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Thursday, March 25, 2010

How to Find a Paci

Ah yes. We should have known it was too good to be true. Despite our best efforts to convince Alden his paci was gone, apparently, he was scrutinizing the yard each time we played outside. He found it. We were all there to witness it too. I so wish I had had the camera because the look on his face was priceless. He picked it up out of the grass and held it while staring down at it in disbelief. Then he looked at us with a blank expression as if he were shell-shocked. His trance broke when we started laughing and groaning, and he popped it in his mouth mud and all. So, what to do? We've kept paci sequestered to the crib. He can have it for naps and bedtime. But I guess I'll just get rid of it later.

Daddy made a rudimentary see-saw. They need help doing it, but they love it anyway. I had to laugh b/c I was reading a nursery rhyme book to the kids that had a picture of a board on a rock for a see-saw. So I guess we're moving up in the world.

Duke Gardens is one of our favorite haunts this time of year, and for some reason, we just have not been able to get there even though we've tried multiple times to go. It's made Rhianwen very disappointed. Finally we went on Sunday although rain threatened. We just decided not to care. I'm so glad we did. It's magical in the spring there!

Raining but picnicing too. It didn't stay around for long, but Rhianwen reclaimed her umbrella anyway.

It's been so fun to watch Rhianwen's and Alden's relationship develop. They really enjoy each other's company and seem to be able to connect despite their age and vocabulary difference. For example, at the table one day, Rhianwen said: Beep! Beep! and Alden said: Crash!. That's about all we heard for about 10 minutes along with a lot of giggling. I also love how Rhianwen sings a lot in the car, and Alden almost never fails to give her much applause. He even lets her lead him around by the hand at times even though his independence is really budding. He keeps insisting to us that it's "My turn" when we are trying to do things for him like get him dressed, undressed, brushing his teeth, turning off the faucet. He's discovered his pockets and is just irresistible when he's all dressed up for church with his hands non-nonchalantly stuck in his pockets. People just have to smile even if they don't know him. He even tries to lighten the mood at the dinner table by suddenly saying, "Happy nose!" or "Happy toes!" or just "Happy!" I love my little happy guy.

Alden's not the only one who's happy. Rhianwen loves one-on-one attention and feeling like the big girl. She certainly is the leader in imaginative play with Alden and tries to include me as much as she can. She called me "Firemom" today as they were playing fire-rescue. I had to laugh! It sounds like a new superhero. I think I should make a costume. She also told me that her hairbows need her b/c they want to feel safe. She has so many crazy statements each day that Wally and I just look at each other with puzzled expressions and are never sure if we should act like we totally know what she's talking about or whether we should venture into the dusky unknowns of Rhianwen's thinking. I'm just so thankful for her desire to include everyone around her in her play. Occasionally it does come off as bossy, but most of the time it's just a very sweet natural inclusion into her little world of whoever happens to be there. Even our owls seem to respond specifically to her voice (albeit usually it's her crying...they hoot nearly every time she yells or cries outside). Anyway, it's neat to see God answer my prayers for unity especially between siblings in our little family. Although there will always be something to work on, it's just a very small but significant encouragement for me to see.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

How to Lose a Paci

It's gone. Bye-bye. Buried 4 feet under. Literally. At least, that's what we think...

This is the last known visual of Alden's beloved paci. Shortly after the photo was taken, Alden proceeded to throw many things into a big mudhole that daddy dug to help improve water drainage in our backyard (click here for our renovation blog). Daddy retrieved a cup, fished around to make sure nothing else was in there, but not too thoroughly, and dumped a wheelbarrow full of gravel into it. We'll soon cover it with soil and grass, and no one will ever see the evidence. We've convinced Alden it's his fault. Oh, the beauty of it!

Actually, I've been trying to decide whether or not we replace the thing. Pros: It's a nice plug (to our shame, we very rudely have said, "Where's your plug?") when he is a big fuss. It's a nice teethy toy. It's very satisfying to Aldi when he wants to go to sleep. All of this adds up to sanity for mommy and perhaps anyone else who happens to be around. Cons: He talks a lot less when it's in his mouth. If he does talk, it's with his paci between his teeth, a feat he manages quite well. If we lose it, there's trouble. I told Wally tonight, I'm leaning against replacing it. I mean, we've won half the battle by convincing Alden that it is not going to magically reappear. So, if we buy a new one, then we will be in trouble when we really are ready to get rid of it since our only reasoning then could be, "Well, you're a big boy now. Mommy and Daddy don't want you to have a paci" (my original plan was to say goodbye to it after he gotten his last teeth). So after only 3 good months of use, it's adios to the paci.

I guess we'll just have to have more tickle time to get rid of fussy spells.

With all of the digging and mud comes a lot of clothes changing especially since Alden hardly ever keeps his boots on. If we give him sneakers, he just gets those muddy and wet too. It's hard to know what to do. I end up changing him around 3x/day. I got so tired of it one gloomy day, I decided just to spend it indoors. No changing, right? Well, Alden decided to sit on the toilet fully clothed without the toddler seat, and plunk, right into the toilet bowl. Soaked. Not once, but twice, the second time being under daddy's watchful eye. So, he ended up with 3 sets of clothes that day after all.

Sometimes Rhianwen assists with his wardrobe. Here she has given him the garb of a "priest". She is the "Israelite". I always find it interesting how they use their dress-up clothes.

Here he is a fire-man. The helmet could be beefed up.

Alden is good at "losing" other things too. Like his lunch. He thought he had tucked it all nicely under his cup out of sight. He did this in order to obtain a chip from daddy. Tricky tricky. What will he think of next?

Reading Tuesday by David Wiesner, one favorite picture book that we finally own. I just love story-time!

We are still doing our Bible verses. This week's is 1 Pet 3:9 "Do not return evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing." I've been reading to Rhianwen an old Fairytale book of mine that was from my Aunt Sue and Uncle Ray. It's a little gem of a book. Not too scary but not too watered down and beautiful illustrations. I noticed how the story of Beauty and the Beast, as told by this book, embodies this verse, so I'll probably incorporate that somehow into her craft.

An umbrella experiment. Can you tell I'm trying to get ideas for our next nursing home visit? Pray for that if you think of it. One month away. Of course, they prefer to open the pipe-cleaner and slide it onto their arms to use as shields. I'm always amazed at how you really don't need expensive toys to have fun and especially not to be creative. It makes me happy.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


My Grandma Davies went home to be with Jesus on Wednesday, February 24. I am so thankful that I and the kids were able to say our goodbyes on Tuesday, the previous day. We sang, read Scripture, talked, and hugged. Although, she never opened her eyes, I truly felt that Grandma responded with small smiles and hand movements to our presence and words. It was so sweet to hear even Alden sing "Nothing but the Blood of Jesus", a favorite of Rhianwen's.

While there I read Psalm 139 to Grandma, and just loved reflecting on the following verses:
16 "Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them." What joy and comfort to know that every second of Grandma's life was ordained by the lover of her soul!

11-12 "If I say,"Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night," even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you." Even though death can seem so dark and sad, even here God's light shines for Grandma, a child of God.

Later dad read this to me:
Hebrews 12: 22-24 "But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel." She's there, made perfect. What joy!

It's a strange blessing to be able to introduce death to the children at such an early age with a loved one who loves Jesus. Especially for Rhianwen, I feel like it helped set death in the proper light. It's not dramatized or hidden from her, but just a stage in our walk with Jesus.

Our craft project was unfolding before and during all that was happening with Grandma. We were reading The Apple Doll, a children's story, and I decided to make one with Rhianwen.

The apple peeled and face carved. Rhianwen did the eyes and mouth. I did the nose. You let it dry for about a week, and it is transformed into a little wrinkled face, just like a Great Grandma. The timing of this project was just surreal to me.

The finished doll. So adorable! Rhianwen made the pink cheeks, we glued tiny blue beads for the eyes and used batting for the hair.

When in Conway, we were able to spend significant time with many of my aunts and uncles and cousins. It was a sweet time.

Enjoying dinner and a movie (Thomas the Tank Engine). Rhianwen "likes Trevor the best".

After the funeral we took a walk down the path near my Grandparent's old home. In the past, we traversed this trail just about every day we were at Grandma and Grandpa's house. I love the time of the afternoon when the sun is low in the sky and everything is still, golden, peaceful.

With Uncle Christopher. This and a similar picture that mom took of Alden on Wally's shoulders reminded me of the quote by Isaac Newton "If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants."

I saved the lighter news for last. Warmer days have us out of doors for longer periods of time, and Rhianwen has learned to pedal her big girl bike! We took a video to catalog our future racer...

Amazingly slow, but she's doing it all by herself!

Our Bible memory verse was 1 John 1:9, and Alden learned a lot of it! Listen to him say some of the words!

And one of my favorite moments to date:

There's not much sweeter than hearing siblings say "I love you".

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