Saturday, March 29, 2008

On Becoming Two

Charlie lived this birthday to the fullest, celebrating with pals and family too. We met up with a small group of friends at the Sandbox, a local indoor playground and hung out for the morning. Then, on the weekend, my fam came up to celebrate Bob the Builder style. Yeah, I know I never thought I'd do one of those "themed" birthdays either, but a tablecloth covered with tools and hard hats is the stuff dreams are made of for our boy. Bob and I stayed up late the night before, decorating the dining room and frosting a 'hammer' cake. We had so much fun imagining his reaction to all the decorations in the morning...plastic nails and bolts hanging from the ceiling, balloons the whole deal. But, we didn't actually get to see the reaction. You see, usually Charlie comes into our bedroom when he wakes up the morning. But, on this particular morning, he decided to go downstairs first. Bob had gone to get coffee with our early riser Amelia and I was dead to the world, blissfully savoring my extra half hour in bed. Bob said that when he came in the door, Charlie was sitting on the bottom step of our stairway. So...apparently he had already surveyed the dining room in all its glory. But, as for his reaction, only Bob the Builder knows and he ain't talkin.

Here are some photos from the festivities. Oh, one more note of cuteness. Every time we would sing Happy Birthday to Charlie, he would suddenly become extremely shy. It was so funny! He would put his head down and kind of slide his eyes back and forth, scanning everyone with his peripheral vision until the song was over--hilarious!! I posted a video at the bottom...

PS--We missed you Nana, Grandpa and Uncle Dave :(

Charlie and one of his favorite building buddies, Papa. Papa brought up a wagon for Charlie to work on with him. It had pre-drilled nail holes so that Charlie could pound the nails in himself. He was in heaven!

Here's Aunt Kat with our littlest party guest.

Charlie and his bestest buddy and cuz. It's been so cute to see the way that Charlie mimics everything that his older and wiser cousin does. Although...Aaron may be our main suspect in teaching Charlie to say, "I don't like...." The other day I took the kids to story hour at the museum and just when all was quiet and the lady started to read, Charlie busted out with a loud, "I don't like it Mama, I don't like it."

Even the fruit was apropos.

We had way too much fun making this. Hey, can you think of anything more entertaining to do on a Friday night? Yeah, ok, we know we're not even remotely cool anymore.

The whole gang was on hand to share birthday wishes (and germs). Aunt Kat pointed out that Charlie is licking the ice cream scoop in this picture. Yes, prior to serving dessert.

Grandma and Papa gave Charlie this "manure spreader" to hitch on the back of his John Deere tractor. Mom was so excited because it actually "spreads" if you put dirt or something in the wagon. She suggested that we use oatmeal. We'll have to try that when one of us feels like trailing behind with the dustbuster--or maybe just wait til the weather's warmer...

This puzzle from Aunt Beth, Uncle Scott and Aaron was so appropriate. Charlie opened it and gave a timely, "Whoa" of delight. The funny thing is, he actually tries to use these like they are tools. He'll carry the hammer around tapping on various surfaces and poke the screwdriver into any hole or crevice he can find. I actually found the saw on the edge of the laundry chute in the kitchen yesterday, along with a rather grody sippy cup.

Oh, I hope I'll always remember looking over at Aaron as he gobbled down a third, yes third, piece of Charlie's hammer cake. He was completely oblivious to everything else going on and was just going to town on that cake. Not sure how he even managed to get a small blue dot right between his eyebrows, but along with the blue goatee it was priceless!

The gals, Violet and Mallory.

Buddy Kyle is also a contender for the cake-eating contest. Impressive! This performance did require a wardrobe change.

I love this picture of Kaylynn and her sand angel! Kaylynn in one of the girls I babysit and she is such a joy! She is so into pretend now and I get a kick out of it each time. Mostly it's Cinderella and I get to be the evil stepmother. If I'm not playing the part just right, she'll stop and say, "No, you have to be mean to me. Now rip my dress." It's so funny. She also wanted to play 'Jesus Dies on the Cross' one day, but I had to nix that one. She wanted me to be Jesus and it just didn't seem right...

OK, Britney Spears, pull that car over.

My favorite nephew and the second cutest boy in the whole world.

Amelia here with sweet little Nathan Bajus; Nathan was born just a few months after her. In this pic, they were both looking wistfully at the sandbox and probably thinking, "Dang these baby prisons."

What a good Dad. He's got skills too and can do pretty much any type of home improvement project with Amelia in this carrier--from plumbing to electrical. Seriously!

Michelle and Bethany with their littlest ones.

We got Charlie his first train set for birthday number too. He mostly likes to take apart the tracks after Dad painstakingly puts them all together. But, he does really like playing with it and the "Choo, Choo" is fun to hear.

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I think I'm going to like Charlie as a 2-year-old. I know, terrible twos and all that. But, really, each age has its own terribleness and wonderfulness. The wonderful is what you remember though-- mostly. Tonight, Amelia went to bed a little early and dad was working, so Charlie and I sat on the couch with a bowl of popcorn and watched Monsters, Inc. It's strange, he's actually becoming more like someone to hang out with since he has just recently acquired the ability to stay still for more than a minute. I did have to get him good and tired out dancing to the Johnny Cash Children's Album in the basement, but still he watched the movie for almost an hour. I'm glad he's still low on the mental maturity totem pole though since I did fast forward through about a half hour of the movie so that it "ended" near his bedtime. I know I won't be able to get away with that for long. Too bad there isn't a life remote control. Wouldn't it be nice to pause during those lazy mornings when the kids are squirming and squealing around in our bed and fast forward through the less pleasant incidences--like that post-hammer cake diaper change? Alas, a new year of memories awaits!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Some of my favorite February pics!

I know, February's over and March almost is too, but I got a little behind on bloggin this month. As I was scrolling through my pics, there were a few that made me smile and I just had to share them.

"Does this mirror make my cheeks look fat?"

This pic above is Charlie's buddy Violet "singing" Happy Birthday to her Dad. Do birthdays get any better than this?

Most people who have met Charlie on more than one occasion have also met his green spiny friend, "Chops." Chops is a dinosaur that accompanies Charlie to naptime, bedtime and, if he can sneak him in--the in between times too. Inevitably one night, I couldn't find the dinosaur and, of course, Charlie would not go to bed without him. He was laying in his bed yelling, "Chops, where are you?" --at the top of his lungs. I searched everywhere I could think of and finally looked in his closet. Before I shut the door, I caught the glimpse of a green tail sticking out of Charlie's suitcase! Then I remembered that he had been playing with the case earlier that day. I rescued the dino-stowaway and peace was restored.

It's so funny to see our little babies get older and start "hanging out" together. Here is Charlie with his buddy Ella watching Lora's cat and, I'm sure, hatching a plan...

The Girls: Violet, Ella and Amelia. It's so nice that Amelia has a lot of gal buddies because family-wise, it's all boys all the time. She currently has seven boy cousins born in the last three years and she has been the only girl born in that time frame!! There's one hope left--my cousin Jessica--but Jess and Andrew aren't going to find out what they're having. So, we'll have to wait and see if there might be a tea set in the midst of all those Tonkas...

Elvis has left the living room. Charlie wore this black hat for a while one day which Bob and I found hilarious. He couldn't see at all since his eyes were under the brim and yet, he insisted on bumbling around the house running into things. Toddlers are a hoot!

We took Charlie to a Knighthawks lacrosse game at the Blue Cross Arena in February. He seemed to really enjoy all of the excitement, but his favorite thing was running the halls around the stadium. I wish I could have captured that picture of him-- smiling on Daddy's lap as he gobbled up popcorn from a huge cardboard bucket.

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Putting a face to the word "mischievous"

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

Amelia Marie celebrated her first Easter Sunday!

This is one chubby bunny!

The boys are always thrilled when it's 'picture time.'

Dad, come on, you're embarassing me!

"OK, why is everybody feasting on ham, potatoes and cake and all I get is this tasteless biter biscuit? I can't wait to be a toddler..."

Amelia loves watching the boys and grabs on to them whenever she gets a chance! Photo above is accompanied by a squeal of delight! Aaron is so sweet with Amelia, always bringing her toys and giving her kisses.

The only way we could get Charlie to sit next to his sister for a picture was to let him hold on to his Easter egg. Here they are, big bro and little sis, 2 years old and 6 months old respectively. More people are saying that Amelia has "her own look" now and doesn't have as much Charlie in her face, but there's still a resemblance for sure!

It's so funny to think that now we have the beginnings of a "kid's table." The boys spent about ten minutes here and then decided they would rather just play with their new goodies. This photo is also subtitled, 'Charlie tries a deviled egg.' Notice his expression and the discarded egg on his plate. He wasn't a big fan.

Sweet Mia is six months old and is entering that fun stage where she smiles and squeals the day away. She's trying lots of new foods too and, of course, likes the sweet fruits the best, oh yes, and biter biscuits too. When she gets something less desirable, like plain cereal, she rolls it around with her tongue until she can flip it back out of her mouth--very funny to watch. She hasn't succeeded at grabbing her feet yet, but we're wondering it that rotund-o-tummy could be getting in the way..?

Charlie and Grandma. What fun! Grandma brought all kinds of Easter goodies and even staged an Easter egg hunt for the boys! During church, she was the designated toddler entertainer and, after they left for their Sunday school class, she held a sleeping Amelia for the remainder of the service. It's always a nail biter having the boys "in church" for the amount of time before the kids are released to Sunday School. This morning, there were a few rather loud exclamations of "Uh Oh!" as Charlie dropped his raisins on the floor. Last week, the pastor said "We will see..." and Charlie exclaimed "Mom! A..B..C!" Luckily there are an abundance of toddlers in our church, babies of all shapes and sizes too, so hopefully no one will remember the source of church disruptions.

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Birthday Boy makes a splash

Crazy to think that our boy is almost two. Just a few more days. It's hard to remember when his long skinny legs used to be short chubby ones that fit on the changing table and when I used to only serve him a half a carton of yogurt at a time. Now, he wiggles and giggles like a madman and he scarfs down a whole man-sized waffle in the morning. What a grand adventure our Charlie is! Time to digress from the sentimental...I was giggling as I watched this video, but then realized that I was so busy paying attention to Charlie's antics that I didn't notice my little 6 mo. old getting splashed in the face. I am such a bad mom! Poor little Mia, she is going to grow up to be one tough cookie whether she wants to or not.

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Cupcakes anyone?

It's the spring grant season and Mom's been working a lot lately. Bob has been so great at pinch hitting with the child care. The kids may be a tiny bit dirtier and maybe their socks don't match that well, but they sure are having fun with Dad!

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