Southeast Iowa Air Show!

Last weekend we met up with Joe, Barb, and Mandy at the Southeast Iowa Air Show. It was on hiatus last year, so we were pretty excited to get there this year. Plus, it was FREE! They had a NASA exhibit, helicopters, airplane rides, and air show and the Jump 4 Fun stuff.
Here are Jayden and Gavin as astronauts at the NASA exhibit.

While everyone else enjoyed the air show, Jayden enjoyed the inflatables. He loves these things!

The Aerostars.

Papa showed Jayden the workings of a helicopter, right up close.

It was a fun day! I was hoping Jayden would have gotten more excited about the air show, but once he sees the inflatables, that's all he wants to do.

For you Burlington people, don't forget, Heritage Days is this weekend! There will be bands, food, pony rides, inflatables, pumpkins and all sorts of other fun things. Hope to see you there!

A milestone!

For a few weeks now, Gavin has been pulling himself up to stand. I've been slow to posting get about it, I know, but better late than never!

He pulls himself up to stand on anything, even a bare wall! Here he is at the couch this morning, with a goofy little smile.
Look ma, one hand!

This is a very common site. Gavin follows us everywhere, and pulls himself up on our pant legs. It's cute, but a little difficult if I'm trying to get dinner ready and I have a little monkey hanging on my legs.
My baby is growing up too fast!

"I don't want to sleep in here."

Well, it's happened. Millions of families have gone through this, and I thought we'd be immune. No matter how hard you try to keep a safe, healthy environment for your children, you can't control everything.

We've got monsters. My "fearless" little boy is afraid of the dark.

He's been getting increasingly timid for awhile now. Maybe too many games of hide and seek that involve us jumping out and growling at Jayden which always resulted in screams and laughter. Maybe cartoons with wierd creatures that helped develop his imagination. Maybe just a right of passage that would have been inevitable anyway.

It started out with the occasional difficulties getting Jayden to bed. He's always been very good at bedtime, so we did what it took to get him to sleep in his bed and hoped it was just a phase. We would sometime get a knock at his door in the middle of the night, we'd open it we'd find Jayden clutching his pillow with tears running down his face telling us "I don't want to sleep in here." It was heartbreaking and we'd always take him into our room until he fell back asleep.

Josh and I are tired. With a teething 6 month old that wakes up every TWO TO THREE hours, and a toddler that won't go to bed and knows to wake up only on the nights that Josh and I most desperate for sleep, we're tired.
Gavin's nightly ritual is baby orajel on his gums (against doctors orders), and cereal and Gripe Water in his bottle right before bed at around 7:30pm. We then proceed to go in his room 2-3 times within the next hour to settle him back down. He is tired, and he is ready for bed, but he fights sleep so bad that he wakes up crying a few times before he finally conks out. Then it's Jayden's turn.

Now our nightly ritual has gone from reading a few books, rubbing Jayden's back and leaving his room to a good half hour or more of talking him into staying in his room and waiting until he falls asleep, with the occasional "I don't like this room" muttered while his eyes are closed.

Now, not only am I sad for him. I don't want him to be scared. I don't like not being in control, and this is a situation I don't have much control over. But, I'm also sad because we've worked so hard on this house, I don't like hearing him say he "doesn't like it" for any reason. I've been scared of the dark most of my life, mostly while I was young because I walked in my sleep and would wake up out of my bed so often. My fears have mostly moved from the childhood fears of the dark: monsters and ghosts and things you can't see; to adult fears of unlocked doors, fires, and strangers. They're still there even if they're in a different form, I feel like I can still relate.

I've decided to take a different approach. Apparently telling him that monsters aren't real isn't working, so I think I'll just have to work with the situation. A popular method is "Monster Spray." So this morning we went down to Walgreens and picked some up. I went with some air freshner that has a picture of a window on it, since he has a window ghost. Not all that creative, but he insisted on going with me to the store so my choices were limited. We also picked up a ghost light from the Halloween section that the assistant manager (and fellow Remax Realtor) told me his granddaughter uses against monsters. We came home and sprayed down Jayden's room, and then the rest of the house for good measure. And we put his anti monster light next to his bed.

So here's hoping! This is another blog that's mostly meant as a reference point, so when Gavin goes through all of this I can look back and remember everything that I'm sure to black out at some point.

If any of you parents that have gone through this has any pointers, I'd love to hear them. I don't care how ridiculous they might be, I'll try anything. For now, wish us luck on the Monster Spray, if anything, we'll have a very nice smelling house!

Vote For Pedro Gavin!

I put some of my favorite pictures of Gavin in the American Baby Cover Contest, you can comment and vote HERE! You can click on the stars in the upper left corner to rate it, and click the recommend button if you want to recommend it...I'm not exactly sure what that means, but it can't be bad. :)

Fort Madison Rodeo Parade

Over the weekend, we decided to take advantage of the nice weather and head down to the Fort Madison Rodeo Parade. It was a great parade! Tons of candy, tractors, horses, firetrucks, and anything else a little boy could love. Jayden had a great time scurrying around for candy, and Gavin squealed and talked in excitement the whole time.

Gavin and Josh enjoying the parade

Jayden with his candy

In our house, tractors are about as cool as it gets.

This picture is for Grandma and Papa.

And totally unrelated, this is just a cute picture. Gavin loves sitting outside, but as soon as you sit him down he grabs handfuls of grass and shoves it in his mouth. Typically, I rush and do everything I can to keep the grass out of his mouth, but this day, he was just too cute.

Happy Birthday Jayden!

Jayden turned three years old on the 29th! We've had a very busy weekend, so I thought I'd wait until it was over to do my write up. Friday was a pretty easy going day. Josh stopped by the house before he left Burlington so Jayden could open his Birthday presents. He was very excited, and couldn't wait to play with his new toys!

My mom and Jayden share a Birthday, so she picked him up after lunch to spend the afternoon with him. They went shopping for his Birthday present, picked up Ethan, and spent some time at Fun City. Afterwards, we all met at my mom's house for some supper and cake.
Gavin was in heaven with all of the watermelon he could get his hands on.
All day as my mom asked Jayden what he wanted for his Birthday, his response was "a Birthday cake!" By the time the Birthday cake came, he was ecstatic! He sqealed with laughter as we presented him and my mom the cake, it was really very cute.
Sunday was the big party day. Josh's family watched Jayden overnight on Saturday, and until the party on Sunday, so Jayden was able to show up at his party after it was all decorated.

It was a circus theme, so I attempted to decorate the house like a Big Top. Easier said than done, but I think the effect was carried out enough. The banner on the porch reads "Jayden's Big Top" and we had a sign out by the sidewalk pointing to the "Stevens' Fairgrounds."
I wanted some old fashioned Circus posters, so I decided to make my own.
Here is Gavin's:

We had a picture board, here is Jayden with his head in the lion's mouth!
And instead of gift bags for the guests, we had a duck pond where they won "prizes."
We had a few more games, horse shoes, ring toss, and a bean bag toss that my Uncle Perry made.

We also busted balloons that had candy inside.
And we had the slide out, this was a huge hit with the kids!

Gavin had a pretty good time too, even though he didn't get to go swimming.

Jayden was very excited to open his presents. He got lots of really great games, vehicles, clothes, books and some other really neat toys.

And finally, he got his cake! Originally, we were just going to have cupcakes, but after his excitement over the Birthday cake at my mom's house, we decided to throw together a smaller cake for him.
That was our weekend! Thank you everyone who came for making it such a fun party. Jayden is a very lucky boy!