Latest Head Lines

No, we did not sleep on corduroy pillows...we mean our most recent lines of thought.  Here we will record daily, weekly, or monthly happenings to those who are interested in keeping up with our lives on a more frequent basis than the semi-annual newsletter.

January Fun

posted Mar 19, 2012, 7:20 PM by Alison Roedel

This New Year started out fun.  We babysat a couple of kids overnight New Year's Eve, then joined Grandma and Grandpa on New Year's Day at the resort in Tyler.  Later in the month, we went to a local firehouse with the church's play group.  Winter didn't seem to last long around here, but we did have a few cold days.  Ryland has had a lot of fun with all the new toys he got for Christmas and his birthday, and watching his development in play is just amazing sometimes.  He has become more opinionated with his food choices day by day as made clear by some of the faces he makes when we try to put food he doesn't want into his mouth.  He still eats well, he's just not always in the mood for what is served that day.  

Here is a video of Ryland enjoying his Legos from his birthday.  We've set up the grocery store.  Ryland walks the shopper into the store, puts a cake into the shopping cart, takes it to the cashier to scan at the register, then proceeds to walk the shopper with her cake out of the store and to her waiting car.

Ryland's academic learning has soared.  He has advanced beyond letters and sounds, and is now beginning to read words.  We love to have friends over for what we call "Preschool Learning Playdays,"  where we set out the tools we've used over a couple of weeks for others to explore and learn with.  In January, our theme was winter, with snow and polar animals.  We learned about the color white and the letter Ww.  We ate waffles, matched words on polar bears to pictures on snowflakes, made snowflakes with small white shapes, matched the letter w to pictures of w words, counted buttons on snowmen, made snowflake snacks, counted white things from the winter sensory tub, made a walrus craft, painted white snowflakes on a winter window scene, and more.

We ended the month with the letter Ii, talking about ice and igloos.  Our activities included counting scoops of ice cream, melting ice cubes with letter beads frozen inside, making a craft with penguins on ice flows, ate homemade ice cream (everyone's favorite!), made pictures with 10 Black Dots (a book title), and more.

I'll leave you with a video of Ryland singing "Old MacDonald" while playing with his farm set:

Happy 2nd Birthday!

posted Mar 15, 2012, 2:40 PM by Alison Roedel

Ryland's 2nd birthday was so much fun!  We had an alphabet letter/Word World (television show) themed party since that seems to be Ryland's favorite thing.  Mommy made Ryland a shirt and hat with the words "shirt" and "hat" sewn on (like Word World things).  Grandma came and helped Mommy make the cake, using the Word World cartoon cake as our model.  It turned out great!  The guests all got a small paper mache box to paint with letters spelling their names inside.  We served cheeriOs, Skittles, and M&Ms, as well as bread, meat, and cheese cut into alphabet letters.  I think fun was had by all!

24 months

posted Feb 15, 2012, 11:03 AM by Alison Roedel

I will tell all about Ryland's 2nd birthday in another post, but for now here are the stats from his 24 month checkup:
Height: 33.25 inches (20.47%)
Weight:  22 pounds (1.13%)

The pediatrician was impressed with Ryland's understanding of letters and sounds, and his demonstration of fine motor control.  In addition to the things the doctor observed, by Ryland's 2nd birthday, he was reading and spelling several words, including his name, some color words and farm animals, and his favorite word being "cake."  He also started "acting two" in the last couple of weeks before his birthday, insisting on doing more on his own (like climbing into and out of his highchair).

In addition to Christmas, December was a fun month.  We took a lot of pictures of Ryland playing with various nativity scenes (at one point, he was walking the wise men toward the manger when he stopped and twisted them around before laying them down...playing "Ring-around-the-rosie").  We enjoyed some outdoor Christmas activities: the MOPS Christmas party (where Ryland rode a tractor-pulled train) and Christmas at the Courthouse (where Ryland met the "Tootsie Roll Lady" and enjoyed all the Christmas lights).  He helped us decorate the Christmas tree, enjoyed making and eating his first gingerbread (graham cracker) house, and learning to do simple chores (sorting the silverware into the drawer when it comes out of the dishwasher).  We also dressed Ryland in a firefighter costume and had a little photo shoot outside with his ride-on firetruck (just for fun).


posted Jan 25, 2012, 5:22 PM by Alison Roedel

We had a great Christmas this year.  On Christmas Eve, we spent the day letting Ryland open a gift and take the time to play with it before opening another one.  He seemed to really enjoy taking time to "get to know" all his new toys and books like that.  In the evening, Mark attended the Christmas Eve service at church while Alison and Ryland were involved in the childcare during the program.  Christmas morning, Ryland got to empty his stocking before we all got ready for Sunday morning church.  He got a good afternoon nap, then we met with another family at a local nursing home to deliver homemade cards, ornaments, and cookies to the residents there.  Ryland was cooperative with handing things to people when we asked him to, but he spent most of the time in Daddy's arms and was very quiet the entire time.  On Monday morning, we headed to Grandma's and Grandpa's house to spend a few days with family (and open more gifts!).  We took a lot of pictures as always, so enjoy!

23 months

posted Jan 13, 2012, 7:45 PM by Alison Roedel

I realize I am far behind in updating, so I'll do my best to catch up.  At the beginning of December, Ryland turned 23 months old.

At 23 months, Ryland is starting to speak in sentences, but still uses 2-3 word phrases most of the time.  We think his first sentence was "I see bubbles." (He was watching the washing machine start to fill with water and soap).  He can almost always identify the first letter of a spoken word or picture, and loves to play with anything that has ABC's on it.   We love to listen to his sweet little voice singing a familiar song or "reading" a book:

In the following pictures from November, Ryland matches letter tiles to words in a book, helps Mommy stir brownies (and licks the spoon), plays the piano with Daddy, lines up rubber duckies on the tub, swings with cousins at Grandma & Grandpa's house on Thanksgiving, and more.

22 months

posted Nov 9, 2011, 7:18 PM by Alison Roedel

This week, Ryland turned 22 months old.  Only two months away from 2 years did that happen?


This month, Ryland's vocabulary has grown and many of his cute "toddler" words are becoming more refined, so we thought we should do our best to record what his words sound like to us before we forget.  Some of the more common things include: "eebees" (means ABCs, as in he wants to watch his ABC video, play his ABC game, read his ABC book, or use his magnetic ABC letters); "yapes" (means shapes, same as ABCs...); "ominus" (means hippopotamus); "Duck! Duck!" (which could, indeed, mean duck, or maybe truck, but usually it means in, he's "stuck" on the floor and can't get in his chair, or he's "stuck" in his chair and wants on the floor, or the puzzle he wants is "stuck" on the bottom of the stack, or the toy box is "stuck" on the shelf, or the door is "stuck" closed and he wants to go outside, etc. etc...we hear this a LOT).  When Ryland has more than one word to say, he tends to blend all the words together to sound like one word anyway, like "Nomyeebees, ying-i-me" (Now I know my ABC's, next time won't you sing with me).  He sings his ABC's so fast, it's hard to tell whether he's really saying every letter or not.  When we ask Ryland to do things, he's started responding with "O-tay" (unless it's something he doesn't want to do, then he says "no" and has to be "encouraged" to choose a better response).

Beyond his speech and language development, Ryland is also improving his academic skills.  Often, he will see a word (in a book or on a label, where a picture is present to identify the meaning for him) and he'll spell the word then read it (like he's competing in a spelling bee).  He counts things all the time, and his one-to-one correspondence is always getting better (he says one number for each object he counts) so that he's often able to count up to 12 items successfully.

For Farm Fair this year, we dressed as Ryland's favorite nursery rhyme, Hey Diddle Diddle.  Ryland practiced "jumping" over the moon for several days, and he still pulls the foam moon out and asks me to watch him "jump" over it.

Here are some other pictures from October:

A cute video of Ryland swinging with a fun laugh to make you smile:

Corn Maize and Pumpkin Party

posted Nov 8, 2011, 3:22 PM by Alison Roedel

The onset of autumn around here includes field trips and fall parties.  We went with our MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group to a local corn maize.  Everyone got to climb on a "spider web" and jump on a giant inflatable "popcorn" pillow.  We raced ducks by pumping water and rode a tractor-pulled wagon all around the farm.  The kids took a barrel train ride, fed goats, and played in a corn-filled sand box.  We all got lost together in the corn maize.  Ryland stuck close to his best friend, Karys, for most of the day.  We took lots of pictures with all the pumpkins and the hay bales and the scarecrow and the wagon.

One of Ryland's friends invited us to a pumpkin party.  We took a pumpkin to decorate, and Ryland had fun sticking on fall stickers and painting his pumpkin.  He played a candy corn relay game and had fun in the ball pit with the babies.  He really enjoyed the yummy snacks!

P is for pumpkin

posted Nov 8, 2011, 2:17 PM by Alison Roedel   [ updated Nov 8, 2011, 3:03 PM ]

We took a couple of weeks learning about the letter Pp and the color orange.  Ryland put pompoms on the letter Pp, colored the word "orange," counted "5 Little Pumpkins sitting on a gate," found Pp words with invisible ink, scooped and poured orange beans, painted with orange paint, fed his toy penguin, played pumpkin putt-putt, and more.  Our scripture memory verse for the letter Pp was 1 Thessalonians 5:14 "Be patient with everyone."  He had peaches and pear snacks, wore Pooh pajamas and penguin slippers, and went to a pumpkin party at a friend's house.

In this video, Ryland digs in the box of orange beans finding letters to spell the word orange:

Little Bookworm

posted Nov 5, 2011, 10:30 AM by Alison Roedel

Ryland loves to read books, and I finally caught him on the video camera.  He got about halfway through the ABCs before I got to him, but he still read the rest of the book:

Aa is for apple

posted Oct 25, 2011, 3:51 PM by Alison Roedel

I've started making the activities I do with Ryland fit around a theme.  A couple of weeks ago, we focused on apples, exploring the letter Aa and the color red.  I took a lot of pictures, and several videos.  Some activities were: coloring the word "red," matching Aa pictures to silhouettes or colored pictures to black and white, playing animal matching games, walking with an apple balanced on a spoon, playing with red play-dough, driving cars on an Aa-shaped track, playing the alligator xylophone, and more.  The scripture memory verse we worked on was "Keep me as the apple of your eye..."  Psalm 17:8.  One of Ryland's favorite activities that got the most use was a sensory tub filled with all sorts of red things from around the house.  With this box, Ryland played hide-and-seek, counting, scooping and pouring colored beans, stacking, sorting into muffin tins, spelling "red," and so much more.

Playing with his red sensory tub, finding the strawberry:

The same game, but this time he forgot that's where the strawberry was and is a little surprised to see it:

Still in the sensory tub, now Ryland is trying to count the pompoms as he puts them in the hole:

Ryland loves playing this animal cracker matching game:

And finally, Ryland demonstrates his understanding of loud and soft on his alligator xylophone:

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