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.

Seattle - September 2011

At the beginning of September, we took a week long trip to Seattle. Troy's cousin was getting married and all of the family was going to be in town. We decided that the best time to travel is summer. We get away from the heat and our parents live in climates (Seattle and Pocatello) that are cold in the winter, but perfect in the summer.

First on the agenda was making sure Erica touched the "princess" dress.

The reception was at a waterfront property at sunset. It was beautiful!!

While in Seattle we we took a ferry to Blake Island. It was in the 70s and perfect. We hung out there all day playing on the beach, taking walks, eating and trying to sleep. We just enjoyed being with family. Erica especially loved playing with her cousins.

Another day was spent playing on the lake. Troy's parents resurrected an old boat and the boys attempted to wakeboard in the worst conditions I have ever seen. Picture Labor Day on Lake Washington. It was more like the ocean and the boat had as much power as a jet ski. It was still fun and the kids got a tube ride as well.

Troy's parents also set up a swimming pool in the backyard. Even Opa enjoyed playing in it.

We had a great time and it passed too quickly.

Monsoon Storms

One of my most favorite things about living in Tucson are the crazy monsoon storms we get in the summer. It will be over 100 degrees and out of no where these dark clouds roll in. We get a huge downpour, with tons of lightening and thunder so loud it shakes the house. The storms are over pretty quickly and then the weather is usually a pleasant 80 degrees or so for the rest of the day.

Here are some pictures of us playing in the storms.

Sadie loves the thunder. Erica gets a little nervous, but has been surprisingly brave about it. A few weeks ago it hailed and we went out and ate the hail balls.

In case you were wondering, yes, Erica is wearing just underwear under that jacket.

Sadie 18 months

Sadie turned 18 months at the end of August. She is such a joy in our lives. She is very happy and laid back. She loves to laugh and explore. She plays well with her sister (when her sister is in a good mood). She eats fairly well and she is finally sleeping through the night. She was having an awake time around 5am, but it is now about 6am, so we are keeping our fingers crossed it stays this way.

Height - 31 inches (26%)
Weight - 21 lb 6 oz (10%)
Head - 47 cm (61%)

Sadie doesn't say too much. She signs about 15 words and says about 10 words (eat, shoes, ball, bubbles, bye bye, hi, etc.). She still can't identify mama, but she definitely knows Erica and Kayla. We are pretty sure she knows who dada is. Although when I asked her to point to dada on the plane, she pointed to a maintenance worker, so who knows.

Sadie is quickly earning the nickname, "Destroyer" in our household. Among her list of casualties are a Kindle holder, Erica's drapes, the CD player in the car, numerous walls and floors (she loves to color on everything), some of Erica's toys, books, etc.

It is interesting how different our girls are, yet they get along great. Erica was (and still is) a very needy child - she constantly needs attention, to be touching someone, to be talking to someone and to have someone help her. Sadie is an independent spirit. She could care less if I am in the room, she will go where ever and seems to figure things out on her own. It is a great relief to me to have a child like this.

Of course, there is always the flip side - anytime we are in public, Sadie is off running. Erica never left my side, so that is a new challenge. Also, Erica was much better about communicating at this age, which helped to avoid a lot of frustration. Sadie is not so great at communicating, so we are now entering the tantrum phase, where she falls to the floor in tears if I don't understand or let her have what she wants. At least she gets over it quickly.

Sadie also LOVES to climb. Currently, every chair in our house is laying on the floor to prevent ER trips for Sadie. She still manages to climb on couches, beds, boxes and anything else she can find.

Sadie loves to play in the backyard. One of her favorite things to do out there is eat dog food. I tried for awhile to stop her, but I have given up. Does anyone know if it is toxic? So far it actually seems to be helping with digestion.

Sadie has a great sense of humor and I look forward to her personality to develop. She idolizes her sister and follows her everywhere. She loves to play with the dog and loves to look at books, especially with pictures of animals.

We Love Visitors

We have been so lucky to have both of Troy's sisters visit us this year. First we had Molly when her baby was just a few months old. Unfortunately, we don't have any pictures of this, but it was great to meet our newest niece.

Next we had Sonja come with her husband Jordan. Our kids were spoiled!! You can tell they had a fantastic time.

We miss them both, but were lucky enough to see them in Seattle this month. More on that coming.