Wednesday, October 31, 2012


I don't know that Ryan really understands any sort of meaning of "Halloween" (he thinks it's just called "trick or treating" or "costume party") but I do know that there is no acceptable "costume" besides Batman. I had planned on him wearing a Spiderman costume that I got with some other clothes from a friend, but after hearing how he insists on being Batman whenever they play Super Heroes at his daycare, I knew we'd never get away with being Spidey.  I decided to bite the bullet and spend some birthday money he got on a full-fledge Batman costume, knowing he'd have lots of fun playing with it after Halloween was over.

 Thank goodness for my mom's Amazon Prime which got me free shipping just in the nick of time. I'm glad I let Ryan look at the possibilities online too, because he was very specific in wanting the BLUE one with the MUSCLES!  I have to admit, it's pretty cute on and he truly loves it! He strikes a pose and runs around like a real super hero saying "blam blam blam bad guys!" I got a size he can grow into too, so unless his interests change, don't be surprised if he's the same caped crusader next year.

On Halloween, he had fun wearing the costume at daycare for a while, then after a quick supper, I took him over to my cousins' house to bring them the monster cookies Ryan and I had made and to get a special treat. We hit a few downtown businesses and then just went up and back our one block. He had fun going around to the houses, especially, so I think we'll just stick to our neighborhood next year instead of going downtown. Since we weren't home to give out much candy, I brought along a bag and "reverse trick-or-treated" at a few of our neighbors who have kids. He got enough treats to ration out over the next few weeks but didn't go overboard.

Once Adam got home from football, we headed to Sioux Center for the Hallelujah Party hosted by Bridge of Hope Church at the Dordt Rec Center. Ryan loved playing a wide variety of carnival games and earned a lot of "small, medium, or large" prize tickets which he traded in for things like ring pops, "lema-lems", sticky frog, plastic dinosaur, Chinese yo-yo, etc. We appreciate all the work that goes into this event and know many families appreciate this fun, safe alternative.

Ryan was especially happy to be able to show Grandpa and Grandma his costume (even if he wasn't fully cooperative for pictures in it) and play lots of games with them.

I think he had a very full, very fun day!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Change of Weekend Plans

Ryan and I had been looking forward to going to my sister's this weekend to celebrate my niece's 6th birthday. Ryan had been counting down all week and mentioned it every day. So, when I woke up at 5am on Saturday morning throwing up, all I could think of was how disappointed he'd be if he couldn't go. I tried to fight through it and took a shower, starting to get ready (I'm a big believer in "if you don't act sick, you don't feel sick") but as it got closer to 7:00, and I continued to throw up every half hour, I realized there was no way I could survive a 4-hour drive and shouldn't bring my germs into another household.  When Ryan came up the stairs he said, "I'm all ready to go to Emily and Lincoln's house! I am so lucky!" When I told him that Mommy was feeling sick and I didn't think I could go, you should have seen his lip quiver. He said, "But who is going to bring me?"  Luckily, I'd been texting my mom and she graciously offered to take Ryan along with her and my dad even though I couldn't go. In the end, I figured it was for the best--not only would Ryan still get to have his fun weekend, but we could keep him away from whatever bug I had and I'd hopefully be able to get some rest and get over it quickly. (Adam was gone for the day, late into the night since their game was in Mitchell).

So, Ryan headed off with Grandpa and Grandma by 8:30am and I spent most of the day in bed. I am so glad he got to go because from the text updates my mom sent, he had a great time.
Ryan and Lincoln racing Plasma cars.

Helping Aunt Megan decorate Emily's cake.

Lincoln and Ryan "cleaning" the frosting spoons

Frosting Face
Emily's Star Cake.

Grandpa playing "horse".
Sending us a "good-night" picture from the hotel.

On Sunday, they went to church and had Emily's party and are on their way home. I can't wait to hear all about it from Ryan! As disappointed as I am in having to miss this fun weekend, I am just grateful that my parents were able to take Ryan along and honestly, being sick is a lot more manageable if you are home all alone and not responsible for keeping a 3-year-old entertained (letting the dog out was as much as I could handle yesterday).  My goal for the day was to keep myself out of the hospital for dehydration, so I finally got some Powerade and then soup to stay down at about 5:00pm. I never did sleep all day, but got a good night's rest, went to church, and took another nap after dinner, so I'm on the mend. It made be so grateful that I've never had to be put on bed rest during pregnancy because after just 1 day of sitting/lying around, my hips and back ached so much and I felt like I lost so much strength. I am also grateful that this bug, or whatever it was, lasted less than 24 hours and didn't require anything more than rest, liquids, and waiting it out. So, not the weekend I planned for, but I still have a lot to be thankful for. Sorry I missed your party, Emily! I hope you have a great birthday week!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Batman Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkin

Ryan conned Adam's parents into leaving him one of the pumpkins they got at Pumpkin Land a few weeks ago and I've been wanting to carve it ever since. Since this was the first time I've been home in 3 days, I thought it would be a fun thing to tackle tonight and would help Ryan get his mind off the Batman costume he wouldn't stop begging for.

Last year I did 3 pumpkins, a beagle plus Dwight & Jim from the office. This year, I let Ryan pick the theme. Guess what he chose?

Here's the process:
After coming up empty on free patterns on the internet, I finally just looked through a bunch of Google image results and Ryan picked a Batman head & shoulder shot plus the iconic bat sign and I improvised from there. After resizing and printing a quick draft of the images, we started carving in the garage. I used this tip from Pinterest to cut the lid in the pumpkin and it was much handier having more access to scraping as well as lighting the candle!

Ryan quickly lost interest since he couldn't touch the knives and decided the insides were "yucky" so he entertained himself driving various vehicles and strollers around the garage, messing with the fake worms and very real hooks on the fishing poles, and attempting to take pictures with the camera.

Although most of the photos looked something like this...

...he did manage to get a few of the actual process: 

The final product didn't turn out too bad and Ryan thought it was pretty cool, so I think that's what counts!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Weekend Football: 3 for 3

Life seems to revolve around football this fall and this was never more true than this past weekend when I attended 3 football games in 3 days--high school, college, and pro! Here's an overview:

Game #1

Teams: Dutch vs. Warriors
Kickoff: 7:00pm Friday
Weather: 41 degrees and misting ("Broccoli Rain" as one of my co-workers would describe it--like the mist grocery stores spray on the broccoli just as you're reaching for it)
My Highlight: A stuffed punt by the son of one of my co-workers, getting to hang out with my cousin and her family. Also, hearing Ryan (who does not have a good "r" sound) yelling "Tackle the Woh-wee-oohs!"
Ryan's Highlight: Skittles, watching my cousin Colin play, and the Marching band
Lowlight: Besides the weather, Ryan descended into major meltdown mode by the 3rd quarter so we threw in the towel and went home in the 4th. Also realized his haircut scheduled for the next morning would be coming none-too-soon.
Outcome: DUTCH WIN! They not only improved their record to 5-4 and beat their big-time rivals, but they also made the playoffs!

Game #2

Teams: Raiders vs. Chargers
Kickoff: 1:00pm Saturday
Weather: 62 degrees and sunny (what a different a day makes!)
My Highlight: NWC had over 500 yards of offense and were leading halftime!
Ryan's Highlight: Skittles, seeing Daddy since he was on the sidelines instead of up in the box during this game, reciting the entire story of "The Three Billy Goats Gruff" to the guy from church standing next to us (who was pretty entertained by it). He also loved dancing around in the back of the van before we left to go home (see video)
Lowlight: Afternoon games are during prime naptime for Ryan and by the 2nd quarter, he was laying on the ground and begging to be covered in a blanket. We left at halftime so he could take a nap before Abbie and Saylor came over.
Outcome: RAIDERS WIN and advanced 2 spots on the polls.

Game #3

Teams: Vikings vs. Cardinals

Kickoff: 12:00pm Sunday
Weather: Perfect, since it was in the dome! It was also pretty perfect outside-70's and sunny!
My Highlight: It was my first NFL game ever, I was there on a work trip so it was free (we had a big meeting the next day), and every time the Gjallerhorn sounded, I pictured someone standing up and yelling, "For Narnia!" It was actually pretty fun and I really hope Adam gets a chance to go sometime.
Lowlight: I got carsick on the way up to the game and feel bad for the dozen or more people in the Holiday parking lot who watched me only kind-of make it to the trashcan in front of the gas station to puke. I even had to change shirts after the incident--it was that bad. It was not one of my prouder moments. I never did eat lunch and was STARVING by supper time (when Old Spaghetti factory made me so full I had to waddle back to the hotel). Also, I was about 14 seats in from the aisle so only went to the bathroom once where there were 35 women in line outside the restroom and it wasn't even halftime Not joking. Not cool for a 32-week preggo woman who's been holding it for a good 20 minutes just to avoid making everyone stand up.

I'm not saying I'm a good luck charm or anything, but my teams WERE 3 for 3 this weekend with me in the stands!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

More Sprinkles!

On Saturday morning, I decided that instead of throwing away all the leftover odds and ends of frosting in the fridge, Ryan and I should bake some cupcakes! He was a willing helper (if by willing you mean sticking his fingers in EVERYTHING) and we ended up with red, green, white, and orange cupcakes. He was most interested in putting sprinkles on all of them!

Finally, after lunch, it was time to test them out! 

I'm pretty sure he lickd all the frosting off the top and then asked me to re-frost it so he could put more sprinkles on and start again. To him, cupcakes are simply a more acceptable frosting vehicle. I should have just saved the time and cake mix and handed him a spoon!

We enjoyed sharing them with Abbie and Saylor at supper that night and I have to say, they tasted pretty great. The secret is adding a cup of sour cream and a tsp of vanilla to the regular cake mix recipe, plus making the Wilton Buttercream frosting with half vanilla flavoring and half almond. Yum!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Weekend Update

Friday night we hosted about 2 dozen of the Offensive Linemen/Tightends. Want to know how much they eat? Three crockpots of chili, one crockpot of vegetable beef soup, 1.5 boxes of crackers, 8 cups of shredded cheese, 4 dozen BBQ pork buns, 4 gallons of lemonade, and 2.5 pans of bars. Ryan was SO excited to have all the Raiders at his house. He was showing them all his Spiderman car, challenging them to tackle, and asking where their helmets were. They guys did a great job of humoring Ryan and they appreciated the meal.

Saturday Adam and the guys left at 5:20am for their football game, and unfortunately, ended up losing by 1 point. That must have been a long bus ride back from Seward, NE and he didn't get home until a little before 9:00.  Meanwhile, I dropped Ryan off for a fun day with Adam's parents while I had show choir practice. Practice went well, even though it lasted 5.5 hours, but my quads have been SO sore since then that I seriously have trouble walking. I guess when I choreographed tons of lunges, I forgot I would be teaching it with a built-in 25 lb. medicine ball. It's pathetic, but I actually had to alternate warm baths with ice packs just to be able to navigate stairs and/or stand up from any seated position.

In addition to all the fun toys and playdoh at Grandpa and Grandma's, Ryan also took a trip to Pumpkinland with them. On Saturday, they had a model train display that Ryan was enthralled with. He did help pick out a pumpkin and got to hold the kitties again, but his favorite thing was...pony rides! This was his first time ever riding on a pony or horse and apparently he loved it! He had a fun day and finally crashed a little before 4:00...and crashed hard.  At 6:00 I had to carry him from his bed to the van so we could make it to supper on time. We met my parents, Abbie, Wade, and Saylor at Los Tulipanes to celebrate my mom and sisters' birthdays. We always have good food there, even if the kids get restless, and it was fun to spend time together.

Sunday morning brought another milestone for Ryan. Since he's now 3, he got to go to the new "Sunday School" class at church (held during church) instead of the 0-2 year old nursery. He did great transitioning and had a great time playing, singing songs, and making a craft. From the craft, I'm guessing they learned about Joseph, but he gave us a big sermon about OBEYING God AND your mom & dad. Hope that one sinks in...soon.

It took over 2 hours for him to go down for a nap on Sunday, but once he crashed, he crashed hard again and woke up 15 minutes before we had to leave for Small Group. We are joining a new Small Group at church and enjoyed meeting the other couples and their kids on Sunday night.

After a busy weekend, I headed to bed early (and iced my aching legs again). The weekends go so fast lately, but it makes waiting for the baby pass more quickly too. I am trying to soak in these last few months with just Ryan at home because I know life is about to change!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies

Q) How do you make 20 beautiful women swoon?

A) Bring these bars to Bible Study at the office.

After one of my co-workers brought these bars to work, we raved about them all afternoon and begged for the recipe.

I was happy to discover they are easy to make and really hit the spot for those who love eating cookie dough but don't want to risk salmonella poisoning from consuming raw eggs (not that it usually stops me from cleaning out the brownie batter bowl).

Keep in mind that you need some time for the brownies to cool, so you have to plan ahead a little. These are great for making in the evening if needed the next day. I think they taste best refrigerated with a cold glass of milk!

Cookie Dough Topped Brownies

1 (9x13) box brownie mix (plus eggs, oil, and water, as required)

½ cup butter
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup sugar
3 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1 cup chocolate chips

Make brownie mix according to package, bake in 9x13 pan & cool.
Topping: mix together & spread on top of the brownies.


I have been wanting an ipad for a long time and tried really hard to win a video contest last Spring that my company put on. I didn't win the ipad then, but did win the 2nd and 3rd place prize (totallying $350 in gift cards). Well, it turns out it was all for the best! Last week I got an email from one of our vendors that was almost too good to be true.  They had conducted an email survey a few weeks earlier about their services and I had participated in it.  I try to be helpful in marketing-type surveys, especially if its a vendor I deal with a lot and have ideas for ways they could improve :).  The incentive they offered on this survey was the chance to win a new ipad, and guess whose name they drew?!

My new toy arrived this week and I've enjoyed finding a few apps for Ryan (his favorite so far is PocketPond2 where you can feed some realistic-looking koi and Make a Scene Farmyard where you place various farm animals into a scene while a guy in a British accent announced each animal "spotty horse!"). It's also nice to have another device to access the internet for recipes while cooking as well as facebook, twitter, and my latest time-sucker, BabyCenter.

I am so glad I didn't buy an ipad and am even glad I didn't win the contest last Spring because now I got the 3rd generation one, PLUS the gift cards. This is by far the biggest prize I've ever won and I'm trying not to take it for granted.

I don't have many apps and am open to suggestions for good (free) games for Ryan that he can do himself and are somewhat educational and helpful apps you use as an adult. Please comment with your favorites!

Sunday, October 7, 2012


Ryan had a great time playing with his cousins this weekend and is constantly asking how long it will be until we get to go to Emily and Lincoln's house. He especially wants to thank Emily and Lincoln for the Curious George Treasury Books they gave him for his birthday present--we have picked out a story to read from each of them every single night so far!  Thanks also to Grandpa and Grandma who put up with a lot of noise and mess to have all the kids enjoy themselves. And thanks to Saylor who is a trooper putting up with all the crazy big kids (and Ryan hugging her cheeks and calling her "Tookie").
Emily and Lincoln came to play at our house on Saturday morning and enjoyed checking out Ryan's toys, especially the farm animals and truck. They even braved the chilly weather to play on the swings and with his Stomp Rocket! We got together again for supper and for Sunday church and lunch. Ryan was content watching Emily set up the miniature farm set at my parents and kept telling her what a great job she was doing.

Ryan definitely has the hardest time getting along with other boys his age (Lincoln, and T from daycare) but seems to be fine with those older and younger than him...maybe because the ones most similar to him are the ones who want the same toys at the same time!

It was great having my sisters and all our kids together again and will look forward to Christmas when we can give the "grandkid picture" another go...hopefully next time there will be 5 in the shot!

Corn Stalk Cousins

After church on Sunday, Lincoln and Ryan decided they needed to go "feed Grandpa's cows" and dug right into the pile of corn stalks!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Raiders Win!

After playing with Emily and Lincoln all morning, Ryan and I braved the cold for most of the Raiders' football game in the afternoon. It was a good game (since they won) and tucked among the Homecoming crowd, the wind and cold wasn't too bad.  Ryan did pretty great (thanks to some Skittles) and of course, was excited to run on the field and see Daddy after the game!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies

For Breast Cancer Awareness Month, at the office we are wearing pink and enjoying "Think Pink" treats each Friday along with sending out some facts/information about Breast Cancer. Since the Party Planning Committee that I'm  a part of was the one who planned these events, I volunteered to make the treats one week. Since I had a bit of leftover frosting from Ryan's birthday cakes, I decided to try to make giant chocolate chip cookies that I could frost.  Luckily, I knew just where to get four 14" pizza pans and large pizza boxes :). 

I used this recipe from and should have paid more attention to the reviews/comments that suggested it makes a little more dough than short-lipped pizza pans can handle. If I had, I may not have had a house full of smoke and overflowed cookie dough burning to a crisp in the bottom of my oven.  So, my best advice is, if you double the recipe, this makes enough to fill two 14" pizza pans PLUS a 9" cake pan. Also, you have to bake them one at a time.  I also didn't bake them quite as long as the recipe calls for and they were a bit underdone which is how I like them!

After decorating, here's how they turned out:

Since we set them out on a Friday afternoon, there weren't enough people left in the office to finish them off, but I left some out for the weekend Cleaning Crew and put one in the fridge for Monday. Leftover treats always make Mondays better!

Since I learned my lesson with the first batch of overflowing dough, I pulled some dough out of the second double batch and made a 9" cookie. Using leftover frosting from Ryan's Red Raider football cake, I decorated this one with red and chocolate frosting to give to one of the linemen Adam coaches whose birthday it was this week (I usually send chocolate chip bars for birthdays). I'm not sure college guys appreciate decorating so much (they go for quantity over prettiness of food) but hopefully he enjoyed it!

I'll probably make these again, but only when I have frosting readily available!

Monday, October 1, 2012

3 Years Old

Ryan is an energetic three-year-old with lots of funny faces, funny voices, funny sayings, and funny stories. He has developed quite an imagination with stories focusing on super heroes, animals, and trips to places "far far away, across the ocean, we need to take an airplane and a helicopter, and a boat to get there." His stories are fun to listen to although he seems to clam up around unfamiliar people or will do a weird baby-talk thing while we are at the park using single syllables or noises and gestures instead of the full-on paragraphs that he uses when talking at home.

He loves being active, playing sports and wrestling, searching for bugs, playing at the park, and swinging on his swing set. Indoor activities still revolve around his farm animals and setting up various fences although he also likes playing with some of his Little People, like the nativity set or zoo animals.  He doesn't have much patience for coloring but likes putting stickers (a/k/a address labels) on the pages of his coloring book.

He usually watches half of Wild Kratts and half of Curious George in the morning while we get ready and will vividly repeat the animals facts he learned on Wild Kratts throughout the day. He watches a few other PBS shows throughout the week like Cat and the Hat, Sid the Science Kid, Word Girl, Super Why, or Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. Curious George books continue to be a favorite along with Clifford, his new Marley books, Farmer Brown goes Round and Round (I've heard him trying to repeat all the different mixed-up farm animal sounds), the Big Red Tractor by Francis Chan (he loves telling people that God made everything and that God will take care of us), and Three Billy Goats Gruff (in case you need an explanation of why he'll go around saying "Snip, Snap, Snout, this tale's told out).  I have a set of Disney movie books (Aladdin, Robin Hood, Lion King, Fox & the House, Pinnochio, Sleeping Beauty, etc.) that he likes to page through at night in bed but we're trying to enforce him laying down and trying to sleep by 9:00, otherwise he would stay up forever "reading."  He falls asleep to Go Fish's Splash CD most nights, but sometimes rotates a CD of Sunday School Songs they sing at nursery, Farm Animals, and Bob & Larry's Sunday School Favorites.

He loves to chase Nika and has to be reminded to be nice to her...often. Timeouts usually end in him giving a lengthy explanation, if not demonstration, of what he did wrong, what he should of done, and an apology to the victim and for not listening. So he knows what to we just have to work on doing it.

He's become a bit of a dawdler at mealtimes but overall he's a decent eater. His favorites are apples, string cheese (or any cheese), grapes, and Peanut Butter Captain Crunch and he's pretty good at eating vegetables.  His favorite "treats" at the moment are fruit snacks, Bomb Pops, and Skittles (at sporting events).  Getting him to sleep can be a bit of a chore at times, but once he's asleep he rarely gets up during the night, which I know we shouldn't take for granted. He's still taking a 2 hour nap in the afternoon most days and we all have a better day if he gets his regular nap in.  Just don't wake the bear when he's sleeping in the afternoon.

Potty training is going much better with big-boy underwear worn during most waking hours, including to daycare.  He's being stubborn about going #2 on the potty and holds it in too long, but has had some success recently and I think we're on the downward slope. Thank.Goodness.
At his 3-year checkup today, he measured 39.5" tall and weighed 37lbs. which puts him in the 90-95th percentile for both height and weight for boys his age. He's wearing all 3T clothes but snapping pants just might not be in the cards for him at this point--elastic only (this mama knows how that feels :)).

Ryan is still acting excited about the baby and will ask questions about it (Mommy, when you eat, does the food fall on the baby?) or tell people about the baby in mommy's tummy. He got to feel the baby kick this week and told me the baby must be doing somersaults! (I concur).

It's been a fun 3 years and it's hard to believe this is the same tiny person I held in my arms 3 years ago, not knowing what in the world I was getting into, but I can say we've definitely been blessed by the journey and by the joy he brings to our lives!

Ryan's Birthday

Today was Ryan's actual birthday and since Adam was going to be gone all night, we had him open some of his presents from us in the morning. I still have a few presents left but one needs returning and I might just save the other ones for a "rainy day" when he needs something new.  He got some farm accessories like feed and water troughs and a shelter for his cows, some Junior golf clubs (Lord, help us, these could do some real damage) and his own Bug Catcher set.

 (Ryan loves wearing hoods, by the way. He says they are "warm and cozy".)

 Since he didn't have that much fun on Saturday (basically me trying to keep him out of everything in the kitchen all day), I decided that he could choose our activities for the night on Monday. On our way home from daycare he decided that first he should have a snack and then we should go looking for some bugs. Unfortunately, the only bugs we could find outside where the honey bees that hang out near our deck and instead of risking getting stung, he decided to settle for catching a fly in the bathroom :).  After giving him a few choices of what else we could do, he decided on Pumpkinland. He loved looking at the animals again, especially since it wasn't busy. His favorite thing this time was being able to hold a kitty. He picked out a small pumpkin to take home but was more excited about the Ring Pop that I compromised by saying he could have it after supper.

Once the sun started going down, we headed to "Old McDonalds" for supper.  When I asked him where he wanted to eat, he had said, "Um...probably Chinese or something," (don't know how that came to mind since he's had takout exactly twice and his only trip to a Chinese restaurant was one rice-throwing disaster) but once I mentioned McDonalds as a possibility, there was no turning back. He usually only gets McDonald's on road trips, so it was a real treat (for him).  Although my Frappe hit the spot, I find all food options barely tolerable now that they don't have Chicken McBites anymore.  He polished off chicken nuggets, apples, and chocolate milk and loved the light-up jack o' lantern toy that came in his Happy Meal, then got properly sticky from the Ring Pop on the way home.

After we got home, Juliana, Carter, and Colin stopped by to wish him a Happy Birthday and he loved the new farm animals they got him! He really loves you guys and we feel blessed to have you take such an interest in Ryan's life!

I'll end on a positive note and pretend the night ended at 8:40 when Ryan went to bed and not 10:10 when he finally went to sleep. Overall, I think he had a great birthday!