Saturday, June 28, 2014

Hank's birthday party

The birthday boy! Who also didn't want me to take pictures of him. 
Planning Hank's birthday party this year was way more fun than it has been previously because he has attended enough birthday parties to know how they go and what to expect. Thus, he actually had ideas this year about what he wanted to do for his birthday party. He said he wanted one big party, a bounce house, chocolate cake and delicious food. Okay then, kid. You got it. When I threw out some ideas for a theme he immediately latched onto the Lego theme. "The little ones, not the big ones (Duplos)," he specified.

He even made his own guest list. He had a clear idea of who he wanted to come (both friends and family) and wow, did he want a lot of people there! We had fifty people descend on our house for Hank's big celebration and I was panicking about how I was going to keep all twenty children occupied and how much food I needed to adequately feed all those people. Turns out, I needn't have worried.

I'm lucky enough to have really helpful family in town who are more than happy to bring food or other party essentials. Thanks again, family, for all of your help! You know who you are. ;) 

Hank had a blast. All of his favorite people were there, his favorite food es served (mac and cheese and fruit salad), and he had a huge bounce house with a slide in it. Oh, not to mention chocolate cake with Legos on it. 

The kids made lego cookies with colored frosting and M&Ms on top for their favor.

Quite the pile of presents. 
Bouncing on Daddy's shoulders is always more fun than doing it on your own.

I think he liked his cake.

Johnny did too.

Aunt Lisa and cousin Jack. It's a little blurry, but this is the best one of the set I took. 

The kids were giggling and squealing so loudly when Uncle Dylan and Aunt Lindsay got in the bounce house with them. It was SO CUTE.

Tired birthday boy reading his card with Uncle Scott.
Yep. It was a successful party. And Hank got more Legos than he knows what to do with. And more Legos than I can keep track of, which means my feet are already battle-scarred.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Real food and Amy

Amy loves food. 

The end. 

Just kidding. So I put off starting Amy on solids because I'm lazy. First off, it's such a mess to feed a baby solids! Not just because of the process to get them in the baby, but also when it comes out. Breastfed baby poop is delightfully non-stinky and water-soluble. I can just toss the diapers into the wash without any other steps. Not so once said baby begins solid food. Secondly, I have to prepare baby food. I have to buy it, cook it, purée it, and then thaw it when she's ready to eat it. It's way easier just to pop out a boob. Thirdly, I have to pack some for our outings. On top of the food I already pack for the boys. And sometimes myself. It's just... a lot of work I wasn't going to start doing until I had to. 

Then she started grabbing our food and sticking it in her mouth. Like my pizza. Or John's forkful of enchilada. So I started her on food. 

Her first "official" food was puréed and thinned avocado. She wasn't real impressed. 

So I took that to mean she wasn't ready and waited a few weeks. Her first real food was half a cucumber, because I thought she was teething and I figured a cold cucumber with sharp-ish points on it would be a welcome relief. Then she hollowed out the middle with her gums and ate it... Oops. I didn't really intend for that to be her first official food, but oh well! No pictures to show for it either. 

Then she ate half a peach because I was busy cooking up apples for applesauce and Amy was losing her mind in the high chair. So I handed her half a peach. And I'll be damned if she didn't eat most of it. 

Since then, I've managed to purée some foods for Amy and she's loved nearly all of them. Carrots, brown rice, yogurt, apples, mango, and sweet potatoes are what she's tried thus far. She gnaws on full slices of watermelon, too, and LOVES IT. So far the only food she has flat out hated is bananas. A little strange, that. I thought all kids loved bananas. 

She will eat purées, but much prefers larger chunks of food (like Hank's quesadilla...). She would also much rather steer the spoon herself. She's already quite independent! 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Getting back in the saddle

Two of my favorite people, my brother, Dylan, and his girlfriend Lindsay, are leaving at the end of next month. They are off to Michigan to gain more knowledge/experience/cold weather at the University of Michigan and. I could not be prouder of the two of them, truly. However, their leaving means that I need to dust off this blog and get better at posting about the minutia. I promised them I would try. And since I owe them for countless hours of babysitting, not to mention fond memories and a good chunk of my sanity, it's the least I can do. Thus, I downloaded the blogger app to my phone so that I can blog while I nurse Amy to sleep when I'm allowed to take the time to do so. 

So this is my test run to see if this thing actually works! I'll even include a ridiculously adorable picture of Amy in the bath, because CUTE. 

This girl LOVES the bath. Especially now that she can sit. And she gets them way more often now that she's eating solid food. She tends to hoard chunks of watermelon in her onesie and I can tell you firsthand that watermelon has a pretty rank smell to it after sitting in a warm onesie for a few hours. But more on solids later. For now, publish test! 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Dear Hank

Dear Hank,

You turn three today. And I'm not surprised in the slightest.

Honestly, you've astonished everyone in the last year by only being two years old. Most people guessed you were three, some even guessed you were four or five, but no one suspected such a verbal, capable, physically-able child with gigantic feet to be a mere two years old. Which is pretty much the same thing I wrote in your letter to you last year. So really, it's about darn time you turned three!

This past year has brought a lot of depth to your character.

  • You started caring about friends and getting excited to see them at various play dates. Blake and Asher and Dax and Drew are your go-to's right now, but you have a pretty good memory for faces and names when you want to remember them. 
  • You have started fighting back with emotional warfare when Johnny pushes your buttons. Johnny will say something kind of mean to you and you'll respond in kind, "I'm going to scratch you all over and put you in the trash so the garbage truck can come and take you away!!!" (said with all the vehemence a pissed off 2-year-old can muster... which is a lot). 
  • You've gotten really good at negotiations and compromise... when you want to be good at it. Your daddy loves to tell the story of you and Johnny going down to Twin Trails park with him and how you both wanted to ride the push-tricycle. Johnny wanted to ride it all the way to the park and half of the way back, but you said that it would be more fair if Johnny rode it to the park and you rode it home. You've also gotten pretty good at getting a few more minutes at the park/museum/friend's house. I'll say, "Okay guys, do you want to leave in ten minutes or fifteen minutes?" And you'll respond, "Um, how about seventeen minutes?" I nearly always agree. Because what's two minutes in the grand scheme of things?
  • Your memory and ability to tell me things you remember is incredible.
  • You will nearly always answer questions truthfully, thus I've learned (often the hard way) that if you tell me Johnny went that way because he wanted to see some flowers, then I should believe you. Because you have yet to be wrong about important things like that.
  • You've gotten adventurous when trying different foods that you haven't been interested in previously. If Daddy or I are eating something different from what you have, you'll often ask for a bite.
  • You have become a little more cautious. You broke your arm this year and have become a little more careful... though I think I may be the only one who notices this change. Everyone else still thinks you're reckless.
  • Your favorite movie is now Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. And you will watch it over and over and over.
  • You can now build with LEGOs and have even put together a tow truck kit with a little guidance from me. Pretty impressive, actually.
  • You can ride a big boy bike with training wheels. Really really fast.
But some things haven't changed.
  • You still like me to cuddle with you when you fall asleep at night and you'll often come into bed with me, Daddy, and Amy early in the morning. 
  • You LOVE Oreos. Obviously.
  • You still enjoy pulling my hair out. Despite my begging and pleading with you to stop.
  • You are still obsessed with all things construction. Workers. Trucks. Earth movers. Tower cranes. Caution cones. All of it.
  • You love to make messes. And think destroying things is HILARIOUS. 
  • You are still thoughtful and kind about certain things, like making crafts for other people. You were so excited to give Daddy his Father's Day card that we made at a play date. Same for the Easter crafts for Grandma and Grandpa. And the Valentine's Day card for Daddy. 
Seriously, kid, your personality has really grown this year. Every day I see more evidence that you "have your own head" as the Germans say. You have your own thoughts about certain things and can be stubborn and impossible to persuade about them. But then everything else? You go with the flow. 

Just an indication of how different you are this year from last year can be seen in your party planning. Last year, I said, "Do you want a construction party?" and you said, "Yeah." Then I went down the list of people to invite and you just said "yes" to all of them. This year? I asked what kind of a party you wanted and you said "Lego party." I tried to persuade you to have a Play-doh party or maybe a balloon party, but no. Legos it is. Then we made the list of people to invite and you came up with 75% of the names yourself. And then you even turned some people down when I suggested them! Not something that would have happened last year, but I love that you've become selective with the people you want to be close to you.

And I love that you have strong opinions on things. Really, I do. Yes, it's exasperating when you want to have Oreos for dinner and NOTHING ELSE WILL DO, but I know that eventually your insistence on such trivial things will change to be insistence on things that matter. 

I also love that you have a sense for fun. You can have fun anywhere doing practically anything. You're game for all sorts of activities from learning to throw a frisbee to painting a canvas. It makes you a lot of fun to be around. 

I hope that ability to find fun wherever you are never changes. And I hope that you are persistent in keeping fun in your life, no matter what you are doing. 

Oh, Hank. I love you so much. Even when we have a tough day, know that I love you and still think that I'm incredibly lucky to be your mom. And hopefully, at the end of those tough days, you're still okay with being my son. :) 

I love you buddy!