Friday, January 27, 2012

January fun

 We had fun making a Valentine for our shut-in friend from church, Mrs. W. I first used masking tape to make a heart on card stock. Then, Ian enjoyed using the watercolors Aunt Amy and Uncle Jason gave him for Christmas to paint over the masking tape heart. He thought it was GREAT to peel off the tape, too.

 Here's Ian's finished product. He also made one that said "IAN." :)
 We also had fun making Mrs. W. (and US!) some chocolate chip cookies. Of course, Ian is eager to help at every step along the way, including grinding the walnuts, dumping in the ingredients, turning on the mixer, and sampling the dough.
Since he's such a big fan of singing, Ian thought making paper towel roll kazoos was hilarious!

 We got lots of rain this week, which meant Ian got to wear the rain boots from Grammy and Papa quite a bit. Besides splashing in the puddles while it's raining, Ian really loves watching water rush into the storm drain.

 Our friend Melissa spent part of a day with us this week. It's always so fun to watch the two of them play together. They built with blocks,
 and then we made potato-print Valentines together. I was really impressed with Melissa's idea to make butterflies out of two heart-shapes and then make a body with her finger dipped in paint. (Enlarge the picture for a better view.)
 Ian most enjoyed "swirling" the hearts (spinning the potato around in a circle) so they didn't look like hearts at all when he was done. :)
 I was SO proud of the "LOVE" potato stamper I carved ... until I realized that I needed to make a mirror image. Ha ha! I also got a big kick out of what Melissa chose to type on her Valentines ... "I want it to say, 'Peace on Earth!'" she said.
 We went outside to play with bubbles. First Ian blew bubbles for Melissa to pop with the wand,
 then they switched roles.
I gave both Ian and Melissa the option to either play or help make lunch. They both eagerly asked to help make the pigs in a blanket. They pressed down the dough, and Melissa helped to roll the hot dogs and cheese inside. Yum. What a fun day!! Thanks, Melissa, for coming over to play!

We can finally share some good news with everyone. You already know that we are expecting a little one in May. You already know that Kim's sister, Amy, and Matt's brother, Jason, are expecting two boys in June. But you may not know that Kim's brother, Andrew, and wife, Sarah, are expecting a little one in August! They shared the news with us at Christmas (when Sarah was about 5 weeks along), so we all posed for a belly shot along with a head count of who's inside. :) Now that Andrew and Sarah have had their first OB appointment, they know they have just one on the way! What a blessing to go from 1 grandchild on Kim's side to 5 in just a few short months! God is so good!

If you're interested in following Amy and Jason's pregnancy journey, feel free to check out their NEW blog at

We just passed the time when our second baby would've been born if the Lord hadn't already taken him/her home to heaven. Of course, it was sad to pass January 21st and be reminded of our loss, but we certainly celebrate our victory over death through Jesus ... and the gift he has given us of another baby on the way. Thanks to many of you for your thoughts, prayers, cards, and sweet words over the last week. :)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sisters' Weekend

I was so excited to have the chance to fly up to Billings, Montana, to spend a weekend with my sister, Amy! We have had one sisters' weekend before this one -- when I was pregnant with Ian, Amy flew down to Houston to help with last-minute preparations in the the nursery, etc. Once Amy and Jason announced that they had twins on the way, I thought about how fun it would be to go see and help her! Thanks to the encouragement from my wonderfully supportive husband, I got to do just that!!

I arrived on Friday afternoon and got to spend the last half-hour of Amy's school day with her and her sweet 4th graders. After some yummy smoothies and a yummy dinner, we started sorting through maternity clothes and playing games.


 On Saturday morning, Amy treated me to a fabulous pedicure ...

 ... before we started the process of registering for baby stuff at Target! How fun! We finished up sorting through and organizing her maternity clothes in the afternoon and had time for more games after dinner!
 After church, we headed out on a shopping trip to do more registering (this time at Babies 'R' Us), shop for maternity clothes at Kohl's, and get some yummy yogurt treats at Billings' Best Yogurt!

 People at church and school kept commenting on just how alike we look. :)

The pregnant sisters -- at 22 weeks and 16 weeks.

We finished up the weekend with beginning a blog for Amy & Jason (I think it'll be up & running soon ... after she puts on the finishing touches) and playing some games! What a wonderfully relaxing weekend with my sister and dearest friend ever, Amaloo! We can't wait to meet her & Jason's twins in June!!

Matt did a wonderful job taking care of Ian while I was gone! He planned some fun, special activities and kept the house running smoothly. Ian handled the time away from Momma (first overnights away ever!) beautifully! My sweet husband even had some clever signs and artwork along with some flowers on the counter to welcome me home. Thanks, babe! :)

Since I've gotten back, Ian seems to be very intrigued with my growing belly. The first day back, he put his hand on my big belly and said, "Is this how you always be??"  And tonight before his bathtime, he said, "Momma, you have a big, big belly!" Ha ha! We were thankful that our 23-week appointment with our ob-gyn today went well. We heard the baby's heartbeat (and have felt the baby moving each day, with kicks that are getting progressively harder). We thank God for how smoothly this pregnancy is going!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Back Home in Houston

 We've settled back into life in Houston! The weather outside has been beautiful most days since we've been back. We spend some time each day enjoying the sunshine. Ian likes "driving" on his new steering wheel attachment from Grammy and Papa.
 Kim's belly keeps getting bigger and bigger. I feel the baby moving around most days, which is a lot of fun (and also very comforting as Matt and I both still feel awfully cautious about this pregnancy). I'm still feeling very good and have been experiencing my first-ever (painless) Braxton-Hicks contractions. (I never had any during my pregnancy with Ian.)  Many friends have commented on how my stomach "popped out" during Christmas break. I laugh and say that I don't know if I should attribute that to the baby or to my mom's good home cookin' over Christmas. :)

We got together with friends Eric, Carrie, and Melissa over break for a belated birthday celebration for Kim/Christmas celebration. As always, Ian loved every moment with "big sister" Melissa. :)

 Ian has been more interested lately in playing board games like Candyland, Busytown, or this Go Fish game. We generally modify the rules so that Ian doesn't have to wait so long between turns. :) Ian thinks it's super fun to catch these fish and then sort them by color.

 Recently, we tried a new art project idea. Ian generally doesn't choose a craft/art project as his first choice of how to spend his time, but he really enjoys it once we start and asks to do more and more. I had seen a neat marble-rolling art project at the children's museum and then realized we don't have ANY marbles in our house (yet!). Grapes ended up being a perfect substitution.
 We then tried potato printing, which Ian really liked!
 It was equally fun, though, to put paint on his hand and make his own hand prints. :)
 One day, we spent quite a long time outside chasing bubbles. For a while, Ian used a long stick to help reach higher to pop the bubbles. He seemed to most enjoy "tackling" the bubbles that neared the ground level.
 Kim found this toy crane by someone's trash can on garbage day. It has been a huge hit with Ian, and we can't find anything wrong with it! One man's trash IS another man's treasure!
 Our neighbor Gloria gave Ian a s'more kit for Christmas. Ian thought the s'more was super tasty and enjoyed systematically eating all three s'mores he had ... first, he pulled the marshmallow out string by string,
then he ate the chocolate, and finally he ate the graham crackers. :)

Since right before we left for Albuquerque, Ian has been able to ride his tricycle for more extended distances. One of Ian and Kim's favorite pastimes is biking together in the cul-de-sac. We'll switch off thinking of landmarks (like Ms. Gloria and Mr. Joe's mailbox) to bike to. Ian thinks it's a lot of fun (and Kim does, too!). Of course, we also have to stop often to put treasures like acorns, leaves, or pine needles in Ian's tricycle trunk. :)

What else is new with Ian? Well, here's a list of his current obsessions:

1. Telling stories -- He says a gazillion times a day, "Tell me a story!" He went through a phase where he'd say, "Tell me a story about a (boy, girl, dump truck, table) named Flaggy." Everything needed to be named Flaggy. Then, he branched out to different names. Now, his most often request is, "Tell me a story about when I was a baby." When he doesn't specify, we usually tell him a Bible story or some sort of fable (about a boy that learns to share, takes naps in the afternoon, or goes poop on the potty ... ha ha). :) The funniest thing is listening to Ian tell himself stories before falling asleep. Sometimes he'll retell stories that we told him. Other times, he'll make up his own. The other night, I heard, "And Joseph told to Mary, 'Do you have an orange?' And Mary said, ' No. I need to go to the store. Is the store fun?' And I told to Mary, 'Yes, the store is fun.'" It cracked me up.

2. Singing -- Ian sings ALL the time. He loves his Veggie Tales Sunday school songs CD, and he still sings Christmas carols daily. He still doesn't participate in singing at Toddler Time or Sunday school, but he'll sing every word of the songs once he gets home. One of his newest trends is stopping after he sings one word of a song, so we can sing the next word ... and then we can switch off singing the whole verse.

3. Rhyming -- He thinks rhyming words are hilarious. Often, he'll change song lyrics to words that rhyme with them. Or, he'll crack up by saying, "Fly, fly" instead of "Bye, bye" when we're leaving.

4. Giving Momma's tummy kisses and hugs -- He'll say, "I want to kiss the baby." It's super cute ... but now we're working on NOT having him show Momma's belly button when wanting to "kiss the baby" in public. :) In general, he's just a very affectionate kid who loves to give US hugs, kisses, and zerberts, too!

5. Not taking a nap -- He's been sleeping longer and longer at night, so he just doesn't seem drowsy in the afternoons. He will lay in his bed for a 45-60 minute "rest time" after lunch, but he almost never falls asleep anymore. (But Momma's glad to still have the chance to take a "rest" herself while Ian is resting, too!) He's definitely transitioning, as he still gets pretty grouchy most nights from about dinner to bedtime. :(

6. Somersaults -- He loves looking through his legs and then going all the way over!

7. Trains -- It's the first thing he requests to play with in the mornings when he wakes up!

8. Sandbox -- He loves to play each day in the sandbox, too, and will stay interested for up to an hour most times!

9. Construction vehicles ... still!

10. Puppets -- He has a few puppets that he LOVES and he'll often respond to requests better if the PUPPET asks (instead of Momma or Daddy). Almost daily, he'll tell Kim, "Momma, talk to the girl," meaning that he wants Kim to make a girl puppet we have talk with him.

What a fun, funny, challenging time it is having a 2 1/2 year old! :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Christmas in Albuquerque

We had a fantastic 10 days in Albuquerque with Kim's mom and dad (Grammy and Papa), Kim's sister and Matt's brother (Amy and Jason), and Kim's brother and sister-in-law (Andrew and Sarah). As usual during time with family, Ian was spoiled by having a playmate at every waking moment! :) Matt and I were spoiled, too! We were so grateful to have the chance to relax, take naps, and play games between eating large and super yummy meals! Thanks, Mom and Dad!
We arrived in Albuquerque on Kim's 33rd birthday. Kim's mom had prepared one of Kim's favorite meals (a yummy chicken-almond stir fry) and the cake Kim requested almost every year growing up (German chocolate). What a treat to be with family on my birthday!
Ian was a big fan of helping to blow out the candles.
Grammy got out lots of Kim, Amy, and Andrew's old toys and books for Ian to play with. Two of Ian's favorites were this car mat and a marble roller Kim's grandpa had made.
Ian also loved these shooting spinners. By the end, he got the hang of how to do it himself!

A modified version of the board game "Crackers in my Bed" was also a big favorite.  (Thanks for teaching Ian the game, Aunt Amy!)

Trigger, the horse Kim's grandpa made, also got a lot of use. :)
There were plenty of other playing opportunities even without toys, including doing sit-ups with Uncle Jason,

playing piano and singing songs with Uncle Jason and Grammy,

and being read to by Aunt Sarah and others!
Ian loved getting a squeeze from Aunt Amy!
Ian also enjoyed watching some of our old Disney cartoons on video! They brought back great memories for us "kids," too!
Ian was a little too young to be able to fully put together the puzzle Kim's Uncle Mike made, but he still enjoyed playing with it with Uncle Andrew.
One night, Jason and Papa made us all homemade wheat pasta while Grammy fixed her homemade spaghetti sauce!

Daddy, Momma, Grammy, and Aunt Amy worked with Ian to make a gingerbread train. Ian was proud to show it off to everyone that came over!

We enjoyed a yummy ham dinner/lunch on Christmas Eve!
Matt and Jason worked together to light the luminarias ...
... while the rest of us got to enjoy playing Stone Age inside. (We are completely hooked on this new game and, of course, had to order it right when we got back home. Have you tried it, Gottschalks??? You'd love it!)
Grandma's official cookie taster in action ....

After arriving home from Christmas Eve worship, Ian sampled hot (warm) chocolate for the first time ever.

It's safe to say he enjoy it quite a bit. :)
On Christmas morning, Ian helped Grammy and Papa stuff the turkey
and then put it in a turkey bag to cook while we went to church.

a whole-family picture: Matt, Kim, Ian, Jason, Amy, Grammy, Papa, Sarah, Andrew
We enjoyed a yummy lunch and then took naps before gift-opening began.

Kim was excited to give Sarah (and Andrew) her first-ever completed rag wreath. It was relatively easy to make and turned out well. :)

After opening the tongs that Amy and Jason gave him, Ian was excited to use the tongs to help open the rest of his Christmas gifts!

He enjoyed the cut-able food ...

... and loved the chance to play games on Grammy's Kindle. (Drew, Ian said, "There's an Angry Bird, Momma!" when we were in the store the other day! Ha ha)

One morning, Kim, Aunt Amy, and Ian headed to the park for sliding and throwing pine needles in the air.

We drove to Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge as a family to see all of the birds. Unfortunately, they had received quite a bit of snow the week before and the roads were still unpassable. :( At least we made it to the visitor center where we saw a few birds on the ground.

Each morning we were in Albuquerque, Ian found a treat inside a stocking titled "Grandma's Favorite." Soon, Grammy will have to add an "s" to the end of the word "favorite." :)

Ian loved being silly with Uncle Andrew!

Playing games with Grammy, playing the Wii with Uncle Andrew (which was an awesome gift to our family from Drew and Sarah ... thanks, guys!),

and roughhousing with the uncles kept Ian entertained.

Matt, Jason, and Andrew continued their biennial Frisbee Fiesta competition at a nearby playground.

It was a close battle that ended with Jason taking first, Matt taking second, and Andrew taking third. :)
Aunt Sarah played with Ian on the playground during a lot of Frisbee Fiesta. :)

Then we all gorged ourselves at Tucano's Brazilian Grill (all-you-can-eat meat! Yum!)

Our last evening in Albuquerque was spent playing games (Ian liked Fruit Ninja, while the rest of us preferred Guesstures),

eating a great meal that Ian and Andrew helped fix,
and enjoying Drew's signature dessert .. chocolate souffles!

Thanks for the great time, family! We love you guys!