Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Just Hangin' Out

So far, the month of September has been a bit slower, more relaxed for our family-- what a good thing! We always enjoy lazy days at home as well as together-time as a family. 

Jaden and Cody love their brother-bonding times,


their goofy, giggly times,


and their all-too-frequent wrestling times.


Here are a few of our random September hang-out times:
God has blessed us with gorgeous warm weather through much of September, so we've been loving spending much of our time outdoors. It's even been warm enough to use our water table!


On this particular day, Cody loved the taste of the animals,


while Jaden became Mr. Splash Man. We were ALL fairly wet by the end of this adventure! :)


On another cooler, but perfect fall-like day, our whole family spent some time at the tennis courts. Cody and Jaden loved playing with the large pile of tennis balls and the racquetball rackets.



Not a single other person was playing that day, so the boys had full freedom to roam the courts.



Daddy even gave Cody some beginning lessons on proper form.


The boys were excellent cheerleaders as Mommy and Daddy hit some tennis balls back and forth. They even entertained themselves long enough for us to fit in a few actual games. What a treat!


Lately, Jaden has taken a special interest in our jumper. He's figured out how to climb up the side and get himself fully inside the seat! 


As you can tell, however, he doesn't always land with both feet in the correct spot. Poor little guy... being stuck isn't too much fun. :)


Jaden has also developed another random, humorous habit. Each time the boys crawl down our stairs, Jaden stops about midway down. He has found a small indentation in our wall that he absolutely loves to rub with his finger. Every time he finds this indentation, he'll happily talk to it and often start laughing. It sure makes us wonder what's going on in this little guy's mind...


And finally, to wrap up our random September happenings, both boys have recently discovered the art of throwing. Here, we captured them tossing Daddy's shoes on the ground. Jason particularly loves the grunts that the boys make while throwing.


We praise God for the good weather days, the lazy days, the time-together days, and the precious boys who give us lots of reasons to enjoy these days!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Time with Uncle Jon

Recently, we were so happy to welcome Jason's brother Jonathan into our home for a weekend visit. Jon had a full weekend-- including a drive to and from Bismarck, ND, to give a Lutheran Hour presentation. We were honored that he planned out his schedule in such a way that we could see him.

Jon is such a natural, loving uncle. He jumped right in to help out with Jaden and Cody and to play with them. Cody (contrary to his typical behavior lately) didn't mind at all being held by his Uncle Jon.



During Jon's stay, we invited our friends Josh and Katie over for dinner so that Jon could re-connect with Katie (a former CUNE classmate). The boys loved having such a big crew to read them bedtime stories!


Of course, playing games was top priority once the little boys fell asleep.


Jon was so helpful with entertaining the boys while we prepared meals,


and he had some pretty fun, creative playtime ideas, too!


Jaden and Cody laughed and laughed when Uncle Jon played hide-and-seek with them.


Thankfully, he was good at giving out hints as to where he was hiding. :)


Another big bonus of Jon's visit was having him play in our church's big golf tournament (organized by Jason). What a treat to have 2 Schleicher athletes on the same 4-person team. Although this Schleicher-dominated team did not win the tournament, the brothers enjoyed the chance to golf together.



Thanks so much, Jon (especially amidst your busy weekend), for taking the time to see us and hang out with our family. We loved golf, Carcassonne, Stone Age (of course!), and all of our great talks. The boys loved your tickles, your goofiness, your story-reading, and your hugs. Thanks for being such a wonderful uncle and brother. We love you!

Friday, September 6, 2013

15 Months Old

Our two little adventurous boys have officially turned 15 months old! 

Jaden (L) and Cody (R)

If we had to describe the last month in one word, it would probably be "BANG!" Yes, our lovely sons have learned to love the sound of banging objects (books, toys, wooden puzzles, boxes, anything they can get their hands on) against the wall. Mommy and Daddy's constant refrain is, "Not on the wall," as we try to grab toys out of the boys' hands. Despite our efforts, we now have various rainbow streaks or chipped paint along many of our walls. Even our fridge has developed small dents. Sigh. Good thing these new habits are just for a season AND that these things in are home are just things. We know that our boys are simply exploring their world, not purposely trying to be destructive. Each new month brings a new set of adventures! We love our little explorers. :)

Cody & Jaden, attempting to share the same toy

Jaden & Cody "help out" with the cleaning.
They LOVE imitating Mommy & Daddy!


Jaden's excited pose :)

(not to be outdone)-- Cody's excited pose


Giggling with one another

Mommy just asked, "Where are your teeth?"

Here are the 15-month updates on our boys:

SLEEPING HABITS

  • Continued nightly wakings (average 2-3) due to more molar cutting
  • Thankfully fall back asleep quickly with a new pacifier or a blanket
  • Still take a.m. and p.m. naps, but the morning nap is gradually getting later (a.m. nap phase-out begins soon)

EATING HABITS


  • Still love food, but their hearty appetites have lessened slightly
  • Stand by the fridge, trying to open the door when they want milk during the day
  • Officially weaned from breastfeeding (an easy transition-- all 3 of us were ready to move on!)

LANGUAGE
  • Jaden started saying "ball" (ba) and "shoes" (oosh) like Cody
  • Both boys like the word "tree" (tsss), especially when standing by our fake indoor tree
  • Love listening to books before naptimes and bedtime (will sit still for 4-5 in a row)

PLAYTIME
  • Absolute favorite hangout is standing on the loveseat, looking out the front window (especially love waving good-bye to Daddy in the mornings or watching for him to come home). They also enjoy "greeting" visitors to our home with smiles and by banging on the window.
  • Love crashing push riders or Cozy Coupe into the wall, the entertainment center, the fake tree, the card shelf, or each other's vehicles (another one of Mommy & Daddy's favorite activities!)
  • Enjoy removing all pans and cookie sheets from underneath the stove and letting them crash onto the ground
  • Seem obsessed with trying to pull out plugs from any outlets
  • Like dropping toys over the side of the gate and watching them tumble down the stairs
  • Instantly remove the salad dressings from the fridge door whenever the fridge is opened (Mommy learned the hard way that they CAN open the lids!)
  • Love going to our neighborhood playground, but no longer prefer to swing (walking around independently and climbing on the equipment is much more fun!)

NEW SKILLS
  • After weeks of practice, can now successfully crawl backwards down an entire flight of stairs
  • Both know how to fold their hands to pray (will do so whenever we ask, but before meals will fold their hands all on their own whenever they're put into their high chair)


CODY



Our little "surfer"


Loves playing hide-and-seek behind the piano


Our biggest "shoe" fan!



  • Loves trying to scale the gate above the stairs (In his bare feet, he can actually climb dangerously high!)
  • Enjoys playing with the faucet in the tub and always rushes to wave his hand underneath the running water when Mommy is filling the tub
  • Has become quite the little monkey! He loves to hang on everything-- like the counter top edge as he scales his feet up the side of the cabinets, or the high chair tray as he climbs up the chair leg. (Yikes!)
  • Gets particularly impatient when waiting for mealtimes
  • Loves to turn the pages in books while being read to
  • Started to cut molar #4



JADEN


Our observant, attention-to-detail boy





He LOVES when Mommy puts
pants on his head!



  • Cut 3 molars this month
  • Loves crawling behind people when they are sitting up against a wall or chair. He will bury his head into you until you move forward to give him enough room
  • Has become our little chipmunk (will stuff his mouth super full at meal times and often keep pieces in his mouth long afterwards)
  • Enjoys kicking Cody from the back of the stroller (He has a permanent saved seat in the front of the stroller now.)
  • Loves running away from Mommy when she asks for an object that he is holding OR sprinting away from Cody after stealing a toy from him

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Our New Yard

Ever since we moved into our home in 2008, landscaping our yard has been on the Schleicher home improvement to-do list. Now that we have two little boys who love playing outside, this particular "to-do" finally got top priority.

We have always loved our large yard. Its size has allowed for many backyard wiffleball games and gatherings with our friends. From the beginning, though, it has always needed a little help aesthetically. Here are some of the pictures from the summer we moved in. Believe it or not, the grass actually looks much healthier in these pictures than it did at the start of this summer!



This beautiful aspen tree unfortunately bit the dust last year. It got some kind of disease, developed a blackened trunk, and failed to produce any leaves.


The far left portion of our yard contained an ugly overgrown juniper bush and a rocky RV pad. The right corner must have been a sort of garden at some point. The grass in this area was spotty and more weed-driven than anything. We did have a fence surrounding our yard, but it was a short chain-link fence that provided little privacy for little ones.


Although we love the size of our yard, it's been a bit difficult over the years to keep up with in terms of watering. The first summer, we quickly learned that our so-called sprinkler system didn't reach all portions of our yard, nor did it sufficiently keep the yard green (other than directly surrounding the sprinkler heads). Jason has been so good at keeping up with manual watering during the past few summers, but this job is hard work! We both agreed that the cost of getting new sprinklers would be worth the extra time we'd get to spend with our boys.



So... the landscaping & renovations finally begun! First, we had a landscaping crew come out to install the sprinklers. Jaden and Cody loved watching the crew's every step from our front window. The workers would smile back at the boys every time they pounded on the window. 


We also watched their work in the backyard.


The boys especially liked watching the bobcat drive through our yard and dump new rock.


The crew was a hard-working group of 6-8 young men, so they were very efficient. They installed a new sprinkler system in the front & back yard, put in new aluminum edging around the entire house, cut down our aspen tree and tore out the juniper bush, planted 2 trees and a few plants in the back corners, dumped rock around our entire home and in the back corners, AND laid a few long rows of sod in the back of the yard. All of this work they completed in just parts of 2 days! We were impressed with their work ethic and very pleased with the final result.


But before you see the "after" pictures, we have one more step to go-- our new fence. The fence company actually tore out the chain-link fence and installed the new fence posts a month early. This plan was perfect for our landscaping crew, as it gave them easy access to our yard.


Jaden and Cody also LOVED this plan! Who knew that having metal posts surrounding our yard could be so much fun?


Every day that we played outside, the boys would eagerly grab rocks to bang on the posts. What a wonderful high-pitched clanging sound this would make! We're sure that our neighbors enjoyed the beautiful music, too. :)


Due to our new sod and the newly-scattered grass seed, our sprinkler system got a LOT of use this summer! The grass "greened up" in a jiffy and grew quickly. Daddy called in his back-up crew to help him cut the lawn.


Jaden and Cody were fast learners. :)


They helped Daddy beautify the lawn for our final picture-taking.



So... here it is-- our new yard! From the front, you can see the new fence.


Some of you may remember our single line of chain link in the front dividing our yard from our neighbor's. This portion of the fence is now completely gone, opening up our yard a bit and allowing Jason to mow more evenly.


And here are the backyard pictures:
You can see the gate, the new fence, the extended rock edging, and the greener grass.


The new edging is shaped much more sensibly and extends evenly around our home.


We like how the new edging connects around the entire yard.


The larger rock has a nicer look and is a better size for our boys, too (a little less of a choking hazard :) ).

A faraway view of the landscaped corner.


The full view of the new backyard (hooray for greener grass, too!).


We love the look of the newly trimmed tree.


An up-close view of our landscaped corner (Both corners are identical). The tree and the plants are connected to a drip system with our sprinklers, so we don't even have to worry about extra watering.


The side view, including our 2nd backyard gate.


And one more full-yard view from the other angle. We're still fine-tuning our sprinkler settings to work on a few dry spots in the yard. It doesn't help that we haven't had any significant rain for over a month, either.


Overall, though, we are SO pleased with our healthier lawn, the convenient sprinklers, the tasteful landscaping, and our privacy fence. Our active, outdoor-loving boys are sure to enjoy many hours in this new space!