Monday, November 23, 2015

Jackson's 23 Month Update

23 months?! THAT DOESN'T SEEM POSSIBLE!!! Less than one month from now, we will have a full-fledged 2-year-old, which can't be real... didn't we JUST celebrate his 1st birthday last month? How am I already making reservations for his 2nd birthday?! Before I begin singing Sunrise, Sunset, here's what Jacksie's been up to this month:

Weight: 23.5 lbs.

Length: 32 inches (that's a total guess...)

Nicknames: Jax, Buddy, Tinks, Stinker, Jacksie, Bubs, Buttercup, Stinker

Wearing: 18 month pants & 24 month tops (he has short legs and a long torso) and pajamas; Size 3 diapers.

Sleep: Jax is SUCH a good sleeper these days! He still stays up a little late (until about 10-10:30), but will usually sleep until around 7, when he comes into bed with me and falls back asleep for another hour or two. Last month, I couldn't get him to take naps if he wasn't in his car seat or stroller, but he's even starting to lay down on his own every afternoon!

Jax likes: Books, animals, running around with other kids, older kids, talking on his "phone" (whatever he has in his hands at that moment), watching videos of himself on my phone, taking pictures, coloring, eating, playing at the park, when daddy gets home from work, going to mass, brushing his teeth, visiting family

Jax dislikes: Time out, being ignored, when the cat takes whatever he's playing with, being told no, strangers, doctors offices

Food: Cheese, pasta of any kind, fish, peanut butter, sugar (ice cream, cookies, candy, etc.), oatmeal, Belvita, yogurt, crackers, breads, Orange chicken, certain fruits and veggies.

Teeth: We have THREE eye-teeth (finally)!!! It's been a rough month, but the end is finally in sight (after those pesky 2-year-molars, of course D:). More on Jax's dentist visit below...

Happenings: House sitting for friends; pumpkin carving party at a friends; Halloween cookie decorating party; 2nd Halloween; 2nd dentist appointment; tour of Hammond's Candy Factory with friends from church; 1st snow of the season; open gym fun at Rec Center; and 2nd trip to the cabin. 

~This boy LOVES to give hugs and cuddles, and I'm not complaining! When I first weaned him, he did not want to be touched at all (especially when he slept -- if I so much as accidentally brushed against him, he would wake up and fuss), but now he is so sweet all the time and loves falling asleep on Brandon or me.

~Jax had his second ever dentist appointment last month and did WAY better than I'd expected! His dentist is awesome and has the coolest setup in the waiting room, so he was happy as a lark playing until they called his name... anyway, he was upbeat and cheerful until we got to the exam room where he stopped and began to BAWL (he has started associating any kind of doctor's office with shots... poor guy!). The dental hygienist was so good with him and gave him a toothbrush to play -- he was even happy to open wide when the Dr. examined his mouth! She told us that his eye-teeth would be popping out any minute (and she wasn't kidding) and that his molars didn't look too far behind... I can't wait until teething is over for our poor guy!

~We went on a field trip to Hammond's Candy Factory with some of our besties from church and Jackson acted like a kid in a candy store the entire time... I wonder why?

~He is FINALLY letting me read to him!!! Every night before bed, we go into his room and pick out a few books, one of which he will take to his comfy chair (I'm not allowed on the chair so I sit on the floor) and "read" to me. Once he's finished, he will usually let me read most of a book to him before he moves onto something else... Oh well; I'll take it!

~As you can see, I went ahead and got his potty out of storage a few weeks ago. He understands the concept of it, but has yet to actually "go". I've been waiting for the teething drama to pass, so once it does, we will start to work more on potty training. 

~I cannot believe how happy and funny this little guy is -- he even sits through church without fussing (which I thought was unheard of)! Speaking of church, I have a cute story that I want to document: every week, our priest lets the kids come up and drop their money in a special basket before they begin the congregation collection. Since Brandon and I don't normally carry cash, I've been letting Jackson take our collection envelope up to drop in the basket. Anyway, a few weeks ago, Fr. James stood up to give his homily and Jax sat straight up and began digging through my purse... I figured I knew what he was looking for (and wasn't fully thinking), so I handed him the envelope to hold, which resulted in him jumping off the pew and making a run for it down the aisle! Needless to say, was pretty bummed that he had to come sit back down with us, but was overcome with joy when collection time came and he was able to run to the front with the other kids... such a stinker!!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

How to Host a Holiday Cookie Decorating Party for Kids

Last Thursday, I Jackson had the pleasure of hosting his first ever cookie decorating party for his friends!

If you've been around the blog for awhile, you probably remember me gushing about Jenny Keller and how much I adore her and her incredible parties/dessert tables. I try channeling my inner Jenny Cookies whenever I get a chance (see: Jackson's 1st Birthday Party) and though it never turns out quite the same as one of her fabulous parties, it's still fun and gives me a chance to entertain and be creative.

Jenny is always throwing the cutest holiday parties for her friends and family, which inspired me to throw a Halloween cookie decorating party for Jackson and his friends! I am a notorious hoarder collector of all things holiday clearance, so when I opened up my seasonal box in early October, I knew I HAD to do something with all the half-off cookie cutters, cupcake liners, etc., that I purchased for 50% off November 1, 2014.

That's when it hit me -- Jackson would host his first ever cookie decorating party! Here's how I he did it...

A week before the party, Jackson and I spent an entire morning rolling, cutting, and baking our sugar cookies (this is the awesome recipe I always use) and then popped them in the freezer. Whenever I am throwing a party or having company for dinner, I like to do as much of the work ahead of time as possible to make the day before/morning of much less stressful. Later that same day, we made our way to the Dollar Tree to pick up disposable table clothes, plates, cups, etc. 

The day before the party, I whipped up a batch of Jenny's fabulous buttercream frosting, covered it, and let it set in the refrigerator overnight. I also drafted the help of my husband to line the floor with a disposable table cloth and did a dry run through of how I planned to set up the table the next morning. 

Here's how it looked:

For each place setting, I had a plate with 3 cookies, goody bags with an adorable "design-a-mask" inside, a cup full of the buttercream icing, and 3 Halloween cupcake liners to hold the kid's toppings.

At the center of the table, I set out bowls full of candy corn, gummies, and teddy graham crackers for the kids to use for decorations. 

Once the kids arrived, played for a bit, and refused to take a group picture (gotta love toddlers!), we began the decorating!

The kids made a huge mess and consumed tons of sugar while the moms all got to visit and drink coffee -- so all in all, the party was a huge success :) I think that some of the kids were still too little to get into the decorating (Jackson for one was WAY more interested in the eating than the decorating), but I am already planning the next party in my head... Christmas! Valentines! Easter! The cookie decorating possibilities are truly endless! 

Monday, November 9, 2015

{this moment}

I found the prompt for this post on one of my favorite blogs (Little Miss Momma) and thought I'd give it a go!

{this moment} – A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember
Inspired by SouleMama

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Jackson's 2nd Halloween

October 2015 has by far been the BEST October of my life -- and that's saying a lot!!

Between pumpkin patch trips with friends, attending a pumpkin carving party, hosting a Halloween cookie decorating party (more on that later this week), and trick-or-treating with my guys, this has been the most fun and memorable October of them all!

For Halloween this year, Jackson dressed as a puppy. Originally, we planned to dress him as Steve Harvey (Jackson is OBSESSED with both him and Family Feud), but then decided on Mickey Mouse... and then a kitty... and then, after a friend offered us a hand-me-down costume, we decided on puppy. #welikefreethings The costume was absolutely adorable and everyone got the biggest kick out of the little tail wagging on the back -- so cute!!

Just like last year, we met my parents at my Aunt Nancy and Uncle Rolf's house, who live in Denver's gorgeous Washington Park neighborhood. A couple blocks away from their house is my favorite shopping district, that just so happens to close off the road each year for a Halloween block party/safe street. After venturing around down there awhile and fighting the crowds for candy, we picked up a couple pizzas and headed back to Nancy's, where we ate and handed out candy. 

Once we finished eating dinner, my mom, Aunt Nancy, Jackson, and I headed back out to trick-or-treat up the street, which was the best thing EVER! Jackson was so in his element and got the biggest kick out of going house to house, picking out his own candy (his decision; nobody ever offered, ha), and then saying "BAH-BAH!" (bye-bye -- his version of trick-or-treat and thank you!) We came across several other kids during our trek and Jax was in heaven -- I just love how social/funny our little man is!

After collecting a solid buckets worth of candy, we headed back to the house and watched Jackson hand out the rest of candy. 

We had such a fun and memorable night with family and we hope that you did as well! Happy (belated) Halloween and All Saints Day! 

Friday, October 30, 2015


I CANNOT believe that it's been more than a month since we returned home from our magical Disney World vacation!

I also CANNOT believe that it's taken me this long to get a post together! I guess I can chalk this up to life happening while I made other plans? Anyway, there is SO much I want to say/write down/remember about our perfect trip and I'm not sure how to do it, so I figure I'll just go day by day and post correlating pictures.



We left for the airport early Thursday morning and made it in plenty of time for our 6:30am flight (yuck). As I expected, Jackson slept almost the entire flight, which meant that both Brandon and I got some much needed rest as well. Upon arriving, Brandon's cousin James (who works for Disney) picked us up at the airport, took us to our resort, ran us to Walmart to pick up a few groceries, and then left us at the condo to get settled in/kick back a bit. Later that evening, James and his roommate, Josh, picked us up and took us to dinner at B.J.'s Brewhouse, which was delicious! We were all exhausted after our yummy dinner and decided to turn in early before our first day at Disney.
Fake smiles at 4:30am :/
Napping on the most uncomfortable plane EVER -- we've always flown with Frontier, but after all their cutbacks, we've decided to spend the extra money to fly with a different airline (which will average out to be about the same price in the end since they'll have already included bag, seat, etc.). End of rant. 
We sat next to the sweetest lady who was more than happy to accommodate Jax's need to look out the window :)
We were able to get checked in right away at Wyndham Bonnet Creek (which was an unexpected surprise), but when we arrived to the room, it still wasn't fully cleaned and maintenance hadn't been in yet to do their final inspection... anyway, the resort manager sent up an apology basket, which was nice, but I still have some not-so-nice things to say about Wyndham (more on that below).
Watching the Pope via our borrowed stroller. 

On Friday morning, Brandon made a big breakfast before we jetted off to Disney Studios with James! The four of us had an absolute blast, but holy moly was it humid!!! As always, my favorite ride was the Great Movie Ride, Brandon's was the Rock n' Rollercoaster (which is actually pretty epic), and Jax's was the giant Honey, I Shrunk the Kids playset. 

One of my favorite parts of the day was when I had alone with just Jackson -- when Brandon and James rode Rock n' Rollercoaster, Jax and I got ice cream (which Jax was nice enough to share with Brandon when I got on the ride with James :D); when the guys went to ride Star Wars (twice), Jax and I rode the Great Movie Ride (again) and took in the Muppets 3D show. I know that I spend all day, every day with Jackson, but it was special to spend some one-on-one time with him at such a magical place! 

Since my parents and brother flew in earlier that afternoon, we started heading back to the resort at around 5 and made a pizza dinner for everyone. 
Surrounded by three good looking guys! 
He could have spent all day on this slide. 
I felt no guilt over the foods I ate that day. 
Saturday was Animal Kingdom day! Once again, the weather was miserably humid, but we had so much fun with James, Josh, and my family. Since James works for Disney and his roommate goes all time, they were able to show us all the ins and outs so that we didn't wait in line for anything!

A few of us rode Expedition Everest, Jackson played at the play area, we took in shows, enjoyed lunch together, and adventured through the safari before calling it a day. That night, our gang (minus James and Josh) ventured out for dinner and a little shopping before it was time to crash. 
Brave Everest explorers! 
Dad wasn't ready for the selfie. 
Deciding what kind of ice cream to get at Steak and Shake. 
This Cookie Butter Milkshake was the greatest thing I've ever tasted.
Sunday was Epcot and after a big fiasco with parking, we all headed into the park. Our first stop was Spaceship Earth -- coolest. ride. ever. I am EXTREMELY claustrophobic, so I figured it'd be a small, confining ride and had never tried riding it before, but it wasn't like that at all; in fact, traveling back in time was the perfect way to begin our day! From there, the gang headed to Soarin' while Jackson and I "swam" with Nemo and rubbed elbows with several big Disney stars! Since James and Josh had tickets to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, they left early in the day, which is when the rest of us began walking the World Showcase.

After lunch and grapefruit beers in Germany, a show in America (where Jackson leaked out of his diaper and got the both of us soaked), and a little shopping in Great Britain, we grabbed the tram back to the van. About halfway through the parking lot was when we experienced the biggest torrential downpour I have ever seen, which resulted in all of us getting soaked on the walk run to the van. I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard! Once everyone was dried off, Brandon and my parents went to pick up Popeye's and make a quick Target run while my brother, Jackson, and I stayed back to watch the Broncos and get some work done.
My little navigator :)
This kid sure loves Mickey!
He wasn't too sure about Goofy, though...

He's out!
Our final full-day in Florida was saved for the most magical park of them all: Magic Kingdom. We once again hobnobbed with several Disney stars, took lots of pictures, rode several rides, watched the 3:00 Parade, and overall just enjoyed our last day at the Happiest Place on Earth. 
Not even two and already embarrassed of his parents...
Jackson's BFF, Grandpa Tony.
When Brandon, James, Joey (my brother), and I rode Splash Mountain, my parents took Jackson on the train! 
On Magic Kingdom day, we wear Disney shirts. 

Jackson's first trip to Disney World was truly perfect and I'm so glad we were able to take him this year!! I know that this vacation won't be one that he'll remember, but we'll always have the pictures to show him and the special memories in our own hearts. 

Now, onto why I'm not a fan of Wyndham...

My parents have been Wyndham owners since 2000-ish and it is INSANE how badly they get treated by this company. I seriously had to laugh when we checked in, found our room messy, and were sent the basket because they were obviously wining and dining us to get us to become members. 

Since booking our rooms in the early spring, we'd kept in contact with Wyndham Bonnet Creek to make sure we'd be next door (or at the very least on the same floor) as my family -- when my parents checked in Friday afternoon, they were given a hard time by the front desk, who said they'd have to wait at least an hour for their "special request." Okay, whatever; as long as we'd be on the same floor, it didn't matter. My family waited 3 HOURS for their room to finally be ready, and it wasn't even on the correct floor! Seriously? No apologies, no gift basket, no nothing for my parents, because they're already owners and already pay them buku bucks to stay. 

Between that, our room keys not working at the end of each day (even though they were nowhere close to our phones or wallets), and the constant harassment, we'd had it. Fortunately, my parents have found a way out of this company and I highly, highly encourage everyone to stay as far away as they can from Wyndham. 

End rant. 

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