Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Valentine's Day

One of the most fun parts of Valentine's Day is making cards for friends and family! Ryan enjoyed "painting" with a balloon (on card stock that would later be cut into heart shapes).

When we glued the cut-out hearts to the cards, of course Ryan had to use glitter to make them extra fancy! That boy LOVES his glitter! These glitter cards were the cards that we handed out when our small group went to "Valentine carol" at a local memory care facility. On another day, both Ian and Ryan had fun using dot painters to decorate some other Valentines that we sent to family and friends that live out of town.
 Ryan was VERY excited that we were invited to attend Ian's class Valentine's Day party. Everyone that came got to build his or her own ice cream sundae. I had fun getting to know some of Ian's friends, including this little boy named Andres who kept asking me if he and Ian could PLEASE have a play date. Ha!
 My friend Aliceson and I hosted a Valentine's party especially for all of the little siblings. I was in charge of the food (Jello jigglers, summer sausage and heart-shaped cheese with crackers, Valentine M&M cookies, and strawberries). Aliceson planned the crafts. First, the kids added foam stickers to and laced a cord through a shiny heart. Then they made a heart scratch-a-design ornament.

 Of course, the kids also had fun just playing together (while we mommas enjoyed socializing). Most of them did NOT want to stop playing to take a picture. What sweet kiddos!
Charlotte, Cameron, Ellie, Elise, Ethan, Ryan, Samuel, Holly (Apparently, they almost sat in alphabetical order. Hilarious!)

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! We love because He first loved us!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Matt turns 36!

We had fun celebrating our favorite daddy/husband for his birthday! We celebrated a few different times. Since Matt's birthday was on a Monday (and Matt had some school responsibilities over the weekend), our big family celebration was on Friday afternoon. Matt had only a half-day of school that day. So, we all went together to pick Ian up from school and then headed to a local church's disc golf course. The weather was beautiful!

The older boys enjoyed looking at the map and throwing their frisbees for a brief time. Then, they mainly played in the dirt, looked for long sticks, and ran around while Matt and I played ...
... well, at least up until Nathan fell asleep in the Baby Bjorn. Then, we all just cheered on Daddy! :)
After playing about seven "holes," we checked out the church's playground.
We grabbed some pizza at Mellow Mushroom, a place Matt has been wanting to try, and then came home to eat it. After dinner, Matt opened his gifts (the boys were REALLY excited to give him the orange slices and gum that they had selected for him as well as the cards they had made). Then, we enjoyed Matt's favorite dessert (made lovingly by the boys): brownie mallow bars!
Daddy appreciated the yummy food as well as the time that Ryan had spent decorating. (Notice all of the colorful streamers in the doorway and the balloons on the back of Matt's chair.)

Daddy had two willing helpers to blow out his candles.
I don't know who enjoyed the dessert more: Matt or Ian. :)
On Sunday, Jon and Chelsea helped us celebrate Matt's birthday again. They brought over all of the supplies to make hamburgers and some fixings to go with them.
Chelsea even made some yummy gluten-free cupcakes for us all to enjoy.
On Monday, Matt's actual birthday, Ian celebrated by losing his first tooth! :)

We love you so much, Matt! We praise God for your others-centered, positive, helpful, enthusiastic personality. You make us so happy!

Monday, February 23, 2015

January fun!

In January ...

...we raked, jumped in, and played with leaves in our neighbors' yard. (Yes, January is Texas' "fall.") The boys thought this was great fun!

...we had a special visit from Kim's Aunt Jeanene and Uncle Mike (and Uncle Mike's sister, Julie). They stopped by for lunch and a few hours of hang out time on their way to board a cruise the next morning. We had fun catching up. They gave the boys some nice gifts, including a cool question & answer a day journal for Ian. (We'd loved listening to his answers to these questions over dinner and answering the questions ourselves!)
Aunt Jeanene read Ryan the cute book they gave to him, too.
It was fun introducing Nathan to both Aunt Jeanene and Uncle Mike. It's obvious that they're experienced grandparents.

"Aunt" Julie got some time with Nathan, too!
...Ryan has continued his tradition of wearing Kim's or Matt's shoes whenever he finds them lying around and of being super helpful. Loading clothes into the washer is one of his favorite jobs.

...Ryan asked to paint multiple days in a row. He thinks it's so fun when I put the various colors of paint into an old muffin tin. Then, he'll methodically go through each paint brush, painting a little with it before putting it in a collection cup and going onto the next one.

...our friends from church, the Limmers, brought us dinner and we had a game night!
...Kim took Ryan and Nathan to the children's museum. This trip, the rice was one of Ryan's favorite stops.
...Ian celebrated 100 days of school by dressing up as a 100-year-old man. We had fun putting flour (and hair gel and hair spray) in his hair to make it look whitish and finding some props to make him look the part.

with buddy Caleb

Ian's teacher aide, Ms. Tina, really played the part well!

Ian with Mrs. Brandenburg and Ms. Tina ... what fabulous ladies!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Nathan is 2 months old!

On December 16, Nathan turned two months old! He continues to charm us with his easygoing, pleasant personality! We love him to pieces!

At about six weeks old, Nathan started to smile. He has also started making cooing noises like "ooo," especially in response to someone talking to him. Nathan is now able to focus his gaze for longer periods of time and seems especially interested in faces and the bear mobile hanging on his changing table.

Nathan has seemed to develop a rhythm to his day. He is much more sleepy in the morning and early afternoon and is mainly wakeful from after dinner until his bedtime (usually not until 11:00 or so). Generally, he doesn't stay awake for more than about an hour at a time. At about the one-hour-awake mark, he'll start to get fussy and like to be wrapped up in a blanket, given a pacifier, and held or rocked until he falls asleep. Nathan still wakes up 2-4 times each night to nurse.

This month, poor Nathan had two separate colds. We were very grateful for the Nose Frida SnotSucker that Andrew & Sarah gave us. That thing is awesome!

Nathan is content most of his wakeful hours. He'll be happy in his bouncer, just observing, for short stretches of time. He's gotten better about being in his carseat and will often just fall asleep instead of crying the whole time we're driving somewhere. Nathan seems to enjoy (or at least not be bothered by) all of the attention and love that his older brothers show him. He will tolerate tummy time for short stretches of time, yet he'll often just lay flat, with his head on the ground.

One morning, Ryan decided to read a book to baby Nathan! So sweet!

Some of Nathan's favorites include the swing, the bouncer, being held, the Baby Bjorn, bath time, and nursing every 2.5-3 hours during the day. Nathan also LOVES stretching!

Everyone comments on Nathan's beautiful hair and his easygoing personality. Friends say how much Nathan looks like Ian as a baby.

We love our littlest man so much!