Thursday, August 26, 2010

In case you were wondering...

....yogurt doesn't make your hair soft and shiny.

but it sure tastes yummy!

Brush, brush, brush

We have been working hard on brushing our teeth since our dentist visit. Elmo even gets his eyeballs brushed. I guess they kind of do look like teeth..

Swim time

Charlton was in Seattle for a conference last Thursday through Sunday. We all missed him, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time off from work. It was great to have some uninterrupted time at home and with the kids. I didn't cook for 5 nights straight, a record, I think! I organized their toys and threw away two garbage bags full of trash. I checked out some good books from the library and enjoyed reading in the evenings, and just catching up on some rest.
We got a coupon in the mail for a free visit our neighborhood athletic club and pool. I was so happy Saturday was warm enough for us to visit their pool, and pleasantly surprised that the outdoor pool was heated! I am a wimp about swimming in Colorado because the air is so dry, it has to be almost 90's for me to feel like it is comfortable to swim. Saturday there was quite a breeze, so we did freeze when we got out of the water, but when we were submerged, it felt great.
I couldn't get any actual swimming pictures because I was in the water with my two little fish, but we had a wonderful time together. Rylan actually went down the water slide by himself which made me so proud and Caroline even spent some time without her water wings, until I decided she had swallowed enough pool water for the day.

Getting ready for the pool.

Notice the lovely bruise on Caroline's cheek. She managed to fall and hit her face in almost the same place two days in a row.

The kids were popsicles at this point and glad to snuggle in their towels and warm up in the sun.


I watched my friend Carrie's girls on Friday night. Brooke and Hailey are almost exactly the same ages as my kids and really play well together. We ate dinner, walked to the park, and then crashed at home with a movie until Carrie came back. I was tired, but it really went much more smoothly than I expected.

Rylan gets along great with Brooke, but I wasn't expecting this display of affection when they all piled on the couch together for a movie.

I had to get a picture of four kids under 4 sitting still at the same time. They were totally mesmerized by a Cedarmont kids preschool music video. Brooke knew all the songs so she would sing along, and at one point, both she and Rylan were dancing to the music. I wish I could have gotten it on video because it was so hilarious.

You know you have a(n almost) two year old when...

....your pictures start looking like this! One second ago, both kids were standing at the top of the stairs looking adorable. As soon as I whipped out the camera, this is what happens. Thanks to Rylan for being so sweet and cooperative.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The war prayer

Charlton and I usually pray with Rylan before bed. Usually we try to thank God for at least one thing, ask Him one request, and think of something to ask for forgiveness. Last night, Rylan asked me to pray the "war prayer."
"I'm sorry, buddy," I replied, "but I don't know that prayer" thinking it must be some kind of special father/son bonding prayer Charlton had started with Rylan.
"You know, mom, the one that goes 'hallowed be your name' and 'give us our bread."

Pony tail

It only stays fixed for about 5 minutes, but isn't she adorable? All that cuteness sure helps since Caroline has officially turned "two" this week. I know her birthday isn't until November, but she has just started acting her age. Oh, the screams and fits! It is a little hard not to smile at her fury when she scrunches up her face, turns red, clenches her fists, and yells her meanest insult, "Go away!" Today she threw an impressive fit at the playground, screaming, flopping on her face in the mulch and even waving the arms and legs. I am definitely in for it....

More of Bethany's visit

As you can tell, Rylan was crazy about this tortoise at the animal expo in Woodland Park. He also held a baby boa constrictor but we were so excited we didn't get a picture of that! I have a feeling my boy will be asking for some reptile pets sometime in the future. Turtles I can handle, snakes....that's going to be tougher.
Yumm! Donut Mill. I learned my lesson, buy Caroline a chocolate sprinkle donut for herself next time. She kept wanting tastes of Rylan's and my deliciously rich chocolate iced cream-filled donut.
More than one way to eat a donut.
Caroline and her Aunt Bethany.
Charlton and Caroline at beautiful Helen Hunt falls.

Estes Park August 2010

One of the highlights of Bethany's visit was our two-night stay in Estes Park. We had an older-looking, but clean and fairly spacious room right next to a bubbling mountain stream. While we were checking in, a huge bull elk waded through the stream and started browsing on some of the bushes right behind our room.
It was a lovely setting, but I was too busy wrangling kids to take many pictures. How much trouble could two kids be in a simple hotel room, I thought? I don't even have to clean up after them, so it should be easy right? Actually, no. Rylan figured out how to open the sliding glass door in 5-seconds flat and tried to dash out to the creek with his sister in hot pursuit. When I banned them from opening the door, they started a boisterous game of tag... in the draperies. They also loved dialing the telephone that looked old enough to be a toy. I was convinced one of them was going to dial 911. Besides enjoying the beautiful national park, that was another reason to spend most of our days outside.
As you can imagine, bedtime in a one room setting was loads of fun, also. We did have some comic relief one night from Caroline. We put her to bed in the pack-n-play and thought she had finally fallen asleep because we hadn't heard a peep from her in a while. All of the sudden, her crazy-haired bed-head pops up, she gives us her most charming smile and asks, "You like cee-uu (cereal) ? You like emmies (M&M's)?" I guess she was hoping to inspire us all to have some of her favorite snacks and share with her!
We ate dinner and walked around downtown Estes Park on our last night. One of the stores had a bin of those irresistable colorful polished rocks. Rylan loves them and always asks to see them in the zoo's gift store. Both he and Caroline dug out handfuls of the beauties and it was a challenge to pry them out of my girl's hands when we had to leave. We had just made it a few steps up the street when I noticed Caroline still held a rock in each hand. Ooops! After extricating those stowaways to return them to the store, Bethany suggested I check behind Caroline in the stroller. Sure enough, that little thief had stolen another dozen rocks and hidden them behind her. What a stinker! Thank goodness that was before she had her enormous poopy diaper blow-out. I guess I would have had to pay for those rocks then.
I love being outdoors with my kids, but I discovered (again) that actually trying to hike somewhere with them means a sore back, lots of whining, and rarely reaching your destination.
We did reach one of our destinations, a pristine icy-cold mountain lake on the Milner Pass trail in the alpine tundra of the Rocky Mtn. National Park. The elevation was about 11,600 feet and it was cold, about 50's and very windy. The kids were barely comfortable in their long pants, two t-shirts, and sweatshirts. I was really wishing I had worn my long pants, but carrying Caroline in my trusty moby wrap was enough of a workout to keep me from shivering. I alternated between prodding Rylan along and carrying him in addition to Caroline. Have I mentioned the scenery was beautiful? Bethany and I felt triumphant when we finally reached the lake after about a mile hike. Rylan wanted to poke my walking stick in the water and I ignored the little warning voice in my head. After I heard the splash and Rylan's scream, everything happened at once. We yanked Rylan out of the water and immediately started stripping off his wet clothes. I was worried about hypothermia in that cold wind. To make a long story short, I ended up carrying 35 lb. Rylan, wearing only his nylon jogging pants, in the moby wrap all the way to the car. I held his bare feet in my hands to keep them warm. Sweet Bethany carried Caroline and we hiked as fast as we could. I don't think I have ever been happier to see our warm car waiting for us. My muscles weren't really sore until the next day, and then, oh my! I learned my lesson(s): Never let Rylan near a mountain lake with his clothes on, and...I am much stronger than I thought I was!

The kids watched movies on our portable DVD player so Bethany and I could enjoy some cable after long days of hiking. That show about animal hoarders on Animal Planet? My goodness...
You can always use a good stick when you are hiking.

Lack of sleep makes Rylan disagreeable for just about anything, especially posing for pictures.

Here's the proof of our crazy adventure. We had just started back, that is why I am still smiling. Rylan stayed pretty smiley. He loved being in the moby wrap just about as much as a baby kangaroo likes to be in his mama's pouch!

If I had longer ears, you could call me a pack mule.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Just a few gems...

We are back from our trip to the mountains and had a great time. I am sooo tired and trying to recover before I have to work two nights this weekend, so I'll just post a few of my favorite pictures from our trip to Garden of the Gods with my aunt Kim, uncle Roland and cousins. Thanks to Aunt Kim for taking these great shots.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Aunt Bethany's visit

We have had so much fun this past weekend with Aunt Bethany and we have even more to look forward to this week. I haven't had time to download pictures yet, but I will try as soon as I can.
On Friday we visited Helen Hunt Falls for the first time. Rylan's top request is always to be able to play in the water, so he was pleased when we found a shallow spot in the stream for wading. The water was numbingly cold, though, so none of us could stand it for long. The waterfall was really pretty and so was North Cheyenne Canon Park. I'd love to go back and explore it some more someday.
Bethany was reading the paper and saw there was going to be a pet expo on Saturday in Woodland Park. Our family is just slightly animal crazy and the possibility of combining a trip into the mountains with petting animals and stopping at the Donut Mill was too wonderful to pass up. The pet expo was small, but Rylan got to pet a kitten, tortoise, hedgehogs, and even hold a boa constrictor, which just made his day. There was also an arts and crafts expo happening at the same time and we enjoyed looking at some of the exhibits. Don't tell Charlton, but Rylan was attracted to the jewelry like a duck to water! He couldn't resist all those colorful, shiny beads and stones.
On Sunday, my Uncle Roland, Aunt Kim and three teenage cousins flew into Colorado and drove down to visit us as part of their vacation. We hiked around Garden of the Gods and then ate dinner at home. It was fun to spend some time together, the first I had seen them in two years. I had to go to work Sunday night and Charlton had to teach a class at church, so our time was cut shorter than I would like.
So I am exhausted, but truly enjoying time with family. I am hoping our two nights in Estes Park will be relaxing and restful, but I know that is a tall order where two young children are involved. Bethany is lots of help and so great with the kids, so I think that will make it easier.
A few cute things about the kids. Caroline insists on calling Aunt Bethany "Nina". She will say Bethany if I ask her to, but when she wants her aunt's attention, she yells, "Nina!" Both kids have behaved really well with all our visitors and have warmed up nicely to Bethany. I think Rylan might be in love. He wants to give her hugs and kisses which is rare for him to act this way with anyone but mom and dad. He also loves Bethany's hair and wants to play with it all the time, but he told her he doesn't like it when she puts it in a ponytail!
I think that's all for now. I'll update on our trip and post pictures when life gets back into a routine.

Monday, August 2, 2010

1st Dentist Appointment

What a trooper! I was so surprised and pleased at how well Rylan behaved. We went to a pediatric dentist and you can definitely tell they specialize in creating an environment to help kids feel comfortable. He cooperated with X-rays and let the hygienist polish, brush, and floss his teeth. (The sunglasses are to protect his eyes from the bright exam light.) Unfortunately, we found cavities between his two upper front teeth and will need to get caps on those areas. I am hoping with more brushing and fluoride we can prevent them from happening in the future.
The dentist was delayed with another patient and by the time it was Caroline's turn to be seen, she had run out of her limited 20 month old patience. She did love wearing the special sunglasses! Her baby teeth checked out perfectly and we only have six more to come in.

Pony rides and babies

Caroline loves when Daddy gives her "pony" rides. Here Daddy generously gives her babies a ride, too.

Caroline has enjoyed playing with her babies a lot more lately, and I love watching her mother them. She especially likes wrapping them in blankets. This little doll blanket was knit by her great-grandmother.

"Twinkle, twinkle": Take 1

"Twinkle, twinkle": Take 2