Dec 26 2009

Christmas 2009

As I write this, the boys are up trying to figure out which presents are theirs, and Gracie is having a bottle with mommy, who is desperately trying to sleep. (I would have giving Gracie the bottle, but she wanted mommy.) It’s Christmas morning in the Cerniglia house, and it’s been quite a year. We lost papa, we bought a house, Jude started kindergarten, I got promoted, we went to Disney World, and Gracie started to talk. So much good, and a little bit of sad.

Jude has adjusted well to kindergarten. He enjoys his new friends, so much so that sometimes he ends up talking to them during class, which can be a problem. He has begun to learn how to read, working on both “site words” and phonics. School seems to wear him out a lot more than pre-school. There’s no nap, and sometimes I think he could still use one. Often times, he gets plain ridiculous at around 7 pm, and it’s all we can do to get to bedtime. Jude’s very perceptive, sometimes surprisingly so, and he asks a lot of questions (this is a good thing), and has a big heart.

The fact that Noah now goes to pre-school himself, and that he’s in the older of the two groups has contributed to his becoming a bit more independent and confident. He certainly loves being at school. I think it’s safe to say that he brings home more creations than any other student. Sometimes, these are not even items that he has created, rather ones that he has begged one of the teachers to make for him. He’s very quick, picking up on things at times when he appears to not be paying attention. He likes to jump and play, and he can be very dramatic, especially when there is something that he wants.

The boys get along very well. The fact that they are now separated for the majority of the day has been good for both of them, but their closeness is apparent when they come home. They play together a lot, often times concocting some sort of fantastical situation for which they must create the characters, plot and (of course) the sound effects. They had their first experience with outdoor soccer this year, as we moved Fredericksburg soccer (what we had always called it, anyway) up to the high school. They had a great time. A typical performance might include Jude critiquing players technique and Noah diving to covering up the ball when he was unable to retrieve it in the traditional way.

Gracie has become exceptionally verbal. I don’t know if it’s me, or because she’s my kid and my perception is skewed, but she can talk. The babysitter has started to teach her (informally) some dutch. I don’t know if this is a contributing factor, but I think her ability to communicate is top notch. She actually told Angie, while in the doctor’s office that she “whats to go home” (she’s no dummy). This was at 16 months. She gets around real good as well. Stairs are not an issue, other than for mommy and daddy who still are not comfortable with her motoring up and down them “for fun”. Her favorite things? Horses, bags, and babies, and small electronic devices. The most amazing thing, for me, about Gracie is how often she wants “daddy”. Yes, that makes me feel good…

Angie has had a good year as well. Work is work, some days are better than others, and the hours are long. She enjoys spending time with the kids and likes finally having a house. Some nights we even get to have dinner together. The fact that we are expecting our fourth child in June means that she’s tired a lot. This doesn’t stop her from sometimes turning off the light after the midnight hour due to her desire to “just finish this chapter” in some book that she’s reading on her Kindle. As an aside, that Kindle is definitely the best gift that she almost returned, but that I made her try (if you can follow that).

My year was dominated by house renovations and a new job. We tore out all of the flooring in the house after we completed the sale, and I spent the summer putting in bamboo and tile floors. I had a lot of help from a couple of former soccer players, and a classmate from high school. As it stands right now, we’re probably 95% of the way done. There are still some loose ends, but I plan on getting to ‘em sometime this winter. I’ve put the Ph.D. program on hold ‘till the summer, as I still need to do exams and the dissertation. I’ve started working on an alternative Principal certification through Hamilton County (Cincinnati area) Educational Service Center. I’ve also been moved from the Dean of Students, as position that I held for just over a year, to a supervisory role. This means that I have longer hours and my contract is for 240 days rather than the 180 or so typical of a teacher’s salary.

Angie and I are blessed in so many ways, most notably by the love and support of our extended family. Both of our parents help whenever needed. With both of us working and three (soon to be four) kids, our lives as we know them would not be possible without their help. Dad picks Jude up every day from school, and takes him around half the time. Mom watched the boys at school sometimes during soccer season. Dorothy and Joe make room for the kids whenever we ask. Our siblings, Charles and Laurie, Dave and Kristi, help as well. We are indebted to Josh and Laryssa, who were kind enough to take our entire family to Disney World with them. What a trip. We are blessed with healthy children, who are naturally curious and like to learn. We have a house in the woods and are able to pay our bills. We hope all of you feel as blessed and full of love as we do this Holiday season.


Jan 18 2009

And Everyone Got Sick

We’ve made it through that unpleasant event of having a sickness passed around from one family member to another. After our sledding and snowman-making morning of last week, Jude and Noah began to get sick. First, it was a cough but it progressed steadily until they both had fevers, Jude’s worse than Noah’s and had to stay home from school. I stayed home with them on Monday and then on Tuesday Angie got the first part of the day off and brought them to see the doctor. As it turned out, Jude and Gracie were put on antibiotics, as Jude also was diagnosed with Pink Eye in his right eye (fun, fun…).

Noah somehow avoided getting seriously sick. Well, then on Thursday morning, after several nights of having various kids sleep for periods of time in our bed, Angie and I started to feel sick as well. Neither of us had to go see the doctor, but I’m just beginning to feel normal again today (Sunday) and Angie is still under the weather. Gracie was proscribed antibiotics twice daily, and it’s an event we both dread. She had an aversion to the stuff, and it generally requires our having to force her to open her mouth and swallow.

Angie was a champ this morning. She woke up and made cinnamon roles (for breakfast) and cupcakes (for later) for Noah. What a girl. She then had to head to work, so we’ll finish decorating the cupcakes when she returns. I will post more after our little party tonight. We’re just doing the family thing tonight for Noah, then we’ll have a bigger party with both sides of the family next weekend.

Sep 14 2008

Images From Summer 2008

I’ve been absent here for the last bit, mostly because I’ve taken a new position at school (Dean of Students), soccer has started, and I’m back at Kent State taking classes. However, I’ve managed to put together some galleries of images that Angie and I have taken over this period of time. They’re listed below.

I hope you like. And, I’ll try to post more often now that I’ve got some more time. Look for another post with images from Grace’s Baptism later today.

Apr 6 2008

First Bike Ride of 2008

Noah swings

Jude, Noah, and I took our first bike ride of the year today. My major finding: they’re getting heavier. Either that, or my biking legs have gone away over the winter. I’m guessing it’s a little of both. We ended up at Holmesville Elementary, or as they call it, “Grandpa’s school”. We sent around forty-five minutes there before we left, as Noah had to get home to use the bathroom.

It’s beginning to feel a lot like spring. I saw a lot of green on the ride. There were a lot of people out too. I took some pictures, you can check them out by following this link.


Mar 30 2008


Daddy and Jude planting a Dawn Redwood

Angie, the boys and I spent the afternoon planting three Dawn Redwood trees on our property. We’d purchased these last fall from the OARDC, and they spent the winter in large pots in front of out apartment. I bought Jude and Noah little shovels at Wal-Mart before we went, so they had fun playing in the dirt.

These are beautiful trees. They were thought to be extinct for many years, then were discovered in the middle part of the twentieth century. We hope that they take root. Angie took pictures, you can check them out here.


Jun 18 2007

Backpacking Trip

Andrew, Charles, and Lawrence

Charles, Lawrence, Joe and I spent a couple days on the Appalachian Trail this past weekend. It was quite a trip. Joe had to drive in from Florida (around 14 hours) and we couldn’t leave until after my Thursday Statistics I class. We ended up meeting in a little town called Buena Vista about 15 miles from the trail at around 8:15 P.M. It took us until around 10:20 P.M. to get both cars in the right places (one at either end of our planned walk), on account of having to drive on two of the curviest roads ever (one of those being the Blue Ridge Parkway). Now, your average group of guys would have slept in the car, maybe set up the tents outside and waited until morning to begin hiking. Not us. Nope, having sat in cars all day, we were ready to do something, anything really. So, knowing full well that we had a 4 mile, +3200 foot climb in front of us; armed with headlamps and our new trekking poles, we happily began our ascent up The Priest at 10:49 P.M.

I’ve taken around 10 individual trips on the Appalachian Trail. Some more difficult than others. Charles, Lawrence and I have done some wild things; climbed waterfalls, 25 mile days, sprinted 2 miles to a shelter to avoid lightning. The trek up The Priest now ranks number one on that list. One of the longest climbs that we’ve every made, in the dark, in the fog no less. The A.T. is (at times) no more than a foot or so wide and can be hard to follow in the daylight. Our headlamps generally make it possible to hike at night. But, the dense fog put us in a similar situation to a driver driving in the fog at night; the fog simply reflected much of the light and the visibility was actually diminished.

A little more than three hours later and we had reached the summit (not much to see at 1:45 A.M.). After celebratory high-fives, we remembered that we now actually had to find a place to sleep. We pushed onwards, toward a shelter eight-tenths of a mile further (talking politics as we walked). Unfortunately for us, the shelter was full. We ended up tenting near the shelter. Joe got a fire going (really quite something in that weather) and Charles, Lawrence and I set up the tents. We fell asleep around 3.

Our hopes were that the rain would move out and we would be treated to two sunny days on Friday and Saturday. It was not to be. We woke up at around 11 in the morning to find more rain and fog surrounding our tent. Left with no other choice, we took down the (very wet) tents, packed up, and moved on. After such a big night our energy levels were pretty low. We only managed 8 miles on Friday. We stopped at the next shelter, filtered some water, made and ate dinner and were asleep by 7:30 P.M.

We awoke at 5:30 A.M. Saturday morning to the same type of weather we saw as we dozed off on Thursday night. More rain and fog. We got an early start (6:15) and had completed around 4 miles by 8. We took a break on Wolf Rocks and then moved on. Around noon, the sun was able to peek through. We found a cool place to eat lunch (Joe built another fire as we were still trying to dry out) complete with two swings and climbing tree. We made some calls home and stayed for a couple of hours (having 7 miles under our belts). At around 2 o’clock we packed up and began our walk out of the woods. The climb down into the gap (3000 feet) was a killer. My big toes felt as though they were about to fall off. I always dread the big uphill climbs. But, after we get off the trail I find myself convinced that the down-hills are even worse.

Jun 10 2007

Ph.D. Program

So, I start work on my Ph.D. on Monday. I haven’t been in a classroom in seven years (on account of getting my Masters Degree through an online program). I’m actually looking forward to being in the classroom again, as opposed to sort of floating out there alone; a feeling that was pretty common as I moved through the online courses at Indiana Wesleyan University. Nothing against the school, but the process of working through higher level course work without any real human contact turned out to be a little less fun then I had originally thought (coming from someone who couldn’t be described as a social butterfly).

In the end I choose Kent State University. My interest in technology was significant factor in the decision making process. The only schools that I could find that offered doctoral degrees combining in some way education and technology were Kent and Ohio State University (within driving distance anyway). Ohio State was appealing simply because it’s rated as one of the top 25 educational institutions in the country. Initially, I was going to apply to Ashland University but my sister (who has already completed her Ed.D. from Teachers College at Columbia University) pointed out these types of programs that integrated education and technology. She pointed specifically to the large number of programs offered at Ohio State. Soon after Ellen’s submission, my father suggested I look at Kent’s program, noting that it Kent is also a good school and is a lot closer than O.S.U. I couldn’t be happier with my decision.

My advisor is interested in the design of online learning programs. After my experiences with the Blackboard software (at IWU), I would agree that there is some work to be done. Here’s to the next couple of years being full of meaningful discussion, real collaboration, and valuable contribution to the field of instructional technology.

I’ll be maintaining a blog as I move through the program. It can be found here.