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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decorating for christmas

as ledger gets a little older he has become more and more obsessed with the holidays.  i've always been a bit of a scrooge when it comes to christmas decorations (except for, as my mom tells me, one year when i was obsessed with wanting to put christmas lights all over my bedroom...), being the first one to complain when stores start putting up christmas stuff after labor day...
but that little guy has even melted my grinchy heart.  with being in our own place for the first christmas with an interested child, we decided to splurge a little bit on decorations.  we got a nice big christmas tree, decorations, and a bunch of lights to put out on our balcony.  when it was finally time to put up the tree (which was a reasonable time after thanksgiving), ledge was so thrilled about it!  we made a whole night of it and took our time setting everything up while we had christmas music playing in the background.  ledger loved every single minute of it- and so did diana and i!
i will admit, its starting to feel a lot like christmas!
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roku 3

as we've gotten settled into our new place we knew we weren't going to go the route of getting cable tv.  we did a little research as to what might be the best option for doing the internet and subscription only thing, and we decided on getting a roku.  we have netflix and recently got amazon prime, so we loaded it up and tried it out.
let me tell you, this thing is awesome!  its got little app icons for each of the subscription channels, and a whole bunch of other ones.  we've got one for each of the networks, history channel, syfy, youtube, cnn, pbs, and even a ton of kids ones for ledge.  this thing has been amazing and we don't miss cable at all!  the only thing that is a bother is trying to watch live events.  we don't watch any sports, so that's not an issue, but it may be a challenge trying to watch the oscars when they come on.  hopefully they will be streaming somewhere online by then, but i've got a digital antenna as well just in case!

a new bed

as our boy gets bigger and bigger, we decided it was time to get rid of his crib and finally get him a bed.  we ordered him one and when it arrived we tore it open and strapped on our tool belts!  i had my little helper right there to help me put it together- he sure felt like a big boy using daddy's tools and everything!  once we got it all put together and set up he hopped in and loved it.  its so much smaller than his old crib and gives him the chance to feel like a big boy with his big boy bed!
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ledger's first movie

so, i'm kind of obsessed with movies.  they are my passion and hobby.  i've never been interested in sports, instead i get that thrill from seeing a new movie or reading about movie related stuff.
so many guys are excited when they become a father to have a first catch with their sons, or teach them how to play different sports.  not me.  i have been excited to show my son movies!  well, i finally got the chance to take him to the movie theater for the first time!  he's been old enough to enjoy a movie and handle himself in the theater for a while now, but i wanted his first theater experience to be connected with a special movie.  one finally came out that i thought would be a great first one: the peanuts movie!  we've been talking it up for the past couple weeks, watching the preview a few times to get him excited about it.  he's been asking what's different about seeing a movie at the theater compared to on the tv.  i told him that the screen in the theater is as big as a house!  this totally blew his little mind and got him really eager to check it out.
the day finally came, so diana and i took him to the theater and he loved it!  he was really amazed at the size of the screen and he kept wanting to go up and touch it!  fortunately we went to an early show the second week it was out so the place was empty except another young family with kids who were just as chatty as ledge was.  at about the 45 minute mark he got a little antsy and was wondering if it was almost over, but once snoopy, woodstock and the other birdy friends were back on the screen he was into it again.  the movie was fun, but the experience of being able to share my love with my son was an amazing experience i'll never forget!
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ledger's favorite holiday is here: halloween!  due to my work schedule, i was not able to get the evening off, so ledger actually was down in south bend for the event.  he went trick or treating with his dear auntie barbara.  we had found him a fun skeleton costume and barbara did the cool face paint for him.  he went out with james' nieces and they had a great time!  it was his first real halloween going door to door, so he wasn't exactly sure how it all worked.  fortunately the other girls showed him the ropes and he had an a amazing time- and got tons of candy!

moving again

so... we're moving again.  ugh.  we just moved to allegan two months ago but now we are packing up and starting over again.  this time its not because we want to, its because we have to.  we were no longer able to live in the house we were in, it was very old and beautiful, but unfortunately we discovered that the basement furnace area was just caked in black mold and the paint in the kitchen, which was peeling off, was lead based pain.  yikes!  we contacted the landlord and informed him that we were moving immediately.  he understood, us having a 3 year old and all, and even gave back our deposit.  we moved about a mile away and are now renting an apartment.  its a pretty great place, its got two bedrooms and two bathrooms, a great living room, kitchen, and even an awesome loft!  we've called in some more favors with friends to make the move and have been really happy with where we are now- no mold or anything!
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regent theatre

ever since we first moved to allegan i've been excited about the regent theatre.  its a really old single screen movie theater that looks like it came straight out of the thirties.  i have been drawn to it ever since i first spotted it when we drove around town on our first visit.  i've been telling my wife for weeks now how i want to go and see whatever is there- it doesn't matter what movie- i just want to go there!  the place is so beautifully charming that i just wanted to go and check it out.  well, i finally found an evening free where i could go and watch a film there and it was just as awesome as i hoped it would be!  they have some of the original features in the place, including a balcony and ticket booth.  the place was just amazing!  i've now realized that the reason we live in allegan is because of this theater, i must live near it- i am in love!  i must do whatever it takes to have this place be a part of my life...
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fish feeding!

one of our favorite activities on my days off is to go down to plainwell and wander around m store (that's what my family calls meijers).  ledger is especially fond of checking out the aquariums and seeing all the different fish.  last time we were there ledger got to do something pretty special:  the man who works that section of the store was there feeding the fish.  ledge walked up to him and just started chatting it up and asked him what he was up to.  the man told him and asked ledge if he wanted give it a try.  ledger erupted with excitement and was beaming for the rest of the day!  i tell ya what, its little stuff like this that makes us love to go to the m store!

table time

since we moved in to the new place we've got enough room for just about everything!  we have out table out and have been using it regularly for meals and fun time.  diana and i have been trying to get our little guy more familiar with writing, letters, and numbers.  so, he and i tried to do a little 'table time', we spent about a half hour trying to write with crayons and trying to recognize letters and their sounds.  he's starting to pick it up and having so much fun doing it!  i even went and got a couple preschool training books with coloring and games for him to try.  he does pretty well but has a still has a hard time following the dotted lines.  oh well, he's only 3, so i guess i won't throw in the towel just yet...
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burgers with brains

living in allegan has been great so far!  its a bit far from everyone, but thats also what makes it nice..  one person who i get a chance to see regularly is my good friend jon.  he works here in town, so i've been meeting up with him almost every week for lunch.  we usually head to bk because its my favorite.  ledger comes with and we get to have a bit of a boy's time out, just the three of us.  granted, we mostly talk about what kids shows ledge is watching, but it still feels like real live adult interactions!