Monday, January 25, 2010

My Boys

Dexter is two years old now.
As of January 15th, 2010, my 'baby' is not such a baby anymore.
This picture was, of course, not taken by me. It's too awesome for that. Thank you to Auntie Erica for taking some great shots of my 'big boy', relieving me from the arduous task (is that the right word) of going to a portrait studio.
*Erica would probably appreciate me mentioning that the above pic and the other from the series of pics of Rya and Dex are straight off her camera. I think they're excellent as is, but she also does amazing things with editing. She said I could pick a couple faves with which she could work her magic and I can frame! :)

So, I said I would update about the boys, and I haven't. So now, I will.

I guess I'll start with some pics and then get into the details.

Here are a little series of pics that Erica took of Dexter and Rya. Rya will be two in February! They are only 4 weeks apart.

This is why Erica and I get asked if they're twins all the time.

Aren't they cute? Thanks, Erica!
And thank you also, to you, Erica, for taking me to see "Mom's the Word". I cried due to laughing so hard.

January 15th !
As a child, I can remember always waking up the day of my birthday to streamers hung in the kitchen. They would stay up for my famil- birthday-party and my friend-birthday-party. So, I have made it a continued tradition to put up streamers for my boys' birthdays for when they wake up in the morning on their special day!

Dexter got to open his birthday gift from us too.
From Mommy: Two books
From Daddy: Buzz Lightyear figurine
From AJ: A Disney/Pixar big rig from the movie "Cars"

On Dexter's special day, we woke as usual, got ready for the day, as usual, and then headed for a playdate at JJ's Playzone with Auntie Erica, Jack, and Rya. After lunch and nap and a playground, I think, Daddy met us for a birthday dinner at McDonald's for Dexy.

After dinner......

Birthday Gelato!
That pic was taken on my phone. Hence the fuzziness. But, we still captured the moment. I wish you could really see the ice cream all over the boys' faces.

The Robot Cake

Dexter's really been into robots since Christmas or earlier, so a 'robot birthday' it would be. Later in the week, Richard and I made the fondant for Dexter's birthday cake. On the Saturday, and Saturday night, AJ helped me bake the four cakes, the two batches of Rice Krispie Squares, colour the fondant, and create the cake.

Here we are:

Thanks to all the sugar, AJ was up until about 11pm that night. Okay, okay... also because I was so wrapped up in finishing the cake, I kind of forgot to put him to bed. He was behaving so well, he slipped under my radar!

Here is what we created together:

Here are some of the themed details I got ready that day.

Robot Smarties boxes.
Robot themed treat signs:
Fuel Cells = cheesies (were supposed to memory cells, but I forgot that) *
Computer Chips = potato chips *
Nuts and Bolts = nuts and bolts *
Machine Oil = drink boxes *
Batteries = pop cans for the moms and dads
Livewires = those filled fruity gummy licorice types things
Organic Waste = veggies and dip - Daddy thought of that one.
Celebratory Android = the cake
Bearings - mandarin oranges

I always love to do themes. It's so silly since the kids can't even read those signs anyhow. Oh well.

*ideas from here

The Birthday Party

On the Sunday (24th), we headed to JJ's Playzone for a great birthday party with Dexter's buddies and their older siblings. Jack and Rya, Makenna Emerson and Jaxon, Josiah and Madisyn, and of course, AJ.

First they played.

Then Dexter spotted the cheesies and spent the next 15 minutes just sitting there attempting to eat the entire pile. Can you guess that he doesn't get Cheesies very often?

After a good 45 minutes or more, we did cake time and gifts.

Dexter is sporting a little robot t-shirt I drew for him. I unintentionally have started a tradition for Dexter that I actually didn't do for my first born child. Can you believe it? Dexter had a mommy-made birthday t-shirt with his name, age, and birthdate for his 1st birthday and then again for his 2nd. AJ has never received this little treat. Shocking.

The party went smoothly, Dexter had a blast. I really couldn't have asked for a more perfect day. It was just really wonderful. Couldn't have enjoyed it as much without my fabulous husband doing all of the packing and unpacking, as usual. Thanks Richard! And thanks everyone who came to the party and/or wished Dexter well for his 2nd birthday! He was very excited!

New Year's.
Totally unrelated to the birthday, here are two more pics (stolen from Erica) from New Year's.


These pics are just a funny night at the dinner table.

By the way. I do not highly recommend letting your two year old watch tv while he's eating dinner. Surprisingly, he doesn't focus on his food.....

About the Boys!
(Baby book kind of stuff)


Here he is singing into his tape recorder, one of his favourite pastimes.

Gee, it's really hard to talk about Dexter's vocabulary. In one respect, I'd like to type that I can't keep track of how many words he knows how to say anymore because he's 'talking', and I'd be telling you the truth. He talks. He names everything he sees, pretty much, accurately. The problem is, 99% of the population wouldn't be able to understand what he's saying. I'm getting better at deciphering his language though.

I've realized that he says the 'y' sound for 'r'.
For instance:
door = doy
granola bar = gyee buy
colours = kuye

He really still calls AJ, DeeJee. There was a short spell a while back where he seemed to be calling AJ, day-jay, and then A.J., but deejee is very much his favourite way to say it.

he says 'ee' for 'y'
boy = buyee

Most words are just unfinished. Like Buh = Book. tuh = truck. Tayees = Thomas. Things like that. Doh = window. So if he's in the car and AJ has rolled down his own window and now Dex would like me to roll his down too, he'll say,
"Maam, doh dow peece"
"Mom, window down please."

orange = oweej
robot = bot
hugs = hug
kiss = ki
yoghurt = goyay

The positive side here is that he's getting better each week and the drool spot on his shirt is pretty much gone all the time. And, most importantly, he's not afraid to attempt to talk. He's not apprehensive. He's not nervous.

He has some phrases too, like:
Here it is.
Here you go.
There you go.
I did it!
You did it! YAY!

I haven't taken him to the doctor yet. Things have been way too busy. I've got to remember to do that in February.

Sweet things about Dex:
He's a hugger and a lip-kisser. I'm am bombarded with kisses and hugs all day. He's still super happy. Laughing all the time. He's a climber extraordinaire, and much to my dismay, he has almost mastered the 'fireman pole' at one of our favourite playgrounds. He'll lean out, put both hands on the pole, and then yell for me to help him get his legs onto the pole. Just about have a heart attack every time. He's really trying to talk a lot. He's trying really hard to stay close to me in stores when I let him out of the stroller. Even though he's still a 'darter', as long as I don't chase him, I can usually get him to return to me without having to resort to going after him. He tries so hard to count and sing the ABC's. He just loves to sing songs. He comes in every so often to finish off a verse or a line. He loves the music class CD's in the car and loves to sing to them. He however, hates 'mommy music' which is usually hip hop/R&B. Darn. So sad about that.
I've written in my very vague notes here something about Dexter climbing out of bed. I couldn't figure out what it was about, until I realized that I haven't truly done a baby book entry in over two months, I think. So, I think what I wanted to write was that, Dexter is no longer apprehensive about climbing out of his loft bed. He could do it by himself already, but never did. I think he knew it wasn't a safe idea. But now, he just climbs out whenever. However, 'whenever' is wonderfully, not in the morning when he wakes up. But it wouldn't matter anyhow, because he still does not realize that he could open the door himself if he wanted. Phew! Thank goodness for old fashioned knobs that aren't those lever-style ones.
Dexter is 30.5 lbs

Not So Sweet Things About Dexter:
We're working out the 'hitting' situation still. I never had to deal with that with AJ, but with Dexter, I am. He's getting better. There's no question that he knows it's wrong. As I haul him off to the 'naughty spot' every time he hits, he's yelling, "Sorry AJ! Sorry! Sorry!" Which sounds more like "sawee deejee! sawee! sahee!" He also likes to pretend EVERYTHING is a gun. Seriously, everything. ARG.

31.5 lbs - still a long way from a booster seat :(

Lots to say about AJ. He's been coming up with some cute phrases over the past couple months.

1. After telling me that a cloud looked like a baby riding a snowboard: "Hey Mom, all the clouds look like things from down here on Earth."

2. As his friend Landon was leaving from a playdate at our house: "Thanks for coming to play with me. I'm happy and sad. I'm happy that you played with me, but I'm sad that you're going home now. I want to play more."

3. When AJ was going to go on the ferry with Richard just before Christmas, he asked if he needed to bring his bathing suit to swim if he jumped off the ferry. I obviously told him that he should never jump off the ferry. He asked why. I explained that for one, he couldn't swim all by himself yet. Two, the water was way too cold. He said, "That's okay. If I fall in the water, I'll just do this with my hands (dog paddle motion) and I'll come back up to the top of the water." I said, that would be a good thing to practice at swimming lessons. He said, "When I get to swimming lessons, I'm going to jump in for the teacher and then do this to get to the top." Knowing that this is not something that AJ would ever do, let alone on the first day of lessons, I said, "If you do that, I will take you to the store and buy you whatever Transformer you want for being so brave." I somewhat forgot about this conversation, and on the first day of lessons, as I walked him over to his new instructor, AJ says, out of the blue, "Mom, mom! I meant when I was 16." I was baffled, and said, "What? What are you talking about?" He said, "I'm not going to jump in the water and get to the top until I'm 16."
You see, my brother is 16. So, everything cool is going to happen when AJ is 16. Evidently, this is the same for Jack too. AJ has told me that he will learn to tie his shoes when he is 16. I'm hoping that one happens earlier, personally.

4. One of my favourite: "Friends make the world change." I have no idea what it means, but doesn't it sound beautiful?

5. The other day, I was asking Jack and AJ what they wanted to be when they grew up. Jack said he wanted to be a firefighter and work at the firestation just down the road from him. AJ said he wanted to be a computer guy like his dad. However, today, in the car with Jen, Jack, Makenna, and AJ on the way to a birthday party, when asked by Jen and I what he would like to be, AJ said, "I want to be a sign with arms and legs and face and ..." This list went on and on to include unpleasantries such as boogies too.

AJ has set his career goals high.

I'm so proud.

Shakes = AKA Shakespeare

Shakes has finally discovered that AJ is another person that he can cuddle with. He's still frightened of Dexter, as are all the cats. But, he loves to lay with AJ. AJ is very pleased with this.

AJ's Reading and Stuff
-He was already counting by 10s to 100 before, but now he can do it without me starting him off at 10 and he no longer melds the words 90 and 100 into 900 anymore.
-He can count by 5's to 100 and beyond. He gets the pattern and he just keeps going, as long as you say the first one, such as 105. He'll continue with 110, 115, etc. The other day he kept going to 300, but that was with he and I alternate counting. Like I would say the 10s and he would say the 5s. Still though, I was pretty excited for him. Good job, little guy.
-You may wonder why he can count by 5's and 10's. It's just part of bedtime routine. It's a clapping game we do. After bedtime stories, we do the rest of our routine, which AJ calls,
"Let's do 5s, 10s, 3 flips, and 3 throws."
So we do. Then up to bed he goes. He usually takes books up to his bed with his reading light, and if you hang out by his door, you can hear him reading his books.
-Reading - better and better all the time. He's keen to keep getting better. He truly loves that he can read stories to himself. Dr. Suess, old fashioned 'primers' and such. And, funnily enough, he finds the stories amusing. He was reading, for the first time tonight, one of my first readers as a child "A Duck is a Duck". I seem to recall it from grade one and doing the horrible 'board work' that went along with it. He was laughing at Lad the dog trying to stop the ducks from stealing the kids' lunches.

AJ's Attitude
AJ's been really great. He's not a perfect angel or anything. Sure he stops his feet and tells me when he's angry with a choice I've made, but overall, he's been really great.
I implemented a 'chore chart' (more like his daily routine) for him to take some accountability for and he is just loving it. I really feel like it's changed not only, him, buy me too. Especially for the morning routine to get out the door. It's never been horrible to get ready in the morning, but this just makes it easier. Here's the system if you're interested.

AJ and Dexter
Here are the boys playing in a box together. The box was a bus. Maybe it was going to Boston, right Grannie and Elva?

They love playing together, and other times, not so much. Well, Dexter always wants to play with AJ, but sometimes, AJ just wants to do big kid stuff without Dexter 'in the way'. I'm working on trying to remind AJ that Dexter learns things from him. Things like how to be a good brother. How to share. So often, when Dexter is upsetting AJ, it's usually some behaviour that Dex learned from AJ. For instance, when Dexter sees AJ come out of his room in the morning, Dexter will dart for AJ's 'favourite place' on the couch to beat him there and steal his seat. Ah, payback's a _________.

Thank yous

A thank you to Kim who watched the boys when she came to visit while I ran out to Costco, alone. Ahhhhh.

A thank you to Erica who took me to Mom's the Word and watched the boys while I went to the gym the other morning.

A thank you to Jen for bringing me a coffee at lunch at work and for watching my kids tomorrow while Richard and I go to a baby shower that runs right through Dexy's naptime. It just wouldn't be fair to drag him to the baby-shower. Not fair to me. Not fair to him. Not fair to anyone. lol.

A thank you to everyone who helped us celebrate Dexter's second birthday. AJ's birthday is in March. He would like a "Rescue Hero birthday with a fire truck cake."

Friday, January 01, 2010


Wow do I feel badly for not updating. It is over a month since I updated. Richard's mom hasn't seen the boys for Christmas yet and is probably dying to see what their Christmas was like. The boys are excited to see her soon!!! And Papa, of course too!

Once again, it's good, in a way, that I haven't kept up, or you would be having to read about 10 full posts all about every single little thing we did every day. I think this is dated when I started uploading the pictures, but truly, I'm just posting it right now on January 10th.

I definitely haven't been keeping track well, but there are some things to fill you in on.

Can I just sum up most of it by saying that we had a perfect Christmas, surrounded by loved ones, watching our boys have an exciting day, and all the special nights and days before it were just as special. Decorating the tree, a special tree decorating night at my mom's, christmas lights, snow, getting Christmas cards, Christmas treats, etc. It was all wonderful. Christmas dinner was amazing as always.

And of course, so many people helping to make sure our Christmas was a special as possible. I'll include some thank you's later which are WAY overdue.

Here we go:

So, it used to be that we'd pack up all of our stuff, head to my mom's on Christmas Eve, spend the night, stay for Christmas dinner, pack up, head home, packup, and head to the Island on Boxing Day to see Richard's parents' place, and then on the way home from the Island, visit my Dad for Christmas.

But now, we have two kids. It's really exhausting to do all that.

I think this was our third year that we decided not to leave Boxing Day. It was really great to stay at mom's for two nights which meant Christmas Day was just a day to enjoy and relax. It also meant that the boys got to stay in one place and play with their toys all day, rather than being 'ripped away from them' as I remember all to well, and I'm sure many of you do too, to be whisked away to visiting relatives and Christmas Dinner.

Here is the tree stocked with many presents once we had unloaded at my mom's place on Christmas Eve:

Some treats left out for Santa and his reindeer.

Dexter and AJ opening their annual Christmas Eve gift of new winter jammies.
(they say "Handsome Like Daddy")

Hey! A smile for a picture! YAY!

A glimpse of what Santa left for AJ and Dexter before the boys have seen it.
Santa left a note for AJ in one of the rescue hero's hands that reads, "To AJ Love Santa". He talked about this note all day and showed it to everyone who would come see. So sweet.

Christmas morning...
AJ comes out to see the slew of Rescue Heroes (about 32 or so) and the air craft carrier that Santa left all set up for him and the train track that Santa left for Dexter all set up as well!!!
He's a little stunned!

Santa, being the very intelligent person he is, decided to set up the boys' gifts behind the couch so the boys' toys could be played with all day out of the way of the rest of the Christmas-going-ons.

They were so excited. Mostly, about AJ's gift, but I knew that Dexter would appreciate his Santa gift once it was home under his loft bed for him to enjoy whenever he wanted. Which is true.

Here is the 'spread' first thing in the morning. Those two giant stockings on the couch were for AJ and Dexter from Mommy (and Daddy, of course). A very wonderful lady, Noami, taught me to do crazy awesome filled amazingly way over the top stockings. What this creates (when the kids are older) is something to keep the kids busy when they start waking at 5am or 6am wanting to eagerly start opening gifts, but you don't want to have to get out of bed yet. Not sure if that was Naomi's intention, but that's how I've read into it.

So, while everyone else is dragging themselves out of bed, and getting drinks, and comfy, and washing faces so as to look presentable in Christmas morning pictures, I can tell the boys to go ahead and open any of their stocking gifts. AJ was excited to do so, but Dexter was a replay of AJ the past couple years, where he just wants to play with the stuff he's already opened, or the boxes, or the wrapping, and not have to open anymore gifts. I made the mistake of putting nerf style swords in their stockings. This was the first gift Dexter opened. I seriously didn't need to get him anything else. That was all he needed. And... all he wanted.

He changed his mind later and did appreciate the many gifts he received!

Mommy and Daddy's gift to AJ was a carrying case for his Leapster2 and 6 games for it. He was excited to finally have a game to pop in the top. It's one of those toys that often gets forgotten, but when you bring it out, the eyes light up, and it's new and exciting again. Now, with the new games, it's even more exciting. He calls it his DS, just like Daddy's. I'm sure they looked like quite a cute pair on the ferry to go see Grannie and Papa the week or so before, just the two of them!

Here is Dexter sitting in a 'boat' which is actually Paul's sled, and of course, using his new drill as a gun. Everything's a gun.

This is Christmas night. After Christmas dinner, there was a lot of Wii playing. Especially The New Super Mario. We brought over our controllers so that 4 people could play at once. Big fun.

Daddy and Dexter.
Look at that serious face.

Kim and Paul being silly.

A little picture of the Santa and Mrs. Claus my mom made years ago when I was a kid. I love these.

I want them, very much. I tried to steal them, but evidently, they hold memories for my sister and brother too. Sniff sniff.

Speaking of Christmas decorations. AJ was so excited to help me put them up. Forget about the toy aisles at any store. He could spend hours just looking at and pointing out decorations.

When it was time to undecorate the living room at our house, he was really sad that everything was getting boxed up. So much so, that he asked to have a Santa themed birthday party (which I thwarted).

Here was a nice trip to the zoo on a crisp winter morning.

That's right, he's on 'the naughty spot'.

This is Makenna, posing.

Dexter looking at the wallabies.

Here's a day that Jen was over with kids.

Dexter ready to venture out in snow pants for the first time of this season.

Here's my boy who didn't care for pizza.
Evidently, he changed his mind on that.

Daddy and the boys watching a new movie soon after Daddy's had come home from staying at the Cancer Lodge at the beginning of December.

The boys enjoying a 'movie lunch' amidst the Christmas decor.

Some Dexter shots....

Me trying to push his nap just a little bit later, to no avail.

The boys having fun with a box. The most fun toy in the world.

I think this was the night we were heading for New Year's Eve at Auntie Erica's house. Which was a very fun night!!!

In fact, here is a look at New Year's Couples' Night. This is Erica, Ryan, and I, the first year, bringing in the year 2000, and here we are 10 years later, not looking a day older, of course... right? Right!

This little diddy was something Erica cooked up, of course, as only Erica can. There was an incident with her closet that evening, that involved the closet coming down to the floor. Ryan, Erica, and I, re-enacted a much more interesting version, of how that went down.

Here is Dexter enjoying his train track, as I told you he would under his bed.

Here's Dexter eating naked.

Here is AJ checking out/trying to read (but it's a little above his reading level) a really cool Spiderman book from Auntie Brenda that came with a movie projector. It's really cool.

I moved AJ's easel upstairs so that it would see more use and so to make more room for the Rescue Heroes stuff downstairs.

Here's a little something I wrote on New Year's Day when I was trying to update the blog:

Richard's was really spoiling me over the Christmas holidays, often getting up with the boys in the morning and getting them started on their breakfast while I sleep in a little. Granted, the boys have been sleeping in more and more lately. I would say that Dexter's average waking time has been about 7:30am and AJ's probably closer to 8:30/9:00am. Nice. He says that once he's up, he can't fall back asleep, but I think he's just being nice to me.

This morning? After getting home at 3:30am from a great New Year's Eve at Erica's, I got up with Dexter at 7:40am. I sat out with him on the couch for about 20 minutes or more. When heading back down the hall, I noticed that Richard was up and about. This was great, as I had a wee headache that I wanted to nip in the bud (no doubt due to downing many honey roasted peanuts). So, he headed out with Dexter. I hopped back into bed and slept in until 11am! Whoa!!! Thanks Richard.

Some really big thank yous:

Everyone - Firstly, and obviously, thank you to everyone who helped make Christmas so special. Whether it was a card, or 'a little something' to help us along the way, or 'a not so little something' to help us along the way, or gifts for the boys, or visits, or a phone call, and just sending your love vibes and prayers and whatever else you have all been doing to make sure that Richard was home, alive, well, and reasonably unstressed for the Christmas holidays. It was just wonderful.

Erica - For the wonderful Christmas party that took time out to give thanks for all of our cancer survivors at the party, of which, there were three, I think.

Aunties, Grandmas, Grandpas, Uncles and Cousins (you know who you are) - There were gifts for the boys, money, these really awesome "Christmas pillows" from Richard's Aunt Elaine, cards, gift cards, and wow, just lots of love.

Non-Relatives - Once again we were slapped in the face with amazement at the love that has been bestowed upon us by people who we don't see often or have never met, and aren't even relatives! Norma's friend, Lola sent us a beautiful card and some Christmas 'cheer' shall we say, and my friend Darlene's family put together a beautiful Christmas gift basket and Christmas tree decorated with gift cards and fun stuff. Richard and I just finished enjoying a lunch date on Thursday courtesy of that thoughtful gift!

Once again, just overwhelming. It was definitely a 'choke back the tears' kind of Christmas.

I still have lots to say about the boys and what they've been up to in a sort of 'baby book' update kind of way. I'll save that for the next post and get some more pictures.

For now, that was our Christmas.