Rhianwen's Age Tracker

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Alden's Age Tracker

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Who took all the clothes?

Notice the pants.

For the past week I have been on the hunt for 9 month old clothes for boys. I went to a HUGE consignment sale...nada. I went to 2 Targets and another consignment store. 3 items in each place...literally. I tried the mall. Way too expensive. Are there no 9 month old boys here? Or are there too many? I'm really frustrated. Poor Alden either has peddle pushers b/c he's wearing 3-6 month pants or is walking out of his pants because he's stepping on the ends of 12 month old ones. I can imagine it becoming a bit of a nightmare for him. Think about all those bad dreams where you are in high school and all of a sudden realize, "Oh! I forgot to put anything on this morning!" Well, for Alden it would be, "Oh! I just walked right out of my pants! Where are they? Oh. They're on the floor waaaaaay down the hall." Thankfully, my Aunt graciously has given us a ton of boy clothes from her sweet baby who's now not so little anymore, but we are in need of a few more pants to round out his wardrobe...dress ones for church and comfy ones for home. I don't know if it's just that Alden is at a strange size right now, but it seems that none of the pants we have fit!

Alden has started some preliminary waving. But instead of using one hand, he goes on his tiptoes (if he's in his walker or in someone's arms), raises both arms like he's just won a race in the Olympics, gasps, and smiles in salutation. It just makes me want to hug him. What a cutie.

Alden sunk down into the space between the mattress and the footboard and was perfectly content to sit there talking, knocking his head against the end of the bed, and waving.

"Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope."

We've been organizing for the zillionth time this year and decided we really didn't need our old floppy's anymore. Actually, Rhianwen hasn't a clue what Star Wars is and was simply pretending to put a cd in her boombox. (NO, we are not far advanced. We may not be stone-age, but we are just past the prehistoric mark. No Ipod for us.)

Decorating Great Grandpa's envelope.

If you are acutely observant, most of these pictures were taken on the same day. Last week was super busy and we have all been sick with one of the worst colds ever. Fever, chills, snot galore, coughing, sore throats. Stay away from us! We still aren't over it. Wally spent all day at home today, lying in bed or on the couch. Now, you KNOW it's gotta be bad when he does that! This is the man who never stops going!

Thursday, March 19, 2009


I thought about putting this picture on our renovation blog and saying, "Look at what we did to the backyard over the winter!" Ha ha. I just have no time for our reno blog, as is obvious, but we have done quite a few things. This however is a picture of Duke Gardens. We love it all year long, but Spring is a beautiful time to go "feed Mr. and Mrs. Mallard" in Rhianwen's words.

"Fishing" (since Mr. and Mrs. Mallard were not hungry, the catfish came and ate the bread.)

A quiet moment of reflection with Daddy...ha ha. Get it?

Rhianwen has many words to say. And I finally wrote some down so that I could remember to share them with you! It's interesting, often hilarious, and sometimes annoying to see the world from her point of view. Here are just a few of her thoughts:

On getting our paintings back from the framer's: "This frame is all around Alden's picture!"

On a morning when mommy and daddy were side by side (a rare occurrence): "Mommy, your hair matches Daddy's."

On wishing Grandpa a happy birthday: "Oh, can I speak to Nanny Kim?" (she actually did sing a happy birthday song to him and carried on a nice conversation with him prior to this request, but her tact and phone etiquette need some improvement.)

On speaking with Nanny Kim: "Oh, is Grandmama there?"

On seeing an offensive foul during March madness: "Oh, he needs to say, 'Excuse me, please!'"

"I'm Pastor Bowen!" (she was pretending to be our senior minister at CGS and decided a shoe string would do well as his bow tie. She tied it herself. I don't think Daddy will be taking instructions from her on how to tie his anytime soon.

Alden is in cruising mode even more than before. I've gotten to the point when sometimes I just need a break from his tumbles and falls and stick him in the walker just so I can get some work done.

"Don't worry mom. I can help you get the cleaning done."

He's also developing his own sense of humor and is playing games like peekaboo. The other night he grabbed a place mat off the table and started doing it without us initiating the activity. Here's a video of that:

This week has already been and will continue to be crazy busy. It's weeks like these that I appreciate God's loving provision of a day of rest. Even in the midst of a busy week I can remember the previous Sunday of rejuvenation and look forward to the one to come.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I think this blog is going to be short. This past week went by in such a flash...or maybe I should say flood given all the rain we had. At any rate, I can't remember it.

"Look at what I just did!"

All I know is that Alden is getting up on his knees and beginning to really crawl, although he mostly defaults back to army crawling in 2 moves. Today we were outside planting in a new flower bed, and I had a nice tarp and blanket with toys for him to sit on. Of course, he went straight for the grass, water, and mud. He was a huge mess by the time we finished. He also is pulling up on everything...even in his crib....oh boy, more sleep trouble for us! I can no longer leave him sitting in a room and expect him to be safe and in the same place. He pulled up on his excersaucer the other day, lost his balance, swung around while holding onto it, let go, and fell straight back on the cement floor just inches from the sharp brick edge of the hearth. Thank God for guardian angels! I had pillows surrounding him, and he still managed to bang his head on the floor. Eventually he'll learn that the falls to sitting are a lot less traumatic, but for now, it's a lot of ram-rod straight falls. He also enjoys finding every scrap of paper and putting it in his mouth. Why do babies find paper so irresistible? Rhianwen has been close to a saint dealing with all his new found freedom. She just moves everything to higher ground and says, "Alden, that's not for you." Well, on good days she does. On bad days it's more like, "ARGH! NO! DOOOON'T PLAY WITH THAT!" and roughly snatches it away.

We've made a lot of headway in the potty training world this week. I just can't wait to get rid of that potty, but it probably won't be until I'm done nursing since Rhianwen can get to her potty on her own but not onto the toilet by herself. To reward her for doing such an excellent job, I got her a "special treat". She was expecting candy I think, but I got a cheap recorder instead. She played it incessantly for 2 days and seems to really love it after getting over the fact that it's not candy. I think she likes it because it's easy to play anywhere and she can keep a rhythm and trill. Most of the time it sounds like the same note, but mommy has a hard time making it sound any better, so I guess that's to be expected. In yet another facet of the gem that daddy is, he claims to have taken recorder lessons when he was young. He can coax more notes out of it, but it still sounds pretty terrible :)

She looks like Pan calling to all of the animals.

We enjoyed a meal with Uncle Christopher's good friend Matt and Matt's dad. It was great fun to have the kids crawling all over both of them. Fortunately neither of them are claustrophobic. We also had a great visit from Grandmama but totally forgot to take any pictures. We had told Rhianwen of Grandmama's upcoming visit, and in order to explain when Monday was, we were saying how Rhianwen would have to go to church on Sunday, take a nap, go to bed, get up, eat breakfast, say bye to dad to go to work, and then Grandmama would come. Well, Rhianwen looked at daddy and said, "Oh, daddy, you go to work right now." As if to say, that if the last thing in that series happened, then Grandmama would magically appear. Grandmama helped mend Rhianwen's quilt and a bunch of other things for us, but not the hole in our backdoor from our self-inflicted break-in when we locked ourselves out on Saturday... She also brought some bulbs for us to plant, some pretty daffodils (I never can tell if they are daffodils or jonquils?), and her famous sour-dough bread otherwise known as "Grandmama's bread". I think we each could eat an entire loaf every day. It's Rhianwen's favorite thing to eat, and apparently one of Alden's too.

Grandmama's bread is hard to beat. This is his second try at finger food (his first try was broccoli also a favorite)...it makes for a very happy baby at meal-time.

"My name is Uncle Sam."

Monday, March 9, 2009

We've had a wild weather week. It snowed 3 inches last Monday, and this Monday it was 82 and balmy. The kids didn't really seem to mind. Mommy really wanted to make a huge snowman on our snow day, but Rhianwen just wanted to swing and Alden wasn't quite big enough to get it. So, we had a big ball of snow sitting in our backyard wondering why it was made.

Enjoying sledding.

Alden did enjoy his first taste of snow and smacked away on his mittens for quite a while.

In fact, Alden has been in discovery mode recently. He's discovered that his walker is awesome and can be rammed into the wall with force and used to chase balls or his sister down the hall. His sister has resorted to wearing shoes to protect her feet and hoping that he does not knock down her block creations. Her rug is an oasis of calm for her since the walker does not roll onto it. Additionally, anything on the far side of her rug is therefore off-limits to the walker. However, Alden has found he can get to these things when he is out of the walker and in army-crawl mode. Hence, mommy feels it is high time to transition Rhianwen to the toilet and get rid of that nice little potty before Alden finds a use for it.

Bumper cars.

"Check out my new helmet. Just the thing for our bumper car escapades." (He put it on his head all by himself!)

We solved our cold case file of the missing Bobby doll. He was in a suitcase tucked away by Rhianwen. When we showed her that he had returned and told her where he had been, she said, "Oh. I put him there." as if she had known all along, then she said, "But where's the baby?" That one's still unsolved.

Welcome back Bobby!

Because the weather was so amazing on Saturday we went to the NC Museum of Life Sciences and had a blast. We didn't get to do everything, but ended up buying a membership so that we can go even for just an hour and play in the big sandbox or see the lemurs and bears and feel like we got our money's worth. Rhi's ecstatic and is waiting for the day when she can see the bears (something we didn't get to do on Saturday).

In the Little Red Caboose (we read the story when we got home). It was interesting to see. I don't think I've ever been in a caboose before and it had 2 ladders and upper seating (seen in the picture). Now I want to find out what a caboose is used for...

At the sailboat pond where you can drive (? not sure of the word usage) your pick of mini-sailboats. Daddy had quite the time.

We had Andy and Charity over for supper one night and had a great time catching up with them. Rhianwen wisely declared that Andy had a beard but Charity did not and that it was getting dark out. She's quite the dinner-time conversationalist.

On a mommy note, I'm not sure why I've been thinking so much lately, but I've realized that in disciplining and playing and potty-training I've been so focused on praising or correcting Rhianwen during the day that I often completely forget to tell her that I love her. I tell her I love her when I'm leaving or when I say goodnight but don't just say it at random times during the day. I've realized this is so important to do so that she realizes that my love for her is not based on my approval or disapproval of what she is doing. This may seem obvious, but when you are in the midst of the day, it is often difficult to remember to say it and to look for opportunities to say it. I think my realization is partly based on my own understanding of God's love for me. His love for me is unmerited. When I was His enemy, He loved me. I love Him because He first loved me! I want this to be reflected in my love for my children. It's true, but I want my children to know that it is true. To be sure of it. Part of the realization also comes from Rhianwen saying to me, "Are you happy mommy?" She knows that when she sins, it makes mommy sad and Jesus sad, and she'll ask me this throughout the day sometimes. But I don't want her to be motivated to be a good girl only for the sake of "winning" my love. I want her to know that she already has my love and always will. In Shepherding a Child's Heart, the author says the most important thing you can do for your child is to win their trust...to invest in building their trust every day. I know unconditional love is a big part of this.

On the lighter side, we've been preparing for our musical. See the video below for a sneak peek at our stellar show. I think we'll be in the running for a Tony award.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


We started our garden last weekend when the weather was sunny and pleasant. Rhianwen had been helping daddy break up dirt until mommy brought the wagon with Alden. Then Rhi decided to spend a little time relaxing and watching. Of course, Alden wanted to get out and experience this fun little thing called mud and grass. Eventually mommy hauled him around while putting newspaper down between rows of future plants. He loves newspaper. It's so crinkly and seems like such a good thing for his palette.

Rhianwen had lots of fun tossing spinach seed. Apparently spinach is easy to plant. You just toss and leave it. A perfect thing for a 2 year old.

Rhianwen helped spread hay over the newspaper walkways. What a big girl, and we felt so environmentally friendly...recycling and planting our own food.

On a related note, we also rented Wall E (warning: spoilers follow), and after Wally and I watched it, we decided it was a pretty good movie for a 2 year old. I mean the plot is pretty simple: give the plant to the captain. And there is virtually no dialog and no really scary sections...unless you consider a few explosions (I just told her that was how the robot burned trash and she seemed fine with that) and the jump to hyperspace scary (I guess Rhianwen just didn't know what to expect unlike Mommy and Daddy who've watched Star Wars ten million times). The most exciting part to her was when Wall E made it back and found his "friend" the indestructable cockroach and when she saw that the plant had grown into a huge tree. Aw. Alden decided to try to launch up into space out of his exersaucer. He's also been doing the army crawl, but he has to be very motivated.

In devotions, we asked Rhianwen "How do you get in to heaven?" and she quickly replied, "Oh, I'll just open the door." I imagined Rhianwen walking up to some giant pearly gates and swinging them open to a huge beautiful city full of people excited to see her. We just kind of smiled and explained about faith in Christ, but then later I thought of the verse that says "Behold I stand at the door and knock, and if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in." Duh. Then I was sad that I hadn't thought of it when she said that and tied it in and sung the song. I wonder how many opportunities I miss like that just b/c I fail to think outside of the box.

Lately, I've been feeling guilty for not putting Rhianwen in preschool. We haven't even considered it for her because Wally feels that it's not a good thing for us. He thinks that this is the only time in our children's lives where they can be home and enjoy it without pressure to perform and without comparison to others. To me, preschool seems like a consistent opportunity for Rhianwen to learn in a fun creative environment...I'm terrible at consistency and funness. After many conversations with friends about their 2 or 3 year old and their preschool choices, I've realized that most of my feelings of guilt stem from 3 things: 1) I feel a pressure to "catch up" at home with whatever I think Rhianwen's friends are learning in their preschools (of course, being a microbiologist stay-at-home mommy, I have no idea what they really do for 2 and 3 year olds), 2) I worry that Rhianwen will be way behind when she starts school and therefore will have a hard time making friends and adjusting and 3) I am frustrated that I and Rhianwen just don't "fit-in" with most of our friends because we don't do preschool. I've realized yet again, my old sin of comparing myself to others creeps in even here. I yearn for anything that I feel will help me enhance my connection and friendship with others even if it is through my kids. Ultimately, I my reactions are based in selfishness, discontent, and worry! Who knew the issue of preschool could go down that path? Whew!

Talk about a strange perspective!

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