May 2013 Dialogue and Milestones

[spoiler intro=”I’m going to include some of my Lilly Looking Through experiences because this is about the Chapmans, and frankly I want my kids to know later on that I got to do what I always wanted to do. That said, I don’t want to distract from the kids too much, so I’ve hidden this experience as a spoiler… click ‘Show’ to the right to read the interview.” title=””]

Geeta Games Interview With Daran Chapman

This month we interviewed Daran Chapman, our Technical Artist on Lilly, and we are glad we did, as we even learned a few new things about him!

Q:What is your name and what kind of work do you do on Lilly Looking Through?

A:Hi! My name is Daran Chapman, and I’m a Technical Artist. That means I take pieces that the artists and animators at Geeta have been producing, put them together, and add interactivity.

Q:How did you get involved in working on Lilly Looking Through? When did you know you wanted to work in games?

A:While I was visiting Kickstarter, I recognized Steve from our days ushering at a movie theater long ago, and sent him some messages just to catch up. We talked a lot about games, and it turned out that our philosophies are very similar. It also turned out that my skill set was a good match to help bring Lilly Looking Through to fruition. Steve invited me to help with the project. I’ve always wanted to work on a proper video game, and the game itself grabbed my attention immediately — so I jumped at the chance!

Q:What work are you most looking forward to doing on Lilly Looking Through?

A:Sometimes I’m animating a bouncing glow, or I’m making the turn of a wheel actually have an effect, and other times I’m adding layers of a level together and making them seem to breathe. I’m so enjoying the variety of what I’m working on, it would be hard to say what I’m looking forward to next. I guess the short answer is “more!”

Q:What’s the best thing about working on Lilly Looking Through?

A:The best thing about working on Lilly Looking Through has got to be the people. I’m collaborating with very talented people that believe in themselves, each other, and the end product. I also love that Geeta’s smaller number of people means that no matter where an idea comes from, it is not only heard, but has a possibility of being implemented.

Q:How did you become interested in games?

A:I fell in love with the first video games when I was very young; I’m talking as far back as Pong. It has been great to live my life watching video games grow, and for some titles, become accepted as an art form.

Q:What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into game development?

A:I’ve been a projectionist, graphic designer, edutainment and web programmer, and animator. I think the craziest part of my employment history has been how varied it has been over the years; usually something involving entertainment or graphics, but constantly evolving to meet the work available to me.

Q:What project in the past did you have the best time working on? What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?

A:Other than Lilly, I’d have to say my favorite project was an entry into a music video contest run by Valve Software for a song by a band called The National. I dedicated many late nights to writing a story, as well as modeling, animating and directing. I don’t feel like what I did was perfect; far from it — but with limited time I told the story I wanted to tell, and for that I am proud of what I put together. I must have done something right, as Valve deemed it the “Best Turret Story” in the contest. Click here if you’d like to see it.

Q:What is your favorite animated movie and why?

A:It is hard to narrow down my favorite animated movie. At one point in my life I would have said Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira, but raising a few kids can change a guy. I’m more into the likes of Studio Ghibli’s Kiki’s Delivery Service or Brad Bird’s Iron Giant. I guess I’d say Iron Giant is my favorite; it does a lot of things well stylistically, has a great story, and a lot of personality… plus a big freakin’ robot.

Q:What are 2 of your favorite games and why?

A:Oh, this is a tough one. I’d have to start out with Ico. There are layers of sensitivity in that game: the contrast between dark and light, natural and man-made, and what it means to be alone versus having even just one other person around. Without a single word of understandable dialogue, Ico invited the gamer to care about an AI character and help them through the game — and I found myself truly caring.

During a particularly cold and quiet winter, I played and adored Riven, the sequel to Myst. At the time there was nothing like it, and it was very engaging to me – the visuals, the audio, the storyline. It is equal parts awesome, humbling and terrifying to be working alongside Mark, who helped make the game; and Steve, who used to work at Cyan as well.

I know the question said “two” but I’d be remiss if I didn’t do a shout out for Tribes:Aerial Assault, one of the first decent networkable games on the PlayStation2. I was part of a tight knit community that played that one game for years and years. We formed teams, ran tourneys and created prizes. While doing so I made some life-long friends. I suppose sometimes it takes other players to make a game great.

So that’s it for my two favorite games. Oh, except Beyond Good and Evil. And Bioshock. And Shadow of the Colossus. And Portal. And Minecraft. And XCOM. And Fallout. And Halo. And Skyrim. And Braid. And Limbo.

Q:What movie made you cry?

A:When I was little I had to be physically removed from a theater during a pivotal scene in Bambi due to excess sobbing. [/spoiler]

Dialogue, May 18th
Nina in a sing-song voice:“I found a penny! A penny! I found a penny, my penny. My penny and I found it. Hey Daddy! Guess what? I found a penny and I found it myself…. from Ian’s ba-aag!”

Dialogue, May 18th
Ian, observing a squid: “Why does it have a mouth on its butt?”

Dialogue, May 19th
Ian and Nina make each other surprise pictures. Daddy’s reaction: “I cannot imagine more thoughtful children… in regards to this particular project.”

Dialogue, May 20th
Nina learning to deal with solicitors? Picks up phone:“Hello, who’s there nobody? Good byyyyyye”

Dialogue, May 20th
Nina, from potty to Ian:“Can you leave me alone? Because i need my own minute for a minute.”


Daycare Notes, Wednesday, May 1 Nina’s caregiver: “Nina chatted the whole way to the park with her friends about what she was going to do when we got there-I’m surprised she wasn’t out of energy! She was very excited. When she was climbing up the steps to the slide, she started to sing, ‘Jesus loves me, yes I know, Old Mc Bible tells me so…’ I laughed so much-she has such a cute little voice and way with words.”

Daycare Notes, Thursday May 2nd. Nina’s caregiver: “Nina had a great time at the YMCA this morning-she was singing the village people song on the bus and all the way down the hall when we arrived-she got a lot of giggles from the Y members.”

Daycare Notes, Friday, May 3rd. Nina’s caregiver: “Overall Nina had a great fun filled morning. On the playground Nina sang ‘I’m going to the YMCA in my spaceship.'”

Daycare Notes, Monday, May 6. Nina’s caregiver: “Nina, Liv, Natalie, and Mia were playground buddies this morning-first they were pretending to be sisters, then they were all babies. They ran all over the playground, holding hands in a little chain-every once in a while I would hear Natalie call out, ‘come on-let’s go sisters!’ And off they’d go again-Nina had the biggest grin on her face!”

Daycare Notes, Tuesday, May 7. Nina’s caregiver: “Nina loved our hike this morning-she and Liv held hands and went up and down the hill together with matching smiles. They have become such good friends! You spend a lot of time picking out just the right rock for her ‘pet’-she was very pleased with her choice!”

Daycare Notes, Wednesday, May 8. Nina’s caregiver: “Nina got messy this morning, making beautiful chalk paintings all over the pavement. She, Mia and Brady made ‘pizzas’ out of the circle-shaped steps on the climber. They topped them with woodchips and dandelion heads-such creative people.”

Daycare Notes, Thursday, May 9. Nina’s caregiver: “Nina was very brave on the rock wall this morning- twice, then got to swing on the rope twice and had lots of fun! We ran on the track again too-she was so fast- the Y members cheered all the kids as they passed. Nina just beamed and waved!”

Daycare Notes, Friday, May 10. Nina’s caregiver: “Nina had a great time in science area. She also love reading books. She wanted to read them over and over again.”

Daycare Notes, Monday, May 13. Nina’s caregiver: “Overall Nina had a wonderful morning! She was so excited to put together her rain stick / bottle. She made sure I knew what she was putting in her bottle. Nina also really seemed to enjoy putting all P’s on the letter sheets!”

Daycare Notes, Tuesday, May 14. Nina’s caregiver: “Nina ran and ran out on the park playground this morning! Between the climber and the kites, she was constantly in motion. She was very chatty on our walk and broke into song several times today. We love hearing her little voice – so adorable!”

Daycare Notes, Wednesday, May 15. Nina’s caregiver: “Nina had so much fun this morning she got covered in dust from the corn in our texture table, where she spent a lot of time, early morning. Our color game was a favorite-she did very well identifying and sorting the colors that corresponded to the spin of the wheel. Mixing up our cookies was the best, and even better with eating. Yum!”

Daycare Notes, Thursday, May 16. Nina’s caregiver: “We had so much fun with our cocoa art this morning. She took her time and brushed on a lot of cocoa. I was a little worried that the paper might not hold up! She told me at least five times ‘Miss Erin-I like chocolate,’ while she painted.”

Daycare Notes, Friday, May 17. Nina’s caregiver: “Overall Nina had a great morning. However we really worked on using words with friends when she was upset. Nina was so very excited to play on the sandhill. She was so helpful with friends needing some help going up the hill.”

Daycare Notes, Monday, May 20. Nina’s caregiver: “We had a great time making cake in the sandbox this morning. It was chocolate – a little gritty, but delicious! Nina loved the new dramatic play items, especially the purses! At one point she had a purse over her left shoulder, one over her right shoulder, one around her neck and one in her hand — there was another purse inside it. So funny!”

Daycare Notes, Tuesday, May 21. Nina’s caregiver: “Nina says the funniest things. She walked up to me on the playground this morning and told me “I’m so confused” when I asked her why, she said ‘I don’t know what Mommy’s saying to me all the time!'”

Daycare Notes, Tuesday, May 21. Nina’s caregiver: Nina’s progress report – only beginning skills are scissors, everything else was under higher categories.

Daycare Notes, May 15 Note from daycare about something funny Nina said: “My potato head needs his butt filled up, so he can have a walk and talk all over the place.””

Daycare Notes, Wednesday, May 22. Nina’s caregiver: “Nina was so enthusiastic about everything today! She played busily in dramatic play, driving and chatting on her cell phone, shopping for groceries-she was busy! She sang and chatted all throughout our walk and had a messy sticky ball with our orange art.”

Daycare Notes, Thursday, May 23. Nina’s caregiver: “Need had a great time bouncing all over the indoor play space this morning; she was on the hoppity ball almost the entire time! She really enjoyed switching classrooms with OT and getting to play with both new and familiar toys. Nina loved getting messy with goop-she said it felt ‘silly!'”

Daycare Notes, Tuesday, May 28. Nina’s caregiver: “Nina was very busy and dramatic play this morning-she put me on to put on the blue dress and told me ‘I’m a rescuer!’ then she cooked up a big meal (singing songs to herself all the while.)”

Daycare Notes, Wednesday, May 29. Nina’s caregiver: “Nina had a lot of fun ‘working over’ Ms. Sarah in dramatic play this morning-she administered a medical checkup, complete with blood pressure check and temperature taking, while other friends made Ms. Sarah sandwiches with play food and did her hair. Nina is a very thorough doctor!”

Daycare Notes, Thursday, May 30. Nina’s caregiver: “Nina loved the snakes! She kept scooting closer to the front of the circle to get a better look at them. Outside, she did a lot of painting. Her rain boots came in very handy when one of her friends tripped over one of the bowls and splattered paint a Nina’s feet!”

Daycare Notes, Friday, May 31st. Nina’s caregiver: “Nina had a wonderful day. She really loved the movie and popcorn treat this morning-when it was over we headed outside and ran around the playground. She enjoyed chasing Miss Sidney with all her friends.”

May 2013, Part II

 May 25th, and that’s a smile that comes with sprinkles! See this image larger.

 A sweet treat for sweet little girl! Where were we? Dairy Queen in Marine City, on our way… See this image larger.

 …to the Cottage! (Of note, Nina asked recently if we could go there now… it is the middle of January. I miss it that much too little girl!) See this image larger.

 On the way back to the Cottage from a stop at the park, the kids were given free reign to use Donna’s porch swing. And boy, did they! See this image larger.

 Nice smiles from the ladies! Have I mentioned how much I love my wife! Nice picture! See this image larger.

 For the rest of these pictures, assume they took place between May 25th and 26th… here, Nina continues to show that she can be what I would call (pardon my french) a bit of a bad ass. I’ve never seen somebody look more like they were going to use a toy to run down a grizzly bear. See this image larger.

 Shortly after this picture, she hoisted two gallons of milk each attached to opposite ends of a mop handle, over her head, held it for five seconds, then dropped it. I’m kidding. See this image larger.

 Ian is also a fierce hunter. Uh… well… maybe the bear would giggle, which would buy him some time to run for it? See this image larger.

 Ian! See this image larger.

 My lovelies. See this image larger.

 Ian took most of these, I think. See this image larger.

 At least I don’t remember taking a picture like this. See this image larger.

 He’s got a heart of gold. See this image larger.

 Hey buddy! See this image larger.

 Now there’s a great smile. Thanks! See this image larger.

 The kids all tuckered out on Sunday morning. See this image larger.

 When she’s out, she’s out! See this image larger.

 Ian runs around and takes more pictures! Gramma Marcia! *click!* (Grandma Marcia was in a cast because of a fall she took during a race for the cure. The cast turned out to be the cure, I guess! 🙂 This happened in the midst of Grampa Dave’s recovery after a motorcycle accident! Geez you guys, be careful!! 😉 ) See this image larger.

 Mommy! *click!* See this image larger.

 Daddy! *click!* See this image larger.

 Nina! *click!* See this image larger.

 Another of Nina! *click!* See this image larger.

 We flew kites! See this image larger.

 And it worked great! See this image larger.

 This picture is an example of a technique I use called “Really Try To Look Like You Know What You’re Doing.” See this image larger.

 Nina noms some watermelon! See this image larger.

 Ian actually washed some dishes, or something, I think. I know that’s weird. See this image larger.

 Her shirt says “CUTE!” See this image larger.

 Scrambling to help Grandma Marcia plant some flowers! See this image larger.

 But the best thing to do at the Cottage? See this image larger.

 Chill. Right buddy? See this image larger.

 Nina snuggles up with Mommy in the sunshine… See this image larger.

 Says a goldfish-cracker filled “I love you…” See this image larger.

 and conks out. See this image larger.

 WAY out. What an angel! See this image larger.

 Oh NO it is Ian the photographer again!!! *click!* See this image larger.

 *click!* (hehe) See this image larger.

 Nothing more than ceilings… *click!* See this image larger.

 Ian surprised us with a lovely rendition of “Lost that Loving Feeling” by the Everly Brothers. See this image larger.

 “You never close your eyes, anymore whenI kiss your li-i-ps…” Again, I’m kidding. See this image larger.

 Nina on drums! See this image larger.

 Ian made this and he was proud of it. I think it might have been a school bus, but I’ll be honest, I don’t remember. See this image larger.

 Is it time for bed yet? See this image larger.

 Yup, and then we woke up and went home! Thanks for letting us visit, we had a great time if you couldn’t tell from the pics!!! 🙂 See this image larger.

 May 28th, Ian found his stuffed animals tucked into their own little bed, and was so happy he asked for a picture. What a smile on that kid! See this image larger.

 May 30th, Ian’s graduation presentation from Kindergarten! He’s almost out for summer! He did really great and he was very proud of himself… with good reason! See this image larger.

 If you don’t recognize that shirt, he wore it on the first day of Kindergarten as well! Nice work, Mommy! See this image larger.

 Today Ian will be singing about the letter D! See this image larger.

 He had one line he had to solo, and he did great! See this image larger.

 Good job, kiddo! See this image larger.

 His teacher, Mrs. Lanham… Ian had a special note hung up on the wall along with other students that recalled their favorite Kindergarten memory. Ian’s was “recess.” See this image larger.

 I know that looks like it says it is from “Brian” but that is actually “By Ian” with a backwards “Y.” My hair seems to be thinning! Perfect! 🙂 See this image larger.

 “I am grouchy when my sister hurts me.” See this image larger.

 The teacher’s assistant for Kindergarten, Mrs. Doren. I think Ian stopped us so that we could take this picture, although it looks a little like he’s thinking about ways to escape at the moment. See this image larger.

 A couple bites out of his bread bowl and Ian said “I made Spider-Man!” I got a great response from Grampa Dave via text message, it was a picture of his glasses and some M&Ms making a face right back at him. See this image larger.

May 2013, Part I

 May 1st, Nina enjoys a popsicle on the porch. It’s the little things. 🙂 See this image larger.

 Hey, cutie! See this image larger.

 What? The classic hands-on-the-chin pose? Are you trying to be a model now? See this image larger.

 So cute! See this image larger.

 Meanwhile, hey you’re still cute too. How’s your spring? Good. Good. See this image larger.

 Ian shows off the tools it takes to play… golf-hockey? See this image larger.

 Hey, take some notes from your sister, that’s only a half-smile. See this image larger.

 May 3rd, Nina’s big cardiologist appointment. Given that the previous visit had been all about tears and fears, Melissa and I did our best to prepare Nina for this visit. See this image larger.

 She was brave! See this image larger.

 So very brave, and even smiled! The appointment went well… still holding off on anything major for now. See this image larger.

 May 4th, playing nice together at home. See this image larger.

 May 5th was sunglasses day for these guys… inside… See this image larger.

 outside… See this image larger.

 good times! See this image larger.

 Our tree is pretty. See this image larger.

 The kids’ Zumba workout lasted 6 grueling songs, but they got through it. 😉 See this image larger.

 I don’t even know. Kids being kids. See this image larger.

 First one to do such and such gets to say they were first! See this image larger.

 Tree still pretty. See this image larger.

 I pulled down all of the horrible growth on the right side of the hill, but not yet the left. Eventually I did the whole thing. I’m not sure it is worth it. The neighbors to the west of us do it and it looks great, but they don’t have such a slope. See this image larger.

 Have you met Seth? See this image larger.

 It must be another dinner at Cinco! See this image larger.

 There’s a point at which you can smile too much, I think. See this image larger.

 Elmo photobomb! See this image larger.

 May 6th, pigtails! What did you build there? Looks like… a space giraffe wrench. See this image larger.

 Look she knows she’s adorable. We’re in trouble. See this image larger.

 I don’t think that’s a rude gesture, the sleeve hides it well. See this image larger.

 May 8th, Melissa is raising a couple tree-huggers. See this image larger.

 May 11th, Mommy trained for a great big run held on this day in the wee hours of the morning. The kids and I stayed home but showed our support as much as we could. This was what she was greeted with when she walked through the door! See this image larger.

 May 12th, Ian during children’s time at church. I think this was the time when he hadn’t rehearsed anything because Ian wasn’t in the sunday school class… so he made it up as he went along, following everybody else. He did well, and in some corner of my brain I sighed and said “Another life-skill learned.” See this image larger.

 Mother’s Day card – Nina’s awesome signature… at 3 years old!!! See this image larger.

 May 16th, Grandma Sue got Nina a Wonder Woman little people set with an invisible plane. I know you probably can’t see it. It’s there though. See this image larger.

 Just playin’. See this image larger.

 I like this shot. 🙂 See this image larger.

 May 18th, Ian anxiously awaits my return from lawn mowing so that we could continue some adventure, likely in Minecraft or Skylanders. See this image larger.

 Black bean soup in a bread bowl? Decimated. See this image larger.

April 2013 in Audio and Video

VIDEO, April 8th
Click here to see… Nina’s interest held by Sonic the Hedgehog, for about 10 seconds.

VIDEO, April 26th
Click here to see… what happens when Grandma Sue and I picked up Nina. She’s a daddy’s girl, she can’t help it!

AUDIO, April 8th
Click here to hear an mp3 of a long Nina interview. When you hear this, keep in mind that she’s ONLY THREE!!! It is so hard to remember that sometimes!

AUDIO, April 25th
Click here to hear an mp3 of a long Nina interview as I drove her home from daycare.

AUDIO, April 26th
Click here to hear an mp3 of Grandma Sue reading to the little ones. (Nina in particular… who sounds pretty sure one guy pictured is a bad guy. Profiling!)

April 2013 Dialogue and Milestones

Dialogue, April 2nd
Daddy:“That isn’t on Netflix”
Nina:“Yeah it dos.” *(pronounced “dues.”)

Moment, April 21st
Ian sat there near the wall for a minute, then promptly walked over to the couch, buried his head in a pillow and cried. When I asked him what was up he mentioned fiddling with the nightlight in the outlet and feeling pain. I immediately opened up my computer notebook program and typed “April 21st, 2013; Ian discovers electricity.”

Dialogue, April 28th
Nina at the mall:“GUYS! I forgot to buy this thing!” (said in a “look what I found” tone; the stress was on “thing.”)


Daycare Notes, Tuesday, April 2. Nina’s caregiver: “Nina observed for a few minutes this morning, but warmed up quickly and really got into our activities. She had a ball with our bug painting and really enjoyed parachute play. She and Mia kept busy In dramatic play after all our baby dolls together – they’re both accomplished multitaskers already!”

Daycare Notes, Wednesday, April 3. Nina’s caregiver: “Nina was so upbeat and energetic today! She really enjoyed making and eating her food eat cereal-butterfly necklace. Choice timesheet beeline straight to dramatically and stayed there until clean-up. We capturing her trying to organize all her friends, calling “hey guys-come on-we are babysitters! Let’s go!””

Daycare Notes, Thursday, April 4. Nina’s caregiver: “We had a wonderful time at the park. At one point she was just running back-and-forth with Reed point. They were having such a great time. Nina also really seem to enjoy the reading of “llama llama misses mama.””

Daycare Notes, Tuesday, April 9. Nina’s caregiver: “Nina had a great time with our bumping this morning and followed up with a session at the sensory table-lots of dirty, messy fun! She and her friends were watching at the classroom window for Miss Jill-they so look forward to tumble time.”

Daycare Notes, Wednesday, April 10. Nina’s caregiver: “Nina was so full of energy this morning! She loved all of our tumbling, dancing and still Tyson walking activities. She was laughing and singing with her friends so much. When we filled our window box, you helped plant basil seeds. She looked poking her fingers in the dirt and “talking” the seeds into their bed.”

Daycare Notes, Thursday, April 11. Nina’s caregiver: “Nina looked all our active play this morning, both in the indoor play space and our own classroom. All that, plus the YMCA sports classmate for tons of busy fun. She had a great time on the stilts with Mia-they kept falling, laughing and getting back up to try again!”

Daycare Notes, Friday, April 12. Nina’s caregiver: “Nina had a ball exploring the rain sticks in the different sounds. She was telling me all about hearing thunder that woke her up and all the water she has seen on the ground after the rains.”

Daycare Notes, Monday, April 15. Nina’s caregiver: “Nina was very excited about our growing insect. As soon asthmas Sarah added it to the water, she was watching intently for signs of change. She had great fun with the cattails.”

Daycare Notes, Tuesday, April 16. Nina’s caregiver: “You had a great time on our nature hike-she’s very excited to check out all the animals we saw a turtle sunning himself right by the trail, some Canadian geese, and a huge red-headed carp in the pond. It was a fantastic morning outdoors!”

Daycare Notes, Wednesday, April 17. Nina’s caregiver: “Overall you had a good morning, however she did test limits with listening. During open center today Nina really enjoyed creating her birdfeeder. She spent lots of time rolling the seater in the seeds. We got some great pictures.”

Daycare Notes, Thursday, April 18. Nina’s caregiver: “Nina had a good morning exploring OT’s classroom. And also really seem to enjoy playing T-ball with the YMCA staff. She came running back into the classroom so excited about it.”

Daycare Notes, Friday, April 19. Nina’s caregiver: “Overall Nina had a good morning. She was talking about our field trip all morning long-she is so excited! During Arst open centers she had a blast “cooking” up a pizza from Molly and Liam!”

Daycare Notes, Monday, April 22. Nina’s caregiver: “Overall Nina had a good morning! She loved going on our long nature walk. She had fun painting out all the standing water and all the trash that needed to be cleaned.”

Daycare Notes, Tuesday, April 23. Nina’s caregiver: “Nina loved the play tents-she only got a little time in them, though, because Miss Jill came and Nina was up, singing “tumble time time!” We had an adventurous walk, complete with a surprise rain shower! Nina thought it was great fun to run in the rain (she was the only one in rain boots!)”

Daycare Notes, Wednesday, April 24 Nina’s caregiver: “Nina did some impressive somersaulting on the tumble mat this morning-she loved having the chance to roll and flip with her friends – they were laughing a lot. Nina was very excited to go with Ashley to have her picture taken-we can’t wait to see how they turned out.”

Daycare Notes, Thursday, April 25 Nina’s caregiver: “Nina was so proud of her stilt-walking skills this morning during our movement circuit-she went all over with a great big grin on her face! She serenaded everyone on the playground this afternoon as she rode around on one of the bikes-she was singing her heart out!”

Daycare Notes, Friday, April 26. Nina’s caregiver: “Nina loves chasing bubbles this morning-she ran around clapping them between her hands and shouting “pop!” She spent a lot of time on the bikes and hunted for bugs with friends-she was busy on the playground!”

Daycare Notes, Tuesday, April 30. Nina’s caregiver: “Nina was so busy this morning-she took herself and her baby doll to Dr. Molly for a very thorough checkup. Lots of eye and ear examinations with the doctor kit otoscope and then cooked a big meal before leaving for tumble time. She got back just in time to dinosaur march with us!”

April 2013 – Breaking Out of our Winter Coats

April 1st, we received a package from Aunt Jill for the kids for Easter. She is amazing! Nina got a cool activity pad! See this image larger.

Ian got some Legos! See this image larger.

And look at this Easter card! Nina loved it! See this image larger.

April 3rd, and you know, you’d think this would be an unusual sight at our house, but, yeah no. See this image larger.

April 4th, and Ian is out on his bike for the first time this spring! See this image larger.

Plus he got to try out an “outside toy” that has been dormant since Christmas! See this image larger.

Stomp-rocket go!!! (Blue in this picture, upper left) For whatever reason, I almost always managed to catch the rocket in mid-air when taking a shot of Ian doing this. Must be mad video game skills and a slight delay as the air pushed the rocket up! See this image larger.

Seth kitty. Sometimes I think he’s part compass. See this image larger.

That night at one of our favorite pizza joints, the one Nina refers to as “the pizza store” or “the other pizza store” and mistakenly as “Panera.” It is actually called Marinades. I’m trying to remember if this is the time that the kids were so crazy we actually walked out of the restaurant and ate at home instead. I would recommend that to any parent. That incident was referred to many times in a “start behaving or we’ll just go home again” kind of way. See this image larger.

April 7th, this plant that Melissa has had for God knows how long suddenly bloomed this year. It was really pretty! We look forward to the next time it blooms, at which time Melissa and I will also be celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary. See this image larger.

Don’t let that cute little smile fool you, she… actually I changed my mind, just let her cute little smile fool you. 😉 See this image larger.

At Cinco De Mayo again… I love my girls. See this image larger.

April 12th, to support a good cause, we went to a hockey game, assuming that the kids would mostly tolerate it like good sports. We were wrong but not like you’d think. Ian tolerated it just fine. Nina LOVED it. She wanted to go back again and was upset that we left a little early. For months afterwards she talked about the hockey game, and the scary mascots walking around… particularly the eagle. See this image larger.

April 14th, this is Ian’s first shower, believe it or not. It’s been baths all the way since birth! I passed on advice to my son that my father gave to me about making an “O” with your lips and pointing your head down. I was probably around Ian’s age at that time. See this image larger.

Being the brave little girl that she is, Nina tried too! See this image larger.

Although she didn’t appreciate the camera, I guess! See this image larger.

April 21st, this is Josef, a robot from the point-and-click adventure game Machinarium, a game whose path to success Lilly Looking Through would try to mimic, and ultimately not follow. See this image larger.

This is probably Ian’s second-favorite stuffed animal. See this image larger.

April 26th, Chef Nina in her chef outfit and not much else! See this image larger.

She looks like an experienced rider. See this image larger.

So does this little boy; still on training wheels for this year, but who knows how much longer? See this image larger.

Mommy keeps them extra safe. See this image larger.

Building geniuses show off for Gramma Sue, who arrived in town for a spring visit! See this image larger.

April 26th, and I probably shouldn’t be taking pictures in the Panera bathroom, for security reasons… however, this picture is one of those amazing ones to me. If you look at that pirate smile, with his slightly tousled hair, and squinty eyes of sheer joy… I can see into the past through that face – my toddler chasing after a play car piloted by a moose, and I can see into the future as this adorable little lad becomes a handsome young man. See this image larger.

April 27th, helping Mommy whip up some pancakes! See this image larger.

The kids engineer some pretty cool lightsabers! Ian even built a two-bladed like Darth Maul’s. Very nice. See this image larger.

Grandma Sue shows Ian a cool game she plays on her laptop! See this image larger.

Ian and Daddy get a little gaming time in. See this image larger.

Grandma Sue took this shot of Daddy getting Ian off of the bus. See this image larger.

Grandma Sue hanging out with the kids in the front yard… oh man that sunshine! See this image larger.

Daddy and his little girl! 🙂 See this image larger.

Grandma Sue playing with the kids in the sunroom… the kids showing some Lilly Looking Through respect! See this image larger.

Sunny smiles! See this image larger.

Alternate angle! See this image larger.

Burn up that energy! See this image larger.

Ian’s wearing a Minecraft shirt here, if you’re wondering. And you’ll probably always see gritting teeth on the kids going west on our street… a little uphill, lol. See this image larger.

Yay, time for a quick treat! It is always a treat to have Grandma Sue over! See this image larger.

March Video

Again I think I missed out on a good audio clip. You’ll find this is a common theme across the next several months. I poured my heart into making a video game. I’m thankful for the support of my family.

VIDEO, March 17th
Click here to see my family going a bit nuts.

VIDEO, March 20th
Click here to see Ian engineering some audio.

VIDEO, March 31st
Click here to see the kids playing Rock Band. Connor singing a song from my youth!!

March 2013 Dialogue and Milestones

Moment, March 10th
Nina shows me which finger she scraped… which was the middle one, of course. Reminded me and Grampa Dave of an incident with Uncle Chris many moons ago at the Bozo show.

Dialogue, March 12th
Daddy:“Mommy and Daddy aren’t going to let you eat in here anymore if you can’t keep your crumbs on your plate.”
Daddy:“Did you hear what I just said?”
Nina:“Uh huh.”
Daddy:“What did I just say?”
Nina:“‘Never pee in your underwear. It’s dangerous.'”
*Daddy sighs*

Moment, March 23rd
Nina had a remote control ca on two wheels doing a 360 within about an hour of having said toy.

Milestone, March 24th
Mommy has worked at Reagan Marketing + Design for 10 years!


Daycare Notes, Friday, March 1 Nina’s caregiver: “Nina was so excited when it was her turn to put a little paint on her paper today. She loved it. You know it’s so sad when we put the old blanket away but excited when getting her new blanket.”

Daycare Notes, Monday, March 4 Nina’s caregiver: “Nina loved running and riding bikes in indoor playspace this morning. She had a collision with a friend but got lots of hugs from Ms. Gillian to help her feel better. Nina concentrated so hard when gluing her rainbow. She was emotional at intervals throughout the morning.”

Daycare Notes, Tuesday, March 5 Nina’s caregiver: “Nina seemed to be feeling a lot better this morning. She did a great job using her words with her friends. Nina pretended to be a photographer and made all her friends line up so she could take their picture.”

Daycare Notes, Wednesday, March 6 Nina’s caregiver: “Nina loved our movie this morning she thought it was very funny.”

Daycare Notes, Thursday, March 7 Nina’s caregiver: “Nina helped her friends run a restaurant dramatically this morning she was the cook, the waitress, and the cleanup worker. She did an excellent job holding her scissors correctly! Nina loved our parachute game. Even when it wasn’t her turn, she waited so patiently.”

Daycare Notes, Friday, March 8 Nina’s caregiver: “Nina woke up from a nap in a very good mood. She was very happy because her pull-up was dry! We went outside and she and her friends played happily. She ate a good snack.”

Nina I will miss your stories! I will also miss seeing you work so hard on every art project “for mommy and daddy.” Your sweetheart and one tough cookie note from Ms. Gillian goodbye note from Ms. Joanne

Daycare Notes, Monday, March 11 Nina’s caregiver: “Nina had fun at a birthday picnic for Natalie thrown by her friends; she also enjoyed dancing to her favorite songs with her friends! She helped build a ‘Tower Forest’ with our Legos-of course it was ‘for daddy! ‘She made us laugh when she started dancing around and singing, ‘avatar, avatar, avatar!’ Nina loved our walk.”

Daycare Notes, Tuesday, March 12 Nina’s caregiver: “Today we focused on Jose Alvaro who writes the bear series. For a large motor activity, we went on a hunt for bears hidden around our classroom. We practice sorting and naming our shapes. Then we had an indoor picnic just like the bear in our story! Nina had lots of fun with all our bear activities-our picnic was a big hit-Nina enjoyed the goldfish and Elise’s birthday cookie-she had a big crumb-smile when we were done.”

Daycare Notes, Wednesday, March 13 Nina’s caregiver: “Today we read stories by Audrey Wood, a very silly author! We used flannels to tell the story of ‘The Napping House’ then we read ‘Silly Sally’ together and acted out all the body motion she talks about in the story! We borrowed Sarah’s rain sticks and had fun making all sorts of music while we shook them. Lastly, during circle time, we discussed nocturnal animals and guest which animals fit into that category. Nina worked with Ben T. to retell the story of ‘The Napping House’ using our flannel pieces. When she was checking out the rainmaker she kept looking through the end like it was a spyglass.”

Daycare Notes, Thursday, March 14 Nina’s caregiver: “Nina was so excited this morning about building with our ‘Bob blocks!’ She helped Miss Jillian and her friends build castle towers in the house! When they finished making a spaceship, Nina make sure to come say ‘goodbye fishy!’ To our goldfish before lift off.”

Daycare Notes, Friday, March 15 Nina’s caregiver: “Nina loved making dino tracks this morning-for dinosaurs had a very long conversation about their feet, and about their mommies and daddies. When Nina was building a box castle, she told me it was for mommy and daddy too.”

Daycare Notes, Monday, March 18 Nina’s caregiver: “Nina pretended to be a doctor-giving shots to her baby and taking her blood pressure. She was a very caring! You did a happy dance when she found two matching dinner rolls. She is so smart! When they were testing the fire alarm, she ran to the door and said ‘everyone line up!'”

Daycare Notes, Tuesday, March 19 Nina’s caregiver: “Overall Nina had a great morning! She was so helpful during cleanup time! She worked very hard on her cutting skills and she had a blast painting blossoms onto her tree! Due to the weather we didn’t go outside.”

Daycare Notes, Wednesday, March 20 Nina’s caregiver: “Overall Nina had a wonderful morning. She loved rolling around the ‘white fluffy snow.’ During small groups she had a blast ripping and watering her tissue paper. For circle time Nina seemed to enjoy working on her ‘Zoo Pho.'”

Daycare Notes, Thursday, March 21 Nina’s caregiver: “Nina couldn’t wait to try out our hula-hoop! She enjoyed going through our obstacle course as well. Nina always comes up with creative voices for us to use when we do Scat The Cat. Today she asked that we do a mouse voice and a mommy voice.”

Daycare Notes, Friday, March 22 Nina’s caregiver: “Overall Nina had a wonderful Friday morning! She really seemed to enjoy writing with feathers. She made lots of ‘silly lines.’ In also like dancing under the parachute! Have a great weekend!”

Daycare Notes, Monday, March 25 Nina’s caregiver: “Nina decided to color with both hands at the same time to make a ‘beautiful picture for mama and dada.’ Creative! She enjoyed dusting and mopping and dramatic play and bouncing on balls.”

Daycare Notes, Tuesday, March 26 Nina’s caregiver: “Nina had a blast outside this morning. We went on a bear hunt. Nina was so excited for tumble time today. She was talking about so much. For choice center Nina really seemed to enjoy putting a large puzzle together with Mia.”

Daycare Notes, Wednesday, March 27 Nina’s caregiver: “Nina got lots of energy out when she ran, tumbled, and spun on soft mats. She was saying this the whole time: ‘Yaya! It’s nice to beat you!’ (Daddy note – She’s riffing on a song from Yo Gabba Gabba called ‘I like to meet you.’) Then she taught her friends Ring-around-the-Rosie!”

March 2013 – A Month of Stuff, Part IV

I’m going to stray from the usual format here and not caption most of these. Suffice to say, we dressed up for church and took a whole bunch of pics, and everybody looked real nice. 🙂

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Gotta have that upside-down shot! Not sure how much longer we’re going to be able to pull this off without falling over or throwing out our backs! See this image larger.

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I let them do the “make a face” picture to get it out of their systems. See this image larger.

A Chapman tradition. See this image larger.

We’ll keep working on that, guys. See this image larger.

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Yay, Skylanders! See this image larger.

A few random shots from Nina at daycare… See this image larger.

A girl that loves making messes! See this image larger.

Pictures of pictures, because who knows if these will make it home, right? Nina is the blur in pink. See this image larger.

I can tell you without needing to know, that Nina made this fort and directed people on how to help her. Just trust me. See this image larger.

March 2013 – A Month of Stuff, Part III

Rather than get super specific on dates, I’m just going to say that Melissa’s parents, her sister, and the cousins stayed from March 29th through the 31st… or something to that effect. Camera dates are usually off in these instances anyway, and getting these in the proper order would take forever. Anyway, here’s those crazy cousins! See this image larger.

Nina getting crafty!! See this image larger.

Ian and Kaylee join the fun! See this image larger.

Posing at Meijer Gardens! See this image larger.

Butterfly again! See this image larger.

Kaylee looking a wee tired. I got some great smiles from her during the trip, so no complaints here. 🙂 See this image larger.

Grandma Barb probably more used to the in-greenhouse temperatures. See this image larger.

Bell belle. (See what I did there?) See this image larger.

The children go for a roll. See this image larger.

Nina dares the rope bridge. See this image larger.

Ian digs for fossils! See this image larger.

Preparing for a zombie apocalypse. See this image larger.

More butterfly pics! I bet they ate 5 oranges on Friday before entering their cocoons. See this image larger.

Grandma Barb found Uncle Chris’s watch and returned it to me. She offered to send it via UPS, but I asked her to hand deliver it. For fear of losing it again, it now resides respectfully on a display shelf in my office. See this image larger.

I don’t know who made it, and I don’t mean to be critical, but it is a little creepy. See this image larger.

The Jammy Bunch! See this image larger.

Kaylee helps Aunt Diss make pancakes! See this image larger.

Another angle… great smiles! See this image larger.

Time to go geo-caching! (Using a GPS device and clues to find hidden treasures.) See this image larger.

They got some exercise. See this image larger.

Connor is really great at finding this stuff. The west Michigan Chapmans have tried to go geo-caching and seriously we’ve never found anything, lol. See this image larger.

Awww! See this image larger.

Time to dye some eggs! See this image larger.

A rainbow of probably not artificial colors. See this image larger.

Weather warmed up a bit and it was a time for the kids to run out some energy. See this image larger.

Nina’s so warm she’s shedding layers! See this image larger.

Going for a spin! See this image larger.

It’s always fun to try to kick the guy with the camera! See this image larger.

Chilling out! See this image larger.

Ian’s fast, but is he Connor-fast? See this image larger.

That kid has game! See this image larger.

Sometimes I like shots like this… See this image larger.

Nina enjoying the sandbox! See this image larger.

Fun to make messes! See this image larger.

Just swinging around… See this image larger.

Nina enjoys Kaylee’s video player… you’ll see she borrowed it quite a bit! See this image larger.

Chicken wings for dinner. Ok seriously why did I take a picture of this? See this image larger.

I invented gang hand signals for West Michigan. Wonder if that’ll take? See this image larger.