Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

It was Halloween and that always means fun. Ashton, Abby, and I went shoe shopping. I think that one of the cats may have decided that my work shoes were more convenient than the litter box so it was time. I got a pair of somewhat trendy shoes that I swore to myself I would never get. I consider buying this style akin to giving in and conforming a little. I really did think that as I paid for them. I have never been one to just do something because it was popular.

Allen got home and I gave the kids a quick shower as instructed by Amber. Everyone was cooperative. They are becoming more and more self reliant. Although I really like seeing the kids grow and become their own person, a bit of me misses the young kids that would need help. Good thing Abby still relies on us so much. I wonder how I will feel about this in five years when Abby is 7, Ashton will be 9, and Allen 11. Even typing that made me feel funny.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Slow Day

We finalized the Taurus purchase today. It went very quickly. Other than that the day was rather uneventful. I was around the house with the kids all day and then made dinner. I enjoyed the taco salad I made but the kids had indulged in snacks and felt differently than I did at the dinner table.

Amber got home a little later than dinner and she ate and regaled me with tales of her day. She has a high stress job and coupled with the amazing lives of the people she works with, the roller coaster of emotions is incredible.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Warm Welcome Home

I got home from work feeling worn down. I was ready to eat some food and just sit down. The kids each wanted to get my attention when I got in the door! It was really nice to see them so ready to talk to me and show me the cool things they had been doing all day.

Allen had a really neat Crayola brand art case that could hold a variety of things aside from the well stocked crayons, markers, paints, and colored pencils. We drew some pictures together and had fun.

Ashton had a scrap book with a colorful set of stickers and paper. She had already made some creative pages and she wanted to show me and have me make a new one with her. We drew a horse and then a flower and then she wrote "daddy" on the top of the page.

Abby kept telling me "stop, dude" which I asked her to say "what's up, dude" and we all laughed. Between tickles and saying funny things, there was plenty of laughter and it felt really nice to be home.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Harvest Moon

Today was a trunk or treat at church. I got there just in time for Amber and the kids to be done and leaving. Ashton and Allen cuddled up with me during the episode of Avatar. It was very nice.

The last three days I have seen quite a large and yellow harvest moon. The fields are being plowed for the season and it definitely feels like Fall.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

We Need a Vacation

We are getting busy as a family. School, work, and daily obligations are slowly starting to wear on us as a whole.

Today was just a bit more of the same. Amber had to get back to work because there were some loose ends that needed to be addressed. I gave Allen a shower and then we cuddled on the couch and read some stories. Again, Allen read a book to us and then Ashton sat in my lap and I tried to help her sound out words so she could read a book, too. After Allen and Ashton went to bed, Abby and I cozied up and we watched 15 minutes or so of television. She then got up and announced that it was time to go to bed. I tucked her in and that was that.

I love my whole family.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Dad Tries to Help

Today I went to Allen's class to help out. Amazingly, there was no problem to speak of. The best guess I have is that Allen finally figured out how to solve his problems last week and it just took the adults longer to finally identify and try and solve the problem. Such is the way of being a kid. I remember lots of times that I would feel like no one was trying to help me and then only after I figured out how to fix things did a grown up try to intervene.

Abby and I had some fun again this morning. Natalie came over to watch her while I was at Allen's school. She is getting much better at telling me how she feels and what is on her mind. The three of us ate some delicious donuts when I got back home.

Ashton told me she has a few friends she really likes at school. One of the kids is named Thalen. She claims she will marry him. Later in the day she and Abby played dress up and had lots of fun. After Allen got home Ashton, Allen, and I played monkey in the middle. It was a good time. Again the quote of the day is attributed to Ashton: Amber told her to stop sticking her fingers in the cats face and Ashton said "but he has boogers!" We all laughed at that one.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Never Enough Time

As you get older, time slips faster and faster. I remember at Christmas time or even hot summer days as a kid I would wonder if the days would ever end. Now I wonder where a week went since it feels like it didn't even happen.

Today was a day that slipped by pretty quickly. I spent plenty of fun time with Abby and we romped about the house. Ashton and I had only a short while together. I never saw Allen after he got on the bus.

Last night I almost fell asleep on the couch because I was up late trying to fold the laundry. Allen woke up with cramps in his leg for the second night in a row or I may have spent the night on the couch.

Tomorrow I am going to give Allen some one-on-one time in his technology class. I am looking forward to it. I really hope I can help without being overzealous.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Kid Bonding

Today I was assigned to do as much laundry as I could do. I ran out of detergent and took the initiative to get more from the store. I got the mail and received a check from student loans and also went ahead and deposited that in the bank. It was a nice surprise and I think that will be sitting in the savings account for a while.

On our little excursion I took the girls to Wal-Mart where we picked out a new can opener and some Halloween candy. Afterward we grabbed some McDonald's. The girls were tons of fun today and we shared plenty of laughs. Allen got home and we got down to business pretty quick. He and I practiced his spelling words. It looks like I will have a chance to help in the technology class on Wednesday. I am eager to see how things are going in there.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Pumpkin Carving

The kids had a rehearsal for a church event this morning that I took them to. It was a fun time. Abby and I played by walking around and climbing on chairs. After the rehearsal they brought the kids pizza and there were some fun games to play.

Amber was at an event at Pierson Orchard that I brought the kids to after the church event. That was lots of fun. We carved some pumpkins and made some fun little crafts for Halloween. I also got to meet a few of Amber's colleagues. Today was very fun.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Cuddles and Avatar

I got home from work today and had a quick bite of pizza. It was delicious after my long day. Amber and the kids picked up some pumpkins and we decorated them after dinner. Abby used some paint-pens, Allen made quite a nice face with a paintbrush, and Ashton used some feathers and glitter. It was a fun time.

I was feeling a little tired and I ended up laying on the floor for our Avatar viewing time. Ashton cuddled up with me for the whole show. Allen spelled some hard words and dazzled us with what he has learned. Ashton and Abby wanted to get tickled so I did not disappoint them. I love seeing the kids happy.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Tornado Warning

Tonight we had a tornado warning complete with the siren and the radio emergency broadcast signal. We said some prayers together and sat very close in the stairway. The kids were scared but we made the best of it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Doctor's Office

Ashton went to school yesterday and we got a note that said another child had scarlet fever. Yes, scarlet fever. After the events of Monday, we were a little concerned so I took the girls to the doctor. Ashton has been acting fine for the last couple of days so it was no surprise when I was told she was fine and we have nothing to worry about. Good news. She is a cute little person and I am happy she is feeling better.

Abby has officially decided that I am okay and was very social with me and decided several times tonight to sit in my lap while Amber was sitting right next to her on the couch. Amber gave me the obligatory dirty look but I know that aside from some superficial jealousy she thought it was cute.

This morning we got up a little late so I took Allen to school. He later told me that he doesn't like being late and instructed us to set our alarms properly. Allen came home and this was the first day I did not wait outside for his bus. He and I played some soccer for a bit and he is getting better and better. He is aiming better, getting a harder faster shot, and he is tracking the ball better so he stops my shots really well. I love it.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Teacher In Service Day

This morning started off with Ashton vomiting and having flu like symptoms. She climbed in to bed herself and then I gave her medicine and brought a radio in for her to listen to music. There were a couple of instances that I needed to hold her hair while she was sick. I felt very bad for her but by early afternoon she was acting normally.

Allen asked that I teach him how to fold a paper airplane so there are several of them around the house. He was very creative today and drew a few pictures and was making projects throughout the day. His teacher called today and told me that his is doing really well and is a great reader, good at writing, and good at math and logic. She said that occasionally he will get really frustrated and it will bring him to tears. I told him that it is okay not to get things the first try and that people want to help him. All anyone needs to do is ask for help when we need it.

Abby climbed up on the couch and snuggled up with me. She fell asleep really fast. It felt nice that she wanted to be close to me. At bed time she and I again cuddled and it seemed like we were forming a stronger bond.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Divide and Conquer

This morning I took Allen to his soccer game and brought Ashton and Abby with me. The girls and I cuddled up because it was chilly out. I held Abby the whole time and kept the wind away and as time passed I ended up holding Ashton too. It was really nice to be close to the kids but my knee and my back felt a little sore afterward.

Allen put on a good show and it was a well played game. We went to the store immediately after and I picked up some chocolate glazed donut holes and some mini-muffins along with some milk. We all got home and had a good snack.

Amber took the kids to get flu immunizations today and I stayed home to take the air conditioners out of the windows. It is officially Autumn according to us. No more hot weather for air conditioners to be needed. We still have the hornet problem and I had to contend with them as both air conditioners were next to the hive. I have decided I really despise hornets now.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Picture Day!

Today everyone wanted to look their best for picture day. I personally took Ashton to her school for pictures because she does not have class on Fridays. It was incredibly cute to see her get excited and carefully select what she was going to wear. When we got to the school the fourth graders were trying to socialize with her but she became shy and hid behind me.

Allen got on the bus without a hitch. He has not been late for school since the very first day of school. He is a great kid. He got another perfect score on his spelling test today.

Abby wanted to cuddle and played with her dolls a bit with me. She is a fun loving little girl. When Natalie came over to watch the girls she helped get some jewelry for Natalie to wear.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I Played Soccer

Today I got home from work and immediately took Allen to soccer practice. I forgot that it was parents vs. kids night and I played a bit. It was lots of fun. When I would do some tricks Allen would declare that his daddy was very good at soccer in spite of his bad knee. I was amused and flattered that my son was proud of me.

Ashton and Abby shared some chocolate I bought while Allen ate some pizza. I cuddled the kids in and tucked them in for the night after everyone got a shower or bath. Tomorrow is picture day. The kids need to look presentable.

Amber had a rough day at work and was looking forward to a girls night out. Just after she left she got a call to respond to an assault case and had to go to the hospital to meet the victim.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Dreary Day

It felt like an Autumn day. The air was crisp with a cold breeze and it rained a little. I took the kids out to the bus stop and I put my hoodie up. Ashton and Allen were jogging in place with me to stay warm. Fortunately, we did not have to wait long for the bus.

Abby is getting to be quite the climber. There are no obstacles too great in the house anymore. I feel happy that she is now bored with climbing over the gates. I think it is no longer a challenge for her. She wanted to sing a few songs with me today and we had a few duets throughout the morning. Ashton got home and we sang some more songs and then watched a couple of Disney princess movies. Abby settled in on the couch and slept for quite a while sitting up. A day like this makes you want to cuddle up in a thick blanket. Allen got home and he had a big smudge on his nose and forehead that turned out to be from a pencil he was drawing with. The ride on the bus is long and his bag is stocked with plenty of paper and things to draw with. It looked like he was practicing smudging the pencil and making the shades blend. He was in a bit of a bad mood and told me several times that he just wasn't very happy today. We agreed that it must have been the weather.

Amber worked a long day and got home just in time for us to be reading stories before bedtime. She is really passionate about her work. I like that about her. She really cares about her clients and she is sincere about doing the right thing.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Yellow Jacket Trouble

Every year we get insects. This year is no different and as the title says we have yellow jackets. They seem to congregate upstairs in our bedroom and some get downstairs. Abby and I had a leisurely morning. Abby wanted to watch Harry Potter so we popped it in for a bit. After Ashton got home we played together and had quite a good time playing a sort of Pictionary on the dry erase board. Allen got home and it was quickly time to get dinner going. Everyone was snacking and when the food hit the table, no one was interested. Amber got home and I quickly went to the store and picked up some necessities. When I got home the kids were all in bed.

My wife is beautiful and very nice. Her looks are only surpassed by her ability to be gorgeous and hard working all of the time. Not many people can pull that off. She does it every day. I am a lucky person and our kids remind me of this by talking about her constantly when she isn't around and making elaborate and cool art projects for me to present to her on their behalf.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

100 Posts!

Amber and the kids stayed home and finished cleaning up the place. Yesterday they cleaned the majority of the house but the finishing touches were all done today. I got home from work and it was bed time already. Allen read quite a long book and Ashton and Abby were wiggle worms on the couch. We said night time prayers and then everyone was in bed. I tucked Allen in and he gave me some "poems" he had written. Just as I got home Ashton was showing off her best dance moves (which did look authentic to my untrained eye). Abby is really testing her limits and our patience. One second she is an angel and the next she is wreaking havoc on Amber's laptop and then on Amber herself.

Saturday, October 6, 2007


I had an early meeting so I left the house as everyone was still asleep. When I got home we had dinner and then decided we were going to have some family fun. Ashton had asked to play Duck Duck Goose several times through the week so that was the first game we played. After that, we had a rousing game of Hide and Seek which then lead into a relaxing I Spy session. The kids were loving it. Amber picked up some ice cream and we had a super fantastic four hours together before bed time.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Nose to the Grindstone

I went back to work today. I met a new supervisor and said goodbye to a nice manager. It was nice to see the people at work.

Amber had planned to go with Ashton's class for a field trip to an apple orchard today. Ashton got too worked up and Amber decided not to take her. Instead she took a nap while I watched the girls and now she is in very good spirits.

Abby was still awake when I got home a few minutes ago. It is 10p.m. and she is usually in bed at 7 or 8. Ashton made a funny book called "Scary Midnight Monday" with a little help from me. Allen got yet another perfect score on his spelling test. Things are good.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

A Broken Nose?

Amber and I had a meeting in Grand Rapids and Natalie Reed came over to watch Abby and get Ashton off of the bus. We got home and Amber had to get right to work. Ashton had a bump and a scrape on her nose. Her teacher said she got a bloody nose when she fell. Ashton told me she fell off the bus right on to the sidewalk. The left side of her cheek was red and she said it hurt when it was touched. I felt really awful that she got hurt. Allen has a friend he sits with on the bus and Ashton told me the this girl picked her up off of the ground and carried her to the other bus.

I took Allen to soccer and we had some open field time before the practice started to kick the ball around. It was the most fun I had all day long.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Smooth Sailing (Mostly)

Today I finally solved the confusion with the crazies at my work human resources department. Between and offshored call center and an office where all of work is done in Minnesota, all seems to be okay.

The kids were great today. Abby and I had some fun while I chased her and I took her outside to sit on the porch with me to wait for Ashton and Allen to get home.

Ashton is getting bigger and she is pretty clever. It would seem that she has learned to read some words. She is also making friends at pre-school and is excited to go.

Allen has made some friends and is getting to be quite the reader. I had him spell his weekly spelling words out loud tonight and he had them in rapid succession. Impressive.

Amber's work is under some kind of audit so everyone is tense. She is also not feeling as though some people support her in her job. Fortunately the people are not in any way important so it is just hurting her feelings more than anything.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Intense Day

Amber had a 13 hour work day and was really worn out when she got home. She also really misses interacting with the kids. I have to say that while I have been on leave, it has been really great being with the kids so much.

This morning I got the green light from the doctor to return to work. I guess he will be out of work for a while to get hip surgery. I thought that was ironic that the arthroscopic surgeon needs that very surgery for his own ailment.

Abby spent a bit with my parents and they all had fun together. She is a vibrant little person who is full of cuddly love. She found a doll that grandma really likes and gently hugged it and gave it a kiss. Grandma just had to take a photo of it. Abby smiled a beautiful little girl smile so hard her eyes were shut! Cute!

Ashton came home from school announcing that the color of the day was yellow. That explained the little yellow paint smear above her left eye. After a bit we all got situated and had a snack with little yogurt drinks. Ashton has decided that flushing the toilet is not necessary. I heard the door shut to the bathroom and asked her to please flush. She immediately said she didn't go potty. I asked her what she was doing in the bathroom and that was met with a long pause and an impish answer that she "put some makeup on." I made it clear that telling lies is very bad and began to walk to the bathroom to check it out for myself. She ran ahead of me, yogurt drink in hand. She turned the corner to reach the toilet handle a little too fast and hit the floor. I was right behind her so I had the perfect vantage point to see that she wasn't hurt and also to see the yogurt drink fly all over the door, wall, and on her own hair. Let's just say further inspection revealed what I suspected. Hopefully she won't lie anymore.

Allen is getting to have a really cool personality. I think this is going to be the period of time that I am still cool in his eyes, too. As I wrote yesterday, he is really into ninjas since he bought a costume for Halloween and saw one of dad's ninja movies. Tonight there was a cartoon with ninjas in it and he got pretty excited. Once again he put his costume on and showed us all his karate moves. Before bed he read a longer book to his sisters and I. I am very proud of him. He is quite a good reader and at school he is being given the work of the kids a grade above him. Like the girls, he is a really great kid.