ledger's movie book

one of my biggest passions is my love of movies.  its always a special day when i get the chance to go to the movie theater!  ive always loved going and have been collecting my ticket stubs since i was a kid- i still have my ticket stub from going to see 'ducktales: the movie' in the theater (the first movie i ever went to by myself- which is kinda crazy because i was only 8!).  because it has been such an important part of my life, i wanted to try and foster that love in ledger.  i thought about how i could try and make the theater going experience special for him and i came up with this idea:  i am making a book for him of all the different movies we go see in the theater.  the first page says 'ledger's movie book' with a picture of the whole family from when we went and saw his first movie in the theater.  each page after that is dedicated to one movie we went to see.  we always make sure to take a picture whenever we go, so i print out that shot, draw his favorite character from the film, and write a little something about the movie or our experience.  its been a lot of fun to put together- my own little 'creative memories' craft book!  he's always excited to add another page to the book and loves to draw along with me as i illustrate the latest character.  its been awesome making this book and i hope he will treasure these memories some day as much as i do!
check out some of the pages so far here.

easter and birthday

with ledger's birthday so close to easter, we were able to celebrate both of them at mema's.  we went with them to their church and then headed over for dinner together as a whole family.  jill, tim, and the kids were there too.  ledger got to open some birthday gifts and then do a fun easter egg hunt!  all the kids were given a bag and then let loose on the backyard to find their eggs!  mema had a great idea this year, each of the kids were given a color and they had to find all the eggs of that color!  this worked really great because it allowed each of them to find a bunch of eggs and not worry about the other kids getting all of them and being left with nothing.  each one was filled with candy or other treats, which was of course ledger's favorite part!  the whole thing was a lot of fun and ledger had a blast!
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bb-8 birthday!

for the past couple months, basically since christmas, ledger has been obsessed with BB-8, the ball droid from star wars.  where did this obsession come from?  i have no idea.  he's never even seen any of the star wars movies!  we have a youtube app on our tv and ledger would constantly want to watch videos of people playing with BB-8 remote controlled toys.  he kept asking for one because they looked so fun.  the problem with this was that the rc toy is really expensive.  we kept telling him no, but he would persist.  as his birthday drew nearer, it was the only thing he would ask for!
who am i to deny my only son his deepest desire?  on a completely unrelated note, i kinda wanted one too...  anyway, when his birthday finally arrived, guess what special gift he got?  oh, he was the happiest little boy ever!  he spent hours and hours all that week playing with it, making obstacle courses for him, and just loving that little ball!  he would even put it on his bedside table each night and kiss it goodnight before he fell asleep.  i tell you what, the older he gets, the more he takes after his nerdy daddy!
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carpet and clean up

its been a rough go at the rental lately.  we have had some roofing issues and some renter issues... with those now resolved (we kicked them out!) it was time to get the place back into shape.  the problem was that the last renters totally destroyed the carpets!  i have no idea what they did, but i've seen cleaner carpet at the city dump...  after repainting and cleaning every single surface in the whole place, it was time to replace the carpets.  i decided to just do it myself, it saves a bunch of money, and i could always call tim if i had any questions (which i did often!).  it was a lot of work, but it came out pretty nice and got the place rented back out pretty quickly!  sometimes i can be a handyman!
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drawing inspiration

ledger has been getting better and better with drawing.  he used to need a big marker or crayon, but now he is able to handle a pen and make more detailed illustrations.  its been really exciting to watch him get better and better as he draws.  you can actually see him progress and get better over the course of an afternoon!  he likes to pick a theme and then draw it over and over again, each time getting progressively more and more detailed.  he, just like his daddy used to, can get lost in his drawing and spend an hour or more just doodling away at the table without interruption!
don't worry, we are definitely saving a bunch of these pictures- they are too cute to throw away!
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winter walk

ledge and i got our winter gear on and headed out to explore!  next to our place is a big ravine with a winding creek at the bottom.  we decided to have a snowy adventure and check it out!  we made our way through all the different trails and paths, sometimes making our own, and got all the way to the bottom.  ledger loved being an explorer checking out the wintery wilderness!

he loves to play doh

diana and i finally caved in and got ledger some play doh.  he was overjoyed by the surprise gift and spend the whole week making different creations and friends with it!  at first he would just make snakes and blobs, but as the week went on he got a lot better at making different animals and characters.  sure, we helped him a bit, but he certainly is getting better with detail work and expressing his creativity!
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making snowmans!

ledger's favorite thing in the whole world right now is snowmen, or as he calls them 'snowmans'.  every time there is even one snowflake falling he asks if we can go out and make a snowman.  he doesn't quite understand that there needs to be a bunch of snow and it has to be warm enough to pack it.  well, finally, when we were visiting down in south bend, it was just the right weather for building a snow man!  so we geared up (a 20 minute process), and headed out!  he and i had a blast playing around in the snow, making snow angels and everything, and then mad ourselves a little snowman!  grandma came out with a few items to add to the snowman- a hat, eyes, and a nose.  then it was time to explore around the yard to find arms and a smile for him.  ledger was in his glory the whole time!  we had recently been watching a snowman movie where they also make a snow dog to play with, so of course we made one of those too!
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the south bends

we spent a day in chicago, but we also spent the weekend in south bend.  diana's mom and david gladly watched ledger for the day and had a great time with him.  we then got to spend sunday with them and even barbara and james stopped by for some fun!
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the pier awakens

it was tough, but we managed do to it.  diana and i waited almost three weeks to see star wars: the force awakens.  before it came out we made plans with miranda and levi to go to chicago for a day and go see the movie in imax 3D at navy pier.  i'll admit, i was tempted to sneak out and go see it before then because i couldn't wait, but i stayed strong and got to see it on the huge screen with everyone else!  we got to chicago early that day so we could hang out and have some fun.  we first went to a mall downtown and just wandered around a little bit.  miranda wanted to go to the american girl store and levi wanted to go to the lego store.  both of them spent large amounts of money getting toys for themselves (levi got the ghostbusters firehouse set- its huge!) and then we headed over to navy pier.  we grabbed a bite to eat and then hung out in the gardens there for a while.  finally we saw the movie and it was a ton of fun!   it was a really great day with friends and worth the wait!
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say 'ahhh'

for years now i've had a problem with my throat.  there are certain things that i would eat that would get stuck in my throat and not go all the way down.  it was terrible, it would feel like i was choking and my body would go into shock- sweating, dizziness, and adrenaline.  i was always just fine though, the blockage was below my windpipe, so i could breath just fine.  it was never an issue of being life threatening or anything, just really scary.  i would always have to excuse myself and go to the restroom and just wait it out until it went all the way down or i threw it back up.  over the years it got progressively worse.  it started out with just choking on dense meat like steak or pork chops.  since i don't really like either of those it wasn't a big deal.  but after a while i would choke on the simplest things like bread or fries.  apparently this is a hereditary thing because my mom and brother have the same problem.  my mom went in and had a throat surgery to correct it and hasn't had the problem since.  well, i figured it might be time for me to finally do the same!  we made an appointment and i went in to take care of it.  it was a very simple procedure, they just went in and expanded my throat with a balloon!  it took about 20 minutes and then i was all good to go home.  diana took me and got it taken care of.  it was kind of strange, i had never been put under before.  i remember being in the room with the doctor and he swabbed my tongue, said 'this might taste a little gross', and then i woke up in a different room with everything done!  not bad!  i should ask them to do the same thing at the dentist!  now that its done i haven't choked on anything i eat anymore.  no more scaring the wife with thoughts of needing the heimlich maneuver!

holidays over

now with all the muli-day gift giving extravaganza over, out little boy was quite exhausted!  we took the day after to recover and just rest.  as you can see, ledger took his rest time very seriously.  he grabbed a gift from everyone and hunkered down for some relaxing tv time.  a pillow from us, a blanket from mema, and a friend from auntie jill- he is all set!  now the hardest part will be to just stay awake...

christmas with the brinks

another favorite thing for ledger at christmas time is to have our special get together with my side of the family.  he always loves to spend time with his silly cousins!  diana and i always have a great time too!  this year we continued the relocation from last year and jill had the festivities at her place.  i'm thinking this is the new tradition now because there are just too many people to have it at mom and papa's place anymore.  jill's basement is so much bigger than mom's living room, which is much needed with all the kids running around!  chad and miyuki were there as well, so it was great to see them again too.  we had a delicious meal and then got right to it- the prizes!  but not before a couple glasses of slush...
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prizes, prizes, and more prizes!

the next several hours involved the opening of presents, or as my family calls them, prizes.  we took a really laid back approach to opening gifts, ledger would open one and then we would play with it for a little while, enjoying the prize and having fun with it, and then head back to the tree for the next fun gift!  we didn't have an outrageous amount of prizes for him or anything, but it did still take the entire morning to get through them all.  i don't think we finished the last gift until almost noon!  needless to say, ledge had an amazing time and loved all his gifts.  diana and i each got each other a little something too, so it was fun for the whole family!
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christmas morn

the big day was finally here, the day ledger had been eagerly awaiting for, oh, 10 months now?  its christmas!  surprisingly he didn't even wake up early or anything!  diana and i woke up around 8ish and had to go in and wake ledge up. as soon as he realized what day it was he got really excited and popped out of bed and ran to the tree- 'can i open them ALL?!?' he excitedly asked.  yes, buddy, all of them!  he was so thrilled that we got right to it, didn't even take showers, as you can plainly see from my hair in the picture...

santa's treat

it being christmas eve and all, ledger's first concern was about santa!  now, diana and i have never pushed the story of santa on him.  before he was even born diana and i had a talk about how we would deal with santa for any children we might have.  i was firm in the fact that i do not want to lie to my child, so i wasn't going to pretend it was real.  i didn't grow up believing in santa so that fib was never a part of my life.  diana grew up on the other side of that and wanted our boy to have some of that magic in his life like she did.  i've stuck by my conviction, but ledge really loves the santa thing, so we go with it.  he has asked several times if santa is real and my answer for him has always been 'he's as real as mickey mouse', and that's been enough to satisfy him.  one of the things he really wanted to do on christmas eve was to leave a cookie and milk out for santa.  no problem little fella, i am kinda hungry anyway...

christmas eve prize

t'was the night before christmas and all through our house a little boy was excited- and just couldn't wait for the big day!  with all the gifts under the tree, we told him that he could open one of his gifts early.  ledger was super pumped!  we had one picked out that we knew he would love, so diana grabbed it and let him dig in.
he opened a playset we got him for his hexbug.  it has tubes and stuff to make the bugs go upside down and all around.  he tore that thing open so fast he could hardly catch his breath!  it also came with a hexbug, so how he has two of them.  this thing kept him entertained for about two hours!

buggin' out

one of the gifts ledger got for christmas in detroit was a hexbug.  he didn't ask for one or even know what it was, but as soon as he opened that gift from his auntie barbara- he was hooked!  if you don't know what they are, they are little bug looking toys that you turn on and they wiggle around.  there's not much to them, but ledge was loving it!  when we got home he played with it for the rest of the night, building obstacles for it and watching it do its thing!  diana and i knew that we needed to pick up some more hexbug stuff for christmas!

detroit christmas

with some of diana's family living in detroit, we got the invite to spend a night or two with them for christmas.  ledger was really excited to see his cousins liam and garrett!  diana had been to visit them once before, but i had never been able to go along with them so i was excited to see their place.  jared and katie live in the older part of detroit with really big old houses.  they have been restoring this one for the past few years and i had been wanting to see it for a while.  we had a great time seeing everyone and getting in the christmas spirit with them!
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ledger's new latest obsession is making crafts.  he wants to make a ton of different things out of paper and make 'crafties'.  now, this is all well and good, but the problem we are facing is that ledger is a bit of a perfectionist and doesn't think his drawings or work is as good as he wants it to be.  so that means that he demands that diana and i draw everything and cut out everything for him!  he just directs us as to what he would like us to make...  this is ok for a little while, but he wants to make crafties for hours every single day!  diana eventually decided to make a sign for when she was willing to help him make crafts- she wrote on one side 'open' and the other side 'closed'!  sorry buddy, the craft shop is closed, we ain't making you anything right now!
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