Wednesday, December 18, 2013

We visited Santa!

We visited our favorite Santa last Friday when I got off work.  As far as Leah and I are concerned, the Santa at Jordan Creek Town Center is the best there is.  Rather than rushing kids through like they're on an assembly line he takes time to connect with them, work with the ones that are a little hesitant as much as possible, and helps to create a picture that will be a lasting memory for the families rather than just a standard snapshot of a kid on a knee.  The pictures of him laying down with a sleeping baby on his stomach and a book laying by their side as if both had fallen asleep during story time are fantastic (and have made me a little jealous that neither of the boys were ever asleep when they were babies and went to see Santa!).

Maddux had been bouncing off the walls with excitement over seeing Santa, or in Maddux speak, "Ho Ho" all day.  Once we arrived and got in line he made us think that we might have our first kid who would freak out at the thought of sitting with Santa when he grabbed on to Leah's shoulders and tried to hide his face.  We quickly decided that we'd transfer Maddux over to me as he tends to be a little braver with Dad than he does with Mom.  He and I looked at Santa from in line, talked about going up to see him, and talked to big brother Holden about how awesome it is.  By the time we were next in line it became nearly impossible to hang on to him because he wanted to get down to go see Ho Ho.

When it was our turn, Holden made a beeline for Santa while I asked Maddux if he wanted to walk or have me carry him.  He indicated he wanted to walk so I put him down, keeping a close eye out to see if he'd change his mind and make a break for it.  No need to worry though as he headed straight for Santa's big green chair, climbed up by himself and immediately launched in to a long speech about...ummm....well, something.  There was some pointing at nearby Christmas lights, at a reindeer, and a mention of Elmo made but clearly speaking English is something we'll work on in the coming year so I can't really say for sure what the gist of the discussion was.

Santa noted to me that he was quite impressed and wished more two year olds were as excited to see him and to talk to him as Maddux.

Once Holden and Maddux both had their turn chatting with Santa, we had a picture taken, they each received a coloring book and we were on our way.  Instead of having to fight to get Maddux to see Santa, we almost had to fight to get him to leave.  He was determined to finish telling Ho Ho a story.  Santa was kind enough to give him a little extra time so they could finish their conversation.  A quick hug from both of the boys and a "Bye Santa!" from Holden (and "Bye Ho Ho!" from Maddux) found us on our way with another successful visit to the best Santa out there in the books.

Holden, Maddux, and Santa/Ho Ho.  We won't talk about the fact that upon seeing this picture my first observation was that Leah has Maddux's shoes on the wrong feet.  We'll practice dressing him in the coming year.

As an almost unbelievable side note, this was the second consecutive year that we visited Santa on the day that there was a school shooting in this country.  This is definitely a streak that I hope is broken in 2014.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Santa's video messages for the boys

Let's start this post with remembering how much Santa Claus has to do at this time of year.  Gifts for all the good boys and girls of the world that believe in him?  I can't even start to imagine how stressful that is.  Then, on top of preparing for that, he takes time out of his incredibly busy schedule to create video greetings for some very special kids too?  Simply amazing.  Let's cut him a little slack then that his message to Holden and his message to Maddux seem to be a little similar.  The bottom line is that both boys made the nice list.  That, ladies and gentlemen, is a victory.

Santa's message for Holden

Santa's message for Maddux

Holden, still a true believer by the way, had a little panic set in when he heard Santa mention trying not to lie this past year (the lad's a bit of a story teller at times) but, once he saw the needle bury itself on the nice side of this video, let out a "Yes!" accompanied by a fist pump.

I will forever regret not making a video of Maddux as he watched his message later in the evening for the first time.  A deep breath in followed by "Dad! Look! Dad! Look!" in a voice filled with awe and wonder as Santa came on the screen and addressed him by name will be a memory that lasts for the rest of my life.  Maddux typically refers to himself as "baby" (whereas Gillian is "Dodo" and Holden is "Appi" for some reason) so the first time his picture came up in the video the joyous cry of "Dad! Look - baby!" did a fine job of melting his Daddy and Mommy's hearts.
While I didn't think to take a video of Maddux watching his Santa greeting, I did get a picture.  It shows the deep concentration (with, dare I say, pure contentment) that was happening at the moment more than the wonderment previously mentioned but it's still a pretty good shot.
Maddux watching his video message from Santa
Congratulations to both of you gentlemen for making the nice list.  Keep up the good work.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

The tree is decorated, our scout elf Jovie (from The Elf on the Shelf) has arrived, and Christmas songs are dominating the playlist at home.  Now let's get some snow....not just because it's festive but because it will cover up all the leaves that I didn't get raked.
Applying the finishing touch to the tree

There's no better way to test lights than to decorate the resident first grader
Jovie has to be careful that his daily landing place is well out of reach of a certain two year old

Jovie has started telling jokes or quoting Christmas movies this year.  Thanks for setting a precedent of requiring even more creativity than where to be located each day elf.
A side note - all of the images above come from my Instagram feed which can be found here.  Santa said he wants you to follow it.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Happy 2nd birthday Maddux!

On November 1, 2011 at 8:46 a.m. we welcomed Maddux to our family.  I wrote a couple of paragraphs about his birth last year at this time here (some circa 2012 pictures of Maddux that are awesome are at that link) which I will quote from again this year:

The year was 2011. Halloween. Leah, Holden and I met up with Amy and Gillian to go trick-or-treating. Leah did a remarkable job of speed waddling to keep up with the kids as they went house to house getting candy. As we made our way around town, we discussed what we needed to do to get ready for our scheduled visit to the hospital on November 3rd to induce labor and bring our baby boy in to the world. Neither of us planned on Maddux deciding that Halloween sounded so much fun that he wanted to get in on the festivities but that's just what happened. We got home, got Holden in to bed and tried to call it a night. A couple of hours passed and it became apparent that Leah wasn't just uncomfortable because she was 9 months pregnant - she was in labor.

A quick trip over to Mary Greeley, some denial by Leah (seriously - once they administer an epidural it is a good bet they aren't going to send you home declaring that it's false labor), a lot of coffee for the tired husband, and after some pushing, Maddux Clark Davis arrived. He started out with a red, smashed up face and eyes that looked disturbingly like labia (Leah still hates it when I describe his eyes that way) but was still pretty darn cute.
Life is so much different now, just two short years from the day he was born.  Not just different but better in every single way imaginable.  Leah and I have a stronger relationship than ever before, she's staying home with the boys to be a full time wife and Mom (speaking of which've got nowhere to go, so make me some damn cookies!), and that little boy who came out with labia eyes has brought more smiles and joy to our house than we could have ever imagined.

Happy birthday Maddux Davis.  You're a keeper.

I just noticed it sort of looks like I'm sitting in Holden's lap for this picture.  I promise I wasn't smashing the boy.
Mommy and baby.  The cup in her left hand has since become mine.

Some things don't change - he still gets pissed, turns red and screams on occasion.

"Shouldn't there be a hand here?"

Welcomed by the Cubs
Not terribly inclined to smile when asked.
August 2, 2013

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

2013 Davis Family Jack-o-lanterns

Our 2013 Halloween pumpkins are a pretty decent representation of the household. We have a Minecraft creeper for Holden, music notes for Gillian, and Elmo (known and referred to as "Ha Ha" by the 1 year old) for Maddux. The last one on the end is a representation of....ummm......the fact that Leah and I like to carve pumpkins and thought it was a cool face.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

My favorite Halloween picture

I've got a ton of cute pictures of the kids over the years dressed in costumes for Halloween but I think this is my favorite - Leah (and Maddux!) in 2011 just a few days before trick or treating.

She's not as willing to let me near her with a marker now as she was then.  I've asked.

Friday, October 4, 2013

School pictures

I've been on the edge of my seat for the past few weeks after discovering Holden had a big blue mark on his forehead when he got home from school on picture day.  The question of "did this end up there before or after pictures" has finally been answered.  Thankfully (although it would have been an amusing thing to look back on for years) the forehead mark was made after the picture was taken.
So with that......School pictures!

Holden - 1st grade
Gillian - 7th grade

Friday, September 27, 2013

Happy Birthday Holden!

Seven years ago today at 7:17 p.m., a 20.5 inch baby boy weighing 8 lbs 7 oz. named Holden Ryne Davis arrived and instantly the world became a more awesome place to be.  Happy birthday Holden.  We're very proud of you and couldn't imagine life without you.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Thomas the Train....round 2

We are entering the second round of having a little boy that is a huge Thomas the Train fan living in our house.  Maddux isn't quite to the point of every waking moment being dedicated to "choo choos" as Holden was at around the same age but he's definitely a fan.  And, after riding on a train pulled by Thomas during his annual stop in Boone this weekend, I think it's safe to say that the little guy's appreciation for Thomas the Train has grown even more. 
On our way to see Thomas!

Yes Dad, I am perfectly content to leave my hat on only until you decide you want to take a picture.

We'll work on moving to avoid lighting like this over the course of the next year and go for another shot like this in 2014.  Check back.

Gillian shortly before being declared a Jr. Engineer by Sir Topham Hatt.

Who's that chuffing down the tracks?

He was perfectly content to wave at everyone we passed.

Ladies and gentlemen, behold the worst "professional" photographs taken at an event that you can imagine.  Apparently if you've ever operated a camera before you're over qualified to work for JED Photography.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

WWE Raw in Des Moines on Sept 2nd

We ended months of eager anticipation in the Davis home last night when Holden and I went to see WWE Raw in Des Moines.  Raw is the weekly 3 hour show that airs live on the USA network on Monday nights that has been must see tv in our household for the last year.  We saw the taping of the Superstars show that airs later in the week on Hulu Plus, the three hour Raw show, then a dark match main event that took place after the show went off the air.  I kind of agonized over whether to Maddux or not but, even though he loves to play with wrestlers with Holden and gets excited when certain guys hit the ring when watching on TV, I don't think he would have handled four hours sitting there very well.  Leah and I would have had to take him out and wander the concourse which would have probably sucked out my will to live after a couple hours. 

I wouldn't have seen myself attending a live WWE show a couple of years ago but I can say without a doubt that simply being there to witness how excited Holden was and how he got in to the matches and chants that it was absolutely worth it and that we will be right there again the next time the WWE brings a show through this area.  I'm just going to be sure to grab a camera on my way out the door instead of relying on taking pictures with my phone.

Getting ready to head out with a very excited 1st grader

12 semis parked right next to each other to move the equipment from show to show.

View of the ring and titantron as you walk through the door with arms full of expensive WWE merchandise.

Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!

Prime Time Players vs 3MB

CM Punk

CM Punk and a kendo stick

CM Punk entrance

Da fuq you mean I'm fired?

WWE Champion Randy Orton. Holden hasn't decided how to handle his heel turn. He was wearing a Viper shirt but cheering for the guy Orton wrestled.


Big Show is a big dude.

CM Punk after his victory in the dark match against Curtis Axle and Paul Heyman.

Quick self portrait on our way out the door

View of the ring on the way out.

Ring, Titantron and remnants of the crowd on our way out the door.
RKO shirt, WWE title belt, CM Punk hat (not on his head but still in the picture) and Daniel Bryan "YES!" rally towel. I'd say the kid is a WWE fan.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

We'll miss you Dexter

Today we lost the best bunny named after a fictional serial killer that a family could ask for.  We had noticed he was losing weight recently but when we got up this morning found that he was unable to move his back legs.  Leah had her first, and hopefully last for a very long time....perhaps ever, experience with having to euthanize a pet.  Difficult to do (yes even for "just" a rabbit....he was still a pet in our family) but certainly more humane than letting him go more slowly. We're going to miss you Dexter.

Leah wanted a rabbit her entire childhood.  She finally got one with what we thought was a little guy....that turned out to be a little girl.  Despite that we stuck with the name Dexter and continued to use male pronouns.

Dexter and Riley were, amazingly enough, friendly with each other.

Dexter got quite a bit bigger from the first picture above but he really wasn't as enormous as this picture leads you to believe.