Sunday, October 14, 2012

Garden Faire

Our family has enjoyed attending the Garden Faire at a local park for three years now.  As we have mentioned before, Ian loves anything and everything to do with trains.  Stan the Train Man built this 10-car train about 20 years ago.  He attaches the cars to his riding lawn mower, and he enjoys taking kids (and occasionally parents) on rides around the park.
This was Ryan's first experience on a train.
Ian and Daddy smile for the camera.
Ian got a little help from the workers as they shaped newspaper into a pirate hat for him.

We then took the opportunity to decorate the pirate hat with buttons, stickers, and glue-on letters.
Ian loves coloring using two or three crayons/colored pencils at one time.
Ian thoroughly enjoyed making a bird feeder by coating a pine cone with peanut butter and then sprinkling bird seed on the peanut butter.  We have hung the feeder from our front tree, and Ian continues to watch for bird activity at the feeder each day.  We enjoyed our time at the Garden Faire!

Fall Festival

Last weekend, we enjoyed spending time with members of our small group Bible study at a Fall Festival.  A Catholic church near our home hosted the event.  With some coaxing from Momma and Daddy, Ian ended up playing a few of the games (toss the rings onto 2-L bottles, Plinko, digging for buried "treasure," etc.).  We had fun.

Ian's favorite activity was riding on the same train that had also been at the Garden Faire a few weekends before.  This time around, each passenger was given a small whistle to blow as they rode around.  Ian couldn't have been happier.

Ian loves showing Ryan all of the things he can do.  Ryan had never seen an inflatable bounce house before, so Ian came over often to explain things to his little brother (super cute!).

Friday, October 12, 2012

Our Fall Garden

 We've been wanting to try a fall garden for a few years now but just haven't done it. This seemed to be a good year, especially since Ian was interested in helping.
 A few weekends ago, Matt borrowed his school's tiller and got the dirt all mixed up. Ian supervised.
Then, they used the tiller to mix in some compost.
First, we planted the actual plants that we bought at Lowe's -- broccoli, cauliflower, and some cherry tomatoes (which are actually a summer plant, but we'll see how they do!).
Next Ian planted the seeds, though he got bored after doing just a few of each type (carrots, beets, cucumbers, peas, and lettuce). He especially liked the cucumber and pea seeds since they were big and looked familiar. :)
He took special care getting them into the ground.
Of course, the best part was being in charge of watering the plants!

We planted the garden about 10 days ago now, and Ian has wanted to help water almost every day! (He especially likes getting to play with the nozzle settings after watering. "J-E-T jet" is his favorite setting.)

It's been fun seeing the seeds sprout and grow. God is such an awesome God!

Ryan is five months old!

Our littlest man is now five months old! Ryan has become very vocal. He likes to coo or grunt loudly and especially seems to enjoy “singing along” during church or other music.  Lately, he seems to want to buzz his lips by making a “buh buh” sound. 

Ryan definitely wants to see what’s going on. He cranes his neck or arches his back to follow whatever activity is happening in the room, even when it’s time to be nursing! He still prefers to be standing up in someone’s lap, facing out while being held, or sitting up in his Bumbo or in a “tripod formation” so he can be a careful observer. One of his favorite activities seems to be watching big brother Ian roll his Cozy Coupe car around our cul-de-sac. He can watch this for a LONG time! Ryan also likes going on family walks – especially if he can be in the Baby Bjorn instead of the stroller.

He also enjoys tapping/batting at things and has quite a grip when he gets ahold of something. Ryan is obsessed with the straw on Kim’s water cup. Whenever Kim tries to drink from the cup while she’s holding Ryan, he flaps his arms in excitement and reaches out to grasp the straw. He loves to move the straw up and down, even while Momma is trying to drink.

Some of Ryan’s favorite “toys” are his toes. He also loves to chew on his fingers and will occasionally put them a little too far into his mouth and almost gag himself. He also likes to link his hands in a praying position.

Ryan still takes three naps while swaddled tightly, in his swing, and with a pacifier. He started waking up more often at night this month (sometimes 5-6 times!). We think we remember this same thing happening when Ian was four months old. Maybe he’s just more aware of what’s going on?? Who knows! Thankfully, we’re already seeing a little bit of an improvement and know that this, too, will pass! In the meantime, we’re happy that he’s still sleeping in our room so it’s just a short trip to help him out! 

He hasn’t mastered rolling yet, though he does sporadically roll onto his back during tummy time. This seems to be completely accidental and more dependent on how we place his arms. He seems to be very close to rolling from back to tummy, though. He LOVES being under his activity gym and grabbing onto the animals that dangle down. He’ll roll onto his side to reach animals that are farther away and seems like he wouldn’t need to push much more to get all the way over.

Ryan continues to be a happy baby (especially in the mornings and afternoons. :)) He smiles easily – even when strangers talk to him. He adores predictable “games” like peek-a-boo, bouncing up and down, and “flying” and will giggle heartily. He’s very ticklish on his back, sides, feet, and shoulders, too. The first comment most people make about Ryan is still related to his pretty, thick hair. We had to cut it again this month, though Momma might have taken a little too much off this time. Oh, well … it’ll grow!


The highlight of the month was going to Phoenix to meet Ryan’s new cousin, Abby (the first baby girl in our family!). Ryan (and Ian) got lots of attention from grandparents, aunts, and uncles and traveled very well. Poor Ryan caught ANOTHER cold right before we got to Phoenix, only a week or so after recovering from his first one.  We still had a great time all together!

We’re enjoying starting to see Ryan’s little personality emerge, and we thank God for the blessing he is to us!

Ryan also likes "crunching" regular water bottles.

Sometimes we still give Ryan baths in his little tub instead of the big bathtub. We've found that we enjoy using the sprayer to rinse his hair off. Ryan likes to "help."

Brother love!

Happy five month "birthday," sweet boy! :)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Momma Gets Crafty

I don't get a lot of time to do crafty stuff, but I realize how much I enjoy having little projects to do that I can actually finish. :) Many days I don't feel like I get much crossed off my to-do list, and it feels really nice to finish a project that I can be proud of. :)
This is my second freezer paper project -- for Matt's mom's birthday. It was fun to make, though much more challenging to follow the curved lines with my x-acto knife.

I had fun making bows for baby Lillie
... and new niece Abby. I found great patterns on this website.
I was curious if the bows would actually hold. My poor sons had to test them out. They didn't seem to mind too much. :)

I love borrowing!

What a blessing it is to live in the age of technology! It's so much easier to find fabulous ideas that I can borrow to do with Ian! :) Undoubtedly, "my" best ideas are ones that someone else has done first!

Here are some of our most recent borrowed activities (and some other random things ...)
I mentioned a while back that my cousin Marcie sent Ian a package of lots of fun activities. One of the activities was a contact paper collage. Ian placed all sorts of various objects (buttons, foam shapes, rhinestones, yarn, sequins, feathers, etc.) onto contact paper. Ian's favorite parts were cutting yarn and placing the "jewels" onto the contact paper.

He was SO proud of his finished product and wanted to hang it in our living room window right away.
One day a few weeks ago, we created a "chili pepper light house." (I found a similar idea on The Imagination Tree.) We took a big box, and I poked holes all along the perimeter of the top with an ice pick. Ian then stuck through our chili pepper lights. He thought it was SO fun to read books by the eerie red glow of the chili pepper lights.
Another idea that Marcie suggested was placing Mentos into 2L bottles of soda. Ian thought this was very fun ... though he may have enjoyed eating the leftover Mentos just as much!
He immediately wanted to try it "one more time." This time he stayed close enough that he could feel the foam bubble out the top of the bottle.
I've found some fun literacy ideas on a homeschooling blog. One idea was letting Ian use a thumbtack to push holes along the shape of alphabet letters. This was a fun way to practice "writing" the letter without having to use pencil and paper.
Ian was VERY focused as he poked all of the holes. When he was done, he thought we should hang the paper in the window so we could see the light shine through.
I found a great book from the library called The Big Messy Art Book (by MaryAnn Kohl). One particularly intriguing activity involved dipping  ping pong balls into paint and then using a hair dryer to roll them around.
This activity was VERY cool! We'll definitely do it again sometime -- perhaps with paper that's not so big?? It was a little hard to maneuver around the large card table, although it did make a neat finished product. We plan to use Ian's creation as wrapping paper!

With some of the colder mornings we've been having lately, Ian has been excited to have hot chocolate to drink. I have no idea how he always ends up SOOO messy after every snack and meal. :)
Our non-napper has returned. Ian will happily "rest" in his bed for 45 min. to an hour each afternoon but rarely fall asleep. He's way too busy telling complicated stories to get tired. By 4 or 5:00, however, we can tell he has hit the wall. A few days lately, we've taken family walks before dinner ... and poor Ian just can't keep his eyes open!

This new jogging stroller is a recent purchase. Kim's friend Aliceson found a great deal on a used Baby Jogger stroller. We absolutely LOVE it! So far, Ryan has only made it through one walk. He'd MUCH rather be held or in the Baby Bjorn on walks. Kim is happy to have the chance to start jogging again... though for now it's a combination of jogging and walking as I get back into shape. :) Turns out that Ian is quite the good personal trainer. "Are you running, Momma?" he'll holler back if he feels me slow my gait. "Can you please go a little FASTER?" Ha ha.

One day, I placed a different color marking in the bottom of each egg carton "hole." I challenged Ian to find something of each color to fit inside each hole. (I saw this idea somewhere, too ... maybe Imagination Tree?) It was hilarious watching Ian. Let's just say he has Momma's (poor) spatial relations. He would find HUGE things that were the correct color and seem to be surprised when they didn't fit into the hole. Ha!
Ian DID find something for each hole and was most excited to eat the M & Ms and Starburst candies that he found for a few holes.
I ordered some fun huge buttons from Oriental Trading Company. One afternoon, Ian had a great time sorting them into different groups (by color or shape) and completing patterns that Momma started. As you can see, Ian LOVES to have his picture taken and lately thinks it's particularly funny if he can be blinking when I take the picture. He also asks frequently to have me take videos of him. Immediately afterward, he'll take the camera underneath a large blanket so he can view the video from his own personal "theater."
For months, Ian loves helping Daddy with the final step of lawn work -- blowing. Matt holds Ian who holds his own (bubble) blower, and they work together to blow all of the grass clippings off the driveway. So cute!
One particularly chilly morning, we played Chutes and Ladders beside our fireplace.

We were chosen to host a Fisher Price House Party. They sent us some really cool toys to try out. Ian's favorite is the Rev 'n' Go ramp with spinning race cars. The Imaginext castle and accessories are also really fun. The kids loved them!

We finally had the chance to go visit Mrs. W. (a friend from church) again. She's such a good sport to read Ian books. Ian loved telling Mrs. W. the names of all of the Thomas the train characters.

Playing with pom poms and tongs are fun!

And one funny Ian story ... we noticed the number 20 on a game board recently. I told Ian, "Look! There's the number 20!" "That's not  the number 20, Momma. That's the number 2000." When I looked puzzled, he pointed to our calendar time board and said, "See? That says 2012."

He has been super interested lately in "reading" car models from the back of the vehicles. If he sees an "S," he knows it's a Suburban, a "T" is a Tahoe, a "Y" is a Yukon, a "J" is a jeep, etc. He feels so proud of himself for being able to "read." He's also obsessed with finding the "hitch" on the back of larger SUVs and pick-up trucks.

My friend Kati blogged about a fun idea that she and her son, Caleb, tried ... building an obstacle course! Ian thought this was great fun!

In case you were wondering, Puppy still sleeps with Ian EVERY nap and EVERY night. Matt said the other day, "How does Ian hold on to Puppy all night long??" Somehow he does ...super cute!