Monday, May 24, 2010

The Jackson's Invade Minneapolis...

This was our first true family vacation. We've made the trek to KC lots of times with the kiddos, and have gone on trips with our extended family, but this time we were truly flying solo. We had a fabulous time and made lots of memories...some, we will never forget, thanks to Ethan.

We chose to get a two-room suite at our hotel. We got a great deal and thought it would be better for everyone. The kids were so excited! They immediately began checking out the amenities--Ethan was jumping on beds and dialing room service, while Eva scoped out the toilet and toilet paper. We were just thankful to have a door that closed us off from our sweet kiddos at bedtime!

Next, we took in the city sights. We rode rides at the Mall of America, did a little shopping, hit Lego land, went to the Como Zoo (FREE!), walked around the sculpture park at the Walker Art Museum, walked along Lake Calhoun, and of course hit Ikea. The kids were such troopers and we have some great pictures of them having a fantastic time! We ate some incredible food (check-out Sebastian Joe's Ice Cream, Pizza Luce, and Cafe Latte*for dessert* if you're in town--awesome food and great people watching!).

Como Zoo...we got rained out, but still an awesome zoo!
Oops...we didn't read the sign.

Ethan's goal was to ride a roller coaster...sadly, he didn't make it to the red line without standing on tip-toe...

So, off to the bumper cars...

Eva loves grass...surely she knows
we have that in Des Moines.

Checking out the giant spoon...

What's a family vacation without a little hiccup? Well, here's the 'Ethan' part of the story. We love art and so decided to introduce the kiddos to the Walker Museum of Art. The modern building is done by a famous architect and houses some amazing art, and outside is a wonderful sculpture garden. No, Ethan didn't pull off an art heist. He didn't use flash photography either.

He did commit a flash of another sort, though. We were headed out after our wanderings, and Ethan informed us emphatically that he needed So, I told him we would hurry to the car and find a bathroom. I turned back around and my sweet, innocent boy had his pants around his ankles and was relieving himself right there in the middle of the sculpture park. Now, if you're an art lover...or just know public etiquette, then this is kind of considered a no, no. And, well, it's sort of against the law too. Something about indecent exposure. Anyway, of course we attempted to put a stop to it.

Brent ran to stop him, and I helped by laughing and grabbing the camera:

Next, daddy 'disciplined' Ethan...he was very stern.

Not sure Ethan got it.
The whole, 'don't pee-pee in public' concept was kind of lost on him.

Dear Minneapolis,

Ethan had a wonderful time! You left your mark on him, and I believe, he has left his mark on you as well.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mealtime...A Civilized Occasion...

Mealtimes in our household are quite civilized. A place where napkins are folded neatly in laps, conversation is in hushed tones, correct utensils are used, and items are passed politely.

Oh, sorry, I was daydreaming for a bit. Mealtime is more like this:

There is food in the hair, food on the floor, reminders of vegetables to be eaten and napkins to be used. "Please take a bite of this." "You'd better not spit that out." "Turn around in your chair." "Don't feed Stella."
While it is a long, sometimes painful, process, it's become a place to connect. A place for laughter and conversation. A place to hear funny stories from a four-year-old. A place to answer LOTS of questions and start traditions. We're making messes and memories around here.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Long, Lost Fraggle...

Not only is the little miss doing lots of big-girl things these days, but she has sprouted some hair. I believe it is purely for my own amusement:

Who knew Red had a sister?

'Down in Fraggle Rock!' (clap, clap)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

You Can Keep Your Weapons of Mass Destruction, Cause' I've Got My Own...

It's the E.T.H.A.N model from 2006. It's only four years old and is quite effective at getting the job done. Once it's engaged it destroys my living room as well as anything that comes in it's path. It can lay waste to pretty much any home...much to my dismay.

When I had only had it for about 18 months, I took the E.T.H.A.N model with me to visit a friend who had just had a baby. I had to follow the model everywhere moving things from its path, hiding valuables and apologizing for the weapon's disregard for its surroundings. It was only doing what it knew best. The E.T.H.A.N must touch everything.

Another time I took the E.T.H.A.N to visit a friend (who at the time didn't have children). Once again the E.T.H.A.N felt it necessary to touch everything, scatter dog toys and attempt to reach items out of arms reach. I knew something went awry with the programming when the E.T.H.A.N dropped a glass coaster. As glass often does, it broke. I was mortified and apologized for the E.T.H.A.N and promptly replaced the coaster. Thankfully, the friend remembers the incident fondly and has since acquired her own W.O.M.D.

Today, I took the E.T.H.A.N, along with the newest model we acquired, the E.V.A, to another friend's house (see a pattern?). My models played well with her models and everything seemed to be going well.

Until, the E.T.H.A.N hid behind a dollhouse. Now, hiding is not good. No, not at all. Hiding means something destructive is going to happen. Hiding means programming has gone out of whack. Shifty eyes also means programming has gone out of whack.

We discovered the E.T.H.A.N had found some little miniature dollhouse presents and was unwrapping them all one by one, only to be disappointed and find they were pretend and only had Styrofoam blocks beneath the wrapping. About four presents later and we finally notice the shifty eyes peering at us. When asked what was going on the E.T.H.A.N denied responsibility for the destruction. We did a bit of investigation, pieced together the crime scene and put the E.T.H.A.N out of commission for a few minutes. Sorry, Miss H. I'm working out the kinks still.

While there's a lot of destruction, discipline, and humbling moments, I still refuse to upgrade. I love the E.T.H.A.N--the quirks, the funny happenings, the stories, the songs, the cuddles, the back tickles, the kisses. The E.T.H.A.N is a teaching model. Teaching the E.V.A about God, how to love, and also lay waste to the surrounding environment. The E.V.A is a quick study.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Recovery, Licked Stairs, and a Wedding...

Did April happen? I know it's one of the 12 months, but did I actually experience it? April was a whirlwind of travel, and two surgeries for the kiddos. May arrived and we headed down to KC for the wedding of Brent's brother.

If you remember from my last post, I have been pleading with The Lord for Ethan to recover in time for the wedding and accept my m&m bribery to walk down the aisle with his little sister.

The big day arrived and Ethan woke up feeling great...God said, 'YES'...just one more 'YES' to go. Brent's Aunt Bonnie promised Ethan a dollar for a good performance, and I chose to hold my breath. The music started and the doors swung wide to reveal the fruits of my womb dressed, smiling and taking those golden steps down the aisle. The Heavens parted and a glowing light filtered down while a choir of angels sang the 'Hallelujah' Chorus. Okay, not really, but I really did hold my breath until they made their way. The little miss smiled all the way and upped the ante anytime she heard the crowds glowing remarks. She likes praise and will gladly perform for it. Ethan looked with trepidation from side to side, but all I cared was that he put one foot in front of the other and that he didn't get spooked and take off in the opposite direction. Aunt Sarah (you know, the woman in Ethan's life) walked them down...basically, they'll do anything for her.
They made it down the aisle and I began breathing and praising Jesus. Thanks for saying, 'YES' again Lord. They were perfectly quiet and content during the wedding and then it was picture time. Usually 'picture time' is a bad word in our house, but they did great. Despite not having naps, the kids were pleasant, friendly and had a great time. Everything went off without a hitch. Ethan even helped wrangle Eva for some pics:

But, you all know my children too well. You know that I'm holding out...Jackson stories are never that perfect. There has to be some little nugget I've missed. Some little tidbit. Well, you would be correct, my friend.

And it doesn't involve the Little Mr. Nope, He can wipe the sweat from his brow, cause he's off the hook.

Oh, my sweet Little Miss. Well, of course she was captured on film quite a lot. It's just the way it goes when you have a little girl in a fancy dress. And she was always camera ready and happy to oblige for every photo. Unfortunately, there was one little time she wasn't quite camera ready. I was chatting with an old friend and watching Eva as she entertained herself by climbing up and down a couple of stairs. A family member approached and asked if she could take a picture of Eva...of course I said yes (I mean, come on...) Then she made a face and said, "Ummm...I would rather not take a picture of your daughter licking the stairs." I turned around and saw my sweet, fancy girl giving the stair the once over with her tongue. Not once. Not twice. But three times before I actually got to her and pulled her away from her obsession. Not exactly her finest moment. But, at least she looked her best while doing it. Oh, well. We almost made it through the day without an incident.

Overall, it was a really great day with family celebrating a union before the Lord.

Congratulations will always be my brother from another mother...and, welcome to the family Emily.

The Jackson's

yep...I donned the chuck dogs were barkin'.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Neglectful Housewife...

Pre-op Ethan

Post-op Ethan

If my son 'blessing' my jeans and flip-flops in the recovery room post-op was any indication of how the next five days of recovery would be, I should have made a mental note.

My days have been filled with Popsicle chopping (cause that's the way he likes it), pain med dosing, tantrum soothing, juice refilling and countless hours of watching Monsters vs. Aliens. My own hygiene has been sorely neglected (I know, T.M.I), the dishes are piling up and the clean laundry is screaming my name to be folded...or maybe it's Brent screaming my name as he sorts through the endless baskets of clean laundry searching for his socks.

Either way, you get the point. Recovery has put daily tasks on hold. Brent escaped to work this morning with both kids having a melt-down and me pleading with him not to go. Bribery didn't work. So, we're left to our own devices today. We're in survival mode in the Jackson house. If he wants ice cream, it's his. Another movie? You got it. Pajamas all day? Done.

We're choosing our battles to avoid his transformation from sweet Ethan to veins popping from the forehead, clothes tearing, green-eyed monster Ethan. So far so good...but, it's only 10am.

In four days the little Mr. is slated to be in his uncle's wedding. We're playing that one by ear. In pure Jackson offspring style, I'm sure it will be a day that lives in infamy. Or, by the Lord's divine intervention, Ethan will be fully recovered, wearing a tie, delightful and gleefully bounding down the aisle with his little sister in tow. This is the request I earnestly lay before the Lord each night. Heading down the aisle would be quite a task for my willful first born aside from having his tonsils freshly removed.

Well, I should wrap this up. It's time for some cuddling on the couch and the third installation (today) of Monsters vs. Aliens.