Monday, December 31, 2007

Cabin Fever

We've been hanging out at home for a few days, just playing and being home bodies. Yesterday it rained pretty hard for a while, so the ground is soaked! Today, it's kindof nice out, so what to do? It's New Years Eve, malls are packed, the ground is too wet and it's too cold for a park.... so I took the boys to the overlook at the airport. We live so close, why not? The boys had fun watching all of the airplanes land and take off just a few feet away from us, and we had a wonderful view of uptown! Jesse kept saying 'Aaa-cane' everytime one landed, and 'bye-bye' everytime one took off while Ezra and I counted how many, compared the large to the smaller ones, etc.
Sidenote - what have I taught my toddler when he uses his 'cellphone' when I'm on mine? Ha! Is this a picture of things yet to come??? Notice his paci in his mouth while he's imitating me. I gave him an old phone of mine. So I had a call come in on our way back from the little field trip today, and I had to take a pic at the stop light!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Curious Jesse

Is Curious George rubbing off on my son?!?!?! We have a collection of Curious George books and occasionally watch it on PBS... I have Curious Jesse! He gets into everything, under everything, and climbs onto everything. I turn around and he's hanging with Elmo on the coffee table - as if it's a lounge chair. The 'did I do something' innocent look came out and he acted like he was showing me something in what seemed to be an effort to avoid being told 'tables are not for climbing'.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Day with Our Boys

This morning Jesse slept until 8am, for the first time in a while Ezra was up before Jesse. I slept in (7:30am WOOHOO) and then got up to make coffee for myself and make sure all was ready for picture taking. The boys opened their gifts around 830am, then we had a big Christmas breakfast together. The favorite gifts as of right now are...
Ezra - Lego's Star Wars The Complete Saga XBox 360 Game & the Star Wars Storm Troopers action figures... he also was really excited about his magnet kit.

Jesse - Classic Jack in the Box, and Tickle Me Elmo TMX

We plan to relax and enjoy our time together for the rest of the day! Jesse's napping now, and Jonathon and Ezra are checking out the new Xbox game.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve

Tonight we had Mimi and Papaw over for Christmas Eve dinner and gifts. We had a nice meal together and fun at the table just talking in general. After dinner and cleaning up, the boys opened their gifts.

Ezra received a Transformer's Bumblebee toy that said 'for 5 and up' for the age group.... this proved to be a difficult task for 2 grown men (Jonathon, Richard) and Ezra. Transforming it was not easy! They did succeed after about 20 minutes of wrestling with the small moving parts. Ezra really seems to enjoy it!

Jesse absolutely loves his Little Tykes rocking puppy (not horse, puppy) and his Aqua Doodle wall mat that you paint with water! Those are his favorites!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Over the river and thru the woods..

To grandmother's house we went.... we went to the NC Mountains for Christmas with my mom on Sunday. Nicholas, Haleigh, Jesse, Ezra, Jonathon and I packed into a van and headed out, it was pouring when we left but when we arrived there the sun was out and it was a decent day! We enjoyed a wonderful meal with my mom, and enjoyed opening gifts with the kids. It was bitter sweet - the kids were there, my brother Chris was there and we had a nice time with them, it was very hard without my brother Mike. Everyday without him is difficult for us all.

Ezra received a Lego's Castle kit from Grandma - he's already started building it! Jesse received a mini 4-wheeler Power Wheels, he's not quite sure of himself on it yet, but he is getting more curious each time he gets on there.

A gathering like no other

Today we went to my dad's where there were appx 14 adults and 13 kids... a spread of food that passed for a small home style buffet and two Christmas trees with gifts for each little girl and boy in the house. It was a simple and laid back event, bring 1 gift for each child that you have of your own. We drew names - we had 2 to buy for. Otherwise, bring yourself and a covered dish and prepare to enjoy time together. After the yummy meal, there was a special remembrance of loved ones who couldn't be with us because they've gone before us... lighting of memorial candles and Denise and Dad said a few words about the loved ones that candles were lit in honor of, and after a moment of prayer and silence, we moved on to what was the most interesting event I've ever witnessed. When each of the 13+ kids (can't count them all in my head right now) had their gifts, chaos began!!! For each kid there were the single gifts from the other kids, and then there were gifts from gma and gpa... oh my it was just paper tossing and gasps of joy everywhere!!

I bet you're wondering why there are no photos? This would be because I walked out of my house and left my camera with freshly charged batteries sitting on the bar. I'm waiting to see if my dad sends me some pics to post... so check back on this post later!!

Both boys had a BLAST! They received lots of goodies... Ezra's favorite was the Lego's kit (of course) and Transformer's backpack, and Jesse's favorite was the V-tech baby laptop and Elmo book "It's Potty Time".

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Holiday Formality

Today we ventured out to Concord Mills (close to our house and usually INSANE this time of year) for our photo op with Santa. I asked Ezra if he wanted his pic taken w/ Santa, but he said no thanks. So Jesse and I went ... I had no intentions of being in the picture, obviously, I looked like total crap hadn't really addressed my hair or makeup at all. So, as we passed the other idiots last minute shoppers in the mall, I noticed there was no one at all in line! I was suprised, the mall was packed. Jesse seemed as if he wasn't really interested in Santa, and I could tell that if I didn't hand hold him a bit he would likely cry and it would be over without a picture. So, minus my being unprepared, it was worth it for the tear free photo. Well, the way I see it, I only have a few more years of bringing Jesse for photos with Santa for blackmail and embarassment our scrapbooks. The day will come where he'll say 'no thanks' just like Ezra did today.

I looked back at last year's Santa photo and notice how much 1 year changes a baby! Wow! He was chubby and pulling at his ears because of teething, getting his very first teeth in... it's odd, because exactly 1 year later he's getting the last 4 in!

Above picture 2006 - Jesse was 11 months old.

23 months old - 2007

My SIL mentioned that Santa 2007 looks a bit like a pedifile creepy to her... and now that I look more closely, I think she may be onto something. HA!!

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Boyz

Jesse's emerging from baby into boy, it amazes me daily how quickly he is learning. He watches everything, and takes so much in at once. Below are photos taken when we were on our way to Wilson (3 hours one way) for a 1 day only trip (see Dec. 15 post on trip)... left at 9am, arrived in Wilson just at noon, arrived back in home at 5pm. Long day - just over 6 hours of driving, and the toddler didn't complain once. He did give me pout face when I discouraged the idea of tossing his cup into the back of my seat... but otherwise he was a dream. I had to take pictures of pout face, there were no sounds, just the hands on the face with sad eyes of a boy who really really wanted to use his cup as a rocket launcher. Seriously, not even one whimper of complaint - I was tired of the car about 1/2 way back home! He totally has individuality, he's becoming such an interesting person!

A while back I bought a ball pit, it used to have a net dome over it, but that quickly became target of body slamming and pile driving into the pit. Boys, that's what they do! Each day after his homework is completed, Ezra has a routine of playing with Jesse... this is ALWAYS their first stop. Jesse loves just the idea of sitting in the ball pit with his big brother. They usually throw the balls at each other until they're all out of the ball pit. On this particular day I turned on a recorded episode of Barney for Jesse. He watches Barney and Sesame Street every day. He LOVES it. Me, not so much with Barney - but it is fine in moderation.

On the light side of things...

I enjoy having laughter during my day as often as possible. This is both alarming and hilarious... you can't help but laugh in the face of ignorance on this one!
I can't help but play it over just to hear the reporter laughing...

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Birthday Tribute

Today went to Wilson, NC. We arrived there just before noon, and at 12:30 met with family and a few close friends to send 40 white balloons in the air as a tribute to Mike's 40th birthday. It was cold & windy, but we gathered, dad said some words, we had a short prayer and after a song played we released 40 white balloons and several red balloons symbolic of those who gathered to pay tribute to this day.

Happy 40th to my big brother Mike - I'm sure he's celebrating even though he's not here with us any longer...

Photo Tribute to Josh Groban's "To Where You Are"
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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Something Symbolic

I'm not going to mislead anyone, Christmas this year is extremely sad for me and my entire family... I think it's important for anyone who hasn't ever lost a loved one to know that there's really no end to the grieving process; or at least in my perspective, I see no real end to feeling a grief like this. Those who lose loved ones never stop grieving, or grieve less - we just grieve differently. I've been fortunate, I've not had to deal with this type of grief in my life until very recently... sure I've lost grandparents, when I was very young, and I understood how impacting death was in our family just by seeing the sadness of my own parents when their parents died. This does not compare to my own personal sadness now, a brother - in my life for 31 years, someone so important to me that he was the very FIRST person I called, after telling my husband, when we found out I was pregnant while still sitting in the bathroom holding the pregnancy test. This is someone I could share anything with, better then a best friend, because he HAD to love me no matter what, and did. Before he died, I had some kind of assumption that grieving would get 'easier', where on earth did I get that idea? You learn from your own experiences, and since I'd never experienced that kind of grief, I really couldn't relate. I'm trying to accept my grief, and in some weird way it sometimes seems a gift, simply because my hurting and my grieving proves that I was privileged enough to really love this person and was loved back, to really love someone is to know that your heart can be broken - thus the saying 'love hurts' is not necessarily directly applied to husbands/wives, etc. Any love hurts - when it is gone.

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This year, I've bought two little ornaments for our tree - one in memory of Susan my step-mother who battled and fought a brave fight with cancer for 10 months and was taken from this world just 2 years ago. I bought a birdhouse, anyone who knew Susan knew that she LOVED birdhouses! The other ornament is for my brother Mike, who left this world on August 6, 2007. I bought a silver deer to symbolize something that he enjoyed. In the center is a 'peace angel' that I found with a beautiful etching on it. Just something symbolic, something to bring a little smile or spark a memory, something that the kids can be part of...

Time Out!

This is what timeout is beginning to look like, laying on the floor with the 'what did I do' look on his face. Sitting is the typical idea of timeout, but at 23 months, for 1.5 minutes of timeout - I'll take it whatever way I can get it, and honestly, it doesn't happen too often, YET. Why give this time out you may wonder??? Jesse thought it would be adventurous to climb the lower handle for the drawer beneath the oven door. Our door to the oven locks, so it can't be pulled open by curious toddlers... but not everyone's does! The natural consequence of opening an oven door is not a safe one, so timeout seemed the way to go on this one. I compromised, and gave him his stepping stool to help me mix (imaginary ingredients on the counter top). Hopefully by giving a safer alternative to his curiosity of climbing will welcome safer choices by the toddling one.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Like Everyone Else

Jesse is going through a very independent stage in development. Age appropriate, by the books, pediatricians, and all other mom's I talk to. However, it's so interesting to watch him adapt, learn, and advance. He's aware of so much going on around him, he pays attention and doesn't miss a thing. Right now he's driven to sit at the table in the kitchen, we have a dining room that we never use so these are the chairs he has access too. Every day (as posted in November) he moves the dinette chairs to a new position. He's great at rearranging! This morning - he was interested in sitting with his OJ while Ezra had breakfast... in his PJ's in these pictures.

A favorite poem of mine from an unknown writer...

The Little One That Follows Me"
Author: Unknown

A careful woman, I ought to be;
a little one follows me.
I do not dare to go astray,
for fear they'll go,
the self-same way.
I cannot once escape their eyes,
whatever they see me do, they'll try.
Like me, they say, they're going to be,
that little one that follows me.
They think that I am good and fine;
believe in every work of mine.
The bad in me they must not see;
my life to them, must, an example be.
I must remember, as I go,through summer's sun and winter's snow,
I'm building for the years to be,for that little one that follows me.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Oh Christmas Tree

Here's our tree... it's been up since last week. We don't do a tree topper, it's just not that big of a tradition for us. We decorate it, together - and that's a family tradition. Ezra enjoyed hanging his special ornaments on the tree. Jesse enjoys taking them off! Gifts are landing under the tree now, and it looks more and more like Christmas in there every day! Ezra keeps checking tags trying to find his own gifts... HA!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Sunday Scribbles

We made our own salt dough and Jesse enjoys cutting, shaping and pressing into it. Note the shopping basket in the floor filled with pretend food and a pretend cutting board (pretend knife in his hand). He enjoys imitation play, so while I'm cooking, he helps with his grocery basket ingredients...

Ezra spent the morning doing several things. After he made his breakfast and ate, he helped me with Jesse up until his morning nap. Then he and I set out on an adventure of making more salt dough for a new project. Once we started phase one of our project, we moved on to getting dinner started... we're having a crock pot meal tonight so we had to chop veggies, and add them in to get it started for a slow cook for several hours. We loaded the dishwasher together while we waited on part of our project to dry... while that was drying he took some free time, lately his free time is 100% Lego's. He loves to build and create!

Here's a photo of one of the test projects; we are working diligently on handmade crafts this season.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

December 1

Most of the day was spent getting some errands ran (groceries, Hobby Lobby, etc) and getting things done around the house in general.

Tonight after dinner, Ezra and Jesse watched a 30 min cartoon that we record once a week. Jonathon had to take a picture of them… Jesse copies EVERYTHING that Ezra does now, and the sitting down to watch a completely un-educational, goofy cartoon for 30 min was not an exception. We monitor TV time in general, giving other opportunities and ways to occupy time, and V-Chip controls access. This is the one 30 min a week we allow pure mindless goofiness, and both boys just laughed at the silly show. We aren’t TV Police, our boys just simply don’t seem to care either way at this point in our lives, Jesse likes the Wiggles and Sesame Street. Ezra used to care more about it, but over the last few years he cares less and less… maybe it’s the v-chip, who knows!
I’ve decided that since my 30 days of thanks is over and I found it uplifting to make it a point to mentally think each day of small details that make me grateful. So for the month of December I’m going to use the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation’s guide for 100 ideas for Kindness.