minion house

ledge has been totally obsessed with minions lately, and he continues to love making crafts, so we decided to combine those two loves and make a fun playset for him! 
we both had fun creating this silly house for his little minion toys- which resulted in hours of playtime fun!
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allegan walk

with the weather being so nice lately, ledger and i decided to take advantage!  we stopped downtown after school and enjoyed the wonder that is allegan!
we stopped at the library for a few new books, played at the park, wandered around the boardwalk, and even stopped for ice cream!  truly a red letter day- another reason why i love this little town so much!
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air zoo

another field trip!  this time ledger's class went to the kalamazoo air zoo.  i had never been there before, so i had no idea what to expect.  what exactly is an air zoo?  well, it turns out that its an airplane museum with some fun rides and stuff!  the visit started with a brief class with all the kids, learning about flying and making a fun craft.  then they got the chance to wander through the museum and check out all the cool airplanes they had on display.
after ledge put in his time on all the exhibits, he gleefully ran to the rides with all his friends- and spend the rest of the time jumping from ride to ride!
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kids museum

ledger's preschool class made plans to go to the children's museum in grand rapids for a field trip.  i was lucky enough to be selected as one of the chaperones!  i met them there and got to wander around the place with the kids and check it all out!  that place is really cool- and all the kids had an amazing time!
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liver class

papa hasn't been in good health lately.  he got word that he needs a liver transplant, which was really shocking for the family to hear.  as we get accustomed to this new reality, the hospital invited anyone in the family who wanted to go, the opportunity to sit in on a class about what the transplant and life transition that lies ahead for papa.  mom, jill, and i signed up immediately.  papa's sisters, marlene and carol also tagged along.
it was really interesting to hear what papa will have to go through, but we were certainly encouraged about what the future holds.  now, its just a bunch of waiting for that transplant!

the parties continue!

one birthday party is never enough for our little guy- we headed down to celebrate with diana's family as well.  ledger was all about it because it meant twice as many presents and twice as much cake!
grandpa, grandma, grandpa allen, auntie b, james, and even miranda & levi all showed up to celebrate our little fella!  as you can see, his favorite part was the cupcakes and treats...
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birthday party!

we always get together with my family for ledger's birthday.  this year jill offered her place for the festivities!
we picked up a cake and headed over.  the kids had a blast together being silly and overdosing on sugar...  the whole thing was centered on his latest obsession: minions!  ledge got some great gifts and his cousins had even made a pinata for him- which he had never done before, but that made it even more fun!
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birthday number 5

it was a bit more of a low key birthday at home this year.  we didn't really do much with just the three of us.  we gave him a few gifts, including a marble run set that he had fun playing with!  most of the fun and festivities were saved for the get together at jill's house. 
its kind of amazing to think about the past five years and look back at where our life was then and where we are now.  i for one couldn't have guessed that this is where our adventure would take us!  we have been pretty lucky to be blessed by this happy, boisterous, goofy little grunyit for the past five years, thats for sure.

birthday fish

for the last several months ledger has made one thing very clear: he wanted a fish for his birthday.  he actually wanted a cat, but since diana and i are both allergic, that was a hard no.  we told him that getting a fish was a maybe, so he kept asking day after day and telling us that he was big enough to take the 'respility' that comes along with taking care of a pet.  on his birthday we finally made his deepest wish come true and took him to the pet store to pick out his very own beta fish.  he could hardly believe it!  we took time to pick out what tank he would want, picking out the perfect sand, plants, and decorations to get to fill the tank and make him feel at home.  then we picked out the fish itself: a blue beta.  he decided to name it bluety, because of course he would... 
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pato

one of ledger's favorite shows is 'pokoyo' (and i must admit, its one of my favorites too!), so when it was craft time, he knew exactly what he wanted to make: a hat of pato, the duck from pokoyo!  well, with a little bit of help from daddy, we put together this fun creation!  he was about as pleased as a little boy could be- he spent the rest of the day pretending to be that crazy duck, much to his father's delight!

pie!

can you believe that our son has gone this far in his life without ever tasting pie?  sounds crazy to me too but it's true!  well, the three of us were at the allegan village inn restaurant and ledge said he wasn't very hungry...  not hungry, you say?  well, i bet you can find room for this!  we got him a peanut butter cream pie and he almost fainted when that slice came to the table!  he was certainly not expecting to be allowed to eat this sort of sugar bomb! (diana's really good at making sure he eats healthy, thus the reason he's never had pie before). 'dig in!' we told him- and he did!  he hardly even let us have a small taste.  as you can see, he gave this one hearty thumbs up!

yahtz

it was time to finally initiate our son.  it was time for him to learn his mama's favorite game: yahtzee!  diana's loved this game for decades.  we've gone though times in our marriage where we would play it for a couple hours a night for three weeks straight!  its been a while since we've dragged the ol' dice out, but we figured our boy was old enough to rattle them die and learn the ways of diana...
he took to it really well and was really enjoying it!  diana and i took care of the scoring and what not, we just told him what he should try to roll.  he was really excited that he actually won the first game he ever played, so i think he's hooked for life like his mama!

party time

every year diana's friend sara invites us all to her son's birthday party.  ledge and diana are always excited to join them because sara and vince always go all out to celebrate!  this year they went to chuck e. cheese's to have their party.  i always wish i could go, but its on a saturday so i have to work.  diana does make sure to take some pictures so i can at least live vicariously through them as they are having a great time with friends!
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scrape the sky

one of the cool things ledger got for christmas from his grandma and grandpa was a huge set of magnet blocks.  well, we were playing around with them when we decided to give ourselves a challenge: how high could we make a magnet tower?  turns out we could make one really tall!  we were first making one on the kitchen table but got so high we hit the ceiling- so we moved it into the living room and grabbed a step ladder so we could go as high as possible!  i think that thing ended up being around 8 feet, and ledge was so proud of the architectural marvel he had created!

oscar-in-law

if you know anything about me you know that i love movies.  as a lover of movies, that means i also love the super bowl of movies: the oscars!  i always make a point of trying to watch all the movies nominated for best picture each year.  well, this year it was especially cool to watch one movie in particular: manchester by the sea.  if you've seen this movie you may be wondering why i though it was cool to watch- because it is a slow and extremely depressing movie!  but let me explain: i was really excited to see this one because i know someone who helped make it! my wife's step sister worked on the set of the movie and clothed the actors in the film!  that means that she was an important part in an oscar nominated film- congrats alanna!

rockford dogs

as a special treat, we headed up to rockford with mom and papa!  as a family, we've been going up there since i was really little.  usually there is just one purpose in going there: eating at the corner bar!  their hot dogs are probably the best i've ever had.  we headed up, all five of us, in order to enjoy the beautiful day wandering around the small town... and also get some hot dogs! 
we poked around in some of the little shops, checking out the local artwork and crafts, then took a walk over to the fish ladder.  the weather was amazing and well worth the trip up.  we grabbed a bite to eat, and just had a really nice relaxing day together- what a treat!

lego batman

i know i've said it before, but i'm going to say it again: i love the regent theatre in allegan!
in celebration of the release of the new lego batman movie, the regent invited batman to come on friday night for the opening night of the movie.  well, there's no way we could miss that!  i made sure to get out of work a couple hours early so ledger, diana, and i could go and meet batman and watch his newest movie. 
ledge was really excited about the chance to see batman, so we got there nice and early.  batman pulled up out front in his bat-truck and meet all the kids waiting for him outside!  he stopped to take pictures with everyone!  ledger asked him if he was going to stay and watch the movie with us, but unfortunately he said that he had to go and fight crime, so he couldn't stay too long.  though ledge was a bit disappointed, he understood...
we had a great night and ledge really liked the movie- thanks again, regent theatre!
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mikey likes birthday parties

one of the guys i know at work has a little boy about the same age as ledger.  we have gotten together and had the boys hang out a time or two and they both love to play together.  it was mikey's birthday, so the three of us went over to celebrate along with them. 
it was fun to spend some time with mike and ashley and let the boys play around for the night!
we will certainly be doing this again soon!
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sing along

you know me, i'm always up for going to the movies.  but you know who isnt? my dad.  so when he says that there's a movie he would like to see, i always jump at the chance to go see a movie with him!  usually this means movies like 'skyfall', or 'lone survivor', but over christmas he said the most unexpected thing: 'hey mark, i'd like to go see that 'sing' movie'  what?!?  i laughed at first thinking he was joking.  he wasnt.  what is going on here?  my dad wants to see an animated musical in the theater?  ok...  well, i went to work trying to make a whole event out of it and everyone was up for it!  so a few days after christmas the whole family went to the theater to see 'sing'!  i was so excited about the whole thing that we payed for everyone's tickets!  even my mom went with!  i think the last time we were able to drag her to the theater was for 'forrest gump'!  it was a lot of fun, whole family, seeing a movie together.  the film itself was ok, but the chance to go to the theater with everyone made the event extra special!

daddy's shirt

i have a shirt that i like to wear all the time when i'm home.  i don't know why, but its something i've done for years.  i have a 'house shirt' that i always change into mr. rogers style when i first get home each day.  i'm sure my wife is super sick of seeing me in it, but its just the thing i like to wear.  well, the other day it was in the laundry and ledge pulled it out of the clean pile and put it on.  he then proceeded to talk around saying, in as deep a voice as he could muster, 'i'm daddy, look at me! i'm daddy!'  it gave diana and i a good laugh, thats for sure!