Dinosaur Birthday for Two

The boys’ birthdays are two weeks apart. Two weeks after Christmas. Last year, we threw a joint birthday party for both boys and it seemed to be the perfect solution. We timed it the weekend following Jake’s actual birthday…which happened to be Superbowl Sunday. Oops. So, this year, I planned the party after Jake’s birthday and Superbowl Sunday. Putting the party almost a full month after Ty’s actual birthday. Not sure I’ll be doing this again. Not sure I’ll be able to get away with a joint party again either as Ty had a most definite opinion regarding his guest list this year. Both boys are on a major dinosaur loving kick. My mom offered to make the cake and/or cupcakes. And the cupcake toppers. She absolutely, one hundred and fifty percent outdid herself. LOVED the way everything came out and so did the boys. The toppers:
Tyson loved the googly eyes. And promptly recalled the names of each dinosaur:
The entire spread:

Dinosaur themed cupcakes complete with a volcano:

And lava:

Party table:

Birthday collages:

Tyson’s favorite part of the party place:

Jake had his air hockey:

Tyson tried to figure out the skeeball:

Rare “mommy and kiddo” photo moment:

Cupcake time. Ty tried to block out his brother, hence Jake’s face:

Blowing out the candle like a pro:

Blowing out the candle…with mouth closed. We’ll work on this:

Fun family photo. It only took about fifty attempts:

It was a really fun and special day. Loved seeing my boys surrounded by such love and support. We have the most awesome family and friends.

Photo Find Book: Homemade Goodness

One of my favorite blogs, No Time for Flashcards, recently featured a kid activity based on a series of books both of my boys LOVE: I Spy Books. They used many of the same basics I did but laminated the pages, punched holes, and binded them. I don’t have a laminating machine. But I do have a credit card and Shutterfly account. I used the pictures to make Jake a photobook. You can use sticker letters, foam letters, or write: Can You Find? on a piece of construction paper. This piece will be used with each layout and is the basis of the entire book. I also added a Thomas train in each page for Jake to find throughout the book. Cover page:
First page:
I shot this page first and then removed three to four items each time to be photographed on the “Can You Find” piece of paper:
I love that the book uses Jake’s favorite toys. He woke up from his nap early and caught sight of the pages being made. He was excitedly yelling out what each toy was. Can’t wait to see his reaction at the book…
Sneaking in a nod to my very special soon-to-be 2 year old. Heart him.
Both boys are on a serious dinosaur kick:
I have a lot of photo savvy friends and know that they could do so much more justice to this project. Like, get the white balance right. You could really do SO much with this project. So many possibilities. So fun.
Lots of train love in our house:
Working on one for Ty. Trying to make his more challenging which requires more little trinkets and more planning in the props.


No need to tell me. I know. Our boys are very spoiled. I did some shopping. The husband did some shopping. Tyson had a very Thomas Christmas:
Jake had a puzzle, Little People Christmas:
The aftermath… toy manufacturers take security precautions to the next level. Those dang wire twisty things are no joke. My fingers were numb and my nerves frayed after unwrapping/untangling all the toys:
Tyson LOVED his Thomas set. He had been wanting (read: asking a million times every.single.day for the last month for Thumper, Rocky and the boulder):

Jake’s Christmas Morning favorite was a super cool hide and seek puzzle. You lift the doors of the puzzle and there are animal magnets under each one. He loved having me move them around and then asking him to find each one:

Tyson has always loved puzzles. This Thomas set was no exception:

Then we had to wrangle the kids out the door to make the drive to Nana’s and Papa’s House. Jake was excited to pack his new pak-pak. He picked his Buzz Lightyear (which had no off switch. The whole.entire.traffic.filled.drive was made extra special with his musings: “The universe needs our help. Let’s go. Zooooooooom.”):

The whole.entire.rain.and.traffic.filled.THREE.HOUR drive:

Despite the long drive, we all had an amazing time visiting with family. The boys were entirely too spoiled. It was a two day Christmas extravaganza. Lots of love, family, and laughter. The boys are at the perfect age to make the holiday truly magical. Their excitement, their smiles, their laughter…priceless. Pure magic.

Christmas Eve

We hosted Christmas Eve this year. The Grandma, Grandpa, Great Grandma, Uncle and Auntie made the trek out for the afternoon. Tyson was beside himself with excitement: more so for Grandma’s arrival than the impending visit from Santa Claus. After waiting so very patiently for everyone to eat, the boys ripped into their gifts. Tyson was a present opening tornado of mass paper destruction:
Jake was much more laid back about it all…
And done after the first present: a set of Handy Manny tools. Tornado Ty happily opened the rest of Jake’s gifts for him. And everyone else.

When I was little my mom used to take my brother and I to the fabric store, let us pick out our own fabric and made us each a blanket. Mine was always double stuffed because I ran cold and I still have my very loved Strawberry Shortcake blanket. This year, Jakey got his very own double stuffed blanket. I am way jealous.

Uncle D had just as much fun with the toys as the boys did:

Tyson was so in love with his new construction site set that we literally didn’t hear a peep out of him all night:

He played and played and played and played…

And eventually suckered his Uncle into a game of Candy Land. I can’t play with him anymore. He wins. All.the.time. And cheats. I can’t take it.

Jake LOVES his tools. He carries them around. Sings. Dances. Does this little move:

Dancing with his Chuck Truck:

Grandma, Uncle D, and Tanya made Santa his cookies. The boys were very spoiled. Very much loved on. And had an amazing night. Tyson and Jake each picked out a cookie for Santa and celery for the reindeer. And quickly zonked out for the night…

Turkey Crafts

A rainy Sunday + First women’s basketball game of the season = The boys and I were on our own all day = Perfect opportunity for some crafty fun. A few weeks ago, I picked up a craft kit at Michael’s and broke it out this afternoon. The boys LOVED it. It was a simple turkey making kit: paper plate, foam pieces, and you add glue. I made a quick sample for the boys:
Handed each kiddo a full set of supplies:
Washable glue from Lakeshore made this activity entirely possible. Jake was intrigued by the sparkle:

It didn’t take long for both of them to go to town:

Jake was ALLLLLLLL about the glue:


Tyson was much more particular about putting his turkey together:

He quickly figured out that dipping some pieces was faster than using the popsicle stick. Smart boy:

Turkey making machine:

I will say that the glue washed off incredibly easy and as much as I feared the clean up and mess…it wasn’t bad at all. More glue. Never enough. Apparently:

Happy boy:

Jake’s finished turkey:

And as he began his second…he decided he was done in true toddler fashion:

Tyson happily took over. One of Ty’s three finished creations:

Ty’s turkey line up:

Our finished flock:

Las Vegas

Being the amazingly devoted basketball fan that I am (read: no way I would let my husband enjoy five days and four nights of uninterrupted sleep in a blissful hotel room by himself), the boys and I decided to join him on his last work trip to Vegas. Tyson couldn’t stop talking about going on an airplane and was so so so excited. BOTH boys were amazing on the flight. Ty took in the sights and watched the portable DVD player. Jake slept. Waiting to board the plane:

Our first night there we walked the Strip with the boys. They literally sat on the edges of their seats and took in all the lights, sounds, and overall craziness that is Vegas. Both boys were absolutely amazed by the Bellagio water show and Mirage volcano. As we walked down the street, Jake would dance as he heard music coming from various hotels and casinos which garnered us many smiles and laughs from the strangers walking by:
Our first full day in Vegas, the husband was stuck in meetings all day so I took the boys to the Lied Children’s Discovery Museum. It is a cross between our local Studio Grow and the Exploritorium. The bottom floor was very much like Studio Grow: a play construction area, an infant crawl and shape sorting area, a drawing/craft room, a bubble/water play area, and a big room that resembled a small town- bank, auto shop, grocery store, airport, hardware store. Tyson had a great time working the assembly line and passing the blocks down to Jacob waiting at the end:
There was just as much for Jake to enjoy as Ty…which is rare. And I had to get a picture of Jake’s outfit. Still one of my all time favorite outfits…I am sure one day the boys will hate me for the number of pictures of both of them in it. It’s okay. Doesn’t bother me. They both look so darn cute:

The air pipes. Put ball in and it zips up the pipes. The boys played here for a good ten minutes:

Similar exhibit to the one above only the air shoots out of the cone. Jake couldn’t get enough:

For PopPop, check out Ty’s pipe building skillz. Not bad:

Jake enjoying the infant play area:

Not enjoying my impromptu photo shoot:

Water play. Put the plastic dividers in and watch the boat go:

Hehehe. Ty trying SOOOOOOO hard to blow a big bubble…

And he finally got it:

Jake working the airport luggage station. Take luggage off. Put luggage on. Take luggage off. Put luggage on. Apparently, a thoroughly entertaining exhibit for a one year old. Note Ty’s absence. He wasn’t interested in the least:

He was busy fixing cars in the Auto Shop. Every time you work the drill correctly a loud sound came out of the car. He LOVED:

Practicing car maintenance:

Upstairs on the science floor. Learning about gravity:

And nutrition. Match the food item with it’s proper food group:

Can you guess who was asked NOT TO CLIMB into the below exhibit? His name rhymes with Shyson:

Learning about music. A laser harp. My little music LOVER LOVED:

Trying to walk in anti-gravity boots. Harder than it looks. I think I may need to find a pair of these bad boys in Ty’s size. They REALLY slowed him down. Like really really slowed him down:

Back downstairs for one last loop. Enjoying the grocery store and it’s cash register…especially the button that made it *BEEEEEEP* *BEEEEEEP* over. And over. And over.

Meanwhile, Jacob enjoyed clearing the shelf entirely of all its contents:

Working hard to move the Lego blocks:

While Jake chilled in the front of the truck:

And knocked off Lego blocks whenever they got close enough…which eventually led to our departure:

While Jake napped, Ty hung out and watched movies:

Our second full day, Daddy was again stuck in meetings and we headed over to the Mirage Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat:

It made me a little nervous just how close we were to this big guy:

It was surreal how close we were to the dolphins. We could have literally reached out and touched them on a few occasions:

Jacob…trying to literally reach out and touch them:

There wasn’t a “show” but the dolphins are exercised every twenty minutes or so:

Again, so so so close:

Exploring the Venetian (read: buying Mommy a blended coffee from The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf). Tyson LOOOOVED the gondolas. I told him to look at the boats and he promptly corrected me by telling me they weren’t boats they were gondolas. Excuse me.

Last full day. We headed over to the Mandalay Bay Aquarium. Tyson was absolutely beside himself with excitement. There was an underwater ship exhibit with floor to ceiling glass windows…and lots of sharks, big sharks, fish, and turtles. I think Ty sat in front of that window for a good twenty minutes:

And…enjoying the second half of the game from the best seat in the house. And enjoying the free popcorn. Cookies. Water. Snacks.

While traveling with two kiddos certainly posed its challenges- especially the logistics of getting two big suitcases, two carry on bags, two backpacks, two kids, and a double stroller from the car to the airport. From the airport to the hotel. We managed to figure it out and have a really really amazing trip.

First Birthday Letter

Dear Jake,

I have been trying to come up with the right words for this letter for the last couple weeks. I worried about how it would be loving a second child while I was pregnant but that all changed the moment I met you. My heart literally grew by two feet (hehehe. Totally cliche. Very Hallmark. But so true.) You instantly molded into our family and I can no longer remember what it was like without you here.

You have flourished. Grown into such a curious, silly, happy ONE YEAR old. You say “Mama” very clearly. Dada, baba. LOVE to show people your belly. And nose. And head. We are working on feet right now. You sign: more, please, milk, and are learning “thank you” and “all done”. You climb. Everything. Love to climb up the ladder on our play structure and go down the slide. Head first. While you often gravitate towards which ever toys your brother is playing with, you LOVE balls, trucks, and books. Particularly the touch and feel books. By far, your biggest love seems to be food or your binks. Followed closely by music- whenever you hear music you immediately stop what you are doing and dance. You haven’t been a fan of the car since birth, but I finally discovered that MUSIC was the answer to your happiness. Either Ty and I sing to you or we listen to the radio.

You are quickly outgrowing 12 to 18 month clothing and have already moved up to size 4 diapers. Your brother wears a 5. Right now. You seem to be completely content crawling everywhere. You take a couple steps here and there but no real walking going on. You much prefer to be carried. By mama. Everywhere. Slowly but surely your hair is getting curlier and curlier. I love it.

Your eyes. Your smile. Your curls. Make me smile. Your laugh brightens my day. When you stop what you are doing when I enter a room and crawl towards me, my heart melts. I love you more than words can express and am so grateful to be your Mommy. I am proud of all that you have accomplished in your first year and look forward to all the things that are to come…most notably sleeping entirely through the night. Like til, 8 am. On Saturdays and Sundays. And Mondays. And Tuesdays. And Wednesdays. And Thursdays. And Fridays.

I love you Jakey.
Happy Birthday Sweet Boy.