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 :)

Thursday, August 22, 2013


Anatideaphobia! Yep, that's right "the fear that you are being watched by a duck." When I read this definition online, it totally made sense to me. I have never been afraid of ducks, or known anyone who has. That is, until I had a son. Alexander is so afraid of ducks that he has nightmares about them; at least, we are pretty sure he has nightmares because he will wake up crying in the middle of the night saying, "quack." It took us quite awhile to catch on to his fear of ducks. In fact, we used to bathe him in a ducky tub. We even bought him tons of those cute rubber duckies (you know, the ones Ernie is always singing about on Sesame Street)! Anyway, he has tons of ducky bath toys, as well as other bath toys. We noticed as he got older that he preferred other bath toys over the duck ones. Grandma even bought him a cute duck toy that swims in the water. At first, that toy really scared him and he would cry and want to get out of the tub. I guess we were just so persistent that he is okay with that one now. But any other duck is off limits.

We first noticed his fear of ducks when we introduced Jacob into the ducky tub. It is the same transitional ducky tub that we bathed Alexander in. We use it after they grow out of the infant tub, but still aren't quite stable enough to sit up in a regular tub. Anyway, one of the first times we bathed Jacob in the tub, Alexander started freaking out and pointing at the duck while saying, "Quack! Quack!" We learned quickly that for some reason he didn't like the duck, so we started hiding it in our room, in between the bed and the wall. You couldn't see it from our bedroom door, but one day Alexander ran in to play with stuff on my nightstand (which he has done since he was little, how I forgot that I don't know), and all of a sudden he was in tears and screaming, "quack." Shortly after this incident, he seemed to dislike the rubber duckies too. He can't even have them in the tub.

So eventually, we just decided to retire the ducky tub and let the boys start bathing together. Luckily, Jacob is great at sitting up now. He has his occasional falls, but we are always there to catch him. Anyway, he is still so afraid of ducks. He will point at random doors and say "quack." And today, he was afraid to go in my room. He kept saying, "quack!" and pointing to my side of the bed. I assured him that the duck wasn't there and has been gone for weeks, but he was shaking due to fear as I held his hand to show him it was gone. Poor little fellow!

Why do I share all of this with you? Well, tonight I discovered that his fear is "a made up fear." Yeah, that's right, my poor little boy is so scared and it isn't even a phobia! It turns out that a man named Gary Larson, author of the Far Side comics, made it up for one of his comic strips. Well, Gary, I will have you know that you weren't so far off with your comic. Alexander is afraid of ducks, and frankly, I don't know waddle do!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Jolly July

It looks like I am officially back in the blogger world. This is my third post in two days, so I am determined to catch up! It is now August, so talking about July shouldn't be too hard. July wasn't super busy. We just had the Fourth of July celebrations and Super Hero Night. Of course, I will try to talk about a few developmental things for the boys too, since I have left those out in the last few posts due to my lack of memory.

Okay, so like I said, the first major fun thing we did in July was celebrate the Fourth of July. I have to say that I love living in our new ward because any time there is a patriotic holiday, the young men go around and put flags in all the yards of our ward. So we always have a nice big flag in our yard. I love it! Alexander loves it too. He got so excited the morning of when he saw the flag. He immediately pointed out the window and said, "Flag! Flag!" So cute!

Oh! And I almost forgot! On the third of July, we decided to be super neighborly and make cookies for our neighbors. Scott had the great idea of making oreo cookies but making them red, white and blue. So we made a whole bunch of cookies that night and delivered them to our neighbors. We used red velvet cake for the red part, and dyed white cake mix blue (with food coloring). We got so distracted with cookie making, that we forgot to make dinner. So while we dropped off cookies to our neighbors, the McKinneys, they offered us dinner. It was super nice of them. We had a blast getting to know some of our neighbors a little better by delivering cookies.

Well, we have decided that it would be fun to make the Provo parade a tradition for our family. We went the year I was pregnant with Alexander, and I was pretty hot, but it was fun. Last year, I was pregnant with Jacob, so we skipped out. This year is the first year we have lived in Utah during the summer time and I haven't been pregnant! So we are having lots of fun with hot activities. Anyway, the parade was lots of fun. We let the boys sleep in, because we knew it would be a crazy day, so we had a bit of a hard time finding a seat. But luckily, there was a nice man who let us sit in his lawn for the parade. The parade was great. We brought donuts and snacks to enjoy. Alexander loved the parade. He watched a lot of it on Scott's shoulders. Though I think his favorite part of the parade was when he spotted a helicopter fly overhead. My favorite part was the cotton candy. Jacob mainly enjoyed just rolling around in the grass, and fell asleep before the parade was over. Scott's favorite part was watching Alexander's reaction to the floats, music and helicopter. We weren't able to stay for the whole parade, because the boys started to get pretty cranky, but we really enjoyed what we were able to see. On the way out, we passed a float that was playing music, and I stopped pushing the stroller, and danced with Scott. We danced for a few minutes and the band members cheered for us when Scott dipped me. I think that was another one of my favorite parts of the parade. It really was a great time. Below are more pictures of our fun at the parade:

After the parade, we went back to Russ and Diane's house and just enjoyed time with the family for a little bit. Diane's brother, Don, and sister, Natalie, and her family were visiting. It was fun seeing them get excited to see Jacob and Alexander. I have to say that this visit really taught me how much Don and Scott are alike. Russ has always said that from the beginning, Scott reminded them of Don. How true it is! Don told some jokes and stuff while here, and I saw just how much they have in common. From their looks all the way down to their laughs, they are practically clones. It was fun getting to know Uncle Don a little more during his visit.

Since we have two boys under two, we had to head home for nap time after visiting with the family. After their naps, we came back to Russ and Diane's for a little dinner. Then we headed to what is becoming another tradition, Stadium of Fire. This year the main event was Kelly Clarkson. The show was great and the fireworks were fun too. The boys actually seemed to enjoy the whole thing. We got an extra pair of earmuffs for the Jacob, so the music and loud blasts weren't too overwhelming for either of them. Jacob ended up being so tired from the day that he slept through the fireworks, and Alexander ended up loving the fireworks. It was great having him smile through the show, instead of being scared. He was really cute to watch. He actually ended up watching the show next to Grandpa and Alliyah. It was cute watching Alliyah put her arm around him to try and protect him. After the fireworks, we made the trek back to the car and headed home. The boys slept so long that night, that it was Jacob's first time sleeping through the night. We were very grateful for the sleep after such a long day. Below are more pictures from our fun at Stadium of Fire:

Okay, so here I would like to note that Diane seems to love when she is with her sister so much! It's like she becomes super planner when they are together. So, since Natalie was in town, this had to be the busiest Fourth of July we have had here so far. Natalie was here for the weekend, and she planned every single moment of that long four day weekend. So, the fifth of July was super busy too! We decided to skip out on the plans to go to the carnival in Orem, so the boys could get a little extra rest. Then, that evening we went back to Russ and Diane's for dinner and then blew off a ton of fireworks in their front yard. Alexander got a little more scared of the fireworks this time, I think because they were closer. It also ended up raining a ton too, so Russ set up a tent so we could all watch them and stay dry. The fireworks still gave us a great show, even though it was raining. The boys were super exhausted again, for being out so late. Here are some pictures from our fun night:

The next day was Saturday, the sixth of July, and it seemed the family had tons planned for that day too. The family came over to our place in the morning, to see our new house. We had some fun with everyone showing off our house. They even met a stray cat that had tried to claim us as it's owners for a few weeks. Diane kept trying to convince us to adopt it, but Alexander was afraid of the cat and Scott is allergic, so we passed on the whole cat option. But we did get some fun pictures of the kids in their "things" shirts and the cat even snuck in for a picture. After naps, we headed to Jim and Janine's for an early dinner and time with the family. Janine had decided to clean out some of her closets and wanted the whole family there so she could divvy up games and puzzles. She also had everyone request some of their favorite antique items for when they pass away. It ended up being a huge ordeal and we were there super late too. Here are a few more fun pictures for you:

We had fun with all of the Fourth of July excitement, but our poor boys were so wiped out from everything. We actually think it is what caused Jacob to start having bad sleep habits. He would wake up several times a night screaming (which he never did before this). He would just scream and scream (even in Scott's arms), until I fed him. The problem got worse and worse, and it seemed like we had tried everything. We finally found a solution to help him sleep in August, but I will just cover that in August's post. Anyway, the fourth was fun, just exhausting. I think next year, we will just visit my family instead. They throw a great laid back party that is still tons of fun :)

Wow! It sure took a lot to cover all of the Fourth of July excitement. The other really fun thing we did in July was go to a Super Hero Night at Wingers. We heard they were having a night where you could dress up and get free kids meals and get entered into a contest. So we thought it would be fun to go. We got all dressed up and enjoyed a nice dinner. It turned out our waitress even happened to wear the same shirt as Scott, so she insisted we take a picture with her. She was a bit odd, but we still enjoyed the time together.

Wow! This post has taken me super long to write, and we need to go have lunch, so I will just wrap it up here. I wanted to include some fun facts about the boys' development, so here are a few fun things they are doing. Alexander's language has taken off! He says a new word just about every day! He can count to ten and recognizes most of his alphabet and colors. He can jump with both feet and enjoys jumping in the crib and on the couch. He also seems to climb on anything. He loves imitating Jacob for attention too. He loves anything that moves (cars, planes, boats, and trains). He also loves playing with his Aunt Amy's phone. Jacob is rolling all over the place and trying to get into everything. He has started solids, but prefers to feed himself. If he can pick it up, he eats it. Otherwise, he is not interested. He smiles and laughs all the time. He also loves sticking out his tongue and making a cute spitting noise when he is bored. We have started to let the boys play together more, we just have to be careful to not let Alexander tackle him too much, though Jacob usually laughs when Alexander is on him. We also let the boys bathe together every night too. Below are some fun pictures of the boys. Hopefully you enjoy them.

Okay, it is really time for me to stop blogging now. Scott is starting to make lunch. Hope you enjoyed getting caught up with us. Tune in next time for Alexander's 2nd Birthday!!!!