Sunday, April 27, 2014

Uncle Jon visits

We were thrilled to have Uncle Jon (Matt's brother) visit us for a few days right before Easter. We were also thrilled that he was offered the job he was interviewing for -- director of development at CLHS! Since he has a few other job offers for next year, we're praying for him and his wife that the Lord would make their decision very clear (though, of course, we not-so-secretly hope that they're headed to the Lone Star state!). :)

While Jon was here, we headed to the strawberry patch to pick some fresh berries. (This was especially fun to do with Jon since we remember going to the same berry patch with Chelsea around this time of year three years ago when she lived with us during student teaching.) Uncle Jon showed Ryan all about picking ripe strawberries. After Ryan realized that he'd get strawberry "juice" on his hands while picking, he realized he wasn't all that interested.

Ian, on the other hand, thought that it was VERY fun!
Uncle Jon and Ian found some of the reddest, ripest, juiciest berries in the patch!

It was a beautiful day to enjoy the sunshine ...and we loved eating the strawberries we picked!
Matt's boss told us that we needed to take Jon somewhere nice to eat! Since PF Chang's has a great gluten-free menu, we thought it would be the perfect choice for Jon. The food tasted great,
and it was WONDERFUL to have an extra set of hands to keep the boys busy in the restaurant. Uncle Jon drew lots of pictures for Ian to color and read Ryan lots of books.
When Jon finished eating, he even took Ryan for a walk around the building so the rest of us could finish our meals. What an uncle!

After PF Chang's, Uncle Jon treated Ian to a game of bowling for an early birthday present. Ian had never been bowling before but he had mentioned to us multiple times that he really wanted to go.
Uncle Jon showed Ian proper bowling form, though it ended up that "Granny Style" was the most effective technique for Ian. :)
Ryan thought it looked like fun, too. A few times, he "bowled" his magnetic trains right into the lane.
Ian would get so excited when he knocked down pins. Sometimes, the bumpers really helped to propel the ball back into the center of the lane so he could get quite a few pins down.
The air to dry off our hands was another of Ian's favorite parts of bowling.
Uncle Jon decided to try Granny Style, too, since it was working so well for Ian!

Good game!
This was Ryan's face when we asked him to smile! What a little ham! :)

We had a great time with you, Uncle Jon! Next time, you'll have to bring Chelsea along. :) Thanks for the love and attention you showered on our boys. They love you to pieces!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Pregnant :)

On our last day in California, I took a pregnancy test ... and after about 15 minutes, our el cheap-o test showed a teeny, tiny faint line. We tried to not get too excited. While Matt was attending his final workshops, I walked 1.5 miles to the nearest Rite Aid to buy a better quality pregnancy test.  
 Then we headed to the airport. On our long layover in Chicago, I took the pregnancy tests ... both clear positives!! We were so excited! Others at O'Hare may have wondered why we were so thrilled! We celebrated with some good ol' airport Manchu Wok after thanking God for this amazing blessing and taking a zillion pictures. :)

 Then we spent some time calling and texting our immediate family members so they could share in our joy and start praying! We decided to wait to tell most other friends and relatives until after our first ultrasound. Because we had a miscarriage between Ian and Ryan, especially I felt really tentative and guarded from the start of this pregnancy. I'm still feeling a little cautious, but much less now that we've had our doctor's appointment.

Last week (April 14) we went in for our first (8-week) ultrasound and doctor's appointment and were elated to "see" the baby and hear his or her heartbeat -- 176 bpm (exactly what big brother Ian's heartbeat was at 8 weeks; Ryan's was 172 bpm). The baby was measuring about 1.8 cm (equivalent to 8 weeks, 2 days old). The doctor guessed that our due date is on or around November 22. What a wonderful Thanksgiving we'll have! God is so good. Here are some of the first "pictures" of our little peanut.

So far, I have been feeling very good. I've had a few mornings of feeling nauseous and I've been feeling quite tired, but these are very manageable things. Even though I'm not even ten weeks along, I'm already sporting a little baby bump. Goodness ... I guess my body remembers exactly what to do. Here's hoping that I won't end up even BIGGER than I was when pregnant with Ryan. Ha! :) A friend loaned us her doppler device, and just a few days ago we were able to hear the baby's heartbeat at home. So amazing!  We've been some time thinking of the bunk beds we'll likely buy for our boys sometime this summer and the mini van we'll likely buy to accommodate three car seats. Even though he doesn't understand that there's a baby in Momma's tummy, Ryan adores ANY baby, so we know he'll be thrilled. And, Ian was excited to hear the news of a baby in Momma's tummy. He said that he hopes it's a girl and asked if he could hold the baby right away. This baby will be well-loved by his or her older brothers! This time around, we'll plan to find out baby's gender ahead of time. Our 20-week ultrasound will probably be in mid-July. Fun times ahead ... :) Please join us in thanking God for this amazing gift -- and in praying for this baby's health and well-being.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


 Since soccer has always been such a big part of Matt's life, we knew we at least wanted to give Ian the opportunity to play, too. As soon as we mentioned being on a soccer team, Ian was very excited -- and even more so when he found out that Daddy would be coach! Four friends from Ian's class are on the (10-player) team, too. We like this soccer league because it's very low-key ... they have a 45-minute practice immediately before their 24-minute game on Saturday morning. It's nice to have only one commitment each week! The soccer season started on April 12 and will last for about 8 weeks.

It was so cute watching Matt lead the boys (and one girl) in practice. He did a great job! He was very patient and positive and kept practice moving. They started with some stretching exercises ...

... and huddled up between many of the activities for some "instruction time."

 After a few drills, it was already time to start the game! Matt and the other team's coach were allowed to be on the field during the game ... which ended up being quite useful for teaching and redirecting. :) The referees did a great job of being teachers, too. Matt was thankful that our friend Kyle stepped up to be assistant coach. It was very helpful to have a second person while running drills and, during the game, to keep the players who weren't playing at the moment together on the sidelines.
 Ian seemed to enjoy the game, though he was a little tentative and preferred to let other kids have the ball. He was happy to kick the ball in, though!

 All 12 players (6 from each team) that were on the field were generally clumped all together, right by where the ball was. :)

 The four quarters of the game seemed to go by so quickly! Matt gathered the team in for a pep talk after the game. The team lost 1-3, but no one seemed to really care. In fact, I'm pretty sure that most of the kids didn't even knew what the score was.
 Ryan helped to find the snacks to hand out to the players! We're already looking forward to game #2!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Odds 'n' Ends from March

I was able to spend a little bit of time being crafty over the last couple of months. Two of my dearest friends in the area had birthdays. I wanted to make each of them an initial "wreath" for their door. My first attempt involved this beautiful turquoise/teal yarn ... and took FOREVER ... partially because the yarn was thin and partially because the letter "B" requires lots of wrapping (and re-wrapping in a different direction) to cover all sides. I was really happy with the way it turned out, though.

My second attempt was with jute. Partially because the jute is thicker and partially because the letter "L" is very easy (and probably also partially because this was my second time around), this one took much less time. I love how this one turned out, too.

I'd like to make an initial "wreath" for Ian's teacher and teacher aide at the end of the year, too. This time, I may try to PAINT the initials instead of wrapping them ... perhaps a chevron design? We'll see ...

We had some warmer-weather days toward the end of March, and the boys love ANY excuse to play with water. They were more than thrilled to have some time with the hose and water table.

 Another day in late March wasn't quite as warm. I nixed Ian's idea of playing with a hose ("It's got to be warm enough to wear shorts to be able to play with the hose!" is my new rule.) Ian decided he could figure out a way to get some non-hose water time. He scooped up some water that had collected in the water table, used a cup to pour it into the side of the sprinkler, and then he blew really hard to try to get the water to "shoot" out of the sprinkler holes. It actually worked! Creativity points for this silly boy who's always trying to find the best way to follow the rules while bending them!

When Ian was about Ryan's age, I let Ian play with a can of shaving cream. He absolutely loved squishing it and spreading it all over the table and all over his body. (Check out the old post here for a comparison.) I thought it would be fun to give Ryan a similar experience. As you'll notice, we have ZERO pictures of Ryan playing in the shaving cream because he only was interested for about 2 seconds. Then, he looked at his shaving-cream covered hands in a horrified way and screamed, "Off! Off!" Interestingly, Ian seems to like shaving cream as much at almost-5 as when he was almost-2. :) And Ryan did enjoy playing in the water table while Ian enjoyed the shaving cream.


We've done a few baby-sitting "swap" evenings with our friends Kyle and Aliceson these past couple of months. The boys love playing together, and we've each loved getting (and giving each other) couple time (for FREE!). All four boys fall asleep well other places and then transfer well back home. Sammy was in such a smiley mood during one of our evenings of watching him and his brother, Caleb. What a sweet boy! I've gotta print this one to put on our fridge alongside our other godchildren's pics. :)

We were very inspired by Uncle Jason & Aunt Amy's idea of a weekly family games night. We've only done two so far, but they've been a lot of fun for all of us. This first night, we played Hullabaloo, Elefun, and two games we made up. Ian came up with a Hide-and-Seek type game where one person had to hide along with a stuffed animal and then make the noise the animal makes when the "seekers" needed a clue to find the hider. 

Matt came up with some fun competitions involving our kids' plastic bowls, including trying to balance them on your feet or head for the longest period of time. We'll definitely continue this family game night tradition as often as we can!

 We had so much yellow pollen on our car in March that Ian asked a gazillion times when we could wash it. One non-preschool morning, we devoted much of the morning to cleaning the car. The boys were actually great helpers. Ian wanted to do the majority of the shop-vacuuming of the interior all by himself.  And, of course, it wasn't hard to get two volunteers to hose off and wash the car with soapy water. Our car was shiny clean by the end!

What a fun March! :)