A blog about a kid. I like her.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Moving Locations

For a variety of reasons I am moving this blog to a new site: keepingupwiththekids.wordpress.com. Almost all of the old content has been imported there. Change your bookmarks! Come check out the new look! This one should carry us through the next kid or two, at least.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Exciting About the Food

27 Months, 17 Days

Ready to Go

27 Months 17 Days

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I had a week long sabbatical and then everyone in our house got sick at once. It's been crazy. But blogging has been merely delayed, not forgotten. Right back at it.

Here's a smooch from Aletheia's San Antonio trip last month.

Taken: October 20
27 Months, 17 Days

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Aletheia O'Lantern

Apple Break

Technically, she was supposed to bob for this, but Lillianna just handed her one.


The Papparazzi Shot


in the Fire Truck

Convincing her to let the other kids have a turn was a challenge.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

First Jack O'Lantern

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Dandy Lion

27 Months, 22 Days

Friday, October 24, 2008

Pumpkin Sitting

So, here's a funny moment from yesterday. We gave Aletheia some grapes to snack on, but we had accidentally bought grapes with seeds instead of the seedless kind we usually get. Aletheia took one bite, spit it out, and in a surprised voice said: "That is NOT delicious!"

Apparently she doesn't know the word 'yucky.' But she made her point.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Great-Grandparent Time

Aletheia's been in San Antonio this week and I've been in Nashville hob-knobbing with Walter Brueggemann and Bryan McLaren. Here's a shot that Grammy took.

Monday, October 13, 2008

On the Big Girl Swing

26 Months, 17 Days

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Instructions for the Babysitter

We try to put Aletheia to bed between 8:30 and 9:00. The standard routine is something like this:

Snack at 7:30ish. Give her a banana or a yogurt tube out of the fridge, plus a cup of water. If she wants more, let her have it. We figure she knows if she’s hungry or not—within reason.

A bath around 7:45. Then we let her set on the counter with her feet in the right hand sink while we brush her teeth. We brush them first and then she gets to hold the toothbrush and brush them. Use the Elmo toothbrush. Then turn the water back on for her to rinse the brush, and hold the toothbrush holder up. She’ll object if you take the brush away from her, but she’ll put it up herself if you ask her to.

8:00ish—in her bedroom. Put on pajamas. She’ll probably want to listen to the Laurie Berkner “Buzz Buzz” CD. If she says “Pig on Her Head,” “Bumblebee” or “I’m a Mess” she’s referring to songs on that CD. She changes the tracks herself and finds the songs she wants to hear.

She’ll love you forever if you read stories to her. She’ll probably pick out what she wants. If she says “Margarita” (sometimes it comes out more like “Maria”) she means the book called “Hi!” For most of her books, she likes it if you stop before the last word of a sentence and let her say it.

8:30ish. Take out the Buzz Buzz CD and put in Mother Earth lullabies. She might object, but tell her it’s time for her “bedtime music.” (Buzz Buzz keeps her awake.) Tell her it’s time to turn out the light—if you hold her up, she’ll pull the chord herself. Then we hold her while we sing “Abide with Me.” If you don’t know it, "Jesus Loves Me" might be a good substitute. Then we pray the Lord’s Prayer and another little prayer for her. And then it’s bedtime.

She absolutely must have the ladybug pillow and blanket or Armageddon will commence. We also let her have books and toys in her bed.

Hopefully that will go well and you’ll be done with the hard work for the night. If she cries, I’d let her cry it out for a while. We don’t let her back out of bed. If she starts crying and just won’t stop, we sometimes turn on her ladybug lamp on the floor and tell her she can read but she has to stay in bed. If she asks for a snack, we give her more water (she can have a sippy cup in bed). If she really insists, half a banana is okay. But don’t pick her up or you are doomed. That’s only for if she seems seriously sick, is bleeding, or has a gun. If she does get a gun, pick her up, kiss her cheek, and start singing the alphabet. It’s your only hope.

Now, for the important thing. The Wii is on the “front” input of the TV. Dish Network is AV2. If she asks for Super Why, she can see another episode or two tonight. Turn on the Dish Network, set the TV channel to AV2 and press “DVR” twice on the remote to get to the saved programs. They are in alphabetical order. Start any Super Why show—it makes no difference to her. At some point in the show, one segment will focus on a cute little pig-tailed girl called Wonder Red, and Aletheia will start crying and saying “Super Why! Super Why!” Fast forward until the boy in the green jumpsuit and cape is back on the screen. I don’t know why Aletheia hates Red, but she does. It’s not a battle worth fighting.

Monday, October 06, 2008

On the Train

Saturday, October 04, 2008

On the Pedal Boat

Not nearly as much fun as the little boats, apparently. She didn't like the vest.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"Aletheia Boat?"

Aletheia keeps asking to watch the video of her first boat ride. When we're at the computer, she'll walk up and say "Aletheia boat? Aletheia boat?" On Saturday we were watching it again and she started asking "Go boats? Go boats?" So we went back. Maybe I'm an indulgent dad, but we only get 52 Saturdays every year. If there's nothing particularly going on and the kid wants to go boats, then we will go boats. It more fun than anything I had in mind.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Captain Aletheia

26 Months, 10 Days

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Tragic TV Moments

So, here's the thing. Since Aletheia turned two, we've been letting her watch a little TV--about an hour a day. As far as she knows, there are only three programs in the world: Sesame Street, her Laurie Berkner Band DVD, and Super Why

Now, some of you might not be familiar with Super Why. It's a show aimed at the preschool set that teaches kids how to read using a variety of techniques. The main characters all live in "Storybook Village" which is populated with characters from classic children's stories. The big four are Little Red Riding Hood, Pig (one of the Three Little, I think), Princess Pea, and the ringleader, Whyatt (the only non-story character). The episodes are incredibly formulaic, like Law and Order for the pull-ups crowd. Whyatt gets a picture message on his iPhone, finds out one of the gang has some kind of dilemma, and calls them all to the clubhouse where they fly into a book with a related situation to learn from the characters. "I lied to my mom and I don't know what to do--let's go talk to Pinocchio!" (Yeah, there's a whopping big inconsistency in the whole show. In theory, they already live with all the storybook characters, so they should be able to walk down the block, but inside they pull a book off the shelf and fly into some weird 2-D book environment.)

In order to enter the story, they turn into the "Super Readers" complete with costume and name change. They become "Wonder Red, with Word Power!"; "Alpha Pig, with Alphabet Power!"; "Princess Presto with Spelling Power" and "Super Why, with the Power to Read!" And, of course, there is "Super You with the Power to Help!"

Here's the gang, in their Super Readers pose:

Aletheia loves this show.  Loves it, loves it, loves it.  Like capital L-O-V-E with smooches and hugs.  And she has a mad, deep, toddler crush on Whyatt.  Probably five days out of seven we hear the "Super Why" chant from her.  "SuperWhySuperWhySuperWhySuperWhy Pleeeeeeeease?"  But what's weird is her love for Whyatt does not spread to the other characters.  She is, at best, indifferent to Princess Presto and Alpha Pig.  She'll watch when they are on, but you can tell she's just waiting for her beloved Super Why to get back on the screen.  And then there is Wonder Red.  Aletheia hates her.  Take her crazy love for Whyatt, multiply it by five and throw a minus sign on it, and that's how she feels about Red.  When there's a Wonder Red segment going, Allie bursts into tears and refuses to watch.  The chant starts again.  "SuperWhySuperWhySuperWhyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!"  She almost acts scared, like Red took a machete to her teddy bear.  It is seriously intense.  I've tried to help her get over it.  "Hey, that's Wonder Red!  She's really nice.  That's Super Why's best friend!"  But it gets nowhere.  If I didn't know any better, I'd think she was jealous.

We've seen something similar with Sesame Street, where Aletheia is a huge Elmo fanatic and obviously perks up when he is on, but there's no real particular dislike of another muppet, just a special love for the little red guy.  This thing with Wonder Red is just weird.  It's a good thing that she's just a cartoon, because otherwise I think a restraining order would be called for.  I wouldn't trust Aletheia not to hire a hit man.  It's that bad.

Toddler brains.  They are funny things.

Got to go.  Wonder Red is on again, and I need to fast forward.

Update:  Here she is, the object of my daughter's passionate rage.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hat and Necklace

We are very seldom without a hat these days.

26 Months, 15 Days

Enjoying the Final Product

Okay, not the best possible picture of mommy, but making cookies is hard work!

26 Months, 3 Days

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Video: Boat Ride

This is what we did today.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Adding Sprinkles

Cutting Out Cookies

26 Months, 3 Days

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Getting Ready to Bake Cookies

26 Months, 3 Days

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Going Up

Disaster! We finally made time to take Aletheia to the North Carolina Zoo, and when we got there, we realized that the camera was at home. So just imagine all the wonderful pictures we would have had. Guess we have incentive to go again soon.

The kid is getting more and more verbal all the time. Sentences are just tumbling out--and she's funny. Whenever we saw a big animal--an elephant or a bison, or a rhino--Aletheia would call out "It'll eat you!" She didn't seemed worried about it or scared--she just wanted to let us know. So we carefully pointed out that the elephants and bison were obviously eating grass. Every time we saw any animal graze, we showed her again. "Look, it's eating grass!"

Until we got to the lions, when I said. "Do you see them? They will eat you."

She just nodded and said "yeah"--like she knew it all along. Something in here was bound to eat kids.

One of the elephants came right up to the fence, so she was only about four or five feet away from it. (It was the one they call Artie.) Artie made the biggest impression of anything that day. Just ask her what she saw at the zoo, and she'll smile and say "Elephant!" (And then, because we drilled it in, she'll usually add "It eats grass.")

In other news, she's going through a big hat phase. Can't go anywhere without a hat. When I got her out of bed yesterday, she had already put one on. She's quite the fashionplate.

And her new big sentence is "I love it!" I have no idea where this one started, but she loves everything in the universe, apparently.

"Want to watch Sesame Street?"
"I love it!"

"Here's your blanket."
"I love it!"

"Let's read a storybook."
"I love it!"

"You need to eat some broccoli now."
"I love it!"

This happy-go-lucky, exceedingly grateful attitude toward life is not something, I should add, that she inherited from me.

She also made me and her mommy laugh really hard tonight. She was desperately trying to avoid going to bed, and was pulling out all the stops. She was pointing to everything in the room and calling out what it was. "Yellow blanket!" "Green pillow!" "Red shirt!" She was making silly faces and hiding under the blankets. She told us both that she loved us. She jumped around and laughed and nuzzled noses with us. And in the middle of all this activity she sits up and yells "I'm silly!"

I can't remember exactly what had come before, but it was one of those perfectly timed moments that made us both laugh out loud--which made her laugh really hard, and she said it again, "I'm silly!"

I love it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

In Motion

Sometimes it's really hard to get her to stop and pose.

25 Months, 22 Days

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


25 Months, 22 Days

Girl in a Garden

25 Months, 22 Days

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

With the Beloved Ladybug Ball

25 Months, 8 Days

Aletheia had her two years check-up this morning, and the last round of immunizations until she turns four. She's 75% across the board on the growth charts, still tall for her age. The exact numbers are 34 1/2 inches tall, 29 pounds.

The doctor was impressed with her letter recognition ability--Aletheia has now mastered the (upper case) alphabet, able to correctly name any of the 26 letters she is shown. Apparently that's ahead of the curve for 25 months olds. She's also counting up to 14 now, and starting to learn some colors. She's most consistent with orange and black--the former because she associates it with the fruit, I think--but she's getting red, blue and green right more often now. She seems to have a mental block with yellow, though.

So, healthy, happy, tall and learning more all the time. Things are good at two years old.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Portrait of a Little Girl

25 Months, 8 Days

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Going Up

25 Months, 8 Days

Monday, August 11, 2008


25 Months, 8 Days

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Seriously, We Loooooove Watermelon

25 Months, 1 Day

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

We Love Watermelon!

25 Months, 1 Day

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


24 Months, 8 Days

Monday, July 28, 2008

Jane Hollywood

I was tired of her "borrowing" mine. "Glasses? Glasses? Glasses?" I bought her these and a bucket and shovel for her sandbox, and you'd think I had given her the best thing possible.

"My bucket! Myyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy buck-et!"

It was 78 cents. I should've bought her ten of 'em.

Answer to the name game below:
Teresa, Tessa for short, after Teresa of Avila
Aidan, after...well, Aidan, missionary to the Scots

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Cutest Thing You've Ever Seen

23 Months, 5 Days

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Water Woes

24 Months, 5 Days

Friday, July 18, 2008

Getting Ready for Some Changes

These pictures are a little over a month old. (They were actually taken on my birthday.) Mommy and I decided to get a little basic craftsmanship practice by making Aletheia's toddler bed ourselves, and when Aletheia saw us working, she wanted to get in on the act. So here are a couple of shots of her sanding one of the boards for her bed (which is not quite finished yet--I still need to add a safety rail.)

20080608 Aletheia-3 APOD

20080608 Aletheia-9 APOD

23 Months, 5 Days

In other news, it's a good thing that we are getting ready to move Allie out of her crib, because we just found out on Monday that she will become a big sister around next March. Someone else will need that sleeping space.

Because I'm an obsessive advance planner, we are starting to work on names for the next one. There are some ideas we had been bandying about, but after grabbing some baby name books and starting from scratch, a couple of former long-shots have risen to the top. We want our kids' names to have some kind of significant Christian meaning, preferably in a way that connects to us personally, so here's what we are leaning toward now:

If it's a girl, we might give her the name of a 16th century mystic whose books we have been reading as part of our nightly devotionals. She was a woman of prayer and humility, whose chief desire was to know and love God as deeply as possible, and her books reflect that spirit. It used to be a common name but hasn't been popular for a while. There is, however, a cute and trendy five-letter nickname that we would probably call the kid most of the time. This one shouldn't be hard to guess if you are up to speed on your 16th century Christian writers.

If it's a boy, we're looking a little further back in history to a missionary in the British Isles back in the 6th century. This name has a Celtic flavor to it, and is mentioned in a song by one of our favorite musical artists. What we know of this particular saint is a mix of history and legend, but there is no doubt that he was real and had a big impact. The Venerable Bede praised him highly in his Ecclesiastical History of the English Peoples. One old story recounts how this missionary, dedicated to poverty and humility, was given a grand, well-trained horse by a king who had befriended him, and who wanted him to have proper transportation. The horse was gratefully received, used for a day or two, and then passed on to a beggar. We both really like the name. The only downside is, so did about five bajillion other American families in the last few years. It's a bit too popular for my taste, but that's not a deal-breaker.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Ladybug Ride

One seldom sees the rare North Carolina Giant Ladybug, and it is even more unusual to get a ride from one. Lucky girl.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Camera Search

Hey, Aletheia Update fans!

I'm trying to get you some new pics. Just as soon as I figure out where I sat the camera. Or who stole it.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

With Daddy at the Birthday Party

I need a haircut.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Hanging Around With the Big(ger) Girls

A blurry action pic with Lilliana (left) and Caitlin.

Lilliana and her little sister Hannah are Aletheia's best friends. Every time we go to church she starts the "Lilliana-Hannah-Lilliana-Hannah" chant from her car seat while we're still in the parking lot. She even talks about them when she's on the phone to Grammy or Memaw.

"Lilliana-Hannah friends!"

Which brings me to another interesting point--Aletheia seems to mentally cluster people by who they belong with. So while it's possible for her to talk about individuals, she usually mentions a couple or trio of people:

Mark and Lisa
Uncle Kasey, Tia Mia* and Coben Dan

And often throughout the day she'll say "Mommy, Daddy, A-lay-ee-uh" Everyone is in a relationship cluster. Maybe that's not unusual for kids, but it is striking pronounced in her. And so "Lilliana-Hannah." They're filed together.

Also, I think watching the older girls swing has prompted Aletheia's recent interest in the "big kids' swing." She's trying to graduate out of the toddler swing, and--based on tonight's performance--doing a good job of it. She swung herself for about 10 minutes and then dismounted perfectly. One more step out of babyhood.

*Allie can't quite say "Maria." But "Tia Mia" sounds cute, anyway.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

In the Pool, With the Very Beloved Ladybug Ball

Friday, July 04, 2008

One More Slide Before the Party Begins

Thursday, July 03, 2008

On Her Playset, Pre-Party

The house we bought here in NC came with an old playset in the back yard. The deck floor was old plywood that was rotting away, and most of the safety rails had come off. There was no longer any slide or swings, and the ladder was rickety and unsafe. But the basic framework for a playset was still intact and sturdy, although there weren't any true right angles and the posts were far from level. Still, I thought we could fix it up.

I've been working on it off and on for a while. It was easy to put in a toddler swing, so we've been using that from the start. I finished rebuilding the deck (out of alternating 1x4's and 1x6's rather than plywood), and I found a good deal on a slide and some other accessories (like the toy telescope you cans see on the left) and ordered them a month or two ago. But then I got bogged down with other projects,and didn't finish it all until the day before the party, when I added the last safety rails (1x6's), connected a ladder I built out of 2x4's, and created a sandbox under the deck.

Aletheia, as you can see, was delighted. She loves scrambling up the ladder and being a whole four feet off the ground. She does this funny kind of skipping dance when she's really happy, and we were treated to about 10 solid minutes of it when she first climbed onto the deck. And then she said "Thank you, Daddy!" and gave me and her Mommy lots and lots of kisses.

So, that was worthwhile.

Monday night we stayed up on the deck for a while after sunset and watched the fireflies.

For the party Tuesday, we had ten kids around between 2 and 5, and the newly rebuilt structures got a lot of use. It was a blast watching them all.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Birthday Party!: The Cake (Candles Blown Out)

Birthday Party!: The Cake

Monday, June 30, 2008

Leftover Jenga

Sorry for the updateless days recently. I was under the mistaken impression that we didn't have any decent unblogged photos, but when I looked at the camera tonight, there were a bunch. And we're having a (slightly early) birthday party for the kid tomorrow, so there should be some prime photo-ops there.

Mommy took this one tonight at dinner. I wasn't there, but she solemnly avows that Aletheia took it upon herself to stack her leftovers like this. She certainly seems happy with herself.

And no! That's not coffee! It's just a handy, minimal-spill container for Aletheia's water.

But, I should mention, she does want to try coffee really badly. Anytime I have a cup and she's around, the "Coffee? Coffee?" chant starts ups. I think because I let her have ice cream and popsicles but keep coffee all to myself, she must think that it is unimaginably delicious.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Juneywhank Falls

Another shot from our Smoky Mountain camping trip

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I'm a guy with a small daughter and a big bookcase. You can reach me at gate42b(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

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diapers since July 19, 2006