Thursday, July 31, 2008

Pure Bliss: Dancing in the summer afternoon rainshower

The "pure bliss" for me actually came about 10 minutes after they came inside. I overheard the 2 of them upstairs as they got cleaned off and dressed and their conversations were so sweet. At one point Strider said, "Here Rayna, I'll help you. Close your eyes, ok? Keep 'em closed so they don't get hurt." And Rayna very trustingly said, "I'll keep 'em closed, Strider! Thank you, Strider." And they kept talking about their rain-time fun... "Wasn't that fun, Rayna?" "Yes it was!" "Do you need any more help?" etc., etc.

I love it when they take care of each other. I hope they always do.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Concerning Cousins Camp

I decided to interview Strider about his Cousin Camps experience at Nonna and Poppa's house this past week, so here is our Q&A:

So, Strider, you just got home from Cousins Camp. Give me 3 words that best describe your experience.
3 words, that’s it??? Ok. I LOVED IT. 3 words, there you go. That doesn’t give you much information, huh?

Well, ok, go ahead and use more words this time. Tell me what activities you enjoyed most.
Ok. Kabuto....

What’s Kabuto?

Kabuto is a Japanese restaurant where they cook the food in front of you and it’s really cool. They throw food up and catch it, they juggle knives, they have fun cooking your food, and it’s fun to watch. The only bad part about it was when we first got there, we had to wait 45 minutes until they started to make our food. They have to go to a special school to learn how to do it, because they threw peas up and caught them in their pocket and their hat! I’m done talking about Kabuto.

Alrighty. What other activities did you enjoy?
How about going on the boat. Don’t tell me you’re going to say, “What’s a boat?”

No, I think I’m familiar with that. Let’s move on. Any other activities ?
The Discovery Place. Don’t tell me you’re going to say, “What’s Discovery Place?”

No, I won’t, but can you tell me more about what you did there?
I don’t know. We were going to see a puppet show, but we were too late.

Sounds exciting.
I could tell you every little thing we did there, but that would take too long.

Ok, next question. Did you get to do anything with Nonna and Poppa for Cousins Camp that you wouldn’t get to do at home?

Probably, yeah. We ate Vanilla Wafer Ice Cream Sandwiches, and we got to stay up late and didn't eat dinner until like 8:00.

Would you like to sing the Cousins Camp song for me?

Did you sing the song while you were at Cousins Camp?
Just for fun. I can’t tell you. Poppa doesn’t even know the whole thing!

In the song (which Rayna has taught us) there are a lot of things mentioned. Did you do ALL of them?
Sorry, I can’t answer you. My words are out of order and I cannot tell you anything else about Cousins Camp. Can I go outside now?

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Strider has been gone the last few days (at Cousins Camp) so our house has been a bit quieter than usual. While we definitely miss Strider's enthusiasm and funny comments, this has also been a good time for Pete and I to actually hear our other 2 kids. :)

Colsen, especially, has been quite funny to talk to lately. He's definitely in the "Telegram" stage of talking. He tries to get his point across in 1 or 2 words at a time. My friend Jarod recently had the idea to try to tell a story in only 2 sentences, which I thought was pretty fun. But Colsen tries to do it in even fewer words. So we hear things like:

"Hurt! Back! Rayna! Jail!" (which turned out to mean "Rayna hurt my back when she was trying to put me in her pretend jail" for those of you not quite up on toddler-ese)

And he definitely takes after his father in his love of the use of the colon in a sentence. I've often said that Pete is not capable of composing a title for a paper he writes without the use of a colon. (For example, his latest work is entitled, "Non-Market Entrepreneurship: Interdisciplinary Approaches") Colsen has patterned his speech likewise. So here's a typical conversation we had yesterday:

C: Paci: ur-is-it?
Me; I think it's upstairs
C: Oh main! [using his Southern pronounciation of "man"]

And here's another:
C: Phone: ur-is-it?
Me: I don't know.
C: [pointing happily] Up air!
Me: Oh you're right, it's up there.
C: Get it! Have it! Hold it!
Me: No, you can't have my phone.
C: Peeeeeeeaaaasssee?????
Me: Sorry, sweetie
C: [Wailing and throwing himself on the floor]

(And just now as I'm typing this, I heard him say, "Balloon: get it!" He definitely loves that colon.)

The "ur is it" gets a lot of use around here. Yesterday he even asked where his grandmother was by saying, "Nonna: ur-is-it?" Time to start working on pronouns.... I think my friend Trey is writing a toddler pronoun course, so we may sign him up for that.

And Rayna also is providing her share of the entertainment around here. When Strider was gone the other night, we sat down to a pasta dinner. She pushed her food around on her plate a little bit and then whined in a perfect Strider imitation, "Do I have to eat the sauce??" Pete answered her, "Yes you have to eat the sauce. But Rayna you LIKE sauce. Strider is the one who doesn't like it." She said, "I do like sauce? Ok." and promptly picked up her fork and ate it all.

If only all the wills of our children were so pliable.

Friday, July 25, 2008

A Lovely Lake Day

My parents rented a boat for the afternoon yesterday and graciously invited us along... and it was a perfect day for it!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Family news

Well, it seems rather hard for us to believe still, but it looks like this little guy

may be a BIG brother soon! That's right... I'm pregnant. We're still kind of reeling from the news... totally unexpected, but we're also getting pretty excited.

In the Bible, Mary "treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." I treasure up all these things and write about them on my blog. So in that spirit, I thought I would share my initial thoughts when I first was processing all this. Here is what I wrote back on June 14th:

This week I discovered, to my great shock, that I am pregnant.

My first thought was that Pete and I clearly have no idea what we're doing when it
comes to family planning. I think we must have been holding the family
planning book upside-down when we read it. For a year awhile back we tried
to get pregnant, and couldn't, and now, during the last few years when
we've been trying quite hard to not get pregnant, we've ended up with 2

My second thought was that this might be the end of a dream of
ours to adopt a baby - or two or three. I guess we don't know anything
definite about all that -- I still feel like I'm waterskiing blindfolded through
life -- but there is a bit of grieving that happens with the realization that it
will be indefinitely postponed. We had thought our third child would be
coming from China. Turned out he was born in Matthews, NC. And we
had thought our fourth child would come from Vietnam, or India, or Ethiopia or
someplace like that.... but now we may have another Matthews baby on our

And so my third thought was that I am VERY glad this is all in God's
hands. Clearly He knows what He is doing, and He is building our family in
just the right way. In fact, as I was grumbling about all my confusion and
lack of control in all this, I sat down to do my Bible study workbook. I
opened the study guide that I've been going through ("Stepping Up" by Beth
Moore) and found that the passage for the day was Psalm 127.* Very
weird. And very good for me to hear.

And my fourth thought was that it's so strange when a women discovers she's pregnant. It's not like any other event or occurrence in life. You instantly go from "mother of x children" to "mother of x+1 children," permanently altering your

So, it's been a weird week.

* Psalm 127 includes:
Unless the Lord builds the house,
its builders labor in vain...
Sons are a heritage from the Lord,
children a reward frmo him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are sons born in one's youth.
Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them..."

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Our first Quinceanera (pretend there is a ~ above the last n)

The daughter of some good friends of ours turned 15, and in the Spanish-speaking culture, this means it's time for a Quinceanera party! Over 100 guests came to this big event, which meant it was a fun time for all of us to party with a lot of friends. The dinner was very yummy, and the ceremony part was beautiful. Kathryn was honored and blessed by several different family members, and was bedecked with a jeweled necklace and a tiara, fitting for a Daugther of a King, as was emphasized all evening. I loved watching my friends go through this milestone with their firstborn... not sure how they got it through it without weeping the entire time -- they are much more poised than I am (who WAS weeping through a lot of it. :) ) Everything that was said was spoken in both English and Spanish, so the ceremony was doubly long, but as our friend Tim pointed out, it made for a good opportunity for all of us to try and increase our Spanish understanding.

All 3 of our kids were very excited to attend this party -- in fact we were all dressed and ready to go an hour early (unheard of for us, the family who is always rushing out the door 10 minutes late). Colsen kept chanting "PAR-TY! PAR-TY" and Rayna searched through her room to find some good "dancing shoes" which she eventually found (some Cinderella dress-up shoes). She did some made up tap-dance routines for us on the kitchen floor.... but then we were mean parents and made her wear shoes that actually fit to the real party. Unfortunately, we ended up having to leave before all the dancing got underway at the Quinceanera -- the younger kids were getting way too tired -- but we hear the dancing was a blast. Maybe when Amanda, the 2nd daughter of their family, turns 15 in a couple years, we'll all be old enough to party all night long!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A nice visit... but few pictures to show for it

This past weekend Pete's parents came for a visit. The original intention of their trip was to help watch our kids while Pete and I went to California.... but since our plans changed, we all got to spend some quality time together.

The adventure for one of the days was going to the Charlotte Museum of History and playing with the visiting Toy Time exhibit. All 3 kids had a blast playing with the big toys.... Colsen's favorite was a push-toy that he kept using as a "vacuum." Afterwards there was a tour of the Hezekiah Alexander House, which everyone found interesting.

Other adventures included a trip to the par 3 golf course, a trip to the $2 movie theater, several neighborhood walks, an attempt to go to the Lowes Motor Speedway tour (sold-out :( ), a couple lunches out, and a visit to my parents' house. We enjoyed having the grandparents here -- and especially appreciated their help with the kids, and fixing the ceiling fan in our bonus room! Thanks, Bud and Jane, for making the trip!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Colsen the Character

Colsen is definitely a product, not just of Pete and me, but of his siblings as well. It's been funny watching him try to figure things out and imitate all of us. For instance, he's recently started saying "Peeeeeease?!" after Pete and I tell him no for something. Guess where he learned that trick? He's also doing some other silly things lately...

Anxious to be a Boy Scout:
Even though he hasn't yet heard the scouting motto "Always be prepared," he has an innate sense that this is a good idea, I guess. He's always trying to anticipate what we will need next, or what is coming next. For example, when I tell him we're going somewhere, he almost starts hyperventilating saying..."CAR! DRIVE! KEYS!!!! KEYS!!! PURSE! PHONE! GASSES (sunglasses)! PACI-- PURSE-- NACKIN!!! (This means, "wrap my paci in a napkin and put it in your purse") He certainly does not want us to forget anything.

Anxious to be an adult:
For the last month or two, Colsen has been occasionally referring to his Daddy as "Pete." Sometimes I'll go get him out of his crib after naptime and he'll hold his palms up (as if to say, "Where?") and says, "Pete? Rayna? Strider?" And now in the past few weeks he's taken to calling me "Amy" as well, especially when "Mommy" isn't working. I had to chuckle recently when we were at a party at someone's house, and I saw him come running inside and start threading through all the people in the room saying, "Amy? Amy?" Kind of weird to be called that my someone shorter than your knees.

Anxious to no longer wear diapers:
He often tells us he wants to go to "bathroom" and other such indicators, but we are going to hold off potty-training for awhile still. But last week he decided apparently to take matters into his own hands. He told me at one point in the afternoon that his diaper was bothering him, but I checked it and it was fine, so I just ignored it. A couple hours later he was outside with our friend Nelson who had come over for dinner. Nelson was holding him at one point and realized his shirt was suddenly getting damp (sorry, Nelson!). Upon further inspection we realized Colsen was not wearing a diaper! This was quite a mystery to us because his clothes were still on! We took him inside and said, "Colsen, where did your diaper go??" He promptly told us, "Trash" and showed us the garbage can he had put it in. Sure enough, there it was. We're still not sure how he got it off... or why.

Right now as I type this his little voice is calling to me from his crib, "Amy! Aim!" so I guess I'd better go get the little guy.... and pretty soon we'll start having to teach him that it is not respectful to call your parents by their first name -- even (especially?) if you're 1.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Bike Parade

Lake Park's 4th of July tradition is to have a bike parade, for which the kids all decorate their bikes, wagons, scooters, etc. (and try to win prizes). It's mostly a test of endurance, though, because in the community's great wisdom, they always schedule the parade to start at High Noon... the perfect time for a parade in steamy North Carolina, right? Afterwards there is a big picnic in the park with 50-cent hamburgers and hot dogs, and other traditional treats.
So we were excited to participate again this year and the kids got very into decorating their bikes. Even Colsen enjoyed all the bright decorations, and his ride in the wagon (he definitely got the easiest trek of us all). It was kind of fun walking around the block -- they piped in loud patriotic music that made us all step a little more lightly

When they announced the parade awards, we were disappointed that neither Strider nor Rayna won (what???!!!) :) -- but a few of our friends did, so that was fun, too.
All in all, a very hot (and fun) way to spend a mid-day on the 4th of July!

To wrap up our festivities, we had the Cole's and Mr. Lee over that night for dinner and S'MORES! And our neighbors put on a fireworks show that, in Pete's opinion, was "better than shows at most county fairs!" It went on for quite a long time... pretty amazing. A very nice evening.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Colsen and his flip-phone

For several months now Colsen has been obsessed with the concept of talking on the phone. He mostly wants to talk on our real phones, but since that doesn't usually get a "yes" from his parents, he has resorted to making his own phones. For awhile he was happy to make any smallish object a phone that he would hold up to his ear and say, "Hello!?" But lately he's gotten more picky. Uncle Al heard about his obsession and kindly donated an old real cell phone to his cause. Colsen thought it was cool for about 5 minutes, but then decided that he couldn't like it because it was just a straight phone -- not a flip phone.

So that afternoon he absconded with some cards from one of Rayna's games and made himself several flip phones. (He folded them in half, so he can open and close them) Strider tried to point out that these card phones are not as effective as the real one because, as he says, "They don't have numbers to push, Colsen! Now you can't text anyone! And you'll have to wait until someone calls you, because you can't call anyone!" But Colsen was nonplussed by this argument, and thinks his flip phone is the mac-daddy. (Do people still use that term?) Plus, it can fit in his pocket, which he thinks is soooo cool.

And now those phones have become as important to him as his pacifier! Whenever he is transitioning from one thing to another now (going to bed, waking up, going outside, whatever), we hear, "Need paci! Phone!!" And he is rarely without either. A happy clam he is, when he has a paci in one hand and his phone in the other. As you can see from these pictures, it doesn't matter what he's doing, it's always a good time to have a phone chat with someone (usually, "Gee-Gee" or "Deuce" according to him). He's actually kind of rude at times about it. We need to teach him some phone etiquette. Yesterday we were outside talking to Miss Mary, but he stayed on the phone the whole time, even while having a conversation with her!

So, that's what's going on in Colsen's world. If you want him to give you a call, text him your number. It might be a short conversation, though. Here's how they usually go...