Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Rock Pile

Yesterday I was moving some rock to the side of our house as part of my retaining wall project.  Alyce, naturally was very interested in what I was doing and wanted to help out.  She went into the garage, grabbed her toy wheelbarrow, loaded some rocks into it, ran it up to the pile, and dumped it out.  She moved about % 0.01 of the total volume of rock but I appreciated her effort and willingness to help.

Alyce's attention was quickly diverted when the kids Rachel, Danielle, and Zack from down the street came up to play.  The three kids, all siblings, wanted to play with Alyce and on the rock pile.  Playing on the rock pile included climbing up, down, and dancing on top of it.  Nothing like a kid dance party to make you rush for the camera.

It is great that Alyce is getting old enough to have friends.  Just last week Rachel came up to our front door to ask if Alyce could come out and play.  I knew the day would come when kids would come calling asking our kids to come out and play.  I didn't think it would be before Alyce was three.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Balloon Race

On Saturday Alyce had her second trip to the balloon race.  Last year we attended the event and Alyce enjoyed herself.  This year she liked it even more.  For the past week and maybe longer Alyce has been all about hot air balloons.  This all started when a balloon flew over Gram's and PaPa's house since then it has been "ride in hot air balloon", "go see hot air balloon"?  When the day finally came Alyce was giddy.

We arrived at the race about half an hour before the balloons started so Mom, Grams, and I took Alyce to ride the ponies where Alyce did a very good job of waiting her turn.  Alyce had a great time on her pony.  I had every intention of standing next to her on the pony but I didn't get a chance to get inside the ring before the worker picked her up and put her on a pony.  Alyce didn't seem to have a problem with me not being next to her as she was fixated on her pony.

After the pony ride we look around and see that the balloons started inflating.  Our location this year was really cool because we were maybe 20 feet away from a balloon crew and got to see how a balloon is inflated.  First they use a gas powered fan to fill up the empty balloon and this only fills up the balloon partially.  Once the balloon is half full they use a propane burner to shoot some hot air into the balloon.  It doesn't take a lot of hot air to make a balloon rise.  I'd say after 5 seconds of fire the balloon was already lifting off the ground.  It still took a lot of additional heat to generate enough lift to actually pick people off the ground.  Alyce wasn't a big fan of the propane torches.  At one point she hid behind me when they were shooting flame and making lots of noise.

Not counting the balloons inflating Alyce seemed to enjoy them going up into the sky.  While she was on my shoulders we both waved bye to the balloons as they took off and flew away.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Helping Daddy Out: Part 3

Yesterday Alyce helped me out again.  I was finishing up a part of my big project and I needed to tamp some dirt down for a firm base.  I used my tamper a few times and put it back down for a bit.  Upon picking it up a second time I noticed the handle was a bit loose and the end of the tamper fall off!  Alyce immediately knew something was out of place and came over to help me.  She said "daddy fix it" then proceeded to grab a roll of masking tape and held it up to me.  I asked her if she could fix it for me.  She took the bottom of the tamper and proceed to wrap tape around the end.  Once her efforts were finished I was left with a big ball of tape at the end of my tamper.  I love that little girl and all that she does to help me out.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Helping Daddy Out: Part 2

As my retaining wall project continues Alyce is finding new ways to help me.  Earlier she helped me drive some pegs into the ground and today she helped me shovel dirt.  I spent almost the entire afternoon preparing the trench that the wall will rest within.  Towards the end just before dinner Mom was outside with Luke for a feeding.  While feeding Luke Mom commented that he was watching me go about my excavation.  I said back to her that "he should come help me shovel".  Alyce must have heard me and thought that I needed some help shoveling and immediately ran up to me telling that she could do it!  I handed Alyce my shovel and said "go for it".  She picked up my shovel got a bit of dirt in the pan and did her best to try and deposit the cargo into the bucket I've been using to put the dirt into a pile.  What she lacked in shoveling capacity she more than made up for it with cuteness!

After a bit Alyce got bored or tired of using the big shovel and asked to use her blue shovel.  Alyce has an entire set of play yard tools and a blue shovel is one of the implements.  Mom grabbed it from the garage, handed it to Alyce, and she started helping me again.  Alyce also grabbed her own orange bucket to hold the dirt rather than my own 5 gallon bucket.  Alyce would take two shovel fulls of dirt and put them into her orange bucket, walk to the dirt pile, and dump the contents onto the pile.  She probably moved about 3 cubic inches with every bucket but as long as she kept out from underneath my shovel I didn't mind and enjoyed her company.

After a while she even got bored of helping me shovel and moved onto something new, the dirt pile.  If there is one constant in the universe it is that kids like to climb dirt piles.  I am really surprised that it took Alyce almost a week to attempt to climb up the pile of dirt on the patio but today her streak ended.  She made a few probing climbs to get used to how the dirt shifts but eventually she made an attempt at the summit and got about 3/4s the way up.  I thought this was really cute, but I couldn't let it continue more than a few times since I needed to get back to work and I couldn't leave her unattended on such an unsettled surface.  Of course this led to some tears but Alyce got over it and I finished up my digging for the day.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Artwork on the Refridgerator

Every day at school Alyce gets to make some artwork which is a picture colored with crayons.  On Tuesday after I saw her first piece of artwork Mom and I put it on the refrigerator because we were proud of it and of her.  Alyce didn't really know what to think when we did that.  I think she was more interested in the fact that a magnet was holding a piece of paper against the fridge.

After her second day of school last Thursday Alyce completed another picture.  She wasn't finished with it because once she got home Alyce continued to color it and left it on the table.  Later that afternoon when I got home from work I wanted to see Alyce's latest handiwork.  I asked Mom where it was and she said it was on the table.  Looking around I couldn't see it anywhere.  Mom and I tore through the house looking here, there, and everywhere for her creation.  Finally Mom looked towards the refrigerator and there in all its glory Alyce's latest picture.  She must have taken her picture when finished and put it on the fridge with her other artwork.

I think Alyce is very proud of her artwork.  I think she gets a lot of enjoyment from us putting them on the refrigerator.  Alyce will also pull the colorings off of the fridge and show them to Mom and I in a "look what I did" fashion.  I think this class is already paying off in that Alyce seems more self confident and proud of herself.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Helping Daddy Out

This weekend I started working on a retaining wall in the backyard.  This required me to dig up the backyard.  Naturally Alyce was interested in what I was doing.  After I was finished using some tools Alyce wanted to give them a try herself.

While Alyce didn't drive the stake into the ground any deeper it was totally cute seeing her use my mallet.  In addition to her wanting to help me with my tools she had lots of questions for me well more like stating the obvious.  She would say things like "daddy digging hole?", "big pile of dirt.", and "what doing daddy?".  She also would walk across all of the old stepping stones that I had removed.  I set them up to the side for her because it kept her attention and out of trouble.  As I was finishing up today Alyce had her sippy cup outside and on the ground near my pile of dirt.  It fell over and the straw fell into the dirt getting dirty.  Alyce looked on in disbelief then said "Oooh Nooo my cup".  It was cute.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

My Friend

Something neat is happening with Alyce. She is starting to have friends. A few days ago I was moving some retaining wall blocks into the backyard for a project. While I am doing this Mom was taking Luke for a walk and Alyce was hanging out with me. Coming back up the street with Mom was a girl from down the street, Rachel. I told Alyce that someone was here to see her. Alyce then ran to the front yard and said "my friend". Alyce continued to say "hi friend" a few times and we eventually got Alyce to refer to Rachel by her first name. Alyce and Rachel played with each other for a while then Rachel got bored and went off to do something else. A day later, yesterday, Rachel and some others were back and played for a while in front of the house.

What is neat about all of this is that Alyce has turned the corner from parallel play to group or cooperative play. I'm not sure when all this happened but it is pretty neat.

Friday, September 11, 2009

New Helmet

This past weekend we got Alyce her first helmet.  She has really been long overdue for one.  What brought this up was that last week she wanted to bring her bike up the hill near our neighborhood and then ride back down.  Well she was going kind of fast (for a tricycle) and couldn't make the turn on the sidewalk onto our street.  She caught herself as the bike was tipping over and avoided any injury but it was close enough for Mom and I to want to pick her up a helmet.

So the family went to Target for some shopping and to get her a helmet.  We found two age / size appropriate helmets for her and let her pick.  There was a completely pink helmet and a while helmet with butterflies.  Alyce chose the butterfly one which kind of surprised me a bit.  She was so excited about her helmet that she wanted to wear it in the store and even posed for a few pictures.  I think she has a career in the modeling industry.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Get Your Own Cookie

Last night Alyce ate most of her dinner plus sat in her seat until Mom and I were finished eating.  As a reward for her good behavior we gave her a cookie for dessert.  While Alyce was sitting at the table eating her cookie I asked her if I could her have some.  Of course her response was a no as it always is which is part of the game.  A few seconds later I ask her "how about now?".  Usually she just grins, says no, and the process repeats and fun is had in the process.  This time, however, Alyce looks at me, says "get your own cookie Daddy", and then points to the package on the kitchen counter. Mom and both erupted in laughter while Alyce had a mischievous grin and continued to eat her cookie.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Alyce's First Art Project

Daddy says she gets an A!

First Day of School

Today Alyce had her first day of school. It isn't kindergarten or even preschool instead she is going to Kid's Day Out. Kid's Day Out (K.D.O.) is a program put on by a lot of churches and schools in the area to get children out of the house, away from the parents, and socialized with other children. We wanted to give Alyce this experience because her access up to this point to children of similar age has been limited.

We've been gearing Alyce up for "school" for the past week since we had our orientation last Tuesday. To do this we have been telling her that she has school next week, that she will be able to play with other kids, and be able to color pretty pictures. On top of that her pink backpack arrived via the mail which has put Alyce in a frenzy.

Today is finally the day and I stayed home to record the event. We got Alyce into her clothes, fed, and out the door. Before zipping off to class we took a few pictures of her in front of the house. I'm not sure why parents do this. Both Mom's parents and my own took pictures of us in front of our childhood homes on our first days of school; here we are continuing the tradition.

Upon getting to school you could tell that Alyce was getting a little nervous. She has always been shy around new people and this was no exception. She was very quiet, looked around, and took stock of everything she saw. She took off her backpack and left it with the others then followed Mom down the hallway to her classroom. By the time I came into the room with Luke in tow Alyce was playing with toys with along side two other kids that arrived before us. Mom gave Alyce a kiss, hug, and some words of encouragement then took exit of the room and eventually the building. Alyce didn't come chasing after us tears streaming down her eyes so she must have been ok by herself in a room full of strangers. I'm thinking the orientation last week was beneficial in getting Alyce used to the teacher and other classmates.

Talking to Mom after the fact she said that she was close to tears twice but held them in. While I wasn't moved to tears I did find it both happy and sad that my little girl was growing up and leaving the nest if only for 2+ hours two days a week. I think this will be good for her and I'm looking forward to getting the scoop on how her first day of school went.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Sitting Around


While I am sitting in the parking lot of Babies R Us Alyce is quietly playing with her Easter themed Mr. Potato Head. The best part about kids is that if you take a toy away for a while it is just like a new toy.

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