Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween from Team USA!

Happy Halloween from Gabby Douglas and Michael Phelps!

I have been anticipating these costumes since August!!! And the cutest far succeeded my expectations.  It might be a stretch to say that we have a couple of future olympians on our hands as Jackson hates to have his face underwater and Belle has as much balance as a drunk frat boy. But who knows... maybe they will become quite the little athletes. 

We have plans to go to the Fall Festival at our church this evening and do a little Trick-or-Treating around our neighborhood. We've had to add some jackets and pants to these outfits because it's just not 85 degrees anymore like it was last week! We visited the library this morning. Belle got so enthusiastic about a tootsie roll that she ate the wrapper and everything because she couldn't wait for me to open it. Extra fiber, I guess!

Here's a breakdown of the costume cost:
  • biker shorts: $2 - clearance at Target
  • swim cap: $6 - ebay
  • medals: $2 - Dollar Tree ($1 per package of 8)
  • onesie: $1 - thrift store
  • gold paint: $1 - Wal-mart 

Total $12 for both! Not bad for some super cute costumes! Fortunately, we picked up the American Flags at the parade last week! Especially considering that the shorts will go into Belle's outfit for next summer and Jackson loves to pretend he's Michael Phelps. He's even worn the swim cap during nap time. Seems like we'll get our money's worth out of it!

oh! and the photos were taken by our wonderful photographer friend at Dani Gillihan Photography


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The final post of birthday shenanigans

Okay, here's the last post about Jackson's birthday. After his super hero birthday party on Saturday afternoon, we made our annual trip to Fritz's at Crown Center (the place where you call in your order and a train delivers it to you!). Chacey got to tag along and that was really special for him!

We had a family birthday party for Jackson on Sunday afternoon--which was his actual birthday. We had cake, ice cream, and of course, more presents.

Here's a quick run down of some of his presents that we (and family) got Jackson. He had some specific requests that he had been asking for, even PRAYING for, so we enlisted grandparents to fulfill his little boy desires. And boy, was it so much fun watching him open his presents. This year was fun to plan because it was almost like a graduation into big kid toys!

He opened Optimus Prime first. This is a "little kid" version of Transformers, so it's not too complicated. He really wanted to play with it, but he wanted to open other presents too, so he kept Optimus really close so he could watch. The Spiderman airplane was Jackson's first official request and to say he was thrilled when he opened it is a true understatement. After presents were done and it was time for cake, Jackson wasn't leaving these guys behind-- they had to join us too!

Daddy picked out a special Iron Man toy. He talks and shoots missiles. I'm not sure who likes the toy more-- Jackson or Daddy.

This was his "big gift". But I found it a few months ago online for a mere $15-- making it cheaper than most of his other gifts. Plus it came with a bunch of extras! 

The thing that Jackson actually prayed about was receiving the Cars 2 DVD. Great Grandpa made it happen and I really, really wish I would have been recording his reaction. He unwrapped it and squealed with delight and his voice got up in octaves that I didn't even know he had. It was so fun to watch!

Jackson also got some puzzles (we've done them all), games, a giant Super Hero Squad coloring book, a bubble machine, action figures, and even a Spiderman toothbrush (that he is very excited about!). He was totally spoiled! One friend gave Jackson a big box of wood scraps, wood glue, and some paint! It was the neatest thing.

He did receive a few items he already has, so we exchanged them and he picked out Bumble Bee and some more Batman action figures for his Bat Cave. Since that moment, Optimus and Bumble Bee have been with Jackson as all times. He even takes them to the bathroom "so they can watch." He always wants to take them with us when we leave, but I have convinced him that they are needed here at the house to keep the bad guys away. It's worked so far. 

But I noticed something today as we were getting ready to run an errand. The kids were in the car and I glanced over behind our flower bed to see Optimus Prime and Bumble Bee placed so perfectly to keep watch of our house. Jackson pulled the blinds a little and placed the Transformers behind a bench so they could see. 

If this attachment to Optimus Prime and Bumble Bee continues, I'm going to have to create some sort of acronym because it is getting ridiculous to type that out each time. 



Last year I did a survey right after Jackson turned 3. Now that he's 4, it's time to revisit the survey and learn about his favorite things right now!
{click on the photo to enlarge so you can read his responses}

You can probably tell that he was a little preoccupied with his new Optimus Prime and Bumble Bee toys. They watched us for the interview.

But this isn't a new love for Optimus and Bumble Bee just because he's excited about his new birthday presents. Before he had the "official" characters, these were Optimus Prime and Bumble Bee. And yes, he did sleep with these guys. 

  • His favorite animal being a tiger surprised me as he often pretends to be a dog and is known for sniffing, licking, and eating out of a bowl on the floor. I'm not even joking. 
  • The first five times that I asked Jackson what his favorite food/snack/drink-- he replied, "poop" every time and laughed ridiculously. 
  • Julie is his best friend. Every time he makes a pretend call with a play phone, he calls her to talk about his day.
  • When Jackson said that he loved only Daddy, he did add that "I even love myself." Eventually he came around to finding SOMETHING that he can appreciate about me. 
  • Jackson's favorite movies are not only Cars and Cars 2... he went on to say that Cars 3 and Cars 4 are his favorite even though I've tried to explain that those movies don't exist. Pixar, if you're reading this, please make a new Cars movie soon. 
  • VBS music-- oh yes. He got a CD of the songs from VBS this summer. He listens to it as he falls asleep and he listens to it while he plays. Every single day. And there are only 7 songs on the CD. I have heard each one about nine million times.
  • He wants to grow up to be a firefighter so he can be a helper. And then he wants to be a Daddy like Derek. This was like his answer last year too! I guess this means that Jackson thinks Derek is doing a pretty good job! :)

Papa Johne made us a measuring chart! It's not mounted to my wall yet, but fortunately my library checkouts and my textbooks measured to exactly 6 inches! I never noticed that Jackson was getting so tall! I looked up last years stats and marked them on the chart as well. He grew about 4-5 inches this year.

Jackson thinks he is really big stuff now that he's four. And he even knows he's growing up so fast. Today he said, "I'm starting not to be a kid anymore!" He's like four, going on 18 I guess!! Slow down buddy! :) 


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Jackson's SUPER 4th birthday!

Jackson turned FOUR today! This birthday came with much anticipation so this was a very exciting weekend-- just as birthdays should be! We celebrated with both friends and family. Most importantly, our boy received lots of special attention and was reminded of how special and loved he is!

Here's a glimpse of Jackson's SUPER 4th Birthday party!

First, here's our birthday boy!

Decorations and treats!

For an activity, we made capes! I had cut them out of old t-shirts! It was super easy to do ahead of time and my mom hemmed up the seams just to make it look nicer. We added a little velcro and it was ready for the kids to personalize. I cut the initials,  super hero shapes, and masks ahead of time. The kids then picked their favorites and made their capes!

And then the kids showed off their capes (and muscles) in front of the backdrop!

And a group photo! Once I snapped this pic, I forgot to take a group photo with their faces! Oops! :)

The kids enjoyed the treats next and then Jackson opened presents! I don't want to bombard this place with photos of all of his presents. Just think lots and lots of super hero items and you'll be pretty close.

Then we headed outside for some Super Hero training exercises. First, we helped our sidekick (a ball) with some flying lessons! And also, they practiced running really, really fast to not get caught underneath the parachute. 

Next, the kids armed themselves with silly string so they could save our city from the villain who made an appearance (okay, maybe I helped a bit too). 

Lastly, the kids worked on their own flying (jumping) skills in the bounce house!

This party was a TON of fun! It was fun to plan and it was fun to see his excitement through it all too. While I'm looking forward to all the fun birthday parties we have ahead, I'm glad we don't have another one coming up soon! Whew! 

I'll be back tomorrow with more stuff about his birthday and our family party!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Comics on the fridge

Our fridge is a cluttered mess of calendars, coupons, photos, and comics. Oh, and of course, an entire alphabet of magnetic letters and animals. The comics that we have had on our fridge were chosen (or given to us) because it was EXACTLY what our life was like at the moment. But as Jackson turns 4 this weekend, it's probably time to archive them into some baby books. 

This comic was from the week Jackson was born. As new parents of a baby that cried the better part of all night the first two nights we were home, I was already planning my revenge on his teenage years. 

And then this came out when Belle was an tiny baby too. Two bedtimes: a whole new adjustment. Some time it all goes super smooth, but other times-- a total circus. With Jackson, sometimes it's like
Bedtime: Take 492.

And then this one, it isn't an exact match to our family as we aren't doing soccer games and kid activities too much on Saturday mornings. This is pretty much Derek and I, every night. "Oh yes! Time to finally sleep!.... But oh wait. Not for long." And Belle has a 6th sense to wake up the moment I turn of my lamp. And the last line-- yeah, that's Jackson. 

I just noticed all of these are about sleep. Well, apparently we aren't the only sleep-deprived parents out there. 


Monday, October 22, 2012

Weekends should be longer

This past weekend was packed full of fun! Here's a quick recap:

We stopped by to visit Daddy at work on Friday!

The kids left thinking that work was just about the coolest thing ever.

I took the kiddos up to Trenton to visit family, friends and the Missouri Days festivities. The parade is always my favorite!

And we loved the patriotic theme this year! (and those flags are going to come in handy for halloween costumes next week!)

Jackson was super excited about his foot-long corndog.

And Belle was glad to help finish it off!

Don't let her cuteness deceive you. This was her at 4am earlier that morning. I felt the same way about being up with her for over an hour trying to keep her quiet and not wake the other guests staying at Hotel a la Gram Gram. We ended up on a 30 minute car ride until she was no longer a crying mess awake.

Both of my sisters were home for the weekend to celebrate Ashley's birthday! It's a good thing Laura crammed in between the two carseats before we ate fried chicken for lunch. 

Jackson really helped by winning a game of "cuties".

Now Monday has come and gone and we're back in full swing of normal life! We've been utilizing our free time preparing for a very special birthday coming up this weekend. Can you believe that this kid will be FOUR?!



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