November 25, 2013

Pancakes with grandma...

It has been several months since Rachel spent the night with Grandma Sue and Grandpa Nelson. She always looks forward to going to their house, but I think she especially likes it because they spoil her. Plus, she gets to play all by herself and does not have to share toys, or a grandparent, with her brother. Score.

Last weekend she got to spend the night and was overjoyed to learn that they would be making pancakes in the morning.

Making pancakes with grandma!
She was able to convince Grandma that she needed chocolate syrup
on her pancakes. I suspect that it really didn't take very
much convincing on her part.


My mom took these pictures of Rachel and Ryan.

Both are about 15-months old in the photo.
Both are in the same rocking chair.
Both are adorable little children.

Yep, they are obviously related.

November 11, 2013

Halloween (a bit late)...

This was the first year that Jake's schedule allowed him to take the kids trick-or-treating and after three stops we were pretty much done. It was fun but trick-or-treating takes on a whole different level of "interesting" when you live in the country and have two options:

1. Hit up your 2 or 3 neighbors for candy and call it good because you can only load and unload a costumed child so many times before you kind of give up and promise to buy them each a bag of M&Ms to make up for their tragic lack of candy.


2. Drive to a nearby town and visit the homes of mostly those whom you have never met, will probably never see again, and quite honestly feel a bit awkward talking to because they really don't know or care who you are. And watch other parents herd around their kids, wonder who they are but not really feel inclined to risk utter embarrassment by stopping to ask them.

So, three country stops worked just perfectly for us.

Rachel announced that she wanted to dress up as a super hero so I ordered this outfit for her online.

Sibling Picture Attempt #1
Ryan got whatever costume I could find that was cheap and fit him.
He was my little tiger. And the poor little guy got laughed at by all who saw him. Because he was just so stinkin' cute.

Sibling Picture Attempt #10

Sibling Picture Attempt #1,000
(so close...except that you can't see
what Rachel is wearing)

Sibling Picture Attempt #1,746,201

Sibling Picture Attempt #Last Try

Sibling Picture Attempt #OK, let's just try this ONE MORE TIME.
And, we're done.

The waterpark...

When I became a mother I very quickly learned that there are words to be said that I never imagined would ever requiring someone to say.

Things like....

"The speaker isn't broken. It just sounds funny because there is a hot dog in it."

"These diapers are amazing! Look how much poop they held!"

"He's throwing a fit because I wouldn't let him play in the kitty litter."

"Child, hold still. I can't tell if I'm actually clipping a nail or just cutting off dirt."

"Sunday night trash smells the worst- like dirty diapers and popcorn."

But today is a special day. Today I celebrate being able to say something that I have often felt that I would never get to say.

And after almost 18 long months here it is...

Over the weekend we took the kids to the waterpark to celebrate a giant accomplishment.
Rachel finally completed her potty training chart.

Rachel is potty trained.

Here she is...the star of the show.
At the waterpark!
It sounds a bit ironic to celebrate potty training
by going to a waterpark, right?
It was our last resort and it worked.
Something must have struck him as way awesome.
And to ensure that we started our weekend properly, the kids played in the leaves before we left for the hotel and waterpark. I may have had an ulterior motive (sleep in the car). But hey, they had fun.

Interesting side note, this weekend we discovered the magical phenomenon known as the "hotel suite"- one room for parents (with TV) and one for the children (with TV and kitchenette). Our lives are forever changed.

Ryan's first leaf-playing experience.
He was super excited.

I'm not even sure where Rachel got the idea to use her rake.
She's never seen us rake leaves
(or use an ironing board, for that matter)

Rachel raked the leaves and Ryan watched/threw them.

They figured out that it was also fun to throw the leaves
and let the wind catch them.
Which, interestingly enough, is also how we usually
"rake" our leaves. Yea for wind.

mid roll-in-the-pile, I believe

One more toss into the wind and then inside to finish packing

The post-weekend family time.

November 8, 2013

I went to Las Vegas, but not really...

I noticed the other day that our milk had an expiration date of November 18th and was like, "Geez....times certainly have changed. Milk didn't used to have an expiration date of over a month out."

And then I realized that the current date was, in fact, November 7th.

Holy cow, where did October go? Where did fall go? Where did summer go? Where did 2013 go?!

October was quite a month for us. Ryan had his surgery and for two weeks we were all miserable. At the end of the second week I packed my bags and hit the road for Las Vegas. Okay, so maybe it wasn't quite like that. Although I did go to Las Vegas it wasn't quite as exciting as most visits to that "lovely" city might be, and the entire time that I was gone I felt a huge load of guilt for leaving my husband at home to take care of the kids and fend for himself for five days.

However, to make up for it I spent all of my time listening to presentations and attending workshops that focused on employment law, the Affordable Care Act, and performance management (super exciting, by the way)...

While I did this...
(photo from the CUPA-HR Conference website)
While my good friend (and awesome travel companion) went out to see the world and posted pictures like this...
She saw this...
(Melissa's photo)

Thankfully, and to everyone's dismay, Ryan ended up sleeping like a champ while I was gone.

And eating. Holy cow that kid can eat. He must have discovered that he was missing out on lots of good food because now he's like a teeny tiny little tank, a tank with an empty pit for a stomach.

Praise God!

But, we aren't getting too excited just yet. We've seen this happen before. Once in awhile he slept really well for about two weeks and then fell apart again. We are, however, trying to be cautiously optimistic that we have finally turned a corner.

And Ryan has smiled through it all. What a little trooper that kid is.

I just love my little family.

Thanks Grandma Marcia for this picture.