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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!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Our fall centerpiece.

I can't believe the leaves have almost all fallen off of the trees! Thanksgiving is next week, and I don't feel like I've had a proper fall post. I see all of my friends taking their tikes to pumpkin patches, playing in leaves, and going on hay rides. We have enjoyed the leaves and lots of sunsets. On Sunday in our backyard, the sun was setting and the trunks of the trees were in twilight but the tops were still lit with an orange light. The contrast between the brilliant tops of the trees and the darkness below was enough to even make Rhianwen quiet :)

Rhianwen's had fun piling up leaves at the bottom of her slide and then crunching down into them.

Of course, the swing is still the favorite item in the backyard for both Alden and Rhianwen. Daddy does a "crazy swing" with Rhianwen that is pretty close to terrifying for mommy not only because she goes really really high (about 15 ft into the air) but also because she gets really close to the tree trunks.

Crazy swing!

No crazy swinging for Alden yet, but he sure enjoys swinging in this oversized swing. It's funny to me that it would be so different from his baby swing inside. He likes the one outside a lot more and will stay in it looking around, smiling, or relaxing. I guess it's time to get another swing, one that doesn't have holes big enough for him to fall through.

Alden's been quite busy recently. He's a pro at rolling around (I think our putting him on his tummy for naps has helped...yes, we are rebels...but I've found out that many people are in this regard and must keep it hush hush for fear the doctors will come and take their children to social services.) Anyway, he can roll both ways now and even has this way of inch-worming across the floor. Most of the time this is very uncomfortable for him because he ends up rubbing his forehead across the floor as he goes. If he could coordinate his arms with his legs, he'd be crawling!!! If we sit him on the floor, he can stay sitting for a few seconds on occasion. He's pretty amazing. Before I forget, I want to praise a rattle that we have. Yes, a rattle. It's an indispensable part of our sanity, especially in the car. For some reason if our children are really fussy and need to go to sleep, when we turn this rattle (called a rainbomaker) over and under, it is literally like a switch. The minute they hear it, they stop crying and go to sleep. This worked for Rhianwen when she was an infant and works for Alden too! So, it's not just unique to one individual.

Sweet sleep.

Suddenly, too, Alden has really enjoyed his baby swing for going to sleep. We just put on something soothing like Josh Groban or Diana Krall and he sits back, relaxes, puts one foot up under the tray, and goes to sleep. Of course, if mommy misreads boredom for tiredness this doesn't work at all. This happens pretty often these days. It's a difficult age when they can't really sit or move much. Excersaucing and playmatting gets a little boring. I'm thinking about a bouncer. Of course, one on one time with daddy or Rhianwen is pretty entertaining.

"I taut I taw a putty cat."

Rhianwen manages to stay busy too although sometimes it's really hard to keep her from boredom as well. Thankfully, we have playgroup, church, Bible study, and visits from Grandmama to help get the pressure off of me. I have started "teaching" her the alphabet. So far we're on A :) A says AAAA! We've drawn A, cut out paper ants, played a sidewalk game where she throws the ball on the letter A and screams AAAA when she hits it. I think she knows that A says Aaaa. I've also tried to get her to identify the letter A on a page in a book with other letters. This is a little harder. Of course, I need to teach her all the other sounds the letter A can make.

After Aunt Clara and Uncle Brooks' wedding, Rhianwen had the bright idea that her long hooded towel is a "wedding dress" and she's going to get married. When asked who she's going to marry, she says "Aunt Clara and Uncle Brooks!" Hm.

I took her shopping for toys to put in the Operation Christmas Child shoe box and was a little afraid that she would not understand or not want to give all those fun toys to someone else. But she did fabulously. She picked out toys (she was especially proud of a stuffed monkey), toothbrush, soap etc. all for "the little girl", put them in the shoe box, and enjoyed a dum-dum while at it. I thought it a minor miracle that she didn't once say, "I want!". She even left the box at church herself!

Oh, well, I did get a princess sticker book for her. I just couldn't resist getting something small for her when she was being so good! Hence the princess stickers on her, on our floor, on the furniture...

Rhianwen has way outpaced us in reading material that she likes. She keeps choosing what I consider epics! Especially before nap or bed time! Goodnight Moon does not suffice. Here you can see she wanted daddy to read "mommy and daddy's book" aka The Wind in the Willows. She actually listened to a good bit of it although she was tempted to keep daddy turning the pages so she could see Michael Hague's beautiful illustrations.

Playing the rain. For some reason she mostly just stands dumbfounded as it pours on her head.

"Man who eat cookies in bed have crumby night." Well, ok, her Chinese fortune cookie didn't quite give such words of wisdom.

Book of the week: Commander Toad in Space

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Hurricanes and Old Maids

What do the Carolina Hurricanes and old maids have to do with each other? In most people's minds: nothing. But in Rhianwen's mind, whenever she sees a picture of the Hurricane Hockey players in our newspaper, she immediately begins a rendition of Three Old Maids a Skating Went. I'm sure she would make those guys proud if they could hear her. I love it when she sings. Here's a little video of her singing Oh Be Careful Little Eyes and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Alden has also begun varying his tones. I guess singing wouldn't be quite the right way to put it. Maybe yelling is more like it. He does this when he wants someone to pay attention to him, or when he is bored, or when he is getting a little tired but not downright exhausted. Then there is a little something at the end that is just strange Rhianwen.

Just so you know, Rhianwen said, "Bite on this" before she stuffed Pooh-bear into Alden's mouth.

Even though they are far apart in developmental milestones, there are actually many things that Rhianwen and Alden both enjoy. Bathtime, Suppertime, Storytime, Sesame-Street time, Excersaucer time, and Outside time to name a few.

Well, Rhianwen was never allowed near a TV before she was 2 unless a Clemson game was on or for holidays, but now that she is older and mommy needs a break, we have been watching Sesame Street. At first I tried to keep Alden away for fear that he would be ruined as some people suggest (no TV before 2), but I just couldn't do it. Oh how times change in the parenting world. I knew this would happen, but just not this soon!

Rhianwen has been enjoying dressing up recently. Here she is "Going to work to bake bread". Wowsa! Have you ever seen a cook dressed like this?

She could be in Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.

Ever since our trip to the mountains with Grandma and Grandpa, every hill we go by is a "mountain" according to Rhianwen. Wally drew a mountain on the tile of our shower, and then Rhianwen tried her hand at it. The following picture is all Rhianwen (no Wally assistance). Wally was SO excited. It is pretty good. But then she followed this up with drawing Grandpa: straight line. Ah well. Maybe she isn't the next da Vinci.

Mountains (notice in Clemson orange).

In the world of Alden, he's outgrown his bouncy seat just about. At least, I can't just plop him down and leave him unattended...(what? oh, yeah, the directions did say something about that...) because he has started arching his back and inchworming his way out of it. He often will stop once he gets to the position below. I guess it's relaxing or something.

"Ah, to find a beach."

We also think he is on the verge of sucking his thumb. It's been interesting seeing him try. He's really close. I am afraid to say this, but I think nursing may be going a tiny bit better. It's been crazy recently with him being so distracted. Sometimes he'll only nurse for 5 minutes and want to play. It drives me crazy. But the really hard part has been the soreness that I'm still experiencing b/c of the way he smooshes with his tongue. Finally, he's started getting slightly better I think. I'm giving it until Thanksgiving to make a real decision about it. So if you think of it, please pray that I'll get better and that Alden will too!

Although Thanksgiving has not even arrived, we are doing Operation Christmas Child. With daddy's help, Rhianwen wrote a little note to the girl who will get our gift. It was basically filling in the blanks like: My favorite drink is "lemonade". I like to eat "french fries". I like to play with "crayons". My favorite color is "pink".

Comfy cozy bedtime story: This Is My Hair (every time I say that title, I want to say, "This is my hair. This is my hair on drugs." Do you remember those commercials with the egg? "This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs." And they throw it in the frying pan. Anyway. I know I'm strange. )

Story of the Week: Richard Scarry's The Bunny Book

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