Thomas is THREE!

If you've been hanging around here for a while, then you know when it's your birthday, you get woken up with balloons!  Katie Wynn was so excited about Thomas getting three balloons that she was the first one up.  She couldn't wait to deliver them!  Thomas?  He thought his three balloons were a real yawn.


We came home from our beach trip on a Tuesday and Thomas turned three on Thursday.  It was a daycare day for the kids and I let them pick out the kind of dinosaur they wanted for Thomas's bday shirt.  T-Rex (and a matching K-Rex) was the winner!


We quickly threw together a dinosaur-themed party for that Saturday.  The week was a whirlwind but we were glad to get to celebrate our little guy with a Three-Historic (prehistoric?) Party!


I didn't hire a photographer and all three cameras at the party had dead batteries, so I just have a few phone pictures.  I ordered inflatable dinosaurs that were scattered around the backyard for decorations.  The kids played with them and bonus - some kids got to take one with them as an extra party favor.  In one corner of the backyard, we filled a small plastic pool with sand and lots of plastic dinosaurs for a very official fossil dig.  


Have you ever heard of a kid that doesn't love to hunt eggs at Easter?  Me either.  That's why our other party event was a dinosaur egg hunt!  Since our party guests obviously didn't have Easter baskets with them, we passed out brown paper sacks for them to carry their dino eggs in.  

We took a quick family picture before heading inside for cake.  Did I mention it was blazing hot outside?


I made Thomas a chocolate cake wrapped in Kit-Kat candy bars and topped with Heath Bar "dirt" and two dinosaurs.  He thought it was cool but then told me he doesn't like chocolate cake.  Awesome.  Good thing I also made some mini vanilla cupcakes topped with tiny dinosaurs.


As we ate cake and ice cream, a real dinosaur burst into the kitchen!  Matt threw himself on top of it and started riding it until he was able to calm it down and get it under control.  What a hero!  He saved the party!


The kids burned off the sugar from the cake and ice cream by all jumping on our tiny trampoline together.  Amazingly, no one was injured while they were all crammed in there together.  


Here is Thomas riding out a sugar low and high from his rush of a birthday party day.  


It's really hard for me to wrap my head around my baby being three.  Wasn't he just born yesterday?  I try to tell him at least once every day that he is my very favorite little boy in all the world.  I love him big.

Girls' Weekend

Every October, the men in my family go on a boys' retreat where they spend the weekend fishing, golfing, cooking out, playing cards, and probably other things I'd rather not know about.  And they leave all the kids home with us girls.  For the last couple of years, the kids and I have stayed with my Mom at her house and had a girls (plus Thomas) weekend.  This year our weekend without the Dads was full of fun!

Friday night we ate outside at a pizza restaurant.  While Mom stayed at our table and waited for our food, I took the [antsy] kids on a walk to a nearby boardwalk on the river.

Photography by Katie Wynn

Photography by Katie Wynn

Photography by Katie Wynn

Photography by Katie Wynn

It was a fun adventure and the kids were great eaters at the pizza place.  The next morning, after Mom made us all pancakes, we hit the road headed to the pumpkin patch.  We went to the same one we visited two years ago and loved it again.  We played tether ball, fed animals at the petting zoo, slid down an enormous slide, road a train, picked out pumpkins, and so much more!


We brought a picnic lunch with us which was definitely the way to go.

After lunch, we took a hayride to the pumpkin field where the kids got to pick out two pumpkins each.

Here they are with the pumpkin ruler from this year and two years ago.  My, how they've grown!









Later that afternoon, after some much needed naps at home, we conquered the world!  In puzzle form.

Since Mom and I were too zapped to do anything for dinner, we dined in at a fancy little restaurant called Wendy's.  The kids loved it, and we all enjoyed playing with the prize from their kids' meals!

This picture of Thomas makes me laugh every time.  And that's "homework" he did on his hand, in case you were wondering.


We made it to church the next morning and afterwards, I got possibly my favorite picture of the two kids together ever.  

We had a really good girls plus Thomas weekend, but we were still pretty excited when the boys arrived back home!  Now, when do all the Mamas get to go away for the weekend? :)

Dump Truck Party

When you have a little boy that loves trucks and playing in the dirt, it's not hard to figure out a theme for his birthday party.  :)  For his second birthday, we got him a new dump truck (or five) and a pile of dirt and the party setup was pretty much done!

As you can see from the invitation above, we instructed the kids to wear old clothes so that they could play in the dirt!  Other than the dirt pile, my decorations and set up were very minimal.  The party was originally scheduled for a Saturday but with rain in the forecast, it got moved to Sunday at the last minute.  Of course, then it was sunny and hot, so we tried to make a shade canopy out of a tarp for little kids to be under.

Before I go any further, let me note that, like with every other birthday party we've had, I had a photographer come take pics of the fun for us.  Most pictures in this post are credited to Kasey McAlpin.

Oriental Trading was my friend when it came to decorations and favors.  I just ordered the construction theme stuff they had - caution tape, caution slap bracelets, construction glasses, flimsy plastic hard hats, and the cutest little orange cone cups I ever did see.  Matt picked up the Caution signs from Home Depot or Lowe's and I "scribble scrabbled" (Katie Wynn's term) on them literally minutes before the party started. 

Thomas certainly did not need any new toys - he already has tons! - so in lieu of gifts, we asked our guests to bring a package of socks.  We later donated them to the Memphis Union Mission - a shelter for homeless men that provides them with a place to sleep and a clean pair of clothes each day.  I feel certain that they appreciate the new socks very much!  At the entrance to our backyard, I set up a wheel barrow with a sign for Construction Crew Socks so our guests would know where to leave them.

The nice thing about it being from 3 to 5 is that I didn't feel obligated to serve a meal.  We had cake, ice cream, and drinks and called it a day.  

Quick attempt at a family photo before our guests arrived.  Not sure it was successful.

Now usually, Thomas is all about playing in some dirt.  But, he's shy like his sister and had just woken up from a nap, so he wanted nothing to do with it for a while.  In fact, for the first 30 minutes or so, I worried that the party was a big ol' flop.  

My sister-in-law, Erin, arrived with my nephews and they were the heroes that saved the party!  Those boys weren't scared to get dirty and it just took seeing them for all the other kids to realize they could go really play in the dirt too.  Phew! 

Here is a gallery of lots of pictures of the kids playing in the dirt.  Use the arrows on the sides to scroll through!

I had orange plastic cones out around the dirt pile (leftover from Katie Wynn's car wash party) that ended up making great shovels for the kids.  Glad I thought to get them out! 

When kids weren't in the dirt, they were busy swinging or playing in our hand-me-down playhouse.

Across the yard from the dirt pile, we had a wash station set up to clean off dirty hands and feet.  Everyone got a quick rinse before cake and ice cream.

My nephews had to get a complete scrub down, but I let my Dad handle that.  :)

With everyone clean, it was time for cake!  This was probably one of the easiest birthday cakes I've made.  I iced a chocolate cake with chocolate icing, used crushed oreos for some dirt and plopped on a couple of construction trucks.  The orange cones were the candles.

Guess who got shy again when everyone started singing?

Matt just blends in with all the kids.  :)

Our photographer needed to leave shortly after cake and ice cream, so we tried one more time for a family picture.  I'm not sure these are any better than the one at the beginning of the party!

I also had her get the four grandparents because I feel like I never have pictures of them!

Now, just because the photographer left, does not mean the fun ended!  The rest of these pictures were taken by either me or my mother-in-law, Patricia.  

After cake and ice cream, Thomas decided he wanted to check out that water bucket one more time.  It was only seconds before he climbed in it to play.

Eventually he found the hose and figured out how to use it.

The bigger kids wandered over to play...

...and for once in his life, little Thomas was in charge!  He had the hose and could spray them any time they got too close to his water bucket.  And oh, they squealed and ran!  It was too funny and too much fun!

Consider yourself warned: steer clear of Thomas when he has a water hose!

By the time our guests left, the kids were soaked from head to toe.  Better than covered in dirt, though, right?  It was a good party and fun was had by all! 

My boy.

I have been meaning to write a post all about my little boy for a long time, but now that he's officially turned two I'm making myself finally sit down and do it!  Thomas is in this really fun stage and has the funniest personality that I just want to bottle up and keep forever.  

At two, his eyes are still just as bright blue as ever and I absolutely love it.  I feel good about them staying blue forever, and I just hope they hold their brightness.  They really are the prettiest eyes.  His hair is still blond but seems to be darkening by the day.  I never imagined I'd have a blond boy, but now I've gotten used to it and don't want it to go away!  Brown hair genes are pretty strong on both sides of our families though, so I'm sure he'll eventually be brunette too.  I just hope it's not too soon!  The hair that he has grows quickly and sadly has lost the little bit of curls that he had last summer.  It's thickening up all over...except for the top sides.  Poor guy still looks like he has a bad receding hairline!

Thomas has never met a pair of shoes that he didn't want to try on.  He loves to click clack around the house in any that I've taken off, but it's also not unusual for him to just go in my closet to find a pair on his own.  His sister's shoes aren't safe either.  He prefers her hot pink water shoes to his navy ones every day of the week.

The picture below on the right is from dinner time one night when Thomas strolled in with most of a roll of toilet paper.  And he was so proud of himself!  You really just never know what he's up to when he's out of sight.

My boy is really a Daddy's boy most of the time.  He'll settle for his Mama when Daddy isn't around.  He probably says "I want my Daddy" or "hold me, Daddy" or "where Daddy go?" a hundred times a day.

His very favorite food is probably tomatoes - called "apples" - followed closely by green beans.  For the first two years of his life, he has been a really good eater and has tried nearly everything set in front of him.  We are just starting to see the beginnings of toddler pickiness emerge.  Other current faves include grapes, cheese, cereal, gold fish, and ice cream.  If he had it his way, he would drink "bot-lick" (chocolate) milk all day every day.  And in the mornings, he still sucks down his whole sippy cup of milk in one sitting, like a baby drinking a bottle.  

As you can see from the picture below, if I'm too slow on the snack delivery, he takes matters into his own hands.  He figured out WAY too early on (probably from watching his sister) how to pull a chair up to the fridge or counter to get anything he wants.  Basically, nothing is safe. 

There are days when he's 100% ALL boy.  He does not shy away from dirt and mud.  He's happy to run around naked or just in a diaper.  He throws anything that even somewhat resembles a ball.  He gets excited to watch a choo-choo pass by on the tracks and watches for big trucks outside the car window.  He pushes any toy with wheels around while saying "beep beep!" 

Other days, he shows his sweet, gentle soul.  Most of our friends in town have new babies and he LOVES to sit and watch them in their bouncers.  I've caught him petting their sweet little feet and he loves when we hold a baby and let him gently touch their head.  He has told me he wants a baby; it made me sad to tell him "Sorry, bud! Probably not gonna happen!"  He borrows Katie Wynn's babies and pushes them around in her stroller.  And he carts his Elmo and stuffed bunny rabbits all over the house in the mornings.  

Thomas's biggest love is for candy!  Matt and I both love candy too so he comes by it honestly.  He knows that Mimi keeps candy in her cookie jar and that he usually can have ONE piece.  These days, he has his one finger up before we even make it through her garage door and starts asking, "one canny, one canny?"  This mama has learned to use that love for candy to her advantage - he'll almost always pose for a picture if there's a piece of candy promised!

He knows how to "cheese!" for the camera now too, so often I get silly grins like the one below on the left!

I know I've mentioned it before, but Thomas recently went through a big boots phase.  He has his own pair of navy rain boots but prefers this hand-me-down yellow pair of Katie Wynn's.  Wrong feet?  He doesn't care!  Thankfully, he has at least temporarily moved on from the rain boots.  Now, he prefers to wear "lop lops" (flip flops) everyday.  

Thomas's favorite days are ones that Mr. Nate comes to mow the yard.  He LOVES to watch him through the window and wave to him.  On the day we celebrated his birthday, Mr. Nate came to cut the grass AND spread mulch, so he was there longer than normal.  Thomas was in heaven!  We sat on the back porch and watched him mow.  I'm sure Nate hates coming to our house because he always has an audience.  :)  The next morning, the first thing Thomas said when he woke up was, "Where Nate go?" 

Katie Wynn is still incredibly shy around crowds, and Thomas feeds off her energy.  If we're somewhere with other people - a birthday party, for example - and she's not talking and wants to be held, then he's doing the same.  If she's being silly and running around, then he's hot on her heels.  And if she's not around, he's at the window waiting for her arrival.  Another phrase on repeat - "Where Kay-Wynn go?" 

Thomas loves playing with the toy doctor's kit that Katie Wynn got for Christmas.  He often gives shots, takes our blood pressure, and hammers us with the reflex tool.  All while wearing his doctor glasses, of course.  Sometimes, he even gives haircuts with his surgical scissors.  

Now that Thomas is two, he technically has outgrown the nursery at our church.  He has started attending Sunday School and now joins us in the sanctuary for church until the children are dismissed for Children's Church.  It can get a bit noisy in our pew.  :)  A couple Sundays ago, Matt eventually had to carry Thomas out because we couldn't get him to be quiet.  He was singing "Jesus loves me!" - just those three words - on repeat and only sang louder when Matt picked him up.  Sweet guy just loves his Jesus!  :)

Thomas is my very favorite little guy.  Every day all I want to do is kiss his chubby little cheeks.  I can't imagine what our life would be like without him in it.  He brightens our days, keeps us on our toes, sometimes makes us crazy, but always makes us laugh and smile.  We love him big!

Thomas Turned Two

Exactly 12 days ago, my baby turned two years old.  And, twelve days later, I'm still trying to figure out how this has happened.  When did he grow up?!  He's supposed to stay my tiny baby forever...

His birthday started like a lot of days do at our in clothes that Mama made!  For his birthday, he was rocking a special dump truck shirt.  :)

He has learned how to "cheeeese" for my camera!

He has learned how to "cheeeese" for my camera!

This face - I could just eat it right up.  I kiss those chubby cheeks all day long!

This face - I could just eat it right up.  I kiss those chubby cheeks all day long!

I couldn't leave big sister out of the photoshoot.  She was upset that she didn't have a dump truck shirt too.  (I fixed that before party time.  Phew!)  And, she insisted that I get in a picture with the birthday boy.  She actually got a decent picture of us!

Because the grandparents weren't going to be available for a celebratory dinner until the next day, we postponed the celebration.  So, aside from wearing his dump truck shirt and taking a homemade cookie cake to school, it was just another regular ol' day to Thomas.  

The timing worked out perfectly because not only did both sets of his grandparents come over the following evening, but it was also when his dirt pile arrived!  Yes, we bought him a pile of dirt for his birthday.  And some dump trucks, of course.  He and his sister were glad to try out the dirt before dinner.  

He looks so grown up to me in the pictures below.  I think it's because of how his hair is swept over and because the dirt on his face makes him look like he has some scruff.  

This girl likes to play in the dirt too!  An accidental handful of dirt in the mouth started to cause a meltdown but then became hilarious to this silly girl.  (Phew!  Crisis averted.)

Just as entertaining as the dirt pile was the bowl of water we set out for them to rinse their hands and feet in.  

It took a little bit of convincing (and a good wipe-down!) before they would come in for dinner.  I have a feeling this might be the theme of the summer as long as this dirt pile sticks around.  We ate a meal of all of Thomas's favorite things - pork chops, macaroni and cheese, green beans, and salad (well, tomatoes for him).  

I was worried about how the gift opening was going to go over with Big Sister but luckily for her, Thomas let her open most of his gifts.  He (they) opened up new dump trucks, lots of cool truck books, blocks, a slip n slide, and a new ride on toy.  

He also got a new fishing set (post coming soon about this) and a teepee to play in.  

We ended the evening by finally singing Happy Birthday and blowing out candles.  He wasn't sure about it at first but then got excited about getting to eat that cupcake!

It was a really good day for our little boy.  A pile of dirt, new toys, cupcakes, and BOTH sets of grandparents at the same time all had him squealing for joy.  He definitely went to bed happy as a two-year-old.

I plan to write another post next all about this little guy and his funny personality!