Thursday, March 19, 2009

Emerson and Jaxon Turned One!

Here are the pictures from the birthday!!!

Emerson and Jaxon's party started with all the kids getting to play. Here's Dexy at the top of the stairs wondering where all the big kids went. (They were down in the play room). I had both of my boys dressed so adorably dapper in matching shirts and different ties (thanks to Jodi for that cute idea). AJ, of course, came back upstairs with his undone already. "I don't want to wear this anymore." So, I never did get any cute pics of the two.

Then all the kids were coralled for snack time. Fruit kebabs, crackers, cheese, meat, cheesies, veggies. AJ, Connor, Jack, Makenna, and Dexter who can't decide if he's a big kid or a baby.

Next it was time for the cakes and the singing of Happy Birthday!

First, to Emerson!

Then to Jaxon!

Then it was time to eat the cake!

First Emerson! She looks a lot like Makenna here!

Then Jaxon! He's using his AJ-serious-face.

Then it was time for more play!!

Then time to open gifts!

First Jaxon!

Then Emerson!

I end with a picture of Rya. It's not a good photograph. I'm in serious need of camera lessons. However, her eyes are so big and blue, I had to include it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Just Found This and Just Blew My Mind

Jack and AJ in Sept., 2007.

In about 6 months give or take. This will be Dexter, Rya, Emerson, and Jaxon. Wow.

Spring Break and the Zoo

Dexter just loves to be in AJ's room and AJ just loves to have ANYONE in his room. Sometimes, not Destructive-Dexy, but still, he's company just the same. Please excuse Dexter's lack-a-pants. He was not dressed yet. There was a story behind that, but I can't remember it. This is Dexter's latest favourite thing. Climbing up to sit on AJ's chairs and trying to colour......

Ehhh hemmmmm. I said.... COLOUR!!! Not eat!!! You little bum! Wow, he looks really beat up in this picture. That doesn't look so great. Anyhow, I digress. I guess I actually took the time with my first child to teach him how to colour and not eat crayons. I just seemed to assume that Dexter would just 'know' how to colour. He enjoys eating them more at this point. He does like to draw, but man, he just can't resist.....

CHOMP!!! Nom nom num num, yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmmmm.

What? I'm tired of walking. Just let me take a break okay?

It's Spring Break and it's not over yet!

Friday - I had Jack and Rya, but the boys didn't have preschool because it was already Spring Break out here in Abby. So, not really feeling like being cooped up in the house with 4 kids, I decided to take the 4 of them to the zoo. It was surprisingly, a breeze. It was sunny and warm. I didn't have to do any 'pack-everyone-up-because-someone-has-to-poop' kind of things. A nice guy pumped up my tires for me on my stroller. I was cruising and it was a super morning. It messed up naps, that's for sure. I paid for it a little bit later. But, well worth it. Jack and AJ had fun and Rya and Dexter were fabulously patient in the stroller! Will I do it again? Oh yes, for sure.

Saturday - I puttered around the house. We had no plans for that weekend. I could just do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. I wanted to clean up my bedroom and I did just that!

Sunday - Makenna came over to play in the morning! She and AJ had BIG fun, and a BIG lunch!

Monday - In the morning, our teacher friend, Kim, Auntie Jen, me and all the respective babies and kids, went to Starbucks and then to open playgroup. The kids had a blast in the bouncy castle and with hockey sticks and balls. This bouncy castle was great. It was very firm. Even Dexter was able to walk around in it and not get toppled too much.
- Jack and Rya came over to play in the afternoon. The boys had fun and so did the babies. Dexter is so excited when Rya comes to play. Now that Rya's walking, I can tell, Dexter's going to love her coming over even more!
-Dexter also began signing 'ball' on this day. He was using the sign at playgroup, and remembered to use it again at home later. YAY! He's really starting to see the benefit of the added communication which is great since he seems in no rush to say a lot of words or even copy them when I ask. Lazy bum.

Tuesday - Auntie Kim and Uncle Paul came. They wanted to go swimming, but during spring break, the public swim is in the afternoon, not the morning. So, instead, I took advantage of their extra hands and we went to the library. Kim chased Dexter around and Paul played computer games and supervised AJ while I picked out a bunch of new books. It's nice when I can just take AJ or just go by myself. But taking Dexter is not very fun. He only likes to look at books on 'his time' and he surely does not like being confined to a stroller in the library.

Wednesday - We went to Emerson and Jaxon's first birthday party. I'll hopefully post about that latertonight if Richard uploads pictures to our gallery site.

Here are some pictures of what we've been up to.

The Zoo
Rya and Dexter were cozy and patient in the stroller just enjoying chilling out! I have to say that Rya quite loved the back seat. She was lounging better than a teamster on a 45 minute break.

When we first got there, the miniature horses were out and about. That was a pleasant surprise. I hadn't seen them out in quite a while.

First the babies had lunch while the boys played. Then the boys ate lunch while I pushed the babies in the swing and let them explore a little bit.
Lemurs. They're just fun to watch.
More swings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Auntie Kim and Uncle Paul's Visit

Uncle Paul hangin' out with Dexter and AJ. It didn't take Dexy long to warm up to Uncle Paul.
Uncle Paul reading AJ one of his new library books. "Who's Driving?"

AJ's nap-hair.
Dexter just started crying for no reason at one point. There probably was a reason... teething.... whatever..... something, I'm sure. Actually, when I think about it, I think the flash of the camera took him by surprise. I got out the camera because he looked really cute. I took the first picture and that's when he started crying. Then, I took this picture.

Auntie Kim didn't want her picture taken.

Hmmmmm. These pictures would lead you to think, "Wow, that Uncle Paul is fabulous! What was that no-good Auntie Kim doing all day?"

Rest assured, Auntie is the second mom when she's here. She's changed many more diapers than many fathers. She's knows more about baby-food, routines, naps, and strollers than any 17 year olds that I know. Not to mention she comes out here a lot to spend time with me and the boys. And, she babysits for free!!!
(** I babysat her for free when I was her age. I do try to give her a little something every once and a while)

That being said, Uncle Paul IS BIG FUN when he's here for the boys. He plays cars, and trains, and wrestles and throws them all over the place. He's an uncle alright.

The boys just LOVE Auntie Kim and Uncle Paul.

What's New for the "Baby Book"?
Well, I didn't write too long ago, so not much.

-He has added a new sign. He signs ball, as I mentioned before.
-Dexter has been FULL of cuddles and hugs. It's kind of melting everyone's hearts too.
-He is having troubles keeping his hands off of my lap top. He knows he shouldn't touch it, but if I turn my back, he's right up on the couch, and he's just clicking away on that mouse. The other day, every single item on my desktop had been opened. Photos, paystubs, job-share letter, you name it. There were 33 windows open. What a bum.

-When we were at the zoo, he laid in the gravel and waved his arms and legs and said, "I'm a princess." I didn't get it at first, and then I said, "Do you mean you're making an angel? Like a snow angel, but in the gravel?" And he said, "Yah, just like in the snow." I haven't shown him how to make an angel in the snow. I'm guessing that maybe one of the big kids at daycare showed him last week in the snow.
-AJ learned how to lie. When I came down to clean up the playroom after AJ and Jack were playing, I was greeted with a surprise involving 6 or so boxes of picture/word cards dumped on the floor (actually, this was from Makenna and AJ the day before and I hadn't noticed) and books from the bookshelf that had been coloured in. AJ tried to tell me it was Jack. He could see how fuming mad I was in my eyes, I'm sure. He covered up. "Jack did it." I knew it wasn't Jack. (Later he also tried to blame Dexter) Jack, to my knowledge, colours like any normal 3 year old. This dinosaur scene had been carefully coloured, in the lines. The river was coloured. The trunk of the tree was coloured. A cloud was coloured. The leaves on the palm tree were coloured. This was done by someone who really likes colouring. I called Auntie Erica to hear Jack's side of the story. This gave me a lot of time to 'calm down' too. AJ totally knows that colouring is only for paper. Although odd that he would colour in a book, I just knew it wasn't Jack. Auntie Erica was very clever in how she asked Jack about it. I was listening......
Auntie E - "Jack. What did you and AJ do downstairs in the playroom?"
Jack - "We were throwing the balls at the bad guys."
Auntie E - "Did you do any colouring?"
Jack - "AJ took 'mommy and daddy' books off the shelf and coloured in them."

Aha!!! Actually, they are AJ's books, and... to AJ's credit, the pages he coloured DO look like colouring books (they're outline with no colour), and they're soft cover books.

Okay, okay. Not the end of the world. We talked about it.

The part that bugged me though is that he lied. He lied to not get in trouble and not get me mad at him. Awwwww. We're ready to watch Pinocchio soon as a family movie night and after talking to my birthclub moms, I've been using the word 'truth' a lot to described things. It's working nicely, I think.
-AJ's cutting skills with scissors are getting really really good. He's holding them the right way up now and it way better than last week at the open-close-open-close.
-Loving games. Wants to play Candyland, Trouble, Don't Break the Ice, and Hi Ho Cherry-O all the time.
-Still loving puzzles.
-I mentioned in the last little while, how much AJ's been loving writing and using his letter/sound knowledge, but I should add in now, how much he's loving books. I mean, he's always loved books, but it's even more so now. I think he's really getting interested in the whole letters-words-sentences-stories relationship. I have a bucket full of 'learning to read' type stuff (sight words and phonics). It sits up high in the top of his closet. Visable, but not obvious. However, inside, is also a box of Smarties for rewards. My intentions, about a year ago, were to do reading stuff once a night for about 10 minutes. That didn't happen. I'm lucky if we've hauled it out 20 times in the last year. I only ever bring it out if he remembers to ask. This week, he's asked twice. And the word recognition is coming around. Sometimes, when I read him a story, I have him read one word I've selected, like "and" or "can" or "the". He really likes this. He's doing well trying to sound out too. That being said, I probably won't remember to bring this out again for another month. Especially since I'll be back at work next week. But, it was exciting nontheless.
-Good chance for me to mention AJ's good letter tracing skills too. Have I mentioned that he can write a lower case 'e'? That's a really hard one to write. And, I'm not talking tracing. He just just write them free hand. Proud mom here.
-AJ's been into 'shooting bad guys' this week. I'm too tired right now to get into the full story and what I'm doing about it, but long story short, whether he picked it up from 'big kids' or friends or watching Star Wars with Daddy, he's turning things like his hockey stick into a gun. I'm not banning it, as I think banning creates obsession, but I'm not encouraging it. The next time he asks me to shoot the bad guys with him (I've up until now been saying, "No thanks, I don't like shooting, but I'll play something else with you if you'd like."), I'm going to take my friend Keri's advice from a book she's reading and offer to play the part of the nurse who helps the injured people. lol. I'm looking forward to seeing how this goes over. Hopefully, I can instill some compassion.
-We took out this book called "Hidden Alphabet" from the library. I highly recommend it for anyone out there reading this. It's really neat.
-AJ's had two favourite books from the batch of library books that I just returned. They were: "Trains, Cranes, and Troublesome Trucks" which I still haven't found. I just have to get it for him. He loves it. He knows it by heart. And, he's already missing it. He asked me to read it and I had to remind him that we took it back to the library yesterday after renewing it three times! And, Sandra Boynton's "Green Shirt, Blue Shirt" which AJ could also recite. It was really great for word/picture matching. It's a really funny little book. We giggled every time we read it.

Hmmmmmm. That makes me want to say that I've had a really nice Spring Break with the boys. It's really made me miss being at home full time. I do like the break of going to work, but I'd much rather be home with them. I'm miss those extra days and extra stories and extra funny things that happen.

Well, I hope I'm not forgetting anything.

Dexter's Word List
AJ (which sounds more like Ay-Jay now)
baba (what we call a bottle)
banana - properly
Rya - new

Dexter's Signs List updated
change (which he seems to occasionally be using to actually tell me he's pooped)
kiss - new
milk - (he means drink/water)

Animal Sounds
-pig - he snorts

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Beautiful Boys and a Birthday

AJ turned three this past weekend. Here he is coming down the wobbly slide with his Uncle Paul and his Auntie Kim. He had a blast. Big thanks to his little 3 and almost 3 year old buddies: Makenna (almost 3), Grace (almost 3), Josiah (almost 3), and Jack (3) for coming!!! What a great way to celebrate being 3. AJ thanks everyone for all the great gifts. I'm going from memory right now. Sorry if I've forgotten any.
Makenna - Matchbox race town tracks and a rugby shirt/hoodie
*AJ loves the hoodie and he and Dexter have played with the tracks every day.
Jack - Moonsand
*I put the moonsand down in AJ's play area in the playroom. He is very focused when he plays with this. I venture to say he finds it a little mesmerizing. He's probably in shock that he's allowed to play with sand IN the house.
Josiah - A cool skate t-shirt and this big hot wheels cars that goes really fast when you rev it up by pulling the handles at either end
*I'm so thankful for this gift because AJ and Dexter have been fighting over the green big hot wheels car that crashes (from Cousin Mike) and this one just made everything so much more peacful.
Grace - A BIG sand castle bucket and new "Cars" puzzles AND her presence all the way from Puyallup
* AJ did the puzzles both the next day. And he's done the one with Mac every day since.
Auntie Brenda and Uncle Al - A BIG Tonka truck with a boat and trailer.
*It's hard to say who loves this more, AJ or Dexter. They've both been seen dragging this around the house and 'brrrrrrring' everywhere.

Here's Makenna heading up the play structure with her 'big kid' friends. She's probably on her way to the "Lavaslide". What a brave little girl.

AJ and Jack enjoyed building and knocking down towers with Uncle Paul. Unfortunately, later, a little boy was trying to build a tower and AJ and Jack wouldn't let him get much accomplished. No sooner had he stacked one on another and 'CRASH'.... destroyed.

Dexter's here watching Grace go down 'his slide'. Dexter was doing 'slide set up' all by himself at the birthday party. He'd climb to the top of the slide, get on his belly, spin to be feet first, and head on down. (This is how Richard and I teach the boys to safely go down the slide when they're babies.
Here's Dexter up on a stack of chairs looking down at everyone. He felt pretty proud up there.

Here are Grace, Makenna, Jack, and AJ doing gift-time.

I realized after the party that I didn't get any pictures of Josiah. He arrived when we were downstairs playing and I guess I didn't bring my camera back out!! Bummer.

After the party, our out of town guests, Melissa, Loren, and Grace came for a dinner of Butter Chicken and some playtime. What a great, full day.
Here are some pics of the birthday that Melissa and Loren took!

1. The kids colouring some Wall-E pictures while they wait for cake time.

2. Dexter having just finished his lunch and now would like some cake.

3. The candles being blown out.

4. AJ and Grace having cake.
5. AJ and Grace experiencing 'Cheetos'.
6. Our dear out of town guests that drove around 3 hours to help us celebrate AJ's birthday.
7. Back at our house, AJ and Grace playing in AJ's room.
8. Back at our house, Grace having too much fun in Dexter's room.
9. Back at our house, all three of them playing in AJ's room.
10. Our house at dinner. I hauled up the extra high chair to save space at the dinner table. Here's AJ and Grace. Oh look, AJ's doing his favourite facial expression titled
"The EMO glare"

I should mention AJ's birthday morning!!
In the morning he got to open his gift from Mommy and Daddy which was a Mr. Potato Head family bucket and two Thomas books. He also got to open his gift from Dexter which was two new Pixar Cars: The King and Filmore.

AJ has just loved reading his birthday cards every day since receiving them.

Here is AJ writing in his journal from Sami and Avery from my 'birthclub'. He was doing some letters and asking how to spell some people's names.

Here's AJ just relaxing on the couch with his Monkeys all swaddled. He told me he was 'sick'. He knows he's only supposed to have his lovies out of bed if he's sick. He wasn't sick. Little Bum.

Here's some cute stuff about AJ this past week.
1. We're eating burgers the other night.
He says, "Mmmmmmm. I really like my burger."
I say, "I like mine too."
He says, "I like mine three."
2. AJ was on naughty spot for sassing me or something and he keeps complaining.
I say, "Stop talking. There's no talking in the naughty spot or you're going to be there longer."
He says, "I'm not talking, I'm just whining."
Cheeky bum.

Here's Dexter. He really likes sitting on stools, especially ones that he can sit on himself. Since early start potty training's been a no-go with him, I thought "What better item for a stool!" Now he's sitting on the potty himself. I'm that much closer to potty training. YAY. He loves this. It's just the perfect height for him.

Dexter's been really trying to help me unload the dishwasher. He takes out almost every item from the bottom rack to hand to me and gets a 'thank you' for every one. It's quite cute. He really enjoys it.

Dexter's added two new signs to his repetoire....
milk (but he actually means, drink/water)
Also he says 'banana' almost perfectly now.

So, I'm going to officially 'update' my psuedo baby book for him:

Dexter's Word List updated
AJ (which sounds more like Ay-Jay now)
baba (what we call a bottle)
banana - properly
Rya - new

Dexter's Signs List updated
change (which he seems to occasionally be using to actually tell me he's pooped)
kiss - new
milk - (he means drink/water)

Animal Sounds
-Still nothing new. I haven't been working on this at all.
He'll copy the sound of a sheep, but he's actually doing the pig sounds when I say, "What does the pig say."

Saturday, March 07, 2009

AJ's Cake

So, we did it.
We made marshmallow fondant.
I bought a proper piping bag, but I'm still learning the do's and don'ts.
But I'm definitely not taking this up as a profession.
Here's the Wall-E cake for AJ's birthday tomorrow.

ps - Auntie Jen, don't freak about the colours, it's special concentrated professional colouring, not cups of food colouring.

Right at the beginning after we laid the fondant down on the cake.
(which was a piece of cake, hee hee)

Some 'filling in' pics.

The finished cake. I made the gray icing a little too dark. That Wall-E icing colouring is way powerful stuff.

Here's a brighter pic of the finished cake.

Here's the BIG mess.
(yes I buy my icing to save time and then add vanilla, icing sugar, and colouring)