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 1971 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 909 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 1643 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?

Love,

Heather

Posted by Heather Daley on May 8, 2016, 12:24 pm | Read 3805 times | Comments (2)
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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 1559 times | Comments (7)
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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 1815 times | Comments (0)
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I am the kind of person who enjoys writing.  I process my thoughts well by writing, and I like recording my thoughts and my family's life.

This year, I will be posting more.  At first, most will be catch-up posts.  I have a whole year of pocket notes to enter, not to mention Nathaniel's birth announcement and story!!

And even if the only readers are my mother and my future self, that's ok! I'm doing it for myself.

Happy Epiphany!

Posted by Heather Daley on January 6, 2016, 9:09 am | Read 1278 times | Comments (5)
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We went sailing today in the Black Rabbit, which is the name of our Flying Junior.  I do need to find out the history of it, because I think I don't have it quite correct.  But Heather's grandpa have it to her when she was a kid and we've sailed it since we were married.

It needed a couple things fixed this year: the toe strap finally snapped while we were sailing under rough winds on Lake Owasco a couple weeks ago, and on the same trip, the main sheet cleat's screws rusted away and so we had an adventurous trip to get home.

 (More)

Posted by Jon Daley on August 5, 2015, 8:58 pm | Read 1748 times | Comments (1)
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Yesterday was an exhausting day, so I made sure to get us ready for bed early.  We were in bed by 9:00.  But Jeremiah kicked his covers off just about every hour and asked me to put them back on again.  By 3:30 or so, his medicine had worn off and he was wheezing and coughing.  It was apparent by 3:50 that he was not going to sleep without more medicine, so we did that.  In the middle of the night, it is easiest to make sure it dispenses properly if he sits up in my lap.  (That way, if he does fall back asleep, I can still keep him upright.) 

But this morning, he did not fall back asleep.  He was quite awake.  So I decided I might as well pay some bills if I'm awake.  Jeremiah sat in my lap but still was not sleepy.  At this point, I realized that there was a business bill due today and I had transferred too much money into the personal account last month so there wasn't enough in the business account.  So I got everything ready for making a deposit as soon as the bank opened.

At the opportune time, we went to the bank.  I knew I did not have the energy to make sure Jeremiah would listen to me if he walked with me, so I got out the double stroller so he could ride.  As I was at the teller making my deposit, the lady next to me answered her teller's customary, "How are you?" with,  "Good.  Every day is a good day."

Yes.  Even if you were awakened at 3:30am and have not yet had a nap, "at least you woke up."  Even if your two year old is driving you crazy, he still has a great smile.  Even if you have to go to the bank when you weren't planning on it, at least the money is there.  Oh yeah, and when you have a baby who sleeps all through the hours the toddler doesn't, it is an almost unbelievable blessing.

This is the day the Lord has made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Posted by Heather Daley on April 23, 2015, 9:34 am | Read 4071 times | Comments (1)
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I'm very much behind on the blog.  But I have kept the pocket notes safely typed up in my email.  So here goes.

In June, the kids and I made a trip to Florida to visit my parents, and my sister and her kids visited, too.

6/14 - Joy, "Mommy! I saw a dinosaur!"  (It was a lizard in Grandma and Dad-o's yard.)

6/15 - Joy, "Jesus die, then froze again!"

6/17 - JPD lower right lateral incisor

June - JPD give kisses

During the Florida visit, I confirmed that I am pregnant!  Due on Joy's birthday. (More)

Posted by Heather Daley on December 22, 2014, 2:04 pm | Read 4535 times | Comments (2)
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5/1 - Joy playing with even/odd dot cards.  Didn't quite get the concept but sometimes was lucky, so I praised the correct answers.  Then 6/2 - much more consistently correct.

5/1 - Jeremiah, watching the kids in karate class, copying them - doing punches from the "en guarde" position. Very cute!

Jeremiah claps every time someone says, "good job!"

5/2-4 - Jeremiah says, "Uh! Uh!" going "up" the stairs.

5/7 - We were walking home from karate and I saw a place in someone's yard where there was a pile of dirt spilled on the sidewalk from the landscaping. Faith was behind me and when she got to the place started yelling very excitedly for me to come see this cool thing.  I'm thinking, "dirt is really that cool?"  But I came anyway, and when I got there I looked closer.  She was right!  It was ants.  A whole giant mass of ants, crawling all over one spot, looking like some spilled dirt.  It was worth all her excitement!  (Jonathan says to make sure to note that they were not army ants.) (More)

Posted by Heather Daley on June 9, 2014, 9:44 pm | Read 4409 times | Comments (2)
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Got a bunch of spam comments and then when I was looking at posts, the boys pointed out that my last post was a month ago and I said "trip to DC goes in a separate post"...  So here we go.

When we went into downtown to see the sights, we split up into smaller groups.  Jonathan, having recently studied the beginning of our country, was excited to go see the original documents at the National Archives - the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the BIll of Rights.  It was pretty neat to see, and we enjoyed it.  But Jonathan and I think it would be pretty hard to wait in the longer lines that form during peak tourist days.  Faith had decided to come with us because she wanted to be with me, but she was pretty bored by it because she has no context for it yet. (More)

Posted by Heather Daley on April 23, 2014, 7:03 am | Read 21481 times | Comments (5)
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I think I have found a key to living selflessly.  When there's an emergency, it's easy to serve.  I see the great need, and I know it's temporary.  It's hard to keep serving in the ordinary, mundane, because it feels like it will never end and the needs don't always seem so great. The key, I just realized, is to remember that these ordinary things are temporary, and the needs are still great; they're just spread over a longer time.

When Barbara and Phil's house burned on Wednesday, all of a sudden the self-pity I had been feeling the previous weeks just evaporated.  Helping them and getting our apartment ready for them to live in has made me even more busy than I was, and I'm not less tired at the end of the day.  But my attitude is so different and it makes it so much easier!

Now if only I can keep this when life returns to the mundane.  It IS temporary - Jeremiah won't be a baby forever (he's already a toddler now!)  They do learn.  AND, that is part of the great need.  I'm their only mother.  They need me greatly. They need me to help them learn and grow and discover.  They need me to comfort them and rejoice with them.  May I remember to rejoice in that and not resent it.  And maybe someday I'll ask Jon to hold one of my hands behind my back and tap my shoulder and lean in between my face and the screen while I write a blog post, just to remember the Good Ol' Days.

Posted by Heather Daley on January 24, 2014, 9:42 pm | Read 6066 times | Comments (4)
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12/4 - F putting on chapstick.  Joy recalls, "Last time my lips sting.  Now my lips better."

12/6 - JDD, in a growly voice, with a straw stuck in his teeth and the other end in a glass of water, "I am the savage, saber-toothed mosquito!"

12/6 - JPD upper right primary incisor

12/7 - Noah, "You can use anything for dress clothes.  It just won't look as nice."

12/8 - JPD 9 steps to Mommy

by 12/19 - JPD record 11 steps, and 24 seconds standing up.

12/20 - JDD realizes that the words to Deck the Halls are not "Don we now our gray apparel."

12/23 - I'm upstairs with JPD on toilet.
Joy, "Mommy, come down here."
"Is it an emergency, or do you just want me there?"
"It emerdenee."
[I come down, naked baby on hip, wondering if the cider is boiling over, or what]
"Guy come in here."
[yikes! Don't see anyone, oh, maybe just UPS man]
Then I see our friend on the porch peering in. 

I was very happy with the way Joy handled the situation.  She didn't freak out when she saw someone, but she also made sure I knew it was not just a whim of hers for me to come down.

12/23 - It's all how you look at it.  Joy's take: "That nice day.  My 'pecial time."  It was 32 and rainy as we walked to the bank.  But we found a quarter in the slush, and she got a lollipop at the bank, and we looked at the water pouring into the grates, and she had her special time with Mommy.

~12/25 - JPD upper left primary incisor

1/4 - The fire in the pellet stove went down some, and I looked at the thermometer to see why.  I exclaimed, "It's toasty now!  Seven degrees." Jonathan doubtfully replied, "Negative seven isn't all that toasty..." Me, "No, positive seven!"  JDD, "Oh! That is toasty!"

1/6 - JPD walked 21 feet.

1/11 - The boys had their first karate test. It was very interesting to watch.  For the first rank up, from white to yellow, it is "only" two hours long.  All testers are in the dojo together, and they do much of the same moves at first.  Lots of pushups, jumping jacks, sit ups.  Lots of repetition.  It required concentration and endurance.  It was intense, hard work.  As time went along, I could see red cheeks, sweating brows.  After an hour, the current white and yellow belts got to rest in the meditation position while the upper belts did more advanced work.  However, after a while that turned out to be a test of endurance also.  I think if I stay in that position too long, my feet fall asleep!   They got a water break at the hour mark, and then a few more after that.  Jonathan commented that it wasn't fair that they got more water breaks than the more advanced kids.  But everyone says the test is harder the more advance you are.  Jonathan's concentration and determination never wavered.  Noah did the best I've ever seen him (sometimes he gets sloppy) and he only figeted towards the end.  They did a great job and they earned their yellow belts!  (Sorry about the picture, our camera puts orientation info in it but the blog didn't read it and I do not want to redo it.)

Jonathan and Noah with their yellow belts.

1/12 - JPD went down the kitchen stool steps successfully.  Also that same day, he got down off the bed purposefully by scooting himself backwards, tummy down feet first until he slid off.

He is now definitely a walker.  Still holding his arms up for balance.

1/17 - JPD has a pincer grasp now.

Posted by Heather Daley on January 18, 2014, 8:52 am | Read 4729 times | Comments (8)
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2013 Christmas Daleys

2013 Daley Christmas Letter

Posted by Heather Daley on January 1, 2014, 5:34 pm | Read 18776 times | Comments (7)
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