Thursday, July 31, 2008

"Um, No"

Ben's vocabulary has been growing by leaps and bounds, mostly due to his penchant for repeating just about everything that comes out of Claire's mouth. Typically, however, whatever he says is, at least, done so at about 2 decibels louder than the average person.

Anyway, he is not only picking up words, he is also picking up phrases that he must hear often. Last week's phrase was, "oh, okay." It actually came out more like, "oh, otay." Brought back memories of Spanky and The Little Rascals. I wish that I had been able to get it on tape. It was really quite hilarious to hear him say it and use it correctly. He would be crying his eyes out because he had to go inside, and I would say, "but Buddy, it's time for bed," and he, without stopping the wailing and tears, would say, "oh, otay," and turn around and walk in the house!

Well, his new phrase is "um, no." This is sometimes, but not often enough, varied with "um, yes," but the "no" version tends to dominate. I remember Claire saying this at the same age, and I'm pretty sure they get it from me. When they ask to do something or have something that I don't want them to, "Um (pretending to think about it, but not really), no" tends to be my most used answer.

Well here's Ben putting that phrase to use.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Pop Rocks

With complete disregard for Mikey, the Life cereal kid's supposed death from swallowing Pop Rocks candy, I thought it would be funny to see what my kiddos thought of them. Claire got them in a goody bag from a birthday party this weekend. She would have nothing to do with them. Ben, however, thought they were nifty.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

4 Going on 15

Claire's bedtime routine has been set in stone since she was an infant, and any variation in the ritual causes tears and strife. Really, since she sleeps so well, we don't mind sticking to the schedule. Right now it consists of bath, quiet play with one parent while the other puts Ben to bed. Then Claire gets two stories read to her, one by each parent, followed by prayers and then one parent (whoever doesn't put Ben to bed that night) reads to her from a longer book. Right now we are on book 6 of the Laura Ingalls Wilder series.

Anyway, the parent who doesn't read from the book at the end, will kiss her goodnight after prayers and leave the room. Tonight that was Shawn. He always will kiss her while making her laugh by tickling her, etc. Her response to this attention tonight was:

"Dad, stop, you'll give me zits!"

Good grief.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Dan Nicholas State Park

This past Saturday, we took the kids to Dan Nicholas State Park in Salisbury. About an hour away, the park is beautifully maintained and contains a multitude of activities for kids. There are several playgrounds, a mini-golf course, merry-go-round, lake with paddle boats, wildlife center, petting zoo, train, and tons more. Many of the attractions are free, and the others are only a dollar or two. It was a fun, freakishly hot day. The kids had a blast.

Most certainly, the water plaza was Claire's favorite activity. She was waiting for it all day. The picture above was taken while we were waiting for dad to change Ben into his swimsuit, so they could go in the water. I have no clue what she is doing. I called her name, told her to smile for the camera, and this is what I got.

Of course, she was skittish of the spraying water, but the heat and her curiosity finally won out.

Ben, however, remained afraid of the spraying water throughout. Here he is watching his sister get all wet. This pose cracks me up. A bit like a swimsuit model, eh?

As you can see from his face, Ben's favorite activity of the day was the "too, too tain."

Claire, on the train, afraid she might see some wild animals in the woods!

I think we would have stayed longer, but the trip was cut a bit short after Ben pooped in his swim diaper. Why swimming pools and water attractions regulate that babies have to be in swim diapers is beyond me. Those things don't hold in anything! Pee and poop come right out, a bit noxious to think about all that must really be in our public pools, yeck! Anyway, while carrying him to the bathroom to change, his diaper not only leaked on him but also all over my shirt. Ugh! I road the train smelling like toddler poo. Actually, I'm not sure the word "poo" is sufficient in this case. "Poo" brings to mind changing the diapers of little teeny babies - stinky, but not gag-worthy. This, on the other hand . . . well, it really belonged in the four letter word category, but I'm not brave enough to cuss on the blog just yet! So, I decided that enough was enough. Time to go home. Sure, laugh it up. At that time, I was not amused in the least!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Whole New World

Long before summer began, Claire started asking me questions about bees. Not seeing any significance at the time, I readily answered her questions which included everything from how honey is made to what bees eat, and, of course, why they sting, where the stinger is, etc.

Once summer started, I immediately regretted this previous conversation. She has panicked about bugs in general in the past, but the obsession with bees this summer and the possibility of getting stung has haunted her every foray into the outdoors. While it has been extremely irritating at times, I can't say that I blame her all that much. After all, I'm not much of a bee fan myself, nor is Shawn who is allergic to certain bees and wasps. So, I guess, in some ways, she gets her "bee paranoia" honestly.

Well, the fateful day finally arrived. While at the pool today, Claire was stung. She was playing "Ariel the Mermaid" in the baby pool, which, at the time, involved her pretending to sleep in the water. Apparently (I was occupied with Ben at the time) a bee like bug flew into her hair, got trapped there, and stung her shoulder out of protest. The first I heard of this encounter was Claire saying, "Mommy, I was playing my Ariel game and then I got a little hurt." When I asked her to show me where, she pointed to her shoulder, and I saw the bug in her hair.

All you moms out there know the importance of a mother's reaction and it's proportionate response in a hurt child. Well, in my defense, I'm not a fan of bees! I think I responded something like, "Oh Claire, there's a bee in your hair, hold still, I think it stung you." You can imagine her response.

Once the offending insect was removed and squashed by a shoe, Claire was carried, shrieking like a banshee, away from the pool. I examined her shoulder, and, sure enough, found a small bump there. She wouldn't let me touch it at all. After assuring her that she was brave, and that all would be well, she finally quieted down. I think because she realized that, after all, it really wasn't all that bad. Actually, looking back on it, I hesitate to even call it a bee. Maybe a horsefly? I don't really know. It was big, black and mean looking. Enough said.

Regardless, the highlight of the morning for me was when Claire looked at me, and, in all sincerity said, "Mommy, I thought I would never get stung by a bee, but then my life changed, and I did." I couldn't help myself. I laughed.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Old friends

While at the beach, I met up with some old friends from high school. Megan moved to the Wilmington area several years ago, and Donna and her family just happened to be vacationing there at the same time we were.

We all met on Tuesday afternoon at an indoor jumping arena. The kids had a blast, and we were able to catch up with each other . . . well, as much as we could while trying to wrangle 8 kids.

Here's Claire flying down one of the slides. She had a ball! Shawn and I were both pleasantly surprised to find that she was willing to try out all the slides and jumping rooms.

Jumping in the Princess castle.

After wearing out the kids at Monkey Joes, we all headed to Chik Fil-A for kid's night. The kids got balloon animals and swords from a clown there who was also painting faces and various other body parts. Claire got a mermaid painted on her hand. If you ask her, going to the "jumping place" and getting her "tattoo" were the highlights of the beach trip.

The picture below is in front of the restaurant after dinner. It was SO good to see these girls!

Wrightsville Beach

We just returned from a four day trip to Wrightsville Beach. This annual trip started three years ago when Grandma and Shawn took Claire while I was in Jamaica. That first trip was only for a day, and we have added a day to the trip every year since. We had a great time, good weather, great food, and lots of sun and sand . . . lots of sand . . . everywhere.
I took fifty gazillion pictures, but I'll try to just post some of the better ones.

"Hmmm . . . do I dare enter the waves?"

"Yikes! Not ready yet. Run for it!"

Ben is checking out this water that keeps moving . . . weird! Notice the sand already encrusted on his forehead. That kid had sand in places I can't even mention!

Ben's absolute favorite activity at the beach. He was in heaven.

Claire soon became much more comfortable with the ocean. It's hard to see in this picture, but she is playing in the "swimming pool" that she dug out of the sand.

Very proud of our sandcastle.

Ben and dad - jumping the waves.

The training has started early.

Ben was super impressed with the sea turtle that mom made for him. Poor turtle only lasted about 15 minutes until he was trampled by some rude kids!

Beach buddies.

July 4th

Grandma Linda came down to celebrate the 4th and spend some time with us before we all headed off to Wrightsville Beach for a few days. We went to the pool, and Claire debated all day long whether she would brave the fireworks show that night. She finally decided to give it a try, as long as she had ear plugs! In the end, it rained, so the fireworks were scrapped.

Grandma did bring some sparklers though, and after many, many attempts, Claire finally got up enough nerve to hold one. As you can see, she was still pretty nervous.

Much more confident now!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Ben's First Sentence

Ok, so it's not really his first sentence, as, technically speaking, "Hush, Libby" counts, but this was the first "long" sentence that I've heard him use. And, well, it was . . . perfect.

If you know me at all, you know that I hate the mornings. My college roomates still joke about how I wouldn't speak for the first hour after waking up. I hate getting up, would sleep well into the day if I could. This has been an impossibility since having children, of course, but I still relish those mornings when the kids sleep in a bit.

If you know Ben at all, you know that he is not the best sleeper. Whenever he is uncomfortable, his sleep is the first thing affected. This, of course, made for a really LONG first year during the height of his reflux. Now he does fairly well, but when he's teething, he's a mess. He teethes incredibly slowly, and right now he is working on all four eye-teeth, the supposed "worst" teeth to teethe. Thus, he has been taking forever to fall asleep at naptime (sometimes not napping at all) and has been getting up at first light which, in the summer, is REALLY early.

So, this morning, after hearing him waking at 6:20, I rolled over and prayed he would go back to sleep. I don't think he ever really did, but he quieted down enough for me to fall back asleep. The quiet lasted for about 45 more minutes until I heard him yell:

"Mommy, wake up right NOW!"

I think he was ready for me to get him out of his crib.