Rain Play

I’m the worst. I cannot believe how long I’ve been letting slip between postings. I keep wanting to say “Ugh, I’ve been so busy…”, etc., it’s all the same- just crap excuses. I do apologize that I am a lazy, slothful chump. I have a feeling that I’m talking about more than blogging at this point…

So. Going back 11 days, Caleab and I stepped out front in a light drizzle and let Rudy Mae play and run. She loved it! And she committed. She didn’t just put out her fingers and feels the drops. She lounged in puddles and dug around in mud. It was pretty precious. And this time, Caleab had control of the camera, and he got some pretty great photographs.

Rudy was already splashing around by the time Caleab came back with the camera, so he tried to get this one quickly as he first stepped outside.

She made herself nice and cozy in the puddles.

She was really very excited to be getting all wet and dirty.

Every now and then she would just stop like she was just having the most relaxing moment.

Stomp stomp stompin’ around.

Ready to go inside?

Oh, no, she doesn’t want to go in, she just found some mud and gunk to play in. Of course.

Caleab edited this one, just changed the color curves slightly, but I wanted to include this one instead of the original because it really looks beautiful.

I saw this scene the day before the rain play, and it was so precious I had to take a photograph. She was laying there hugging Penny Lane for the longest time before I took this, and still even for a bit after. It was a stand alone photo, though, so I just tacked it on with these other ones.

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Singer/Songwriter

It probably comes as no surprise that living in a household that is constantly filled with music, most often, music from her dad Caleab, Rudy Mae seems to be a music lover. Since she was old enough to understand that music was being played, she was clapping to it, dancing to it, tapping to it, or singing to it. In his love for music, Caleab makes sure to have plenty of extra instruments that can be shared by all, from Ziven, Calum, and myself, to Rudy Mae. These instruments, although they technically make music, are not in the best condition, and would therefore not be much of a loss if a wife or child, not as familiar with those particular instruments, might damage one. Rudy Mae has been enjoying Caleab’s ukelele of this kind lately and can often be seen carrying it around with her. One afternoon, when she was in the kitchen and, in her mind, out of sight, she was absolutely jamming out. In the fashion of most children I know, once the camera got pulled out, she quieted down. I asked her a few times to sing me a song and she wasn’t having it. Once I kind of gave up and accepted the fact that she was not going to oblige me, she gave me a lovely, albeit short, performance.

Play Group: Not As Fun When You Are Cranky.

Living away from family and not knowing too many people where we moved to, pretty much all Rudy Mae has socially is her big brothers and her parents. We have a few friends, and one little friend in particular that Rudy Mae has play dates with now and then, but I started to feel really bad for her not having much around-her-age-interaction. I looked into our local library’s programs and they hold a baby and toddler play group on Thursday afternoons. Around Rudy’s first birthday, we started attending said play group. It took quite a few attendances for Rudy Mae to finally warm up and leave my lap, but once she ventured out, she really enjoyed herself. I am always so happy to go the Play Group because I know it is good for her and that she has more fun than when we’re just sitting at home.

The only thing that I am not particularly fond of is the timing of it. Play Group starts at 2pm and that almost always falls right when Rudy Mae is napping. It is usually around the end of the nap, at least, so in the case of last week, I woke her up from her nap a tad early so we could make Play Group.

This was a mistake.

Rudy Mae was playing with the little planes, trains, and automobiles that connect together for most of the hour. She usually plays around the entire room so I could tell that she was in a mood when she barely left that spot the whole time.

Every single piece she pulled out of this box, she had to smell before she played with it. Oddball!

Rudy is really big on putting smaller objects inside bigger ones.

Toys everywhere.

Not that I think my child is a genius or anything, but she is surprisingly good at these kinds of toys.

Although it’s out of focus, this is the face Rudy had on for 70% of the Play Group because someone was playing with something she wanted or some other calamity.

On the walls of the Play Group room hang some of the art that you can check out from the library.

Framed art.

After Play Group is over, everyone takes part in helping clean up, or at least that is the goal.

Earlier the week before, Rudy and I spent a little time at the library just for fun, no Play Group or anything. She loves the children’s section and all of its over-sized stuffed animals.

She was apparently very excited to be sitting on a bear’s lap.

Dream Big: READ.

My Cure

If you asked me with what, I could not even tell you, but I feel like I have been super busy lately. I feel bad about slacking on the blog. To rid my brain of this guilt, I am doing a ‘hold-over’ post, with a few photos of just life, or most likely, a lot of Miss Rudelle Mae. The dates of the photographs range from June 2, 2012-July 1, 2012. Enjoy.

Calum Asher, my second born. This was the first day we had the camera, testing different settings out, etc. Even with that look on his face, he’s still terribly handsome.

Penny Lane is a pretty cute, very loving cat. She is probably one of Rudy Mae’s best friends.

Fluffy Kitty is an old cranky man. His zest for life is all but gone. Our love for him may be the only thing keeping his heart beating, cause God knows he’s one old stinkin’ cat.

This kid. He makes me smile.

Caleab and Rudy Mae walking up to switch the laundry.

This is too cute.

When Rudy sees something of interest, she is always very intense in her looking and showing.

She has this one belly laugh that is so deep and funny, and this little Goblin Grin usually accompanies it.

Obsessed with any technology, my first born, ZIven Keenan, is one of my go-to’s for computer help.

Why do my boys barely smile when the camera comes out? Still handsome as ever!

(Trust me, we do clean her face!) Calum was feeding her snacks and taking her pictures. She thinks it is the funniest thing in the world when people put things on their heads and especially if afterward, they then put it on her head .

She was supposed to be taking a nap, but to no avail. She instead decided to rip the bookmark out of my book and play with it (a bookmark, I might add, from China, from my Aunt Gloria when she used to live there). Also, she is in love with that Star Wars pillow case, constantly pointing at the characters, most especially Chewbacca. In addition to the point, he also gets a loud growl.

Rudy was a dancing queen that weekend at Grandma and Grandpa Wyant’s.

Three generations of cuteness: Grandpa Dennis, Dad Caleab, and Toddler Rudy Mae.

A big smile from my baby. This girl is genuinely truly happy. It, in turn, makes me truly happy.

Excited to be playing with musician extraordinaire, Daddy.

There are plenty more where these came from. I had to eventually stop myself when I realized the post was going to be miles long. At least next time I have a lull in my blogging, I’ll know just what to do, and have the means to do it.

Clifton Gorge

I can be lazy and even though I hate that about myself, I seldom go out of my way to change it. Take for example, the area where I live. I have lived in Yellow Springs, Ohio for over 3 years now. There are so many nature-places nearby that I have been telling myself I want to explore ever since I came here. There’s the Glen (read my last post for more on that) and I have managed to get over there plenty of times, but not as many, honestly, as I should. There’s John Bryan State Park, only about 3 miles or so from my house, and I have only been there once, and not even for exploring, but just for a picnic (it was a very tasty picnic, though). And then there’s Clifton Gorge, roughly 4 miles from my front door and in over 3 years of living here, I have never set foot there. Or had never. That is, until I got a very lovely, and very welcome phone call last week.

My cousin Lauren and I grew up incredibly close. We were always together, less than a year apart and I loved her dearly. Then, as sometimes happens, we grew older and grew apart. We just didn’t see each other as often and I never thought about going out of my way to make sure we still did (my lazy side?). Now as adults, we are reconnecting better than ever. She is married to an absolutely wonderful man, Dan, and has two incredible children, Adelaide and Lyla. They live in Columbus, so, in addition to my best friend Raven, they are closer to me than anybody else, family or friend, excepting those that live in the Dayton area, of course. Sadly, we still do not manage to get together as often as we could, but the times we do are lovely.

So back to Clifton Gorge. Last week, they phoned and said that they were going to be venturing there and since it is in my backyard, asked if we would like to join them. I wish that Caleab would have been able to join us, but he had to work. However, Rudy Mae and I met up with Dan, Lauren, Adelaide, and Lyla at Clifton Gorge and went on a hike of epic proportions. To say it was hot would be a joke. It was a lava pit. And we went the wrong way at first. And we had some falls. And we had some crying (that would be my child). But what I remember and hold on to the most is, we had a ton of laughs. And it was absolutely beautiful. And we had a terribly terrific time.

Upon seeing the Hughes family, Rudy Mae got pretty excited.

Not 10 steps onto the path and you are greeted by this sign. It was a nice welcome to the group with two toddlers who insist on walking on their own.

We were lagging behind, and the roots tripped us up even more. Down goes the girl.

I was cracking up when Adelaide leaned in and peered into Rudy’s face.

Sizing each other up.

Hmm…was someone putting the rocks they were picking up in their mouth??

Going down?

Lauren and Lyla lead the way.

Beautiful.

The deeper we got and higher the rock walls got, it seemed to offer a degree or two of cool down.

Thank goodness I’m so out of shape, not that I wouldn’t mind the sign if I wasn’t.

Had it been just a bit cooler, it would have been completely blissful.

The trees were growing out near the top of the cliffs at such an odd angle.

“Have we reached Steamboat Rock yet??” The answer is no.

Along the rock wall, here and there were little ledges like the wall wanted you to set down a cool drink and relax.

They just sat down together in the dirt once we reached Steamboat Rock. It was super precious.

Sharing leaves and rocks.

And rocks…

and leaves.

This beautiful spunky little girl makes my heart smile!

Ok, it’s now way past naptime. I think she started to feel it.

Adelaide doesn’t sit still for long! She’s ready to get back to business.

This was our ultimate goal: getting a photograph with Steamboat Rock. The rock itself was pretty anticlimactic. This was certainly a case of “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” :)

I didn’t forget you, Lyla dear! You were just tucked away in a back pack and I didn’t see you as much!

Adelaide rounded off the nature walk by reading a book about root-children (I believe that’s what Lauren said). I swear as she was reading aloud, she was pointing at the little characters and now and then inserting a “Rudy”. So sweet.

Dirty Walks Part Two

After the morning’s walk, we did a lot at home: fixed two laptops, did some laundry, ate lunch, put Rudy Mae down for a nap. Once it started to be early evening, we wanted to spend a little more family time fun before I had to go into work at 830p. We decided to go over to a gorgeous nature preserve literally less than a mile from our house. Glen Helen is not only a wonderful place to go hiking and soak in the beauty, but it also where Caleab and I were married. We are sentimental dweebs so every now and then, we like to take Rudy and show her where the two of us united our family and tell her how she was there, very tiny, in my belly.

Now, in my head, I was thinking that with the canopy and the shade and the (hopefully) light breeze, it would be cooler inside the glen than out in the unguarded sun. How wrong I was. It was suffocatingly boiling hot. Rudy was soaked in sweat, with actual drips running down her face and her hair looking like she just came out of the bath. I will not even get into how you could have rung out my bra. But we did not turn around and run right back to our air-conditioned abode. We continued on our walk because Rudy was loving it and so were we. We were sweaty, exhausted and (more for Rudy) filthy when we emerged, but we made our Fourth of July memorable and, of course, I got a few good shots.

Rudy Mae sitting by the front of the building where Caleab and I were married.

Caleab overlooking the glen and all of its beauty.

Everything that Rudy Mae sees when we walk, she not only needs to pick up and carry, but also needs to show us.

Caleab and Rudy Mae are standing in the back, where he and I were married.

Teensy tiny little flower heads.

If only my photographs could really capture the glorious beauty that I was seeing with my eyes.

There is a really wonderful water area way below here, but without our proper hiking feet and being with Rudy (for the time being), we were not prepared to make that journey. It is incredibly steep and dangerous to get there.

A most inviting path.

Crumbling and eaten.

Some spider found prime real estate.

The end of a fallen tree.

A loving father holding a precious daughter look at a drop off area, staying back in safety.

One of the million times Rudy Mae had to stop to look at/pick up/dig around in something.

These legs have a film of grime just coating them.

Rudy Mae heard a noise and looked around quickly.

She dug that little hole in her exploring.

We were walking back toward our car and we passed these windows. Rudy saw her reflection and squealed, said “Baby!” and ran and kissed it. There were several of these windows and doors and she made a point to go around and kiss every single one of them.

Rudy Mae by all the windows and doors that she kissed.

When all was over, we had a very sweaty little critter on our hands.

Dirty Walks Part One

Caleab and I have arranged our work schedules so that we have a few less hours than your typical 80 hour pay period but this way, one of us is always home with Rudy Mae and we do not have to have anybody or any place watch her. This was very important to us and so we were willing to lose a few hours and work completely opposite schedules to make it happen. One of the toughest parts about this is how Caleab and I don’t get to see each other very much. We make the most of it and still keep our love alive and kicking, and of course as much as it hurts, the old line “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” is quite true. Once in a while we will get a special treat like yesterday, where he was off due to the holiday and I did not have to go in until 830p.

Of course, though, this heat is being stubbornly absurd and we had to work around that. Once again, we tried for a ‘beat-the-heat’ morning walk, which did not really beat anything since it was sweltering already. We still loved every second of it, maybe especially because Caleab and I got to do the walk together with Rudy, and more so for her, maybe especially because she got to play in the dirt, one of her newest loves.

Waiting on the porch for Dad to come out.

The sunglasses arm pinched her little finger.

Trying to master the porch stairs, with my help.

Let’s go!

Father/daughter.

The area Rudy decided to make our play place.

Dirt, rocks, twigs, leaves, bugs, etc.

Rudy is very particular with her kisses. Ask her for one, there is a high chance you will not get one. Wait for her to kiss you on her own, and it makes you want to cry with love.

Dig, dig, dig, explore, share, learn.

She was very intently studying every piece of nature she picked up.

Dirty, pebble-y little knees.

She was very excited to show her dad something, whatever it was she was holding.

I don’t even remember what I was saying, but I was talking to Caleab and said the word “cute” about something, and once I said “cute” she did this tilt-her-head and smile softly thing; I was dying laughing! What a ham!

Leaves and twigs were still abundant on the ground from our recent storms.

We were trying to wrangle her into the shade to be as cool as possible, which didn’t work very well. She likes to walk where SHE wants.

Calm After the Storm

On Friday evening, our area got pounded by a storm that left many (though not us, thank heavens) without power, trees down, structural damage, the works. Just 48 hours later, another storm came rolling through that was very similar in rage. So many people still had not had their power restored from Friday, and then the new storm added even more problems. Caleab’s friend’s house was still out of power from Friday, and then thanks to Sunday’s wild weather, their neighbor’s tree fell into their yard, tearing off their gutter, ripping out their cable and blocking their car in. Our lights flickered a few times during Sunday’s storm and I got a knotty stomach each time, but our power persevered. I am incredibly grateful that we did not experience even a fraction of hardships as theirs. I was also grateful for the 30 degree drop in temperature in just minutes. As soon as the storm passed, in my excitement about the cool weather, I suggested that we go for a stroller-walk with Rudy Mae. Within minutes, we were on our way. Rudy had an absolute blast, as did Caleab and I.

The road to and from our place.

The sun was shining and so we were, when just a few minutes before, it was black as night.

I love how wooded our village feels.

What the heck is that?

This bush looked like fireworks going off; quite appropriate for the upcoming holiday.

On one of the street corners of our walk.

Still wet leaves enjoying the cool breeze.

She kept turning around telling Caleab and I all about the birds (mostly) and other things she was viewing and exploring on our walk.

Another street corner.

This twisted wood was so rich brown and beautiful; this photograph just does not do it justice.

The little leaf was holding onto the raindrop and refused to let go.

The top of one of those cement corner posts, covered with moss, bugs, and sunshine.

Bright and smooth: an extreme contrast to the rest of our walk.

So many leaves, twigs, pods, etc, were blown out of the trees during the storms.

The storm did not push this sign over, it’s always like this, I just liked how it looked.

The roads, sidewalks, and ground was completely littered with debris. Mostly it was much bigger sticks and branches. I did not think about that factor when I thought a stroller-walk would be fun. It was quite the obstacle course and full of stroller-pop-a-wheelies.

Headed around the corner towards home.

I said, “Phwew, all done!” and Rudy said “Ahh Duh!”, in that sing-song way. She says that when I’m reading her a book, too. Before we’re even at the end, she’ll close the book and say “Ahh Duhh!”

Mid-morning Walks

To say it has been hot in these parts lately is an understatement. I do not revel in seeing the thermometer hit the triple digits. Among other things, it puts a serious damper on Rudy Mae’s outdoor time. Yesterday morning, we went out, just after breakfast, to get some time in the fresh air before it started to choke us.

Browns and greens and tans, oh my.

She is always so incredibly happy to be out walking.

Completely unprompted huge smile, although out of context it looks more like she’s yelling or screaming “ARGHHH!!!!”

Just right in the middle of walking, she sat down on the wet street to peer closely at a little tree bud. Must have been important!

She adores any little items, especially ping pong balls, or any kind really. She’s tap tap tapping it on the ground.

Sitting on a big rock.

I cannot even begin to imagine what she is thinking here.

This rock seems so much bigger than it really is when she’s sitting on it.

There was a little dip-in on the rock between her legs filled with all sorts of little pebbles, etc, and she was really interested in digging around in it.

She eventually took to trying to eat the contents of the little dip.

The branches were still very heavy and hanging low from the storm the night before.