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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I'm a Little Teapot, Old and Fat

Rhianwen was singing the teapot song the other day with a variation (see title) I am not familiar with. It just made me laugh partly because it is a true description of most teapots and also because I was imagining Rhianwen as a little old granny singing that to her grands one day.

Neither old nor fat, but ready for a day at the Renaissance Faire as a princess. She got this new "cinderella" dress just for the occasion and was SO thrilled to be able to go out in public all dressed up. We did nix the shoes, in case you were wondering.

We had no princely clothes for Alden, but they still deemed him worthy of knighthood and even gave him a document proving he had endured the ceremony before the queen. We promptly lost it. Ah well.

A pony ride. She just loved it and wanted to do it again.

Future homecoming court? Who needs escorts, they're doing just fine on their own!

The first time Alden has ever been brave enough to touch a horse. We saw lots of jousting and acrobatics that day, and I think he realized that horses and humans do get along.

All in all we enjoyed the day, but would have liked to see more skilled artisans practicing their trade on site along with selling more practical goods for the home (although perhaps nice, I don't wear corsets or wield a sword routinely) . We also got to see Scottish dancing and some Highland games. It took a while for Rhianwen to feel comfortable with all these period people talking to her, but after a while, she warmed right up to it. She especially was thrilled to see fairies walking around the grounds. One fairy in particular spent a nice bit of time speaking with them at their eye level, and when she got up to leave, Rhianwen excitedly said to her friends, "Come on! Let's follow that fairy!" and ran off without us. I have to admit, I can see why people risk their sanity to go to Disney World after a day like this one. It is a lot of fun!

Enjoying the patio on a chilly evening.

Nanny Kim came for a visit while daddy had a very busy travel week. We always have a great time with her and this time got to celebrate her birthday.

She also was able to come to the nursing home with us for our playgroup program. The best part of that visit was when we played the games and had Singin in the Rain playing as one of the songs for the games. The residents were all singing it out loud! So fun. The room was quite full with all of us (around 15 kids, their accompanying adults, and around 15 residents). I'm always so thankful that God blesses our time there. The kids do amazingly speaking with the residents, giving affection, and enjoying every activity, and the residents and staff all glow when they see those kids dancing around.

Of course, you can't have Nanny Kim around without tea.

Rhianwen even has the posture down.

Nanny Kim brought some special gifts along from Uncle Skipper and Great Grandpa. Uncle Skipper send a really cool bracelet and sand toys that change color in the sun. The kids are having so much fun with those! And Great Grandpa sent a GIANT rabbit (affectionately called Mr. Rabbit from the book Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present which used to be in our possession but for the life of me I can't find). I love the book because of how the girl thinks about, seeks help for finding, and finds a gift that her mommy will like despite the girl's lack of resources...yes, my birthday is coming up ;0) Anyway, Mr. Rabbit is nearly as tall as Alden is. The largest stuffed animal we have. I have to say, I've taken a liking to him too. He's so personable and jaunty sitting in the little toddler chair that we have. Rhianwen's slept with him every night since he's made our house his residence. It looks hilarious to see him take up as much space in her bed as she does. I keep worrying we'll hear her fall out of it one night.

We've instituted a reward (mommy language)/bribery (daddy language) system for potty time and for Bible verse memorization. Admittedly, the children were doing a fabulous job memorizing already, but I was so proud of Alden one day for doing such a good job trying to say those huge words and remembering, that I gave them a jellybean, and, as all parents know, if you do it for one child, you have to do it for both and this becomes an expectation and a strong motivation. We learned James 5:16 "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." One thing that really helped them get this verse was using signs for prayer, powerful, and effective. By the end of the week, when it was time to say our verse, Alden would say, "ffectiv, jeyeebean!" before we even started. Usually when we give Alden the reward, he says, "3:9!" even though it's only one. Rhianwen hasn't had an potty accident all week (mostly because of the jellybean incentive but also b/c one day I told her that fig newtons make you poop and she took it literally, "I eat a fig newton, now it is time to poop.") All this has made me conclude that Jellybeans are "powerful and effective".

Alden also knows that turning on the charm is powerful and effective in mommy's book. One day he came up to me, gave me a big kiss, said, "I love you!" and then said, "I so sweet!"; he's heard me say that a lot about him ;0).

I finally gave in and let Wally build a sandbox. It's huge and filled with "free beach sand" that ended up being from a frat party. They dumped 55 tons of sand in a parking lot, had a huge party, then put it up on craigslist for free. Just like frat boys...somehow smart and insane all at the same time. The sand smells like beer and I just pray there is nothing else in there...bodily fluids come to mind. Wally said he sifted out his fair share of flops and beer bottles. I'm an even braver mommy than I thought I was when I agreed to this sandbox thing.

Rhianwen has been waiting for sand to use the big shovel like daddy and mommy do. Our ground is too hard for it and we haven't let her stomp on it until we got the sandbox. She's so proud of herself :) I love how Alden is trying to play with her and she just won't have any of it.

Why the sandbox probably really doesn't add much more work to the clean-up process. I've told my friends here that we should have a photo contest this summer to see whose kid could win the grubbiest prize. I think mine would. Any other mommy out there want to take me up on the challenge? It'd have to be all on their own doing...NO staging!

We had a surprise visit from Grandaddy and Grandmama yesterday. We've really been pining for them. So it was a fantastic time even though it was short. Here, Grandaddy is reading Tuesday, a book with very few words but one of our children's top 10's.

Bedtime story with Grandmama.

In talking with multiple moms in completely different circles recently, I've learned that often blogs just make them feel like they don't do enough/aren't creative enough/are too _______ (fill it in) and just feel more discouraged than anything else. I hope this blog doesn't make anyone feel that way. Although I feel like we spend most days at home, being uncreative, and sinning a lot, it may seem in blog form to be more adventurous and struggle-free. Anyway, I've realized, that the top thing my kids, and I'd venture any kids appreciate the most is simply time spent with them doing what THEY have come up with to do. Usually in my house this involves sitting on the floor playing dollhouse or kitchen. Simple, initiated, organized and run by my tots (NOT by me). They react to this kind of time together more positively than any other activity I do with them. If you are taking time to do that, it is the most important thing you could ever do! I've decided that on days that we are home, I will carve out time just for that. I'll put aside my educational agenda, my "crafty/creative" agenda, my chore agenda, and ask them what they want me to play. It usually makes a WORLD of difference in their attitudes and mine! Of course, most of you are probably rolling your eyes and saying "Duh!", but for me, I have to be aware that there are times when I need to just be another kid on the floor with them, not their teacher, protector, leader, memory-maker, but just their friend.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Glory King!

"Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, the King of Israel!" We pretty much yelled our verse of the week as if we were cheering at a big football game, and we waved our palm branches too. It was a lot of fun, and Alden would keep repeating, "Glory King. Glory King!" I guess the verse made him think of Hark the Herald. It's fun to see how his brain works. The other day he was trying to walk across a bunch of large rocks, and he started singing a song that I used to sing him in the rocking chair (it's a Nanny Kim creation from the infant-Skipper days). "Rock, rock, rock a baby" is what he sang as he stomped across (although he took some artistic liberty since we sing Rock, rock, rock my baby).

For the countdown to Easter, we did Benjamin's Box with both of them this year, and had to clean a lot of hay off of the floor after each devotion. Another special holiday activity was watching The Sound of Music during a couple of lunches. They were both transfixed from start to finish, which is a HUGE feat for Alden. Normally he only lasts 15 minutes before he's off to something else. But this movie just captured his attention.

Now this boy knows quality movies.

We've been getting ready for another nursing home visit, and I decided using a felt-board for storytime might be fun, so I made one along with some felt pieces for Rhi and Alden to play with. It's super easy, cheap, and beats the scare of magnets getting stuck in little intestines.

Here's how they found it in the morning. Rhianwen asked, "Is that a map?"

And here's what Rhianwen did all by herself. She totally understood using shapes to create an image without me explaining anything! I was pretty surprised that she could do it without help. Maybe this is normal for a 3.5 yr old?

I bought a prism to show the kids rainbows more easily and to talk about colors. Rhianwen loves to peer through it, and she discovered that you can always see a rainbow if you do this. It's so funny to be on the other side the prism looking at her little face changing from the refracted light. She'd often have 4 eyes.

We spent the good part of the week in the yard. Alden and Rhianwen did their first ever team sport all on their own initiative:

They rolled this barrel up hills, down hills, across ditches, all kinds of things.

Alden tried to make lawn-mowing a team sport too.

Dying Easter eggs. A good many were "smashed" by Alden.

You can see his handiwork in the front.

Easter morning chocolate. Rhi ate the ear off first (what I would have done), and Alden ate the middle off first (takes some skill to do that without crushing the whole thing).

Aw. Look at the bright family. (All these pics are for both sides of my family!). Rhianwen has been so excited about her Easter dress for weeks. She was SO happy to finally get to wear it.

"A jellybean for me? Really?!"

My most favorite Easter picture of all time. Notice the egg on the orange portion of the climby thing that she is completely overlooking. For 5 minutes or so she walked around and around and stopped right over top of it to search.

And here's a little movie for my mom especially, who is just going through grandchild withdrawal.

Funniest statement of the week:
Rhianwen in a weepy voice when informed that there were no more clean und*erp*an)ts b/c she'd had too many "accidents": "Well, I guess I'll just have to wear b*utt then!" Sniffle.

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