Saturday, March 31, 2007

Cars Party- 3rd Birthday Weekend!

This weekend was the big party! The King/Vankemseke clan rolled into town early Saturday morning, bringing not only presents for Thomas but much needed supplies for Baby Whip. I haven't spent a lot of time shopping for the little guy, as work and preschool have kept me on the go and exhausted. I have looked around several times at the stash they brought over and have had a sense of relief that they brought the essentials that we really needed. By afternoon the party was in full swing with the Vankemsekes, Hutchisons, Pohlmans, Lawrences, Wesleys, Stephen and Barb, and finally Mark and the Whipple boys coming in to celebrate. With the early morning weather threatening to create an indoor circus, we prayed desparately for some decent weather, and instead of the rain and cold it turned out to be a beautiful, sunny afternoon. We were so thankful. The presents for Tommy were over the top and I could barely keep my focus with all the bodies clamboring around, wrapping paper flying and toys coming from all directions. I still remember when the wrapping paper was the best part of the whole event. Now, Tommy's entire morning was consumed with "Are my friends here?" "Will they bring presents?" "Is it my birthday yet?" "Are my friends here?" "Are my friends here?" over and over! I was very grateful for all the help from my sister and mom, for Lil's hosting the party upstairs and food supplies, for John and Stephen manning the cameras and video, for Barb's help in the kitchen and for Billy's pinata skills. It would never have gone off without everyone's help.

Play in March

Thomas is really big into pretending these days. Some of his favorite times are pretending to be Lighting McQueen and running around with Mater, hiding from the tractor Frank, playing pirate ship and Daddy Bird. He likes to assign roles from the Save Um's. Daddy is Noodle, I'm PB Jammies, he's Jazzy. He's back to taking tubby time outside even though yesterday it was snowing.

Sayings- "Grandpa, settle down" when Grandpa was trying to talk to him and asking him questions.
Thomas is big on rivers, streams, waterfalls and fountains. Tonight in the bathtub, he says, "Mommy, I'm making a pee-pee fountain."

He's learning to put things together (matching) and likes to point out things that match, are the same color or are the same shape. He's identifying all the major shapes and likes to point out the big T and little t for tommy wherever we go or in whatever we're reading. He's starting to figure out knock-knock jokes but after "who's there?" he just laughs at whatever you say. He's still eating and writing with his left hand, but throws things around with his right hand, so it's undetermined if he's a leftie or a rightie at this point. He changes it up too much to know right now.

He enjoys singing Old MacDonald, London Bridges, the Save Ums, Tractor Tom, Jingle Bells and learned the ABC's in two tubbie times singing with daddy.

He's starting to call John "Dad" instead of Daddy now, and says, "Where's my dad?" in such a cute little voice.

He'll go pottie when he's running around naked, but demands a diaper on to go hide to do his business. He's still refusing to use any other potty in the house, and continues to insist on flushing our toilet.

He enjoys cracking the eggs, pouring the milk, dumping in the cinnamon and stirring up the mixings for French toast, and makes the morning coffee with help, although more often than not the grounds are the dirt piles and he's the excavator or e-ment crusher. He helps pour the pancake mix and stirs the water, and has just figured out that dad makes cool shapes to cut up.

"There is a lot of stuff in here" as he's trying to get out of the Pilot. It just happened to have a lot of stuff in it, including bags of clothes, various fast food sacks, items of clothing, coats, left over Valentines strewn all over the floor, bags of work stuff, etc. I couldn't help but laugh and then John remarked, "Yeah, Thomas, Mommy laughs when you say it, but if I said it she would give me a dirty look. I'd get the dirty look." To which I replied, "Yes, you sure would."

As John was getting out of the Pilot after watching Thomas while I was at the doctor's, Thomas said, "Have a good one, Daddy."

Listening to a Rascal Flatts song, Thomas asks John, "what they singing bout, Daddy?" "Love," John replies.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Our 8th Anniversary, 2007

Today is our 8th anniversary! It is so hard to believe that we've been married for 8 years and together for 9! I think it is harder to believe because I have such clear memories of our early days together, from our first "meeting" on the steps of the Martin Center, our first date after a wild and raining bike ride on Ski to Sea, jet skiing on Lake Whatcom, our trips and our days playing out at the Stanley house and other memories that seem like yesterday. John brought home 2 dozen roses as a surprise and Bruce and Lil treated us to an evening out. We took them up on the offer and headed out to Everson to have steak at Black Forest. Thomas crashed on the couch before we left and was still sleeping when we got home, so he had no clue we left him, which makes it easy.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Nasty Weather, Beautiful Pictures

Although the day was nasty for the majority of the time, John was able to capture these beautiful pictures right as night fell. Wish the sun would have come out earlier to play, but the scene was spectacular, even as the rain continued to fall.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Tommy's 3rd Birthday

Today we woke up to singing birthday songs and talking Tommy's day up for celebration. It's amazing to think that he's been a part of our lives for three years now. How time flies! We got a kick out of our clear memories of Tommy's first birthday, themed Wags the Dog. This morning I took cupcakes to preschool, although I wasn't sure they would be allowed as there is a no cupcake policy during snack time. I had seen another mom bring them in for a birthday and another mom bring in cookies, another no-no for preschool snack, so I figured that I'd take them for the special occasion with a back up snack just in case. This being my first snack day, I was apprehensive as it was but it was exacerbated by my worry about the cupcakes. When we got there, though, Teacher Dana quickly approved and went about eagerly mentioning his birthday throughout the morning. At snack time all the kids thanked us for bringing in the special treat and wished him a happy birthday. I think the cupcakes, frozen go-gurts and Goldfish were good choices, as I saw most of the kids inhaling them all up.

Tommy had a great preschool morning, too. Within minutes I told Tommy I had to go out and get snack and stop by the office, and he only gave the briefest pauses before going back to his playdough project. The other mother helper quickly engaged him in conversation about their creations, so I slipped out. When I returned, I peeked in, and finding him still going strong, I kept quiet watch in the hallway. Teacher Dana advised me to sit in the other room and kick my feet up, just to pass the time and see how long we could get out of him today, as he was doing so well. He made it at least 45 minutes, only asking for me twice and both times being consoled by Teacher Dana and going back to his work. At transistion to circle time I quickly came in and checked in, then encouraged him to go to circle time while I set up snack in the other room. He went without a hint of tears and I didn't hear from him again until hand washing time, which meant he went to Chapel without me, too. Teacher Dana reported that he asked for me when they were lining up, but she reminded him that I was setting up snack, and he quickly got in line and went on his own. It was a great morning and I was very proud of him.

This afternoon we took a nap to refresh ourselves after playing with the Lawrences and then hurried out to Haggen to pick up his birthday cake and get to Red Robin to see Daddy. I had sent John out to find additional presents on his breaks from work, and he was able to find the last minute front end loader for Thomas that we thought he'd like. Red Robin dinner was fun and afterwards we gathered at home to open presents and eat cake and ice cream. It was a lot of fun watching him enjoy his new wooden bike and front end loader, as well as the candles and cake. A nice way to end a full day of birthday fun!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Kicked Out!

Yes, that is right! Kicked out! As in his room! By a not yet three year old! "Don't come in here," is what I heard, as I made my way into Thomas' room to visit. Obviously, he and daddy were engaged in some serious playtime, busy constructing machines and such with his MegaBlocks. I guess it didn't matter that I'd spent all day entertaining the little guy, first to the park, then to donuts, then out on errands together, where we spent an extended time checking out each and every cheap wind up toy Haggen has in stock. Had he forgotten the stop at Starbucks after he asked for "kids cocoa and chino" for mommy? Did he forget the post-parktime sprinkled donut (not the cake kind!) at Lafeen's?
Daddy quickly got involved, gently but firmly reminding Thomas yet again that it makes Mommy (or anybody) sad when he talks that way, that that isn't nice, that it will hurt feelings, and on an on. Thomas choked out an apology, but you could tell in his face he was still clearly distressed that I was invading, and he let me know by jumping in his crib and burrowing in his pillow. With Mommy in the room, playtime was over! Realizing it wasn't worth it, and maybe I should take advantage of some couch time, I walked out, only to hear Thomas quickly jump out of his crib and back to the construction site. As I walked away from the door, it shut on me, and I could hear Thomas reply, "Good, she's gone."
You've got to be kidding me! Pregnancy hormones raging, I walked to the shower, knowing my tears were not the result of my son's desire to have alone time with his dad. But still, I would not help but feel a sense of sadness, knowing that this was the first of many times that I will be reminded that although I may have given birth to him, may be willing to die for him, he will still break my heart, again and again. I can only think that this is but a small little crack in preparation for the day ahead when he will choose his friends over me, his girl over me, and eventually leave the home we have shared together for so long!

(And yes, there was a knock on the door, followed by a very sad little "I saw-whee, Mommy" from the other side shortly thereafter.)

Friday, March 16, 2007

Latest Activities

Thomas has been sick the last week and missed both days of playgroup this week. With what we don't know, but after a day of complaining that his underarm hurt, Bruce checked him out only to find grape size nodes under his arms and a fever. We'd already spent 4 nights up and down with him during the night due to his bad cold and unrelenting cough, leading me to believe we might as well have this baby now as we're sleepless anyway. With the new development we knew he was a sick little boy and it's taken most of the week to get him back on his feet, although his nose is still running like a faucet. Bruce and Lil have left for their abbreviated cruise (it had a cleaning after an outbreak of Norwalk Virus on it) and John and I have juggled our schedules to be at home to watch Thomas. At the same time, I started having a lot of cramping and back ache, which was uncomfortable and borderline painful for several straight days, only adding to the stress of interrupted sleep at night. With Thomas getting up and coming into our room at night, me trying to sleep either in the boat bed or on the floor in our room, the baby being awake for long chunks of time during the middle of the night, and now all the cramping, I'm really starting to feel the strain. I'm trying to keep positive about it all, but I've shed some tears through it all. John is shouldering the majority of the playtime with Thomas, and in itself that is a fulltime job. He loves to pretend, play upstairs, go up the park, build GeoTrax, play outside and take long tubbies outside-all with the constant interaction of mom or dad. You're either his best friend or you're not, and on any given night he'll decide who he favors and tell the other one to leave. He's had several little conversations about that and how that makes us feel, as well as more than one time where he's had to apologize. I can't believe I've been kicked out of the bedroom of my not-yet three year old, but it's happened! The saying, "I gave birth to you...." has entered my mind more than once with his newfound quest for independence.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

1st Sharing Bag-Preschool PlayGroup Catch the Son

On Monday Thomas was given his job for the today's playgroup and it was "sharing bag". Thomas doesn't seem to get the whole idea of the sharing bag, but during circle time he's usually eager to see each item that is pulled out and talked about. On Monday night, John and Thomas talked about what he wanted to fill it with, and they went about putting in train track pieces, random Thomas the Train attachments and other items not really special enough to take with him, but I enjoyed watching the two of them work at it together. Last night, nervous that I would somehow forget the sharing bag altogether, I asked Thomas to figure out what his top three toys would be to take with him to show his friends at school. He didn't seem too interested, so I picked them out for them, then just to be on the safe side tucked the bag by the front door so we wouldn't forget them on our way out. I'm usually pretty anxious leaving the house in the morning, as no matter how early I get up, it's usually interesting to see how fast I can get Thomas ready to go. I can't even imagine what it will be like when there is a baby to get ready too.

The morning passed by quickly enough, and Thomas seemed to do better in class, even allowing me to "visit the office" and escape to the restroom without him. It took a lot of coaxing from the teacher's helper to get him to stay, though, and for that I was grateful. I hid out for a while in the hall, taking my time and trying to see how long he could go without mom right there in sight. He did a lot better, but when the activity ended he realized mom hadn't come back yet, and the crying began. I figure it's all about the baby steps, and I had to be thankful for even a little break. When it was time to go to gym, an activity Thomas loves, he called to me, "You coming Mommy? You coming with me?" in his sweet little voice. I could tell he was itching to go, and lined up with the other kids, but he kept a close watch on me to see what I would decide, and the look on his face was both anticipation of the fun ahead and a hint of tears in his eyes, just in case I wasn't coming with him. Of course I was going to go, not wanting to watch a meltdown right before Sharing Time. Shortly before it was time to go back to class he got nailed in the nose by another body flying by, but managed to pull it together by the time we walked into class and sat down by teacher to open his sharing bag. Very eager to share his toys with the others, he one by one pulled out his Chevron towtruck, his monster truck, his Cookie Monster talking toy and finally his chainsaw. I could tell with each toy he was eager to see the reaction each one brought from the other kids. And of course, his toys were a big hit, as it took the Teacher Dana several warnings to the other kids scrambling to get to him that they had to wait until class was over to talk to Thomas about playing with his toys. It was quite endearing to see the other kids clamoring around him wanting to check each one out, and Thomas handled it well, although he wasn't too sure they weren't going to take his stuff home with him, and kept looking to me for support. It was one of those "firsts" that I won't soon forget.