Monday, July 7, 2014

Happy 3rd Birthday Oliver!

Oliver’s birthday was a week ago.  I decided to take it very easy on the theme for this year.  Oliver wanted a fire truck birthday cake.  He specifically wanted a cake with play figurines on top.  Smart boy.

So here is my fire truck cake.  It is probably one of the worst looking cakes I have made.  Except for when I was in high school and a friend and I made ourselves a birthday cake.  It came out completely lopsided.


I used my usual frosting recipe and it did not turn out the same as usual.  this time around it had no stiffness to it.  So when I was trying to create flames it came out as silly string.  It’s supposed to be a car on fire on the side of the road….just use your imagination.


Oliver was still excited.


In fact he didn’t even eat any of the cake he was too excited to play with the cars/trucks on top.  And open gifts.


Would you believe the night before his party he was up all night coughing and I was up all night too.  In fact we told most of the guests not to come because we were cancelling his party.  I already had the food made, so we went ahead and had family over that was already in town.  But I felt bad for him to cancel some of his guests.  Who gets sick for their birthday party just the night before when it’s the end of June?

His actual birthday was on Monday and we had a small celebration with just our family that morning.

Breakfast cupcakes with a candle.


And pure excitement over getting his Gordon train he has been requesting for the last half year or so.


Monday, June 30, 2014

Why… and then some

I think it’s been a while since both of us posted, but for sure me (Jesse), so since I’m up dealing with gall bladder issues cause I ate too much for dinner (you’d think I’d fricken learn)… I’m sitting here thinking about a conversation I had this evening with a little girl that will be in Bella’s class this coming fall.

Our neighbors hosted a family activity this Sunday evening with water slide, trampoline, BBQ, etc so all the the neighbors with kids could get to know one another.  We don’t have the luxury of having a community pool for everyone to meet at, so it was a great idea.  We headed over once we convinced Oliver to get up from his nap and that a water slide was awaiting him.  We showed up in typical fashion with Bella in her stroller and Oliver in the wagon and all the additional gear… chairs, cooler, food, etc.

We met a bunch of new neighbors and it will be nice to hopefully get to know them more, especially the ones who will have kids going to school with ours.  One particular conversation is what I plan to reflect on this evening. 

Ella is six and will be in Bella’s class this fall.  Her family of 5 will be moving into the neighborhood once they finish gutting and rebuilding the house they bought… they did it the smart way… don’t move in until its all finished.  Ohh well. 

Having conversations with kids is always interesting and this one was the best yet.  Ella immediately took interest in Bella and came over closer to her and wondered why she was in a stroller. 

“Why is she in that stroller?” she asked.  “Because her legs don’t work”, I responded.  “Why don’t her legs work?”  “Because she was born that way.”  Later she inquired “Can she talk?”… “Nope, can’t talk either but you are welcome to talk to her if you would like to.”  And so she did after her Grandma and Mom convinced her it would be a good idea… its tough for kids to take and keep an interest in Bella, because once they realize it’s a one-sided conversation, they usually move on.  But Ella was still interested.  It wasn’t that conversation, but one that I had with Ella later on over by the trampoline that really got to me… and still does.  Oliver was playing on the trampoline with a friend he’d met so I pulled Bella from the stroller to head over by the trampoline for a bit.  Ella wasn’t over there immediately, but came over after she saw Bella and I were there. 

I was in the process of spinning Bella around and around, as she laughed and held out her tongue in her upside-down typical Bella fashion.  “Does she like that?” asked Ella.  “You bet… do you see her laughing?” I asked.  “She likes to be spun around and tossed in the air… do you?” I followed up.  “Yeah, can she go down the water slide?”… “Not unless I hold her and go down with her.” I told her.  “Ohh, so when do you think she can?” she asked.  “I don’t know.”  “Hopefully her legs will work someday.” she said… “I do too, someday I hope.” I responded.  And then Ella said something I will never forget and it just tears me up thinking about it… “Maybe when she dies God will make her legs work.” and she ran off to go to the water slide.

There’s a few things I’d like to follow up on… one being the fact that Bella will have someone in her class this coming fall that clearly is interested in her and will hopefully be that kid that sticks up for her over the years when others poke fun… cause it will happen.  Being in the Blue Valley school district has been absolutely a blessing, and this is yet another example.  Another being that she actually referenced God… it seems more often than not everyone (adults more so) are so afraid to offend others by referencing their own religious beliefs, that they don’t speak for what they truly believe.  Kids don’t have that influence from society yet, and it’s just pure,honest, and beautiful.  And lastly… I sure wish God would have made her legs work here on earth, but for whatever reason he didn’t and I try not to be mad at Him for it… but if he doesn’t make her legs work in heaven, I’m going to have a beef with Him for sure.  Goodnight sweet angel, Bella.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Question

I did a few post awhile back about typical questions we get in regards to Bella.  Of course one of the most popular questions is "How is Bella doing?"

Well that one is kind of boring for me to answer.  Besides commenting on whether she is currently sick or not, sleeping or not, etc.  Nothing much changes.  I thought I would give you an idea of what I mean.

This first video is of Bella when she is 1 1/2 years old.  How you see her acting and talking, is pretty much the same thing she is capable of to this date.  And it's now 5 years later.

This second video I have posted before, but is the most recent video of Bella talking and laughing.  

So yes, Bella is doing alright, but what you see right now is pretty much what I assume Bella will be for the rest of her life.  Of course she does have minor developments and I have talked about them before.  But unless you ask me two years from now how she is doing, there really isn't too much to report.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Catching Up

I know I know.  I owe you about a hundred posts over the beginning of this year.  There are things that have happened I wanted to write about and I’m afraid I’m going to forget.

So in this short frame of time, I’m going to try and get a bunch of posts knocked out.  I am going to back date a bunch of them, or however many I get finished today while Oliver is napping and Bella is content on the floor playing.  So you might have to look for them.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Jesse’s Birthday

Jesse’s birthday happened to be this Saturday.  Oliver and I made a Jello Cake, which is his favorite.  Oliver did a really good job helping me make it.  While we were waiting for the cake to cool, we decided to run to the shoe store, so Jesse could pick out his birthday present.

Right next to the shoe store was a toy store.  I told Oliver if he was good we would run into the store before we left.  He was pretty busy running around the shoe store and Bella was fussing up a storm.  So we left Jesse in peace to pick out his shoes and we headed into the toy store.

This particular toy store was pretty much made just for boys.  It was all model cars, planes, construction equipment, farm equipment, etc.  The prices were pretty high, but they did have a few smaller items.  Oliver found a bus.  He absolutely wanted the bus.


Just a few days prior Oliver and I had run errands and while in Target I told him he could play with the toys for a little bit, but we would not be buying anything.  When it was time to go, he threw a little bit of a fit, but I told him his birthday was coming up and he could ask for his favorite items and hopefully get them.

This time around, he threw a major fit.  He tried to sneak out of the store with the bus a couple of times.  I finally had to grab him and put the bus back in the bin.  Oliver was crying and kicking with arms flailing everywhere.  One handedly I held him as I pushed Bella in her stroller back out to the car.  I told Oliver that if he was going to act this way, we were going to sit in the car.  Again I reminded him,  his birthday was coming up soon and maybe he would get the bus for his birthday.  He proceeded to cry in the car.  When Jesse made it back out to the vehicle he was still sobbing over his bus.

As we drove home (still sobbing) out of the blue he sadly said “Daddy I don’t like your birthday”.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Kindergarten is Over

Bella finished up Kindergarten.  It’s a school tradition that the kindergarten class and their families go to Deanna Rose Farmstead for a field trip picnic during the last week of school.


Bella had the smallest class.  I think there were under 10 students, while the full day class and the morning class had over 20 students.


Bella’s last day of Kindergarten I tried to get some pictures to compare from her first day.  She wasn’t really cooperating.


I put her in the same outfit on purpose.  I think maybe her face has gotten a little longer/less round.  Otherwise it’s really hard to tell any difference.


We really enjoyed Bella’s Kindergarten experience.  Now how to keep us occupied over the summer!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Florida Vacation

First off I just want to say thank you.  I really do like being from the Midwest and I find Midwesterners to be very helpful and we had people step up all over the place to help us out.

We had a morning flight out of Kansas City.  Having to get to the airport so early, means you have a lot of time to kill.  For us that meant trying to get Bella to eat breakfast, and getting our very excited son to have patience and wait to board the plane.  Let’s just say we had to attempt a time out in the airport and it didn’t go so well.


Boarding the plane.  Well that’s a story on it’s own.  And since our hands were extremely full, there was no way we got any pictures.  But it would have been priceless to see them now.

So we were able to preboard because we needed to transfer Bella from her stroller to a car seat.  Except we didn’t quite get in line early enough and a bunch of elderly people got in front of us.  I was trying to ask nicely if they minded and we could jump to the front of the line (all of the people in front of us were walking on their own with no assistance devices).  I just got a bunch of glares and so we slowly went to the back of the line.  This did pose a problem because we were the last ones to preboard, which actually meant we had no additional time to get situated.  Jesse and Oliver boarded the plane with the car seat and Bella and I waited with all the bags in the boarding ramp. 

Then all the class A group boarded (we were on Southwest).  I quickly realized Jesse was not going to be able to make it back out to us to help get Bella.  Which meant I was going to have to get Bella out of the stroller myself and somehow get the stroller properly folded up for them to load it underneath.  My options were basically to lay Bella directly on the floor, in which their wasn’t much room, or I first attempted to have her sit in a basic wheelchair that was stored there.  Bella would not sit, and kept sliding down.  People just kept walking by.  I realize no one wanted to stop and help because this was the “A” group and they had probably paid extra to make sure they could get on the plane first and get their chosen seats… is where I silently cursed Southwest and their no assigned seating.

But as I was struggling the boarding pass agent from Southwest came down the ramp and offered help.  I asked him to keep Bella propped up in the chair so I could fold up the stroller.  And no sooner was he doing that, Jesse actually started to come out of the plane.  The stewardess and stopped traffic so he could make his way out, and another stewardess had been kind enough to sit with Oliver on the plane.  So Jesse was able to grab Bella and I quickly grabbed our bags and we finally got situated on our seats.


The flight itself went fairly well.  Bella got a little fussy toward the end and probably wanted to get out and lay down.  Oliver got very fidgety and didn’t want to be stuck in his seat anymore.  But all in all both kids did really well.

Once we landed and got to the ramp and picked up our strollers, we began our journey to get all our bags.  I really, really, really wish we had taken a photo of us with all our bags and gear.  It was slightly ridiculous and honestly about one bag more than we could handle.  A nice couple that had been on our flight offered to take a few of our bags to the car rental agency, since they were also headed that direction.

We crammed all our stuff into a slightly too small for us vehicle (let’s just say I picked it out and Jesse was cursing me under his breath as he tried to get everything stuffed into the vehicle to shut the doors).  In my defense the only time we had all the bags was to and from the airport and we saved both money on the rental and gas money by going with the smaller vehicle.

After we arrived at the house we were renting we dropped everything off and headed out to a turtle festival which was held at a sea turtle rescue center.


The next day was Oliver’s first experience at the beach/ocean.  He LOVED IT!  And he squawked like a bird in excitement for the first 30 minutes straight.  Running into and out of the ocean. 


It took him a while to realize the waves could take him down.  There were quite a few instances he fell and/or we had to grab him.  This one is fearless I tell you, because he loved it and kept going back in.


Our rental house was in Juno Beach and we absolutely loved the area.  It was not busy at all and the beaches were lovely.  The fishermen were out there daily.


Bella really enjoyed her first day at the beach.  We dipped her into the ocean water, but for the most part she just enjoyed sitting in the breeze.


The rental house had a pool, so the kids were excited to swim there as well.  And it was great for Jesse and I, as we hung out at the pool each day the kids napped.


The next day we tried a popular beach for children in a nearby community.  The water wasn’t as pretty, but it was a lagoon where the kids could play around and not have to worry about waves knocking them over.


The preferred activity of Oliver’s at the beach, throwing sand.  Trying to tell him you could only throw sand into the water and not at people…very repetitive.



We also went to a small rescue zoo that was located near us.  Oliver informed us that his favorite animal was the snake.


And what’s a Florida trip without seeing an Alligator?


We also hit up some parks and plenty of additional time at the beach.


By the end of the week, Bella was not really enjoying the beach anymore.  But since that is what we were there for, she didn’t really get a choice and had to stick it out.


Bella’s favorite activity, and possibly Oliver’s too, was our sunset cruise boat ride.  This was meant to be a somewhat romantic/relaxing outing for couples and families.  They allowed small children and at the time we booked, it was the only thing available.  So we went.  Our kids were the only ones on the boat, in fact Jesse and myself were some of the youngest members of the cruise.  Luckily our kids loved the boat ride and behaved great.  The crew/workers did a great job entertaining them.

Oliver got to be captain for awhile.


And the captain came out and danced with Bella when he heard she loved to dance.  That takes a very special person in our minds to be able to hold her and try and give her a great time.


This girl was smiles the whole night.


The way home we had a little practice under our belt, so it seemed to go a little better.  Except for the 5 hour plane delay where we camped out at the Fort Lauderdale airport for hours and hours.  Luckily there was a place for Bella to lay down and both kids came through it with minimal issues.


Our biggest hurdle was the fact we were now in the air and landing way past bedtime.  Oliver went to sleep in our laps and Bella went to sleep in her stroller once we landed at the airport…which never happens, that’s how tired she was.

All in all it was good vacation.  The travel was a little stressful and the majority of activities was geared to the kids.  The weather might have been a tad on the cold side (beginning of April), so in the future if we do Florida again, we might wait a month or so if we really want to maximize the beach and pool time.