Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sweet boy

Yesterday, we went to a retirement home with some friends and their children to deliver cards and cookies to the residents. The kids were in their costumes and Gavin tromped from room to room with salutations,
"I'm Gavin. I'm a farmer. Brayden's a CHICKEN! What's your name?"
"Happy Halloween."
He LOVED it. He happily went on his way, chatting it up with the residents and looking at me to make sure he handed out his cards if the people didn't get one from another child. He was quite disappointed when he ran out of cards and even took some of Brayden's when Brayden got sidetracked.
I was honestly a tad surprised to see him do so well. I guess I was expecting a bit more hesitation, but I am learning Gavin is quite the people person and very good one on one. He loves to talk with people, likes to find out "how you doing?" and loves to share the news he learns. He is sweet and sincere in his care of "his people" and genuinely enjoys meeting new friends.
It is fun to see this little personality emerge and it challenges me to find ways to grow this sweet spirit I see developing. I want to find ways for him to use his gifts and share his heart with those around him, since he seems so excited to do so. But it is hard to explain to a three year old that we can't buy trains for every person we go visit (this is his new suggestion everytime we go see a friend) and mommy doesn't always have cookies on hand to share. We'll figure it out, though.
Towards the end of our time at the retirement home, Gavin went to an elderly lady who was trying to coax Brayden over (my chicken had gone wild at this point) and Gavin took her hand. They chatted for a bit and then he leaned in to hug her and said, "I love you." The woman started to cry and whispered "I love you too." It was so simple and so refreshing and I was so proud of my little boy. I hope his heart stays this compassionate, I am going to look for opportunities to make it so!
Thank you Lord, for reminding me how sweet parenting can be!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The candles help

It's fall, it's raining. I love the fall. I love the leaves. I love cider, candles and turning up the heater. I do not love trying to figure out what the heck to do with the kids now that the outdoors is a wet, wet playground waiting to dampen and muddy my children and add to the ever growing piles of laundry I already loathe!
I have a hard time taking them places...Brayden is too little for most the places Gavin can go. He's too loud and rowdy for a library. Wants to follow Gavin into the playspace at McDonalds, but then gets stuck. (I once had to get Gavin out, while I was pregnant...go ahead, picture this and laugh. I swore to never go up there again.) The mall play area is a madhouse and germ infestation. Sometimes we go to the children's museum, with our pass, but it is very hard for me to keep an eye on both the kids at the same time! Brayden is quite the escape artist and his obedience level is nil when he hears "Come, here" or "Stay here".
SO...I light the candles, turn up the heat and watch my house become a playground. Toys seem to occupy much less time, when we play with them everyday and creative projects I have learned, take about 10 minutes to set up, 20 minutes to clean up and 3 minutes to do. No one seems to want to read the same books and both boys are becoming far more needy of individual attention. It's exhausting. And if I attempt to call a friend for some adult conversation or even to just make sure the same events are occuring in another house...this is when the riding toys get pulled out and I see Gavin on an inch worm and Brayden on an airplane as they fly by to race them down the hall. It is SOOO loud as they roar back and forth down the hall and SLAM into the end of the hall or each other. This is usually accompanied by squeals of laughter or shreiks of anger, because someone has blocked or slammed into someone else. At this point, I hide in the laundry room just long enough to tell my friend, I have to go and sequester said riding toys before someone gets hurt.
My patience, creativity and tolerance are all being tested during this fall season. I try to remind myself, the boy's are being tested as well. They are having to learn to better share space, share toys, be creative, and play quietly. It's a lot to learn for all of us.
In the end, I think we are learning, but man alive, it is a tiring process. The growing pains are in fact painful and the days are quite long. We'll survive though. And we will enjoy the changing leaves and apple cider along the way. Oh and we'll light lots of candles, because even if it's a false sense of calm, I think the candles help.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Am I done?

This morning I hear, "Mommy, I need to go potty." The only time Gavin ever says he has to go potty is when he's gone in his pants. Pretty much, what he means is "Mommy, I already went potty!"
He pooped in his underwear...again! In lieu of an over share, let's just say it was the kind that makes you throw the underwear away. So, we sat him on the toilet to finish. (Am I supposed to be pleased that at least he stops and does the rest on the toilet? I am not sure.) I was so frustrated and I have tried so many things to help him understand that this is NOT okay. SO MANY!!! Instead of succumbing to the overwhelming urge of completely freaking out and giving a 15 minute lecture, accompanied some sort of horrid punishment to my three year old, I finally, just got him dressed and sat him on top of the toilet seat to "Think about where the poo-poo goes."
I then proceeded to stomp around the house thinking about ways to explain, enforce and ensure that the poo-poo does in fact, end up in the potty. After the clean up session, I slammed the washing machine shut, washed my hands and headed back, still not sure of my plan, but ready to do battle. Then I rounded the corner and saw Gavin. Sitting on the toilet, bedhead in full force, tractor shirt with wet spots from washing his hands, swinging his bare feet back and forth and singing a song to himself. He looked up with his wide innocent eyes, "Umm, are you done mom?"
Am I done? Yes, I guess this is about me...this child knows me too well. He was done the minute he finished going potty. In his three year old mind, it was over long ago. Me? I need 15 minutes of stomping around the house and what did it get me? It got me a three year old who isn't sitting there thinking about where potty goes, but instead thinking he has to wait out his mom's tirade. Awesome.
"Yes, I am done Gavin."
We still had a discussion about where the potty goes. And to be honest...most days it does go in the potty. If I remind him, because he still needs help. And when I picture my sweet boy with his bed head sitting there looking up at me, knowing me well enough to sit quietly singing, while he waits for mommy to cool down, I am thankful he still needs me. Even if it is to remind him the pop-poo goes in the potty and to take him screaming and kicking all the way there to try.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Go Fish Guys

"Great music that won't make parents bonkers"...a worthy goal!

So, when I was a Children's Director, I went to a Chilcren's Pastor's conference in San Diego and heard this group sing named, "Go Fish". I loved them. Bought their CDs for each Preschool classroom and even listened to them in my office (much to the mockery of my beloved co-worker Ryan...who I believe secretly liked them but wouldn't admit it or wouldn't listen long enough to admit it). I LOVED them.
We have the two CDs for my kids and the other night at a friend's house, her husband was all excited to share with us some great new kids music they he loved. Go Fish! They had new CDs out!!! The best part...if you bought one for $15 dollars, you could buy as many more as you wanted for only $5 and get free shipping....
This is a dream come true for people like me (frugal, cheapskate, whatever you want to name it)! I was so excited. I got Christmas presents for my neice and nephew (CARMEN and buying these CDs). And I got our own family some new CDs.
Seriously, this music is so fun to listen to and it's got great lyrics...some Bible, some kids songs you already know, but done in a non-annoying way, and some new. They are great. And they try to make their music affordable by counting on mom's to advertise for them.
I am doing my part. I recommend them whole heartedly and thank God for them frequently on car trips. Well done good and faithful Go Fish guys!!!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Onto something

New things are happening at the Ryan's. Gavin is now afraid of monsters and penguins. He wakes up and says one or the other is there and scary. We have no idea where the monsters came from, but we are fairly sure the penguins were from a video. Either way, it's frustrating to try and convince an illogical three year old there are no scary penguins in his room at 3am.
Brayden has dropped his morning nap (mostly). He gets pooped by 11:30, but is usually quite the trooper and makes it until 1, so mommy can have the boys down together. I miss the morning nap terribly, but I am pretty sure Brayden is just fine with more play time and less down time. Sometimes I still try to give him the morning nap and it works, other times he happily chats to himself and yells "mama" whenever he hears someone walk by his door. I usually get him after 20 minutes of this...and try not to lament the loss of my time alone.
The newest and greatest as of late is (no, not the minivan) the fact that Gavin and Brayden are playing together now. They play trucks together, they play trains together, they ride their riding toys together and you frequently hear laughter in the process. It's amazing.
Gavin is fully embracing his big brother role. He loves to boss Brayden and you can often here him yelling, "Mama, Brayden's doing something." It's handy and obnoxious all at the same time. Gavin also likes to pick out toys for Brayden (probably so he can have the ones he wants, but I like to believe it's out of genuine kindness) and make sure he's occupied. He'll tell me to "set the timer" when Brayden has a toy he wants, because he needs his turn "soon". He has also become very good at holding Brayden's hand in parking lots and driveways and walking Brady where he needs to go (I will admit he likes to tell me, "Mom, it's your turn to hold him").
I am not sure exactly what the "Little brother" role is, but Brayden is fairly independent. He will happily get himself involved in an activity, but wants to be close by Gavin most the time. If Gavin is involved in something Brayden likes, Bray jumps right in (or on, in cases like the trains...this causes some problems). He will run to find Gavin if I ask where brother is and scream in delight (and I mean the point people on the phone think an injury occured...but it's just his "happy"). I will say, he definitely does not understand why he can't do big boy things and I believe is already pretty sure that life isn't fair. But mostly, you can tell he loves his brother.
All in all, it has been a relief. Do we still struggle with sharing? FOR SURE! Do we still scream when someone touches another "special toy"? You betcha! But in between I am hearing,
"Bray Bray, come here. I've somesing to show you."
"Bray Bray, here's your plane, let's ride!"
"Bray Bray, comeon!"
"Mom, what's Bray doing?...Oh, I'll find him!"
All of these usually met by screams of delight.
I'll take it. I'll take the screaming, I'll take the timer setting, I'll take the refereeing. Because for the moment, my boys are more than brothers, thet're friends. They are onto something...I pray diligently it remains!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A real update

Somewhere there is time to catch up, but I have not found it. I am not sure where all the time has gone, especially since I am no longer watching Logan (his daddy got laid off, therefore so did I) and I thought I would have so much more time to do things. Instead the boys and I have seemed to fill it up!
We are really doing quite well overall.
Gavin is really starting to hold down longer conversations, which are both insightful and laughable. He loves to talk (much like his mom) and we are working hard on "the interrupt rule". He tells jokes, can tell you lots of Bible verses he is learning in Cubbies (accompanied by the over-dramatic hand gestures I have added to the verses to help is awfully cute). He loves to talk on the phone (again like mom) and frequently asks to call friends. He has figured out what a "favorite" is and his are: movie store, garbage trucks, teacher tami, koen and isaac. Gavin has taken to his big brother role lately, encouraging Brayden with "Good job!" and "Can you say ____? Come on Bray Bray, let's try." It is sweet and we are very much trying to encourage this behavior in him. (Especially since the other option is usually fighting.)
He is pretty much potty trained...but still not liking it. We have also entered a whole new level of willfulness and tantrum throwing. He definitely has bumped it up a notch and will defiantly look me in the eye and say "NO!". Therefore, there are a lot more time outs and punishments doled out lately. But overall, he is a hugging, loving, encouraging little boy who wants to please!
Brayden is our stout little bundle of joy. He is so full of laughter and loves to find ways to make you smile. His vocabulary is growing, as is his independence. He wants to do things himself and shouts with glee when he does something new. He also likes to try things that are not for him...currently his favorites are the ipod and dvd player. He will go for it, looking directly at you to see if the punishment is still the same and run away smiling if you come at him. He knows exactly what he is doing and it is so hard not to laugh as he is taught his lesson. I have a feeling, the older he gets, the less funny this will become.
Brayden loves his walking toy that is an airplane. He would push it around the house all day if we let him. He also loves to hide things in the seat of the airplane (it lifts up and has a little storage space for some shape blocks that came with it). We have found blankies, cell phones and milk cups in here on various occasions. If it is important to him, this is the first place he tends to put things. He takes his airplane and airplane cubbie very seriously and gets quite irritated when anyone tries to put it away or consider removing his treasures from the cubbie.
Brayden loves his brother and they are finally starting to play together a bit. This has been fun to watch, even if it only lasts three minutes. The laughter is priceless. The arguments, not so much. But overall, they are starting to act like friends and I am praying for ways to foster this!
Shawn is still working at Discovery and enjoying himself. He is an amazing dad and I am so grateful for the time he takes to teach and play with our boys. He has dedicated every Saturday morning to taking one of the boys swimming. This is their special time with daddy and they love it! Dad is definitely the "fun guy" around here, but he is also the one you don't mess with. Our sons really are blessed to have this man and so am I!
Shawn recently negotiated for us to get a van! He did such a great job and got us a 2004 Toyota sienna with only 38,000 miles on it. The best part is, he is not ashamed to drive it and is so excited (I think he was a bit tired of cramming his 6'2 frame into a Toyota echo)! So we are officially one of those families...but we are happy about it. I am already getting used to being called a soccer mom, however neither of my kids play soccer. We'll see.
Me? I am enjoying this season of life, minivan and all. There are many challenges to this season for Shawn, me and the boys, but if I can step back for the perspective, I know this is a season I will miss terribly, once it has passed. Even though both the boys are in a definite period of pushing boundaries, exerting their will, and challenging authority, they still think I am number one and look to me for security, love and assurance. I wouldn't trade it. I will admit there are days I have to remind myself to enjoy it, but I am glad to be here.
So that is about it on the Ryan front. A real update. Probably outdated by tomorrow, but current for the time being!

Friday, October 2, 2009


DAY 1: A tray filled with rice for Gavin's diggers to play with is spilled all over the floor. Rice kernals were everywhere...everywhere!
Re-entry into mothering after 5 days off is harsh!
I went to a MOPS (Mother's of Preschoolers) conference in Nashville, TN and had a wonderful time. Five days with some great ladies and being responsible only for myself (well...unless you count some airport screw-ups...but that is another long story). Anyway...I loved it. Not only did God use the time to build friendships and help me grow, but He also told me to rest. I am NOT a rester. But I did. I took time to breathe, be refreshed and be poured into.
And then I came home.
Before I start in, I need to make sure to clear my husband of any false charges. My husband...who, by the way, is a superhero, ended up quite sick while I was gone and stayed home from work, with the boys. He sounded awful every time I talked to him, but always was positive and encouraging me to enjoy my time. He really is a wonderful man...and much less of a pouter than I am. I believe I would not have been so gracious, under the circumstances. (He even changed the sheets and had the laundry done when I arrived...yes, he's that good.)
So why the harsh re-entry? My three year old challenges every request I have of him. He runs from me, throws himself on the ground and hucks things across the room. (Some of you who know him may not believe this, but it's true...and it's aggravating). I am not sure what to do with him. I feel like I am continually on his case! I am looking for things to praise, but unless you count peeing on the wood floor instead of the carpet, I have nothing to offer at this point.
It's been hard. I want to praise him. I want good for him. I tell him this over and over. I tell him I love him. I tell him my heart is sad when he's sad, but to no avail. I have spent extra time with just him, but still...he finds something to be contrary about. The whining is non stop and the high pitch crying has me considering duct tape as a parenting tool.
Beyond that...the kids have taken to trailing toys about the house and are NOT listening when I ask them to put them away. They are also quite into throwing every pillow off the couch and rearranging the kitchen chairs. I don't know why they think this is okay...but they are not on HGTV and I am not going to follow after their redecorating techniques to rearrange everything 14 times a day. It's getting old. And neither of them listens, no matter how often I make them put things back. ARGH!
Oh, and did I mention there was no food left in the house and no time to get to the about creative cooking! Even Martha would have been proud of what I pulled together this week so that we could survive.
The break was needed, because I don't know if my last nerve would have made it through this week without the regrouping session. However, next time I go away, I may need to have some sort of counselor set up for the re-entry into Motherhood. After having a maid service, food purchased, peeing all alone and spending my time and money on me...all I can say is, it's a good thing I think their cute!