Saturday, January 31, 2009

Daddy is the Best!

As I posted earlier, Daddy is at a men's retreat. While he is away, I have to take this time to brag on what a wonderful husband and father he is.

When I came home, ALL of the laundry was done, and not just done but put away as well. We had ALOT of laundry and were a little behind in doing it.

He had washed all of our sheets and remade the beds.

He knew Aidan would be sleeping in our bed, so he put Aidan's pillow there, along with his binky bear, tubby bear, and little bunny. He didn't just toss them on the bead either - he laid binky on the pillow and the others right next to it.

He folded Asher's blanket into a triangle (I think he was showing off with this :) and laid her pink binky bear on her little pillow.

The dishes were all washed, the kitchen cleaned, and the counters wiped off.

He had also gone to the store a couple of days ago and bought groceries for us and was even excited about these cute new little tator tots for the kids.

I am so so blessed to have the best husband in the world who is the best father in the world to Aidan and Asher.

I love you honey...

Hannah Montana

Last night Daddy went on a men's retreat with church. The kids and doggies were both very well behaved. Aidan and I slept in Mommy and Daddy's bed and we watched cartoons together until about 9:00 when Mommy was falling asleep. We even ate cereal in bed as a snack. It was fun! Betty slept with us too and only hopped down once at about 7:00 to go outside. Asher got up at 8:30 this morning and helped me make blueberry muffins for breakfast. Aidan slept until 9:30! That may be a new record for him. When he woke up we ate breakfast and then watched cartoons. Here is where Hannah Montana comes in...
A show came on that showed Hannah Montana on stage singing a song. Aidan then said, "Hannah Montana looks like Meme!" Was it the long blond hair, the tie die outfit, the energy?

I hope and pray that when I am a grandma, my grandchild will think I look like Hannah Montana!! You Go Mom!!

Aidan and Asher with Hannah Montana, also know as Meme...

Later in the day I decided to take the kids to Jungle Java, a new play place for kids. Unfortunately, I forgot the camera. Darn it! The kids had a blast climbing around and playing on the slides. Aidan's favorite was the huge treehouse and Asher's favorite was going down the big slides with brother. They were super cute together! We will have to go again with Daddy and let him climb all over and play while I take pictures.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Aidan gets some homework...

That's right our 3 year old had homework tonight. He had to practice reading some books that he made at school. We sat down on the couch tonight before bed time and he read through both of them twice. Here are the two books.

I do have to say we have been very blessed to have people that take such good care of Aidan. First Miss Claudia did an exceptional job from when he was a baby to 3 years old, and he learned so much when he was at her daycare. Now he has 3 amazing teacher's Miss A, Miss Coker, and Miss Mackie (in alphabetical order as to show no bias) that do such a great job with him and his quarks. I dropped him off this morning at school and he was throwing a fit. I had to go so I set him down and he flopped on the floor. Miss Coker looked down at him and said, "we'll ease into it," meaning they were going to give him some time to get into a mood to participate in class with the other kids. I laughed to myself and thought 'perfect.' I know how difficult he can be sometimes and they are very patient and understanding with him. For that matter the entire class that they teach of teacher's kids and kids with special needs. I know that I couldn't do it so kudos to them (and to all teachers, especially my wife, for that matter).

Aidan's snow day in Texas

Last week Aidan's class had a field trip to an ice rink in Austin. 'Ice Skating' you say? No. The field trip was for the kids to play in the snow. They basically shaved the ice with the zamboni and dumped it out into a snow pile. They made two piles at one end of the rink where one of the hockey goals would be. Then the kids could jump in and play. I had the privilege to meet Aidan's class there and play in the snow with him. He was equipped with his snow pants, snow boots, heavy jacket, and mittens. The only time he complained about being cold was when he got some snow (ice) in his mittens and sleeves. He fell down several times but never cried. There was an incident when he was in the middle of the snow pile and I was video taping him. I had stopped taping and looked at him and his face was beet red. This was the only time that I almost slipped as I scrambled to get to him worried that he had fallen and hurt himself. When I got to him he was crying too hard to explain what had happened. It didn't take long to figure out what had happened. He had some snow on his face, neck, and collar. Either he fell in the snow and face planted or some deviant little child got him with a snow ball. The latter wouldn't surprise me since that was the main thing that every kid was doing, pelting snow balls. I brushed him off and he went about his business.

Here are some pictures and videos from the event.

"Is it snow time?"

Aidan with Maddie, his field trip buddy. I was very surprised that he let her come up and hug him.

"Now what do I do?"

Aidan having fun. That is Miss Mackie in the red jacket, one of Aidan's teachers.

Aidan walking through the snow.

I like this video because he picks up a snow ball, looks for a target, and then takes off.

So after he played in the snow some I thought he might like to go and walk around on the ice. We went walking and it was very hard for him to walk without slipping and falling. This is where the fact that I am still 80% kid comes into play. I came up with a great idea. I said to Aidan, "Aidan lay on your back and I'll slide you on the ice." He laid down and didn't like it so I told him to lay on his tummy. This is where it gets good. With one hand grabbing his jacket between his shoulders and the other the fanny of his snow pants I slid him across the ice. This is the number 1 reason why Daddy rules and Mommy drools. He went sliding about 12 feet on the ice and came to a stop. He popped up and said, "Again! Again!" By this time several of his classmates had seen the 'slide heard around the world,' and came running screaming, "I want to do that." At first they all crammed together and it was hard to slide them, but then I noticed a big blue line on the ice (not quite center ice, sorry I don't know the hockey terms). I told the kids to line up on the big blue line. So then I had 7 or so kids lined up on the ice as I moved down the line chucking kids across the ice. It was funny when they would come to a stop they would immediately get up, turn around, and start walking back to where they started. The problem was that then they had another kid sliding towards them. So to avoid the 'bowling ball meets bowling pin' effect I had to aim one to the left then one to the right and so on. I was doing that for about 20 minutes or so until the kids, yes the kids, got bored with it. Of course Aidan never got tired of it, but eventually it was time to go. I had to get a video of it and everyone I knew was heading out of the rink. So I set the camera on the ice and hit record. Here is what I could get.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Look at Aidan...

Our son Aidan is growing up so fast! He is 3 and will turn 4 in April. He is a wonderful big brother to his little sister. One thing that melts my heart lately is that he likes to hold her hand when we are driving home from school. They will be sitting in their car seats and he will grab her hand and hold it until we get home. She is very content holding brother's hand all the way home. Aidan is a very smart and thoughtful little boy. Today on the way home from Walmart he was telling me again about how he wanted to be a dog catcher when he grows up (see previous blog about this topic...) and was very concerned and asked "What if I can't find the doggies mommy? How will I find the mommy?"
Aidan reading a book to Ashy.

He is a lover of books and reading. He still begs for more books and is sad every time we have to stop reading to go to bed. His favorites right now are Bernstein Bear books, any and every one of them. It is really sweet to watch him "read" to his little sister, although her attention span isn't really long enough to listen to a whole story yet. He loved learning his letters and sounds at school and is very proud they finished learning them all. He is learning his sight words now and can read some predictable books such as: I like the cat, I like the car, etc. He learns so much at school!

Aidan working very hard on a project at school. Notice his cool shirt from Meme that says, "If you think I'm cool, you should see my Dad."

He also learns other important things in school. We were at HEB and he was sitting in the front of the cart with Asher. She was leaning on him and he said, "Mommy, Asher is in my personal space bubble. I learned about that in school." After a moment of smiling and processing what my THREE year old said, I informed him that when it comes to sister's, you don't get to have a personal space bubble and she will probably always be in it.

He is also stubborn (where did he get that from???) and is often the child in pictures who is NOT doing what the others are doing. For example: The others are going from classroom to classroom singing Christmas carols and ringing bells. Aidan is standing there, politely standing there, but no singing and no ringing. Example number 2: The others all have their faces painted. Aidan did not want to have his face painted. (and so on and so on). He knows what he wants to do and if he doesn't want to, there is no convincing him otherwise...

This is Aidan and his class carroling in my class. Notice EVERYONE else wearing their cute Christmas aprons and hats, singing, and ringing their bells. Notice my adorable son, standing there quietly, not doing any of those things...

Aidan also is the opposite of Matt and myself in that he DOESN'T like to eat. His number one mealtime phrase is, "What do I have to eat to get down?" He does love to snack, but meals, even his favorites, are usually a struggle. Even mac and cheese is not a winner with Aidan. He prefers to eat salad...
He does, however love to eat breakfast most of the time. Here he is with a few of his favorite things: His sister, cereal, and his binky bear (on the table).

Aidan is also so lovable. He says I love you Mommy many many times each day. He does our special sign to say I love you every night at bedtime and when I see him at school. He also loves to give me little things. Every a dried brown leaf is like a special treasure to him and he picks them up and gives it to me as if it were a beautiful flower. I now have Aidan leaves all over the inside of the van from the treasures he gives to me as we walk to the van after school. I love them! He also picks tiny flowers (weeds) to give to me.

Aidan loves to climb on and wrestle with Daddy. Although he is not a huge rough houser and never has been, he has always loved to have that special boy time with daddy wrestling around. Tickling is usually involved too. He loves playing outside on the playscape Daddy and Grandpa built, and also has recently enjoyed playing soccer outside. He kicks the ball into the fence or the goal and says, "Score!" Maybe soon we will be brave enough to sign him up for soccer.

Right now his favorite colors are, "silver and golden," which is a big change from Meme's favorites (and in turn Aidan's favorites) of purple and pink. Daddy is happy about this change.

Aidan loves Dora, Nemo, Diego, Backyardigans, and most of all Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. He still has his fascination with little things and can often be found with a marble, pebble, or small treasure of some kind in his hand or pocket.

Aidan is a gift from God, in many ways the opposite of his sister, a feisty red head, a loving son, and a huge blessing to his Daddy and me.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Fun with Windows Movie Maker

So this is something that I have been wanting to do for some time now. We had all these video clips of the kids dancing in the living room and I wanted to put them together for a dancing montage. Now to put this in perspective I had to find a video file converter and a audio file converter to make my Quicktime videos and iTunes music compatible with Windows Movie Maker. My hard work has paid off.

So turn up the speakers and enjoy!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A look at Asher...

Anyone who is a parent can relate. Each child is different. It is amazing how different Aidan and Asher are. She is going to give us a run for our money. Either I have a bad memory or Asher is doing things before her brother did. She walked before he did (partly because she wanted to chase Aidan), it seemed like she was smiling before he did (just gas?), and she climbed things before he did. Well the last may not be true. She is very much a climber. Aidan may have been able to climb things when he was her age but if he could he didn't do it. When Aidan was little you could set him down somewhere and he wouldn't go too far. When you set Asher down the second you blink she is gone, and it never fails that where she has gone to either involves a dog or climbing something. My heart has skipped more beats these last 5 months then my entire life. We have a small table and chairs for the kids; she loves to climb the chairs. We have a step stool for the kids to get to the kitchen sink to wash their hands; she loves to climb that. And now she has learned that she has the ability to climb the playscape in our backyard (see the video below).

Not only is she a climber, but she is a princess (as she should be). She knows that she is the baby and likes to command attention; well at least likes to be held when she wants to be held. She is a sweet girl and will give kisses on command. Before bed we usually ask her to go and give bru-ba a kiss, and she will toddle over and give him a kiss. She'll kiss the dogs, stuffed animals; just not us. Well maybe just not me, Tiff will get some smackers from her sometimes.

Recently we took away her pacifier. She is still getting used to not having it at home. The hardest part has been trying to get her to go down for an afternoon nap without the pacifier. At night though the loss of the paci has lent itself to sweet moments holding her. Sometimes at night she needs a little calming down before going to bed. So we hold her and pat her back and then it happens; she will lay her head down on our shoulders. I can't talk for Tiff, but as a father this just melts my heart. Neither one of our kids are cuddlers, they have their moments, but for the most part they just aren't. So to have these evenings when she is tired and she lays her head on my shoulder and gives a little sigh; those are the times when I feel like I'm doing something right.

She absolutely loves the dogs and really enjoys big dogs. She spends a lot of her time chasing the two chihuahuas around the house, but Betty is usually the only one that will let her love on her. We are looking into adopting a golden retriever that will love her as much as she loves dogs. Until then she will have to be satisfied with her time with Zeus, Zena, and Champ.

Here are some recent videos and pictures of our 2nd child.

One of the last nights with the paci.

Asher's cheesy grin on the pooh train from Uncle Zach (still a favorite).

Asher's hip hair today. Tiff loves being able to do her hair.

Asher having fun with Champ.

Asher climbing up the 'rock' wall on the playscape and going down the slide. Our little daredevil is growing up so fast. Please excuse her outfit, it was a 'quick let's go outside and play' and we couldn't find any of her girly jacket or hat.

Friday, January 9, 2009

A White Christmas - Sort of!

Well - we weren't there on Christmas Day, but we did arrive the day after. We surprised everyone by pulling up to Mom's house exactly 22 hours after we left and one day earlier than expected. We told them we were going to have to stay the night (and made them think we were in Oklahoma City,) but then honked and asked them to come help us bring the kids in! It was awesome! That night we were able to play in the snow as the temperatures were literally going up and the snow was starting to melt. We made our first snowlady when it was totally dark, but still had a blast. The next day we were out again, during the RAIN, playing in the snow, building another snowman, jumping on the snow covered trampoline, and having a snowball fight using perfect snowballs made with a red plastic snowball maker from Jake. After the rain continued we were soaking wet but had had a really great time. Some snow stuck around for the whole trip, and it even snowed a little later on, but not enough to snowmobile. Maybe next year!

22 hours there, 20.5 hours on the way back with a 1 year old and a 3 year old. We watched lots of movies, ate lots of snacks, stopped at McDonalds and played, played with toys including Mommy's phone, took a couple of naps, and slept pretty well at night. The hard part was getting comfortable in the carseats. They really did awesome!!!!!!

We went outside and played in the snow as soon as we could get bundled up!

Uncle Zach, Aidan, and Uncle Kaleb were all building a snowwoman.

You can actually see my son's perfect aim in hitting Meme with a big snowball.

Warming up with Meme and Uncle Kaleb after playing outside.

We woke up the next morning and had Christmas number 3 for the kids. The kids were really good after not much sleep and a long car ride. They were happy to see 3 of their 4 Uncles: Uncle Jake (arrived on New Years Day), Uncle Kaleb, and Uncle Zach, Meme, Grampy, and lots of pets: Zeus and Zena (the Golden Retrievers), Juno (the Westie puppy), and Daphne (the kitty). Asher loved that!
Note: If you are wondering about the pink bra on the tree, you will have to check out my mom's blog to find out the reason!

We were also able to see my mom's side of the family including Uncle Gordon and Aunt Mary, Logan, Tyler, Aunt Brenda, Kaitlin, Joey, Great Grandma Gus, and Uncle Timmy.

Great Grandma Gus babysat the munchkins when we all went bowling.

This trip was truly one filled with play! We played:



Musical Chairs

We also played: Blink, Poker, Texas Rummy, Buggy Bingo, BINGO, and the crane game.

Some of my other best moments of the trip were watching Asher climb on and love the big dogs (She really needs a big doggy at home!), listening to Mom and Tom get the kids up and feed them breakfast every morning so Matt and I could sleep in (Kaleb also helped in carrying them out of his room to Meme and Grampy), going to Crazy Penguin with Kaleb and playing Rock Band, going bowling with the whole family, having the best pizza in the world Sam's pizza, and eating cheese curds at Culvers. There were many fun times.

Asher with Zeus

New Year's Eve was great! We allowed Aidan to stay up until midnight and the little guy actually made it until 12:26 to be exact. He was in a great mood almost the whole night, and play right along with us until the ball dropped. I knew he was getting his second wind when he was literally running from one end of the house to the other with his footy pj's on, his glowstick "belt", and a little smile on his face. He had a ball.

It was so great seeing everyone and our best trip ever to moms!

They Say It All!

Each stage that our kids enter brings along with it lots of new phrases and words that crack us up and make us smile every day! Here's what the kids are saying these days:

"Ayudame!" (Help Me! in Spanish)

Aidan will ask for help with something, we'll help him, and then he'll say, "Thanks, nice to meet ya!"

"I love you the whole world Mama!" or "I love you my sweet little Mama" (He is so so loving sometimes and gets on a roll where he will tell me he loves me and hugs me over and over again while he is playing.)

I will ask him how school was today and he will say, "Fabulous!" (This phrase was coined by Meme!)

When we were driving back past the St. Louis arch he said, "Is that where Jesus lives?"

He has also nicknamed his sister Cherry, and I can't remember exactly why...

"Bruba" (Whenever she sees her brother - he makes her smile every day! She actually wakes up in the morning saying this and reaching for his bed.)

"Gog-gee" (Doggy - She is fascinated by any and all dogs and loves to pet and play with them if they will let her)

"Mama and Dadda" (of course!)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Christmas Morning at Home

Merry Christmas!! (A little late - sorry!) The kids slept in until 8:30 which was great! They were both happy in the morning and we even got a great picture of them together before we began our bible story and present opening. Aidan did great this year opening. He really enjoyed it. Asher didn't really care to much, but she did like playing with her new necklaces and bracelets from mommy and daddy. We had a wonderful Christmas playing with our new toys and relaxing some in the morning. I think Aidan's favorites may have been his dice, Gator Golf, and his marble racing game, and Asher liked her jewelry. I can't wait until she is really into her dolly. Aidan helped open Holly Berry, but Asher was not at all interested yet. After presents we enjoyed our coffee and orange cinnamon rolls, a long standing tradition in my family and now mine and Matt's family. The afternoon was spent napping for the kids and packing for Matt and I. We ended up leaving at about 8:30 PM for our trip to Illinois to see my family (a posting about that soon to follow!). Here are some highlights from our wonderful Christmas morning.

Mommy, did Santa come last night?

I could not believe this picture ofmy 2 sleepyheads turned out so great! It is a rare moment these days to have them both looking at the camera and smiling at the same time. Aidan and Asher have enjoyed dancing to country music in our living room holding the big Mickey and Minnie. It is so cute! Daddy is reading all about the best gift of all - Jesus!

Gator Golf has been a lot of fun, even though we don't really "play" the game, we more just play with the game. Aidan loves it!

Aidan is fascinated with little things to hold. He has moved on from acorns when he was younger to dice and marbles.

Asher is looking closely at the first jewelry she has ever received! Brother also got her a cool glittery bracelet for Christmas.

She is "all dressed up" in her jewelry, looking cute with her Daddy.

Aidan is playing with his little dinosaurs that Ashy picked out for him. Well - she was at least in the cart when mommy picked them out!

This marble racing game is pretty fun, although Asher wanting to play with the marbles makes me a little nervous.

Christmas Eve with Grandma and Grandpa Buss

Here is posting 1 of 3 of celebrating the Christmas season with our family. Matt's parents always celebrate on Christmas Eve. We were able to also see Uncle Rob and Aunt Katy, cousin Robby who will be 2 in April, and Great Grandma Buss too. While neither of the kids ate much at dinner, they did enjoy present time and cookies. Aidan and daddy were the present passer outers again this year. Then it was present opening time. This year Aidan was definitely into opening the presents, but didn't seem to look too closely at them once they were opened. He also helped little sister open hers. Asher's highlight of the evening was definitely climbing all over Champ the Golden Retriever. He is the super calm pet of Uncle Rob, Aunt Katy, and Robbie. To Asher, he was better than any present! We didn't stay up too late, because we had to get home to get ready for Santa! We did end the night with a nice cup of hot chocolate with Great Grandma Buss. Aidan and Great Grandma Buss reading a new book from Uncle Rob and Aunt Katy.

Aidan and I snooping for presents.

Daddy and Aidan being present passer outers...

Aunt Katy, Cousin Robby, Aidan, and Grandma opening presents.

Matt wearing two of his presents at once, his Vikings hat and a new tie.

Great Grandma and Aidan playing tea party with Asher's new tea set.

Asher did join in the fun when she saw big brother doing it.

Asher and Champ

Aidan starting to get pooped out, but still happy....

Aidan enjoying a cup of hot chocolate.