Friday, July 31, 2009

Vacation Days Four Through Seven

Sorry about that little break in posts. We're fighting some summer yuckiness around our house.

For day four of our vacation, we decided to do something special for Jackson since we would be celebrating his birthday while in Wisconsin.

Chuck decided to take Jackson horseback riding. Jackson was super excited to be doing something special and I don't think Chuck or I realized just how hard it was going to rain. It was sort of gloomy and sprinkling when they bought their tickets, so we decided to drive into Baraboo and wait the rain out.

Baraboo is the original home of the Ringling Bros circus and home to Circus World museum. The boys weren't as excited about the circus attraction as I thought they'd be so we scratched that from our itinerary. It was a nice little drive though, lots of old time building and architecture. The rain looked like it was stopping so we headed back to the Dells and dropped Chuck and Jackson off at the stables.
The other three boys and I went to what I'll call "Cheese World", a store filled with cheese. (It had a real name but I can't remember it-the boys and I just referred to it as Cheese World). Now cheese is a staple of the Lakes family diet, so you can imagine how excited my boys were to browse coolers and coolers full of cheese. We bought a few of our favorites and headed back to the van, only to discover that it was pouring rain. I don't mean a slight drizzle or some showers, but it looked like someone had turned on a firehose at full strength. Oh no! It occurred to me, Chuck and Jackson were riding horses OUTSIDE. Poor guys.
I made a run for it and somehow got everyone in the car-yes, I was soaked! I went to grab the keys from the diaper bag and they were...gone. Nowhere to be found. After a few minutes of searching in the warm, dry car, I resigned myself to the inevitable-retracing my steps in the pouring rain. Sigh. We eventually found the keys in the backseat (still not sure how they got there) and by then it was time to pick up the horseback riders.

They were absolutely drenched. I have never ever seen two people so wet in my entire life. Despite the downpour, they had so much fun.

We headed back to hotel to let Jackson open his birthday presents a day early (we got him the police light Skechers shoes, and since his shoes were drenched, we figured he'd need something to wear besides flip-flops).

The Birthday Boy with his other present-a Bumblebee helmet

Bed full of boys relaxing...

Moosey takes his relaxing seriously!

After an exhausting day, we decided to spend some time relaxing and make a quick trip to the Goody Goody Gumdrops candy store. The candy there was amazing! Chuck found a jawbreaker the size of a baseball and the boys couldn't believe all of the good stuff!

Moose looks slightly afraid of it!

The next day was Jackson's actual birthday, so he got to decide our activity. He choose Knuckleheads, an indoor amusement park. The boys spent the day riding rides and playing games. Moose had so much fun he fell asleep at the table at lunch while eating Cheerio's!

Check out the Cheerio...just out of reach!

After, being inside all morning, we headed to Pirate's Cove to jump on a huge inflatable playground and ride pedal cars.

Jackson choose Moosejaw for dinner and the servers brought him an ice cream sundae and sang Happy Birthday to him.

The next morning we woke to clear blue skies, and weather warm enough to be outside in! Woo-hoo! Chuck and Jarron really wanted to go to Noah's Ark water park, while the other boys and I weren't really into it. So we stayed home and enjoyed the outdoor kiddie area at Great Wolf. Chuck and Jarron rode just about every ride at Noah's Ark including the Black Anaconda! (Oh how I wish we had a bought a waterproof camera for them!)

The next day, was our last day in Wisconsin, and it was raining (again) so we decided to go to the Kalahari. The Kalahari is a resort with indoor/outdoor waterparks and has a HUGE indoor amusement park. We had sooo much fun there. We got to ride the Go-Karts, ferris wheel, and carousel. And Chuck and the twins got do some wall-climbing and the ropes course. It was pretty awesome-Moose got to ride his first ferris wheel! I think if we decide to go to the Dells again, we will stay at the Kalahari. They had baby tigers in the lobby! Baby tigers! Seriously.

And this picture? This was my dessert, an entirely edible tiramisu! Doesn't it look like a real coffee mug? And it was so yummy!

The only thing left to do, was the jet boats. I desperately wanted to ride a jet boat. The weather was not cooperating but Jarron and I decided to do it anyway. We bought a couple of sweatshirts and bought our tickets. It was such a blast. The boat was extremely fast and we got very cold and very wet but it was worth it!
We hit the indoor waterpark one last time that night and then got up bright and early to head back to Cincinnati.

It was a great vacation. We had so much fun spending the week together.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Vacation Recap Days One-Three

Okay, so when I started this blog, I mentioned that part of the reason was to help me preserve memories until I got around to scrapbooking them, right?
Well, here we go. :) The next couple of days I'll be posting a recap of our recent vacation to the Wisconsin Dells. So, long story short, no Ten on Tuesday this week.
We left for Wisconsin bright and early on Saturday, the drive there wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it might be. Despite a brief detour through the mean streets of Gary, Indiana (thanks GPS!) we made it to our hotel by mid-afternoon.

Since we made such good time, our room wasn't quite ready. But lucky us, Radio Disney was there to promote the new Magic Quest game at Great Wolf. The boys got to play some games and compete in some contests. In fact, Bryce got to participate in the hula-hooping contest. Something you may not know about Bryce? He's a master hula-hooper. Seriously. He competed in some hula-hoop contest at school and took second place. So, of course, he destroyed the competition and took home a Disney DVD. Jarron also competed in a name that song competition and won a Disney DVD.

After checking into our room, we decided to head down to the indoor waterpark and do a little swimming. The boys loved the wave pool but the main attractions for the twins were the water slides. The bigger and scarier they were the better. Chuck and the twins rode the "tornado", which looked super scary but they loved it!

The next day we headed into town and decided to take a couple of boat tours. The first tour was a tour of the Upper Dells on the Wisconsin River. The scenery was absolutely beautiful. At one point we got to disembark and tour some of the dells near Stand Rock called the Witches Gultch. So cool. We also got to see a dog jump a ledge onto Stand Rock. Amazing!

After lunch at the yummy Moosejaw, we took an Original Wisconsin Ducks boat tour of the lower Dells. Jarron got to co-pilot the Duck, which he loved!

The next day we headed into downtown Wisconsin Dells, where Chuck and the boys rode a monster truck. The guy who ran this particular attraction kept yelling, Whoooooo! So funny.

After some monster trucking, we made a stop at the Wisconsin Deer Park. There are literally hundreds of domesticated deer that come right up to you and eat out of your hands. The deer were so cute. Our favorites were the reindeer-the antlers still had the soft fur on them. The kids really enjoyed it.

Our next stop was the Tommy Bartlett Ski Show. We got there pretty early, so we were able to get front row seats. Which in hindsight, may not have been the best idea. The pre-show started and Bryce was picked yet again to be in a hula hooping contest (seriously!). Unfortunately, he lost this one but still had fun. Then the show started. The premise of the show was a group of "bad" fraternity kids some how took possesion of Camp Bartlett and wanted to shut it down. So the "good" campers were trying to stop that from happening. About ten minutes into the show I look over at Jackson and see that he is FREAKING OUT. I mean shaking with fear. Yikes. He really thought that "Moose" (the bad guy in the show) was going to hurt someone. I guess since, he's never really been to a play or anything, it seemed real to him. I had to take him to the back of the stands and explain that it was pretend and that no one would be hurt. After a few minutes he calmed down enough to go back and was fine.
The rest of show was pretty cool and Jackson began to relax and enjoy it.

Needless to say, after a super busy day, we couldn't wait to head back to the hotel and crash.
Check back tomorrow for a recap of the rest of the week-we still had horseback riding, a birthday to celebrate, indoor amusement parks and more!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Five Years Ago Today

Our family of four became a family of five. Jackson Scott arrived at 8:24 AM on July 22, 2004. After what would turn out to be my easiest and most uncomplicated pregnancy, he was born via a scheduled C-section on a sunny Thursday morning.

From the start he was a quiet, calm baby. He was much more reserved than the twins (he has certainly come out of that shell in the last year!).
We knew pretty much right away that he would have his Momma's dark hair and brown eyes, and yet he still looked so much like his brothers.

First Christmas

He was such an easy baby, he rarely cried or threw fits.
First Birthday

When he was about a year old, he was diagnosed with a rare genetic defect. While in the womb, his neural tube did not close and brain tissue grew into his nasal passages, completely blocking one nostril.
With the diagnosis came a really scary time for us as parents, with talk of CAT scans, surgeries and neurologists. It was terrifying. Chuck and I leaned heavily on God and our faith. Our entire church and families prayed for Jackson daily. Through it all, he continued to be the calm, sweet baby he had always been.
Jackson had surgery on 8/19/08-probably one of the hardest days of my life. Nothing can prepare you for handing your child over to a surgeon and walking away. Nothing.

When the surgery was finally over the doctor sat us down and explained that while the tissue was deeper in his nose than they had thought, it was not attached to his brain. There was no need for neurosurgery! He told us he couldn't believe it, that he had never seen a like Jackson's that didn't result in brain surgery.

But God wasn't done yet, He had more miracles in store for our Jackson.

The tissue removed from the bridge of Jackson's nose left a large hole, almost like a third nostril. A month after his first surgery, Jackson was scheduled for plastic surgery to fill in the hole. Again, we prayed and again we handed our son over to surgeons. Unlike the first surgery, we were called back within minutes. The doctor looked astonished when he told us that he couldn't medically explain it but the hole had healed on it's own. There was no need for another surgery. He said to us, "it's a miracle."

Needless to say, we can't celebrate Jackson's birthday without remembering what a miracle it is to have him in our lives, completely healthy.

The following year, he celebrated his second birthday with cake and ice cream...

And then for his third birthday Mr. Mickey Mouse himself brought out a cupcake and sang him "Happy Birthday"...

On his fourth birthday, he had his first friend party at Parky's Farm...

Through the years, he has not shown any sides effects from his ordeal, doing exactly what any other boy his age would be doing. Going to the beach, being a Cubbie, playing soccer, learning his alphabet and becoming a big brother.

Florida 2007 (he might look like me but he's like his Daddy when it comes to the beach-not a fan!)

First night of Cubbies

He was a reluctant soccer player his first season but came to really enjoy it.

Proud big brother

My dad says that he doesn't see the scars on Jackson's nose, he sees evidence of God's miracles. I have to agree.

We love you Jackson and are so proud to be your parents.
This is my favorite picture of Jackson, it's just so {him}. Talking, walking and doing 500 hundred things at the same time.

Happy Birthday Monkey!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Ten on Tuesday

1. It was actually a relatively quiet week at the Lakes' household. Which is a good thing, because I think next week will be full of adventure and fun. In the meantime, we are celebrating a few more birthdays around here. For example, this little man (circa 2005) will be 5 next week. Check back next week for Jackson's extra special post.

Look at those curls!

2. And this little guy turns 7 today! I can't believe Blaze is already 7. He is such a sweet and funny kid. I love that he and our boys get to be together practically everyday. He reminds me so much of my brother-the same mannerisms and attitudes. I swear the kid knew every episode of Star Trek before he was 3 years old! Happy Birthday Blaze, we feel so happy to have you in our lives!

Little Blaze 2005

One of my favorite pictures of Blaze and the twins

3. Our Moose is everywhere these days. He has completely mastered the art of crawling. In fact I caught him in action when Bobbi was attempting to take his nine month photos this Sunday. {I forgot how hard it was to keep a 9 month old sitting still-brutal!}

4. And here is my lame attempt at photographing Moose-such a preppy little man!

5. While we were at the park, I snuck in a few shots of the big boys. It's a rare day when they smile for their Momma's camera, so I took full advantage. When did they get so big? It breaks my heart to know that my days of getting hugs and kisses from them are numbered.




6. The park we went to for the photos is really cool. Highfield Discovery Gardens is in Springdale, Ohio. The boys loved it, we will definitely be frequent visitors!

Frog & Toad books are favorites in this house!

How cool is this misting tunnel?

7. On a completely unrelated note-I love Duck adhesive for working on my scrapbooks-it's super easy to use, not messy and very affordable. So imagined how bummed I was when not one, but two of my rollers were defective. So, I emailed them. And guess what? They are sending me out a 4-pack to replace the defective rolls! Yay for Duck adhesive! {If you haven't tried it, I highly recommend it-JoAnns or Wal-Mart carries it-I use my ATG gun at home but you can't beat Duck for crops.}

8. I'm a little concerned by how much "stuff" I need to pack for vacation for Brody. I haven't traveled with a baby in a long while. I am hopeful that things go easier than I anticipate.

9. Jackson has requested Bendaroos from his Aunt Retta for his birthday. This is in keeping with his trends from past holidays-he loves the As Seen on TV products. He has requested the bubble maker (act now and they will throw in bath crayons), swirly markers (create one of a kind designs), and now the Bendaroos (portable fun!). In fact at Applebee's on Sunday, he said, "Too bad I don't have my Bendaroos, they are perfect for long restuarant waits." Hee.

10. Am I the only who thinks this summer has flown by? It seems like we just opened the pool and Target is already stocked with back to school gear. Geesh!