Sunday, December 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Lyla!!!! *or* Holy Moley, I Can't Believe My Daughter is TWO!!!

Seriously? When did Lyla grow up? It seems like just 730 days ago that Katherine was telling me it was time to go to the hospital. Yet somehow my Little Button became my Little Baby and my Little Baby become my Little Girl. All those country songs suddenly make a lot of sense...

Friday, December 4 was destined to be a special day even before it began. For us the magic began the night before when the first snow fall of this winter began to fall. We were forecast to get 3 or 4 inches over night and boy did we. We awoke Friday morning to a blanket of soft, white, beautiful snow covering everything.

Typically I have mixed feelings about the snow. I love the serenity and the beauty of freshly fallen snow, but I dread the cold and the exertion of shoveling our walks. But this was different because this was going to be the first snow that Lyla got to play in and that she would remember. And it happened on her birthday, what a neat gift.

I think that Katherine and I were slightly more excited about Lyla's actual birthday than the Birthday Girl was. Granted she had been talking about her birthday non-stop for at least two weeks and had made us sing "Happy Birthday" to every single person that we know, at least once. But I awoke that day more excited than I'd been in awhile.

We started the day with a special breakfast: blueberry pancakes. Special because we seldom make pancakes. They were good. Then we got dressed and all went to Target, whoopie!! Look, just because it was Lyla's birthday doesn't mean we can avoid the day to day tasks of running our lives. We all went together so that was fun.

After Target, we came home and Lyla got ready to go outside. We got her snowsuit on plus her hat and these great winter boots she got from her friend Sadie. Out Lyla and I went and shoveled the path. I had bought a small snow-shovel for Lyla a couple weeks ago and she was more than happy to help me clear off the snow. After shoveling, she and I built our very first snowman. Nothing too special, we used a carrot for the nose and leaves for everything else. Lyla really enjoyed packing the snow down. I think he turned out rather nice and he sort of looks like Grover from Sesame Street.

After playing in the snow we came in and were treated to a nice lunch of grilled cheese sandwiches and soup. It was the perfect meal to warm us up from the cold. After we finished, the kids went down for naps and Katherine and I started to get ready for Lyla's party.

For her party we wrestled for a long time as to what to do. Last year we invited a few friends and their kids over, four families in total. In the subsequent 365 days, 3 of the 4 families had another child and all the other kids aged a year. As a result, having the same families over would have been pure chaos.

So instead, we invited two families for dinner. I made pork street tacos and they turned out pretty good. After dinner we did presents and then cupcakes. After dinner, the chaos slowly ratcheted up until the kids ended up hitting a wall. The following pictures will give you some idea of how chaotic just two additional families can be:

Playing with friends...
More friends, more playing...
Adults trying to converse as the kids play...
More playing...
Pretty soon Will had had enough...

So we opened presents...

And then we played with the presents...

Pretty soon Will and Kevin had had enough...

So it was time for the cake...

Lyla likes cake.
So does Ian...

So does Sadie...

And then it was over.

The next day, we woke up and played with our new toys.
Lyla drying her hair with Mommy..

Later that morning, we went over to Sadie's house for her 2-year-old birthday party. I decided that Will and I should dress a like... I'm glad I did.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Test video interview with my dad

This is a trial video I did with my dad and Lyla seeing if we are able to record a video call and post it on the website. Even though this was only practice, we did not hold back with regard to the seriousness or intensity of our conversation. You've been warned.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Happy Halloween!! 2009 Edition

This year for Halloween the Rings were in Wisconsin for Aunt Julie's wedding. The wedding was on November 1st and the day before was a full day of preparations, spending time with family, and (for the kids and me) adjusting to being in a different environment. Because it was such a full day we didn't have time to take the kids out to go Trick or Treating. But that didn't stop us from getting dressed up and posing for pictures.

This year Lyla dressed up a Winnie the Pooh (dressed up as a 'Hunny' pot). And lil' Will dressed up as Pooh's buddy Piglet. You'll recognize the Piglet costume from last Halloween. Unfortunately this year we didn't get to carve pumpkins or go out in our neighbor's scary grave yard... but we did get over-stimulated and over-tired... so that was fun.

Enjoy the pictures!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Little Willy Is Growin' Up

Little Will is not so little anymore. In the past month he's learned to crawl and has gotten a lot more interactive. He's personality has really developed and, well, the kid is loud. Seems like he is always making noise, hollering or whining or crying if you leave the room or grunting or laughing. He even whistles (which is pretty neat).

The best is definitely the laughing. He does it so much more now and we don't even have to instigate. Sometimes he'll just look over and see Lyla and start cracking up. It's the best.

That's my boy, good ol' Will.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Beautiful beautiful beautiful. Beautiful girl.

Our dear, dear friend Jessica (aka Aunt Jessie, owner of "Aunt Jessie's White Car" as Lyla so fondly and frequently pointed out as we drove in said car while in San Diego) snapped these lovely pictures of Lyla during Jenny and Shane's wedding reception.

Thank you Jessie for taking such beautiful pictures of our daughter.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Will's foray into real food

Though we are strong supporters of breast-milk for babies, we also have decided with our children to start introducing other foods after four months and start incorporating them regularly after six months. So these were taken some time in the past two months (the exact dates are fuzzy but so is everything that has happened recently).

As you can see, solid food is the WORST thing that has ever happened to Will (watch for his reaction at 0:11):

It's been like that with everything we've tried (rice cereal, bananas, carrots). Kind of funny but frustrating because we'd like to start incorporating solids every day. Plus Will's weight is trending down (he's gone from 50th to 40th to - most recently - the 25th percentile of weight. Note: this is not bad, especially given who he gets his genes from, but still we want him to eat).

Other funny pictures of Will with food on his face:

Monday, August 31, 2009

Happy Birthday Emily!!!

Wow! I can't believe my little Emily is FOUR YEARS OLD!!!

She went from this:

To this:

For those of you who don't know (how can you not know?), Emily is our niece. The first born daughter of Katherine's brother Dave and his (awesome) wife Faith. We've been so blessed to have Emily as our niece and to have been able to see her as much as we have since we live so far way from her (boo). Emily for sure holds a special place in our hearts. She and her sister, Ally, are right up there at the same level as our own kids (Lyla and Will... remember?).

One good thing about Emily getting older is that pretty soon she'll be old enough to come up and visit us on her own... not that we don't want David and Faith to visit, we're just looking forward to some niece/cousin time with Emily and Ally.




Saturday, August 29, 2009

Not what I was expecting today.

*Warning, the following is a frank and somewhat graphic discussion of bowel movements. May not be suitable for some readers.*

Quiet Saturday. Katherine took Lyla to Target and Meijer to get the necessities, I stayed home with Will, vacuumed and then had a nice video conference call with 'Pa (aka Katherine's dad, aka Jeff). Katherine and Lyla came home right as Jeff and I were wrapping up so they go to say hi. Lyla really liked seeing 'Pa on the 'puter. Then Katherine fed Will and I went to pring in the groceries.

As I was finishing up I heard Katherine say to Lyla, "You need to poop? Do you want to poop on the toilet?" Lyla said yes, so I took her in there. We've been going through the motions with her as a bit of pre-potty training: If she looks like she's pooping or mentions pooping, we'll ask her if she wants to sit on the toilet and take her in there. Usually, as soon as I set her on, she'll say "All done" and want to get off.

This time was different. This time she sat up there.

We've been talking about potty training for awhile now but have yet to buy any gear for it because we haven't zeroed in on a strategy yet. So Lyla is sitting on the regular seat with me holding her up. She's so tiny that if I were to let go, she'd *kerplunk* right into the toilet.

So she's sitting up there and we're talking about what to do. She notices the toilet paper, so I explain that to her. Then I look and she's making her "pooping" face. It's unmistakable, the strained look she gets as she pushes... well, you know how the mechanics of it work.

So she's pushing, and I'm holding and... poop starts coming out. Right in the toilet. It was awesome... except for the fact that it was poop. Just because it was my little girl, didn't make the actually poop any less, uh, gross.

So she's pooping and I just start crying. I'm yelling out in excitement "great job Lyla!" I'm yelling to Katherine, who is feeding Will in the other room, "She's pooping! She'd doing it!!!" See, part of our strategy is to be as encouraging as possible. We don't want to shame her in any way, so we've been making a big deal about every positive steps she makes toward going potty on the potty. Telling us when she has a dirty diaper is rewarded with congratulatory affirmation. Wanting to sit on the toilet is cheered.

You have to realize, though, that our excitement isn't fake. We have two kids in diapers right now. We change at least 10 diapers a day... maybe more. We're really looking forward to Lyla being potty trained. But again, we're restrained because we don't want to put any undue pressure on her... she's not even two yet.

But this time, I couldn't hold back the emotion. I'm crying, I'm cheering, I'm beaming. It was an onslaught of emotion for me. My little girl growing up. My little girl figuring out how to poop in the potty. My little girl offering Katherine and I some much needed relief of the constant demands of this current situation. I'm pretty sure I heard "Cat's in the Cradle" in the background.

So she poops. She gets down and I wipe for her and we get to wash our hands in the sink. Then I send her out to tell momma what she did (sans pants since I didn't have a new diaper ready). Much rejoicing. Some discussion as to whether or not we should take a picture... we decided against it. Who wants to look at a picture of that, regardless of how significant it is? Hugs. Kisses. High fives. It was a glorious moment in the Ring household.

Chances are that this was a one time thing, that we still have a lot more diapers in the future. But the thing you have to realize is that today offered Katherine and me some hope that one day soon our kids will be potty trained. That our kids are getting older and as much as I don't want my babies to grow up they are able to take care of themselves more and more. We have a long way to go still, but at least we know that it won't always be like this, taking care of two kids under two, twenty four hours a day, seven days a weeks.

And that, my friends, is something to celebrate.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Lyla and Will show

Okay, so Will is clearly Lyla's favorite ("HI WILL HI WILL HI WILL HI WILL HI WILL HI WILL HI WILL HI WILL HI WILL HI WILL HI WILL HI WILL"... we hear it all the time). And Will nearly explodes with squeaks and laughter whenever Lyla looks at him. It's beginning to feel like Katherine and I are just there to take care of the details so they can spend time together.

I'm definitely not complaining, I love how close they are and hope it sustains their relationship into and through high school. I think I'm mostly looking forward to when Will is a little older and able to hold himself upright so when Lyla hugs on him and whatnot.

Here are Bonnie and Clyde goofing off while I'm trying to get a decent picture of them: