Saturday, December 17, 2011

Breakfast with Santa

Our gym organized a "Breakfast with Santa" for this morning. The event was very cheap and close to our house, so we thought it was worth a try. Last year, we tried to meet Santa at a breakfast with my hospital and it was super crowded, loud, the food was terrible, and the lines were horrendous. When it was finally our turn to see Santa, Rylan went completely limp and Caroline clung to me for dear life. The whole thing was a huge disappointment.
This year, the kids were interested in meeting Santa again, so off we went with really no idea how it would turn out. This breakfast was very well organized, with small groups of people scheduled in each time slot. We ate our breakfast and then were able to walk right up to meet Santa, no waiting at all. Amazing and almost stress-free for everyone.

Rylan was a little grumpy at breakfast. I think he was still nervous about meeting Santa. He was also confused why Santa was not actually eating breakfast with us at our table. It was called "Breakfast with Santa" after all.

Caroline was feeling pure excitement and enjoying her pancakes and grapes.
Waiting for just a few seconds to meet Santa. I love how Caroline's hands are clasped together and she is snuggling so close to big brother.

Brave boy! This was as close as he would get to Santa, but he smiled and did talk to the big guy in red. Later he told me Santa was much smaller than he thought. Maybe last year Santa had seemed like a giant to him! That certainly explains his fear.

Caroline climbed right into Santa's lab and....froze like a deer in the headlights. Finally she cracked just the tiniest of smiles and asked him for a princess castle. Hmmm, that is good to know.

Rockin' around the Christmas tree

There really are no words to explain these videos, except my kids like to dance and they are crazy excited about Christmas coming.

Videos from Rylan's Christmas Program

I grabbed a couple little clips from Rylan's program with my cell phone. Enjoy!

Rylan's school Christmas program

I don't think there are many things cuter or funnier than children performing in a Christmas program. Rylan's preschool class sang for us on Tuesday and it didn't disappoint. They had been practicing for weeks and were enthusiastic with their hand motions and loudly projected their voices.
We had to sit near the back, so my pictures aren't the clearest. Rylan stood at the very top row of the stands. I was very thankful he didn't fall off, with all his animated gestures and frequent yawning. His sweet friend Leah is the strawberry blonde in the row just in front of him and to the left.

Having Aunt Bethany come with us made for a very fun morning, indeed.

The Christmas tree ribbon t-shirt

Last Christmas when my mom was visiting, we went shopping in Old Colorado City. I saw and took a picture of a dish towel (I think) decorated with ribbons in the shape of a Christmas tree. I saved that picture all year and knew if I found the time to make one thing this Christmas, it would be ribbon Christmas tree t-shirts for me and Caroline. I was really pleased with the way they turned out and it was a great sense of accomplishment to finally make them. Caroline and I have enjoyed our matching festive shirts this season!

Christmas cowboy?

We got a pair of cute plaid Christmas pajamas as hand-me-downs from cousin Samuel this past summer. I pulled them out recently, never expecting Rylan to be so excited about them. He wore them all night and all day, pretending to be Santa Claus. The only red hat he could find at the time was Caroline's cowgirl Jessie hat and he also swiped her stuffed horse as his "reindeer." All day he walked around saying, "ho, ho, ho", asked us what we wanted for Christmas and whether we had been naughty or nice. It was so funny! He did NOT like it if we called him a cowboy, either, because he was most definitely the Real Santa Claus.
(Charlton did get him and Caroline real Santa hats that night and they were thrilled.)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Some random cell phone pics

I apologize, some of these pictures are very old and they are a bit out of order , but are too cute not to share.

Sleeping Beauty and Ironman just before trick-or-treating.

Scary teeth and fingers.

Playing in the snow, for a grand total of about 5 minutes.

We got a second year of wear out of this sweet pumpkin dress. Next year it will be a shirt!

Rylan's first time writing his name all by himself.

Rylan's first turn at show and tell. Can't remember why the 10 fingers. He took his stuffed Nemo. He took Bear-bear on his second turn.

Girl loves her some jewelry.

First day of preschool picture. Caroline is not thrilled about the whole idea.

Rylan was thrilled about this helmet and wore it the entire time of our preschool orientation.

Princess Rapunzel.

Caroline looks like she is all ready for a fine spring day at Keeneland, but actually we are watching brother at soccer camp this summer and she has "stolen" all my accessories.

Birthday cake time

I had been planning on making Caroline a ladybug cake since this summer when she was so crazy about them. I also had an inspiration for decorating the cake, so selfishly, I continued to plant that idea in her head even when she went all princess crazy on me a month ago. I think she was still delighted with her cake even though ladybugs are so last season!
Since it was Thanksgiving, I made a pumpkin cake with cream cheese icing. I thought it turned out very delicious, and cute, too.

Sweet expression at the first sight of her cake with candles.

Happy Birthday, Caroline!

Blowing out the candles!

She doesn't to wait for me to cut a piece. What a ham!

Digging in. Who needs forks, anyway?


Caroline's 3rd birthday

Caroline's 3rd birthday landed right on Thanksgiving this year, so it was a really big day in our house. I had been reminding my sweet girl of her birthday for weeks, but I still don't think she had any idea of how much fun it would be. She was so happy and enjoyed every part of her day, from the presents to cake and candles.

We only ate two meals on Thanksgiving, so we made them hearty ones! Here is some breakfast goofiness from the birthday girl.

Rylan was ever so eager to help Caroline with opening presents.

We let Caroline open her presents from Grammy early in the morning. She loved her new Snow White doll.

We watched the "Snow White" movie right away. Finally, we are starting to build our Princess movie collection. Thanks, Grammy!

We were able to save more presents for later in the day when Aunt Bethany could celebrate with us.

Caroline opening her horse PJ's from Nana. She had fun with her Little People van, too. Thanks, Nana! This was the only picture I managed to get of part of the really neat fold-up barn from Aunt Bethany. Caroline loved playing with it, when we could pry it away from Rylan. He thought his sister's new toys were much cooler than his own that day.

Sixties in Colorado...

....means sunbathing and picnics! Caroline has been begging me several times a week to have a picnic for lunch. I don't think she realizes winter is here. When we had a few lovely days that actually felt like fall, I was so glad to finally be able to say Yes! to her request. Rylan wanted to take his shirt off and Caroline did her best to show more skin. The warm sunshine felt so wonderful and I was glad to join them, fully dressed, of course!
I promise I do feed Rylan, and he does eat! He looks a lot like my siblings and I did when we were younger, fairly tall and very skinny. Oh, to have that metabolism again...

Raking leaves

Last year I got the most wonderful spontaneous picture of the kids lying in the leaves. I tried to repeat it this year, with not quite as good results. Still cute, though. With some help from a few windy days, all the leaves finally fell from our aspen trees....and blew into everyone else's yard! We still filled several bags, but it didn't seem as big of a job this year. Sorry to our neighbors who thought they were sparing themselves a lot of work by not planting trees.

Friday, November 18, 2011

My 3-year old

Caroline turns 3 on Thanksgiving Day. I don't know how many more years it will be until the two special days coincide again, but we sure have a fun-filled day to look forward to this week. I will update her measurements after our doctor's appointment in early December, but I know she weighs about 34 lbs on my bathroom scale. She wears size 3-4 tops, size 3 pants, and size 8 shoes. She still has a little baby chub left, but is growing taller and leaner all the time. Caroline isn't terribly picky and I can usually get her to eat a wide variety of foods. She has a weakness for pizza, and loves skittles, gummy candies, and Nerds!
Caroline goes to bed between 7:30 and 8, but has trouble settling down and staying put in her bed, especially now that we are curbing her thumb-sucking. She wakes between 6:30 and 7 am and naps each afternoon for 2-3 hours.
Caroline did much better at her dentist appointment this year, even holding still for a few X-rays, much to my surprise! Unfortunately, she needs to break her thumb-sucking habit, too. We are not seeing a lot of progress, yet, but will keep trying. Our dentist said she is already starting to have an overbite, but those problems can reverse if the habit is stopped by age 3. So, we are always tackling a new challenge around our house. Caroline isn't attached to any stuffed animal or blanket, but she will hold and twist her hair in one hand while she sucks the thumb on the other. She has been doing that since she was a tiny baby and could just reach back to rub her hair.
Caroline is pretty much completely potty-trained during the day time. She rarely has accidents and will usually tell me when she has to go to the potty. Occasionally, she goes all by herself and I think she would do it more often if she could manage the snaps and buttons on her pants. We have trouble with her taking her pajamas and diaper off at nights and if it weren't winter time, I would have a very hard time keeping her dressed at all.
Caroline is independent, sassy, high energy, affectionate, dramatic, and sweetly charming. She is getting better at expressing herself and doesn't fight the limits as much lately. She would still rather not hold my hand or go potty when I ask her, but we don't have quite as many strong-will struggles as we used to. She is usually easy going and adaptable to new situations. She gives hugs and kisses wholeheartedly, but will only sit and cuddle with me for about 2 seconds at a time before she moves on to the next best thing. Caroline loves her brother and each day when we go to his classroom to pick him up, she nearly tackles him with her hugs.
She will pout and cry if "somebody hurts my feelings" (she learned that phrase from brother), but has a high tolerance for physical pain. She hates loud noises and is terrified of the blender and thunderstorms. Caroline knows her colors and shapes, can count to 10, and is learning her ABC's.
Caroline has recently become completely enamored with anything Disney princess. She has always loved jewelry and anything girly or sparkly, so I guess this is quite a natural progression. She adores the movies, sings the songs, and loves dressing and undressing her princess dolls. Caroline is not the type to sit and play with her toys independently and entertain herself, like Rylan does. She likes to tease and aggravate her brother, and flit from one activity to the other. She will stay focused for longer with coloring, or painting, or playing with play-doh.
Caroline also adores her teachers in the child care center at church. She squeals their names and runs to give them hugs when I drop her off for my MOPS meetings. I am so thankful for such wonderful teachers to love on my children. One teacher in particular, has really been charmed by Caroline, so much so, that I think it is hard for her to be firm with her. I have gotten reports (from the other teacher) that Caroline has had to go into time-outs for not listening. Uh-oh. I can totally believe that, because we have some issues with selective hearing at home, too.
I think I am more excited about Caroline's birthday than she is! I have been talking it up for the past month and can't wait to see her open her presents. She knows something big is happening, but isn't sure exactly what to expect. I am so thankful for the joy and laughter Caroline brings into my life and the way God has used her to make me a better mom and woman. I love you Caroline Elizabeth. Happy
3rd Birthday!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Our 5 year old

My first baby is officially a big boy! The last page of his baby memory book will be filled when I tape his 5th birthday picture in place and write in the details of that milestone day.
By the numbers, Rylan weighed 38 lbs and was 42 inches tall at his well visit, between the 25th and 50th percentile for both. It is hard to believe he is the same guy who was off-the-charts and covered with fat rolls as a baby. I am thankful for his good health and that his development is on track, except for needing a little extra practice with his fine motor skills. He had no cavities at his dentist visit either and despite having to fish him out from under a cabinet when his name was called, he relaxed, let them take X-rays, and generally had a positive experience. The doctor's visit was not so much fun since it entailed 4 shots. The poor boy limped for 2 days and begged me to get him a wheelchair so he wouldn't have to walk on his sore legs.
Rylan has started giving up his afternoon naps. I know I have been extremely blessed that he has napped for this long. We have had some rough evenings with an overly tired boy, but I know eventually his body will adjust to doing all the sleeping at night. We have quiet play time in his room while Caroline naps and so far, he thinks he is doing something really special because he doesn't have to go to bed! Another big change is that Rylan has pretty much stopped sucking his thumb. At the promise of permanent damage to his mouth, we got really serious about quitting a few months ago, and it doesn't seem to be a major temptation for him anymore. I still use the bitter liquid, "fire ants", on his thumb as a reminder, just in case.
Rylan started preschool twice weekly this fall. I love hearing about his day when I pick him up and he is usually full of news about his activities, the helpers for the day, snack, and songs he learned. He loves his teachers and is making friends with his classmates. He has learned how to use scissors and write his name, "mom", and the first half-dozen letters in the alphabet. He asks to work on his "homework" and likes practicing writing, something that never held his attention before. I hope he never loses that enthusiasm for learning and am glad preschool has been such a fun experience for him. Oh, and Rylan already has a "girlfriend" at preschool, a real cutie-pie with strawberry blonde (orange, in his words) hair, and he gets embarrassed when we ask about her. He recently asked if he could draw a picture for her of the two of them holding hands. I asked Rylan if he was holding hands with her at school, and he replied no. So, I guess he just has some big hopes!
Rylan favorite toys are his superheros, Bakugans, and Hero Factory guys. He has also been playing with his train set, Charlton's old Star Wars figures, and a new magnetic building set he got for his birthday. Rylan got a Go Fish game as a party favor and I have really enjoyed playing it with him. (I was never a big fan of those board games where you end up having to backtrack and go in circles and it feels like the game will never end.) We usually manage a few games after breakfast and again in the afternoon while Caroline is napping.
Whenever we play at the park, he almost always manages to gather a few other kids into starting some kind of superhero game. I am amazed at his imagination and this newer confidence in making new friends. He is very sweet and gentle with younger kids, and has been enamored with babies lately!
Rylan just earned his yellow belt in karate at the end of September. Having a higher rank also means he can be sargeant at arms for the prayer and lead jumping jacks. He sometimes has trouble following verbal instructions and translating that into the movements, but is getting more coordinated all the time. Some of the physical exercises are really tough, not to mention the actual karate moves, so I am especially proud of his hard work and perseverance.
Rylan is eager to follow the rules and avoids getting into trouble outside home. I wish he was as sensitive to pleasing his parents as he is his teachers, but I am glad he is on his best behavior for them at least. :-) Rylan plays with his action figures every day on our living room chair and he does not like to share that space with anyone. He likes to wear his Ironman costume and will dance with Caroline in her princess dress, but otherwise the "princess" better watch out if she comes near his toys. Words like "swollen" make him squeamish, as does watching Caroline eat yogurt. He still likes to cuddle with me and I love snuggling with him when he climbs in my bed in the mornings. I wish it wasn't 6am sometimes, but one day I will be able to sleep in again.
Happy 5th Birthday to my imaginative, tender-hearted, playful little man. I am thankful to be your mama and so excited to see you grow and develop over the next year.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween 2011

We had fun dressing up and trick-or-treating for Halloween last night. We managed to stay out for about an hour, a record for us, and Charlton joined us for about 30 minutes in between clients. It was quite a feat getting Princess Aurora in and out of our wagon without tripping over her dress, making sure she was holding her increasingly heavier bucket, and negotiating all the decorations and obstacles to each front door. Add to that a sticky lollipop, or two, in one hand and it was a miracle she stayed standing. I can't count how many pumpkins we knocked over or tumbles she took into peoples' landscaping! Rylan was a great big brother and showed his slightly clumsy sister the fine art of collecting enormous amounts of candy.
We arrived home at dark and made a quick run up to the hospital to say hello to Aunt Bethany who had to work. Ironman and Princess Aurora got lots of smiles on their journey to the ICU.
Once we finally came home for the night, I let the kids sample their spoils. Rylan knew exactly which pieces of chocolate he wanted and climbed into his chair at the table to slowly savor each one. Caroline grabbed a box of purple nerds, ripped them open, then got down on all fours to lick them off the carpet!