Wednesday, July 29, 2009

This week...

I always love to get a picture of both kids together.

My little lady wearing her garage sale find outfit, size 12 months, and I hate to say it, but she is already popping out of it.

If you look closely, you can see those two pearly whites.

Charlton let me sleep in (amazing that 8:15 feels like sleeping in) on Wednesday morning and when I woke up, both kids were in the mood to cuddle with me. It was so sweet and I savored it for as long as I could. What a great way to start my day!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Rylan in the box

This video was actually taken a while ago, but it took me some time to get it uploaded. Sometimes the simplest toys are the most fun for a toddler.

Caroline is 8 months

Can you believe I am so big already?

Cute little smile with squinty eyes and a wrinkled nose. She reminds me of the way Rylan smiled when he was about her age.

I was feeding Caroline her breakfast the other morning and accidentally left the bowl within reach on her tray. When I turned around, I found her quite pleased with her messy attempts to feed herself!

My baby girl turned 8 months on Friday and is officially forwardly mobile. She took her first crawling "steps" a few weeks ago and has been gaining speed and distance ever since. She is also already interested in the stairs, especially the low one leading to the wood floor in our entry way. She camps out over there and you can see how hard she is trying to figure out how to scale that ledge. I love that I can sit on the floor with both kids and within just a few moments look down at Caroline's smiling face and feel her trying to scramble into my lap. She is definitely a mama's girl right now and doesn't like to be in anyone else's arms but mine.
I am experiencing the first trials of sibling squabbles as she can now reach and grab Rylan's toys, knock over his towers, and wreak all other kinds of havoc. Rylan also seems to think she is now big enough to wrestle with him and I am constantly having to referee his grappling, tackles, and "head bucks" (head butts). Most of the time he is just being playful, but he doesn't know his own strength. Caroline is also a pretty good sport about it, because she adores her brother, but I know it can turn ugly in just the blink of an eye.
Caroline is a great eater and in addition to nursing 4 times a day, she eats three big meals. She can feed herself animal crackers, a messy, but yummy treat after dinner and she is learning how to drink from a sippy cup. She still just has the two bottom teeth and loves to test their sharpness, much to my discomfort while feeding her. She sleeps 11-12 hours at night most of the time and naps for about an hour in the morning and sometimes up to 2 hours in the afternoon, but is much more unpredictable in her sleep patterns.
It is fun to see her personality emerging more each week. Caroline is more vocal and intense when she is upset about something. She has a strong set of pipes and her screams can shred your nerves and bring on an instant headache! Unfortunately, I reinforce it by picking her up a lot of times because it is so painful to hear and I don't want her to wake up her sleeping brother. She has definitely learned a sure-fire way to get noticed. Even Rylan says, "No screaming, Caroline." When she is not screaming, which really isn't that often, she is so much fun. She loves to swing at the park, be tickled on her belly, and laugh at her brother's antics, especially splashing in the tub with him. Caroline is such a delight and a blessing to our family.

Caroline crawling at 8 months

Here is Caroline's newest skill and she seems especially fascinated with the steps these days. I think it is her current goal in life to conquer them. I am going to have to put up the baby gate soon with the way she is making progress.

Caroline and the water balloons

Caroline cracked me up as she played with this red balloon. I was amazed at how well it took her "abuse" and never popped.


On Friday after the kids nap, I broke out our $10 Wal-Mart pool because we didn't have time to go to the real pool. Caroline is sitting up very steadily on her own so she was able to join Rylan and they had a great time splashing together. I even brought out some more water balloons in an attempt to help Rylan face his balloon phobia, and it seemed to work. As you can see by the video of Caroline, these balloons didn't pop so easily, so they weren't as "scary."
That evening we went to Charlton's karate class to watch him receive his purple belt in a special ceremony. I wasn't sure what to expect, so I forgot to bring my camera. I probably wouldn't have been able to take pictures anyway, with wrangling two kids on the front row of the small crowded visitor's area. Rylan had been practicing karate moves at home with dad and was looking forward to going to karate class with dad all day. He was especially excited as the kids in the class demonstated their punches and shouted "ki-yah's". Rylan stood facing them on the edge of the mat, hollered "ki-yah" and punched the air right along with them. It was so cute to watch his enthusiasm and I wish he didn't have to wait two more years to sign up. It was also neat to see Charlton demonstrate some of his techniques and we are so proud of him.

I got a little carried away with the water balloons, but they sure were fun.

Caroline lounging in the water.

Checking out the bucket.

Pool baby.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

This past week

My sweet little girl, freshly bathed. When I was trying to tame her wild mane of hair, Rylan said to her, "You look like Michael Jackson!" We don't really watch that much TV, usually just PBS kids and the news in the evening. I guess that tells you how much stories about the king of pop dominated the news the past few weeks. There was quite a resemblance, at least in the hair department, although her new-found ability to scream would definitely not sell albums.

I was trying to snap a picture of those two new pearly white teeth, but they just barely show up. We'll keep trying to get a better shot.

My imaginative boy. I am sure you brilliant readers have already figured this out by now, but this bathroom cabinet is actually a car and Rylan is driving himself to preschool. He is naked because he had just gotten out of the bathtub when he felt the urgent need to "drive." Several times a day, he slips upstairs to climb in his "vehicle" often with bear-bear and other various toys. We had been talking about Rylan going to school and the different names for each school he would attend, elementary, middle, high, etc.. I also added that when he was 16, he could learn how to drive the car, something that highly interests him even now. "Yes, mom," he replied, "and then I will drive myself to preschool." Well, hopefully he will have graduated beyond pre-school by the time he is driving!

Splashing in the creek

On Saturday, we went to one of our favorite parks, Fox Run. One of the prettiest and most fun places is a stream running down a rocky bed on the hillside between two ponds. Charlton and Rylan went here when Caroline and I were in Kentucky, but I hadn't been before when the water was actually running. Rylan jumped in to wade right away, but Caroline cringed at first when she felt the cold water on her toes. After a few minutes, though, she was wiggling her little bottom right off the rocks next to the creek and trying to stand in the water! Every time I eased her back to sit on the dry rock, she would lean forward and scoot right back to the water. What a little adventurer! Charlton and I loved playing in the water when we were younger, so it seems both our kiddos have inherited this trait.

Growing up isn't so much fun...

Rylan seems to think it would be much more fun to be a baby sometimes. These pictures crack me up as Rylan tries to squeeze his 32 lb. two-year old body into the baby equipment. It reminds me of the commercial on TV these days where the parents lost all of their photos of their son as a baby. So, they dress him up in his baby clothes and have him re-enact all those precious milestones, like eating his first solids in a high chair and riding his bike. Only their son is about 8 years old now, bursting out of his clothes, and ridiculously large for the high chair and bicycle as he humors their frantic attempts to re-create history. It is hilarious and kind of sad, too, as I think how I would feel if I had lost all my photos and videos of the kids. Charlton recently burned DVDs of all our movies taken of the kids for Caroline and Rylan's entire life. I loved watching them and remembering things the kids said and did that I had already forgotten. What a treasure, but the real treasures are living with me every day and it reminds me also to enjoy each moment with them as they grow and change so quickly.

Rylan was leaping out of his crib this time last year, now he begs to climb in with his sister.

The bouncy seat. I really thought he would break this one. You can see how low the seat is sagging!

The bumbo seat. The funny thing is that Rylan's thighs are probably about the same size or smaller than they were when he was about 3 months old and sitting in this seat the first time! Except for his long legs, I think he actually fits better now!

This picture actually inspired me to go look for all the others and write this post. A few days ago I caught Rylan holding his chair and circling the jumperoo. He came right out and told me that he was trying to get into the jumperoo. That would have been hilarious to watch, if it wasn't such an accident in the making. So, I relented and actually put him in the jumperoo myself. He was such a ham, giggling and bouncing, and I got a video but accidentally erased it. He is still begging to get back in, so maybe I will let him one more time and try to get a good video.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Boyhood Dream

Today was the stuff of which boyhood dreams are made. This week Matt Diaz of the Atlanta Braves was in town for a game against the Rockies. He was kind enough to visit with the young men going through Training Ground, and then come over to visit with us at the game. Rylan got to meet him and got his autograph. Does it get any better than that for a kid?

Here's Rylan with some of the Training Ground guys:

Fun in the sun...and water

Summer officially arrived in Colorado this week with highs in the high 80's and low 90's each day. We finally broke down and turned on the air conditioner. When we did venture outside, we picked some fun activities that involved water so we could stay cool. On Tuesday, my MOPS group met at the America the Beautiful park downtown to play in the Julie Penrose fountain. The water was very cold, but the sun was beating down so it felt refreshing. Rylan fell down a couple of times, but enjoyed running around in the "stream" at the base of the fountain. On Wednesday, we met a friend at a pool with a splash area for kids. Rylan was cautious at first, but then ventured farther and farther into the deeper water. I never saw him stop smiling! It was very crowded, actually the pool was filled to capacity and we had to wait in a long line to be admitted, but so worth it! One side of the pool had a zero depth entry so I could just sit in the water with Caroline splashing next to me and still keep an eye on Rylan. On Thursday we met friends for story time at the library and then a pinic at another small playground/splash park. Now looking back, we probably over did it with too many activities that week, plus the library always has a way of bringing out the devil in Rylan. We almost had to leave, but for a few moments in between tantrums he actually sat and participated. I was pretty fried mentally and by the time we made it to the park it was super hot with very little shade. We may have to try that one again when everyone is in a better mood, because it really was a great little park. Here are some pictures at America the Beautiful park.

A close-up view of the huge Julie Penrose fountain. Water streams out from the top of the fountain, and flows into a circular stream at the base.

The fountain with the mountains in the background. The circular part of the fountain actually rotates 360 deg., very slowly.

There is a kind of modern/retro playground at the park and Rylan loved this spinning bowl. It tilts slightly, so when he sat in it, he was able to keep it spinning around all by himself.

Running through the stream.

More running.

Rylan humoring me with a somewhat smile, so I could get a picture.

Caroline looks like she was waving goodbye! Poor girl didn't get real morning naps much this week because we were always on the go in the morning, and it was way too exciting to sleep at the park.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Since you can't be here in person.....

these pictures will just have to do. Mom, I will keep believing that you can come in October and our visit will be just as wonderful then... except these lovely flowers won't be blooming and the trees will be bare. So, since you can't see it in person now, I will do the next best thing and post pictures of my front yard. I have no delusions that it is worthy of "Better Homes and Gardens", but I am proud of it just the same. Enjoy!

My hanging basket of geraniums, vinca vine, and alyssum (which hasn't bloomed much yet.)

A side view of our front porch. It is hard to see, but at the corner is the only iris that bloomed this year. It smelled so lovely and just finished blooming last week.

Our front porch. I am hoping the impatiens will take off in this shady spot.

Standing at the front door looking out.

The daylilies contrast so nicely with the white bark of the cottonwoods.

My daylilies just started blooming today.

From fear to relief to disappointment...

This 4th of July weekend will be one I won't soon forget, but not for the reasons I would have hoped. While I was working Friday night, my phone rang at 1 am. When I saw my sister Bethany on the caller ID, I actually wasn't worried. She knew I was working and having worked the night shift herself in the past, I thought maybe she was up late and calling to say a quick hello. I didn't realize at first that it was 3am eastern time and much too late for any type of fun phone call. She asked me if I had gotten the text message from my mom (which I hadn't) and that's when my delight at her call was replaced with a sense that something was very wrong. I felt an awful sense of dread when she told me that dad was in the hospital; he had had a heart attack. It was so hard to believe. My dad is only 56, still young in my mind, very healthy and active. He doesn't have any of the typical risk factors, but sure enough, that scary diagnosis was true. I felt so helpess, being thousands of miles and two time zones away, but so thankful for my sweet sister Bethany being with my parents. I truly believe she saved my dad's life. She is only one semester away from graduating from nursing school and even though my dad wasn't having all the typical symptoms, she believed something was seriously wrong and urged him to go to the ER. He wasn't having severe chest pain, just fatigue, chills, shortness of breath and pain in his back. He was transferred from our small town community hospital to a larger hospital in Lexington and placed on the schedule for a heart catheterization on Saturday. The doctors were able to open the 95% blockage in one of his coronary arteries and place a stent. I am so thankful God protected him from having a worse outcome and hopefully he will soon feel even better than he did before now that his blockage is cleared.
So how could I possibly feel disappointed? Well, for seven months we have been planning for my parents to come visit us in Colorado for the first time this week. They were supposed to fly in tonight and we had reserved two nights in Estes Park so we could explore Rocky Mountain National Park together. I have been so excited and planning the trip down to the smallest detail for weeks. I had grocery shopped, written my menus, cooked a few meals, prepared special presents, started packing, picked some fun activities in the Springs, and researched hiking trails in the Park. My house was looking better than ever, from newly painted and decorated rooms inside to flowers, and freshly-stained porch swing and railing all ready for relaxing evenings outdoors. I was looking forward to showing our new home and city to my dad for the first time and hoping to share in both of their delight at the beauty of God's creation in our state. Although I had just traveled to Kentucky with Caroline a few weekends ago, my dad hadn't seen Rylan in almost a year. He has changed so much since then, and I knew how much my parents would enjoy spending time with him. I think deep down I was even hoping for my parent's approval of our new life here. Even though they always wish we lived closer, I was hoping their longing would be eased when they could see us living the lives God has called us to, doing the work we love, and surrounded by His incredible creation. I was hoping it would capture their hearts just a little bit, like it captured mine.
Then the events of this weekend happened, the trip was cancelled, and I felt like I fell off a train moving at 90 mph. More than just a visit with family was lost. Deep down, I know God planned everything for a reason and there could be surprising blessings that come from this experience. We are hoping my parents may be able to come for a week in October instead.
Presently, though, everywhere I look, I am reminded that our long-anticipated visit won't be happening and my heart hurts. Thanks for letting me share my sadness so honestly and put those emotions into words.

Random summer pictures

Do we have a future entomologist in the family? Rylan is investigating one of the abundant ladybugs in our neighborhood. He is also especially curious about ants which makes taking walks almost impossible now, because we have to stop and investigate one every few paces. Is is a red ant or a black ant? A nice ant or a mean one? It is fun to see the world through a toddler's eyes.

Rylan "fixing" his lawnmower.

Caroline hasn't officially grown out of her infant seat yet, but at 21 lbs., the pain of carrying her around in it outweighs the convenience. Plus she meets the main criteria of being able to sit up by herself in a shopping cart, so a few weeks ago I sadly packed away one more remnant of her babyhood and we installed her cute new "big girl" car seat.

A sweet moment with Charlton reading to both the kids. Caroline is more interested in me and the camera, but Rylan loves Curious George books.

Please don't interrupt, Rylan is having a very important phone conversation with Nana.

The best toys are her brother's toys, Caroline has decided.

Dumping out the toy basket looking for something interesting.

Our new kid's table

Here are the promised pictures of our new kid's table. As you can see, the previous owners were artistic with a preference for blue paint.

Rylan loved eating lunch as soon as we brought it home. He didn't mind the paint splotches, but I thought this table was a diamond in the rough.

Voila! After a lot of sanding and about 5 coats of varnish, the table looks like new. The blue spots are gone although one gave me more trouble than the others and I had to sand some of the stain off to completely remove it.

All finished and what an adorable set of table and chairs if I do say so myself!