Sunday, January 30, 2011

Little reminders

Tonight, as I was turning off lights and picking up various items that had been left or trailed across the house, I glanced down to see a pacifier sitting next to my book, laid on the side table. It is not uncommon to find a "paci" as we call them, sitting on a side table, a kitchen table, the front window sill, the bottom of the carseat, and quite often, the floor. They are everywhere serving to me as a reminder that I have a baby. Every time I see one, I think to myself how quickly it will arrive that we are working on taking away the paci, because we don't have a baby anymore.
As of late, it seems I am daily hit with the realization my kids are growing up. Gavin is a full blown kid. He has big kid questions, "Mom, if God is everywhere, how is He in my heart?" He has big kid aspirations, "I think I'll probably be a firefighter when I grow up, when I am six." I can say get ready to go and he can do it himself (not that this doesn't often take some reminders, prodding and sometimes a good threat or two). He signs his name and uses words like "probably" and "privacy" frequently.
"Mom, I'd probably like some more ice cream."
"Brayden, I need privacy to play with my racecars."
He is big. But he is still innocent enough to do dance routines for me, believe that racing to get ready for bed is a fun idea, give me kisses when I ask and carry his pillow pet around to snuggle with when he just wakes up or is getting tired.
Brayden is talking in full sentences and copying everything his brother does. He is three going on thirteen. When told what to do...
"Okaaay, Mom, I know."
When told to do something he most definitely doesn't want to do.
"I don't want to!"
He wears silly bands on his arm like the big kids and he fully thinks he is one of them. He gets out his own plates and drink, takes his dishes to the sink, and uses the potty all by himself. He plays pretend with an imagination that is unreal, thinks he's old enough to drive, and is sincerely disappointed everytime I tell him he can't.
But he still seeks out his blanky and "george" (the stuffed monkey) whenever he is sad or gets in trouble.
Amanda is growing fast. She is bright eyed, responds quickly to those she loves. She sits in the bumbo chair at dinner with us, grabs for things, laughs at our funny faces and tries quite hard to eat anything she touches. Her three month clothes are finding their way to the consignment bag and I am starting to pack up her "infant" items. But she still needs her paci and loves to be swaddled at night.
As I walk through the house daily, often I get tired of what seems to be a never ending task of lunging to pick up forgotten toys, dropped items or things that have been vicariously launched by some boy child, in a fit, an attempt at weaponry, or just plain old fun. But lately, when I see George, the paci or percy the pillow pet, the meloncholy sets in. These items are most likely temporary and will someday all too soon be in the past.
I think about the day I pack up george or percy, thinking that maybe the kids will want them when they are older. But I wonder, will they? Or do I just desperately hope that there is still enough childishness in them that they won't want to get rid of those special stuffies that saw them through so many tears, so many sleepy mornings and restless nights. I don't want to pack them up. I am not ready. I don't want them to be either.
And I guess it's a good thing, because neither are they. At least for today and most likely tomorrow. For this I am thankful...and for the pacifiers that litter my house and serve to remind me how much I love these kids.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Where we're at

The Ryan kids are growing up. It seems each day, one of them is reminding how quickly time flies.
Gavin: He has been a challenge for me lately. He is usually such a sweet, obedient child and has definitely taken on a stubborn, sneaky streak. Part of the problem, I am sure, is that he's trying to drop his naps. I know at four and a half, I am lucky it lasted this long, but that kid NEEDS his sleep. He is quite the grouch without it and will break down crying at a moments notice or throw a fit over the smallest thing. He also has developed quite the penchant for hitting his brother (when I am not looking) and then lying about it. All this to say...I literally sit there dumb founded as to what I should do.
Shawn and I are trying. We have put discipline in place and remained pretty consistent with him. We are definitely getting a run for our money. After lots of chats about lying, he's doing better at telling the truth. After getting hit back by his brother, he's starting to understand the cause and effect of that one. And we are just working on consistency with the fit thing. Same punishment doled out each time...every time we send him to to his room, he acts like he's shocked and so mad. I almost want to laugh...he knows it's coming and you can even ask him during a sane moment what happens when he throws a fit. He'll tell you exactly what would happen to him...why he does it, I don't know. I really think the sleep is a large part of it, but frankly, it's not an excuse to behave like a pill.
On the flip side, he is getting quite smart and capable at doing things himself. He writes his name, will copy words I have put on paper for him, he's great with scissors, loves to count things out, order his numbers, and LOVES mazes! He questions how everything works and is constantly wanting to do and try new things. He definitely is mastering some of the fine motor skills which are handy: zipping and snapping, putting on shoes, getting out snacks (when I tell him) and pouring things into bowls or opening up packages. It's awesome...what a helper!
He also adores Amanda and the feeling is quite mutual. He is so sweet with her and loves to take care of her. He gets her toys, coos to her, rocks her, holds things for her and generally just loves on her. The best part is, he is not overbearing and really seems to understand her space, toughness and delicacy all at the same time. I love it!
Brayden is nearly three and seems to be getting so big. He is taking on big sentences, can explain things to you and plays with Gavin far better than he used to. He likes to talk on the phone, but he is at that stage where his brain moves faster than his mouth and he has taken up a small stutter. I remember this with Gavin and am working on my patience as he tries to spit out what he wants to say. He plays by himself very well and can entertain himself for hours with his new fire house and fire truck he got for Christmas. He loves to laugh and entertain us with antics and songs he made up. He for sure thinks he is a big boy and it is funny to see the mannerisms he adopts when he's trying to come off all cool and in charge.
Unlike Gavin, Brayden is not sneaky. If he is going to be defiant, he will most definitely do it right to our face. "No!" is not an uncommon word to hear pouted or shouted out of his mouth. We are really working with him on not being rude and using a gentle voice.
Brayden has also learned the fine art of tattling. This is tough because often the boys will be happily playing and he'll come crying "Gavin hit me." Well, this could range from Gavin trying to hand him something that he doesn't want all the way to Gavin smacking him on the head. never really can tell (unless you see the obvious markings). We have had to work with both of them on asking their brother to stop, before heading out to find a referee.
Amanda is just super fun right now. She is so alert and cooey. She laughs all the time and even if she wakes up crying, the minute she sees someone she pops into smiles and grins. She is putting on a little weight and we definitely notice her getting bigger. We get a great deal of people stopping to tell us how smiley she seems and how nice her eyes are (thank you daddy for the blue eyes and long lashes...thank you God for handing them to the girl, too, this time). We really have been getting a kick out of her and starting to enjoy her more as an active part of the family. She is even the centerpiece at the dinner table, because the boys always want her to sit in the middle of the table on her bumbo chair. It's been fun!
That's the update there. Overall, it's going well. The pants seem to be getting shorter on everyone and somedays, I don't feel like I can keep up with how fast they are growing and supplying them with all they need emotionally, physically and spiritually. So I pray for wisdom...and patience...and more wisdom. May our great Lord grant it to me in abundance and may I be ever mindful of the abundance He has already blessed me with, in providing me with these children in the first place!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Hello 2011

The new year is here...and while I am not one to make resolutions, seeing as they always seem to end in failure, which I find completely unmotivating, I have made set up some accountability for myself in certain areas. After doing 30 days of working out with my friend Jen, I decided it would be good for me to try and continue this regieme at least three days a week. My sister and I set up a system in which...if I bail, she doesn't get her coffee and vice versa. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on which way you view it, we both love our coffee enough that we fear the other's response should we deprive them by failure to follow through.
I have also made a commitment to myself to read my Bible, before picking up any other book. I have never been great at following through on regularly reading the Bible. I do love to read. One would think these go hand in hand, however, I like to read books that don't require a great deal of work...I'm quite the skimmer. The Bible requires a bit of thinking and if you skim, often you miss stuff. Anyway...I read a lot (especially since Amanda won't breast feed and I have to sit at a pump six times a day). I made a commitment to myself, that I would not pick up another book, unless I had read our church's daily reading plan for the day.
I will admit, I am not one of those people who walks away every day thinking, "Wow! I totally learned something new and I am going to apply that!" Sometimes, I walk away questioning God, "So what exactly am I supposed to learn from the fact that Lots' daughters slept with him? Eww" However, God says His word does not return void and so I am trusting in this. I know by turning to His word, I am obeying Him and giving Him more room to speak and move in my life...and on many levels, that is a good thing.
So there...those are my attempts at starting the new year off! I am also decided to not try and make any crazy attempts to kick old bad habits (ie...not drinking coffee or giving up TV altogether - i really barely watch it anyway), both of which are doomed to fail and I am trying to keep up on tracking my kids. I have updated the baby books, put together Amanda's birth pages in our family book and I am working on the scrapbooks. I would love to be able to get on this blog more, but the older they get, the less time I have.
I have a feeling 2011 will fly by. I'm not quite ready, but I figure, I never really will least not until 2012. So, here we go...