Sunday, July 31, 2011

Cars and Princess Party - CHECK!

Today we had Jackson's 6th Birthday party (his birthday is actually tomorrow, August 1) at the Science Center of Iowa.  I was so relieved that the party went off without a hitch!  Everyone got a fun goodie bag that Daniel (dad) made, enjoyed a fun activity making homemade play dough, and a snack with our unique french fry bar... but the best part was the delicious cupcakes we got from Eat Me Drink Me Cupcakes (look for them on Facebook).  The cupcakes were S'mores and Orange Creamcicle with yo-yo's shaped like wheels (for Cars) and giant diamond rings (for Princesses) on top. They were sooooo yummy!!  Plus, we got a new refrigerator today... it was like the biggest, coolest, bestest birthday present ever!  :-)  Thanks, Amanda!

As I mentioned before, the other day we went to the Build-A-Bear Workshop for Jackson to build a stuffed animal for his birthday and while we were there we found this adorable hat for Peyton...

He's Daddy's Little Smurf (and yes, he's sleeping because otherwise that hat would not be on his head for long)!

And tonight I will end my post with a little joke for you that a friend of mine posted on Facebook.  I'm sure we can all appreciate (and wished we had) this onsie!

LOL!  Hope you laughed as hard as I did!  

Friday, July 29, 2011

Another Tooth Bites The Dust!

Jackson came running up to me this morning when I finally got out of bed and told me that he lost another tooth!  "The Tooth Fairy is going to bring me another $.50," he said.  I just laughed and agreed with him.

Jackson has been lying a lot the last few days even after being obviously caught doing the wrong thing.  For example, this morning we caught him sneaking around in our bedroom (which is in the basement) clearly looking for his birthday presents.  When we asked him what he was doing he quickly said nothing and that he was just hiding on the floor and waiting to wake us up at the right time.  LOL.  A few hours later he told Daniel (Dad) that Gizmo had gone potty on the floor in the basement by the back door.  The only way Jackson could have known that was if he was walking (snooping) around in the basement.  Anyway, 10 minutes and a time out later Jackson finally admitted that he was "looking" for birthday presents in the basement.  I think it's the fact that he's just turning 6 and he's already being super sneaky!  UGH!  What are the teenage years going to be like for us??

Mamaw and Grandpa Kyle arrived in town yesterday for Jackson's birthday weekend and today we went to Jordan Creek Mall with them for the kids to play in the play area and do our annual Build-A-Bear with Jackson for his birthday.  We really wanted to build a Smurf with the new movie starting today but they were completely sold out of them and not getting anymore in until November!  :-(  I know that Daniel and I were more upset about it then Jackson was who decided to build a Hello Kitty doll instead and named her Furry Pinky!  Great name, huh?

Anyway, after dinner at the Cheesecake Factory we got home only to discover that the refrigerator was no longer keeping things cold and everything in the freezer had melted.  Daniel and I had just got to the store this morning!  Isn't that how it always works???

We are planning to attend the Italian Festival tomorrow in downtown Des Moines.  I haven't been to that since I was a kid and I'm quite excited to take the boys and experience a little bit on my heritage with them!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Hot Enough For Ya?

Today we took Jackson and Peyton to a park just down the road from our house because they have a nice kiddie pool and sprinkler area for the kids to run around.  There were tons of people there playing in the water and as Jackson took off in the water and Peyton, Daniel, and I sat down, I started to melt and so did this truck that pulled up next to us...

OK, so the truck really wasn't there but it was pretty darn hot outside and it probably would have melted if it was there!  We didn't stay long and once we got back home we all dropped in the living room under the ceiling fan.  How did anyone ever live before air conditioning? 

This Sunday we are having Jackson's 6th birthday party.  I can't wait!  :-)  More details and pictures coming soon!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Just Call Me Mama!

One of the reasons that our family made the move from North Carolina to Iowa last fall was because in 2009 Daniel and I were legally married in Iowa.  It was difficult to go back home to a state (North Carolina) that did not recognize our marriage and even more difficult when we adopted our children and only one of us could be on their birth certificates.  However, since we are married in Iowa, we could do another adoption in Iowa after living here for 6 months and the kid's birth certificates would then have to be reissued listing both of us as their parents. 

So early last month we went into court with our lawyer and after being grilled on the stand, we walked out of the court house with adoption decrees in hand for both boys listing both of us as their legal parents.  The next step was getting the new birth certificates... Jackson was born originally in Kansas and that state very quickly and easily reissued his birth certificate listing me as Parent 1 and Daniel as Parent 2.  Not so easy though in North Carolina where Peyton was born.  Today we learned that NC does not have a "Parent-Parent" birth certificate and because of that they will list Daniel as the father and me as the mother.  LMAO!  I guess they are at least putting both of us on the birth certificate, but that's just dumb!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hey Big Spender!

Today we ventured out of the house for a trip to Costco for diapers and to Super Target for a few other things.  Jackson asked if he could bring his new wallet that holds all the quarters that he's been getting for doing chores and such around the house (plus that tooth fairy money) so he could get something.  We thought the dollar isle would be a great place for him to "shop."  After about 5 minutes of looking at everything in the dollar isles, he decided that he didn't want anything until we got to the checkout lane. So after some careful selection, Jackson put his ring pop up on the conveyor belt and was very excited when the cashier said, "That will be $0.60, please!"  With Dad's guidance, he dug out 3 quarters and gave them to her and she returned $0.15 to him with his receipt.  He was so excited to get some change back including a nickel!  Ah, if only his excitement with small change would last forever!  :-)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Tooth Fairy Cometh!

Last night was a big night at our house as Jackson's bottom front tooth (which has been loose for over a month) FINALLY came out!  He was so excited to show me the big hole in his mouth!

This morning when he woke up he could not wait to see if the Tooth Fairy came.  Of course she did and left two shiny quarters!  Now my little chatter box is so excited to have two quarters that he can't stop talking about it.  He's even told me about the Tooth Fairy bringing him two quarters three times already and I was there when he got up.  LOL. 

Peyton has been a busy boy over the last few days!  He is finally starting to sit up on his knees and is about to figure out that crawling will be faster if he is up on his knees instead of doing his little watermelon crawl moves.  LOL.  This past Friday night I was in the kitchen cooking dinner when I heard Jackson say, "You are doing such a good job of standing, Peyton!"  When I came back to the living room, there was Peyton who pulled himself up on the side of the chair.  I quickly got a picture and I'm glad I did cuz he hasn't done it since!!  LOL.  Hopefully he will try that again here real soon.

For the last several days I have not felt well.  I woke up Thursday morning with a temp of 101.3 and it continued to go up and down until finally on Saturday morning I went to the walk-in clinic in Urbandale.  I used to work at that clinic years ago when Daniel was still in vet school.  Boy, that place sure has changed a lot and it was impressive to me that because I go to another Iowa Health System clinic that they could just pull up my records right their at a different clinic!  :-)  Anyway, after spending about two hours at the clinic, they told me that I had early pneumonia!  The funny part is that I only had a fever, no cough or congestion, so I would have never thought pneumonia.  So now I'm taking an antibiotic that makes me nauseous and still have a mild-fever and it's Tuesday.  :-( 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Christmas in July?

Yesterday when I woke up I felt horrible.  Daniel was stuck in Denver for an extra night and the thought of getting up, let alone taking care of the kids with no help, was too much for me to handle.  Somehow I got out of bed and got Jackson ready and my mom (Nana) came over and took him to camp for me.  Bless her!  As the morning progressed, I started to feel a little better and was excited to hear about Jackson's camp when he returned at noon.  The camp is called "All Around The World" and each day they learn about a different country.  Yesterday, he learned about China and decorated a crown for Chinese New Year.  Shortly after he got home, he asked if he could go in the backyard and play on the swing set and I said that was fine.

Whenever Jackson is playing in the backyard, I periodically check on him through the kitchen window to see if he is OK.  At one point when I looked out the window I cracked up.  He was sunbathing on the slide (see picture below).

Later that afternoon I really wanted to take a nap when Peyton passed out for his.  Since we started Jackson on his ADHD meds, he hasn't been taking a nap at all.  So I turned on some cartoons and told him that I was going to lay down for a while and he could watch TV.  Shortly after I climbed into bed, there was Jackson climbing in bed with me wanting to take a nap too.  So we cuddled in bed for a while as he kept tossing and turning and breathing hard when I finally said, "Jackson, please stop moving because you keep waking me up."  To which he replied, "I can't help it Daddy, this is how I fall asleep!"  LOL.  The kid has an answer for everything. Maybe he'll be a politician when he grows up!  Anyway, a few minutes later he asked if he could get up to go watch cartoons again.  I laughed and said that was fine.  It was still sweet of him to want to try and sleep with me for while.

As I close this entry, I thought it would be fun to share a video we took of Jackson this past Christmas at Mamaw's house.  He was debuting his song, "Christmas, Everyday" along with an interpretive dance.  It's very cute!  Enjoy!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Am I There Yet?

Hi folks....Daniel here doing a quickie guest blog entry for my dear hubby :)

So, as you've probably ascertained by now I travel quite a bit for work. Is it what I imagined I'd be doing when going through vet school? Nope. But it's a decent job, pays the bills, and allows me to essentially receive constant CE credits through my interactions with specialists and teaching adventures.

So sure, travel has its' perks....I get to see a lot of cool cities in the US (well, by "see" I mean I get to drive in a car and then work in a hotel at the end of the day after visiting a bunch of clinics as there really isn't much time for actual sight seeing). I get tons of frequent flyer miles, hotel points, and when I feel a little naughty, I grab a scoop of ice cream on the run :)

But sometimes it truly gets exhausting...I was in LA this week for work and was routed from LAX through DIA to get back home to Des Moines with intended arrival being midnight last night. Yes, last night. Thanks to the storms in Denver, my flight was late and I missed my connection....along with about a million other travelers in Denver. Being a bit snobbish about my Marriott status (yes, that's Premium Member thank you very much), I called around to secure a hotel for the night. Yeah, right. The closest I could find was about 35 miles from the airport and a $75 taxi ride (thank you expense reporting!). Being all glass half full, I checked online to see if my United status (oh yeah, I'm sooooo close to 1K now) would get me an early flight home Friday morning. No dice. So, here I am....nearly 24 hours later soon to board for home. Lucky me will get home at midnight and have enough time in the morning to do laundry and pack again to a drive to conference this weekend. I do have to give a shout-out to a pal of mine and former classmate who lives in the Denver area and was kind enough to pick me up and take me to the airport after getting lunch as my treat--thanks Mike!

While I am frustrated and annoyed by flight delays and mother nature keeping me from home I have to be thankful for what I have...a wonderful husband and two beautiful boys who give me laughter and love and whom I cherish every second I have with them. I have to give props to our age of technology where I can easily text, call, or FaceTime (love you iPad 2!) to keep myself connected to them, even if I may be stranded a thousand miles away. AJ's venture into the blogoverse (is that a word?) is also a great way for me to not only hear about the little moments of the day but also see them for myself.

I'm thinking of my boys constantly and can't wait to get home after every trip to see them. One day I'll be in a position where I won't need to travel any longer, but until then, I'll just have to keep trucking along until I get ice cream scoop at a time.

See you fellas in the, Dad :)

Would you stop doing that?!

As Peyton gets more and more mobile, I'm finding that he's getting into everything and I can't keep up.  I turned my back for a second earlier to pick up some of his toys and when I turned back to see what he was doing he had this book...

Yea, that is NOT my book.  It's Daniel's!  LOL.  Just made me laugh that this was the book he pulled out.  Perhaps he will have a real interest in knitting just like dad (Daniel). 

I haven't had much time to update on here because I have spent the last couple of days dealing with insurance issues on our old house in North Carolina (which has been on the market for 16 months now).  Ugh!  We got a notice in the mail that our insurance company was non-renewing our policy because they prefer to not insure policies on out of state residents and on vacant properties.  Gee, you're welcome for having us as loyal customers for the last 8 years.  Glad you appreciated it so much.  :-(  

Yesterday I was living the life of a soccer mom dropping Jackson off at camp and then running with Peyton to the Pediatrician's office to get a prescription and then off to Walgreen's to have that filled.  That took 2 hours!!  But the best part and what makes it all worthwhile was Jackson started back to his swimming lessons on Tuesday night (after a 2 week break) and he had a new teacher. For the past 8 months we have had Ms. Marcy as his teacher but now he has graduated to a new level and has a new teacher.  I'll be honest, that made me a little nervous wondering how he would react to the new teacher and how she would deal with him.  I'm happy to report that after the lesson the new teacher made a point to tell me that Jackson did a great job of listening and following directions!  That was the first real positive report that I have received from someone else that makes me feel that the ADHD meds are helping!  :-)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Peyton is on the move!

Check out this video I took last night of Peyton crawling...  Well, his version of the "Watermelon Crawl" at least!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Party Chaos! Crawling! Chores!

Jackson's 6th birthday is quickly approaching and I'm going crazy with the minor details of the party like the cupcakes, favor bags, and what we are getting for him.  Now I understand why all of those mom's were so crazy at the Children's Museum every weekend with every detail of their child's party.  It's maddening!  I've already screwed up on the invitation that went out last week and listed the party date as Saturday, July 31 (it should have said Sunday, July 31).  LOL. Oh well.  A party/event planner I am NOT!

Little Peyton is crawling EVERYWHERE now and I'm chasing after him every second it seems.  I need to go out and get another baby gate because of his favorite place to go...  Jackson's room!  Boy, does that tick off Jackson.  LOL.  Sibling Rivalry already?  Ugh!

Daniel and I rode our bikes yesterday with the boys following behind in the new tailor for about 6 miles.  OMG - that was hard!  Dragging an extra 75lbs behind you on a bike sure can kill the muscles in your legs!  I'm surprised I can walk today!  LOL. Before we left for our ride, I pulled some laundry out of the dryer and brought it upstairs and asked Jackson (who had been playing in his room for the last 2 hours) if he would come out and help me fold his clothes.  Can you guess the reaction I got?  LOL.  After all the crying and pouting had subsided he started to (unhappily) fold his clothes...

This morning as we were getting ready for another week of camp at the Y (this week the theme is All Around The World), Jackson told us that he had a great idea.  That he could do nothing but chores tomorrow and earn money for every chores he does so we can go out and buy him some dress-up clothes.  We told him that was a great idea and that we would start working on a list of things that he could help with around the house.  In the car on the way to the Y he said, "Daddy, you know what the bestest chores ever would be?"  To which I replied, "No, what is that?"  "It would be feeding and watering all of the plants and trees outside!  Don't you think that is a great idea?"  I laughed for a few seconds and said, "Well, honey, since God made it rain last night I think he's already taken care of that.  Dad and I will figure out chores you can do that are inside the house."  

I did some googling for some ideas on age appropriate chores and this is what I found...

4-7 year olds - "Help" is the important word at this age. Many of the chores will be done as a helper and slowly kids can graduate to doing them independently!
  • Set or help set the table
  • Put away toys/things*
  • Help feed pets
  • Water plants
  • Help make bed*
  • Dust
  • Put laundry in hamper*
  • Help put dishes in dishwasher
  • Water the garden
  • Help wipe up messes
  • Help with yard work
  • Help clear table
  • Help put away groceries
*We already do these as part of his daily routine.  Is it horrible that he makes his own bed and I don't help him?  I don't think it's bad for a 5 year old to know how to make his own bed without my help!  Just call me Joan Crawford I guess.  LOL.

Anyway, do any of you have other suggestions for chores that work well for your kids?  We told him we would give him a quarter for each chores he completes (to Daddy's satisfaction).

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Very Nice Visit!

For the last few days we have enjoyed a special visit from Jackson’s paternal grandparents. We went to the Science Center of Iowa one day to play and enjoyed eating out at a few local restaurants like The Old Spaghetti Works and Waveland CafĂ© while they were in town. I think both boys enjoyed spending time with Grandma and Grandpa just as much as they did with them!

Both Ken and Margaret have been excellent mentors to both Daniel and I as they adopted both of their children.  I can not tell you how helpful that has been to both of us throughout our journey to Jackson and Peyton!  Jackson has been very sad since they left to go back home yesterday and even drew this picture of his heart before and after Grandma and Grandpa left.

Last night we took the boys to Jordan Creek Mall to walk around for a bit just to get out of the house and ended up stopping at The Cheesecake Factory for dinner.  We love that place but I'm also SOOOO full when we leave!!  Anyway, a few weeks ago when Jackson was attending his Sensational Science Camp at the YMCA, he got a bug journal (collector box) to collect bugs in when he's outside.  Jackson cracks Daniel and I up with his love for grasshoppers and earthworms, but he's scared to death of bees, mosquitoes, and spiders.  As the girl took Daniel and Jackson to the table to be seated last night (I was in the restroom changing Peyton), Jackson climbed into the booth and then started screaming and got under the table and kept screaming as he flew across the room crying.  People were looking and Daniel and the hostess didn't know what happened.  Evidently, there was a "Granddaddy Long Legs" (spider) on the wall and only after Daniel killed it would Jackson sit down but only on his knees because there might be another spider under the table and he didn't want his leg dangling under it.  LMAO!  I'm thinking an outdoor job is not in this kids future!

Today, Dad (Daniel) needed to get some work done so we went to Blank Park Zoo with Aunt Heather, Judah, and Alexus.  Here is a cute picture (right) of Jackson as I was getting him ready to go by spraying him down with sunscreen.

Look at those little white legs!  LOL.  Maybe I should stop putting the sunscreen on his legs for a while to darken those up!  hehehe.  We had a good time at the zoo.  Today was the first day we increased Jackson's ADHD medicine to a higher dosage and I could really see a different in his listening and behavior!  :-)  Jackson and I have this running joke about me being the Daddy Bird and him being the Baby Bird (thanks to our friends Tabatha and Beau back in North Carolina) so this next picture (left) cracked me up when we saw this giant egg at the play area of the zoo. 

Tonight the boys are having a sleepover at Nana's while Dad and I have a date night and go see Transformers 3.  I can't wait!!

Monday, July 4, 2011

TGIH (Thank God I'm Home)!

We woke up late this morning and missed the continental breakfast at the hotel so we were forced to go eat at Panera Bread.  LOL.  If you know me, you know I LOVE me some Panera!  :-)  Anyway, after breakfast we went back to the hotel to get our things and load up the car.  After Daniel finished putting everything in the trunk (yeah, I admit it, I didn't help)... I asked Jackson if he was all buckled up and ready to go and he said, "Yep, and so is big and little bunny."  When I turned around to see what he meant, this is what I saw...

3 1/2 hours, one stop for gas, and a stop for lunch later we finally made it back to Des Moines!  You would think that after a long weekend away of running around we would just chill for the night and do nothing... but NO, we then went out for a bike ride and drug the boys along with us! 

My mom bought this cute little trailer for us!  We only rode about 6 miles because it was hot and the bugs were out like crazy!  I know I'm sweet, but c'mon!  I even pulled a bug out of my hair on the way home - YUCK!  Anyway, on the way back home we told Jackson that once we got home it would be dinner, a quick bath, and off to bed.  To our surprise he didn't resist or complain, but instead he said, "Yea, I really need to get my beauty sleep."  LMAO - now I do NOT say that regardless of what Daniel thinks.  That cracked me up!

Tomorrow Jackson's paternal grandparents, Ken and Margaret come to see us for the week.  We have not seen them (other then Skype) in about a year.  Jackson is very excited! 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Check Your Zipper, Lego Man!

We arrived in Minneapolis yesterday afternoon and after a quick stop at the hotel, we went to the Mall of America.  Jackson was so excited to see that they had an indoor amusement park that I think he was going to explode. After two times on the Fairly Odd Coaster, and once on the Log Chute and Orange Streak, we went to dinner at Kokomo's Island Cafe.  I cracked up when we were getting ready to leave and I stopped in the restroom.  On the way out, this was on the door...

LMAO!  I laughed and laughed!  Then we were off to Lego Land and Bath & Body Works before leaving the mall!  Hopefully we will make it back there later tonight!

This morning we went to the Minnesota Children's Museum.

Jackson and Peyton had a blast exploring all of their fun exhibits including the new traveling exhibit, Lego Castle Adventure.  We spent a least 45 minutes in that exhibit building castles!

Two years ago I attended a Children's Museum conference hosted by this Museum so I had been here before.  I couldn't wait to show the boys the bubble table, the ant hill, and toddler area.  Children's Museums really bring out the big kid in me!  ;-)

We might check out Planet Snoopy at ValleyFair before heading home tomorrow.  If not, that will have to be on our next trip to Minneapolis.  DEFINITELY, next time we come, we are going to the Water Park of America.  We drove by it on the way to the Mall of America.  The water tubes wrap around the outside of the building.  It looks AWESOME!

Friday, July 1, 2011

A Prince will love a really OLD Snow White look-a-like… NOT!

UPDATED:  Jackson's Princess Camp was featured in the Des Moines Register online (

Princess camp is wrapping up this morning for Jackson and it really has been a lot of fun for him (and me).  Yesterday all of the campers got manicures and pedicures and I snuck in just in time to catch Jackson finishing up his morning of pampering.

Today we had to put on our swimming clothes underneath our Knights costume because at lunchtime the kids are running through a large inflatable water thing…

...but before that the campers are getting their hair done and a little makeover to make them all beautiful for the arrival of a surprise guest.  When I arrived Jackson was having some eye makeup applied so his eyes were closed.  So I snuck in and started taking pictures of his makeover when he finally opened his eyes and saw me and said, “Oh, Daddy, WHAT are you doing HERE!?  You need to leave NOW!”  Bless his heart, he was embarrassed that I was there seeing his makeover.  As I told him, I would see the makeup on his face when I picked him up after camp was over so it didn't matter.  LOL.  Finally, after telling him that I thought he looked really handsome with his makeup and him repeatedly telling me, “I know,” he seemed fine with me being there but I needed to leave right after their BIG surprise. 

Anyway, Jackson LOVES Sleeping Beauty (his absolute favorite princess) but both times we have been to Disney World he has had a little love affair with Snow White as she has ooh-ed and ahh-ed all over him both times.  So I really wanted to be there to see his face when Snow White showed up as a surprise guest at the camp.  When Snow White walked in with her walker and oxygen tank (ok, it wasn’t that bad but she had a lot of gray hair), I really don’t think Jackson knew who she was.  LOL.  As she tried to engage the campers, I had to laugh as Jackson kept talking and talking and talking as if it were just him and Snow White’s Great-Great-Grandmother.  

Anyway, Peyton started to get a little fussy so I snuck out of the meeting with Snow Gray. I originally wanted a picture of Snow White with Jackson but was really disappointed with this look-a-like that I was kinda glad Peyton was fussy so we just left.  I can’t wait to pick up Jackson at noon and see all of the things he has made this week.  Next week is really going to be tough for him after having these past three weeks of fun summer camp each day!