14 December 2006

Great Mom is 92!

This weekend past, we traveled to PA to celebrate my grandmother's 92nd birthday. We had a hard time choosing a present for her since she is notoriously hard to shop for, and I figure if she has yet to acquire something in 92 years, she probably doesn't really need or want it.

Here are some party photos for your viewing enjoyment:

10 December 2006

Kids Letter To Santa

Hello Santa Claus-

I've been very good this year. I'd like a Mac the Truck for Christmas. I also hope you can bring me my own electric train.

Santa Claus, Merry Christmas! I hope you have a fun one. If the reindeer are nice, I will give them reindeer food sometime. Santa Claus, sometime can I have a ride in your sleigh?

Our house is in Adamstown, Maryland. It is a brick house. If you see a Christmas tree with Thomas on it, that means you are at the right house. We're going to get our Christmas train out today.

Merry Christmas Santa, Goodbye.

Dear Santa-
Happy Christmas!
I have been a good girl this year. I played with my Daddy, I played with my big brother, I played with my cars, I played with my Mommy, I played around, and I played with all my friends. That's all I did.
Can you please bring me a Dora kitchen, a Dora magic castle, and a Dora towel, a new computer (I don't have a computer), and maybe a kid remote. I'd also like a Sally. That will be a lot of stuff for Christmas - all that stuff! I want a kid spoon. I got too many stuff.
You can fly to our house. It is in Maryland. It's like this high. It's kind of grayish.
That's the end.
From Ella.

2006 Christmas Letter

As those of you on "the list" know, in years past we sent out a letter each December chronicling the year's events. Given that we're six years into the twenty-first century, I figured it was time we started posting this letter online. Since this blog is where we've been reporting on our family all year, it seemed like the perfect place. So here we go.

As we end another year, I can't say that too much has changed for the Roth family. We have the same jobs, the same house, the same kids, the same pets and the same haircuts as we did last December. This year seems to have gone by more quickly than usual and I am unsure of the reason. Despite the fact that Alex and Ella have become more self-sufficient, that magical free time that I think I must have once had still eludes me, and my dream of a three hour Sunday afternoon nap in my family room easy chair remains unfulfilled. I also can't cope with the fact that Wake Forest is going to a better bowl game than Penn State.

So, what did we do this year?

It was a good year for Ella. She started the year in a crib, wearing diapers, and relying on a "huck". All those things are now a distant memory. She also finished a semester of kindermusik, saw her first movie, played a season of U4 soccer, and turned 3. She is showing signs that art talent can skip a generation, and has become an accomplished colorer. Ella plays a mean game of Uno and is becoming a master puzzle builder.

Alex turned 4 in May and through the year his interest has shifted from trains to cars, or more precisely Cars. After seeing this Pixar movie, he only wants to be Lightning McQueen. Ka-chow! Despite having the busy schedule of a world famous race car, he finished 3 year old school and is now half way through 4 year old school. He also plays soccer and sings in the church kid choir. He also served as ring bearer for his Uncle Dave and Aunt Kim without a hitch.

For Shelley, being a part-time statistician, a part-time stay at home mom, a gardener, and a laundress was apparently not enough, so this year she took on the additional roles of piano teacher, assistant soccer coach, and soccer coach. I imagine this keeps her very busy, and I plan to ask her about it next time I see her. As for me, I continue on as a "tele-tester" for IBM, and got to go to Las Vegas in May to tell people about it. I am also trying to answer the age old question of "If you write a blog and no one reads, are you wasting your time?"

So that was 2006. I need to finish writing now since we just mailed the Christmas cards containing the link to this. It is nice how technology allows the last minute to be later and later. We hope you all had a wonderful 2006, and wish you the best for 2007.

16 November 2006

Not So Yummy Yummy

Here is an excerpt from last night's dinner conversation:
Me: So, Alex, what did you do at school today?
Alex: We made fruit salad!
Me: That sounds like fun.
Alex: (excited) Then I started singing the fruit salad song (begins singing Fruit Salad by the Wiggles.)
Alex: Oooh! (giggling) Then one kid started singing "Poop salad.. yummy yummy!"
Me: Really? Which kid did that?
Alex: (pauses) It was me.
Me: Of course it was.

I no longer wonder why his teacher gives me funny looks when I drop him off for school.

05 November 2006

Princess Party Palooza

Though she turned 3 on October 28th, we just had Ella's party on Saturday. The theme, as required by law, was Princess. Guests came from as close as next door and from as far away as Virginia and Pennsylvania. A good time was had by some.

Making a Wish

A Wish Is Made

The cake takes the cake.

Its A What?
Alex realizes one of the main downsides of having a sister.

24 October 2006

Fall Fest at Chevy Chase

On Sunday, we attended another in the long string of fall festivals. This time, it was at Grammy and Granddad's church in Chevy Chase, MD. This is our third year at this particular festival, and each time is more fun than the last. Here are some pictures:

cowBoy ellaRides

Both kids handled their steeds like old hands. The beasts did not seem off-put by the costumes.

notSure giveItAGo digsIn

Ella was unsure about cotton candy. She thought it might be fur. She gave it a go anyway. Alex had no hesitation.


23 October 2006


So my friend Hugh has a corn maze. Each year we have a get together with some friends at this corn maze. Each year it has rained, at least until now. This year it was partly sunny and crisp. A great day to get lost.


Here is ella making a corn angel in the Corn Box. I'll let you guess how many kernels stowed away in her underwear

Here is Alex in the actual maze. The half empty cob he is holding is the surprisingly effective means he used to ensure we would not get lost. We've learned that pieces of corn work better than bread crumbs

It was great to (finally) get to do all the attractions that Maize Quest has to offer, and also very nice to spend some time visiting with some friends. A good time was had by all.

22 October 2006

Soccer "Skills" Fest

Ella completed her U4 soccer season on Saturday with a clinic where the kids could show off their skills. Ella was happy to demonstrate her dribbling skills, and her passing skills, which were expected, and her fussing skills, and watching from the sideline skills which were not.


ellaPouts Hosted on Zooomr
Ella Refuses To Participate

watchingSkillswatchingSkills Hosted on Zooomr
Ella checks her shoe instead of participating

trophyGirltrophyGirl Hosted on Zooomr
Ella gets a trophy anyway

18 October 2006

Jack is Back

Shelley and the kids transformed Alex's pumpkin from the pumpkin patch into a "scary" Jack-O-Lantern. Here is the play by play:

Scooping Out The Innards:
Carving the face:

Supervising Carving the Face:

Posing With Jack:

Who is This Goofball?

16 October 2006

The Great Pumpkin Patch

On Saturday we visited the local pumpkin patch. The hayride and the antique tractors (that you can climb on) were once again hits with the kids, along with the new Giant Pumpkin moon bounce (I've officially added moon bounces to the list of things the kids can't walk past. Puddles are also on this list).

The rule of pumpkin selection is that you must be able to lift the pumpkin you chose. Alex chose the biggest pumpkin that he could lift. Ella, iconoclast that she is, chose two small pumpkins.

This year's visit was bittersweet because it reminded me that I was again unsuccessful at growing my own pumpkins. I actually had a large orange pumpkin in my garden, but the problem was that it was ready in July. It did not make it through August, yet along to October. I'll try again next year.

09 October 2006

Give Me Some Sugarloaf Mountain

Sugarloaf Mountain is a few miles southeast of here, and according to the topographic map of Greater Adamstown that hangs on my wall, has an altitude of 1282 feet at its peak. Last year we took the west view trail (blue blaze) to the first lookout. On the way back to the car, both kids tripped and fell several times and were bruised and bloodied.

It was so much fun, that we decided to go back. We once again followed the blue blazes to the first lookout, and this time the kids didn't even break a sweat. Feeling bold, we switched to the red blaze trail which is a fairly steep ascent to the peak. The kids were troopers, and it we made it to top intact.

This is when we literally took a turn for the worse. Figuring the kids might have trouble descending the red trail, we instead set out on the blue tail which we would thought would be easier. I should point out that we did not have a trail map, and really lacked any information about the blue trail other than that it would eventually get us back to the first lookout and then to our car. Turns out the blue goes all the way down the wrong side of the mountain, then back up to the right side. Luckily, it wasn't long before we lost the trail or maybe it lost us. Either way, after some frustration and a fruit snack break, we made it back to the red trail. Going down it was not as bad as we thought, even with carrying Ella-who'd-had-enough-hiking. We got lost once more, but made it back to the big white car a bit tired, but perhaps also a bit wiser.

03 October 2006

The Return Of Uncle Wiggily

One of my earliest childhood memories was having Uncle Wiggily books read to me. These books by Howard R. Garis described the adventures of an old gentleman rabbit and his encounters with friends and foes and other curious animal folk.

I enjoyed these books so much that I preemptively inherited them to share with my own children. The three I could find in my parent's house were Uncle Wiggily's Adventures, Uncle Wiggily's Airship, and Uncle Wiggily's Fortune. My four year old son, Alex, shares my fondness for rabbits with rheumatism, and it wasn't long before we'd read through all three books several times.

When it got to the point that he could tell me what happened in a chapter before I read it, I knew it was time to expand the collection. Through some luck and sniping on eBay, I was able to add three more books to our collection: Uncle Wiggily's Automobile, Uncle Wiggly and the Littletails, and Uncle Wiggily on the Farm.

That's all for now. But, if the cuckoo clock does not wake up the overweight dog who pushes the cats out of second story window causing me to get a new basement, the next blog post will be about our annual trip to the Sugarloaf Mountain.

13 September 2006

For It's Time For Four School

Unlike a school in the summertime, Alex once again has class. He's back at the lab school at Hood College where students majoring in early childhood development get to experiment on him and test the theories they are learning about.

This year he is in Ms. Noggles 4 year old class. They meet 3 days a week for 2 hours a day, which coincidentally was the typical class load that I showed up for in college. I'm not sure what he'll be studying this year, but I can tell you that the flow of random art projects has already begun.

11 September 2006

Are You Ready For Some Football?

As the end of summer rapidly approaches, it is time once again or for soccer. Both kids are playing this time, Alex on a U6 team and Ella on a U4 team.

Saturday was the first game for Alex's team which I think calls themselves The Avalance, but I call them the Gray Team. The U6 games are 3 on 3 with no goalies. At any given time about 4 kids know which goal they should be shooting at. The Gray team played the White team, and it's a good thing that they don't keep score. If they had, Gray would have lost many to zero.
An hour later and one field over, it was time for the second practice of Ella's U4 team. In U4 they don't play games, but instead work on learning skills. What I've learned is that anyone less than 3 is probably too young for organized sports. Ella seems to enjoy it though, except during the times that she is crying or throwing a fit. She does like wearing the shirt.

10 September 2006

Delaware Redux

In what seems to have become an annual trip, we again spent Labor Day week with the Brock side of the family at the Delaware seashore. Though the activities were basically the same as in years past, the kids ability to keep up and participate made a huge difference. Some highlights of the week include:
  • Getting knocked around by Ernesto fueled waves
  • A visit to Funland on the Rhehobath boardwalk
  • An Oreo milkshake at Applebees (which I realize is not that exotic, but hey, it was really good)
  • A tour of the Dogfish Head brewery in Milton, DE. (read about on my SoapBox)
  • Going on safari's at James Farm Ecological Preserve
There was a lot more good stuff, but to save a few thousand words, I'll just add some more pictures:

wheresTheFire Tickets To Ride

Beach Trio

22 August 2006

A Dutch Wonderful Day

On the way back from the Poconos, we made a return visit to Dutch Wonderland in Lancaster, PA. Just like last year, we had a great time. Unlike last year, we needed no stroller and no diapers. Here are some shots (more on Flickr)

21 August 2006

Seeing The Hills in the Poconos

On Thursday we went to Pocono Pines to visit with our friends, the Mighty Hills. I call them the Mighty Hills because they are mighty good friends and because each one, including the children can bench press at least 2000 pounds.

Much fun was had by all. Some highlights include swimming and canoeing in Lake Naomi, swimming and sliding in the pool, a secret room, a hidden fort, London Broil that was perfectly cooked and microwave popcorn that wasn't. There were playgrounds and hiking trails, deer and turkeys, and pizza and wings.

Here are some pictures:

11 August 2006

Return Of The SoapBox

Just when you thought it was safe to go onto the Internet.

I am once again writing Andy's SoapBox. You can find it here: http://duckbrown.wordpress.com/

The SoapBox dates back about 10 years or so, with new posts being added every time I had a good idea. I've seeded the new SoapBox with the best posts from the old SoapBox ("I'm a Dum-Dum", "World Improvement" to name 2) and selections from my long neglected epinions site (including "Get Out Of My Lap!"). I'm also paving the road to the new SoapBox with good intentions to update it frequently. My two latest posts are "Lucky Charms in a World Out Of Control" and "Andy Roth's Ukulele Museum".

Please check it out and leave comments (comments are a blogger's catnip). If you'd like to subscribe (it's free and worth every penny), click on the button of your choice below:

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