Monday, 31 October 2011

Y4 - 31/365: Happy Halloween!

A bit young to go Trick-or-Treating yet, but he still wore his Skelly costume to post a letter and picture to Nanny in America. On the way back he insisted on jumping in this Mommy humoured him.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Y4 - 30/365: Extreme Makeover - Ryan Edition

Maybe we should add "demolition man" to his traits? Matt told me yesterday that he made a "butler's entrance" to his castle... I see what he meant.

The best bit is that he pulls the flap bit back up when he's done so it looks like it isn't broken!

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Y4 - 29/365: Essington Fruit Farm

We're a bit behind this year in selecting a pumpkin so decided to check out Essington Fruit Farm, just north of Wolverhampton. Fellow expat, Erin, made the suggestion as she has taken her son there as well, so we gave it a go.

Due to our own poor timing, all that remained was a covered-tent area with the selection of what was left and picked over. We decided to let Ryan pick his own...whatever he could pick up and carry...we would get.

Finally! Ryan emerged with a £1.25 pumpkin!

While Daddy went in to pay, Ryan and I checked out some of the animals out on the farm. Ryan's favourite phrase at the moment is "Wha's thahh?" He enthusiastically asks us this ALL THE TIME!!

We strolled towards the entrance to check out the Peppa Pigs and he squealed with delight -- he loved them! We're still working on saying 'pig' though.

On the way home we met up with Erin briefly at Merry Hill in the Sainsbury's car park. She generously brought along some books and a few gently used toys that belonged to her son to pass on to Ryan. Once we got home, Ryan couldn't wait to check out the books! He'd pull each one out of the bag and coo, "booooook!"

I was amazed at how many books there were! They fill up an entire extra shelf on his bookshelf now and Ryan has such a big selection to choose from! I'm so grateful to know such thoughtful people, like a huge thanks to Erin and her son, from Matt, Ryan and myself for their kindness!

Friday, 28 October 2011

Y4 - 28/365: Reginald D. Hunter

Earlier in the week I saw a message off an expat friend asking if anyone was interested in tickets to see Reginald D. Hunter, another American expat who is also a comedian here in the UK. I didn't know many details at the time other than there was no certainty that the person was able to get the tickets but they would be free if they were able to get them.

After discussing it with Matt, first to see if he wanted to go, he suggested I go ahead if it was going to happen. He has had a bad back for the past week or so and didn't think sitting for that long of a period would help matters.

We got the message late this morning that they got the tickets so fellow expat, Erin, agreed to meet me at Wolverhampton train station and walk with me to the venue. We met up with Heather and her husband outside the Civic and then Mel and her husband showed up to collect the tickets before we all went inside and took our seats in the SECOND ROW!!!

Come to find out, Mel is Facebook friends with Reggie because they're both from Georgia and he sent the tickets down himself for us!

Here is a small taste of another one of his performances to give you an idea of the hilarity that followed:

I think it was safe to say we all enjoyed his show and we tried our best to stick around after as he told Mel we might be able to meet him. Unfortunately we were ushered out by security and I had a train to catch.

The only slight downside to the night was the fact that I missed the last train back to Rowley Regis by minutes so took one to New Street thinking I could get another connection to Smethwick Galton Bridge and then onward to Rowley. Once I got to New Street I learned that all the trains had run for the evening and the next one in the direction I needed wasn't until 6am. It was half-eleven at this point, so I had to ring Matt and he had to get Ryan out of bed to Birmingham and fetch me.

I felt awful, but thankfully it didn't seem to affect Ryan much because he just slept in the car and was no trouble at all getting back to bed. A bit of a wild end to the night, but absolutely worth it for seeing Reggie and meeting some more lovely expats!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Y4 - 27/365: I Can Do It...Type Like Mommy!

Ryan sat on my lap watching his toons for a bit this morning as I typed at the computer. Shortly after he got down, I watched him get out his own Leaptop and begin imitating my typing. He'd then look up at me and give me a cheesy grin before going back to typing again.

He is also quite a fan of the ABC song so he will press the music button repeatedly until it cycles back to the song. He doesn't really sing along until it gets to the letter 'E' and then that's all he "sings" for the rest of the song.

I must admit, although I will really miss his toddler days, I am so impressed with the way he seems to learn or do something new every other day. He's amazing!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Y4 - 26/365: Meet Skelly

Ryan very much likes things on his terms. Wearing the "hood" of his newly purchased Halloween costume for a quick photo -- NOT on his terms.

We took the bus to Merry Hill today to get some bits and look for a costume. In fact, we tried to take it yesterday, but ended up waiting over an hour while the first scheduled bus didn't even show and it was raining like mad by the time the second showed up. Thinking our wait was over I hoisted a soggy, wiggly Ryan onto my hip as bus 123 approached, slowed, and then KEPT ON DRIVING PAST US!!!

To say I was fuming was an understatement!! I was flailing my arms in vain, however, because the driver apparently had NO intention of stopping as he continued around the corner. We ended up sludging home in the rain and did our best to dry off by the time Matt returned home so we could pop back out for our weekly grocery shop.

I nearly thought we were going to have another transportation issue today when bus 238 arrived and the driver informed me I would need to collapse the pushchair to board. As I am (again) trying to maneuvere my wriggly toddler while folding down the pushchair, another passenger peeks her head around to tell me, "mate, it's okay...leave the babby in the pram, it's okay." Confused I looked at the driver who was explaining to her and her friend that he only had insurance for two buggies. He then looked back at me and said it was okay to board because she folded down her own chair and had her (much older) child sit in a seat with her friend.

So good to know there are still some decent and selfless people in the world.

Matalan was our first stop once we reached the mall. I had seen a little, purple Dracula costume the week before and I was hoping they had it in his size. However, not only was it not in his size, but they didn't even have that one at all! My only choice was the skeleton. I wasn't very keen, but they were half-price, making the purchase a whopping £3.50.


We wandered around the centre a bit more, had some sandwiches from Greggs for lunch, bought a cookie and then eventually made our way to the outdoor play area to wait for Matt to leave work and pick us up.

Ryan met a new little friend, Oscar, in the play area who was equally as smiley and happy as him. Oscar was only 19 months but they babbled back and forth like a couple of old cronies, with Ryan repeatedly asking Oscar, "What's that?"

Shortly after arriving home we tried on the costume and after reaching an "agreement" to leave the hood bit off, he gave it a test "run."


Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Y4 - 25/365: Dowwwn...Up!

We've invented a new game.

It kept him busy for a good twenty minutes jumping and chanting, "Dowwwn...Up," over and over.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Y4 - 24/365: A Picture for Nanny

Ryan was in an artsy mood today so when I got out the felt tips he went to town colouring a picture for his Nanny in America. We even put her name at the top as well. Just look at the sheer concentration on his face -- he takes this very seriously, as you can tell.

Hopefully we will get it in the post to her this week!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Y4 - 23/365: Daddy "Duty"

Although Matt would certainly never see playing and interacting with our son as a chore, I imagine it must have been quite difficult for him physically tonight when Ryan grabbed his hand to lead him over to his ramp where he promptly "made" him squat down and play "racing."

I mentioned that Matt spent the weekend with Daz down with friends in Torquay celebrating a birthday, but I discovered something unfortunate last night when Ryan and I made a video call to his mobile so Ryan could see him and say goodnight. He answered his phone and I could hear the wincing in his voice that I know all too well, so I asked what happened. He explained how he hurt his back and thinks it might have been the way he slept, so he was sitting at home alone while everyone else was out on the town. He said he felt awful not only because of the physical pain, but also because it meant he was simply "stuck" inside and hundreds of miles from us as well so it made it seem even worse.

Although the pain has started to ease off a bit tonight since he's been home, he has still been having the pains off and on and any sudden bending can trigger that.

Still, it warms my heart because I know just as I would do anything for our little guy, Matt is working through the discomfort just to have his usual Ryan-Daddy time. He wouldn't miss it for anything!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Y4 - 22/365: Tickle, Tickle

Since their daddies are out of town, Em and Amy came by this afternoon to keep Ryan and me company. I've said many times before how much Ryan adores his cousin, but this picture really says it all. Here he is trying to "help" Auntie Emma tickle Miss Amy and Amy is just giggling her head off!

Love our kids!!

Friday, 21 October 2011

Y4 - 21/365: "To The Cubby Buggy...Let's Jungley Jump To It!"

It's Friday and we've just returned home from a little jaunt out to Merry Hill to pick up a few bits before Matt leaves for Torquay this weekend. It's our friend, Tony's, birthday and he and Daz are heading down together to help celebrate.

Since they're leaving later tonight, we made a special trip to Toys R Us during our other errands to pick up Ryan's first Raa Raa toy since they were only just released this week. Ryan wasn't keen on any of the plushies, so we opted for one of the less expensive options which includes a Raa Raa character and his Cubby Buggy (or 'car car' if you're Ryan).

Before Daz arrived for Matt we gave it a few test runs around the front room and so far, so good -- he seems to love it and keeps saying, "Raa Raa, gooooooo!"

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Y4 - 20/365: Where to Go...Where to Go?

Ryan really enjoys getting my train tickets out of my coat and boy do I have plenty with how much work I have just had this half-term. I just found it funny the way he was looking at them tonight as if deciding on where he'd like to go next.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Y4 - 19/365: Sing-Along With Me!

To look at this photo, one might assume young Ryan is in a bit of a mood. However, contrary to that belief, he is simply concentrating REALLY HARD to the lyrics to the intro in Raa Raa. He was jumping and dancing along with his "new" teddy friend and with all of his might letting out the most ferocious and dedicated lion "Raa's" I have ever heard.

That's not a frown you see...that's sheer determination!

It's really too bad that England isn't as big on Trick-or-Treat (the way "we" do it, at least) because he'd be kitted out in a Raa Raa costume -- yellow face-paint and all!

Today was my first and only (as far as I know) day of work this week and then all the children are off next week for half-term. I had several teachers asking me personally if I would be covering them later in the week as I have been filling a regular spot since the start of school, but I honestly wasn't able to confirm anything since the school have yet to request me from my agency. It's still nice to know they have requested me for all the work I have had to this point and I can only hope it will pick back up once school is back until the holidays.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Y4 - 18/365: Just a Boy, Just an Ordinary Boy

Ryan spent a good part of the morning following the cat around on all fours and trying to kiss him. Each time he would get close enough for a peck, Myst would do a 180 and all Ryan was left with was a mouth full of fluffy tail...but Ryan didn't let that discourage him. He would simply squawk, giggle, and chase after Myst again!

We're working on "being gentle with the kitty" so as long as he is patting him softly and trying to give him smooches, I'm okay with that.

By naptime Ryan was shattered. He had asked for some milk first thing this morning, but then only an hour and a half later was signing for it again. By noon he was tucked into bed with his Daddy's old teddy bear (who he has been clinging to a lot the past 24 hours) and even snoring a little!

Since I'm at work just the one day this week he will be going to the childminder in the morning. With our dinner being a bit later we decided he should skip a proper bath tonight and just get straight into his PJs.

It's a good thing we all agree that straight to bed is the best choice tonight.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Y4 - 17/365: Rainy Day...Messy Play

I decided today was perfect for a little indoor messy-play, so before Ryan was up from his nap, I prepared and set aside what we would need to make our very own playdough. As soon as Ryan shouted for me from the top of the stairs, I immediately brought him into the front room where everything we needed was already waiting. He couldn't wait to get started and warmed up by doing some imaginary mixing.

I helped him add 1 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of salt to begin.

He took to it like a natural and needed no instruction from Mommy to "mix" the dry ingredients together before I then added 1/2 cup of boiled water (from the kettle).

I then showed him how to knead the dough together with his hands. He particularly enjoyed this part although I knew what was coming...he took this chance to have a taste of the lovely, homemade concoction and quickly learned that something so salty wasn't quite as appealing as he once thought.

After the dough was kneaded, Ryan helped by pretending to add the yellow food colouring.

I set aside the supplies and we got right down to business...the playing bit.

He squeezed, rolled, flattened, sniffed (and occasionally tasted) his new creation and we even used some of his sand toys from this past summer as cookie cutters to make playdough shapes.

At one point I rolled a portion into a long "snake" and Ryan's response was, "Nanaaaaaaa!" I think he may have actually thought it WAS a banana.

But I have a different thought on who the ACTUAL "banana" is!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Y4 - 16/365: A Story

He just had to get in on the action! I was originally trying to get a photo of him playing with his new train set, but between the cat interrupting the shot and me having to "rebuild" the track because Ryan sat on it, it wasn't going well. By the time I went to lie on the floor for a good angle, Ryan thought I was playing a game, so he lay across the track until his face was in view.

The nut.

Later, at Em & Daz's, I caught a rare moment of the kids sitting side-by-side on the settee as Amy "read" to Ryan what the pictures were in her ABC book. She's coming along BRILLIANTLY with her vocabulary and it makes me even more anxious for Ryan to get to that stage!

It was sweet to see the pair of them because on the page where it showed a picture of markers, Ryan shouted "kuh-woh!" and Amy carried on with, "red, green, purple..." to name each one.

So glad we have such clever kiddos!

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Y4 - 15/365: Christmas? So Soon?!

Upon arriving at Em & Daz's tonight we were informed there was a gift for Ryan that couldn't wait until Christmas. It was initially meant to be reserved for that very occasion, but Ryan has a very generous Auntie Emma who just couldn't resist. There's no doubt this Thomas & Friends train set will be a hit once we get home and have it all set up!

So, Auntie Emma & Uncle Daz...when you read this, Ryan says, "Ta!"

Speaking of gifts...for Amy's 2nd birthday in July, we bought her the game Elefun and tonight we had the opportunity to see what the adverts were all about. The kids LOVED it and I must say, I've never seen such big grins on their faces!

Basically the battery-operated machine spits out nylon "twists" (butterflies) through its long, plastic "trunk" and the object of the game is to catch these "butterflies" in nets. Amy's object of the game was to intercept the butterfly release by knocking over the trunk...but I suppose her game, her rules...right?

Of course, then Ryan decided he found another use for the nets.

Yes...we have strange children.

Apple. Tree. Enough said.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Y4 - 14/365: Baby Go Bump

Ryan is no stranger to injury so when he gets a small blow to the head, for example, it no longer phases us like it did when he first started "collecting" them. I've stated before he has no fear and tonight it wasn't even that which caused his most recent battle wound. He was trying to hug the back of my legs as I was walking across the room and before I could stop, he slipped and smacked into the wooden bit on the bottom of the sofa when he fell.

The smack was quite audible and so was his cry just after, so I immediately scooped him up and began the ritual of rocking and shushing while I went to the kitchen to get something cold for his forehead.

Thankfully, Matt was close by so he grabbed some frozen veg and a dampened cloth and then made a small bottle of milk to help distract and keep him calm while I held the compress to his head. It went purplish immediately so I knew he couldn't avoid a bruise, but I didn't want the swelling to have much of a chance.

After a little RaaRaa The Noisy Lion and 6 ounces of moo juice, he was back on his feet and acting as silly as ever.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Y4 - 13/365: Wash, Rinse, Repeat

Although he slept through the night and still went to Matt's parents' house today, our little guy has been battling some low-grade fevers for at least 24 hours now. He's been quite lethargic, but still seems happy and fairly playful, so we're thinking it's his teeth again -- he still has about 6 to come through yet.

This time we bathed him, sat him in just his nappy, and allowed him to have a bit of toast before bed since he refused his regular dinner (yet another sign that teething was the culprit).

At least tomorrow is Friday and he can have the weekend to recoup with Mommy and Daddy if he needs to.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Y4 - 12/365: It's Getting Hot in Here...

From the moment Matt returned home with Ryan from the childminder's today, I knew something wasn't right. The eyelids at "half-mast" and flushed cheeks were my first clue that a fever was imminent and subsequently my suspicions were confirmed when the thermometer read 101.7.

We dosed him with 7.5ml of Calpol and got him straight up to bed.

It's a shame (in a way) I'm working all week simply because it would be nice to give him a day off having to get up early with us.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Y4 - 11/365: Five-Second Rule

It also applies to clothing...and someone isn't going to let his strawberry flavoured yoghurt go to waste!

Y4 - 10/365: Have a Good Day!

This morning started abruptly when I woke once to see 5:50am on my phone, then blinked, and suddenly Matt was shaking me and telling me it was half-past six!

Crap! We overslept!!

I rushed through my shower while Matt got ready and then as I was getting dressed we made the executive decision that since Ryan was still sleeping, it would be best to just get socks on his feet and put a coat on him rather than go through the mess of getting him dressed in a rush just to get me to the train station on time. This worked in our favour because we got Ryan up from his bed (turned the wrong way and hanging halfway out, I might add) just before we left the house and he was in the most cheerful of moods. Matt commented to me later that after returning home to get him ready and then dropping him off at the childminder, it was so hard to leave him because of how much he was beaming and happy.

I was told I had an "easy" day with Nursery for about an hour and then working with a small group of children (Years 3 & 4) on intervention with their sounds. I ended my day in Reception and although it was "easy" in terms of no marking to was exhausting overall because of how much effort I put into the intervention group. If I'm being honest, I felt a bit of a failure because all but one of them didn't even know their alphabet and I was later told how this is due to their previous attendance in the school. It made me feel like the time I had with them was wasted because had I known this in advance I could have planned a more basic lesson to start a strong scaffolded foundation. To me, it's a shame they have missed out on so much already as this will not only hurt them academically in the long run, but this is also a main cause of why so many children play about and don't listen well or follow simple directions. They are lost, don't know what to they get bored and mess about!

Still, on the bright side I was able to sign out before 4pm, which meant I was able to catch the "early" train home and I beat Matt back!

About 20 minutes after I had arrived home, Matt walked in carrying Ryan who exlaimed, "Mamaaaaaa," as soon as he saw me and leaned towards me for a cuddle. Then I watched as he grabbed his monkey and penguin and proceeded to "put them to bed|" by tucking them in and giving them cuddles and kisses. Then he climbed up with them, looked at me, and said, "Nigh nigh," and layed his head on top!

Sweetest thing ever and it nearly made me forget all about my hectic morning.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Y4 - 9/365: Monkey See, Monkey Do

We had a change of pace for our typical Sunday routine today. The original plan was to have a carvery at The Round Oak, but when we arrived there was a 45 minute wait. After some quick thinking in the car park we agreed on The Old White Horse in Stourbridge instead.

After a lovely meal with the kids in tow, we returned to Em & Daz's to relax. Amy and Ryan had a cute little game of chasing one another in and out of the room and anything Amy did, Ryan copied. It was so hilarious to watch and I think it makes us all so grateful they have one another to grow up with!

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Y4 - 8/365: Dinner Belly

We've gotten to the end of another day and I'm left looking through a series of photos on my phone and trying to decide which one(s) I should post for the blog. These two seemed to stick out the most as it was just before bedtime and Ryan was showing us where his belly was.

Of course, all of this was made easier since he had just eaten a scrummy chinese for his tea. Sweet & Sour Chicken...yum!

Full belly and ready for bed!

Friday, 7 October 2011

Y4 - 7/365: Patience is a Virtue

This is just how I like to spend my REAL Fridays...cuddling with my little guy! I'm thinking he has some more teeth coming because he's been ultra-clingy recently and has constantly had his hands in his mouth. I didn't mind though because I try to cherish this time until he reaches the stage where he feels his parents are silly and don't understand him.

Upon his return, Matt brought with him a Fisher Price car ramp he had picked up at Toys R Us on his way home from work.

Ryan has been using a tree (that allows you to roll down a plastic ball) and he's been putting his cars through even though they really don't go well together. So Matt vowed to get him a garage with ramps as soon as I got my next paycheck. He couldn't even wait to buy it him until Christmas, and selfishly I couldn't wait to put it together once he was back!

Who is this toy for again?!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Y4 - 6/365: My "Friday"

No wonder it's called Pasta Mess!