It didn't occur to me when I began my fourth year of the blog that I would be encountering a Leap Year...d'oh! So, here's a strange photo, albeit his new "normal" for a strange (albeit "normal" every four years) kind of day.
One of the men Matt works with, Fred, occasionally brings in some gently-used toys that once belonged to his grandkids to pass on to Ryan. Matt came home tonight with two big items tonight...a rocking horse (which is probably headed to Nana & Grandad's for both kids to use) and a see-saw. Right away Ryan knew what the see-saw was and what it does! He was so excited! In fact, he even found that it makes a useful seat for watching his programmes. A miracle in itself that I managed this photo without him mooching about.
It's amazing to watch how things have progressed with Ryan's fine motor skills. Gross motor has always been his strong suit, with how he learned to walk so soon and how he took to being such a fearless dare-devil. He has always enjoyed a bit of "drawing" or "kuh-woh" as he calls it, but moreso now I notice he is taking lots of time and really focusing on what he is doing. They are still marks of lines and dot-dot-dots, but now they are more purposeful. He is even making attempts to colour within the lines with his crayons!
A trick that Myst once used to perform for Matt and me, he is now doing for our son. Ryan made the discovery using Myst's toy mouse. He's been obsessed with us playing "catch" with him using his football, so he decided to try Myst's catching skills.
Little did he know that OUR cat CAN catch! Well, he fetches, much like a dog...and returns it.
Suffice it to say, Ryan has found a new, and very willing, friend to play catch with.
Each night when we get home, we hold on to every second that Ryan offers some sort of contact with us. Don't get me wrong, he's very affectionate otherwise, but he is also a busy-body and apparently has "things to do." Every once in a while he climbs onto our lap for a cuddle or story and we've learned to savor the moment while it lasts because often times he realises that he has been still for more than 30 seconds and his body may cease all movement if he doesn't resume locomotion again, as seen above in Exhibit A.
The little weirdo will find the tiniest piece of crumb or bit of cat fur just about anywhere on the carpet! Luckily I can get him to hand over his little new-found discoveries before they end up in his gob (most of the time).
I'll be sad when the day comes that helping out is something he no longer enjoys. As this was one of our final Mommy-Ryan mornings before I go back to work next Tuesday, we made good use of our time to start with a game of 'Hide & Seek.' In Ryan's version, the counting is shortened to only numbers he prefers to count at the time before he shouts, "Ready not, here come!" Then he mimics what I do when I "seek" for him...questioning aloud if Mama is behind the door or the gate and answering "no" to himself as well.
He's quite a funny little character.
After breakfast, we discovered Myst's food dish was empty...so we filled it.
He then had a nice wind-down period where he played with the gold "Pway-poh."
At tea-time it was back to hard grafting with helping Mommy with the mashed potato for our cheesy potato pie.
Then a bit of sweeping the kitchen floor while the laundry went.
While things were in the oven, however, Matt tagged in for some Ryan-Daddy time since he was forced to miss him all day long at work. We're both looking forward to a nice weekend, just the three of us!
I've discovered a helpful trick that allows me to fold laundry without Captain Destructor getting into everything and messing up the bits I've just folded. I just make a pile of all of our socks and have him sort them into piles of "Dada's socks," "Mama's socks" and "Ryan's socks."
It worked long enough to allow me time to finish folding and get everything quickly out of his reach.
The weather was a bit warmer this afternoon so we took a little venture into the garden. Unfortunately the newest neighbours have a couple of dogs that, while very lovely animals, have torn up the garden a bit. It's now quite muddy in bits and it isn't a surprise to find chewed chunks of sticks everywhere as well as the occasional bit of dog mess...that the neighbour has tried to blame on foxes.
It wasn't any bother to Ryan today, however, as he was taking it all in and telling me all about what he was seeing...like some lonely white flowers or the big green bush.
He even helped me when I needed to trim the dead heads off the Hydrangea bush. I can't wait until the blooms all start to come in this spring. It's something I think I will miss the most when we are no longer here at the cottage.
Amazing how a few brightly coloured things and a challenge capture this young lad's attention...
...and equally amazing what captures mine. So, I wonder where he gets it?!
Hubby knows that crafts & office supplies are the way to my heart on Valentine's Day! Score for him! Plus, this is double the set I lost a couple weeks back at my last supply post. Do you think 'PROPERTY OF MRS B...RETURN TO HER IMMEDIATELY, STICKY FINGERS' is too forward or does it get the message across?
AND she bought new dabbers in 5 AMAZING bingo colours.
To be fair, after swearing it off last week, I received a voucher for free books, so I "had" to come this week. I guess we also technically "have" to go next week as well because we received two stamps on our stamp cards that give us a free session.
You can't argue with free. Or an excuse to buy new dabbers.
After a morning visit to see a little bungalow in Kinver, we extended our day out to include a trip to IKEA.
This will technically make Ryan's second visit to IKEA, although the first was in utero while he was still looking a bit like a little alien to us. We were on a mission today to purchase a table and chair for him to have more room for his colouring and things and we had one style in mind. The Mammut series has this funky, Dr. Seuss-like look to it and I have wanted to have the furniture for Ryan since before he was born.
Ryan and Daddy found a bit of time to try out the wooden train track while we were there. Perhaps something to put on the list for the next visit?
And of course everyone knows you can't leave IKEA without having a hotdog -- in Ryan's case, his very first one ever!
There were a few other items that made their way into our shopping trolley, but they will only help keep the front room a bit more tidy with all the bits and pieces Ryan now has to his toys. One of his pop-up hampers now houses Mr. Potato Head and his 40 parts, another all of Ryan's cars, and the third conveniently holds many Happyland characters and animals.
Ryan had his first trip to the DVLA today...at just 25 months of age. Matt renewed the tax disc for the car online this year and he still hasn't received it in the post even though the tax expired 10 days ago. He rang the number after 5 days and they told him to wait 5 more days. Last night when he rang they said he could come out to the DVLA to pick it up, but they were closed by the time he was due off work and they weren't open on the weekend -- which makes TOTAL sense for working people, right?!
I offered to take Ryan out to go get it if they would allow us to and Matt agreed and wrote us a "permission slip." We planned on taking the train out to Lea Hall Station (out by Birmingham International Airport) but that morning the snow had fallen quite a bit and the pavements were covered. Plus, the temps were quite low as well so Josie & David kindly took us out.
Ryan fell asleep on the way there and woke up soon after David and I went inside to collect the disc. It wasn't as bad as I thought...not as bad as the American BMVs I am used to with a queue that goes on for ages and most of the time has people standing outside the building!
We waited in line a short while until we were called up to an available desk where we told them we were there to pick up a tax disc that never arrived in the post. I was given a number and instructed to go sit in the waiting area, but thankfully, due to the nature of the visit...there was one window operator who was only dealing with tax disc queries so I doubt we waited more than 5 minutes.
Once than was sorted Ryan and I were dropped off at home where I quickly got him some milk and up for a nap and Josie & David went on to take Matt's new disc to him at work.
We're so thankful to have such helpful and thoughtful people in our family! Thank you so much, Josie & David!!
Ryan returned home from his Nana & Grandad's today with a snazzy pair of green wellies -- his first pair!! He immediately ran to the bookshelf and grabbed one of his library books about a duck called Ollie who is given a red and a blue boot from his friends, Gossie & Gertie, and he proceeds to stomp all over in his new boots. Ryan immediately made the connection as he pointed to their boots and then his own "gree well boots," as he calls them.
He even had a go later at putting them on himself, and for the first time, succeeded! I think he found these much easier than his trainers as he slipped in his toes and then stood up to squish his heel down inside.
In other news...no luck on the search for my pens. There were about 8 children absent today and despite promising that I wouldn't be upset and just wanted them returned, they never turned up by the end of the day. I still made sure to let the school know and I left a note for the classroom teacher. I doubt I will see them again, to be honest, which is unfortunate because they weren't cheap...somewhere in the neighbourhood of £7 for the pack.
Sadly, in all the time I have been supply teaching here in this country, since 2008, this is the first time I have ever had anything stolen.
I wasn't impressed on my departure from the school today. My new 10-pack Staedtler Triplus Fineliner pens went "missing" from the time I escorted children out to their parents to the time I returned about ten minutes later. The children had laptops in the afternoon and I marked some Literacy work while conferencing one-on-one with students about their work. I had the pens right with me on the table. While I'm normally so careful, I neglected to put them away in my bag this time and this is the result. Imagine my dismay when I learn that this particular class has an "issue" with stealing in the past. Still, I plan on giving them the benefit of the doubt and I'm going to formulate a strategy before I address with them tomorrow.
Meanwhile, on the way back to the train station, I stopped at the Morrisons to get a few bits for tea. I came across one of the kiddie mags in clear plastic that contained some goodies. One of those was a foam set of Numberjacks numbers! Ryan was ecstatic when I showed him at home. He started counting with them right away!
Also included was a plastic flute. Not so great on musicality...but Ryan makes up for it because he won't actually blow on the thing. Instead he makes an audible "tooting" sound as he marches round the room pretending to play.
And finally behold....a Slinky!! Yeah, what else needs to be said, really? It's a freakin Slinky!!
Ryan knows that on the mornings when we all leave the house together, it is usually because I have to catch the train and go to work. Late yesterday I received a text off the agency I last did work for and the school have requested me back for the same class to cover this final 4-day week until the half-term break.
I do love that I am getting the work, but it just means the first cuddles when Ryan returns home on a night have to last just a little bit longer.
Typically twice during the week we visit my sister-in-law, her fiance and our little niece. Each time we go Ryan goes straight for Amy's big, pink teapot, which usually houses an assortment of plates, cups and plastic utensils.
Today, Ryan decided it was a drum.
Also at cousin Amy's is a fantastic junior trampoline that the kiddos both adore. They're excellent trampoline-jumpers and even better at lounging around on said trampoline.
And every now and then, (slightly-overbearing) Ryan gets a smile out of his dear cousin. We will save these photos as exhibit A.
After hearing the place mentioned several times since we have lived here, Matt and I decided to take Ryan to Jitterbugs on this dreary Saturday.
It only cost £3 for him to enter and we headed straight for the 'Under 3s' area. Granted, we were hoping that this meant only children under the age of 3 were admitted, but like most public play areas, it was only supervised by parents who gave a hoot about watching their child over their Kindle or mobile.
Ryan had a blast, of course, going up and down the slide, climbing in and out of the tunnel and playhouses, but Matt and I were just as knackered as him by the time we left because of chasing him around and keeping the bigger kids...7, 8 and 9-year-olds...from trampling him.
Something one should not have to worry about for an 'Under 3s' area.
We were shocked to even find one mother (or grandmother, cannot be certain) feeding her child a jarred meal right in the middle of the mats on the gated play-area! To us, common sense would say it's probably not the wisest choice for mealtime as kids were running all over. But also because they were literally right in the middle of a busy area and Matt and I felt we had to be more careful of her and not allow our own child to run into or inconvenience her.
Do people not think?!
Ryan was not happy to leave, but we could see it was time to go because he was getting cranky and it was definitely time for a nap. Once we were outside, there was a nice blanket of snow on the floor -- the first proper one of the year, in fact! If it weren't so stinking cold, however, I'd bring him out in it to build his first snowman.
I've had two days of work through my newest agency and it was only 8 minutes on the train and a 30 minute walk to reach the school. The agency owner's mother is actually the Headteacher so no pressure to perform well or anything on this assignment.
It went alright for the most part and one of the girls brought me in a treat on my second day (the one for her classroom teacher is in the brown envelope I left behind).
I do my best before leaving to leave out any work that I have marked and some handover notes as well that point out bits about how the day went. It can be a bit tedious, if I'm being honest, but it is part of the job description as a supply teacher.
Either way, I'll never complain about having a bit of work.
Back at home and after dinner tonight we got out the Play-Doh and I discovered that Ryan is pretty indecisive when picking out his colours. He kept saying, "hmmm," and putting a finger to his lips.
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!