Sunday, February 24, 2013

Fourth Birthday Festivities!

Tate's fourth birthday was a blast.  His birthday fell on a Sunday this year and with the next day being President's Day we had three whole days with Glenn home from work and it was pure bliss.
Sunday morning when woke Tate up we made his favorite, pancakes, for breakfast.  Glenn made him a pancake in the shape of his big birthday present to see if he could guess it.
He didn't.  But we filled him in and went down stairs to check it out.
He loves the teepee in my mom's basement.  He wants it set up every time we visit and plays with it every day we're there.  So we decided we needed one to make our little unfinished basement a bit more fun.  I found some tutorials and went to work.  I also tried a tutorial for some cute little floor pillows to put inside which was necessary because it's so cold and hard down there.
He hopped down the stairs, ran inside the tent and said "Hmmm.  This is a good tent for me.  And bounced from pillow to pillow for a few minutes while Finn sat outside and laughed at him.   I'm glad he likes it and I hope he plays with it for a long time!
It was a fun morning.  We opened a few presents.  Played and played.  Then went to church just for sacrament meeting for the announcement that they were splitting our ward.  Turns out it doesn't affect our ward as much as the other two involved, but some big changes none-the-less.
After church we got on skype with Nana and Grampa so they could see him open their gift, Star Wars toys.  He was thrilled and spent the rest of the night imitating yoda, acting out battles, and my personal favorite, mixing his star wars toys with his new castle set.
Finn even got to play with the new goods which made him so happy.
We had breakfast for dinner (because that's what Tate wanted) and the Garvins came over to share birthday cake and ice cream with us.  Man, it is nice to have some family living near by!
It was a perfect birthday.  We spent tons of time playing with toys, reading books, snuggling, and telling our boys how much we loved them.  Bliss. 

On Monday Glenn suggested we head to the YMCA to go swimming.  We'd been told that the Y near us is cool but we hadn't checked it out yet.  I wasn't thrilled about the idea because it was cold out and sounded like a lot of work to get everyone dressed for swimming then cleaned up and dressed for playing again, but I'm really glad we made the effort because Tate had a blast.  They have an amazing in door pool with some water slides which he's not quite tall enough for, a lazy river, and a shallow pool filled with water features.  He was in heaven.  It took Finny a little longer to warm up to the idea, but he ended up splashing away and laughing so hard.

Both boys took great naps then we went to Tate's birthday party at Jumpoline.  It was a very cool place and he and his friends had a blast.  There were several rooms set up with different configurations of trampolines and they went from room to room bouncing and wearing themselves out while laughing themselves silly.  
Tate with Carson and Lincoln.
Tate on the ground with little Henry and Skye and Finn crawling in to join the fun.
This is Ryanne.  She's one of my favorite little girls at Tate's preschool and she has a thing for Finn.  Her mom tells me that at home she wants to pretend to be our family.  She tells her mom, "You be Tate's Mom, I'll be Tate, and Ben (her little brother) can be Finn."  She's so so cute.
Tate in the dodgeball room.
We didn't have to pay for the party place (that's another post entirely!), so we decided to spring for a cake and pizza too.
Time for Birthday cake!
Tate eating cake with Evie and Ryanne.
It made my heart smile to see him surrounded by such sweet friends.  We moved here a year ago and I was nervous to start over in the friend department, for me and for Tate.  And while we still miss our Houston friends so much, sitting at his party, watching him surrounded by kids who he has gravitated to made me feel so happy for him and so proud of him.  I'm grateful that thus far he's been drawn to such good friends.  These kids were sweet, friendly, and played well together.  I enjoyed being able to spend a bit of time talking to all their parents too.  The world is a scary place sometimes, and it was nice, for one evening, to be around so many good families who are trying to raise their kids to be good people whether they're of our faith or not.

Having Glenn go back to work on Tuesday was a total bummer after having such a long, fun weekend together, but all good things must come to an end.  I'm glad that we like to play together.  I know there will come a time when we and our kiddos are so busy that we won't have time to have entire weekends of play so we will make the most of it while we can!  Happy Birthday Tate-o!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Dear Tate,

Tatie boy,
You're four years old today.  I know I say it every year, and also all the time, but it is unbelievable to me how fast you have grown.  We talk about how big you are all the time.  How you used to be a little baby like Finn used to be.  How you used fit into that shirt that Finn is wearing today.  How you used to take off your shoes in the car just like Finn does.  I think you like hearing about little you, but you also refuse to stay little.  I ask you to please stop growing and you say, "No, Mom.  I want to grow up.  When I grow up I will go to work.  And where will I work, Mom?"  Then we have a long chat about all the things you could be (usually you ask if you can be an animal of some sort), but I keep reminding you that you are not growing up THAT fast and you still get to be a little boy (my little boy) for a long time.

Our conversations have become a lot more meaningful and a lot more fun this year.  Your imagination has always been incredible, but this year it has really blossomed.  You can play by yourself with your toys and books for hours and hours, making up story lines and becoming many many different characters along the way.  The pretend play is obviously much more exciting when you have a friend or myself or your Dad to play with.  You really like to mix stories lately.  You'll come up to me and say, "Mom, you be C3PO and I'll be a T Rex and scare you, okay?"  Or, "Mom, you be Hamm the Pig and I'll be an imperial battleship and I'll chase you, okay?"  I try really hard to be able to drop things when you ask, "okay?" because I love to play with you, little boy.

You started preschool this year and you've really taken to it well.  You go three mornings a week and there have been very few mornings when you haven't wanted to go.  I feel lucky for that because it would be SO hard to make you.  Your teachers love you.  We had a little conference with Ms. Sheri last month and she told us how great your imagination is, how sweet and obedient you are, how smart you are, and how well you express yourself.  We, of course, think all those good things about you, but it was nice to hear them from your teacher.  You know all your letters and the sounds they make and you're working hard on recognizing your numbers.  Those nines and sixes are so tricky.

You are such a kind boy.  You share your toys with your friends, even the special ones that are hard to share.  You are so friendly and just light up when you are around other people and especially other kids.  You are never very shy about approaching new people and always have something to tell them.  Usually it's sharing something going on in your life or something you're excited about.  Lately it's, "I was sick last week."  Or, "We got the second Star Wars movie from the library."  Sometimes it's just, "That's my baby, Finn.  He's my brother."  You get that from your Daddy.  Never afraid to start a conversation with someone new, and it will serve you well Tate.  Just as it's served your Daddy well.

I think I can say with some certainty that this year has been your most difficult yet, Tate.  We moved to Denver and into an apartment just a few days after your last birthday and then moved again into this house soon after that.  For the first several months of living here Glenn was traveling a lot and all the big changes really took a toll on you for a while there.  It was awful to watch you struggle and worry.  It broke my heart when you got frustrated and confused.  I know that it's one of those things that you might not completely understand until you're a parent too some day, but my little boy, your Daddy and I love you so so much that every time we see you ache, we ache too.  We are thinking of and worrying about you and your brother all the time but when you struggle it's just plain awful.  Luckily those really rough patches eventually smoothed over and the peace and adjustment that we knew would come finally came.  But it was a shocker for us, little Tate.  You have been such an easy boy.  A happy, tender, kind, perfect little guy to raise and it was a hard first look at how your trials will rock our world in the future.  Because you will have them, my Tate.  I hope that when those rough patches come, you'll remember that we are an eternal family.  We love each other and take care of each other and I hope that you will always know that we are here for you and desperately want you to be happy.

You're still a pretty picky eater.  This year you might have become more so.  You like most all breakfast foods, peanut butter sandwiches, turkey sandwiches, mac and cheese....and that's about it.  We can convince you to eat a few other things but only if they're pretty familiar or varations of the foods above.  Consequently, you skip dinner at least a few times a week when we make something that you don't want to try.  We don't force it.  We can't really because it just makes you gag and throw up.  No fun all around.  Your limited diet has not affected your growth, however.  You're a tall, skinny boy and it looks like you may have both of your Grandfather's height in you.

You still love books.  You love getting new books from the library and reading them over and over at bed time until you have them memorized.  You also love music, but have become much more shy this year about singing in front of people.  You've just started singing along with music in the car, but only once in a while, and only to your favorite songs such as, "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch."  Lately you can be found humming one of the theme songs from Star Wars to yourself as you play with your toys.

This year you've discovered Wild Kratts, and love watching their shows and memorizing facts about animals to share with us later.  You still love the Cars movies and playing with all of your cars toys.  We went to Disneyland before Christmas this year for the first time and were lucky enough to visit Cars Land.  You were in heaven meeting the characters, riding rides, and playing with your cousins Mya and Sadie.  It was a wonderful trip and one of your conversations starters has become, "I went to a magical place called Disneyland!" A few months ago you watched the first (episode IV) Star Wars movie and you were completely enthralled.  Star Tours was one of your favorites at Disneyland and a lot of our pretend play lately has been Star Wars related.

You are a wonderful big brother to Finny.  He adores you.  When he is grouchy and nothing else will fix it, you yell (over Finn's yelling) that you're going to make him happy, and then you give him a big hug and a kiss on top of his head and somehow he always stops.  Then if you hug him again, he smiles and looks up at you with these adoring eyes, and although he can't say it yet, we know he loves you and looks up to you so very much.  He follows you around every where you go and tries to copy every thing you do.  You're very thoughtful and careful with Finny.  When you play together you try not to play too rough and you try to be a good sharer.  Usually that means, when Finn has something you want, you ask him nicely to give it to you and then get him something else to play with.  That's pacified him so far but that may soon change.

You are a great boy, kiddo.  We couldn't ask for a better first son.  You have so many wonderful traits that are just in you, that you came with and your dad and I pray all the time that we can just help nurture you the way you are and not mess up all the good you have already going for you.  You're a pretty good balance of being kind and gentle when you need to, and standing up for yourself when you feel challenged about something that matters to you.  You're affectionate and still love to snuggle with us, especially at bed time after your book and song, or when we're watching a movie.  I know our snuggling days are numbered so I'm soaking up every second that you still want me to hold you, because that's how we began, my baby Tate.  Just you and me and Daddy and there was a LOT of holding you.  We miss it now that you're big and always on the move but really appreciate that you still like us to give you hugs when you're sad or hurt, or just need a snug.  I love being your mom.  I love that I get to stay home and spend every day with you and Finn.  It is the best job in the world, playing with you guys every day and I'm going to miss you dreadfully when you go to school every day.

Your birthdays are a big deal around here.  Mostly because you're old enough now to actually get excited about fun things we do for your birthday, and that makes us want to do fun things for you because we love to see you and Finny happy.  But also, because you were our first baby.  You came and we became a family.  Four years ago today your dad and I became parents, because we met you.  I'll never forget the way I felt looking at tiny baby you for the first time.  I loved you then and I love you and your brother now with a kind of love that I'd never felt before I met you.  You changed our whole world, Tate.  You made us a family, and every time you have a birthday, we get to celebrate that too.    We're so glad you're in our family.  So glad that you're the big brother that little Finny has to look up to.  We couldn't love you any more than we do.
Happy Birthday, my Tate.  The world is yours.
Love,
Mom

Monday, February 11, 2013

Catch-up

Compared to all of the excitement of December, January and February have been pretty chill around here.  Still, I really should update a bit since there have been a few new little things.
Finny started walking one day in the beginning of January.  I was exercising and he just let go of the couch and walked across the room.  He's never gone back.  From that day on he was walking more than he was crawling and now he's walking fast everywhere he goes having a blast trying to keep up with Tate.  
It's been fun the last month or so to see them play together a little more.  Tate likes when he can make Finn smile or laugh, and Finn wants to be in doing whatever Tate is doing.  Sometimes I'll walk into the room and see Tate talking to Finn or giving him kisses, or wrestling (lots of discussions about being soft) with him.  Finn loves it all.
Finn does not, however, like the fact that we started giving him sippy cups instead of bottles.  We decided to get rid of the bottles in January and while he's slowly getting used to it, there were a few weeks of him not drinking much out of stubbornness.  He'd push the cup away, or if he was really thirsty, drink just a couple swallows and then promptly throw it on the floor and give us a new little grouchy face complete with a tiny furrowed brow.  He's really gotten good at his ornery scowl lately.  I don't love it.  I need to catch it on camera because it's pretty darn funny, but at the same time, don't love it.
For the most part, however, he's still a sweet heart.  He's learned to give "kisses", which at this stage still means he leans in and puts his open mouth on your cheek, but we just love it.  He gives kisses to toys and pictures in his books too.
 
I usually have to wake him up from his morning nap to get Tate from preschool and most of the time I find him snuggled with one of the animals in his crib.  So sweet.
 Tate had his first parent teacher conference at preschool a few weeks ago.  Glenn even stayed home from work that morning in order to attend.  I thought that was pretty sweet of him.  Turns out Tate is pretty darn smart.  We knew that, but it's always nice to hear.  It was fun to hear all the little ways he's improving and funny things he says.  His teacher said she was particularly impressed at how good he is at expressing his feelings.  He lets them know when he feels "upset", "frustrated", "excited", etc.  Yep, self-expression has never really been a problem for Tate.  I was a little nervous going into the conference.  I know it's dumb, but it's the first time I've heard about how he's doing other than growth-wise compared to other kids his age.  But when I looked at his report card and saw that the only thing he wasn't doing well in was, "holds a crayon correctly", I stopped being so worried.  He's only three (almost 4!!!).  He's more than fine.
Tate and Finn in their first matching shirts.
A lot of Tate's make-believe lately has to do with Star Wars.  He's only seen the very first movie (number IV I think) but he thinks it's pretty awesome.  One morning he had the following conversation with me and the invisible sand people:
T: "Mom, the sand people cut off one of my arms.  Now they need to sit on time out.  Mom, they're ready to get off.  I'm gonna talk to them.  You were on time out for cutting off my arm.  Don't do that again, okay?  Mom, they said they were sorry." 
Well, at least he knows how that process works.
He's interested in the bad guys lately.  He wants to pretend to be Shere Khan from Jungle Book, Malificent from Sleeping Beauty, and of course Darth Vader.  He tells me all the time, "I used to be a Jedi knight but then I turned to the dark side."  Ah.  That's just great.  

We recently bought a science museum pass.  Our aquarium pass is expiring and we decided to try something new this year.  We've seen the dinosaur bones before on free days at the museum, but this last visit we ventured into the dioramas with animals from all over the world, dead and stuffed of course.  We explained that to Tate when he was VERY hesitant to approach a window with a huge crocodile posed behind it.  Yesterday we were out running errands and he tells me, "Mom, I'll be the dead croc at the science museum."  Oh I wish I could get my phone to upload the picture of his little, dead, frozen, open-mouthed crocodile face...but you'll just have to picture it.

I have 2 new piano students starting this week.  I think I kind of freaked out their parents at their interview.  They were coming from a pretty low pressure teacher and I require practicing and have structured technic and they were a little worried...but I think it will be good.  I hope so.  They will bring my student total to 5 and I think that's all I'm gonna do for now.  It's fun to have a few piano students to help me stay involved with music and teaching, but I don't want it to be a job, just a fun hobby.

Speaking of hobbies, my cousin, aunt and I are starting a boutique.  It will be a one Saturday boutique in April.  We're booking my clubhouse, advertising, accepting other vendors, and making fun things ourselves.  I'm a little nervous about it, but mostly, I'm excited.  I think we know what we're doing and we're going to have a really good time doing it.  We've got a blog up and I'll post more about those adventures in the weeks to come.

Glenn's going skiing this weekend.  He went a couple weeks ago with Brady and had a great time.  This weekend he gets to go for free.  Some vendor is paying for a bunch of guys to go and he wasn't about to miss it.  It's been 10 years since the poor man went skiing and it's about time we lived in a place where he can go once in a while.

I think that's it.  We're all caught up.  Now if we can just stay that way!