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.


Apr 12 2009

It’s Been a While

Hartzler House

Many of the photo galleries have been updated this evening. It’s been rather difficult to stay up-to-date due to the workload that I’ve been carrying; specifically work related to the doctoral program and trying to put together a house plan that would work financially. Since the last posting, a lot has happened. Noah has turned four, Jude has been through his kindergarten screening, our family went to a Cavs (versus Spurs) game, everyone from New York (both sides of the family) have came in this weekend for Charlotte’s baptism and Easter, and we have agreed to purchase a different property rather than build a house. Wow! So much has transpired that I will not be able to do justice to the true breadth of events here, but I can at least give a brief synopsis.

Noah’s birthday went well. Angie made a wonderful (alligator) cake (images of which can be viewed in Noah’s gallery). Uncle Ray was around that weekend and ended up getting Noah a gift that he and Jude have played with more than any other, a space shuttle type apparatus that can be taken apart and put together in a multitude of ways. (This is the sort of thing I couldn’t have quantified if I had posted on time…) There are also some nice pictures from Dad’s birthday party in February.

Jude’s kindergarten screening went rather well, I though (of course, I’m his dad…) The most memorable parts were the fact that Jude, when as a group the kids were to put the right colored crayon in a ziplock bag, continuously and repeatedly made sure (loudly) that the teacher knew that he had “one of those colored crayons”. Naturally, each child had the same colored crayons, but Jude wasn’t really aware of this reality…The other memorable tidbit was that when asked to point out his knee by one of the assessors, rather than pointing at the joint, Jue went into a rather long explanation of how he had tripped earlier in the day an hurt it (his knee). Lastly, when asked to state his middle name, Jude told the teacher that he didn’t know, but that he’d come back tomorrow with the answer…kinda’ funny.

The Cavs game happened more recently. We ended up having seats right next to Todd, one of the other pharmacists with whom Angie works. We were lucky in that the Cavs had lost two in a row (for the first time all season I believe) and therefore were very intense. The Spurs are a good team, but the Cavs took the apart. Since we arrived early, and since our group (Todd and his family arrived around the same time) was rather large, we ended up serving as a backdrop for some of the pre-game festivities. I had the camera and snapped some pictures of Gracie, Mommy, and the boys on the Jumbo-tron.

We also have celebrated Grandpa’s birthday recently. Unluckily, grandpa god sick the day of the party. But, he’s feeling better now (three days later) which is reassuring. Much of the time at grandpa’s party was spent visiting, as everyone from New York (Ellen, Anthony, Scarlett, Lawrence, and Laura Jeanne) were home, and Dorothy and Casey came down as well. It was a good time, and the kids have continued to visit both yesterday and today.

Both Jenny and Theresa came home for Easter as well. Josh, Laryssa, Max, William, and Ellise also came up from Columbus. We spent this afternoon at the Lackman’s coloring eggs and catching up. We’ll probably see them tomorrow as well, after Charlotte gets baptized. Theresa had a big day today, as her and Josh drove (back, in Josh’s case) down to Columbus and she purchased a brand new turbo diesel VW Jetta. What a beautiful car, I miss mine.

And then there’s the land. I had spent a good part of the first three months of this year pulling together contractors and putting together an estimate to build a timber frame home. We knew that the key to us getting approved was not going to be our gross income, but the loan-to-appraised value ration. But, before we had found out the result of the appraisal, I noticed that someone had purchase the piece of land that sits next to Charles’s and ours. He was timbering it and burning some of the limbs. I stopped, mostly because I wanted to be sure that he was on his property and not ours.

Through the course of our conversation, the young amish man mentioned that our neighbor had offered to sell him his house and land for a set price. He also told me that this individual had indicated that he had talked to an auctioneer and was planning on selling his property (25 acres in total) in three parcels, on of which would abut our property. This was problematic in that I really had always loved that piece of land and I wasn’t really enthused to have a driveway running the length of our parcel.

I ended up deciding to try to get in touch with the owner because of this concern. In the end, we decided that purchasing his home and acreage would be a better deal for us. Today, after roughly 3.5 minutes of negotiation, we agreed upon a price. I’m hoping that my calculations based on numbers pulled from the auditors Web site, and some fancy extrapolation are accurate. If they are, we did real well. If they aren’t, then I’ve learned a second painful lesson. Regardless, we love the property, and feel confident that we can make changes to the house that will make it our own.

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.

Jan 11 2009

Jude and Noah’s First Snowman

Jude and Noah's first snowman

Jude, Noah, and I went sledding yesterday. We had been waiting for some real snow to head our way, and we’re lucky enough to catch some on a weekend. Angie coordinated a plan; I brought home the boys snowpants from school, and she purchased sleds from WalMart Friday night before she came home. After swapping a loaner for our car at the Ford dealership early Saturday morning, we bundled up and headed towards the hills.

Noah was much better about climbing the hill than he was last year, which was a bit of a relief as carrying him up the hill is a bit tiring. We started out on the same section of the hill that we frequented last year. But, after around twenty minutes or so, we decided to shift to a different area of the hill, bigger of course. I made a trail and then the boys went down a couple of times. However, as is often the case with me, I felt the need to change it up a bit to keep things interesting.

Angie purchased two circular sleds, one red and the other blue. Jude has a red coat, Noah a blue one. So, I plopped by bum down on the red sled, placed my legs in front of me onto the blue sled, had Jude stand up on the red sled and hold onto my shoulders while Noah sat between my legs in front. Noah pretended that he was Thomas and Jude was the caboose. My job was to steer and create the sound effects. After a couple of rather long trips back up the hill, we decided to head in.

Noah insisted that we make a snowball before we left, so I started to make one. The snow was perfect for packing and so I asked the boys if they’d like to make a snowman (they’ve been watching a cartoon version of Frosty the Snowman over and over for the last couple of weeks) and they agreed. We ended up making a pretty big snowman, their first and my first in ages. We used small pieces of pine for his “bushy eyes”, a pine cone for his nose, and sticks for his crooked smile and arms.

After finishing, Noah insisted that we “dance around Frosty”. Jude wasn’t interested, but I gave in and made a fool of myself. Good thing that we built the snowman in the back of the house. I’m pretty sure the only people who saw me were the boys. I hope anyway. I snapped the picture just before we went in.

Jan 7 2009

Jude and Noah’s First Soccer Practice

Jude and Noah's First Soccer Practice

Jude and Noah had their first “soccer practice” last evening at Acres of Fun in Wooster. Angie didn’t have to work, so she picked up the boys after naps and met soon after I was finished at the Career Center. We headed up to the Lodi Outlets to look for some soccer shoes for the boys. It turns out that the Adidas outlet had a decent selection of shoes, but the smallest size that they carried was eleven. We got two pairs of cheepies for the boys, and some clothing for Angie and myself, then headed back towards Wooster.

Both Jude and Noah got very excited when they entered the building and saw the turf. We changed in the bathroom then headed back to the field. The coaches, two middle-aged women, put the kids through their paces. They did some stretching, some dribbling, and some ball skills. The focus of the night was “no hands” and “keeping the ball close” when dribbling. The “no hands” rule was observed by pretty much everyone; the “keeping the ball close” rule was more problematic. However, it was nice to see Jude and Noah be so comfortable dribbling.

I was especially impressed with Jude’s overall ability in terms of dribbling and controlling the ball. I was equally impressed with Noah’s athletic ability, as he tends to lift his knees abnormally high when he runs, making him faster than he would otherwise be. The evening ended with a game in which half of the kids had scrimmage vests tucked into their shorts while the others tried to capture these by chasing them down. Both of the boys were visibly exhausted afterwards, and were quite cranky for the remainder of the evening.

In preparing for the evening, Angie had put together a bag of athletic type clothes for the boys to change into after school. I advised (unwisely) to include shorts and then, even more absent-mindedly, did not put the sweats back over the shorts when I had them get ready for practice. So Noah, who tends to jump around and fall a lot, ended up with some minor strawberries which were especially painful in the shower afterwards.

Unfortunately, I will be starting coursework again in two weeks, and those days correspond to the days in which Jude and Noah have soccer. Angie will be able to bring them once every three weeks, but I’m hoping that Dad or Mom will be able to help out on the other nights. I didn’t realize that this was going to be a problem until after I signed the boys up for the classes.

For our family and friends, some photos of Jude and Noah at their first ever soccer practice have been added to the gallery.

Nov 17 2008

Three Birthdays and a Trip to the Farm

Jude blows out his candles

Well, needless to say I’ve been busy. Since I’ve last posted we’ve had several birthday parties, Sophia’s, Jude’s, and Kailynn’s. The family also visited Ramseyer’s farm, which is sort of a celebration of Autumn. I’m working on putting together a combination of all of the best images we’ve taken since we got the new camera (late fall, 2006) but it’s taking a while. Hopefully I’ll have that up by Christmas.

School is taking up a lot of time. Both schools really. My new job at the Career Center takes up much more time than teaching, and I have little freedom to work on anything other than dealing with the discipline issues that arise. And, I’m taking two classes at Kent State, one of which I find terribly difficult, Statistics II.

I should be able to put together some images of Gracie soon, but I wanted to get these up and it might take a little bit more time.

‘till next time…

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.

Jun 1 2008

Bike Rides and Rocket Ships

Charles shoots off a rocket for the boys

I’ve got two sets of images to upload in the next day or so. This first set is comprised of some images taken while Laura Jeanne was here and took the boys and their bikes up to the Training Center to ride. The second set is from the next day (I believe) when Angie and I went up to do the same. The remainder are a series of three I took as the boys ran down the hill in the back of the house, and a couple taken of Charles shooting off a rocket for them.

Check ‘em out


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.