Preschool Picture

Jayden's Preschool Picture

First Day of Preschool

On Tuesday, Jayden had his first day of preschool. He's been so excited about starting school, he was bouncing off the walls all morning. He'll be going every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday afternoon. We got out the door about a half hour early, so we took the time to get a few pictures.

This picture was his idea. He wanted a picture in front of the tree like Ethan...I'm not exactly sure what that means, but I'm sure it means something.

Here we are heading out the door. Notice the Rock N Roll sign he's doing with his right hand.

In front of his new school!

The teachers had name tags for all of the kids, Jayden was pretty happy to wear his.

The minute we walked through the door, Jayden took off on his own. While the other kids were hanging on their parents legs, I was trying to keep up with Jayden. When I told him Bye, he didn't even look my way to tell me goodbye...I guess this is good?

Jayden didn't give very many details on the day. When I'd ask him a question, he'd just shrug his shoulders. From what I could gather over the last couple of days, they read a book about a bird, Spongebob was on the tv somewhere, they had Goldfish Crackers for a snack, and they practiced something. He just told me that they're going to McDonalds today. So, who knows.
After school, we went to the doctor for his physical. Jayden is not a good kid to take to the doctor. We'll just leave it at that.
We finished the day with a trip to Dairy Queen, Jayden had some money from Grandma and Grandpa and decided he wanted to go for ice cream.
For the most part, it was a good day (if I can black the memory of the doctors office out of my memory), and he is very excited to go back. I think I've answered "Are you SO Happy I go to school now?" about 50 times since Tuesday, which just tells me that he is so happy. He has also proclamed that he can read the big chapter books because he goes to school now as he sat down to "read" the Series of Unfortunate Events.
So far, I think we're off to a great start!

Porch Progress

We've come a bit farther from out previous Porch Demo post, so I thought I'd share!

To start with, the old footings had to be pulled out, which were huge stones. Holes were dug, and new footers were pored. From there, we had to get some new green treated lumber to rebuild the frame. (I'll say "we" a lot here, but I really haven't done anything on the porch, "we" means Josh, my mom, and my Uncle Perry)
Nice and straight!
After the new fram was built, we used some flooring that we got from my mom's building, and some from the Preservation Station to redo the floor. It is so much nicer to have a porch floor with a straight edge! Also, each peice of the porch that goes back up is stripped of the old paint, sanded, and primed before it goes up.The before and after of the porches arches.

Yes, even the neighbor boys get put to work.

Two posts down, two to go!

Isn't it amazing how a how a porch that is a hundred years old can look so nice with a bit of work and some paint?

Cutest Lemonade Pourers in Town!

Jayden and my nephew Ethan are having a Lemonade stand! Come watch the RAGBRAI teams come in from the best view in Burlington while enjoying ice cold lemonade! Saturday, July 25th!

Gavin and his buddies

Gavin, Jasper and Gizmo

Front Porch Demo

Yesterday Josh, my mom, Perry and Jayden started working on our front porch. If you've been to our house you probably know that our porch was a bit, um, rough...really, it's pretty embarrassing. Luckily for us, my mom has most of the materials we need to rebuild from her building downtown that we're able to get things started right away.
Here is what we started with. Lovely isn't it? I mean, really, who doesn't like exposed cinder blocks at the front of their home to welcome their guests? Not to mentions the birds and squirrels that liked to make their home in the corner, and the "rebuilt" porch post that looked like a scratching post thanks to the squirrels and that was pretty much rotted away.

Here is the other side. Not much better. The board you see laying there was a frugal attempt to keep neighbor cats out from under our porch.
And notice the lovely jagged floor boards edging the front of the porch. You may even notice a few boards that were remnants of a better time when lattice was used in place of random boards.Here they are, getting to work. My mom had all of the two by fours at her place, Jayden jumped right in to help unload.
I had to show houses that afternoon, so I missed out on the fun demolition, but when I came back, the demo was DONE! The porch is braced up, no floor, the posts are off, and Josh even built these LOVELY cinder block steps for us until we get everything rebuilt.
So far, so good!

Gavin's First Birthday Party

We had Gavin's Birthday party on Sunday, February 22nd. I've discovered that it's much more difficult to plan a Birthday party in the winter, so we decided to keep it simple and intimate since our family is starting to get spread out a bit.
Our first order of business was assembling the slide that the Wilkins family got him. It will great for him to have his own appropriate sized slide when we get to play outside this summer!
From there, we had cake. I worked very hard on his cake, mostly because we kept his party so low key, I still wanted him to have pictures to look back on and know that we did something special. This was my first fondant cake....and last I'm sure...unless enough time goes by that I forget how much work this type of cake is.
The cupcake on top was meant for Gavin, but he didn't want a thing to do with it!
Rather than just having cake and ice cream, I thought we'd do an ice cream sundae buffet.

After not even touching his cupcake, we thought we'd give him a slice of cake. As you can see, he didn't want anything to do with this either. The weird part is, this kid has a HUGE sweet tooth. He'll scream and cry if he sees a cookie, piece of candy, or anything yummy looking. His brother did the same thing with his first Birthday cake.
He did, however, like the ice cream toppings.
From there, we opened presents. At this point it was past his naptime, so we had to be quick! Jayden was kind enough to help. He got lots of fun toys and great clothes!
Here he is modeling a new outfit from Nana:
During Gavin's nap, the older boys went outside to play. They had a BLAST playing in the snow.
Overall, we had a wonderful time. Thank you everyone for sharing this very special day with him!

Happy Birthday Gavin!

Happy Birthday, to our sweet little boy Gavin!

A cute video of Gavin enjoying some Birthday Balloons:

I'll post a bit more info soon!

First Haircut

I wanted to wait until after his one year Birthday, but I got tired of constantly washing the dried in food that tangled up his hair. His hair was really pretty unruly, but I knew that once he had a haircut he would not look like a baby any more and it's hard to prepare yourself for that. So last night, we chopped the curls. We bribed him into sitting still with some Conversation Hearts, Jayden has apparently introduced these to him earlier in the day while I was on the phone. If you know Gavin, he has to constantly play with food that is in his mouth, so one heart kept him preoccupied for a couple of minutes at least.
Anyway, here is the before:

And here he is this morning:


Well, I'm slacking, and I'm sorry. I've been so busy lately working and I've had sick boys for the past week. I've had so much that I've wanted to blog about, because we've been doing some fun things (except for the sick week). This will simply be an abridged version of the last month of so.
Some of the fun things we've done:
We went to the water park...when it was -20 outside.
We've gone roller skating

We've played

We've painted

And we've caused trouble

Whew! That's it for now! Back to work :)
Hey all! I've finally given my other website a facelift. I've been playing around with it all weekend, and I think it's finally starting to look the way I've been wanting it to look.
The idea behind that blog is basically going to be community focused. I'll keep it updated with some fun stuff that is happening in the community, some real estate, and anything else I'm inclined to write about!
I would love any feedback, constructive criticism is welcome!

Dear God, Give Me Strength

I love my children, very very much. But some days...some days are just plain hard. Today is one of those days. It builds up slowly through the week, and then that one day hits, the one that I spend every minute after noon looking out the window for Josh's car to pull up so I can hand at least one boy off to him. I feel like I have to occassionally share these days, so someday when the kids are older and they possibly read this, they'll know what life was really like. Not just the fun things, and smiling at the camera, but the other stuff. The stuff that I'll probably block out as they get older.
Gavin, typically, is my easy one. I say that knowing full well that by teenage years the opposite might be true. He's pretty happy just to wonder around the house playing with odd toys, stacking boxes, and going through cabinets. Our only difficulties here is that he still doesn't sleep through the night, and we'll have those odd days that he just wants to be carried ALL day. So really, this post isn't so much about him.
Jayden is what you'd call a spirited child. Depending on the stage of the phase that he's in, this can be wonderful or overwhelming. Right now, I think I'll call this the Light Bulb Stage. Any of you reading this that has been around Jayden in the last month knows exactly what I'm talking about. He is obsessed with burnt out light bulbs. He could find the light bulb on the back of the tree, a foot back that was burnt out, and he would tell everyone. The first week or so, it was kind of funny. The second week, we were all stocking up on light bulbs to give Jayden less to talk about. By now, it's just getting annoying. Some of the light sockets in our house just don't work. We can't do anything about it, we tell him this, but he does not let up. I know, that sounds harsh, but try going through Walmart with this kid, and you'll see. (He also points out broken floor tiles, broken shopping cart handles, and if he's out of the cart he is facing the shelves).
Jayden is a kid that is always moving, thinking, and talking. He has to see how everything works, and then ask about a million questions, or at least enough questions that he inevitably loops right back to the first question he asked. His emotions are loud, and they can go to one extreme to another in a split second. It's probably obvious, he spends a lot of time in time out. He isn't a bad kid, he just gets wrapped up into what he's doing so much that he loses sight of the rules.
Today, just didn't start out right. It was the day that Gavin wanted to be held to start with, which is fine some days, but today it just wasn't working. Jayden was Jayden time ten. He had a million things to ask and to say, I could hardly start one task without him asking me to do 3 or 4 other things..."Mommy, come here! Want to play a game? Look at THIS! I want more milk."
There were a few times that I had peace. Peace that I paid for. The first time, I was showering, and Jayden and Gavin were playing in Gavin's room with the door shut. The sounds were happy, so I left them to it as I dressed and got ready. Jayden finally came barging into my room with his super loud "Mommy, look at this!!" and then ran back into Gavin's room. I took my time. I knew it was something I wasn't going to want to see, so I delayed it. I made my way into Gavin's room, and Jayden exclaimed, "Look, EXPLOSION!!" Every single toy, rug, book off the bookshelf, and anything else that was within reach was thrown into a huge pile in the middle of Gavin's room. Jayden was thrilled, until I made him clean Gavin's room.
The second time, I had just made Jayden a special snack while Gavin was napping. I had just finished making a snack for Jayden, and hopped on the computer for a couple of minutes. I heard giggling coming from the kitchen, and Jayden occassionally whisper "come here Jasper." Once again, I suspected something, but I really didn't think it was anything too major. Then Jasper came running into the room with an almost empty bottle of green food coloring. I ran into the kitchen to find food coloring EVERYWHERE, on the cabinets, the floor, and Jasper. I was livid. Jayden was promptly put in time out as I scrubbed the floor, fuming, scrubbed the cabinets, still fuming, and washed Jasper. As I watched the green water wash off of Jasper and go down the drain...the laughter started. Of course, as a parent, I've learned NEVER to let a kid see you laugh, so I hid it, dismissed Jayden from time out, and looked out the window for Josh.
I know it wasn't a horrible day, just one of those days. One out of many many days.

Gavin's Baptism

On December 21st, Gavin was baptized at Saint John's Church. His Godparents are our good friends, Liz Toal and Steve Ballinger. It went very well, Gavin was squirmy as usual, but pretty behaved for the most part.

Afterward, we had a few people over to our house for snacks and cake.
Here he is with his Godparents getting ready to open up some presents!

Thanks so everyone who came to celebrate his special day!

New Years Update

New Years Eve I had really, really good intentions. My idea was to get my life in as much order as possible so I could start the new year off good. I had very symbolic thoughts going through my head as I rushed through the house trying to get all of the new toys put away, as I straightened and cleaned, and had another battle with my never ending pile of laundry. I thought, if my house is clean when I enter the new year, maybe it'll be a sign that I can keep it that way. I went to the grocery store and loaded our fridge up with fruits and veggies and good stuff, hoping this would symbolize that our fridge will always be full in the next year. Needless to say, by evening I was taking things pretty seriously. My intentions for the rest of the evening was to go out with friends, and to stay up until midnight with Josh to welcome the New Year. So we met with friends for some Mexican food, and headed down to our favorite bar, the Paddlewheel. I had a margarita, and while enjoying an evening our socializing (this seldom happens outside of our family) I started to feel horrible. Thankfully the Paddlewheel boasts the cleanest bathrooms of any bar with good reason, because I spent a good amount of time on floor...I won't go into much more detail, but I'm pretty sure it was food poisoning. So Josh dropped me off at home so he could go pick up the kids. I was in bed by 9, and vaugly remember midnight due to Gavin waking up the first of a handfull of times.
Even though I may not have rang in the New Year as expected, I'm hoping that maybe it will symbolize something else. An empty stomach and lack of appetite may actually mean that I'll finally lose this stupid baby weight. If only it were so simple, right?

On to other things New Year related. Two years ago I developed a list of everything that needed to be done on the house. I came back last year to update everything we'd done so far. Last year I highlighted everything in red that had been accomplished...really, it was pretty impressive. This year, I'll use blue. I'm not sure if there will be much blue used, but we had a baby this year, so we'll just blame it on that.

Jayden's Room

  • Touch up floor paint
  • Install and paint quarter round and floor trim
  • Finish shelving (this is partly done)
  • Install dimmer switch
  • Blank covers for obsolete outlets
  • Install lighting in closet
  • Paint door

Master Bedroom

  • One more coat of paint on walls
  • Edging on ceiling
  • Plate covers
  • Finish Trim
  • Install Door
  • Install closet lights
  • Run cable to our room

Upstairs Hallway

  • Finish patching cracks
  • Sand
  • Primer and paint ceilings and walls
  • Install lighting
  • Switch plate covers
  • Paint woodwork
  • Install shelving

Kid's Bath

  • Finish Floor
  • Plumbing
  • Order faucet for tub
  • Sand walls
  • Primer and Paint walls and ceiling
  • Finish painting bead board
  • Put up trim
  • Put up and finish door
  • Install Lighting
  • Hang medicine cabinet


  • Sand, primer, paint walls and ceiling
  • Sand and varnish woodwork (this is partly done)

Living Room

  • Finish woodwork
  • Finish installing built in media cabinet
  • Finish dresser
  • Finish and install french doors
  • Touch up paint

Family Room

  • Touch up paint
  • Put up woodwork
  • Finish woodwork
  • Install built in bookshelves

Dining Room

  • One more coat of regular paint
  • Top coat paints
  • Woodwork
  • Switch plate covers
  • Door on closet

Half bath

  • Put in ceiling
  • Plaster, sand, primer, and paint walls and ceiling
  • Paint bead board and woodwork
  • Plate covers (all but the lightswitch)
  • Hang medicine cabinet


  • Electrical
  • Plumbing
  • Drywall walls and ceiling
  • Plaster, Sand, Primer and paint walls and ceiling
  • Install and paint woodwork
  • Sand and varnish floor <--We painted instead
  • Install lighting
  • Install cabinets
  • Install appliances


  • Scrape paint
  • Primer (partial!)
  • Paint (partial!)
  • Begin landscaping
Gavin's Room wasn't on here when I started the list, so I'll add it now. This is everything that still needs to be finished.

Gavin's Room
  • Burn paint off closet door and bedroom door
  • Primer doors
  • Paint doors
  • Fix floor
  • Install quarter round
  • Touch up wall

My big hope is that this year I'll defy the odds in Real Estate and make enough money to hire all of this work done!

ps. I'll get to the Christmas update someday. It was so overwhelming, that the thought of revisiting it is exhausting to think about.