brother's back in town

i see him so rarely, so its always a treat when my brother comes in to town!  he took a bunch of time off so that he and his wife, miyuki, could spend some time traveling and enjoying themselves.  one of their first stops before heading into the great north was to spend a few days visiting all of us.  i really want ledger to know his uncle and aunt, so we made sure to take some time and visit with them while they were passing through.  we all had a great time catching up and hearing what has been going on with the two of them over the past few months.  ledge loved checking out chad's motorcycle and even got a little ride on it!
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doggy do

after having so much fun with the dogs last year, my aunt and uncle asked us to dogsit for them again this year- and we jumped at the opportunity!  we had a blast spending the week with their cute dogs and enjoying their beautiful home.  ledge loved the chance to have dogs in the house too- he wishes so bad that we would get a pet.  some day, buddy, some day...  it was also nice this time because i didn't have to run off to work every afternoon so i could actually enjoy the time with my family and those cute pups!  being so close to sandy pines, we also took advantage by stopping over at mema and papa's trailer to help out with rebuilding the deck and going for cart rides!
my aunt and uncle went on vacation and watching their dogs allowed us to go on a sort of vacation ourselves!
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for some reason ledger has not been interested in movies lately.  he loves to watch tv show and other videos on tv, but he has recently been putting up a stink if we even mention watching a movie.  well, diana and i were growing quite tired of the shows he watches, so we told him that we were going to sit down and watch 'aladdin'.  he threw a fit and was yelling and crying and just being generally ridiculous.  we told him he was welcome to go to his room and pout it out, but we were watching the movie, with or without him.  after throwing an even bigger fit in his room, he decided to come back out.  he was still trying to talk us out of it when he started looking at the tv.  it took him watching for about 10 seconds- he then forgot what he was saying and sat down.  he stayed there for the rest of the movie!  so, maybe he doesn't hate movies after all...

civil war

as i've written about before, one of the things about allegan that i really love is the regent theatre!  i go as often as possible, and every once in a while i am able to bring friends along too!  well, they were showing 'captain america: civil war' and none of us had seen it yet, so i invited the guys and they took me up on the offer.  the movie was great, and so was spending the evening with these two guys!

allegan walk

with the weather being so beautiful out, the three of us decided to head downtown allegan and do some exploring down on the boardwalk (yes, we did sing that song the whole time...).  ever since we moved here i have a hard time explaining to friends and family why we love it in allegan so much.  its afternoons like this that are the reason why!
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drawing skills

our little guy keeps getting better and better at drawing!  he's gotten over his phase where he would get mad and throw his paper on the floor if he didn't draw something just right.  now, he's been using his easel, doodle pad, and paper to create some impressive drawings (you know, for a 4 year old...).  this one i thought was especially well done, he set up a still life of his toys and then drew them.  there's quite a bit of detail and he included all the little characters and everything!  before you know it he'll be better than his poor old dad!
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life's a picnic

as the weather keeps getting better and better, there are more opportunities to take ledge out and about.  diana recently took ledge out to the woods for a fun picnic!  she planned ahead and packed some fun snacks so they could have lunch out in nature.  ledger had such a blast!  they went hiking for a while, checking out all the fun nature stuff they could explore, and sat down to enjoy a nice picnic lunch too.
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day at the zoo

diana and ledger, visiting south bend while i work, went with barbara and james to the zoo!  ledge really loved seeing all the animals and had a blast playing with one of his favorite aunties.  he was especially fascinated with the tortoise statue, almost more so than the actual real live animals...  yup, he's a bit unusual.
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preschool is coming...

big changes are coming!  ledger is getting to the age where he is going to start going to school!  we signed him up for preschool here in allegan, and we recently got a certificate in the mail letting us know that he has been enrolled at hillside preschool.  we are very excited but also nervous as this means that our little treasure is about to start his journey into the outside world...  so far he's been entrusted to just us, now we have to share him!  good thing we've still got a little while to get him ready...

grandpa allan's rainbow

visiting grandpa allan is always a lot of fun for ledger, he gets to spend some time with his beloved grandpa, and he gets to see some really great art!  diana's dad is a professional artist and has some amazing work.  when we visited him recently ledger had a great time with him and we even convinced him to load us one of his paintings that diana has had her eye on for a while.  we put it up in our living room and it looks amazing!
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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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