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 2056 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 944 times | Comments (0)
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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 1408 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 3152 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 1637 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 1868 times | Comments (0)
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11/2 - Jeremiah, "Aunt Prudence gave us this one."  perfect grammar

11/3 - Jonathan, "Mom, did you know that if you take the 'c' out of 'record' and add 'er' at the end, it becomes 'reorder'?"

11/3 - Jeremiah, walking backwards with finger in front of his face, "Me try to pick [scab], but me go 'way."

11/3 - Nathaniel recognizes his name.  Jeremiah calls from the other room, "Nan-el!".  He turns and crawls to Jeremiah.

11/3 - Nathaniel says, "Guh-guh-guh"

11/5 - NPD sticks his hand in oatmeal fresh from microwave. I rushed him to the sink for cold water right away, but blisters still formed in between fingers and on his wrist.

11/5 - NPD upper left 2nd incisor

Noah's favorite hobby - opening presents (More)

Posted by Heather Daley on February 29, 2016, 8:41 am | Read 1485 times | Comments (1)
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9/2 - NPD definitely pulling up (on bathtub) - see Mom's post of Maggie P.

9/2 - NPD, "ma-ma-ma" "na-na-na"  JDD is convinced it means "Mom"

9/2 - Joy, "2+3 is 5. [pause] I learned that in bed."  Subsequently also taughtherself other addition facts.

9/2 - Joy making bracelet with paper and tape. She pointed out to me, "I made the tape not so it would hurt you." She had made sure to place the sticky side facing away from the skin!

9/3 - Joy and JPD get their own bath.

9/4 - Joy figured out 2+4=6 at breakfast.

9/6 - JPD, "I doved under water, no." (Means "I didn't dive underwater.")

9/8 - Me, "Tomorrow, NPD has a dr appt."  JPD, ruefully remembering the doctor's office, "Lady poked me." Me,"Yes. Yes, she did." JPD, "Why?"

9/9 - Our kids like to count how many American flags they see on the way to karate (and other destinations.)  Joy, " 'Merican flag!".  JPD, "Merry gag!" (More)

Posted by Heather Daley on February 29, 2016, 8:22 am | Read 1506 times | Comments (1)
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5/6 - Jonathan is as tall as Mom!

5/7 - Faith, "Ramen numerals"

5/8 - Jeremiah, "Don't touch it."  I think that's his first three word phrase.

5/9 - Jeremiah was looking at the New Bible Dictionary that has a painting of the last supper (or something like it - Jesus in the middle with a few disciples around him). I think it was rather in the syle of Rembrandt, with lots of browns and off-whites, with Jesus a bit brighter. He pointed at Jesus and said, "Scary" (sounds like geh-wy".)  I never had really looked closely, but it did make him look kind of freaky...

5/9 - The girls and I went to our church's Mother-Daughter banquet. Afterwards, Joy said, "At church, I dreamed about hearts and ribbons and flowers."  I replied, "How did you dream if you were awake? Were they daydreams?" She answered, very confident and matter-of-fact, "I have dreams *all* thetime."

5/18 - Joy counted to 100, only needing a prompt at 50.

5/20 - Noah said, "assumination" when he meant "assumption".

5/21 - Joy counted the odd numbers to 99.

5/25 - Joy counted the evens to 100.

5/27 - Jonathan followed the Betty Crocker biscuit recipe on his own.  He mistook "shortening" for "thickening" so he used a cup of cornstarch instead of butter.  The biscuits turned out surprisingly edible.

May - Jeremiah says "mung" for gum.  Also, "now" for down.  Other words I can't recall at the moment he also pronounces backwards.

5/28 - Amazing baby Nathaniel sleeps 8.5 hours.  He consistently sleeps 6-7 hours at night.  Thisis such a blessing for me.

5/28 - Jonathan likes to exclaim with an "evil" laugh.  Jeremiah this time copied him, "Mwa-ha-ha-ha..." very cute.

5/29 - Jeremiah is starting to initiate going on the potty.

6/3 - Nathaniel can kick himself forward a few inches (on his belly and on his back.)

6/4 - Jeremiah recognized and named a circle.

6/4 - Nathaniel's first solid food.  Jeremiah fed him some tortilla chips. Thankfully, Faith observed and called me right away.  Nathaniel's gag reflex did its job and I got it out before he really choked.

6/5 - Nathaniel rolled from front to back.  The first time startled him and he cried.

6/5 - Jon went to the station to do his shift chores.  Faith, Joy, and Jeremiah went by themselves after him to help.  They came back the first time, Faith unsure of which direction to turn at a particular cross-street.  The second time, they made it successfully.  And Jeremiah kept his promise to hold Faith's hand the entire time.

June - Jeremiah likes to pick flowers for me, and he always lets me know that they are from "my yard". (Because we are not allowed to pick flowers from other peoples' yards.)

6/9 - Joy washed the kitchen windows on her own initiative. She started with water, and then I showed her the window cleaner and squeegee, and she did a nice job on the windows she could reach (lower panel).

6/19 - Jonathan and Noah have a discussion with Dad-o about geography and time zones, latitude and noon.

6/20 - Faith transposed Journey By Camel from C to G.  This included accidentals.

6/20 - Jeremiah counted, "one, doo, wee, doh"

Jeremiah says "way-way" to mean "this way" or "that way" or "the right way" etc.

6/20 - Jeremiah had a 12-inch ruler and went around measuring all sorts of things.  Each time, he would exclaim, "Inches!"

Nathaniel has said "Hi!" several times in the right context.  One time in the morning he said what sounded exactly like, "Please."

6/29 - Jeremiah climbed to the top bunk unassisted.

6/30 - Jeremiah climbed down from the top bunk unassisted.

Jeremiah consistently identifies the color blue correctly.

Posted by Heather Daley on February 29, 2016, 7:57 am | Read 551 times | Comments (0)
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3/2 - I told Jeremiah I'd clean up the (play) food because he was still playing with the cars.  He came up to me, gave me a big hug, and said, "Thank you" (sounds like Duh-doo).  So sweet!

3/2 - Faith offered to ask Dad-o to walk them to Joyful Noise, "'Cause...I want you to have enough rest, Mommy."

Jeremiah calls Faith's headbands "crowns".

4/6 - Joy was counting, Jeremiah repeating after her.  After she got to twelve, he repeated twelve and then said thirteen on his own before she did!

4/8 - Pinewood Derby.  Noah won 2nd place in the kids' division. Jonathan got 5th.  Jon got 3rd in the adult division.

4/17 - Faith went to ride her bike at St.Mary's parking lot all by herself.

4/22 - Dropping Jon off at airport, trying to get gas, turning wrong way on Brown Ave, all the way down to Hudson.  Dunkin Donuts, directions even further south, then finally back up and at Lowe's with only Jeremiah and Nathaniel, lady at checkout "you have your hands full!"

4/23 - JPD can plug in toaster. "pug"  Also, "ow-coke" = artichoke

4/24 - Noah, "I was racing myself around the car.  We tied."

4/24 - Joy, about Nathaniel, "Oh!  He smiled so much, I think he loves me!"

April - Jonathan makes placebo potions.  The first one was for when someone gets mildly hurt outside - a poultice to rub on the hurt part to feel better quickly so you don't have to go inside to Mom.  Then he made drinkable ones - water with xylitol, almond and vanilla extracts, food coloring.  But then they sat around in jars too long and that phase was over.  They still do the outside one, though, because it's easy to make from grass and twigs and dirt. (:

Posted by Heather Daley on January 8, 2016, 12:04 pm | Read 640 times | Comments (1)
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12/26 - Daley Christmas.  Baby cousin G gets a pretty dress.  People exclaim over it. Big brother C says, "I'm not impressed."

12/28 - C, "Dad, [cousin] O says 'ellow' for 'yellow'".
Ben, "That's ok, bud."
C, "It's not ok with me."

12/30 - Joy counts to 30.

1/5 - Jeremiah gets pinworms.  All family takes medicine, except Heather takes homeopathic remedy given by midwife.

1/10 - JDD, "It's Satur-awesome-day!"

1/10 - Jeremiah, picks up a tomato, exclaims, "Mah-now!".

1/10 - Jeremiah recognizes pictures of cousins, "Viv-a!", "Ow-ee!"  Also, "No-ee!" and a very close rendition of "Joy".

January sometime - Jeremiah loves oatmeal, "eh-moo"

1/20 - Joy counts to 40

1/20 - Joy, "Zucchini climbed the sycamore tree."

Posted by Heather Daley on January 22, 2015, 2:41 pm | Read 3117 times | Comments (2)
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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 4576 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 4426 times | Comments (2)
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3/23 - I told Jeremiah the toaster was hot, and he held up his hand, palm facing, but not touching, and said, "hah".

3/25 - Jeremiah was whining about something, and Noah, to cheer him up, said, "Why cry, my pygmy fly?"  It made me laugh anyway!

3/26 - JPD definitely says "hi" now, especially when people walk into the room. Grammy also taught him "high five" which is pretty fun.  He said "hot" more, also. (More)

Posted by Heather Daley on April 27, 2014, 8:37 pm | Read 10997 times | Comments (1)
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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 21540 times | Comments (5)
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