Christmas Day 3

Monday, December 27, 2010 0 comments
Christmas day 3 wasn't originally supposed to happen.  As mentioned previously Christmas day ran long so the next day we packed up the kids and ran out to my hometown to finish the immediate family gift opening.  This trip was much less stressful than the night before.

When we first got there we hung out for a while before we started opening any presents.  The house needed to be picked up some from the night before.  While Mom and I were doing this Alyce and Luke were left to their own devices.  Luke was playing with toys in the family room while Alyce played in the living room. There is a saying that when the kids are too quiet it means they are up to no good. After a while I went in to check on Alyce and when I rounded the corner I caught my little girl red handed!  Alyce has opened the wrapping paper on the corner of one of her presents!  Maybe I should have been mad but instead I said in a playful voice "what are you doing?".  Alyce immediately recoils and covers her face in embarrassment.  Naturally instead of teaching a valuable lesson I reached for my phone to snap a picture.

Pretty soon thereafter we open presents to the kid's delight.  Both Alyce and Luke did very good jobs opening up their presents and taking turns.  Alyce helped Luke whenever he ran into trouble.  In all they both behaved themselves.

By the time we headed back home Mom and I could tell the kids were spent.  Two and a half days long days of good behavior, over excitement, and late nights took their toll.  While the kids were in nap time Mom and I used the opportunity to assemble Luke's new toy, the Wheelie car ramp.  Assembling toys on Christmas put a smile on my face as I thought to myself that the torch has been passed.

Christmas Day 2

Of course when it comes to Christmas day 1 blends in to day 2.  When we got home the night of Christmas Eve we got Alyce all gigged up for Santa.  We got the Santa's Cookies plate out, added a few cookies, and a mug of milk.  While I was putting Alyce to bed she all of the sudden came down with a serious look on her face.  I asked her what the problem was and she asked how Santa was going to get in the house.  She went on to say that he couldn't come down the chimney as our TV table was in front of the doors.  I told her that I would move the table away from the wall to make room.  That must have been a good enough solution as she rolled over and went to sleep.

 Christmas morning Alyce and Luke were greeted by a stack of presents.  There were some presents from Mom and I and some presents from Santa.  Alyce's big present was a treasure chest full of dress up clothes and jewelery.  Luke's big present was a Little People Wheelie car play set.  The car play set was the big winner of the year.  Since opening it Alyce, Luke, Mom, and myself have all played with it.  After opening all of the presents the kids got to play for a little while and then we loaded them up into the car for breakfast and presents at Grams and Papas.

Presents and breakfast at Grams and Papa's house was a lot of fun.  Chris's half brother Joe and Gigi were there.  Alyce's favorite present was a tea party set and Luke's was a set of Fisher Price gears.  After breakfast we hung out until it was time to get the kids home for naps and quiet time.  We had to head out to Onermark Grams later that night and Luke needed all the sleep he could get.

We wanted to get out to my mother's house before the larger family party started so we could exchange presents.  However Luke didn't cooperate and we didn't get out there until just before the other guests showed up.  The next few hours was chaos.  Tables had to be moved and chairs set up to handle the influx of parents and children.  Alyce and Luke both had a great time playing with their cousins.  All of the kids are within 3 years of each other and even though they aren't old enough to be left to their own devices in the basement they were able to sneak away here and there to get in to a bit of trouble.

The best part of the Christmas party with my family is the white elephant gift exchange.  This year created a new wrinkle in that the kids wanted to "help" open all of the presents.  And even though we allowed Alyce to help with ours she wanted to help everyone and we had to keep telling her no.  This led to an unhappy little girl but luckily it never hit a full on tantrum.

After the party was over and the guests went home we futilely tried to do our immediate family gift exchange.  I thought we could get all of the presents opened even though it was way way past the kids bedtime.  I thought wrong.  We got a few open but quickly it degenerated into madness.  Instead we decided to call it a night and come back out the next day to finish the presents.

Christmas Day 1

It's two days after Christmas and only now have I had enough time to write about it. We were busy seeing family on both sides over the past three days. On Christmas Eve we went over to Gram's and Papa's house for the family Christmas. Alyce and Luke both had a great time running around the house and playing with their cousins. Luke found a good friend in his cousin Isabella. She took to him the second he walked in the door and he was more than happy to sit in her lap and give her lots of hugs. Alyce enjoyed dancing to all of the Christmas songs being sung by her family and played on her cousin Augostino's guitar.

Following dinner that the kids couldn't be bothered to eat the kids played the game Pin the Nose on Rudolf. Mom made the game for the Holiday Party at Alyce's school however she fell ill and missed that day. Rather than let it go to waste the kids played. Luke even got a chance to play however he didn't use the blindfold. When finished the kids asked what had they won? The answer, they got to open presents!

Alyce's favorite present opened was a doctor kit that has light up instruments. Luke liked a set of books and a play power drill.

Both kids did great all night. Mom's cousins all have kids our kids ages and aren't afraid to step in when needed. We do the same and this allows everyone to let their guard down and have a decent conversation as you can rely on each other to keep your kids from getting into major trouble.

The first night was down with two more to go.

Under Construction

Monday, December 20, 2010 0 comments
I've commented in the past about our new house being under construction.  Luckily things are progressing faster than we anticipated and we are closing on our new house January 17th.  At present the exterior of the house is finished, the interior walls are finished, and the cabinetry is being installed.  There is lots of work to be done but the excitement is building.

One downfall of the house being mostly done is that it is now under lock and key.  Once the garage door is installed and interior materials delivered the builder has the doors locked to prevent those items from walking away.  The builder's hours are from 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. so if we want to take a look at the progress we have to do it between those hours.  Instead of stopping by the house twice a week we now only go once a week during lunch.

Each week we bring the kids with us so they can take a look at what their new rooms are going to be like.  Alyce gets a lot out of this and Luke likes to come along for the ride.  Each time we are on the property we are supposed to wear hard hats and I can only remember one time that we've actually done it.  The hard hats are in the building office and more often than not we looked at the house after business hours thus no hats.  The one time we got hard hats we managed to get a picture of Luke and Alyce wearing them and it was so cute!  Luke looked especially happy to be wearing his.

Cuteness at Culver's

Sunday, December 19, 2010 0 comments
Yesterday while out to dinner at Culver's Luke was being especially cute.  So I pulled out my phone and had to document.  One bit of cuteness he did was to lean his head from one side to the other.  Mom and I find this very cute because Shelby, Trent and Lisa's daughter did the exact same thing when she was a little girl.

The pictures I've taken are great examples of how expressive Luke's face can be.  Every emotion he has he wears on his entire face.

Ah Dee Doe

Thursday, December 16, 2010 0 comments
Of all things that Luke says there is one phrase that he says the most "ah dee doe".  Ah dee doe is his generic phrase for just about everything.  If he is babbling to himself odds are that is what he will eventually say.  Sometimes whenever we interact with him and say "ah dee doe" back to him he will add in a few extra dee's to make "ah dee dee dee dee doe".  Always extra dees and no extra ahs or does.

This phrase of his is also my favorite thing he says.  Whenever Luke says it and it is a lot he gets very excited or smiles and I get a smile on my face.  Mom and I have speculated on what exactly he is trying to say and one idea we've had is that he is trying to say "I love you".  That is wishful thinking but it would pretty awesome if he says I love you 20 times a day.

I'm guessing that as he gets older and he'll stop saying my favorite phrase and we'll never know what he was trying to say.

Winter Fun

Monday, December 13, 2010 0 comments
This weekend we got our first blast of wintery weather.  What was originally only supposed to be an inch of snow turned into 2 or 3 inches.  This extra snow in combination with some really low temperatures allowed us to have some fun in the snow.  This was Also Luke's first real snowfall.  Last winter Luke could barely walk so getting him out in the snow out of the question.

Alyce and Luke spent the night at Gram's and Papa's because Mom and I attended a Christmas party the night before.  When we awoke and looked outside we knew that Alyce would be raring to go outside.  So we grabbed her snow suit and an extra change of clothes for Luke and went over to pick them up and to have some fun outside.

After getting both kids bundled up we ventured outside into the cold.  Sledding was the first item on the agenda. We grabbed their blue sled, walked to the side of the house, and took a few trips down the hill.  First I pulled Alyce down the hill in the sled to see how she handled it.  We didn't want a repeat of her first time in a sled.  After a run or two Alyce said that she "wanted to do it by herself".  The total vertical drop was about 15 feet so there wasn't much chance for damage and there was my little girl going down the hill all by herself.  Luke by that time had gotten his snow legs and caught up with us on the sled.  We put him and Alyce on the sled together and sent them on their way.  The extra weight was enough to add a few feet onto Alyce's first run and they ended up in a bush.  They both took a few more runs on the sled with Alyce taking a few more by herself.

Luke did remarkable well in the snow considering he wasn't properly attired.  He didn't have a snow suit, boots, or even waterproof gloves.  Even without that he preferred to walk through the snow and enjoyed each and every time on the sled.  He didn't have much of an opinion on what was going and was just going with the flow trying to figure out what this white stuff was.

We eventually grew tired of the sled and Luke's clothes weren't water resistant so Mom dropped him off inside to warm him back up.  He watched or rather cried at us through the window while Alyce took the last few runs on the sled.

Following the sled Mom took Alyce up front to teach her how to make snow angels.  Alyce has been wanting to do snow angels for some time but there hasn't been any snow.  What is kind of funny about snow angels is that she's been asking to do them but we don't know where she learned about them in the first place.  We are guessing most likely from a tv show.  Mom laid in the snow and waved her arms in legs while Alyce looked on.  Alyce then laid down and mimicked her actions.  Following that Alyce moved over a bit and did another snow angel, and another, and another, and another.  In all I'd say she did 15 snow angels in both the front and back yards.

After Gram's and Papa's and on the way to lunch Alyce said "we needed some snow" like someone would say we needed some rain in the middle of a drought.  We asked Alyce why we needed some snow and her response was "because Christmas needs it".  Bless her heart.

Christmas Tree

Thursday, December 9, 2010 0 comments
So, today I decided to do a craft with the kids. I pulled out the construction paper and cut out Christmas trees and then I had the kids decorate them. Of course, I had to help Luke with his a little, but I think it was a big hit! Here's Luke's tree:


Luke's physical abilities really seem to be taking off.  Standing, walking, running, and climbing are all old hat to him.  To further push his physical abilities he likes to mix activities.  The two he likes to mix most are climbing and standing.  In our living room he will climb up on our ottoman and then proceeds to stand up.  Our ottoman isn't a stable structure and Luke works very hard to keep his balance.  On only a few occasions has he tumbled off usually between the ottoman and sliding glass door getting himself stuck.  Of course we tell him to stop standing on the ottoman or the couch but the only way he learns is through trial an error.

Yesterday he was climbing on Alyce's bench and somehow failed at climbing up it or possibly fell off.  When Mom went to check on him and the commotion she was greeted by a trickle of blood coming out of Luke's nose.  His first bloody nose.

I may give him some trouble about whining for food but one thing he doesn't cry about is getting hurt.  If he falls or bangs his head on something he'll take a look at us, rub the stop that's injured, and continue on as if nothing has happened.  Luke is a boy that isn't afraid to take chances.  I pray that some self preservation is developed along side fearlessness.


Luke is starting to take an interest in talking.  He like his sister seemed to be more interested in motor development and less interested in talking.  Now that he seems to have mastered most forms of movement he is focusing upon communicating.

A good example was this afternoon.  I met Mom and the kids over my lunch hour to check on the status of our new house.  While we were inside Luke was with Grams, in the car, and none too happy about it.  When I got back Luke really wanted to be in my arms.  I took him for a little walk along the front of the house.  While walking around Luke was pointing at things on the house or in the air and proceeded to talk about them.  While most of it sounded like babble he did say mommy, daddy, and house.  What was so interesting about this exchange was that he was talking in sentences rather that individual words.  It was all gibberish but the tempo, tone, and timing were all spot on.

Luke's First Love

Tuesday, November 30, 2010 0 comments
Luke is only 20 months old and already he has his first crush with a girl.  And it isn't just any girl.  This girl is multicultural, speaks two languages, and can talk to animals.  Who is this girl that sounds too good to be true?  In fact she is too good to be true it is Dora the Explorer!  Luke is in love with Dora.

We let the kids watch television shows (probably more than we should) and one of the shows Alyce and Luke like to watch is Dora the Explorer.  We knew Luke had a crush a few weeks ago when we were at Toys R Us and every time he'd see her he would point and say "Dora Dora"!  Since then whenever he sees her he gets all excited.  Last night while Mom was getting a show started via Netflix on the TV Luke did sign language motion for "more".  Mom then asked Luke what he wanted more of?  His response, "Dora"!

A Family Morning

Sunday, November 28, 2010 0 comments
Today Luke had a very good morning.  He woke up on the good side of the bed, didn't create too many messes, and got along with Alyce.  Most mornings he is ok but at times things can be a bit rough around the edges.  If he doesn't get food quickly after waking up he can get ugly.  On other days he and Alyce can get into it where they both are fighting over the same toy.

Today Luke was bright eyed when he woke up and was ready for fun.  Following breakfast the entire family found itself in Alyce's room building things out of Duplo Legos.  For a time there was no jealousy, screaming, or fighting just quiet family fun.  After a while Mom and I left the room to attend to something minor and with that the truce was dissolved as Luke had dissembled (destroyed) something Alyce had been building.  It was good while it lasted.


Friday, November 26, 2010 0 comments
Today while out to lunch Luke discovered ketchup. I met Mom and the kids for lunch today at Wendy's. While there Luke ate his typical lunch of plain cheese burger and fries. Then in an act of emulation he grabbed a french fry, dunked it it ketchup, and ate it. From that point on he'd have nothing to do with plain fries and would only accept ketchup ones. He would also try and get every single bite ketchupy even if he was down to a nub and got his fingers all yucky.

I can't blame him for being a big fan. Up to this point he has led a very plain life when it comes to food.

Helping Getting Dressed

Saturday, November 20, 2010 0 comments
As Luke gets older he is starting to help us instead of fighting us on certain things.  One of those things that has changed is that Luke is now helping us get him dressed.  When putting on a shirt or a coat he will stick his arm out so we can pull the sleeve on.  When putting on his pants sometimes he will do the same with his legs.

Of course it isn't all roses.  He still likes to roll away from you and crawl away whenever we have to change a dirty diaper.  When it is really nasty it takes two people to change him; one to hold him down and the other to do the dirty work.

Other areas where his helpfulness pays off is getting him into his car seat where he will help get his arms into and under his seat belts.

Chaos is His Natural State

As early as Luke could move I knew that he was going to be different than his sister.  Simply stated, he is a boy. He is loud, hard headed, and likes to make messes.  While we were trying to sell our house we had to pickup before we left just in case someone were to come by for a showing.  When we'd get back home the first thing Luke would do was to walk into the living room, grab a stack of coasters, and toss them on the ground.  He wouldn't play with them or give them a second thought.  Luke just saw clean as an unnatural state and rectified the situation.

At the apartment with space being a premium messes are all the more noticeable and Luke has risen to the challenge.  The first thing Luke did Friday morning was to go into Alyce's room and dump all the Lego Duplos all over the floor.  The blanket we have on the ottoman to protect it from Jake is also a good source of mess making.  Luke likes to grab the blanket and walk backwards leaving a yet another mess in his wake.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010 0 comments
The last few evenings the sky has been clear and the moon has been very bright in the sky. This observation has not been lost on Luke. When we pull him out of his car seat at night he looks up to the sky, sticks out his finger, points to the moon, and says "star". Good try little buddy!

I don't know where he picked up the word star or even that he knew stars were in the sky. I was impressed that he even got close.

I tried to correct him by telling him it was the moon and after a few tries he says "moo", close enough. On subsequent nights he still calls the moon a star and even points to street lights and calls them stars as well. To the mind of a 19 month old I can see where he'd get the two confused.

Luke's Words

Friday, November 12, 2010 0 comments
Luke is slowly but surely learning more words.  I kind of thought he would be an early talker since he had Alyce as a role model, but at 19 months I'd say he is running about even with his sister.

He is in the stage right now where he is parroting what we say.  We will ask Luke "can you say zebra?" and he will respond back with a "zeeba".  "Zeeba" is a pretty good reproduction as sometimes he just says gibberish.

He's also learning relationships between objects and their name.  He'll grab his socked feet and say "sock" or pick up a shoe and say "shoe".  Just recently he help up a sheet of stickers and only after telling him what they were once he repeated "sticka" and since then the word has stuck.  (pun intended).

We have also been teaching Luke his body parts.  A while ago he knew of only a few places on his body with the first one being his belly button or "doo doo" as we like to call it because we make the sound of a door bell when we push on it.  He now knows his ears, mouth, hair, chin, feet, and many others.

One thing we can't seem to break him of is screaming for food.  Screaming is probably too harsh of a word; maybe yelling is more appropriate.  Whenever we are sitting the kids down for dinner we get them strapped down before we set out the food.  This keeps Luke from pulling a bowl of macaroni onto the carpet.  From the moment he is sat down to when we get a spoonful of food in his mouth he is yelling and pointing to whatever we've put out.  We know he wants to eat but he has no concept of patience.  Then while we are eating dinner he will start yelling if we don't have another bite ready by the time he is finished with the one in his mouth.  We are trying to teach him to say "more please" when he wants another bite but we are having limited success.  I think once he matures a bit and learns some more words we will cut out the yelling but in the mean time you just want to put in some ear plugs.

Luke Eating Ice Cream

Saturday, November 6, 2010 0 comments
Tonight while eating dinner we caught Luke doing his "tongue thing" on camera.  Luke's tongue thing is hard to describe.  Whenever he gets excited about getting something to eat his tongue starts going in and out of his mouth.  Or better described as the movement a babies mouth makes while they are drinking a bottle.

Luke has been making this motion for as long as I can remember.  In the past he did it just about every time he saw us making food for him.  Now that he only does it when something good is coming like milk, candy, or ice cream.


Sunday, October 31, 2010 0 comments
Halloween this year brought us back to our old neighborhood as trick or treating in an apartment complex is not fruitful.  Seeing our old neighbors was a lot of fun and lots of people commented on Luke's costume.

Luke was wearing a dinosaur costume we picked up from Babies R Us.  We were in the store a few weeks ago and they were already discounting their costumes.  We were lucky enough to pick up his $30+ costume for $3 and change.  We contemplated on buying the whole lot and selling them next year on ebay.  Fall is in full swing and the temperatures dropped a little once the sun went down but Luke's costume was more than adequate at keeping him warm with its cozy material.

When tick or treating started Mom carried Luke from house to house long enough to visit our friends and old neighbors Jeff & Liz to show off his costume.  Their little girl Baby Abby was wearing a cozy giraffe outfit that she was none to happy wearing.  Sometimes you have to take fashion over function.

Mom and Luke left Alyce and I and headed back to the neighborhood party while Alyce and I headed up the hill for more candy.  At the party Luke decided that he should help out by grabbing handfuls of candy and giving them to any random person.  By the time Alyce and I returned mom had him back in his stroller as I'm sure he took too many runs at going into the street.  Not long after that we left the party for a quick stop by Grams and Papa's house and to see Trent, Lisa, and Shelby.

Monkey Joe's

Thursday, October 28, 2010 0 comments
Yesterday we took Alyce and Luke to Monkey Joe's for a fun evening out for Alyce's birthday. For the both of them it was their second time. The first time there Luke enjoyed himself but wasn't so sure on his feet.

This time around with the whole place ourselves Luke handled all of the bouncy houses like a champ. Also improved this time around is Luke's ability to climb up and over the slide in the kids area.

One thing that is kind of scary is that Luke is only 1 inch away from being able to ride the big kid two story high slide. I'm not sure we'll be pushing that one.

Well Now We Know

That post a bit ago talking about Luke being in a bad mood. Yeah now we know why. Tonight while brushing Luke's teeth I felt a new tooth poking through. Poor guy, that couldn't have felt good.

Mr Cranky Pants

Wednesday, October 27, 2010 0 comments
As of late Luke has been Mr. Cranky Pants.  It started about a week ago where he'd just wine for extended periods of time.  Usually when Luke starts his whining it is his way of getting our attention and for him to get what he wants usually milk or juice.  However, in the past when we've addressed his needs he goes back to his happy self.  Now the whining continues.

Last Sunday before his sisters birthday party he was getting into that unhappy mode.  I decided it might be to our benefit to give him a "shot of the funk" as we like to call it.  A quick trip up to Walgreen's for some Children's Tylenol and after giving it to him his mood improved greatly.  Maybe he is getting some more teeth that haven't poked through or he's having some headaches.  In any case it is really annoying as his only means of communicating his unhappiness is one of the most annoying sounds a child can make.

18 Month Update

Friday, October 22, 2010 0 comments
Earlier this week Mom brought Luke and Alyce in for their checkups.  Alyce was in for her 4 year and Luke for his 18 month.  Luke still continues to ride the upper end of the growth chart with a weight in the 90th percentile and height in the 80th.  At the 1 year mark his height was 95th and weight was in the 90 percentile.
  • Height: 33 1/3 inches
  • Weight: 29 lbs. 11.4 oz.
  • Head 49 cm.
Looking at those numbers Luke is just over 4 lbs away from his sister.  Looking at Alyce's 2 year checkup her height was 35 3/4 inches and her weight was 25 lbs.  Sorry Alyce, I think your brother is going to be bigger than you.

Other than a flu shot that didn't yield any tears Luke's checkup was just fine with nothing major to report.

Six Flags

Last Saturday the family went out to Six Flags after dropping off a check starting construction on our new house.  While there we found out that Alyce was 42" tall and she and Mom left Luke and myself so they could go ride a big roller coaster.  While they were gone Luke and I rode some rides too.

Luke and I rode two rides while they were gone.  Elmer Fudd's Weather Balloons and Yosemite Sam's Tugboat Tailspin.  Before they left Luke rode the Foghorn Leghorn National Park Railway with Mom and Alyce.  All of these rides are great because they allow you to ride the rides with your kids and keep them calm so they can enjoy the ride.

Luke enjoyed the Weather Balloons the most and even helped me turn the wheel so the balloon would spin.  The Tailspin ride was also lots of fun, but I think Luke kept losing his bearings as the ride was twisting as he kept trying to focus on the same spot.

After our rides we hung out at the playground because it afforded me a good view of the roller coaster Mom and Alyce were riding so I could get some video.  But Luke, being a great kid didn't complain and kept himself entertained by watching all the kids running by.

Once we picked up Mom and Alyce from their coaster experience we took a turn on the carousel.  This time Mom, Alyce, Luke, and myself were all able to ride!  Luke really enjoyed riding on his horse and spent a decent amount of the ride looking at the mechanics of the ride trying to figure out how it worked.

Luke seems to be much more comfortable on rides than Alyce is.  He is definitely more of a daredevil than Alyce ever has been.  Just another example of how two siblings can be so different.

We're Moving

Saturday, October 16, 2010 0 comments
Our family has big big news!  We're moving!  The story leading up to this point is a long one.  I haven't commented on any aspect of it up to this point because we weren't sure it was going to happen.

All of this started last February.  Mom and I decided that it was time to look for a bigger house.  We were fitting into the one we had well enough but there were certain aspects of our current house that we wanted to change.  So we put in a contract to build a house, however there was one problem we hadn't sold our house.  So we quickly got our house on the market with the hopes of it selling quickly.  We had showings, and showings, and showings, and showings but no contracts.  Then in early September we finally got a contract and so began the process of moving out of our house.  Last weekend we moved out.

While the new house is being built we need a place to live.  For the next five months the family is living in a 2+ bedroom apartment on the 3rd floor without a fenced in yard.  By 2+ the kids have bedrooms but Mom and I are living in the loft of the apartment.  Being on the 3rd floor without a fenced in yard at the moment is annoying but taking the dog out at 7:00 a.m. mid January will be brutal.

Today we cleared the final contingency and gave our deposit to the builder.  Ground will be broken sometime this week and our new home will be completed hopefully by the end of January.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010 0 comments
Alyce and Luke have discovered that cabinets make fun houses especially now that they're almost empty!


Friday, October 1, 2010 0 comments
Luke's bedtime routine is about as easy as it can be at the moment.  When it finally comes time for bed we follow the usual pattern and by the time the pattern is done he is ready to go to sleep and never gives us any grief.  Sadly it will only stay this way until we get him into a big boy bed and then there will be reading books, singing songs, and all the craziness of a toddler out of his cage brings.

One of my favorite things to do with Luke on the nights I put him to bed is to play catch or fetch with him.  Our choice of ball is kind of weird though.  After I change him into his overnight diaper and pjs I am left with used diaper.  After I put him to bed I dispose of it downstairs.  To keep it out of the way I wrap it up real tight and it looks and feels like a squishy ball.  Well at some point it became routine to use that diaper ball to play catch with.  It's persisted for so long that when Luke sees me wrapping up his diaper he gets all excited.  Luke is getting pretty good at throwing.  I think he might even be better at throwing than his sister.  One item of note is that Luke seems to be favoring his left hand when it comes to throwing.  Most everything else he does with his right but throwing is not one of them.

Luke is now climbing into his crib.  The brand of crib we have, a Babee Tenda is pretty cool in that built into one of the sides of the crib is a door that swings open.  It locks closed and requires an adult to open but it is pretty awesome at helping kids transition into a big bed.  Now that Luke is advanced enough to go up steps and any other obstacle we are now letting him climb into bed for himself.  He goes willingly too.  After brushing his teeth, he walks into his room, looks at the gate, and looks at us.  After he climbs up and in rolls into his favorite position (on his belly with his butt up in the air) he watches us as we wish him a good night and exit the room.  Most nights that is the last we hear from him until 7:30 - 8:00 the next morning.  We are blessed to have a kid that goes to bed so easily and stays there.


Luke is very into giving affection as of late.  His form of affection could be described as a hug plus but we just call it "lovies".  A lovie is a special sort of hug that when he comes up to you, he opens his arms, leans into you, wraps you up, and snuggles in all nice an cozy.  A lovie can be quickly but usually they linger for a few minutes.  Mom and I are a big fan of lovies and very much enjoy getting them before he runs off to bed.

Luke also attempts to throw in a kiss sometimes but his efforts are pretty clumsy.  He knows that a kiss involves your mouth and leaning in but when he tries to do it he usually ends up eating your nose.  Hilarious, wet, but hilarious.

Siblings and Friends

Luke is growing up.  No longer is he a blank slate just learning the world.  He is now his own person with his own personality and it is a good one.  One neat aspect of him growing up is that he is now able to play with Alyce.  At first it started off with Alyce and Luke fighting over the toy the other person had at the time.  Then it advanced to Luke taking whatever Alyce was focused on and running through the house keeping it away and giggling.  Recently we pulled out an old toy of Alyce's that has gotten the two of them to play together, the cardboard bricks.

We gave them to Alyce for her 1st birthday and they were very helpful teaching her gross motor skills like picking up and stacking things.  Luke is quickly learning the same.  What is neat is that at times they work together to build up a tower, that they then knock down, and having a great time in the process.

A few weeks ago while we were out at Sam's Wholesale getting cases of green beans and discount pizza Alyce and Luke showed me siblings don't always have to be at each others throats.  While eating pizza and hot dogs Alyce and Luke shared a set of cute sibling hugs.  In the pictures we took it looks more like Alyce is strangling Luke but he was definitely giving her some "lovies" too.

Seeing the initial glimpses of what brother and sister life looks like gives me hope that Alyce and Luke will be friends as well as siblings.

Cozy Coup

Friday, September 24, 2010 0 comments

Luke playing in the Cozy Coup during his Wonderful Ones class. He has a good time in that class.

Wonderful Ones

Sunday, September 19, 2010 0 comments
In addition to attending events like the Bubble Picnic we also go to the Early Childhood Center for classes.  Alyce, before she started preschool attended some classes and now Luke is starting classes.  Luke's class is called Wonderful Ones, it includes arts, crafts, physical activities, and songs.  Luke seems to get quite a bit out of the class and Mom says that she enjoys it too.  Anytime you can divert Luke's attention from getting into trouble or making a mess it's a good thing.

Bubble Picnic

Last weekend we attended the annual Bubble Picnic at the Early Childhood Development Center for our local school district.  Alyce has attended it on previous occasions but this year Luke also got to enjoy it.

The Bubble Picnic is an open house at the center where they have sensory stations setup for the kids to use.  A lot of them focus on bubbles because bubbles are fun, cheap, and easy to clean.  On top of bubbles they have lots of other stations inside and out focusing on some developmental or sensory concept.

We got a late start on the day and didn’t get to the picnic until 12:00; one hour before closing.  One hour was just enough time to get it all done.  The first thing we did was to play with the bubble wands and making some big bubbles.  Alyce would chase after and pop them while Luke would reach out for them as we held them on the bubble wands.  After the bubbles Alyce and I took some egg beaters to a big tub of soapy water churning up even more bubbles.

Next we went inside for some crafts and to play on the kids play equipment.  While Alyce was busy making a sun catcher with our Parent Educator Ms. Cathy Luke was focused on running beads along wire paths.  After both of those Alyce and Luke played on the kids playground.  The indoor squishy blocks are a perfect environment for Luke.  They provide just enough obstacle to keep his attention on climbing but with everything being squishy there is no penalty for failure if the falls off something.  Alyce and Luke both seemed to enjoy the tunnel and slide the most.

After a few more crafts it was time to leave but before we left Alyce wanted to go down the big twisty slide a few times so we headed back outside for a few turns on the slide.  About that time both kids were running empty on food and were starting to show.
The Bubble Picnic is always a blast and when the weather cooperates it is even more fun.

Luke's First Painting

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 0 comments
Here is a picture of Luke's first painting.

He did this in his class, Wonderful Ones, at the Early Childhood Center. He also played with play-dough, threw some balls, and got to eat a Graham cracker shaped like a goldfish. He had tons of fun!

A Couple of New Words

Friday, August 27, 2010 0 comments
Some new words in Luke's vocabulary. "Sister, Alyce, and Papa".  Sister is pretty good.  Alyce and Papa are kind of rough.  He knows what a dog is too.  Tonight when we got home from dinner Mom put Luke in the house first.  While I was looking at him from the garage I asked Luke where the dog was.  He looked to his right, reached out, and patted Jake's back.  It was pretty cute.  And then as we walked in the door Jake knocked Luke over. There weren't any tears so no foul.

New Words, New Teeth, and New Behavior

Saturday, August 14, 2010 0 comments
I haven't been keeping very good track of Luke's vocabulary.  He doesn't have a few words he uses but he is a very good parrot.  Just today Mom showed me that Luke could say "diaper".  I've heard him say other words like "Fred Bird".  Most of the time he uses grunts, squeals, and points at things to get his point across.  It is surprisingly effective to boot.

One way he is using his grunting and finger pointing is at the dinner table.  As of late he has developed an opinion on what he wants to eat.  If we try to feed him something he doesn't want he will cover his eyes, mouth, and then turn his head away.  If it is something he likes he willingly opens his mouth and is quite adept and taking food off of a fork or spoon.  Sometimes it isn't the food he revolts against, instead he revolts with how we are giving it to him.  If he rejects food on a fork Mom and I will put the bit of food on the high chair and usually after a quick examination he'll pop that morsel in his mouth.

He can be a stinker at times.  If he is done eating and there is still food on his high chair he will drop bits of food over the side for Jake to eat.  Jake is pretty good about eating scraps off of the table.  He usually lays under the table and gobbles up whatever hits the floor.  After Luke is out of his high chair Jake will give it a good once over licking up any bits of food that made it into the cracks of the seat.  Sanitary? No.  Effective? Yes.

Last month Luke got tooth number 7.  Tooth number 6 showed up last January as part of a quick appearance of a lot of teeth.  Since then there has been a lot of gnawing but no teeth.  Number 8 is just about to pop out.  I figure it will be any day now.  This one seems to be giving him some trouble though.  He is really chomping on his fingers and sometimes he tries to stick his entire forearm in his mouth.  Poor guy.  Some nights and days when it is really bothering him Mom and I give him a "shot of the funk" before bedtime.  A "shot of the funk" is our term for giving him some children's Tylenol.  It is amazing how a dose of Tylenol can improve the mood of a fussy child.  It is too bad that young kids have to suffer just because they can't tell us they are in pain.

It's Fun Coming Home

Friday, August 13, 2010 0 comments
As Luke ages he is starting to develop a little vocabulary.  Words we know he knows for sure are Da da, Daadee, Ma ma.  He says all three lots of the time usually when he wants us to pick him up.  However I can always depend on one time during the day that he will say Daadee and be excited about it; when I get home from work.

Any day I come home from work and Luke is up from his nap right as I walk in the door from the garage I hear a "daadee" from the other room and then the pitter patter of little feet as Luke comes running towards me.  He wraps his arms around my leg and then leans into me.  After the hug he looks up at me, flashes a big grin, and raises his arms up towards me signaling that he wants to be picked up.

At about this time time Alyce has pulled herself away from whatever she was doing to come and greet me plus give me a hug.  One thing that both kids love is when I pick both of them up, one in each arm and spin them around.  With Luke weighing 28 lbs and Alyce at 32 it isn't an easy task holding them both up.  Once I am done spinning in one direction I switch it up and go the other way.  After the spins I do the "wisher washer" where I twist at the waist changing directions very quickly like a washing machine.  And finally after all of that I do a few jumps and jiggle the two kids all over the place.  By the end of all of that my arms are usually spent and I have to put the both of them down.  Naturally they are unhappy about this but they get distracted quick enough that I can sneak in a kiss to Mom.

Alyce used to meet me at the door like Luke does now.  Now that she has moved on and Luke is the only one to greet me foreshadows the day when I come home and neither kid will be there waiting for me thinking I'm the best dad in the world.  It saddens me now but I'm sure the transition will be gradual and I won't even notice it has happened until years later and I read this blog about it.  So is the way time works.

Luke's First Ride

Thursday, August 12, 2010 0 comments
Last weekend the family took a trip with our friends Josh, Tammy, and Gideon to Six Flags.  While most of the trip centered around Alyce and Gideon Luke managed to have some fun and firsts.

In previous trips to Six Flags Luke has mostly tagged along.  He's been too small or unable to sit still long enough to ride attractions that didn't involve an adult holding on to him.  A good example of those sort of rides are the carousel, Ferris wheel, or steam train.  This past weekend we decided that Luke was old enough and big enough to try a ride.  The ride we chose to be Luke's first was the Elmer Fudd Weather Balloons.  This ride was great because Alyce, Luke, and myself could all ride together.  Josh and Gideon were in the balloon next to us.

When it was our turn to go I dropped Alyce in first, then Luke, strapped both of them in, then took a second to document the event.  Finally I got into our basket, strapped in, and off we went!  Truthfully I don't think Luke knew what to think about it.  His head was on a swivel as if he was trying to get a handle on why the world was moving around him.  One thing for sure was that he didn't complain or cry.  I figure if I tried putting him on it without me we wouldn't be so lucky.

We did ride another kid ride with Luke, the Marvin the Martian Rocket Ride.  For this one the entire family go onto the rocket.  Mom sat up front with Alyce and I was in back with Luke.  Once again Luke got his own seat rather than sitting on our lap.  This ride is pretty tame in comparison to the balloon ride but Luke seemed to enjoy himself as he looked out the window.

I have a feeling that Luke will be the child that likes coasters.  In previous trips to Six Flags and our last Luke has been enamored with roller coasters.  It doesn't matter which one it is Batman, Mr. Freeze, or the Mine Train; the second he hears them going he turns and looks and doesn't break his attention until the coaster train is out of sight.  Alyce on the other handle jumps and is scared of the noise a coaster makes.

Monkey Joe's

Tuesday, August 3, 2010 0 comments
A while ago back in the beginning of July we along with Josh, Tammy, and Gideon went to a place called Monkey Joe's.  Monkey Joe's could best be described as an indoor playground.  What makes this place different from a playground at a mall is that at Joe's all the stuff you play on is blow up stuff.  Blow up stuff are things like bounce houses from when I was a kid but now it includes slides and obstacle courses.

The first thing that happens when you walk in the door is that you get a wristband for yourself and for your kid.  They won't let you out of the place without checking to make sure the numbers on the wristbands match.  There is so much chaos in this place that security measures like this really let you feel at ease.  On a few occasions I lost sight of Alyce for bit and I didn't really freak out.  Having Josh and Tammy there also helps.  Eight eyes catch a lot more action than four.

The first thing the kids played on was a little kids bounce house, slide, and obstacle course.  This area is probably perfectly sized for an 18 month old.  Alyce and Gideon were able to manage everything with ease and Luke had a bit of trouble.  That being said everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.

After a bit Josh and I walked Alyce and Gideon around the place to see if they would bite on any of the larger attractions.  Alyce has always been kind of shy with new people and new places so I wasn't sure if she would embrace the place.  The first big kid thing they saw was this big slide.  I'd say it is probably 1 1/2 - 2 stories tall.  You go up the balloon stairs in the middle and have the choice of two identical slides.  Both Alyce and Gideon seeing this slide made a mad dash for it (so much for my fears).  They both waited their turn on the slide and eventually their time came up.  I thought for sure Alyce would have misgivings once she saw how far the drop was.  I was preparing myself to coax her down.  I was completely wasting my time.  Alyce in one swift motion walked up to the slide, sat down, and pushed herself off.  As she got off the slide she was squealing with delight and racing to get back in line.  Gideon on his first run didn't have any trouble starting his slide but there was a bit of trouble at the end.  As he was coming in for a landing he turned sideways and the momentum flipped him head over heels.  It looked pretty brutal at the time (see the video below) but he didn't miss a beat and got back in line behind Alyce.  On a side note Alyce was a very considerate little girl.  She patiently waited in line for her turn even though a lot of other kids tried to butt in line.

Meanwhile Luke was hanging out in one of two kids bounce houses.  He did his best to keep his footing in such a bouncy environment but the best he could manage would be about 5 steps if he couldn't hold onto something.  He did end up going down the little kids slide but since he was too far away for adult help he ended up going down the slide head first on his stomach.  Aside from the occasional roll he did very well.  Later on he just leaned against a balloon pole and looked exhausted.  By the time we left 3:30 - 4:00 Luke was well past his nap time but was a trooper and didn't fuss much at all.

After Josh, Tammy, and Gideon left Alyce did one last thing, the obstacle course.  This obstacle is about 50 feet long and has walls to climb up and over, slides to go down, and areas to squeeze through.  I thought these seemed kind of technical and didn't even think Alyce would want to try.  For the third time that day I was wrong.  I was holding Luke and Mom grabs my attention to show me Alyce tearing her way through the course.  At the end of it she seemed very proud of herself and I was very proud of her as well.  Check out the video below of one of her runs.  Looking at her climb up that wall she looked like a little girl, kid, or whatever and gone was my little toddler who needed me to hold her so she wouldn't fall off a jungle gym.

By the time we left I think everyone was tired.  The kids were exhausted and Mom and I had enough of the constant droning of the fans.  I will say we will go back.  Monkey Joe's is a perfect place to take kids if it is either too hot, too cold, or too wet outside for kids to blow off energy at a park.  They do birthdays too so I figure we'll have one there at some point.