Recent Happenings

Here’s another brief update of life since my last post…

In September, Ryder started a gymnastics class at our neighborhood community center.  He was surprisingly timid at the beginning of the first class, but it didn’t take long fo him to warm up to the idea.  After all, who wouldn’t want to be allowed to run and jump and flip all over the place?  It was a 7 week program, and he loved every minute of it.

We also celebrated our big boy’s second birthday.  We were joined by his grandparents Barr and his very best girls, Lainey and Kami (and their parents, of course!).  We had a simple but delicious dinner, ate rainbow cupcakes…

and had fun watching the kids play together.

Ryder even got to Skype w/ his Papa and Gigi so they could see him open the gifts they’d sent.

In October, we took an overnight trip to Chicago to support Ryan while he ran his first marathon.  He trained really hard for almost a year, and lost about 90lbs. in the process.  We were surprised by the sudden heat wave after several refreshing days of cooler weather.  We stayed at the W, which was right on the running route, making it easy for Ryder and I to catch a glimpse of Ryan shortly after the race started.  From there, we grabbed a bite to eat, and cruised around for a while before meeting at the next checkpoint: the halfway mark.  Ryder loved riding in style, and watching Elmo.

Our next job was to switch out Ryan’s empty water bottles for full ones.  I was nervous about missing him in such a huge crowd, but we managed to catch up and make the switch successfully.  With this little guy as motivation, he was able to push through and finish the race.

He finished in 5 hours, 48 minutes… not what he’d hoped for, but quite an accomplishment.  Did I mention that he was running the whole thing on a broken toe?  🙂  Two days before the race, he kicked a box of beer at a grocery store and broke his pinky.  But after all that training, he couldn’t just give up without even trying.  We’re so proud of him!

We also spent lots of time with friends… We played at local parks, a new place called Little Monkey Bizness, and the Children’s Museum.  We also enjoyed some time at Blackberry Farm.  The kids LOVE to ride the train and the old fashioned wooden merry-go-round.

In fact, the train at Blackberry Farm was the inspiration behind this year’s Halloween costume.  Ryder loves trains, and when I spotted a conductor’s cap in the gift shop, I knew that’s what he had to be.  Unfortunately, Ryder spent all of Halloween day like this (poor baby!):

So he didn’t get to wear his costume till the next day, when he looked like this:

He’s the speediest “bike conductor” around… he LOVES to zoom through the house and up and down the street on his Strider (a cool toddler-sized bike with no pedals).

In November, we finally got to fly home for a visit… it had been almost nine months!  This was Ryder’s 15th flight, but the first time he had his own seat.  It was wonderful to have a whole row to ourselves, and not have to hold him on our laps anymore, and he enjoyed having his own space, his own seatbelt, and his own movie to watch (Elmo was the film of choice).  Our first stop was in LA to celebrate and participate in the wedding of Ryan’s youngest sister Michelle.  Ryan was an usher and Ryder was a ringbearer… both boys looked so handsome in their tuxes!

At 34 1/2 weeks pregnant, I served as a bridesmaid.  Since we had to order my dress many months in advance, we decided that “bigger was better”… and we took a gamble, offering to alter it ourselves.  The dress finally arrived about three days before we left Illinois, and fit like this the night before the wedding:

SCARY!!!  But never fear!  My wonderful, talented mother  lugged her sewing machine down south with her, and the next morning, it was transformed into this:

The wedding and reception were absolutely beautiful, and fun was had by all.

The morning after the wedding, we packed up and drove north to Tracy for our annual Thanksgiving extravaganza.  This was Ryder’s longest roadtrip to date, and I wasn’t sure how he’d handle it.  He was quite a trouper… watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, taking a nap, and watching for busses, trucks, and birds.

We had a wonderful week in California, filled with friends and family… and food (gotta fit in all our CA favorites that aren’t available in IL)!  We spent a whole day in Modesto with my family, and Ryder really enjoyed playing with his cousin Tru.

It was also fun to watch he and his other cousin Tirzah play the piano with “Mena” (Grandma Barr).

After a great visit, we flew home again… exhausted!

And the very next morning, we started potty training using the Three Day Potty Training Method which our friends had recommended.  Ryder’s been diaper-free for a week now, and is catching on fairly well.  We’re still not without accidents, but we haven’t touched diapers since the day we took the last one off.  What a big boy!

We woke up this morning to a beautiful winter wonderland, and I’m finally finding myself in the Christmas spirit.  The tree will (finally) go up today, and we’ll continue to prepare for the impending arrival of our newest bundle of joy.  Less than three weeks to go now!  Stay tuned for more…

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