Friday, August 19, 2016

Road Trippin

Tomorrow, dark and early (we leave our house at 3:30am), the kids and I are embarking on a little adventure.  We will be meeting up with my sister and her family for a road trip to Montana.  All in one van, 3 adults and 6 kids, 3 of which are under 3 years old.  It should be interesting to say the least.  It's a 12 hour drive without stops, so factor in potty breaks for 9 people....

I've been feeling emotional and anxious about this trip all week.  I'm worried about how Ayden and Rylee will do in the car for that long.  I'm worried about how my bil will handle the stress if they cry a lot, or if Rylee has one of her moments of taking FOR.EV.ER, saying she has to poop while we are pulled over on the side of the road.  I'm not sure why I'm so worried about that, because I have no doubt their kids will have their own meltdowns along the way.  I just don't want US to be the ones with meltdowns.

The reason behind this road trip is that we are going to meet our half sister.  Sis and I met her one time when we were just kids and she was a baby.  It was a camping trip with our dad, his new wife and her kids, along with our baby half sister.  There's only two things I remember about the camping trip:

  1. I was terrified of going.  I was afraid they were going to kidnap us and take us back to Montana with them and we'd never see our mom again.
  2. That Baby Sis cried the whole time.
They didn't kidnap us, so that was good!  I think I only saw my dad one other time after that.  When I was in middle school age, he randomly showed up at our house and he gave me money.  That was the last time I heard from him, other than a drunken phone call late one night when I was in high school, and he cried about how much he still loved my mother.

He's a raging alcoholic.  My parents split when I was 5, right after Sis was born.  There were less than a handful of visits after that.  His absence truly has never been something that has been missing from my life.  I had my grandpa and uncles that filled that void.

However, I have always wanted to visit Montana and see where that side of my family is from.  I want to see where he grew up and still lives now.  I grew up with a few cousins from that side of the family, but mostly, we never knew our paternal family.

Sis and I connected with Baby Sis (real creative with made up names, huh?) through Facebook a few years back.  We have talked through Facebook and texting, but now we are about to take the leap into actually really connecting and getting to know each other!  We will be staying with Baby Sis and her family, which includes her husband and 3 year old daughter, for a full week!  I am so excited for the three of us girls to connect.  I am looking forward to making memories beyond our infamous camping trip so many years past.  I'm excited for all of our kids to play together.

The three of us will be making a trip to see our dad.  He has no idea we are coming.  We are just going to show up on his doorstep and see how he responds.  Baby Sis has seen him a few times over the years, but her mom split with him when she was 5 and their contact has been minimal.  My understanding is that he is a recluse that is drunk by noon daily, so there shouldn't be a problem with catching him at home.  It's just a matter if he'll be sober enough to actually have a meaningful conversation.

I tried to connect a few times over the years with him.  I sent him a high school graduation announcement and a wedding invitation, not because I wanted or expected him to come, but just to let him know what was going on in my life.  I never heard a single word from him.  After that, I just wrote him off and honestly, it really wasn't that hard for me.  As I said, I never really felt his absence.  However, now that I am about to see him again, I get a lump in my throat just thinking about it.  I am nervous, and hope that I can still feel impartial after our visit.

I am extremely excited about this trip and finally meeting Baby Sis, and having the three of us girls together.  I love road trips, although that may change after traveling with 6 kids all in one vehicle!  I'm looking forward to being able to spend quality time with my nieces and nephews.  I'm looking forward to seeing where that side of my family tree is from.  I'm excited, but I'm very nervous at the same time.

Wish us luck that we all come back home in one piece and that we will still like each other!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Microblog Monday: How Things Change

This past weekend I went white water rafting, something I have always loved doing but haven't done since having babies.  I was actually afraid of going this time and didn't really want to do it.  I've done this same trip in the past and knew exactly what to expect, which included an 18 foot cliff jump into the river and the climax of the trip being a trip over Husum Falls at the end.  I was fearful of ending up hurt.  Or worse....

Now that the rafting trip is over, I can happily say that we all survived and I'm glad I did it. It was a lot of fun.  I find it interesting and funny how things change when you have kids.  I never gave stuff like this a second thought prior to kids.

We didn't purchase the pictures this time around, since we'd done this before and had pictures from that time.  I thought I'd share those pics so that you could see why I was nervous. I mean, when the boat goes almost entirely underwater....

I'm in the front, with the white helmet.  Tony's in the back with the yellow life jacket.

We all managed to stay in the boat, then and now!

If you'd like to learn more about #MicroblogMondays or read more posts, click here.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Things They Say

I included a few things these two say on their individual posts, but I want to be sure to document some of the other things as well.  I have not been good about filling out their baby books at all, so this blog is pretty much it for remembering all the little things.  They continue to surprise me daily with things that come out of their little mouths.

Things they both say:

"Look!  It's a (cow, sheep, airplane, garbage truck....)."  Today, Ayden pointed to the sky and said "Look!  It's a rocket!"  It was a plane so high up you could barely see it, but you could see the white trails behind it.  Once he pointed it out, Rylee looked up and called it a rocket too.  I don't even know where they learned the word rocket!

"Ready, set, go!"

"I'm (she's) a princess."  If Rylee is wearing a dress, she's a princess.  If a baby doll is wearing a dress, it's a princess.  If somebody else is wearing a dress, she's a princess.  They were obsessed with a little girl at the park a few weeks ago that was wearing a dress and a bow in her hair.  They wanted to follow the "princess" around everywhere!

Things Rylee says:

"I'm gonna get you, Aynen (how she pronounces his name)," as they play chase around the house.

"Good night, Mommy."

"I luff (love) you, (Mommy, Daddy),"  complete with hand gestures, pointing to her eye, heart, and then at you.

"Daddy's at work."

Here recently, Rylee has become an independent little sassy pants.  She often says, "Let me do it!"  Which of course requires patience on our part because it makes things take 10 times longer.  (climbing into her car seat, climbing into her chair at the table, buckling her car seat, tightening the straps on her car seat, getting dressed and undressed.

My last post was about Rylee's regression with potty training.  Well, yesterday she went into the bathroom and I followed her in shortly after to see what she was doing and to help wipe.  She was sitting on her little potty.  When I came in she pointed to the door and said, "Go play, Mommy!"  lol!  Okay then!  I left and let her go about her business.  Hallelujah!  She went potty all on her own for a change!

Today, as she was getting into her car seat she told me to "step back, Mommy!  No.  Step back."  She is absolutely insistent on buckling herself in these days, which of course, I can't let her completely do by herself yet, so it's a battle.

She is ALWAYS pointing out her owies, "I got owie."

If someone coughs, she asks if you are okay.  If she coughs, she will tell you SHE is okay.  If you ask her if she's okay, her response is "thank you."

She says "excuse me" if she has the hick ups, burps, or farts.  She also says "excuse me" if someone else does it.

She has always struggled a bit with constipation, so pooping doesn't always happen easily.  When she has to poop, she sits on the potty and whispers "I can do it!"  Like she's giving herself a little pep talk.  It's actually pretty funny and cute.  Thank goodness it never seems to be painful for her.

Things Ayden says:

His list isn't quite so extensive, because he's still behind in his communication.  He does have a lot to say and talks a lot, but his stories are still mostly gibberish.  However, he is getting pretty good at saying individual words and is starting to put more words together finally.  His voice is very soft and quiet, unless he's mad.  Then look out!

In his individual post, I wrote about how he says "of course" a lot.  He also responds with "okaaayyy" a lot.  That's his general answer to things these days.  He says it all drawn out like, so it's pretty cute and funny.

He asks if you are okay.  "You okay, mommy?"

He will bring a book to you and ask you to read it, "read, book?"  He separates his words with a pause a lot of the time.

When he's hungry, he says "eat, dinner?" or "eat, snack?"

He often will bring you something and say, "here go, Mommy." or "here go, Ry-yee."

If he bonks his head against something, he will rub the spot and say, "bonk, head?"  He often makes things sound like a question.

Sometimes when he's getting into some kind of trouble and he gets caught, he will say "sorry, Mommy."  He'll also say that if he bumps into you, or you bump into him and he sounds so incredibly sweet with his soft voice.

I know there are other things they say, but these are the most common and the ones I can remember at the moment.  It's so fun to hear the new things that come out of their mouths. Sometimes it's pretty hard not to laugh, even though you probably shouldn't, like with Miss Rylee's sassafras lately.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Microblog Monday: Regression

Rylee's been at this whole potty training business for 3 months now.  She was doing really good.  She still had a few piddle accidents here and there, where she'd start in her panties but then finish on the potty, but it was manageable.  In the last week, however, she has regressed so much that it's like we are almost back to square one.  She's had a few full on pee accidents and she piddles almost Every. Single. Time now.  The exception is if I make her go potty, which I feel like I'm having to do way too much.  If I try to wait it out and let her go on her own, she pees her pants.  I softly prompt her, reminding her that potty goes in the toilet/potty seat, but that isn't doing any good at all.

I am so frustrated.  The good news is that poop is always in the toilet.  Thank God for that.

The plan is to start potty training Ayden shortly after we get back from our trip in a few weeks.  The original thought was that Rylee would be pretty much fully trained by then.  I'm sooooo dreading having to deal with potty training both of them together.  The amount of laundry I'm doing daily is already out of control.  Ugh.

To learn more about #MicroblogMonday, and/or to read more posts, click here.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

All About Rylee at 2.5

Rylee, Rylee, Rylee.  This girl is quite the character, I tell ya.  When Ayden and Rylee were first born, we joked that life would be boring if we only had Ayden because he was such an easy baby and she was sooooo not!  I wouldn't say that life would be boring if we only had Rylee, because she definitely does her fair share of keeping us on our toes, but she is definitely the more easy going of the two now.

My current favorite picture of her!

Rylee has changed so much since I wrote her All About Rylee at 2 Years Old post!  It's funny to look back and see how short her hair still was.  I couldn't remotely put pigtails in her hair then, not only because it was too short, but also because she absolutely did not even want me to try.  Now she LOVES having "pretties" put in her hair, and she HAS to have bows or flowers of some sort as well.  She is becoming quite the little fashionista. The girl has to wear a dress almost daily.  If she's not wearing a dress, she either throws a big temper tantrum about it or I have tricked her into wearing something else.  If I pull a shirt out of the closet rather than her dresser, she usually thinks it's a dress.  Almost every day after getting dressed, she will give a twirl in her outfit of the day.   She's also very into accessorizing with hats, gloves, and shoes (and the shoes don't always have to match).

**I have NO IDEA WHY blogger won't let me change the formatting of this last paragraph so it isn't all centered.  Ugh.  So annoying.**

Rylee is 29 lbs (55%), which continues to follow the pattern of weighing 5 lbs less than her brother.  They measured her at 36 inches, but I KNOW that's not accurate!  She was still wearing her sandals, which didn't make a huge difference, but she also had a ponytail on top of her head with a huge bow that DID make a big difference!  The nurse didn't account for the bow at all.  I know better than to believe Rylee is only 1 inch shorter than Ayden.  I mean seriously, look at this picture...

There is definitely more than 1 inch height difference between them.

Rylee is wearing mostly 3T shirts and dresses and 2T bottoms, but does fit in a few 3T bottoms now as well, as long as the waist isn't too big.  She is wearing about a 7.5 in shoes, but depending on brand, that size could be up or down a bit.

No diapers for Rylee!  I'd say she is (mostly) potty trained, but here this last week she's had a LOT of pee accidents.  I don't know what the deal is.  We're almost 3 months into this whole potty training business, and she's having more accidents now than she ever had in the beginning.  Poop is good.  It's always in the toilet, thank goodness!  As frustrating as the pee accidents are, I'd rather clean that up than deal with poop!  She mostly stays dry for naps and nighttime now, with maybe one or two days a week that she wets the bed.  It's still a work in progress.

Rylee is a talker!  We can hold actual (basic) conversations now.  She constantly surprises me with new words she says and I sometimes wonder where she learned it.  She can say several 4-5 word sentences.  Every single morning, she says "go bye-bye pretty soon," at least a dozen times, regardless if I tell her we aren't going anywhere or not.  Sometimes she will get a sad pout on her face, sticking out her bottom lip and will say, "I'm so sad."  When I tell her please don't be sad, she then gets a big smile and exclaims, "I'm happy!"  Oh, and she growls. Hahaha!  When she's mad (mostly fighting with Ayden), she growls at you!  It's hard not to laugh at her when she's mad and growling at you.  She also likes roaring like a dinosaur, tiger, bear, etc.

Rylee can recognize and tell you all the primary colors, is starting to sing along with the ABC's, and can count one through ten (usually skipping either three or four).  She's also starting to recognize different shapes.  She has heart and star down pat.  We are working on circle, square, and triangle.

Her latest obsession is swimming.  We started swim lessons two weeks ago, Monday through Thursday.  Allllllll day long she says, "let's go swimming!"  When we finally get in the car to go swimming after we've had dinner and Tony gets off work, she says at least a dozen times on the way there, "we're going swimming!"  It's only a 5 minute car ride.  lol.  She is quite the fish, too.  She can climb out of the pool all by herself and jump in.  She has no problem sticking her face in the water, and she's doing a great job of "swimming" by kicking her legs and starting to use her arms, like a doggy paddle.  Of course we are holding on to her for this. (It's a parent/tot class)

Rylee is just as adventurous as Ayden when it comes to climbing.  She's little miss independent about climbing into her car seat all by herself and buckling herself in, to our frustration because it takes about 10 minutes.  She is pretty efficient at climbing all the playground equipment at the park, and she loves to give us heart attacks trying to climb things at home.

Rylee is a good little helper who loves to "help" do the laundry and vacuum.  Of course, she also likes to knock over my piles of folded up laundry and vacuuming is taking 10x's longer now with her help.  I hope she continues to love to do chores!

Rylee is obsessed with watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, but also enjoys watching Paw Patrol, Kipper, Curious George, and Winnie the Pooh.  She loves music and dancing.  When we are in the car and a song comes to an end, she always asks for it to be played again.  It doesn't have to be the same song, she just wants ANY song to be playing and hasn't figured out yet that she only has to wait two or three seconds for the next song to come on.  Her favorite books are the same as Ayden's, Llama Llama Hoppity Hop and What a Wonderful World. Rylee loves seeing animals, but is fearful of getting too close to them most of the time.

As frustrating as toddlers can be a lot of the time, they are also such a joy.  It is absolutely incredible to witness them learning new things almost on a daily basis.  And the love.  The love that toddlers give unconditionally is something that I wish we never grew out of as we get older.  Like her brother, Rylee is a cuddle bug.  She loves to be held and snuggled with.
She loves to give kisses.  She loves to be chased and tickled.  Her laughter is contagious. Sometimes she oozes orneriness, but her smile lights up our world.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Microblog Monday: Cutest Thing Ever

I mentioned previously that Ayden and Rylee danced the night away at the wedding they were in.  I managed to capture little snippets of them boogieing throughout the night and put them together into a short video.  I don't think there's much cuter than two year olds dancing!  Whenever I need to relax and smile, I just watch this:

If  you'd like to read more #MicroblogMonday posts, click here.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

All About Ayden: The 2.5 version

Technically, Ayden and Rylee turned 2.5 last month.  I'm just well overdue writing this post!  Ayden, Ayden, Ayden.  This post is all about this handsome little dude of mine.

Ayden has grown a full 2 inches in the last 6 months, so is 37 inches tall and falls in at 75% on the growth chart (a full 10% more than at his 2 year well check up!).  He weighs 34 lbs and is at 88% on the chart.  The doctor didn't seem too concerned at his weight, but did ask if he was eating a balanced diet and asked what type of milk he drinks (2%).  She was pleased that they don't drink a lot of juice (only a couple times/week).  The thing is, this kid doesn't carry a lot of extra fat on him, but he does feel like a ton of bricks when you pick him up!  I guess the best way to describe it is that he's just thick.  He has a cousin that is the same way.

Ayden is wearing size 6 diapers.  We'll be tackling potty training with him in September.  We have a big road trip coming up and we'll be gone for a week.  Between moving and that trip, I decided to wait.  I don't think potty training is going to be an easy fete with him, so why make it harder by throwing a 12 hour (one way) road trip, where we'll be away from home and Daddy for a full 8 days?  We'll wait.

He's in size 3T tops, but is actually starting to wear some 4T.  He has a long torso, so he usually ends up outgrowing his shirts length wise.  He's wearing size 2T bottoms, but is starting to wear some 3T now too.  He's in a size 8 shoe.

Ayden has always been a climber, but he's really starting to become so much more athletic. Just recently he has mastered some of the park playground equipment.  He's really quite impressive actually!  He used to make me soooo nervous just climbing up the steps on playground structures, but now he's taking on the climbing walls successfully!  He's also started climbing trees.

He's so proud of himself!
Something he just started doing a few days ago is hanging from a monkey bar and then dropping to the ground, landing on his feet. He was at least a foot off the ground!  He asked to do it over and over again. He still needed help reaching the bar.  His mommy's good for something, lol!  The kid has no fear, I tell ya.  However, that doesn't mean he doesn't still get into his fair share of predicaments.

He was legitimately stuck in this chair! 
Besides climbing, I'd say Ayden's next favorite activity is pushing his dump truck around everywhere.  He's got a truck inside and another for outside, and he pushes them both everywhere.  This often results in skinned up knees when we are outside, when he gets going too fast and the truck gets away from him, but yet he still continues to do it.  In addition to his dump trucks, he "drives" all his other cars/trucks all over the house, all over the walls and furniture.

Ayden loves to play in water, but he HATES with a passion to get wet from a sprinkler or a shower, sprayed with a hose, or to be splashed.  If he's not getting wet on his terms, then he is not a happy camper.  We are currently taking swim lessons (parent/tot class).  He absolutely loves to go to the pool.  He's very good at climbing both in and out of the pool, but is currently not a fan of jumping in (a change from last summer).  He's good a blowing bubbles and listening to the fishies (ear in the water), but greatly dislikes having his head under water.

He's also a bug kid.  He loves to terrorize ants and beatles by chasing them around and catching them (repeatedly).  The poor bugs don't usually survive (I'm not really sad about that).  He points out all butterflies, flies, and bees, but doesn't actually really get the difference between them unless he's pointing them out in a book.

"Look Mommy!  A bug!"
Ayden is still behind in the communication department.  However, he is definitely improving!  He does talk a lot and has many words, but he doesn't necessarily put a lot of words together for short sentences yet, which he should be by this point.  With that said though, he LOVES to count.  That is how we get him to pick up all his cars and trucks, by counting them as he puts them away.  He randomly will count various things all the time.  He also can recognize and name colors now.  One of the things he says all of the time is "of course."  That is often his answer when you ask him to do something.

Me: "Ayden, it's time to eat breakfast."
Him: "Of course, Mommy."

Me: "Ayden, let's put your shoes on."
Him: "Of course!"

Me: "It's time to put your cars away."
Him: "Of course."

You get the idea.

He has a very soft voice and doesn't talk very loud at all.  He's quite a little cuddle bug and loves to be held and hugged.  He is most definitely a momma's boy, which can be very difficult sometimes.  Hard on me, because I sometimes never get a break.  Hard on daddy, because he wants to be able to comfort him too.  Ayden loves his daddy and will snuggle up with him sometimes, but if he's in a mood at all, I'm the only person he wants.

Speaking of moods....  That is our biggest struggle with Ayden.  He whines.  He whines a lot.  A LOT!!!!  There are days that he spends the majority of the time whining/crying/screaming about something or other for hours.  He is not very good at not getting his way.  If he can't play with something he wants (such as another kid's bike/ball/toy), he throws a major temper tantrum.  We have to make sure he doesn't get too hungry ever, because that's when it gets really bad.  And if he's tired AND hungry, oh milanta.  It's exhausting and it's my biggest struggle as a mother to keep my patience.  I know people could say it's a normal 2 year old thing, but he takes it beyond that normal range.  We are hoping it's a phase.  (Please let it be a phase!)  We are hoping that as he continues to learn how to talk, that the whining will subside.  We constantly try to encourage him to use his words rather than the whining/crying.

Okay, more favorites.  Ayden loves Nemo and Dory, anything with Mickey Mouse and friends, and Buzz and Woody from Toy Story.  His favorite book is Llama Llama Hoppity Hop and What a Wonderful World.  He likes the first because it's action based (jumping, stretching, clapping, etc.) and the second because I sing it to them (and so far they don't hate my singing voice, haha!).  Ayden also really loves hanging out at his grandparent's farm, where they get to see a pig named Peppa, a horse, and several cows.  They love to explore the property, ride on the tractors, and ride the zip line their Grandpa rigged up.

Ayden, the cow whisperer

Even though we sometimes often struggle with Ayden whining and throwing temper tantrums, when he is smiling and having fun, he lights up our world.  He has the best smile and he is so gosh darn cute when he is happy!  It is amazing to watch him learn new things, and especially rewarding when we get to see how proud he is of himself when he accomplishes something.