May is always the month when I have family over for a BBQ. Two years ago, it was to celebrate my graduation with my masters, Zane's graduation from elementary school and Raegan's baptism. Last year, it was for Memorial Day, and then again this year for the holiday. I like having people over this time of year because we can all just go outside. I love our house, but our living room just isn't built for entertaining (kind of narrow and long - not a lot of room for furniture.) The weather yesterday was perfect - I couldn't have asked for a better afternoon/evening. It was about 80, and our tree in the backyard gave us a perfect shade cover. No wind, which is unusual for Kansas.
Ryan loved the trampoline and refused to get off!
Raegan was so happy to be jumping on the trampoline with the "big kids" :)
It doesn't seem like it was that long ago that this tiny baby needed me for every single thing. It's a mixed bag, being a mom. While I don't miss the nights of nursing every two hours, and the very early new days of Raegan only falling asleep when she was in contact with my body, I do miss that tiny baby.
And my daughter is most definitely NOT! A! BABY! anymore. The mantra of this spring has been, "I do it like a big girl." It's like as soon as we introduced her to the concept of a "big girl bed" Raegan realized that there was a whole wide world of ways to be a big girl out there. Our daycare provider said that Raegan really doesn't want to sit in the booster at the lunch table anymore (although Angela does insist on it so Raegan can reach her plate). And at home being a big girl is definitely a big deal. She doesn't ever want a sippy cup anymore (which I still give her if she wants a drink out in the living room). We've done away with the seat for the bath tub. She tries to refuse her potty seat on the toilet, although in the interest of keeping our bathroom somewhat clean, we still insist on that one. She begs to "walk like a big girl" (which means not holding my hand) in the store, and ZOMG! how dare I suggest that she has to hold my hand when we walk in the parking lot. Sometimes it's frustrating, because she wants things she just can't have yet (like walking independently in the parking lot), but it is fun to watch her turn into her own person.
Every year I teach I come across a handful of children who are not allowed to have that independence. I've had students who haven't known how to put their own socks and shoes on, or are entirely incapable of pouring their own milk. I've always marveled at that, because why would you want to have a baby forever? I loved Raegan's infant days: the snuggling, the nursing, the pulling her into bed at 5 a.m. to get another hour of sleep. But I love this little person in my life now. She has opinions, and carries on conversations, and she is her own person. Sometimes we have to reign her in a bit, because she wants more than she is capable of, but I know eventually she'll get to the place where she can do all those things.
I was very fortunate this year to have my niece Khloe attending the Head Start where I work. Obviously, she couldn't be in my classroom, but her classroom had playground the same time that my class did, so I got to see her every single day. It was so nice to get hugs from her eveyr day. I will really miss seeing her there next year! Not only will she be going to kindergarten, but my brother and his family are moving to the Kansas City area so that he can go to school.
Summer has finally arrived! I shouldn't say "finally" because this spring, and really this whole school year, went by very quickly for me. It felt much quicker than some school years. Fine by me!
Zane left last Thursday for his uncle's graduation from college (on his mom's side of the family) and then decided to stay some extra days at his mom's house. So Raegan and I have enjoyed a lot of special mommy daughter time so far this week. Yesterday we went to Rolling Hills Zoo, since our membership is set to expire this weekend. I think we will probably end of renewing it, because it's more than paid for itself this last year, but it was a good excuse to go out to the zoo. It was about 6-70 degrees and sunny with no wind when we were out there - a PERFECT day for the zoo. A lot of the animals were sleeping, but we did get to see one of the cheetahs pacing (and eyeballing Raegan like she was a tasty snack - creeeeepy!) and two of the rhinos were snorting/growling at each other. Raegan and I deemed them "grouchy".
Today Raegan and I went to the Exploration Place in Wichita. I've been wanting to take her there forever now, and we had some extra money so it seemed like as good a time as any. (Plus, I really wanted to take her before she turns 3, because right now she's still free. haha) I remember that Luke and I took Zane yeeears ago (like 6 or 7 years now I think), and I remembered a lot of the exhibits, but there were definitely some new areas. By far Raegan's favorite thing to do was the teeter totter. I was rather afraid of teeter totters growing up thanks to an EXPERIENCE I had with one when I was little (*cough cough*) but Raegan has no fear of heights and she kept coming back to it. There was also an area in the castle with play food, and Raegan loves to cook, so she prepared me a lovely meal.
Getting ready to leave town
She LOVED the teeter totter!
The play food in the castle was a big hit!
View of the castle area from up top
Working the simple machines
She HAD to fasten the seat belt before she would drive the tractor simulator that they had!
For whatever reason, Raegan LOVES snakes!
Trying to fish
One more turn on the teeter totter before we left!
Raegan though this goose/plane was pretty cool
She wanted to try out all the different colored benches before we left. :)
Yesterday I decided that what I really wanted for Mothers Day this year was to go DO something with my family for the day. Zane's mom hadn't mentioned wanting to pick him up for the day, so I figured we could just make plans and if she wanted him for the day we would just go ahead without him. I told Luke I really wanted to go to the zoo in Wichita and go out to lunch at Panera Bread.
As it turned out, Zane was able to go with us. His mom is picking him up this Wednesday evening, so she said she would rather just wait until then. Funny how that works out - first year we make plans with or without him, and he's able to come. :) We didn't get out of the house quite as early as I wanted this morning, but the extra sleep was definitely nice.
It was a PERFECT day for the zoo. I couldn't have asked for better weather. The zoo was busy, but not ridiculously so. And it only cost us $15 for all 4 of us to get in, thanks to moms getting in free today combined with the half off discount we get for having the membership at our local zoo. (That membership has paid for itself at least double at this point!) The animals must have also been enjoying the nice weather today, because most of them were very alert and interactive. I think our favorite was probably the chimpanzees - they were so expressive and fun to watch. There was a baby, and he had gathered up all these little treat balls and was playing a game with them. He would kick and throw them around, then throw his arms up in the air and make a face like he was laughing. It was adorable! Raegan kept squealing when we were at the penguin exhibit - definitely her favorite thanks to Jolly (her stuffed penguin, a.k.a the love of her life!)
Raegan was a rockstar today - no nap and she did great! We did have one meltdown during dinner tonight, but she spent a couple minutes in her room and calmed herself down just fine. She didn't make a peep when I put her down for bed tonight, and she typically talks to herself for awhile before she goes to sleep. I think between all the walking at the zoo, no nap, and playing on the trampoline with Zane forever tonight, she was wiped out.
Raegan was captivated by the baby chimp!
We just thought this little guy was super cute
"That's Jolly!!!!!" she said :)
Raegan was so happy to see the penguins
Annual picture with the lion statue
Here's the comparison picture from October 2011
And this one from October 2010. Look at that little chunk!!! :)
Mispronounciations that Raegan makes right now that I just love:
Macaroni = "Rockaroni"
Pillow = "Polo"
Burrito is slowly evolving. It used to be "bayboo", which is why one of my nicknames for Raegan now is "Bay Boo Girl". Now it's "beeto" which always makes me chuckle.
Sophie (a little girl from church that Raegan adores and talks about all the time) = "Snuffy" This is by far my favorite mispronounciation. For the longest time I couldn't figure out who she was talking about when she mentioned Snuffy, but one Sunday morning it finally dawned on me. If I say, "You mean Sophie?" Raegan will reply, "Yeah, Snophie." :)
A few weeks ago Luke realized that we had a squirrel nest in the big tree in our backyard. At one point we had SEVEN squirrels in our backyard - the mama and six babies. Can squirrels even have that many babies at once? We all really enjoyed watching them chase each other and chatter in our tree. They must have been old enough for Mama to kick them out, because we stopped seeing them the middle of last week.
Somedays I just can't believe that such a big personality can be fit into such a little body! Raegan is just full of so much life and energy and intelligence - it just blows my mind. I never imagined that I could love anyone as much as I love this child. Every night before bed, I tell her, "You're Mommy's best girl. For how long?" She used to say "Forever and Ever" because that's what I would always say: "You're Mommy's best girl forever and ever." Now she says, "Three" Three has become a very important age to her. I cannot believe that my baby is old enough to be looking forward to being older at her next birthday.
On Saturday Raegan put on her Elmo hat and her butterfly sunglasses (upside down) and said, "I be a man Mommy." For whatever reason, she decided that in this dress up outfit she looks like a man. I don't even know where this child gets her ideas from sometimes.
Luke and I are staggered daily by how very smart Raegan is. She still counts to 13 (we just can't get her to say 14 or 15, because she'll skip up to 16 and then count to 20), and now she counts objects and tells you how many she counts. She names letters A, B, E, G, H, J, M, N, O, R, S, and Z consistently, and there are a few others that she will get right some of the time. She's finally getting those dang colors in - she names green, orange, and pink all of the time, and the rest inconsistently. Her attentiveness just kills me - it reminds me of Zane when he was that age. Her daycare provider said that they went to a park near our house the other day, and Raegan very clearly pointed out which street our house was on. When we were sitting at the corner of our street to go to the library this afternoon, she told me what direction we needed to turn to go to the library.
Raegan's very excited for preschool next year, although I think she's expecting to go to the elementary school that we've pointed out as "hers". I mentioned it as we drove past it one time, and she latched onto it immediately, and loves to talk about it. One day, I took her to the playground at the school and she just about came out of her skin with excitement. A lot of the children at her child care also go to preschool or kindergarten, so I think Raegan is really eager to join the big kids. We have her set up in the morning class at the Montessori preschool here in town. It's a little pricey, but it is four mornings a week, which is not something that any other preschool in town offers to 3 year olds. To me, it will be worth every penney to further enrich her smart little noggin.
Raegan is getting quite a bit out of child care too - check out this video of her naming all of the planets in order. They learned about them last month at Angie's, and last night Raegan had all of our jaws on the floor when she just rattled them all off in correct order. Luckily, she repeated it again so I could catch it on video. (When I asked her to do it "live" for Granny today, she informed me that she was busy eating her ice cream and could not. She's so sassy, most of the time in a funny way. lol)