Monday, December 3, 2007


We got our first real winter snow this weekend. Ian's not sure what to think about it. He sure hates getting bundled up though. Just like most little kids I guess. He's smart though, inside he hates having a hat on his head. But as soon as we go outside he stops pulling at it and just leaves it on. Once the car gets warm, he starts pulling on it again.

Alison went outside and played in the snow today. It was pretty cold out, but she stayed out for about a half an hour. I don't think she even made it off the deck.

Ian did something cute this weekend. We went to my Aunt Rosalie's community choir Christmas concert. He did really good for the first half of the performance and was even getting the hang of clapping at the end of each song. That night when I took him in to go to bed, I turned on his night-time cd and at the end of the first song, he clapped. It was so cute.

For Alison for school this month, I printed a bunch of Christmas themed pages from various websites. So far she's done some secret code pages and some hidden picture pages, we still have a huge stack with math, reading, puzzles, mazes, crosswords and stories. Between those, decorating the tree and working on Christmas projects, she'll be very busy this month.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Let's just pretend that November didn't happen

I can't believe that November is done already! Sorry that I haven't updated in so long. Let's see, what happened in November...

Ian is now walking! He started at the beginning of the month with just a few steps here and there. Then he'd walk about 25% of the time but still crawl when he wanted to get somewhere fast. He walked with his arms straight out in front of him like a little Frankenstien monster. Now he walks about 90% of the time. He loves picking things up and carrying them around. He seems to pick huge things too, like giant balls. He is also getting good at climbing. This is different for us as Alison wasn't a climber at all. We had to move the chair away from the stair railing because he figured out how to get into the chair and he was studying the railing and the arm of the chair. We didn't want him going over the edge so the chair got pushed up against the loveseat. It looks weird, but at least Ian won't be base jumping off the railing.

Alison is very excited. We were worried about how Ian would do with a Christmas tree and we were thinking about putting a tree on the deck and putting birdfeeder ornaments on it instead of having one inside. She liked that idea, but was still very sad that we wouldn't have a tree inside. I got a super deal on a new (to us) tree. It was $20 at a local 2nd hand store. It's much bigger than our old tree. I was shocked at how much bigger it was. I put it up last night after the kids went to bed. It's huge! Alison was so happy today. Ian just doesn't know what to think. Between our first real snow yesterday and now waking up to a tree in the living room he's excited, but confused. So far he has touched it a couple times, but hasn't pulled or anything. We don't have lights or ornaments yet. Well, technically I'm wrong, Alison made a snowflake tree top for it already. She's so creative. She added a twist tie to the back of her snowflake so that it could be slid over the treetop.

We have lots to do in the next few weeks (just like everybody else, right?) My goal is to get my Christmas shopping done this week. We have lots of craft projects to do and food gifts to either make or assemble ingredients for mixes. Lots of exciting stuff that I can't tell you about because some of my blog readers are going to be getting these gifts. So I'll have to post later about all the cool stuff we are making this year.

I'll try to be better about writing this month!

Monday, October 29, 2007

You can tell we are feeling better...

...because the past week we've been gone and busy and having fun again. It feels good to finally be getting back to normal.

Last Monday (Oct 22nd) was a beautiful morning. So I decided to surprise the kids with one last trip to the petting farm to get pumpkins. I even called my mom and told her that Ian was taking a nap but when we woke up, would she like to come too? When we got in the car a couple hours later, the sky was very grey and it was feeling colder. But we decided to go anyway and hope that we didn't get rained on. We had fun, we were cold, but it was fun. Alison had to see "her" ponies one last time. They had some photo stations set up and we got a couple cute ones.

The kids each got a cute little pumpkin. Ian wanted to lick his, so that's why it's where he can't reach it!

Tuesday we went to our normal playgroup. We left Ian home with Daddy because he still had a pretty goopy runny nose.

Then on Wednesday we went to the Grand Rapids Children's Museum . We met two of Ian's friends and their moms and had a ton of fun. After they left we ate our lunch and stayed for another couple hours. Both kids had fun at the bubble tables. Alison also loved the light box.

Thursday we went to story time at the library. Then we stopped at the Farmer's Market and got a half bushel of peppers. Friday was grocery shopping for me and Ian. Alison stayed home with Daddy while he smoked the peppers. The whole neighborhood smelled like smoked peppers.

And finally today Dan and I gave Ian a new haircut. He wasn't super thrilled, but he looks really cute! He's really tired in the pic, it was right after his bath to wash off all the hair clippings and right before he went to bed.

Friday, October 19, 2007

We've been sick!

I haven't posted at all this month because Ian and I have been sick. He started getting sick Oct 1st. Started with a cold, then a fever, then a rash. The rash lasted over a week and he still has a few spots left on his arms today (the rash started exactly 2 weeks ago today). For the first week he was so miserable, he cried so much he lost his voice. Poor baby. He's starting to finally act more like himself, but he still has a horribly goopy nose and a cough.

At the same time I came down with a bad cold. There were a couple days that it was all I could do to sit on the couch and hold my head up. I'm almost all better now, but the pesky, tickly cough is still hanging on and my nose randomly stuffs up. That's pretty much normal for this time of year for me though.

Luckily, Alison only had sniffles for a few days and got over it pretty quick. I'm glad she was spared. Dan was only sick for a couple days too.

Now that Ian is feeling a bit better he's testing limits. He figured out how to climb over the big footstool that I was using to keep him out of the dining room and kitchen. So I put the pack n play up to block him. He figured out how to climb the side of it and into the chair. I caught him a few times trying to figure out how to go over the side of the chair. Now I'm babyproofing the dining room and kitchen. I can't fight him much longer. The hard part is that Alison loves to take over the dining room table with her art and projects and Ian can reach pretty far past the edges of the table. This and the couple drawers in the kitchen will be our biggest problem spots.

Not much else is new around here. Alison is doing good with her school work. She's almost finished her first math book. It's all addition and subtraction up to 20. She definately needs more practice with them, but she's grasping the concepts and proud of herself for learning different ways to figure out her problems. So far she can use a number line, her fingers, and she's starting to memorize some of the math facts too. She's not good at doing flashcards. She gets frustrated too quickly. I know that they have math facts songs though and I think she'd really like that, so I'm going to look into those. I know from working with other kids that the key to math is learning and memorizing the basic facts. She is reading really well for only being 6years old. She's amazed that she's actually reading, but then she gets upset because she still has to ask for help. I keep telling her it's normal to be where she's at right now and it's ok because she'll keep getting better and better.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

What happened to my baby?!?

Somebody, it seems, forgot to tell Ian that he isn't supposed to go from being a baby to being a 2 year old before he actually turns 2! However, in the past couple weeks, he really is acting more like he's 2. He is becoming fiercely independent.

The other day I was chopping up an apple and putting little bite size bits on his high chair tray. He started yelling and gesturing and trying to climb out of his seat. As far as I could tell, he wanted the 3/4 of the apple that was still whole! I have seen pictures online of babies his age and even younger munching on whole pears and other foods, so I handed him the apple. He was thrilled and happily started to munch it as best he can with only 6 teeth. After he had been nibbling it for awhile I noticed he was getting close to the core. I took the apple away to cut the seeds out and he protested the whole time. As soon as I handed it back to him, he smiled and contentedly finished the entire thing! I was amazed! The next day I hollowed the core out and peeled the apple before I gave it to him and he ate the whole thing again! He ends up, even with a bib, being drenched in juice from his chin to his belly button and he loves every minute. I give it to him as a night time snack and then he goes straight into the tub and gets ready for bed.

He is also getting very frustrated when he wants to do something, but he can't. It could be because he just isn't big enough or coordinated enough (like coloring like Alison) or it could be that he is doing something that I don't want him to (like standing on a box so he can reach the tissues that I moved out of his reach and pull them all out). He sure is keeping us on our toes.

On the other hand he can be very loving and calm. We were with a baby the other day who was crying a lot and after awhile Ian crawled over to him, pulled himself up to standing next to the other baby (who's about the same age/size as Ian and gave the baby a hug). It was the sweetest thing ever. We always hug and kiss him and he hugs and kisses us, but it's something that our family does so I just kind of expected that he'd hug and kiss us back. But for him to try to comfort a baby that he had never seen before just really awed me.

Now What About ALISON!

Well, she too is growing up way too fast. We are still working through the weather activities that we started our school year with. They are lasting so long because we have two other things that she is obsessed with and we are learning about all three at once (usually we stick to one topic at a time and learn until she is done and then move onto something new). But a book that her aunt and uncle sent her for her birthday about Pompeii has really caught her attention. We have read it several times and there is still a lot to talk about. We also ordered some other books from the library about Pompeii and a couple videos too. The videos haven't come in yet, but we are having fun with the books and comparing what is the same and what is different about how they each explain what has happened. Our librarian also pointed out that the newest National Geographic had an article about Vesuvius so we went downstairs into the "Quiet Reading Room" (may as well hang a sign that says "NO KIDS, This Means You!") to find the magazine. Luckily, there was no one in there so I didn't feel too bad about reading the picture captions out loud and for Ian adding his thoughts.

Along with weather and Pompeii, Alison is also very into horses and ponies (thanks to the petting farm). We have gotten factual books about different types of horses. Did you know why some horses are called "Quarter Horses"? It's because a couple hundred years ago they did horse races in short sprints of a quarter mile. The horses were called American Quarter Mile Racing Horses and over the years it shortened up to Quarter Horse. We have also gotten more than our fair share of My Little Pony videos too. They are sappily, sickily sweet and Alison hangs on every moment of them.
Such is the life of a 6 year old. She is starting to teeter on the edge of the age of reason. One minute she's matter of factly explaining why something couldn't possibly be true and the next she is building fairy houses and declaring that unicorns are real and that if she pays close enough attention she's sure she can spot something fantastic and extra-ordinary. It's so much fun to watch her at this stage. I'm glad that I can have her here at home where she can be free to go outside to search for signs of fairies and explore and dream. There will be plenty of years of harsh reality so I'm happy to let her be a kid even if it means watching My Little Pony videos.

One last thing...
Last weekend one of Alison's friends celebrated his birthday a few weeks early at his favorite minigolf and batting cage place (it was the last day they were open for the season.) She loved the idea of minigolf and although this course wasn't a huge fancy one, it was fun and challenging. She wasn't sure about the batting cages. Actually, she was scared and convinced that she would just watch. I try hard not to push her because it often backfires. I just told her that whatever she chose to do, she would have fun and let her decide. She decided to give it a try! Then while she was waiting her turn another friend got her finger pinched between the ball and the bat and I was sure that Alison wouldn't set foot inside after witnessing her friend get hurt. She did though and twice at that! The first time, she had the birthday boy's dad help her. The second time, she did it all on her own and made contact with 4 of the 15 balls! She was soo proud of herself and I was proud of her too. It's so neat to see her try something new and be excited rather than scared.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Times Keep Flying By!

We have been so busy! School is going great. We are still learning about weather. We installed a rain gauge on the deck railing the other day and it very nicely rained for us so we could try it out. Works like a charm! Alison was excited to run out and check it after the rain stopped. We got 9mm of rain.

Last Saturday we went to a little festival called Art in the Road, Feet in the Street. It was to introduce people to an art center in Montague. They closed off the road in front of their building for chalk art and later they were supposed to have live music and a street dance. Alison decided to skip the drawing contest and just do her drawing in the road.

When she was done with her drawing, she helped color in the huge street scape that the art center director had drawn in the road.

Today we went back to the petting farm. The weather was sunny and warm, probably one of the last perfect days. It's such an idyllic place to just be. The kids love it. They can run and play and explore. It is peaceful and quiet, except for an occasional braying donkey or loud camel. Alison has been pretty obsessed with the pony named Bee and her baby named Tee-tee. The animals are all sweet and gentle, used to being hand fed and touched.

Alison touched the ponies today. I was so proud of her. It is such a difference from when she would get scared and I'd have to carry her past the animals. She still is scared of the other animals, but the ponies are her friends.

It's neat to watch that her being by the ponies inspired Ian too. He touched them a couple times, very quickly, but he did it. And after watching Alison picking grass and hay to feed them he even started picking up pieces of hay. He just wouldn't let go when they tried to eat it from his hand.
Ian also crawled all over in the grass. Just a few weeks ago, he wouldn't stay on the ground for more than a few seconds, today he loved playing and exploring.
He also tried out the wooden truck. He waved at all the cars driving by on the road. He's just too quick and I couldn't catch it.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

First Day of First Grade

Alison's 1st day of 1st grade was a huge success! We had such a fun day. I gave her the backpack full of school stuff. She worked in her new workbooks and decided out of all the weather things I found that she wanted to do rainbows first. Surprise, surprise! We read the page in the weather book about rainbows and read the library book about rainbows.

We are making a project called a lapbook. It's basically a manilla folder that is refolded and things are taped inside to make a record of what she is learning. Today we started it with a little thing about rainbows. As we learn more, we'll add more and when we are done it will be a record of the high points of our weather study.

We also went outside and played on the new swingset. Ian can climb up the slide! He also likes to go down it too. He's so brave. He also tried the rockwall and aside from just randomly letting go (I was holding him the whole time), he was a natural at it. I'm scared to see what he's going to be like next summer.

After we played awhile,we took a walk and found a Milkweed Tussock caterpillar. We're going to keep it for a few days and see how it does.

So that was our first day and we have lots more planned. I'll keep you all posted on our adventures.

Catching Up!

We had a great weekend. Lot's of new fun things happened.
Sunday at the cottage
We spent the afternoon at Dan's aunt and uncle's cottage on Twin Lake. Both the kids were a bit scared of the water and beach at first, but they both warmed up to the idea of water, mud and sand. Ian loved the mud!

Alison was brave enough to ride on the boat. It's probably never went so slow, but she had a great time. When she got off the boat she said, "Momma, that ride was sooo interesting. I got to see all the parts of Twin Lake. I learned about the whole lake."

Ian loved watching the boats and jet skis going by. He'd always stop to see what was happening and sometimes even waved.

Alison also liked being pushed around on a little tube. After awhile she let Beth push her out to the floating raft and she even got off and walked around on it. I was proud of her for trying new things and being so brave.

Monday Funday

Monday was not only Labor Day but my mom's birthday. My parents came over for the afternoon. Dad and Dan worked on the swing set.

Mom played with Ian and I made a birthday dinner. Not only did Ian walk around with mom holding his hands, which he usually protests doing. He got brave and let go with one hand. Then I told mom to stop, because I'm not ready for him to be walking all over yet. I know as soon as he masters walking, he's going to go straight for running, chasing, and tackling Alison. I'm so not ready for that, haha.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Two Weeks!?!??!!

Oh my. It's been almost 2 weeks since I updated! Sorry. It's been busy around here. Let's see...

The Swingset

The guys have been hard at work on the swingset and have it about 3/4 of the way done. We now have swings! Alison has been out everyday swinging and Ian's been out almost every day. Alison is getting great at pumping. She loves to swing with her eyes closed. She says it makes her feel like she's going lots higher. Ian loves to swing too. He laughs out loud and pounds on his swing.

The Countdown Is On
Next Tuesday Alison is starting first grade! She is beyond excited! She keeps begging to start "TODAY momma!" But the public schools start September 4th so that's when we are too. I got a super deal a couple weeks ago on a brand new Hello Kitty back pack, I also got a book about weather and a couple other things. I've been working on lessons about weather after she goes to bed at night and only printing when I know she's completely asleep. I've got a folder full of activities, experiments, and ideas. We'll give her back pack full of treasures on her first day and take her first day of school pics and all that. She wants so badly to know what she's going to learn about first, but she also loves the excitement of not knowing. Today at the library, a few of the books I ordered came in so she's seen there is a book about wind, I'm sure she'll find the rainbow book soon too.

Ian Got His First Haircut Today!!!

Ian's crazy hair was just getting a little too crazy. So today when mom, Alison and I got our hair cut, I decided to get Ian's hair cut too. We went with a spikey cut since it already stands up. He wasn't so sure about the scissors by his head and he gave L. our hairstylist some crazy "What are you doing to me?!?" kind of looks. Mom tried to get some pictures, but Ian didn't stop moving the whole time. If L. moved, he moved. He looks so cute and even less like a baby and more like a little boy.

Ian before... ...during...

...and after...

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Construction Begins!

Today we started building a wooden swingset climber in our backyard. Both sets of grandparents and Dan and I had talked about it before, so we are making it a family wide project instead of any of us trying to do it on our own. It is going to be so cool!

Dan and Dad started by building the sides.

Alison started her own hammering project on a log.

By the time the guys had the sides up,
Alison had started another building project...this time a fairy house complete with a pumpkin patch and a garden.

At the end of the day, Alison got to try out the play deck. Why can I see her putting on shows up here?

Stay tuned for more updates!
Ian absolutely loved watching the guys building. He cries when I vacuum, so I though he would be terrified of the saws and air compressor. Nope, not one bit, he loved them! Even when we came inside, everytime he heard them he would stop what he was doing and look outside to see what he was missing.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Ian loves Trucks

I figured since I was working on Ian's love/hate relatonship with things, today we'd talk about trucks. Yesterday mom and dad dropped some stuff off so we were outside by the truck. Dad wondered if Ian would like to play in the back of the truck so I put him in.

He loved it! He walked all around the box holding on the edges, he'd thump on the sides and squeal with delight. It was very cute.

Then he tried to crawl. That he didn't like so much. So he was up on his toes trying to make it across the middle.

Finally he found one of the covers for the tie down hooks. The amazing thing is that he tried to put it right in the hole where it belonged. We were all amazed!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Ian hates sippy cups, kind of...

The past few months we've been trying to find a sippy cup Ian likes. We tried every single one that we had saved from when Alison was little. Nope, hated them all. I bought one with a super soft spout, he'd bite it, but not drink from it.

He always seemed jealous of Alison's sport bottles with straws. Then I found one that had kind of a stawlike top, but you still needed to tip it up to drink. He's used that one for a couple months now. Right before his birthday I found a really neat one with a real straw. The lid spins and the straw folds in. He loves it.

Until yesterday...Alison got a new sport bottle for her birthday. He yelled and screamed and took it away from her and sat down to try to drink from it. He liked it so much that he didn't want to give it back to her. She was a great sport about it and let him play with it. Dan decided to stop and get him one on the way to work yesterday. He loves it so much that he wouldn't put it down when it was time for his morning bottle.

Monday, August 13, 2007

New picture links

I changed the link to the party pictures and added the link to my parent's pictures. Somebody let me know if they still aren't working, ok?

Six Years Ago Today

Alison was born. I was in shock, she was 5 weeks early. Thankfully other than being tiny (only 5 pounds) she was perfectly healthy. Now she is such a big girl. It's amazing!

She woke up today positively vibrating with excitement. Dan got her some really cool outdoor gear, rope, carabiner, compass and hot pink water bottle. Ian got her a new 100 piece Strawberry Shortcake puzzle. I got her the Fairytopia Rainbow Barbie that she wanted. It comes with a dvd game that the doll controls. She's excited about all of it.

Plus she is going to the movies and out for dinner with grandma and grandpa. So much for us worrying that she'd be disappointed by having her party a week early.

It's Ian's nap time and I put him in his bed about an hour ago. I had heard him in there playing for awhile, then it got quiet so I went to check on him. Poor baby must have fallen asleep sitting up because now he is folded in half on his own lap. Guess that's one of the hazards of falling asleep on your own. I don't dare try to move him for fear of waking him up, so I hope that if he gets too uncomfortable he'll wiggle himself into a better position. Well, I think he got too uncomfortable, he woke up just a few minutes after I started writing about him.

And as promised, here are pictures of the cucumbers we are growing out on the deck.Alison is excited that she'll be eating cucumbers that she raised soon.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Sleep Craziness

I guess Ian really is taking being a "big kid" to heart. The last three nights, I've cuddled with him awhile like we normally do, but then lay him down awake and he plays in his crib then falls asleep alone! It feels so weird to me. I've heard about kids like this, but never in my house. Alison was a horrible sleeper until she was about 2 years old. Ian has always cuddled to sleep. If I walked out before he was asleep, he'd cry until he was very upset. Alison would cry until she made herself sick. This is so different for me. It's kind of nice, but I'm afraid it's not going to last.

I don't think I updated after his 1 year check-up but he was 23 pounds and 30 inches long! So much bigger than our 6lb 14oz 20in baby we had a year ago. (the new pic was taken last week Weds on the scale at the hospital where he was born)

Alison's cucumber plant has some tiny cucumbers on it and tons more blooms. I'll take some pictures tomorrow and post them. She is so excited! She's been busy this week playing with the early birthday presents that she got at her party last weekend. She's been very creative. She's drawn pictures for all her thank you notes and now I have to help her write her messages.

Not much else is new around here this week. We are going to try to go to the Farmer's Market tomorrow. It seems like each time we try to go, it rains.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Whew!! A perfect party day!!

Yesterday we had a double party for Ian's 1st birthday and Alison's 6th birthday. It was busy yet fun! It ended up being a perfect day to be outside. We were sure worried on the previous 2 days when it was so hot and humid.

First we had Ian's party from 1-3pm. His was a bookworm theme and he got tons of great books and toys. Ian loved his birthday cupcake. He started with just dipping his fingers in the frosting, he tried hands free. That wasn't as good as he thought it would be so he went back to wiping the frosting off. Then I cut it in half so he could see the cake inside. He ate the first half so fast that I took the 2nd haf away so he wouldn't get sick. After his cake and frosting were done, he picked up the plate and licked it. Here's the before pic of the cake.

Dan's parents gave us his bookshelf that his grandpa had built for him when he was younger. Much cooler than a store bought one that we were going to get.

Then from 3-5 we had Alison's party. Her birthday isn't until next week, but she was really jealous about his party being first and didn't mind sharing the party.

Alison had a camping party. Dan set up his old tent and the kids had fun playing in it. We made a campout cake. Her party was a big success. We had camping/camp activities like making sand art jars, stargazers, rock necklaces (cool idea, didn't work so well), and popsickle stick art. The kids could also make their own ice cream and have smores cooked over the grill in the fire pit. Oh and the pin the flame on the fire game that Alison made up.

Let's see if these picture links work.

My pictures

Mom and Dad's Pictures

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Great Day!

Last year when I was pregnant I made some friends online who were all having babies in August 2006. Most of us have kept in touch through our babies' first year also. One of my online friends from Seattle was in Michigan on vacation and only 10 minutes away from my house! Today we met her, her two daughters, husband and nephew at the petting farm. We had such a great time.

I tried sitting Ian next to E. to take their picture, but he didn't like sitting on the grass at all and came right over for me to save him.

S. also has a daughter that just turned 3. Alison loved playing with her. Keep in mind that she didn't need help turning the crank. It's just that there was a goat slightly to the right of the girls and if Alison would have turned the crank herself, she was too close for her comfort to the goat. But why were they turning the crank in the first place you ask? There is a treat cup attached to the belt and you put some treats in, crank it up and the goats wait up high on a deck and the treats spill out onto a platform for them to eat.
Now back to the party prep! It was good to get away for an afternoon and actually meet one of the other August moms.