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Nov 30, 2008

A year in review

Little Gavin is one year old today.
We can't figure out where the time went!
Here's a little overview of Gavin's first year in our family.
We love him so much!


November 30, 2007: Birth Day
8 pounds, 11 ounces


One month old
Gotta love all that hair!


Two months old
Chillin' on Aunt Angie's couch in Gilbert, Arizona.
Our Beaverton home went on the market that week.


Three months old
Oh, how we love Gavin's smiles!


Four months old
Our little chunky monkey...19 lbs 2.5 ounces and 27 inches long.


Five months old
The "molting phase." Bye-bye, cute hair!


Six months old
We moved from Beaverton, Oregon on this day. {Sniff, sniff.}


Seven months old
Hair coming back; adjusting to a new home in Colorado; starting to crawl.


Eight months old
Chillin' on Granny's couch in Mesa, Arizona.
Uncle Ryan started his LDS mission that day.


Nine months old
Gavin's first steps happened this week
(right on schedule with his brothers).


10 months old
Gavin had a little sty in his eye on this day, but he wasn't bothered.


11 months old
Mr. Wiggle Worm couldn't hold still for a picture,
which captured the essence of his month.

12 months old
Speed-walking, clapping, climbing, pointing;
as wiggly and adorable as ever!

What an amazing year it has been with our little boy.

Happy Birthday, Gavin!

"It's like the whole world is white!"

This morning we woke up to four inches of snow, and it's still coming down.

Tyler rushed into our bedroom and tried to urge us out of bed. "Mom! Dad! Come quick! You've got to see this! It's like the whole world is covered in white!"


Indeed it is.

While my inward groan was building, I could see magic dancing in the boys' eyes. Snowmen and snow angels and snow forts and sledding...what fun they could have! I suppose there's no sense in having a bad attitude about this, our new winter climate, since it won't go away for several months.

Evening update:

The great news is that the relentless snow meant church was cut short by an hour. While I usually enjoy my church meetings, Gavin was on a grumpy bender with no end in sight, and with Garry home sick my energy was waning. The snow hasn't stopped all day -- I bet we have ten inches by now! We may get an official Snow Day break from school, so I'm sure we'll bundle up for some winter magic in the morning.

Nov 29, 2008

Top Ten Thanksgiving Trip Memories

We've returned from our fun-and-fabulous journey to the Valley of the Sun. To commemorate our trip, we give you our

Top Ten Thanksgiving Trip Memories.


10. Wonderful weather.
Zachary and Tyler spent hours outdoors on Granny's play set, throwing balls over the house (a perennial favorite than spans generations), taking walks to visit the neighborhood animals, going to parks with Gramps, and eating Otter Pops on the back porch at all hours of the day.


9. Celebrating birthdays.
It's rare for us to enjoy birthday festivities with extended family,
so this was a special treat.

Happy Birthday, Myron!

Our baby is one (on Sunday)!
Gavin loved opening presents and trying a slice of pumpkin pie.

video
Gavin also loved when everyone clapped for him!

8. Thanksgiving Dinner.

I'm kicking myself for not getting a picture of the delightful Thanksgiving spread we enjoyed. {Fortunately, my Uncle Jeff took care of this here.} Mom's delicious turkey, patented stuffing, creamy mashed potatoes and gravy, her famous rolls, plus fruit and sweet potatoes and green beans, all topped off with an array of delectable homemade pies. Yum. Thanks to Janeen, Amy, Angie, Rachel, and David for contributing their culinary talents, too! There's no place like home except Granny's!

7. Decorating Granny's Christmas tree.
Zach and Tyler thought this was the coolest thing, and I enjoyed sitting back and watching Granny, Gramps, and Holly reminisce over every ornament. The Dent-Dixon family has a tradition of gifting a new and unique ornament to each child every year. Hearing, "Mom! This one is my favorite!" and "Mark, remember getting this one in San Fransisco?" made me a little more excited to set up my own tree and walk down memory lane with my own ornaments.


6. The Orange Incident.

One afternoon found Zachary, Tyler, and Devlin making mischief. They apparently got bored in the vast expanse of Granny's yard and decided to pluck oranges from her tree. They took the naughtiness a step further and chucked the citrus over the fence and into the neighbor's yard. I can only imagine their reaction when instead of a "thunk" on grass or cement they heard "splash!" This must have started an orange-hurling frenzy. Later that evening, when one of the culprits confessed and we set out to clean up the mess, we found about 50 oranges floating in the neighbor's pool. Far from feeling punished, the kids had a ball cleaning up all traces of their treachery.


5. Gavin.

Gavin was so fun and happy in Mesa. He didn't have too many "stranger" issues with my family. Instead, he just made himself at home and puttered and played so contentedly. It was a wonderful break for me! And, incredibly, he slept SO WELL while we were there. He took two long naps every day, went to sleep without a peep, and slept in almost every morning until 7:30 or later (this is huge for us).

He loved our near-daily afternoon walks in the lovely weather, as well as a super-fun park trip on Friday.

4. The Turkey Trot.
On Thanksgiving morning, the boys and I (plus some other family) ran in the Mesa Mi Amigo's Turkey Trot. Holly, Amy, and Bryan ran the two-mile race, but the rest of us did one mile. It was super fun.

A family of Turkey Trotters: Zach, Heidi, Ty, Holly, Amy, Bryan, and Gavin.
Gramps ran, too! He just took the picture.

One minute before race time.

video
Tyler and Gramps crossing the finish line.

3. The car show.
On Thanksgiving afternoon, the men and boys of the family all went to a car show in Phoenix. Zach and Ty came home with enough literature to stock a library, plus lots of fun memories.


2. Grown-up Playtime.

Gramps gave a fabulous Family Home Evening lesson on building the bridges of life, complete with Lego bridges that spanned gaps in the table. I think he had more fun than the little boys. This FHE was followed by S'mores, a treat Ty has been begging to have.

Chatting with these fun folks, who are much more charming now than when we all lived together as siblings: David, Holly, Eric, and Angie.

Watching Eric's inner child come out as he pelted my boys with foam discs he shot from a gun. His antics were hysterical. He's responsible, too; he just bought and renovated his first house, which is very cool!

Garry and I enjoyed a lovely date on Wednesday night. We ate dinner at {Old} Rosa's and saw the new Twilight movie. We've both enjoyed all four books so it was fun to see the screen adaptation together.

1. Cousin Playtime.

These boys were inseparable and had a marvelous time together. Devlin literally tackled Zach with a fond "hello" when we arrived.

There was lots and lots and lots of this: story time!

All the cute cousins piled on a bench. Did any of the photographers get a better shot than this one?

Thanks for all the amazing memories, guys! We hope to see you again soon!

P.S. For another take on our fun week, see Rachel's (aka my sister-in-law's, aka The Wizzle's) blog here.

Nov 21, 2008

Ta-ta for now

We're leaving for Mesa tomorrow (well, most of us), which prompted this email exchange between my mom and I:

Subject: going crazy?

Heidi,

I've been thinking about you. It's such a job to get out of town. Be good to yourself!

Mom.


>Subject: RE: going crazy?

Mom,

Yes and no. Yes because I know there is SO much to do, but no because I haven’t started doing it. I’ve been trying to square away Christmas party stuff and Gavin’s birthday stuff and cleaning up messes I don’t want to see when I get home. I made Garry a honey-do-while-I’m-gone list this morning, too. And I finally returned a pair of shoes that I bought mid-October but don’t fit. And I browsed Old Navy for maternity clothes while I was at the mall. There’s a super cute red sweater that would probably work for our Christmas ensemble, but I realized I didn’t have time to try it on. Oh, well.

I checked out Mesa weather – wahoo! I’m excited. Is there any reason to bring more than sandals and church shoes for the boys? Oh, never mind – the fun run. (The boys and I signed up; Garry is hoping to join David’s turkey bowl at the same time.) We’ll want real shoes. OK, question answered. And is it still OK for us to use your car seats? Am I supposed to bring anything out of the ordinary? I have a pile with your church clothes and the calendars and a Christmas present for Iris. I was hoping to take care of the rest of my Dixon Christmas shopping while I’m there.

I’m going to go veg out (and fold laundry) while Gavin is asleep and Tyler is at school. The babe has started napping well again, thank heaven. Four hours yesterday, baby! (In two installments.) This morning the phone woke him up and he was NOT happy. So the phone’s off the hook and I’m optimistic for a two-hour slumber.

TTFN

Heidi

.....

TTFN to y'all, too. See ya on the flip side. Happy Thanksgiving!!

Nov 18, 2008

Intelligence, even if artificial, is preferred to stupidity, no matter how genuine.

So it turns out I'm a bigger idiot than I thought. I'm still laughing and shaking my head.

First, read yesterday's post if you haven't yet.

After all that took place, I recruited Krista, an awesome Beaverton friend, to try to rescue the package that was supposedly delivered by FedEx to my old residence on Sunday (weird, eh?). I emailed my old (er...former) neighbor and she said she'd keep her eyes peeled. I also emailed the person who moved into my house. No response from her.

And then I basically got an ulcer thinking about it all.

Last night, Zach picked up our mail. Two packages with calendars were in the box. That was a head-scratcher. I was grateful, to be sure, but couldn't figure out how it happened that they were delivered to the right spot. Two out of three orders -- I was relieved.

This morning, Krista reported via email that my old house was dark, there was no package to be seen, and Jennifer the neighbor didn't have it and hadn't seen it. Dang.

So this morning I started reviewing my confirmation emails again, trying to figure out how in the world I'd been so dumb. And then, there it was. Turns out I was only dumb (about this) yesterday. After a quick call to the calendar place, I immediately sent off this email to Krista, laughing hysterically all the while.


Hi Krista.

I’m feeling a bit sheepish, for I believe I’ve sent you on a wild goose chase! Today I realized that both the customer service rep AND I were looking at last year’s calendar invoice when I was asking about delayed delivery. I ordered the same week (almost the same exact day) last year, so all the names and dates and dollar amounts matched, but the address was obviously different. This morning I was reviewing my email confirmation again, wondering how I could have been so stupid (and where that FedEx package was, since it was supposed to have been delivered already), when I caught the date error. I called again today, and the guy looked up this year’s invoice, told me a different delivery date, confirmed that the calendars will come to Colorado, and is looking up a tracking number as we speak. I am enormously grateful to have it all working out, but if it’s possible, I feel even stupider than before! Ah, the adventures of life.

Thank you for trying to bail me out. I’m going to go crawl in a hole now.

Heidi



Before crawling into the hole, however, I had to alert the world about the ending to this story. The moral: someone else is in charge of calendars next year!

The Thankful Tree

This year we're lucky enough to spend Thanksgiving with my family in Mesa. I'm so excited! We're leaving on Saturday and staying for a week. I am really looking forward to sandals-n-short sleeves, the Turkey Trot, and spending time with my parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, some choice California family, and anyone else we get to meet!

We do have a little tradition that we couldn't leave behind, however, so we did it today. We made a Thankful Tree.


Tonight Garry planted a branch cut from one of our backyard trees in a pot of rocks. Then the family gathered around the table and covered paper leaves with the things that fill our hearts with gratitude. The boys wrote lots of their own things this year, and I filled in the gaps. Because we only had 13 leaves left over from last year, we wrote on both sides and still talked about other blessings when we were done. I taught the boys a little song about being thankful, and I'm sure the tune will replay in my head for days to come.


It's good to have a gratitude reminder now and then.

Nov 17, 2008

Can I blame this one on the pregnancy?

OK, here's a stupid story to rival all stupidness in the galaxy.

Remember last week when I was all euphoric about order photo calendars for Christmas? The euphoria might not have made it into the blog post, but I was feeling very good about myself for collecting photos, designing three different calendars, and ordering them in time to take with me to Arizona this weekend (ergo saving on shipping). I had actually accomplished something in the midst of my slug-like existence. Something tangible and important (to me). Something pretty and fun (at least I think so). Something to cross of my list and forget for another year.

Well.

I've been all frustrated that the biggest set of calendars hasn't arrived. One is supposed to go in a package to Croatia today, after all. I finally called on it today and got a tracking number. Typing that little number into Fedex.com revealed the horrifying problem: the calendars were shipped to Beaverton, Oregon. To my old address.

If I used expletives, I might insert them here. Instead, imagine a snarl ripping from the throat of an ornery lion. That pretty much sums it up.

A large chunk of change (very little of it mine - others are contributing to this calendar-gifting frenzy) was invested in the purchase and shipment of these 12 calendars. I'm still holding out hope that one day I'll see them, but I'm not sure how that's going to happen, or when.

So, dear family members, if you are expecting tradition to bring a cute Dixon cousin
(or some iteration of the family line) photo calendar to your doorstep this holiday season, please know that the Person In Charge has officially dropped the ball. [Rachel and Angie: I'll keep you posted.] There is a month to rectify the situation, so hopefully a happy ending is on the horizon. But if it doesn't appear, please know that the Person In Charge really tried.

Too bad you can't put good intentions under the Christmas tree.

Nov 15, 2008

The rest of the week

The first post of the week was very wordy. So this one will be picture-y.

The new-and-improved laundry closet. I'm glad to be rid of the circa-1986 peach-and-blue-flowered linoleum and gross paint.


Here's Tyler doing laps around the cul-de-sac on Thursday when it was 71 degrees outside. He's not very confident and much prefers the tricycle made for a child half his size. Whatever. The biggest issues in his life right now are having no play dates (we sure miss you, Alex and Isaac!!!!) and refusing to wear socks.

And Gavin on the same day. Gavin's current issue: refusing to nap. At all. 'Nuf said.

Friday brought some snow. Unlike many of my new-to-Colorado counterparts, I was grumpy about this. Tyler wanted nothing to do with playing in it. So we just froze.

video
With the snow came lots of wind, as seen in this video clip.
{Krista, can you hear our butterfly wind chime?}


The question of the week in my world: Will we or will we not hold our ward Christmas party in this cabin on the Air Force Base?

video
Gavin was being funny in the tub. Maybe no one but his mother will enjoy this little video, but it made me smile.

This is Zach watching college football this afternoon. I thoroughly enjoyed watching BYU beat Air Force, and Zach got into it, too. But apparently he's an Air Force fan. His best buddy's dad is in the Air Force and definitely influenced Zach's opinion this afternoon. No offense, Grandpa!

Nov 12, 2008

This week's memorable moments

Despite my constant desire to vegetate on the couch, things have been happening around here. A few of them seemed worthy of recording:
  • Enjoying Gavin's new "downward dog" pose. (See here for the yoga play-by-play.) Sometimes he does it when he's happy, but more often than not, downward dog appears when he's having a fit. Yep, our baby has tantrums. I've tried catching this on camera, but no luck so far.
  • Painting and tiling our laundry closet (we figured the time was right, what with all our laundry upheaval lately). The tan walls and brown tiles -- the super-simple stick-on variety -- look awesome! Maybe I'll take a picture one day.
  • Seeing snow flurries outside the kitchen window on Monday.
  • Hitting the 12-week mark and having everyone and their dog ask, "You should be feeling lots better now, right?" Right -- sign me up, baby!
  • Vacuuming and ironing for the first time since my Mom left (can I admit how long ago that was?).
  • Hearing Tyler ask, "What does 'consent' mean?"
  • Hearing Zachary exclaim, "I was reading my [Wii game] manual this morning and figured out all kinds of new tricks! And did you know part of the manual is in Spanish?"
  • Finding Garry's old cell phone under Gavin's car seat and converting it for my own use (Garry did that) because mine completely died. I lost tons of phone numbers and the phone battery stinks, but at least I'm connected again.
  • Realizing at 2:00 in the afternoon that I'd been wearing my shirt backwards all day. Thanks to all the people I saw who didn't tell me!! (Of course it was a RARE day when I left the house and socialized with people I knew.)
  • Receiving a surprise dinner from a new ward member who heard how sick I was and wanted to help. Isn't that amazing?
  • Preparing a fun Christmas package for my missionary brother.
  • Compiling four photo calendars using this cool service and ordering 12 of them (another order is forthcoming...).
  • Realizing that at this time last year, 100% of my Christmas shopping AND wrapping was done. Haven't started yet this year. Haven't even thought about it.
  • Playing hooky from Stake Conference (not proud of this one).
  • Loving our use of disposable plates, bowls, and cups three meals a day -- but still woefully behind on dish duty.
  • Not loving Gavin's new mealtime game: dropping everything on the floor.
  • Visiting the Air Force base to check out the planned venue for the ward Christmas party and getting completely overwhelmed with all the logistics of having it there.
  • Hiding in the office while Garry feeds the boys pancakes for dinner. (I think I need to be done.)

Nov 10, 2008

A quick question

Do any of you have recommendations for excellent Christmas books for children? I'm on the hunt but don't know what I'm looking for. Surely some of you have favorites you can share!

Thanks!

Nov 8, 2008

Addendum

Zachary's lesson in economics has a post script.

Late this afternoon we made a long-awaited trip to Target so Zach could spend all his birthday money (minus what he so generously donated to Mom & Dad's dating fund via the sweep pile) on a new Wii game. He had saved $47.19 for this purchase, which we figured would be enough for the $45 game.

However, when Zach breathlessly ran up to the display case, he was dismayed to discover that the game was not $45.00, but $49.99. Bummer. He looked at the sign, and then whined, "Aw, man!" I asked again how much money was burning a hole in his wallet. He told me. And he knew it wasn't enough. Just as we were about to walk away, a man standing near us said, "Here...I'll help you out."

And out of his wallet he pulled three dollar bills. Zach just stared at him. So did I. Was a random stranger really doing this? Zach wasn't sure whether to take the money, but the man obviously wanted to make him happy, so I gave him a little nod. I didn't even have to prompt a "thank you" from Zachary's lips. I added my own profuse thanks and we parted ways.

Experiences like this reinforce my faith in the human race. There are good people in the world...good people who are kind and generous and eager to meet the needs of their fellow men. That's not a lesson I planned to teach my son today, but I'm so glad he learned it.

A lesson in economics

This week we instituted allowance with our kids. In exchange for increased responsibility and a higher bar for attitudes, we're paying them 50 cents for each year of their lives. That sounds like we pay them 50 cents every 365 days, but it really translates to $3.50 per week for Zachary and $2.00 per week for Tyler.

Today was the first pay day.

Tyler learns about quarters and dimes.

Never before have our boys been so willing to comply with Saturday chores! Mind you, it still took far longer than necessary to accomplish the tasks at hand, but the boys' attitudes were in the right place. This is half the battle, folks!

Finally, the moment of truth arrived. Garry pulled out our coin box and counted stacks of quarters, nickels, and dimes for Zachary and Tyler. Dollar signs replaced the pupils in their eyes and goofy grins plastered their faces. They were going to be rich!

Tyler and Zach with their money containers.

Then reality hit. Life can be expensive, even for little boys.

When we introduced the concept of allowance at Family Home Evening on Monday night, we talked about being responsible with money. We talked about giving 10% of our money to the Lord through tithing, and about saving 10% for college and missions. And we talked about the expenses of life.

Right now the boys' main expense is The Sweep Pile. Once a day (sometimes every other day), I "sweep" items belonging to the boys that ought to be put away but aren't. I keep them in a pile in the office until Saturday, when the boys are required to pay ten cents an item to get them back (they can also do this throughout the week if they need or want something sooner). Proceeds of this effort are collecting in a jar. Garry and I will have a nice date one of these days, courtesy of our lazy children!

This week's ginormous sweep piles.

So this afternoon Garry took each boy in turn and doled out his allowance. Tyler's little meeting went like this: Two dollars of allowance, minus 20 cents for tithing, minus 20 cents for saving, minus $3.00 for the sweep pile. Zach's went like this: Three-fifty for allowance, minus 35 cents for tithing, minus 35 cents for allowance, minus $2.80 for the sweep pile. Zachary broke even, but Tyler had a deficit he'll have to work off later. Maybe next week they'll work a little harder and have something to show for a week's labor!

Nov 7, 2008

Tyler


The following conversation occurred today during lunch between Tyler and his mama:

Tyler: Will we give Gavin a new name when he gets to be four or four and a half?

Heidi: Did we give YOU a new name when you turned four?

Tyler: No! Wait...you mean I was named Tyler when I was a baby?

Heidi: Yep, you've always been Tyler and you always will be.

Tyler: Will Gavin always be Gavin?

Heidi: Yep!

Tyler: But Gavin is a baby's name!

Heidi: Is Tyler a baby name?

Tyler: Yes!

Heidi: What name would you like to have?

Tyler: [After thinking for a minute] How about...Professor Frothingslosh?!

***

I love getting a peek into Tyler's silly mind like this. It's so fun to jot down one of our goofy conversations to preserve for posterity (and perhaps his future embarrassment).

I also love Tyler's budding artistic abilities. This spring we got Tyler a book called "How to Draw People" by Barbara Soloff Levy. He keeps it in his church bag and the book, in turn, keeps him quiet at church. This week I was rather enamored with one of his drawings, and, more particularly, the way he signed the picture. He likes having all the letters of his name touch. Will Ty grow up to be like his artistic Uncle Ryan?


This morning a little writing exercise cracked me up. Tyler has developed a bit of a potty mouth, probably just to get a rise out of his parents. Various methods of punishment have proven unsuccessful, so we have returned to the tried-and-true Writing Consequence.

I'm sticking this one in his scrapbook file.

pass it on!

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