Wednesday, December 31, 2014

21 Months!

Despite my desire for him to remain my little baby, Ryder continues to grow and grow.  In fact, now that we have Vivien, he seems like a giant!  He is clearly a kid now and not a baby.

Ryder is talking more and more, with new words appearing in his vocabulary every day or two.  My personal favorite new word is Mommy, especially since he has been saying Daddy for months! When we got our Christmas tree, he learned that word on the first introduction.  That was probably the first time that we said a word to him and he said it back and remembered it.  The cutest new word of the month has to be Owly, for one of his stuffed animals.  In addition to his plush friend, there seem to be owls everywhere, so he has many occasions to say Owly and it is just so darn cute.  He continues to be able to understand more and more directions and to recognize more words, now he can point to almost everything in all of his books.

He is still eating up a storm.  He eats good meals still and now so many snacks!  His new favorite this month has to be clementines- he has eaten three in one sitting!  That's a lot of vitamin C, no scurvy around here!  We continue to be amazed by the range of foods that he'll eat.  He has been chowing down kale soup with potatoes, carrots, lentils and sausage all month.

He can now play with his toys by himself for a few minutes, which is helpful when chores need to get done around  the house.  He loves to build trucks with his Legos and play with his other trucks.  He likes coloring, in fact one day we found him with one of my colored pencils writing all over th e wall and fireplace!  Luckily it was a watercolor colored pencil and it wiped right off!

Then of course, there were two big events this month- getting ready for Christmas and having a new baby.  Ryder loved the Christmas tree and Christmas lights.  First thing every morning or whenever we got back home, he would walk around the living and dining rooms and point to all of the lights that needed to be turned on.  He even pointed out the light bulbs that were out.  He was all about getting into the tree- we have no ornaments below the three foot mark basically.   I'm sure that his new sister came as a complete surprise to him, but he has been very interested in her.  He likes to kiss  her and is always trying to hold her.

The only picture I got of him really smiling!

He always has his hands behind his back.

A little unsure why I'm bothering him with this camera.

Such a cute pose, but wouldn't give me a smile.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Another Star Is Born

Much to nobody's surprise, baby Vivien arrived a month early, a couple of weeks shy of Christmas.  Starting at about 32 weeks, I was very nervous, but Ryder's birth day of 34 weeks 5 days came and went without incident.  After that, I just kept hoping to make it to the next Friday. Two more Fridays and we would just about make it to vacation.  The next week I oriented my long-term sub and made it to Friday!  Another small victory!

I was, however, super huge by then, which everyone noticed!  Yet again we were saying, "How can that belly get another month bigger?!"  I wanted to take a photo, but since with Ryder's birth we took a picture of that big belly and he was born that night, I was a little superstitious and refrained.  That Friday night I made chocolate covered Christmas Oreos and got some small coworker gifts together and then stayed up late to do the dishes- nothing worse than a sink full of dishes on Saturday morning.

At 3am I got up to go to the bathroom and it was total deja vu.  Just like with Ryder, my water broke out of the blue, but at least this time I knew what it was.  My mom came over to watch Ryder and Janda and I headed to the hospital.  Since we were at 35 weeks 6 days, we were nervous, but we figured since Ryder was OK, this little girl would be too.  Babies who are born before 36 weeks have to go to the Special Care Nursery for 48 hours, so we were trying to avoid that since we wouldn't be able to stay with her if she went there.  We talked to the midwife and doctor and we all agreed that we would try to make it to the next day- so if I needed another C-section we would do it after midnight.  At 8am that almost seemed like an impossible dream.  Little did we know...

Not only did we make it until midnight, we made it past noon the next day.  At 1:36pm, baby Vivien was born at 36 weeks exactly- no Special Care Nursery for her!  She was 19 inches long and 7lbs.  It would seem that Janda and I are two for two with producing early yet huge babies!  Because it was officially 36 weeks, she got to stay in my hospital room the entire time I was there, which was a dream come true after Ryder being whisked away to the Special Care Nursery and then Children's.

All wrapped up at the hospital

Ryder was fascinated when he came to visit

On Tuesday we came home while our new wood-burning fireplace was being installed.  Not ideal!  But, a few hours later all four of us were enjoying a nice fire.

Home at last

Still puffy!

Admiring the new addition

The fireplace has made it so warm and cozy

The next day Vivien had her first doctor's appointment, as a check on her jaundice.  Just like me and Ryder, Vivien was a bit yellow. The doctor had her go for a blood test the next day.  At 4 o'clock on Thursday we go the results of the test... and had to rush her back to the hospital.  She went under the lights immediately and was admitted into a pediatric room that evening.

She and I stayed there for 2 days.  Luckily we had a double room to ourselves, so she had her incubator and I had the bed to sleep in right next to her.  It was terrible to be away from Ryder and Janda again, but being in that bed forced me to keep my feet up a lot, so it actually helped with my swelling and recovery.  When we left on Saturday, her jaundice was down to a reasonable level and my legs were back to their normal size.

Under the lights 

Chilling in the hospital room

Home for good!

We got home a few days before Christmas, so there was plenty of time to settle in before our first Christmas as a family of 4!

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

20 months!

This month Ryder has been talking a lot more.  In addition to learning new words, he is also making nonsense words and sentences, so he is trying to say a lot more.  The funniest new phrase from this month is "Odd Squad."  PBS has been previewing their new show "The Odd Squad" for months.  Ryder has always liked the ads, but he has been getting more into them lately.  A few weeks ago when the ad came on, he yelled out "Odd Squad" out of the blue and then said it non-stop for days.  He requests "Odd Squad" videos by name when he wants to watch something.  He is back to saying Yeah constantly when we ask him questions.  That helps to narrow it down when he is pointing at something and crying and we can't figure out what it is.  When we read books, he continues to be able to point out more and more objects.

We have a couple of fun new games this month also.  He has been playing a silent Simon Says game with us, where he or we do something and the other copies.  A lot of it is touching/covering body parts is included, occasionally there is some weird walking and hopping.  He also can touch about a dozen different body parts when you ask him too.  He will also touch our body parts if we ask him.  The cutest one is definitely belly, since he'll lift up his shirt or mine to show it off.

His fine motor skills continue to improve too.  He is getting good at putting Legos together and doesn't need that much help to build his big trucks.  He can hold a pencil/pen/crayon very well now and wants to write whenever I am writing.  He is quite good at making marks but not very good at knowing where the marks belong.  He was coloring one day and he got tired of the paper and tried to draw on the floor and then over a scuff mark on the wall.  Luckily I was right there and nothing got ruined!

This month we worked out some residual complications from his Hirschsprung's Disease and he has been eating more than ever.  He has gotten really good with the spoon and can eat a bowl of cereal basically all on his own.  He gets all annoyed when something gets on his hands, so I have to wipe his hands a few times while he's eating something messy.  Two molars have broken through and some more are coming I'm sure, so he can eat more foods now.  He likes to eat dry cereal, Goldfish, etc, but unfortunately he also likes to dump them out and/or throw them.  He dumped out a whole box of graham crackers one day, which was fun to clean up.

Can't take his eyes off the banana
 He loves those bananas

Never stops running around

Never stops smiling either

He loves to run full speed at us and jump up into our arms

The seated portion of the photo shoot didn't go too smoothly- he wouldn't sit up and smile

Sunday, October 26, 2014

19 Months!

Ryder has had another big month.

I don't know how it's possible, but at some meals Ryder eats as much as I do!  He's a skinny little kid, so I don't know where it goes!  He is all about feeding himself now.  He has no major issues feeding himself yogurt or cereal with a spoon.  He loves spearing everything with a fork.  He has been going through phases, loving one food, then refusing it for a week and liking it again after.  One thing he consistently loves is bananas.  When he sees or we mention a food that he likes, he happily exclaims "Mmmm!"  He also likes to help make his food- mostly he watches now and sprinkles in spices.

His vocabulary has been increasing, he probably has twice as many words this month.  His new favorite word/thing is "Bus."  He get extremely excited when we see the buses in the morning on the way to school.  In fact every time we get in the car, he starts looking for buses.  Seeing buses and trucks in his books and on the TV also gets him excited.  This month he has also added "Duck" and "Yuck," plus "Lion," "Rock" and my personal favorite "Budgy."  Budgy can mean both buggy and bunny.  When he sees a bunny in a book, he says "Budgy," when he sees a bug flying around, it's "Budgy."  Ryder also seems to think that all lint and crumbs are actually bugs too, which is so cute.  He is learning to understand/recognize a lot of new words.  He knows the names of many new things and can point out five times as many things in his books as he could before.

Ryder is still extremely active.  He runs around as much as possible- he runs circles around people, circles around the house, and of course loves to run around outside.  Some days he picks a couple of toys to play with, usually his cars or his bouncy balls, and other days he dumps out every single toy in the house and plays with/throws all of them.  He doesn't do it every time, but he will put things back where they belong on occasion.

He does lots of hugs and kisses now, mostly when we are around strangers or he is tired.  On the rare night when he has trouble sleeping, I will rock him until he can fall back to sleep.  Now he holds on tightly.  His affection has been recently expressed by hits, kicks, jumps and hair pulling, but it seems like he is learning to be "Gentle!"  We've always taught him to be gentle with the cat, so it seems semi-easy to get him to be gentle with us.  He has started having mild temper tantrums, but you can usually distract him, luckily.

I asked him to sit, I was thinking on the couch!

Fooling around

He loves his cars

He's always smiling when he's not having a temper tantrum

Chilling out on the couch

Running to Daddy

Monday, September 29, 2014

18 months!

Ryder is now a year and a half old.  He's getting to be such a big kid!  Looking back at pictures from 18 months ago, the difference is amazing.

This month his fine motor skills have been on showcase.  He is getting way better at putting together his Legos.  Most of the time he can attach the different pieces.  When he can't, he gets a little frustrated and hands it to me.  His dancing skills are also getting better.  He has been bouncing from one foot to the other and up and down for months.  Now he is doing a little wiggle too.  It's adorable.  He can turn on the music on the CD player at my mom's and gets himself dancing.

His vocabulary hasn't increased by that much, but he has been using the ones that he has a lot. Especially truck!  Every truck that we see when we are in the car, he excitedly points it out and yells "tuck!"  He has said a few words once, so his ability to repeat words is increasing.  He understands almost everything we say; he follows almost all of our directions and understands most of our questions.

His favorite foods this month have been waffles and French toast. When he hears the waffle maker ding, he gets very excited!  He only has the front 8 teeth as of now, so he doesn't have the most advanced chewing ability.  He loves apples, but he has trouble chewing them.  He bites some off, works on it for a few minutes and then spits it out when he can't quite swallow it.  I'm glad he likes apples, but I'll be even happier when he can fully chew them.  He has also gotten very good at drinking his water from a straw- it's hydrating and fun.

He is becoming more and more affectionate.  When he's feeling shy, he will hug our legs or want to hold our hands.  His hugs are a little dangerous for me though, because he pulls my hair hard.  He has given me a few real kisses, which were a real treat.  The person he hugs the most is his cousin Emma; when he sees her in the morning he jumps up and down and then rushes over to hug her.  Good thing she thinks of him as a brother!

He sat up nicely for a couple of pictures

Playing in the sunroom

Taking a break

His fierce "this is heavy" face

He likes to dump things out and put them back

He's coming to get me

Did I mention he prefers to brush his own hair now?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

A Trip to the Orchard

If there is one thing that you have to do in the fall in New England, it is to go to the apple orchard. With nice cool temperatures today, we decided to go get our fill of apples.  We would have had cider donuts too, but the line was too long!  Cider waffles tomorrow will have to do I guess.

Walking the path to the apples

He loves to pick fruit and veggies- this was his first apple

Getting a taste from Daddy

Deciding if he likes it

He got another one

The Empire apple trees were positively loaded

He got another

He liked putting them in the bag, then he'd want to take them out and do it again.

There were a bunch of bugs to inspect

No pictures of me from the orchard, but here's one from last week,
at Week 23.  Ryder is getting a sister!

Monday, September 8, 2014

17 months!

We had to go back to school at the end of August (hence the lateness of this round-up), so we tried to enjoy every second of the month.  We went to the beach as much as we could.  Ryder loves to be outside, so we played a lot in the yard.  He has inherited Janda's endurance, he can walk all the way around the block under his own power, he actually runs most of the way.  We've had a lot of skinned knees this month, since he prefers to play on pavement, much to my chagrin.

He still loves his cars and he can put them back together himself pretty well.  He has also mostly figured out how to wind them up and send them off on his own.  He loves to throw things, so we bought him some big bouncy balls, which have been a huge hit.  He definitely favors his right hand for throwing, but also loves the two-arm, two-ball double throw.  He loves his lift-the-flap books, but unfortunately he likes to rip the flaps right out.

This month he has added a few new words and the ones that he had been saying have become more recognizable.  He has given up "yeah" in favor of "uh-huh."  He usually calls Janda and me Daddy- whenever either of us leaves, he stands in the doorway and yells Da-ddy! over and over.  When he sees Janda in cycling or running clothes, he knows that Daddy is leaving and waves bye. Then he runs to the sunroom, stands in the window and yells "bye-bye Daddy!"  He also says "bye-bye truck" and "bye-bye plane" all the time.  Every time a plane flies over he says bye to it, even if he can't see it.

He is very independent with eating now.  He wants to hold everything himself and use a fork to stab and eat everything.  He prefers big pieces that he can bite himself, but then he takes a huge bite, realizes he can't chew it and spits it out!  Fun for Mommy!

Just chillin'!

Love that face

Okay, I'll sit on the couch...

...but not for long.

Focused on his toy

Cute boy!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Garden in August

August brings the best days of the garden- tomato days!  I can't remember exactly when they started getting red, but I'd say it's been almost two weeks since the first lone tomato was ready. The different tomato plants have been ripening at different times/speeds; I don't know if it's due to the different varieties or different placement in boxes.  One box has all small tomatoes and those have been coming fast and furious.  I've already roasted two batches- of course we have a new oven and I burnt the first batch since this oven actually works!  Some of the big varieties are coming now- although considering what I planted they seem way too big.  I generally only plant medium size tomatoes and I have some extra large!  In one box the six tomato plants got so big (even with pinching new growth) that they fell over in their cages after a couple of rainstorms.  It is going to be very hard to pick those!

It's not only tomatoes though.  We have some new wild blackberry bushes in the back and they have been producing like crazy.  The cucumbers are going strong.  Too strong- I ran out of some spices for pickling and got behind on them big time.  Oops.  My tomatillos are losing their husks and turning purple finally.  They look very cool; I can't wait to try them.  Potatoes and sweet potatoes are doing whatever they're doing underground, I guess we'll see in the fall.  Squash and watermelon are going strong, sending out vines everywhere, and the peppers are picking up steam.

A purple husked tomatillo- beautiful

Big tomatoes are turning red

These little Sweet 100's have been coming on strong

A big little watermelon

The tomatoes in the back box have almost entirely engulfed the front box

Wild blackberries popped up in the back

Some pepper action