Friday, April 23, 2010

Jimmy's birthday party

Rylan's best friend Jimmy is moving to North Dakota next week. His mom, Angie, is also one of my close MOPS friends. We have know for a year this was coming, but it doesn't make it any easier. Since Jimmy turns 3 a few days after they leave, Angie had a party for his close Colorado friends here on Thursday. Between playgroup, church, and MOPS, I think the boys have seen each other almost every week since fall. We are really going to miss them and I am especially glad we had this last chance to play together.

Caroline and Rylan just prior to the major sugar overload!

A great smile from the birthday boy.

Jimmy, Rylan, and Dain, the three play group buddies.

Jimmy playing ski ball. He cracked me up because he would stick his tongue out every time he threw the ball. This is the only picture I could get with his eyes open, too. Evidently playing ski ball takes all his focus and concentration.

Adventures with Caroline

On Thursday we went to Lil' Biggs to celebrate Rylan's friend Jimmy's 3rd birthday. This is one of our favorite indoor places to play. Caroline loved this carousel. It moved at just the right speed for her.

What a bummer this picture turned out blurry, but you can still see my happy girl grinning from ear to ear.

Caroline enjoying her ride.

Mmmm! Caroline satisfied her sweet tooth with some birthday cake and icing.

Climbing rocks on a beautiful warm day at Fox Run.

Caroline watches Daddy and Rylan wash his car while I make dinner. She would have loved to "help" but isn't very trustworthy in the front yard. This was also my first attempt at putting her hair in a ponytail. It was a little messy, but turned out cute overall. Her hair is really getting long. I think it needs a little trim, but I can't bring myself to do it yet.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Rylan is 3 1/2!

On Sunday the 18th, Rylan turned 3 1/2 years old. While he still loves to cuddle with me and keep his "bear-bear" close by, he is growing more mature and independent all the time.
As you can tell by the pictures, he also really likes hanging around in trees! He told me they are good places to be alone and think. I guess even a 3 1/2 year old needs some quiet time to himself. He also wanted to take his nap in the tree and took a lot of convincing to believe that idea wouldn't work.
This past week Rylan put his sandals on all by himself for the first time. He can take his bottoms off, but still needs help getting started with his shirts. We are still working on putting underwear, shorts, and socks on by himself. He is super reliable with his potty-training now and very rarely has accidents. He can handle the "going pee" routine all by himself and just needs help with getting on his potty seat for #2. What a big difference from six months ago! I am working with him on staying dry during naps, which is mainly a function of whether I think I will have the time/energy to change sheets on his top bunk. Once he has better control during naps, we may tackle night-time, but I think that is still a ways off. I am so thankful Rylan still takes his afternoon nap without any problem. Sometimes he stalls and stays up past his bedtime playing with toys in his bed, but he usually sleeps straight from about 8:00 pm to 6:30 or 7:00 am. He is more sensitive to noises and has more fears about the dark and likes to control as much as he possibly can about his bedtime routine and his environment.
Rylan is a pretty good eater. He always refuses green beans, but likes other vegetables and lots of fruits. Chicken nuggets and saucy pastas (ravioli and tortellini with tomato sauce) are some of his favorites for dinner.

He is curious and asks great questions, like today.
Rylan: What are those blue things? (Pointing to his feet.)
Me: Those are veins. They take your blood back to your heart.
Rylan: Oh, like pipes!

He can sing his ABC's and can recognize many letters by sight. He can count to ten easily. He amazes me by remembering the titles of library books we have only read once. When he really likes a book we will read it more often and he can often recite parts of the book.
I am working on writing and holding his pencil correctly, but he runs out of patience easily. I am pretty sure he is going to be right-handed. He does like to paint with watercolors and color with markers and has a longer attention span for that now.
Rylan thrives on routine and always wants to know what is going to happen next. Will we go somewhere after "big nap" (night-time) or "little nap" (afternoon nap)? Who is coming to our house today? He loves to hear stories about when he was a "little boy" or when we were younger.
Rylan makes friends easily and has buddies at the grocery, Mr. Tim in the deli department, and Target, Mr. Emory the photographer who took our pictures last Christmas. Ms. Yvonne, our neighbor, is still a favorite. He also has a tender spot for babies and small children although he doesn't contain his roughness with his own sister. Rylan also shows preferences for certain friends over others and I have noticed he will play more cooperatively with them. He loves to play "talking game" where we make the action figures talk to each other. When he watches a movie, Rylan will usually find the corresponding figures and play with them on the couch. He likes to play hide-and-seek, but usually gets so excited that he will pop out of his hiding place, giggling, before we find him. Not surprisingly, he also likes to wrestle with Dad and play chasing games, especially with Caroline.
Rylan does not like crowds, especially in unfamiliar places or with lots of strange people. Within moments, I can see a certain look in his eye and know that he is gearing up to hit or shove someone. I've also noticed he gets embarrassed easily and doesn't like anyone to look at him when he is hurt, unhappy, or crying.
We've struggled with some behavior issues lately. I hope it is just another phase and we won't be in this rough place for long. Many days I have stop and take deep breaths to keep from losing my patience. He is doing crazy things like purposely making huge messes with his toys, spitting his juice on the carpet, and unrolling a whole roll of toilet paper on the bathroom floor (that one was an "accident" he said). It is hard not to be frustrated when I know he knows better. I don't want to reinforce the bad behavior with the attention that he craves or be too hard on him for normal childish boy behavior. I am cracking down on his whining and demanding attitude, which I think I have let him get away with for too long. He also continues to be too rough with Caroline. I get exhausted constantly refereeing the two of them and listening to Caroline squeal all the time when he hits, sits on her, or pushes her down. No discipline seems to be working really well, and lately I have started to make Rylan play by himself in his room when he chooses not to play nicely with his sister.
On a more positive note, I have been praying with Rylan in a specific way before bed each night. We think of something to be thankful for, something to ask God's help for, and something to tell God we are sorry for. In the beginning, I had to prompt Rylan and give him ideas for his prayers. Lately, he has been taking more initiative and even recognizing behaviors he needs to apologize for, during the day, without any prompting. That has been encouraging to me. I also deliberately try to catch him in the act of good behavior and praise him for that. Some days that is much harder than others, but he really blossoms with the praise.
Motherhood is so tough and has been driving me to my knees more often lately. Many days I wonder if I am failing my kids big time and allowing them to be little terrors! It is so hard to be consistent and I desperately need wisdom and patience. Thankfully I know God is faithful. He loves my kids even more than I do and I know He won't abandon me in this wonderful and overwhelming job.
I'll leave you with a sweet story. I gave Rylan a peck on the cheek before nap one afternoon. He turned his head and pointed to the other cheek, saying, "Mom, this cheek is sad. It needs a kiss, too." How could I resist?

Friday, April 16, 2010

What! No ear infection?.. and other news

Rylan and Caroline started runny noses right before Easter. What started as clear turned green and yellow (sorry to gross you out.) We went through another entire box of kleenexes. I thought they were near the end of it this week, but Caroline continued to run a fever and was acting crankier and not eating as well. She also broke out in a weird red rash on Tuesday morning. All the signs were pointing towards an ear infection and since it was Friday I decided not to wait any longer and take her to the doctor. I so love being able to call first thing in the morning and get her in the same day.
We saw a different doctor and his assistant, I assume a young doctor in training. She tried to show Caroline how she would listen to me first with the stethescope and then listen to Caroline. Rylan, watching the whole demonstration, came unglued. "Don't you do that to my mom! That's my mom, you can't listen to her." We were all a little shocked by his outburst. I tried to explain that it was okay, that it didn't hurt, that mommy gave the doctor permission to listen to her, but Rylan wouldn't relax until she stopped. I had seen this protective behavior a few times before, but this time even the doctor was amazed. After Caroline's exam was over the young doctor had a chat with Rylan and he warmed back up to her, stating, "I want to be a doctor when I grow up." Then later he told me he wanted to be a doctor or a "nurser" who takes care of babies. I won't have any problem encouraging him there!
So with all that drama, here were the high points: First, Caroline's ears were perfectly healthy. What a shocker! Even the doctor said with her history of ear infections, he would have lost the bet on this one. I guess this is one of the few times I was happy to pay for a doctor's visit that ended up being nothing but a virus. It was also encouraging to me to see that she could get a pretty nasty cold that didn't turn into an ear infection. Hopefully she is outgrowing that tendency and we won't have to worry about tubes.
Even Caroline's skin rash was related to the virus. Of course after being undressed, she went to scratching away, adding some lovely new slash marks to her back and neck. Poor kid. Her new word this week is "ii-ee", which means "itchy."
Second: Caroline weighed 26 lbs, a gain of 2 lbs. in just under 2 months. I was right about all that catch-up growth and her voracious appetite! It will be interesting to see the numbers again for her 18 month check-up in May.
The kids took great naps today and I had time to sew Caroline's baptism dress. It is a simple pillowcase design made with white eyelet fabric and lined also with white fabric. I made a mistake and didn't buy quite enough eyelet so the dress is a little more fitted than I originally planned. It still turned out very pretty, simple, and sweet. I don't know yet when our church has scheduled the next baptisms, hopefully soon so Caroline won't grow out of her dress before she has to wear it.
Charlton told me he was bringing home a special dinner tonight so I wouldn't have to cook,(another reason I had more time to sew). He surprised me with a dozen beautiful roses and my favorite pizza from Old Chicago's. What a treat! I was so ready to relax after a busy day with the kids when work called me at 7:15pm. All you nurses know that is never a good sign. Turns out there was a mistake (I'm 99% sure it wasn't mine) and I was on the schedule to work Friday night. I had written down Saturday and Sunday nights on my calendar and would never, ever have scheduled myself for three nights in a row. They were already one nurse short, so I had to stop everything, grab my stuff and rush off to work. So much for my relaxing evening...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Nana's Visit

My mom flew in on Good Friday and spent about six days with us. It was so fun to have her celebrate Easter with our family and have fun together. When she visited us in October, she came down with the H1N1 flu, so having everyone healthy this time made our visit so much more enjoyable. We went to Fox Run Park on Saturday, to the outlet malls on Tuesday, and to the play area at Focus on the Family on Wednesday after we woke up to snow! Not exactly the perfect spring break weather, but I don't think Nana minded too much.
We had some great talks, played Yahtzee by the fire, and watched old home videos of the kids. Also, my sweet mom fixed my bedroom curtains that had been folded in the closet for almost two years. The pocket was too small for my curtain rod and I had no inspiration for fixing them. My mom spent a few hours ripping out the seam and re-sewing it to fit the rod. Now my bedroom looks so much prettier and more "finished."
Here are a few of my favorite pictures of Nana with her Colorado grandkids.

Rylan and Nana reading books on her first night here. Since we picked her up just before bedtime, the kids took their baths and wore their pajamas to the airport. Rylan thought that was super fun! During her visit, he kept asking when we had to "give Nana back to the airport." Caroline was a little slow to warm up the first night, but it wasn't long the next morning before she and Nana were great buddies. Nana gave her pony rides on her knee and sang a special song, "Ride that pony", which Caroline loved. The rest of the week, she would say "ride, ride" and beg for us to sing and bounce.

Our egg hunt after naps on Easter Sunday. Nana helps Caroline break into her chocolate cheerios.

Caroline isn't too sure about her giraffe feeding experience. We went to zoo on Nana's last day here because it was the best weather day. It was still cool and breezy, but comfortable in the sunshine. We had a wonderful time and the kids were totally worn out. It was Caroline's first visit since she could walk and it was fun to see her be able to really interact with all the exhibits and activities for the first time. Last year she just had to ride in the stroller most of the time; this summer is going to be much more fun for her.

Some of the incredible views to be found at a zoo built literally on the side of the mountain.

Picnic at the zoo.

Everything is bigger out here in the wild, wild west!

Nana and Caroline try out the giant chair.

Rylan tackling a giant mushroom in the playground.

It was really hard to say good-bye to Nana. My only consolation is that we are planning a drive to KY to see everyone at the end of June. Summer will be here before we know it...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Easter morning

This was actually the Saturday before Easter. Rylan had fun dyeing eggs again although it wasn't quite as magical as last year and we still cracked all the eggs.

I saw these adorable pillows on this crafting blog a few weeks ago, but didn't think I could possibly find the time to make them before Easter. On Good Friday, the kids took wonderful long naps and I was able to sew them up. I used ivory fleece and good quality felt for the faces and legs and they turned out so soft and cute.

Easter eve. The baskets are filled with treats and all ready for the morning.

I hadn't built up too much hype about Easter morning, because I wanted Rylan to be able to sleep well the night before. He is definitely old enough to be able to anticipate fun events and the count-down can be exhausting for everyone. He was excited to see his small etch-a-sketch, movie, bouncy balls, kaleidoscope, foam rockets, balls and stickers from Nana. Thanks to Grammy also for Rylan's bat-mobile and Caroline's toy phone. They were a big hit. I am glad we decided to go to the late service for church so we didn't have to rush getting ready, playing with the toys,and eating breakfast.

We had the most beautiful sunny day with temps in the 60's. What a difference from last year which was beautiful also, but snowing like crazy! It really felt like spring and we didn't have to cover our nice Easter clothes with heavy winter coats. We ate a delicious breakfast of homemade cinnamon rolls, eggs, bacon, and fruit and headed off to church. Caroline had a runny nose, so I couldn't put her in the nursery and had to walk the halls with her during the sermon, but the worship was great.

It was next to impossible to get a picture of me and both kids on Easter morning. This was our best shot.

A great picture of Nana and Rylan. Caroline wouldn't cooperate. It was so special to have my mom visit, especially to celebrate Easter with us. I will share more pictures and stories from her visit in a later post.

She did smile nicely when she was alone.

Glad she liked her lamb.

The best shot of both kids together all Easter.

Rylan, worn out from all the Easter fun, testing out his pillow.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Backyard Easter Egg Hunt

On the Tuesday before Easter, we had record high temps in the 70's. We decided to take advantage of the beautiful warm day to have an egg hunt in the backyard. While the kids napped, I hid the eggs and we started searching when they woke up. We told Rylan all the pink and purple eggs were for Caroline and he could have the rest. Rylan was so excited, he kept exclaiming how much he loved us and how this was so much fun! It was sweet to experience his joy, especially because I don't think he could remember having an egg hunt before. Last year, we had snow on Easter and the weather was so cold/wet we never were able to have a real egg hunt outside. I learned my lesson and decided we wouldn't miss out this year. Caroline wasn't sure what all the excitement was about, at first. Then Rylan handed her a few eggs, we showed her the chocolate cheerios inside, and she was hooked! She figured out how to crack the eggs open all by herself and would literally squeal with delight whenever she found a new egg.

Rylan finds a few eggs in our apple tree.

He spies the egg on the fence.

Once she figured out there were chocolate cheerios inside her eggs, Caroline was super excited about the hunt. Here she is squealing with delight when she discovered an egg.

Rylan shows off his full basket.

Both kids digging in to their baskets.

Both kids enthralled with their baskets. I couldn't get both to look at the camera at the same time, so here Rylan is looking up.....

And Caroline cooperated in this one.

Sweetly offering to share a cheerio with Mama.

Such a serious face! Caroline shows me one of her "prizes".

Spring is so windy here in Colorado and Caroline's hair shows it.

Charlton went to the NCAA tournament over Easter, so this was a great time for him to spend with the kids before his trip.