August 31, 2010

Jospeh and Sandy Visit

Joseph and Sandy visited us for a few weeks at the end of August. It was great to finally see Sandy again, who missed the last visit because her mother was having health problems. Sadly her mother had health issues on this trip too, but she was stuck in an Italian hospital for the whole time, so there wasn't much Sandy could do.
Alden showed off his new undies. The visit by the grandparents marked the start of potty training boot camp, which I'm sure was more than they had bargained for. Our Superior plum bore fruit for the first time this year and they ripened right on the day that Joseph and Sandy arrived, so we all got to enjoy them.
On the first night we went to the Theater at Monmouth, which is pretty well known for its summer Shakespeare programming. The production we saw was a bit disappointing, but it was nice to get out nonetheless.
We made lots of delicious meals at Karen's and our house.
Joseph fired up the grill for our first barbecue of the season (I'm ashamed to say) and made us a wonderful meal celebrating the harvest in the garden. We used a lot of our garden vegetables in most of the meals.
Karen had guest passes to her fitness club, and took Sandy, Ilana and Alden with her one day. Alden liked the pool a lot, but also really liked the elevator in the facility.
We took a trip to the Portland Children's Museum on a rainy Wednesday thinking no one would be there but the place was packed. At first Alden was sort of tweaking on the energy in the place, and did pretty well considering, but had a sensory-overload meltdown after a few hours.

Alden discovered the firetruck this time and was really into it. There were lots of buttons to push to make noises and lights flash and that's what he's all about these days.He's also way into fake food, for some reason. He plays with it all the time at daycare too.
There was a great little puppet theater in the basement and Joseph did a stirring rendition of Froggie Went a Courtin'. Alden just wanted to mash the puppet's faces, mostly and drag them around on the floor.
There was also a fun little exhibit with a theremin-like instrument that the kids could control using the wheel mounted to the wall.

Sandy left a little early to try to connect with her Mom, leaving Joseph with Alden all to himself for a few more days. They went on long walks in the stroller to the park and to the Gardiner library, where he entertained in another puppet stand.
They also got ice cream from the farmer's market, which he usually is not allowed to have. That's what makes Grandfathers so awesome!

August 30, 2010

Train Ride

We took Sandy to the airport today. On the way we stopped off at the Portland Narrow Gauge Railroad.My brother and I LOVED train rides when we were small. We would take them as often as we could at the Saint Louis Zoo. The trains at the zoo were the tiny kind designed to haul kids around. This train was actually a working train back in the day, despite being about half size.Alden thought the train was fantastic. We sat at he front car of the train at first, but the diesel smell from the engine started making him a little sick, so we moved farther back.
The whole train ride took about half an hour, up the track and then back. Lots of good photo opportunities along the way.

August 26, 2010

Potty train

With Joseph and Sandy visiting we had about a ten day stretch to get Alden potty trained. We'd done a bit of ground work and were confident that Alden understood the potty-training concept. Time and place were a bit hit and miss however and we hoped that with a concentrated effort we could all get to the same page. We have a kiddie potty he uses sometimes, but he has not taken to using it as a habit. We figured with ten days outside of daycare we could let him run around naked and keep an eye on him. We would be able to communicate the value of NOT peeing whenever and wherever one feels like.
The reward system we have in place at the moment is a tiered structure with some goldfish crackers as the first line of reward, the second tier is cookies or Puffins cereal and the third tier is ice cream. The rewards are based on performance. Unfortunately we started the potty training a bit backwards, trying to get Alden to use the potty when he needs to. That seemed like a good first step till we realized he still has difficulty undressing. The first step should have been TELLING US he needs to use the potty... we were a little ahead of ourselves and had to take a step back in order to get two steps forward. Alden is now out of diapers and mostly accident free. He still has his mistakes now and then, but he is pretty good about peeing in the toilet and has finally figured out how to get his own pants on and off. He's less skilled at pooping in the toilet, but will sometimes get it right. This leads to a little anxiety on our part when we take him shopping or to the museum, but so far he's been pretty good. He still won't tell us before he has to go, but we've gotten pretty good about anticipating his needs.

August 15, 2010

Wood stacking weekend

Grandpa Scott (Bapoo in Alden speak) came up for the weekend to help stack wood. He did enjoy seeing Ilana Alden and myself, but the draw for him, I think, was the large pile of unstacked and unsplit wood we needed to address for winter.

We rented a wood splitter for the day to split the rounds of white pine Ben cut down last season. It took awhile to get because we had to change out the ball-hitch on the truck, which involved a trip to the auto part store... always something. We wanted to start around nine, but didn't get the splitter fired up until 10:30.
Alden was fascinated by the splitter. He is ALL little boy when it comes to machines. Anything that makes a machine noise (skill saw, mower, electric sander, log splitter, automatic garage door, blender, vacuum cleaner, you name it) intrigues him. We wouldn't let him get too close for safety reasons.
It was a good day for splitting wood and we managed to get the splitting done by 4:30 and were able to return the splitter in time. Ilana and I took turns watching Alden and helping stack the logs. Scott was a stacking machine! He stayed the night so he could stack more the next day.
Alden and I watch in amazement as Scott and Ilana stack-away.

August 11, 2010

A day at the beach

As part of a belated birthday event for Karen we packed up the car and went to the beach at Pimaquid point.
We were not sure how Alden would do. He had been to the beach about the same time last year and it was only moderately successful. He had trouble letting his feet touch the sand, bless him. He spent most of that trip sitting on a towel. He did run into the water but he had to have his shoes on...
This year there was dramatic improvement. He kind-of minded the sand to begin with, but soon he realized it was really fun and began to dig and build stuff with it. He also discovered seaweed stocks that drifted in on the waves and would hold onto them like there were money.
One game Alden especially liked was having his legs buried in the sand. He liked having the sand tightly packed, but not so tight he could not get out, a fine line... Many of the games these days involve Alden having something done to him. Burying in sand, rolling up in a blanket, flipping him onto the bed. He seems to be a little less physically developed compared to other kids his age, but he really enjoys physical activity none the less.