Thursday, August 7, 2008

Keal Family Newsletter, August 2008

Hello Friends and Family!

Happy August to you.

We've arrived at that time of year when the twilight part of the day
is just heavenly.  Just the right temperature, just the right
lighting. just the right time to be outside.  Lately we've developed
a habit of going on daily family walks or bike rides right after
dinner.  It is very nice.

Jaden has been going through some pretty major teething lately.  He
had a pretty high fever the other day, and we thought he was getting
sick, but it turned out to be just teething.  
Jaden will be turning one year old on Monday!   

He continues to walk around while holding on to things. He has even
been practicing standing up on his own.  Yesterday he stood up on his
own for at least 15 seconds in the sandbox.  I feel like I'm
commentating on the baby olympics or something: "And that was Jaden
Keal in the sandbox with a full 15 second free stand."  "That's a new
record for him, isn't it John?"  "Yes, Joe, this young American has a
lot of potential!"

Jaden has also learned how to hold and drink from his bottle all on
his own. That's a fun little piece of development to watch, as he
figures out that he needs to hold the bottle up in the air to allow
the force of gravity to deposit the desired liquid in his mouth.

Cirdan continues to love to play with cars.  He has also been getting
a little more into drawing lately.  We realized that we may have been
holding him back a little in that area.  A year or so ago, we
instated a rule that said that Cirdan was not allowed to play with
markers because he was too young, while Thea was allowed to draw with
markers.  This was fine and appropriate.  But we realized recently
that we never really rescinded that rule!  Here we thought that
Cirdan just wasn't in to drawing, when really he was still abiding by
an out-dated law!   So lately we've made a point about telling Cirdan
that he's allowed to use markers if he wants to. And sure enough,
he's been drawing more lately.  He drew a very recognizable pig
yesterday.  He also has been drawing rocket ships.

Cirdan has recently discovered the existence of Star Wars!  I have a
book about the mythology of Star Wars, and it has pictures from the
movie in it.  Cirdan somehow found this book, and got hooked on
it.  Question after question...   I find it very hard not to get
really excited about the idea of my oldest son sharing my passion for
Star Wars.
Just today we decided that it would be alright to show the pod-race
scene from Episode One.  Sort of a combination of his most favorite
things: Star Wars and Race Cars.

Thea has also just recently been allowed to watch something new.  For
a long time now, Disney's The Little Mermaid has been one of her
favorite things.  Just the other day, Tirah allowed her to watch the
movie for the first time.  It was some good Mama/Daughter time, as
well as being really exciting for Thea.

Thea continues to get better and better at drawing every day.  It's
really amazing to watch.  She is also getting better at riding her
bike.  She can now stand up on her pedals while riding.  It's amazing
how I still think of her as being a toddler.  But watching her zoom
around on her bike with training wheels really makes it sink in for
me that she's a kid.

Thea will be going to Kindergarten in less than a month!  This will
be a new phase in our life!  I think she will really enjoy it.

Life is a little hard for Tirah right now.  She's not getting enough
sleep lately because of Jaden's teething and sleep patterns.  But
when he turns one, we hope to move him into the kid's room, and start
trying to get him to sleep better, so that we can both sleep better,
so that we can function better as people and parents.  And with our
insanely busy schedule, it's hard for Tirah to even find the mental
time to grieve for her mom.  But we continue to try to get ourselves
into good physical and mental and spiritual habits so that we can
deal well with whatever comes our way in life.

On July 12th, we took a family trip down to Washington D.C. for the
Ron Paul Freedom Revolution March.  We did lots of planning ahead of
time to try to make sure that things would go smoothly, because we
had never done anything like this before.
And everything went as planned!  Thank You Lord!   The kids were
troopers! They lasted all day: with a 3 hour car drive both ways,
leaving home at 6:00 in the morning, getting on the Metro train,
marching in the July heat.  They were amazing.
It helped that we had lots of cookies and a few new toys for them as
prizes for doing so well.

We got to the Washington Monument on time at around 10:00 AM, even
though there was confusion at the Metro station and we ended up
paying too much for our tickets.  Apparently us country-bumkins
didn't understand how their new-fangled system worked.  Oh well.
We made it all the way through the mile-long march, pushing all three
kids in two strollers.
There were over 15,000 people who pledged to march.  I'm not sure
what the actual count was, but I heard several people estimated that
there were around 10,000 people who actually marched.

After the first part of the rally at the Capitol Building, we walked
back to the Mall area, and got some hot dogs, and then escaped into
the air-conditioning of the Air And Space Museum for a few
hours.  Then we walked back to Capitol Hill in time to hear a few
more speeches before we heard the Constitutional Party Candidate:
Chuck Baldwin speak, and then finally Ron Paul himself!      Jaden
took two naps in the stroller, and Cirdan even took a short nap on
our picnic blanket under the trees on Capitol Hill.  After that we
left and were home by 9:30ish PM as very tired, but very proud
citizens and parents.  It was quite an experience!  You can watch a
little family slideshow that I put together on YouTube here: http://

Then on July 17th we took another family trip out to Ohio to visit
with Tirah's parents and most her her siblings for a few days.  The
goal was to work on getting some of the downstairs rooms of the house
organized for Margie's caregivers to be able to function well, and
therefore focus on giving care to Margie.  It was also a bit of an
Echols family reunion.  It was also the first time our whole family
slept in a tent, which went pretty well, except for the fact that
Cirdan had a Night Terror one night and probably woke up the whole
neighborhood.  It was good to spend time with Tirah's mom, knowing
that time is limited.
Find out more about how Margie is doing at http://

We've really been enjoying doing the twice-a-month Coffee Houses at
Creekside, as well as attending the Friday night Vespers services.  
If you're in the area, the next Coffee House is August 13th 6:30 PM,
and the next Vespers is August 8th 6:00 PM.

I've added some new things to my website lately.  I now have a page
where you can purchase and download the music that I composed for the
Glencairn Documentary.
glencairn.  I also have 3 new Bonus Tracks which you can download and
purchase here  One is my
own arrangement of the well-known tune: "The Gift of Love (O Waly
Waly)."  Another is a short composition called "Home Away From
Home."  And for something completely different, I have an
instrumental rock piece which I composed and performed called
"Father's Day."

Well, that's all for now.

Love from,

Solomon, Tirah, Thea, Cirdan, and Jaden