Friday, August 23, 2013

Summer Nights

It's been hot, even in the evenings, and football practice has started. Here are a few ways the boys and I have been keeping busy.

Exploring the feel of grass.

Chasing sunlight spots on the floor

Swinging in the shade
Bathtub on the deck

Splashing in the tub

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The most famous painter I know

Even if he's the only real painter, I know, I still think he's pretty awesome. I just wanted to give a shout-out to my friend and co-worker, John Vander Stelt. Not only is he the creative genius behind all things Pizza Ranch and lots of recognizable graphic design work (hello, Northwestern College logo and the fighting Dutchman mascot), he is also an acclaimed fine art painter. Plus he laughs at my jokes sometimes at work, so that puts him on the "awesome" list.

This week he installed his latest painting in the new Northwestern College Learning Commons. We got a tour of the new library/learning center and an explanation from John on the meaning behind the painting. I won't try to put it in my own words, but you can follow his blog as he documents the process. Be sure you check out this painting in the Learning Commons along with his piece in the Prairie Winds Event Center. He also has a website where you can check out his gallery of work.

UNI Marketing Alumni Magazine

I was honored recently to have a short update published in the University of Northern Iowa's Marketing Alumni quarterly magazine.  They did a little bit of unfortunate editing (it should read ...advertising was mostly limited to TV, radio and print, and "Big Data" on customer demographics and purchase behavior was a pipe dream), but here is my answer to "How has the Internet affected your career?"

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Preschool Open House

Ryan is very excited about attending 3-year-old preschool this year. This week, we had an Open House so he could see his classroom and meet his teachers. He was pretty confident walking in with his new Superman backpack.

He was intrigued by all the different things in the classroom and knows several of the kids in his class already (there are only 11).
Dot-marker painting

 The preschool is located in the Spalding Catholic building but isn't a religious program. Ryan saw the picture of the mascot in the gym and asked if we had to start cheering for the Spartans now!  They don't have air conditioning, so I'm happy they aren't starting until September but Ryan can't wait! I hope his teachers are ready for him!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Coloring Contest

The Party Planning committee at work (which I am a part of) decided to have a "Back to School" coloring contest. Kids and grandkids of employees could enter in different age groups and Ryan was so excited to participate. He worked really hard at staying in the lines, carefully coloring each pepporoni on the pizza, then the cheese and crust. He got a little impatient at the end but was so proud of his work. For days afterwards, he would say to me, "I just KNOW I'm going to win that coloring contest."  Well, sadly, three-year-old Ryan could not compete with some of the 5-year-olds in his category. I haven't told him yet that he didn't win. The mom in me doesn't want him to be disappointed or sad and 90% of me wants to run out and buy him a prize and tell him he is a winner. The realist in me, though, is fundamentally against making kids think everyone "wins" every time. It's a hard lesson and I hate to make him learn it at 3. My plan is to say that someone else won this time and maybe he will win another time and that 5-year-olds have a lot more practice at coloring and practice is what makes us get better. Wish me luck!

Here are all the kid entries, plus the 20's, 40's, and 50's division (yes, we had adult employees compete as well). Ryan's is the third one down in the middle of the left board (blue grass). The winner of his division is in the top left corner.

I ended up winning the 30's division, mostly because I drew a bunch of extra desert animals wearing our competitor's hats in the bottom. You know me...more is more when it comes to coloring (and words).  I was very happy with my $5 gift card, pack of markers, and magnetic shopping list.

4-year Checkup and Rynoisms

Ryan had his 4-year checkup a little early this year so we could get all the forms filled out to start preschool. At 3 years, 10.5 months, he weighs 40.8lbs (88%) and measures 42" (90%). His head circumference is 20.79" although I've never really found a good use for this stat.  Don't all hats just come in "child" or "youth" size? He did really great at his appointment and the doctor even said he was the "best patient of the day" although no sources are confirming that only one child gets this distinction per day :). I'm sure he was just thankful to have a completely healthy and compliant 3-year-old instead of a screaming kid with an ear infection greeting him in the exam room. 

Here are a few more "Ryno-isms" to record:

After we labeled his "hit" a foul ball:
"It WAS a hit. It just went in a different direction!"

After nailing me (the pitcher) with a line drive:
"Mommy, sometimes baseball players just have to shake it off."

Playing Lion King with Cohen.
"I'm Simba and Cohen can be Scarf." (Scar, the villian lion)

Every time he has to go to the bathroom while watching cartoons:
"Mommy, plause it, plause it." (pause)

On the alternative-to-Halloween party put on my his grandpa's church:
"Mommy, I can't wait to go to the Ha-you-la party." (Hallelujiah)

On a popular snack choice at daycare:
"We had ganilla bars." (granola)

Ryan: "They're almost done with the construction at Fareway."
Me: "Yep, looks like they are putting on the brick."
Ryan:"What are bricks?"
Me: "You know what bricks are, Ryan."
Ryan: "Oh yeah, that's what the little pigs make their house out of."

Every night after we finish reading books, he gives me a kiss on the right cheek, lips, and left cheek, then tackles me with a hug. Then, he says:
"Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite. If they do, hit 'em with a shoe. 'Til half past two."  If no one is wearing shoes, then sometimes he will change it to "sandal" and lately has been picking a different (non-rhyming) number at the end. He also stand up on his bed and shows me the number 2 by bending over and putting two fingers up with his head and arm through his legs. It's quite the process.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Trip down Memory Lane

This weekend, we met up with a lot of our old teacher friends in our old town. It was fun to see everyone again and let our kids play together.
Natalie and Ryan
Enjoying the trampoline
We also took a trip past our old house. It seems something new is added to the lawn decor every time we visit!

BEFORE (when we listed our house 2.5 years ago)

BEFORE- from our listing

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Boone Bros

Cohen adores his big brother and will smile or laugh at basically anything he does. Ryan loves wrestling with Cohen (despite Mommy's constant chiding to be gentle) and loves making him laugh. Recently, they've decided it's great fun to splash in the bath together.

They also like to hang out in their jammies in the morning.
Watching Curious George
Ryan is not always amused by Cohen, though.

 Not amused, at all.

But most of the time they're best buds.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Cohen: 8 Months

Our little guy is getting big and going mobile! Although, he hasn't mastered actual crawling, he can army-crawl very quickly and move from room to room with ease. He can also get himself from a laying position (front or back) to a sitting position and back down.  He has started playing with a few new toys, some of the favorites are the toy where you push buttons or turn keys to make 5 animals pop up (he loves slamming them down), riding on the Lion toy, rolling balls, and pushing the Batman car.

Outside, he likes riding in the front of the stroller and swinging in his swing. He is a pretty active boy and will jump, jump, jump if you're holding him! We call him "Jumpy Squirrel" after the Curious George character. He continues in 9-12 month clothes and I hesitate buying anything for Fall because I'm afraid he's going to be out of 12 month soon! He is getting a little better at looking at books, but still wants to just pat them or grab them to try to devour. He loves splashing in the bath, especially with Ryan.

Cohen's now eating solids 3x a day in addition to bottles and nursing. So far, I've made all of his baby food at home and have enjoyed it (not to mention the $avings!)
Likes: pears, applesauce, peaches, bananas
Tolerates: sweet potatoes, squash, carrots
Hates: peas, green beans
Seeing a theme? Green = bad. Orange = OK. Fruit = Yummy. He will clench his lips shut and refuse to open them when he sees/smells something on the spoon he doesn't like. He's getting pretty smart too. For example, he will tolerate squash if he sees me pour a little applesauce in the dish with it, but if I try to sneak in a spoonful that doesn't have any applesauce on the spoon, he'll refuse it. The best method is to get Ryan to make him laugh and then sneak in the spoon! We've tried a few puffs and he likes the challenge of picking them up, but hasn't figure out how to mash them in his mouth yet (and usually ends up feeding them to Nika). He still only has 2 bottom teeth, but has been acting like the top gums are bothering him lately.

I ended up giving his wild hair a little trim, just to take care of some of the long stray strands and it seemed to help it lay a little nicer, although humidity still makes it stand up like crazy. It just needs to fill in more (or darken) so he doesn't look so bald in pictures! His eyes seem even bluer lately and his smile, cheeks, and dimples are so hard to resist!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Baseball at the Coaches Picnic

Tonight we had the football coaches picnic/potluck. We enjoyed some good food in the shelter house and played at the park and then the kids started a pickup baseball game. Ryan was a bit younger than the other boys and I discovered that we may need to work on learning some base running rules, but Ryan had so much fun playing with other kids!
Ryan on first.
Running to second.
Scooping up the ball.
We also had to specify that "touching home plate" doesn't have to be with your hand. Here's Ryan finally getting the hang of it:

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Nascar Nationwide Weekend

This weekend, Adam and I headed down to Des Moines/Newton to work at the Iowa Speedway. My company sponsors Victory Lane, so we spent Friday and Saturday afternoon letting people with Fan Walk passes play Plinko to win swag. The t-shirts were the most sought-after! Adam spent most of the time taking pictures for people in Victory Lane.

Friday night we had a nice dinner out with my co-worker and her husband at P.F. Chang's and then I got to sleep through the night for the first time since early December! Glorious! We snuck in some tax-free shopping in the morning before hitting Smashburger (recommend the Mint Oreo shake) and back to the track! After another afternoon of working in Victory Lane, we went up to the suite to watch the race. I liked how it was a lot quieter and didn't have the fumes behind the glass, although Adam thought it took away from the exciting atmosphere.

The race was (supposedly) exciting at the end and #22 Brad Keselowski came out the winner. Here is part of his
victory burnout:

Getting out of the parking lot and back to I-80 was a cluster, as usual, and it was over 75 minutes before we made it back to our hotel. I slept in the next morning until 8:15, soaking in the last few minutes of the glorious pillows and beds that are the Sheraton and we headed home after breakfast.

The boys had a great time spending a night at each set of grandparents. They were worn out after all that playing! Here are a few pics we got from Saturday morning of Ryan feeding the cows and throwing fallen apples into the pasture.

Thank-you to our parents for having the boys. It was the first time I'd been away from Cohen overnight and although I missed them both, I was pretty excited about 2 full nights of sleep! Working these races is something fun and different and we enjoy spending a little time in West Des Moines too. I'm not sure I'll ever really "get into" NASCAR, but it is interesting to see the inside of this sport/culture and it sure has expanded my horizons!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Ryan: 3 Years, 10 Months

Ryan has enjoyed the month of July with great weather for outdoor activities. He made 2 trips to Minnesota and one to Omaha this month. He also got to spend lots of time with Daddy playing outside, fishing, playing baseball or at the park, and going for walks.

I don't have a lot of comparison, but I feel like Ryan has a pretty extensive vocabulary for a 3-year-old, but sometimes he gets things a little jumbled or is overly dramatic. Here are a few recent quotes:

I was letting Ryan place the order at the Fareway meat counter:
What he said: 2 Charcoal Snakes
What he meant: 2 Charcoal Steaks

Ryan wondering if he can take the bug he caught home:
What he said: Grandma, can I take home the quesadilla?
What he meant: Can I take home the cicada?

After I cleared my throat and Ryan repeated my answer to what was in my throat:
What he said: You have eucalyptus in your froat?
What he meant: You have mucus in your throat?

Ryan was describing a hold in the ground at the park:
What he said: I think a chickmunk dug it.
What he meant: Chipmunk

One night I must have left his Bible Stories CD on Repeat instead of Repeat All because he yelled up the stairs, "Mommy, something is wrong with the CD. It keeps going "Young Hero and the Horrible Giant", "Young Hero and the Horrible Giant" again and again and again. It's getting boringer and boringer!"

When he was at a new daycare one day and they served mandarin oranges, he declared, "These taste NAAAAsty." The other little girls mouths dropped because they aren't even allowed to say anything is "yucky" or that they don't like something. When the lady explained to Ryan later that he should just say "No thank-you" or "I'll pass," he said "They were dis-gust-ing, but I gagged them down." Oh boy. We have some work to do on table manners.

When I attempted to help him with Nika on a walk, "Mommy, I got this."

While riding his "big wheel" down the street "racing" against Cohen in the stroller:
"I'm going to give it all I got....50 miles per hour!!"

Talking to his football before taking aim at his target (a chair):
"Football, don't fail me now!"