Saturday, April 24, 2010

Party Time!

We celebrated Natalie's fourth birthday with a party last weekend. On Sunday she invited friends from her preschool class and from our playgroup over to The Little Gym where they all ran crazy and played for an hour and a half. There were balls, bars, beams, and a parachute.

There was pizza. (I highly recommend The Little Gym for birthday parties if you're as lazy as I am, and the idea of twelve two-through-five-year-olds running around your house gives you hives. It's much more fun having a party when you know the cake, pizza, and lemonade all over the floor will be cleaned up by someone else.)

There was Barbie ballerina cake. This was chosen because Natalie loves Barbie, and she loves ballerinas, and she also loves as much pink and purple as possible on a cake.

At home there were presents and payback. Let's just say that Natalie wasn't nearly as nice about the help she was getting from Brandon as he was when she was being so helpful with his gifts a week earlier.

And what's that? Oh, that's just Natalie's brand new Nintendo DS. You know, the one her older brother convinced her she needed for her birthday.

And now I am done with the birthday parties until December!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Four Going on Fourteen

Every year my boys get a year older, and every year I'm amazed. Kyle's birthdays sneak up on me and make me feel old. Brandon's birthdays seem to come quickly, and they make me nostalgic.

Natalie's birthdays are an entirely different experience for me. We spend the entire four months between Kyle's birthday in December and Natalie's birthday in April counting down the days and discussing presents. By the time April 19th rolls around each year we've all been heavily prepared, and everyone is ready for it.

This year was no different. On Monday Natalie turned four, and I looked at her and said, "Happy Birthday, Baby! I can't believe you're four!" What she hears is, "Wow, you're such a big girl!" What I'm really saying is, "I can't believe you're only four."

Natalie is wise beyond her years, always one step of her brothers, and she doesn't miss a thing. She listens to and absorbs everything the adults around her say, files it away in her little head, and never lets on that she's listening. In public she's reserved, shy, quiet, and afraid to put herself in unfamiliar situations. At home she loves her brothers fiercely, but she rules them like a tyrant, and they willingly do her bidding from the time they wake up in the morning until they go to bed at night. What they don't do willingly she tricks them into doing.

She is definitely mine. My mother will agree, as will my brother and sister.

My little girl turned four on Monday, and I wasn't at all surprised by it. Of course she's four. Hasn't she been four forever?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Where goin'?

I had this conversation with Brandon yesterday while I was buckling him into his carseat.

Brandon: "Where goin'? Mommy? Where goin'?"
Me: "We're going to the grocery store. Then we're going to pick Nat up from school."
Brandon: "I wanna go Mom-mom an' Pop-pop's house. I wanna go Pop-pop's house, NOW!"
Me: "Oh, we can't go to Mom-mom and Pop-pop's house today. They live far, far away. We'd have to take an airplane to go there, and we have to go pick Natalie up soon."

Thirty seconds later, as we're driving down the street.

Brandon: "Where goin', Mommy?"
Me: "We're going to the grocery store, Brandon."
Brandon: "No gross store! I go air-port!"

I guess he knows he can find airplanes at the airport. Think he misses his Mom-mom and Pop-pop much?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Birthday Boy

For the first time in over five years I no longer have a child under the age of two in the house. Brandon's second birthday was yesterday, and I'm pretty sure that means I can't call him a baby any longer. My baby, yes. A baby, no. Not that he's acted much like a baby over the last year. This child can hold his own with a silly, impulsive five-year-old and a bossy, wily almost-four-year-old any day.

I'm the first one to admit that I'm lazy, so Brandon's second birthday was exactly like all the other second birthdays we've celebrated around here--a few presents and cake, attended by immediate family. I don't do parties for two-year-olds. As far as a two-year-old is concerned it is a party if they see cake, presents, and singing. Some days they think it's a party if they just see a dog in the backyard next door. Or if you tell them they're having pizza for lunch. Or if Dora comes on the television. You get my drift.

Here's the cake I made:
Brandon picked out the little sugar candies shaped like Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater. The red sugar sprinkles were all me.

Brandon wailed as we sang to him.
I'm not totally sure why that was since he perked right up after the singing stopped (the singing really couldn't have been that bad), and he blew out his candles like a pro.

He had an excellent time opening presents despite a large amount of help from his big sister.
And then we spent the rest of the day watching Brandon play with all of his new toys and try to keep them away from the vultures known by the names of Kyle, Natalie, and Ethan (Kyle's friend).
I really can't believe my littlest man is two. Life is easier for me now than it's ever been in my entire tenure as a mother. Now all we need to do is attempt some potty-training, and I should be home free. Hah.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Three Days in New York

Shaun and I spent three days in New York last week while my parents wrangled the kids, and we had an amazing time. I'm not saying you have to do what we did if you ever go to New York, but here's what you'd have to do if you grow up to be just like us.

Day 1:

Arrive at Newark Liberty International to torrential downpour and take train into NYC.

Check-in to an awesome room at The Plaza. Have lunch at Sarabeth's on Central Park South. Go see The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, a Swedish film subtitled in English and based on the novel of the same name.
Wander through Greenwich Village and catch a show at The Comedy Cellar, with headliners including Darrell Hammond, Jim Norton, and Nick Griffin.

Day 2:

Wake up whenever you want rather than to the sound of children banging on their bedroom doors or sneaking down the stairs.

Go shopping in SoHo.

Catch Ricky Gervais at a taping of The Late Show with David Letterman.

Have dinner in the the Theater District and take in Race on Broadway, starring James Spader, David Alan Grier, Kerry Washington, and Richard Thomas. Day 3:

Wake to some of the warmest temperatures and sunniest skies you've seen since September (you'd have to live in Newfoundland to accurately duplicate the joy at finding 60-degree temps at 9 AM).

Have some of the best french toast ever and a bellini at Balthazar in Soho. Do some more shopping for yourself and for the kids at Fresh and FAO Schwarz. Wander through Central Park and laze on a park bench in the sun. Do a little more shopping and have lunch at The Shops at Columbus Circle near Central Park.

Take the train from New York's Penn Station back to Newark Liberty International, and hope that your flight home isn't delayed in some fashion by the weather in St. John's. (It will be, but you don't know it yet.)

The End. (Until I'm ready to get into my most recent near-death experience at the hands of Continental Airlines and the St. John's International Airport. You're just going to have to wait for that part of the story.)

Monday, April 5, 2010

A Good Time Was Had By All

Well, the grandparents returned home today, and I don't think 10 days have ever passed more quickly! There were horsey rides, bicycle rides, snow, sun, cupcakes, Easter eggs, and more. We all had a blast.

Week one of Kyle's Spring break flew by, and I now get to spend the next week detoxing the kids. No more dessert every night, no more endless board games and Barbie movies, no more all-day pajama-wearing... starting tomorrow. I guess I'll be detoxing myself, as well, since I'll have to stop ignoring the laundry, I'll have to start playing with my own kids again, and there will be no more trips to New York with Shaun.

Oh well. It was fun while it lasted!