Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Christmas Surprise

This year, instead of traveling back to North Carolina to spend time with Daniel's family, his mom and step dad came up to Des Moines to spend the holidays with us!  We did a lot of planning for this gathering including meal planning and special gift ideas.  One gift that Daniel and I gave to both of our mom's this year were special picture frames from grandma's and their grandchildren and as a bonus we made an appointment at our favorite portrait studio to have professional pictures done of the grandma's with the grand kids.

What do you think of the final results?

A.J. (Daddy) and his mom (Nana)

A.J. (Daddy) with Nana and both boys

Daniel (Dad) and his mom (Mamaw) and both boys

Daniel (Dad) and his mom (Mamaw)

Nana and the boys

Mamaw and the boys

The whole extended family!

Greed is the word...

Well, not really, but in this day and age of overwhelming toys and IPODS and video games, it seems that most kids are very greedy when it comes to getting everything that they want.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, Christmas morning, Jackson expressed some dissatisfaction with the number of gifts Santa left for him.  We follow a simple rule in our household.  Each child gets three gifts.  Why you ask...  because the baby Jesus received three gifts from the Three Wise Men so it seems only fair to us.  :-)  Anyway, in the living room, Jackson and Peyton appeared to only have two presents each from Santa and that could have been part of Jackson's disgust.  But I need to mention that there was also a note left by Santa on top of the empty plate where the cookies we had made earlier had laid the night before.  Here is a picture of Jackson during the decorating of the cookies (well, we decorated him a little, too)...

The note from Santa expressed his happiness that both boys had been pretty good this year and that Santa was interrupted during his visit to our house while leaving presents as one little boy (Jackson) was awake and got up to use the restroom.  Anyway, the end of the note said that a large present had been hidden somewhere in the house for both Jackson and Peyton and we needed to search for it.  So we quickly went on a hunt around the house for a large present.  We found it in the basement, a large box all wrapped.  Jackson quickly tore into the wrapping to discover a Deluxe Walk-In Play Kitchen!

It was a very nice Christmas for everyone as both boys got a ton of presents from us, Santa, all of the grandparents and their uncles.  :-)  Later that night, Daniel and I made a traditional Italian meal (at least in my family) for the four of us, Mamaw, Grandpa Kyle, Nana, Uncle Sam and Aunt Debbie.  It's a baked pasta dish with small meatballs, eggs, and tons of cheese.  Anyway, the best part of that was my Uncle Sam let me use the same dish Nannie (my grandmother) prepared this same meal in every Christmas for my family growing up.  :-)  We still have tons of food leftover! 

What's the worst part after Christmas is over???  Trying to get all of the toys your kids got out of the box!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Can you say, "GREEDY!"

The night before Christmas, we put both boys to bed on time, and hurried about our business and then hopped in bed ourselves!  In the morning when we all woke up, Jackson was SUPER excited (as expected) and quickly told us that he got up in the night to go potty and saw that Santa had ate all the cookies left out for him and, "He didn't leave me very much." 


LOL.  More details coming soon.  Just had to post that little bit now!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Stripper Strikes Back!

Do any of you watch Glee?  Did you see the recent episode where they brought back Sam and he was a male stripper?  You'll love this one...

A few weeks ago I told y'all how Peyton was stripping out of his clothes.  Now it has finally happened.  Yesterday when he woke up from nap, I walked into his room to find him in the crib NAKED (no diaper).  LOL.  It was the cutest, most hilarious sight!  He very sweetly stood up and handed me his (liquid filled dirty) diaper with a giggle.  I quickly picked him up and put him right into the tub.

Today, after we got home from Breakfast with Santa, dad put Peyton down for his nap as he was a little over stimulated from the event.  Not even 10 minutes later, dad went to check on the little one as he heard some giggling coming from the nursery and guess what?  EveryTHING was thrown out of the crib including the crib sheet that Peyton ripped off of the mattress.

I have a feeling it's gonna be a long, COLD winter for Peyton!  ;-)

Breakfast with Santa

Well, after the rocky start to the week with water down the heating vent and some lying, Jackson did still earn 8 stickers for the week on his new sticker chart.  So as a reward, we all went to a very special event at the Iowa Historical Building in downtown Des Moines. Breakfast with Santa

Although at first I was worried that we weren't going to make it because Peyton was up in the middle of the night with a horrible cough.  I hate the sound of a toddler coughing and just sick altogether.  I got up and put some baby rub on his chest and turned on his Vic's vaporizer.  Thankfully, he went right back to sleep but this morning when we got up was back to coughing and even spit up a little while eating a breakfast bar.  :-(

We decided to just go anyway and limit Peyton's solid food intake.  We were the very first ones to arrive at the breakfast held in Cafe Baratta's on the top floor of the Iowa Historical Building.  We had our very own table reserved for us at the front of the room right next to two chairs where Santa and Mrs. Claus would be sitting soon.  I could see that Jackson was super excited with not only our placement in the room, but just to be there!  I had to laugh when the waitress came up and gave Daniel and I water and then asked Jackson if he wanted some water.  He replied, "Ummmm, no, I like Sprite!"  LOL - that's our kid! Then the breakfast came out... scrambled eggs, bacon, a muffin, and fruit salad.  YUM!

It was a very good, BIG breakfast.  Peyton even had his own plate.  LOL.  After we finished eating, then Peyton started to throw everything of his off of the table (not at me this time) and we got up and walked around a bit waiting for Santa to come.  We made it back into the room just in time as the musician started singing 'Here Comes Santa Claus' and there he was at the door with Mrs. Claus.

Then it was story time with Mrs. Claus and all of the kids gathered in front of them to listen to the longest, most boring story I have ever heard...

When it was done, we all got up and went down to the main lobby of the building and had pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus in front of the Christmas tree.

Then it was off to the craft room to make some very special holiday crafts (a star ornament, Rudolph made from a brown bag, and a Santa plate face)...

And that was our fun morning with Santa.  What a great experience overall and I look forward to next year when Peyton will get more out of it!  ;-)

How do you keep a 1 year old away from the Christmas Tree and the presents?

Need I say more?  (I just realized that I never posted this picture... our Christmas tree is in jail!)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Why, Oh Why!?

If anyone ever thinks that the life of a stay-at-home daddy is boring, they are WRONG!

We started out this week (Monday) in the typical fashion getting up at 7 a.m. to get ready for the school day.  As I was stepping out of the shower, I could hear Jackson in the bathroom above me moving around.  Remember he has 5 things to do in the morning before going to breakfast...  going potty, washing his hands, brushing his teeth, making his bed, and getting dressed for the day.  Three of those tasks require him to be in the bathroom, so I thought nothing of it that there was movement above me.  As I was brushing my teeth, I suddenly heard this creeping noise, as those a door was opening very slowly.  The sound was coming from inside the walls of the bathroom.  I looked behind the door and listened closer and suddenly water started dripping, and then pouring out of the top of the door frame.  I thought the toilet upstairs must be over flowing and I ran upstairs.  When I got to the bathroom, Jackson was not in there and the room was fine with no water on the floor.  I called for Jackson.  No response.  I went to Jackson's room where he was standing on his bed making it.  I called him over to me and asked him to tell me what he did in the bathroom to which he quickly replied, "I didn't do anything!"  I took him into the bathroom and asked him again and he said, "I didn't do anything!" I told him that I knew he was lying and he started to cry.  So I grabbed his arm and pulled him down to the basement with me to see the water coming out of the door frame.  When we got down there and I started wiping it all up, I asked him again.  This time he replied differently with, "I don't want to tell you because you're going to be mad."  I, of course, was already mad and said for him to just tell me.  "I poured a glass of water down the vent."  Yes, he poured a glass of water down the heating vent in the upstairs bathroom which then came down through the walls and out the top of the door frame in the basement bathroom.

Now, question for all my readers...  do you think this little boy deserves a big, happy Christmas filled with lots of presents after this?  I understand curiosity BUT as a kid I would have NEVER thought to do something like this.  Luckily, I got everything cleaned up and there was no damage, but we rent this house.  We have talked to Jackson about this before that we are borrowing this house and we need to treat it very nicely.  Give me your thoughts in the comment section below...

Yesterday as Jackson was hopping into the van after school he said (as always), "I had a good day at school today, Daddy, and I ate all of my lunch."  We have had a lot of problems with Jackson not eating his lunch at school at all since he's been taking ADHD meds so I am constantly stressing the importance of eating even if he is not hungry.  Coincidentally, last night we also started a new 'Sticker Reward Chart System' in order to reward positive behaviors (Daniel and I feel like we always focus on negative behavior - because quite frankly, there is a lot of bad behavior), anyway, with this new system Jackson can get up to 5 stickers per day and at the end of the week based on the number of stickers he has earned he will get to do something fun as a reward on the weekend like a Family Game Night, going out for ice cream, or going to see a movie.  So Jackson earned 2 stickers yesterday, one of them being for having a great day at school including eating all of his lunch.

When Jackson started school, Daniel and I both joined the PTA, so today I went to school with Jackson and volunteered at the Holiday Gift Shop in the library where kids can come and purchase items for their family members at school for Christmas.  I had a lot of fun watching all of these little shopping buying gifts for their family members (and even themselves).  Since I was there, I went to lunch with Jackson as well.  While we were in the lunchroom, the teacher aide came up to me and asked if I had received her note about Jackson and lunch yesterday.  "No, I didn't get a note," I replied.  And then I learned how Jackson hasn't really been eating all of his lunch all of the time and how yesterday he ate some of it and then threw it on the floor, tried to hid it from the teacher and made a big deal about how he couldn't eat it now since it was on the floor.  Anyway, I was confused as to why his teacher didn't tell me about this in either a note home from school or in an email so after lunch I went to her.  Come to find out, when Jackson was walking out the door yesterday at the end of the school day, she gave him the baggy with the rest of the sandwich he had thrown on the floor along with a note for me for Jackson to delivery to me across the street.  The sandwich and the note never made it to me.  Jackson said that he doesn't remember what happened to them.

Oh, and the best part, Jackson's teacher told me that she heard from him about what he did on Monday with pouring two glasses of water down the vent.  TWO!  2!  Wow!

So I asked you again...  do you think this little boy deserves to have a super, awesome Christmas filled with presents when he's doing things like this DAYS before Santa comes?  Clearly, the Elf on the Shelf, "Oscar," is not helping!  <Heavy Sigh>

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Santa Baby...

Today we ventured out to the mall to see Santa!  We debated on going to Southridge Mall close by our house, or going out to the big newer mall (Jordan Creek) in West Des Moines.  Southridge won because it was closer to home as it was getting very close to Peyton's nap time when we finally got moving.  Another big pro to going to Southridge...  no one was there so there was no wait!  LOL.  Here is the pic....

It turned out cute.  Jackson must have been very excited and nervous because he kept doing this really fake smile and closing his eyes all the way, while Peyton just sat back and chilled.  Those are my kids...  Mr. high strung and Mr. laid back!

Yesterday, Peyton and I went to a play date out at Jordan Creek mall with our new stay at home mom group.  We had a great time socializing with lots of other kids and mom's in our group and before we left Peyton was able to climb up the stairs and slide down the slide all by himself!  :-)

Next week we are going bowling with the group!  :-)  Anyway, we were both pretty tired when we left the mall and Peyton passed out during the car ride home.  Later, when he woke up from his nap he was so cute.  I put him down on the floor in the living room and he crawled over to the chair, climbed up and grabbed his milk and pulled down the blanket and just sat there watching the news with daddy.

He's just such a little man.  I can't imagine life without him or Jackson!  The only thing that's really tough right now is Peyton's temper tantrums!  They are horrible!  For example, we attended a Christmas Party thrown by some friends tonight and Peyton kept trying to hit a 4 month old baby there!  So when Daniel picked him up to remove him from the temptation, Peyton slammed his head into Daniel's!  Poor dad has a huge goose egg on the side of his head now from the little man!!  :-(  I have been left with war wounds as well as I have a big scratch between my eye brows from the little guy getting ticked off at me and ripping my glasses off of my face!  I can't wait until I get Lasik surgery in the next few months!  Oh well, I guess it could be worse... he could be like that baby Dinosaur from the 90's TV show Dinosaurs and be hitting us with pots and pans...

This pic is from Nana's house where Peyton loves to take out her pots and pans from the cupboard.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Introducing Oscar's girlfriend...

Daniel and I couldn't resist getting another "Elf on the Shelf"... but this one is for Peyton.  And it's a girl...friend for Oscar!  We have decided to name her Olive...

Olive is very coy!

Excited to meet Peyton!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Winter Wonderland?

Winter in Iowa.  Always a joy!  All the hype this weekend about a huge snow storm coming through town, all of the plows on deck and the city pre-treating the roads...  so early this morning, it snowed...  for 5 minutes.  A light dusting!  LOL.  Jackson was disappointed that he couldn't make a snow angel!

Peyton and I have been having a lot of fun getting out of the house doing more things together this past week.  Thursday's Fun with One's Rhyme Time was awesome!  There were a ton of people there, too!  Friday, we headed to the Science Center of Iowa and had a play date/meet-up with a stay at home mom group that I found searching online.  I emailed to ask if they even had dads join their group and they invited us to this meet-up.  We had a lot of fun (as usual cause we love SCI), but it was nice for me to socialize with some other adults!  I had to laugh at Peyton because he kept clearing everything off of the bottom shelf of a book case in the toddler area just so he had a place to sit (like he does at home sometimes).

He got really upset when it was time to leave throwing a huge tantrum throwing himself on the floor and everything!  Gosh, that was fun - NOT!  Anyway, I have even been officially invited to 'join' the stay at home mom group and I did this weekend!  I'm looking forward to some fun get togethers with the other stay at home moms (I guess I'm the first dad in their group). :-)

Yesterday we ran out to McDonald's for a quick lunch with our friends Chris and Dylan and then hit Incredible Pizza to play some games.  Ski ball, bumper cars, bowling... I love that place!  :-)  Afterwards, we ran out to Jordan Creek Mall to adopt our first Elf on the Shelf.  Have you heard of this?  It's so cute!  We bought the kit with the story and a doll and after we got home, we opened the box and read the book.  We named our elf Oscar.  Oscar is a magic elf who listens and watches what is going on in our house and every night he goes to the North Pole and reports to Santa about how naughty or nice the boys have been.  When he returns in the morning, he is always in a different spot somewhere in the house and it is a fun game to search for his new hiding place each day!  His first night he was on top of our bookcase and this morning he was like an ornament on the Christmas Tree.

Hopefully Oscar will help Jackson to stay on track with following rules and doing what he is told...  time will tell I guess!

Tonight, we attended a birthday party for our friend, Jonas.  He turned 2 years old and his mommy made the best cake!  It was really an awesome cake with a waterfall of frosting and everything!  We had a yummy Italian dinner as well of spaghetti and meatballs!  Here is a pic Daniel took of me and the boys rolling around in the rolling chairs at the restaurant.  :-)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Chomp, Chomp, Chomp

Yesterday, Peyton had his 15 month check-up with the doctor.  She said that he looks great, he's 28.5 lbs and in the 96% for his height.  I had to laugh the other day when I took Peyton to a story time at our local library and he was so much taller than all of the other kids.  The doctor laughed when I told her about it and said he's just a big boy!  Anyway, we talked a lot about how Peyton can really start eating everything we are eating at the table.  That has really been a struggle for me as I am always so worried he's going to choke on something.  Am I alone in this worry?  Has anyone else been as reluctant as me to give table food? 

This morning when I made the typical breakfast for Peyton (mixed grained with some fruit mixed in), he didn't want it.  He flat out refused to take any of it by hitting and screaming in his chair.  So he had a glass of milk, we took Jackson to school, and when we got back I made a piece of toast.  I broke it up into pieces and gave him a piece for each hand and he has been pleased as punch every since as he "chomp, chomp, chomps" on the toast!  :-)  So far so good!

Now we are heading off to a Fun with Ones Story time that is designed for 12-24 month old children!  This is our first time of going to this program and I'm excited to check it out with Peyton!  Wish us luck!  ;-)