Tuesday, December 5, 2017

35 Months!

November has been a fun month around here.  We had a long weekend and then Thanksgiving break to spend with the kids.  We all enjoyed the extra rest and the extra family time.

Vivien really seems to enjoy pre-school.  She sometimes says at night that she doesn't want to go the next day, but I think that she just wants to stay and play with me.  She doesn't cry when she goes to school and settles right in when she gets there.  She loves all of the activities that they do and according to Ryder she has made a friend.  The sweetest part of all is that for snack and circle time, when Ryder comes downstairs to her classroom, he always sits next to her!  

Vivi has really gotten into painting and has been painting several times a week lately.  She has always loved "activities" but she hasn't always been into the more independent art stuff.  Most of what she paints is blue!

At bedtime we read a book or two and her favorites lately have been the Curious George books.  If I'm reading a different book to Ryder, or sometimes just because she is so inclined, she "reads" the books to me.  It's quite cute and she tells a pretty good story based on the pictures.

Vivi's number one thing lately is doing everything herself.  She puts on all of her clothes, goes to the bathroom, gets food ready and cleans up all by herself.  The newest skill is being able to fully buckle herself into the carseat.  She does NOT like it when we try to help her.

Thanksgiving was very early this year, so we had a lot of Christmas decorating in November.  The morning after Thanksgiving these two kids were ready to go!  They started wearing their Christmas PJ's and getting the house decorated immediately!

Playing with Santa and a fossil

Still holding onto Santa

Love the crazy curls

Not hard to get a smile out of her

Some serious business being conducted here

Happy girl!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

4 years + 7 months!

Going to pre-school has really intensified Ryder's interest in writing.  He is always asking how to spell things and writing them down on various sheets of paper.  Some things he remembers how to spell, like his name, Vivi's name, the trash companies and a few other short words.  Everything else we spell out for him.  He has also started reading everything that he sees.  Any word that he notices, he spells out loud for us and then asks what it means.  He really enjoys the letter and reading aspect of school and carries it on at home, doing his letter, number and sticker workbooks.  With no prompting from us, he will go in the sunroom and pick out a workbook and work on it for quite some time.

The dinosaur craze has been back in full effect around here.  Ryder noticed a new show on Amazon called Dino Dana and that brought dinos back to the forefront of his mind.  He has been getting out his dino box almost every day and choosing dino books at bedtime most days.  He has also been pulling out his dino sticker books again.  He and Vivi got pool noodles as part of a birthday party favor and after a few minutes of playing with them as intended, they stripped all the accessories off of them and turned them into dino tails.  He amped them up a few days later, turning them into Stegasaurus and Kentrosaurus  tails by sticking nails in the end to act as the spikes.  Smart but dangerous to the rest of us!

One night before bed, Janda was discussing his fond desire for dinosaurs to be cloned and brought back to life.  They were discussing if the scientists should bring back carnivores or herbivores.  Ryder said that if we brought back all the herbivores, then they would eat all the trees and we would die because there wouldn't be any more oxygen!  Another time rehashing the same topic, Ryder said that we should also not bring back the carnivores because they would eat us.  Hopefully the scientists listen to him!

Starting at the beginning of the month, we have been crafting and decorating for Halloween.  Ryder is still 100% into decorating.  Aside from a couple of things that I placed, Ryder pretty much put everything out, including the lights.  He did a pretty good job!  Everyone who comes to the house comments on how much we must love Halloween! He has been super excited about going trick-or-treating later this month; I imagine that the day of Halloween is going to be crazy!

Being a T-Rex, see the 2 fingers!

A non-dinosaur smile

Just chillin' on the bean bag

Of course we had to do action photos.  This is the carrot that I use to get them to take photos; they love looking at the photos!

Kind of subdued here.

Monkey see, monkey do...he saw Vivi doing this so he had to also

And then shenanigans happened

Monday, October 30, 2017

34 months!

This was a big month for Vivien- she joined Ryder at pre-school!  When we decided that she would go to his pre-school too, we talked quite a bit to Ryder about helping her out, so she wasn't sad or upset on her first day!  She is in the downstairs 3-4 class an Ryder is upstairs in the 4-5 class.  One day when she first started going, the teachers couldn't find her and they found her upstairs, looking for Ryder.  I'm not sure if she found him or not.  Either way, she loves going to school.

Whenever Vivi is alone in the living room or sunroom, she gets out all the toys and starts playing like crazy.  Even though they do play together pretty nicely right now, Ryder is very stingy about sharing his toys; frankly he is stingy about sharing HER toys!  When she has the chance, she loves to play with all the toys, in her own way!  She really loves the little Playmobil firefighter guys that we have; she's always bringing them to me to add on accessories, like visors, air masks and tanks and helmets.  Both kids love all the little details of the Playmobil sets.

Vivi's hair is curlier than ever.  She has adorable little ringlets that are super tight to her head when it's humid and just a little longer when it's not.  When we're going out, I spray it with leave-in conditioner and comb out her curls neatly.  Her hair is pretty fine right now, so it works, but we'll see what happens as it thickens up.  Since I have bone straight hair, this is a learning experience for me!

This month Vivi has been waking up in the night and coming in tho sleep with us a lot.  I love snuggling with kids at night and I don't mind when they come visit us, but one week between the two of them we got only 1 night of full sleep!  The next night, I settled her back in her own bed instead of bringing her into our room and she has been back to self-soothing at night.  We will still let her come in sometimes though!  It's so sweet.

Starting at the beginning of the month, we have been doing crafts and decorating for Halloween.  Vivi really loves to do "activities," so she asks practically every day.  Our house is so decorated right now!  

Happy girl!.

The two got in on it together and shenanigans ensued of course.

Super happy girl.

Always smiling and laughing.

Sitting still for a moment.

Obligatory action shots.  These shots are how I convince them to participate, really!  They love to look at them!

What a cutie.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

4 years + 6 months!

This past month was the biggest, hugest month ever for Ryder- he started pre-school!  We opted to start him a little later than usual due to the mild complications of his health condition.  So, at 4 and 1/2 years, off he went.  He cried hysterically the first day, cried a little less the second and third days and by the fourth day he just welled up a little.  After that, he's been fine and absolutely loves school.  He has a great time doing all the activities and has made a couple of friends, so we're thrilled for him.

He has been interested in letters and writing for quite some time; he would practice his letters as early as last fall, but it has taken off this summer and now with pre-school it's bumped up even higher.  Earlier in the month he wrote letters to people (in other words, put their name on a card and a picture of their interests) and then we went to the post office and he sent them.  He was so excited!  Now he writes and practices letters all the time.  All his pictures of trash trucks now say JRM or Hiltz on them!

Even though he's been into letters this month, he still likes those math problems.  We were making up stories to help him practice adding and subtracting, and then he started making up his own to help us practice.  "If there are 5 bunnies in the back yard and a coyote eats 2 of them, how many bunnies are left?"  He really enjoyed the bunny math problems, since we have soooo many bunnies in our neighborhood.

This month he had a follow-up procedure at Children's Hospital and he handled it so well.  He was a little nervous on the ride in and threw up, which almost called off the procedure!!, but once he got there he was a champ.  While we waited for the procedure, he played with Play-Doh and did some puzzles and then went in very calmly.  He ended up going under during the second part of the procedure and when he came to, he was super calm and happy, which the nurse said is uncommon, so we were glad that he wasn't too upset by everything.

Even though he didn't smile, he was happy to pick apples and visit the farm

So many apples!

He loves apples; really all fruit

Getting the best ones

Chasing the poor unsuspecting birds!

They cannot both look at the camera and smile in the same photo!

He loved the big pumpkins

Now he's being a T-Rex, notice the 2 fingers

Friday, October 27, 2017

33 Months!

Vivien has grown into such a good eater.  While there are still some things that she doesn't really like (strawberries!), she'll eat most every dinner that we put in front of her.  She prefers her tacos with all the vegetables on them, which is the opposite of Ryder.  She loves tomatoes, especially the ones from our garden.  She has been eating up a storm too, which isn't surprising considering that she's getting so much bigger!

Vivi really loves to do "activities," which is just doing some sort of art or sciency project with me.  We made slime and she was over the moon about it.  She has been really getting into art lately too, and she likes painting a lot more now.  She has also been drawing a lot more with her markers and with pens.  She draws people now, which are basically ovals with eyes and stick legs.  They are very cute.

Now that she's older, Vivi has been much more engaged in playing with Ryder and other kids, although she does often choose to do her own thing too.  Ryder plays lots of imaginary games and Vivi joins right in and runs around like crazy shouting about fires and pirates and things.  She has also gotten a lot more into her doll, changing its clothes and wanting to out diapers on it.

The new bed has still been going well, except that Vivi isn't so good at keeping the covers on her, which will be a problem as it gets colder.  She loves whooshing into bed- jumping from the arm of her chair straight to her pillow.  She has been getting a less regular nap this month, and she really still needs one, so she has been grumpy!  It's hard to say if it's from the naps exactly or just from getting closer to three!

Last month, Vivi's favorite friend Ducky disappeared into thin air.  I was actually worried that it got thrown away or burned in the fireplace because I looked everywhere.  Vivi took it pretty well, thank goodness, but she did keep asking about Ducky.  Luckily for us, Janda found it stuffed into the tube of a cat scratching post, so Vivi and Ducky were reunited at last!

She got her apple!

She held onto it tight and ate it all up!

Chasing some poor unsuspecting birds!

Driving the tractor

Every photo of the two of them was like this- one would look at the camera and smile, then the other would, but never really at the same time!

Checking out the flowers

Taking a (pretend) ride

Thursday, October 26, 2017

4 Years + 5 Months!

Summer has been good to Ryder!  He has had a lot of fun adventures, both close to home and out in the big wide world!  We took our first overnight camping trip to New Hampshire this month and aside from the fact that his rash was bothering him (which was actually kind of a big deal in a not so good way!) he did great.  He had a ton of fun climbing and checking out waterfalls and slept straight through the night in the tent, not even a huge thunderstorm could wake him up!  He also had a lot of fun climbing on the rocks at Flatrocks, as well as checking out the marine life.  He could sit next to a tide pool looking for little creatures for quite a while.  He was rewarded for his patience by all kinds of sea creatures.

We also took him to Boston this month to go to the Harvard Museum of Natural History to see the dinosaur bones.  We got sucked into a story time, which he really enjoyed.  He sat quietly through the whole story and whispered the answers to the questions to me.  This bodes well for pre-school!  He loved the dinosaur bones and was so excited to see all of the fossils, but then he got even more excited for the marine habitat replicas.  We had to go through that hall twice.

Ryder has always been interested in numbers and this summer we started talking about addition- I forget if he brought it up first, or if we did, but either way he talks about it all the time now.  We taught him to use his fingers to add stuff up, so he's always adding things and then quizzing us to see if we also know what the sum is!

Ryder has been playing pirates all summer long, so Janda has been concocting yarns about Pirate Redbeard every night before bed.  Ryder loves the stories and has been embellishing and making up his own stories about Redbeard too, it's adorable!

At the end of the month Janda and I undertook a construction project in our mudroom and Ryder has been super involved!  He can't really help much in the actual room, but he has been using his new hand-me-down real kid-sized tool set to hammer lots of scrap wood together.  He has also been measuring everything!  He also rediscovered Bob the Builder when we got the PBS app on our tv, so it's been all construction all the time!

Standing on the ramp

He loves action photos!

He really really loves them!

Getting ready to slide

Still for a moment!

He got tired and let me take a relaxed photo

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

32 Months!

This was a big month for Vivi- she moved into her real bed!  We had been talking about it for months, but I heard some horror stories from other mothers about moving their kids into beds and I hesitated, even though Ryder transitioned just fine.  It turns out that all my worry was for naught.  One day after her nap, we took apart her crib and built her bed.  That night she went to bed totally fine and slept through the night, so we were very happy.  Her bedtime routine has changed a bit now though; now I snuggle with her for a few minutes before I go downstairs.  There is no monitor in her room, but we can hear her talking to herself for a few minutes usually before falling asleep.

We were hoping that Ryder would be ready to give his push bike to Vivi this summer, but we realized that he wasn't giving it up.  We finally just got Vivi her own bike, since Ryder wasn't interested in sharing.  She absolutely loves it.  She rides her bike even more than Ryder rides his now!  She is pretty much fearless and flies down our hill at top speed.

As a family we had a lot of adventures this month and Vivi loved them all.  We went camping and hiking in New Hampshire for the first time.  Janda and I were worried, but the kids slept through the whole night- even through a huge thunderstorm!  We went out to Flatrocks a few times and she loved climbing over all the rocks and checking out the marine life too.  We also went into Boston to the Harvard Museum of Natural History to see the dinosaurs and other exhibits, which she enjoyed, until she got tired!

Vivi has been talking up a storm, basically narrating our lives and asking a million questions.  Listening to her talking to Ryder is very cute- they have funny little conversations, with about 50% of them ending in frustration for Ryder!  My favorite saying of the month for her has been "What's that sbell?"  I love how she mispronounces it and I think it's funny how she notices how things smell so much.  She can smell "I snuck it when she wasn't looking" chocolate on my breath a mile away! 

Vivi has been sprouting up lately.  All of a sudden she seems so much taller and some of her 2T clothes are getting too small.  She's gotten that little kid look more than the toddler look now!  Poor Mommy is very sad!
Goofing around for our photos!

What a big "smile"!

She loves to be outside

What a sweetie

Checking out the tomatoes

She loves to help pick them too

Getting ready to slide

A big jump!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

4 years + 4 months!

Summer is in full swing over here.  Ryder is definitely getting into a summer routine of sleeping in (sometimes til 8, just like when he was a baby!  What a great kid!!), watching some dinosaur or fire related tv and then wreaking havok!

 At the beginning of the month, there was a lot of 4th of July stuff that Ryder loved.  He loved all the candy and fire trucks of the Gloucester and Rockport parades.  He got the hang of grabbing that candy pretty quick!  Of course, the Rockport Bonfire was a huge highlight.  The look on his face when they lit the bonfire and while it was burning was priceless!  He was acting like a firefighter, telling us to keep back and then kneeling down to spray the fire with his imaginary hose!  Later in month, he got to try on a real fire fighter's suit, so this has probably been his best month ever.

He is now (again) completely obsessed with trash and recycling trucks.  We used to have to fight with him as he wanted the trash bins out on the side of the road at all times; luckily he doesn't do that as much.  But he does take them out to play trash pick-up with them all the time.  The trash and recycling guys on our route are super nice and have stoked his interest in their jobs by letting him throw stuff in the truck and climb up to pull the compactor lever!  We officially can't go anywhere on Wednesday because we would miss trash and recycling pick-up and that would be a crime!

There is a group of 2-6 summer kids who come to their beach house periodically over the summer and Ryder has loved having all these extra kids to play with.  Somehow they have started playing games with pirates, so that is another new obsession to add to his collection. 

The funniest thing that happened this month was when we came into the kitchen to see that Ryder had made a "salad" of green tomatoes, grass, cinnamon and chili powder, all by himself.  He had been using a sharp knife, but we replaced that with a butter knife, and he kept cooking.  He brought the salad to my birthday party for people to eat!

Testing the waters

I love that face!

Getting ready for a paddle

Ready to go out on the kayak

Pondering the river