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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Surprise Addition

Do you remember how last time I was raving about Fred the snail? Well, we have a new addition to our tank. It's a tiny baby snail. Rhianwen insisted that we no longer could call our snail Fred, and that from henceforth, her name must be Ballerina Princess. Ballerina Princess does not seem to be fazed in the slightest with her new role of motherhood. In fact, her schedule has changed not a bit. She seems to think that baby snail can fend for herself (please, please, let it be a she; I really don't want more snails). I'm quite inspired. Come January, maybe I'll try the same thing...

Baby snail has taken over the role of reaching those hard to clean places like between and under the rocks. It's amazing how tiny she is...about 1 cm long. Adorable!

We've been enduring a September of sizzling days. I just loved the color of this bamboo at Duke Gardens; it helped remind me of fall even if the weather was hot and dry.

Maybe that's why they painted the bridge red at Duke Gardens. I am feeling very sorry for all those poor traditional brides who now have to pose on a red bridge for wedding portraits. It used to be so nice and white. In the spring it'll be interested next to all the pink blooms nearby. Yes, I realize this makes it look more authentically Asian and that perhaps the modern bride may find this color vibrant and lively.

Because we'll never be able to afford a cool owl mobile for the baby, Alden and Rhianwen decided to make one. This was so much more fun and cuter anyway. It's always fascinating to see how differently they make things in comparison to what I would have done.

We may add more projects later. It's colorful and textured and moves, so who cares if the owl part didn't quite materialize?

Picking the last of our gourds.

RAIN and cool weather!!!! FINALLY!!!! After suffering through 0.13 inches and 95-97 degrees this month, we are loving it.

All this fall weather makes me hungry for ginger cookies and pumpkin bread. Alden loves helping me cook.

Painting everything with a mix of cornstarch, water, and food coloring. Awesome. We painted the sidewalk, bricks, planters, trees, rocks, and leaves. It's all washed away with our rain.

This is just a funny video of Rhianwen and Alden attempting their own church service. Rhianwen is the senior pastor, and I guess Alden is assistant. He has a pretty funny interpretation of a benediction.

Funny Rhianwen song: "Oh praise, oh praise, Oh give me a hooooome where the buffalo groooan!"

Next week my girl turns 4!!! Amazing and a little sad. She's really not a baby anymore.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Wade in the Water, Wade in the Water Chillun'

Few words and lots of pictures. Summary: wedding (Rhianwen's and Alden's first) and beach trip including a brief evacuation. What kept us sane in the car? Winnie the Pooh and the House at Pooh Corner audio books by Hodder Children's library. They both loooved it! Alden asked for it over music! A miracle! It's an excellent version with each character represented by a different actor/voice. Their favorite stories had the obnoxious Tigger in it.

Wading in a pool near a waterfall at Ridge Haven. This was a first for both of them. There were lots of tiny snails making trails in the sand. It was fun to visit this old haunt of mommy's and daddy's from summer camp days.

Then it was off to the beach with Grandaddy and Grandmama (and later Uncle Averett) and off to inland again as hurricane Earl approached and a "mandatory" evacuation was ordered for our beach. We complied (no running water and a possible hit to a beach front house didn't sound cool). Before leaving, we checked out the surfers and the pier. Notice how our kids could have fallen right through the space between the rails behind us. Scary!!! The waves were huge too although it looks so mild in this picture!

On our way out we stopped by the Fireman's Museum in New Bern. We also got to see lots of fighter jets flying over the highway because of the Marine air base near there. On our last day, a rescue helicopter flew right by our house with a scuba guy hanging down by a rope. He looked hilarious, but our kids thought it was SO awesome. I wondered if it wasn't some kind of Marine initiation thing. (I know, they DO rescue people like that, but why would you fly down the beach hanging out like that? I thought you got to your destination, then dropped?).

The day after the hurricane, we went to the NC Aquarium since the beach surf was really rough. My favorite thing was the otter exhibit and touching a stingray. The kids' favorite thing was getting to touch a snake. They also loved climbing all over the statuary.

More climbing and sitting.

HUGE fish tanks and fish.

Alden loved these rakes. I'm not quite sure why.

The 2nd most surprising thing to me was that the kids wanted to spend the entire time floating in the water. Way out in the water! We had expected being free to lounge around on the beach or swim when we wanted, but not so without a battle.

Checking out Grandaddy's fishing pole.

Skimmer boarding. Daddy got a new board and tore it up...and himself.

I said second most surprising thing, b/c the first most surprising thing was that with all of the conch shells that washed in close to the shore, Grandaddy and Grandmama found 2 octopi hiding out in them. Here's one in a bucket. I grew up at the beach and have never seen this!!! We also saw dolphins, someone catch a stingray, and plenty of birds. Alden loved chasing the birds.

Daddy made great swimming holes.

Lounging, just this once.

Icecream at the beach. So special.

We've been memorizing Psalm 139. One verse per week. It's been great b/c it's full of imagery that you can make hand signs for the kids to do. They've done amazingly and can say verses 1-5 now! Here they are saying verses 1-4. We did it at almost every meal at the beach, which was special to do as a bigger family.

It really warms my heart to hear them say this. We'll see how far we can go. Originally, I was only going to have them say one verse at a time, but Alden ALWAYS started with verse 1 and just wanted to say the entire thing, and we discovered they can do it!!!

Back at home, we have a new addition to our aquarium. Fred the snail. I couldn't keep up with cleaning the aquarium, but he can. He is fascinating! He can float when he wants to and drop like an anchor to the bottom when he wants to and he cleans up all of the algae and muck and extra food. I LOVE him and so do the kids. You can see his mouth slurping on the glass here.

If you are wondering about baby names, we are no closer to anything. Rhianwen said tonight, "Let's call him Hallelujah, because it's good to praise God!". Today I was holding Alden after naps and looking out his window at our front flower bed where some butterflies were feasting. He said, "God made the butterfly!" Little comments like that give me hope amidst some difficult child rearing times.

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