Friday, August 22, 2014

What's new with Ryan?

It's been a little while since we posted videos. In fact, I think some of the below videos were taken as long ago as May ... oops!

Ryan (age 2 1/4) is at such a fun age now! He chatters up a storm, and we can understand MOST of what he says. Ian can translate the best. :) Ryan loves asking questions like, "What that funny (s)mell?" (often right after he toots), "What that (s)yound?," "What that?" (while pointing to something), or "What that name?" (pointing to a person or person's picture).

Ryan absolutely LOVES to sing. He loves singing "Old McDonald" during dinner, "Jesus Loves Me" at the grocery store, or any toddler-type song that he hears on a CD. He loves it when our dinnertime prayer is the Johnny Appleseed prayer and will sing loudly and boisterously with us (often a stanza ahead of where the rest of us are). :) He sings his little heart out at the library's Toddler Time. So precious.

In many ways, his little personality and routines are very similar to just a few months ago. He still has a vehicle in each hand most of the day, hoards things (especially in his crib), loves to make acrobatic dismounts from our exercise bike (while swinging  Tarzan-style from the handlebars), gives "the baby" (Momma's tummy) kisses, and attempts to delay bed/nap time by asking for water/one more (s)"yong"/a toy that isn't yet in his crib.

He's doing a great job with potty training! He rarely has accidents any more and, though, he wears diapers at night still, wakes up dry most mornings. The toughest part lately has been that he sometimes wakes up during the night to use the bathroom and then has a hard time falling back to sleep quickly.

He gets very excited when it's time to go pick Ian up from school. Though he asks about Ian at least once during most days, he doesn't seem to really "miss" him. Instead, I think that he appreciates the time to have full reign over all of the toys and have Momma's undivided attention. :)

Ryan knows his colors, can count a few numbers in a row though often starts at six, and knows he's two years old. He loves friends (knows of our small group and church friends by name) and going to Sunday school. He doesn't like being away from us and will say "no nursery" when we go to church. He's still sort of a picky eater (fruit is definitely his favorite food category), and he'd much prefer to drink milk from Momma or Daddy's big cup than from his straw cup.

He loves to fill up his dump truck with rocks, leaves, and mulch; play in the water; or help with any task (including laundry, dishes, or making meals).

He's a sweetheart with a charming, charismatic personality. It's been so fun to watch him learn and grow. We thank God for you, Ryan!

Below are some videos, most of Ryan singing songs or saying rhymes (notice that most of the videos are taken while Ryan is contained in his crib or booster seat ... otherwise, he won't stay in one place long enough :)).

"Johnny Appleseed"

"Jesus Loves Me"

"Old McDonald"

"Monkeys Jumping on the Bed"
"Rockabye Baby"
exercise bike

And, what about Ian? He's lately been obsessed with numbers. He loves noticing the price of gas and how many calories are in the food that we're eating. (Once I told him that calories are how much energy is in food, he wants to know how much energy is in EVERYthing!)  This math teacher tries to introduce "word problems" into most days. One recent day, Ian noted that his cereal had 190 calories while his ice cream that evening had 170 calories. Kim asked which had more (he knew it was cereal) and then how many more. We were so surprised when, after thinking for a few seconds, he said "Two tens," and then when we asked him, "How much is that?" he responded, "Twenty." It made a number-loving momma very proud. :)

He's adjusting to kindergarten well. At dinner the other night, after Matt asked a question, Ian raised his hand to answer. It was so cute! :)

Below, Ian sings part of the "books of the Bible" song from a CD we have. The way he (mis)pronounces some of the books is hilarious. The video was taken right before bed (when he was singing the song anyway), but he's definitely tired and gets very frustrated toward the end of the video. But at least it gives you the idea. :)

Thursday, August 21, 2014


Ian is officially in kindergarten!! (Where has the time gone?!?!) Of course, it was bittersweet for this Momma to send him off to kindergarten. Each one of these times of transition feels like a time to pause and reflect ... and wonder if we've done enough, what we could have/should have done better, if Ian is truly "ready" for the next step, and be just a teensy bit sad that our "sphere of influence" in Ian's life is ever-so-gradually being shifted to other people. Thankfully, we can trust that the Lord has been with us during each parenting decision (the wrong ones and the right ones), and we pray that His Savior is Ian's true sphere of influence his whole life long. The sweet part of the transition for me was thinking about how much more one-on-one time and age-specific events/outings I'd be able to provide for Ryan (at least until the baby comes :)) ... and thinking about how much Ian will just LOVE his teacher and his kindergarten class this year.

So far, Ian truly HAS loved it. When we ask him his favorite part about kindergarten, he'll usually say "EVERYTHING!" ... though sometimes he says math time or rest time (since they sometimes get to watch a video or play on the i-pads during this time). He says that his days go by "really, really fast" (and that's saying a lot from a boy who's used to attending school only 3 half-days a week.) He talks a lot about another little boy in his class, Boston, that he likes to play with at recess and during center time in the classroom. He loves Mrs. Brandenburg and cracks up about the funny things that she does (something about teaching kindergarten 30 years has made her perfectly in-tune with a kindergartner's sense of humor). :)  He wakes up excited to go to kindergarten each morning, is a lot more chatty about the things they do during the day than he ever was during pre-K, and is generally very happy. Of course, he comes home very tired and crabby some afternoons as he adjusts to the new schedule -- especially after a few days of kindergarten in a row.

Overall, though, we thank God for blessing Ian with such a wonderful kindergarten class and for giving him such a smooth transition.

Ian went to a "meet the teacher" night the Friday evening before school started. He got to choose where he wanted to sit and go on a "scavenger hunt" around the classroom.

 On Sunday night, we invited Mr. & Mrs. Brandenburg over to our house for a thank-you dinner. It was fun getting to know them even better. (Matt coached their oldest son's soccer team at CLHS & teaches with Mr. Brandenburg, and I taught their younger son 6th grade math.) Mrs. Brandenburg was so sweet to play a few rounds of Candyland with Ian, and we were impressed with what a good sport he was even after losing about 4 games in a row.
 We spent Monday and Tuesday getting some of Ian's supplies together. He was excited to choose this new Cars beach towel to use as his rest time "blanket." He also chose the navy-blue covering for his nap mat. (Parents were supposed to send in two king-sized pillowcases to cover the mats, but my genius friend Aliceson suggested buying a body pillow pillowcase and just cutting and sewing the end to make it the right length. It works perfectly -- and even has a zipper on one side to keep the nap mat in. If you enlarge the picture, you'll see that I hand-stitched "Ian" onto the bottom of the pillowcase.)
 Last Wednesday, August 13, was Ian's first day of school! He was very excited!

 And here he is in his classroom with Mrs. Brandenburg on the first day of school. No tears for this little guy! He was a little serious when he walked in and wanted to get unpacked ...
 ... and sit at his table for seat work RIGHT AWAY!
We're so proud of our little kindergartner! Keep shining for Jesus, sweet boy! :)

Right after drop off, some friends met (with our littles) at a nearby Chick-fil-A for a "boo hoo breakfast."  So fun!
Kati & Ethan, Emily & Charlotte, Katy & Ellie, Kim & Ryan, Julie & Elise  (not pictured: Aliceson & Samuel, Tanya & Holly)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


 We've gone camping with our friends Tim and Martha (and their kiddos) twice in the last few years. When they asked us to come along with them this year, though, we didn't jump at the chance. There's something about Texas heat, sleeping on the ground, and being six months pregnant that just don't seem to go together very well. :) BUT ... when Martha called us to say that I could sleep in one of the beds in their air-conditioned camper since Tim & Christopher wanted to tent camp, it was an offer we couldn't refuse! After all, our boys absolutely LOVE camping. When we told Ian that we were going to go camping, he said, "YES!" and had a big smile.

This year, the Douglas family invited us to camp with them at Lake Livingston State Park, about 1.5 hours away from our house. As it turned out, God blessed us with an amazing weekend. The weather was just perfect -- one of the coolest weather weekends we've had in a long time! And there was even a really  nice breeze since we were right on the water.

When we arrived on Friday afternoon, the kids started playing with sand toys right away while we adults unpacked and set up the camp site.

 We had a yummy dinner of hamburgers, hot dogs, and lots of sides that evening!
 The kids enjoyed their time lounging in their lawn chairs ...
Mackenzie, Ryan, Ian, Christopher
 ... and watching the camp fire. :)
 Before bed, we walked down to the playground at the camp. The kids (especially Christopher and Ian) really liked the steep, slick slide!
 Ryan and Mackenzie preferred the swings.

 We were able to catch the beautiful sunset before we put the kiddos to bed and we adults chatted around the campfire.
 We all slept great. Of course, Kim, Martha, and Mackenzie had the best set-up ever with sleeping on true beds in an air-conditioned camper. But even the guys had a great night of sleep. God helped to provide them with some "air conditioning," too. What beautiful weather!

As some of us adults got breakfast together, the kiddos wanted to sit right by the lake to watch the ducks and birds.
 We enjoyed a yummy breakfast together ...
 ... and then we took the dogs on a long walk. (We had brought Jon & Chelsea's Schnauzer, Ace, with us since both of them were out of town. The Douglas family had brought their two Schnauzers as well.) Ian was more than happy to be the one to hold Ace's leash.
 We walked to the trading post (which was closed for renovations) and then walked up these stairs to a lookout platform.
 What a pretty view of Lake Livingston!

 Mackenzie and Ryan were a little tired from all of the hiking, so they needed piggy back rides on the way back to the campsite.
 Ryan got a second wind when he saw the ducks. He loved chasing them all around a ne ighboring campsite. They didn't seem as excited to meet him as he seemed to meet them. :)
 Soon, we had some ducks visit our campsite, too. The ducks were much more eager to come close when we offered them some Goldfish crackers and bread. :)

 We got out some water toys for the kiddos after our walk.
 Here, Ian sprays Christopher and Matthew (a Douglas family friend who was camping at a nearby campsite with his parents) with the hose. Chris and Matthew were smart, though, and held up an umbrella to stay a little more dry.

 After lunch, we packed up and headed back home. Ian was happy to have Ace on his lap for part of the trip.
What a fun camping trip, Douglas family! Thank you for inviting us to join you -- and for sharing all of your camping gear and expertise with us. This was certainly one of the boys' highlights of the summer!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

End-of-Summer FUN! :)

 In no particular order, here are some of the fun things we did toward the end of the summer ...

Ian and his friend, Caleb, went to a few movies together. A local theater was showing a kids' movie each week for only $1. Caleb's mom, Aliceson, and I took turns taking the big boys to the show and playing with their little brothers at home. Aunt Chelsea came with us to see Smurfs 2!

The boys helped with lots of cooking and baking! Even Ryan is showing an interest in helping measure ingredients, stir things, and crack eggs!

We did lots of reading this summer! It was so heartwarming to see Ian read books to Ryan at various times, too! The boys each participated in the summer reading program at the library as well as the one at our local grocery story, H-E-B.

 We played lots of games this summer. Aunt Chelsea (and Uncle Jon) were always willing playmates. Some of Ian's favorite games this summer were Guess Who and Trouble.

 We potty trained Ryan! By God's grace, it seemed like we started at just the right time. He caught on so quickly and learned to go pee and poop in the potty in a matter of about two days. Now that he's been potty trained about four weeks, he rarely has accidents and even wakes up most mornings dry (though we do still put him in a diaper at night time). Ian was a big helper and encourager in the process. It probably helped that the "big helper" got whatever prize or reward (usually a few M & Ms) that the trainee got. Ryan was pleased with all of the attention and seemed very proud of himself once he caught on. We are certainly so proud of our little man!

We tried some out some fun-sounding Pinterest ideas. One morning, we mixed together corn starch, water, and food coloring. The boys started by applying this "sidewalk paint" mixture to our sidewalks and driveway with paintbrushes.

 Then, we got out tennis balls, dipped them into the "sidewalk paint," and threw the balls so we could see the prints the ball left as it bounced along the driveway. (No, Ryan is not wearing shorts. This is during our major potty training push.)
 The boys discovered it was just as much fun to dip the balls into the paint and just slam them onto the driveway while still holding onto them.
 It made some pretty neat designs on the driveway.
 The boys also found that it was fun and interesting to splatter the paint with the paintbrushes.
 Likely the most fun of all, though, was dipping flyswatters into the paint and creating cool designs by swatting the driveway.
 What a fun morning!

Another fun Pinterest idea was filling pairs of balloons with various items (pinto beans, macaroni, flour, sugar, rice, oatmeal, etc.) If you enlarge the picture, you can tell by the flour on the boys' faces that they were active participants in using funnels to fill up the balloons. After all of the pairs were filled up, we mixed them together. Ian had to use his sense of feel to match up the pairs. It was fun and actually was a little harder than I might have thought (the macaroni and pinto beans felt very similar at first).

A huge highlight of the summer was having Aunt Chelsea and Uncle Jon and Ace live with us for about seven weeks. We also loved being a (small) part of their house-buying process by going to see a few houses along the way and providing feedback when they asked (and even sometimes when they didn't :)). Their realtor helped them find a really great place that's super close to our church. Since Uncle Jon was away at master's classes when they closed on the house, we were excited to get to help Chelsea start getting settled in their new place.
 On one of our last days of summer, the boys and I went to the children's museum. The boys stuck together during most of the trip to the museum and seemed especially excited this visit about burying dinosaurs in the rubber mulch, shopping at the grocery store,

 and making Lego creations.

 We also had the chance to spend some time with friends this summer. Most of the time, we didn't even take pictures! On this particular day, some friends invited us over for a playdate and lunch at their house.
Sammy, Carson, Caleb, Ava, Ellie, Ian
 Ryan was enjoying every bite of his cookie and didn't want to come over for the big-group shot. :)
 We enjoyed our time using our friends' playset as well!

I think we could've handled another few months of summer-mode! :)