Saturday, December 27, 2014

Swanson Family Christmas

We celebrated Christmas with my family this year on Christmas Day.  It has been a few years since we have seen them on Christmas Day and I think they enjoyed watching the kids open their presents Christmas morning and the kids certainly loved having them here for it.

Mom and Dad flew in last Saturday from Phoenix.  They were able to see Drew and Kayley's basketball game Saturday afternoon.  Mom saw one of Drew's games last year, but this was the first time seeing Kayley play.  The kids had fun and both are improving with each practice and game.  Kayley is not quite strong enough to get the ball to the hoop yet, but by the end of the season, I think she'll be able to do it!

Matt arrived on Christmas Eve day.  The kids were excited as always to see their uncle.  The kids were also a little extra excited for Santa to arrive.  They were bouncing off the walls most of the day.

We spent Christmas Day playing with the kids and their new gifts.  Santa brought Kayley a new bike so we spent part of the afternoon helping her learn to ride a bigger bike.  Starting and stopping are the issues.  She needs a little help getting going and then she is fine until it is time to stop.  She slows down and tries to jump off!

The kids have spent a lot of time outside this week because it has been so nice.  High 40s and low 50s, which is really unusual for this time of year.  But, no complaints here!  I just wish it was going to be nice next week when Andy's family arrives so all of the cousins could play outside a lot!  It isn't looking good though.

Here are a few pictures from cookie decorating and gift opening on Christmas morning and some video of our little singer Christmas night.

Wheels on the Bus:

Watching a video of himself singing Feliz Navidad:

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (with a little twist at the end):

Next up:  Thiel Family Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Time for Basketball

We are two games into the basketball season for Drew and Kayley.  They are on the same team this year, which is great for practices and games.  They were both a little unsure about playing on the same team at first.  Drew thought Kayley was a little young to be on his team!  And because this is Kayley's first year, she was a little skeptical about playing with Drew who is in his third year of basketball!  But, so far so good.  Here are a few highlights from the first two games.

Kayley with the assist to Drew:

Drew off of a steal:

Kayley dribbling and dribbling and then a pass to Drew:

Drew with a score:

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Getting Ready for Christmas

I took Friday off to finish my Christmas shopping and I am so happy to report that I am DONE!  Now, to finish wrapping everything...

When Drew and Kayley got home from school on Friday, we picked Ryan up and headed to see Santa at Bass Pro Shops.  Andy met us there and I patiently waited in line while the kids and Andy walked around the store to pass the time.  Drew and Kayley had their lists and were ready to go when it was our turn.  We were unsure how he would do, but Ryan was great this year.  He said, "I want trains, trucks, cars Santa."

As you can see it went a little better than last year, when Ryan was not enjoying his visit with Santa:

Saturday, December 13, 2014

My Baby is Growing Up

Yes, Ryan is 2 1/2.  Yes, that is his pacifier.  Until Sunday.  He only had it at nap time and bed time, but he had it at EVERY nap time and bed time and he LOVED it.  He would run to the stairs for naps and bed time because he got to go get his "paci."  So, you could say he was a little attached.  :-)

For those of you that know me well, know that I was the first to say a pacifier should be taken away at 1 year for naps and 15 months for bed time.  Until I had Ryan.  I honestly am not sure if it is the fact that he is our third one so I just don't care as much or if I am subconsciously trying to keep him a baby by letting him have it.  Maybe a little of both, but it is funny because I was SO opinionated about pacifiers before Ryan!

So, how did we get rid of it?  It was all Ryan...and Andy.  After Ryan's bath on Sunday night, he ran into his room and grabbed his pacifier as he always does right before bed.  I was still putting his laundry away in his room so Andy took him into our room and let him jump on our bed.  The pacifier kept falling out so Ryan handed it to Andy and told him to hold it.  Andy told him he would hold it, but then he was going to throw it away since Ryan didn't need it.  Ryan asked, "throw it away?"  Andy said yes.  Ryan said, "Ryan throw it away!"  Andy handed him the pacifier and Ryan ran into the bathroom and threw it away.  Andy asked Ryan about his other pacifiers (he has three in his crib at any given time) so Ryan ran into his room and grabbed them and threw them away too.

It was great, but we weren't really ready for them to be thrown away.  He is SO good going to bed and he lays in bed awhile after he wakes up because he switches his pacifiers out and it keeps him entertained!  But, we had to go through with it!

He started to realize they were gone when I was reading his book.  He normally has his pacifier for his bedtime story.  He didn't look at the book at all.  He just stared at his crib.  I felt so bad for him!  He had a major look of concern.  You know he was like, "what did I just do?!"  When the book was done, I laid him down and his lip quivered and he was on the verge of tears.  I honestly wanted to give him back his pacifiers right then!  But, I told him I loved him and that it was time for bed.  He quietly whimpered for about 20 minutes.  Then he cried.  I went in and he was frantically searching for his pacifier in his bed.  It broke my heart!  I told him the paci was all gone because he threw it in the garbage.  Then he cried more.  I got him to calm down and he was quiet for about 15 minutes.

Then he cried again.  Screamed actually.  Andy ended up rocking him to sleep that night.  The next night he cried a little bit, but not too bad.  Tuesday night was even better with just a little whimpering.  He didn't cry at all Wednesday night or after.  Today will be his first nap at home with no pacifier (daycare took the pacifier away at nap time at 15 months...they are stronger than us!).  We'll see how it goes, but I think it will be fine.

He thinks he is a really big boy now.  Well, hate to tell him he has another big life change in his future with potty training!  He has virtually zero interest at this point and we aren't going to push it yet.  We prefer the boot camp potty training when they are really ready and it is done in a weekend anyway.  I am pretty sure I won't stall potty training in order to keep him as my baby!

Update - Nap is NOT going well.  :-(

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!!  We had a great time with our family and the holiday weekend went too fast as always.

Mom flew in from Phoenix last Friday.  After I picked her up at the airport, we picked Ryan up from daycare and headed to lunch.  Ryan was very excited to see Grandma (or very excited to get picked up right before nap time)!

Dad came on Wednesday and had to deal with some bad roads in Iowa, but arrived safely.  Matt was supposed to come on Wednesday as well, but stayed in Omaha until Thursday morning because of the roads in Iowa.

Kayley helped us prepare our Thanksgiving dinner.  She likes cooking more than her Mom!

Ryan took a special liking to Grandpa on this visit.  Grandpa changed diapers, put him down for naps, got his pajamas on him, played puzzles with him and watched you tube videos with him.  And Grandpa also gave Ryan lots of M&Ms.  Ryan thinks Grandpa is pretty great!

The kids haven't seen Matt since June so they were especially excited that he was coming.  He always plays hide and seek with them and they spend a lot of time on the Xbox with Matt.

Here are a few videos from the Xbox marathon.  Drew beat Andy and Matt in the sprint.  The other video is Kayley in the long jump.

Here are a few more random pictures from the weekend:

Eating breakfast and Ryan's lovely smile

All Ryan wants to do is play trains with Drew and Kayley

Grandma bought Kayley a new play doh toy

Ryan's smile

Ryan's smile after I told him to open his eyes

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Birthday Party Fun

I went to Nashville for a girls weekend last weekend.  We had a great time and I confirmed I still love Nashville!  While last weekend was a little time for me, this weekend was all about the kids!

Andy had to work Saturday morning so I took all three kids with me.  We had Kayley's haircut Saturday morning followed by swim lessons for Drew and Kayley.  Ryan was pretty good while we sat by the long as he had books to read and snacks in his hand.

After swim lessons, we headed to Monkey Joe's for a birthday party for one of Kayley's friends.  To say Ryan likes that place would be an understatement.  Because Kayley was playing with her friends, Drew was "stuck" with helping Ryan on most of the bouncers.  He was pretty good about helping and didn't seem to mind too much, but he did ask if he would get extra chore money this week because he spent so much time helping Ryan.  Nice try.

After that birthday party, we came home for a little bit and then Kayley and I headed to Iowa for Amelia's birthday party.  The drive was fine until about 30 minutes outside of Davenport.  It was snowing and the roads were really bad.  There were no snow plows out and the interstate was like a skating rink.  I was white knuckling it behind the wheel and it wasn't helped by the fact that Kayley kept asking how much longer until we get there!  But, we made it!

Amelia had a swim party at the Y.  Kayley didn't know any of the other girls and hasn't seen Amelia in 6 months so she was a little shy at first but warmed up pretty quickly.  She had a blast swimming and was SO proud that she passed the swim test and got to go down the big slide!

Unfortunately, I didn't get any more pictures than this and I intended to get a picture of all of the girls and one of Amelia and Kayley.  Not long after these pictures were taken, a little girl puked in the pool.  Twice in the pool and then once more on the pool deck for good measure.  Ugh.  Poor girl!  Then another girl felt sick and had to go home so it was a rough night for the birthday party!  I am hoping the one that threw up just swallowed too much water and we aren't all in for a round of the stomach flu!  At least Amelia had a memorable 7th birthday party!

Sunday, November 2, 2014


Halloween was the coldest day we have had yet this fall.  Made worse by the strong winds.  I guess it is just a sign of what is to come later this fall and winter.  Yuck!!  Halloweens like this make me miss trick-or-treating in Phoenix!

Andy and I started out the afternoon at Drew and Kayley's school parade.  While I had my camera ready to go, their school is huge and I wasn't able to get a good picture of them in their costumes.  After their parade, we both worked from home for a couple of hours and then headed to the daycare for Ryan's party.  Superman was ready and waiting for us!

Superman Ryan

Where is my coat, Mom?!

Singing Halloween songs!

Once Ryan's party was over, we drove back to the elementary school and picked up Drew and Kayley.  When they got home, I got one quick picture before we put all the extra clothes on for trick-or-treating.

Larry Fitzgerald, Superman and Cinderella

We went over to our friends' house for trick-or-treating.  I didn't take any pictures because I had gloves one and refused to take them off.  And I might have been busy drinking my spiked hot apple cider (to try to stay warm).  :-)  But, Andy got a one.

Ryan loved it.  He wasn't shy at all.  He wanted us to hold his bucket most of the time, but had no problem saying "trick-or-treat" and always said "thank you" (well, after a prompt from me).

Despite the cold, we had a great time with Missy, Eric and their kids!  Of course, it helped that Missy and I brought Ryan and Jillian back early.  Since they are little and all.  Not because we were cold.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Fun City

Swimming, laser tag, go-karts, arcade, bowling, ballocity (foam ball play area), and a sky trail.  Fun weekend!  The kids had Thursday and Friday off for school conferences so we decided to go to Fun City in Iowa for the long weekend.  

Kayley's favorite part was swimming.  The water was freezing, but she never wanted to get out.  Drew's favorite part was laser tag.  He kept getting the defective vest so we weren't able to shoot him.  He thought he was just that good!  Ryan's favorite part was ballocity.  It has a really long slide that is super fast.  We watched a little toddler flip over as he went down so we didn't let Ryan go by himself.  And that meant I got to play in ballocity too!

The go-karts were a big hit with everyone.  I took Ryan in one of the big go-karts.  He wasn't a fan at first, but loved it once we started going.  Drew and Kayley got to drive small go-karts and loved every minute of it.  They don't go that fast, but the fact that they were able to drive was enough for them because they kept going and going and going.  At $5 per kid per time...

A few pictures and videos from our weekend:

Lazy river

Lazy river

Andy cracks himself up...





Sunday, October 19, 2014

Circus and Football

A colleague of mine gave me his three tickets to the Barnum and Bailey Circus on Friday night.  That left me and Andy fighting over who got to go with Drew and Kayley.  I think the deciding factor was when I threw out that whoever didn't go to the circus with the kids would go get groceries with Ryan.  Only one of us took pictures of our evening.  :-)

Ryan enjoying a powdered sugar donut
while grocery shopping with Mom
The kids enjoyed the circus.  Of course, they wanted to buy the $25 toys.  Andy talked them into stopping at Target on their way home instead.  He got out of Target with only spending $12.  Everyone was happy!

Yesterday was Drew's last flag football game.  Makes me sad!!  I really enjoy watching his games and watching Andy coach him.  He moves on to tackle next year and I am not sure I am ready for that.  Is it just me or is 8 pretty young for tackle football?  Anyway, the team had a great last game against one of the best teams.  Drew had a touchdown and ended the game with an interception.  His first ever.  He was pretty excited.  After the game he told me that his first year he tipped a pass, last year he knocked one down and he finally got the interception this year.

The parents all thanked Andy for being such a good role model and coach.  He is so good with them.  He has the perfect temperament and a lot of patience for those kids!  I hope he helps coach tackle next year.

Drew receiving his trophy from his Dad

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Top Frog

Kayley was Top Frog (aka Student of the Week) last week.  She had SO much fun all week.  She brought in a variety of items to help show her class a few things about her - baby pictures, pictures of her family, her t-ball trophy, a can of black olives (her favorite food, of course), a Frozen book, and her favorite stuffed animal.  She wants to be a doctor and a mom when she grows up!  I even learned something new - her favorite song is "Happy" by Pharrell Williams.  I didn't even know she knew that song!

On Wednesday, I sent a letter to her class to tell them a little more about her.  I had to tell them about the time she cut her own hair.  And included a picture of that happy time:

I also told them how much she loved to dance when she was 4 and sent them this video from Memorial Day weekend 2013 in Omaha:

I told them what a great big sister she is to Ryan and how she plays trains with him, gets him snacks, reads to him, helps him with a bath, and entertains him at all of Drew's sporting events.  I sent this picture of the first time she held him:

Friday was Donuts with Dad at school.  The kids did an "all about Dad" page and this was Drew's:

Haha!!  I realize Andy is a co-owner of a bar and has to spend time on Saturday and Sunday mornings up there doing things, but our kids' teachers don't know that and are going to think Andy has a problem!

On Friday, the class Frog (Chocolate Chip - CC for short) came home with Kayley and spent the weekend with us.  We had to take pictures of CC's weekend.  Grandma was still in town and Grandpa Butch came on Friday night so we first took CC out for dinner.

It was chilly so Kayley
gave CC her hoodie.

Ryan loved CC!

CC got a special treat - soda!
We went to Drew's football games on Saturday.  Kayley, Ryan and CC had a great time watching the games.

Drew's team had a great day.  He caught a long pass (at this age, any completion equals a long pass!), had a couple of touchdowns and pulled a lot of flags so Grandma and Grandpa came on a good day.  The team received their medals after the game.  We still have one weekend left.  Flag football season is so short - it seems like we just started!

Drew with his medal

Team picture
We took Andy's dad out for brunch on Sunday.  CC came too and enjoyed chocolate chip pancakes with Kayley.

Last CC picture - waiting for pancakes!

Always naughty Ryan!