Friday, July 02, 2010

A Trip Back to March, and then Back to June!

AJ's Birthday!

A while back, didn't I promise you some pictures off of the camera of AJ's 4th birthday? I blamed it on Richard not getting around to uploading them, but in fact, they've been on the site for quite some time! My bad.

Impressive cake, huh? I can say that because I didn't make it. After making Dexter's robot cake in January, March was too soon for me to undergo a big adventure like that again. So, I was all to happy to pass the buck onto someone who delights in making cakes and has the patience (unlike me) to make it look PERFECT!!!

Thanks Kim (Erica's friend) for a fantastic cake for AJ's Rescue Heroes Birthday Party! He loved it and everyone thought it looked amazing!

By the way, that ladder was painstakingly made of white chocolate.

Here are AJ and Jack having some fun at the birthday playing with dinosaurs.

We are so sad that JJs Playzone has moved to Maple Ridge. What a great place to hang out!

Those little signs are for the different foods. AJ and I made up names for the foods at the party using the Rescue Heroes names....
Wendy Water's Water
Matt Medic's Munchie Mix
Jack Hammer's Ham
Jake Justice's Juice
etc, you get the picture.

Because I like making signs for things.

The Day AJ Learned to Ride Without Training Wheels!!!!

First, AJ was talking to a bee. "Oh, you're a cute little cuddly bee, aren't you?"

"Show me! Show me!" says Dexter.

"Look mama. Put on! Me do it!"

Okay, now for the learning to ride. This requires some background info:

AJ got his two wheeler with training wheels for Christmas of 08 when he was just a little over 2.5 years old. We don't have a flat driveway to ride on and our neighborhood is all hilly, so most of his rides have been at Eagle Mountain, Mill Lake, or at the figure 8 path behind our house. Needless to say, he's been riding for a while and loves to 'go so fast'. I figured he was more than ready to try taking off the training wheels. I've taken them off twice (for about 10 minutes each time), but he was not crazy about the wobbling and kept freaking out, all while I was holding the bike.

For quite some time (since my birthclub buddy, Efka mentioned them to me), I've really liked the idea of balance bikes or run bikes. Basically, they're a regular bike without pedals. Kids learn how to balance from an early age of about 18 months! I think they're very common in Europe. AJ's been seeing kids riding them around lately and when I explained to him what they were, he had been asking for one. I've actually never seen him want something so much before.

This kind is called a Skuut.

There are also Strider Bikes. Also called pre-bikes.

No way was I going to spend over $100 on a bike without pedals, when he already has a great bike. However, I'm crafty. I've been watching for cheap bikes on Craigslist for $5 or so dollars. I found one for $5. I took it in the back yard and took off the pedals and the chain guard, but Richard had to finished the job of cutting the chain off and taking the pedal shaft thingy out because we didn't have the tools for those jobs at the house.

Voila! Balance bike.

So, I took AJ out to the back figure eight path to try it out. It took all of about 45 seconds for him to be absolutely in love with it, lifting his feet up, and cruising and weaving in circles! It was amazing. It was so exciting! He did that for about 20 minutes. The next day, I took him at Eagle Mountain to try it again for about another 20 minutes. He was just bombing around. Elated to say the least. I showed him where he could put his feet and he was in heaven!

The next day, I brought up all three bikes to Eagle Mountain and a wrench. I had him ride Dexter's for a minute or two, then the balance bike for a while, and then showed him that I had taken off his training wheels.

He decided to inspect.

I said, "Hop on and just do what you've been doing on the balance bike. Watch you don't hurt your legs on the pedals. When you feel ready, put your feet on the pedals and start pedaling. If you need to stop, just do what you always do and then put your feet on the ground so you don't fall. I'm not going to hold the bike. You can just do it yourself, I think."

And he did! He did a few bouts of 3 or so pedals in a row. I, of course, encouraged with the promise of ice cream if he could do 5 pedals in a row. He did that too! He was turning corners and everything. He took a break for a while and had fun with the balance bike some more. But, after telling some teenage girls in the basketball court about his balance bike that he loves so much, he decided they'd probably like to watch him ride without training wheels, so he came back for his blue bike again and proceeded to ride all over the place.

He was VERY happy!

Canada Day!

Instead of the parade this year and Rotary Park for the annual festivities (a tradition that I broke last year when Richard was in the hospital), we went to Heritage Park in Mission. I think we'll be doing this again. It was much for fun for the kids.

Bouncy Castle.



Big slide.

Dexter changed his mind.

A VERY long line for the pony rides.

Still in line.

Still in line. This is my sister Kim and her beau, Jared.

Still in line.

Finally a one lap, pony ride! AJ does not look happy here, but he did enjoy it.

YAY! Pony!

Some Scootin'

Speedy AJ.

Daycare, No More.

Next year, Erica and I will not be exchanging kids each week. Here are the 4 kids having their last scheduled 'movie lunch'.

Last Day of Preschool

(I didn't dress them the same today because Dexter would be there for the last day of AJ's preschool for the year and I didn't want AJ to feel lame).

My Little Buddy

I used to call my brother Little Buddy and Pollywog. Now, Dexter, who is often the spitting image of my little brother, is 'my little buddy'. He has started making many facial expressions that my brother used to and does still make. It's neat.

This is not one of those facial expressions, but it's cute.

A PlayDay

No, don't get excited, Dexter didn't write those letters. This is one of AJ's old colouring books that Dexter is doodling in.

"Show me! Show me!"

AJ's been dying to have a friend over to play Transformers, so we had Josiah over to play.

They packed all the Transformers to take them down to the playroom, but they didn't play Transformers at all that day.

They pretended to be piloting an airplane.

And they re-enacted scenes from the movie Cars.

The Last Traditional Tuesday

The Tuesday before preschool ended was the last regular Tuesday of the school year for me. Normally, I have Erica's kids and Jen comes over with hers. After we pick up the big kids from preschool, all 7 kids have some fun in the backyard, and usually enjoy lunch together too. Makenna is missing from this picture, bummer.

Here are the little kids fishing in the pool. R-L Emerson, Dexter, Jaxon.

After the kids had so much fun with AJ and Dexter's bug catchers the week before, Jen and I thought it best to pick up bug catchers for all the kids so there would be no fighting the next week. Here are Jack and AJ on their search.

In the afternoon, after the little kids' naps, it was nice and sunny, so we could enjoy the pool! Luckily, I had just bought AJ 2 new pairs of size 4 swim trunks on Father's Day, so I had a pair for Jack. And for Rya, I used one of the boys' rash guard shirts and Dexter's blue swim diaper! Perfect! You'd never know.

This rope is Dexter's favourite thing to play with in the backyard. He thinks it's a lasso or something. Needless to say, it's been confiscated many times due to uncontrollable lasso-ing. I'm pretty sure I finally just chucked the rope out last week. Dexter, this picture is all you'll have to remember your favourite toy. Sorry Buddy.

A Sunny Day

I think this was the first day the boys got to use the pool. They love it, even when it isn't so sunny.

Impromptu Water Park Visit

A few weeks ago, while visiting Mill Lake, the boys wanted to play at the water park. I didn't have swim trunks, towels, or their sunblock for a prolonged time in the sun. All they had was the Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (thank you Jodi) that I had slathered all over them with a natural SPF of 4. Luckily, we did have hats. Dexter only received a very light bit of red on the side of his neck and his right forearm from sitting down to eat lunch. Not too bad for 1 or 2 hours.

My mom met us at the park too. She brought the boys popsicles from the ice cream man.
(something my sister and I whined about at our Canada Day visit - "When we were young, mom would never get us ice cream man ice cream". She'd say something reminiscent of what Richard would say.... "For the price of that popsicle, I could buy a Costco case of 50 freezies!" This conversation ended with my sister and I both agreeing that once we reached the age where we were spending our own hard earned money, we no longer wanted to purchase from the ice cream man either.)

The Zoo Again

I was going to give you a little update on how the boys are doing:

-Still loving reading and he gets better and better all the time. He loves to take his books to bed at night once I've turned out the lights and I can hear him reading in there for a long time. Obviously, as posted, he's learned to ride his bike without training wheels. He's definitely getting older. There's something more mature about lately. His reasoning for things, and his feelings about situations.
-I took him to his speech appointment. His last appointment that he had, she had said that she didn't feel she needed to see him anymore because he was way ahead of where he needed to be and the only remaining issues were slight 'hyponasality' (which requires me taking him to the ENT), and his lisp which 'they don't usually work on at this age'. At this appointment, there was one thing I wanted to bring up and that's 'what do I do next'? I'm a teacher. I know what happens at school. The kids who need speech therapy only get to see the speech therapist once a month if they're lucky and that's if the speech therapist isn't sick that day. I said that I don't want AJ to be 12 with a lisp that could've been fixed when he was 4. (The age to work on lisps is a controversy in the speech community). Anyhow, she did some exercises with him to see how capable he was of doing the 'good S sound'. She was very pleased and let me take home a folder of games to play with AJ to work on his 'good S'. And, she'll see him again in the fall, perhaps for actual speech therapy, rather than just monitoring.
-AJ loves to make his bed. He does a great job. He hates when there are 'bumps'. He smooths it all out.
-He's been a great big brother around the house lately. Yes, they have their fair share of brother fights and wrestling, but he's been enjoying teaching Dexter things as of late. He knows it's 'up to me to show Dexter the right thing to do'. Today, when I took the boys to school to finish organizing in my new classroom, the boys were angels and AJ was really mentoring Dexter. They had a great time playing with boxes and patterning tiles. They drew pictures together and played their DS and Leapster together.
-When I took AJ to Mill Lake with me one night last week so that I could jog while he rode his bike beside me, I had to keep reminding him to keep his head up and look where he's going. He finally stops, exasperated with me, and says, "Mom, I have to look down at my legs to see if I'm going as fast as the Road Runner".
-AJ's favourite toys right now would be Disney Cars and Transformers. AJ's favourite 'quiet room time' activity when Dexy's down for nap, is to drink tea and play Transformers.
-We went to Erica and Kevin's for a games night on the weekend and we came over once her kids were already in bed. The plan was to put Dexter to bed up in Erica's room right away, but with a movie to watch and the Leapster to colour with. We were going to let AJ stay up late playing the DS until he conked out on the couch. Dexter was a star and fell asleep nicely. AJ didn't play the DS until way later. He was so great that I kept forgetting he was there and forgot to put him to sleep when I was going to, and instead, he finally conked out playing the DS around 11:30pm!!! It was a fun night.

-Dexter's been great. His speech appointment should be coming up soon. The lady who saw AJ, did ask me how Dex was doing. The most important thing is that he's getting better and not worse, and he is getting better. She thinks his comprehension is amazing. She loves that he can do multi-stepped commands and that he will answer 'why' questions now. In fact, Dexter has started to whine the word 'why' to me now if I have to tell him no to something. His pronunciation is not way better than before, but increasingly more and more of his sentences are understandable. More words are becoming more clear. He's spending less time screaming about things and more time trying to explain himself. He's being more and more patient when I don't understand him as well.
-When we were bike riding at Mill Lake, Dexter was quite funny. When he felt that AJ was getting too far ahead of us, he would yell to AJ, "No DayJay! You come here! 1........... 3!!!" That was his 'counting'. It was cute.
-He's still full of love and hugs and kisses. He loves to ask me to sit with him or lay with him.
-His favourite toys right now are not toys, but toilet paper rolls, rope, boxes, and other things that he can make believe with.

Both boys are growing lots. AJ's legs just keep getting longer. Feet are growing out of shoes and t-shirts are starting to get short! I won't be surprised if AJ's in 5T jeans in the fall. YIKES!!!

Thanks for reading!

Richard's still trying to figure out how to get the video from my phone onto here, so hopefully I'll post AJ's bike riding in a couple days.

If you'd like to see the whole slew of pictures, just visit richard and sonja dot com.


Statemas said...

The cake rocked!

And, way to go AJ. So cool to see him riding with out training wheels.

Anonymous said...

DS is the good stuff.
Glad they like Nintendo!
I remember always playing Castlevania on yours and I still love the Castlevania :P