This past month has been such a whirlwind of activity that I am just now getting a chance to catch up this blog. Ryan has really come out of his shell lately, and our friends are getting to see a whole new (hyper) side to him.
My favorite recent change about him is in the way that he shows affection. Ryan was never an cuddly baby, although I tried to give him as much physical affection and love as he would tolerate. For the past year, I literally had to beg or bribe him to give me a hug or kiss. But now, he will suddenly throw his arms around my neck multiple times throughout the day, and say "I need a hug." If I lay down next to him, he loves to press his little lips on mine for a (usually sticky) kiss. Then, he wants kisses all over. "Mommy kiss nose? Kiss eyes? Kiss ear?" Melts my heart.
Big Boy Haircut
We found a place that has changed Ryan's whole attitude about getting his hair cut. He used to cry and scream if I even mentioned the word "haircut", but now he loves it and immediately wants to go and get another haircut as soon as we leave. The secret? A fire truck coin ride, a basket full of toys, and a yellow balloon. The pictures above were taken three days before his birthday, and his hair has grown so fast that it is already time for another haircut. He will be so excited when I tell him where we are going.
I let Ryan pick out a Build-a-Bear as a birthday present. Although he has several of these from when he was a baby, this was the first time that he actually got to choose and "make" one himself. He chose a plain brown bear with Cars pajamas. He was very into lining up the cars in a row at the store. But as soon he saw the bear's house (the box that they give you for free) his eyes grew wide and he decided that he no longer wanted/needed the car. You should have seen how proud he was carrying that box through the mall.
Tot School & MDO
We have been attending a laid-back style of "tot school" with some toddlers that are all within a couple months of Ryan's age. Each week, a mom leads the group in songs, story-telling, and activities based on a theme. We have a rotation that allows us each to have an opportunity to be the "teacher" for a week. I get to visit with the other moms while Ryan plays and learns with his friends.
Ryan has also started going to a Mother's Day Out (MDO) class on Thursday mornings, which gives me a few hours break to run errands and do grad school work. It is basically the only time that he is without me, so we figured that it would be healthy for his social development. He seems to be adjusting extremely well. He loves MDO so much that he doesn't want to leave when I come to pick him up! When I asked him if he enjoyed his first day, he said, "teachers love Ra Ra". This makes me happy because most of the teachers there are my mom's old friends, as she used to work there herself. Ryan and I talk about his Grandma Sue often, and he loves to include her name in the songs that we sing.
We bought a kite at the beginning of the summer, but we never really got the chance to use it. Because of the perfect windy weather the past couple of weeks, we have flown it several times recently. It draws a crowd since the other kids at the park seem to enjoy it too.
Afterwards, we met E, one of my best friends since high school, for lunch at California Pizza Kitchen. I am so thankful to have such a long-time close friend living not too far away. Our other best friends, K moved to California this past summer and J is still in Ohio, and I miss them both so very much. At least we all do a google video chat every month, so we are able to stay in touch that way. J's wedding is coming up in the spring and I can't wait!
For one of our Wednesday playgroups, we took the little ones on a nature walk along a path in the woods. This was a huge hit! Ryan absolutely loved the freedom and excitement of picking up new treasures off the ground.
Hay Ride & Pumpkin Patch
I think that we picked the coldest and rainiest day of the fall so far, but we still enjoyed going on a hay ride with a couple of our mommy/toddler friends and picking out pumpkins from the patch. We also got to enjoy the fall festival, complete with tractor rides, pony rides, playing in a haystack, and digging toy construction trucks in corn.
We did a dinner cruise off of the Potomac river with my Aunt S, and we are all surprised with how much Ryan enjoyed it and did not even get upset or fussy the whole time. It was nice to spend time with Aunt S and to do something fun and different as a family.
Of course, I think that I would do anything as an excuse to dress Ryan up in a little tux.
I expect next month to continue to be extremely busy, as we will be getting ready for another trip to Florida, hoping to move out of this tiny apartment soon, and I am currently taking two grad school classes: one that goes through December and the other through January. We are also very excited for the Halloween festivities coming up next week. Although I always preferred summer, the fall is becoming my favorite time of year!