Saturday, April 30, 2011

Future Minnesota Twins...


...Pinch Runner

...Dugout Cheering Section

...Grounds Keeper
...Rowdy Fan


Tee Ball

On Easter weekend, Ryan got to try out his new tee-ball set with Adam and it looks like he's got the hang of it!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Baby Kitties!

Today at lunchtime, Grandpa had a surprise for Ryan! A cat that had been hanging around the yard lately had some babies and moved them into the barn during the recent wet weather. For some reason, mother cats have deemed the front feed room of the barn the perfect place to raise their babies for the past 25+ years. Ryan was excited to go on an adventure with Grandpa.

 The mama cat was protective, but grandpa managed to retrieve one kitten for Ryan to see up close.
 He wasn't too sure what to think, but managed to pet the kitten "niiiice" like we practice doing with Nika. It was sooo soft!
After the kitten, we had a hard time convincing Ryan to come back inside. What a gorgeous day today!
Now all we need are names for the new furry felines!
Leave a comment with suggestions for the 3 orange, 2 gray, and 1 tri-color kittens.

In the running for me:
Orange 1: Madge
Orange 2: Midge
Orange 3: Dreamsickle
Gray 1:Tiggs
Gray 2: Biggs
Tri-Color: Stew Pot


I love this picture but can't help but think he looks like a 1980's board game cover model. Maybe something like this:
Or this:

Or perhaps he could be one of the "cute boy cards" in this game:

But I immediately thought he'd make a perfect cover boy for one of my childhood favorites: four favorite board games.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Family Easter Time

This weekend provided multiple opportunities to spend time with Adam's brother and sister-in-law and with his grandparents who were here for Easter.  Ryan had a great time reading, doing puzzles, and playing toys with all of them.

He can now say "Keem" and "Uncle Andy" and kept asking for them, probably because he knows they're always good for another look at a pop-up book or an animal sounds book. We had a great time and hope to visit Andy and Kim soon to go to the zoo and Great-Grandpa and Great-Grandma's farm sometime this summer.

We also enjoyed Easter morning services at the church where Adam's dad is the pastor. We always enjoy hearing his messages.

Above are a few photos of the family time (click the picture for a larger view).

Easter 2011

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Shoot 4 a Cure

Saturday night we attended the 9th Annual "Shoot 4 a Cure". This event brings together basketball alumni from our High School to raise money for cancer research. It is organized in remembrance of  Brent Marra, who was a classmate of Adam's and a star basketball player at our high school. It was a successful event, raising over $9000 and we had a great time catching up with former classmates!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Get a Load of These Two

Tonight we met with friends for Pizza Ranch buffet where Ryan acted like he hadn't eaten in days, downing 2 pieces of "peet-zaaaaahhh!", 2 Ranch Sticks, mashed "po-toes", applesauce, and grapes. We are thankful for the family-friendliness of the Ranch! Ryan was also excited to see his friend, Natalie. He refers to all little blonde girls in books as "Nat-a-lie" and LOVES playing with her. As you can see from the picture above, they are quite the pair!

Here are a few more pictures of the blonde duo in action.

Easter Crafts

It is a brave teacher and good-humored janitorial staff who will allow glitter and glue in the hands of one-year-olds, but Ryan sure loves "arts & crafts" at daycare!  Yesterday he brought home a few of his recent projects which included a yellow foam egg covered in glitter swirls, a wooden egg ornament also covered in glitter with his name, an Easter basket with yarn handle, and a bunny he colored and decorated with Easter stickers! He daily report also noted that they played with shaving cream on Wednesday and "Ryan really liked it!" They also played with wooden puzzles and did some art!

He was sure proud to show me all his projects. He carried around the egg and called it "pretty". He hugged the bunny and demonstrated how it goes "hop, hop, hop!"

We are very appreciative of the lengths his daycare goes to in order to allow the kids to explore the "arts" and use their creativity!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

How much fun can one table be?

Ryan's Step 2 table and chairs were recently brought back up from the basement and we decided to let him use his imagination instead of insisting the table be used in the "right" way.
Flip it upside down and pretend it's a tippy boat? 
 Aye, Aye, Captain!

Jump on it like a trampoline while holding on to the legs?
 Bounce away!

Occasionally stray off the coloring page onto the surface of the table?

Keep it up, Picasso. 
This is one of the things I love about buying things on garage can actually enjoy their toys because we're not worried about dinging or scuffing or "ruining" a big investment. Those faces and gales of laughter are worth every penny!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Stuff Christians Like: Top Ten

Since writing six thank-you notes, balancing my checkbook (a.k.a. using the online bank statement to write in my registry every debit card transaction, automatic payment and online bill-pay for the past 2 months), updating my Microsoft Money and ING accounts, and planning my entire financial future took up the majority of my night after the munchkin went to bed,  I'm too tired to go edit photos or write funny blog posts, so I'll leave it in the hands of my new favorite blog author, Jon Acuff.

I've now mentioned him for the 87th time so if you're still on the fence about reading Stuff Christians Like, I highly recommend today's post which lists the Top 10 Posts of All Time. It gives you a taste of what people like about Stuff Christians Like. If you don't like it (and you might not), I will classify your sense of humor as "cautious" bordering on "I watch the Red Green Show." If you think he's a genius, you may rank up there with "smart satire" bordering on "I feel guilty for reading Hyberbole and a Half because of all the swearing a such but dang it's funny stuff."

My favorite Jon Acuff post is Understanding how metrosexual your worship leader is (a handy guide).  I haven't been to Orchard Hill in a while, but history shows they'd have 1 or 2 guys ranking right up there. Adam used to be a worship leader in our church and he ranks about a 1 only because he wears jeans and we recently gave away his Grizzly Adams shirt which was navy, not red and black. But it's funny to think of him rocking a scarf and white belt.

And if you're 45+ and have never heard of the term metrosexual, do not panic and think your high-ranking worship leader is into guys.  He's most likely not. Read the definition of a "metro" in Urban Dictionary.

And then promise you'll never use any words from Urban Dictionary in public.

Although I did love one of their words of the day:
intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Charlie Brown Goes to France

If Charlie Brown lived in France, would his name be pronounced "Charl" like Charl Schwartzel, winner of the 2011 Master's Golf Tournament?  Would Lucy pull away a soccer ball instead of a pigskin? Would he wear a yellow cycling jersey with a crooker black line through the center? Would he yell "Bon Chagrin!" instead of "Good Grief!"?

All important questions, but one thing I know for sure is that when you mix Charlie Brown pie crust with French Silk Pie, you get all kinds of fluffy chocolately loveliness with a peanut buttery graham cracker crunch. This is what I brought to work last week for my birthday treats not out of culinary genius, but out of "I started after 8pm and had to make do with the ingredients I had on hand." Since I did have hordes of fans (2) asking for the recipe and was going to type it out anyway and don't have much else to do besides making 3-letter words plural to get 4-letter words on Kindle's "Every Word", here is my recipe mashup!

Charlie Brown Goes to France

Charlie Brown Pie Crust
2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/2 c. sugar
3/4 c. peanut butter
3 T. butter
Melt peanut butter and butter; mix in sugar and crackers. Press into a 9x13 pan.
French Silk Pie Filing
1 1/2 c. butter or margarine
2 1/2 c. sugar
4 sq. unsweetened baking chocolate, melted
3 tsp. vanilla
6 eggs
1 carton whipped cream
Mini chocolate chips or shaved chocolate

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add melted chocolate and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating 5 minutes after each addition (this is very important). Pour into crust, refrigerate a little while, then top with whipped cream and garnish with chocolate chips or shaved chocolate. Refrigerate.

  • Using a hand mixer for this recipe is like using a salad fork to pitch out a free-stall barn. Not recommended. I used my Cuisinart 7qt stand mixer although a smaller bowl should work fine.
  • I used the food processor attachment for my Cuisinart to make the graham cracker crumbs, but a Pampered Chef chopper or even a Ziplock bag and a rolling pin would do the trick.
  • You can halve the filling and put it in a regular baked pie shell or a purchased graham cracker crust.
  • For those of you who lack math or planning skills, 5 minutes per egg means your mixer will be running for about 30 minutes. So don't start 15 minutes before The Office starts. Not that I did.
  • If the French Silk Pie is too time-consuming, you can make the original Charlie Brown Pie by mixing 1 large box instant chocolate pudding with 2 1/4 c. milk, spreading it over the crust and topping with a carton of Cool Whip. Come to think of it, that sounds a lot easier.
I do not have a picture of the finished product because after 4 days it looks a bit meltery. This is a word it sounds like my niece, Emily, would think up. Imaginary, but accurate.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Birthiversary Weekend

Saturday was my 29th birthday and Sunday was our 7th anniversary! Adam has always remembered that part of the deal of agreeing to get married one day after my 22nd birthday was that there would be no "combining" birthday and anniversary gifts/meals. So, this year he arranged for us to go away for a night for our anniversary. He had grand plans for biking, hiking, and picnicking but the sub-40-degree temps put a serious cramp in those plans. Instead, we dropped Ryan and Nika off at Adam's parents, had a wonderful lunch at Panera Bread, then caught a matinee of Soul Surfer. We loved the movie and highly recommend it!

After the movie we went to the mall for the first time in years so I could spend the birthday money from my mom on some new clothes. I was joking with my co-workers the other day that I should probably take the hint when my mom insists I buy new clothes (and gives me the money to do it). I did end up finding some respectable work clothes at Maurice's and then we got out of the insanity of the Sx Falls mall on a Saturday and checked into our hotel.

Adam brought me to Foley's for my birthday and it was nice to have a calm, quiet, delicious meal that didn't involve picking Ryan's fork off the floor or elbowing Nika to keep her down from the high chair.  We decided to stop at Cold Stone for dessert and although I cannot recommend the Rich Mocha Sweet Cream Blended Latte that I had, Adam loved his cake batter with peanut butter cups. Obviously.

I got to open my birthday gift on Saturday night and Adam surprised me with a Kindle! I was very surprised and very happy (and it negated the "no combining birthday and anniversary gifts" rule).

It was delightful to sleep in the next morning but after breakfast we checked out and did some more shopping. We couldn't find a Chinese restaurant that didn't look 6 kinds of shady, so we decided to go to HuHot for lunch. Adam had never experienced this "build your own stir-fry" Mongolian grill before and loved it!

We headed back to Hometown and enjoyed supper and Ho-Ho bars with Adam's parents. They also gave me a purple M-Edge Kindle jacket! Now I just have to download some books and find time to read! Seriously it will be so handy, though, when I travel and especially for reading outside like on vacation this summer.

Thanks, Adam, for planning a lovely weekend, for my Kindle, and most of all for 7 wonderful years of marriage! I love you!

Unbelievable Weather!

April 17th, 2004 was a lovely, beautiful, warm Spring day in Iowa.
April 17th, 2011 looked like this:

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Page Turner

One of Ryan's favorite books to "read" at my Mom's house is Carl's Afternoon in the Park.  She sometimes licks her finger to help turn the glossy pages and discovered that Ryan starting imitating her, touching his finger to his lips as they paged through the book.

This week I caught him reading "Moose Muffie" (If You Give a Moose a Muffin) and he was dutifully licking his whole hand between each page. This might explain the sticky pages (and it isn't the blackberry jam).

18 Month Checkup

Ryan had his 18 Month Checkup this afternoon. He measured 33" tall which put him between the 50th and 75th percentile. He weighed in at 30.5 lbs. which puts him in the 90th to 95th percentile according to this calculator but was above the 98th percentile on the Doctor's chart. The nurse practitioner didn't seem too concerned and said once the weather is nice he'll probably run a lot of it off. He doesn't seem to eat THAT much to me and doesn't get much junk food at all, but we might have to be sneakier about getting veges into his diet (he'll put them in his mouth but won't chew and swallow) and cut down some of the cheese.

We tried on a few of the 24m clothes I just picked up at garage sales and found out that the sleeveless shirts were WAY too tight on his belly (although 24m shorts look gangsta) so we might have to look into 2T shirts for our stocky little man.

I also picked up some "Love and Logic" CDs at garage sales and we're working on implementing some of the techniques, but to Ryan's (highly vocal) displeasure. We hope to make meal times involve a little less throwing and interaction with Nika involve a little less hitting. We'll let you know how it turns out, or you'll probably see for yourselves if you ever see us in a Pizza Ranch near you.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Buckets of Fun

 This is a common picture of Ryan's relationship to all things "bucketed".

1. Figure out how to unlatch bucket lid.
2. Dump contents towards/on self.
3. Empty!

Sometimes this is followed by...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Two is Better than One

When you ask Ryan if he wants a drink, he will usually answer with, "Milk...Juice." And that's exactly what he means. Once the fridge is open, he'll reach for his milk and then insist on the juice too. (Juice is usually a little Apple or White Grape Juice diluted with lots of water, for all your dentists reading.)  He likes to carry around both and switch between the two.

He has the same habit with his "my" (pacifier). Lately when we lay him down in his crib, he pops one "my" into his mouth and immediately begins searching for another. He will call for a "my" even with one already in his mouth. We found he likes to hold the other "my" presumably as a comfort item but also because he likes to switch between the two. We've been having him throw his "my" back into the crib when we get him up in the morning instead of us forcing it out of his mouth. He does several "pump fakes" before he actually throws it and several times he throws one in only to pop into his mouth the one he'd been hiding in his other hand.

I guess in his mind, two is always better than one.