Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Special Weekend...

Last weekend was one of the best weekends I have had in a long time!

After school on Friday, John took Ryan and Josh and headed down to Athens for basketball camp and the OU game.  That meant it was just Kylie and Colton and I for a couple of days!  Kylie was supposed to have gymnastics Friday night, but I came home from work on Friday to see her sitting on the couch with a bag of ice.  Apparently she had hurt her leg and it was too bad to go to gymnastics.

After the boys left (they didn’t end up leaving until around 5:45 – we got our new iPhones and John and to show me some things :) ), Kylie, Colton and I headed out for dinner at Kogens.  We hadn’t eaten there in a couple of years – since it had just opened, and it was awesome!  Kylie made the best comment – she said “it feels weird only have this small amount of people at the table.”  She was so right!

After dinner we came home and played in the playroom a little bit.  Kylie started the American Girl Samantha movie and Colton ran around :)  Kylie set up and Instagram account and we had a lot of fun taking and posting pictures.  I put Colton to bed and then Kylie and I had Sundaes and finished the movie.  We ended the night playing with our phones/iPods in my bed and falling asleep :)

Saturday we got up and had French toast for breakfast.  We all played/did some chores around the house and then it was time to take Kylie to gymnastics.  When we got back, Colton was dead tired (he usually takes a morning nap during that time, so he was beat by the time we got home!).  So I laid him down and went to work!  I got a bunch of laundry done, and then I decided to organize the pantry.  What a job!  I threw out so much old stuff and really got it looking nice!  This also caused me to organize a couple of cupboards in the kitchen too.  Colton ended up sleeping for two hours, which was absolutely perfect timing for me to get everything done!

I had Miss G come over at 2:30 so that I could pick Kylie up from gymnastics and we could go on our date!  Colton was upset, but the minute Miss G Said “want to go outside?” he was a happy camper again!

I got Kylie and then we headed over to Easton.  I had to return something, so we did that, and then we went to the Apple store to get her a new iPod charger (how do those things disappear???).  The Apple store was packed!  I thought it was because of the new iPhone, but the guy said it was early Christmas shopping.  It was insane!

After that, we dodged raindrops and went into the mall to the movie theater.  We were going to see The Odd Life of Timothy Green (Kylie’s choice of course!).  This theater was cool – I hadn’t been there in a while – all of the food was cafeteria-style.  You picked up your popcorn (I was able to put butter on it half-full and then again when it was full), then your drink (super Coke machines!) and then anything else you wanted (nestle crunch pieces) and then check-out.  We were really early to the movie, but we watched the previews and hung out.  The movie was really good!  When I first saw the previews, I really had no desire to see it, but of course I would never tell Kylie that!  And much to my delightful surprise, I really liked the movie!

After the movie Kylie was giving me a hard time about picking a place to eat.  She just couldn’t decide.  So I told her that I wanted to go to the new Lush store that had just opened up because I had never been to one but had heard all about them.  We smelled tons of stuff and got a couple of arm treatments.  I left with some products that so far I love and Kylie picked out a bath bubble that will make her next long bath awesome!

After that, John called to say that they were about ½ hour out and after some talking we realized that none of us had eaten.  Kylie had wanted to go to Olive Garden, so we decided to get it to go and get some for everyone (Kylie was not happy about this, but it was what was best for everyone).  I was so glad we did this because the line at Olive Garden was ridiculous!  We just walked in there and picked up our food and left!

Everyone was pretty tired at home, so we quickly ate and then everyone went to bed.  Sunday was church and then a relaxing afternoon at home.  I ran to the grocery store and then John took the boys to football practice.

I started making dinner, and I asked Kylie if she wanted to make the cupcakes we had in the pantry (she had been wanting to make them for a while but there was never time).  So while I made dinner, she made the cupcakes (with filling!) all by herself!  I was so proud of her!

After a dinner that again, John and I loved but the kids didn’t (I swear I’m going to quit cooking for them!), we had Kylie’s awesome cupcakes and then everyone got ready for bed.

I had such a wonderful time hanging out with Kylie…it hasn’t happened in so long and I want it to happen more.  Although we did fight while we were out, it was still so much fun hanging out with her and listening to what’s going on in her life.  I love that little girl!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Happy 4th Birthday Ryan!

Dear Ry-Ry,
Today you are four years old.  Four. Years. Old.  How did that happen?  Weren’t you just born???
You are my “blondie” (as we call you often), and you are going to be a huge girl-magnet as soon as girls realize boys aren’t yucky :)  You have the most beautiful blonde hair and the most GORGEOUS, huge blue eyes and long eyelashes.  Seriously, where did you get all that from???
You are so very different from Josh and Kylie, and since they are so similar, it’s like having my first child again sometimes with you.  You have some very different interests than the other two, you tend to like different foods, and your personality is very different.
Right now you are into football and baseball (in that area, you are identical to Josh).  You love playing your own games and will always ask if I can watch your game or play with you.  You have also taken an interest in soccer (new territory for us here…), and I was all ready to sign you up, but you missed the age cutoff by two months, so maybe in the spring?  So you’re good with playing football with Daddy as your coach.  You’ve had two practices so far and I think you’re really liking it.
When it comes to playing with friends, you’ve tended to migrate more towards the bigger boys and less towards Zora :(  I can tell it makes her really sad, but I knew this day would come…you’re ready for boy things.  So you love playing with her when you’re doing things like jumping on the trampoline or trying to play baseball, but the days of pushing around babies in strollers and playing doctor are gone I’m afraid.  You have also started riding your bike, which I’m so happy about!  That was another one of those “stubborn Ryan things” in that I tried and tried to get you to ride it, but until you wanted to, you weren’t going to do it.  You love going on bike rides over to the new bike path and you can ride all the way over there and back!  I’ve finally gotten you riding up and down the driveways so that you can make the whole circle in the court instead of getting off your bike each time and walking it down/up the driveway.
You have gotten tougher and tougher…you can wrestle with Josh and hold your own and you try to wrestle with Colton but you can be so rough!  You always want to do what Joshie is doing and often you don’t want to do it with him, you just want to do it because he’s doing it.
You have been able to completely use the bathroom by yourself for a couple of months now…no more helping from mom and dad at all, which of course has been a huge help to us.  You are always so proud of your accomplishments and I think that feeds in so much to why you only do things in your own time…you just have that personality.
You LOVE to spend time over at Grandma’s and Pappaw’s.  You would stay over there 24 hours a day if we let you!  Every night you ask to sleep over there and so many times when I get home from work, you’re over there playing.  It is so nice that you’re able to do that!
You are really a great eater!  When you want a snack, your first request is either “fruit snacks” (which I usually say “no” to) or yogurt or an apple.  You really do eat a variety of foods and you love to have bread with dinner.  You can get your own cup out and get yourself water out of the refrigerator, which again, has been a huge help to mommy and daddy.  And you love gum!  You are always asking me if you can have a piece of gum :)
As far as TV shows go, you LOVE Team Umizoomi.  Period.  That is always your request.  You will watch football with Daddy and Sesame Street with Colton, and Dora and Max and Ruby and Diego, but you will always ask for Team Umizoomi :)
I can’t believe that you are going to start school next year!  We are working on writing your name (and you’re getting close!) and you love watching Letter Factory and know the sounds of just about every letter.  You will be so young when you start school…I hope we can have you ready!  I’m trying to work on math with you the way we taught Josh – with sports!  You try to give touchdowns a point value of “1,” so I’m teaching you about how much a touchdown is worth and how much the extra point is worth and using your fingers to add up points.
You, so far, are the most stubborn child of the family (Colton might have you beat pretty soon).  Again, VERY different from Josh and Kylie.  And while it’s extremely exhausting for your dad and I, I know that this personality can be beneficial if used correctly :)  You fight for what you want and when you want to do something, you work hard until you get it.  But when you want something and I say “no,” watch out!  You make this angry face, purse your lips together, and go pout.  We’re still working on teaching you that you are not allowed to act that way, but it’s been an uphill battle.  Daddy calls you “stink” because you have always been such a stinker!
But on the other side of all of that, you are super loveable.  You always want to give me hugs and kisses (although a lot of that is out of jealousy of Colton).  You also love when I let you sleep in my bed :) You still want me to carry you around and your heart is so big!  I know that between you and Joshie, I will always be well taken care of and protected :)  And you love Kylie, even though you tend to push her away a lot.
At church you are wonderful about singing…you sing super loud so that you can wear the special hat :) And you memorize your verse and do a good job at listening to the story.  I really hope that you are absorbing what we teach you in there!
You still take a nap every afternoon, usually for about 2 hours.  You are usually very good about going up and getting into bed (as long as we come up and tuck you in!).  When you wake up in the morning, you come down with a big smile.  After naps though, you just hang out in the loft area, and if no one notices you for a while, you start making noises, and if no one notices you still, you start knocking on the railing.  You won’t come down until we say “hi Ry-Ry” and then you smile your big smile and come downstairs.
You always, always want to be around me.  And you don’t stop talking :)  I can’t even go change my clothes without you following me and telling me about something.  Part of the reason I find it so exhausting is because I want to respond to everything you say, so you talk and talk and I respond and respond and there is rarely any peace and quiet :)  But I love that you still love to be around me, and you talk to me while I cook dinner and keep me company whenever I’m doing anything!
Last night we sat and watched the videos from the hospital when I was having you and you just sat there quiet, taking it all in.  I rarely see you so quiet and content…it was so sweet!
Ryan Mark Stickel, I love you with all of my heart and I’m so glad that you are my little boy.  You always run up saying “mommy” when I get home from work and I can always count on you for company.  You are the biggest sweetheart and I just can’t imagine what our family would be like without you.  Thank you so much for being my special boy :)


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A September Weekend...

This past weekend was another good one :)
Friday night we hung around and played around the house until I had to run an errand and then get Kylie.  We’re normally so exhausted by Friday night that even though we don’t have anything planned and it should be a free night, it ends up being a nothing night just so we can catch our breaths!
Saturday morning John headed out with Josh for football practice, Ryan had spent the night over with my mom, so he was still over there, and Kylie, Colton and I loaded up to go and get Kylie a viola.  Now, I know nothing about string instruments.  I played the piano when I was little, and the flute in middle school and high school.  But Fourth and Fifth graders can participate in strings at school, and Kylie wanted to play the viola, so off we went!  Thankfully, it wasn’t bad getting her everything she needed, and for a *small* fee, we were on our way :)
After getting the viola, we rushed home and Kylie quickly changed and I made her some food and we headed out to gymnastics.  I dropped her off, came home and put Colton down for a nap, and then went out and helped John clean out my parents’ garage a little bit.  Then it was off to my photography class!
I love taking pictures, and thankfully, I have a wonderful camera.  However, I don’t know how to use my camera to the best of its ability.  And even though I love taking pictures, I just don’t have time to learn how to use it.  But I got a groupon deal a while ago for a photography class, and even though I was dreading being away from everyone for 3 hours (plus the ½ hour commute each way), I was excited to learn.  And learn I did!  I tell you I was exhausted after that class!  My mind hurt from trying to process everything she was telling us!
After the class I headed home and Kylie went to Rachel’s.  John and I took the boys to dinner and then to Rita’s for dessert.  Then the boys headed over to my parents’ to sleep and we crashed!
Sunday was church and then a little meeting after church regarding the nursery and us turning over some of the duties surrounding the baby room over to other people :)  Then it was playing outside and relaxing!  I was also able to hose out the strollers and high chair…they had gotten so gross!  Now the strollers are all ready for football games :)
So a good weekend, and Monday brought back the normal routine :)


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Fun, Nothing Special Kind of Evening...

Last night was just an ordinary night, but we had some fun :)

John had a coaches meeting for football, so he stayed at work and went right to that, so it was just the kids and I.  When I got home, Colton was sleeping, which made it easy to get dinner in the oven.  He did end up waking up very quickly, but he sat and played in his crib the whole time!

While dinner was in the oven, the kids and I went outside to play for a little bit.  Josh wasn’t feeling well, so he sat in the chair and reffed our game a little bit.

After dinner, I wanted to go on a walk/bike ride.  Josh and Kylie didn’t want to go because they had homework they needed to get done.  So I loaded Colton up in the stroller, Ryan got on his bike, and we headed off on a little walk while Josh and Kylie stayed home to finish their homework (Kylie was also working on her campaign poster as she is running for student counsel).

The walk was so fun!  We walked the new bike path in our neighborhood and Ryan has improved so much riding his bike!  Colton chatted the whole way, and took to the phrase “I promise” when he heard me tell Ryan “I will be right here to catch you if you start to fall, I promise” as I was trying to coax him to ride down the “apron” parts of the driveways.  So the whole way there and back Colton would just look at me and say “I promise?”

After the walk I gave the boys a bath and put Colton down to sleep.  John had just gotten home so brushed Ryan’s teeth and got him into bed and then did some things with Josh.  Finally, they were all in bed and John and I had just sat on the couch and started talking when we heard Colton crying.  He had been up for two hours the night before in the middle of the night, and we were worried this would be a repeat.  When we went in to get him, he kept saying “all done seeping.”  So we brought him down and he was in such a good mood!  I gave him to medicine thinking his teeth have been bothering and that has to be what has been waking him up.  Then he sat on the couch with us and ate fishies and just made us laugh!  We got to hang out with him for about an hour and a half and it was awesome!  But then I was so tired I had to put him to sleep.  He cried for about 10 minutes and then conked out.  He didn’t wake up until 7:00 this morning!

So nothing special, but a fun night :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Back Again...

What a crazy last couple of weeks!
I was in Chicago for a conference last week.  It was a conference that I had been looking forward to going to for the past 5 months, but with all of the travel I had been doing to Atlanta, I actually didn’t want to go anymore…but I did want to go…

I went back and forth; I talked to John; I weighed my options.  And in the end, I registered for the conference the Wednesday before it started.  I knew that I would miss so much if I ended up not going.  So on the Tuesday after Labor Day, I boarded a plane and headed to Chicago.
The weather was gorgeous and the city, what little I saw of it, was amazing.  The first day we got there I got to walk Michigan Ave. and see the Millennium Park and buy all the souvenirs for the family.  After an afternoon of walking around, we boarded up a bus and headed to the Shed Aquarium for a wonderful night of seeing large aquatic animals, eating good food and meeting some great people.
The next morning the conference officially kicked off and I went to a bunch of sessions and heard some great speakers.  That night we had dinner at the Field museum, and again, met some nice people (there were about 500 people in attendance).  The next day was more sessions and dinner at Union Station where Second City performed a custom performance for us.  The last day was a few more sessions and then a plane ride home.
Saturday Kylie went to gymnastics and then the whole family headed down to Athens for the first Bobcat game of the season.  It was also Colton’s first Bobcat game!  It’s sad, Kylie, Josh and even Ryan went to tons and tons of games as babies, but by the time Colton came around, I was done with walking babies around the stadium because they were unhappy sitting in the stands for hours.  So at the age of almost 20 months, we finally took Colton to his first game.  And he did pretty well!  His downfall is that he just has a short attention span.  So while he loved watching the band and watching the players, he had to keep moving…sitting on laps, then on the bench by himself, then standing, etc.  It was exhausting, but definitely not unbearable! 
Kylie, Josh and Ryan were awesome!  They watched the game with no problem and looked adorable in their OU clothes.  We all lasted the whole game and then finally got back to our house around 1:00 AM.
Sunday was church and then misc. stuff around the house.  John and Josh had their first football practice that evening, and I had plans to take the other kids to the grocery store and make enchiladas for a late dinner when everyone was back.  However, Colton did not help my plans by taking a super late nap!  So we didn’t finish up at the grocery store until 7:30 – not enough time to make the enchiladas and then the thought of having to clean them up was too much…I called John and told him to meet us at the new Mexican restaurant :)  We had a great dinner (Colton was a MESS of refried beans and salsa) and then got home and quickly got everyone to bed.
It was a great weekend and a great ending to my FINAL traveling for a long time!