Sunday, September 26, 2010

Breakfast of Champions

We had the Cub Scouts over for a game night Friday night.  There were tons of treats.  Saturday morning, Ryan runs into our bedroom at 6:30 and in his most cheerful voice declares, "Mommy, I made my own breakfast.  I did!  I did it all by myself.  I got a jello and a special Scout drink."  (Don't worry, we did actually make him eat real food, too).

Molly's 17th Month

Molly turned 17 months old this week.

Molly loves: Going outside, putting on shoes, playing dress up, snuggling with stuffed animals, dancing on the kitchen table, singing loudly, eating all fruit, giving great big wet open mouthed kisses, the color pink, bath time, dogs,  brushing her 4 teeth, and her brothers.

Molly dislikes: being told no (I was going to make a long list, but that pretty much sums it up).

New Vocabulary: Quack, something that sounds a lot like Andrew, and "Woof"  (she also says dog, signs dog, and pants.  She has four ways to communicate the word dog, and still calls me "Dada" at 17 months old).   She has actually started to babble a lot lately.  I would not be surprised if she is on the verge of a language explosion.

FYI: She is also currently cutting SIX new teeth at the same time.  We are going to buy stock in Teething Tablets. 

Sunday, September 19, 2010


I never really thought of myself as an exceptionally selfish person.  Especially when it comes to my kids.  I feel like I have sacrificed and share a lot, as we all do as moms.  Big things, like time with my husband, sleeping in past 6am, and my figure.   I have even given up chocolate for MONTHS at a time while I breastfed all 3 children.  I have sacrificed in small ways, too.  I have given up trying to have a phone conversation while my kids are awake, watching daytime tv, and privacy in the bathroom. I feel like I give and I give and I give.  I believed there was no limit to what I was willing to sacrifice for my dear children.

But this week I found something that I was surprisingly unwilling to share.  BEARY MASON.  He is MY teddy bear that my dad gave to me when he and my mom got married.  He had been my dad's bear as a little boy.   Beary was my companion every night from age 12 until I married my sweet hubby at age 21.  I decided then that perhaps Chad would rather me snuggle up to him.  So Beary has slept on our guest bed with two of my other special dolls (which were both handmade by beloved relatives) the past 13 years.  Andrew and Ryan have never paid any attention to my bear or my dolls.  I don't think either of them have ever noticed them.  However this week I carried Molly downstairs to the basement to get a paper off the printer and she started screaming and reaching.  I truly couldn't imagine what it was she wanted.  I carried her across the room. Molly pushed herself out of my arms and grabbed MY BEAR!!!!!  You would think as a loving mother, I would have felt awe and enjoyed this sweet full circle moment.  But no, not selfish me.  I tried to bribe her with other toys in an attempt to get her to unhand my bear.  It didn't work.  She carried my bear everywhere the rest of the afternoon.  She snuggled him close and even took a nap with him.  I tried to take her out of her crib and leave my bear there, but she wasn't falling for it.  She held on to him tight.  She climbed up and down the stairs holding on to him.  I think she sensed that the moment she put him down, he would disappear.  Dinner time came, and she finally let him go, but she kept her eyes on him the entire time she ate.

I was so surprised at how possessive I felt about MY toy.  I really felt like a little girl, I wanted to yell. "No. He's MINE!"  I can't believe how unwilling I was to share, with my only daughter, a toy given to me by my dad.  I know you are wondering where Beary is now.  He has a sizable hole in him that stuffing is falling out of, and since I am such a "loving" mom, I would hate for Molly to choke on it. So I have him up high, in a place she can't reach, so I can sew him up.   At least that is how I am justifying the fact that she has not seen him for a few days.  It is true.  He does have a hole, a hole that has been there since high school.  And of course,  I really don't want her to choke on cotton balls.  But it is also true that I am not rushing to get the job done either.  I have a lot of growing up to do still!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Rock the Block 2010 - By Chad

Every summer, Winston Salem holds a street party called Rock the Block. This year it fell on Saturday, September 18th. It spans most of 4th street, and features pretty much what you'd expect from a street party: food stands, a few bands, and an event or two. In the last few years, they've even had a children area with a few inflatables. But the one thing that always rings true about Rock the Block is that it is always phenomenally claustrophobic. It can be a bit unnerving as you lead your 3 children through the morass of people. But, despite the overcrowding, we like being out there in the the community events.

What was really different for us this year is we went with Nana and Papa. It was great to have them here with us, as we always enjoy their company. Plus, the 2 extra sets of hands made it MUCH easier. We did miss Emmy and Rachie, but I guess college is more important and all that.

This year at the event the organizers tried to spread things out over a few streets to help thin the crowds a little. It seemed to have no effect whatsoever on 4th Street, but it did give us something to do with the kids away from the massive crowds.

They had set up the kids area in the bottom of the Benton Convention center. It was a great change from the previous years. Not only was it away from the overcrowded street, but it also only cost $1 per kid. We definitely got our money's worth. There were only a few different inflatable rides/events/thingies, but again, for $2, we weren't complaining. The boys got to ride a mega-slide, run an inflatable gauntlet, jump around in a Scooby-Doo themed bounce house and hit some floating whiffle-type balls.

 Eagerly awaiting the fun
 A little more eager
 Tongue exercises are an important part of preparing for the gauntlet. 

On your marks... get set... Go!
And there off!
 Andrew's in the lead... where's Ryan?
 Andrew clears the hole in the wall... where's Ryan?
 There he is.
 And they're up the ladders...
 And down the slide... Where's Ryan? Ah yes, I recognize those feet.
 A celebratory embrace after successfully completing the inflatable gauntlet
 And they patiently await their turn in the Scooby-Doo bounce house
The air tee made hitting the ball a lot of fun.
Andrew and Ryan both got some great hits.

After playing in the inflatables area for a while, we decided to work our way up to 4th Street. Not the best idea. It seemed more crowded this year than ever before. But we were determined to find something else fun to do or see... and we did. They had a BMX stunt show. We wormed our way through the crowds and found some decent spots... to put the boys on our shoulders.
After watching the BMX guys do a few stunts, we decided to leave the chaos and get something good to eat. We went to Steak and Shake, and sat down for a meal. I don't think I've ever seen Andrew, Ryan and Molly eat so much. Probably had something to do waiting to eat dinner until 9pm. Yes, we were bad parents that night, we'll admit it. But the kids had fun and had no problem falling asleep when we got home.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sweet is the Work

Our primary held a service activity last Saturday.  The children wrote letters to soldiers, tied fleece blankets, and cleaned the primary chairs.

When they were finished working hard, they were rewarded with popsicles.

Treats, which you can see, they enjoyed immensely. 
Until they were all gone.  Then Molly was MAD and SAD!  She threw the biggest tantrum I have seen her throw to date.  She screamed, she worked herself up to real tears.  She made quite the spectacle of herself, and got the attention of EVERYONE at the activity.  But alas her theatrics were to no avail, because they did not earn her a second popsicle.  Despite this pitiful, yet adorable face.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Farmer's Market with TooToo and her "friend" Dan

Tuesday morning Ryan woke up at 6:30am, came downstairs and asked, "When are we ever going to go see Too-Too?"  So we called her and set it up! (But we waited until she was awake).  On Friday we were able to eat lunch and visit the Farmer's Market with my Aunt Linda, Too-Too, and Too-Too's gentleman "friend,"  Dan.  We had such a nice visit.  The weather was almost as perfect as the company.   Ryan was so happy to get to see Too-Too, even though he acted a little shy at first.  He also loved Dan and has asked to go see him several times since Friday. 

The lady who ran this pumpkin stand gave Ryan a free pumpkin.
Molly ate all of her ice cream and then convinced Too-Too to share hers!
Ryan chatted away non-stop to Dan while they ate their ice cream.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Our "Mostly" Fun Labor Day

I think I am boycotting September next year.  Last year in September, Ryan jumped into a pool without a life jacket.  On Labor Day this year, we had another scary experience, with Ryan again playing the leading role.  I will get to that in a minute. 

Chad's parents came and visited us on Labor Day.  We took the kids to Reynolda Gardens in the morning. 

Ryan was here, too, but he managed to close his eyes in every picture. 

Every time Grandma and Grandpa visit, we like to eat lunch at Kimonos.  If we go without them, the kids always asks where they are.   Here is Andrew trying Sushi for the first time.  Not a big fan, yet. 

We played back at our house after wards with lots of cousins. This is when we had the very scary experience.  The "short" version of the story is that the boys were all playing Batman together.  Ryan was wearing a flannel batman costume and hooded mask over his clothes.  It was over 90 degrees that afternoon.  The 3 boys decided to play in the van and pretend it was the Batmobile.  The bigger boys helped Ryan get buckled in and closed the door.  They rode off on their Batmotorcycles (aka bike and scooter) and decided to play on the swing set, temporarily forgetting the third Batman shut in the Batmobile.  Chad was outside working on the lawnmower with his dad and brother.  I was inside with my Mother-in-law, Sister in law, Evin, and Molly.  Chad thought Ryan was inside with me, I thought he was outside with Chad.  When Chad finished the lawmower, he came in and asked me where Ryan was.  I said with Andrew.  He said "no he isn't."  I opened my mouth to say, "probably in the basement" but instead what came out was to go find him!  I still wasn't worried.  I sat in the living room and talked to my family while  Chad ran outside and found Andrew.  Andrew told him Ryan was in the van.  Chad says he panicked and that his feet didn't hit the stairs on the way down the deck to the van.  He was terrified at the thought of what he might find when he got there.  He opened the van door and Ryan looked up at him and said, "I got stuck.  And I cried a little bit."  

We really have no clue how long he was in there. (Chad guesses somewhere between 10-20 minutes.  I don't think it could have been that long and he still have been conscious.  It was really hot outside).  Ryan was very frightened, red faced, sweaty, hot, and thirsty.  But after water and ice packs, he seemed to cool down just fine.  (I think it took Ryan's parents a little longer).  We have played through all of the what-ifs all week long.  What if Chad had not asked where Ryan was?  What if we had waited longer to go find him?   I am grateful that the Holy Ghost whispered in Chad's ear to go and find his son. On our own, it really could have been much longer before we realized he was missing, since we thought they were all playing together outside in the fenced in backyard or in the basement.   We had no way of knowing that things weren't fine, other than the spirit prompting Chad to look for Ryan. After everyone else went home, we gathered our children together and knelt in family prayer expressing our gratitude for the protection Heavenly Father offered our family that day.  (Followed by a very serious conversation about how dangerous it is to play in vehicles). 

We had promised the kids we would take them to the Symphony Outdoor Concert for a picnic that night. It was movie themed and they were to wear costumes.  To be quite honest, I really didn't feel like going anymore.  I was emotionally drained and still not really calmed down yet.  (I know Andrew is just 5 and nothing about the incident was intentional, but I was still struggling with feeling angry and scared and mad at myself for not going to look with Chad, but sending him while I stayed inside.  A week has given me lots of time to calm down and gain perspective.  But at the time, it was a really big deal still).   However, I didn't think it would be fair to back out of my promise, just because I was a basket case.  I am glad we went.  It turns out that the concert was exactly what we needed.  A beautiful evening outside with yummy snacks, music, and most importantly, each other. 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

"How's Ryan Doing?"

Ryan playing dress up and actually getting to be Buzz.
Ryan happily painted for an hour one morning.
We visited a farmer's market in the mountains with friends.
Picking Peaches
eating peaches
First Day of Mommy and Me
We read Mouse Paint and then danced in paint while we pretended to be mice.
Ryan asked to have his train set pulled out.
playing at the park
Helping Mommy make a snack for a playdate
Ryan getting to be the big brother and pushing Molly's stroller as we go to pick up Andrew from school.
The question "How is Andrew liking kindergarten?" is usually followed by "How is Ryan doing?"  So, I thought I would show everyone how Ryan is doing.  The above pics were all taken over the past two weeks that Andrew has been in school.    I had been so concerned over how Ryan would handle Andrew's absence.  I seriously braced myself for Ryan to become deeply depressed.  However, all my worrying was needless. Ryan is doing great!  He is happy and talkative and is sharing all of the things he used to share with Andrew, with me!  (So I am doing great, too).  It is so fun to get to know Ryan.  He is such a fun little guy.  I love that he actually wants to play with ME!  (at least for the few hours Andrew is at school.  I am not delusional enough to believe that if given the choice, I would be first). :)

Ryan misses his brother.  He asked me yesterday why Andrew had to live at school all of the time.  But then he followed it up with the question, "Why can't his teacher just drive him home so we don't have to go there EVERYDAY to get him?"  He hugs Andrew and follows him around the rest of the day until bedtime.  But while Andrew is at school, Ryan is enjoying being the biggest at home.

The first day Andrew was at school Ryan crawled up in my lap and whispered very urgently in my ear, "Mommy, I don't really like Star Wars.  Andrew does.  But I like Elmo and trains."  It was so cute, he was so hesitant to tell me, but so earnestly wanting me to know that he was NOT Andrew, and had his own likes.  We popped in an Elmo movie and pulled out his trains.  He has a fun time ever since that first day letting Ryan choose what we do while Molly naps in the morning.