We are lucky to have a 100 year old rhododendron to match the 100 year old house. It was desperately overgrown when we bought the place and all piled on the corner of the house and porch. Will spent hours and hours thinning it and pruning it and helping find its shape, and it has turned into really one of the best features of our old house. It also is the perfect climbing "tree" for the small set (and the very lightweight tall set, I suppose, Will still gets up into it sometimes). Liam has always loved the tree but has only recently (after seeing Will do it) decided to try climbing it.
We will spot him, but we don't help him up; I figure tree climbing is one of those things that you should do only however much of you're really able to do on your own. I remember my olden' days of climbing and hiking and scrambling (although they get dimmer all the time), so I'll occasionally try to give him ideas along the lines of "what if you put your knee here?" but that's about it. So far he can get one knee and one foot up on a branch that is about chest high on him, but he hasn't figured out how shift his hand to a higher branch so he can steady himself to stand up. He'll get there. I'm sure by next year we'll have him up in the top of the tree with the pruning shears. Photos are from last weekend.
In other news, great progress was made on the back patio today thanks to Grandpa DM and the workers, Travis and Allen. All old concrete is gone. All the sod (about 350 sq feet of it) is gone and the whole place is ready for the water pipes to go in and then the planting beds and then the pavers. I think it could be done pretty quick after all. Thanks Grandpa DM, we can't wait to sit out there with you in the evening and drink a glass of wine while we watch Liam run around! Thanks also to Grandma KM who kept Liam all day and then fed us all a great dinner this evening.