Wednesday, September 23, 2015

"Just Be Brave"

That sweet little mantra, "Just Be Brave" was uttered over and over by Whitley - to herself - as she attempted the climb of this ladder to go down this slide on Monday morning.   It was her choice to go to this park as we did our walk - and she was determined to conquer the slide that has been her scary nemesis in the past. 

It was so precious.  I had to record all of her little, timid steps and expressions as she went up, I love the voice of encouragement she spoke to herself and wonder what place or on what occasion she picked it up.  No doubt about it, that kid is soaking it all in - a big reminder to me to not only embrace life in the same wonder as she does, but to also be a positive source of what she soaks in.

 Without other kids her age, Aunt Stephie tends to send her flying on the teeter-totter!

Hold on tight!

I think our walk and park play killed a good two hours - but before you know it, upon return to our house, messes abound - this from the sand in her boots -

And, this, from her plea to play "Play Doh".

I said no to Play Doh, but when she asked to do the dot painting, I figured, "let's embrace the season", and let her go out at it.  I'm pretty sure it took more time to set up the paper, paint, and Q-tips, than it did keep her occupied....

The look of boredom...

So, we headed to Papa's Pizza, to cash in some gift certificates and guarantee yummy kid-lunches for the rest of the week.  - And, oh yes - play.  

Thank God - today there was a sweet little boy named Caleb that was eager to climb in the play structures with her and do "pretend".  The mom was attentive enough to be aware of him, but not hovering.  It was funny, because Whitley told him the tunnels were "Spooky" - and he repeated they were "Smooky".  Whitley also called him "Kaela" in the beginning - uh, no, sweetheart - it's "Caleb".
Towards the end of the hour or so that they played, they were pretending that "Aliens" were chasing them (there is one painted on the outside of the structure).  At the point this picture was snapped, Caleb was pretending to be dead having been caught by the aliens.  Without missing a beat, Whitley leaned down to kiss him on the forehead, "to make him better just like Sleeping Beauty".  Oh, melt my heart! 

I didn't get away scot-free on this play adventure, as I was kind of the follow along helper to get her up in the tunnels and be her person of comfort in venturing through the slides.  Hence the interior of the slide selfie.  

As we returned to the car, Whitley carried the small box that contained a cheese pizza that I told her was for her.  She said, "We need to give it to Daddy so it makes his headaches all better".  (Travis suffers from headaches in the same degree that I do).  Again, priceless.  She was on a role on Monday.  I did have to follow through with Travis, though, and see if cheese pizza was indeed a miracle headache cure that he was holding out on me about.  No luck - and he admitted what a bummer that his three year old is already aware of his migraines - but, you know, there's always going to be something for all of us.  

At this point, it felt like we'd already done enough for three days, but it wasn't even time to pick Brayden up yet.  On a lark, I decided to track down a "green space" that my GPS map had shown me that often indicates the location of a park.  What do you know, but there was a park - within walking distance of our house!   And a great park - with wide open spaces, a beautiful scenery (classy houses bordering), and Whitley's favorite - "baby swings" - that she's obsessed with. 

It also had a huge pile of leaves that I used to lure her back to the car by jumping through.  

 Love this girl.  She, for sure, fills my days with light and heart.

On to Tuesday - and our first day of restarting Womens' Bible Study at FBC.  Despite ending last year on a good note, I was concerned that Whitley would be reluctant to leave me and go in to her own class.  I talked it up about how much fun she was going to have playing with new friends that morning, but when we pulled into the driveway, she wailed, "Not this place!".  Uh oh.   I was sweating it, as I was not prepared to deal with tears that morning.  Thankfully, another mom with a daughter looking close to Whitley's age pulled in simultaneously, and Whitley's curiosity and desire to spend time with new friends won out.  What a praise!

The study, again led by Dawn, looks to be exactly what I need - and this time around, Steph Hoffman will be participating in the same group.  Seeing her every week is going to be such icing on the cake of what looks to be a fantastic group of women and outstanding study on The Sermon on the Mount. 

When I returned to Whitley's classroom, she verified that she had a lot of fun, but "I missed you so much!"  =)

As a treat, we took a ride on the elevator in the church.  

And, then, she found the office lobby to be the most enchanting place to just kick it and pretend to be a kitty cat.  

(She was telling me that the kitty was hungry at this point).  

And, then, this happened.  "Stephie, I'm tired.  Let's stay here".  (Right outside of the church).  Okay then.  =)

Later, we ventured into Target.  She was eager to spend time in the Halloween decor - and again, that love/hate relationship with things that scare her had her wanting to return to the spiders.  I pushed her over the edge when I took this guy off the shelf though.  (This fear is straight from her mommy....she has no tolerance for spiders!!).  

Light saber wars.  ("No, we can't buy them).  

And, bringing back that pretend kitty time....

Wednesday had us walking along Delta Ponds - taking in a perfect autumn morning.  We were able to return to Bond Park and witness geese fighting in the pond (Whitley was scolding them) - as well as some turtles savoring some of the best weather the year has to offer.  

It's crazy, as I put up all these pictures and descriptions, how much it seems we do, when in reality - how much time is spent feeling like we are just sitting around my house.  Again, I confess I am not much of a "pretend player" and get bored so fast at home - so there's always motivation to get us out and about.  

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