Friday, December 23, 2011

Daddy-Daughters Date

I took the girls out for a few hours to spend some Daddy time with them and give Nancee some sanity. I thought some of the hilarity that spewed forth from Erica tonight was definitely blog-worthy, so here it is.

We started by going to Pei-Wei, which is not on Nancee's favorites list, but it is on mine. Since I had a coupon and no Nancee with me, dinner was a no-brainer. After dinner, (which consisted primarily of fortune cookies for Sadie,) we went up to the north side of town to the Winterhaven Festival of Lights. This decision was last-minute, since Erica actually slept on the drive to Pei-Wei (after vehemently fighting a nap a few hours before). This nap was the only way she could survive Winterhaven, and even then her survival turned out to be questionable at best. She made it about half a block.

Luckily, what were the best two houses were in that half a block. Guess who's favorite this one was:

Erica could name every Disney Princess couple there. The picture's not great, but it's also not too bad considering I was holding a squirming 1-year-old at the time.

Then we came to this house. I love the programmed lights choreographed to music, but this one took it to the next level with a lit fountain too. Click here to see a video of it.

It's too hard to tell in the dark, but Sadie is dancing her head off. She wormed her way to the front of the crowd, cheering and clapping at the end of each song. Way fun. We had been at the festival of lights for all of 10 minutes, and Erica was already whining to go back. We did stop at the princess house again, at which point Erica proclaimed it to be better than the fountain house. I planned on taking a ton of pictures, but the picture you don't see is me with my arms full carrying both girls out of Winterhaven. Not enough arms for pictures.

Despite my efforts to get all her pee out in the restaurant, and despite the fact that I had been carrying her for a while, Erica said "all this walking is making my pee come. I have to RIGHT NOW!" I quickly walked to a Quik Mart. Think of whatever pops into your mind when you hear the words "gas station bathroom", then hit the 3rd world country bathroom button a couple times, and you have the bathroom that the 3 of us found ourselves in. It was more like a chemical storage cellar with a toilet. The linoleum was missing in most places, there were cans of oil and de-greaser on a precarious shelf which Sadie started to inch towards, and the room had about 3 square feet of floor space. Erica saw the bright side: "Wow! It smells good in here! and look! It has ducks! I like this bathroom!" I guess some of the heavy cleaners on the old shelf and the 40-year-old, peeling duck wallpaper had more value than meets the eye.

Then the conversation on the drive home:

Erica: "Daddy, can you talk to me about boys and girls? Please?"
Me: "Sure. What do you want to know?"
Erica: "What if you put the wrong stuff on a baby when it came out of your belly and you didn't know if it was a boy or a girl?"
Me (interpreting this as a question of controlling gender at birth): "Well, you were a girl spirit before you were born so you got a girl body, and I was a boy spirit before I was born so I got a boy body."
Erica: "How does the baby get in the mommy's tummy?"
Me (figuring I'm perfectly within my right to dodge this question for another few years): "Well, when a mom and dad are married and they are ready to have a baby, the baby grows in the mom's belly."
Erica "But how does it get in the mom's belly? Can you talk to me about it daddy? Please?" (That's a direct quote. It's like she KNEW I was hiding something.)
Me: "... ... (then repeated previous answer.)"
At that point I was saved by McDonalds: "Look! A play place!" Conversation diverted.

Then we talked at length about how she was scared to have a baby, and she's scared it will hurt. All things I want her to be deathly afraid of until she's 25. Then she cried a bit about how she missed being 3 years old. We talked about time, and how you can't speed it up or slow it down. Erica asked if time is a special machine. It's interesting seeing how her mind works. I also thought it was cool when we looked at some really tall trees with lights in them and she said "I wonder how they got the lights in those trees." She's a thinker.

Well, at least I thought it was a blog-worthy night. Thanks for reading, if YOU'VE survived this post with no nap.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

This year we decided to stay warm for Thanksgiving and not leave Arizona. We did a trip to my brother's house in Surprise, Arizona. It was filled with lots of games, food and cousins playing.

We kept things simple and split the work in making the food. It turned out yummy and non-stressful.

Sadie slept through most of the dinner, which I didn't complain about. She, of course, wouldn't touch any of the delicious food and instead opted for canned, chicken noodle soup for dinner.

All the kids helped shuck the corn.

Lincoln is only 2 months younger, but he is much taller. These guys played awesome together.

Thanks to my sister-in-law, Eden, who organized and photographed the event. Otherwise, I would not have had any pictures to post.

Cute Logan!

Erica - a model in the making? I promise I didn't tell her to stand that way.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Top 10 Things...

...I should blog more about, but probably won't:

10. In May we got rid of the green one (it took about 10 minutes on Craigslist) and bought the gray one. I LOVE IT!!

9. Videos, videos, videos. I have uploaded some videos on our YouTube site if you want to check them out - the most recent uploads include Halloween, Erica's cheer camp, a boating trip (Troy wakeboarding and Sadie tubing) and more of the girls' dancing.

8. Lake Roosevelt. In early October, our family took a boating trip north with some friends. We had a blast. You can see the link in #9 for some videos of Troy landing a backroll and 360.

7. I ran a 7k Breast Cancer Awareness Race. No pictures, but I averaged a 9:30 pace/mile. My best yet. I was so happy, and tired.

6. I've never been one to care too much about what I wear. I've (finally) been feeling a little frumpy lately, so I had an "intervention" from friends and we did a "What Not to Wear" experiment. We went through my closet and threw out half my clothes. Then, they took me on a shopping spree. Ideally, I would have before and after shots, but I must stay true to the title of this blog post.

5. One of my best friends since I was 13 years old came to visit. It was so great to see her again. She was playing in a National Tennis Tournament. Coincidentally, my sister-in-law was playing in the same tournament. So, my brother's family, my parents and my sister also came to town. It was a fun weekend. You can check out a better post about it here.

4. Halloween time consisted of multiple parties, which meant multiple costumes. Sadie also discovered the joys of trick-or-treating, one of which meant a fat lip if you ran too fast to the next house.

3. Lincoln and Logan's Lego Birthday Party. We drove to Phoenix the first weekend of November for my nephews' birthday party. My parents were there too. You can get better details/pictures and check out the awesome decorations here and here.

2. A Visit from Troy's Parents (O-ma and O-pa). They helped so much, especially when I had the flu. We miss them already - even Erica said so.

1. And, the answer to the question I've been mostly commonly asked this past 2 months ("How is it having Troy work from home?") - AWESOME! Check out his latest app Hungry Santa - and it is FREE.

Friday, September 30, 2011

What do I do in a bad economy? Quit my job.

It's time for Troy to write his semi-annual blog post! And yes, I quit my job. My last day of stable paychecks is Thursday. And we couldn't be more excited!

I started making iPhone apps about 2 years ago for fun, and for a little extra cash. I quickly got hooked, and found myself coding apps during almost all of my spare time, and constantly thinking up future apps to develop. Now that my app development business is stable, I'm taking it full time. Needless to say, I can't wait to have a 30-foot commute from my bed, work on my own schedule, have complete control over my projects, and simply love what I do every day. Nancee can't wait for me to be the dad at home more so she can spend a bit more time on her legal practice.

We're both financially risk adverse people, but we've done our homework and we're in a good spot to go for it.

On a related note, my new app "Dino Digger" is now in the iTunes app store and the Android market! I've done a lot of beta testing with Erica and her friends, and the kids love it. Even Sadie likes it. The concept is simple: dig up dinosaur bones, build them into dinosaur skeletons that respond to touches and shakes, then bring them to life and interact with live, animated dinosaurs.

For iPhone / iPod / iPad:

For Android:

Here are some screenshots:

If any of you know kids with iPads (based on my family's experience, they always end up being used most by the kids), spread the word. It's now how I'm feeding my children!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Troy is older than 4

Troy is also a September birthday. Again, my sister was on top of things and already did a blog post on his exact birthday.

Troy's favorite treat is chocolate chip cookies, so we ate those instead of a cake. I promise he got more than one.

As you get older, birthdays are not as exciting. He had to work and he asked for socks for his birthday - that is such a dad gift. He did get a day out boating with the boys.

We are blessed to have Troy in our lives. He is a wonderful husband and father. He is patient, talented, hard-working and funny. Happy Birthday!!

Erica is 4

Erica turned 4 a couple of weeks ago. My sister managed to do a great blog post about her on her actual birthday. I am attempting to catch up.

We love having Erica - we have some of our greatest highs of parenting and, of course, some of our lows. Erica has really grown up into a little girl this past year. We are beyond the toddler stage and it is fantastic.

She is potty trained and is mostly dry every night. She speaks very well and is very inquisitive. She wants to know about everything, including things like death and cavities. She asks, "why" a million times a day. And "what if..." questions, for example, "what if you don't love me", "what if I don't get bigger", "what if (fill in the blank with the opposite of whatever I was just talking about)".

She goes to preschool three times a week and does one activity a week - either gymnastics or ballet. She LOVES both. We just finished up her ballet class and you can see videos of her recital here and here. We will start gymnastics again soon and she is very excited.

She is a great big sister to Sadie. She is very patient with her and they play well together. She is very tolerant of Sadie destroying a lot of her things. Sadie idolizes her.

When she is well-rested and in a good mood, Erica is so funny and a great kid. She listens and minds well. She is a fantastic artist, which she definitely inherited from her dad. She is a bit of a drama queen and very girly. I am a little worried about how that will play out when she is a teenager. She is a really great girl and comes with a lot of intensity.

We decided to throw her a real birthday party. She had about 15 friends over. She is a great friend to others. She is sensitive to their needs, she shares and apparently, according to her preschool teacher, she is popular at school. I guess there have been a few tears shed by other students if they can't sit by her.

Erica's party consisted of games (planned by Troy) - such as pin Pascal on Rapunzel's hand and throw water balloons at Erica's dad.

Then we let the kids decorate their own cupcakes. We had a rainbow selection of frosting, candies and a dog to clean up the mess. Thanks to my brother and wife who helped with the cupcakes.

After cupcakes, Erica opened presents with lots of little helpers. I think this was her favorite part.

When she opened our present, she said, "These are the biggest ballet shoes I've ever seen."

We let the kids wind down with the movie, Tangled. All in all, I think it was a successful party.