We were feeling a bit creative on this cold and blustery day so I granted sir's request for "pway-poh" and included some chopped up straw bits to stick into it as well.
Happiest. 2-year-old. Ever.
Later we broke out my fancy Asda brand dry-erase markers. We've been playing this "game" lately where I draw something that Ryan asks me to and then HE improves it. As you can see we had a few fish and a boat...and then a stick figure person, which turned out to be Nana -- I had NO idea!
Josie, you didn't tell me you owned your own sailboat!
Then Ryan's improvement was adding some "yeh-woh" hair and then ordering me to draw "Gran-grah" before providing his stick person with a brown bonce.
I'm actually quite impressed at his control because he didn't scribble all over the board. He isolated where he wanted the colour to be and did it before moving on to something else.
As sweet as it is and as much as I love that my son is exploring his nurturing side, it really irritates me that they don't make any neutral colour options when it comes to dolly pushchairs. Sure if I searched and searched I might find something on eBay, but it does nothing for my argument that boys should be allowed to play with dolls and such, just like girls do, when pink and purple are the main colours offered and the general public see those only as 'girl' colours. It often leads some to think it's not okay for boys to play with these toys, they they're too "girly" and it must mean a boy would absolutely be teased for it. While the teasing may still happen (depending on their age) it's up to parents to educate their children about teasing others, for one. Also, many don't consider the benefit it has in helping boys to understand caring for someone/something else. It encourages them to develop empathy and be nurturing -- and who doesn't want that in their child?
Our rule for now is that Ryan will be allowed to play with any age-appropriate toys that he shows an interest in...regardless of colour or gender-typing.
Ryan is LOVING his new addition to his Raa Raa characters and it has breathed new life into what he has existing already since there's space for a couple of characters to ride along. He also loves grabbing Matt and me by the hand and asking us to "come pway!"
Ryan sometimes doesn't "get" what one's personal space is all about. All he knows is that he loves his cousin, Amy, and wants to be close to her whenever possible. Imagine then Amy's surprise this afternoon when she grabbed Uncle Matt's jumper to pull over herself and pretend to sleep...only to open her eyes to a curious cousin perched on the arm of her tiny sofa-chair.
Erin and I attended Blog Camp today in Birmingham. I've had it booked for months and although I've never been to anything like it before I still thought it might be interesting. There were a few sets of different seminars to choose to attend and one of them dealt with 'How to be Snarky and Get Away With It.' (See above: Rule #1)
It's odd to be going to a seminar about blogs when I'm so far behind on my own. (I'm actually writing this post in June but the last blog I completed before I attended blog camp was the 7th of March.) Still, I figured the discussions would benefit me and help me improve my own.
I attended some other sessions about photography since mine is a photo-blog and I was able to get some really good tips and suggestions on free photo-editing software, like PicMonkey. Hopefully I'll be able to attend again next year.
My blog has gotten a bit dull since I started -- at least in my opinion -- and I don't know if it's because I'm taking on too much by trying to keep up a 365 or not. Also, many of my posts are just about Ryan, and while he IS my life, there is still more to me and more that I would like to write about. In a way, I suppose this Blog Camp was an eye-opener about what I want to change and improve.
I rounded off the evening with a nice trip to Mecca with Emma. When I reached in my bag to pull out my stampers, I discovered Ryan's collection of Numberjacks. I can't be out anywhere for very long without a little reminder of my tiny love. A sure sign you
Over time I must post loads of photos of Ryan and Daddy reading a story together, but this is one of Ryan's recent favourites. It was given to him by Nana and Grandad and he especially loves Daddy reading it to him.
While playing with his Leapfrog Fridge Phonics letters today he decided on his own to sort the letters into the properly coloured tubs. He was picking up all the blue letters and putting them in the blue tub and same with the green letters. These are sorting activities I typically see in Foundation stage settings, so as a teacher it pleases me immensely to see him doing it all on his own without being prompted.
After this I decided to get out a Tot School activity set and we played at matching 'heads and tails' to different farm animals. He really liked this one, but I think I need to laminate these pieces so they don't get bent or torn.
I had some vouchers from our Raa Raa event to pay just £1 to Scallywags inside Merry Hill Centre. The lovely, fellow American expat, Erin, decided to join me with her son and we then met up with another expat, Kim, and her husband for some Krispy Kreme.
The boys had loads of fun and pretty much had the place to themselves. It's a very scaled-down version of the Scallywags at Brierley Hill, but I didn't mind because I could see Ryan the whole time and I was even able to go through the structure with him.
Krispy Kreme was delicious, as usual, and I even thought enough to bring home doughnuts to share.
We took a gander out to Haden Hill Park today, but by the time we arrived (on foot, walking from home) the skies looked like they would open at any moment. I dragged a very disappointed Ryan from the playground and soothed him with a quick promise to feed the ducks and birds before we left and rushed off toward the train station.
As you can see he loved it...chasing the pigeons, that is! He kept shouting, "Get back here, bird!" However, somehow I don't think the birds were as entranced as he had hoped with his angelic, toddler tone.
I saw a message early this morning from a fellow Facebook/Mommy-friend, Holly, about how Raa Raa the Noisy Lion was going to be appearing at Westfield - Merry Hill today and she was offering to pick up tickets for one of the showings. I think at one point they must have told her there was a limit which meant I would have to get them on my own. Immediately I rang Matt and told him about my obvious impromptu plans of getting Ryan and myself dressed and racing down to the bus stop to get to Merry Hill as fast as we could to see if we could score some tickets. He then rang his parents and they graciously agreed to come and get us so we wouldn't have to risk waiting forever or missing the bus.
We arrived at Merry Hill right as the first showing was happening (I believe this would have been the 10:30 showing). Josie went to the concierge to pick up the tickets but they weren't until later that afternoon which meant Ryan and I would have to occupy ourselves until then. As we were standing behind the queue for the next showing and watching the current one, Josie introduced us to her former boss, who she had just seen passing by, and she said she'd be more than happy to allow Ryan and me into the next showing as VIPs and all we would have to do was come see her at the entrance just before the show!
David and Josie left us to it and sure enough we were able to get in to the 11:30 showing and sit right up front by the stage. Ryan was in absolute awe and squeeled with delight as Raa Raa came on set!
During this showing I received a text from Holly to say that she had the extra tickets for the 12:30 show, so I decided to stick around since I knew Ryan would love to see it again.
We weren't as close during the earlier showing, but it was nice to be able to allow Ryan to stand up and dance along without worrying he was blocking too many people behind him (since there were plenty of children standing in the back).
He had an absolute ball of a time and the look of joy that overcame his face every time Raa Raa and Ooo Ooo (the monkey) spoke or made a big 'rawr' was the biggest reward for me -- just priceless!
The photo above was actually from the first showing that we watched. We stayed on set after everyone left to get a photo of Ryan on the stage. He waved his little flag like mad and even did a few 'rawrs' for me. While he was doing this, their photographer asked if she could take some video footage of him to put on the Westfield site, so I agreed. When they posted the video on their Facebook page, there are two very brief times you can see Ryan (neither are the bits the photographer/videographer filmed from him on the stage, sadly)...the first at 0:06 seconds in on the lower right he is on my lap waving his flag just before Raa Raa and Ooo Ooo came on stage, so his expression doesn't really show his excitement right then. The second bit is barely worth mentioning because it's a shot from the back, again down in the lower right and you only see the backs of our heads at 0:20 seconds...but here is the link from You Tube:
We've been stocking up on underpants for when Ryan starts to show more signs of being mature and ready for using the potty on his own. Today he noticed a set of Thomas pants so we thought they would be a great incentive for when the time came.
Up until this point Ryan has been using the potty on a night to do a wee and he has been doing it fairly consistently. However, a number two is nowhere on his mind and rather than push it and stress the pair of us out, I'll wait a bit more and we'll carry on with our "potty awareness" and see how things progress.
I mean, c'mon, let's be honest...contrary to Ryan's belief: they aren't a hat, so I'd be in trouble to pursue it full-on quite yet.
Since it's Ryan's first proper Easter I have been trying my best to plan for him to have something to wake up to on Easter morning. I have hit up the pound shops for some colouring books, paintbrushes and a Mickey Mouse mug and then he had some plastic eggs filled with small biscuits and chocolatey treats. In addition to this he's had a chocolate egg off Aunty Em & Uncle Daz, Grandad Mick and Mommy & Daddy. Mind you, this was just in the morning before our visit to Nana & Grandad's where he had more choccy goodness waiting.
It was starting to go a bit dark before we realised he hadn't done a proper egg hunt in the garden. The rain throughout the day put a literal damper on our plans so as soon as it was dry enough we took the chance.
He had an absolute ball shouting, "I found another one," before placing it in his plastic bucket.
We saved all the hunted eggs to divvy out to him over some time because we'd be insane to let him eat it all at once. Plus, we can pretty much count on Mommy and Daddy snacking on a bit of it as well to help diminish the supply.
Perhaps next year we will have better luck with the weather and maybe even find an event to meet the actual Easter bunny!
We had very important business in Brum this morning. A fellow American expat friend, Stacy, was married back in February in Florida to her British husband. He returned to the UK while she started the process of getting her visa to enter the UK as his spouse and because she is such a premium human being, she brought back with her some Peeps for us to include in Ryan's Easter basket this year.
In addition to meeting up with Stacy and her husband, Tim, we also picked up some Krispy Kreme doughnuts from the Bullring to bring back as a treat for Daddy for when he woke up.
Of course my little junior engineer-to-be was more than happy to tag along as it meant taking the train!
In an effort to air out a bit of a red bum I allowed Ryan to go around for a bit this afternoon without his nappy. I had just finished putting away some laundry that was folded when I returned to the front room to the sounds of a toddler in "trouble." I believe, "Mama, hewp," was his cry and sure enough, when I entered the room there he was "stuck" under the laundry basket.
I'm pretty certain he wasn't really trapped, but moreso he wanted me to help him out -- similar to when he stands still after shouting, "catch me if you can!"
Notice how I've provided a smiley...for modesty, of course.
We went to the baby clinic today to have a weigh-in for Ryan for two reasons. One, the most important, being that he has yet to have an appointment come through for his two-year checks despite phone calls and an answer phone message with the health visitor team requesting one. I'm very displeased about this as Sandwell have already admitted to me they're a bit short-staffed, but I still feel it's unacceptable. The second reason is we have had a minor concern with his digestion leading to a doctor's visit that planted the suggestion that he may need to be tested for Celiac.
We left feeling a bit better as his current weight, just a few ounces shy of 30 pounds, shows he has been gaining consistently, which is one step towards ruling the possibility of Celiac out. The next step is to look a bit deeper into his diet and see if eliminating certain foods, namely yoghurt, makes more of a difference.
Matt had decided after my lie-in on Sunday that he didn't want to waste any of his time off this week by staying in bed, himself, when he could be spending quality time with Ryan since he's usually at work and missing him. So every morning he has taken him one-on-one until his naptime while I am afforded the glorious priviledge of more sleep (which also means staying in bed and playing Angry Birds Space or Draw Something).
Ryan has been loving every second and even seems surprised at points throughout the day to see that Daddy is "still there."
We had a bit of a lazy Wednesday in terms of getting properly dressed and this was because Matt and I decided to tackle the washing up and laundry. When Ryan went down for his nap we washed dishes in tandem -- I washed while Matt dryed...and joked I was taking too long doing the washing until I pointed out it was because I was doing it right and getting the dishes properly cleaned and rinsed.
Once Ryan was up from his nap, he "helped" a bit with laundry. He was finding the matching pairs to my crazy-printed, fuzzy socks and "folding" his bibs himself. It was a really nice, laid-back day and everyone got involved in chores.
So, you can't tell at ALL how happy Ryan is to have his Daddy off work on Easter Break with him...right?
This is the first place Ryan went when I brought him downstairs this morning (as Matt has taken to the sofa while he's having this sciatic nerve pain since the bed is too soft). As soon as we were through the door, he made a beeline straight for Daddy!
We started the day with a nice carvery at The Round Oak to celebrate Josie & David's 46th wedding anniversary, which is tomorrow. Afterwards, we joined Em & Daz back at theirs and took advantage of the sun while it was out by bringing the kids into the garden to play.
Both of them really enjoy being outside and are big fans of the big, green slide!
I managed to get some really sweet snaps of my gorgeous niece!
Ryan, on the other hand, wouldn't really hold still for too long...so many of his were "action" shots.
After two and a half years in a long-distance relationship, I packed my life of 29 years into 21 boxes and moved to England to marry and be with my husband, Matt. Now I'm reveling in the youth of my 30s in Great Britain, supply-teaching in primary schools near Birmingham and enjoying newlywed life, being a mommy, and all the surprises they bring!