Friday, October 30, 2009

Have I Mentioned Yet That Jack's A Genius?

When Jack was barely 17 months old he could recognize and name all the letters of the alphabet in a completely random order! I was stunned when I first discovered this, and quickly decided that I had a little genius on my hands! I couldn't believe that he had perfected letter recognition all on his own! I mean, I had always pointed out letters to him and told him what they were, but I never realized that any of that was actually sinking in! From then on we've moved from subject to subject, perfecting letters, numbers, counting, shapes, colors and other things, all at a surprisingly young age.

Here is a video of Jack at 17 1/2 months (I can't believe that was over a year ago already!) identifying letters... my memory card had run out of memory so it only captured a short amount of time, but you get the idea ;)

This summer Jack perfected letter sounds! He has so much fun identifying the sounds that letters make, and much of our day is spent listening to him figure out what letter a word starts with. A lot of times, he'll interrupt himself in mid-sentence to tell me which letter goes with whatever it is he's talking about. "Oh, look momma, a air conditioner vent! V-v-vent! Ooooooh vent is a V!" "I want to eat waffles! W-w-Waffles! Ooooooooh waffles is a W!"

Here is another video, taken a month or so ago, of Jack identifying the sounds that letters make.

I am sooooo proud of my Jack Jack, and I love watching him swell with pride in himself when he perfects another skill! I am constantly amazed at the things he knows and the fun stuff he comes up with. Go out right now and get yourself a two-year-old. Seriously. They are sooooo much fun!

And don't be surprised if my next 'Jack is a genius' post announces that he's learning to read... it's probably not too far off!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Elevators Are For Wimps Me!

Last month, Dave proved to me that he was, in fact and beyond a reasonable doubt, insane. I've always suspected this to be so, and have called him out on more than one occasion, but after last month, I know for sure that he is simply crazy.

Last month, my husband headed to downtown LA, right up to the tallest building west of the Mississippi (the US Bank Tower), donned his heavy firefighting turnouts and the rest of his gear including his oxygen tank, and ran up all 75 floors of the high-rise. Voluntarily! Apparently, every year the YMCA holds a fund-raiser, called the High-Rise Hero's Challenge, where participants with similar mental deficiencies to Dave's who enjoy torturing themselves race from the ground up. That's more than 1,500 steps, straight up! Also, there is a special category for "Real Heroes", firefighters, who choose to make it harder on themselves by weighing themselves down with all their fire-protective gear! And my dear, sweet, sexy, and (usually) smart husband thought that this would be a good idea?! Yeah, insane, I tell you!

I sent my camera (no, not my nice one, my little point-and-shoot!), and one of Dave's buddies also brought their camera along, so (after making a few tweaks in photoshop) I have pictures to share! Amazingly enough, I didn't even have to twist Dave's arm to get these, he took them and handed them over to me willingingly!

Dave and 3 of his crazy friends- the four of them formed a team. They all do the run, and then they add up all their time and the team with the fastest time wins.

The view from the ground up

They were all so tired after their climb, but were triumphantly declaring the tagline of the event, "Elevators are for wimps!"

Another view of the building...

The Heroes replenishing themselves after a job well done.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Catching Up... Slowly...

We've had a ton of stuff going on here at Casa de Chaos! But, since my heart almost gave out when I forced myself to post old photos for my last post (I am still having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that I posted a story out of chronological order and am contemplating editing my posts so that it falls in the right place!), I am going to go back and play catch-up before updating with all the latest and greatest goings-on at Casa de Chaos! (Plus, that will give me time to edit my latest photos! Seriously, where does the time go?!)

So now, where were we? Oh yes, grandma's birthday! Last month we celebrated my mom's 55th birthday by dinner at Papa Guido's (one of our family's favorite places!), followed by dessert/gifts at my parents house. You know, the usual birthday plan. Mom was in heaven having both of her grandsons there, and I was thrilled about their calzone! I love calzone! Some things are just totally worth the insane heartburn! And the added bonus? Mom's birthday fell on one of Dave's few days off, so he was able to join us for a nice change!

Jack gets really excited when he gets to sing "Happy Birthday" to someone!

Luke wasn't quite sure what was going on, but he was perfectly happy to be in grandma's arms!

Sorry mom, but I had to post this picture. First, because I love my son's eyes and ginormous puppy-dog hands, and second because you cracking up just cracks me up! And I don't even remember what was so funny!

When we got back to the house, the birthday girl blew out her birthday candles (with Jack Jack's help, of course)

And then... more of the usual...

Luke slept while we fought over who got to hold him

And Uncle Travis obeyed Jack's orders for him to play the piano while Jack 'helped'

Happy birthday, mom! I hope it was a great one! And at your next birthday, you'll have three grandsons to help you blow out your candles!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The "Fair-is" Wheel

Do you remember this post, in which I detailed our failed attempt at making it to the OC Fair? Well, we did actually end up making it there! And, I'm about to blog about it! I know, I know, I'm a couple months late. But better late than never, right?

Jack was really excited on our way down to the fair, but when we pulled into the parking lot and popped him in his stroller his excitement took on a whole new level! He was talking nonstop and asking so many questions and pointing out so many things I never would have noticed on my own. Right away it was obvious that his favorite thing was, and for obvious reasons if you know Jack at all, the Ferris Wheel. Jack loves wheels and anything that spins. Seriously loves them. I had to have a serious laugh, though, when he showed me that when I said 'Ferris' Wheel, he heard 'Fair-is' Wheel. Makes sense, right? I mean, we were at the Fair. How do I know that this is what he thought? Take, for example the conversation that he and I had as we were walking through the parking lot on our way to the fair entrance.
Jack: Oooh momma, it goes round and round!
Me: Yes, that's called a Ferris Wheel!
Jack: It a Fair-is Wheel! Oooooh look over there! (Pointing to some other giant ride that spins around-I have no idea what it is called) And that is the Parking Wheel!

On our way to the entrance

Once we got there, the first thing we did was the first thing we usually do when we get somewhere. We ate.

After lunch we made our way to the barn to see the animals, but before we got there Jack started squealing and stuttering and finally he got out "Oh look, it's a tractor!!!" Yes, tractors are another of his favorite things. He's always loved tractors (I mean come on, the kid's closet is painted like a giant barn!), so it was a huge treat to see a life-sized tractor and actually be able to walk up and touch it!

Finally, we made it to the barn! Jack was in awe of the cow, and as usual, when I asked if he wanted to touch it, he was quiet and thoughtful and reserved. And Dave gave me a look that clearly said "You want him to touch that filthy animal?!"

But, after he took a second to think about it, he did!!! I was so proud of him for being so brave to touch it! He was very proud of himself, too... so much, in fact, that when he saw the donkey he said "Oh, I go touch the donkey, too! I so brave!"

I wish I had a picture of Jack's face after he touched that donkey. It was a total look of pride and triumph and reminded me all over again why I absolutely adore watching this child grow and discover the world. Okay, I better move on before my pregnant hormones take control and I start bawling like a baby!

He enjoyed touching the cow and the donkey so much (BTW, he also touched the goat and a few more animals that I wasn't able to get a picture of), he was a little bummed that he couldn't touch the baby chicks, which he declared to be so, so cute.

Touching the animals wasn't the only thing Jack did that day that totally surprised me! I thought that there was no way that he'd stick his head in this hole and let me snap picture after picture after picture until I finally got one of him with his eyes open!

And look, I was there, too!

And guess what else he did that amazed me! He rode a horse!!! I thought for sure he would think it was a really good idea and then freak out at the very last second, when the strange man grabbed him and actually put him on the horse! Instead, he donned his usual very serious poker-face, and watched all the horses very closely as though he was studying their every movement. And only after he had been around the track a few times did it sink in that yes, he was, in fact, riding a horse! And then he smiled his proud, triumphant smile!

He talked about that horse for the rest of the day.

Yes, I know, this is a very long post. See why it's taken me so long to write it? We're not done yet. We're almost done, but not quite yet. Ah, who am I kidding. We're about halfway done.

After we let Jack ride the horse, we made our way over to Kiddie Land, where we let him pick 5 rides. Of course, the first ride he chose was the helicopter. He was definitely more thrilled than his poker-face indicated, by the way.

And then, he chose the dragon!!! Now, let me pause here to tell you a little something about this dragon. You can't tell from the pictures, but that thing was going fast! And by fast, I mean had you asked me if I wanted to ride it, my answer would have been a resounding "Hell no!"* Granted, I tend to be a bit of a wuss when it comes to roller coasters (the worst one I'll allow myself on is Space Mountain, and that took a lot of persuasion and the promise that Dave would buy me something pretty- and I can only handle one ride at a time... any more than that and I'm nauseous for days), but imagine how fast it went when a 28 year old woman won't go on it, and they were letting 2 year olds on this thing?

I needn't have worried, though. Jack went around the first time with his usual poker-face, but after that it was obvious that he was completely enjoying himself!

Seriously, check out the faces on the little girl behind Jack! The ride scared her, and look how much bigger than him she is!

Look there were actual drops and everything!

But look! He liked it! I was, and still am, soooo proud of him!

After stared death in the face and laughed by riding the dragon, he picked a much tamer ride, much to my pleasure, and not at all to my surprise. It was a train (that looked like it just stepped out of Care-A-Lot, but whatever)!

And then it was off to Aladdin's magic carpet, where I actually got a picture of him smiling!

And lastly, Jack decided that he wanted to ride the dune buggies, which according to him were "very very bouncy!"

The arm in the corner of that picture was Dave trying to get Jack to smile so that I could get a picture. Good job, honey!

He totally does it on purpose, though... and here is my evidence! He's a total poker-face when he knows the camera is on him, but when he's going the other way and thinks I can't see him, he's totally smirking about it! See??? I snapped a pic before he came around, and then I zoomed in...

See why I call him Stinkerpants?

We were almost done at this point. I desperately wanted an Icee, Jack needed some shade and a chance to cool off, and Dave needed to sit and rest his back so we headed to the reptile exhibit, where Jack peeked at a few reptiles, marvelled at them, and then completely freaked out (in a good way) that there was a sand area in the middle so that he could play in the shade while mommy and daddy rested.

After I finally got my icee, we decided that we just had to try some random fried item! I really wanted to try the deep fried s'mores, but I thought they'd be too messy for Jack, so we tried the deep fried oreos instead.

They were good, but apparently they lose their cookie crunchiness in the frying process, so we weren't too impressed. Okay, Dave and I weren't impressed, but Jack Jack sure was!

And that was the end of our day! I had discovered that I had forgotten to bring my drivers' license and Dave had to drive home, since my hands would be free we grabbed a sno-cone for the ride home! We had so much fun, and I can't wait until we can go again next year!

*There is a chance that I am exaggerating, slightly.