Or: How This Mom Started Playing Minecraft

They say that a good way to show love is to take an interset in what the other person is interested in, even if you wouldn't care about it on your own.

I'm a busy mom and wife of an entrepreneur, right?  I don't have time for video games.  I have a house to clean, school to teach, dinners to make, diapers to change, invoices to prepare, bills to pay, laundry to wash ...  blah, blah, blah.

But one day, my little Joy asked me to try Minecraft.  All my kids love it.  They play nearly every day, they collaborate, they watch each other, they coach and help each other.  I have already put in the effort to be interested in their creations.  But there is only so far you can go with intelligent questions without jumping in yourself.

I started in creative and peaceful.  Joy and Faith taught me some things, and my generated world was interesting to explore.

Then Jonathan asked me to try survival and coached me through the steps. (Though I still insisted on peaceful at first.)

It has been fun to play around and discover things, build a house to my own liking, raise a rainbow flock of sheep, etc.

My questions now come from experience.  Jonathan remarked, "It's so fun that you are actually interested in Minecraft now!"  How to connect to your pre-teen?  Maybe try Minecraft.

On vacation, I let them and myself do extra.  We discovered the collaboration of multiplayer over wifi.  We can be a team.  I also see the different personalities of my children coming out.  Each one approaches the game differently.  Jonathan works for speed and efficiency, mining carefully in the right places.  Noah thinks mining is mind-numbingly boring and avoids it when he can, preferring to get his treasure by killing monsters.  Faith is matter-of-fact, cautious and deliberate.  Joy makes beautiful, patterned structures.  Jeremiah likes digging and building, digging and building, digging and building (and he is getting more deliberate, too.)

I also discovered the phenomenon that some other part of my brain works on real-life problems while I play.  In a conversation with my sister, she remarked that I had been doing a lot of thinking.  I replied that I thought I was just doing a lot of Minecraft.  But she's convinced they're related.  And that gives me a deeper appreciation for Jon's game playing as well.

In Minecraft, my kids are the teachers (even my five-year-old: "Mom... your inventory is full, that's why you can't pick that up.")  I am the one learning, making novice mistakes, disregarding wise advice to my peril, and taking advice to my advantage.  This is fun for them and it's fun for me.  I'm glad I decided to take the plunge.

And now excuse me.  I have to go shear a yellow sheep.

Posted by Heather Daley on July 30, 2016, 6:38 pm | Read 249 times | Comments (1)
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Happy birthday, Noah!  Welcome to the double digits.  Ten was one of my favorite ages.  I am sorry that I can't give you my Be 10 Again! tshirt, but you are just too big!  But no matter how big you get, you'll always be my baby.  I love you!

Noah is an artist:

noah paintingnoahs origami

Noah is goofy:

noah is goofy

Noah is a good brother:

jonathan noah fake punch

Noah likes biking:

noah biking

Noah loves to read and be read to and he loves to snuggle.  May he have many more decades to enjoy!

Posted by Heather Daley on June 28, 2016, 9:01 am | Read 398 times | Comments (2)
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6/17 - Nathaniel gets three molars at once.  upper left, lower left, lower right.  The upper right made its appearance 6/22.

6/21 - Haircut day for some.  (It's pretty hard to get everyone in one day.)  I cut Noah's hair, and some of Jeremiah's (he got impatient and I decided it was better to stop than to get myself impatient.)  Faith asked if she could help me with Joy's hair.  She did a very careful job.  I had her start on the bangs conservatively and when it was a nice, even job, I let her do the next centimeter.  After that, she trimmed the rest of Joy's hair - to that perfect length that really sets off Joy's adorable face - right above shoulder length.  I really only had minimal fixing up to do.  So then she asked if she could to mine!  This one was one hundred percent Faith, nobody needed to do any fixing up.  I had not had a haircut since just before Joy was born (that makes it five and a half years!).  I love my new haircut!  It is much more manageable, but still long, just about 4-6 inches shorter.

6/24 - Jeremiah and Joy came upstairs with tape all over their faces and fingers.  Jeremiah explained, "Armor!  We goin' battling!"

Posted by Heather Daley on June 25, 2016, 7:06 am | Read 194 times | Comments (1)
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Highlights from my Mother's Day, in addition to playing handbells:

Nathaniel went in to the bid kids' room to give Jeremiah a morning hug and "hewwo!"

Nathaniel belly laughs.

Jonathan sang all the verses of Fairest Lord Jesus while washing dishes.

Posted by Heather Daley on June 17, 2016, 3:30 pm | Read 165 times | Comments (0)
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I typed up my memorial service reflection for a presentation we did at our church recently.  I don't think it has been typed up before, so I thought I'd post it now.  (Am I allowed to be amazed at myself?)

Heather's memorial reflection, March 16, 2003

Isaac Christopher Daley - a blessing for nine months and two days

This reflection is going to focus on the blessings God has brought to our lives through Isaac.

I'll start by reading my diary entry written one year ago today - March 16,2002.  That was the day we confirmed my suspicions that there was a new life growing in me.  That new life was Isaac.

"It is the miracle of life!  God has opened my womb and breathed a new creation! It is a miracle - God created a whole new soul and has placed it in me for safekeeping. May I be worthy.  I am so excited about being pregnant, but I do not want to lose sight of God.  I am trying and praying for the right focus.  It does help to be utterly amazed by the reality of a new person, a new creation - that really, Jon and I had only a small part in making.  God is the one who chooses to bring life.  God is the one who knows the perfect timing.  I think that I might not have been in awe as much if we had gotten pregnant earlier, and so I am very thankful for God's timing.  Praise God from whom all blessings flow!!!!!!"

I cannot express the awe of watching the miracle unfold.  I had always been pro-life, but this first-hand experience showed me why.  This person was not *my* choice, though I desired him; he was *God's* choice.

We had prayed to receive this baby, and God had granted him to us, in His own good time.  We prayed for his health, his growth, his birth.  We talked to him and sang to him and poked him; and felt him poke us back.  We listened to his heartbeat. Everything was amazing!

He was a joy to us all along.  When I was tempted to complain about being big, tired, slow, etc., God quickly brought to mind that this was a blessing worth rejoicing over, and the little pains are all worth it.

As Isaac grew, so did we, and not just in the tummy department! We grew in patience and selflessness.  I was not only feeding and caring for myself, but also for another, totally dependent person.  Jon's patience was tried by my slower-moving thoughts, and he grew in graciousness to me.

Birth is amazing, too.  God blessed me with a husband who attended to me faithfully, and He gave me the strength to persevere through a very hard labor.

The blessings did not stop just because Isaac was sick and in the hospital.  On the contrary, God kept pouring.  The body of Christ came to support us in every way, from near and far.

God allowed us to be with precious Isaac for two days.  To hold him in my arms was an inexpressible joy! The most beautiful person I have ever seen.  Made in the image of God!

A new kind of love, that of a mother for her child, hit me with great force.  It opened up new understanding of God's love for us.  But the greatest revelation did notcome until later, after Isaac died.

It is this: the love which God has for us is so great that He willingly sent His Son to die for us.  That is the greatest blessing of them all.

It is a good thing for us that I am not God, because I would not choose on my own for my son to die in someone's place.  God called Isaac from me, and made my heart willing.

It was one thing to give the opportunity of life to someone else, once God had taken him.  But I would not have given Isaac to the surgeons to give his organs to someone else, if he had not already died.

Yet this is the great love of God!  That He did not spare His only Son, but gave Him up as a ransom for many!

I do not understand why God numbered Isaac's days so few and it hurts very much, but even through his death, God has blessed us.  He has sustained us mightily by His grace.  Not only do we have to deal with the pain of death, but also the pain of investigation and unjust accusations. But yet God is still with us, keeping us from the point of no return. Sometimes we are clinging with only a fingernail.  Sometimes we look around at our situation, panic, and start sinking.  But then Jesus turns our faces back to His and lifts us up.  He has opened our hearts to see our dependence on Him, and has softened them to His will.  God also comforts us with His word.  Many scriptures come to mind, or are brought to us, that fit our circumstances exactly.

I have many questions that may never be answered, but God is blessing us still. He is good and He is love.

Posted by Heather Daley on June 17, 2016, 2:58 pm | Read 226 times | Comments (1)
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6/1 - Nathaniel was playing with the nebulizer, dripped some of the leftover liquid, said, "Uh, oh."  Then he walked to the bathroom, opened the cabinet, got out a hand towel, came back into the bedroom and wiped up his spill.

6/2 - I asked Nathaniel to put the toy cars away and he did it right away!

6/3 - Noah lost his first molar - lower left.

6/4 - Nathaniel got on the rocking moose all by himself.

6/6 - Jonathan, "Anything that's meant for school isn't as cool as something that isn't."

6/7 - Jeremiah, with finger movements, "Open the steeple, see all the guys!"

6/8 - Joy, "Hold your horses, Jeremiah!"  Jeremiah, "Where my horses?!?"

Joy pronounces her friend Naomi's name as "Wyoming."  (We're working on it, but it's still more like "Nyoming".)

Posted by Heather Daley on June 17, 2016, 2:47 pm | Read 306 times | Comments (0)
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4/26 - Jeremiah, after his first bowl of non-sugar cereal, asked for some sugar cereal.Only two pieces fell out of the box when I shook it, and he said, "Not two.  I said'some', like this..." holding up several fingers.

4/29 - Jeremiah can tie knots.  He tied the laces of my slippers together!


5/15 - Jeremiah and I went to the fire station to see the trucks for his special time. He recognized the five on the side (in 59) and said, "It has five on it, maybe Joy went on it." (Because she's five.)

5/15 - Jeremiah asked me, "My children in my belly, Mom?"

5/22 - Jeremiah was trying to tell me about a time when only he, Faith, and Joy were in the house, and some "people not our friends" came to our house.  As I probed to get more information about this, I started to realize it must have been a dream.  This was confirmed when his reply to where the rest of us were was, "Dad, you, Nanel died."  But it took quite a while to convince him it wasn't real.

5/25 - Jeremiah, looking at my cousin tshirt, asking whose hand is whose.  Then he asked about the coat of arms, and he said, pointing to each quadrant, "This is Grandma's house, Grandma's book, Grandma's song, Grandma's tree."

5/26 - Everyone went to St.Mary's parking lot for a bike ride.  Jeremiah can go fast on his no-pedal bike now.  It is actually a bit scary because I need to raise the seat for him.  His arms go in a nice cross-pattern with his running legs, but it makes his steering crazy!


5/26 - Jeremiah said, "We love sun. So fun, so sparkly."

5/26 - Noah said, "I wonder if Billy will be called Bill. I hope not. Bill is so much more boring-er."

5/26 - Joy cheerfully cleaned up the table after dinner mostly by herself and ran the dishwasher.

5/28 - Jeremiah, using shovels and trucks in the sandbox at the camping place, with sheer joy, "Hi, Faith! I workin' in dirt!"

Posted by Heather Daley on June 17, 2016, 2:41 pm | Read 221 times | Comments (0)
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Here are the brief notes I put together about our family vacation to Baltimore.  This year, the entire Daley clan was able to come (Barbara, Phil, and all their children and grandchildren!)

Thursday drive down very good, even through NYC, thanks to google traffic. Looked up heights and stories of skyscrapers.

Picnic at rest area.

Orioles game street food for dinner.

King suite with pullout couch and kid o bunk.

Friday walking to aquarium. Bus back. Pizza for dinner.

Saturday industry museum. Really neat museum, I wish I could have seen it in more detail.  I go home with littles in bus.

People getting sick. Jeremiah and I stay home for dinner. Others go to inner harbor restaurant. Adventure with top of the world and elevators and fire alarm.

Sunday pirates, science center. Portuguese take out.

Hotel pool, breakfasts.

Posted by Heather Daley on June 17, 2016, 2:36 pm | Read 346 times | Comments (3)
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Happy Mother's Day!  I love you.  Here is something I played in church this morning and thought of you.

How Can I Keep From Singing?



Posted by Heather Daley on May 8, 2016, 12:24 pm | Read 1815 times | Comments (2)
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4/3 - I said to Jeremiah, "Your shoes are on the wrong feet, sweetie."  He replied, "I not 'sweetie'.  Joy is 'sweetie'."

4/10 - Joy and I spent a grueling but satisfactory three hours earning our yellow and orange belts, respectively.

4/14 - Jeremiah, "It will be so so so fun if I get lots of drums toys for Christmas." [Note from Mom: maybe not so fun for me.]

4/15 - Noah, "I am King Excalibur, and my sword is Arthur!"

4/15 - We were just about to leave to go to some friends' house for dinner when Faith came runnung inside, "Mom! Nathaniel's bleeding!"  I grabbed a kleenex and ran down the side porch stairs. There is blood all over his shirt, pants, shoes, and the sidewalk.  After a quick check from toes on up, I discovered that the cut is in between his eyes (a little higher and to his left than Jeremiah's similar cut.)  I clamped on the kleenex, scooped him up and brought him to the kitchen sink.  By that time, Daddy had been alerted also and he came to the kitchen to check it out.  When I took the kleenex off, it had already stopped bleeding, and we could tell that, though significant, it was not as bad as Jeremiah's had been and we figured it probably did not need stitches.  After we took off his clothes and cleaned up the blood, Jon applied a butterfly closure with a couple of regular bandaids on top.  Nathaniel was really good about the whole thing.  Only 15 minutes later than we meant to be, we went to our friends' house for dinner.  The wound did ooze blood that evening, but it was fine in the morning.  He has amazingly not been picking at it.  I hope that continues even as it starts to itch.  We don't even know exactly how it happened.  The kids were playing in the driveway and no one actually saw him fall, or what he fell on.

4/16 - Jeremiah counted to seven correctly on his own.

4/16 - I have been doing knee pushups ever since starting karate.  This year, I made a goal of doing ten pushups every day in February as a kickstart to the habit of daily pushups.  After my karate test, I figured I could up the count to 20 a day.  But, partly due to Jon's encouragement, I gave full pushups a try. On Friday, I did it! Ten full pushups!  And again yesterday, and I'll do it again today.  Very exciting and motivating.  Proof that a little can grow with consistent work!

Joy can tie her shoes!  She got some sparkly Hello Kitty shoes on her birthday shopping trip with Grammy, and it only took a couple of weeks for her to get it consistently. She's still slower than the rest of us, but she no longer needs help.

Posted by Heather Daley on April 17, 2016, 4:20 pm | Read 332 times | Comments (0)
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3/4 - "It's like somebody chewing on a guitar string lengthwise." Jonathan was commenting on a squeaky artichoke.

3/11 - Faith lost lower left 2nd incisor. (R one was a couple of days earlier)

3/12 - Nathaniel was interested in the potty and went a couple of times. I have not been consistent helping him be on it, though.

Jeremiah sings "Butterfly Amazing Grace" and asks me to, also.  I didn't know what he meant when he first asked me, so I just sang "butterfly amazing grace" to the tune of amazing grace, over and over, and he liked it.

3/13 - NPD "here ya go" giving Jeremiah a piece of paper.  (sounds like hah-ya-doh)

3/15 - Joy can wink both eyes.

3/22 - Jeremiah asked for "some of those green berries."  He meant grapes.

3/22 - We were talking about how pencils keep disappearing from our house.  Noah said, "The Greeks would say the pencil gods were mad at us."

3/23 - Nathaniel can run.

3/30 - Overheard, Joy explaining to Jeremiah, "'Obstacles' means 'stuff in your way'."

3/31 - Nathaniel pointed to a raisin and said, "Ray-rih".  Jonathan asked, to be sure he heard right, "You want raisins?"  Nathaniel replied, "Yeah."  And he also said "more" later.

Posted by Heather Daley on April 17, 2016, 4:08 pm | Read 1737 times | Comments (0)
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April 4, it snowed six inches.  The next day, I wrote this:

Today the snow is still there and the sun is out and the sky is bright blue.  It feels like a gorgeous February day! But since it is April, Nathaniel is just that much more developed that he can enjoy this snow day to the max!  He can walk with his snow boots on, and he walked the farthest outside he has yet in his life. He loved it so much!  He swished through the snow just like the big kids; he patted it (his arms are still short enough that he didn't need mittens, but just kept his hands inside the sleeves of his snowsuit); he rolled in it.  He was so happy, it was such a joy to watch him.  By the time we came back inside, his cheeks and nose were bright red, but there was still a smile on his face.  Such a blessing for a late snow!


Posted by Heather Daley on April 17, 2016, 3:59 pm | Read 253 times | Comments (0)
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On Saturday, March 26th, Jonathan, Faith, Joy and I participated in our first karate tournament. The whole family rose bright and early so we could drive the two hours and 15 minutes to Standish, Maine.  This tournament is relatively small, with only about five dojos participating.  Each division had two to eight participants, with an average of about four (though I didn't do the math.)

Faith's division, 5-7 year old purple belts, was first.  There were six other kids competing with her, including her friend Evelyn from our own dojo.  In the sparring category, she lost her first match, so that one ended pretty quickly.  But when it came time for forms, that is when her practice and hard work shone.  She was confident and crisp in her movements.  She remembered everything and performed smoothly.   She was first to go, and for whatever reason, they allow the first person to go again if he wishes, so she did it again after all the other kids had gone.  She told me later that she almost told them that she had already had her turn, and then realized by how they said it that they knew she had gone already, so she just did it.  It was so fun to watch her.  And then the judges, not her partial mother, awarded her first place!  Evelyn got second place. (More)

Posted by Heather Daley on March 31, 2016, 1:14 pm | Read 494 times | Comments (7)
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On the evening of March 4th, we were on our way to the church to get our portraits taken for the upcoming new photo directory. It was a bit chilly outside, but I didn't put my hood on because I didn't want to have to fix my hair when we got there. Jeremiah had just woken up from a nap so I carried him piggyback.

About halfway there, I commented that my ears were getting cold. Immediately, Jeremiah put his mittened hands up onto my ears. It was such a sweet gesture, I had a hard time keeping from crying.

It has taken me a while to post this mostly because it evokes so many emotions for me. The thoughtfulness and compassion coming from him surprised me. There is something precious inside that boy and I've been missing it because of his stubborn persistence to get into trouble. But this gives me hope for a great future for him. Stubborn persistence to see justice done for the oppressed, to find a cure for a disease?  The possibilities are endless!

Posted by Heather Daley on March 31, 2016, 1:05 pm | Read 1930 times | Comments (1)
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2/2 - Noah and I walked past the food pantry on distribution day, and saw a friend of ours heading there. He asked if she was donating food and I explained that she was receiving food.  He wondered why she needed to get food from the food pantry, and we had a good discussion about the various reasons someone may need it.  Our friend is an older single lady on a fixed income.  I also brought up the idea that sometimes people make poor spending choices and that's why they don't have money for food. He picked right up on that, talking about people buying cigarettes instead of food. I also emphasized that it's good to have compassion for people even when they don't make the same choices we do, and try to help them make good choices if they're willing.  And also how it's good to make sure kids get enough food even if their parents are irresponsible with money.  It was a good discussion.

2/2 – Nathaniel came downstairs with help. He sat down facing forward and carefully scooted himself down each step.

2/3 – Nathaniel did the first four steps down holding my hand, all the rest all by himself. He was cautious careful and kind of wobbly. He was very proud and satisfied! That same evening he did the whole stairs all by himself!

2/3 - Noah came in holding a very small piece of fuzz and exclaimed, "With my microscope, I can see tons of colors in this piece of stuff!"  He then examined lots of other things with the microscope.

2/6 - Jeremiah, eating a hard-boiled egg, "Look, Mom! A sun!" Me, "Yes! That's called the yolk." Jeremiah, "You call it 'yolk', I call it 'sun'."

2/10 – Nathaniel wiped my nose with Kleenex.

2/11 - Nathaniel can open the microwave door.  He'll be playing somewhere in the kitchen, hear the beep and jump up and run to the microwave and open the door.  So now we have to be on top of that, because usually the stuff inside is very hot!  He also likes to open the door before it's done.

2/11 - Nathaniel was kicking a bottle around the kitchen like a soccer player.

2/11 - Nathaniel said "hello" with a clear 'l' sound.  He copied me several times that day but has not said it again since.

2/11 - Joy remarked to me, "You can't count by zeroes.  Zero...zero...zero...zero..."

2/12 - I took the baby gate down because Nathaniel wouldn't come down without me, but just stood there at the top and yelled.

But, 2/14, he decided to just step down into thin air and fell down to the landing. So the gate went up again.

This is our major birthday month, Jon turning 39, Jeremiah 3, Nathaniel 1, and Joy 5.  We had our traditional big party for Jon, and a record number of pizzas were consumed (8).  Jeremiah and Nathaniel just had Grammy and Papa over for small family celebrations. But Joy had a girls-only party, which was overall fun, but I like whole family parties better.

Jonathan has started being mistaken on the phone for Jon.  He is thrilled with this development.

2/16 - Joy, remarking about three people on a see-saw, "It's a three-saw, because, one here, one there, and one there."

2/17 - I picked up Nathaniel and hugged him and said, "Oh, my baby!"  He answered, "Oh, my mom."

2/21 - Overheard, Noah to Jonathan, "I'm allergic to dizziness, so count me out."

2/21 - Jeremiah practices screwing in a knob on the microphone stand in the cry room at church.

2/22 - Noah can whistle!

2/24 - You know you're a mechanical engineer when your one year old slams his bowl into yours and even though it doesn't break, you can see in your mind's eye the microscopic stress lines forming.

2/28 - Nathaniel practices putting a cap on a pen.

Posted by Heather Daley on March 1, 2016, 3:16 pm | Read 713 times | Comments (0)
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