Friday, May 31, 2013


When I was young, I think we enjoyed coming up with names for the short-lived farm cats that stuck around for a season or two more than we enjoyed having the cats. Today Ryan was talking about if he ever saw a black kitty , he would name it Blackie. So, I asked him what he would name other colors of cats. It's a fun little insight into color associations of a 3-year old.

Black- Blackie
Orange- Orangey or Pumpkin
Black and White- Dalmation
Gray- Muddy
Brown- Brown Kitty Brown Kitty
Striped- Zebra Kitty
Green- Froggy
Blue- Blueberry Cutie
Purple- Vikings or Dutch
Red- FIRE!
Yellow- Sunshine
Pink- Cutie Sweetie Kitty

Another fun anecdote that I recently shared on Facebook is that Ryan is in the stage where he thinks it's funny to call me by my first name. We've just ignored it (since he's just looking for a reaction) or told him he can call me Mommy. The other day when he said, "Hey, Coitney" (still no R sound), I told him to try again. He responded, "Yes, your majesty."

That's more like it.

 Now if only it wasn't dripping in sarcasm.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day

After the pancake breakfast, we usually attend the Memorial Day service at the cemetery in Hull, but due to the weather, it was held in the Community Building this year. It was still well-attended by many of the same families we see year-after-year at this service honoring our veteran's and those who gave their lives fighting for our country.

After the service, Ryan helped Grandpa get the birdfeeders refilled and then we had a nice grilled lunch together.

Unfortunately, it was too difficult for my grandpa to get to the Community Building, so he wasn't able to attend this year, but we stopped by to visit for a bit in the afternoon. He enjoyed listening to Ryan's many stories and watching Cohen smile and laugh.
Ryan, of course, wanted to play photographer again and my grandpa got quite a kick out of Ryan instructing him to say cheese. I love this picture of makes me hear his laugh in my head.

Many people in our town and even our neighborhood spent Memorial Day cleaning up after a ton of rain and saturated ground and/or failed sump pumps caused basements to flood and even sewer to back up. We were up during the night checking and adjusting the sump and talking to our neighbors but have so far avoided disaster. We are just hoping our luck can hold through the rest of the week.

Pancake Breakfast

On Memorial Day, we headed to the annual pancake breakfast at my parent's church.  Ryan entertained himself by taking charge of the camera again to document the day. We enjoyed catching up with my cousin from Michigan and suspect their second-youngest may be responsible for the picture of Ryan. Either that or he has the "selfie" skillz of a 13-year-old.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Great Grandpa and Grandma's Farm

On Saturday morning, we headed up to Minnesota to Adam's grandparents. Cohen hadn't driven more than an hour before, but he did fine on the 4.5 hour drive, mostly doing this:
While Ryan did this:
(Photo credit on both: Rynomite)

Ryan watched a straight-to-DVD sequal to Peter Pan called "Back to Neverland" 3x in two days but both were decent travelers. Once we arrived, Cohen headed with the rest of the ladies to a shower for the fiance of Adam's cousin. We had a very nice shower and it was good getting to see many family members and getting to know Jessica a little.  Adam and Ryan stayed at the farm where Ryan got to go visit the cows and get a tractor ride with Great Uncle Tim! Ryan took the camera around to document some of his other favorite things about Great Grandpa and Grandma's farm:

1. Grandma humoring him
2. The wooden barn and fendce made by Great-Grandpa
3. The stairs up to his own room 
4. The wooden train
5. Great Grandpa listening to all his stories
6. The barns

But one of the most precious things was Great-Grandpa sharing a story out of the picture Bible used with his own kids. Ryan also told Great-Grandpa some of the stories and songs he's been learning at church. It was a beautiful picture of faith through the generations (and a Mountain Dew can).

Friday, May 24, 2013

Tulip Pictures

The tulips didn't make a grand appearance until about a week after tulip festival, but they were beautiful when they bloomed. After a graduation party downtown tonight, we stopped by Windmill park and took a few pictures with my phone. Ryan said his favorite tulips were the purple ones, "for the Dutch."

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Colin's graduation

On Thursday night, we all had fun (and way too much good food) at my cousin Colin's graduation party. Ryan has enjoyed cheering for Colin in both football and baseball and told Colin in the receiving line that he's going to be cheering for him as a Raider and that "I hope you win." Here is the card Ryan drew for Colin. The bottom is the baseball field (dirt and grass) with a blue sky and sun. Then he drew Colin in purple for the Dutch and he is holding a glove and ball in his left hand (sorry we didn't get that part right). The "talk bubble" is him calling out a pitch.

Congratulation, Colin!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Nika the Bad Beagle

I know I have some dog-lovers for friends, so if you are one of those friends, you have one of two choices.
1) Skip this post which may turn into a verbal assault on one particular dog.
2) Adopt my dog.

Let's just hope someone springs for #2. Here's a few episodes from the last few weeks to help you learn what life is going to like with a beagle.

The Event: The Sliding Door Escape
The Accomplice: Ryan
The Story: One day when my mom was over watching the kids, she came out from the back bedroom to find the sliding glass door open and Nika loose outside. Apparently Ryan had decided she wanted to go out and just opened the door for her. Once she smelled the sweet scent of freedom, there was no turning back. She made her usual escapade to the Nederlander's dumpsters and the Fareway parking lot. She returned much later, panting for a drink of water.
The Quote:
Ryan: "Grandma, I wonder what Nika is finking about right now? I wonder if she is missing being a part our family." My guess, probably not. She was probably thinking, "I hope the guy who empties the trash into the dumpster had bad aim"

The Event: The Leash Evasion
The Unintentional Accomplice: my mom
The Story: The next week when my mom was babysitting again, she was letting Nika out and missed the loop on her collar when hooking her up, so off she went.  I can understand how this happens when you're trying to one-hand a hook-up while wrangling two kids.  This time I got a text that she was loose so when I came home for lunch, I made a loop around the Nederlander's, only to get another that she had returned home. The lost was found.
The Quote: 
Ryan: "Mommy, don't worry about Nika. She just wanted to go exploring. She had to check out the Nederlander and then she came back."

The Event: The Late Night Dumpster Dash
The Unintentional Accomplice: Adam
The Story: Adam was taking off for Omaha after 9:30pm since we'd just attended a retirement party and he was going to spend the next day at a book sale and museum with his brother.  Our babysitters had already left and as Adam was letting Nika out, she made a run for it. Again. Since he had a 2.5 hour drive ahead of him and there really is no point in chasing her, he just left.  So, I had one baby in bed and one kid very concerned about the whereabouts of his dog. After hearing her barking profusely, I stuck my head out and saw her cornering a worker in the Nederlander parking lot. I walked out a bit and tried to explain across the field that it was too hard to catch her and just to leave her alone-she'd come back home later. I didn't want them to have to deal with her. This happened several times as I tried to manage her from my yard, not daring to stray too far from the house. Ryan was all worked up, so he got up and wanted to go looking for her in the truck. Just as I was getting Cohen strapped into his car seat, Nika shows up on the driveway. She took off right away again but I figured as long as she was on this side of the highway, I was not going to go chasing her around with two kids...she'd just have to come back on her own. At 10:30 when I was trying to decide if I was going to just go to bed or sleep on the couch in case she came back, I heard her barking again. This time it was my very nice neighbor walking back home from waitressing.  Nika had her hackles up and was barking at Jodi like she was an intruder. She was so nice and understanding and actually walked through the creek bed so Nika would follow her scent across (Nika is too scared to cross it herself and too dumb to find her way around).  As soon as she got to our yard, Jodi distracted her while I ran up from behind and grabbed her. What a sight I was hauling my nearly 30-lb dog back to the house, but I was SO thankful for my neighbor's help so I could tell Ryan (who was still awake) that Nika was back and we could all go to bed.
The Quote:
Ryan, after seeing Nika in the driveway "Mommy, I have a great idea. I'll get some dog food and make a trail and then Nika will smell it and come and eat it all the way to the door!"  He did make the trail in the garage and I left the door open and even after telling Ryan how Jodi helped me, he's convince she smelled the trail of dog food.

The Event: The Bobby Pin Bridge
The Unintentional Accomplice: me, since the pin was mine and probably fell directly out of my hair
The Story: Nika loves the taste of hairspray (who doesn't) and will snatch bobby pins to lick or chew on any chance she gets, whether they're on the floor, on the counter, or even in an open drawer. Close to lunch time this week, I got a text from my mom that Nika had a bobby pin stuck in her mouth. I came home to Ryan all excited explaining how Nika had been spitting up on the floor as she tried to get the pin out. My examination found that the bobby pin (with tips chewed off) was lodged between her back teeth across the roof of her mouth forming a sort of pseudo-dental bridge. There was no space between the pin and her palate and it was way too far back for her tongue or my hands to grab. In all honesty, I was thinking less about her discomfort and more about how much more expensive and a hassle it would be if she accidentally swallowed it so I wanted to spend the $30 to save the hundreds. Plus, I wanted to maintain use of my fingers, so I called the vet and brought her in.  It took 2 vets--one to hold her down and help open her jaw and the other to use a little instrument to grab the pin. The only good news is that we remembered she was behind on her vaccines so we just took care of that at the same time for one office visit charge. Still, not the most fun I've had over my lunch hour.
The Quotes:
Ryan, at home trying to figure out how to get the pin out: "I know, I'll just draw a picture and then hold it up to Nika's face really close and then she'll see all the colors and decide to spit it out! No, wait, I have a better idea! Maybe Grandma should draw the picture and then Nika will just throw up?" He doesn't have a lot of confidence in Grandma's drawing skills.

Ryan: "Mommy, maybe Nika will just swallow it and then poop it out." Can you tell we've had to discuss what happens after Nika eats things she shouldn't?

Ryan: "I have another great idea. I'll get some dog food and make a trail and Nika will smell the dog food and then (shrugs shoulders) she'll just spit it out!" Dog food trails solve everything.

Ryan: "Mommy, how will the vet get the bobby pin out? Will you take pictures and a video for me so I can see how they get it out? Will there be other dogs at the animal doctor? What color are the other dogs?" So many questions, so many evasive answers to make up.

The Event: Worn out Warrior
The Unintentional Accomplice: me/the weird air pressure between our exterior doors
The Story: After we took a family walk with Ryan trying to make Nika "heal" and her pulling him all over the place, we went inside while Adam went out to check a few things outside. I thought I closed the door behind us, but apparently I either didn't get it shut, or the weird phenomenon happened that when you open or close a door from our garage to the outside, the door from the house to the garage sometimes pops open. In any case, she got into the garage and then bolted out of the open door past Adam.  Each of us took our turns going after her when she was either bothering the stock boys taking out Fareway's garbage, or dangerously close to the highway. We both came back empty-handed since she bolts the minute she spots us.  This time she actually made it across Hwy 10 when Adam was going after her and then crossed back over to our side before he gave up.  We just opened the side and back doors to the garage and figured she'd show up when she wanted to...or we'd hear her get hit by a car.  Kind of fine either way, although we didn't want anyone else to bear the burden of injuring her. I was seriously thinking more about the driver than the dog. She eventually showed up in our front lawn. I hid behind the corner of the house until I saw her go in the garage, then snuck up and shut that door. Knowing she was about to go out the back, I sprinted around the house and came toward the back door yelling "Hi-Yah!" like I was herding bulls. This scared her enough to back up and I successfully got her in the garage, then watched her shamefully enter the house. After a drink, she flopped down on a blanket in our room and didn't move for approximately 16 hours. Honestly, the next morning we all got up and ready and when I left for work, she hadn't moved. Apparently, freedom is exhausting.
The Quotes:
Ryan, to everyone we passed while on our walk: "Hi, guys! I'm walking Nika, but actually, she's not really cooperating."
Ryan, to a lady trying to brush her Golden Retriever as we walked by, "HEY! You have a really nice dog!" Then the dog ran after Nika, knocking the lady over with the wire leash. Ouch! I've so been there!

It's a good thing Nika is so good with Ryan, wrestling with him and tolerating more than her fair share. She also makes Cohen laugh and laugh. If our boys didn't love her so much, she'd be done-zo, or at least gonzo, but that's another day and another Muppet Baby (and probably a better pet than a beagle).

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Tulip Festival: Rides

After a hot afternoon parade, Ryan enjoyed a Hawaiian Ice and then we headed off to the rides. We bought a book of tickets, enough for him to go on 5 rides which we split between Friday and Saturday. First up was his "safe" favorite, the carousel. It's hard to go wrong here, and he enjoyed riding a horse and quietly saying "Yee-Haw!" and waving to his friend outside the fence.

Next up was another one of last year's favorites, the cars. This is another tame ride that simply goes round and round, but he loves using the steering wheel and take his driving pretty seriously!

Ryan had been talking about the ferris wheel ever since spotting it rising above the midway. He was eager to go on it with Adam and loved it! He thought it was really cool being high up and seeing everything from their purple car.

On Saturday night, Juliana and I took Ryan to choose his last two rides. He had been talking about the dragon roller coaster for the past 2 days, so he quickly hopped on the rollercoaster right before it was about to take off. It was my mistake to not have him watch the ride once and prep him a little about what to expect, so I got a sinking feeling when I saw his face after the first time around. He was NOT enjoying himself! The other kids were screaming in a fun way, but Ryan was screaming "Mommy! I want to stop!" He didn't break out in actual tears and as soon as it stopped, he just got out and said "I didn't like that". I think if it would have gone around one more time, we would have reached full tearful meltdown. But, I was glad he tried it and I got a better idea of what he could handle before Disney. Although, I think with a little prep and a companion, I think he'd do fine.

The face says it all.
I was glad the Dragon didn't scare him away from trying any other rides and he quickly regrouped and chose his last ride, a motorcycle called "Hog Wild". He chose to drive the Spiderman hog and we found it to be the only one that actually wnet up and down in addition to following the track in a circle. He loved this one and even had another kid join him for the ride.

Ryan did a good job leaving the rides on Saturday night and we are learning that he does much better when we remember to prep him and don't change our minds so he knows what to expect. He knew he only had enough tickets for 2 rides on Saturday night and he also knew that we weren't buying any treats on Saturday night but could have ice cream when we got home. This made for a much smoother transition (and saved from overspending).

Maybe next year we'll check out "ride night" where you can get a wristband for unlimited rides, but at this age, a few rides per day were enough and it was nice to go when there were no lines. It was a good "warm up" for Disney and I can't wait to see his face when he sees those rides!

Tulip Festival: Parades

Ryan strikes a pose in the wooden shoe.
This week was Ryan's 2nd Tulip Festival as an Orange City resident. Since we don't have costumes or participate as volunteers, we don't feel "all in" yet. We're still learning the ins and outs of just attending.  This year Adam took the boys to the Thursday afternoon parade, I took them to the Saturday night parade, and we all went to both Friday parades. All in all, 4 parades was more than enough and Ryan seemed to lose interest by Friday night, but it was still something to do and we had fun visiting with different people at each parade.

Friday afternoon was Ryan's favorite as he spotted his friend and a big tub of water. He was soaked from head to toe before the street scrubbers came by. One important lesson for afternoon parades: wear sandals and bring a change of clothes!

Making a "Splash" with his friend.
Cohen spent most of the time being held or snoozing in his stroller in the shade but Ryan spent most of this parade waving to the floats and telling me to take pictures of the horses.

Friday afternoon parade
Other favorite parts of the parades were the marching bands. Ryan spotted my cousin Carter in his 6th grade band (he's the tallest one).

He also loved the Tiger mascot from OCCS and the Pride of the Dutchmen band. It just wouldn't be a parade without "Championship"

I have a feeling these two may be future POD members:

Spring Flowers

Every year, I used my birthday money to buy some flowers for the front of the house. I'm no gardener, but do like how a little color spruces up the front  of our somewhat-boring house, especially since we haven't done anything to the landscape since we moved in 2 years ago and probably won't be tackling it anytime soon. On Saturday morning, we took a family trip over to Mama's Greenhouse in the Fareway parking lot and Ryan helped pick out some "beautiful" flowers.

Here's our final barrel and pot:

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Best Bros

Ryan and Cohen are the best of bros. Ryan loves making him laugh and Cohen always has a smile for his big brother. Here is a video of them playing Pat-a-Cake:

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

My boys and me (Mr. Grumps and Mr. Cheesehead)
They are what makes this day special!

Me and the new guy

Grandma with her grandsons

Tickling Cohen
Loves his grandma!

Cohen: 5 Months Old

Cohen turned 5 months old on Mother's Day! He has been generous with the smiles and giggles and is very ticklish. He especially likes when Ryan claps his hands together for him or laughs in front of him.  He also likes being held high up in the air and then "whooshing" down.

We've tried reading books with Cohen but he gets super-hyper banging on the pages and trying to get them in his mouth. His favorite toys are the things on his Exersaucer and some crinkly fabric stacking blocks that he tries to eat. He also loves seeing himself in the mirror.

Cohen can roll from back to front but doesn't really like ending up on his tummy. He still sleeps on his back and many nights ends up sleeping in the bouncy seat because he's congested. He's had a cold for a good 2 weeks and can't seem to kick it (or it might be allergies). He can't sit up by himself yet and even propped on the sides, he generally goes nose-to-toes or topples over immediately.

His napping routine at daycare is very consistent: 7:30-9:00ish, 30minute nap around 11 and long nap 1:30-4:30. On the weekends, it's more like two 30-minute naps total.  I guess he gets all off-kilter if his usual routine isn't followed to a T. He's in bed by 7:30 or 8:00 most nights and generally wakes up 2x during the night. Mommy has learned to live with less sleep in general but would probably drink a lot less coffee if Cohen would sleep more consistently!

Cohen loves to talk back to people and is pretty noisy in general. This is why he rarely makes it through a church service. He usually falls asleep during stroller rides and in the car, although he's never driven farther than Hull, so our 5-hour trip planned later this month might give us a better idea of how he travels.

He is still spitting up...a lot. Like almost every time he eats, he spits up what looks like the majority of what he consumed. This weekend we went through every single burp cloth we two days. He seems to be gaining weight fine and I hope the spitting up will start subsiding in the next few months.

His hair seems to be lightening up a bit and the peach fuzz is getting longer. He's wearing 6 month and 9 month clothes and we're hoping we can switch to a more Spring wardrobe any day now. I mean, it's been at least a week now since we had snow!

Cohen is generally a pretty happy baby and we all love him to pieces!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Cinco de Cousins

Lincoln, Ryan, Cohen, Emily, Saylor

Great Grandma with Cohen

Lincoln and Ryan "the 2 Shmoes"

Ryan and Saylor sharing
Trying to convince Emily to pull out her loose tooth (you can see the permanent tooth growing in behind it)

Saylor loves Cohen

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Ryan: 3 Years, 7 Months

April has been a weird month of snow some days, and outside playtime other days. Ryan's favorite "snow day" activities inside have been puzzles, tackling with daddy, playing with Cohen, and arts/crafts like coloring, play-doh, or painting.  His favorite outdoor activities are learning to ride his bike, swing on the playset, launch stomp rockets, and sidewalk chalk.

At the end of April, unfortunately, Ryan developed pink eye and an ear infection, but I was so proud of how well he did at the doctor, just a few days after having a great dentist visit. I can see him maturing in many ways lately, including how he talks, thinks through multiple steps, or understands jokes/inferences and he can do a great job re-telling a story, such as what he learned in Sunday School.  He is also growing quite a bit physically as his 3T pants and shirts hanging on through this wintry spring are getting a bit short. Fortunately, some of his 3T shorts still work, but we're going to have to find more 4T shirts and pajamas for summer. At his doctor's visit, he weighed 40.2lbs. We also cut his hair much shorter at his last appointment and I think we might have to go that route from now on, because any length starts getting out of control very quickly with the extra-thick patch on top and a stellar cowlick.

Just for something different this month, I asked him a bunch of questions as we talked before bedtime. Here are the answers I can remember. All of them had a very long and complicated answers, but I'll just try to stick to the facts, ma'am.

Favorite bug: "boxy" box (box elder bugs) and butterflies, because they're beautiful
Favorite animal with 4 legs: horses, because they can run really fast
Favorite bird: robins and blue jays
Favorite thing to have for breakfast: "that new kinds of cereal you got, mommy" (Kix and Golden Grahams)
Favorite snack: Avengers fruit snacks (at daycare)
Favorite thing to have for supper: (he answered this with a riddle=it has juice inside and has apple seeds inside).
Favorite drink: regular milk, well actually chocolate milk. But not water, water is kind of yucky for me
Favorite thing to do outside: When Daddy pushes me on the swing like Batman
Favorite kids to play with: Saylor, Emily and Lincoln (his cousins)
Favorite CD: Mickey Mouse Nursery Rhymes
If you could go one place in the whole world, where would be: K's house (daycare) He then went into a long demonstration of a new race track toy they got. I am so lucky he enjoys going to daycare!

Ryan has a knack of making Cohen smile and laugh and it's so fun to see how Cohen will just stare at him and break out in a huge grin while they make each other giggle. I also love how Ryan talks to him in a little gentle voice "Hey, Coh-wen...hey little buddy...hey there, Coh-wen!"  Although Ryan hasn't displayed much sibling rivalry, I found a great book at the library called "With All My Heart" which is a great way to describe how a mom loves BOTH of her children "the best".  Ryan loves his brother too, despite what you see here: