Posts Tagged 'Family'



Across the US: Our Great Adventure: Part 3

 

Sophie folding her arms and Micah tying his shoes.

Sophie folding her arms and Micah tying his shoes.

Somewhere in Iowa we stopped at a shopping mall to get food and unwind for a while. Sophie was having a grand time running around screaming, and Micah was too.

One of the things we have been working on with Micah is tying his shoes. They come untied a lot, so he gets lots of practice (yes, we have him double knot the bows, and they still come undone somehow).

In this photo (taken on my camera phone) you can see Sophie getting distracted just after we asked her to fold her arms. This is a relatively new trick (the folding of the arms, not the getting distracted) that nobody really expected her to do. She just started doing it all on her own. It’s super cute though, and now she does it on command all the time, or even just when we say, “OK, time for a prayer.”

Micah’s getting better about tying his shoes, but we still have a long way to go on that one. The first few attempts were very frustrating for everyone, and they lasted hours. These days it depends on how interested he is in doing it, but it will only take him anywhere from an hour to ten minutes to tie both shoes.

Ever since I got back from training Sophie has been playing a game with me that she came up with all on her own (and she thinks it’s hilarious). When I initially returned she saw me and knew that I was the “dad” guy she talked to on the computer. She called me “Dad” or “Dada” for a couple of days, then one day she looked at me and thought about it before deciding to call me “mom” instead (very deliberately). The way she said it I knew she was playing around, so I said, “No, not mom. Dad,” with a smile on my face.

“Mom?” She persisted.

“No, dad.” We were both smiling and her posture indicated excited anticipation.

“Mom?” She just kept repeating it every time I corrected her.

This went on for a little longer than I would have thought it would, then one time I said, “No, silly. I’m dad.” With that she let out the silliest and most mischievous little laugh you ever heard and nodded her head.

“Dad,” she said decidedly.

“Yeah, daddy.”

“Dad-deeeee.” She repeated (kind of).

Now, any time she feels like playing the game, she looks at me and says, “mom?” Sometimes the game lasts a few seconds, other times she drags it on for most of the afternoon. Sometimes strangers feel bad for the father whose daughter doesn’t know how to say, “dad,” so they try to console me. “It’s ok, some children don’t distinguish well between their mother and father with words, but she knows you’re her daddy.”

I just smile and let them think what they like. My daughter knows exactly what to call me, and she knows how to play too. Sometimes, if I really want to get a good giggle out of her, all I have to do is start calling her “mom” or “Micah.” That really gets her going. I never worry about her not knowing who I am though. She knows who I am. Sometimes she even cries when I leave the room (which both breaks my heart and gives me a warm feeling inside at the same time) or begs for me to pick her up.

And you should hear her manners! “Peeeeeeeeez” and “dank-oo” can be heard very clearly these days (though “please” usually comes out with a “t” instead of a “p”). Sometimes she forgets her manners though, and in that case she just says, “mo?” (more) over and over again until you make her say please.

We’ve got more photos on the camera, but the camera is out in the car and I don’t feel like going to get it. Tomorrow we’re going to a free zoo in Chicago and we’ll take a lot more photos there. Look for updates to the photo album tomorrow evening or sometime Sunday. Of course, when I update I’ll try to post here, but sometimes all I get around to doing is uploading the stuff and going to bed. We don’t ever drive too late (most days we stop before five in the afternoon), but that doesn’t keep us from having long days.

Across the US: Our Great Adventure: Part 2

So far so good. We’ve been making good use of our new camera to document our travels. We’ve been having a lot of fun, we’re working on dealing with our stress, and we’re getting along pretty well considering.

We’ve started an album that you can monitor for new photos. Every time we post photos we’ll try to post a new entry here, but sometimes it might be easier to just upload a bunch of photos, and they’ll all go to the same album.

Yesterday we spent some time visiting one of Rochelle’s old friends in Salt Lake City and seeing Temple Square. Today we’re heading out to Colorado Springs where we’ll see Rochelle’s youngest brother and one of my good friends from High School. From there we expect to head directly out to Maryland.

Be sure to check out our photo album.

From Across the US

And for anyone interested, our new car has been performing beautifully. We’re still planning on taking a family photo with the car, but right now it’s covered in bugs.

New Car for Us

Our New Car

Our New Car

This is it, the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Today we finalized the sale of our new-ish car and took it in to the mechanic for a few small repairs. I tried to get the dealer to do some of the work, but it worked out better to just use the fact that it needed some work to negotiate the price down a bit.

All in all, it’s a great car. It doesn’t even really need a lot of work. The front tires were worn out on the inside due to an alignment issue, necessitating the replacement of both tires. Also, the rear brake boots needed to be replaced due to an issue with the parking brake. Apparently, if you never set or use the parking brake the two brake pads in the rear brake assemblies don’t rotate so you end up wearing down one pad and leaving the other untouched. Don’t ask me to explain it much further than that though. I understand what he was talking about, but it’s not something I feel prepared to explain.

Other than those small issues, the whole car is immaculate. The engine is super clean, the interior smells fine and shows limited signs of use (a scratch here or there), and it’s loaded with little goodies (like a six-CD changer).

It really feels good to have that out of the way though. You’ll have to excuse the lame photo I’ve posted. This is a photo I grabbed from the dealer’s web site. Later we’ll take a family picture with the car and I’ll post that one. Tonight it’s spending the night with the mechanic though, so that’ll have to wait.

As for our grand adventure, we’ll head out sometime Friday or Saturday and travel North through the Grand Canyon on our way to Salt Lake City. My wife wanted to pass through there because she’s heard it’s pretty and neither of us has ever really been there. I think I passed through once, but I don’t recall for sure. Anyhow, from there we’re going to head out to Colorado Springs. At that point, we’ll regroup and plan a route that gets us to our destination at a reasonable pace and ensures that we arrive on time.

Across the US: Our Great Adventure: Part 1

 

This is a shot from my window on the final plane to Monterey.

This is a shot from my window on the final plane to Monterey.

Last Monday I graduated, Tuesday I flew home (and arrived super late), and Wednesday the movers came. The truck was packed Thursday and we left Monterey, CA early Friday morning headed for Arizona where I am now typing this. As you can see, life has been very hectic for the last few weeks.

 

We are currently shopping around for a vehicle to replace our junky Kia Rio (the one that died a while back). We are looking for something big, but our budget is telling us we will probably end up with another car (rather than a minivan). We’ve found a few prospective transportation devices, but none of them have excited us.

Once we’ve got something with four wheels and an engine secured, we’ll be setting out across the rest of the country headed for our final destination in Maryland. Along the way we are planning a few stops, but nothing special. The main goal is to take it easy, enjoy the journey, and keep stress levels low. Obviously, a faulty mechanical performance on the part of our car would detract from our goal, so the quality of our new purchase is paramount.

The up side to everything is that I am finaly able to relax with my family here in Arizona. My parents were kind enough to put us up in a hotel (a fairly nice one too) and we have been enjoying being together. My daughter is uber cute, my son is still working on being more obedient (and I can see some improvement) and my wife and I are still in love.

Of course, not everything is peachy. My poor baby girl got pink eye somehow. We got her into a clinic yesterday though and she is doing much better today. Oh, and we would love to take photos for everyone, but our camera mysteriously died shortly after Easter and all we’ve got to take photos are our cell phones. So, you’ll get an occasional cell phone shot, but nothing spectacular. Perhaps if we’ve still got some money in savings after buying a car we’ll find an inexpensive camera to take some pictures of our journey. Really though, we can’t afford to squander money on anything that isn’t absolutely necessary at this point. Frankly, a camera is not on the “absolutely necessary” list right now.

In the “interesting but useless” news section, I’ve burned a couple of “live CDs” to test Linux on my laptop. One of the “distros” I’ve downloaded is not intended for general use – it has a very specific purpose in life (a secret one, so don’t ask). The other Linux distribution that I will be testing is Ubuntu. Ubuntu is widely considered one of the best all-around versions of the Linux operating system (a healthy alternative to Windows and Macintosh). Linux’s roots lie in the Unix operating system of old (a trait shared by Macintosh computers) and it is known for being favored by geeks. Ubuntu has been trying to appeal to a wider market by being easy to switch to (like Firefox) and easy to use.

My main reason for trying it is that it may be able to salvage my old laptop. I have a laptop with 512 MB of RAM. Today, if you have less than 2 GB of RAM, most software will laugh at you and fail to run. I am running Windows XP, but sometimes things don’t go so smoothly. By installing a Linux operating system I immediately gain a kind of stability that Windows has never offered me, and Ubuntu requires far fewer system resources than Windows does so I may be able to do more with less.

So, wish me luck with that. I’ll keep you posted on how I like it.

That’s all I’ve got for you today. Keep watching for updates on our trip as we meander across the United States.

Now We’re Walking

A couple of weeks ago Sophie took her first real unassisted steps. Yesterday, she sealed the deal: walking is officially better than crawling. Here are two videos I’ve titled “Advanced Walking Techniques 1: Turning” and “Advanced Walking Techniques 2: Getting Up.”

It’s been hard for me to miss all of this. I’m surviving, but it breaks my heart. I never believed my heart could be broken until about four years ago. Now it’s been breaking on a regular basis. It will be good to be home again. Just four more weeks. Here are some photos from yesterday’s Skype session so you can see my family from my perspective.

Sophie and Rochelle waving.

Sophie and Rochelle waving.

Rochelle kissing Sophie.

Rochelle kissing Sophie.

Sophie and Rochelle laughing.

Sophie and Rochelle laughing.

By the time I get home, Sophie will be running. Every day the question looms overhead: Will Sophie run to me or from me? It doesn’t really matter, because her initial reaction isn’t important. I know that as I spend time with her she’ll remember me. Who knows, she may still remember me. She does like seeing me on Skype.

Every time I sit down to type one of these things from so far away, my brain scatters. I guess this isn’t a subject I enjoy thinking and writing about. Oh well, until next time.

Quick Family Updates

Well, I don’t have a lot of time for these things, but I just had to make time to share a few things with you all.

First off, as of last weekend Sophie is taking her first steps! She’s really good at the whole walking thing. Check out these videos:

They were taken on a cell phone, so they aren’t great quality (notice the audio that lasts longer than the video). At least you get to see Her Royal Cuteness walking. Be grateful, very grateful (as I am).

Also, in other significant news, our car finally died. It was in bad shape, we knew it wouldn’t last very long, and we’re not all that concerned about losing it (don’t feel too bad for us). Here is a memorial photo of our old car (this is an actual photo I took of our car):

Our old car, RIP.

Our old car, RIP.

All in all, it’s better this way. We were going to try to sell it to someone. I would have felt bad if we had sold it and it had died right away on the buyer; especially if that buyer had been a friend of ours.

Man, for some reason everything I type feels like it’s coming out awkward and wrong. Perhaps I am out of practice… I can’t wait to be done with this schooling.

Speaking of which, I have about five weeks left away from home. I’m finally beginning to feel that the end of the tunnel is near. Oh, and for anyone worried about my grades, I’ve got a 96% average in class right now. Not bad when you consider how much time I spend studying…

Just because I feel like doing something fun, I’m going to stick a poll in here. Keep in mind, the poll is just for fun. We are looking in both categories and will probably buy the best deal we can find given our financial restraints. Out of curiosity though:

I thought I had one more thing I wanted to share, but since I can’t think of it (and I’ve been racking my brain for about ten minutes now trying to remember) I’ll have to finish this thing off.

As always, thanks for coming by to read about our goings on. Keep in touch.

Halfway…

Well, I’ve officially hit the halfway point of my training away from home. Just under two months to go. I can hardly wait to be back with my wife and children, and it’s been hard watching Sophie grow up from so far away.

As far as my writing here goes, it may be three or more months before any significant posts. Be patient though, those posts will be well worth the wait.

Oh, and to anyone interested, my “novel” thing from NaNoWriMo is officially for sale. Eventually you’ll be able to find it at Amazon.com, but if purchased through my e-store I get more money from the sale (not a lot, mind you). Please remember two things if you purchase the book: This was written with only one goal in mind- word count, not content. Also, it has not been proofread. It probably contains errors galore, and the plot (among other things) may need considerable improvement. Heck, the whole book may need to be re-written. I don’t care though, either I’ll get around to finishing it or I won’t, but feel free to read it and let me know what you think.


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