Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hall of Flames 2

Greetings friends and family,

Preschool days are turning out to be a real blessing for Kendra and fun for the twins. Easton was sick so didn't get to go yesterday. I hoped Layla would do well without her best friend in the group of strangers and kids. She did great and I dare say she didn't even miss him or us for that matter. Knowing she is comfortable already in the new environment isn't surprising, but reassuring none the less.

One evening while the twins played together Easton called me into his room to show what they were doing. I walked in and found them bragging about their two puppies napping.

Awe, the cute puppies are wrapped up in Easton and Layla's Nunu resting peacefully. I took a closer look and thought how familiar the scene looked.

Then it hit me and I couldn't help but laugh at how life flows. Here are Easton and Layla only hours after making their entrance into the world.

I found the situation to be very peculiar, but it wasn't worth attempting to explain it to Easton and Layla. I'm working hard to find the balance of how to teach the twins. Easton dove into his first iterative "why?" conversation with me today. I answered one of his questions and his response was, "but why?" We went through a few rounds of that with a satisfactory ending. I didn't have to resort to my ace in the hole: "Because I said so". I hope to never have to use that, but my guess is that at some point I will run into a situation where no answer will suffice. I'll keep it handy...

On a hot afternoon I hung out Easton, Layla, Trinity, Ben, and their grandmother Linda. I'm not really good at just playing pretend with that many people. Besides, with the varying ages between the two sets of twins I had zero ideas of things to do around the house which would be interesting for everyone.

So I activated my fall-back plan: The Hall of Flames fireman museum. I've had a Groupon sitting idle for just such an occasion. It was time to cash it in. Easton was the only one of the kids who already knew what to expect. The other three kids were just as impressed as Easton. He wanted to spend the entire time climbing around on the only interactive fire truck in the museum.

We went all out with our pretend play time complete with fire helmets and uniforms.

I had to corral them and bribe them to sit still together for one picture. It didn't turn out great, but after one flash they scattered back to their pretend stations.

Easton and Layla really look up to Ben and Trinity because they get down to their level during play time.

Our home purchase plans are moving right along. Contract is done, financing is secured, escrow is opened, and I turned in 45+ pages of data so the bank can validate I'm a sure bet to pay back the loan. Talk about digging into my personal life... I understand though. After 5 years of NINJA loans and the mother of all asset bubbles it's about time the banks did some validation for who gets a loan (NINJA stands for No Income, No Job or Assets and yes, hundreds of thousands of loans were made to people in this category).

Anyway, Kendra and I are working daily on how best to spend our "move in money". On October 14th we're going to do our part to stimulate the economy. Mostly through Craigslist, eBay, and friends who agreed to help us. :)

See you soon!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Focus on marriage

This post is directed at Kendra, but feel free to jump in here with us. Kendra mentioned yesterday and then again today (unfortunately with some tears) how she misses the "us" time together. By us she means just Kendra and Bronson alone without the twins. The journey of parenthood with twins is awesome and I wouldn't trade it for the world. Although, one of the few things I wish were different is the lack of time to cultivate our marriage relationship.

The two of us are a great team regarding day to day dealings. We take care of business and get things done well. However, we are missing the opportunities to have alone time in the daylight hours. Like everything else in life, you make time for what's important and the two of us are individually realizing we need to make some changes in our order of priorities.

We give each other lots of room for friends and hobbies because managing the home and the twins only requires one of us. That means the other person is able to go and do whatever he/she desires.

Last Saturday I did an early morning ride and returned home just after the kids woke up. During my ride with friends I stopped for a break and captured my thoughts on video just for fun.

It's amazing how both Kendra and I feel this way even before we talked this morning. Now we just need to do something about it. The first two years with Easton and Layla were a blur of survival mode and keeping our nose above water. Now we've hit some sort of critical milestone where the twins are in school and we recognize how little time we spend together. Any family can endure a given situation for a few months or years, but eventually adjustments must be made to get the health meter back to reasonable values.

I'm really happy Kendra and I are seeing this void in our relationship simultaneously and we both want to rebuild the intimacy connection.

In the heat of battle, two soldiers in a fox hole don't notice dehydration. However, when the bullets and mortars subside they start talking about how nice it will be to have a tall glass of ice cold lemonade. Here is a pictorial representation of Kendra and I.

I can't wait for our lives to stabilize so we can actively search for moments we can share together.

I love you.

Acting Classes and the Heirloom

Hello hello friends and family,

I am happy this week is over. Not because anything bad happened, but because it was so jam-packed with busyness that I feel like a guy who just ran through the finish line tape at a marathon. Kendra was able to spend every night out connecting with new/old friends. Every spare second turns into an opportunity for her to be around April. It's obviously been a hard week for her knowing April is leaving next weekend. Kendra said she cries about three times per day in case that gives any indication of her state of mind.

My week was very simple to explain. work, kids, sleep, repeat x 7. I consider myself to be a normal dad any other week of the year, but this week I was super dad. and the most humble dad in the world. just kidding. The extra time with Easton and Layla was welcomed and well utilized, but draining none the less.

Layla dressed up one evening and waltzed into the front room fluttering like a fairy princess. I noticed the exquisite hair clip and said, "Your hair clip looks beautiful in your hair, Layla. Where did you get that?" I thought it looked very familiar, but couldn't place it.

Then Kendra shouted above the kitchen noises, "The hair clip is from our wedding!"

speechless. It felt like I was thrown into an emotional washing machine on high agitate cycle as I sloshed around searching for a coherent thought to verbalize.

Layla looked so sweet, but my thoughts were spread across three decades. From the past a flood of memories poured in about our wedding. I remember how beautiful Kendra looked that day. From the present the thought of Layla wearing such an heirloom as a toy frightened me. From the future I couldn't help but imagine Layla 20 years from now wearing that as she walks down the isle.

I wasn't ready to think through all of that at once so my head exploded and I just sat there speechless. I opened my mental box of emotions and tucked the entire brief segment of time into a nice, neat corner. I'll deal with that later.

In the mean time there is way too much "now" stuff going on for me to get caught up in the past or future. Easton and Layla figured out acting recently. Kendra throws out an emotion and the twins are able to express it. Here is "happy". Easton looks extremely convincing...

and here is "surprised". These are Emmy worthy performances, folks.

I asked, "who wants to run errands with Dad?" Easton is a home body and promptly declined then mumbled something about volcano books. Layla half-heartedly agreed. Due to her willingness to run around town with me our first order of business was individual slurpees. It's hot in AZ and nothing cools better than freezing your innards by ingesting ice. Did I just use the word, "Innards"? wow, that was random. I think that's a mid-west term because I haven't thought of that in years.

Anyway, Layla chose the pink, cherry flavored slurpee and I put it in an appropriately sized coffee cup to avoid dumping it in my car.

As we waited for the car bath I told Layla her lips were pink. She pouted them out, but only after I agreed to show her the picture afterwards.

She saw her brightly colored lips and laughed so hard the other car wash customers stopped what they were doing to watch Layla's happiness overflow. Before we left for errands I told her to put on her Crocs. She said, "May I wear my Mary Janes instead?" I looked at her stunned because I have no idea what are Mary Janes. Even if I did, how does SHE know what they are? I agreed with her request out of curiosity to find out what those shoes are. Here you can clearly see her new favorite shoes: The Mary Janes.

The 4 Webbs spent Friday night with my friend Judson and his family. Easton begged for more and more bites of my raw salmon, tuna, and cooked eel and shrimp. Afterwards we went to Judson's house to hang out. On the way Easton placed Bolt the stuffed dog on his head. Layla didn't want to be outdone so she joined him in the silly stuffed animal on the head trick.

Speaking of being outdone... Judson's son had an air hockey table in his room and the twins had their first taste of competition. Nothing at the casa de Webb is anti-competitive, but we just don't have many one-on-one activities where Easton and Layla compete. Easton played against Jayden first and got the hang of the idea very quickly. Then Layla joined in against Easton with great results. Both of them had fun, but without any over-aggressive behavior. Losing wasn't a big deal and the best part was... No one cried. Sometimes the metric used to described success is set so low that avoiding tears is considered a valid goal.

As a way to slow down the crazy Indians roaming the halls we started a movie. They quickly turned into zombies consumed like flies to a bug zapper. Easton and Layla both gave me a fake smile, but neither took their eyes off the tube.

We mistakenly thought by keeping Layla up past bed time by 45 minutes she would sleep in a bit. Instead she woke up 45 minutes earlier than normal on Saturday morning. No complaints though... This life of adventures and challenges is exactly what we signed up for!

See you soon.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Old and New Friends

Hello friends and family,

The executive summary updates are:

- The swelling in Kendra's knee is reduced below what it was before the surgery. This is a sign the doctor did something valuable and Kendra is gaining more mobility every day.
- The home purchase is moving along nicely with the contract almost finalized, bank financing documents are signed, and appraisal is planned for next week.
- Easton and Layla loved their second day of preschool as much as the first. Layla went to the nurses office for a busted lip from gym time, but other than that it was flawless... or so the teacher told us.
-April and Jason are still moving. soon. (boo)
-Mary M. is moving to Chicago. soon. (boo)

I took off an hour of work and drove with Kendra to pick up Easton and Layla after their first day of school. They had an awesome experience and the teacher said they both did very well. Neither of them took a nap during quiet time, but what's new?

Kendra shared an immediate, tasty reward for their accomplishment in the form of a chocolate cookie on the way home.

The outside temperature was 112 degrees when we arrived home so we didn't bother taking "after" pictures of the twins by the front door. I consider the entire day a success because neither of them had to change their clothes and neither Kendra nor I cried during the day. Or at least I would never admit to it if anyone asked.

Anyway, the twins thought this was a one-time event. They don't understand they will be going to school for 18 years straight. ignorance is bliss! Kendra told them they get to go back again on Thursday and their eyes lit up like fireworks.

I forgot to mention how Easton zero'd in on the wooden train tracks at preschool during the orientation meeting. When I ask him, "What did you do at school today?" He boasts, "I played trains with my friends."

Then when he gets home he wants to build a big track for Thomas and Friends in our living room. Go figure?

On some other random day when Easton first earned his Siddeley Spy Jet he pulled down his flight book and located the exact page where that make and model of jet plane is described. He called me over to say, "See Dad? They are the same. This is the spy jet." I was shocked by how he remembered where the specific jet was in book. What a smart boy.

Then he kept perusing the book and wanted to talk about the Concorde Supersonic Airliner. This gives an idea for his verbal skills and thought process. He loves aerospace...

Kendra took the twins on a play date with Suzanne and her kids. The Sea Life Aquarium joined forces with Groupon to provide tickets at a reasonable price. I can't imagine paying full price for that, but it is a very cool experience. Easton and his friend Coleton proved their courage by touching a star fish. Not quite as brave as petting a shark, but we're working up to that.

Kendra drove out to Maricopa where Suzanne lives to share in friend time and play time for the twins. I'm glad the situation is reversed compared to spending time with April. April has one child close to the twins' age, Layla Ruth. Suzanne has one child close to the twins' age, Coleton. That means time with Suzanne provides some "guy time" for Easton to rough-house and play with toys while Layla plays by herself and/or joins in the guy time.

Layla and I made time for some one on one outings. Occasionally when I ask who wants to go along with me for errands or shopping Layla will say, "NOT Easton! Just Layla and Daddy, OK?" On one such occasion we did our normal sing along in the car including the Sound of Music soundtrack. Layla gladly sang the Cuckoo song word-for-word. Here's a short clip of her performance.

Speaking of saying good-bye... Kendra is losing a second friend who is moving out of town. First it was April moving to SoCal and then Kendra learned Mary is moving to Chicago. :(( <-- That's a double sad face. Mary invited her to the going away dinner and luckily Kendra had her trusty camera to capture the moment.

Kendra and I reveled in our long-awaited date night which included dinner and a concert. We were able to hold adult conversations about non-kid related topics. I call that a winner dinner. We attended the Phil Wickham concert with VIP tickets. It was a small venue, but VIP meant we were extra close as a result.

We are still in the beginning stages of packing, but she's already making me throw away a bunch of useless junk I'll never use. That sounds so practical when I write it out, but I still don't like it. If the situation occurs where I say, "Sure would be nice if I still had my Financial Accounting book from the MBA program" then I'll be very unhappy.

See you soon!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

First Day of School

Hello friends and family,

Easton and Layla started an 18 year journey today by attending their first day of preschool. pre, k, 1-12, plus a 4-year degree = 18 years. Every journey begins with a single step and today was the magic step towards becoming educated. Here's the official first day of school shot. I had them stand separated so in case either of them wants an individual picture of their first day then I can cut the picture in two.

They were excited about today because Kendra and I were excited about today. It's a simple concept. I learned a long time ago that whatever frame of reference the parents portray around the kids is how their world is colored. They ran into our bedroom this morning after waking up. The first words out of Easton's mouth were, "Is it today, Dad? Do we get to go to school today?" That was music to my ears to hear him say "get to" instead "have to".

Kendra had their backpacks and lunches and folders all ready to go by the door. Even though Easton and Layla had to remove the backpacks to get in the car they still wanted to wear them out the door. They are such good looking kids.

We signed up Layla for dance class and Easton for sport ball. By "signed up" I mean we paid an extra $300 for the two of them to do these extra curricular activities during the school day. Kendra is convinced it is worth it. Since I'm unable to evaluate return on investment for these things I just nod my head and say, "yes dear". Besides, Oupa agrees we should get Easton's coordination skills on the right track. He's the coach!

Kendra is taking the twins to school now so i'm anxious to hear the school report at the end of the day. What will Kendra do with an entire free day to herself? Do you see these boxes she swiped from Walmart?

Time to start packing the house and loading all of the stuff we never use into boxes. I'm sure she'll take a few minutes (or hours) to spend time with April since they are leaving town in two weeks.

My feelings about today are very scattered. Every day for the past 3.5 years I've known exactly where Easton and Layla are and who they are with and what they are doing. It's not a control thing as much as it is a comfort thing. There is comfort in knowing who/where/when details about Easton and Layla's status. Today I have to release them for the entire day into the hands of complete strangers around a bunch of strange kids in a strange environment. Feels very strange to me... I'm not really worried per se, just adjusting to the new realities of helping Easton and Layla grow up.

I'm happy for the twins to learn and play and socialize. I'm happy for Kendra to rest, pack and enjoy the silence. That's good enough for me. The only thing constant is change and we're going through a lot of that lately.

See you soon!

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Greetings friends and family,

I struggle with the overuse of exclamation marks in today's FaceBook society. However, the news of our latest develop deserves a whole paragraph of exclamation marks. Please excuse my blatant disregard for grammatically correct punctuation as I share the excitement.

What a month so far for the 4Webbs... 7 weeks of travel followed by 2 weeks of Kendra's Mom (thank God), then Kendra's knee surgery and my Mom staying a week (Thank God). The very next week we expected things to level out into the normal, hum-drum life. Not a chance.

The 4Webbs are buying a home! After 4.5 years of renting, saving, researching, and praying the time has come for us to step back into home ownership. I would stay out for another 2+ years because Ben Bernanke is destroying our country like Satan's right hand man, but my Aunt Mary made us the offer of a lifetime in the exact week when interest rates are the lowest in 50 years.

Kendra and I described our dream house four years ago and we've been waiting patiently, prayerfully for the right timing and situation. This is what we asked God to provide:

Must have:
1 story
5 - 10 minutes from freeway
Built since 1990
2200+ sq. ft.
2+ bath
3+ car garage
4+ bedrooms
Not the most expensive or largest home in the subdivision.
Local fire department / schools
location in one of two zip codes

Hot tub
Stucco with tile roof
Split floor plan
Large Patio
Desert landscaping
10 minutes or less to grocery store
less than 30 minutes to major airport
less than 15 minutes to work
Large tile or wood flooring (bedrooms can be carpet)
Automatic yard sprinkler system
Flat-top stove
Water softener or filter system
Storage space in garage
Backs to a green belt

Must NOT:
have A/C on roof
be located in flood zone or "health warning" areas
be close to railroad tracks or power lines
be close to or on a main road be close to stop sign
be within .25 miles of a freeway

I believe in being specific with requests especially when it comes to hopes and dreams. Here is a picture of Easton and Layla standing in front of our new home which matches every single one of our requests to the letter and then some.

and here is a picture of the back yard from the wonderful greenbelt behind it.

These pictures were taken 6 MONTHS ago! The house belongs to my Aunt Mary who is graciously selling it to us at a price we can afford. This isn't just "A" house. it is "THE" house.

This is the house where I lived after moving from Missouri to Phoenix when I graduated college. This is the house where I interviewed by my manager (Mary's neighbor) and was hired into the same company I still work for today.

This is the backyard where I spent summers lounging by the pool overlooking the greenbelt.

This is the hot tub where I decided to move to Phoenix. On a clear, warm March evening I sat comfortably in the hot tub with Mary and Dave looking up at the stars. At the same time I talked with my Mom back in Missouri where she described the bitter cold and snow falling on the frozen ground. That's the moment I knew I would move to Phoenix after graduation. This is also the backyard where I slow danced with Kendra and asked her to be my wife.

This is the kitchen where Mary and Dave watched through the blinds as I proposed and then celebrated with flowers and the cake after she said, "yes".

I even have a short video clip of that memorable night.

This is the living room where we spent many Christmas and Thanksgiving gatherings with family.

This is the porch where we spent countless evenings watching flight patterns for the jets landing at the downtown airport.

This is the driveway where I carefully drove Uncle Dave's hot rod in and out of the garage for his weekly run to get groceries, medication, and acceleration thrills.

This is the master bedroom where I spent virtually every Tuesday talking with Uncle Dave before and after going out for tacos.

This is the living room where Mary and Dave held Easton and Layla two days after they were born.

This is the pool where the last picture of Uncle Dave was taken before he passed away. The last time he ever saw daylight he spent it with me helping label the pool pumps so I know how to run it when he's gone.

And now, this is the home where I will raise my children. As I said, this is not just a house... It's THE house because of the long, amazing history I shared with Kendra and Mary and Dave. Timing is everything! The events of the past few days prove God's faithfulness and Mary's compassion for a second chance. We are locked in for a 4.125% rate on a home we could never afford otherwise. The loan officer said my loan is the lowest home purchase 30-year fixed rate he's ever given in his 30 years as a loan officer.

One last video clip gives a nauseous tour of the house as I attempted to round up everyone for some adventure back in 2002.

Kendra has been so patient and supportive of my real estate decisions. She trusted me to buy our first home and agreed to buy it without ever even seeing it. She trusted me to sell our home and move across the street into the rental even when everyone else was making fun of us. She trusted me to sit tight and wait year after year while not decorating the house like she wanted. My Dad always taught me to wait and be patient before making a decision. Those lessons guide my daily life more all the time. Now Kendra trusts me to make the most expensive purchase in our lifetime.

I'm having a hard time accepting the reality that not only are we buying a home after watching real estate lose 54% of its value, but we are able to buy the perfect home in the perfect location without taking on more debt than we can handle.

We plan to close on the house in seven weeks. Our new house is .7 miles away from where we live today, but we still have to pack just like we were driving 500 miles away. Mid-October will be here before we know it especially since we'll be packing and planning every spare second we get. :)

See you soon!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Daily Life Videos

Hey friends and family,

For a taste of normal life at the 4 Webb's house I'm including a short clip of Easton and Layla playing together. It's hard to describe in words how well the twins are doing with their speech, vocabulary, and personality development. This'll give an idea of where we are now.

And one other video showing their progress in the pool. They are both able to dive in, swim across the pool, and get out all by themselves. Also, they swim to the bottom of the pool, but since my camera is not water proof you'll just have to take my word for it. Easton figured out the leg kicking motion just this week and he's been motoring around all by himself ever since. Layla can tread water fairly well too.

Kendra and I survived the orientation day at Easton and Layla's preschool. I can't believe I'm trusting my kids to a school full of strangers two full days per week. However, as a Dad I am most excited for the twins to start school because:

Kendra gets two well-deserved full days to do what she wants
The twins get social interaction training
Layla is taking dance class
Easton still gets to take a nap
I get a happier wife, which makes my life even better.

We've been hyping up school for over a year now telling the twins how awesome it is. The fruits of our "conditioning" were already very evident even with just two hours of their class time. Kendra and I were more nervous about leaving them than they were. Easton and Layla didn't even bother to give us a kiss and a hug! They were off in a flash making new friends.

and now... the real adventures of life begin. :)


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Love and Obedience

Greetings friends and family,

We resume our normal blog schedule even in the time of mourning the Rosa's imminent departure for California. Thank you for the comments and joining in discussion. The idea of moving with the Rosa's did cross our mind, but only for a few seconds. Unless they buy a compound with separate master suites, I don't see it happening because double the rent for the 4 Webbs isn't in the cards. Living by the beach next to our friends would be awesome, but I don't want to live in a VW bus.

The best we can hope for is a 12-18 month "career building" opportunity for Jason and then find a job back here in the land of the heat stroke.

This quote from a FB friend is intensely relevant for parenting: ‎"Love is the root; obedience is the fruit." -- Matthew Henry

Some parents spend their day screaming, "Obey!" and the results are lack-luster at best. I see this while shopping all the time. The order is wrong and it's painfully obvious. The quote above is the better approach. If you show and teach love to kids, then they obey as a choice in their hearts instead of a result of fear or coercion. One of the visible signs of a child getting the concept is sharing. Layla asked for vanilla yogurt and Easton asked for strawberry yogurt. Even though both of them have tasted both flavors they were curious about each other's flavor. I caught the mutual sharing incident in pictures:

This is completely unscripted and unprompted. I just watched with pleasure as they chose to share out of love for each other.

In the past I caught myself saying, "You MUST share!" but then realized it was futile because unless their hearts are right obedience is just a forced action and not a natural expression.

This mutual exchange and sharing and love doesn't happen ALL the time, but it is the rule rather than the exception. For example, if Layla wants to share Easton's airplane while he's playing with it there will be an epic throw-down. Don't MESS with a brother's plane.

Layla received her first hair cut ever. She had almost no hair until she was two years old. Ever since the first sprout we've been cultivating her long brown locks. Kendra assured me Layla's hair was not "cut", just trimmed. Layla was a champ in the salon chair.

Easton's hair cut was business as usual. Thomas the train movie is playing as he rests comfortably with the sheers buzzing his ear.

We experienced a semi-cloudy day over the weekend which caused the day time high to be below 100 degrees. We celebrated by taking a short, sweaty bike ride to the mailbox. By the way, our yearly rainfall total this year is 1.4 inches. Welcome to drought-ville... Fall will be here soon and we will get back to our daily routine.

Of course, we still do lots of swimming and the twins are progressing very well. Both of them can touch the bottom of the pool now. Goggles are awesome as long as they fit right.

Easton's train tracks are regularly built in the front room. Easton is no longer a biter! Throwing his remote control Lightning McQueen in the trash appears to have done the trick. Layla is becoming a real ham by posing so cutely for pictures. I need to teach her the pageant wave.

Nana sat patiently teaching Easton how to play basketball. Her encouraging words sparked an interest. Now he wants to shoot baskets all the time. The best ball for the goal is a squishy soccer ball. I hope this doesn't cause confusion for him later in life. :)

The twins and I went to the hardware store for hummingbird food and to return a bunch of stuff. We walked by the indoor plants and I laughed out loud. Kendra and I have the opposite of a green thumb. We can kill a plant faster than a microwave. I'd like to bring Farmer Silas to our house for a consultation because we need some help. For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to get Easton and Layla started early with their horticulture lessons. Easton chose a Monkey Tree and Layla chose an African Violet. The plants will add a nice touch to their rooms and hopefully live a long, fruitful life.

Although that leads me to ask the question, "What fruit does a Monkey Tree bear?"

Layla and I went for a Daddy-Layla date on Sunday afternoon. First stop was the Disney store where she waved the merchandise around the magic mirror. A short movie clip plays on the magic mirror related to the princess associated with the item. Layla is enamored by the awesomeness.

We found the Tinker Bell costumes and Layla wanted one of everything including the fairy wings.

She ended up with Ariel and Prince Eric dolls as a good consequence for her week-long marathon of obedience.

Then she wanted to ride the train merry-go-round because I promised to let her do that earlier. Two other random boys saw me loading quarters into the carousel and just hopped on. They just stared at me with a look of "hurry up and put the money in!" I was shocked by their lack of manners and overt entitlement mentality. I was so shocked my mouth just stayed closed. Nothing I said would have benefited anyone and Layla's fun would have been diminished. She said, "Hi boys!" and welcomed them aboard.

We wore out the mall so I took her to the Urban Tea Loft for a tea party. I learned she dislikes tea (lemonade will be on tap for the next tea party) and she likes chocolate cake. She scanned the dessert selection display and zeroed in on the chocolate cake. Our tea and cake were arrived at our table and Layla said, "This is the best day EVER!" I agree.

She dug into the mountainous piece of cake. I had to cut her off quickly because she was eating faster than me with no sign of stopping.

That was a double-full afternoon of fun with Layla. At home Easton received his reward for the week-long obedience. Kendra bought the Spy Jet last week and we heard several times per day from Easton, "When do I get my Spy Jet?" This was his big day and this is a genuine smile of excitement and anticipation.

Then I spent the next 20 minutes trying to get the package open. Ugh. I used a steak knife, two screw drivers, and a pair of pliers just to free the Spy Jet from the box.

There is no WAY Buzz Lightyear escaped from his spaceship packaging in the Toys Movie. I'm just saying... Easton proceeded to fly his jet around for hours. 3 hours to be exact.

I know that because after 3 hours of play, both rear wheels broke off. Cheap Chinese garbage... The crying and sadness cannot be weighed with a scale because it was so heavy. Luckily we had the receipt and the Disney store was cool about the return. Now we have to find a suitable replacement plane with solid wheels. Oh the joys of shopping.

See you soon!