Saturday, May 28, 2011

Show Week for Caroline

Thursday was Caroline's show week at Little Gym. She behaved very well for the most part and the whole family had fun together. The theme was patriotic, so I made her a twirly skirt out of some leftover 4th of July themed fabric. I wanted to applique a matching shirt, but evidently plain white toddler t-shirts (not boys' undershirts) are scarcer than hen's teeth in Colorado Springs. I struck out at 4 different stores, so ended up with a plain white ruffly t-shirt, because by then it was too late to order anything.

I thought she looked awfully cute anyway.

She was thrilled about this parachute ride!
What are you looking at?

Caroline's name was the last to be called to go up to the podium to receive her medal. She did not wait patiently.

Finally, Caroline's moment to shine.

Is this real gold? Caroline wanted to sleep with her medal on Thursday night. I told her she could sleep with the medal in her bed, but not around her neck because she might choke. After I had given those rules, she grabbed the ribbon, pulled it tight around her neck, stuck out her tongue with gagging noise, and said, "See, mom, I 'toke (choke)." I felt like she was taunting me. So sassy.

Class picture #1. Pretty amazing to have all 8 kids looking at the camera. And yes, my daughter is the one who decided to chew on her ribbon.

Class picture #2. The better one of Caroline.

Show week was also fun for Rylan, who enjoyed getting to play on some of the equipment and show off the skills he remembered from his class. I can't remember when I was this flexible.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

So sassy

Caroline was playing outside the other night when it started to rain. It was just a sprinkle, but I could see the drops forming on her clothes.
"Caroline," I called to her, "It's raining. Come in so you don't get wet."
She just gave me an exasperated look and replied, "Mom, I am already wet!"
Can't argue with the logic of a 2-year old. I am in for so much trouble when she is a teenager. That girl is always a couple steps ahead of me!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Caroline at Little Gym

Next week is Caroline's last class at Little Gym. They have a "show" to demonstrate some things they have learned this semester and each child gets to climb the podium and receives a medal like in the Olympics. Since Rylan's Little Gym show in January was a complete disaster, I decided to get some pictures of Caroline before the "pressure" of the big day. She is usually less anxious than Rylan in new situations, so I am not super worried about a meltdown, but I am glad to have these cute pictures just in case.

The inflatable air mat is super fun for bouncing.

We usually just practice bouncing and catching the balls, but Caroline decided to carry hers on the obstacle course.

Helping to deflate the air trak. The kids roll around and help to push the air out.

The "hanging bars." Caroline usually would sneak out of circle time to grab a quick swing from the bars.

The bubbles are another favorite.

Caroline always flops down on the mat at bubble time and tries to "catch" bubbles with her toes.

We sing a song and shake these bells at the beginning of each class.

Tired girl waiting for her stamps at the end of class.

License to drive...

...a tricycle, that is! Rylan has had this tricycle since he was 1 year old and he has just figured out how to ride it. I guess the whole combination of pedaling and steering finally clicked. We go on walks now and he rides his trike the entire time. I am so proud of him and glad he can now experience another one of the great joys of childhood. I was hoping to teach him how to ride a bike this summer, so we will still keep our eyes open at garage sales, but this is a great confidence builder for him.

Caroline tries ice cream again

This video so perfectly captures Caroline's sweet, crazy, "boomerang emotions" personality.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Caroline spied my giant Elmer's craft glue stick the other day. "Oh mom, I want some for my wips, pease?" (I gave her some real chapstick instead.)

Both kids have loved finding ladybugs in our front yard. Caroline gets especially excited and we have to remind her to be gentle with the little bugs.
Rylan gave Caroline some wise advice: "If you squeeze the ladybug, weird juice will come out."
And mama could add, they make a gross crunching sound.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mother's Days in Colorado

Mother's Day 2008, our first weekend in Colorado.

Mother's Day 2009

I think Rylan refused to take a picture by the tulips, so I just got one of me and Caroline.

Mother's Day 2010. The tulips weren't blooming yet, so we just got a picture with the buds. Again, we were all blinded by the sun during the picture taking! It is fun to see how the kids have grown over the years.

Mother's Day

Sunday was a wonderful warm, sunny Mother's Day! We went to church in the morning, I got to take a long nap afterwords, we went swimming and ate my favorite pizza, Old Chicago's, for dinner. Charlton and the kids presented me with a lovely bouquet of pink tulips, a sweet card, and let me pick out some new clothes for yoga. It felt like a special treat just to spend time with the whole family together. I am so thankful for them and feel very blessed with two beautiful, healthy, happy children. Thank you to my mama for loving me so well and sacrificially and being a wonderful model of motherhood to me. I also couldn't ask for a more kind and encouraging mother-in-law.

Rylan sharing the love.

I love our annual tradition of taking photos in front of the tulips, but might ought to wait until the sun is higher in the sky and not blinding us!

A little too close for Rylan's comfort?

My sweet and spunky girl with her new haircut. It looks so much neater and is easier to keep tangle-free.

Poor kids blinded by the light.

Bad guys, beware!

Sheriff Rylan and Deputy Caroline are on patrol!

He has handcuffs and knows how to use them!


I just had to write this story about Rylan so I wouldn't forget it.
I have been encouraging him to be more independent in the bathroom lately, which he hasn't been thrilled about. On Thursday night he got up to use the bathroom while I was downstairs watching a TV show. He gave me a play-by-play commentary about how he was wiping all by himself. I was so surprised and made a big deal about how proud I was of him.
All of the sudden I hear him pop the question, "Mom, does my butt look clean?" Looking up, I see his bare white bottom through the balcony railing.
The answer? Great try, son, but you missed a spot. A big spot. We'll keep practicing this whole wiping thing.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Spring at the Zoo

On Friday I took the kids to the zoo to take advantage of our last day of membership. I hadn't taken my camera recently on our zoo trips because we go so often and you only need so many of the same zoo pictures, right? I made a special effort to take some photos this time and got some good ones.

It made my heart full to see my two kids, side by side, enjoying the giraffes.

I wish I had been able to get some video on this one. Rylan was cooing sweet nothings and totally charming this baby giraffe.

Lion tamer.
The zoo has a new "exhibit" which kind of looks like a phone booth, but is actually a special wind tunnel simulating African winds. What were they thinking? Charging people to experience strong winds? We get that every spring day for free here in Colorado!

Caroline could finally climb up the slide ladder by herself. We always had to stop and picnic in the playground area.

We also never missed a ride on the carousel.

My favorite picture. Love the blooming daffodils in the background!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Rylan's half birthday

We have had a fun week. On Monday, we joined a wonderful gym here in the Springs about 5 minutes from our house. We have been interested in joining since moving three years ago but the logistics just didn't work out until recently. They have lots of fitness classes to choose from, a gorgeous outdoor pool area, and a super cool indoor pool and splash area for the kids. The best part? Membership also includes 2 hours of child-care per day in the special kids' area! That will be such a nice break for me on all my weekends and evenings of solo-parenting. I already took a yoga class on Wednesday night and it was fun although I have paid for it the past few days being so sore! The kids have had a blast playing in the pool. Rylan has been asking me for months when the pools would open so we could go swimming. Finally, his wish came true. Even though the pool is indoors and heated, it does get chilly. Rylan and Caroline will keep on sliding and splashing even while shivering with blue lips. When we get home, they are tired and so hungry. When summer finally arrives, I think our trips to the outdoor pool will be an almost daily happening. I can't wait.

Since we decided to let our zoo membership expire at the end of the month and we had a gorgeous day on Friday, we took advantage of our "last" day to visit one of our favorite places. We fed the "giraffies", rode the carousel, oohed and aahed over the frogs and new baby pigs, and played in the playground to our hearts content until Caroline started running a fever. I got some good pictures and I will try to post them this week. That zoo membership was such a great investment and I have so many wonderful memories there with my kids.

Rylan officially turned 4 1/2 on April 18th, but he has been including the "1/2" for a while now when asked his age, especially if he wants to do something big boys do. He is getting so tall, but will still curl up in my lap to cuddle every now and then. I treasure those times. Rylan is very sweet and affectionate most of the time and can be a great encourager with his words. He still is crazy about Ironman, and will introduce himself as "Tony Stark" if people ask his name. Rylan has found a new love these past few weeks: frogs! He has a frog t-shirt, plays with two squishy toy frogs, read frog books, visited a reptile store twice, and on Friday we checked out the frogs in the zoo. He wanted to wear his frog t-shirt to the zoo so "the frogs will know I am a frog scientist." Red-eyed tree frogs are his favorite, but he also likes the poison arrow variety. I think frogs are pretty cool, too, so I have enjoyed sharing this growing interest with him. He just recently earned his first stripe on his white belt in karate. He was hesitant to get ready for class at first and was sad to be done with the Little Gym, but lately has been more enthusiastic. I just wish he wouldn't practice his moves on Caroline quite so much. Rylan also loves playing games on Charlton's Ipad, watching superhero cartoons, listening to his favorite movie theme songs, taking bubble baths, and wrestling with dad. He and Caroline pick and fight with each other over silly things, but overall are great friends, and Rylan is very protective of her.

For almost a year, Rylan has struggled with certain behavior issues. It has been discouraging, confusing, and downright infuriating at times as we tried to figure out how to discipline him and love him when he was very unlovable. I have felt so helpless and spent a lot of time praying for the whole situation. Early this year, Charlton talked with a counselor peer, who recommended some books on anxiety in children. We never had Rylan formally assessed, but in reading these books, noticed some behaviors linked to anxiety. It was such a relief to me to think I may not be a complete failure as his mom, to have an underlying reason behind the tantrums and outbursts, and more empathy for his struggle. We used a few new techniques when he seemed most anxious, but didn't make any major overhauls. Around that same time, I also started working less. Rylan's life became a little more consistent and his mama had more patience and energy. I realized that I enjoyed being around him a lot more and life was less stressful, but the changes were so gradual. When my mom visited in April, she noticed Rylan seemed so much more relaxed, happy, and obedient. What an answer to prayer! He is certainly not perfect, but I have so thankful for these changes and have so much more hope for him to be able to handle school and other challenges in his life.

I'll talk about Caroline being 2 1/2 in a later post but I do want to update on potty-training. I think we have hit that wonderful stage where she is able to have some more bladder control and it doesn't consume every waking minute of our lives! I put the portable potty away (which upset her very much when she saw it in the garage), and we now use the regular bathroom. I love being able to move all the wipes, spare underwear, pull-ups, etc... back into the bathroom and off the kitchen counters where they were handiest for emergencies. Caroline will sometimes tell me ahead of time when she has to go and we have made it a few days with no accidents. Woohoo! I think the worst is over, at least when we don't leave the house! Next challenge, running errands without pull-ups on.