Party Time!

Today was Jace’s birthday party!  We tried to have the party last week, but it was pouring rain.  Turns out that waiting a week was totally worth it.  Today was gorgeous!  And the birthday boy was adorable and happy.
First

We had his party at Fire Truck Park.  I tried to get some decent pictures, but it really didn’t work out….  Those kids were in almost constant motion.  And when they weren’t running around, Luke was climbing.  Luke spent most of the party clinging to me.  Poor guy is still working on those new teeth.

I tried for some group shots when the kids were eating pizza.  Luke sat at the table with the big kids and was pretty excited about it.

Jace wanted to invite the firefighters to his party.  So we did.  And they showed up!  They gave all the kids plastic firefighter helmets.  It was cute to see so many kids running around Fire Truck Park with fire helmets on their heads!  Then, when the firefighters headed out (they had an event at the local high school), they turned on the lights and sirens on the trucks.  It was quite exciting.

Finally, it was time for cake!  The wind had picked up a little, so we couldn’t really get the candles to stay lit.  Jace hid behind his fire helmet for most of the Happy Birthday song, but he popped out all smiles when we finished singing.  And he pretended to blow out candles.  We really tried to get them lit!

Jace showed off his new skill – he can do the fire pole all by himself!  He was pretty proud and excited.  After all his friends headed home, I tried to get Jace into the car.  He insisted on one last rescue.  There was another little girl at the park who kept dropping her stuffed animal and Jace would rush to the rescue.  Cute.

When we got home, it was time to open presents!  Jace got a ton of fun stuff.  His favorite is a realllly cool HESS Emergency Vehicle.  It has lights, sounds, an extending ladder, AND a mini rescue vehicle inside a secret compartment.  It’s pretty awesome.  We played with it a lot today – in the light AND in the dark.  Jace also got a fire “hose” with a water pack.  It was fun to try outside, although it leaks so much that he ended up soaked.

So!  Details about the party in case I’m curious sometime in the future….

Guests!  Our usual group of friends (Jonathan/Dylan/Jorie, Daphne/Maria, Jack/Cassie, Cara/Heather, Ella/Max/Becky) and some of Jace’s preschool friends (Jack/Sara, Carter/Erin, Griffin/Madison/Doreen, Nolan/Monica, Lily/Sherry).  A total of 26 people (11 moms, 12 4-year-olds, 3 little siblings).

Food!  We had a cooler full of Capri Suns and water bottles, a huge box of snack size bags of chips (kids loved them, but each only took one bag, so I have lots left), we ordered a ton of pizzas (5 of them, double cut, and we were left with almost 3 full pizzas), a cooler of ice pops, and cake!

Goodie Bags!  We gave out cute bags with tupperware containers of homemade slime, Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies, pinwheels, and firefighter/dalmation notepads that had firefighter name badges tied to the outside with 12″ tubes of bubbles.

Location/Hours/Etc.!  We went to Fire Truck Park, the party started at 11am, everyone we invited showed up, the party was over by 1:30pm, the weather was great, and the coolers of drinks and ice pops were very popular.  Having the party at the park was awesome because set up/clean up were minimal, the kids LOVED the park, and I didn’t have to clean the house!  There were almost no other kids at the park (there never are at this park for some reason) and I think everyone had a really fun time playing.

Jace spent the vast majority of his time running around with Griffin and Carter (two preschool friends.  I think he had a great 4th birthday party!
Last

FOUR!

Jacen turned FOUR today!
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He has gotten so big!  He’s come such a long way from the tiny baby in the NICU.  Here are pictures from the day he was born and from his 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th birthdays.

Getting a decent picture of his cute smile is still a challenge though!

We started Jace’s birthday celebrations a night early.  We knew we’d be out late on his actual birthday, so we did cake and presents on the 22nd.  Jace seemed okay with that!  He got some great presents – awesome books, a bug catcher, a cool magnet kit, a calendar similar to the one he used in preschool, and lots of other fun stuff.  He was happy!

Right before bed last night, I asked Jace how old he was.  He said “three” and held up three fingers (it’s always the index finger, the middle finger, and the pinky – I love it!).  This morning, I asked him how old he was.  He said “four” and held up four fingers.  So big!

We went to Friendly’s for breakfast.  Jace had pancakes with m&ms.  Then, they sang happy birthday to him and brought him a special treat – a bowl of whipped cream with sprinkles and a candle.  Haha.  Jace loved it.  Then we came home and Jace got a chance to try out his new roller skates (he was laying on the ground in the entry way because “I can’t fall if I’m already on the ground”).

Tonight, we went to the IronPigs game.  Jace was the official Play Ball Kid of the Game!  YAY JACEN!  He got a special shirt (why do they only have adult mediums when the Play Ball Kid is always 3-6 years old?) and got to stand on the dugout before the game started.  After the National Anthem, they gave him a microphone and he yelled, “PLAY BALL!”  Jace was AMAZING!  He was so brave (“brave and strong”)!

Here are two different angles of Jace’s PLAY BALL performance!

Play Ball – Jumbotron – video

Play Ball – Jacen – video

After Jace got the game started, he had a hot dog, had an ice cream (which he shared with Luke!), and then we headed to the grassy hill to play.  Jace got his Play Ball Kid shirt signed by FeRROUS and FeFe.  At the end of the game an entire team of baseball players came up to Jace and asked for his autograph.  They had sharpies and had him sign wooden bats, baseball cards, baseballs, hats, and all kinds of other stuff.  Jace felt famous (he really did – it was very adorable).

After the game, we headed home for BIRTHDAY CAKE (of course!) and bed.  I hope Jace had a wonderful birthday.  I can’t believe he’s FOUR YEARS OLD already!  xoxoxoxo!

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Tow Trucks, Bugs, and Water Balloons

What a week.  Adam had work events and a comic con that kept him away from the house for a lot of the weekend.  The kids had a zillion activities – playdates, a bowling fundraiser, kite building, and Trucks and More.  I worked a bunch of hours.  And Luke spent the weekend recovering from his Friday night head smash.

So, here we go.  Pictures from the past week-ish.

Luke had his first age-appropriate playdate.  Jacob is a few months younger than Luke.  They interacted occasionally and stood next to each other at the sand table.  I guess that’s all you can expect at this age!  I just started to feel so bad that Jace has this whole crew of friends and Luke just tags along.  I want Luke to have a group too!  But I guess I can wait another 9 months or so….  Jace was around 2 before he really started to care about his “friends”!

Here’s the video of Luke singing his theme song.  It’s better about halfway through the video.  When I’d stop the stroller, he’d stop singing.  I don’t know if this will sound like much to anyone else, but Adam and I can totally hear it.  Adam’s actually the one that pointed it out to me.  Luke’s theme song is Baby Shark, by the way.

Luke Singing His Theme Song – video

We had a fun day at the park after preschool one of the days last week.  The weather was gorgeous.  The white trees are all flowering now, which is pretty.  And Jace brought home a really pretty rainbow hand print wreath from preschool.  Anyways, at the park, a bug landed on Jace’s shirt and he ran around showing everyone his “new bug friend”.  Luke had a great time pointing out planes that flew overhead.  Jace took a break to eat his lunch on the blanket and to “just rest [his] eyes”.  And on the walk home, the kids discovered that they can twist around in the stroller to see each other and share snacks!

Luke has decided he likes popsicles.  He always cringes at the first bite, but he’s all smiles after that.

We all spent the evening hanging out on the deck, waiting for Adam to get home.  Luke is sitting on Cuervo (!).  Cody jumped into the sandbox – which the kids found hilarious (Cody did not find it hilarious because I kicked him out right away).  And Claire hung out in the sunny corner of the deck.

When Adam got home, Jace and I went on a Weis trip to grab some ingredients for dinner.  It took us over 30 minutes to make it to the corner because we checked every square of sidewalk for bugs.  We found a lot of ants.  Jace is so cute!  He also found a dandelion and tried to make a wish – but he wasn’t thrilled when the wind kicked the seeds back into his face!  We had a great time on our solo adventure, though.  P.S.  He’s wearing sandals on his wrists because that makes him a “glizard” with sticky paws to climb things and find things.  He took his glizarding very seriously.

Random pictures….  Walked into the room to see Jace sitting on the roller car, on top of the climbing structure, poised to go down the slide.  Awesome.  He totally crashed at the bottom.  I don’t think he’ll do that again – and I didn’t even have to talk to him about it!  Luke found a tiny bottle (of water flavoring, I swear!) and carried it around for a while, laughing the whole time.  Adam worked some weird magic and got the kids to both sleep past 6:30am the other day.  It was ah-mah-zing!  Luke went through the fridge, found the cucumber I’d bought for pasta salad, and took a few bites.  Both kids start their days by climbing slides and staring out the windows.  It’s strange.  They do it almost every day.  Jace and I played on snap chat again.  Jace and a friend made kites (okay, the friend’s mom and I made kites, but the kids picked the fabric).  Cuervo begged for snacks.  Jace and Luke played in the playroom.  Jace pretended to be a ghost (Luke thought it was hilarious).  And Adam showed off the medal he won (won?) at go karts.

Here’s a random video showing Luke’s dinner time manners.

Luke Eating Peas – video

And a random video of Jace laughing at the iPad.  There’s an app where a cat repeats everything you say in a high pitched cat voice.  It cracks Jace up!

Jace Laughing at the Ginger App – video

On Saturday, we headed to Trucks and More, an event at the fairgrounds.  Luke fell asleep on the drive, so he and Adam spent most of the event in the car.  Jace and I, on the other hand, spent most of the event in a tow truck.  Jace loved it!  In fact, we spent so much time in the tow truck that the drivers of the two tow trucks let Jace help them get the trucks ready to drive away.  Jace got to use the remote and pull levers and all kinds of stuff!

Luke woke up just in time to watch the helicopter take off – definitely a highlight!

After Trucks and More, Jace and I went to a bowling fundraiser.  Jace has some pretty awesome technique….  Check it out.  He would carry the first bowling ball he saw up to the ramp.  The ball might weigh 6 lbs.  It might weigh 14 lbs.  Didn’t seem to phase Jace.  He’d carefully set the ball on the ramp, then he’d back up.  He’d get a running start and shove the ball down the ramp.  Then he’d watch to see how he did, jump up and down, then run back to do it again.  He bowled 56 frames in a row.  FIFTY SIX FRAMES.  I bowled one frame.

Another fun bowling moment?  At one point, Jace had two of the dragons in our lane.  You put your bowling ball on the dragon’s head, it rolls down the back, and helps you get some speed/direction.  Jace climbed up between both dragons, closed his eyes, smacked the ball backwards, then looked to see what had happened.  The ball bounced from side to side, so Jace lost interest and wandered over to play at the ball return.  When the ball finally made it down?  STRIKE!  Ridiculous.

Other fun bowling moments?  Jace got a ball stuck on the lane.  I posted a picture.  I took a video – to prove the ball was really just sitting there – but I’m not posting it.  Because it’s just a video of a ball sitting there….  Jace and his friend had fun waiting for the balls to show up in the ball return.  Sometimes Jace would get bowling so fast that he’d accidentally end up with two balls headed down the lane at once (that’s what happens when you posess the ability to get a ball stuck on the lane….).  One time I was worried about the second ball rolling (sloooowly) down the lane.  But the first ball hit, the pin machine cleared the lane and put down 10 new pins, the guard came up, and the second ball hit about a second later.  Nice.  After 56 frames, Jace was ready to go.  Adam and Luke picked us up, we swung through the DQ drive through (you can see Luke’s hand pulling at me in the ice cream picture – he soooo wanted to try the ice cream!), and we headed home.

WATER BALLOONS!  The kids got a Bunch O Balloons from a neighbor for Easter.  We flew through all three bunches in record time, but the kids loved it.  After water balloons, Luke played at the water table while Jace played with the garden hose.  While I was picking up pieces of balloon, Jace turned the front garden into a mudpit.  While Jace helped me pick up balloons, Luke explored the mudpit.  Oops!  Impromptu afternoon bath.  The water balloons were a big hit.  Check out the cute videos!

Fun with Water Balloons – Luke’s Laugh – video

Fun with Water Balloons – video

Lastly, here are two pictures of Luke.  The first one was taken Tuesday morning.  The second was taken today.  His forehead is healing so quickly!  He seems to be fine, though he’s been taking his nap earlier than usual and sleeping a little bit longer than usual (though he was up at 4am today, so who knows).  He’s still just as happy and smiley as ever.  I’m hoping he’s 100% better!

A Rough Week for Luke

Poor Luke!  He could definitely use all the nice thoughts anyone felt like sending his way….  It’s been a rough week capped by a really rough day.  Luke had his 15 month check up, which he hated, last Monday (almost two weeks ago).  The doctor determined that Luke’s lip is still stuck between his teeth (over a month now) and that Luke has thrush.  He prescribed an antibiotic (which Luke hates).  Luke also was due for shots.  He got the chicken pox shot in his left arm.  No reaction.  8 days later, he has a huge, warm, red lump on his arm.  I called the doctor and they had us come in right away.  Turns out it’s a staph infection.  So they prescribed another antibiotic, which Luke also hates.  Then, the worst part of all, by far, yesterday Luke was sitting on his trike and I ABANDONED HIM to help Jace untangle his kite.  Luke wanted to come with me because he’s sweet and adorable and loves me, but I’d left him alone five feet away.  So he lunged for me.  And tipped his trike.  And crashed, head first, into the driveway.  Super hard.  It was horrible.

Huuuuuge lump.  Lots of tears.  Horrible.  Then, I tried to ice his head.  Which he hated.  And it made him cry even more.  Jace was wonderful.  See the picture of Luke smiling?  Jace was singing songs and playing peek-a-boo and offering toys.

So, after this horrible, horrible, horrible head-smashing event, we tried to have a low-key evening.  Adam was out racing go-karts (work party), so the kids and I had dinner on the back deck.  Jace kept grabbing ice packs for me from the freezer – and he saw the big bag of ice we had in there.  So we got that out and Jace got to smash ice with the meat tenderizer.  We made some (delicious) rock salt ice cream.  Luke seemed happy and relatively okay.  Things were going pretty well.

Luke hasn’t had much cows milk yet, but he was liking the ice cream.  Then I gave him his antibiotics.  Then I gave him a bath.  Then I subjected him to more ice on the head.  He wasn’t crazy about most of the late-evening activities.  He was 95% asleep when he threw up.  No good!  I got him cleaned up (a little) and calmed down, then called the doctor.  The doctor said since it was an isolated incident, it might have been due to the antibiotic, the milk, or the crying.  He recommended sleep and told me to call back if anything changed.  I hung up, Luke was asleep in my arms, so I moved him to a different (clean) bed.  And as soon as I set him down, he threw up again.  No good!  I called the doctor back.  It took forever for the doctor to call me back this time.  The doctor said I could take him to the ER or I could wait one more time and see if he got sick again.  Luke was running around the room with Jace, acting fine, so we waited.  He went to sleep eventually (dragged the mattress from the guest bed into our room while I got all the other sheets in the wash).  And he slept well all night.

He seemed okay today.  We took him to the doctor and the doctor said he’s “concussed” and we need to take it super easy for at least a week.  Which is hard because Luke’s favorite activities are leaping, climbing, and running.  This afternoon, the kids played outside.  Luke holds no ill-will towards the trike, apparently.  And he was happy to follow his big brother around the yard.  The kids dug in the dirt, fed crackers to ants, and chased bugs.

It’s just awful though.  Poor Luke!  And now I’m hyper-aware of any wobbling or strange behavior.  Plus, Luke seems determined to keep hitting his head.  Crawls head-first off the bed (12″ off the ground), bonks his head on the window looking at birds, falls while he’s chasing Jace, walks into the edge of the forehead-height table.  It’s constant.  So – positive thoughts are appreciated.  Very much.

Lastly, here are two cute pictures from this morning.  The first thing Luke wants to do each day is go outside.  It was warm this morning, so we headed out on the deck.  Luke climbed (of course) into the tall (of course) chair and relaxed.  I love his pose!  He likes to sit in the chair and watch for airplanes or birds.  When he sees one, he shouts and points (see picture 2).  Super cute.  He’s wonderful.

Haircuts

The kids got haircuts!  They needed them.  Look at my handsome boys!

After haircuts, we went to Moe’s for dinner.

Earlier in the week(s?), Jace decided we needed to go to the store for watermelon and square cheese.  Luke rode the trike.  Jace pulled the wagon with his doggies.  He stopped occasionally to let them smell the dandelions.  Cute!  So – at Wegmans, they give kids slices of white American cheese from the deli counter.  But Weis is closer, and Jace wanted cookie club, so we headed to Weis.  We got a watermelon and some cheese from the deli counter.  On our walk home we discovered something terrible – white American cheese from Weis has HOLES in it!  Oh no!  Jace kept saying “I don’t want Swiss cheese.”  Despite my best efforts, he couldn’t be convinced that the cheese was actually white American.  So we walked directly to Wegmans to buy some “better” cheese.  And then we went home for a cheese and watermelon snack.  Good combo.

When Jace is in preschool, I try to spend some focused time with Luke.  Last week we went to the park together – and had a great time!  He pointed at airplanes, found some sticks, and a did a lot of exploring.

He’s such a cute and happy guy!

This Tuesday it was much colder outside.  It was “hat day” at preschool so Jace wore his fire hat.  He also took a rainbow bottle we made (with hair gel!) for show and tell.  They’ve been focusing on a different color each week and are now onto rainbows.  He was so excited to show his class!  Luke and I opted for open gym time instead of the park (brrr).  Then we headed home for some kitty time, drawing, and playing.  We picked Jace up and he insisted on going to the park.  So cold!  But it was fun for a tiny amount of time.  Then we headed home to warm up!

I wrote this post last night.  I thought I’d have time tonight to add pictures from today….  But it’s almost 2:30am, so apparently I do not.  More later!

I Take Too Many Pictures

We’ve had a busy few weeks – and I don’t even take pictures of all of it – but I still have a ton of “good” pictures in my folder to post….  In the interest of getting caught up on posting, here are some big picture collages.

Jace and I went to Daphne’s birthday party (he had a great time), Adam took the kids to Kids Castle, and we had some play dates with friends (had Lily over for the first time!).

We’ve had fun hanging out at the house.  Jace uses his swiffer as a crane/fire hose all the time, inside and out.  Both kids have been liking the chalkboard table.  Pancake muffins, standing in frying pans, playing in the sink, and more.

The kids love the pets – and they especially like giving the pets treats.  Someone asked Jace what our pets names were and he said “Cuervo the Punky Dog, Clairabelle, and Codariah”.

We’ve been spending as much time outside as we can.  Both kids LOVE being outside.  We play in the sandbox….

We play with the water table (surprise – Luke can climb into the water table!)….

We play on the back deck….

We play in the front yard….  Bubbles, checking the mail, stunk rockets :), walks, and mowing the lawn.

And we definitely play in the dirt!

These pictures needed a little more explanation….  Picture one:  Luke’s morning routine: climb on the tote to look out the window, bring me his shoes, and pull me to the front or back door.  Doesn’t matter if it’s 5:15am, 40F, or raining.  Luke wants to go outside.  Picture two:  When I say no (because it’s 5:15am, 40F, or raining), he’s not very happy.  Picture three:  Jace likes to go outside too.  When I say no because it’s too cold, Jace brings me coats.  And then we go outside in the cold.  Picture four:  When I say no because it’s raining, Jace brings me the umbrella.  And then we go outside in the rain.  Picture five:  Jace usually shares.  But sometimes Luke isn’t patient enough to wait his turn.  He’s very dramatic when he lays down on the ground to sulk.  Picture six:  When I suggest not going outside until we get shoes, Jace asks why.  When my excuse is that it will be cold on our feet without shoes, he improvises.  It’s not cold when they’re sitting on the play couch.

We’ve had some fun picnics lately.  The first picture is Jace running from preschool to the park.  He just takes off!  Next are pictures of the kids playing, Jace eating snack with Lily, and then Jace and his friends “feeding the alligator”.  They like to drop rocks and snacks through the grate in the drainage ditch.  There’s water down there, so the items  disappear below the surface of the water – which clearly means the alligator ate them!  It’s cute because now when we go to the park, Jace likes to check on the alligator – and he always says bye to him when we’re leaving.  Lastly, Luke usually conks out on our walk home from the park.  It’s great that he can push his nap back far enough for us to have our picnic on sunny days!

More pictures.

We went to IKEA.  And after IKEA we had a super successful family dinner out at Cracker Barrel.  Both kids were awesome!

The trash truck is a huge hit every week.

And it’s finally starting to feel like spring.  The trees are gorgeous – all flowers!  And our backyard is relatively dandelion free, though given what our neighbors yards look like (see the picture), I figure we’ll have tons of dandelions soon!

And that’s probably enough for now.  More soon.  I saved my favorite pictures from the past weeks for the next post.

 

Easter!

We had a great Easter!  Over a week ago….  Oops.

Pre-Easter we had our Bunny Brunch, had several egg hunts, made Easter presents for our two favorite neighbors (Jace made wreathes and we made lots of treats together), Jace ate Peeps on a Stick, and we played with a new Easter sticker book.

Jace and I colored Easter eggs while Luke napped.  Jace was excited about the boiling water/shrink wrap bands – and he had a good time with stickers – but his favorite part was dipping the eggs and guessing what color they were going to be.  He’s very into color mixing.  And his eggs turned out gorgeous (and he looks so cute in that last picture!)!

A few eggs got a little cracked during their color dips, so Adam suggested he and Jace both eat an egg as a snack.  Jace was pretty excited to try it.  And then pretty disgusted once he bit into the egg!

The Easter Bunny came while the kids were sleeping.

The next morning Luke was up EARLY.  I tried to keep him away from the Easter stuff, but that was impossible.  Luke had a great time finding eggs and cracking them open.  I followed him around refilling them and putting them back.  Haha.  At one point, Luke saw Claire on the couch and headed over to say hi.  Then he saw an egg on the window sill behind her.  He opted for the egg over Claire – and climbed on top of her to get to it.  She wasn’t thrilled.  After searching for eggs and playing on the slides, Luke helped me make some bunny pancake bites for breakfast.

After waiting for Jace to wake up for over two hours, Luke finally got curious about his Easter basket.  He loved the airplane fan!  His face is soooo cute!

FINALLY, Jace woke up.  He checked out his basket – the airplane fan was a hit here, too – and then he and Luke went around collecting eggs.

We had some breakfast, the kids climbed on Adam, we discovered Easter baskets on the front porch (!), the kids played with their new toys, and Jace ran around (and slid down the slide) with both airplane fans and pretended they were his jets!

It was a beautiful day, so we spent the afternoon outside.  The kids wore their new outfits.  They played with the new bubble machine, helped Adam dig the stone border out of the garden, and played in the dirt.

Luke and I walked to Wegmans to buy some french bread for dinner.  We also picked up two chocolate Cadbury eggs.  We told Jace we had another egg for him to eat and he seemed genuinely scared.  But the chocolate egg went over much better than the hardboiled egg!  And THAT was our Easter!

Here are my favorite pictures from our Easter.