Thursday, December 19, 2013

Ryan is a year and a half!

We now have a 1 1/2 year old in our house ... an active explorer who nearly always has some sort of bump, bruise, or scratch! Ryan loves to climb and can usually get down by himself, too. We don't have to use our baby gates anymore as he is comfortable with going up and down the stairs. His favorite place to crawl around is on Momma and Daddy's bed. He likes to dance to music and try to jump (though it's really just squatting and then standing back up).

Lately, Ryan's biggest obsession has been Hot Wheels vehicles. He has at LEAST two of them in his hands at all times ... when we're at home, when we're in the car, even when he's sleeping! He likes to line them up, make them follow each other along a path, have them go "up" and "down" ramps, and carry enormous quantities of them around. Sometimes, when Momma announces that we're heading to the car to go somewhere, Ryan will first make a mad dash around the living room to collect 10 or more toy cars that he wants to bring along.
moving hot wheels cars from one side of the couch to the other

sleeping with cars in hand

Our most recent guess about Ryan's future occupation is sports announcer. Not only does Ryan LOVE balls or anything active, he also loves to "report" what's going on. He will give a running dialogue of the things that he sees throughout the day ... usually in a very excited, loud, sports-announcer-type voice! Hilarious! His vocabulary is certainly expanding, though even we sometimes have to really think about what he's trying to communicate as he attempts to say longer words (like ambulance, applesauce (sounds a lot like "hummus,") backpack, upstairs, or play place). He has started calling himself "Ny-ny" and will seem to do a "family roll call" at least once a day where he names everyone in our family.

It has been fun to watch Ryan's developing sense of humor. He was fascinated one day when Matt attempted to hit a fly on the ceiling with a fly swatter. For weeks since then, Ryan points to the ceiling in our kitchen, says "fly!" and then says "NO!" with a teasing smile. He loves to pretend to hide behind his hands, wait for us to ask where Ryan is, and then pop out with a laugh!

Ryan has gotten much better at going places without Momma or Daddy. He will now go into the church nursery during the Sunday school hour with few (or even no!) tears. Some dear friends of ours have watched Ian and Ryan during the dinner- and bedtime hours for us, and Ryan has even gone to sleep without crying! We're making SO much progress! Next, if we could get past waking up at least once each night ... :)

Ian is certainly one of Ryan's very favorite people. Ryan will talk about "Ee-uh" all the time when Ian is at preschool and wait very eagerly outside Ian's classroom door when it's time to pick him up. (Ryan also seems to intentionally play with all of Ian's favorite toys (which he usually doesn't share) while Ian is away.) Ryan wants to do everything that Ian is doing and say everything that Ian is saying. Nail- and hair-cutting (former battlegrounds) are now much easier if we have Ian demonstrate them first. Ian can still get Ryan to giggle like crazy. Like any brothers, our boys certainly know how to push each other's buttons, but mainly they love their time together.

Our mellow fellow definitely has developed an opinionated streak. He often likes things a certain way and even likes to return things to their original place. He will arch his back, turn into a limp noodle, and protest loudly when we make him do something he does NOT want to do. He'll also let us know if Ian has invaded his personal space or taken a toy that he was playing with. Recently, Ryan has also seemed to be jealous if we're holding someone else. Even when Kim was holding Ian on her lap the other day to read him a story, Ryan climbed up on Kim's lap, too, and started pushing Ian and telling him "OFF!"

At his 18 month well-check, Ryan was 22.75 inches and 26 lb. 2 oz. (both around the 60th percentile). He's growing nicely and eating SOOO much better than he was even six months ago! Interestingly, he is about 2 inches shorter than Ian was at this age, which explains why most of the winter clothes Ian wore at this age don't fit Ryan at all! :)

Some of Ryan's favorites include stickers, taking his socks and shoes OFF, playing the "buddy bucks game" at a local grocery store, hide-and-seek, Cheetos, pancakes & waffles, dogs, and ANY kind of vehicle. His current favorite type of book is the baby-picture-dictionary sort of book where he can point to objects over and over and hear us say their names. (I guess it's a good way to build his vocabulary, though Momma is excited about returning to books with a little more plot sometime soon! Ha!) He'll eagerly say "moh! Moh!" when we're tickling him, playing Ring-Around-the-Rosy, or giving him shoulder or horsie rides. He loves spending time outside -- mainly pushing items (such as his stroller, the Cozy Coupe, or mower), loading up his dump truck, throwing things, or playing in the sand. Ryan is able to sit longer for books and will often bring books to Daddy or Momma, wanting us to stop whatever we're doing to read to him.

We love you, little man! :)

 And some recent pics of a Momma-and-Ryan trip to an indoor playground called Wonderwild.

jumping on the big pillow

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

New Camera!

Our camera had been acting funny for a while ... and then the flash died ... so we decided it was time to shop for a new camera! We went back and forth for a while on if we should get a new point-and-shoot camera or spring for an SLR one. Finally, a friend reminded us of the time that we'd have to invest in learning/experimenting to get quality pictures from the SLR camera. We realized that a new point-and-shoot would already be an upgrade from what we currently had, so we bought a highly rated Panasonic Lumix. We've really liked it so far. We haven't gotten any pictures developed yet, but just on the screen they look clearer and sharper than the ones our old camera could take. Plus, we like that the shutter speed is MUUUCCH faster ... so we don't miss as many photo op's!

Here are some of our first pics ...

Ian at the pediatric dentist ... Isn't it funny that they have the kids wear sunglasses with the bright dentist's chair lights?

Ryan had a great time recently playing in the mall's play place. He now has NO problem climbing, though sometimes coming down is more of a challenge.

The Cozy Coupe is still a big hit when we're playing outside!

Ian was fascinated by this super soaker water gun Matt got from one of his students.

Ryan pushing a shopping cart

driving the Cozy Coupe

putting leaves in the dump truck!

A Morning at the Zoo

We wanted to go to the zoo one more time before our zoo membership expired in late November. The boys had a great time. It was especially fun to see Ryan's reaction to some of the animals.

The boys spent just as much time walking/running as they did in the wagon, though it was nice to have a place for them to sit when they got tired.

The meerkats were a hit, as usual.

It was fun watching the elephants. One of Ian's favorite parts this time was seeing the baby elephant get all scrubbed off with soap and then get a shower.
The boys enjoyed their carousel ride, despite how this picture looks. :)

Of course, Ian requested to have Daddy go with him into the prairie dog exhibit (where they don't have actual prairie dogs ... ha!)
We got to pet and brush the goats a little bit before it started raining really hard.

We ate our picnic lunch under a covered pavilion and then headed out of the zoo, making sure to take some time to play the drums on the way!

Monday, December 16, 2013


 One of the highlights of our time together with our siblings was our Schleicherfest competition. (For a creative and entertaining recap of the history of Schleicherfest, please check out our siblings' blog, the Schleicherfest VI post.)

Matt and Kim (the Schleicherfest hosts) brainstormed a list of 25 or more possible events. Each participant was able to choose 2 games and the other 2 of the 10 games were chosen randomly. We played a few games each day we were together, mainly after our kiddos were in bed.

To open Schleicherfest, we presented the scoresheet of events, made sure everyone agreed on scoring, and then "lit the torch." Team Dissection (now Team Manifest Calamity) had the honors since he was the defending champion.
Let the games begin! :) (And, sorry, I have no idea why all of the vertical pictures are on their side. If you know how to fix this, please let me know!)

We played non-photogenic events such as Loot, Amazing Labyrinth, Samurai, Greed, and Pitch. The other events included Washers.

Team Popcorn

Team Manifest Calamity

Team Double Trouble

Team Lefsnofuthiss (left snow for this :))
 We planned a crazy relay, which involved memorizing a hymn verse and then reciting it PERFECTLY to the "judge,"

hitting some balls into the soccer goal with a hockey stick,

throwing Frisbees into hula hoops,

throwing balls into a basketball hoop,
 catching marshmallows in our mouths,
 (You may not be able to notice it here, but there was a group of middle school girls watching us during much of the event. Our relay started right about the time girls were getting dropped off at our neighbor's house for a sleepover. They were certainly intrigued. Another neighbor couldn't believe we adults were the ones participating in the games and didn't take us up on our offer to join us! Ha!)

and putting together a kid's puzzle.

We got lots of laughs while playing Guesstures (like charades), and we liked the twist of getting points for guessing instead of just acting.

 Probably the favorite event (Matt's crazy brainstorm!) was the sock throw. Over three rounds, we had to throw 10 socks (either singles for double points or a pair for single points) from our second story into an assortment of targets of varying point values on the first floor. As the rounds progressed, we had to attempt more variety instead of just trying for the same target all the time.  It was so much fun to watch AND throw!

Some of our targets included the dump truck, inflatable pumpkin, toy school bus, windowsill, mantle, end table, sofa, loveseat, and even a laundry basket just barely into the kitchen.

It all came down to our final event of Schleicherfest was Wii bowling.

In the end, Team Manifest Calamity got to keep the prestigious tennis ball on a mug tree trophy. He also evened things up, as Jason, Amy, and Matt all are now tied with two Schleicherfest wins.
 Team Lefsnofuthiss was a bit disappointed by his 4th place finish -- a place usually saved for Kim. Ha ha! :)
 What a fun time we had!

We'll definitely have to continue the tradition soon!