--After you read my letter, click the link to see Tiffany's letter to her children. If you keep clicking from there, eventually you'll be right back here!--
DISCLAIMER:.....this is super long. :) There will be plenty of pictures too, so it's going to be really really long.
To my boys,
I missed writing last month, because we were still in Africa. So instead of getting extra behind, I’m going to write a letter to both of you this month.
July has been VERY hot, and we’ve been very busy. The first weekend we were back from Africa, we went to Norfolk for the day with Mr. Carbaugh, Grandma, Pap, Uncle Levi, and Aunt Hilary. It was a special time for Mr. Carbaugh to go through the naval museum and walk around a big navy ship because he was in the navy. As we left Norfolk, Daddy and I realized that we were too close to the beach not to stop, so we quickly drove a few miles over to a public beach access and spent long enough there for Mason to get soaked in the ocean and then get covered in sand. AND we were still able to make it home just in time for the fireworks in Waynesboro. Later in the month we rode go-carts, and we’ve gone swimming a couple times. We went to the Stuarts Draft antique car parade, ate supper at the firehall, and rode a few rides there. We also went to Sweet Dreams, which was that same Saturday. This weekend, we took Daddy to finally redeem his Father’s Day present from last year: flying an airplane! Both of you had fun watching that (but not as much fun as Daddy doing it!)
On our trip to Africa, you did as well as could be expected on the plane. Since Ethiopian planes only have 3 seats across in the middle, there was no good configuration for our seats, and we ended up squishing all four of us into the 3 middle seats for almost all of the plane rides. (Unfortunately, since you turned 2 the day before we left, we had to pay for a seat for you that we almost never used.) When we were in Zimbabwe, you were working on your mean streak with Gabey and Lilli. For some reason you seemed to really enjoy fighting with both of them, but you got along with Mikayah just fine. Gabey was so scared of what you were going to do to him by the end of the trip, that he started crying when you got close, regardless of whether you were trying to do something nice or mean. You especially liked telling both of them “no!” (You have kept that up, telling especially telling Mommy and Daddy “no” even though you get in trouble for it.) You loved Mocha almost immediately. Some of the Shona people thought that you and Gabriel looked the same and said they couldn’t tell you apart. After the first few times of sleeping there, you slept really well at Aunt Heidi’s house. You fell on your face several times while we were there, so you spent most of the trip with giant scrapes on your nose and chin.
You turned two the day before we left for Africa. I hated that we didn't have a completely free day to make your birthday be really special for you, but we still got to celebrate a little with cupcakes in the evening after supper. You are talking all the time. You repeat things, you tell us what Ry Ry wants, and you explain your feelings pretty well with words too. You tattle on Mason occasionally (sometimes just making up things that he supposedly did.) You discovered soon after we got back from Africa that you could climb out of your crib, and nothing made you want to stay in it; so for about a week, you spent all nap and night times sleeping in the little recliner in your room. You got sick with Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (spread around through almost every little kid at church, I think- including Mason), and when you had a fever, that was the first night you agreed to sleep in your crib again. Since then, we have a daily discussion of “Ry sleep Ry’s crib?” or “Ry sleep Ry’s chair?” There have been a few times where you say, “Ry sleep Ry’s floor” and I couldn’t convince you not to. Other times you’ve started out either in the crib or chair, but then I find you on the floor behind your door in the morning. You pretend to talk on the phone a lot (using anything- like a calculator), usually to “Pap Pap” or Daddy. You bite your nails sometimes, and I can't figure out when you're going to do it. You have started making these very funny cheesy faces to make people laugh, and you call it a “hippo face” or an “alligator face.” You also have picked up on the phrase “see ya later, alligator” but you often make it your own by saying things like “bye bye alligator daddy.” When you're ready to get up from a nap, you yell, "Wake Ry Ry up peez!!!" You love to do skin-the-cat on anyone who will do it with you. You talk about drawing circles a lot, and if we ask you what color something is, your answer is usually “green” or “black.” If we ask you when something is happening, your answer is “thirty.” When we ask how old you are, half of the time you say “six,” but after we laugh and say “no you’re not!” you usually say “two.” Recently, you have started calling me, but when I answer you and say “what?” you say “uh......ummm.....” and never say anything else. If you fall, you’re very tough, and you usually quickly reassure us after you fall by saying “Ry Ry’s ok!” If you really cry after getting hurt, you’re usually bleeding. You ask for us to kiss your ouchies after you get hurt, and then it seems to be all-better very quickly. You ask for your blankie and paci and say you want to cuddle when you’re sad. You have started trying to take your blankie and paci everywhere with you (imagine how brown your white blankie looked after dragging it around the dirt for two weeks in Africa.) You like for us to say things that you think are funny (like “stinky! Pee-ew!”) and ask us to do it “’gain.”
On the plane, you threw up twice on the way to Zimbabwe. We’re still not really sure what happened. The sickness didn’t last too long, but it was right in the middle of the first, long plane ride. You threw up all over yourself and Daddy the first time. The second time, you realized what was happening and were able to make it to the bathroom. (You seemed fine during the rest of the plane rides.) In Africa, you loved playing with Mikayah, although sometimes that included dangerous things like leaning out of his window with no screen. You also had fun playing with Lilli and Gabey. You played with Flash, Patches, and Mocha (all the dogs). Mocha was incredibly patient with you and let you touch her tail and her face and lay on top of her. You climbed trees and played on the swings and in the dirt a lot. You also liked the goats that were at the house next door. You resisted going to sleep most nights that we were there, but it never got too bad once you fell asleep.
You are so grown up and have started to be able to help Mommy do lots of things. If I get your clothes out, you can usually get dressed on your own. You have also helped me cook and bake several times this month. You can even get Rylan up for us in the morning. You like working on things with tools. You still like to tow things and play on your Gator (although we’re getting scared that it may be in need of repair...) You ask Daddy if he has any jobs for you to tow, which you happily do with your Gator. You have started doing “cool dances” a lot while wearing sunglasses. A new favorite hobby at home is picking blackberries with Daddy. You have started being very picky with your food, and it's rarely because you don't like something. You refuse to try whatever we're having for 3/4 of the meal, but then when you finally eat it, you enjoy it! You discovered this month that you love to swim once you got over being scared. You love spraying people with the hose, but you don’t like getting sprayed very much. Recently, you started whisper-repeating to yourself almost anything that people say during the day- whether they said it to you or not. You love to ask when things are happening, and when we answer, you want to know how long that is and when exactly that is. (“How long do I need to sleep? How long is that?”) You’re not always the nicest when you play with Rylan, but it makes you very upset if he leaves you outside alone, and you try to drag him back outside to play with you. You were able to spend an evening with Poppy at the monster truck show this month, and you had a lot of fun. You even got to stop by the carnival and ride the ferris wheel on the way back; (you were MUCH braver on the rides this year compared to last year!) You have played baseball and t-ball a few times recently, and you seem to really like it. You’re doing a better job getting dropped off at church without crying. You seem to be getting over a lot of your fears. At bedtime, you still ask for us to listen for scary noises, you ask for us to cuddle, you ask us to cover you up, and you still ask for messages to be sent to daddy or mommy- whoever is not in the room right then. You have started "loving" lots of things. "Mommy, I LOVE my balloon! I LOVE swimming!" etc. I love to hear your enthusiasm. :)
Obviously, we’ve been very busy this summer. Here are some pictures to tell the stories of the last couple months with the two of you.
I love you both so much!!