Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Visit From Grandma

Well, like I said in my last post, my mom came to visit us the first week in September. It was so great to have her here. The last time I had seen her was when Jacob was born (around Christmas last year). So it was fun to have her see how much the boys had changed since then, and just have time to visit with her.

If my mom took one of those Love Languages test her love language would be giving gifts. She sure does love to spoil us! She arrived with a whole bunch of cash and ideas on how to spend it. She bought Jacob a new car seat (he has just about outgrown his infant car seat), some clothes for the boys, and even some clothes for me. We were spoiled! It was fun to go shopping with her. We actually even scored a free video monitor for Alexander's room, when she bought the car seat for us. Anyway, she spoiled us tons.

The first day she was here, we decided to go to Lagoon! We had wanted to go to Lagoon for Alexander's birthday, but we couldn't get discounted tickets on the weekend of his birthday. Since my mom was coming for a visit a few weeks later, we just decided to wait until she came. For those of you who don't know, Lagoon is like a theme park that we have here in Utah. It has lots of roller coasters and carnival rides, as well as a few fun kiddie rides too. I thought my mom would totally dig Lagoon, but I think most of the rides scared her. I had forgotten that she has a fear of heights. She even got super scared riding on the ski lift. She mostly just helped watch Jacob for us when we went on scarier rides. Scott did manage to get her to ride on a kiddie ride with him and she loved it! It was fun spending the day at Lagoon though. Alexander seemed to have a blast! He had a ton of fun on all the car/boat/helicopter like kiddie rides. It sure was a fun extension of his birthday. Below are some fun pictures from our time at Lagoon:

Let's see, what else did we do while my mom was here? Oh yeah! We scrap booked! My mom has been talking about making a scrapbook for my brother for a few years now. She always seemed overwhelmed by the idea. So near the end of her trip, we spent two nights scrap booking. It was exhausting and fun all at the same time. We created a scrap book with 32 pages in only two nights. It turned out really cute and he really liked it too!

Well, I think that about wraps up the visit with my mom. Just a few weeks after my mom visited, my Aunt Debbie came to visit. So the next post will be about that. Tune in next time with "Fun with Aunt Debbie!"

Family Vacation

Well, here I am again three months behind in blogging. I guess I should just start accepting this as the norm. I have decided from here on out to switch things up. I usually do at least one blog post a month, wrapping up the month. Well, I think that with two rambunctious boys running around, that is a lot to blog about at one time. I have been wanting to blog for so long now, it has just been hard to find the time to blog about an entire month. So, for my sanity, I will just break up what you missed out on these last few months, into small posts. So, we last left off in August. Wow! It is December now. Time sure does fly when you are having fun. Well, the last weekend in August was Labor Day weekend. I totally spaced mentioning our fun family vacation.Well, here goes nothing!

First off, I have to say that we are super blessed. Scott's parents, Russ and Diane, and grandparents, Jim and Janine, both have timeshares in a company called Worldmark. I don't claim to fully understand it, but basically they can stay pretty much anywhere in the United States in condo/hotel like rooms. They get a certain amount of points and need to use them or they lose them. Anyway, it was either his parents or grandparents who gave us points so we could go on a family vacation together. Since Alexander had just turned two and Jacob wasn't even one, we decided to go on vacation somewhere close. We chose to stay at the Wolf Creek location which is located in a small town called Eden. It was basically up north a little in a ski resort type of area.

If I remember correctly, we drove up Friday night, and back Sunday morning. We didn't even realize it was Labor Day weekend when booking, and my mom was flying in to visit us on that Sunday. So we just had a short little trip. It was super fun though. The condo was pretty spacious. We had two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, dining area and living room. It was perfect for our little family. The resort really was nice too. They had tennis courts, a regular swimming pool, a kiddie pool, a hot-tub, and even an athletic center. The only downside to the resort was one sign I found right outside our door. It was a caution sign, with a picture of a rattlesnake. Luckily, we never saw any rattlesnakes. Overall, it was a nice get-a-way. The first night, we mainly just checked in, went to dinner, and put the boys down to sleep.

Saturday was our fun day. We found out that there was a Dinosaur Park not too far from us. So Saturday morning, we loaded the boys up and went to check it out. It was awesome! There was a little museum with rocks, and some dinosaur bones and such, but the best part was outside! There were huge statues of all kinds of dinosaurs. You would just walk through the trails and look at the dinosaurs. Some of them even made noises. It was pretty cool. Alexander did get a little scared from time to time, especially around the noisy dinosaurs, but he seemed to have a good time overall. Alexander's favorite part of the Dinosaur Park was the playground (surprise! surprise!). He loved playing in the sand pit and climbing on some of the statues. For awhile we tried to get him to go on this slide that was shaped like a Pteranodon, but it totally freaked him out. Finally we got him to go on it, and he didn't want to leave. It was so cute! Below, are more pictures of our fun at the park:

Well, we did eventually leave the park, and then we headed to KFC for lunch. We enjoyed our lunch and Alexander thought it would be fun to wear the bucket of chicken on his head. It was just so adorable. He loved it so much, that he kept wearing it even in the car. Silly boy!

After lunch, the boys napped a little, and then we went swimming. It was fun to all go swimming as a family. I had taken the boys swimming several times at the public pool near us, but we haven't gone swimming much as a family. Anyway, it was a blast. Alexander was a little scared of the big pool, and mainly wanted to stay in the kiddie pool, but we were able to go in the big pool a few times. Below are a few pictures of us swimming:

Well, like I said, it was a short trip. Sunday morning, we packed up the bags and headed back home. As we left, I couldn't help but take a picture of a closet in our room. Some of you may remember that Alexander has a fear of ducks (which I think he is getting over). Well, on our first night at the condo, Alexander noticed a rooster statue that looked too much like a duck for him. He was so scared he was clinging to me and crying. He also seemed really disturbed by a little toy we got in a happy meal as we went through drive through. Anyway, we had to use a closet to help keep the scary things out of sight for Alexander.

As we drove home, we felt so grateful that we could have a fun trip with our little family. I looked back in the car to notice Jacob sleeping "like a baby." I guess our vacation wore him out. We kept on going, and then headed to church. After church, we picked up my mom from the airport. Then she visited with us for a week, but that is another story! Tune in next time for "A Visit From Grandma."

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Amazing August

Well, here I am again, trying to wrack my brain about what we did two months ago. But hey, at least I am trying. Of course I already blogged about Alexander's second birthday, which was tons of fun, but I remember still wanting to add a few cute stories of how we spent the rest of the month and some of the fun things the kids were doing. So here goes nothing!

Okay, one of the most awesome things happened in August! Rita's came to Utah! For those of you who don't know what Rita's is, you are seriously missing out! Rita's is this most amazing and affordable italian ice shop. On my mission in Pennsylvania, they were everywhere. Rita's was the best thing ever to a missionary who had been tracting in the PA humidity all day. They were super cheap and super yummy. And they had the best flavors too. My most favorite flavor had to have been cotton candy. Anyway, they just opened one in Utah! So they were giving away free italian ice on the opening day. So I corralled the family into going with me. I, of course, got a cotton candy flavored one. I think Scott got Mango and Alexander got Watermelon. Now, as you may already know, Alexander is a bit of a picky eater. He hates new things. But one taste of Rita's and he was hooked! He ate the whole thing. It was really cute. Anyway, here are some fun pictures of us enjoying our Rita's:

Another fun thing I did in August was can. I have been really getting into this whole canning thing. I still feel pretty new at it, but am loving it. I was able to can two batches of applesauce and some pears. Since I discovered that I have IC, and learned my fruits are pretty limited and that I need to avoid preservatives, I decided to can some applesauce and some pears. My friends Marybeth and Lessa let me borrow some of their canning supplies and helped teach me a little bit. I am really hoping to acquire some of my own canning stuff before next canning season so I can do even more then. Looks like I am becoming a little more domestic each and every day!

Another fun thing we did in August was attend Scott's work party at Seven Peaks (a water park). It was so fun taking the kids, even though it kind of limited what we could do. We played mostly in the wave pool, lazy river and kiddie pool. We couldn't do a lot of the water slides because they are still a little too young for them. Scott did manage to take Alexander on one water slide and he seemed to like it. We were thinking about letting me take him on one, when we decided to break for dinner. His work provided us with coupons for free meals. So I stood in line to get us a meal, and right before I got to the counter, the power went out. I had probably been in line for half an hour or so. The cashiers were trying to say they couldn't give us food, because they couldn't take our payment. A few of us explained that we didn't need change made or a card ran, we just had the vouchers, but the people wouldn't budge. Then a woman came back to the counter asking for waters (she had previously paid). The cashier grabbed her waters and then gave her change with cash. That is when I seized my opportunity. I said, "So you can take her cash payment, but not our vouchers?" Finally, that was the straw that broke the camels back, and they gave us our food and everyone else who had vouchers got theirs too. I felt like a hero! Anyway, we ate our dinner, but the power never came back on, so we just went home. It was fun to have a free family night out, even if it was cut short.

One of my favorite things that happened in August, was that Scott spoiled me. I woke up one morning to find notes all over the house. There was one note saying that I would find a total of 32 notes all around the house. He put reasons about why he loves me in the notes and strategically placed them, depending on what the note said. It made me feel like a million bucks. I truly do have the best husband ever. He told me he stayed up for hours the night before writing and placing all the notes. What a sweet husband he is! Below is a picture of the first note he left for me to find:

Okay, well that about wraps up the extra stuff we did in the month of August. I would like to take a moment to talk about some of the things the kids were up to that month. Alexander, of course, turned two and is definitely a two-year-old. He has his highs and lows, he has his tantrums and giggles. We love him for everything he is. When we took him into the doctor for his two-year-old wellness check-up, we were so glad to hear that he was on par with his language skills. At 18 months, he seemed far enough behind on his vocabulary, that the doctor had us check his hearing, just to be sure. Well, his language has just taken off since then! He is learning new words all the time. At the time of his appointment they asked if he could speak in two word sentences, and the very next day he said his first four word sentence, "I see you, Mom!" It was a cute four word sentence. He said it while peeking out at me through the crib. He also knows just about every letter and can count to ten! He is currently in the process of learning his shapes right now. He is just a smart little guy and we are proud of all his progress! 

Jacob is growing and progressing quite well too. He has started eating more and more solids. Though our approach has been quite different with him, than it was with Alexander. Jacob has had a mind of his own, from day one. He lets you know when he wants something and when he doesn't. Well, I started using my baby bullet to puree food for him, just as I did for Alexander, and he fought me every step of the way. He HATED being spoon fed. It took awhile for me to catch on to the fact that he just wanted to do it himself. Once we started giving him finger foods, he wanted to eat anything and everything we placed in front of him. After making the applesauce, he actually started to enjoy the spoon a little, but he still likes to be the one mainly in control. So most of his foods are stuff he can pick up and eat. Applesauce is one of the few things he gets spoon-fed. He may like being in control, but he is not picky at all. In fact, he tends to try more foods than Alexander does, and sometimes he even eats more portions than Alexander. It was funny because at Alexander's two year check-up, we had Jacob's 6 month check-up. Alexander's numbers showed that he was tall and skinny (he finally made it to the 20% for weight and was in the 70% percentile for height), and Jacob was short and chunky (he was 65% for weight and 30% for height). Silly boys are exact opposites! Jacob is also getting very mobile! I think I mentioned in the post about Alexander's birthday, that Jacob learned to crawl early in the month of August. Well, by the end of the month he was pulling himself to a standing position against the couch. Now that it is October, he is climbing stairs and walking along the couch. We will have a walker any day. It has been fun seeing him become more mobile. He is getting into everything and really starting to play with Alexander. It is absolutely adorable! Well, that about wraps up their growth. So I will just leave you a few fun pictures of the boys to enjoy:

Well, that about covers August! Phew! I finally made it through that month! Hopefully next week I will get around to blogging about our fun in September. Tune in next time for Superb September!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Battle IC

Hello blogging world. It has been awhile. It seems that I tend to go blogging crazy for a week or so, and then I get distracted with the busyness of life. Today I had a thought though. I really do need to blog more, it really is my sort of online journal. It is my time to get my emotions out so that I can still function. Life has it's way of throwing curve balls at us, and sometimes I just need to vent to the computer screen in hopes that somewhere out there, you are listening and can give me something to help boost me back up. Today is one of those days.

One of the reasons I haven't blogged in a little over a month, is that I have had family visiting, which is always nice. During the month of September my mom and my aunt came for a visit, but both at separate times. Anyway, right in the middle of their visits, I found out that I have this rare condition that has frankly turned my world upside down. Before I get into it all, just know that it has consumed a lot of my thoughts and computer time, making it quite difficult to have time to blog. Anyway, enough apologies. Just know that I want to be more consistent, and if you make it through this whole post, I could use your love, support and prayers.

Alright so here goes. Since early on in our marriage I have been experiencing some womanly pains. They have come and gone, and let's be honest, the woman's body can be quite difficult sometimes, so mostly I just ignored the pains. Early in our marriage, when I was really concerned about the pains, I went and saw an OB and she basically made me feel like it was all in my head. So I just ignored it. It seemed that whenever I was pregnant the pains would die down. Well, since before Jacob was born, I have had pretty consistent pains. When we moved to American Fork, Scott and I decided it was time to find some answers and that I had suffered too long. So I began searching for a new OB. I really wanted to find and OB who was female, which always makes the search a little harder. Since there was only one female OB in the area, the office I called recommended I start by seeing a PA. After two visits with her, I felt like we were getting no where and the pain just seemed to get worse and worse.

Then one day, it hit me. I wasn't just having period like cramps and pain during intimacy, I was also experiencing pain when urinating and it even hurt to wipe. The thought came to me that maybe my symptoms were more like a UTI. As I talked to Scott, we agreed that we should call his mom, Diane, since she works at a urology clinic. So we called her up that night, and as I described the pains I had been having, she felt very strongly that she knew what was wrong. She set up an appointment with one of the doctors at her office for the next day.

To be honest, as we went in, I wasn't sure it was a urological problem. I just wanted some kind of answers. I had been to see a PA twice, and had an appointment set up to see an OB in a few weeks. It just seemed like they had no clue what the problem could be, and if it was a UTI or something like it, I just wanted to know, so I could find some healing. Well, as I sat in the office talking to the doctor, I got the sense that he didn't think it was urological either. I don't think he really thought he would find anything. But, he could see my concern and Diane's concern. So he decided to do a scope up my bladder to see if he could find anything. And find he did! But before I get to that, I must tell you about the process and how I felt.

You may have noticed that I mentioned how important it was for me to have a female OB. Well that mainly stems from some abuse I had as a child from someone who was male and in the medical field. Since that time, I have only had female doctors. Anyway, we went into the appointment not thinking he would have time to do a scope. Well, when he said he could do it, I practically had a panic attack while waiting for them to get the room set up. I knew he would be safe enough to trust, but frankly, it was all so scary.

Luckily, Diane was great. She reminded me that he was a good man, and that she would be there to hold my hand the whole time, if I wanted. And she did. I didn't realize how painful that procedure was. So it was great to have her there. And the doctor really was great. It was more about overcoming my fear than anything else.

Anyway, as he did the scope, he was shocked to see the amount of scarring that he did find on my bladder. He said that he usually has to put someone under anesthetics to see that much scaring. He also said that Diane correctly diagnosed me (over the phone even)! So what's the bottom line? Well, the lining of my bladder is breaking down. I have a rare condition called Interstitial Cystitis, or IC. And it has changed my whole world. The sad part is they don't know the cause of this condition or the cure. They have some medications that can help, and some days they work and some days they don't. The big change is that you have to cut out a ton of foods from your diet. Basically, because my bladder doesn't have as much of that protective lining, the more acidic and flavorful the food, the more pain I experience.

So I thought it might be fun to show you with pictures some of the foods I am missing the most:

One of the hardest things I have had to live without as of late, is tomatoes. Now I get it, there are a ton of tomato haters out there, but seriously, tomatoes are amazing! And the reality is, I never realized how much I love tomatoes and all of the yummy things that they are in. Of course I love tomatoes in my salad and on sandwiches, but the hardest things are what tomatoes can be made into. Of course ketchup is a sad thing to lose. I once saw this shirt that said, "I put ketchup on my ketchup." I always wanted to get that shirt, but never did. It so defined me, I just LOVE ketchup and it is hard to imagine a chicken sandwich or a burger without ketchup. Even harder is to have life without spaghetti sauce. Spaghetti has always been one of my absolute favorite foods. As of about six months ago, I have started making my own spaghetti sauce packed with TONS of other veggies. Alexander just wont eat veggies, so it was my way of getting some veggies in his system. I had perfected the sauce, and now I still have three bags of frozen sauce in the freezer that I can't even eat. I had gotten so good that I actually pureed the veggies into a sauce so he couldn't tell all that yummy stuff he was eating. Anyway, since being diagnosed with IC, I have tried several tomato sauce wannabe recipes, but they all seem to lack one thing. And tonight, I think I figured out what that one thing is...tomatoes. Alas, my life will not be the same without them. On the bright side, we are still enjoying alfredo and have started making pesto pizzas.

So, as mentioned before, anything with a high acidic content is out; hence no tomatoes. Well, when I first heard this, I got that I couldn't have things like lemons and oranges. It wasn't until I started reading the list that I realized how few fruits I was able to have. My very most favorite fruit is strawberries, and they are out. So many fruits are out that I will just give you the list that is in: blueberries, pears, gala apples and watermelon. Those are all yummy fruits, but I will greatly miss my strawberries, peaches, pineapple, grapes, oranges and bananas.

Okay, so obviously the high acid fruits are out of the picture, but it surprised me that I basically can't have any juices. The only juices allowed are pear juice and blueberry juice. And unfortunately they cost mondo bucks at the health food stores. We bought a small container of blueberry juice for $11. The problem is that almost every juice contains grape or apple juice in it, so we had to get the pure and all natural. I tried the blueberry juice and wasn't a huge fan. So far, we haven't been able to find pear juice. Luckily, I canned a whole bunch of pears after discovering that I have IC, so I am at least enjoying the pear syrup.

Okay, so no juice? Fine. I guess I will have to live without it, but at least there are other flavored things I can drink, right? Wrong. Carbonated beverages are also out. And if I were a coffee drinker or drank an occasional glass of wine, they would be out too (not missing out much there though). Now don't get me wrong, before getting diagnosed, I was primarily a water drinker anyway. But once or twice a day, it was nice to have a flavored beverage. And sometimes, when I had a stomach ache, it was nice to have a good sprite to make me feel all better. And I do love my root beer. It instantly made me think back to when I was pregnant with Alexander and everything made me sick. I lived on sprite, crackers and trail mix for the first few months of pregnancy with him. Even water made me sick. Hopefully, I don't ever have to go through that again. Anyway, my choices for beverages really are just milk and water, and since I don't drink milk, it's water. I do feel healthier without those beverages, but I miss them.

Okay, so one of the other hard things to live without is condiments. Basically I can't have vinegar or mayo, hence the no condiments. No ketchup, mustard, etc. No dressings. Luckily I did find a homemade ranch dressing recipe that uses cottage cheese and yogurt as a base. It doesn't really taste like ranch, but it is still pretty good, and better than missing out on it all together. The hard part is when you have that occasional desire to eat out and can't have any condiments or flavoring at all. Most of the spices are to be avoided as well. And of course most preservatives. I am discovering that ascorbic acid is in almost anything processed, and that is a big one to avoid. So eating out is kind of pointless. They want me to avoid chinese food, mexican food, thai food and anything with spices. I am trying to become creative though, and look for new recipes. Last week I actually found a recipe for making granola bars and ended up making my own with dried blueberries, sunflower seeds, and oatmeal. They ended up turning out really yummy. Next time I will experiment and add a few other fun things, but I wanted to keep my first batch pretty simple. So slowly, I will conquer this challenge!

Chocolate is by far the hardest thing I have had to give up. I love chocolate. Always have and I always will. I love chocolate so much that I have made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and chocolate chip banana muffins. I love it so much that I have my own little baking jar that sits with the sugar and flour just for chocolate chips. There are days, that I am exhausted from having two children under two, and still trying to figure out how to get children to sleep through the night, that I would just enjoy a handful of chocolate chips in the middle of the day. Well, chocolate is out. And parting is such sweet sorrow. All I can hear is Brian Reegan in the background saying, "No more happiness." (If you haven't seen his skit on how the doctor told him to lay off dairy, you should look it up, it is hilarious!) Anyway, I can say that I haven't cheated once with the no chocolate thing, but I sure have been tempted.

Well, there you have it. I have this crazy bladder condition called IC and it is tough. I have to give up lots of yummy foods and take medications that may or may not help since they don't know what causes it or how to cure it. Some days, I am quite hopeful. I feel like it will help our whole family eat healthier and that I can control it with the diet alone. Other days, I feel in so much pain that I am on the couch in tears (which by the way, I am pretty sure IC is what caused a HUGE amount of pain while I was pregnant with Jacob). Some days, I am ready to conquer this weird diet and keep adding to my homemade cookbook. Other days, I remember that I have never in my life EVER been on a diet and would tell dieters, "Do you know what the root word of diet is? Die! Because that's what it makes you wanna do!" And then I wonder how I will ever live the rest of my days without some of these yummy foods. It is about that moment, when I take a deep breath and remind myself, "Get a grip. It's not cancer." Well, the night is late. Thank you for making it this far and letting me vent. You are a true friend. Tune in next time for Amazing August.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Alexander's 2nd Birthday

For Alexander's 2nd Birthday, we decided to go with a Cars theme. Just before we moved to our new house, Alexander gained a love for the movie Cars. Luckily it was one of the movies I left unpacked, because it was the only thing he wanted to watch for at least a month. As his birthday got closer, we decided that it would be fun to try taking him to the new movie "Planes." We took him to a movie a few weeks before his birthday, to see how he would do in the theater. He absolutely loved it! He sat in the chair like a big boy eating his popcorn and smiling at the screen. After this experience we knew his birthday would be a Cars/Planes party. I had an absolute blast planning every detail, from the cake, to the decorations, to even party games. So let's get to it! I'd love for you to spend just a moment reliving how I was able to spoil my little man on his second birthday!

Okay, so the first main thing we did to spoil him was to come up with some fun decorations for the day. I have to say that living in Utah has given me a greater appreciation for Walmart. I remember as a child that my parents always shopped at Walmart, but I never really understood why. Now that I am a parent, and living in Utah where they seem to be everywhere, I absolutely love the deals I can get there! We got almost all our decorations at Walmart, as well as a few from the Dollar Store. We only went to a party store as a last resort for a game and some balloons. Anyway, Scott thinks I went a little crazy on the decorations, but I sure did have fun. We had cute hanging decorations, a "Happy Birthday" banner, and even a plastic table cloth with coordinating plates. We actually decorated the whole house while Alexander was sleeping, and then the morning of, he woke up to see Cars stuff all over the house. It was super fun watching him get excited to see it all. When he walked into the living room the morning of he said, "Wheel! Car! Queen (for Lightening McQueen)!" It was adorable!

The morning of his birthday, I ended up spending most of the day making his cake. I baked the cake the night before, and then decorated it that morning. I have to say that the cake was the thing I was most excited about. On my mission, my companions, Sister Ransom and Sister Axtell, helped me make a cake for a little boy in our ward, Evan Childers. When we had asked his mother if there was anything we could do for the family, she said we could make his cake. So we went to the library and found a cute design for a racetrack cake. I had so much fun making it with them, that I had to make it for Alexander! Of course I had more time and more money, so I got these little cars from the Cars movie, and even added a last minute hill for a plane from the movie Planes. Overall, I think the cake turned out perfect, and Alexander loved it!

Okay, so after the boys naps is when all the fun started! Russ, Diane, and Amy came over to spend a few minutes with Alexander before the movie. It turned out that Russ and Diane had to go see a play in Logan after the movie, so they couldn't stay for cake and presents. We were sad to not have them at the party, but grateful to have them for a few minutes before the movie and during the movie. Since they had to leave after the movie, they gave Alexander one of his gifts then. He got a tricycle! He wasn't too sure about it at first. Grandma and Mommy even tried to show him how to use they tricycle, in hopes that he would try. Eventually he did and he loved it. Below are a few pictures of our time with them before the movie:

After all of the tricycle fun, we headed off to the movie theater to see Planes. To prepare Alexander for the event of his birthday, I started talking about how we were going to see "Planes" on his birthday. I talked about it so much, that I would say, "Alexander where are we going on your birthday?" And he would respond, "Plaaaaaaane!" Now, I have to say that I am a huge planner (if you can't already tell by the decorations and such). I like things to go according to the plan, and when they don't I get really stressed out. Well, unfortunately, things didn't go according to plan. I preordered the tickets because I wanted to be sure we could all sit together. When we went to pick up the tickets at the theater, my card wasn't working. So I asked an employee for help and she printed our tickets. While I was figuring it all out, the family helped Alexander play a car racing game, which he LOVED! At least he is easy at adjusting plans. Well, when we got in, we noticed someone was in our seats. So we just sat in another spot. As the theater started to fill, we kept getting kicked out of our spots. Finally, I said, "We will just have to ask those people to move." Then the lady told me that they were sitting in their assigned seats. So I decided to go talk to a worker. This was after all my little boy's birthday and I wanted it to be perfect. I went to talk to the person who takes your ticket, and the lady sitting in our seats came out to talk to her too. I walked to the worker and said, "I really don't know what to do. It is my little boy's birthday and we bought tickets early, but someone else was assigned to our seats too." When I pulled out my ticket to show them our seats, the worker pointed out that my tickets were for the day before. Apparently, I had reserved them for the wrong day! I was so bummed. They said they could give us guest passes to come back, but realizing it was my fault, I told them it was fine, and I headed back to the show. Then, the manager stopped me and offered us guest tickets for next time anyway. It was really sweet of the manager, especially since it was my fault. We ended up having to split up to be able to watch the movie, but it still worked out just fine. Alexander had fun going back and forth between sitting next to us, and Scott's parents. Grandma even bought him a plane and let him open it and play with it during the movie. He had a great time! As soon as the show ended the manager was there with six guest passes for next time. I shook his hand and thanked him for the passes and for dealing with a worried mom trying to make her boy's birthday perfect. I was so glad that I wasn't a super rude to them, especially since it ended up being my fault. It was still a great time though.

After the movie, the real fun began! We had decided to invite our neighbors to the party since Alexander plays at their house a lot, and since they have a few kids. A few days before the party, one of the kids asked if we would play games. He got me thinking that we should. So I searched for ideas online. The first "game" we did, was that we had built a car wash out of balloons and streamers hung in our hallway. As soon as the kids came over, they each got to pick out a car and take it through the car wash. The car wash was so fun to make and the kids seemed to love it. Scott and I put it up the night before the party, along with the rest of the decorations. Alexander was so excited when he woke up that morning and saw balloons hanging in the hallway. Well, actually, I think it scared him at first, but he loved it as the day went on.

As the kids got settled into the party, I made up some spaghetti and garlic bread for dinner (with Scott's help of course). I know what you're thinking: Didn't you have spaghetti last year? Well, in a whole year, it is still one of the few dinner items Alexander will eat. So we made what would make our little man happy. Plus it is super easy! Especially since I made the sauce from scratch earlier. Anyway, we all enjoyed some spaghetti. I also had made some yummy punch and the kids went crazy over it. I remembered that my Mom used to always make punch for my birthday parties, so I called her up a few days before to get her "recipe." It was yummy and super easy too! Just ginger ale and rainbow sherbet. 

After dinner, we all went outside to play another game. This game was by far the cheapest and easiest game to set up. It was also the biggest hit. I saw the idea online to do a bean bag toss and use your spare tire as the goal. So we got some bean bags and the kids enjoyed the toss. Then the adults jumped in and got all competitive. I think it was because Scott's friend, Andy Wilde was there. He is super competitive and had fun trying to make shots in funny ways (like behind his back). It was so fun seeing the kids and the adults having a good time. 
Though the games were a big hit, I was super excited about the cake. Alexander has been watching this "Numbers" video where the number 2 blows out two candles. I kept telling him that he would get to do that on his birthday. He performed quite well. I didn't get any pictures of him blowing out the candles, because I wanted to video it, but he did indeed blow the candles out. It was adorable. He absolutely loved the cake too. He immediately pulled off the airplane, and then started eating the candies and pulling off all the cars. I am not sure he even ate the cake though. He mainly just chowed down on the candies. Silly picky boy! The other kids liked the cake too. It was an adorable sight to watch.

Once we finished the cake, it was time to open presents! Alexander got spoiled with lots of fun things. His Aunt Amy got him a cute plate and silverware set that has the silverware as different construction vehicles. He plays with them more than uses them how they are intended, but he still loves them. The McKinneys (our neighbors), bought him a cute wood shape building set that is in a sort of mini wagon. He loved that one. We mainly got him stuff to transform his room into a Cars themed room. So he got a bedding set, stickers for the wall, and a hamper. Whenever I helped him open his gifts I would say, "Look Alexander! It's just what you always wanted, sheets (or whatever the item was)!" Scott was cracking up that I was so excited about them all. We also got Alexander a Cars boxed book set which he loves, and a set of Cars toys from the Disney Store (purchased the night before on our Date Night). Anyway, it was cute watching him open the presents and the kids trying to help him. Below are some fun pictures of the present opening: 

We let the kids just play in the yard for awhile, and as the party started to die down, we played one last game: Pin the Headlight on Tow Mater. It was a hit. The kids loved it. The game used stickers instead of actual pins (cue the Brian Reegan skit about blind folding kids, spinning them around and letting them go loose with a sharp object in their hands), which was nice. The younger kids just got to walk up and stick a sticker on, but everyone liked it. Even Xander played. He did such a good job that Daddy gave him a high five. The next day, I had fun decorating his Cars room and we even hung the game up so he could have it as a poster on his wall. Below are a few pictures of when Xander played the game:

I had so much fun planning the party, that I made sure the kids had prizes and goody bags. They got cars when they walked in the door, motorcycles after the tire toss and planes after the Mater game. As they left we handed them cute Cars/Planes goody bags. It really was such a fun day, and we were so grateful that the neighbors could come celebrate with us. It was also great having Amy, Andy and Marybeth there. The party was a hit. At the end of the day, I could call his birthday a success. He even looked exhausted from all the fun. He was covered in spaghetti and candy from his cake, so of course we gave him a nice bath, and he slept like a rock that night.
The next day was his actual birthday and a Sunday. So we went to Russ and Diane's for dinner and I brought the left over cake for desert. It was fun visiting with them. They showered Alexander with lots more gifts too. Nana and Papa got him the "Toy Story" movie, which is still growing on him. Grandma and Grandpa got him clothes and a Cars race track set. He enjoyed opening more presents that day. And later in the week, he got an airplane from Alliyah for his birthday. Below are some fun pictures at Russ and Diane's:

 Well, that about covers the birthday fun! It was a blast and he is definitely getting so big! I am amazed more and more every day as I think of how much he is learning. It seems like he learns a new word every day. My little man is growing up so fast, and I am so grateful to be here to see every moment of it. Well, that's all for now. Tune in next time for Amazing August :)