Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Happy 4th Birthday Blake!

Oh my, oh my how could it be that my little Blakey is no longer 3! Blake officially turned 4 today. Wow! I have never experienced 4 years going this quickly. The 4 years each I spent in High School and College went by MUCH slower than this...and those are the years you want to fly by! I was telling a friend today at work how I wish children came with a pause button. I don't want them to be babies forever, but I wish you could just push pause from time to time to really enjoy the stage they are currently in. But, since you can' we are celebrating his 4th birthday. This time with a "hamburger cake" that he saw at Target a few months ago and has wanted ever since.

I want my little buddy to know that every day since he came into this world (and even the days/months prior to that) I have cherished every breath, every blink, every tear, every smile, every word, every kiss and every hug. He has truly made my life more wonderful than I ever could have imagined. Add to that the love we have for Luke and our family is complete.

Blake is such a fun little boy to be around. He is turning into such a social butterfly and making new friends all the time. Oddly enough, there are 3 "Blakes" in our neighborhood and he has been dubbed "little Blake." He loves to sing, dance, be read to, swim, ride his 4-wheeler, play with his friends, pretend (especially with his pirate and Dash costumes), play legos, play with all of his new play mobile toys (think cross between barbies and little people for boys), snack, watch tv (favorites include Mickey, Curious George, Clifford, Arthur, and more recently Phinneas and Ferb), and hang out with all of us. Blake still hasn't outgrown his asthma or eczema so we have to keep a constant watch on that and keep him on a regular breathing treatment schedule for prevention. It's hard for us to see him struggle some times, but he has such a will to keep going that it really doesn't slow him down.

He is a great kid and we are so blessed to have him in our lives. I look at this picture below quite often and pinch myself that we have come this far. What an amazing journey it has been so far and I am quite sure we have so many more wonderful years & memories yet to make. I love you Blake!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Thank you for visiting Mammaw!

We were so happy to have Mammaw come and visit this past week. We had a nice visit with a good balance of activity and some time for the boys to just be themselves and entertain her! Mammaw was convinced she was going to turn our "no" boy (Lukie) into a "yes" boy. I regret to report that I cannot say Mission Accomplished! You can't tame this wild mustang!

It was a beautiful day on Thursday so we headed to downtown Minneapolis to visit my office and coworkers at Target. She got to see my new office and great view of the Twin's Stadium. ;) Then we took a stroll down Nicollet Mall and enjoyed the Farmer's Market and finally took a spin past the stadium before heading back to the Grove. Friday was spent getting some things ready for the party and relaxing. Saturday was the big day and it never really stopped after the party either. We had kids in and out of the house all day. Saturday night our new friends and neighbors, the Jennings, had us over for dinner and drinks. It was so much fun and my Mom had a nice time visiting with their Grandma who is temporarily living with them. Sunday we all needed a break so we headed down to the pool after lunch. Blake got to show off all of his new swimming skills to Mammaw and Luke showed what a little dare devil he is too! Kurt was nice enough to take the boys back to the house for naps after swimming and my Mom and I got to lay at the pool for a while and relax. Sunday evening we went to dinner at Rush Creek. It was so yummy and we literally had the whole place to ourselves. Finally today she met her toughest challenge yet...watching both boys while Kurt and I went back to work. I know she enjoyed it, but I'm sure she will be ready to go back home and get some real relaxation!

We thoroughly enjoyed our time spent with her and are so happy she could come. Hopefully she will get to come back again this year...and drag their buddy Pappaw with her!!Thank you for the wonderful memories Mom!!

An "Incredible" Birthday Party!

Blake has never been into watching movies UNTIL Daddy recorded "The Incredibles" this winter. It is his absolute favorite movie...and to be honest, is a pretty good movie. We have watched it numerous times too and still get a kick out of each time. His favorite character, no surprise, is Dash. He even looks like him. We have him believing he is as fast as Dash too!

So, this Saturday we hosted Blake's 4th birthday party. Blake originally wanted a Clifford birthday party, but once we saw that the Incredibles were an option, there was no other choice. And to make it even better, I found a Dash costume online that I knew would make him the happiest kid on the block. The party was so much fun. It really began on Friday afternoon when the bouncy castle arrived a day early. The boys (and Kurt and I) had a blast jumping around before the storm came. And when I say storm I mean STORM! Our yard was a swamp with a new creek running in the back. The gazebo/tent we put up about an hour before the storm started was crumbled by the crazy downpour and hail. But the bouncy castle survived!

Saturday morning was a little bit of a scramble to find alternative/non-yard activities for the 15 kiddos set to arrive at 10:30, but everything ended up to be just perfect. The kids had a blast jumping in the castle, making super hero masks, and painting. We ended up with nice sunny weather and a house-ful of wonderful children, friends, neighbors and the very special guest...Mammaw! After a few hours of playing, eating a yummy lunch and celebrating with cupcakes it was time to open presents. Blake has such generous and kind friends. A big thank you to all of them for making his day so special!
I can't believe he's turning 4 this week! Yikes where did the time go?? I'll do a Happy Birthday post when I have pinched myself...

Friday, June 18, 2010

Decision Day

Today Kurt and I made one of our biggest parenting decisions yet. We have decided to move the boys from their current school to a new one. We love Step by Step, but decided Montessori wasn't the best fit for a particular member of our family. :) It has been a decision that we have toyed with for a while, but finally got the courage to make this week. There are so many teachers, families and children that we love there. And this institution has become our boys' second home. Or maybe primary since they have spent the majority of their waking life there. We will miss Step by Step and would still highly recommend it to those looking for Montessori education. We have forged some great friendships and know that those will continue no matter where the boys go to school.

We were very happy to have found what we were looking for in the Cradle Club. It's actually downtown, which is a big change for us. We are so used to the boys being close to home rather than close to work. This means they will be joining us during our commute now. No more quiet time for Mommy and Daddy! What this also means is that they will be with us more and at school a little less. They will also be less than a 5 minute walk from my work and I can join them for lunch or breakfast whenever I want. The teaching style is different and we believe it will be a better fit for B. He is very excited to be going to school in the "city" now. I have quite a few coworkers who send their kids there and had very good things to say...that definitely makes us feel more comfortable with the transition.

We have started prepping him that Chloe and Jonny won't be in his class anymore, but I know it hasn't sunk in. It's going to be a tough transition, but at least we expect it and can prepare for it. Then again, we thought taking his pacifier was going to be a terrible struggle and that potty training was going to be a nightmare. But he proved us wrong. Let's hope he does that again. The big day will come at the end of July...wish us luck!

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Porch Gardner

I will never claim to be as good a gardner as my wonderful Mother...but, I do think I did a pretty good job on my porch planters. I will admit that I had a little help from Dundee Nursery with the shade vs full sun question and ideas for "layering". I won't be biting off any more gardening projects. As fun as it was, it still is not my thing and I am content watering every other day and sitting back to watch them grow. Can't wait for my Mom to see them in person!

Don't Blink

I wish I could get a better picture, but our dear sweet Blake is so hard to capture in a picture. To say he is moving a million miles an hour is an understatement. In general he doesn't like his picture taken and most of the time he is fidgeting or moving on from one thing to another so quickly you just can't catch him. He is such a sweet little boy though and I am REALLY having a hard time believing he is almost 4!

Could it really have been 4 years ago that Kurt and I were getting the bag ready for the hospital, reading every thing I could about labor signs just in case he decided to come early (which he didn't and decided to come 8 days late), rocking in the brand new unstained (who knew we would have a newborn with reflux) glider daydreaming about whether I was having a little Blake or a Whitney/Lauren/Natalie/Meg. Yet sometimes it feels as if it were yesterday. I think back through all the milestones he/we've achieved...smiling, rolling, crawling, walking, talking, singing, talking back, climbing, counting, kissing and on and on. I do love the stage we are in now. It's so nice to have conversation with him and really see into his personality. I had an epiphany the other night and realized though he may resemble Kurt more than I, he has my personality through and through. Even the quirky parts. I could list a million reasons why I am so blessed to have my Blakey Bear in my life, but here are just a few:

1. He too, is just so darn cute - He's one of those people that when he smiles, his eyes smile too. I love how his hair gets this multi toned yellow blonde during the summer. Girls pay good money for this color treatment! And his cheeks...4 years later they are still his best feature.

2. To hear him laughing or giggling is intoxicating. I love watching him catch on to something funny knowing it will produce a belly laugh.

3. I love how he likes to wear his shirt with the neck tie on it (the one courtesy of Aunt Jill) on days when Daddy has to wear a tie to work. ;)

4. His confidence at swimming and riding his bike & 4 wheeler make me so proud. He is really getting good/brave and I am excited for the next round of swim lessons to start so he can learn more and continue to improve.

5. How he likes to assign a Mommy and Daddy to everything. He is always so curious about whether or not a character or animal in a book has a Mommy and Daddy. It reminds me of how important our relationship is to him. We watched ET the other night and all he could focus on was "why did ET's mommy leave." We thought we were going to have to explain aliens, other galaxies/planets, etc. Nope. We just had to keep reassuring him that ET's mommy would be back at the end of the movie.

6. He still likes to read with us every night and "talk" afterward. He isn't the easiest guy to get settled down and keeping him out of our bed has increasingly become more difficult, but I'll admit I do like to have him close by sometimes...except when he has decided to sleep perpendicular instead of parallel.

7. He wants to talk about and do grown up stuff, yet he is still so little in my eyes.

8. He is ALWAYS so excited to see us after school and runs with open arms to hug us.

9. I also love how every day we ask him what he learned at school today and he says "nuffing". I can assure you our money is not going to waste even if he doesn't admit to learning anything. ;)

10. Hearing him say I Love You. Nothing better. Period.

Funny Face

Luke has recently picked up an expression that Kurt and I have dubbed as "funny face." We have no idea what started it, but it can put a smile on your face no matter the mood. He used to only do it at dinner time, but now because he knows it makes us laugh he'll do it anywhere. It's a pretty standard, "close your eyes, scrunch your nose and show all your teeth when you smile", but seeing my baby do it just lights up my day.
Which reminds me of we are about 1 month out from the big number 2! I can't believe it. The last year has been an absolute whirlwind and I nearly pinch myself every day to try and remember I have a toddler now and not a little baby. :( What a joy this little guy is though. He certainly still has his days...the Grouchmaster 2008. After almost 2 years I have given up on the idea that it's still lingering colic and realized he is just an ultra sensitive, strong willed, risk taking, verbal version of his Dad and I. But more than anything we love our little Louie/Lou Bug for all these reasons and so many more...

1. He's just so darn cute - even when you tell him no and that bottom lip comes up and the eyes puff up, I just melt.

2. His soft floppy brown hairdo - that has been cut twice now, but I definitely take my time in between.

3. His ability to sleep like a champ - LOVE that!

4. That he's a little mockingbird - it is so much fun to hear him repeat everything and practice all of his words...which are finally too many to note or count. He talks all the time and knows so many phrases and words. Pretty sure his favorite thing to say is "no Mommy." We are getting excitedly close to the phase where we might be able to reason with him...keep your fingers crossed.

5. His singing - he knows a handful of songs and loves to sing them. Twinkle Twinkle, Happy Birthday, Slippery Fish, Bumble Bee, Hello My Friends...

6. His run - that has a lot of hip movement and steps but yet gets him no where. Unless you count down...he falls ALL the time, including a really bad asphalt face plant this weekend. One bloody nose & lip and a scratch between his eyes later, we are all fine. :)

7. How he knows how to push Blake's buttons - he knows saying "no Blakey" to Blake will drive him up a wall. It can be fun and un-nerving to listen to all at the same time.

8. The way he drives his little red car like Fred Flintstone. He loves being outside and playing in his car, with his toy lawn mower, wagon rides, you name it if it has wheels he loves it.

9. The way he stands on the edge of the pool (in the exact same spot every time) and yells "1-2-3" and jumps like such a big boy. He is so much more of a risk taker than Blake ever was. He is a climber, a fighter and loves to slide (even the big ones).

10. The way he can be such a sweet little teddy bear when he's in the mood. I love reading to him at night. It's fun to see him have as much interest in books as Blake always has. We enjoy reading about Maisy the Mouse every night and his absolute favorite is Brown Bear.