July 27, 2012

Beating the Heat

We spent another morning at the pool, as it's been our custom these past few weeks. Charleston is simply too hot for much else these days. Hamilton was feeling much better today, and after two weeks of swimming lessons, his new nickname is Nemo. He loves to dramatically take a breath, dive his face into the water, and kick his legs with all his might. He swims a few feet--from me to the steps, from the wall to me, wherever. He loves it.

Collier's also loving the water, but he has to be held or watched intensely. So swimming with two water-loving boys is a full-time job. This morning we met lots of friends at the pool, so I had a little help at times from other moms.
After Hamilton's day of feeling a bit under the weather, he spent much of this afternoon throwing the biggest fit he's ever thrown in his life. Maybe this is why they call them the terrible threes? Somehow I had patience for his episode, but it was different and new for me to see. I might rethink some punishments and lectures because I know I can't handle that strong of a fit often.

July 26, 2012

July Round-up

After I was concerned that I had too many activities packed into this day, we woke up to find a crying Hamilton who fell back asleep while waiting the remaining ten minutes for his alarm-clock light to turn green. The second time he awoke crying I asked him if he felt OK, and he said his throat hurt. So this morning has been drawn out with lots of TV watching, some throwing up--mostly in the toilet, feeling revived and heartily eating breakfast, and finally back to TV watching with his feet covered up by the blankies that normally must stay in his bed.

I found him like this when I walked back downstairs after checking on Collier: Hamilton was fast asleep on the hard floor on top of the dirty towels. Yes, that's a barf bucket in the bathroom--just in case.
Since our many activities have been postponed or canceled due to Hamilton's sickness, I now have a more open day which in some ways makes me feel good. And I'm having time to sit down and blog. I still have some pictures left to post from our trip over the July Fourth holiday.

Swimming Lessons
Hamilton's been in swim lessons this week and last week, and he's learned so much. While he used to be tentative around the water--sometimes taking up to ten minutes to even get wet--he now jumps right in. He puts his head underwater, kicks his feet, jumps in from the side, and tries to swim. I'm thrilled with his progress.

Here's a picture from our trip to Mountville when we spent a late afternoon at some friends' pool. It took Hamilton several seconds of encouraging to jump into the water into Pops's arms--and he definitely didn't want his head to go under.
Now he confidently jumps into the water by himself and then swims toward the adult catching him. Sadly, I planned to wait until his last day of swim lessons (today) to take my camera. So I have no pictures of his cute little class, which included Grady and West.

The Pacifier
The "paci fairy" came to visit Hamilton--and take his pacifier--on his third birthday while we were at the farm. We opened the special prize that she brought just before bedtime.
I started talking about her visit the week before, and Hamilton really obsessed over her coming, her taking away his pacifier, and her bringing him a special prize. Once I'd encouraged him that the paci fairy would bring a special prize, I had to actually think of something to bring him. I thought I had a great idea: A Thomas the train pillow. My thinking was that he could have something in his bed with him that he'd love and would help ease him through pacifier withdrawals. While he did like the Pillow Pet at first, he turned a little hostile toward him after asking repeatedly for his pacifier but not getting it. He told me, "Take Thomas downstairs. I don't want him."

Those first few nights without the pacifier proved hard for Hamilton to calm himself down and go to sleep. But after a week or so, he went back to his old habit of going to sleep within minutes of my telling him goodnight. (The pacifier was a wonderful crutch for helping him sleep these past three years, but I was thankful it didn't take long for him to adjust to going to sleep without it.)

Greenville Day Trip
During our stay in Mountville, Mom and I took the kids one day to the Children's Museum and to Falls Park on the Reedy. We'd read on Aubrey's blog about how fun the Children's Museum was, and it was indeed fantastic. Claire loved the museum, and so did the boys. This climb-able sculpture was super cool, and Claire was much braver than Hamilton as she climbed through tighter spaces and closer to the skylight above.
Then Hamilton discovered these mirrors, and he loved jumping and running on them.
We perused the shelves at the "local Bilo." I'm so proud that my son mostly filled his cart with fruits and veggies first.
Mimi helped the boys with the climbing wall.
The farm exhibit was such fun for the boys, since it was for kids under five. Mimi and Claire explored other floors, while I watched the boys play in the farm.
After a rejuvenating lunch, we walked to Falls Park, so we could see the cool bridge and play in the sprinklers. And the sprinklers even had a train--much to Hamilton's delight. We had neglected to bring a swimsuit, so we pretended Hamilton was a little European boy with small swimming trunks.
It was a beautiful area of the park, and the best part was the shaded benches for the parents.

Our Students
We've spent every Sunday this summer with our adopted college students, and Hamilton has grown attached to Alex and Trevor. Last Sunday he literally cried tears after they left. They're so sweet and wonderful to him, and he loves for them to come play each week. We talk about them a lot during the week, and nearly every night Hamilton thanks God for Trevor and Alex.

Grady's Birthday
Hamilton loved Monkey Joe's for Grady's third birthday. Amanda planned well because not only was it military night and we all got in free, but tearing the boys away would not have been easy unless we were headed somewhere equally fun like "Chik-ih-lay."

Collier even joined in the fun.
Hamilton (in red) and Grady (in orange) climbed up the big wall before sliding down the other side.
At Chick-fil-A the big boys sat by themselves in a booth, and they looked so old.
Amanda made the cutest cupcakes with grass, asphalt, and cars on them; and the boys picked their favorite color car.
West and Hamilton stuffed their faces with cupcakes.
Grady and his cousin Tyler did the same.

My Hiatus
Though the party brings my pictures up to date, it's hard to believe I haven't posted anything in three weeks. I'm sorry, dear readers. I'm hoping to pick back up with my beloved writers' group this fall, which was a great source of inspiration and accountability for writing and blogging. Lately I've felt so busy with other things--two active boys and extra church duties as we fundraise--that blogging has taken a serious backseat. Even when I have a snippet of time, I sometimes don't feel motivated. I'm hoping to work through this "writer's block" and be back to posting regularly soon.

July 5, 2012

Happy Birthday, Hamilton!

Though most of our celebrating was yesterday with all our family around, today is actually Hamilton's birthday. Happy third birthday to our biggest boy! We celebrated with a cookout for lunch; though we didn't time things well, and the boys were both tired and ready for naps before we could start the birthday party. Sweet Uncle Travis and Cheri hung around all afternoon to celebrate with us. We devoured cake and ice cream after the boys woke up.

This year I had the idea to do a digger cake. So after Mom and I both researched digger cakes a bit, we settled on one similar to this example I found on Pinterest. It didn't take long to create--unlike some of our previous birthday creations.
I used orange Dots and bubble gum for the cones, heads or tails Oreos for the dirt, and powdered-sugar-covered raisins for the rocks--which were Hamilton's favorite.
Here he's sneaking more sweet raisins, as Mom lit the candles and started the birthday singing.
Hamilton was a bit shy but happy as we sang to him.
After cake and ice cream, we opened presents on the back porch. Mimi and Pops gave him a red t-shirt with a real train engine printed on the front and a coal car on the back.
The Cozy Coupe has been a big hit for both boys. Hamilton loves to play like he's going to work in his car. Then he gets out, shuts the door, and says, "It's been a hard day at work."
Collier looks like he might take after his a-bit-prone-to-road-rage daddy.
The toy from Uncle Billy and Aunt Linda that made lots of noises and sounds has been a big hit, too.
After presents, I helped Hamilton open his cards. He especially loved the Chuggington card that played a song upon opening it. He was so excited to figure out what made the music stop and start!
Claire made a delightful card for Hamilton's birthday using scraps of paper.
**Special thanks to Uncle Travis for snapping pictures while I enjoyed Hamilton.

July 4, 2012

Parade Fun in Mountville

Happy Fourth of July! We're celebrating in Mountville, so the annual parade and hot-dog supper were on the agenda last night. Mom's cheery, festive bouquet adorned the table for lunch after we arrived.
We spent some of the afternoon preparing our "parade float." Mom used the shop-vac to clean out the back, and she draped holiday fabric over the roof and seat cushion.
We ate hot dogs and cole slaw on the grounds of the Fire Department. Hamilton saw some familiar faces, so he asked, "We eat with our friends?" That's how he came to sit on a blanket with all girls.
Hamilton licked all the icing off his cupcake, then he took off the paper and scarfed down the cake.
Collier walked all around finding friends as well. Dolly (in red) was far more interested in the puppy than Collier was.
Everyone wore red, white, and blue to celebrate.
Mountville somehow dodged the huge thunderstorms that surrounding cities and towns endured, but we did get a little bit of rain. We took cover in the Fire Department after the trucks were moved out. Hamilton's playing with new friends and scheming for a seat in the coveted pink folding chair.
Collier was a bit tired after eating supper and playing with new friends, so he sat in his stroller watching the bigger kids running all around in the rain.
Claire also found some friends, and they did whatever tweens do nowadays.
I love this picture because it shows Hamilton's best bossy pose. I'm sure he's giving Maggie Brooke an earful about some rule she's breaking.
Finally, Hamilton got his turn in the pink folding chair.
After a slight rain delay, we started the parade. Claire drove the golf cart with Mr. Morgan riding shotgun for safety.
Uncle Travis and Cheri were great sports, riding in the back of the golf cart with the boys. Mimi handed out flags and streamers on sticks.
Collier never dropped his flag, proudly waving it along the whole parade route.
Here's our bunch in action as they came around the parade route in front of the big house where I was stationed.
Behind them was a big tractor, so Hamilton had a fun view during the parade.
The younger bunch was short several members this year, so they paid homage to their faraway friends.
The Bagwells made a sign:
Stop Lights:  0
Population: ~500
Chicken Houses: 39
Living in Mountville
The greater Crisp family did a water theme with the kids shooting water cannons and throwing water balloons at parade-watchers.
Collier found himself in an airplane after the parade. I think he liked it!
He was still gripping his flag and waving it proudly.