Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ryan - 9 Months

Dear Ryan,

Wow, 9 months already! Very soon you'll have been on the outside of me longer than you were inside. I look at you and I'm astonished at how much you've grown, and how much you've accomplished this month.

One very notable thing this month is you nearly always have your little feet crossed when you are in a sitting position. So very cute!
Your laughing face.
Your eyes are very blue but I can't really figure out what color your hair is. Sometimes blond, sometimes brown, and occasionally red in direct sunlight.
Nap times happen twice a day, and you will either have a long one in the morning and a short one in the afternoon, or a short one in the morning and a long one in the afternoon.
You really started moving around this month, first by pushing yourself backwards, then twirling yourself from place to place while in a seated position, and then, the last 4 days, officially crawling! We put the gate up on the top of the stairs mid-month, and it was perfect timing!
You weren't sure what to make of the gate at first, but now you're just so excited about being able to move around that you don't make anything of it. It has been so cute to have you crawl to us when we are in another spot in the room.
Even though you are mobile, I still love carrying you when you need it.
Daddy is your favorite person at the moment. You reach out for him whenever you can which is good since Mama has had to work many hours this month!
But you also LOVE to play with Jake. The other morning Jake realized that this cardboard box was the perfect size, so we put you in it and Jake pushed you around. How you laughed!! Jake loves it that he can play with you more as you get bigger and stronger.
You two sure make cute brothers.
Lots else has been going on! The funniest thing in the beginning of the month was when you started shaking your head. There didn't seem to be any reason for it except you liked the sensation and it would elicit smiles and mimicry from us. You also discovered clapping, and love it when we do 'Patty Cake.' You will ask us to do it 3 times in a row. As for toys, what you most love right now is balls, any size balls. You figured out how to roll/toss the ball to us and we roll it back to you. Right now it seems that you do that about 10 times a day, a few times with each of us!
You're a fantastic eater and drinker. You love cold tea infusions and will reach for the cup every time Mama or Daddy is drinking. Just like your big brother, you are a huge fan of strawberries, but will also happily eat artichoke, black olives, pickles, melon, cucumber, red bell pepper, O's, apples and a few other things of which I can't think. Avocado and beans are sometimes a hit, sometimes not. Potatoes and rice are a no. And still no teeth!
Communication has taken a big leap this month. After taking a hiatus from signing for awhile, it came back this month. You sign Mama and Daddy and milk pretty regularly. We have also seen pickle, more (once), ball, and bed. You have also said Mommy! All very exciting.

Ryan, we LOVE having you in this family. You are such a joy to be around, and I am so glad you are my baby.
Love, Mama

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Elowah Falls Hike

The 4 Vees went on a day hike to Elowah Falls which is on the Oregon side of the Columbia River. We hiked just over 2 miles, total, which is pretty good for a 5-year old's legs!

I carried Ryan on the way in, and Mike carried him on the way out. Turns out that Ryan is more comfortable on the shoulders/back than a backpack!
We found a nice, sunny spot to picnic by the water. Jake was delighted and spent almost the whole time throwing rocks into the water.
Silly baby tasting a rock.
After having our lunch, taking a little break from rock-throwing.
My view while eating lunch.

Hiking back, Jake was tired (read: bored). So we had him see how fast he could get to the top of the switchback trail, then found him a walking stick which was cool for about half a mile, then had him count to 100. By the time he finished counting, the car was in sight. Success!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Jake's FIVE!

Dear Jake,

You turned FIVE years old. This is so amazing to me. I literally see you growing before my eyes. As you approached FIVE, I saw you grow taller, you reached 40 pounds, your hair grew longer, and your questions and observations grew deeper and broader. It is such a pleasure to converse with you and to talk about our day. At dinner time we ask each other "What was your favorite part of the day?"
You are a very, very social person; your teacher called you a "social butterfly." There are constant demands for playdates, and you love them every time. Most frequently you play with Cole...
...and Skylar. And of course you all think that superheros are awesome. You are pretty awesome when playing -- I can see you using your imaginations, role-playing, and problem solving all at once. Sometimes you and your friends make up really cool games -- earlier in the year Mama had made a few treasure hunts for you, with you following the clues to something at the end. You and Skylar one day made a combination 'Blue's Clues' and treasure hunt game, which was so neat to see!
Most days you are Mama's little helper. You are often in the mood to help cook, sweep the floor, pick things up, water plants, and other little tasks around the house. I love it when we get to do those things together.
Your second year of preschool at the Montessori school was wonderful, with you becoming more of a leader in your class -- a sweet one at that as you are so very kind to your classmates, and have been known to tell someone that they were missed after they return from vacation. Besides your classmates, your favorite part of school was "lessons from Teacher Lydia." Being shown how to do new things would often have you coming home excitedly saying "I had a lesson today!"
Earlier in the year you were really into numbers. On a daily basis you were asking us "what is five plus three?" and having us write them down (it was pretty funny when you would write "10,000 plus 1" and other such big but simple numbers. But this was all part of your learning about numbers, and it was so delightful to see. And you're READING! This is so exciting! You primarily read books and your High Five magazines, and have started reading a few baby books to Ryan which I adore. With Mama and Daddy you read a wide variety of books but your favorite of all is any of the 8 books in the Captain Underpants series. We don't mind because the books are fun for us to read, too. However, I am about to get out the Chronicles of Narnia and I hope you will enjoy me reading them to you! Other things you did this year -- you are funny about colors. For awhile your favorite color was red. Then yellow. Then it would change on a daily basis! When not doing numbers, or reading, or playing games, you love to watch Busytown or to read those books. But your most favorite new thing this year -- Legos. You are now building quite a Lego collection of your own, and you and Daddy love to build vehicles -- airplanes, cars, trucks, rocket ships, etc. with the Legos. You two have a fantastic time in that world together.
My beautiful, brown-eyed, five-year-old firstborn son, everyday you teach me so much. I love being your Mama. You are full of the need to cuddle, snuggle, kiss, and hug, every day and it is the sweetest thing. Ryan couldn't have asked for a better big brother -- you include him in all that you do and talk with him and sing to him, especially in the car. Mama and Daddy are so lucky to have you in our lives. We love you.

Jake's 5th Birthday Party

Jake's birthday party! It was a superhero party and guests were asked to come as either a generic or character superhero. The birthday boy is Spider-Man.
The set-up in the background was the first game of the party -- an obstacle course.
The end of the course was this bad-guy (bad-guy used to be a nice disco dancer but, with the help of a black sharpie marker, my mom and I turned him into bad-guy.) The kids loved running around the obstacle course, whacking the bad-guy, and going around again. And again!
Mike as The Flash.
The little superheros! Kasey, Skylar, Jake, Cole, Kingsley, and Caitlin.
Ryan and Grandpa with the decapicated bad-guy.
Inside, Gramma lead the game 'pin the badge on the superhero.'
We made the superhero using Jake as the outline to trace. The kids all thought it was pretty cool (and harder than it looks!)
Me and baby Superman.

The last game was sort of a treasure hunt, but for the missing cake.

The kids ran all over hunting down Mrs. Evil and finding clues.

There was a clue across the street...
One by the bird feeder...
They really got into it and it was so cool to see all of them working on reading and figuring out the clues. There were two older sisters there as well, and they helped read the harder words. Total win!

Another in the oven...
By the apple tree...

The fireplace had a clue...
Then up the street to Skylar's house.
Mrs. Evil ended up dropping off the cake and fleeing.
So we sang Happy Birthday.

And had a vanilla cake with strawberries.

Then it was time for presents.
Calendar from Gramma and Grandpa.
Then outside to play!

Baby Superman chasing the other superheros around!

Jake modeling my Wonder Woman mask.
It was a great party!!