Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Luke Turns 1!!!

On May 7th, Luke turned ONE! We had a small family party a week later.  In case you weren't there to see it, here's a basic idea of what you missed.

Happy Birthday To You;
I don't like PEOPLE! Why are there PEOPLE HERE??

Happy Birthday To You;
Why won't these people just go away?! Get away from me!!

Happy Birthday Dear Lu-uke;
Ooh, Cake? I didn't know there'd be cake. It's MINE, ALL MINE!

Happy Birthday To You!
Get that camera away from me and my cake or so help me I'll pop you.

So, yeah, basically, he screamed and refused to let me put him down until he realized there was cake.  In hindsight, I'd have made the inside of the cake look a bit more appealing, or at least cute for pictures.  Oh well. Live and learn...

The party was a success, but not without a massive amount of stress beforehand.  My dad and stepmom (Nonnie and Poppy) offered to host it at their house, which I'm sure they now regret.  Live and learn, people! 

To me, the party is all about the cake.  Since our kitchen has was basically useless in the three weeks leading up to the party (No Counters + No Sink = No Cooking!), I wasn't able to prepare much of anything ahead of time.  Which means the day before the party, I called Janice (aka Nonnie), begging her to bake a couple of sheet cakes so that I could quickly decorate them Saturday morning.  Thankfully, she obliged. (Again... I did the same thing to her the night before the twins' 2nd party!)
Then I realized my cake design (which was based upon the invites that I had sent out) required me to also have a small round cake to serve as the "smash cake" for Luke.  But seeing as I didn't have a kitchen, I had to get innovative with this one.  I ended up buying pre-made dessert cake shells (you know the ones; they are always next to the strawberries at the grocery store) and stacking them to serve as my round little bee. Good enough.

Anyway, long story short, the cake did not turn out quite like I had envisioned (for some reason I keep thinking I'm a natural pro at this stuff; in reality, this is now 3 for 3 parties that have been a mad dash to get the cake made hours before the party... live and learn, what?) Regardless, it made the kid finally stop crying!  
Here's the invite, cake, and some misc. decor. 

---And thanks to my photographers, uh, I mean family, for taking pictures.  Because once again, (another 3 for 3 on this one,) I managed to forget my camera.  Technically, I didn't forget the camera, I just forgot the memory card. ---

The invite and matching cake (literally finished 10 minutes before people arrived.) Anyone else notice I forgot to give the bee his wings?

The party favors: Sticks of honey and honeycomb candy bars.

The cute bee windsock that I found inspired the party theme. He now hangs in front of our house!  Oh, and Nonnie made these cute "It's my Bee-day" signs on the computer.  Her ten minutes of work got more compliments than anything I spent hours preparing for the party. Sigh.  :)

Imagine lots of yellow and black balloons and streamers (I told my husband, "twist the streamers when you put them up", and this is what he did. Not quite what I was going for. Oh well.)  I had spent a decent amount of time making (decoupaging) this LUKE sign, which spent most of the party blown over.  So everyone kept wondering what L__E meant.  Now it is in his room, so still worth my time! 

Well, that was the day.  It was a bit chilly, but we enjoyed ourselves, and while Luke won't remember any of it, I like holding onto the memories (even if things never go quite as planned!)


Friday, May 14, 2010

Hell in a handbasket? More like a shopping cart

That's the only phrase that comes to mind as I relive today's eventful shopping trip in my mind.

Tomorrow is Luke's birthday party.  I needed to do some shopping today to pick up a few last minute items... okay, I'll be honest. I needed to pick up about 90% of the items for the party.
Although I've sworn off shopping with the kids until they are over the age of 27, I decided that they've been so good lately, that we could venture out to the wonderful world of Target.  In truth, they haven't necessarily been so good. They've just been slightly less bad. That, I thought, was good enough for a quick excursion.

Have I mentioned that these little buggers know how to toy with my emotions?  They made me SO proud, getting dressed like normal children this morning.  Instead of the knock-down-drag-out fight that usually ensues the moment I say, "Let's put on some pants", each boy stood there and LIFTED HIS LEGS INTO HIS PANTS.  Even shirts went on with no problem. Surely, this was a good sign. 

It's like God was smiling down on me when we walked out to the car.  A typical trip from the front door into the van generally consists of me quickly grabbing Joel as he tries to run across the lawn, then shoving Evan into his seat as he immediately tries to climb into the front.  This time, they walked straight to the van, climbed up and into their seats.  Even Luke, who usually screams bloody murder as I try to buckle him into the seat, was in perfect smiles, and giggled away as I buckled him.  Aah, yes, shopping today was going to be a glorious experience.  So glorious, in fact, that I decided to make a leisurely day of our outing.  Lunch in the food court, then after shopping at Target we'd hit the dollar store and Michael's.  I LOVE being a stay at home mom, enjoying sunshine and beautiful children!

It was all a lie. 
I'll say that now. 

We arrived at Target and found the "two-seater" cart (which isn't terribly helpful when you need three seats.)  The twins were excited to get into the giant orange buggy that attaches to the cart.  The seatbelts are always broken on this thing, and if you've ever tried to push it you realize it's like trying to steer an ocean liner through iceberg-laden waters.  Nevertheless, the day was going to be great, so I happily let my sweet angels climb into the seats and haphazardly attached the broken seatbelts.  "So we can be safe", I reminded them, using my best Dora impersonation.
Not that I had any other choice in cart, but I quickly realized the problem with this dumb buggy-cart system.  The orange buggy allows two children to sit down behind the cart; however, the typical seating area no longer has leg holes or a seatbelt.  Which means that, in order for Luke to ride in the cart, he has to sit cross-legged and balance the entire ride. I whined for a moment (intentionally loudly enough so that the nearest employees could hear my frustration) then we went on our merry way.

Shopping was going well; then the words I dread, "Pee, Pee!" came from one boy, then the other.  Sighing, I led them all the way to the front of the store and parked the cart outside the bathroom door.  I reminded the twins that we need to go straight into the bathroom, let me loose, and picked up Luke to carry him inside.  They followed.
"Who needs to go pee?"
"Meee!" both boys exclaimed.  We squished into stall, and I pulled down Evan's pants, and lifted him onto the potty, while Luke dangled precariously from my right arm. 
"Ga ga!" All done, in Evan language.  Problem is, he didn't go.  I pulled him off the toilet in time for Joel to announce that he, too, was "ga ga."  Apparently this was all just a ploy to get to flush the toilet.  Darn geniuses.
We headed out of the bathroom, and I set Luke back in his seat. In that brief two seconds, the twins took off.  Like bolts of lightning streaking across the sky, the two-year-old speed demons raced away. 
Of course my shopping cart would be facing the opposite direction.  As they raced past electronics and headed toward the stationary department, I struggled to turn my ocean liner of a cart without knocking Luke over.  Five minutes later (at least it felt that way), I was up the aisles, racing after them as fast as I could move that stupid cart.  (Racing is used very loosely here. Old ladies with walkers could have easily outpaced us.)

I caught up with them, sort of, near housewares.  (Caught up is used loosely here.  Briefly appeared in my view is more appropriate.)  The orange boat, Luke, and I slowly followed the endless laughter and occasional glimpses of demon spawn that would cross our paths every now and then.  They took us along the length of the back of the store.  I prayed that one of them would fall down and get "kind of" hurt.  Not any hurt that would cause permanent physical damage, just the kind that would traumatize them enough to never leave my side again.  (As a side note, I was one of the runners as a kid, too.  That is, until I got hit by a car.  I was lucky to have lived; but my mom said, from then on, I stayed by her side wherever we went.  I certainly don't want my boys hit by a car, but I think a bit of the mental trauma might do my boys some good.)

As we passed frozen goods and headed for produce, I was able to somehow close the gap between us. They knew I was closing in, and apparently had already hatched a plan of action.
They split up.
Evan took off into the twisted aisles of produce (why MUST they put those aisles on an angle?)  Joel swiftly took off to the back of the store.  I stood in the middle, completely dumbfounded, shocked that my two-year-olds just completely tagged team against me.

I stared at Luke helplessly for a moment.  I briefly contemplated just leaving the store with him, starting fresh with the youngest of my brood.  Only children enjoy getting all the attention, right?
Coming to my senses, I decided it'd be smarter to chase the child nearest the doors leading outside, so I went after Evan.  Joel was probably somewhere in housewares.  Ceramic dishes, shiny breakable mirrors... good luck to you.
A kindly 70-something woman took pity on me and abandoned her wheelchair-bound husband to help the cause. (Okay, so maybe he wasn't in a wheelchair.  I know she did leave him to help with the chase, though.)
We eventually corralled Evan and I was able to grab him by the collar and toss him into the cart. 
All the meanwhile, Luke had decided he'd had enough of this "sitting" thing and was using every moment I turned away to stand in his seat.  At this point, I've got my wise helper (I wouldn't dare call her "old") running toward the back of the store, I'm again trying to turn the boat around so I can move up the aisle, all while holding onto Luke with one hand to keep him from learning the consequences of standing in his seat.

As the woman ran across the back of the store, I desperately tried to shove my way across a side aisle.  An employee shouted at me that my son had been caught and I could find him in the Fitting Room area.  I yelled thank you and made my way to the center of the store.  There was Joel, surrounded by three employees, who clearly had to put up a fight to keep him there.  I heard "The mom is here" across the radio, and they quickly passed him over to me. 

Livid, I grabbed Joel and put him into the back of the shopping cart, telling him how mad I was and this was not a fun game.  His response was to throw a flower pot out of the cart. It shattered on the floor.  I picked him up and put him back in the buggy, cursing the broken seatbelt. 

A woman came up and asked if I'd like help.  I turned to look at her and said, "No, thank you.  We're good now..."
Only to see Joel hop off the seat and take off down the center aisle. 
In a panic, I ran after him, yelling at her "Watch my kids, please!"

How did these kids get to be so fast?
How is it that Joel could be in my sight one second, and have completely vanished the next?

As I ran through jewelry and makeup, I asked employees and bystanders if anyone had seen a two-year-old whiz by.  No one had, but the sixteen-year-old makeup expert suggested I go to the service desk and have him paged. 
I had to stop myself from smacking her on the head.  "He's two," I calmly stated. "He wouldn't know how to respond to an overhead page."

Now is when I actually started to panic.  I had NO IDEA where this kid was,  and my other two were left in the care of a total stranger (even across the store, I could hear Luke's screaming fit over someone other than Mommy holding him.)

Standing in the middle of the front of the store, a cashier saw me and told me that he headed to electronics.
I turned and ran that direction.  Ahead of me, I could see a group of four employees, crouched down low, looking as if they were attempting to corner some rabid animal into a cage. 
I approached the circle, just in time to see Joel make his quick escape. Luckily, he unknowingly headed right toward me, and the chase finally came to an end.

We made our way back to the center of the store to the kindly babysitter.  She had a glassy look in her eyes, and kept repeating the mantra, "They're fine.  They're okay." over and over.  One therapy session and she should recover.
(The good news is, I never, ever worry that someone is going to want to kidnap my children.)

I quickly thanked her and headed toward the exit.  I had to transfer the boys into another cart, as I couldn't very well leave the store with all the items in the cart (and there was NO WAY I was going to bother trying to checkout at this point.)

As I transferred carts, Joel threw a fit because he wanted to sit in the orange buggy.
Of course you do, kid.  Of course you do.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Luke's Gift Wish List (For those who need it)

Here are some ideas for those who are asking!

Currently wearing 12m in tops and bottoms. 

Cause and Effect toys such as ball spinners, jack-in-the-box
Musical toys: little piano, rain stick/shaker
Walking/Riding/Pulling toys, Wagon

Hopefully that gives some ideas!

Monday, May 3, 2010

April... belated

I know I'm a rotten blogger lately, but we've got so much going on that I just haven't been able to keep up with everything on my plate.
Here's my best summary of April....

Week 1a: Daddy's Spring Break!
Todd decided to take a few days off during his school's spring break (no, administrators don't get the days off automatically,) so we enjoyed some family time together.  We brought the boys to visit a children's museum, which they loved.

Sitting in car, getting ready for a drive (notice the keys in Evan's hands?)

Watching a tornado (the blurry part of the photo is the tornado); Joel and Luke experimenting with air tubes.

The really cool train table, which both boys loved.  Evan could have stayed all day, I think!

Luke couldn't see what the twins were doing on top of the table, so decided he'd find his own source of amusement under it.

Week 1b:  Easter!
Great visit with family (my side, we don't get to see Todd's side very often due to distance.) I tried so hard to get great photos of the kids, but they weren't having it.  Here are a few, though.  I feel like I need to do an actual shoot, because they were GORGEOUS. 

(Joel in the khaki hat, Evan in the blue)

Best buds!

(Notice he's even wearing a tie under his vest? AWWW!)

The boys loved hunting for Easter eggs, and they really enjoyed finding their backpacks filled with surprises (the current obsession with Dora makes them interested in wearing backpacks everywhere, so we used those in lieu of baskets this year.)
Their FAVORITE Easter surprise, however, was from their GREAT-grandmother (emphasis on great because she really is fantastic) Juanita, who gave them their very own bikes!

Check out these rockstars! 

Chillin' on the roadsters.

Luke is pretty sure he should be able to ride, too.

Week 2:  We started our big home renovations.  Okay, small in comparison to what a lot of people do, but big to us because, if nothing else, renovating with small children is not fun.  We spent the week arguing about kitchen countertop choices, and ultimately decided on this granite:
Personally, I'm not into granite, but hopefully someone else will love it and decide that they just must buy our house (know anyone in the market for a house?) We're planning to get it on the market in June, so April was just consumed with checklists of to-dos.  Did I ever mention Todd hates checklists?  He also hates to-do lists.  Did I mention I LOVE checklists? Let's just say it was a rough month.

Week 3: Joel and Evan are still very hard to understand, so I am in the process of getting them speech evaluations.  We also had a visit from a plumber to fix the bathroom that has been out of commission for the past two years (try potty-training with the only bathroom being on the least used level of the house.  Not fun.) Todd went to visit the family farm with his dad, so the kids and I paid a visit to my parents.  No pictures, but they had a great time as usual.

Week 4:  We started the week by removing the counters and sink for the kitchen measure.  So began our three week stint without countertops or any water in the kitchen.  The upstairs bathroom now has a working toilet, but the water is still off for the sink and tub, so it's still pretty much off limits. (In fact, here's its current state):

Lovely, right?

Sink?  Who needs a sink?  Counters?  Bah, the top the of dishwasher works just fine, thank you very much.

And here's our latest predicament.  If you've got an opinion, feel free to share!

See the upper half cabinet, and the lower cabinet (with the white door) that doesn't line up with the upper one?  We've got a lot of space to fill before our counters arrive, and have yet to find a reasonably priced, quickly produced option. 
It's a bit of a madhouse here!

So that was April... now onto May, which means LUKE'S FIRST BIRTHDAY!