Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Easter

Our family celebrated Easter over a couple of days this year! On Saturday, our church hosted an Easter egg hunt/carnival-type event. We had a great time!
Ian loved climbing on the monster truck tires

There was a car show in the parking lot. Ian and Daddy spent a few minutes looking at them.

Ian really enjoyed the carnival games this year, including the lollipop tree, the fishing game, and the duckie-in-the-pool game.


You may remember that Ian cried during last year's egg hunt (who knows why?), and he didn't want to pick up any eggs. That certainly wasn't a problem this year. Ian (along with friends Christopher and Mackenzie) knew JUST what to do!
Ian DID want to take the time to open most of the eggs up throughout the gathering process.
There was quite a crowd -- I think they estimated 2,000 people!

It was a little chilly, but we all had a great time!


Ian and his friend Brooke pushed Ryan in the stroller on our way to the hot dog lunch! Ryan had a GREAT time reaching into the other stroller seat and throwing the eggs onto the ground! I tried to get a video, but of course  he stopped doing it as soon as I started videoing. Ha!
looking at the bunnies

Ian enjoyed bouncing on the inflatables, and Ryan thought they were interesting, too.

After rest time, we started the egg-dyeing process. Ian wanted to help with every step along the way.
The vinegar was a little stinky. :)

putting the color tabs into the vinegar-water

Of course, the actual dyeing process was most fun!

Ian was a big fan of coloring on the eggs with white crayon and then watching the picture "appear" after the egg was dyed.

Ryan got in on the fun once he woke up from his nap.

Look at my egg, Ma!

On Sunday morning before church, the boys found their Easter egg baskets by the front door.
Ian got Peeps, Reese's PB eggs, Hershey's kisses, a new ball, and a light spinner in his basket.

Ryan got a new ball, a light spinner, and some baby snacks (yogurt melts, Mum Mums, and Puffs) in his.

Thanks for the adorable new outfits for Easter, Grammy and Papa! I love it when the boys can match!

Family pic!


We had an Easter dinner of ham, potatoes, broccoli, pineapple, rolls, and chocolate cake-- just our little family. It was nice!

After rest time, Ian went out to find the hidden eggs.

Once again, he stopped to eat the jellybeans or fruit snacks (or gather the coins) in each egg before finding another one.

What a fun Easter! Most importantly, we are thankful for what Easter means for all who follow Jesus -- the promise of resurrection and eternal life! What a privilege that we serve a God that has conquered sin, death, and the devil!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

What's new with Ian (and the rest of us)?


It's been a little while since we've given an update on what's new with Big Brother Ian! In no particular order, here are some of his recent mannerisms and "favorites" ...
  Lately, Ian loves games of any kind! Here, he's teaching our church friends, the Limmers, BusyTown. Ian also loves the Berenstein Bears game, Candyland, and Cootie. Other favorite games include Hide and Seek, Red Light/Green Light, and Mother May I?. He's getting better at playing games according to the "real" rules but is still learning about how to be okay with losing. :) Lately, we've started giving him some time most days to play on our tablet. He'll most often choose Angry Birds, Where's My Water?, or Train Sim, but there are other games he likes, too. He is getting better at using the Wii remote to play Wii Sports as well.

While Ian lately has preferred to play inside, we do go outside most afternoons for some play time! Ian loves the sandbox, his swingset, his tricycle (he'll often bike to our neighborhood park while Momma pushes Ryan in the stroller), and ANYTHING having to do with water/the hose/sprinklers. He also likes bowling and playing a modified game of mini-golf/Bocce ball where we have to throw balls into a bucket. The neighborhood playground is a lot of fun, too, especially if it involves underdogs on the swings, playing in the gravel, looking for trash to pick up, or sliding down the slides.

Of course, any activity that involves getting Ryan to laugh is a favorite for Ian. Here, he pulled Ryan quickly in the wagon and then stopped ... which made Ryan giggle and giggle. If Momma or Daddy does anything that makes Ryan laugh, Ian will say, "I'll do it," and start copying what we're doing, hoping for more Ryan laughs. :) Ian is generally very caring, loving, and gentle with his little brother.
We gave Ian his first cut with hair clippers. Even on the longest guard setting, it's pretty short ... but it makes him look ever closer to four years old! :)
Bubble baths are VERY fun for Ian. He can do most of the process himself -- plugging the drain, starting the water, and pouring in the bubbles! Mr. Independent likes to do most everything himself -- getting dressed, washing hands before meals, wiping himself up after meals, brushing his teeth, combing his hair, starting a movie on Netflix, washing his hair, unlocking the door with a key, etc., etc. We'll often have to double check what he's done, but he's getting better and better! His favorite thing to do is say, "Don't look at me, please," while he completes a task himself. Of course, he wants us to be surprised and amazed when he asks us to open our eyes and we realize that he has done something independently!
Play time with Daddy, no matter what it involves, is always a highlight of the day for Ian!
Ian is up to almost any Pinterest idea that Momma can find on line! Here, he helped to create a balance from egg cartons and loved predicting which object would be heavier. In general, he loves figuring out how things work. Lately, when the back of our toilet was taken off, he loved flushing the toilet and watching the mechanism, trying to explain to Momma how it was all working. His favorite question is "Why, Ma?" or "Why, Da?," including asking us to explain our reasoning behind just about every rule we make.
Here, he loved swirling paint with shaving cream to decorate paper Easter eggs to send to family members out of state! Momma was VERY impressed with how this project turned out, too. (Who thinks of these amazing ideas?!!? I love Pinterest!)
It is fun to see Ian's sense of compassion and empathy grow during our visits with our friend from church, Mrs. W., who lives in an assisted living facility. Around Easter time, Ian helped to brainstorm some activities that we could do with her from the comfort of her chair. Mrs. W. and Ian had a great time doing a variety of activities, including looking at pictures on the computer (Ian loves telling her what we've been up to and talks MUCH longer if he's describing a picture), reading books, playing a Memory game, and coloring a picture.
By far the favorite activity to watch was Ian hiding Easter eggs for Mrs. W.


She was a good sport and kept her eyes hidden. When Ian told her that he was done hiding them, she had to look for them around her room and tell Ian where she noticed them.

Ian was happy to retrieve the eggs she found.
Sometimes he even helped provide her some clues. :)

Lately, our little Rule Follower has been obsessed with signs and symbols. He'll point out the slippery-when-wet signs at the store, recycling signs and numbers on various objects (who knew there were so many recycle #5 objects around?), and ANY sort of "no ___" symbol.
At the church Easter egg hunt, he spent about five minutes figuring out each safety icon on the bounce house before getting in. A few weeks before, while exiting the library, he noticed the no guns and no smoking signs. "Look, Ma!" he said, "No shooters and no cannons!" Our little backseat driver will also remind us of rules if necessary. "Keep both of your hands on the steering wheel!"
Ian continues to have a fascination with tools. He has watched with interest during many of our recent home renovation projects. Thankfully, most of the people doing the work have been pleased to have an onlooker/little helper and have been happy to answer any questions Ian has had. By far, Ian's favorite tool is a tape measure. With all his practice, he is getting pretty good at measuring things to the nearest inch!



Ian loves seeing how many seconds it takes him to complete various tasks. For us, that means that a great motivator when trying to get him to do something quickly (like get into his car seat). For him, that means an interest in things like obstacle courses, when he can try to improve his time.

 Ian continues to be very verbal and (depending on his mood) can carry on quite a good conversation with family members over the phone. He's a master negotiator -- and can often provide some pretty compelling arguments! Sometimes his sayings or connections crack us up! One day, he sneezed while in another room. After waiting for a few seconds, Kim heard him say, "God bless myself!" One day, after waking up, he told Kim he had to get the "sleeping dust" out of his eyes. 

Ian has a good sense of humor and loves it when he "gets" the joke. He loves being teased and tickled and tries to get us to laugh. He continues to have extreme emotions -- VERY happy and VERY sad and VERY angry. He's certainly an opinionated little guy.

He has a continued interest in letters/words/signs/logos. He is starting to be able to read/identify some words, mainly just by using the first letter of the word and context cues. He is also very interested in numbers and the calendar and loves counting down the days until we are planning an exciting event.

Other favorites include books on tape/CD, being daddy's little helper, piggyback rides, and puzzles.

We are thankful for our curious, compassionate, cute, clever little boy! It is exciting to see how God continues to help him grow and learn. :)

And now that I've written about both boys, I'll give a quick update about Matt and me. 

A couple of months ago, Matt received a call (job offer) to be principal of the Lutheran high school in Michigan where he used to teach before coming to Texas. We spent lots of time talking about, praying about, and wrestling with this decision. We would've loved to live closer to Matt's parents and back with our Michigan friends. We also love living here and feel thankful for our friends in Texas. We praise God that He led us clearly to stay here and affirmed Matt in his current job. Matt's high school was recently recognized as a National Exemplary School -- another wonderful blessing for the school!

Kim is enjoying her role as university supervisor for a student teacher. Kim just completed her last observation and enjoyed seeing the student teacher's growth and progress over the course of the semester. As this job wraps up, her next "job" is party planner for both boys' birthdays coming up in May!

We're right in the middle of some major home renovation projects, including having our kitchen updated and most of our house repainted. We'll be excited to share some pictures soon, God-willing! Maybe our home renovations will give YOU another motivation to come see us in Texas ... gotta see our new kitchen in person, right?!? :)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Ryan is 11 months old!



Another month has come and gone, and Ryan is now only one month away from being one YEAR old! Crazy! We’ve probably said this before about some other month, but it truly seems like this eleventh month is the one in which Ryan has grown and changed the most.

To us, it has been most fun to see him grow in his language learning! Like other babies, Ryan can understand many words. When we ask, “Where’s _?” and fill in the blank with a person’s name or an object, Ryan knows right where to look. He can follow basic commands, like “play the music” or “turn off the light.” He has also started communicating a little on his own! He claps when he sees others clapping or hears the word “clap” or “yay.” He waves and says “bye bye.” He tries to repeat words he hears us say, even attempting to copy inflection. He makes the baby sign for airplane when he sees/hears one in the sky. He can say (with meaning) Momma, Dadda, brr (when we open the fridge) and baby (though “babies” are often children that are older than he is!). A few days ago, he even said airplane “ah-pluh” while doing the baby sign and pointing to a bird we have hanging from our kitchen fan. So funny! A few times, it has seemed like he called Ian “buh-buh,” which may be short for “Big Brother” (what we often call Ian). 

video


Like last month, Ryan is always on the go. This month, though, he’s even FASTER! He crawls and cruises with determination, especially if he knows the object he’s headed for is a no-no. He often likes to push a book along underneath his palm while crawling. He likes walking behind objects or while holding someone’s hands. Ryan can stand alone for a few seconds at a time.

Ryan is getting much better at feeding himself finger foods. He definitely has his favorites – like Cheerios, Puffs, bread, yogurt melts, peas, black beans, and baby snacks like MumMums. He LOVES yogurt but still refuses most of the other pureed (fruit/veggie) foods that we try to feed him. He recently learned how to drink water from a sippy cup by himself.

Ryan is still taking two naps a day and generally waking once per night to nurse. He is finally sleeping unswaddled at night and seems to prefer sleeping on his side or tummy. 

Ryan still would much prefer to be with Momma or Daddy than anyone else. He generally only tolerates a baby-sitter while the sitter pushes him in a stroller (and can’t be seen – ha ha!).  He is a cheerful baby and  (if Momma/Daddy is holding him) smiles when he sees others and then tucks his head shyly. 

Like most almost-toddlers, Ryan generally leaves s trail of where he’s been. :) Ryan loves opening and taking things out of/off of cabinets, drawers, baskets, shelves, and laundry hampers. He loves throwing magnets off the fridge, taking clothes off the hangers in Momma and Daddy’s closet, unrolling toilet paper, playing with/eating dirt, dropping objects from his high chair, trying to take glasses off people’s faces, and picking up and eating small fuzz from the ground. 

We’re thankful that Ryan’s obsession with the fake moss on our fake tree has been replaced by an obsession with our TV remote. (Much neater! :)) Other favorites this month include playing with water, pointing at people, giggling at Ian, pressing the music button on Ian’s toy Hummer, reading books (especially Peek-a-boo Baby and Where’s Baby’s Belly Button?) exploring the fridge when the door is open, touching other people’s mouths, and throwing balls & balloons.He loves music and will "dance" whenever he hears it. In typical Schleicher/Walquist fashion, he already seems to like games, too. Peek-a-boo (covering himself up and sometimes even saying “a-boo” when we find him), Chase-the-ball (throwing a ball and then crawling after it to throw it again), and Hide-and-Seek (finding Momma behind the loveseat) seem to be his favorites.

video
Ryan definitely makes us laugh and smile and daily thank our Lord for the blessing of life!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Strawberries

  At the end of spring break, we decided to go to the nearby strawberry patch to pick some berries for our family. Apparently, lots of other people had had the same idea.

Almost all of the ripe, red strawberries were gone! We found a few good ones in between the mostly green ones.
After a few minutes of searching, we decided that we'd come back the next weekend.
At least we were able to enjoy the sunny, warm weather! :)





The next weekend was windy and cooler ... BUT bright, red, juicy strawberries abounded! We were content in one area until another strawberry picker suggested we try the back of the patch (where the "really BIG ones" were).

We were able to pick 8 pounds of yummy berries in just a few minutes (and that's not even counting the quality control ones that Ian consumed)!
Ryan was happy to be an onlooker for most of the time,
while Ian wanted to be an active participant ...
and sampler.


They ARE really big, aren't they?
Even Ryan snuck in a bite!



Our covert sampler got quite a few chuckles as we left the strawberry patch.

We enjoyed eating the strawberries plain, on waffles, in strawberry shortcake, AND we even tried to make our own strawberry jam! Ian crunched up the strawberries


(with Ryan's supervision), and then we cooked them into jam. It turned out delicious and the recipe was very easy! The smell reminded me of my Grandma Sylvester's kitchen!