David came over today to drop off one of their armchairs as they're about to have new furniture. The front room looks like sofa city at the moment with two different sets of sofas crammed in, but hopefully we will sell the sectional soon.
Grandad was kind enough to stop and humour young Ryan by making some paper aeroplanes with him. It seems he is learning from the best and they had lots of fun "testing" them afterward!
The sun has been out in full force the past couple of days. This has been torture for me at the schools because most schools and classrooms do not have air conditioning and convincing children that less talking during their work means a cooler classrom isn't working like I had hoped. By the time I'm back home on an afternoon, I love being able to just take Ryan into the garden for a bit for a little one-on-one in the sun.
Today he thought Thomas and Friends might enjoy it as well.
We're trying something a bit different with Ryan to try and eliminate his fussiness over food. Tonight we had tacos and I invited Ryan in to "dress" his own taco. I broke the tortilla shell around his plate and let him help put the things on top. As a result, he felt a bit more invested and ate nearly all of it. Surprisingly he ate the mince, too, and he's not a big fan of mince.
It has been a while since I have taken a photo of the cottage. It looks quite different than before since the landlord has had the solar panels put on. A lot more eco friendly, but takes a bit away from the aesthetics of a 17th Century cottage.
Anyway, just thought I'd take the photo since the gardener had been just this afternoon. I do love a freshly mowed lawn!
It seems Matt and I aren't the only ones getting a new bed. This week I won a bid on eBay for this Little Tikes Thomas the Tank bed for about a quarter of what they cost brand new and today we brought it home. Ryan was just ecstatic to put it together upstairs! In fact, once we had the bits all cleaned and placed the front bit on, Ryan took to greeting him, "Hi, Thomas! Hieeeee! I wike you, Thomas!"
We actually learned this bed alone is about 20 years old as the former "owner" is now an adult and everything has just been in storage all the while, but to be fair it is still in good knack. Little Tikes makes good stuff!
Ryan's favourite bit is the track that goes down each side for an actual Thomas train to slide down. He tested that bit out right away with a small Thomas that the seller threw in as well.
Now we just need to get some Thomas sheets to go along with it! Still, I think it's safe to say the bed was a huge hit and the proof is in a comfortably sleeping Ryan...now with a bit more room.
We were on a mission today to find a new bed and/or mattress as Matt has recently been officially signed off work. He had an MRI scan not long ago that revealed that this pain he has been having the past 9 months is due to two slipped discs and a trapped nerve. The doctor has prescribed pain medication for Matt to take -- I believe it's Co-codamol and Naprosen -- however, Matt is very careful with his medicines as he doesn't want to develop any dependency (although, if taken for proper pain, co-codamol is not addictive, despite warnings).
The bed we have been sleeping on is well over 10 years old and while it's nice and squishy, that's the last quality you want in a bed where the person has a bad back.
We first visited Furniture Warehouse, not far from us, but soon walked right back out when we saw their limited selection and learned they didn't do anything on credit. I suggested that we check out Dreams, a big bedding/furniture chain here in the UK, and although Matt was concerned the prices would be outrageous, we knew their selection would give us a better idea of what we were looking for.
Not only did Dreams have a much better selection, but they also had very knowledgable sales staff who weren't too pushy and a Jubilee sale that we happened to walk into the middle of. After much searching and bed-testing (on Matt's behalf) and checking to see if we could find Narnia (yeah...Ryan), we settled on a King-sized 1000-pocket-spring mattress and a brand new, solid oak frame. Let's just say the price was an absolute steal AND we were approved for credit so our payments are around £30/month! We threw in two posh memory foam pillows and the salesman even gave Ryan a giant Dreams teddy in PJs for free!
We never even thought we'd find anything within our price range there, but now we're so glad we stopped in because we found what we were looking for and it's going to be delivered (TO our bedroom) in only 2 weeks! All being well it won't be much longer until Matt is finally getting a smooth nights' sleep for a change.
This is what I met at the top of the steps this afternoon when tiny tot was up from his nap. He had not one, not two, but THREE pairs of Thomas underpants on...all at knee-level and below! And he was so proud of himself for putting them on all on his own!
We have made a deal with Ryan, as I have mentioned in a previous post, that when he starts doing his poos in the potty and not in his nappy, he will be allowed to wear his Thomas the Tank pants. Since he loves them so much already, we figured this would be a great incentive once he's showing more initiative/interest. Until then it's a wee every night before his bath/bed in the potty and lots and lots of talk about doing a poo.
There have been lots of breakfast requests lately for Cheerios. I only give them dry as he has plenty of milk before his nap and bedtime and I don't want to overdo that with still questioning digestion issues. Today I found myself just watching him eat after a while because I noticed he was using the plastic stylus to his pretend Thomas "DS" as a harpoon to spear his O's and carry them straight to his mouth.
Yep, you can tell I'm teaching in the Black County today. Most children anywhere write how they speak so everything is spelled phonetically. Here the child was referring to the volume of something being 'loud' but when they say the word, they actually say it 'lowed' (or louw-ed).
I also find it funny that 'grandma' is 'grandmar,' because...you have it...the kids ACTUALLY say it that way.
Interesting, this whole dialect/language/pronounciation thing.
Little Bunny has now realised there are some set rules in the house to "play by." Lately it seems he has been exercising his independence more and more, daring to give us a defiant "no" when we tell him to do something. Not long ago we purchased a blue, circular rug for the purpose of issuing time-outs when he tests the boundaries. He found out pretty quickly that he didn't like this "time-out" malarky and he showed us his displeasure in the form of screams, fits and...wait for it...head banging. Oh yeah, it seems we have THAT kid.
The first time he ever did it, it shocked both me and Matt and I know Matt was ready to jump in and intervene. I reminded Matt that he was only doing it for attention and if we gave it now, it would only show Ryan that we had a limit and would eventually gave in. No, we had to stay firm. So we ignored it. Now he has gotten to the point where he will actually say, "I calm down now," after seconds earlier giving the performance worthy of an Emmy.
In addition to the time-out, Matt and I discussed some actual rules to have set in place. Supernanny, Jo Frost (of whom I am a big fan), says in her book Confident Toddler Care that you should post a list of rules you want your child to follow, even if they can't read, because they're a reminder to us and help us stay consistent. They should be simple and there should be as many rules as their age (Ryan is nearly 2.5, so we gave him 3). This way, Ryan only really gets put on the time-out spot when he has broken one of these three rules, and they pretty much apply to anything.
Of course, this doesn't mean our problems are solved and he is suddenly an obediant child. He will break these rules over and over, and sometimes even right after he's been placed in time-out for one. But it is important that we stick to them and consistently give him his consequence when he doesn't comply. This is the only way to teach him that Mommy & Daddy mean business and there are certain behaviours that are unacceptable.
We have our work cut out for us, but at least we have the tools in place to deal with it and Ryan will be a better person for the consistency and structure.
A lot of good being home early gets me when I've forgotten my house key...inside the house. In the meantime, I'm on the porch waiting for Matt to arrive and looking out at the beautiful, blooming, bluebells!
First things first...while waiting for the bus around the corner from the school this afternoon I was approached by an elderly looking man wearing a green turban. I was finishing a phone call to Matt to tell him when my train would be in and my bookbag and umbrella were propped against the bus shelter. The man spoke with very broken English but I understood he was asking the time for the next bus. I smiled and explained it was due any minute so he thanked me and walked a bit down the pavement. I proceeded to check my e-mail and whatnot on my phone and then I noticed the man was returning. He got quite close and mumbled something a bit incoherant to me, so I assured him the bus was due to come and that's when I first noticed him pointing toward an oncoming bus as well as his hand felt awfully close to my rear!!
I quickly backed away and grabbed my bag. He then reached out and grabbed my umbrella and handed it to me, grinning all the while telling me I was "very, very nice." He tried to get closer again but I stepped up to the kerb and boarded the bus as soon as the doors opened. I tried giving the driver a look and gesturing to the man behind me so he may get the hint that I was maybe being followed and uncomfortable. In fact, in my hurry to get away, I forgot to grab my ticket that came out of the dispenser.
The man followed me on the bus, but stayed up near the driver while I took my seat. Then at the very next stop, just a block down the road, the man got off!! I quickly grabbed my phone, pressed the camera button and tried to snap a photo of him before he walked away too quickly but it barely got him in the frame before the sticker on the window blocked the view.
Does this crazy geezer just do this all day?! So creepy!! I've never had anything like that happen before and while I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt to start...thinking he just had poor hearing and that was why he was so close...I have never felt so uncomfortable in my life!! I didn't even know what to say, whereas now I can think of a lot.
Back in the safety of my home...I watched Ryan do some more of his own colour sorting. James is in the red box, Thomas in the blue, and Percy in the green. So proud of my clever little bug!
In an effort to help motivate me further with fitness, I've finally broken down and bought some new trainers to replace my current ones lacking tread and developing holes in the sides. I've started doing Zumba after school (in the sports hall of the school) on a Wednesday, and then I'm also considering a jump back into the Couch to 5K (C25k) if my knees and ankles can handle the stress.
I've added yet another learning element to Ryan's environment -- a calendar, of sorts. I got the download from another blogger at 1+1+1=1. It's the same one where Tot School came from and she has fantastic resources for home educating. Ryan already gets some of the days like Sunday and Monday, but he also wants to argue that all of the days are those days. He has also enjoyed looking out the window to tell me the weather and then putting up the corresponding weather tile.
I'm actually covering the lead teacher position in nursery at the moment, for a fortnight, and they're undergoing lots of changes to improve the childrens' environment. Since it's a school where I am quite familiar, I am comfortable enough with the staff to offer up suggestions and they've been really receptive. I've introduced a couple of new songs (learned from downloads on 1+1+1=1) with the children and the staff have really seemed to take to them well also. To top it off, I'm getting great ideas in return from the nursery of things I can do and make at home with Ryan.
(This second photo is for no other reason other than he looks cute and hip in his Rolling Stones North American Tour tee.)
I lowered down the Easter window clings today to let Ryan play around with the eggs and flowers. He took to tearing some of them to bits, which I didn't mind because they were inexpensive and replaceable and he wondered what would happen if he pulled too hard...so he found this out on his own.
Ryan has had a Megabloks Thomas train for some time now and absolutely loves it. So, when we made our weekly shopping trip to Tesco and rode the trolley escalator up (as Ryan requests) we decided to give Megabloks Thomas a couple of companions -- a Percy and a James. I wasn't surprised tonight when Ryan requested that James come to bed with him because as soon as he was out of the package he wouldn't put him down.
He had his milk in my arms and clenched his teddy and James tightly. Then, when I lowered him onto his pillow, he sweetly asked me to "take James downstairs," before I kissed him goodnight.
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!