It’s been awhile since I’ve shared a Leo Lately post, but I’m going to try to make an effort to blog more and document more of the kid’s lives. They’re growing up so fast, I’m hoping this will help me remember all of those great moments since I’m not exactly a scrapbook mom.
First-grade! Leo started first grade last week in the Santa Fe Trails school district. He had a great experience in Kindergarten last year at Whitson Elementary in Topeka, but we decided it was the right time to move him to a smaller school system. He’s in the same grade as many of the boys he played baseball with this summer, so he’s been excited to see them again. It’s so hard to believe that my oldest baby has officially entered elementary school! Next thing I know, he’ll be graduating from high school.
Baseball crazy. Leo LOVED baseball this summer. (I’m sure the fact that he played on a good team and was one of the stronger players helped.) But he really loved all of it – his teammates, hitting, fielding, games, practice – you name it, he loved it. He spent most of the season at first base and did a solid job. He had consistent offensive production and hit several home runs (although he was really hoping for a grand slam). The thing I was the most proud of though, was his attitude and the way he payed attention so well. The kid constantly wanted the ball. How can you not love that?
My little hunter. For Christmas Tony and I gave Leo his first legitimate bow. A few months later, we realized Leo is left-eye dominant, which makes shooting his right-handed bow difficult. Since that time we (mostly Tony) have been working to transition him to shooting the other direction. Since there’s not a lot of options for left-handed bows in his size, Tony’s adapted his existing bow so it will work. I can’t believe how much the shift has improved his shooting. Leo’s become pretty obsessed with wanting to go out and shoot at our deer target. And he’s constantly asking when he’ll actually get to go hunting and shoot a real deer.
Quite the fisherman. The other thing Leo’s been pretty obsessed with lately is going fishing. Tony’s taken him fishing at our lake several times, and he goes with his dad all the time. I’m not much of a fisher(wo)man, so it’s an activity he does with his dads. I have enjoyed seeing how excited he gets when he’s caught something. And I appreciate the patience and determination he’s shown to continue going out, even when he’s not had a bite for a trip for two.
It’s been almost a year since my last Leo Lately post, but it’s been so much fun raising this kid that I haven’t made time to document the experience the way I should. He’s become such a comical little guy. The things he picks up, how he processes the world and the way he’s started to express himself constantly amaze me and crack me up at the same time.
Here’s some of my favorite Leo-ism lately:
“Let’s shoot bows!” This year Santa brought Leo his first bow and arrow set for Christmas. Ever since then, Leo’s been particularly interested in going downstairs where Tony’s created a nice target practice area. Tony & I shoot at a target about 12 yards away in one lane, and Leo shoots at his inflatable deer from about 3 yards in another lane. It’s been fun watching Leo learn proper protocol when it comes to shooting and retrieving arrows.
Jeff Whippy. Leo was a big KU basketball fan this year! While he still struggles to watch games for any long period of time, he’s always quick to cheer for the Jayhawks. He specifically loved finding his favorite player – number five – on TV, whom he called, “Jeff Whippy” (Jeff Withey).
“Can I have some candy?” This year Leo’s really started to figure candy out. Ever since Valentine’s Day, we’ve had a small stash of candy that he’s received from school friends and family that we keep on top of the refrigerator. Leo asks several times a day if he can have some candy, doesn’t matter if we’ve just woke up in the morning, or if he’s finished dessert. In his mind, candy’s always a possibility. In reality, I think his requests maybe work 2-3 times a week. (Thus the ongoing stash.)
T-ball time. Leo’s been excited to get back into playing T-ball this year. We just wrapped up a 4-week skills session through Parks & Rec, where for the most part, he was a star. His interest is even stronger this year, and he’s even happy to go out in the field and wait for his turn to bat. Next week he’ll have his first official practice for a T-ball team. I can’t wait to see how he reacts to an actual game experience. He’s watched Tony & I play for several years now, so he’s pretty pumped to get a turn!
“You heard me.” Leo’s speech continues to improve, but sometimes it’s still a bit difficult to understand what he’s saying. (Particularly with his growing vocabulary and the fact that he doesn’t usually talk very loud.) Every now and then when he says something, and I’ll respond, “What did you say?” Leo will come back with some attitude, “You heard me.” It cracks me up every time.
“Can we go visit the neighbors?” Over the course of the last month or two, Leo’s become really interested in going over to visit our neighbor Rod when we get home from work. Rod’s in his 80’s and spends a lot of time in his garage which overlooks our house. I think both Leo & Rod enjoy seeing each other. Leo’s always telling me he needs to go over there to “help.” It doesn’t matter if they’re fishing or burning, he’s convinced that they need his support.
Big brother. At Leo’s 4th birthday in March, we let him know that he was going to become a big brother. Up to that point, we’d been talking with him for several months about having a baby someday. (He’d become pretty obsessed with the idea around October of last year that we really needed a baby.) When we’d have these hypothetical discussions, Leo was always insistent that we needed a baby boy. Once we told him that we actually were expecting, Leo did a total 180. From that point on, he was only interested in a sister. So six weeks later when we found out that it’s a little boy coming in September, we were a bit nervous how Leo would react to the news. Initially, Leo was great. You can see in the video we shot where he told the family. But about 10 minutes after we finished he was laying in bed, and out of no where said, “But I wanted a girl!” He’s pretty much adjusted to the idea of having a little brother, and is very excited, but every now and then he still asks when he’s going to get a sister.
It’s amazing to look at my last Leo Lately blog post. It’s only been four months, but it seems so long ago! Over that period of time, Leo’s personality has continued to blossom and his speech has improved greatly. (According to the speech therapist at USD 501 he’s gone from being understandable 14% in February of the time to 58% of the time in May- yeah!)
Here’s some of the fun things Leo’s doing and saying lately:
“But I want to right now.” Whenever I talk about future plans that get Leo excited, he wants to do it immediately. Whether it’s baseball practice after daycare, going to visit Grandma Vickie or just playing with Tony, Leo’s ready to go.
T-Ball time. We’ve had mixed results with Leo’s first t-ball experience. He really likes to play, but still struggles with the idea of having to participate without mom by his side. I’m sure the fact that he was only a few weeks over the minimum age limit has a lot to do with it. Hopefully next year he’ll be ready to be a bit more independent at practice.
Let’s play outside. Leo loves being outside. In fact, we don’t really spend a lot of time inside at all unless we’re eating dinner or getting ready for bed. Leo’s usually out back drawing on the driveway with chalk, riding his tricycle or driving around in his powered car that the landlord left in the garage for him to play with. When we’re at grandma’s house, Leo loves to play in the sandbox or help water the plants.
Goldbug. Leo loves to spend time looking for Goldbug in his Richard Scarry book. He received it from Tony’s parents as a gift, and it’s one of his favorites to look at before bed time – especially if that means mom and Tony are going to help!
“I want to see Carson.” Leo’s found his first official buddy outside of daycare. He loves spending time with Carson, his cousin-to-be. Leo asks about Carson a lot and really enjoys being able to play with him when we go down and visit on the weekends. They have a lot of fun together. : )
Dinosaurs & Hot Wheels. When Leo does actually play with toys, you can usually find him with a series of Hot Wheels cars or a couple of his dinosaurs. He’s at the age where he’s pretending, developing stories and using the toys to act things out. It’s pretty cute.
Shapes and counting. Leo has a pretty good grasp on counting to 10, but he’s starting to try to count even higher. It’s pretty cute because he’s consistently skipping a lot of numbers… 9, 10, 11, 14, 18, 19, 32, 99! We’ve also been working with him on learning basic shapes.
Growing up. While we’re still battling with the whiney stage, it feels like we’re making some progress. For the most part, bath time is becoming more peaceful and he’s been great about allowing me to put in his ear drops without a fight.
My fruity boy. Leo loves fruit. He is always asking for strawberries, blackberries and blueberries. He loves apples and bananas. If only I could get him to give veggies a bit more consideration!
Leo has been super cute lately. It’s so much fun to watch him growing and learning. Here’s a few of my favorite highlights:
Holding Hands, Anywhere. Leo wants to hold my hand when I’m driving (and he’s in his car seat in the back), when we’re walking into daycare, when he’s laying in his crib getting ready to go to sleep, when we’re on the couch watching a movie. And he’s usually not content just holding my hand, he’s also quite likely to kiss my hand, hug it or be rubbing the top of it.
Not Why. We’re starting to slowly get out of that phase. He still asks, but not as frequently. Now he likely to respond and try to converse about what I’ve said.
Big Helper. Even though he’s not always a help, Leo wants to try. He loves to stand at the sink and drop dishes into the soapy water. He likes to get the broom and “help” me sweep the floors. He’s always eager to push the cart at the grocery store and likes to put things into the basket.
Potty Training. We’re really just beginning the potty training thing. He’s got the hang of it at school and is wearing big boy underoos there, but we’re still doing pull-ups at home. I try to make sure he’s going to the bathroom every hour, and he’s almost always able to pee. Marshmallows provide great incentive.
TuTee. Leo loves playing with Tony. When I pick him up, he asks where Tony is and now is starting to ask about Tony’s family. We visited them this past weekend and Leo really enjoyed playing with Tony’s nephew Carson and “Tutee’s daddy” and “Tutee’s mommy” and “the baby” (Tony’s other nephew).
Daycare. The last few months have been a bit turbulent at daycare. Leo does great when he’s there, but occasionally drop-offs are a struggle. He just doesn’t want me to leave and cries and grabs at me. It’s so hard to leave, but I know he’s fine after they’re able to get him involved and playing with the other kids. I wish I could figure out what triggers the bad drop-offs so we could avoid them.
Speech Therapy. Leo’s been seeing a speech therapist for almost a year now. He’s made a lot of progress, but as his ears got bad over the last few months, his speech has regressed. We’re moving forward with a second round of tubes and will also have his adenoids removed later this week. Hopefully that will help us jumpstart the progress again. He’s talking a whole lot, can hold conversations and has a pretty big vocabulary. It’s just really hard to understand him, even when you’re use to it.
Blue and Buzz. A few months ago, Leo really loved Woody and watching Toy Story 3. Now he’s on a Rio kick and loves Blue, the main character. As far as Toy Story goes, he’s still a fan but not watching the movie as much. And he’s really shifted to become more of a Buzz fan now.
Angry Birds. What started as an attempt to get Leo playing education games on my iPhone turned into a big Angry Birds obsession. When we were looking at the new games I downloaded for the first time, his eye caught the Angry Birds icon and he yelled, “Angry Birds!” He was pretty awful at first. He wasn’t able to shoot the birds in the right direction, let alone finish a level. Now he’s getting pretty good at it. It’s amazing how quickly he’s picked it up. It’s probably not the best iPhone game to get him involved with, but it’s pretty handy when we’re shopping or out somewhere and we need a distraction.
Ornery Boy. I love Leo’s sly little smile when you catch him getting ready to do something, or you say something silly that he’s not expecting. Unlike his full smile, his ornery smile is usually only on one side with his lips closed.
Love You. My heart melts every time Leo tells me that he loves me.
Singing His Heart Out. I don’t always know what Leo’s singing, but it’s pretty common for him to wake up from his nap and lay in his crib for a bit singing to himself. He’s also started singing the alphabet anytime he sees big letters (tonight it was on the Hobby Lobby sign).
Fruit Snacks and Cheese. Leo’s favorite snacks right now are fruit snacks and cheese of any type. I try to keep both on hand at all times, but it definitely helps that Leo’s open to cheese sticks, slices or a chunk off a block.
Got You and Hiding. Leo’s favorite games are to wrestle and “get” people, and to hide from people. His hiding usually entails getting under the blanket and laying on the floor or on the couch and then telling you that he’s hiding.