Thursday, June 25, 2009

Kentucky Trip

On June 18, Caroline and I hopped on a plane and flew out to Kentucky to visit family. Only my mom had seen Caroline, so I was really excited to introduce her to the rest of the family and also see my two new nephews. Andrew was born February 15 and Christopher arrived a few weeks later on March 5. We had a wonderful time visiting with all my siblings and I loved seeing the cousins together. Summer had definitely arrived and it was hot and humid, so I loved being able to cool off at Spindletop. Caroline lounged in the baby pool in her float and seemed to enjoy the water. One of my favorite times was getting to ride the horses one morning with Bethany. It had been about two years since I had last ridden, so High Hopes and I just took a leisurely trail ride, but we had a wonderful time. I didn't even get sore afterwords, so I think that means I didn't work very hard, but my wishful thinking would make me hope I am still in decent shape!
I have included a few of my favorite pictures (I took a million!) but couldn't put them in any particular order, so I am sorry if it is confusing. Hopefully the captions will explain.

Bethany is training "Pete" who is 4 years old this year. She is doing a great job teaching him manners and I think they make a cute pair.

Caroline and Christopher John on our first night in KY.

Caroline sound asleep on the lounge chair by the pool. She slept over an hour like this in the shade with a cool breeze blowing.

Me, Caroline, Anna and Bethany at Spindletop on Father's Day.

Nana gave Caroline her first cookie, and she was so excited!

My mom and I drove to Paris to visit my childhood friend Emily and her children. Rocking chairs on a porch were the coolest way to visit on a hot summer day. Oh and the power was out, so it was extra hot inside!

Nana cools off with Caroline.

We love our Moby wraps. Martha and Christopher pose with me and Caroline.

A precious picture of Caroline with her Monroe great-grandparents. They were also meeting her for the first time.

We weren't able to get all three moms together with the babies in the Mobys at once, so this is the our version with me and Emily and Andrew. Emily fixed us the most delicious lunch on Monday.

Caroline enjoying her cookie from Nana.

As you can imagine, it was hard to get all three babies happy at the same time. Here Caroline is throwing a temper tantrum.

Floating in the baby pool.

The baby float made a comfortable seat outside the pool, too.

Caroline and Andrew. I love how they both have so much hair!

Katherine and Samuel dressed up in some cat costumes that my siblings and I wore as kids. They were very cooperative for this picture of most of the cousins.

I was thrilled to get this great picture of all three youngest cousins.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Caroline is 7 months old

Caroline was not in the mood to sit very still, smile, and pose nicely for her 7 month pictures. I finally gave up, but these pictures still turned out cute and certainly reflect her personality this month. Caroline is a girl on the move, rocking on all fours, and scooting backwards like a pro. I often have to extricate her from under the couch or the corner she has jammed herself into. As soon as she can figure out how to move forward, we are going to be in trouble! She can sit very well now and once I even caught her pulling up to a sitting position all by herself. All that activity must require extra calories and thankfully Caroline has started to eat her solid foods with a hearty appetite. She loves sweet potatoes, and yogurt, and will eat her green vegetables also. No teeth yet, but today I saw a distinct white spot under her gum, so I am expecting it to pop through any day. She is certainly drooling a lot and loves to chew on everything, especially my fingers. I fed her some cheerios for the first time at Nana's and she worked so hard to grab them with her pincer grip. Then she couldn't figure out how to release them in her mouth, but her focus and determination were fun to watch. She also gets super excited about playing with beaded necklaces, ribbons, and mommy's silver watch. We hear "da-da" more often, as Rylan loves to point out, and a few other consonant-vowel combinations, but not "ma-ma" yet.
I saw a little separation anxiety for the first day or so when we traveled to Nana's, but was thrilled to see her gradually warm up to her extended family. By the end of the trip she would laugh and snuggle with Nana and go with her out of my sight for a while. I think she is more shy than Rylan was around strangers and she will duck her head down into my chest if I am holding her and someone new approaches. For her six month pictures, we tried every trick for a half hour to get her to smile with no success. She just sucked in her lower lip and kept such a serious face! When she feels safe in mommy's arms, she will laugh and squeal and ham it up, even to the strangers on the airplane! She was a great traveler and I have to give a lot of credit to my moby wrap. She slept a good deal in it on the plane and it was so much more comfortable than having to hold her 20 lbs. in my tiring arms for the flight. I also loved being able to use it for a cover-up when she had to nurse and not having to deal with a stroller while traveling through the airport security.
I'll post more pictures of our Kentucky trip next, but I will warn you, there are a ton, so it is going to take me another night just to pick out the best.

Babes in the grass

I couldn't resist capturing a few pictures of the kids playing outside on a beautiful day. Caroline had never sat in the grass before, and even though it was soft and cushiony, it took her a while to relax. Here are a few of my favorite shots.

Caroline looks quite disgusted with the grass at first.

She relaxes and starts to investigate this new green stuff.

Looking at bugs in the grass. Ladybugs are really common right now and a favorite of Rylan's. He is also fascinated with ants.

A smile from my boy.

A sweet picture of both the kids. Rylan loves to slide up behind Caroline and give her a hug now that she can sit up on her own.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Rylan in the Stream

Fathers Day at Fox Run

Okay folks, I hijacked the family blog. Wifey doesn't know I know the password! Anyway, wanted to post some pictures of me and Rylan at the park for Fathers Day. What I love about Colorado is that you can go to a park and play in a mountain stream. The Ry-man loves to get wet, so it didn't take long for us to throw the shoes off and get into the water!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Fun at the zoo

We went to the zoo on Saturday with our friends the Brukiewas and then again today with a good friend from church. The weather was lovely, the zoo wasn't too crowded, the animals unusually active, and the kids had a blast. I love our zoo because it has a great variety of animals and some very cool exhibits, but still has that small-town park feel. Having a membership is so great because we can pop in for a few hours in the morning, eat a picnic lunch, and take the exhausted kids home to sleep all afternoon. Rylan, his friend Lucille "Lu-lu" and new friend Robby are only about 6 months apart in age and chased each other all over the place. Here are a few of my favorite pictures.

Obviously, this is not a zoo picture, but I just had to throw it in here because it is so cute. Charlton turned a cardboard box into Rylan's very own car, complete with a key and ignition, GPS, windshield, license plate, headlight, and chair (our de-commissioned potty seat). Rylan played in it for hours.

Riding the train with the Brukiewa girls.

Just chillin' as if he owns the whole seat.

The tiger cubs were so much fun to watch as they splashed in their pool and then jumped out to chase each other all over the exhibit.

More train pictures, this time with Robby and Jeremy.

We got to pet a 10-month old baby wallaby. His fur was so soft, like a rabbit's.

Checking out the meerkats.

Rylan looks like he is getting a kiss from this giraffe.

Sweet profiles of Rylan and his dear friend Lu-lu. She was gone on vacation the whole month of May and we were so excited when she finally came home to go to the park and zoo with us again.

I asked them to smile and Rylan gave me his funny face instead.

On Thursday, Caroline and I fly out for a quick weekend trip to KY. I am so excited to see family and relax on my parent's farm. I'll be sure to post lots of pictures and stories when I return.

Rylan rides the zoo train

Finally the zoo train ride is open for the summer and Rylan got to ride it for the first time. And yes, that is his voice yelling "whoa" as they round each turn. Just wait until he rides a roller coaster!

Caroline trying to crawl

Watch out everybody! Caroline is on the move, albeit only backwards for now. She is getting stronger every day and can balance on all fours and rock back and forth.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Busy summer days..

Sorry its been so long since I posted. This last week has been busy and tiring. Caroline started waking up earlier in the morning, around 5:30 and a couple of mornings as early as 4:00. I couldn't get back to sleep even though she eventually stopped crying, so needless to say, I had to take naps with the kids a few days or go to bed early.
I finally finished painting the downstairs and decorating the bathroom. What a great feeling! I love the almost instant gratification of painting, and seeing my house get a much needed "make-over" but I am definitely glad to hang up my paint roller for a while. My downstairs bathroom had been gray and purple with a gray ceiling that made it look small and dark. It also had a white chair rail that had been put up very sloppily and looked pretty tacky. Now, it is a moss green with a white ceiling and matching towels with a botanical theme. I would post pictures, but we have family coming soon, so I would rather it be a suprise for them to see the changes in real life. Now I just need to find some artwork to match the decor. I am looking for some prints of Colorado wildflowers. Besides the bathroom, I painted the kitchen again, dining room, entry way, hallway, laundry room, and the baseboard trim downstairs.
We tried valiantly for two weeks to potty-train Rylan with some progress, but I have finally decided to put it on hold and try again later in the summmer. I think he is close, but not truly ready and I don't think it is a good idea to drag this process out all summer with only partial success. He still never figured out to tell us when he had to go, so I was constantly setting the timer and taking him and then he was starting to get constipated because he was scared to go on the big potty. He really liked peeing on the potty for the most part, so I may let him if he asks, but for now it is back to diapers. I am a little relieved because it was so much work, but also kind of sad. I know we will get there eventually and timing-wise, it will be so much better to wait until after our family visits and our trips are over.

Caroline plays with her beads

Caroline loves playing with ribbons and beads right now.

Dancing Rylan

Here are some more videos of Rylan dancing. He cracks me up when he puts his fist up to his mouth and spins in a circle because he is imitating a much younger baby on his Baby Einstein videos. He must think it is a really cool move.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Potty training update...

A friend of Charlton's from Training Ground took this great picture of Rylan at the Memorial Day party. I just fell in love with it, because it captures the sweetness of his personality, even with the "boo-boo" on his nose. The day before he was trying to see what would happen if he crawled while rubbing his face on the floor, and voila, carpet burn on his nose. The really funny thing was someone asked him later how he hurt his nose and he actually got down on all fours and demonstrated.
So we had a great Memorial Day and then my week was crazy busy from there.
For some reason after Rylan pooped on the potty we decided we must jump into full-blown potty training with our whole hearts. I also felt the pressure to start solids with Caroline, something else I was also dreading, since she had turned six months and I wanted to be able to tell the pediatrcian that we were at least starting. (I couldn't look like a totally slacker mom!) And.... the weather was supposed to be cool and rainy all week, so I decided the time was right to dive into my painting projects. Sometime on Tuesday when my kitchen was in total disarray, Caroline was wailing and gagging on her rice cereal after puking on the carpet, and Rylan had peed twice on the carpet, once on the couch, and pooped once on the carpet, I started to feel a bit overwhelmed!
So, like a great mom with her priorities intact, I backed off on the solids and potty-training and just painted like a mad-woman. I got my kitchen finished in one day, then tackled the trim in the bathroom and finished the hallway by the end of the week.
Caroline is still not crazy about her solids, so we are taking it slow and trying a few different foods. I am just going to give her the liquid iron drops so we don't have to stress about getting enough cereal into her. I don't want to force it and I figure when she gets hungrier, she will eat. She certainly has some extra fat rolls to spare!
Rylan's potty training took a hiatus for a few days until I could get to the grocery to buy some pull-ups. After the day of running around naked and going potty on the floor, I decided to nix that method. Then I read that it isn't good to use pull-ups because they feel just like diapers and it doesn't bother the kids to be wet or dirty. Oh brother! Rylan still had not peed on the potty and the poop successes were basically luck when we were able to catch him at the perfect moment and rush him over to the potty. On Sunday night, I sat with him for 45 minutes on the portable potty. We read every single library book and had an interesting conversation about nipples, but no pee. (Rylan was shirt-less and bored, so he decided to investigate his chest.)
It went something like this: R: Mommy, what are these? (Pinching his chest.)
S: After a long pause and choking back a laugh, Those are your nipples. God made you that way. R: Does Daddy have nipples? S: Yes. R: Does Mommy have nipples, and Baby Caroline? S: Yes. R: And Santa Claus has nipples, too! Now I could hear snorting noises coming from Charlton in the kitchen. So we had a great discussion about anatomy, but as soon as I gave up and put the diaper back on, Rylan emptied his bladder.
I did read that sometimes it helps boys to sit backwards on the big potty, so last night we tried that and amazingly it worked. Rylan was thrilled with watching his "sprinkler" and we all did the happy dance and celebrated with M&M's and stickers. Today he pooped in his chair during breakfast, so that was disappointing, but he peed three more times in the potty! He even stayed dry during his nap and peed right when he got up. I am so proud of him and encouraged to see each little bit of progress. I am really thankful that he is staying interested in the process and the few times he has been resistant, it has been brief and mild.
I don't think my personality can take the complete cold turkey approach of potty-training right now, especially with caring for a baby at the same time. I am hoping that a few more weeks of being consistent with taking him to the potty regularly will lead him to be able to verbalize when he has to go. Then maybe we can hit the point of no return and switch him over to big-boy underwear completely. At least that is my plan. I have to go out of town in two weeks, and my parents are coming for a visit in early July, so I know this isn't exactly the best time for potty-training. Again, God is teaching me how to release control of my life, be flexible, and trust Him with even the smallest details. And all the frustration was totally worth it today when Rylan walked over and said, "Mommy, I have a secret for you." I bent down and he whispered, tickling my ear, "I love you, Mommy!"

Pajama time

When Rylan saw Caroline trying to sit by herself for the first time, he scooted behind her and gave her a big hug.

Sharing some love....

And then, of course, Rylan decided to see what would happen if he fell over and took his sister with him. The tumble didn't seem to bother her, she definitely is learning how to take her big brother's antics right in stride.