Thursday, July 21, 2011

What's new with the Schleichers

Some of you have asked what’s new with Ian … Well, our little toddler is growing up more and more each day! He continues to be a curious, active, social, opinionated, and compassionate little guy.

He has become VERY curious about other people. At church, when someone leaves during the service, he’ll say, “Daddy, where is that girl going?” At the grocery store, he’ll point to random people and say, “Momma, what’s that man’s name?” When Kim is tutoring, he’ll ask Matt to “go see” the student Momma is tutoring. Often, when he actually has an interaction with the person that he’s curious about, he’ll get shy and just bury his face in Momma or Daddy’s shoulder. Once he knows people, though, he really likes to be the center of attention and make people laugh. He’s starting to understand emotions, too. The first few days after our miscarriage, he’d ask us, “Are you sad?” and then give us a kiss or hug and say, “That will make you feel better” or “Are you happy?”

Ian is constantly narrating what he’s doing, what he sees, or what he’s thinking. His comments crack us up! “I’m drawing a telehandler,” he told Momma yesterday while drawing a line on his chalkboard. “I see a truck carrying a skid steer loader,” he told Daddy a few days ago while watching out the car window (and, sure enough! There was one in the other lane!). “Watch me do a swick (trick),” he told Momma a few weeks ago while he rode the exercise bike pedal around in a circle. It’s especially funny to hear him role play with his beloved Puppy stuffed animal, asking a question and then responding for Puppy. His creative side is starting to come out, too, as he’ll tell us silly stories about things that he did (that he really didn’t do).

He seems to have mostly figured out pronouns, though he'll still say things like, "Me is cold."And, he’s still trying to figure out how to tell us what his opinions are. He’ll say things like “Do I want some more fruit salad?” or “Do I want my digger?,” wanting us to ask him the question in return.

Reading books continues to be near the top of Ian’s list of favorites. He likes to “read” to himself and will usually remember most of the words or phrases as he turns each page. He will immediately correct us if we say the wrong word while reading to him. His new obsession is trying to hold a significant object from each book we’re reading. If we’re reading about dogs, he has to hold his stuffed puppy. If we’re reading a construction book, his digger is in hand. The “Mary Has a Little Lamb” book warrants finding his toy sheep.

Singing is another favorite activity. He likes to sing along with the multi-verse songs we sing him before nap and bedtime. He’ll entertain himself for long periods of time singing and combining various song verses together.

Like other kids his age, his little mind is a sponge. It’s amazing how far back he can remember or how quickly he can learn new things. When he likes a nursery rhyme we read to him, he’ll keep saying, “Again!” so that we’ll read it to him a dozen (or more!) times in a row and he can remember the words himself. He’s definitely learning about cause and effect, too – what happens when he drops or throws things, what happens when he spits, and what happens when he disobeys.

Ian continues to become more coordinated. For the past few weeks, it has been easy for him to go up and down the stairs while standing and holding onto the handrail. He has learned how to jump and loves to practice – on hopscotch boards outside, at Bouncin’ Bears, on his bed, anywhere!

Some of Ian’s least favorite things are going to the church nursery (or anywhere that Momma or Daddy will not be), sharing his toys with other kids, going to time out (he feels VERY remorseful!), watermelon, and potatoes. He often doesn’t like when Momma and Daddy are having a conversation (and ignoring him) and will say loudly, “Don’t talk!”

His favorites include the children’s museum, throwing balls, puddles or water of any kind, Nerf guns, construction vehicles (which he mainly knows by name), play-doh (especially the play-doh “scissors”), his black train, fruit snacks, playing outside, his toy paintbrush and hammer, and laying down while he’s playing so he can see his vehicles’ wheels spin. He also loves routines and will do certain things the same way EVERY time. For example, he loves getting down from his booster seat after a meal, removing a cushion from a kitchen chair, and asking Momma or Daddy to pull the chair over to the sink while he runs into the dining room. Then, he’ll run back to the sink, wanting to stand on the chair so he can help with dishes. He loves to “be helpful” and help put away laundry, unload the dishwasher, wash clothes or dishes, or water the plants.

We thank God for our little guy and the joy that he brings to us!

Thank you, thoughtful friends and family members, for continuing to ask us how we’re doing following the miscarriage a couple of weeks ago. We greatly appreciate your continued thoughtfulness and prayers! Physically, Kim feels back to normal and has her energy back. Emotionally, God is helping us to get stronger each day. We continue to think of our baby throughout the day, each day, but the tears are lessening. It’s still hard to tell people the story of the miscarriage and to see women that are pregnant (especially friends who are due right at the time our baby was). We know that it will continue to be an up-and-down journey through our grieving. But, the Lord is certainly hearing and answering our prayers. We trust that our baby is safe in His arms. Our Savior has given us hope for the future and confidence in His goodness. We thank Him for the encouragement that He has provided us through many of you.

We’ll include some pictures and videos below of our most recent activities:

Ian continues to want to sleep with random items -- generally different each night, but always Puppy

jumping in the rain (YES! We got rain! I think Ian may have forgotten what it was. During the rainstorm, he was especially interested in people's windshield wipers and kept saying, "The windshield wipers are ON! They're going back and forth!" We definitely need more rain! :))

Rain + dirt = MUD! :)

We went to Hermann Park for the free Houston Symphony 4th of July concert and fireworks. It was so much fun, even if we did get completely turned around and spend 45 minutes after the fireworks locating our car. :) Ian was completely enthralled by the fireworks (see below).

"Wee Willie Winkie" was one of those nursery rhymes Ian asked us to read a zillion times in a row after he heard it the first time. Here he is proudly saying it himself.

Every so often, I like to conduct random "interviews" with Ian to see what he'll say to various questions that I think of while I'm recording. We get a kick out of seeing what he thinks and knows and hope you find them interesting, too.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Rest of our Trip!

On Sunday, after all of the wedding festivities were over, we headed to Glacier National Park. Everything there was so beautiful!! What a Creator we have!!

Our first stop was Trail of the Cedars in West Glacier.
On the way to East Glacier, we stopped to see some sights, including Running Eagle Falls (below).

Uncle Jason taught Matt and Ian the importance of holding a "bear stick" while hiking. Ian thought that was a fantastic idea!

We met up with Kim's parents and Uncle Andrew and Aunt Sarah on Sunday night. We stayed in some cottages near Glacier National Park. Just as he had loved the time with Matt's family before the wedding, Ian absolutely loved every minute with Kim's family, too. He was spoiled by all of the love and attention and came up with little jokes with each person. (For example, he'd joke with Uncle Jason about not liking blueberries and loved saying, "No way, Jose" with Aunt Sarah.) While we were together in the cottages, Uncle Jason had us all "go on a bear hunt" together. Ian kept saying, "Again! Again!"

Uncle Andrew taught Ian how to blow dandelion seeds! Ian kept saying, "Again! Again!" (Do you notice a trend??) :)

While in Glacier, we got to see some animals up close, including ...

a black bear,

a brown bear,

a moose (You really have to look carefully to find this one! We actually saw one closer than this, but we didn't have our cameras handy before it ran away. We were thrilled to finally see one. Each time we saw a cluster of cars stopped or people with binoculars out, we'd stop to find out what they were looking at. Three times in a row, we heard, "Oh! There was just a _(really cool wild animal)__ standing right here. You JUST missed it!"),

and some mountain goats.

On Monday morning, we woke up early to do lots more hiking. Ian was excited to get back in
the hiking backpack! He loved singing and humming while riding on Matt's back. Kim tried to capture a video of Matt and Ian singing a made-up melody together . Even though it's a little hard to hear, it's too precious to not include.

We stopped to get some nice pictures near St. Mary, including at Sunrift Gorge (see below)

and St. Mary Falls. Kim's dad (not pictured), Amy, Jason, and Andrew were brave enough to climb right over by the waterfall!!

The "Going to the Sun" road was closed due to snow(!), but we decided to walk along the cleared off part for a while to see what we could see. Turns out there was not much to see unless we wanted to walk about five miles one way.

But, we did have a good time singing and talking along the way. :)

After naps, we were ready for more hiking in Many Glacier. We saw many more pretty sights and ate a yummy Italian dinner at a restaurant at the trail head. We topped off the meal with huckleberry frozen yogurt, a Kalispell/Glacier specialty!

On Tuesday, we headed back to Billings for more family fun!
We went to a baseball game together.

Ian's favorite part of the ball game was the yummy berry smoothie he had there. (They WERE pretty good! :))

Dancing to the music was pretty fun, too!

Perhaps inspired by the baseball game (or maybe just inspired by the game-loving youth director Jason), the guys had a Home Run Derby contest in Jason and Amy's big backyard.

After getting the field all set up, the guys rock-paper-scissored to see who would play which position first.

After a nail-bitingly close competition, Matt emerged Home Run Derby champ!!
Way to go, guys!

We also enjoyed going to Billings' "beach" (Lake Elmo).

We saw Uncle Jason's youth group's fireworks stand. Uncle Jason even lit a few fireworks for Ian, who kept saying, "Again! Again!" :)

And, of course, we just spent time relaxing and enjoying being together as a family ...

playing in the dirt,

cooking together,

celebrating Uncle Jason & Aunt Amy's as well as Papa's birthdays,

reading books,

playing outside,

tickling and rough-housing,

singing songs,


Thanks for being such wonderful hosts, Amy and Jason! We loved our time with all of you, dear family and can't wait 'til the next time we get to see you! :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Jon and Chelsea's wedding

Jonathan and Chelsea's wedding rehearsal was on Thursday, June 23rd. That morning, we went to the church to check things out and let Ian practice going up the aisle.

Ian was very excited that the church parking lot (which was just being completed) was filled with construction vehicles!
After the pre-rehearsal practice session, we went to lunch at Wendy's, where Ian loved every bit of his first-ever Frosty.

Despite his expression in this picture, Ian thought it was SO cool that he, as the ring bearer, got a shiny white pillow to carry.
Ian made it very clear from the beginning that he was going to RUN down the aisle.
It was nice of Jonathan and Chelsea to invite ALL of us to be a part of the wedding! Matt was a groomsman, Ian was ring bearer, and Kim sang a duet with Matt's sister, Beth.Ian was also very excited that the church parking lot (which was just being completed) was filled with construction vehicles!

After the rehearsal, we headed to the rehearsal dinner at a fancy Italian restaurant overlooking a lake. Matt's parents even planned a fun trivia game for the group after the yummy buffet. We laughed a lot and learned some new facts about Jon & Chelsea.

On the morning of the wedding, Ian spent some time reading with Uncle Jason,

some time rough housing with Aunt Sarah,

some time giggling with Uncle Andrew, and some time playing with Aunt Amy (even though we did a bad job of taking pictures of their time together ... sorry, Aunt Amy!)

The wedding party gathered in a pretty garden before the wedding to capture some neat pictures.

Matt's mom made sure his boutonniere was just right.
Meanwhile, Amy and Kim went to "Sarah's salon" to get our hair done. (It's GREAT to have a sister-in-law that's good with hair!) :)

Then, we all met up at the church for some family pictures. First, the original Schleichers and Chelsea.

Next, the original Schleichers plus the M.A.S. Club (Married A Schleicher).

Later was the entire Schleicher side that was able to make it to the wedding.

We attempted a family picture of just the three of us, but Ian had definitely had enough pictures by this point. :)

After the pictures and before the ceremony, Ian loved playing in the church's nursery, which was stocked with some super awesome toys! Jonny D. (the best man) showed Ian some cool train moves. And then it was time for the wedding!!!!

Ian gave Chelsea a good luck kiss,

and Chelsea and her dad found a quiet moment for prayer. Soon, it was time for Ian's five seconds of fame!

Kim was VERY relieved that our precious yet opinionated two-year-old decided that going up the aisle was a good idea. :)

He delivered the pillow RIGHT to Uncle Jon!

Way to go, bud!

Kim and Beth enjoyed our chance to sing together. Jon and Chelsea had chosen the song "How Beautiful."

Amy not only accompanied our duet but also played the ENTIRE service, including pre- and post-service music. Although she's played piano and/or organ for many church services, this was her first-ever complete wedding service to play for. She was AMAZING!!!!

Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Schleicher!! Chelsea, we're so glad to have you in the family!!! :)

What handsome guys! :)

The three brothers ... Matt, Jonathan, and Jason.

After covering Jon and Chelsea in bird seed, we headed to the reception -- a pretty ballroom set above a cute lighting shop in downtown Kalispell. It was a really neat reception site,

and we all had a great time celebrating with the bride and groom!! :)