November 27, 2011: Happy Birthday Liesl!

Medifast Status: Day 209, Down ~70lbs

I can’t believe that my little baby girl turns three years old today!  She is growing up so quickly.  It makes me sad to see these years slipping past.  Soon my little girls will be old and moving away.  It seems like it must take a very long time but it really happens just so quickly.

Dominica got up this morning and found that the Grices had snuck away like thieves in the night taking all of the furniture with them and not saying a world.  Dominica had gotten up around seven in the morning to check on them and found the house empty.  That was actually very nice because we then got to sleep in rather than getting up and helping to load their vehicles like we had planned to do.  Later in the day Francesca emailed to say that she remembered that she had not said goodbye right as the door shut and locked and it was too late as they were locked out of the house.

Dominica got Liesl’s birthday presents from dad all put into gift bags and piled them up in the middle of the living room floor.  The living room is almost completely empty except for the hanging plants, the Christmas tree that Dominica put up on Friday, the two chairs and some random stuff in boxes that we need to clean up.  The Grices took a lot of stuff including my old music stand that I used in high school and college because Madeline needs to use it.  Madeline is borrowing Epic Mickey too and Francesca is borrowing And Then There Were None, both for the Wii.  Now they just need to dig out their Wii and get it hooked up.

Liesl slept in for a while and woke up to a bright sunny morning.  She ran out to discover her presents and we sang “Happy Birthday” to her.  She loved opening up her presents.  Dad got her the Sunshine curriculum for her preschool (I believe that I got that name correct) which is full of books and puzzles for her.  She got just tons and tons of books.  There was a lot for her to open.  These are good books that we will not be storing in her bedroom but nice ones that she will have to ask to read and that we will read together.  She really liked her new puzzles too which included a bear matching game and a shapes puzzle that I cannot explain very well.

Once everything was opened Liesl called dad to say thank you for the books and puzzles but was so excited that she really could not talk about it.  She quickly ran through the house with the phone and I was just able to hear “thank you for the books and puzzles” but after that she was just running around like crazy – too excited to get to start playing with her new stuff.

Liesl and I laid down on the living room floor and spent a long time playing with her new shapes puzzle together.  She did really well at understanding how the puzzle worked and doing it with me.  She really enjoyed it and I can see how this will be good for her mental development.  This is a great “toy”.

I spent a lot of time with the girls today.  The house is empty and quiet – empty both of people and of furniture.  None of us wanted to do anything today.  We just wanted to sit and relax at home.  So we did.  We have no food in the house so I did make one run out to Panda Express and grabbed takeout and returned home to eat it, but that was it.  No extra trips anywhere if it could be helped.  We needed time to recharge.

I have Oblivion installed on the PS3 in our bedroom which is not convenient for hanging out with the family so instead I popped in Dragon Age: Origins and, when I had free time, I played that a little bit.  I had played the game “to completion” a long time ago.  Maybe two years ago.  Since that time new expansion packs came out for it but that was after I was done playing the game and did not have the time to get back into it again.  So I never ended up playing them.  Today felt like a good day to return to DAO and wrap things up.

I have two expansion packs that I care about playing through and two that I do not.  The ones that I do not care about are the Golems of Amgarrak expansion and the Darkspawn Chronicles expansion.  I might, someday, decide that I am bored and come back to play these two but one, DC, is completely outside of the scope of my existing characters so I don’t care about that much and Amgarrak is supposed to be super hard and is basically outside of my main game characters’ scope – plus Dominica is partway through that one already so I am leaving it to her.

The expansion packs that I do care about are Leliana’s Song which takes place before the events at the beginning of DAO and deals with Leliana’s backstory and as she was one of the four party members that I focused on having her back story is really nice.  It was short, maybe two and a half hours to play through.  These expansion packs are certainly not big but they do add something to the game play and make the characters that much deeper.

The other expansion pack, the one that I was the most serious about, was Witch Hunt which follows the story of Morrigan who was, by far, the most critical character in my own game of DAO.  I was disappointed by how short the expansion was and how little it actually focused on Morrigan.  It did expand the game world slightly and added some intrigue and provided a little closure to a key in-game relationship but the entire dialogue with Morrigan, the key character, was probably less than one hundred words and might have been a lot less.  No real details were provided and you are still left wondering what has and will happen.  I’m hoping that Dragon Age II will answer some of that but I am not too hopeful.

So that wraps up Dragon Age Origins for me.  I’ve played all of the main game and all of the expansion packs that I intend to play.  The game was absolutely amazing and remains one of my five best games of all time and might actually be my number one.  Fable II and Dragon Quest VIII are the other top contenders.  My plan now is to get started on Dragon Age II which we have owned for about a year and Dominica has only just begun to get to play.  Overall I don’t think that she was liking it nearly as much as the original title which she had been completely addicted to.  That she was able to put DA2 down at all means that she was not as in to it.  I’m hoping to at least get started with it this week.

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