Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Happy January!

We've been having fun since we've been home! Ian has (finally) started to take an interest in climbing ... onto drying racks, chairs, kiddie tables, etc. I was drying my hair and didn't notice him dragging the drying rack out of the closet until I saw him proudly sitting in the middle of it.
My friend, Jenn, convinced me to take Ian to Bouncin' Bears. I was convinced he wouldn't be interested since he doesn't know how to jump yet. Boy, was I wrong. He most enjoyed the large "pillow" (not pictured since Momma was in constant motion while holding Ian upright), this toddler jumping area, and the long slides.
Jenn's daughter, Brooke, was great at climbing up the ladder and sitting down before sliding.
Ian, on the other hand, did not want to waste time sitting down,
so he just slid down on his tummy each time! (see video below)

Whee! The big slides were a lot of fun ...
... and a great workout for us mommas as we carried our toddlers up the stairs.
Ian has been learning to play WITH his friends a little more often than just playing beside them. His favorite "game" to play with friends is to have them hold one side of the beads while he holds the other. Then, they walk around like a train saying "choo, choo." Caleb was a great sport at playing this little game.
We finally made it down to Ikea when Matt had MLK Day off of school. Uncle Andrew & Aunt Sarah had given Ian some money for Christmas to buy some fun new things from Ikea. We were happy to have the excuse to go to this really cool store!
Ian was excited to hold the scratch-off coupons they gave us upon entering the store,
and he loved exploring the furniture,
the international foods,
and, of course, the TOYS!

His favorite toys were the play pots and pans, which is not surprising since his favorite thing to play at home is to "go cook" in his play kitchen. We ended up using some of Great-Grandma Walquist's Christmas money to let Ian take home his own set of pots and pans.
The microwave was also a big hit!

What a fun toy demo area, huh??
It was complete with little furniture,
a little abacus/bead thing,
and even a spinny chair!!
Needless to say, we ended up buying WAY more than the easel and accessories Andrew & Sarah had sent us to Ikea for. (Let's just say we have some of Ian's birthday presents already!! :))
We enjoyed having Swedish meatballs for lunch at Ikea, compliments of Andrew & Sarah, too! The food was yummy! Don't let Ian's innocent little smile fool you. Right before this picture, when Matt was loading up our treasures into the car, I had my first (of probably many) experiences as "that mom." You know ... that mom that has the screaming, hungry, cranky toddler while she has her hands filled with stuff and is trying to cajole her sweet-though-not-at-the-time little one to follow her through the line while everyone in the whole place is watching with a mixture of compassion, interest, and annoyance?? Thankfully, the old guy with a German accent behind me in line kept saying, "Don't worry, he'll live." And a young dad came up and reassured me that he had a very similar experience just earlier that morning. Ahh ... the lessons in humility that I'm learning on a daily basis! :)
The easel from Uncle Andrew & Aunt Sarah is a big hit!! Ian loved drawing on it with chalk. (He also loves wearing his new Crocs that just came in the mail -- thanks for the heads-up on a super great deal, Aliceson! Who can pass up $9 Crocs??)
Ian kept saying "circle" as he drew.

But the fun REALLY began when the tempera paints came out (thanks, Grammy and Papa!). Ian thought they were super fun!
He chose to paint nearly his entire masterpiece in green with just a little yellow and orange. He kept switching the brush back and forth between his hands. I think he really liked how it felt to be painting!!

Another of Ian's current favorite pastimes is "playing the guitar." My friend Aliceson had suggested putting a gigantic rubber band on our china hutch to keep curious hands out of the cabinet that holds candles. It was a great idea, especially since he usually forgets the candles are even there and just strums and sings!! :)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Christmas in Michigan!!!

We had a wonderful time in Michigan during the Christmas break. We were able to celebrate with Mom and Dad Schleicher as they celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary on December 26th. As you can see below, Ian would have been content to walk to MI on the airport moving walkways if he had been given the opportunity.

Uncle Jon greeted us with this cool sign at the airport.
The next several pictures show just how much fun Ian had interacting with his aunts and uncles as well as Grandpa and Grandma. They were so sweet with him, and he was excited to ask them by name to play all the time. Here we go...

Ian loved helping decorate Grandma's Christmas sugar cookies.

Aunt Amy was in charge of icing the cookies, and then Ian put on the sprinkles. It was good teamwork.

Blue 92...Blue 92...Set, Hike!!

Ian's first surprise blanket attack victim: and unsuspecting Aunt Amy.
"Ian, this is what it feels like to have playing cards fall on your head from the sky." Jason
Ian enjoyed "helping" Uncle Jason play some tunes on his guitar.
"Uncle Jon...are you able to hook me up with a few more than just these three M&Ms??" Ian

Grandma and Ian with plenty to smile about.
Ian certainly enjoyed playing cards and puzzles (pictured here) with Grandma.
Aunt Amy and Ian reading together.
Uncle Jon instructing Ian in the art of slamming the basketball.
Christmas break wouldn't be complete without at least one fort made out of couch cushions, pillows, and a large blanket.
Grandpa and Uncle Jason are helping Ian turn the crank to chop up the cranberries.
These two pictures show Ian enjoying a new game: ring around the rosy. Ian even convinced most of the family to participate in one round (see video).

Uncle Jason honing his diaper changing skills. You are a good sport, Ian!
Aunt Beth and Ian sharing a dance in the kitchen

It was more than once that members of the family gathered around Jason and his guitar to sing some Christmas carols.

Ian loved participating by playing his "drum."

Grandma introduced Ian to baby Jesus in the front of the sanctuary.

Uncle Jon helping Ian put on some baby lotion.
Uncle Andy tries to convince Ian to root for the Huskers while they share a story.
"Brr! Cold!" Ian said many times when we went outside in Michigan.

Ian (mostly) enjoyed being pulled around on a sled in Grandpa and Grandma's front yard, though he wasn't a big fan of snow in the face when the sled tipped over.
We won't tell you whose crazy driving tipped the sled ... but he surely felt bad afterward! :)
Snow-writing with Aunt Amy
the brothers prepare to attack unsuspecting Ian ...
Ian loved copying Jason "Up ... down ... cross!"

We were thrilled to be able to celebrate Grandpa & Grandma's 40th wedding anniversary while we were together.

We siblings sang "Let Us Ever Walk with Jesus" during the church service. This was a song that was sung at their wedding.

Their church (with just a little help from us siblings) decided to collect money to send them to San Diego in February. Matt and Jason helped present the gift after church on Dec. 26th.

The church made a beautiful quilt for them!
And there was a reception after the service to celebrate, too!
the whole clan ...

We opened presents together as a family after church on the 26th since all the family was there!
Ian loved all of his gifts, especially this Hummer!
Later in the day, we enjoyed looking at the stories behind each quilt square
and sharing our memories and thankfulness for the gift that Mom and Dad Schleicher have been to us -- and others -- during their years of marriage!

We had a shower for Chelsea (Jon's bride-to-be) while we were together! What fun!

Beth meets and greets the guests.

Kim & Amy led a Chelsea-trivia game,
and friend Laurie tested how well Chelsea knows Jonathan. We had lots of laughs!

Ian loved Grandpa and Grandma's baby doll which he named "loo-lia uff" (Julianne Huff) ... He cracks us up! The weather was warm enough on our last day in MI to swing outside. Thanks, Grandpa!

Ian absolutely loved playing in Grandpa and Grandma's "tub tub." He liked that he could get in and out himself, and he thought it was pretty cool to pretend to "'ampoo" and "rinse" the duck slippers.
Our last day there, Ian told Momma, "Mah-maw play cards. Pe-paw play cards. Momma OUT!" We were so thankful that he warmed up to everyone so well!
Vacuuming with Grandpa.

Ian loved the board books we found at the Holland Public Library, especially this one, which he was happy to read over and over and over!