My Favorite Little Boy Has A Birthday

Monday, December 26, 2011

I think every birthday post starts out with the words "I can't believe my baby...", but, really- I can't believe that my baby boy is another year older.

Three. This is a big deal.

Christmas came and went, and then this morning when we woke up, our favorite little boy was practically a grown up. He wakes up on his own in the mornings, between 5:00 and 6:30, and he walks himself downstairs, turns on a light, and gets to playing. After all, theres absolutely no time to waste, when you've got a brand new train table with railroad tracks just sitting there, demanding to be taken apart and put back together again.

The cutest part about Charlie's big day, was that he didn't understand that it was his birthday. Everytime we'd tell him "Happy Birthday Charlie!", he'd pick up a toy and say "Happy Birthday Lightning!", or "Happy Birthday Cranky!", as if we were playing a game? The birthday game. The one time that we tried to argue that it wasn't his trains birthday, and explain to him that it was his birthday, he burst into tears at the lunch table, and screamed until I corrected it all and said "No no, see what I meant was, its everyone's birthday today!!!".

One of the first things that he opened up, was a monster truck toy sent to him from my parents in Washington. Boy did they hit the nail on the head- he drove that monster truck with its ATV trailer up and down the window sill forever.

Theres just something extra special about a plastic thing with wheels, isn't there? I've never quite understood it, but little boys everywhere seem to speak the same language when it comes to vroom and zoom. He loved it.

And then came a suitcase full of over sized puzzle pieces, which didn't seem to interest him as much as it did his sisters (a treasure, for the girls). He dumped them out and put them back in the box a couple of times, but- they didn't chug or toot, so they didn't hold his attention.

Grammy sent some really cool stacking alphabet blocks- these was cool. Kids love things that stack in and out of each other. And these blocks get really tall. Taller than the baby even- which makes them that much more exciting. So we stacked and tumbled, over and over again. And over, and over, and over again.

Grammy and Gpa also sent a shiny new copy of Cars 2, so- I bet you can guess how we spent our afternoon.

We got him a few things too- our favorite being these wooden wheely dinosaurs. Dinosaurs and wheels... what could be better??

Oh, right- the train set that Santa brought him yesterday morning. Train set = greater than all.

Grandpa Dave really threw the confetti up in the air though, by sending Charlie train accessories. A new Cranky. I don't even know what a cranky is? But apparently Charlie does. Unwrapping Cranky was like unwrapping gold.

And somewhere within all of that- Charlie passed out on his bed with his Cranky in one hand, and his Lovey in another.

And when he woke up, we ate a delicious homemade "boofday cake". Peanut butter cheesecake, made of cashews, coconut oil, lemon, and agave- the best we've had yet. We couldn't find any candles in the cabinet, so he settled for some organic sprinkles instead. Oh the thrill of sprinkles.

Now, more about this train table...

This train table has become a way of life. Its the center of the house right now, and there isn't a waking moment that passes, where there aren't little hands touching it. Sometimes those little hands are knocking down bridges, or stealing freight cars from siblings, but- nonetheless, this is the current favorite.

Happy Boofday, Mister Charlie. You're my favorite little man. I love watching you wipe your nose after every bite you take, I love saying "goodbye, I'll see you when I come back" every time that I leave the room, and I love tucking you in 100 times every night when you cry out "cover me up", because you just want to see Mommy and Daddy one more time before going to sleep.

You're a pretty awesome 3 year old.

Tomorrow we'll watch Scrat.
I promise.

Making Gluten Free Play Dough With Charlie

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My kids have been kind of cheated, in the play dough department. Eleanore had only played with it once while she was at a friends house, and the peanut butter play dough that we used to smoosh around apparently wasn't good enough to stick in their memories.

I've been meaning to make gluten free play dough for forever.

On Eleanore's first day of kindergarten, we walked into her class room, found her seat, and yep, right there on her laminated place mat, was a little container of play dough. ...and so it began.

I've still been meaning to make gluten free play dough.

And then when she wins a trip to her classrooms treasure chest for good behavior- she picks a little thing of play dough. Well you can't play with that here at home, so...

Again, must- make- play dough.

So yesterday when we were out at the store, we picked up some rice flour and some corn starch- I will make play dough. I will stop sucking at motherhood. Its happening.

First: I needed to enlist a helper. And since the baby was sleeping upstairs and not pawing at my legs begging for green crunchies for the first time all day- Charlie, come help Mommy!!

Ok, so we used this recipe, and it was easy peasy...

-1 Cup White Rice Flour
-1/2 Cup Cornstarch
-1/2 Cup Salt
-1 Tbsp Cream of Tartar
-1-1/2 tsp vegetable oil
-Splash vanilla for scent.
-1 Cup Water, hot but not boiling
-Food Coloring

1. Mix all dry ingredients together in a medium pot.
2. Then add the vegetable oil and water. Mix mix mix.
3. Heat the pot on the stove over low/med heat for 3-5 minutes.
4. When the dough starts to pull away from the sides easily, turn out the dough onto wax paper. Let it cool briefly until you can work it with your hands (mine never got that hot).
5. Knead food coloring into the dough until you get the color you're looking for.

Charlie poured all of the dry ingredients in. I just supervised. And photographed. And reminded him 100 times to keep it all in the pot.

His favorite part was whisking the flours together. And pouring the oil in. It was just after this point that he decided Lightning McQueen was way more interesting, and took off to the utensil drawer, so that McQueen could blow a tire in a funnel?

It kinda looked like icing, btw, while it was cooking on the stove, which made me hungry? Speaking of hungry- Christopher is reheating me leftover sweet potato curry right now, in between watching mythbusters and top gear. But right, anyways-

So I stood there by myself, listening to Christmas music on pandora, sprinkling cornstarch and food coloring onto sticky dough balls, while my 2 year old drove his tiny toy cars through the cabinets and drawers of the kitchen behind me. Your loss Charlie, this is fun.

This one looked like a candy cane, kind of. I had to keep adding color as I went along.

And some of them needed extra cornstarch.

My hands got really pretty though!

YES! There, kids. Are you happy now? I've made you your precious play dough. Get off my case already.

Aaaand while Charlie was pushing Lightning around on a kitchen chair train... I played :)

And then I cleaned :(

But this worked out perfectly, because Elie had early release for winter break today, and this gave the kids something fun to do.

And they, loved it.

So. Thats one of the things that we did today.

Going To The Park

Sunday, December 18, 2011

I was in kind of a crap mood earlier. I don't know why- maybe because I have pink eye (thanks, girls!), maybe because I hadn't left the house for anything other than grocery shopping in awhile, maybe because I was wearing my husbands over sized comfortable hoodie and it was making me too cozy to function- either way, I was a grouch, and nobody wanted to be around me.

So upon looking at myself in the mirror (even though I look like Quasimodo right now), I mouthed the words "don't suck" to myself, and then emerged a happy being, and thought "gee, its a fairly nice day outside- finally- maybe we could go to the park?".

Well hot dog, Mama! We haven't been to the park in at least a month. We haven't been to the Big Green one it probably two!

So I pulled Eleanore away from her upstairs airplane crafting, Charlie threw himself into Lightning McQueen mode and raced towards the door, and Evelyn toddled herself into her heart hoodie and reached "up!" for me to carry her to the stroller. And then we went.

And not only did we go, but- I documented it.

Its been so long since I've taken my camera somewhere with us and shot off a couple rounds of photos. Usually its just a photo here, and a photo there, but- its been a long time since the kids had their own little photo session. It was long overdue. I really enjoyed it.

Christopher and the younger ones played on the swings. It took me a minute to notice that the baby was on his shoulders, rather than in his lap. I had a brief moment of panic, but- just look at how much fun shes having up there. I couldn't rain on that parade.

Eleanore had fallen and scraped her knee- and it was really no big deal. But because she had scraped that same knee a day or two ago, she put on the pout and had herself a pitty party on the slide. Poor wittle baby.

Whoa whoa whoa- Evelyn, look at you, little explorer! The green tunnels have always been there, but you've never really payed them any attention until today. Very cute, to watch you crawl through, peek out, stand up, and fight your way past the evil brother monster.

And speaking of the evil brother monster...

A good friend's Mom (Hi Gay!) made the comment the other night, about how much Charlie has grown since last summer. About how his baby face is gone, and hes growing up into a little boy. ...looking at these pictures- I see it.

Can you believe he'll be three in a week??

There is nothing better, than playing with a pile of sticks.

There were other kids at the park, but none of them Eleanore's age. They were all big kids- 9, 10? Twice her size. And the poor thing, she just doesn't understand. "I just want to play Monsters, and nobody wants to play Monsters with me.", she pouted on the sidewalk with her kitty. Brother does! we reminded her, but- its just not the same.

Coming to the park is hit or miss with Eleanore. Either shes happy and she loves it, or its the most awful place that ever was. And today, it was a little bit of both. It was wonderland until the big kids came. She was so so excited to see them, and couldn't wait to be their new best friend...

and then she was crushed when they showed no interest in her.

Its hard, seeing our little ones ache the way that they do. We remember how bad it feels.

So we did what we always do- acted as if those big kids weren't worth the time of day, and carried on merrily.

Or maybe not, so merrily.

The baby walks now, in case you hadn't noticed, just thought I'd point that out. That big ol' bruise on her noggin is from a sister meets hugs meets slippery hardwood floors meets etchasketch to face. It was vicious, but shes on the mend.

Toddle toddle toddle.

Gosh hes handsome. We're trying to let his hair grow out. We took him in for a trim, but- as you can see, it didn't get trimmed. Tantrums win when it comes to me and the hair salon. Its not a battle I care to fight. You want long messy hair? Fine. I've got dreadlocks, so what do I care if you look like a hipster caveboy.

Going up the stairs has always been easy, but- its coming back down, thats the tricky part.

Wheres the baby?
Oh there she is.

Aww, see! Its not so bad after all, Miss attitude Eleanore.

A fun trip to the park indeed. Bad moods averted.

Until the walk home, at least.