H A L L O W E E N !
Beware of crazed arachnids.

Best Birthday Wishes

What happens when you have been friends for more than half your lives?

You get to share it all!
Including a killer fashion sense (it was TX-OU weekend).



Our Little Party Animal

Jackson attended his first birthday party for a friend this past weekend. Apparently, he heard that the party theme was Jungle Animals. . . because he magically morphed into PARTY ANIMAL.

The idea behind the pool was a fishing game.
PARTY ANIMAL had other ideas.

PARTY ANIMAL did a few tricks for the crowd.

These are the proud parents of PARTY ANIMAL . . .

the only child to leave the party without pants!


Pumpkin Patch Party

We took advantage of the beautiful weather this afternoon with a trip to the Arboretum. All the fall plantings and displays were beautiful and Jackson LOVED the wide open spaces for running.

It took less than a minute for him to realize how much fun the other kids seemed to be having throwing hay.

Dining with Dependants: East meets Mid-west Pizza Style

Today, we decided to expand our palate pleasing adventure to food of the Mid-West. We tried out a new Chicago-style pizzaria that just opened by our neighborhood. Pizza is a serious study around our house. It was the first adult food that Jackson ate at the same time as us - a true family meal. I've been naming it as a favorite food since elementary school. My brother in law loves pizza so much he could write a dissertation on the subject . . . hmm . . . doctor of pizzalogy. . . nice ring, huh.

The pizza gold-standard at our house is Brooklyn's. We love the Bronx Italiano, no red peppers or scallions. Though I feared what the garlic might do to the stomach of a small child, Jackson seems no worse for the wear. In fact, he loves flavor of any kind. We tried and tried to get him to eat some of the baby foods and in the end they were just too bland for him. Brooklyn's pizza has amazing flavor. It's kind of a taste explosion. The tomatos are chopped rather than as sauce too, which I think is delightful.

The new contendor was Rosati's Pizza. They serve Chicago-style pizza based on a Italian family recipe. The pie was large and generous with a thick crust. However, it just didn't pack the same flavor punch as our friends from the East Coast. Pizza from Dairyland, it would seem, has a big emphasis on cheese. It seemed like a solid wall of it. As one who has dined on cheese-free pizza at the behest of a certain college roommate, the cheese to pizza ratio is a very delicate balance for me. There was a lot of sauce as well and it was quite thick. It seemed more like a friend of the tomato than an actual tomato product - like Cheez Whiz is a friend of cheese.

The clear winner: we like our pizza from the burough!

It's Little J approved.


What were they thinking?

A catalog arrived at my house recently with the banner headline, "Last Chance! Sorry, this may be your last catalog unless you order. " I felt mildly threatened so I flipped on through. And that's when I saw this . . .

That's right, it's a chicken handbag. I've seen it oven-fried, roasted, as a nugget or a tender, fricassed, and noodle souped, but I have never seen it like this. Is there seriously someone out there saying, "You can keep your Prada and your Coach, I'll be carrying the Little Red Hen this season." What is this world coming to? I hope they keep their word and refrain from sending me this little treasure tome.



Parenting Lesson of the Day:

ALWAYS trust your instincts . . . And if you do not, be prepared for a spray of bead necklace shrapnel. Not that I have any experience.

My new necklace lasted exactly one day. I let my little man check it out for a few moments. I was on my way over to him to take it back, and BAM, then next thing I know I am trying to collect approximately 1 million beads from Grandma's back room before they are consumed by a curious dachshund.

This is why boys should not wear necklaces. EVER.


Hair Cares

Jackson had another big first this past weekend - the first haircut. We really thought this first wouldn't come until at least his high school graduation. He has been really slow at cultivating his 'do. But when it started looking like a comb-over, we knew we had to go.

Waiting our turn. Checking out the *lovely* merchandise.
Why would you pack a place for children wall-to-wall with things they want desperately to touch and their parents want desperately to avoid. I'm a business person so I really already know the answer to this question, but they can't act shocked when there is crying. From the mothers . . .

What could be better than getting your hair cut in a fire truck?

I think I will request that too.

Two good looking guys


Sleep Shocker

Sometime in the last month or more, a miracle has occurred at our house.
Jackson naps!
You might be thinking that this is a normal activity for a toddler . . . and you would be wrong. From day 1, Jackson has never been sure about the whole sleeping activity. There seemed to be too many fun activities going on in the house. And he had so much responsibility, watching over his inept parents and all. And so we battled, he and I. Some days (and nights) went well . . . and some did not. After I went back to work, he and I "went to the mattresses" over nighttime sleeping. Once I discovered that I was doing most things wrong, I emerged victorious and sweet dreams were restored to our house. Which made it so much easier to ignore that naps were still completely on Jackson's terms. And since he and his grandma had everything worked out for naps during the week, it wasn't as if he wasn't getting enough rest. So we soldiered on for entirely too long holding him until he fell asleep, trying not to fall asleep ourselves, and then trying to sneak him into his bed without his consent.

But it is all over!

My big guy can take naps in his bed all by himself. I must say that this has literally changed my life. Next naptime opponent - the nap-only, never-leaves-the-crib pacifier. Stay tuned.

Baby Brady is Here!

8:18 PM
7 lb. 3 oz.
19 inches
Our first nephew, Brady, arrived just over a week ago. We are so excited to welcome Jackson's first cousin. There was lots of concern about exactly when Brady would make his arrival, and thus he was this generation's 2nd induced baby. In my experience, inductions add to the baby delivery fun model in so many ways - they take all day and yet everyone keeps telling you that a baby is imminent. Then all of a sudden, WHAM, it's really go-time. And the next thing you know, you have a baby! Brady was no exception. He gave us plenty of time to explore the hospital all day and then he arrived like a bullet train the minute we completed our 45 minute drive home! We were so sad! But we are so glad that he arrived safely and has added so much joy to our family already!
Happy family!

Hugs from Jackson

Sleepy Baby


The Trouble with Trees

So, what do you do when you experience an equipment malfunction in the middle of an excavation?
Let's ask HE-MAN.

The tree, by the way, was officially pronounced a goner by our friendly HOA. Because they have so much concern for the goings-on in my backyard. Perhaps I will send them a thank you note . . . and a sample of the "organic fertilizer" that is also abundant in my backyard. Not that fertilizer of any type did anything for the tree. So, the current horticultural situation around here is: 1.5 of 3 houseplants alive, 1 of 4 porch plants alive, 1 flowering tree propped up in the front yard, and a battalion of bushes that must be related to kudzu trying to grow through the brick in front of the house. Tommorow night I am attending a presentation titled "Turning Your Black Thumb into a Green One". Seriously.