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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Sad Coldness

"Yep. That's definitely a big boogie up there. Better get a Kleenex."

It's been snot city here recently. Rhianwen got her worst cold ever in her short history of colds. Fever, coughing, congestion, sneezing snot all over everything. Despite this microbiologist's best Lysol attempts, Alden came down with it 2 days ago. He doesn't seem quite as bad as Rhi (maybe due to lovely mommy antibodies???), but still has been a bit tired, cranky, and unhungry. Mommy is bummed b/c we may not be able to go see the Great-Grands with snotty kids. Great Grandma especially is susceptible to colds and often gets bronchitis...not the Christmas present we had in mind for her.

Getting into the shopping spirit. She's even practicing her irresistible "can you take 50% off of this since it's so close to Christmas?" look.

We had my brother, mom, and brother's old friend come visit us. Rhianwen's really been into singing recently and likes to get everyone else involved. She lifts her chin up, raises her eyebrows, opens her green Gideon's Bible (aka song book), and belts out the ABC's, the Doxology, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star or any other snipit of something she recalls. She got all of us singing Christmas carols when we did the advent tree. Boy did she love it!

"How can I keep from singing? Lousy colds won't stop me!"

Daddy's been reciting some of the catechism with Rhianwen during bathtime. He's gotten to "In how many persons does this one God exist?" 3. "What are their names?" at which point Rhianwen responds, "The Father, the Son, and the Glowy-Beester...oh, no...um". Glowy-Bee is her Glow-worm doll not to be confused with the Holy Spirit. She's also memorized the ENTIRE potty book we got her. She'll sit down on the potty with it and read the whole thing...somehow failing to remember why she's sitting. However, her inflection is flawless.

We also enjoyed a little visit from Uncle Brooks and Aunt Clara. With all this visiting we've had, our personal quarantine hasn't been so bad. We can't help it if people come to us to get sick.

Opening a gift from Aunt Clara and Uncle Brooks.

For some reason, mommy had the insane idea to make Christmas cookies. You can take a look at our renovation blog to see the results...well sort of.

Taking a break from cookie making to dance with Cookie Monster (appropriately...ha ha) and Daddy.

Alden has been very active. My mom calls him Tigger because he's constantly moving. He wore her out in 30 minutes. He loves to bounce, spin, dive, lean way forward to pick something up that is out of his reach. He's really enjoyed picking up his links (the things you hook toys to) and shaking them to death while bouncing then throwing them on the floor. Many days, he won't be happy unless he's playing with Rhianwen. He'll see her playing with a toy and the only thing that will make him happy is to go over there and play with her! It's amazing but true! Mommy is thankful he finds Rhianwen so fascinating and that Rhianwen obliges in playing. On top of his poor little cold, we got his frenulum clipped. It's taken the edge off of what he does amazingly. I thought there would be no effect but there has been a slight improvement. He's such an enjoyable little baby-pie. He's also discovered that the ground outside has things that he can pick up...fun stuff like leaves, pine-needles, sweet-gum balls...oh so tasty. I usually put him on a blue plastic sled if I'm swinging Rhianwen (otherwise he's in the swing), and he's started rolling off of it onto the muddy ground so he can grab a handful of whatever is easiest to get.

"Maybe if I pinch his neck, Alden will stay still..."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

It's Christmas Time in New Orleans...oh, er, I mean here

Before I get into the Christmas decorating post, take a look at this ultra cool picture of Rhianwen flying after Aunt Clara's wedding.

We went to Pop N Son's Christmas Tree farm where they had a huge air-filled snowman (since a real one is out of the question down here in these parts), and lots of cut yer own trees. We got something called a Blue Ice Cypress. It's so pretty!

This is the tree for us! Well, at least mommy thinks so. Alden looks like he's thinking, "Why are we cutting down a tree ? This is not normal. I don't remember this happening yesterday...no, it's definitely not normal."

Rhianwen had a great time weaving in and out the maze of trees, calling for us, and peeking around trees to spot us further down the row. She helped daddy drag ours back to pay for it.

For some reason mommy wanted a little tree for Rhianwen's room, and Target had a treasure trove of little cheap ones. We let Rhianwen pick out the lights, and funnily, she wanted only red ones. I thought at first it might turn out looking a bit like the Christmas tree from...well, the devil's home, with all those red lights, but it's actually quite nice. Wally topped it with the Moravian star that we got from Old Salem last year.

Another new thing we did this year was to switch to big lights for the main tree. It looks so homey and it was way faster to do! This picture doesn't showcase the lights very well, but it's fun to see all the ornaments. When one of my friends asked Rhianwen which was her favorite ornament, Rhi pointed to one of many red shiny balls. I don't think she understands the concept of "favorite" yet. Rhi looooooved decorating. It was like one surprise after another as she unwrapped each ornament from it's paper towel casing. Really, that's all she wanted to do. She handed all of them to me to put on the tree.

Our star is too heavy this year for the tree. I'll have to do something else soon.

We unpacked all of the Christmas books (we get one new one each year). And of course Rhianwen loved that too. She's memorized most of them by now and will sit down and read them in her sing-songy voice. It's so cute. We brought her to Barnes N Noble to pick out this year's book, and she FINALLY decided on Corduroy's Christmas that has flaps on each page that you can lift. Part of the proceeds of that book go to helping kids with cancer deal psychologically with it all. No wonder why it was so expensive ;0) Alden likes it too, but mostly for grabbing and mouthing. Rhianwen does not like this activity so much. We also got a Potty book that Rhianwen loves, but she seems to be stuck on the part that says, "Uh-oh, I peed in my pants, but Mommy says 'That's ok!'". That's the part that she reads when she is reading it on her own.

I tried to get Rhianwen to decorate pine-cones for her dolls to have some Christmas trees for their dollhouse. She had a blast decorating but decided the dolls just didn't want a tree. So we ended up using them somewhere else.

"Sprinkles!" is what she called them I guess b/c we've been reading If You Give a Cat a Cupcake, and that book starts and ends with sprinkles.

We broke down and bought Alden a Jump N Go off of Craigslist for 1/2 price. I couldn't wait for Christmas, so we just gave it to him early. I'm sure he won't mind in the slightest when he understands later. He has been so WILD lately that this was just the thing for him. He will jump non-stop and giggle. The other nice thing about it is, that you can move it from doorway to doorway easily for change of scenery, but when he's done you can take it down and tuck it away somewhere so it doesn't take up extra floor space. Other things Alden's enjoying are inch-worming (just a tad) to get to things, wrestling with stuffed animals, and carrying on heart to heart conversations with anyone who will listen.

Thrilled. Rhianwen also loves this toy and would likely swing Alden through the ceiling if we'd let her. She dances like crazy to one particular song on it which also is very exciting to Alden. (I'd do a movie, but Wally killed our computer by trying to upload an XP update. Don't you love Microsoft (sorry Christopher...but since you are MS man, when you come, you'll magically fix everything...right?)? And for some reason when we reloaded XP, it isn't recognizing our wireless router, so we have to use Linux instead which doesn't run Windows Media Player. I am not willing to figure out a whole new program right now. Bed is more important.)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

We Are Family

Rhianwen is VERY thankful for hot apple cider, oh, and that Clemson won against USC.

We had a great time with the T fam for Thanksgiving. Boy, did we eat WAY too much (with perhaps the exception of Alden although he had his nights). What really did us in, was that there were trays of desserts left over from Aunt Clara's wedding that were too tempting to refuse. Even Rhianwen snuck a few with her 2nd cousins.

Alden was very thankful for the walker that we got to borrow from the church nursery. He had tons of fun playing with the toys on the tray, moving, and bouncing, and pretending that Grandaddy was a horse (I guess).

"This is the part where you pull me."

We had a fun time seeing Great Mama and PaPa. We heard lots of stories about when PaPa played college football and about Great Mama's mother. It's just so fun to hear them share so many memories. I can't believe how much they can recall! I can't do that now. If you asked me what happened in even my most important volleyball game, I would have been like, ummm, well....we lost the state championship...yeah...can't remember how though.

Alden got in his first peer-to-peer wrestling match with his 2nd cousin Matthew who is 2 months his senior. Matthew appeared to have the upper hand for most of the match, but Alden ended it decisively by pulling out the spit-up-on-my-2nd-cousin's-foot trick.

Catching their collective breath (I TOLD you he can sit up on his own!).

Bummed that our 2nd cousins had to leave. (I just like the picture :)

We also got to enjoy some cozy fires in the fireplace although Uncle Averett instilled such a wild fear of them in Rhianwen that it took us a full day and 2 fires for her to trust that it wasn't going to hurt her by being in the same room. She adores Uncle Averett so I guess what he says goes. We also got to go pick out some new goldfish for Grandmama's big fish tank, read lots of stories, played Candyland Bingo (yes, Christopher, in your opinion it probably would be lamer than Candyland itself), wrestled with the giant Bear again, and generally lazed around.

Snowbear has found her rival. Grandmama always leaves a bed-present for each guest in her house. This time Rhianwen was the recipient of a very cute stuffed monkey affectionately dubbed BoBo from the book HUG. Daddy let her choose between it and Snowbear when she went to bed, so now they have a bit of a rivalry going on. Most days BoBo wins now. I kind of feel sorry for poor old Snowbear. Ah, for the good ole days.

Not the new monkey, but a fun one none-the-less.

We've been trying to teach Rhianwen respect/manners. So, we are having her say "Yes, please", "No thank you", "Yes sir/ma'am", and not to say "Huh?" when asked a question etc. It really does help her attitude in many cases, and it also helps us understand what she is saying instead of trying to decipher a muttered/muffled, "Mmf". As a result, we've realized that we should teach by example, and boy do we have bad habits! "Huh?" is the primary phrase in our vocabulary with perhaps the exception of "He/she was like..." We also hardly ever say "Yes please" and "No thank you" to each other, so now we're retraining ourselves. Of course, then there are those times when Rhianwen runs through the house yelling, "WAAAAAly! Where are you?" or "Eooowyn! Where are you?!". Yep, that would be learning by example too. Well, I think though that Rhianwen has caught on to the whole manners thing. If asked if she would like more of something, she would proceed to turn the tables on us and ask each person at the table if they would like more of such and such...example: very matter of factly "Grandmama. Would you like a biscuit?" This took quite some time at Thanksgiving given that we had a house filled to the brim with family. So there were many "No thank you's" said.

The car ride was interesting. Alden isn't one of those babies that just sleeps in the car. He's more like one of those babies who gets mad about being contained if he doesn't want to sleep. He did pretty well, but Rhianwen got a little fed up with him when he was yelling and she wanted to nap. If she's in a good mood, she'll sing the ABC's to him. If he just keeps being loud, she'll start over more loudly. Most of the time it doesn't work to get him to be quiet. I have no idea why she decided it would help, but I think it's adorable.

Mr. Eggplant on his cart pulled by his trusty turkeys.

We are desperately wanting to get Rhianwen potty-trained...notice I did not say trying. I wish she could be trained without all the work on my part ;0) Some days when I have to change yet another gross dipe, I cry. Really. I know it seems silly, but maybe one day you will understand if you haven't been there already. When she's quiet and playing...expect a big one. At that juncture, we often ask her if she's pooping. She'll often respond, "No, I'm peepin." Meaning she's peeing. You gotta smile at that.

Alden had his 4 mo. well-visit yesterday. He's 15 lb. 9 oz. (gaining steadily and in the 65th percentile) and 26 in. (90th percentile). He was WILD when the doctor came in, jumping and spinning non-stop. The Ped said, "I'm surprised he's able to put on any weight at all with all the energy he has!" He really gets that way when he is overstimulated and tired. He's also discovered that he can roll and play with toys, so putting him on his back to play is again interesting to him something for which I am thankful since I was running out of ideas.

"Who? Me?"

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Here Alden, it's better than Pooh!

Yep. Alden is 4 months old, and mommy is starting rice cereal. I care not that LLL and BF die-hards insist 6 months is solid-starting time. Alden was showing signs of "readiness". He was watching us intently every meal time following spoon to mouth, chewing on everything, and able to sit for a few seconds at a time on his own. Plus, it makes me feel better that he's not dependent solely on me for his nutrition. No, we don't let Rhianwen feed him in general :) But we did let her try. He seems to love to eat, but doesn't necessarily think rice cereal is tasty. He gets this funny expression on his face when he tastes it, but he'll eat a nice helping at breakfast and dinner. (Side note: BF is still hard. Alden's improving, I am not so much. Going to see a Dermatologist tomorrow to see what they say. I know I have Raynaud's maybe that is all the issue? Maybe something more.)

Rhianwen has become very inventive recently. If she's not taking apart something or getting into something, she's discovering new ways to use things. It's been interesting, occasionally frustrating, and pretty neat. I have visions of a scientist dancing in my head, but all I've said to her is, "Whatever you're going to be when you grow up, it's not going to be normal!" Take a look at the video below to see Alden's eating skills and Rhianwen's inventiveness. She came up with the link game all on her own!

Recently I've been really thinking hard about discipline, what are the goals, how to meet them, and what needs to be changed. I know that in the end the main goal is to have Rhianwen's heart be one that desires to please God and to serve others, but how to "impress" this on her heart is another issue entirely. I know in the end only God can change the heart, but as a parent, we are told to:

"5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." Deuteronomy 6:5-7

Hm, yes it does say what do do right there in verse 7. So many times I feel like my main goal in reality is good behavior or a "let's get through the day without losing it every 2 minutes" kind of an attitude. I've been reading
Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp and Don't Make Me Count to Three by Ginger Plowman and feeling incredibly inadequate as I realize more and more how much my own heart needs changing. I'm hoping I'll feel more enlightened and encouraged as I finish the books. Right now it just feels a little depressing.

Daddy found Rhianwen quietly reading this in the family room the other night. Maybe she'll just glean the good stuff and change on her own....ha ha.

We've been getting ready for Thanksgiving here. Soon we'll be down at Grandaddy's and Grandmama's enjoying Southern hospitality and home-cooking. This week we started a T family tradition that started at Wally's family's home. We have a paper turkey and every meal time we write on a feather something for which we are thankful. Then we dress the turkey with the feathers. So far Rhianwen has been thankful for Jesus, Snowbear, Larry, our house, drums. It's been a fun thing to do and I wonder if it would be possible to have fun activities like this all of the time. I know it takes some of the specialness out of the holidays, but it might be a way of following through with the Deut. verse. Another book I'd love to read is
Treasuring God in Our Traditions by Noel Piper. Now that Rhianwen is old enough to remember routines and "traditions", I feel like we need to be more strategic about it.

Putting feathers on the turkey.

Alden had his first wagon ride the other day. He loves being outside even if his poor little fingers get so cold!

I have no idea what Rhianwen was thinking/doing. She kept pointing to his face. Don't they look adorable in their fleeces? I just love it :) Alden's thinking, "This girl is way too intense."

I got my first pair of boots yesterday, and had tried them on and left them in the family room. When Rhianwen got up from her nap, she went into the family room, took a look at them, came into the kitchen and said, "What are those?" Then she wanted to try them on of course and walk in them. She actually could walk with a little help. I love how tall I feel in them :)

"If I just close my eyes, maybe I'll be all grown up."

I do feel like Rhianwen can't wait to grow up. She wants to do things "by myself" most of the time (well everything but play by herself!). I've let her help me cook supper mostly because it keeps her happy after getting up after nap. But she finds it annoying if I have to finish up stirring something after she's taken a whack at it. The thing with her cooking is that when I ask her to stir, she often tastes and sniffs too. I seriously thought she might inhale the cornmeal if I hadn't stopped her from holding right it under her nose.

How is it possible that a baby can look way bigger in just a few days? Alden looks huge to me here! That rice cereal must have some powerful stuff!
Sorry for the serious post. Just in that kind of a mood I guess. Happy Thanksgiving!

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