ve decided to reformat the interior and exterior design of my book, and the changes are making me feel all giddy inside (which is unusual for me). The redesign is meant to give the whole book a much more professional feel. I’m really feeling quite proud of the outcome, but the changes won’t show up in the product for a while. In the mean time the book is no longer for sale. The first edition was purchased zero times, so once I get the second edition up I’m hoping to market it a little to see where it goes. And if you own a bookstore (wink wink, hint hint) I might be possibly shipping you a couple of copies someday to see if they sell. We’ll talk more about that later though. 😉

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Filed under Celebrations, Travels, Vacation

Christmas 2009

From Holidays 2009

In an elbow-slapping twist of irony, our car wouldn’t start this morning. The significance of our misfortune is that I wanted to write this post, and Rochelle wanted to go out. I feel bad for her, because she really would have had a good time going out, and I gave it my best effort to get the car running. Unfortunately I’m no mechanic, and the mechanic won’t be open again until Monday.

The benefit of this is that we get to reflect back on all of the many blessings we received this holiday season. Within one week Sophie went from having brain surgery (Friday, 18 December) to opening presents (Friday, 25 December). We were blessed with gifts from heaven and gifts from friends, Santa and family. So, despite our heavenly perspective on the way 2009 closed out for us, I’m going to share the most worldly aspect of the season with you. Here are some of the cool gifts we received.

Rochelle got one big gift from the kids and me. She has been needing a good set of knives for a while, and I recently read some reviews about a line of Victorinox knives that inspired me. So, she got kitchen knives. Of course, she didn’t only get this one gift. Her main gift was received and opened long before Christmas. She got a Barnes and Noble Nook. We pre-ordered it shortly after it went on sale in October, and it arrived around the beginning of December.

Christmas this year took me back to my childhood (in a good way). One of my favorite shows and characters when I was younger was Darkwing Duck, and Rochelle got me the volume one set on DVD. I also got a GameBoy game and a Lego set. It was a pretty rad Christmas for me, dude. 😀

All this nostalgia has really made me realize how much I wish I had kept all of my old toys. Come to think of it… I don’t remember getting rid of my old toys. I think my parents did that for me at some point (or at various points in my upbringing). I think I shall attempt to box up my children’s most iconic toys in anticipation of them becoming all nostalgic like I have been for the last year. At times I can use eBay to track down the things I once had, but many of my old toys are going for over $30 for an opened, damaged toy with parts missing that I got for less than $10 brand new. Especially the Darkwing Duck toys I had. They are extremely difficult to find.

In addition to the Children getting gifts from Santa, the family also received a super-cool gift from Santa. We got Wii Sports Resort. It’s a lot of fun. If you have a Wii, you should check it out. Also, the family got a big board game that you spread out on the carpet. Oh, and we got the Kung Fu Panda movie. Sophie likes it. She says, “panda.”

If you’re not using a dial-up connection (ehem, Grandma) and you’ve got some time, you should head over to our YouTube channel where you can watch a mind-numbing 14 videos of us opening gifts and enjoying Christmas. If it’s easier for you, I’ve assembled all fourteen of them into a YouTube playlist that can be accessed via this link.

How the Kids Are

Micah

From Holidays 2009

Micah has been enjoying my Darkwing Duck cartoons, although we recently set up and loaded the new MP3 player that Santa brought him. Now he listens to the Darkwing Duck intro song and the Pokemon TV show theme over and over again (despite the fact that I loaded almost two dozen fun songs on there). He’s also been reading the Pokemon book we got him, and he likes it when I take out and fly the little remote-controlled helicopter his uncle got for him and me to enjoy together.

Tonight, fifteen minutes after we put the kids to bed, I had to go check on Sophie (who was calling my name from her room). As I passed Micah’s room on the way to check on Sophie, I saw light coming from under Micah’s door. Upon peeking inside, I saw him lying awake on his belly with his feet toward his pillow (obviously not the position of someone who has the intention of going to sleep soon) listening to music on his MP3 player.

Soon, on nights when he doesn’t have school, we’re planning on becoming a little more lenient on his bedtime routine, but for now the rule is that when we tell him to go to bed, the lights should be out and he should be trying to fall asleep. He’s been really good about it for a long time now (only occasionally do we find him still awake when we go to bed a few hours after his bedtime), but the temptation to listen to the Pokemon theme and the Darkwing Duck song over and over again was just too great to resist. When I asked him what he was doing, he said, “I, uh, um. I was, um. Uh. Well, I … um. I was just, um.” This vocal performance was the tune to his dance routine, erect on his tiptoes and teetering from side to side like a street performer on stilts. I cut the performance short (as he was obviously failing at attempting to formulate a suitable lie to justify the situation) and I informed him that the rule of turning the light off and going to sleep when we send him to bed was still in effect and that his next offense would bring the immediate confiscation of his MP3 player.

Micah also got a cool Nintendo hat that we picked up in the Nintendo World Store in NYC, two Pokemon books, some Lego Star Wars figurines with magnetic stands for sticking them to things, the first three Pokemon movies on one disk, and a Superman action figure.

Sophie

From Holidays 2009

Sophie is doing really well. I am obligated to inform you that her recovery from brain surgery is going well (in the photo above her wound looks worse than it was at the time, and a week later it looks much better still) and there has still not been any word from the lab on her biopsy report. This is most likely due to the holidays. I am sure that the report is complete and sitting on the desk of someone who is on vacation. As soon as I have the results, I will let people know. At the latest, you can look for our normal January post (should come around the middle of the month) and I will include the results there.

If you saw our Christmas YouTube videos, you know that Sophie really had a good time opening presents. She was tired because we did it first thing in the morning, but she had fun (and got really proficient at getting at the goods under the wrapping paper). Perhaps her favorite gift is the new Tinker Bell movie we got her.

I believe I’ve mentioned before that Sophie “likes crying.” Every time she hears or sees crying (or something that she believes looks like crying) she says, “I like crying.” Even after she’s been crying for a while, the first thing she says (usually) is, “I like crying,” or, “I crying.” In this new Tinker Bell movie, Tinker Bell actually cries. This makes Sophie extremely excited. We’re still puzzled about why she loves crying so much, but we never would have dreamed that Tinker Bell would actually cry in this new movie.

From Santa, Sophie received two boxes of her very own Duplos. She likes the one with the little animals the best. She had been getting into Micah’s Duplos for so long, it was getting to the point that she needed some of her own. She loves playing with them, and because we don’t let her play alone in her room yet, her Duplos are all over the house. Now it’s Micah’s turn though, as he plays with her Duplos all the time but doesn’t ever pull his own out.

She also got a bunch of other various Tinker Bell products (not too many), a set of Disney Princess board books, two puzzles, a Grover doll and an Elmo/Cookie Monster ball (from Sesame Street). She loved all of her gifts, and she is terrified of the remote-controlled helicopter that Micah and I got.

Until Later

Well, between the time that I began writing this in the morning and now, the car issue has been resolved. We replaced the battery (it was getting old anyway) and the car works great now.

I want to remind you that the Christmas videos aren’t the only way to see our Christmas morning. I posted a few more photos to the Holidays 2009 album that you should check out.

Also, I wrote two posts on my other blog that you may want to read. The first one is a short, text-only story about a special feeling I had Christmas morning. The second is a post with lots of embedded videos (and almost no text – it’s not dial-up-friendly though) that I think are funny.

Finally, as you may already know, my NaNoWriMo story this year was another winner, and this time I actually liked what I wrote (mostly). Once again, I’m self-publishing the book. I wouldn’t dare encourage anyone to purchase the book I wrote in 2008, but my 2009 book is actually something that (if you find the premise interesting in the least bit) I think it’s worth paying the money to read. I could be horribly wrong, so don’t get upset with me if you buy it and don’t end up liking it. All I’m saying is that I’m proud enough of it to deliberately provide you with the link to the e-store where it will go on sale later this month. If it seems like your cup of whatever you like to drink, I would like you to consider making the purchase. I get something like five whole dollars (not Euros, unfortunately) every time someone buys it at my e-store, and two or three dollars when they buy it on Amazon. So don’t buy it on Amazon. 😀

OK, thanks for enduring my shameless self-tooting pitch, and thank you for taking such a sincere interest in our family. We are forever grateful for your prayers, thoughts and smiles. We love you. We really do. ‘Till next time.

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Filed under Holidays, Normal Life

Taking it Easy

From Family Stuff

I’ve been taking a break from work since Monday last week, but it’s off to work again for me next week. These two weeks have gone by far too quickly.

The goal has been to take it easy and relieve some of the stress work was inflicting on me. I’ve had a good time hanging out with Rochelle and Sophie during the day (driving them crazy) and I have felt a little less stressed out. My lower stress levels have helped me feel a little better prepared to meet the challenges of parenting, and I think everyone has benefited a little from having me around more (or, at least, I’d like to think so).

Sophie has been getting cuter and cuter, and Micah is growing and learning every day. We haven’t done anything terribly exciting, but that’s the point of taking a break, right?

We did find a cool Lego store not far from where we live, and we took Sophie out there last week and we intend to take Micah soon. We’ll probably have pictures of that for next month.

Oh, and we have the kids’ Halloween costumes pretty much done. Sophie’s can be seen in our web album, but Micah’s is a surprise for next month.

Don’t forget to check both our Family Web Album and our YouTube Page. I’m currently uploading the last of five new videos and there are 19 new photos (starting with this one). At the YouTube channel, just click on the Uploads tab (between All and Favorites) and check out the top five videos in the list.

How the Kids Are

Micah

Micah news… What to say? We’ve been working on his lying. It turns out he lies to us a lot. We’ve always suspected it, and we’ve been aware of several (if not most) of the lies, but the problem began to become chronic. So, I had a definitive talk with him touching on: Satan is the father of all lies, even small lies can turn into big problems, and we need to know the truth because parents and teachers can’t help him if we are supplied with false information about his state of health or how an accident occurred (the whole thing started when he lied to me about how many days it had been since his last bowel movement – it had been long enough ago that he had convinced himself that his body magically no longer had the need to poop).

The talk seemed to go well, and I gave him a chance to come clean on any lies he had been perpetuating (the talk took place in the bathroom where I had him sitting on the toilet and, eventually, he pooped). Since the talk, I have noticed an effort to be more honest with us, but it’s a small effort.

It turns out that many of his lies are not intentional attempts at masking the truth, but are in fact the result of his complete lack of ability to portray sequential events even close to the way they actually happened. I think this ability was damaged as a result of his unbridled use of invented “facts” to support his cases in the past (I believe many lawyers and politicians suffer from a similar cognitive anomaly). We’re working on it, but it’s been rough.

I have seen some improvement over the last week, and I believe there is plenty of hope for him.

On a more positive note, Micah and I have begun reading through a book you may have heard of: “The Dangerous Book for Boys.” It’s full of fun stories, information, ideas, games and miscellaneous boy stuff. Some of the material is definitely targeted at boys a little older than Micah, but it won’t hurt to look through it now and let him have a solo go at the book when he’s older.

Sophie

Sophie’s big thing has been picky eating. The only things she’ll readily eat could be counted on your fingers. Late in September, though, I made a discovery that might help ensure she eats more rounded meals.

We’ve known for a while that she loves ketchup enough to try almost anything with it, but we had only used it for things like eggs and a few vegetables in the past. Most of the time we would squirt some on her plate and let her dunk her food in the ketchup.

This time I squirted a little on her plate and pretended to dunk some of her food in it. Then, I slipped the food in her mouth and she quickly devoured it. I did this with stuffing (which she was refusing to try) and green beans (which she always detests). Soon, over half of her dinner was gone and we hadn’t even touched the ketchup.

She was enjoying the food so much, that I just had to break the news to her. “You know, Sophie, I haven’t actually put ketchup on any of your food.” I saw her brow furl while she contemplated the meaning of what I told her, but it didn’t slow her down any.

Eventually she decided to eat just the ketchup with her fork, at which point she stopped eating the rest of her food. By then she had eaten plenty of dinner though, so we just watched and smiled.

The next night after dinner she turned to me and said, “I need a bath.” So, she got one.

Also, she finally settled on what to call her pacifier. For a long time she would just point and say, “peeeeeeeees.” Now, it’s: “Bau-bau.”

Most recently (just yesterday, in fact), she got tired of us denying her the use of her “bau-bau” during waking hours. Generally, if she is laying down getting ready to fall asleep, and she asks for it, we’ll give it to her. However, she often asks for it outside of sleeping time, and we say no (or ask her if she wants to take a nap – she generally says no to the nap).

Yesterday she started doing a horrible fake cry (even she can’t keep a straight face or keep from half smiling) and whining with the cries, “bau-bau.” It really sounds pretty sad, but it’s no Hollywood performance. She tried this three or four times throughout the day, and each time her performance was met with laughter from us – and no pacifier.

Finally, I can’t get off the subject of Sophie without telling you about her obsession with checking the mail and going to the playground.

She asks, frequently, to go check the mail. Starting at eight in the morning all the way until the mailman comes in the late afternoon, she asks, “mee-oo?”

Taking her to the playground is the most fun I can hope to have in a day. She runs around, asking for help into the swings (she likes the little kid style swings, but also loves to ride the big kid swing on her belly) and climbing around the other equipment. One of her favorite things to do is go down slides. Spiral slides are her favorite because the descent is slower and more controlled, but when she’s feeling adventurous she’ll have you wait to catch her at the bottom of a long straight one and she’ll zip down into your arms. She has so much fun, and she loves exploring.

Until Later

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From Family Stuff

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