2 Jan 05
We celebrated Christmas several times this year.  The first was on Christmas Day at Ruth’s parents house.  The second time was on the 29th at Ruth’s brother’s house.  The third was a the St Louis Mills with my Dad on the 31st.  And the last celebration was at a restaurant with my brother and sister, and their children on 2 Jan.  Sean-Daniel and Melodie got a lot of cool toys, clothes,  and books.  Rather that put the toys  away each day we just left them out for them to play with in the morning, so our house is quit messy right now.  Crystal and Jon came up on the 1st of Jan, and are staying the week.
I was too worn out to go anywhere for New Years celebration, and I just watched movies until Midnight.  This year was unusually warm for December – up in the 50’s at times, which was good for our families who were traveling.

8 Jan 05
Last night it started snowing, and this morning we had a beautiful winter wonderland all around.  About 3 inches I’d say.  Before we went to Sean-Daniel’s swimming lesson’s we started our snowman, and when we got back we picked up where we left off.  Sean-D worked hard rolling the snowballs to get them bigger, but he soon got bored and  I ended up finishing it.  We had a real carrot nose (baby carrot), pecans for the mouth and eyes, twigs for arms, and Ruth gave us a scarf and hat to complete the look.

11 Feb
Today Sean-Daniel is four years old.  We had a small celebration at our house.  He got a new Thomas movie with a Percy engine.  We’ll have another celebration for him on Melodie’s birthday.

19 Feb
Sean-Daniel was promoted today in his swimming class.  He has gone from a Pike to an Eel. His teacher said he has been doing very well – just needs to work on floating on his back.
Today Melodie is two. We celebrated this evening at our house with Grandma and Grandpa Falconnier, and Amber came over too.  She brought presents for Sean-D also.  Unfortunately neither Sean-D nor Melodie had taken a decent nap, and the stress of the celebration got the better of them.  The slightest thing would set them crying in frustration – like Melodie trying to walk in the fairy slippers or Ruth not putting ice cream exactly where Sean-D wanted it. One of the presents Amber got Sean-Daniel was a little flashlight with 3 different lenses of a cartoon cow.  While putting Sean-D to bed he entertained me with a little impromptu skit by shining the cow-light on the ceiling and pretended to have a conversation with me.  It was amazing how many things he could come up with.  I think he got the idea from the puppet shows they have at his Awana meetings.
Last night, Ruth started taking down Melodie’s crib.  She said there was no point in keeping it since Melodie can climb out it so easily.

3 Mar
For about a week now Melodie has been suffering from some kind of virus that gave her sores in her mouth.  Poor thing, she was so miserable – she would yell when trying to eat, or suck her thumb, or drink anything.  And boy was she crabby.
Yesterday I decided to join the Awana’s as a leader, so I stayed in the meeting yesterday.  Even though I had explained it to Sean-Daniel he kept telling me “Ok Daddy, you can leave now”.  I hope I don’t take away too much of his fun.  That just reminded me.  Last Awana meeting Sean-Daniel was pointing at some of the other kids, and telling me who they were, and that they were his friend.  Then he pointed to a little girl who he couldn’t remember what her name was, so I told him to ask her.  He acted just like a shy teenager, and said “You ask her”.  I did, with him hiding behind me peeking around my leg.  She said her name was “Sydney”.  I just wanted to put it down in my journal in case a few years from now…….

19 Mar
I thought I’d make a note about Sean-D’s progress in his swimming lessons.  He can now go underwater briefly – that’s one of his favorite things.  He is getting good at swimming on his back with just his floaty belt thingy (no noodle).  He has mastered kicking with straight legs (he used to run in the water).  He was also able to briefly float on his back without moving, but he still panics even though the teacher is right there.

24 Mar
It seems that Melodie has traded her “Stuckie” saying for a new one.  She now says “I can’t do it!”.  It’s always said in anxiety and despair even though I know she’s done, whatever she can’t now do, a hundred times.  Ruth tells me she also has another new saying: “I don’t want it”.
Sean-D is doing very well in Awana’s.  I forgot to mention that he has memorized the Pledge of Allegiance, which they recite at every meeting.

2 Apr
A Sean-Daniel Moment:  Ruth and I went shopping at Wal-Mart.  I took Sean-D and went off shopping while Ruth went to change Melodie in the bathroom.  I was in a hurry, and had to keep telling Sean-D to keep up.  Then, out of the blue he says “Daddy I’m proud of you”.  Off handedly I said “Yeah? Why are you proud of me?”  He said, “Because you’re so good to me”.  I stopped what I was doing and looked down at him with my mouth open.  I wasn’t sure I heard him right.  He just looked up at me with a smile – an innocent smile.  “He really means it” I thought.  I’ve never heard a 4 year, or any child for that matter, ever say something like that to a parent.  Suddenly, I wasn’t in a hurry anymore.  I told Ruth about it, and she reminded me that recently Sean-D told his Grandmother that I was the Best Dad ever.  Wow!!

30 Apr
Today is Ruth’s 44-somethingeth birthday.  We celebrated on the 28th with David making a delicious supper (seasoned chicken and potatoes, and a cake.).  Then on the 29th I took her out for supper with the kids and Amber to an Indian restaurant.  Today we had the traditional cake and presents at our house with her mom and dad.

4 May
Today was the Awana’s awards night.  Sean-Daniel got a little cubbies doll, which attaches to his vest, for completing his Hopper Celebration book.
Melodie has gotten very good with words, and expresses herself pretty well.  She even talks to Sean-Daniel, and sometimes argues with him.  Sometimes I have to ask him what it was she said.  She pronounces Sean-Daniel “Shawn-Dawn”, David “Dadid”, Amber is pretty close, and Crystal is something like “Tistel”.

12 May
Today Sean-D wanted a peanut butter sandwich. He got out the stuff to make it, and usually he waits for Ruth to make it.  Instead, this time, he started making it himself.  Ruth and I watched him through the whole process, and he did it just right.  Except… he did have to get another knife after licking the jelly off the first knife before starting on spreading the peanut butter.
Melodie surprised me today when she said a complete sentence: “No, I don’t want any pizza”. She seems to saying more sentences instead one word responses.

17 May
Yesterday, Crystal and Jon came to visit for the week.  Today we went to the Missouri Botanical Garden.  It was Jon’s first time.  We got to see most of the garden, and we were able to visit the raccoon fountain, the sheep, and feed the fish – all of which are Sean-D and Melodies favorites.

25 May
A Melodie moment:  I have mentioned before that Melodie likes to put things on her head. I’ve also mentioned that she’s a little odd.  Today Ruth had left her alone in her high chair for a few minutes with some yogurt, and came back to find her smearing it on her head.  She came and got me, and we both just stared at her until I finally thought to take a picture.

28 May
Today was Sean-D’s last day of swimming lesson’s, and he got promoted to Ray!

29 May
Eckert’s Farm is having their annual Strawberry Festival this weekend.  We went yesterday and today, and hopefully tomorrow.  It’s mostly for kids.  They have a pony ride, those blowup slides, tractor rides, and your basic rides.  Yesterday I was worn out, and today the kids were worn out. We had a lot of fun.  Unfortunately the strawberries were already picked out, so we’ll have to go another day.

4 June
Today Sean-Daniel and I went to Mascoutah for the Volksmarch event they were having.  We took the 5K route, and at every checkpoint they had samples of different flavors of ice cream. This is Sean-Daniels first Volksmarch, and he made it all by himself – albeit dragging his feet and flushed in the face.  Then, to top it off, we went and picked up Ruth and Melodie at the house, and took off for Fort De Chartres for their annual Rendezvous.  I haven’t been in a number of years and Ruth had never been.  It was quite impressive with the number of historical costumes ranging in all kinds of time periods mostly colonial.  We also partook of the homemade root beer and buffalo jerky.

25 June
Temperatures have been high this week and yesterday the heat index was over 100F. It hasn’t rained in awhile and some of the town’s are starting water conservation measures.
It was busy this week starting on the 19th – Fathers Day.  Ruth took me and the kids out to dinner.  Amber sent me a card and Crystal gave me some audio cassettes of a sermon done at BJU.
Then, on the 22nd, Ruth and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary – twice.  Ruth’s mom was able to watch the kids for us in the afternoon, so I took off work early, bought a dozen roses, and we had a romantic lunch together.  When we got home, Amber called saying that she would watch the kids if we wanted to go out, so we took her up on it and had dinner.
The 23rd was my work picnic, so I took the whole day off.  It was too hot that day, so after we ate we walked over to the Mascoutah pool, and spent the rest of the playing in the water.

15 July
This week Sean-Daniel went to Vacation Bible School at our church. and this evening we went to church to watch all the kids sing the songs they learned. Sean-Daniel did a great job with the hand motions.

17 July
For a while now I’ve notice how close Melodie and Sean-Daniel are getting.  They love each other a lot, and even though they have their fights, and point their finger at the other when I ask “WHO DID THIS?”, they also have a lot of fun playing together.  When one says or does something the other joins in – more so as Melodie gets older.  Today, I heard them yelling and running around the house.  I went to check on them and found that they each had capes and Sean-D was yelling “I’m Superman” and Melodie yelling “I’m Superman too”.

This evening Amber came over with her new Shar Pei puppy. Sean-D and Melodie went wild.  Melodie kept yelling “It’s a doggie!!” over and over.

8 Aug
Sean-Daniel took his first ride in an ambulance this last weekend.  He started out with the sniffles, followed later on in the morning by a little wheezing.  Saturday afternoon he started having problems breathing and even started to panic.  Ruth rushed him to the local hospital, but they no longer had the facilities to care for children, so they had to send him across the river.  That night the doctor confirmed it was an asthma attack, and Ruth and I stayed the night with Sean-D while Ruth’s mom stayed with Melodie at our house.  We were back home Sunday in time to see David off to California. David has decided to go to California for college, and live with his dad.

15 Aug
We had another adventure this last weekend.  While we were out visiting friends a storm came through the neighborhood,  and when we came home in the evening we found are driveway block by tree limbs from the gum ball tree.  Our other car was buried in the limbs, and at first appeared unscathed.  However, one of the branches managed to poke a hole through the window and put in a couple of dents.  The house was ok – a few small branches in the gutter.  It took all day Sunday to clean up.  We stacked the cut up branches for use when we go camping.  Today I’ll take the car in for repair.

18 Aug
The Geo is already fixed – window and dents. I decided to take it in to a pro, and paid $872 (ouch).

31 Aug
Sean-Daniel started his first day in Awana’s, and he’s very excited.  I’m also volunteering to be a leader again.
Last Sunday the Gulf Coast (New Orleans) got hit with a category 5 hurricane.  It’s affects were felt all the way up to Tennessee.  Last week gasoline was $2.42/gallon, and due to the damage to the oil refinery’s in the coast gas shot up to & $2.99 today.

8 Sept
Our 1991 Dodge Spirit was acting up earlier today, and this afternoon it wouldn’t start.  After letting is set awhile Ruth was able to start it and drive it down the road to our mechanic,   He said we had a blown head gasket, and would cost over $1000 to fix.  The car’s been going downhill the last couple of years, and I’ve been saving up for a new car.  Tomorrow we start shopping.

9 Sept
Tonight Ruth drove home her 2003 Saturn L200.  We started out looking at vans, but ended up getting a nice sized car that supposedly gets good gas mileage.

10 Sept
We took the new car down to Chester Illinois for their 26th annual “Popeye Picnic” – it was more of a festival with a parade, a petting zoo, pony ride, carnival rides, balloon shape-twisters (Melodie got an Elmo),  and those blowup activity slide thingys that seem to be a mainstay nowadays.

16 Oct
Happy Birthday to me (Daddy)!  Yesterday, Ruth, Amber, Sean-Daniel, Melodie, went the the Taiwan restaurant for lunch, and today we had the birthday cake with Ruth’s parents.  I am 44 years old.

19 Oct
Today Sean-Daniel was able to get his skin test done for allergens.  The results are that he’s allergic to some of the exterior molds and one internal. He’s also allergic to Maple/Box Elder, Sycamore, Cedar, Cottonwood, and Pecan pollen.  Also, Timothy grass.  I’ve set up a Pollen Alert with a Pollen website to email me when there a high level, so we can keep him in the house.

7 Nov
Ruth and I received a call today from Crystal that she had an ultrasound done, and she and Jon are going to have a baby boy!  He shall be called Josiah David Acker.

24 Nov
We celebrated Thanksgiving at Grandma and Grandpa Falconnier’s house.  Amber was there too.
I notice that I haven’t been keeping up with the kid’s progress. They are both growing up fast. They love to do things together, but also have their selfish moments with each other.
Sean-Daniel has become a little organizer.  When we are getting ready to do something or go somewhere, he assigns everybody a job.  Sometimes he just makes up a party so he can organize it.  He’s able to do a lot of things on his own.  He can dress himself (still can’t tie his shoes though).  Brushes his teeth (puts on his own toothpaste, and even prepares Melodies toothbrush).  Puts in his own videos, and rewinds them when he’s done.
Melodie is quite a pistol – very independent and obstinate.  But she also has a sweet disposition, and she melts her daddies heart when she smiles.  She’s in that little “Miss Opposite” stage that Sean-Daniel went through when he was three.  One of the funny things she does is when I call her my “little princess” or when she comes to me on her hands and knees, and I ask her if she’s a puppy, and she says: “No, I’m Melodie”.

9 Dec
We got our first snowfall of the year yesterday, and it was a doosie – about 4 inches.  We weren’t able to get out into it until about noon today because the temperature was down in the single digits.  When we did get out to play we all had a blast.  The first thing Sean-Daniel did was make “railway tracks” in the new snow.  Then I pulled him in the saucer, following his tracks.  Melodie and Ruth came out a little later, and Ruth and I took turns pulling the saucer.  As we followed the same tracks it got easier.  Then Sean-Daniel and I had a snowball fight, and Melodie got us playing snow soccer.  Of course, since it was about 20 degrees outside, we eventually had to go in, but I’d say we were out about a good hour and a half.

27 Dec
Christmas has come and gone.  Ruth’s out of town relatives came at various times, and will be leaving over the next few days.
Ruth related to me about a childhood memory of hers.  She remembered that her parents had an aluminum Christmas tree, with a color wheel shining on it that made it sparkle. She asked if we could get one this year, so I went on EBAY and found one on 8 Dec.  The seller only took money orders, so I mailed it the next day.  After 5 days the seller still hadn’t got the order, and with only a few days left before Christmas I was beginning to fret a little.  Fortunately, the order finally got through after 7 days, and the tree was shipped to us. I figured there was no way the tree would arrive in time because of how long it took for the money order, but praise God!  The tree arrived 19 Dec.
David also arrived on 19 Dec from California.  Amber had gone on vacation to Australia, but arrived on Christmas eve.  Crystal and Jon arrived 23 Dec from South Carolina.  Ruth’s sister and family came down from Chicago, and Ruth’s other sister was not able to make it in from California until the day after Christmas.
It was a great Christmas event.  It didn’t snow this time, but with so many relatives traveling it’s probably a good thing.


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