Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Keal Family Letter, June 2008

Hello Friends and Family!

Happy June to you all!

They say that April Showers Bring May Flowers, but this year it seems
to have been April Flowers that Brought May Showers. May was a very
cool and rainy month this year. The first real Hazy Hot and Humid
day of the summer was right near the end of May.

We are loving our new house down here by the creek. It has been such
a blessing in our lives.

Jaden is now 10 months old. He crawled for the first time last week,
right around his birthday. Even though he can crawl, he still
prefers the "bottom scooting" action that was his first real mode of
transportation. He sometimes reminds me of a little wind-up toy; we
set him down on the floor and he scoots around for a while,
occasionally bumping into things, until we need to pick him up again.

He is eating a lot more solid food lately including (as was a
favorite of Thea and Cirdan's) pizza crusts. He's got two top teeth
and two bottom teeth, which not only allow for great food-chomping
action, but also the bonus feature of the cutest grin on the planet.

Just the other day, at the dinner table, he accidentally shoved his
index finger up his nose, while trying to get food into his mouth.
Tirah saw this and burst out laughing... and OH NO!... instant
supportive audience! For the rest of the meal, Jaden sat there
shoving his finger up his nose while trying to catch Mama's eye,
because he knew he could get a laugh out of her. The problem was we
couldn't stop laughing... so he kept shoving. Silly kid.

Trying to parent a 5 and 4 year old, while taking care of a baby at
the same time can be very tiring most of the time, and very funny
sometimes. The other day I was holding Jaden on my lap while
reprimanding Cirdan for doing something wrong. I was shaking my head
at Cirdan while I told him that he couldn't do whatever it was he
wanted to do, and suddenly I noticed another little head shaking in
the general direction of Cirdan. Jaden was sitting on my lap
helping me reprimand Cirdan with a big smile on his face and a
vigorous shaking of his head. It was actually really nice, because
it broke the mood, and we all started laughing. Babies are great!

Cirdan turned 4 on June 13th! We actually celebrated his birthday on
the 11th because we were going to be in Bryn Athyn getting ready for
Abby and Malcolm's wedding on the 13th. We had a nice little party.
Cirdan got a Superman action figure from us. And Carl gave him a two-
wheeler bike to match Thea's. So now Tirah and I really want to get
our bikes fixed so that we can go biking as an entire family.

Cirdan started potty training last month, and is now very competent
at using the potty, with hardly any accidents. He has also
successfully given up his binky (pacifier) at night. I think he's
really happy to take on the responsibilities of being a "big boy".

Although, there are some downsides to the new-found freedom that
comes with responsibility. Now that both of our older children are
capable of using the potty on their own, they sometimes think that
it's fun to have a "potty party" in the middle of the night. Well,
not really the middle of the night, but after they should have been
in bed. I can just imagine them whispering to each other after
Tirah and I leave the room at night: "Hey Thea!" "Yeah." "Party in
the Bathroom in 5 minutes!" "O.K.!"

Cirdan's latest favorite thing is: anything that has to do with the
Pixar movie "Cars." We let the kids watch it while we were all sick
with sore throats, and it was an instant favorite. At first it was
nice, because hey: we like that movie too, and it was a nice break
from the monotony of some of their favorite kids TV shows. But it's
starting to get old already for Tirah and I. Of course Cirdan's
favorite character is "Lightning The Queen" as he calls him.

Thea continues to blossom. Her drawing abilities improve daily. The
faces that she draws are very detailed. She has also really gotten
into writing letters. Not just as in the alphabet, but as in a
letter that you would mail. She will draw a picture, and then ask
for an envelope. She knows how to spell her own name, which she then
writes in the return address spot. Then she asks how to spell
someone's name, which she writes in the address spot. And then she
asks for a sticker to put in the postage stamp spot.

She has also started playing the piano more. She knows how to play
ABCs, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, AND Baa Baa Black Sheep! (O.K....
They're all the same song, but it sounds more impressive that way)
She has also started composing her own songs, one of which was about
being a flower girl. (She was asked to be a flower girl in her aunt
Abby and Malcolm's wedding, which she was thrilled about.)

And the latest thing that Thea has been doing is magic tricks. She
will come up to us and show us something in her hand, then she will
ask us to close our eyes while she runs off and hides it, then she'll
ask us to open our eyes as she comes back and shows us her empty
hands! She calls herself a "Mugician" (Like "Musician," only with
a "g")

Tirah and I have had two of our Coffee Houses at Creekside Cultural
Center. So far they've been small, but we hope they will start to
catch on eventually. The next one is actually tonight at 6:30 PM.

We had fun going on a date last month to see "Prince Caspian" Good

Tirah got some time off for us to go down to Bryn Athyn for her
sister Abby and Malcolm's wedding this past weekend! (We just barely
got over our sore throats in time!) Tirah's mom was also in town,
which meant that almost all of the Echols Family was together except
for Eli and Nicola who are expecting their second baby any moment
now. The wedding was beautiful. Thea was a flower girl, along with
her cousin Kate. And I was honored to be asked by Abby and Malcolm
to play "Angel's Birth" for their processional! That was the piece
that I composed for our wedding almost 7 years ago! My sister Tamar
accompanied me on the recorder. It went really well.

And now, today is the beginning of our summer vacation! Tirah is off
from work from today June 18th to June 26th! We don't plan to go
anywhere, except on day trips, and 1/2 day trips to local places.
We also hope to get a good start on recording our Love Songs album,
which we want to release by Valentine's Day 2009. And of course,
Tirah and I will celebrate our 7th anniversary on the 24th!

In Music News: I have a new piece of Sheet Music available: "Wisdom
of Time" from the "Heritage" album, which you can purchase and
download from my website:

A funny thing I realized the other day: Last December (2007) Tirah
and reached a turning point in our lives. As of this past December,
I have been a stay-at-home parent for longer than Tirah was! Tirah
was a stay-at-home mom for 29 months from February 2003 to July 2005
when she got a full-time job. And I have been a stay-at-home dad for
34 months since July of 2005! And we're still going strong. It may
be unconventional, but it works really well for us.

And that's all for now!

Have a great month!

Love from,

Solomon (31), Tirah (28), Thea (5), Cirdan (4), and Jaden Keal (10

P.S. Here's a family picture in front of our new house: