Saturday, March 28, 2009

Let's Party!

First, a quick update on Riley's health. It's been a really tough week around here. Riley has had a mysterious fever that began nine days ago as a low grade fever & steadily increased to 104.7. By Wednesday, he began having these terrible spells of screaming and crying. We took him to the ER, where they ran a few tests... and never really determined what he has. They ruled out all the really scary stuff, and (after several hours) sent us home with a Rx for Augmentin. The side effects of this antibiotic include diahrea, dizziness & anxiety. It continues to be a little stressful, but Riley's fever has gone away and we're hoping that his crabbiness and lack of walking are due to the meds.
At any rate, he was feeling well enough today to have his birthday party! It was loads of fun, meltdown-free, and generally exhausting for everyone involved. Here are the highlights:

The theme was "Where the Wild Things Are." The cake was pretty simple; it was a scene from the Wild Rumpus. The photo doesn't really do it justice, since you can't move to see the Wild Things rumpusing back in the trees.
I made a separate cake for Riley so he could really dig in. His is the one on the left with the sprinkles. (More on that later...)
Our house was quite full; almost everyone we invited came to the party.
I put our guests to work, making birthday cards for some of Riley's future birthdays. We ended up with some great cards. (One of my favorites was the 16th birthday card that Katie made for him... "Drive it like you stole it!")
And then we gave Riley his cake. I had to help him blow out his candle, even though we've been practicing blowing... I think he clammed up with all the people staring at him. He began a little timidly...
... and was offering to share handfuls of cake after just a few minutes. He was actually quite neat with it; none in his hair or ears at all! Matt still gave him a quick bath because he did drop quite a bit of it into his lap.
After his bath he opened his presents.
He got several adorable outfits (which he really needed) and quite a few new toys (which he really enjoyed). All of the toys are great learning toys, and all of them have "off" switches (thank goodness)!
He was adorable! He loved all his new toys and could hardly figure out what to play with first. One toy he really wanted to play with, but will have to grow into a bit, was his new tricycle!
He's only got a little bit more to grow, and I think he'll be able to reach the pedals by the middle of the summer. Nani & Popi gave this to him, and even included a Missouri license plate with his name on it.
Of course, he was also interested in playing with the boxes. He likes to get into things (laundry baskets, boxes, etc.).
Tyson was, of course the perfect big brother. He was understanding of the fact that Matt & I were busy cleaning house & making the cake all morning, and was very patient with all of the attention that was poured on Riley at the party.
Overall, it was a great day. Busy and tiring, but lots & lots of fun. Now I think I will settle in with my knitting & a glass of Ovaltine.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Happy Birthday, Little One

Exactly one year ago today (down to the hour), our Wild Thing was born. We didn't know he'd be a little Wild Thing then, though the fact that he was noisily exercising his lungs before he was fully born should have given us a clue.

From the start, he wanted to do things his own way... refusing the hospital issue binky in favor of his own fingers. (He now prefers his right thumb. Yes, only the right one.)
My little Sweet Pea, he was alert and observant from his very first day.
He has always insisted on sticking his feet out of the blankets. No matter how cold it gets, he does not want his feet covered. He also dislikes socks & shoes (just like his Mommy).

One whole year has passed already. I feel a little dizzy. I wonder when this last year sneaked by. And where was I when it happened? I am experiencing the now-familiar bittersweet feeling of happiness & pride for my child... mixed with a healthy does of sadness & wistfulness at the passing of time. I find such joy in watching him grow every day, and I love the little person he is becoming. Today I found myself alternating between smiles and tears. It's complicated & difficult to explain.

Today he's a strong, independent young man. Already. He is quick to figure things out, and is eager to make people smile and laugh. He is also incredibly affectionate. I managed to catch him in a rare snuggle moment with Matt yesterday.
In general, he is in constant motion. He is not interested in long, leisurely cuddles. His snuggles tend to come in "drive by" form. He plays, toddles over, throws himself into your arms for a few seconds, and then toddles off to play some more. This pattern repeats many times each hour.
Riley is a happy child, always quick with a big smile and an adorable "uh-oh." He is very ticklish, and loves physical play; his favorites are dancing to music (any kind of music) and "Monkey Swing."
He already wants to run and play outside with his big brother and the other neighborhood kids. He will often stand at the screen door and yell outside whenever they ride bikes or play hockey in the street. He already wants to tag along behind his big brother, and his big brother is usually quite happy to have him along.
It has been a good year. We've been busy; our home has been chaotic; our family has been joyful. I have loved every moment of it, and I pray that Riley's second year will be as healthy and exciting and happy and busy as the last year was.

Happy Birthday, my precious little Sweet Pea.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Spring Break - Day 5

Yesterday was our last official day of Spring Break. It went by really quickly, but we had so much fun and got so much accomplished that I have absolutely no regrets. I'll be happy to get back to work on Monday, especially since I know that I'll have a summer full of weeks like the one we just had!

Here's what was on the agenda yesterday:

I did a fair amount of this:
Yep. Relaxing with my feet up. You can't see it in the photo, but my knitting was in my lap.

I also spent a good amount of time playing with Riley. Look what he has taken to dragging around! That's the Pain-In-The-Arse blanket that I made for him!

I also had the Detail Doctors come to my house & spiff up my poor old car. They washed, waxed and buffed the outside, cleaned the engine and REALLY cleaned the inside for a very reasonable price. They got crud out of the carpet that I thought was there for good. I emptied all the crap out before they came and ended up finding this:
That there is $12.74 in loose change. (I took Tyson out to lunch with some of it, and stashed the rest in my piggy bank.)

I also spent some time playing catch with Tyson in the side yard. (No pictures because it was really hard to get with a baseball glove on one hand and a baseball flying at me...) He also played outside with his friends most of the afternoon.

While he was playing with friends, I took some time to enjoy the first signs of spring on the First Day of Spring. This is coming up in the front flower bed.
It's a bulb of some type, but I can't remember what. We'll find out in a few weeks when it blooms.

These daffodils are blooming around my mailbox. I remember when there was a scant 6 plants out there, but they've really spread the last couple of years.

These are blooming in our neighbor's front flower bed. I can't remember what they are called, but they smell heavenly.

These trees are blooming all over the area right now. They are really lovely. I think this one is a Bradford Pear Tree, which looks a lot like another type of tree that will also soon be blooming. The difference is that the Pear Tree doesn't really have any aroma... the other ones stink to high heaven. Thankfully it only lasts a week or two and then they're done. Ick.

My last day of Spring Break ended with a book club meeting where we discussed, among other things, Twilight. Everyone agreed that it was a nice, simple read and was a good story. We picked the next book, Plain Truth, which we'll discuss in about 6 weeks.

We got up this morning and Matt surprised us by taking us to Russell's for breakfast. Saturday is Waffle Day at Russell's Matt had the blackberry waffle, Ty had a cherry waffle, and I had an apple cinnamon waffle. (I got mine "cheesecaked." It was a yummy treat.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Spring Break - Day 4

Yep, it was another busy day. We started by going to the gym for an hour, and then came home so I could shower, do laundry, pick up a bit, etc.

After lunch, we went to Aunt Tina's salon to get haircuts for the boys. (That's not actually the name of the salon... I call it that because it's actually owned by my Aunt Tina.)

Here are a few "before" photos of Riley. Today was his first haircut.

Look at those long bangs! They were hanging in his eyes and tickling at his ears!

Look closely. Do you see the curl just behind his ear? That's the only curl on his whole head. Its adorable! (But it tickled his ear...)

After Riley had rearranged most of the chairs in the waiting area, we commenced with the haircutting. We started out with Riley sitting on the booster in the chair. My plan was to feed him a steady stream of Gerber Stars and make silly faces at him to keep him happy & relatively still.
Hi, Aunt Tina! Our initial plan didn't actually work out...

...and I ended up sitting in the chair with Riley in my lap. He never got fussy at all. He was a real trooper! But even with a modified basket hold he still wiggled a lot.

In the end, he ended up with a REALLY cute haircut. He looks a lot older now... less baby - more boy.
He's got little bangs, and sadly, most of the curl is gone. (Though there's still a little flip behind that ear.)

I have to give a big "thanks!" to Tyson, who photographed the entire event. Since I had to hold Riley, Ty was happy to snap lots of photos. Tyson also got his hair cut. We went really short on the sides & back, and a little longer on top. I would say it looks adorable, but I was informed today that "six year old boys are NOT adorable," so I will just say that he looks ruggedly handsome.

The haircut was such a success that I was feeling happy and adventurous when we got home. I decided we should stay on the roll we had going and bang out another "first."

We decided to paint with Riley for the first time. I wanted to have the boys do an Easter project, and this seemed like a quick and easy (if a little messy) project to start with.

Tyson's bunny picture. He only did three pictures because he's very meticulous with his artwork, which takes a long time. I'm pretty sure he'll do some more painting tomorrow.

My little artist concentrates on his masterpiece.

Oh, and since Riley still puts anything that's not nailed down (and a few things that are) into his mouth, I made my own nontoxic paints. It was easy. I just mixed some water and corn starch, then added one drop of food coloring to each cup.

Riley paints with his elbow, while simultaneously smearing paint on the back of his highchair.

Riley didn't quite "get" the activity, but he did seem interested in smearing the drops with his fingers. He was definitely watching his big brother paint. Riley's already beginning to show us that he wants to do everything that his big brother is doing, from eating dessert after dinner to playing outside, to moving the baby blockades and climbing the stairs. It's adorable to watch.

Tomorrow's agenda should hopefully be light. I'm getting my car deep cleaned, finishing the laundry and doing a whole lotta knitting (hopefully!).

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Spring Break - Day 3

Today was another busy day. I had planned to take Ty to the Zoo, but our weather people predicted rain around lunch time. (Of course, the rain didn't get here until 8:30 this evening!)

So, our morning began with yoga (Tyson loves to do yoga!)... I've realized that I enjoy it much more when it's in the evening. I must be getting old, because I'm pretty stiff first thing in the morning. After that, we had a light breakfast, and then practiced piano. Look at that concentration:

Since we expected thunderstorms to move in, we decided to tackle the mess that was Ty's room.
I don't think it has ever been this messy before. As Riley has grown and become more crafty with circumventing our gates and blockades, we've had to remove Ty's toys from the first floor, a few at a time. It started out simple enough... just a stack of games in the corner by the bed, but things had definitely gotten out of hand.
This is embarrassing...
And we've been putting some things up on top of his dresser because he keeps forgetting to close his bedroom door, and Riley occasionally gets in there for a few moments.

Neither of us could stand it anymore, so we spent a large portion of the day sorting through toys and games, reorganizing stuff, etc.

As I was taking photos of the "after," Tyson insisted that he take a picture of his calendar. It's not new. It's been on his wall for four years. But, what the heck... he asked nicely.
We packed up a few things for Riley to play with in the future, and set aside several items for GoodWill. In the end, we felt pretty good about what we had accomplished.
We removed his old fashioned school desk, and I had intentions of finding a newer one with more workspace.
We still had a few things that needed homes, especially his art supplies. (That's what that big, black box is, next to the dresser.) I hated leaving it there, but it was full of crafty stuff & I didn't have any place else to put it all.
Tyson enjoys arranging his "sleepy friends" on his bed. This is why he doesn't mind making his bed most days... he arranges them differently every day. (Yes, the three hockey pucks are supposed to be there. He has slept with them since he was a baby. Some kids choose a teddy bear, blanket or other soft lovey as their transition object. My kid picked a Vancouver Canucks hockey puck.)
After we finished cleaning Ty's room, we took a break to eat lunch. Outside. On the deck. It. was. awesome.
After lunch, we took our load of stuff to the GoodWill store for donation. As long as we were there, I decided to look for a desk. I warned Ty that we would likely have to come back several times until we found something that would fit our requirements. We walked to the back of the store and saw, buried between two large entertainment units, a perfect desk! (Ironically, it's a slightly more modern school desk... we just traded older for newer!)
It was absolutely perfect. Ty has a small room, so we didn't want a ginormous desk. This has plenty of work space, but doesn't take up too much floor space. I didn't want to spend a lot of money, given that he will likely outgrow it in a few years. The cheapest one our Target had in stock was $89.00; I got this one for $20.00! We needed something that would hold much of Ty's art supplies. I was able to completely clean out that big black box and put everything in the storage area of the desk and the shelf next to it (which we already had). And the best part (given that it was a retired school desk): I didn't have to scrape any gum off the bottom.

On the schedule for tomorrow: a visit to the gym, some time for relaxing (finally) and haircuts for the boys. I'm excited. It'll be Riley's first haircut!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sprng Break - Day 2


Today was the second day of spring break. I had originally thought that Spring Break would be a relaxing, rejuvenating experience. Instead, so far we've been really busy, and I'm exhausted!

Of course, we all got up and put on our green this morning!

Tyson "found" a rainbow, sans pot-o-gold.
Riley got in touch with his Irish roots in a cute polo shirt.
So, the morning started with a breakfast of Lucky Charms (of course!) and bananas, followed by some play time. (For the boys. I had to clean up breakfast, start the laundry and water the houseplants).
After that we took Riley to day care and went to get Tyson's hearing checked. He had failed the screening they gave him at school, but today he passed with 100% normal hearing. This was a relief, and confirmed my suspicions that he is, in fact, choosing to ignore me when I ask him to do things like putting his shoes away or brushing his teeth. (I wasn't allowed to photograph inside the chamber, so this image will have to do.)

After the hearing test, we had a quick lunch on the deck, and then went to Lowe's to stock up on seeds and garden supplies. Matt & I have been talking about drastically expanding our garden. Today I committed us to that. Look at all the plants Tyson & I are going to grow!
Tyson helped me plant some of them, and spent the rest of the time playing with his friends.
Here are the starters. I like to use the small Dixie Cups instead of the peat pots. Those things get gross if we have frosty mornings late into spring.

When the seeds had been sown it was time for a piano lesson. (Hi Steph!!!) She's a great piano teacher... very patient and quick to cut off any shenanigans Ty has planned!
Lastly, we had a great Irish dinner: corned beef and cabbage with boiled potatoes. I cooked the potatoes and carrots with the corned beef in the crock pot all day, but cooked the cabbage separately in a skillet. I'm not crazy about the cabbage (*gags at the thought*) and didn't want my house to smell like stale cabbage tomorrow. The meal turned out wonderfully... my Irish ancestors would be proud!
This was followed by a slice of St. Patrick's Day cake...
...and a bit of clowning around at the table. Matt bought this to wear at work today.
I didn't get a chance to do any knitting today, but the day's not over yet. I'm planning to settle in with a tall glass of Ovaltine and work on T2 after I finish the dishes.