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Friday, September 18, 2009

Thank You Grandaddy and Grandmama!

Silly me! You can tell how tired I was last night getting that blog out. I completely failed to put one of the grandparents who provided this lovely vacation! So, here is a short little post dedicated to you! Thank you for such an enjoyable and memorable time.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ocean Isle

Watch out for a big picture blog. We had a nice little vacation at the beach with Wally's side of the fam. All in all it was perfect other than the night when Alden decided to stay up for 2h in the wee hours of the morning. We even had our own downstairs suite and Grandmama cooked gourmet meals 3x a day. Rhianwen was an angel, and Alden enjoyed the beach quite a bit 'though he wasn't as enthralled as Rhianwen was. The weather was amazing, not too hot or cold, and there were TONS of shells. We also saw many pelicans, dolphins, stingrays, fish, crabs, shrimp.

Alden trying his hand at digging a huge hole (daddy did most of the work).

Trying out the skim board.

Crabbing. Well, the adults crabbed, Rhianwen and Alden played with Aunt Clara and watched the bucket for us.

"Finally, I can relax and finish reading this novel."

Having fun with Great Mama and PaPa.

Just some of the things Alden enjoys about the beach.

This was one of my favorite times at the beach. BOTH Rhianwen and Alden were having fun together.

Enjoying ice-cream and a late stroll on the pier.

First time in a bunk bed (she slept on the bottom, but even that was high). We figured the ladder would keep her in.

I though this was a funny picture with Uncle Brooks and Aunt Clara. Alden was just not feelin' it.

Rhianwen loves goofing off with Uncle Averett.

Rhianwen's version of dominoes...dumping them out, finding matching colors, then filling the box up with them.

Rhianwen didn't only play on the beach. She also donned her life-vest and body surfed on top of daddy's back. Amazing! I wish I had gotten pics of that!

Back at home, we're making a hard adjustment to normal life. Rhianwen came down with a stomach bug which wasn't too bad but kept me busy. Alden got into all kinds of things that day! Notice that I hadn't even snapped up his romper...I have to get used to taking care of kids again ;0)

Next up, the mountains with my family. We like to pack it in!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


The 2009 Clemson football season is officially under way. And despite our not-so-best efforts, Rhianwen was still determined enough to try out some cheers. It went like this:

“P-L-E-O, fight tigers fight fight fight!”
(The licensed version would be C-L-E-M-S-O-N T-I-G-E-RRRRR-S. Fight Tigers, fight Tigers, fight fight fight!).

Ah well. She won't win the next National Spelling Bee. The cool thing is, that she can identify all of the letters of alphabet correctly most of the time and many times can remember what sound they make. I don't really know how this happened, but it's exciting!

The well hidden garden gnome.

We got to have a picnic at Duke Gardens with Alex, a cousin of Wally's who's going to grad school near us, and RiLee his sweet wife. The picnic was rather crazy as we chose a different place than usual and Alden kept wandering across the creek, under a tree, and probably would have kept going if we had let him. Needless to say, mommy was quite distracted trying to get some form of sustenance into the kiddos, keep them from falling off the bridge or into the creek, and worrying about an awful diaper rash that Alden had developed (well, awful in my book). I was later (once I figured out what actually happened on the picnic) highly impressed when I realized that RiLee asked if I had brought Balmex, a term that I thought only mommy's were familiar with. Hopefully, Alex and RiLee won't decide we're better off avoided, because we do like them so much and want to spend more time with them!

Having fun in the yard.

My college roommate and her kids and hubby also stopped by over Labor Day weekend to see us. It was so great watching Rhianwen and Kara playing together. Last year Rhi wasn't quite on Kara's level, but this year was completely different. I don't think I even know much of what they did b/c they kind of disappeared while Allene and I chatted. I wish they lived closer. It sure would be nice to do that on a weekly basis!

I was proud of myself when I pulled out the kiddie pool, scrubbed and hosed it down, and filled it back up for the kids, until Wally, the boundless energy engineer, dragged the play-cube all the way up to the front and set it up so that the kids could slide into the water. Rhianwen loved it. Alden, when down on his tummy first, and got a big face full of water and then was very dubious about the entire thing after that.

How am I supposed to go about this?

This way!

I have finally discovered the secret to Alden's climbing skills: levitation.

He's even climbed up to the tip top of the piano and taken a much loved painting off of the wall...twice...in the matter of seconds. I'm not sure what he thinks he's going to do with a painting of the Eiffel Tower, but apparently he feels that above the piano really is not the place for it. I really can't leave him alone in a room. I keep telling myself this but I just keep hoping someday this will change.

"Not any time soon, mom. Not anytime soon."

Rhianwen continues to amuse me while we play. I think she could sense I was all cooked out one day so she decided to do something about it. She came up with a bowl and spoon and said:
"Mom, I brought you some soup."
What kind of soup?
"Special soup that I buyed from the store...It's different."
Different than what?
"Different than purple. It's blue soup."

Next up is the beach. Rhianwen keeps asking when. We only know how to tell her in terms of naps/night-time sleeping. So, she went to bed last night and 5 minutes later got up and said, I took a nap and slept for night. She was pretty upset that she had to go back to bed. We then tried to explain it using the rising and setting of the sun. I'm beginning to feel like a native American. Today she asked, "Which morrow are we going to the beach?" TO-morrow we said. I think I need to get this girl a calendar!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Ticka Ticka Ticka

Ticka (tickle) is Alden's new word for the week. This is accompanied by making tickling motions on his tummy or on Rhianwen's. It's so cute!

The week flew by and I realized I had barely taken any pictures! So, you will notice that the ones on this post are only from 2 days. Ever since our visit to the nursing home where we had a whole little program about "Fall", Rhianwen keeps asking if it's fall yet. She sees the leaves beginning to turn and fall and feels the cooler weather. We just keep saying, it's not here yet but it feels like it's getting ready for it! Having the windows open in my house lifts my spirit. If I'm ever an invalid or old and decrepit and you are caring for me, make sure you open the windows and let in the fresh air as much as possible. You just might see a grump transformed into sunshine.

We went to Duke Gardens on Sunday for a picnic dinner. Of course we fed Mr. and Mrs. Mallard(s). I believe those birds get all they can handle on Sunday and fast the rest of the week.

Notice, Rhianwen is devotedly feeding the ducks, and Aldi-man is eating the bread.

A couple of days later, I noticed I had a voicemail on my cell phone (yes, for those of you who try calling me, sometimes it does take me that long to actually check my cell). At first I couldn't figure out what it was. It was so noisy, and in some kind of different language. Maybe Urdu. No wait, I could hear Wally...and Rhianwen. Oh, it wasn't a different language after all. It was a bunch of quacking! Somehow, Wally had called my cell phone from his phone and left a voicemail of him telling Rhianwen to go ahead and throw the bread so the ducks could eat.

We then enjoyed smelling the roses even though many of them were past their prime.

Alden was determined that he would get enough petals for his future wedding.

We've enjoyed the museum this week too. Now that the weather's cooler and school has just started, no one is there! We finally got to see the new dinosaur trail where mommy was struck with the irony that no one really knows anything about these animals yet we tell our kids all about them setting them up for extreme disillusionment in their teen years. I ended up telling Rhianwen that they don't really know much about them.

With each dino we saw, Rhi would ask, "This one won't bite me will it?" When I said no they weren't real, they were just statues. Just pretend. That as far as we knew, all the dinosaurs were dead and what scientists called "extinct". She then said, "Oh, but they won't pretend to bite me, will they?" You've got to admit, she's thorough!

There was even a place to dig for fossils (mostly shells and coral). I said I preferred to sift, and Rhianwen said she'd rather dig, so we made quite a team. Alden mostly preferred climbing over rocks and on benches and falling into holes dug by Rhianwen.

On the way back through the barnyard, we saw a new pot-bellied pig named Miss Piggy. She was quite piggy, making lots of snorting sounds and drinking deeply from her pool of water. Rhianwen was so taken by her that she said, "I wish I was a girl pig so I could drink that water." I very wisely offered her a sippy cup which was refused as second-rate.

Recently, we've noticed that Rhianwen's enjoying closing herself in her room to play without Alden. At first I was pretty opposed to her spending great lengths of time in there (she seriously can spend up to 1h reading, playing, doing whatever alone) since I felt she needed to be learning to share her time and toys and building a relationship with Alden. Wally and I talked a bunch about it and decided that she does need alone time just like anyone else does (discussions like this always make me realize how sometimes I don't even view my kids as PEOPLE but only as kids...somehow, it's wildly different). We decided that she could spend time alone in her room but only if she had a good attitude about it (for example no running down the hall to get away from Alden and slamming the door etc).

We've also had a hard time trying to figure out how to encourage sharing. Alden constantly wants to play with whatever Rhianwen is playing with. He doesn't necessarily want to take it away but just wants to play with her. Rhianwen often doesn't want to do this (I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that Alden doesn't always know how to play with the things that she's playing with thus ensues long explanations by Rhianwen, crazy shenanigans by Alden, and frustration for both). Still, it's not just Alden who is being selfish about taking, but Rhianwen is being selfish about keeping too. I don't know what the right answer to any of it is, but I have noticed that if I let Rhianwen keep what she is playing with and don't let Alden take it, she's way more likely to come back in a few minutes and say, "I'm going to share this with Alden now." than if I order her to share with Alden. (I could go on analyzing it all for paragraphs, but I'll stop now b/c I'm sure it's boring to the general population).

Watching the world go by in his favorite chair.

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