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Sunday, June 27, 2010

April's Shower.. Brings Camden Gifts

On Sunday, mom and I were invited to one of my best childhood friend's baby shower. Even though Scot had just gotten back home from his business trip, it was something that I had been forward to since I got April's invitation in the mail, and she wanted Ryder to come along too. I told Scot it would give him time to unwind from his busy week and that we would be home by dinner since it was a two hour drive to Sanford, the town I used to live in before we made the move west towards the Charlotte area. In so many ways, I miss Sanford and all of the great people that live there, as well as the beautiful house and golf course community that I lived at growing up. I have so many fond childhood memories there and I am so happy that I have remained close with friends from there. It was a special bond that my friends and I had, and my mom was close to their moms as well, so it was good for both of us to get to see everyone again.Once we arrived at April's house, we all drove over to eat lunch at Cracker Barrel. The town had grown so much since we were there and it really reminded me a lot of the town we live in now with all the shopping areas and restaurants. Ryder was a busy boy playing with the golf tee game, and luckily April's husband didn't mind helping to pick up the tees as Ryder dropped them on the floor. I told him he was getting toddler training from Ryder since baby Camden was going to be here soon! It gave us all a great chance to catchup and spend time talking and laughing, although Ryder made it difficult at times to eat and talk while keeping a close eye on him, but we still managed to have fun before heading to April's shower. Once we arrived, we took a few group pictures and then the Mommy-To-Be took her seat as we all sat down to play a few shower games. I love showers and it was fun to see what everyone guessed. The theme of the shower was Dr Seuss and everyone brought a signed book as part of their gift to baby Camden. I LOVED this idea and thought what a creative way to shower April. She got a lot of really cute stuff including these onesies with cute sayings like "That's It! I'm Going to Grandma's!" and I had gotten Camden's name monogrammed on a burpcloth and blanket which was one of my favorite things from my baby shower for Ryder. Seeing all of the cute, tiny baby items really did bring back nostalgia from when Ryder was a newborn, and made me think that I wouldn't mind having another baby one of these days. I am so happy for April and her husband and I know that they will make the best parents!
Everyone looked on as April opened her gifts, and Ryder was happy to help her open a few of them! While April's mom was holding one of the babies, Ryder grew very fascinated by her and he looked so cute next to such a tiny baby. It really makes you realize how fast they grow up!
After eating, laughing, talking, eating some more, and talking and laughing lots more, it was time to go back home. Ryder had done so good and I knew that it was only moments before he would be ready to crash. We hugged everyone bye and thanked them again for having us and made plans to get together once more before baby Camden arrives. Mom and I headed out the door (which was when we left the camera at the house) and then made our way back to the Charlotte area. I was anxious to see Scot and spend a few hours with him as I knew he was as anxious to see us since we'd been apart all weekend and part of the week. It was a really fun day spent with our friends, and I am so happy and blessed to have such a good friend in my life!

Riding the Heatwave

As the first season of summer began this past week, I knew that it was going to be a long week and not just because of the heat! We have been having record breaking heat waves the past few days and I'm starting to wonder if we ever even had a spring. I knew it was going to be a long week because Scot was going out of town on a business trip for the next few days and returning on Saturday so although I knew I would be spending some quality time with my busy boy, I would also be the sole parent. I have a newfound respect for all the single parents out there!
As Scot left on Thursday for Ohio, I was happy to get the tv all to myself that night, but sad all the same that we wouldn't have much time spent together. I have many friends that love the chance apart from their spouses but that isn't the case with us. We are best friends and we truly enjoy spending as much time with one another as possible. As I picked Ryder up from daycare late Thursday night after work, I knew that he was relieved to see me. He is so used to seeing his daddy pick him up by 3:30 due to his lighter work schedule, but since it was my late night to work, I did feel a bit guilty to pick him up at 5:45. We headed home and sang songs on our ride back to the house, and I did get lots of sweet smiles and "yay's" out of Ryder so that made me feel better about him spending a long day at daycare.

Once home I made his dinner and we settled in to watch his favorite show lately, Nomas (as he refers to Thomas the Train). I was reading his daily report and saw that he would be having a water day Friday and to remember to pack a swimsuit and towel. I figured what a great way to beat the heat by playing in the water! I made sure to have all of his things packed and ready to go for the next day and then we spent the rest of the night snuggling. I knew that he was probably curious as to where Scot was so I told him that Daddy was away for a few days but that he and Mommy would get lots of time together having a fun few days regardless and that while he was gone daddy was missing him lots too. He went to bed that night fairly easily which was what I was so worried about earlier in the day when I started thinking about the single-parenting I would be doing the next week and weekend. The next morning I got Ryder ready for his last day at daycare before the weekend and then got myself ready for work. This was more challenging than I originally thought because Fridays I usually have to be at the office to open so I needed to get ready as fast as I could to be there in time. This normally isn't a hard task at hand but trying to do hair and makeup with a toddler clinging to me like velcro was not proving to be easy that morning. We were out the door finally and I told Ryder how much fun that he was going to have at his water day and managed to get this cute picture of him dressed and ready for fun in the sun to ride the heatwave! The rest of the day went well and I got the chance to talk to Scot and was reassured that he was doing fine and was happy at the opportunity he would have for his company if sales went through. I had started to miss him by Friday night but was glad that I would be seeing him in a day or so, and knew that Ryder would be too.

Saturday morning we woke up and did more snuggling and I was proud of myself for even taking both Ryder and Tucker for a good hike early in the morning around Lake Norman before the temps got too high. We saw lots of fishies and ducks and then we headed back home to change and get our bathingsuits. I had planned a day with my mom and stepdad to go swimming and see Ryder's cousin Maddy who was there visiting too. When we first arrived, Ryder seemed worried about sharing his time with his Nana and PawPaw, but it didn't take long before he started getting used to the idea of having a friend to play with and even gave baby Mady a hug. They were so adorable together and I took so many cute pictures of the two of them that I couldn't post just one! It made for a very proud and happy PawPaw seeing both of his grandbabies together!

After catching up, we decided to head to my parents neighborhood pool. Ryder has been timid the past few times that we have taken him in water, and we thought that by going again for the second time in a week this would help ease his mind. I'm not sure if it was because it was earlier in the day or just being introduced to the whole idea again, but Ryder did really good in their pool! Maddy wasn't so sure herself, but as long as my mom was holding her she was just fine. My stepdad and I took turns holding Ryder and one of his favorite things to do while in the pool was standing all by himself on the stairs and wading in the shallow end as long as someone was nearby in case he got nervous. We had such a good time playing and playing, then when the babies had had enough of the pool we played and played some more at my parents house, even getting a wagon ride from PawPaw. Ryder loves going over there because there are always a variety of toys to play with, and he was especially taken with some of Madelyn's toy plates and cups this time, and I told him we may just have to breakdown and buy him a kitchen regardless of what daddy feels haha. (sorry Scot!)

Before we knew it the morning had turned to afternoon and I wanted to get back home so that Ryder would take his nap in his own crib so I could finish getting some chores done around the house. Again.. amen for having such a helpful husband that I do in Scot! I vacuumed, did laundry, dishes, more laundry, and cleaned bathrooms and before I knew it Ryder was up from his nap, ready for more play time! We did have a great weekend together but we all three (Tucker included) were missing our daddy. I made sure to keep Ryder up so that Scot could see him once he got home that night, and you never saw a happier man and boy than the two of them. It was then that Scot and I realized that we couldn't handle business trips very often, no matter the pay increase. Scot has often played with the idea of finding a new job or looking out there to see what else is available with the economy and sales down, but after being away we realized being home together as a family was much more important. We spent the rest of the night snuggling in bed as a big family, even though it was way past Ryder's bedtime, it didn't matter because we were back together again and were happy to be together.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Fathers Day to the Men in My Life!

If you have noticed that I've been behind on my blogging, it's not an accident. There have been various reasons for my hiatus (that I choose not to address on here) but the most recent wasn't intentional. I actually left my camera at a friend's baby shower last weekend and am having to wait a few more days before I can get it back from her. This being said, I am trying to catch up to speed on all of our recent events the past few weeks, leaving off with the last one that happened on Fathers Day. On Sunday, I gave Scot the choice of how he chose to spend his Fathers Day and he told me he really wanted to sleep in and then have a fun family day together. With that being said, we skipped church (although I was sad we missed the new series on iwork which I think I really could have used the past week) but I did let him sleep in, even after Ryder woke up at a eye-rubbing 5:30 am. We are still thinking it must be teething related but we aren't sure. Whatever the case, I was fine with getting up with him and getting him settled so that Scot could catch up on much needed rest. I started prepping the fruit for a yummy fruit salad, and as requested by Scot, I got the sticky buns out and warmed once he was awake. This was the picture of the happy Father and son sharing a delicious breakfast together.After picking up, I had Scot pose with some of his cute Fathers Day cards and then it was time to open his cards and gifts from Ryder, Tucker, and I. I found a way to make very cute personalized cards on shutterfly and was very happy with the end result. I know our families must be getting tired of all the cards and calenders that we have sent, but I have just fallen in love with the website and adore having the ability to make sure personal gifts. Ryder especially loved handing Scot each card, and one of the favorites was the one from Tucker that said what a good job dad was at housetraining, that he was so excited he could pee (so true with that yorkie of ours!!)At Ryder's 1st birthday party we weren't sure if he would ever grasp the concept of opening gifts but I think he has more than conquered this task and loves every minute of it! We think he's so cute and he gladly comes over to help anyone that has a gift to open.

Next on Scot's Fathers Day agenda was to take his boys for a good walk to get some excercise around the golf course community that he and I got married at. As you will see from past posts, we frequent this neighborhood a lot because we like being reminded of where we got married, and we like the sidewalks and spacious places to walk and see the lake. It's also a good place for Tucker because there are lots of other dogs that he gets to sniff and it's a safe area for Ryder to get down and walk around that we just don't have in our own townhome community. It always makes us ambitious that we can one day live in a community like The Point too, but for now we enjoy getting out and visiting it.

Once we came back from our long walk, we decided it was definitely warm enough to setup the baby pool and umbrella. While we waited for the pool to fill up with water, Ryder and Scot hung out "poolside" in their loungers in the shade, giving "high fives" to one another. I am a sun goddess who loves everything about the sun, so while the guys hung out under the umbrella I was in the pool sunbathing with one of Ryder's float. It was pretty much the closest thing to being in an actual pool and I was happy at the chance to get anything darker than my natural pasty white. It didn't take long at all for the pool water to get warm, and Ryder actually seemed to enjoy it much more than the last time which we are thinking was due to the water not being as warm. The child has never liked the cold, never ever!As the pool water started to warm up, so did the way Ryder felt about the pool in general. He finally kinda got used to the whole idea and was having a ball with his daddy. I got carried away with taking so many pictures by the pool but they were all so cute that I couldn't choose just one. The funniest thing was watching Scot dunk his head underwater and then Ryder would try to imitate him, not realizing that he was even getting his face wet! This was a great way to get him in the water without being so scared. He really loved pouring the water from his bucket onto Scot's head too, and would crack himself up everytime he poured more water over his head.
There were lots of great memories to have and lots of laughs shared too! Blowing bubbles in the water, dunking daddy's head under, playing boats and even giving the water a taste test! Overall it was the perfect Fathers Day for Scot spent with his boy and littlest companion. It seems as though Ryder really is Scot's shadow in everything that he does and that makes my heart smile.

For me, Father's Day has become a much happier holiday dedicated to spending time with my sweet husband instead of memories growing up with my dad not around. I debated whether to call him or not, but after much thought I decided it would be best to focus on the positive and enjoy it with those that I knew would appreciate it. We did attempt a few times during the course of the day to call my father in law, but with no success we still wished him well. Since we had spent the day with our little family, we did want to include my mom and stepdad on our dinner activities too, and to get the chance to spend Fathers day together as well. I am very happy to have a stepdad who loves me like his own daughter and was glad we got to hang out, eat pizza, and watch the race. To all the men in my life who I love, I dedicate this day to YOU!!


Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Special Gift for Ryder

After returning from our fun day at the Dan Nicholas Park on Saturday afternoon, Scot and I had been debating for awhile about whether or not Ryder was ready for a power wheel type toy. Everytime that we came near a truck or tractor, he became mesmerized and cried when we wouldn't let him on. At Target or Wal-mart he would run over to the toys on display and wanted to ride them so we thought that maybe it was time that he had one to play with. Rather than spending the extra money on himself for Fathers Day, Scot decided that he wanted Ryder to have a power wheels, so while we were making a quick grocery run at Wal mart, we decided on the Buzz Light year power wheels. We waited until Ryder was refreshed from his afternoon nap before giving it to him, and he was content just to play in the box as we started to take everything out of it and put it together. Little did he know what we had in store for him!

Cautious at first, Ryder gets a feel for the button and we showed him how to press it with his thumb to make it move. After a few jerky pushes, he finally got the hang of driving his new vehicle, we just have to get the turning of it down. With speeds of only 2 miles per hour, I think it's safe to say that we don't have to worry if he falls off of it onto the carpet.

A quick pep talk with daddy and he's off again!

This one cracks me up every time I see it because I got it right as he buzzed passed me at 2 mph! He looks like a pro already

Mommy lends a hand to steer him back into the living room

I believe that Ryder is somehow related to Evil Kanevil! We kept telling him that he needed to ride the power wheel with his bottom down, but the more we seemed to tell him this, the more adament he was about being a daredevil.

Ryder gives us one more sneaky smile as we tell him to "sit down with your bottom".. and then..
He's off.. such a brave little boy! It was a very good purchase and I think that we will be having lots of power wheel races to come.

Saturday Fun @ Dan Nicholas Park

The weekend had finally come, and since our weekends are sacred to us as a family to spend quality time together, we are always on a mission to find fun activities to do with Ryder. With that being said, we are also on a mission to find these activities and do them as inexpensively as we can right now. I had researched all of North Carolinas parks and kid friendly websites and had also been recommended to give the Dan Nicholas Park a try. I had never heard of it before but after pulling up the website and checking it out, there really looked like there were so many fun things to do here including putt putt, playgrounds, a splash pad and water park area, refreshments, gem mining, carousel, paddle boats on the lake, baseball fields, camp sites, fishing area, and so so much more. I almost thought this was too good to be true, but since it was so highly recommended, I wanted to try it out. I had also looked up the pricing and everything was just a few dollars to ride, and most of the activities were FREE. You can't get much better than FREE! We also looked at the weather and it looked like it was going to be a record breaking hot weekend, but we knew we didn't want to be cooped up inside the house, so we gave it a go!
After arriving at our destination, since neither Scot or I had ever been, we wanted to get our barings of everything the park had to offer. The drive to get here was almost an hour, but it didn't take us long to get to the park and it gave Ryder a good chance to nap on the way so that he would be in a great mood. Right away we saw the baseball fields that Scot said he would love to take Ryder to when he got older, and then we made our way to the putt putt golf. Ryder saw this and immediately wanted to run over and play but he didn't understand that he was too young, so we had to distract him by taking him around the putt putt and over to one of the playgrounds instead. This did the trick, and the boy ran right over to the Firetruck first! I think this face explains just how happy he was!
I knew that since my boy loves him some tractors, trucks, and trains, that he would really love playing on the toy bulldozer. I don't think he even knew what to do at first because it was all new to him, but it didn't take long before he realized he could turn all of the play gears and handles and climb in and out of the bulldozer. He was in deep concentration when I took this picture, and I think he was trying to decide what he should play on next. It was then that we realized we had made a good decision by taking Ryder to the Dan Nicholas Park, regardless of how hot the temps were going to get. It was also then that we realized we may need more sunscreen and water if we were going to be staying awhile, so Scot gladly ran to the car to get the supplies.
While Scot ran to the car to grab a few water bottles and hats, and to re apply sunscreen since the sun was so strong already, Ryder and I stayed behind to play. There was so much to see and do, and Ryder was a kid in a candy store the way he would run from toy to toy, giving the biggest smile that he could. One of his favorites was running up and down the stairs and peeking out of the windows. I think he felt safe but could also still look out to see what was going on outside without having to keep coming in and out of the play area.

Nothing makes this boy smile more than a slide, and going down a slide with his daddy is the best adventure he could ask for. Ryder loves his daddy and his daddy loves him and together they are one fun bunch to be with! Ryder could have spent most of his day at this playground but we wanted to get to the other attractions before it grew even hotter and the crowds got worse. He did put up a fight at first when it was time to leave the slide, but it didn't last long after he realized we were taking him to more fun places, and not going home yet.

After the playground we wanted to see what else the park had to offer so we walked down to the duck pond and lake where there were other families feeding the fish and the ducks. There were also paddle boats and lake toys to rent for just dollars but since it was already turning out to be a steamy morning, we didn't want to push our luck with Ryder turning into a fussy boy. He was content with just looking out at the lake and watching the boats paddle by.
Then we spotted these ducks and he got the biggest thrill out of watching them swim over to us. We had also seen a turtle pond on our walk over to this lake, and he was very timid of the turtles. He was curious and wanted to get a peek at them, but if he got too close or if they made a sudden jump, he grew uneasy with them and I had to keep telling him "it's okay, they're nice." Once he heard me say this a few times, he warmed up to the idea of a real live turtle swimming just inches away from him. This was the same for the ducks at first, but then he realized how cute they were and he wanted to hug them. It was all I could do not to let him jump in with them and go for a swim. I really think he would have if I had let him but I wasn't even going to let him get that close to try!
Ryder and I scoping out more ducks, turtles, and fish
Entering another play area, we had to get a picture of Ryder next to the turtle in honor of his uncle Eric who loves turtles. We also wanted to seize the opportunity for some much needed shade from the sun while Ryder played. As is the case whenever we are near other groups of children, as we opened the gate to the playground all of the other kids were playing on all of the slides and other animals so I thought this would be perfect, no one was using the turtle. I told Scot "come on, lets go get on the turtle to get a picture." Then out of nowhere (although I'm still convinced she heard me say this and wanted to beat us to it) this woman with her 5 grubby kids ran over to the turtle before we could get to it and said "come on kids, lets get a picture with the turtle." I couldn't believe it. Isn't there some kind of playground ettiquette kids and parents should be following or something? I must have made a face when she said this as she shoved her kids in front of us because she realized how rude she had just been and said "sorry". By this point we decided to check out the rest of the park and come back to the turtle later which was just what we did and to our happy surprise we got the play area all to ourselves!

We left the play areas and wanted to see the rest of the park that had all of the animals. Along the trail to get to the farm animals, we got to see many wild animals that we normally wouldn't have the chance to see. Among them were a mountain lion, a gray wolf, a Bobcat, brown fox, which I have to say was one of the cutest animals there and if I didn't know better actually looked like a dog. He even had a dog bowl of food and water just for him! The deer here actually let me come right up to it and Ryder was so behaved each time we approached a new animal. I would hold my finger to my lips and say "shh, don't scare the baby animals" and he watched them very quietly compared to many of the kids there who were just wild and yelling and scared some of the animals off. We always tried to get ahead of some of the larger groups of families so that we could see the animals before getting spooked, although I'm sure they are used to the noisy kids by now.
Next we got to see lots of farm animals that included these chickens and rooster. As you all know the story of our wedding (and if not, I will let you in on the secret of who the real dancer of the family is). Scot's only request for the music and dancing when we got married was to dance along to the chicken dance. It was the funniest thing I had ever seen him do, and he was so proud of his chicken-dancing- wing- flapping skills. Apparantly he has been hard at work practicing with Ryder, as the two flapped their wings when they saw the chickens. Like Father Like Son!
By the mid afternoon, the sun was more than we all could bare, with the temperature rising well into the high nineties, so we decided it was time to take our fair-skin, light-headed babe home where the shade and air conditioning is plentiful. We couldn't leave without getting a picture in front of the carousel though. There was a line to ride, and by this point we were so drenched in sweat that we just wanted to go home, so after all the fun that we had at the park, we decided we would definitely come back, and let Ryder ride the carousel next time! This was definitely a fun adventure to the park and there is still so much that we didn't even see or do so we will definitely make another trip sometime. We left the park and headed home so that we could all rest from our busy day!