Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Shopping Excursion

Tonight we collaborated and used the power of team work to do Christmas shopping with the kids. We separated and selected the items that each child would buy for the other kids. I was essentially the mule taking the purchased goods under the cover of plastic bag and misdirection out to the car. I made several more trips than a typical customer at a store would make and the elderly greeter stationed at the door began to give me a funny look every time he saw me. I wondered at what point he would start awkwardly asking to see my receipts.

All in all, it was an eventful and fun time. Allen and I donated to the Salvation Army red bucket outside the door. He seemed to think it was a cool idea after I explained the idea behind why we would just stuff money into a bucket in front of a person that was ringing a bell.

Abby and Ashton each had a good time and except for some moments where the kids wanted to buy themselves gifts, everything went very well.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Survival

I survived the day after Thanksgiving. I had to get up at 3 a.m., worked a 12 hour day, and was generally just worn out but I did it. Today was pretty rough, too. I am looking forward to having tomorrow off of work.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Haircut!

Grandpa came over to watch Abby because we were in a bit of a pinch. Usually he helps Karin's kids throughout the day. He made an agreement with her to be available for us which was really great and we appreciated it. According to Grandpa, the middle of the day was apparently the perfect time for Abby to try her hand at giving haircuts. The order of how she approached her targets is unclear but the end result is obvious. The cat has no whiskers anymore, a large toy horse was left with hardly a mane, and Abby herself now has about 6 inches less of hair. Grandpa felt bad and collected the hair in one spot to show what had happened. It was impressive.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Birthday

Uneventful day. I went to work in the morning. The great thing is that the kids are off of school due to parent teacher conferences so things are more relaxed at home. We were able to spend some time watching Kung Fu Panda and just enjoying fun times. I helped Allen play Dragon Quest IV on DS and the girls and I cuddled and played with some Dora Lego pieces. Not bad for another birthday.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Change

Today the girls and I visited Grandpa. We went to Mom's grave to set up two planters. I also helped clean a little bit around the yard. While we were there I got some advice about the sump pump that has been acting up. Fortunately, I was able to solve the problem.

Yesterday was election day. I was able to go right as the polls opened. As I left the house I noticed a lump in the front yard that looked suspicious. That lump was a raccoon that decided the front lawn was the place to kick the bucket. I called animal control because I did not want anything to do with a rabid animal but they said to just shoot it. Job done.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween!

We went out with the Johnsons tonight. The kids really had a great time. Brad and his mother went out with Amber, myself, and the kids. We were out for quite a while and saw people I have not heard from in a while. Grandpa stayed at the Johnsons with Karin and handled the trick or treaters.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Front Teeth

Allen lost his front tooth yesterday while I was at work. He was very excited and even woke up early today to tell me all about it. He wanted to surprise me.

Grandpa visited today. He stopped by to drop off some things and to have some fun with the kids. I asked him if he wanted to go to a museum with the kids and he seemed to be interested. I remember he and I going to the museum at Michigan State quite a few times when I was younger. They were good times. I want my kids to have the same experience. I hope we are able to work it out where everyone goes together.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I Hate Deer

It is that time of year again: deer season and harvest time. You put the two together and you end up with incredibly high instances of car deer accidents. I have a pretty bad record of hitting deer. Last night was no different. I was heading home from work and noticed that one of the fields was being harvested. From the other side two deer decided that now was the time to run into my car. It looked and sounded like all of the other times I hit a deer so when I got home I expected the worst. I got out a flashlight and all I saw was the dirt was wiped off where the deer basically ran into the side of the car. No fur, no dents or dings, no blood. I was really shocked. I have no idea what became of the deer but my car was not damaged. I lucked out.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Kicking the Ball Around

Allen and I went to the soccer field today to just have some fun. At first he didn't really want to go but I told him that I would take him to the store if he went. We had a good time and he really got into kicking the ball against me. After we went to the store he picked out a crossword puzzle book. We worked together on it when we got home and had even more fun.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The End to Soccer Season

Today was the last game for Allen's soccer team. We finished the season out with a win and I can honestly say I had a great time coaching. Most of the kids really did improve (Allen included) and I was really neat to see them enjoy the sport. One of the kids drew me a picture and wrote that I was a good coach! It was very sweet. We even had some sunny and warm weather this weekend. It was a great end to a fun season.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Soccer Victory

This morning was a great win for Allen's soccer team. Our team won 2-0 and we had lots of fun doing it. I really liked seeing the kids reaction when they scored. All of the players seemed to be enjoying themselves. No matter what the score has been all season long the kids have done a really great job and I am really proud of Allen with how much he has grown as a player.

In less interesting news, I am tired of hearing the words "macro economic" but it have been unavoidable. It seems to be on every one's mind lately.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Visiting

Yesterday was the weekly trip to Grandpa's house. Abby, Ashton, and I had a good time and ate a great lunch together. Afterward we went to see the Johnson's new house and then visited Mom's grave. We saw the rocks we painted and saw the flowers that were planted. Grandpa ordered a stone bench and walked to the edge of the plot to show me where it would sit. As we did Abby walked over to us very happy and said: "I picked a pretty flower." Grandpa told her that Grandma would not have been upset and that she should keep it.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Smell of Pot Roast and Gravy

Tonight we read a book about search and rescue dogs and how bloodhounds can track human scents to follow a person for miles. Ashton looked at me and then smelled my arm. Then she told me that I smell like pot roast and gravy and laughed.

I guess it beats the alternatives.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Coach Gibson

I am having lots of fun coaching soccer. The kids seem to really enjoy it and Amber told me that at least some of the parents think I am doing a fine job.

Our family schedule has become rather hectic. Time is getting to be more valuable each day that passes.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Blog of the Week

This week saw Allen's soccer team score 3 goals and their opponent score 2. Our team lost because one of the kids kicked it in our goal.

Ashton and Allen have been at school a few times and have seemed to enjoy it. Amber is upset with Ashton's teacher not allowing snacks and they both have a fairly lengthy bus ride. I think it is a character builder.

Abby is doing much better with regard to the potty and she is growing right up. I also like the fact that she is cuddling me more. I think this is when she will relaize that I am a suitable stand-in for mommy when she is not home.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Back in School

Tomorrow is Allen's first day back in school. Ashton will be starting class on Friday. We went to the open house tonight and met his teacher for the next year. Ashton will go to meet her teacher tomorrow. All of the pencils, bags, cases, and crayons are packed up and ready to go. I am excited.

I am a little sad I had to cancel soccer practice. Our team will be going to the first game with only one practice. I wonder how that will go.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Summer Time Fun

Today was a holiday for all of us. We took it easy and then loaded everyone up to play at the park. We had some fun there on the swings, slides, and carousel. Afterward, we went to the ice cream shop and I discovered that each of the kids prefer vanilla shakes (that I ordered) over all other choices. This was a fun Labor Day.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Latest Toughs

Yesterday was eventful with a food-filled visit to Grandpa's. He baked us a cake for Abby's birthday and gave us plenty of other goodies. Later in the evening I finally made it as a soccer coach. Amber watched and gave me her stamp of approval (she gave me a B+). Allen said that I was a really good coach and that he especially liked that I was supportive of the kids and the practice was fun.

Today the kids and I had a pizza dinner and Abby got mad at me for not giving her a binky (still). She can get aggressive. She gave me a pinch that left a mark on my head. Just to type that here even seems both impressive that she was able to pinch the skin on the top of my head and sad that I am still whining about it.

Ashton told me that she is looking forward to soccer and school and she showed me how fast she can run. She did admit that she will not be as fast with her shoes and shin guards on. I hope she has fun at soccer, too.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Abby's Birthday!

Today is Abigail's birthday. We had plenty of fun. She received some neat Rose Petal Cottage amenities such as a table and a complete set of birthday related things like a pretend cake and some gifts. She also enjoyed the Barbie toys as well as some Play Doh. We all ate ice cream cake that had a likeness of Dora and Boots on the top. Balloons and singing were a common theme around the house.

Today also marks the inevitable end to the use of pacifiers (a.k.a. "binkies"). She is a big girl and as such is no longer in need of any binkies.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Uber Productive

Today we painted the cabinets and cleaned up the house a little bit deeper than usual. I also fixed a leaky drain in the kitchen sink. Amber and I also finally received all of the info for coaching soccer. It is official: I am a little kid soccer coach.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I am Beat

I misread my schedule today and ended up being a bit too early. That made my already long day even longer. This is the time of year where things are getting busy at work and we were very busy. I feel bad because Amber had been feeling sick for the last few days. Things are moving a little slower around the house tonight. I am okay with that.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I Don't Pretend to Know What it is

I just think it is really cool.




Touchy Day

As the day comes to a close, I guess that the heightened sensitivities on the part of my family members is just probably due to everyone getting sick. Amber came home a little early saying that she has flu-like symptoms (she had a temperature), Allen has been complaining of aches and has just not been himself, and Ashton and Abby were easy to set off with crying and just being disagreeable.

In spite of it all I think we had some fun visiting in Hastings with Grandpa and the cousins and we visited the library in Lake Odessa. The Summer reading program ended so it was time to collect the prizes from the drawing. I think it is really neat that they gave all of the kids free ice cream vouchers for a new frozen treat parlor in town I have been wanting to try.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Crayon Mess

Abby felt that throwing all of the crayons she could find all over the floor would be fun. I told her to stop and that it was time to help clean up the mess. Her laughing and smiling immediately ended and turned into telling me "no" rather loudly. I said that if she did not help me pick them up that she would have to go to her room and her answer did not change. I picked her up and placed her in her bed. I then picked up the crayons with Ashton. After a little while (about a half an hour) I realized that Abby had not left her room let alone been heard from. In my past experience the older kids would yell or at least pathetically ask to be allowed to leave their room. I went to check on her and saw that she tucked herself into her bed and fell asleep. It was very cute.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Music Project

I was able to get some needed materials to make our own musical instruments last night. Allen received a book about science projects and he was very excited to make these items. Abby got a pan flute, Ashton helped make a drum, and Allen helped make a horn that looks like a trumpet but sounds like a tuba.

The drum was very hard to make but it was all worth the effort to see the marching band that went through the house the rest of the morning.

Monday, July 28, 2008

This is Good




Back from the Wedding

What a weekend. Amber's step sister Chelsea had her wedding. She married a nice guy and they have been dating for a few years now (even though they are both 18). We arrived a day early to get settled and help. I was put to work and once again have a nice sun burn on the top of my head. The ceremony was held at the house so it seemed like there were even more details making sure things were just right. The food was great and it really looked like everyone had a good time.

We as a family stayed in a hotel with a pool which was also a highlight.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Finale for the Dentist

Today was the last visit to the dentist for the kids. I am thrilled because that means no more surprises. I do not like the new dentist and I am not ashamed to type that here. I wonder whether we financed her boat payment or her vacation fund. Here is the only thing derogatory toward dentists I could find.





We visited Karin and Grandpa today. Grandpa's driveway is being torn up and so we decided to meet up at the Johnson's. It was a good time. Allen, Matthew, and I all got a chance to use the lacrosse sticks together. It was fun. Mostly we played inside. When we got home, I finally got a chance to mow the grass. It has been raining so much lately that I have not been able to. It is out of control.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Heat is Getting to Us

Amber and I often disagree about whether it is too hot or cold. The battles with the car air conditioner has been epic. Today has been incredibly humid and I had the air conditioner on for most of the day. She got home and we were playing a board game in the living room when she shut off the air conditioner. I said nothing knowing that it was futile to try and contend it. After time passed she asked me to turn on the air conditioner to which I shot her a glance full of contempt. She then responded by blaming me for the humidity. I laughed very hard and promised her that I would blog it.

Today we also celebrated Allen's birthday and had some ice cream and cake. We gave him his gifts as well. He got a baseball bat, some practice baseballs, the lacrosse sticks, a few books, a box of baseball cards, and a fun board game. We all had a great time.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Avatar!

The finale was amazing. The whole family crowded around and we experienced the final show together. It was quite a ride. Amber said that she is sad like when Harry Potter was finished. I think it was worth it and the kids really enjoyed it, too. I am glad they didn't stretch it out artificially and create another season. I can't wait for the final installment on DVD.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Avatar is Back!

We love Avatar. Tonight was the triumphant return of the show since the writer's strike several months back. All week features new episodes which will build up to the movie event at the end of the week. We celebrated by getting ice cream and toppings that represented the various tribes in the show. It was a great time that we all enjoyed quite a bit.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Car Rides Mean Special Requests

My children have been introduced to a wide variety of music. Between Amber and I they hear different songs from iPods and from the Radio as well as the occasional CD. The kids have settled into certain songs and right now the most requested song is "The Final Countdown" by Europe. The kids also like some songs from They Might Be Giants but they also are asking for a song from The Ting Tings.

It is incredibly entertaining to hear the backseat chorus singing along with these songs. Ashton is especially sincere in her renditions and tries to sing all of the words.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Reading is Fundamental

Today the kids and I ran some errands. We headed to the bank and grabbed a quick bite to eat. All the while the sky really looked dark and it was really humid. As we were in Lowe's and we heard the storm begin. When we went outside the rain had let up a bit. As we stepped out of the doorway we were greeted by an enormous display of lightning which Ashton said was beautiful.

In lulls through the day I started and then finished Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451.



I picked it up on a whim and I am really glad I did. This was a really great book and I highly recommend it.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Just a Little More Time

Today I received a call from Amber to meet her at the church for Matthew Reed's baptism. I really thought it would be a good idea to show up and I was happy to be there. It really is the least we could do being that the Reeds help us with the kids so much. After the baptism we went out to eat (all too rare anymore) at a Chinese buffet. Nothing spectacular but the food was tasty and I think we had a good time.

Allen had felt bad that the previous day he had to go shopping for a suit for the upcoming wedding while I took the girls to the store. He didn't know that I was picking up his birthday gift so he just felt left out. Tonight I made it up to him by taking him to K Mart to pick up a little trinket. We ended up getting a Nerf dart launcher (read also as a gun). I kind of knew what was in store for us once we got home right at the checkout when the cashier was already starting to lecture Allen and I about how dangerous those things can be and to never aim them at a person. Amber felt the same way but he is a nice kid. We spent a few minutes with it and he deemed it too hard to load and ready for shooting so we ended up playing with other toys.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Movie Time

We saw Wall-E with Grandpa, Hannah, and Sam today. The movie was a hit with the kids and I (not surprisingly) liked it too. Abby fell asleep in my arms toward the end of the movie and it was cute. Before the movie we all ate some yummy pizza for lunch.

Once the movie ended we saw that it was rainy out and began our way home. It ended up storming heavily for the last five hours or so. It was another one of those storms where people lost power and flooding was reported. The lightning strikes were all pretty close and there were several of them. We are lucky not to have lost power.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Late Night Gift Exchange

Just before bed, Allen declared that he wanted me to give him a gift. Ashton liked the sound of this and also wanted a gift. They did not expect me to leave and buy them gifts but rather specified right up front that I could give them something from around the house.

I gave Allen a strategy guide that has been behind a stack of video games for a couple of years. It is a guide to the game Dragon Quest VIII which he has played before and likes so he was very appreciative. Ashton received a lanyard and a pocket watch with the logo of my employer on the face. I also gave her a silver metal box to store precious things in. I remember loving little boxes and the like as a kid. Allen gave me a hug and a kiss and was very happy. Ashton decided she needed to give me something so she told me to leave her room so that she could create artwork suitable for the situation. It was a very nice set of hearts and the word "Daddy" at the top. On the reverse side was a sunflower.

What a nice way to end the day!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Long Week

I can't believe I haven't posted in the last week. Some meetings crept up and schedules were changed so the normal day to day flow of things was interrupted. Amber and the kids went to a wedding yesterday while I was at work. I got home just a few minutes before they did so I saw the girls in cute matching outfits and Allen was looking like the young man growing up.

Even the weather has not been cooperating very well and the rain has meant it has been tough to get the lawn completely mowed. I got rained on twice in the last week trying to get it done. The upside is that I did not get a sunburn on the top of my head!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Weekend Visit with the Inlaws

We just got back from Bruce and Marcie's house. It was a good time. Every visit we end up with more Beanie Babies. They used to collect them and now are happy to spread the joy by giving them to the grandkids. Chelsea had a bridal shower and the girls all went to be a part of it. It has been decided that Allen will be the ring bearer and Ashton and Abby will be flower girls. Every one is very excited and we are looking forward to the wedding.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Zoo

We went to John Ball Zoo yesterday. We had a fun time together. We ended up having a picnic and seeing plenty of sleepy-looking animals. The kids had a chance to touch stingrays. We even saw the penguins. The girls sat in the wagon as I pulled and Allen walked. The day was very fun.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Take Five






I like this song quite a bit.

Busy week agian. I have taken yet another position recently and it is more demanding than the last one. I am gaining credibility and I can honestly say that it is challenging.

Allen has been sick the last couple of days. I really hope he feels better in the morning. He is a sweet kid.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Library Cards!

Ashton and Allen received library cards today. It was very exciting because the library had just begun the Summer reading program so there were treats and crafts and prizes. It was quite fun.

We had a jam-packed day of fun. We also spent time with Grandpa and the Johnsons. Over the course of a few hours we saw everyone. The kids played and had some snacks. We eventually went outside where Allen tried his hand at learning how to ride a two-wheel bike by himself. It was kind of hot so he only wanted to try a few times.

Early today the kids went to the dentists. It was a new place because of Amber now being the insured party in our house. The news was *ahem* mixed. We have to enforce some more strict rules now.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

According to My Child, I am the Best Daddy in the Whole World

Abby is still awake and she got up to announce that she had something very important to tell me: I am the best Daddy in the whole world. Then she asked me for chips. Amber and I both laughed and I told Abby that her techniques were impressive but would not work. She is still asking for chips. Just a few. She only wants a few chips.

It has been very stormy the last couple of days. The kids were pretty scared last night because it was heavy rains and many instances of lightning were very close. Many homes across the state were without power because of it.

Also, Dad's birthday is this weekend. Hopefully, we will be able to coordinate a time for everyone to be together at the same time. I know we will see him at least on Wednesday.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Hmmmm





Thursday, June 5, 2008

School is Out

The kids are at home for the Summer. Allen had his last day today. When I asked him how he felt he said that he was happy but he will miss his teacher. The back door (which is the commonly used entrance) now has been upgraded with a really nice deck and set of stairs. It looks sharp and is much safer than the old cement steps and the old wooden ramp.

Monday, June 2, 2008

I Hate Bats

Really. I do. Especially at night.

Monday, May 26, 2008

What a Busy Couple of Days

Amber and I agreed that we should make a few improvements to the house. Amber started the enormous undertaking of painting the girls room and I lent a little bit of help. I am impressed that she got it to look good and the speed that she did the work in. Unfortunately, that one day made other chores stack up and today we tried to catch up on them.

Also, I have a wicked sun burn on the top of my giant head. I can not describe what it feels like. I already know that my scalp is going to peel and look really awful. Ugh. I was sitting on the couch with Ashton and she gently touched my head and then carefully examined me. After a moment she said: "Daddy, your head is very hot. You are bright red and wrinkled." She then touched under my chin and decided, "You are getting really old." I love my kids.

Friday, May 23, 2008

I am Sick Again

I can't really say that I recall being sick like this. Do I have bronchitis? Perhaps a sinus infection? I hope I don't have to head to the doctor to find out. Hopefully this won't make for a terrible weekend.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Park Visit

The event of the day was going to the park. I promised Ashton that we would go just before visiting Grandpa. We went to the park that was just across the street from his house. I called ahead to make sure Dad was still expecting us and I ended up finding out that Karin was helping with Hannah's class that was also going to be at the park. It was a fun little excursion. After, we went to Grandpas and had a fun little time.

Side note: I started a Twitter account and have embedded the feed here. I expect in the short run that I will end up Twittering from my phone. Nerd!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Tiring Weekend

I am exhausted. I had a couple of meetings and worked quite a bit. It has been busy.

I got home and everyone was ready to have fun. Amber tried to be in a bad mood but we wouldn't let her. We had lots of laughs together.

Allen read a fifth grade level book to us and Ashton had us read the story I helped her write (but she illustrated). Abby and I had a tickle fight and I think she won.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Day Off

I spent the day with all three kids. Ashton was sick at school yesterday and so Amber decided that she should stay home. Allen ended up playing a bit of hooky. We took a brief road trip to take care of some business but most of the day was at home.

Sunday was Mother's Day and the kids gave Amber some neat hand made art from school. I gave her some flowers that were called Orange Star and they looked pretty cool. The typical mom, Amber noticed in a few seconds that the plant was poisonous for pets and children.

Yesterday at reading time I got a little silly and began to sing some of Dr. Suess' poems. Ashton protested saying that girls sing and boys that are rock stars sing and that I should stop. I thought that was pretty funny.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Let the Story Begin

Allen and I began the story tonight. He was very excited and we spent some quality time at the computer trying to work together. I shared with him my techniques for creating and then improving a story and he and I had much fun.

Amber is out of town and so I am in charge. Ashton had a school field trip for the Zoo tomorrow but it just isn't going to be possible. She was sad but I told her that during the summer we would have many more chances to do fun things. I asked her what she wanted to do and she told me she really wanted to go to the beach.

Abby is very cute. Tonight she saw me trying to console Ashton and kept trying to work her way into cuddling with me. She tried getting in my lap and then settled with leaning against my arm and snuggling up.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Let's Write a Story

Allen read a story to us that was about a Native American legend of wild horses. The art was really great and the story was written well. He announced that he wants to write a book. There's quite a bit of inspiration that kids can bring adults. They have a pure view of the world and do not see obstacles. I really think we could work together and make something really worthwhile.

On an unrelated note, I have been listening to Bon Iver lately and think they are worth a look. I had heard of them before SXSW this last year but they got more attention after.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Our Own Library

Allen took a few 3x5 cards and wrote our names on them. He handed them out and then gave us our instructions. We were allowed to enter his room for the purpose to read a book. We had to swipe our name cards (ostensibly our library cards) through the seam in the cabinet in his room in order to be approved to start reading a book. He showed us that books were separated into two sections: his private stock that no one could take which were exclusively Pokemon books and a variety of other books that I knew he really enjoyed. I sat down and began to read a book and then Allen told me that I needed a reading buddy. He handed me a Beanie Baby and told me that I should read to my reading buddy. I set the little black dog plush toy on my shoulder and read the book while Ashton and Abby happily swiped their cards over and over and sorted through the reading buddies. It was very fun.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Scary Movie

I bought two movies about a week ago because they were pretty cheap. One was Muppets in Space (because our previous copy snapped in half) and the other was Labyrinth. I had never seen Labyrinth but I had heard from several people that it was good. For $5 I figured it was worth a shot.

Tonight I decided that we would watch it as a family. I put the movie in and about 10 minutes in a set of goblin Muppets were enough to have kids scared to the point of tears. We shut it off and then watched some nature programming on PBS about South African penguins. The kids seemed to really enjoy the show even though it had some macabre scenes of the aftermath of a oil tanker spill and the confrontations with predatory animals. I found the irony to be a little much.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Fun Time!

Today I took the girls to the store expressly for buying toys. Obviously, Dad was popular! Abby picked out a Littlest Petshop plush cat and Ashton used a gift card from her birthday to purchase the largest toy available in the Littlest Petshop universe. We had a bite to eat and came home to play.

Amber and Allen came home shortly after and we grilled some burgers and hot dogs. We then played some soccer, football, and basketball. The girls played with some sidewalk chalk and made a modern sculpture with some rocks they found. After all of this we had some popsicles and took some quick photos.

Much to Amber's chagrin I then instigated a rousing game of Duck, Duck, Goose right as it was time for reading stories. We had a blast.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Outdoors Again

The kids are a magnet for the neighbor dog. He came over again, this time with a fresh haircut. The puddles are much smaller in our yard but still the dog had no trouble finding them and getting really wet.

The girls chased the dog around for a bit while I cleaned up more of the Winter thatch that had accumulated in the yard. I see that I will have to mow very soon.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Beautiful Sunshine

After the Winter we just went through, I am really happy that the sun is out and the air is warm. This morning Abby, Ashton, and I went outside to play. They saw the neighbor's dog running around and chased him. I went ahead and got some more of the yard picked up. There are many places in the yard that are still giant puddles. The dog ran through it and got really wet. Ashton said she walked in some dog poo. The fun pretty much ended there as she wanted to take her shoes off and the neighbor came and collected their dog. I think they didn't want the dog to get completely covered in mud because they did not look very happy about the dog being in the yard.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

More From YouTube

I don't know Korean but I do know awesome. This is awesome.




Small Adventures

This is the day of the week that I spend with the kids. I had a little extra time with them because Amber and I forgot to set our alarms so I woke up to the sound of the bus driving away. I hurried and got up and between the five of us, we got everyone around. I took Allen to school and Amber took Ashton.

After the usual playing and watching Dora the Explorer, Allen told us that he really wanted to go to the store and buy some things with his money. He was so excited that he promised to buy both of his sisters things, too. He collected a sandwich bag full of loose change and he and I headed to the store. He bought some Pokemon cards and some toys for Ashton and Abby. He was very happy.

We got home and then I was able to finally attend to some needed yard work. The day was absolutely gorgeous so it was fun. The neighbor dog even came over and splashed me with muddy water she was romping in.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Ashton's Birthday!

She turned five and we had a great time. Today we went to the Frederik Meijer Garden to see the butterfly exhibit. We saw plenty of really neat plants and many butterflies. We walked and they fluttered around us and landed on people. I even had a large blue one land on my back which seemed to entertain the kids.

After we got our fill of butterflies and African sculptures (that part didn't hold the kids' interest quite like the insects) we headed off for Chuck E. Cheeses. I hate Chuck E. Cheeses and this was an especially bad time to go because of it being Spring break for many kids. The place was packed and we had trouble finding a place to sit. At least the kids had a good time. The rest of the afternoon was spent shopping a bit.

We got home and made some of Ashton's favorites for dinner: macaroni and cheese with chicken nuggets. We ate some cake and sang Happy Birthday just before she opened her gifts. We all had a great time.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Prelude to a Birthday

Today was mostly preparation for Ashton's birthday tomorrow. We have a cake and some plans to have some fun. I know she is really looking forward to turning five years old but also to have her special day.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Spring Break

My day off plus the kids having spring break meant that I wanted to do something special. I had bookmarked a web page on del.icio.us that had several ideas about father and children activities. What I didn't expect is that the kids all wanted to play outside and go for a walk. We did take a walk and it was a good time. Abby and Ashton rode in the wagon and Allen and I walked. We saw the neighbors' horses and enjoyed the sunshine. We also played some board games and generally had a good time. Amber has this week off so it sounds like we will be having plenty of fun later in the week, too.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Errands and Such

Today we decided where to each lunch by singing the song I wrote about earlier this week. I told the kids to choose between McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and a Pizza Hut by freezing into the correlating move when it came up. It was unanimous: Pizza Hut.


Our house is basically an art gallery for our children and one particular work has struck my fancy. I will post it in a few minutes. Also, I was finally able to get my old SATA drive to work on my laptop which unleashed a few gigabytes of music I really missed. I am happy.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A Night Set to Song

Ashton learns new songs at school and we enjoy it quite a bit around the house. She is a performer and aims to entertain. Tonight the selection was "Down by the Bay" where you get to make up a funny rhyme that starts with "have you ever seen..." She sang the song throughout the day and even sang it softly as she was laying in bed.

I love the other songs she comes home with such as the fan favorite McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and a Pizza Hut.

Allen is reading really well and the best part is that he truly enjoys reading. Abby had a tough time today as Natalie did not get her to take a nap.

Monday, March 24, 2008

I Am a Sucker for This Stuff

I showed this to Amber and she got a chuckle out of it, too.




Reading!

During the day it was the girls and I while Allen was at school. They played dress up and we had fun playing with little dolls. Allen, Ashton, Abby, and I were a team tonight for bedtime. We had some fun playing ball and kicking a soccer around. Things were fun. Allen is getting very good at reading and he enjoys it quite a bit. We saw a few hard words and Allen told me that he has trouble with "imaginary" words.

Tonight the kids also asked me to play some Guitar Hero. The girls pull out some Playskool musical instruments and we jam. Allen loves watching it and gets into it. It was a great time. It is like we play Rock Band because two of us play guitar and someone always plays drums. I love it!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Uphill Battle

Allen has been pretty sick for the last couple of days. You pair that fact with Ashton needing antibiotics and you get some more days of school missed. I remember being a kid and trying to trick my mom into thinking I was sick at least twice (and it worked) but not missing much school overall.

I had planned to submit my resume to a local company today and instead of taking just Abby, I ended up taking all three kids. It wasn't that big of a deal, it was just a little harder to get out the door.

Allen is reading very well these days. I have been playing a game called Professor Layton and the Curious Village and it is basically a story that wraps around about 180 different logic and math puzzles you could see on an SAT test. Some are just tricky while others are truly challenging to solve. He was interested and we played the game together today. I highly recommend this game to anyone who enjoys actual brain teasers. It is a really fun and well put together game. It is possible that the two sequels that are already out in Japan may be released here. Check out this video from the game.



Thursday, March 13, 2008

Ballet

Tonight after dinner the girls put on a ballet recital complete with outfits and the proper shoes. They sang "Mary Had a Little Lamb" which ordinarily Abby sings as "Little Had a Little Lamb."

For whatever reason, there was a small cup with wet feathers in it waiting for me on the table tonight which lead to the explanation of how birds can carry disease and parasites. Somehow I don't think the kids really understood but I understood they were mad at me for throwing away the wet feather pile.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I Am Batman

I didn't get to witness this with my own eyes but the story made me laugh anyway: Abby decided that drawing on her own face with a dark blue marker would make her look like Batman. She prepared her face and then walked up to Amber and whispered sternly that she was Batman! If a photo exists I intend on posting it here later.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Bummer

My computer is malfunctioning. It is getting to be rather difficult to get online. I hope this gets resolved soon.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Barbie Mariposa Brings the Family Together

Because Ashton had such a good week I brought home the new Barbie DVD. It doesn't hurt that Abby loves those movies too and the two of them will often be able to sing songs from the movies. We cuddled up and had a family movie night. There is less and less space on the couch for me so I often make a cuddle nest on the floor next to the couch. I guess it looks really inviting because everyone except Amber ended up in it. I must admit it was a very cozy place to watch the movie from.

I am Sick

And how. I have a pretty nasty cold that has been rampant at my work. I wish this upon no one.

This past week has been filled with some fun moments with the kids. I have spent lots of time with Abby and she has been wanting to wear ballerina costumes and pajamas pretty much all day long. I never thought that "day clothes" would be dirty words but she cries at the mention of them sometimes.

Ashton has been growing up quite a bit. She has really figured out the bathroom part of life and was able to turn the light on when the house was dark because she really needed to go. A problem had been that if the shower curtain were not completely drawn or if it was dark she would be too scared to go by herself. I like that this is changing.

Allen had a friend of his call tonight and schedule some plans. Hopefully they will be able to work something out for tomorrow because I know he is excited. He recently got a copy of Pokemon Pearl and has been drawing his own character ideas up. I like how inventive he is. I remember doing that sort of thing when I was a kid, too.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Field Trip

Today I went on a field trip with Allen's class to the Imax theater. We saw a neat movie about dinosuars in 3D. Because I was a responsible adult (obviously they don't know me at his school) they put me in charge of Allen and another youngster that was introduced to me as "an interesting young man that needs to go to the bathroom alot. That's why [we] only gave you two kids to watch."

We all had a great time and the movie was slick. The presentation was pretty good and the content was much better than I was expecting. I had never been to an Imax movie before and just always thought of them as being equivelent to the quality of a theme ride at Disney.

And Now for Something Completely Different






Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Terrible Driving Conditions

The day started with the bus sliding to a stop on our very icy road. I immediately reassured myself that the roads must be the worst where we are and that my drive to work would not be bad. Boy was I wrong.

I am not exaggerating when I say that probably about 75-80% of the "city" road that leads to the highway I drive often was a sheet of ice. If it were not for occasional patches of pavement the car would have just slowly slid of off the road. Several instances of the car slightly gliding away from the center line toward the shoulder (and only going about 25 mph) made me think I would soon need a tow truck. I eventually made it to the highway and saw that it was clear.

...Or so I thought.

I have heard of black ice and seen plenty of road conditions that were slick and treacherous but I have never experienced driving like I had this morning.

Most of the road looked dry with only rare patches of what looked like snow. The fact is that most of the road was coated completely with a thin icy sheet. It only vaguely sparkled like new fallen snow. Most of the road was the expected dull gray.

Once again I was going about 30 mph driving past people in the ditch and a surprising number of overturned SUVs. One of the accidents looked particularly nasty and I truly hope that the passengers were okay. I eventually got to work intact.

My way home was the real challenge. Snow had been drifting as the wind picked up and the temperature is too low for salt to work and maintenance trucks had just been dropping sand. The end of my day driving was the worst I can remember. The road was still mostly ice but now worsened by the drifting snow, the sun going down, and the temperature staying so cold everything was just shades of gray. The sky and the road blended together and each side of the road was little more than a graveyard for cars that did not make it. There was a point in the road that I was worried that I would either hit one of the abandoned cars that lay facing all sorts of directions or the oncoming traffic.

I officially hate winter.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Allen Loses FIrst Tooth

It is now official: Allen has lost his first tooth as of this morning. He told me rather excitedly that his loose tooth was bleeding and he wanted some water to wash his mouth. As I gave him the cup I told him he should just pull it out. He said okay and that I needed to give him a paper towel. Just as quickly as I gave him the paper towel he had the tooth out. As I looked more carefully I noticed that the new tooth was already coming through.

On a side note Abby brought a baseball glove and tennis ball to me today and said she wanted to play baseball with me. We played catch for a while and it was great fun. Ashton, Allen, and Amber all went out to run errands and each of them got a haircut and they all look very good.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Week?!?!

Holy moly, it has been a week since I posted. Yikes.

My computer has been acting up and I am down to one machine so this has been a bit of a challenge to get here and update the blog. Let's get down to business.

Okay, I loved going skating with Ashton's class. It was the first time I was in skates a couple of years and I fell three times but I got warmed up and it felt really good to be on the ice again.


Many cute things have happened over the week like Ashton and Abby putting on princess costumes and singing (rather accurately) songs from a Barbie movie. It made me laugh and smile quite a bit that day.

Valentines day was a success in my estimation. The kids were each given a heart shaped box full of chocolate and a little toy. I gave Amber some truffles and some organic cotton pajamas that looked really comfy. She liked it.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Snow = No School

This has been a mini-vacation for the kids over the last couple of weeks. I think they have had fewer school days that days at home!

Tomorrow is the ice skating event for Ashton's school and I am excited and looking forward to it.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

School is Cancelled (again)

Yet another day off for the kids. It looks like the weather is coming tonight as we are supposed to get almost 10 inches of snow. I am glad I have the day off but Amber still has to go to work tomorrow.

I am looking forward to go skating with Ashton's class on Friday. We are going to the rink in Walker. Quite a distance compared to two other rinks but they must have gotten a good deal.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Cute at Church

Today Ashton was in a class with one of her best friends at church. They were told to draw a picture of themselves doing something good. Her little friend drew a picture of Ashton and herself holding hands. When Ashton saw it she said: "I think your picture is going to come true!"

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Wild Kids

I guess everyone had some extra energy to spend because when I got home right around dinner time, no one would sit still. Kids were running around and having a good time. We played together and even after I was exhausted, they were still chasing each other and laughing.

After everyone settled down a bit more Amber read to the girls and Allen read to me. He is reading at almost a third grade level, according to his teacher. He likes reading chapter books. It is surprising to see how quickly he is able to get through tougher words and sentences.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

No School

Tuesday and today were both days with no school for the kids. The storm that was rolling over the country scared us so much that just the possibility of a storm had the administrators call off school for Tuesday. It was warm enough that day that all of the snow (and there was plenty) melted. Tuesday night was wild and we had blizzard conditions.

We spent today cleaning up and straightening up the house. Ordinarily when we clean we are doing the superficial every day stuff. Due to the fact that even Amber was home we took it to the next level and basically did a Spring cleaning in the middle of Winter.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Dental Event!

Allen has a loose tooth. It was discovered on Friday night. He is excited and Ashton is now interested in what the Tooth Fairy is going to give him.

Tonight I was at a company Christmas party. I won these. I am a lucky duck.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Let's Read on the Couch

Tonight was yet another whirlwind once I got home. I made a frozen pizza and the consensus was that it was too spicy. Play time followed and we rotated from throwing the football to playing with Dora the Explorer dolls. It always seems like our fun time flies by really fast. The kids all chose books to read and Abby fell asleep leaning against me. I heard a faint snore and looked at her and Ashton announced that she did not have a nap today.


Also, I bought a new DVD today.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Too Much Snow

It has been snowing pretty steadily for the last few days. The drive to work for Amber and I has been challenging at best. Yesterday I helped to Reeds get their van out of our plowed driveway. I have had enough of the weather events.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Martin Luther King Day

Today was a typical day off for me. The kids were also home because of the holiday. It is great fun to hang out with the kids. Days like this are filled with moments that make us laugh.

Abby and Ashton were with me in the living room and I started to tickle Ashton. Reflexively, Ashton dove away from the tickling hands but Abby wanted in on the action and dove head first at me. The top of her head hit my mouth pretty hard and I got a fat lip. Abby got up and looked at me and then wandered off. I felt silly that I was injured and a two-year-old went on with her business.

Allen is enjoying his DS. He and I linked up for some Pictochat which is always fun. We ended up playing catch (yes, in the house) for a bit after that.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Working

My new position is really tedious. I have much more paperwork and time spent dealing with details instead of other people. I didn't realize this position was so drastically different.

Amber and the kids had a late start this morning and I helped load kids up for church. It sounds like Ashton had some trouble with another little girl today in primary. I guess the little girl in question was being rather bossy and possessive with other people in the class Amber was teaching. Ashton had her feelings hurt but one of her little friends came over and helped her feel better.

Amber also did some big time cleaning around the house today. She is good people.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Let's Play Catch

I was the first parent home so it was up to me to get things moving for the evening. Ashton stayed home from school and actually looked worse from being sick when I got home. She still had a temperature and was acting very tired.

Just like every good father should, I initiated a game of catch with Allen and Abby before bed. Everyone had a great time Abby laughed more than anyone else. Allen is getting really good at throwing and catching.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Whoa (Youtube Craziness)





Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Spinning My Wheels

This morning I waited at the bus stop with Allen and Ashton. I know later on I will look back at this time fondly. Allen always sits on the front seat on the bus that faces our side of the street. He also always waves goodbye. Ashton barely can climb up to the first step on the bus she is still so small.

Abby was very mad that she tore off the tag on her favorite blanket. I couldn't help myself from smiling as she tried to reattach the tag as if just putting it back on the spot it came from would solve the problem.

I got home from what felt like a long day at work and tried to park in the garage. Note that the snow is melting a bit and the ground is very wet and soft. The ground around the garage is dirt. I backed into the spot as I have many times before but this time I got stuck just outside the garage. Amber came home and I tried to push the car out as she applied gas and turned the steering wheel as the front end of the car sank deeper and deeper in mud.

After spraying mud all over the place we finally got the car free. Of course, it took about 15 minutes and pulling out a shovel. Yay.

Part of my promotion at work included a book and online evaluation to determine my top five theme strengths. They are: 1) Strategic, 2) Analytical, 3) Intellection, 4) Competition, and 5) Activator. Sounds impressive, eh?

Monday, January 14, 2008

You're a Coconut

This morning Abby decided that the best insult was to call me a coconut. She said it with some defiance but she thought it was funny enough to laugh at her own joke. I called her a coconut and she laughed more and continued to insist that it was me who was in fact the coconut.

Ashton stayed home from school today and she made quite a drawing of zoo animals that included an elephant, zebra, monkey, and even an alligator. I was impressed (honestly) as it was the best drawing I have seen her do to date.

Allen got home after school and was run down. He needed a snack and wanted to just relax even though I was looking forward to throwing a ball around with him. He and Amber are getting way into playing Zelda: Phantom Hourglass on the DS.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Friday Night is Alright for Cuddles

We now have a tradition of getting everyone on the couch to watch some Avatar on Friday night. As we all grow (yes, including me) the couch feels smaller and smaller but we still get blankets and pillows to cuddle up. We also did partake in some pizza and it was surprisingly good tonight. No new episodes of Avatar have been on since the writers strike so we threw in a DVD of previous seasons.

As the night went on, the kids get put to bed one by one. Abby fell asleep on Amber's lap and Ashton told us she was too tired and wanted to be carried to bed. As of right now, Amber and Allen are playing Phantom Hourglass on the couch. I have never seen Amber play a Nintendo DS before but there is a first time for everything.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Rainy Winter Day

I went in early to work today for more training for my new position but I was able to take the kids to the bus stop. Allen had a rough morning and Ashton took her time to get ready so Amber and I had to work together to get them ready and out the door.

After work I got home to some grumpy kids. We ate dinner and cuddled up on the couch. Abby fell asleep in a matter of minutes in my lap. We did the bedtime routine and read some stories and then I tucked the kids in. It always seems to move so fast once I get home to the time the kids go to bed.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

I am an Old Person Masquerading as a Young Person

This morning I sat with Abby in front of the television when I had a realization: I have the tastes of a senior citizen. I changed the channel to Matlock and was excited to see that Don Knotts played a cameo role. Then I remembered that just a few days ago I had to explain to Amber who Jonathan Winters is because she had never heard of him. That's when it occurred to me that I love watching the Golden Girls and the Lawrence Welk Show whenever I can.

It's official: I have the same television watching habits as 82 year-olds.

Monday, January 7, 2008

At Home Fun

This morning was filled with rollicking fun with Abby. I chased her around and we played some active games pretty much after breakfast ended. It was a great time. Ashton came home and we went to take care of some errands and then we grabbed some lunch. We came home and the fun began again only this time dad got a knee to the face and a fat lip.

Allen came home and we played some Monkey-in-the-Middle for a bit. He is a funny guy because he lets his sister get the ball if she ever gets to be the monkey.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Promotion

I got a promotion at work in another department and the position change starts tomorrow. I admit I have been slacking the last few days. I am recovering from the holiday and just was taking some time off. I should be back to the consistent posting from here on out.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

It's official.

We celebreated with a breakfast feast together as a family.