Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas Grandma's

Christmas wrapped up at my Mom's or Onermark Gram's house as Alyce likes to say it.  The family went out earlier to do the immediate family Christmas while the extended family would show up for Christmas later.

Before we opened presents Alyce found Grandma's dancing singing snowman, set it up, and started it up.  Before long both she and Jack started dancing to "Jingle Bells" as sung by a snowman and his trusty dog.  After a while even Grandma joined in on the fun.  Kids, unlike adults, never seem to get tired of hearing the same song over and over again and this was no exception.  Alyce and Jack played and danced to the song at a minimum 10 times before we intervened as our ears were starting to bleed.  We redirected their excitement to presents!

There were two big presents for Alyce and her cousin Jack that they wanted to open first.  The kids must have learned somewhere that the biggest presents were the best and didn't want to waste time with the small stuff.  We told Alyce that she needed to wait and that we were going to open the big one last.  Alyce, not very happy about that, threw herself on the ground, started crying, and tossed her other still wrapped presents away from her.  Not knowing where that came from (lack of nap being the culprit) we decided to redirect her by having her help me open one of my presents.  That seemed to do the trick because after helping me with one she was back to unwrapping her own.  When it was time to unwrap the biggest presents Alyce and Jack were not disappointed.  Alyce and Jack both got their own Cozy Coupe!

This is when things get a bit hairy.  Jack immediately wanted Tom to open the box and assemble the coupe however, they were going to send this gift back home UPS and an assembled car is a lot more expensive to ship than an unassembled one.  I offered up Alyce's car for assembly and we could "call it" Jack's to smooth things over.  Tom and I took the coupe parts downstairs for assembly soon to be joined by our cousin Jared.  All three of us got to experience a rite of passage, the assembly of Christmas toys that were not ours.  We poured over instructions and set to work.  Even before we had the wheels on the car both Jack and Alyce were trying sit in the empty shell.  We spent just as much time keeping them away from construction and from pushing each other as we did assembling the car.  When the car was finished Tom and Jared went upstairs and I was left to be the referee of the coupe.  I made Jack and Alyce take turns riding in the coupe while I pushed them in a lap around basement.  After they had 3 turns each I had enough "kid" time and wanted some adult conversation.  I declared that the car was tired, needed to rest, and that it was time to go up.  Surprisingly I didn't have a single complaint.

Christmas dinner was a blur and none of the 7 children ages 3 and under ate much dinner.  It was amusing seeing all my cousins trying to shovel food into their children at the kids table while the grandparents were at the big kid table having calm conversation.  We managed to get a few bites into Alyce and then she was off to play with one of her other cousins who managed to sneak away from the dinner table.  Mom and I decided not to push the point and let her enjoy Christmas how she wanted and we took the opportunity to eat at our own pace.  Alyce, always the good child, didn't get into any trouble while out of our site even though we continued to check on her.

Following dinner (around 7:00) is when things started to get rough.  The youngest of the kids were starting to hit their bedtimes and crankiness was starting to set in.  Alyce's Strawberry Shortcake toy was the hit of party for 2 - 3 year old boys.  Rex and Jack both wanted to play with Alyce's toy and sometimes Alyce didn't want to part with it.  Naturally this led to a lot of tears and all parents saying to their children "you need to share".  This scene played out over and over again with different toys so much that the theme of this Christmas could have been You Need to Share.  Once the White Elephant Gift Exchange started the kids seemed to find an equilibrium and there wasn't much fighting over the toys while it was going on.

Once the gift exchange was over the spell was broken and all the kids in attendance had given up on controlling their emotions.  This was the sign for the parents in attendance that it was time to leave and get the kids off to bed.  We corralled all toys and presents into a big pile and loaded up the car the best we could.  We took our kids already in the pajammas, loaded them up into the car, and set off for home.  They were both fast asleep before we hit the interstate.  Alyce found one more use for her pig, a pillow.  In her overtired state she whined for her pig while in the carseat.  After we handed it to her Alyce wrapped her hands around it in a big hug, laid her head down on it, and was out.

Christmas: Grams and Papa

When we reached Grams and Papa's it was just about time for breakfast but before we sat down to eat Gram's let Alyce open up one present, and it was a doozy.  I've yet to see it for the proper title but Alyce refers to it the "Mouse Book".  I believe it is a book that comes with a toy mouse and the subject matter is the adventures of the mouse going through the house.  Alyce was such a huge fan of the book she barely ate any breakfast because she wanted to leave the table to go back to it.

Following breakfast, presents were exchanged and opened with the last present being the one shipped from Chris's Aunt Julie and Uncle Doug.  Mom and I have had this present at our house for weeks before Christmas but decided to wait until the 25th to open it.  We knew it was big and it was squishy but we weren't prepared for what greeted us when we finally opened it; a giant pink pig!  The pig is a soft squishy pink ball with feet, nose, and ears.  It could be used as a pillow, beanbag, or stuffed animal.  Alyce has already used it for all three.


After all the presents were exchanged and the snow stopped falling we packed up the kids, some presents, Strawberry Shortcake, the pig, and proceeded to Grandma's House.  Grams and Papa were going to catch up with us later at the big family Christmas party.


Christmas has come and gone and only now I have caught my breath to write about it.  Christmas festivities for our family consisted of three locations: our house, Grams and Papa's, and Grandma's.  With some good planning and a lot of luck, naps worked out perfectly to keep everyone happy.

The day started at our house and it was like any other day.  Alyce woke up like she always does by coming into our room.  Mom and I told that Santa might have come and there might be some presents for her.  I think she was still asleep because she didn't race down to go check them out.  Upon seeing the presents she knew that something special had happened as she asked the question "for me?".  Alyce tore into her presents unwrapping each one without any help from us.  Naturally she focused on the toys she received and glossed over the princess sheets for her bed.  Whenever a toy was opened she wanted us to open it up so she could play with it.  Maybe we should have just gotten her one gift?  The present Alyce was most excited about and the subject of an earlier post was Strawberry Shortcake.  Strawberry Shortcake, her tricycle, and dog were going to be a big hit for the rest of the day.  After the presents were opened we zoomed out of the house to Grams and PaPa's for more presents and breakfast.

Alyce's Painting

For Christmas Alyce received some Crayola Color Wonder Paints from Grandma. And I think they are wonderful! The paint is like gel and it's clear until you put it on special paper. Which means paint doesn't get everywhere. It's great!

Here are a couple pictures of her painting.

And her first final project:

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Firsts

This year has had a lot of firsts for Alyce but it has also had a lot of firsts for Mom and I.  This year is the first year that we had to play the Santa game.  We had to watch what we say around Alyce when we were talking about what to get her.  We had to wrap her presents in secret so she wouldn't see what she was getting.  When wrapping family gifts in front of her we had to make sure to keep some rolls of wrapping paper out of sight and out of use so that she couldn't but it together that Santa uses the same paper we use.

Another nice Christmas first was that we put out some Christmas cookies and milk for Santa before Alyce went to bed.  Alyce seemed to get a real kick out of this.  We had been out most of the day and she was falling apart.  Having her bring a plate full of cookies and milk put her wheels back on and allowed us to get her to bed without too many more tears.  All of this cookie business marks a special occasion for Mom and I.  It is the first year that we've gotten to eat the Santa cookies.  This feels like a real accomplishment.  Like I'm walking down the road that all parent's have walked before and I'm learning all the lesson's they've learned before.

The Christmas Season

Mom and I took Alyce to go see Santa earlier this week.  We weren't planning on doing it this year.  We had tried two years ago for fun and it ended with Alyce in tears.  This year Alyce hadn't mentioned wanting to see Santa so we were going to let it slide.  Well last weekend that changed as Alyce asked to see Santa.  We took her to the Mall on Tuesday to see Santa.   The trip was a great success!  Alyce waited in line patiently, sat in Santa's lap without tears, and smiled for a picture.  When she was done we asked her if she told Santa what she wanted, she said yes, and that she wanted "Strawberry Cake" for Christmas.  Strawberry Cake is her way of saying Strawberry Shortcake the toy/doll.

This new bit of information brought us to a scary realization; we hadn't gotten her anything Strawberry Shortcake.  Alyce had talked about getting something of that toy line but that was because of some toys she received in a Mc donald's Happy Meal.  We didn't think she was really serious when she would point to it on the advertisement and say "want that".  Also there are many small pieces that come with anything Strawberry Shortcake so we decided to pass.  Big mistake on our part.  Mom and I decided that we should get a least one small thing to reinforce that magic that Santa is out there and paying attention.  I picked up something that night from Toys R Us.  It will be interesting to see how she reacts tomorrow.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Hot Dog Dance

Last night we hung out at Josh and Tammy's house.  While we were sitting around talking the kids were playing with all of Gideon's toys.  Gideon was very gracious with his toys.  He would bring some toys over for Alyce to play with and once she started playing with them he would get jealous and take them back.

One toy that garnered a lot of attention was Gideon's step stool. This wasn't a normal step stool, this was a Mickey Mouse step stool!  It had stickers of Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Daisy on it.  Once Alyce saw this stool she had to get on it and dance and sing the Hot Dog Dance.  The Hot Dog Dance is a song and dance that plays at the end of every episode of Disney's Mickey Mouse Club House.  Tammy was quick on the draw and took a video of Alyce and sent it on to me to share with the world.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tree Farm

A few weeks we joined Mom's parents and their neighbor's Trent, Lisa, and Shelby on a trip to get a Christmas Tree.  Shelby's friend Claire also tagged along.  Starting last year we got a fake tree due to size constraints in our living room.  We still like to make the trip to help us get into the Christmas spirit.

The weather this year unlike some previous years cooperated.  It was really cold but as long as it isn't raining and the ground isn't wet we can manage.  Alyce was pretty fired up about going to the tree farm.  One of the reasons for her excitement was that she got to ride to the farm in T&L's van with all the other ladies.  While waiting for the tractor to come around Alyce rode on a mini train that was being pulled around the farm. Shelby and Clair were there to watch her so I didn't even have to cram on board.

The tractor ride to the field was pretty intense.  This year the field on top of a hill above the store was open.  This requires a five minute ride on a trailer where you would fall out that back if you weren't holding on.  Alyce was enjoying every minute of it by looking all around and especially at the tractor.

Stalking the trees didn't take very long this year.  The intense cold had something to do with speed up T&L's decision.  Alyce didn't hang that close to us while strolling around.  Pushing Luke in his stroller around a field isn't easy or quick and Shelby was moving quite a bit faster.  Alyce was very well behaved.  She didn't run off and didn't complain once about the cold.  There might have been a few gripes when her mitten fell off or needed to blow her nose but nothing major.  I think Alyce was taking a lot of ques from Shelby and modeling her behavior on hers.  After the tree was felled we took a few pictures and headed back to the warmth.

Back in the store we were finally able to unbundle, get warm, and take some more pictures.  We couldn't hang around too long though; the place was closing and we needed to head out to Onermark Grams' house.  We let Alyce ride the train one last time, packed up the kids in the car, and headed out.  Both kids fell asleep on the hour long trip and I think they needed it.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer


Artwork courtesy of Alyce. Take note of her proper placement of the magnets. Who knew Rudolf had a brother with a blue nose?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Reading a book.

Last week, maybe even two weeks ago Alyce did something that left me speechless.  Speechless both from surprise and because I didn't need to say anything.  Alyce read a book to me.  Well she really didn't read the book.  She had heard it so many times she knew all the words to it and recited it from memory.  The book was Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?  The "Brown Bear" book as Alyce likes to call it is one of our favorites.  Mom and I like it because it is short and we can get her to bed quicker than if we have to read something difficult like Dr. Seuss books.  Fox in Sox is its own form of torture if you attempt to read it quickly.  The book comes with a warning.

As I laid next to her and opened up the book Alyce just starts saying "brown bear brown bear what do you see?" and then continues "I see a ....".  This is when I have to turn to the next page to show her the next animal.  The page after the bear has a red bird.  Once she sees the red bird she finishes the sentence by saying "red bird looking at me".  She recites the rest of the book correctly identifying the yellow duck, blue horse, green frog, purple cat, white dog, black sheep, and goldfish.  You could tell by the look in her eyes and the tone in her voice that she was proud of her accomplishments.  Me gushing with praise probably helped.

That's Culvers

Last week the family was out and about doing some Christmas shopping.  As we were going down the highway we passed a restaurant we frequent, Culver's.  Alyce was looking out the window at the time and said "that's Culver's"!  After we confirmed her statement she went on to say "I get hots dog and ice cream there".  We then asked her what her favorite ice cream was.  Cookie dough was her response.  She has good taste.  Hot dogs and cookie dough.

Friday, December 11, 2009

School Pictures


Last week we received Alyce's school pictures.  The group picture is of all of Alyce's classmates.  The lucky or unlucky boy considering who you ask is Owen and the blonde with the white sweater is Aleana.  From the reports I get from Mom when she drops off Alyce at school Alyce is Aleana's friend as she can't keep talking about Alyce to her mother.  Alyce, however, barely makes mention of her so I can't say if the friendship is reciprocal.  I do hear that they play together at the playground so I would guess that Alyce considers her a friend as well.  Ms. Maria is their teacher. 

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Lights

This year Alyce is celebrating her first Christmas.  This year Alyce is getting the Christmas excitement.  She doesn't understand the real meaning of Christmas yet but she has the idea that something special is going on.  The most visible aspect of Alyce's interest in Christmas is Christmas lights.

Alyce is a big fan of Christmas lights.  Whenever we are out and about at night she points out each and every house to us; saying things like "pretty lights", "Christmas lights", "ooh pretty ones", "look over there at that one".  Words can't describe the excitement in her voice.  Just yesterday Mom setup the lights inside the house as part of the Christmas decorations.  When Alyce came down from her nap she was all about the Christmas lights.  She was so distracted by them she barely ate any dinner and left the table early to look at them some more.

During all of this Alyce did learn a new feeling or at least a name for it, fear.  When the first lights were being put up after Thanksgiving we asked Alyce what she thought of them.  She said that they scared her in a scared voice.  She wouldn't elaborate as to why they were scary but after we told her that the light's were pretty and fun, and not scary she seemed to be ok with them then.  Well she is ok with most of them.  Whenever we go past a house or business with lots of blue light she says that she doesn't like those.  Who knows what goes through the mind of a three year old?

Monday, December 7, 2009

New Car Seat

A few weeks ago Alyce got a new car seat.  She didn't need a new car seat, Luke did.  Luke, now 8 months old has grown out of his 32lb pumpkin seat and is in need of a real car seat.  Alyce, luckily, is now within the height / weight range of booster seat.  So we decided to move Alyce onto a new seat and give Luke her hand me down.  Yes this is yet another hand me down Luke gets of Alyce's but at least he won't be able to wear any of her old clothing.

Alyce's new car seat is an EvenFlo "Big Kid" booster seat.  It has an removable / adjustable back, two drink cup holders, and flip up armrests.  The most important feature of this new seat is that Alyce gets to use big kids seat belts.  No longer do we have to attach the car seat to the car and then her to the car seat.  Now we can just plop Alyce on the booster and with a single click she is good to go.  Because it doesn't need to be mounted to the car we can switch her car seat to another car in about 30 seconds; a feature we've already used.  The whole point of a booster seat is to get a kids smaller body in the same position an adult would be to make full use of a 3 point seat belt hence why it doesn't need to be attached to the car.

Since the first time Alyce viewed her new seat she has been in love with it.  Every time she gets into the car she says out loud "I'm going to get into my new big kid car seat" or "that's my new car seat".  I think she likes the idea of using the adult seat belts rather than the car seat's 5 point harness.  It does provide her with some additional mobility that I think she enjoys.  Alyce is also a big fan of the arm rests.  There is one downside to this booster compared to her old car seat and that is there isn't a good way to sleep.  With her old seat it wrapped around her and she could lean into one side or the other, rest her head, and fall asleep.  With the new seat there isn't a lot for her head to rest on so she doesn't sleep much in the car or when she does she doesn't stay asleep for very long.  That being said with her now being three missing a nap isn't as big as a deal as it used to be and if she doesn't take a nap in the car she won't be ruined for the rest of the day.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Daddy Those are Butterflies

Two nights ago after I gave Alyce her bath it was time to get her dressed.  She is old enough now to have an opinion on what she wants to wear and if we can accommodate without jumping through hoops we do.  Well Alyce wanted to wear her blue "Super Cozy" jamas.  A super cozy set of pajamas is a set of footy pjs made out of soft fleece material.  Sadly I had to tell her that the blue super cozy jamas were dirty and in the laundry. 

After after voicing her dismay she put on normal set of pink pjs with butterflies on them without any more complaining.  This pink set however didn't have any feet on them so I asked Alyce if she wanted some socks.  She responded with yes and that she wanted some pink socks to match her outfit.  As an aside she has been really big into pointing out things that match.  A few days ago she mentioned that my blue jeans matched the blue chair in the living room.  I told her to go pick out some socks from her drawer, she walks over, opens the drawer, and pulls out some pink socks.  I mention to her that she made a good choice and that they match the flowers on her jamas.  If you've been paying attention you would have noticed that I said flowers on her pjs where in fact it was butterflies.  Well Alyce didn't miss my characterization and said matter-of-factly "daddy those are butterflies on my jamas not flowers".  I corrected myself and said that yes those are butterflies not flowers.  After Alyce told me a second time that they were butterflies she was satisfied and moved on towards bedtime.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Alyce's Parenting Advice for Jake

A few weeks ago I was bringing Alyce upstairs for her bath and then bed.  Entering the kid's bathroom I saw that Jake had gotten into the trash and I said to no one in particular, "Jake Man!".  Alyce turned around, goes down the stairs until she could see Jake on the ottoman, and said "Jake's a bad boy".

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Alyce has picked up a new skill as of late, cooking.  Alyce started making soup.  She makes all kinds of soup for Mommy and I.  Pea soup, cheese soup, yellow soup, and train soup are some of her creations.  Her soup can be a very involved process.  She adds water from her pretend kitchen, stirs it up, puts it in the over for a while (1 - 2 minutes), and brings it out to me with spoon in hand.  The soup is still too hot to eat when I get it so she blows on it until cool.  I take a few bites of the soup then Alyce takes my bowl and spoon to make another batch of soup.  Sometimes she changes recipes between bowls.  Just tonight she started with pea soup, changed to yellow soup, and finished again with pea soup.

Of all of her recipes I only know one, train soup.  Train soup requires a few toy trains from her brio train set, a box to mix it all in, some pretend water from the faucet in her kitchen.  Stir it all together a few times and voila you have train soup.  We might need to add this to the family cookbook.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Magic House

The hardest thing to do when you are a parent is to get some free time to do the things that you put on the back burner.  With all the work I've been doing on the retaining wall I've been neglecting the backlog of things I wanted to post.  One item sitting in the queue was a trip the family took to the Magic House.

Back in the middle of October the Magic House was having an anniversary party and to celebrate admission was free with donation.  The Magic House is an attraction that has been in existence since I was a kid.  Back then it was just a house with fun learning things for kids to learn.  Now, 25 years later the Magic House is really more like the Magic Mansion.  There is stuff everywhere for kids to look, touch, smell, and hear.

The first exhibit we visited was the Curious George play area.  This traveling exhibit had all sorts of Curious George themed items for kids to play with.  Alyce's two favorites were the slide coming out of a rocket and a conveyor belt with black foam bricks.  Alyce was a big fan of the blocks; putting them in place and even taking a few turns at the crank that brought them up to the lift for their zig zag journey back to earth.  Now would be a good time to mention how busy the Magic House was.  Since admission was free there was a line out the door just to get in.  Inside at times it was shoulder to shoulder.  Because quarters were so tight it was hard for me to stay within arms reach of Alyce.  In this hectic situation I had my first parental scare.  Alyce went behind an exhibit and to follow her I had to go around said exhibit with my eyes being off of her for maybe 10 seconds.  When I got to the other side Alyce was nowhere in sight.  I did that parental 360 degree look, couldn't see Alyce's bobbing head anywhere, got the racing heartbeat, and panic was eating at the edges.  I quickly got back to Mom telling her I lost Alyce and to guard the exit to the room.  About that time I turn around and Alyce is at the top getting ready to go down without a care in the world.  I waved her over to me, gave her a big, and told her to go back to playing.  Oh to be a child where the world is a simple and safe place.

After the Curious George exhibit we found another neat exhibit, a gigantic water table.  This table had all sorts of floating toys and ways to block off sections of water so you could make your own custom river.  Alyce was a big fan of the provided smocks for keeping the kids dry.  Alyce moved from station to station playing with water jets, floating toys, and other fun stuff.

We didn't stay at the Magic House much longer after that.  The place was crowded past capacity so much that you couldn't push a stroller from one room to the next.  Standing shoulder to shoulder in a human traffic jam was very stressful as well.  Alyce didn't seem to mind.  I see us going back this winter when it is too cold to be out in a park or at the zoo and hopefully with less people.

Monday, November 16, 2009


Alyce has picked up a new talent since she started going to school, singing.  At first it started off as some quiet humming to a melody that only she knew.  Next her singing transformed into a special Alyce version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  Alyce's version goes something like this.  "Twinkle star, twinkle star, twinkle twinkle star" with some humming and then another verse of twinkle stars.

Alyce has now moved on and is now making her own lyrics to her songs.  Earlier this week she sang a song to her brother Luke.  Those lyrics were "baby Luke, baby Luke, baby Luke" on and on until we couldn't take it anymore and asked her to sing something else.

Sunday she improved on her custom songs by adding original dance moves.  On Sunday the family met my mother for dinner and upon getting out of the car I asked Alyce if she could sing a song for Grandma Onermark.  She started singing "Onermark Grams" over and over again but this time she started bouncing and balancing on one foot then the other.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Alyce's Parenting Advice

Yesterday, Alyce wanted to play outside, but Luke was crying and I didn't know what was wrong, so I told Alyce we couldn't go out right now because I had to figure out what Luke needed. She said, "Put him upstairs, he's tired." She thought Luke needed a nap, so she wanted me to put him up in his crib. Then later, she said, "I want to go to the playground." I told her we couldn't go yet because Luke was upstairs sleeping. She said, "Go get him!"

Saturday, November 7, 2009


A few days ago I was sitting on the blue chair watching a tv show while Alyce was sitting next to me working on a Dora the Explorer puzzle.  On occasion a puzzle piece would shift out of place stopping her from putting in the next piece.  One time I helped Alyce push a piece back into place.  Alyce, without skipping a beat says "thanks" and continues with her puzzle.  I pulled her over, said "that is very nice of you", and kissed her on the head.

What a great kid.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Halloween last Saturday was Alyce's 4th.  The first one she was only 4 days old so she was a newborn, the second she wore a Tigger costume, the third she was a cowgirl, and this year she was a princess.  This year had a lot of firsts for Alyce.  The was the first year that she had an opinion on what her costume would be (a princess), she knew that she would get candy from houses and was excited about it, and she went trick or treating with friends.

Saturday was Alyce's second time wearing her costume.  Two days before at school the kids were encouraged to wear their costumes.  The night before Mom got to flex her domestic muscle by hemming Alyce's princess costume.  Mom did a really good job given that she only had a needle and thread to work with.  However, even the best sewing job won't hold up to the onslaught that is children and Alyce tore out the hem by the end of the day.  Before Alyce got back into her dress on Saturday Mom fixed it again and this time it held the entire evening.

Trick or treating began down the street at our neighbor's house Jess and Steve's.  They were throwing a party and almost the entire block was in attendance.  Our whole family loaded up the wagon, grabbed the candy and the kids, and joined the festivities.  After Mom got settled with Luke Alyce and I set about hitting the houses in the neighborhood.  This was a first for me too, this was the first time I did the "dad" thing by hanging out with the other dads, drinking beer, and supervising the kids going from house to house.  Alyce being one of the youngest kids in the group was usually bringing up the rear but she patiently waited her turn at each door and received more candy then she could ever eat.  I think she leveraged her cuteness to score more treats.  All of the other kids in the group would get a single handful of candy and so would Alyce, however, Alyce was a bit slow to turn and join group racing to the next house.  Before turning away Alyce would lock eyes with the people at the door and they would say "you can have another handful" and drop another handful of candy in her bag. She learns fast.

We went up and down the street and even up the hill a bit but I could tell that Alyce was slowing down and getting a bit cold.  With her bag full we turned around and headed to the party.  After some warm food and a few pieces of candy we left Alyce to her own devices.  She eventually focused on the pumpkin pounding station.  The pumpkin pounding station is a pretty neat setup.  You take the pumpkins from the night with the candles extinguished, grab some golf tees and a kids hammer, and smash the golf tees into the pumpkin.  You would think that something like that would be entertaining for 10 minutes tops.  Alyce was banging golf tees into a pumpkin for probably an hour.

As the evening drew on we started to get cold and the kids were getting tired.  We bid our neighbors goodnight and whisked our kids off to bed.  It was a good Halloween; good weather, low stress, and lots of fun.

Going Crazy

Last night Alyce started going crazy.  Crazy in a kid sort of way.  Starting when I got home from work Alyce was going nuts.  She was running, singing, bouncing, talking, screaming, squealing, and generally not standing still.  While doing any one of those or even a few of them isn't out of the ordinary but when Alyce behaves in such a manner is usually only lasts for a few minutes and then she goes back to her sedate, well mannered, quiet child.  Last night Alyce was in high gear from the time I got home until she went to bed which was early as we couldn't keep up.

You would think that perhaps her exuberance stemmed from large amounts of Halloween candy.  That wouldn't be the case.  Leading up to this outburst she had only one piece of candy and that was from the day before.  Other sources of her craziness could be the time change or even a full moon.  It will be interesting to see what she will be like tonight when I get home and whether she will be her old self or start a new kidtacular trend.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Swiper No Swipin'

For Alyce's birthday she was given a Dora the Explorer tent and she has gotten a lot of use out of it.  She likes to crawl into and out of it and closes and opens its doors.  Sometimes she will stay inside of it and have her own make believe adventures.  A few days ago while Alyce was playing in the tent with some of her princess stuff Mom hears from inside "Swiper no swiping, no Swiping".  Then followed by "Swiper you can't have my wand".  Hilarious!

For those who don't know about the Dora the Explorer tv show then this might not be so cute.  To explain, on the Dora television show there is a fox dressed up as a bandit and his name is Swiper.  In certain episodes he tries and mostly fails to swipe whatever Dora has in hand.  To protect yourself from Swiper's antics you have to say "Swiper no swiping" three times.  After the third time Swiper says "oh man" and takes off empty handed.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pumpkin Patch


A long while ago a week from Monday in fact the family went to get pumpkins at the pumpkin patch.  Mom tried going the day before with Grams but the line to get into the place was too long so she bailed.  Alyce was so looking forward to going to the pumpkin patch that Mom decided to try again the next day.  I was home that day working on the wall and decided to go with them.  Both Gram's and Pa Pa came with us too.

Once we got to the pumpkin patch Alyce knew exactly where we were at as she squealed "pumpkin patch! pumpkin patch!" as we pulled into the parking lot.  Getting out of the car and after a short cart ride Alyce first tried to get one of the biggest pumpkins on the lot.  Mom and I found our pumpkins pretty quick which left us a lot of time to just hang out with the kids.  Alyce swung on a big girl swing, climbed through some tunnels, and played on a fort.  Luke was in a great mood and enjoyed the nice day from his car seat and our arms.

When we left Mom and I had our two pumpkins.  The next day Mom, Alyce, and I carved pumpkins.  At Alyce's recommendation mom carved a bat into her pumpkin.  I have yet to do mine but I'm thinking of doing a traditional face.  Alyce helped as much as her agility could to carve the pumpkins but when it came time to scooping out the goo she was no where to be found.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Birthday Party

This past weekend we threw a birthday party for Alyce's 3rd birthday. We threw a small party at our house with some immediate family and friends. The theme of the party was castles and princesses. Mom and I spent the better part of the day on Sunday getting ready for the party and decorating the house; there were pink, purple and blue streamers and balloons, princess plates, and pink castle as the centerpiece.

They started to arrive while Alyce was still in quiet time. By the time Alyce came downstairs the house was full of people and I think she was a little overwhelmed. Any reservation that she had must have disappeared because the next time I checked on her she was strutting all around the house in her birthday dress and boots.

Dinner was running a bit behind so while it was cooking we went ahead and opened presents. This was Alyce's first birthday where she opened up presents herself without any adult assistance. There was a mountain of presents before her and she managed to open them all without getting distracted with a new toy and forgetting about the rest. Alyce received a lot of wonderful presents.
  • Her first Barbie dolls
  • Little People castle and carriage
  • Dinosaur bank
  • Princess dress up clothes
  • Dora the Explorer tent, chair, books, pajamas and purse
  • Her first board game Candy Land
  • Puzzles (Dora, My Little Pony and jungle animals)
  • Clothes

After the presents were unwrapped a few immediately stood out. The Dora the Explorer chair and the princess clothes. While I was in the kitchen getting dinner ready, Alyce's God sister, Shelby, turned my little girl into a princes. She came into the kitchen wearing a tiara, necklace, and a bracelet. When dinner was finally served we put Alyce's new Dora chair on one of our kitchen chairs and Alyce looked like a queen presiding over a royal ball.

Following dinner and some play time with Alyce's new toys we had some cupcakes and ice cream. Mom decorated some of the cupcakes to look like little mini castles. In a little breach of standard birthday procedure Alyce got to eat some cake before we sang Happy Birthday. With some help from Mom, Alyce was even able to blow out the candles on her cake; yet another first!

Alyce must have been more interested in her toys than the cake because she had only eaten half before she wanted to get down from the table and go play. With the help of Uncle Trent and Shelby, Alyce opened up and started playing with her Little People castle and carriage. These were big hits as Alyce continued to play with them while sitting in her Dora chair up until bedtime. Alyce did take a few breaks from playing to give everyone goodbye hugs and to say thank you in her quiet little shy voice.

I think Alyce had fun at her party. To the eyes of a three year I would say that the entire experience would be magical. There was dressing up, presents, sweets, and friends. Everything a little girl could ask for.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Making Friends

Today when I dropped Alyce off at school I learned Alyce has a good friend who she apparently plays with a lot. While Alyce was taking off her jacket, another little girl came in and said, "It's Alyce! It's my friend Alyce!" Of course Alyce just kind of watched her and then the little girl said, "Hi Alyce!" She was very excited to see Alyce. Then the little girl's mother told me that her daughter talks about Alyce all the time and they play together all the time. They play on the slide together and they do all sorts of stuff together. I found it very interesting because Alyce doesn't talk much about school. I ask her all sorts of questions, but I don't always get an answer. So, I'm happy to know that Alyce is making friends at school.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Helping Daddy Out: Part 4

This weekend I spent a lot of time working on my wall. I even took a few days off to take advantage of the prime weather.  While I am out working Alyce likes to come out and help as documented; this time weekend was no different.

Yesterday Alyce helped me by cleaning off the tops of the bricks to make sure the new ones I was putting down sat correctly.  To do this she wanted to wear some gloves because I was wearing gloves to set the stones.  I didn't know Alyce had hands that big.

After cleaning the blocks she wanted to use my paint brush to paint the bricks.  Instead of her getting my brush wet I directed Alyce to her paint brushes and water "paint".  Alyce flexed her creativity and painted the  blocks with her own custom designs.

After painting, Alyce wanted to help me set a few blocks.  One thing I love about Alyce and kids in general is how well they can emulate what they see.  In the picture below Alyce is using the hammer to bang on a piece of wood that I've been using to protect the stone's finish from the hammer's impact.  What is interesting was that the day this picture was taken I didn't need to use the wood as protection; she got into the pile of of tools, grabbed the wood, put it in place, and used the hammer on it.  It pleases me to know that Alyce thinks highly enough of me to emulate my actions.

Today Alyce helped me spread some dirt using those over sized gloves again.   She also helped me pre place some U Channel gutters for installation tomorrow.

With all that I have been doing on this project Alyce must have thought that I'd be thirsty.  She reached into the wheelbarrow where I've been keeping my tools and some of my trash and pulled out an empty bottle of Yoohoo the chocolaty drink, brought it over to me, and said "daddy need some chocolate milk".  I love my little girl.

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