Thursday, May 27, 2010

Getting It

I feel the need to explain that my house is not actually a wreck, although it always looks like that in videos. Luke likes to dig in the trash (anyone shocked???) and play with the empty milk jugs he finds. When he pulls them out I DO wash them before I let him loose with it. Anyway, the background is the result of his "cooking."

He's starting to smile! On command!

He's Always Watching

We're no dummies. We know by now that Luke pays attention to what he sees and hears, but it still amazes me how CLOSELY he watches. Yesterday (the 26th) Luke helped me make a birthday cake for Amber. Then last night we was "cooking" by himself. I was amazed at what he would do with the egg and how he taps the measuring cup against the bowl just like I do.

Luke copies a lot more than cooking. My sister-in-law, Sarah, wrote a post about saying the word crap and having her son Skyler copy her. Luke has said that word as well. We have since really tried to watch what we say and have been substituting other words. The other day I changed his poopy diaper, and less than 5 minutes later he pooped again. I told him, "Luke! These things cost a quarter a piece. You're not pooping in water!" He gave me a look of pure surprise and said, "Holy cow!"

Yesterday we went to dinner for Amber's birthday. I brought a coloring book and crayons along. Jared told me to write his name and see if Luke recognized it. I wrote L, and Luke said "L." He also said "U" and "K" and when I was done he said "Luke." We felt proud that he is so smart. He is definitely learning during our art times.

But there is one thing that I most love to hear him copy. Luke has started folding his arms at different times during the day and saying, "Heavenly Father. Thank you day," and then he goes on with whatever he's doing. This teaches me two things: a) He is learning about prayer and is ready to start saying his own with help and b) We're too repetitive with our beginning.

What a smart boy!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Virginia Living Museum Highlights

Last week we went to Newport News to go to Costco, and since we were so close (and I still had a 50% off admission ticket), we went to the Virginia Living Museum too. Luke and I hadn't been since January. I was hoping that he would do better at looking at the animals instead of garbage cans and ceiling fans.

The aviary, and the view of the fish from the top

Luke's favorite inside attraction-- buttons! When the button is pushed it will make an animal sound.

Amber and the alligator

This is the new part of the museum that was finished right before our membership expired. Luke liked sitting and watching the water. He also liked trying to climb up to the top of the waterfall so he could throw things into the water. GRRRR!

Luke likes looking at pictures of owls, eagles, and other animals. He also likes being outside, so I was pretty sure he would like the outside exhibit. He did-- but for different reasons.

Best smile in a long time. He found some trash to put in the yucky garbage.
Thank you, Grandma Debbi for Luke's cute shirt!

And looking at the ceiling fans.

Oh, well. Maybe in another year he'll really get it. I think Amber had a good time. And even though I didn't get to see everything with Luke, I had a good time too.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Teaching Luke to Smile

While I (of course!) think I have the cutest kid in the world, I fully admit that he is NOT the most photogenic. The primary problem is that he has no clue how to pose for a picture. He either ignores us completely when we're trying to get him to look at the camera, or he takes too big of notice of it and stops being cute and lunges for the lens. So most of our pictures of Luke are like this:

It is very rare that we get a good picture of Luke looking directly at a camera for one, and smiling directly into the camera is practically impossible. He loves cell phones, though, and LOVES for Amber to take pictures of him on her phone. She has been trying to teach him how to smile for her phone. I joined in one day. We would say smile, model it for him, and then try to get him to do it. Here are the results:

I'm pretty sure that's not what we modeled.

And finally one good one.
Probably a fluke-- a Luke fluke.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Colonial Williamsburg with Amber

Amber and I got to spend a day at Colonial Williamsburg last Thursday while Jared watched Luke. I was really excited to get to do a lot of the tours that I'd never done before. Some of the tours take 30-45 minutes and there is a lot of stopping and listening. Luke can't handle that kind of thing, so I was really excited and made Amber hit all the big tours with me first. Our first stop was the Governor's palace, although we didn't take any pictures. We went to hear "Patrick Henry" speak. It was really interesting to hear parts of his speeches and his opinions from the past. He said that he was a Virginian first and an American second. It made it more clear to Amber and I why states rights would have been such an issue leading up to the civil war. He also talked about family life and events leading up to the Declaration of Independence as well as how Virginia was involved in many of the first big steps. I think I had mostly thought of things centered in Boston and Philidelphia, but that wasn't really the case. Virginia was VERY much involved in bringing about the Revolution.

After we listened to Patrick Henry we rushed over to the courthouse to watch some proceedings and reenactments of the types of cases seen there. The cases centered on religion and commerce.

Then we ran back to the Governor's palace to tour the inside. By the end of that tour I was shaky on my feet and kept having to squat down while our guide was talking. It was slightly embarrassing, but I can only go so long without food. So then we went to lunch.

Here are some of the other things we saw and actually took pictures of:

The George Wythe house and grounds

Chopping wood for the Wythe's

I loved this pretty arch

The capitol where the House of Burgesses met
Pit stop at the city gaol

Drum and fife (concert?) outside the city courthouse
We also went to the Peyton Randolph house and the brick yard. The brick yard was really cool. We saw how they cut the bricks, stacked them, and then burned them to prepare them for the houses. I thought the different colors of bricks were from different clays, but it's actually caused by the amount of heat the brick was exposed to during the burning to dry and prepare the bricks. Our last stop was the old hospital, which was the first hospital for insane persons. It was sad to see how the patients used to be treated.

By that time we were out of time, and everything was closing. But we went back the next day with Luke to see the palace gardens.

The maze

It was a fun trip for Amber and I. We still didn't get in to see everything. I think we needed two full days to see everything, and the second half of the second day I had my ultrasound. So Amber (and thus me too) didn't get to see most of the artisan shops. I've still never seen the apothecary, book binder, silver smith, or shoe maker. I'm sure there's more that I haven't seen. Hopefully by the end of our four years here I'll have seen it all. In the meantime I went to the library and checked out books on some of the people we learned and talked about. Unfortunately there aren't juvenile books on some of the people I most want to learn more about like George Wythe and Peyton Randolph. But I did get books about Patrick Henry, Paul Revere, and Thomas Jefferson. Maybe I'll finally branch out into adult non-fiction. Scary!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

"Camping" in DC

Last weekend we stayed at a KOA near Washington DC. It was their "Camp with us" weekend, so we got a free night on Saturday with a paid night on Friday. We stayed in a cabin again so that we could fit in Luke's pack n' play and so that I had a bed. It was a nice little trip. We chose DC so that Jared and I could finally get to the temple again and so Amber could see some of the sights in DC. I say some of them because Luke can only last so long.

The drive up was pretty good except for the fact that I have to use the bathroom every 30 minutes. I mentioned to Jared about 1 hour into the trip that I could make it about 30 more minutes but no more than that. Over AN HOUR later Jared finally pulled over to let me go at the nastiest BP station I have ever seen in the worst part of Maryland I can imagine. The bathroom was so dirty that I didn't want to touch anything. I pulled off a sock to wipe because I wasn't about to use their tp that was sitting on the back of their nasty toilet. I then used a ton of hand sanitizer to wash up in the car because I didn't want to touch the faucet. Yuck! And the last 30 minutes Luke had enough of the car and kept screaming for a swing.

This is in the woods at the KOA.
We were so happy to get there and get out of the car!

The KOA had a really nice set up. It had a big play ground and basketball court near the office. There was also a giant outdoor chess board and pieces that looked kind of like wizard chess from Harry Potter 1 except not quite so big. It had 2 nature trails and of course bathrooms. There was also a pool, but it wasn't open yet. When we got there we unpacked and then played outside until it was time to start the fire for dinner. After we ate our yummy tin foil dinners Jared and I headed off to the temple and Amber stayed to play with Luke and put him to bed.

The next morning we got up early-- Luke's doing, of course, and got ready for DC.

Luke ate his breakfast in his sweatshirt and rain boots.

Loving the flowers

Smelling the flowers

We drove to a Metro station and took the Metro into DC. It was pretty fun to be on a metro again. I don't think I've ridden one since my mission. In Korea we took the metro everywhere. We came out right by the Washington monument and then walked to monuments from there.

World War II Memorial

Korean War Memorial

I hadn't been to the Jefferson memorial since my family came there when I was 12 (if I even went then), so that's the one I wanted to see the most. I also have never seen the FDR memorial. We could see the Jefferson memorial across the river from the Washington monument, and it didn't look too far. Wrong! It took so long to get there, and I was exhausted by the time we made it.

This is how far we walked!

And by the time we got there Luke was yelling for food, so we got to snap a few fast shots and then trek back to the metro. We actually saw quite a bit in 3 hours. We saw all the main monuments (although still no FDR-- where IS that one???) and we didn't go into any of the Smithsonian museums. But overall we were pleased with our trip into the city and proud of well Luke handled it.

We stopped at an Arby's for lunch. Long story why, but the gist of it is that when I was really sick with this pregnancy I would dream about food, and one of the foods I would dream about was Arby's curly fries. Since there isn't an Arby's in Williamsburg we had to get the fries while we had the chance. And then we spent the rest of the day playing at the camp ground. I love that kind of camping. Clean showers, clean toilets, a bed to sleep in, and pretty much nothing like camping except roasting marshmallows.

Monday, May 17, 2010

It's a.....


Jared and I were both expecting a boy. We think that this baby will be completely different from Luke in both looks and personality. I think the baby will be a blue-eyed cuddler.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

$10 in the Trash

On Saturday Jared finished his finals. He wanted to celebrate by having lunch at Chick-fil-A and flying a kite. The weather seemed perfect for it-- 90 degrees with a good breeze. We stopped by Wal-mart and then headed to the park where we discovered that Wal-mart is not the place to get a good kite. That piece of junk nose dived every time. Jared persevered trying several tactics for about an hour before he threw it in the trash and called it quits. Well, Babe, at least finals went well.

Yankee Candle

Last week Amber and I went to Yankee Candle to walk around. The first stop was the fountain. Luke emptied our wallets of pennies. He's building up an arm.

Then we went into the toy shop because they have an awesome mechanical train that drives all around the store. While Luke was watching the train Amber and I transformed into

a princess

and her knight.

Quiz time: Name that movie
"How do you take a leak in one of those?"
"Carefully. Very carefully."

Why is it that ever since Amber came I don't have any normal pictures of myself?

Strawberry Picking

There's a really cool farm across the James River in Surry that Jared and I went to once right when we got here and have never been back to. I've heard that the strawberries are AMAZING if you get them at the right time, so Amber and I decided to check it out.

Yep! They were AWESOME!

Luke had fun picking berries. But he didn't quite get the concept of putting them into the basket. He wanted to pull them off and throw them on the ground. Of course, he also wanted to pick yucky berries off the ground and put those ones into the basket. What goes on in his head? He also didn't want to pose for pictures.

Amber found some good ones.

Our "good" helper

When we were done picking we went into the shop to pay and get some homemade strawberry ice cream. Yum!

Can't wait to dig in...

Luke loved the ice cream too. He's gotten very independent with a spoon. He says "I do it." I know the only way for him to get better is to practice, but he really makes a mess.

There were fans over the tables much to Luke's delight.

I had brought some bread to feed the seagulls from the ferry. They came so close that it was almost scary. I threw the bread very fast because I felt like if I didn't hurry they'd come peck it out of my hands. When I saw how close they came I wouldn't let Luke hold the bread at all.

The strawberries were very delicious and sweet and ripe. We knew we had to use them up fast. And we had a gallon of them. So this is what we did...

I think I was the most proud of the freezer jam. It was my first time making it. Luckily we didn't have to do it alone. A friend from church invited us to her house where she taught us how to do it. Now we have a freezer full of jam, and we need to give some away. Any takers???