Friday, July 30, 2010

Alyce's First Artwork


Today Alyce created her first artwork that is completely freeform and actually looks like something. As compared to the abstract scribbles she's done in the past. Mom and I are so proud of her and the picture that we are going to get it framed.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Vacation Part 2

Our first full day in Branson was spent at White Water.  White Water is by today's standards a small water park.  It has a big wave pool and a lazy river, and a few slides.  The lack of slides wasn't a big deal for us since Alyce and Luke are too small for slides and Mom and I didn't have time or the manpower to ride them ourselves.  White Water was a big hangout for my brother and myself when we were young and our family would go to Branson for vacation. White Water played such a significant role we got a hotel room just across the street so we wouldn't have to fight traffic to get there.  The hotel we always stayed at was the Greenbriar Inn and it pleases me very much that it is still standing and doesn't seem to have changed a bit since I stayed there.  One of these days when our kids are older I'll have to stay there just for old times sake.

For us, we made an early start to the day we were walking in the front gate before lunchtime.  We wanted to get in as much time as we could because Luke usually takes a nap starting at 2:00 but sometimes earlier if he has a full morning.  We hit all the major sections of the water park.  Alyce played in the kids area while Luke was learning to walk in water up past his knees, we rode the lazy river for a few laps without inner tubes while the kids floated in their life jackets, and the big hit of the day was the wave pool.

Alyce has been in wave pools before but all the rushing water overwhelmed her and she really didn't go and try to experience the waves.  This time she discovered that she could jump over and splash into them resulting it a lot of fun.  Luke seemed to enjoy the wave pool by sitting in our laps as waves rush up over his legs.  In fact Luke seemed to enjoy the entire day.  Once he stopped fighting his life jacket and just relaxed he was one cool cucumber watching the world float by.

Alyce learned a new skill at White Water, how to balance.  Before now if Alyce was submerged from the shoulders down she didn't know how to use her arms and legs to balance.  If we were to let go of her she'd end up falling over to one side.  While taking our many trips around the lazy river she learned that small movements of her arms and feet could keep her upright.  She got so good at it she even let go of us as we floated around the river.

Mom did a great job keeping the kids bathed in sun screen as the only person to peel from overexposure to the sun was me.  Sadly we don't have any pictures of us at White Water as we didn't want to risk our camera getting wet or stolen.

We left the park at 3:30 totally exhausted.  We had a great time and felt like we got our money's worth.  Luke even managed to stay awake and happy the whole time.  Alyce was a big fan as she told all the kids at the playground later that night that we went to White Water!


This year we took our vacation to Branson, MO this most family friendly vacation location in Missouri.  We went on this vacation without the aid of in laws meaning if the kids were dishing out extra craziness Mom and I had to handle it on our own.

With a family of 4 sleeping arrangements are never easy.  Luke goes to bed around 7:30 and Alyce at 8:30.  Mom and I typically go to bed around 11:30.  So in order for us to stay away we need to find a place with two bedrooms and hopefully a living room too.  With the budget we had we found a place that mostly met our needs,   Lilleys' Landing.   Lilleys' Landing is a "resort" that gears mostly towards fisherman.  They are on the river, have boat slips, and a bait shop.  Also included are some family friendly things like a playground and a swimming pool. Most importantly they had cabins with two bedrooms, living room, and a kitchenette.  The inside wasn't much to talk about.  The kids room is up in a loft, with a low ceiling, and no door to keep out the noise below.  The living room was downright tiny.  I'd say that a walk in closet in a mansion is bigger.  It was clean, affordable, and the kitchenette had everything you need as long as you could live with dated furniture.  The outside was pretty nice because our car parked right outside our cabin, we had a covered picnic area, the landscaping was great, and the playground was right outside the door.

The playground was a big hit with Alyce.  If she wasn't watching a show or sleeping she was asking us if she could go out to play.  We let her out as much as the weather would let us.  The temperature has been pretty brutal the last few days.  The pool was really nice too but the minimum depth was around 3' so Alyce was on her tippy toes unless we were holding her.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Yours Has More Power

Just recently Mom and I updated our phones.  Mom has had an iPhone for close to 2 years and I just picked up my first one.  When it comes to kids owning an iPhone is probably the best tool in the box to keep your kids entertained.  You can upload movies to it, watch cartoons on YouTube, and play video games.  When Mom first had her phone and Alyce was 2ish Alyce would watch Roadrunner cartoons while we ate dinner in peace.  From cartoons she graduated to Disney movies and now she's moved onto apps.  Some apps are simple and silly and others require a little bit on intelligence.

When Alyce was younger her favorite application was Peekaboo Barn.  This app would show a red barn that was shaking.  When you pressed on the doors they would open up, show an animal, the animal would make a noise, and a kid would say the name for the animal.  You could set up the application so that when it reached the end of the animals it would start over with the first.  Brilliant!

The second application that Alyce took a liking too was Shape Builder.  Shape Builder gives you an picture and breaks it up into individual shapes.  Your job is to drag those shapes into their appropriate positions.  A simple puzzle game where you match shapes rather than the picture.  Alyce still gets some use out of this one but her interest has been waning.  I'm thinking because she's seen all the shapes and is getting bored.

Now that Mom and I have new iPhones Mom's old iPhone has been re purposed as the kids gaming machine.  This works well for everyone because Alyce can't break our phones and we can keep most of the kids applications from cluttering up ours.

Last weekend we were at Gram's and Papa's and Alyce was playing a game on her new old phone.  She was sitting in my lap and I was helping her play the game.  After 5 minutes or the screen goes black as the battery has run down on Alyce's device.  I tell Alyce that we can't play the game anymore because the batteries have died.  Her response to me was "yours has more power" and then looked at me expectantly.  Everyone burst into to laughter.  As Alyce is getting older it is becoming obvious that we can't pull the wool over her eyes like we used to.  I hear once your kids are able to read and spell you lose the last trick in the bag to keep information from them.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Dance Class

Part of Alyce's potty training involved Mom and I saying that Alyce couldn't go to dance class unless she was potty trained.  Well now that she is potty trained it is time for Mom and I to keep up our end of the bargain.

About a month ago Mom signed Alyce up for a summer session at a dance studio near our house.  It turns out that Alyce was the only one signed up for the class and that it was going to be cancelled.  So Mom and I hastily found a replacement class taught by a classmate and Facebook friend of mine from high school, Holly.

I missed Alyce's first class because I had to pick up our car from the shop.  When I got home with the car Alyce accosted me as I walked in the door.  She was still wearing her leotard and tights.  She wouldn't let Mom take them off until she showed me her dance routine.  Alyce recited her dance routine the best she could remember.  Each movement took all of her attention and focus.  Once finished she looked so proud of herself and I was so proud of her.

A week later I got to attend Alyce's second dance class.  It was awesome seeing a bunch of little girls going through all their stretches, exercises, and routines.  The first thing Holly did was get all the girls quieted down by reading them a book about princesses.  After the book all the girls sat in a circle and did some stretching exercises.  Alyce did pretty good following along but she kept bending at the knee when she needed to get her legs straight.  She is about as flexible as they come so I wasn't too worried about her pulling a muscle because she didn't stretch out her quads.  After the warm ups the girls got to do some basic moves with tap shoes on.  I don't know much about tap but I'm pretty sure picking up your feet to your knees and smashing them down isn't proper form.  Holly did her best to teach the girls some basics but I got the impression they just wanted to make some noise.

After the tap came the ballet stuff.  This is where the real dance class begins.  Holly taught some basics and after that it was on to the routine.  Having seen the routine from the source I would say Alyce got it about half right when she showed me her routine the week before.  The dance routine was to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  Alyce did pretty good emulating Holly's moves but wasn't perfect but she was as good as any of the other girls.  With this dance routine the girls got an accessory they got butterfly wings or Tinkerbell wings depending on who you ask.  After a few runthroughs the class was over and all the girls flew right past me to a candy jar.  Story, tap, ballet, and candy; a pretty good day for a 3 year old girl.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Last week Alyce was having some health issues.  Not to be too graphic she was having some minor bleeding in her underwear.  We thought it might be a U.T.I. and made an appointment with the doctor to get it checked out.

The doctor took a look at Alyce and she was pretty sure Alyce had strep throat and possibly could have strep in her private areas.  What is pretty cool is that they can do strep tests in the doctors office while you wait.  The results from the quick test are mostly accurate and they still send tests off to a big lab for confirmation.  Well two tests later and one surprised doctor later Alyce had a double case of strep.

Mom got a prescription for some antibiotics and they were on their way.  This is Alyce's first case of strep throat.  Such an infection makes me think back to my childhood where my mom would push my tongue down with the end of a spoon while shining a flashlight in the back of my mouth.  We didn't need to do that with Alyce and I'm glad she didn't have anything major.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Open House at the Fire Dept.

Earlier this summer Mom, Alyce, and I took a trip to the fire department that covers our house.  The fire dept. has an open house every summer to show us the tax payer what exactly we are paying for.  The firemen giving the tours were very informative leaving me thinking our tax dollars were being put to good use.
The most noticeable items on display at the open house were the firetrucks.  At first Alyce was reluctant to climb up in them but after I did it first she was quick to follow.  Sitting in a firetruck is a cool experience.  For as big as a firetruck is there isn't a lot of places to sit.  The reason for the shortage of space is to make room for the engine, water pumps, and water storage.  Each firetruck carries 1250 gallons of water and the pumps are able capable of pumping 500 gallons of water per minute.  Doing the math a firetruck has about 2.5 minutes of water at full blast before the firemen need to look for a hydrant.
After the firetrucks Alyce got to put out some fires of her own.  The firemen mounted 4 water (silver can) fire extinguishers on a base and then hooked them up to a water hose.  They then let the kids loose to shoot water at the buildings.  At first I had to keep the handle pressed for Alyce while she directed the water, but after a bit she was able to manage both.
After playing with the water we sat down to some hot dogs, bratwurst, chips, and cookies.  The firemen gave Alyce a firemen's hat that was a big hit.  Alyce took another shot with the fire extinguishers and climbed up in the firetrucks again before we left for home.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Trains at the Toy Store


Alyce and Luke were playing trains together while the family was at Toys R Us. What was really impressive was that there wasnt any toy jealousy; just two kids sharing, playing and having a good time.

Friday, July 2, 2010


Alyce is walking around the room in front of me with a blanket wrapper around her waist and trailing behind her.  I ask her what she is doing that for and she says to me "the blanket will make me a superhero so I can fly".

Now she's taken the blanket and covered up Jake while he lounges on the ottoman.

This is quite the multipurpose blanket.

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