Friday, December 17, 2010

Santa Claus is Coming to the Library

Last week it was Frosty the Snowman; this week Santa came to visit at story time at the Savage branch of the Howard County Library. A good time was had by all, including our friends Patricia, Zahra, and Saree. We started with a jingle bell song which Jacob clearly loved:

He rang the bells so fast, they're blurry!
Lucy liked the bells too, though she wasn't as proficient as Jacob:

Where did Daddy hide those bells?

After some stories and more songs, we started the craft. This craft was super simple: put some stickers on a blank ornament. Jacob was completely uninterested, which I blame more on his general unenthusiasm for stickers than on it being a craft. As we crafted, Santa arrived, to the delight of most of the children. He talked for a bit about how he'd be quiet when he came to visit all the boys and girls and how he loved the cookies people left out for him. He advocated carrots for the reindeer since they are so healthy. Lots of vitamins and such.

Santa delivers his PSA (the blond in front is not Jacob)
 Then he went to another room for photos. Lucy was ready to go:

 In the room, Patricia took our picture while we (meaning me) took the picture of her and her lovely daughters. Alas, I only have our picture to post:

All in all, we had a great time at the library. We can't wait for next year.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Lucy's First Sledding

Today snow fell in sufficient quantities to make it hard to drive up the drive way and, more importantly, easy to go down the hill in the backyard on a sled. Of course, the front yard is much steeper but has a rather inconveniently placed street at the bottom. So we sled in the back yard. Here's Jacob and Lucy suiting up for the first adventure of this winter:

Jacob wears his coolest hat-his own name AND tractors!

Lucy's supercute snowsuit

Jacob loved his gloves; they're as great as a craft!

Outside, we had lots of fun:

Jacob drags his sled back up the hill

Lucy is smarter--she gets someone to drag her!

View from Mt. Reninger
 Back inside, Lucy decided to try on Daddy's hat. The only problem was the size difference:

"I feel like a character from Fat Albert!"

Jacob wanted to get in on the fun and wacky head wear:

The pillow wouldn't stay on his head so he decided it was a camera

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cry Room Chronicles XXIII

This week Lucy got up late as usual for 8 a.m. Mass. That was okay, since Aunt Maryellen and cousin Autumn were in town to make Christmas cookies and left early this morning. We are definitely confirmed 9:30 Mass goers.

We are also confirmed "start in the church, go to the children's chapel" people. We figure that each time we will stay a little longer in the church, eventually attending the whole liturgy in the main church. This week we made it into the first few minutes of the homily. Jacob started asking to go to the "reading room" just before the gospel, but it wasn't until Lucy got really antsy too that we retreated downstairs to the children's chapel.

The crowd wasn't very big down there: a mom and dad with two children, a dad with his daughter. The daughter was a bit of a wanderer. She tried to follow the usher with the collection basket out of the children's chapel, but luckily the door shut before she got to it. Otherwise she was pretty quiet. Jacob read his usual books; Lucy walked around some but not too much.

Eventually Jacob decided he wanted to go potty. Lucy started to throw a fit when he headed to the bathroom with mommy, so I volunteered to help Jacob. Lucy was satisfied. Jacob did a great job peeing and washing his hands. Once he was done, it was time to go upstairs for communion.

In the narthex, both Jacob and Lucy decided to put their coins in the box for buying books off the bookshelf, so we must have another $1.23 toward a book. Jacob ran his hand over the end of every pew as we walked up and as we walked back from receiving the Eucharist. He'd had his fill of the musicians before, so we headed straight back to the children's chapel.

A cold and rainy December morning meant no going to the church playground. That's probably out for quite a while until we travel to a warmer climate.

We missed most of the homily, but we probably didn't miss much. The guest homilist was a nun from the diocese who coordinates with religious orders in the diocese. There was a second collection for religious orders, so I assume she was pitching the value of what they do to encourage donations. I didn't quite follow the bits I heard and I fear I didn't miss much.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Not So Frosty Reception at the Library

What a difference a year makes! Last year, we went to the library to see Frosty the Snowman, which was a lot of fun but also traumatic for Jacob. This year, they repeated the program. So we decided to go again, with completely different results.

The first difference was that friends came along: BJ & Amy & Colin and Teresa & Jeremiah. They all had a good time hanging with the Reningers.

The program started as usual with stories and songs led by our favorite librarian, Miss Ellie. We even sang this song to the tune of "I'm a Little Teapot":
I'm a little snow man, short and fat,
Here is my broomstick, here is my hat!
When the sun comes out to play,
Down, down, down in a puddle I lay!

Then, last year's moment of dread approached: The Craft. In the space of a year, Jacob pulled a complete 180 when it comes to crafts. He tried to get the kit while Miss Ellie was explaining how to do the craft. I tried to get him to wait, but he was too impatient. The kit included a tongue depressor with a ribbon at the top, three cotton balls, a tiny red scarf, and construction paper hat, eyes and mouth. With glue stick in hand and a marker to autograph his masterpiece, Jacob went to work with this result:

Unfortunately, Frosty did not survive the trip home :(

Lest you think Jacob did this craft under duress, take a look at his reaction to completing the craft:

A thing of beauty is a joy forever!
Afterwards, Frosty made his appearance. My has he grown since last year. I guess snowmaggedon had its benefits.

Many parents had to restrain their children from mobbing the celebrity
We even got a group photo with Frosty:

The photo doesn't show it, but Lucy was terrified!
Even our godson Jeremiah got to sit with Frosty:

Alas we did not get a picture of Colin, but maybe next week for Santa!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Playdate Bonus: JumpZone

This week we met with some of our play date friends a second time at the Jump!Zone Party Play Center here in Columbia. Strangely enough, I didn't get any pictures of Eddie or Caroline, but they were there with their moms, I swear!

The first thing you run into after registering and taking your shoes off is a big tree house with a very long slide. This was Jacob's favorite spot. He climbed up several times and slid down the slide. Once he wanted me to go up, but I feared I was too big for the slide. Later, I saw a mom go down the slide, so I missed out. We must go again. Here is Jacob, surveying the slope:

"Why doesn't the slide go from the crow's nest?" Jacob asks.

Here he is in mid-slope:

The main attraction of Jump!Zone is the seven or so large inflatable climbers. Jacob was not so interested in these. In fact, I couldn't coax him on to any of them. He would look at them. He would tell me to go in without him. He would drum on them. But he wouldn't go in. I don't know if it was the noise from the blowers that kept them inflated or the number of other children there, but he was not interested in playing on them. Maybe he thought they weren't safe:

Jacob as Safety Inspector (sans hard hat, since he doesn't like hats)

Lucy, on the other hand, loved the inflatables and would have stayed much longer if we'd let her. She went into the SpongeBob inflatable for a good ten minutes. She also went into the Jurassic Park inflatable, which featured palm trees, large bones and a climbing wall. She got to the base of the climbing wall but wasn't proficient enough to ascend. Some of the other kids who had climbed up weren't to proficient either. They dropped down and bounced on top of Lucy. I charged in to extract her Ian Malcolm-style. Luckily she was unhurt and unfazed. We went back to her favorite inflatable where things were calm enough for me to take pictures:
Lucy smiles for another camera

Lucy loved crawling and walking along the alligator's back. What a daredevil!

I think this mom secretly wanted to play in there too!

Lucy definitely got her money's worth out of Jump!Zone. Since we had a two-for-one coupon, I guess Jacob got his money's worth too.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Cry Room Chronicles XXII

We are starting to solidify into 9:30 a.m. Mass goers. Lucy is maintaining her "sleeping past 7 a.m." standard (why can't Jacob adopt that too!?!), so 8 a.m. Mass may not be feasible for the foreseeable future. It worked out okay for us, though. We actually arrived early this week and, contrary to earlier reports, we decided to give the main church a try again.

The children weren't too antsy in the pew in front of the choir. We had the full contemporary choir: many different instruments and about twenty singers. They invited us to sing a prelude song, the ever popular "O Come, O Come Emmanuel." That was a satisfying start for the congregation and for Jacob and Lucy. Mass began. The children were giving mommy some extra love. Lucy sat on mommy's lap while Jacob sat with his back against mommy and pushing his legs off me. Not the most comfortable arrangement but they were reasonably quiet. As Mass progressed the children got more rambunctious. Lucy started taking all the books out of the back of the pew and handing them to us. Jacob started to crawl all over and to increase his decibels slowly. We eventually retreated to the children's chapel when the homily started.

The chapel wasn't very full, mostly older kids who seemed like they'd be okay upstairs. I wasn't quite sure what they were doing there. Lucy decided to poop towards the end of the homily, so she was being changed in the bathroom when the usher came for the collection. Jacob put in our donation with a smile on his face. Jacob decided to poop during the Our Father, so I changed him after the sign of peace. He shook a few hands but didn't work the whole room. After the diaper change, most people had already headed upstairs for communion. We caught up. Lucy wanted to put money in the poor box (this week collection for fish of Howard County...I mean FISH of Howard County). Jacob was off with mommy doing something else. I don't know if we made another donation to the book shelf fund. Like last week, after communion Jacob came back to the cry room directly without passing the choir and watching them for the rest of the Mass. It was too cold out for the playground so we headed straight home.

We missed most of the homily during the transition from upstairs to downstairs and with the diaper change, so I can't provide much of a recap. Father must have told a funny joke because we heard laughter as we were walking down the stairs. Toward the end he talked about being willing to accept our place in God's plan, which might seem quite insignificant in the big picture. But we don't really have the proper big picture view, do we? If only we could see the world with God's eyes, we'd have a much better understanding of what is important and what isn't.