Saturday, November 30, 2013

November Photo Update

Since a busy fall and a often-uncooperative laptop (which was replaced by a Black Friday online purchase) made blogging consistently a little more difficult, here are some other random pictures from the month.

Cohen loving finger foods, especially the multi-grain Tasteeos that an elderly man recommended to me in Fareway

Ryan and I did an experiment on absorbtion where you put a dot of marker on a paper towel and then watch the water travel up the paper towel. We also made a color wheel by mixing colored water.
While Adam put up Christmas lights, Ryan played with his remote control cars on the deck and decided this one needed fixing.

Ryan's daycare person was sick one day (a few days after my boys had it...sorry!) so I ended up taking a day off work. By 8:30am, Ryan had already drawn a picture for her to make her feel better. Can you tell he considers himself and Cohen as part of their family?
When we were home that day, I told Ryan that if he helped me clean out our out-of-control junk drawer by sorting out all the pens, pencils, Pizza Ranch wagons, keys, and coins, he could keep whatever money he found. I was out about $12 by the time we were done! 
Cohen loves helping with the laundry but he's usually pulling the clothes out. This time he decided to crawl in and just relax for a few minutes.

Ryan still likes wearing the Mickey Ears some lady gave him on the bus at Disney this summer. He asks almost weekly when we can go back to "Disney Junior".

We hung out at a NWC women's bball game one night to watch Saylor's Aunt Whitney play. Ryan always has fun with Saylor and her cousin Sage.

Over Thanksgiving break, we put up a tree in the basement and had a movie night (Tin Tin).

Friday, November 29, 2013

Great Grandpa Jim

We laid low on Black Friday but headed to Hull  in the evening to have supper at my parents. Then, we all headed to the nursing home to visit my Grandpa for Thanksgiving. Some aunts, uncles, and cousins were already there and we had a nice evening visiting. The kids even cooperated for some pictures! (Well, if you consider picking your nose cooperating).

Our family with Grandpa Jim. Cohen James is named after him.

My family
The Vander Kooi's (missing 2 cousins and their families)
And here's the nose picker. This is the only pic we got with my cousin's girlfriend. Sorry everyone!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Day 2013

 For Thankgiving, we headed to Sioux Center to Adam's parents for his dad's side of the family. The boys were excited to spend time with Uncle Andy and Aunt Kim again!

Cohen showing off his "Eat Pizza" shirt, passed down from a fellow Pizza Rancher.
Photo Bombed by Ry-Guy
 After a delicious lunch of all the traditional foods: turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, cheesy potatoes, green been casserole, corn, sweet potatoes, stuffing, fruit, jello, the kids were getting restless so they headed outside. Braving the cold, the quickly tired of frisbee, so we set them to running races against each other.
Ryan (age 4) and Kenley (age 4.5)
Running with Chase, Isaac, and Kenley
After warming up inside, they were ready for a traditional game of Bingo. This is always fun because Adam's aunt and cousin wrap a bunch of little gifts for the adults and then have one specific gift for each kid. That way, whenever they get BINGO, they get their gift and we keep playing until everyone gets one. Once everyone has one, we play for the remaining gifts. They can range from a box of kleenex to a theater box of candy. Ryan got a foam ABC puzzle and flashcards and Cohen got a little truck which they were thrilled with.

The adults usually end up playing a giant game of "Nerts". We traditionally play in partners/couples, but played singles this year with about 9 people. I was secretly glad not to play in couples since the winner had about 110 points and Adam was dead last with 20 points :) I ended up somewhere in the middle.

After some football watching and the kids playing together, we headed to my parents for a light supper and fun hanging out with my sisters and their families. The kids had a blast just chasing each other around and playing various games (most invented by Emily).  This one, though, we think was Saylor's idea:

We had a great day celebrating with both sides of our families and I was very thankful to have taken Friday off to recover.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Cohen: 11 months

 The month Cohen got into mischief of one kind...or another.  That seems like an accurate opening line for our little "Wild Thing." Increased mobility and confidence has led Cohen to explore all sorts of uncharted territory like tupperware cupboards, drawers of all kinds, the dog dish, the dishwasher, and the stairs.  He can not only crawl up onto the dishwasher door but also the end table, the small platform at the bottom of our stairs when we're playing down there (leaving him stranded) and on top of any sort of box we have out, whether it's puzzles or his Colorpillar box. 

He hasn't taken any steps, but can stand by himself and walk with only light support of your fingers. He loves climbing over and around the table and chair legs and over anyone who is laying on the floor.

Tooth count remains at 7 which comes in handy as he generally eats finger foods or versions of whatever we're having. For daycare, though, I finally broke down and bought a few jars of baby food. I just couldn't keep up with the variety he needed and found myself spending more time making pureed food for him than regular food for the rest of us.

Cohen has started to show signs of knowing what "no" is (pulling out a pout or a mini tantrum) when told this and another not-so-great development is him having bit Ryan at least 3 times...usually when Ryan was wrestling with him. But, he also is getting good at entertaining himself with toys, grocery ads, or a basket of it's nice to be able to let him "play" for a while without having to strap him in somewhere or entertain him.

He can say "ba" for ball and says "Ahhhh duhhhh" for "all done" but says this even when it doesn't apply to the situation. He LOVES to click his tongue and make smacking noises and another favorite is beeping your nose, if you provide the sound effects. He also loves playing on the piano, even from the floor, and has enjoyed a little toy piano I unearthed for him...although he seems to think one of it's primary functions is something to climb on.

He is definitely getting some more personality and growing up oh-so-fast!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Raider Football

Ryan and Cohen have joined me at a few home games this year as we cheer on Adam's O-line and the Red Raiders. Cohen has done GREAT at the games and Ryan makes it through, usually with the help of Adam's parents and/or the Pennings. Here are a few highlights:

Team Huddle after a win
Waiting for the huddle to break so he can run on the field.

Ryan usually yells "DADDY!" as soon as he spots him and sprints into his arms.
You may want to be in Daddy's shoes someday, but first you'll have to fit in his cap!
After the game.

The players aren't the only ones exhausted after a close game.

Celebrating a big upset over #1 Morningside when we were ranked #19!

Ryan wanted in on the picture...sort of.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Turkey Supper and Voting

One of my favorite meals of the year is the ARC Turkey Supper in Hull. Adam didn't think he'd be done with practice on time, so the boys and I joined Abbie's family and my dad while my mom worked the jello distribution. Cohen gobbled up everything we put in front of him and Ryan had jello (2 less than Saylor), 1 bite of anything and then polished off a cupcake. 

Saylor enjoyed a cupcake too.
The Turkey Supper is usually held on Election Night but due to PT conferences, it was on Wednesday this year. On Tuesday, during a break in the snow storm, I took Ryan along with me to vote. The candidate we were voting for is in our small group and Ryan loves playing with his daughters so he was pumped to "cheer for their dad"  After he entertained the poll workers with a wild tale about sledding, he watched me fill in the circles and deposit my ballot. While walking back to the door, he suddenly stopped in his tracks, threw out his hands, and said, "THAT...was IT? I thought boating would be much more exciting!"  Welcome to democracy, kid.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

First Snow

Nov. 5 was the first snow that really stuck to the ground. Ryan was excited to go play in it, even with too-big boots and too-small snowpants.  He had to be reigned in from throwing snowballs at pedestrians still using the snow-covered sidewalk and is anxious to have help building a snowman!  It was pretty, but I'm glad it didn't last long.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Ryan: 4 Years, 1 Month

Ryan had a busy and fun October with football games, Pumpkin Land, a trip to visit Emily and Lincoln, and Halloween fun.  We don't have many leaves at our house, but he loved playing in them at Emily and Lincoln's. We had some beautiful days to play outside on the swingset and also race remote-controlled cars.

Indoors, Ryan has been more interested in coloring lately. He is satisfied with crayons (and seems to always be searching for "peachy") but also likes markers and color-wonder markers. He has a few standard drawings, usually dirt, grass, sky, sun, and then a picture of himself with whoever he's drawing the picture for. Or, sometimes he'll attempt a house or flowers. As you can see in the previous post, he's improved a lot in the past month or two, going from scribbling an entire page with one color to attempting to put one color in each section.

Ryan has become more independent and taken on a few "chores". He can sort the silverware from the dishwasher, clear his place, wash up his hands and face after a meal, go to the bathroom, brush his teeth (but it's a bit messy), change into pajamas/clothes by himself including all the buttons, take recycling items to the bin in the garage, open the safety gate on the stairs (good & bad), feed Cohen a bottle, put Nika on/off the leash, pick up toys, get himself out of his booster seat and the van and close the door behind him. Now if he could only reach to buckle himself in!

We continue the habit of reading 3 books every night before bed (and before nap on the weekends) and he wondered one night how long it would take to read "ONE HUNDRED BOOKS!" so now we are making a list and writing down any book we read that's not already on the list. This has been a great way to review counting, number recognition and letter recognition because we talk about which number comes next, what letter the words in the title start with, etc. We hope to be to 100 by Christmas!

I don't think his favorite foods have changed much except his current breakfast of choice is "peanut butter and jelly sandwich with 1 slice of bread, folded over, not toasted." Not that he's particular! He always asks for chocolate milk if we have it and regular milk if we don't. He will eat apple slices at every meal if they are available, loves carrots with Ranch and steamed broccoli if it has a little shredded cheese sprinkled on top. Besides the usual kid favorites of mac & cheese and pizza, he asks for "chicken and bean soup" which is an easy slow-cooker chicken taco stew with black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, corn, Rotel, etc. His favorite dessert lately is ice cream (half vanilla, half chocolate with 2 kinds of sprinkles) and once when I asked what he wanted for dessert, he replied, "If you give a Ryan some ice cream, he's going to want some sprinkles to go with it."

Ryan can be quite imaginative and will come up with entire plot lines for us to act out (mostly as characters from Jake) and will devise all kinds of things to use as props. I love watching his mind whir!

Ryan Fall Artwork (age 4)

One of Ryan's favorite things to do lately is color with markers and crayons. I have seen vast improvement in his skills as he's practiced. Since I am trying not to keep too many art projects cluttering up the house, a suggestion I've heard is to take pictures of some of your child's favorite projects/pictures and then just put them in a book sometime. I may just post them here every once in a while and maybe it will be fun to see his progress over time. Here are a few from this fall:

I often print pages from the computer for him, and this is a Jake page he picked out. He did all of this coloring from memory (he's colored Jake often enough to know what color all of the parts of his costume are) but my favorite part is how he added the background by himself and drew "palm trees with coconuts falling down).

 Ryan has gotten more independent/imaginative with play-doh too. here is an entire scene he made himself. The white structure is an Angry Birds slingshot with a bird ready to go. He also made a "bird with a next" out of other colors and "4 bad piggies in the water". I think the tall pink structures are towers and the green is grass.
One of the many Sunday School papers he brings home. I liked how he made the fire red and orange.
A pre-school project that was hung in the hallway which I'm fairly certain is an arm-print trunk with fingerprint autumn leaves.
I think this might be from daycare so I'm not positive the other kids didn't help him, but this is one of the best ones I've seen him do with coloring everything on the page, including the background.