Happy 3rd Birthday, Wes!

Wes is 3 today!  It’s so exciting!  Remember when I told you I wanted to accomplish two things in October?  Well, the second was to  make sure Wes felt celebrated for his birthday, even though he now has a baby sister that takes up a lot of attention.  I’d planned for us to take a family trip to the National Building Museum.  We’ve never been but it sounds like there is a really cool kids space that Wes would love.  He’s in a real construction phase.  But when we woke up on Saturday morning I knew it wasn’t happening.  Initially I felt bad.  We laid out presents for Wes to wake up to, along with a cupcake breakfast.  He was SO EXCITED about these things when he woke up.  It was a glorious day for him.  It was a nice reminder that just cake and presents go a long way for a small child.


Again, he’s in a real construction phase, so we gave him this dress up set with the idea that it would also double as a Halloween costume.  We’re still not trick or treating, but we do have a Halloween party to attend.


Keeping with the construction theme, he also got a drill game.


My parents got him a guitar.  He promptly wrote a song for his favorite girl at school.  He also brought it on the couch with him while he watched his last TV show of the day and randomly strummed it.  Both things were so cute to me.


Sean has been trying to read science books to Wes since he was itty.  They have always been on his phone and without pictures.  So we were excited when we discovered these.  They maybe weren’t as initially exciting as some of the other gifts, but Sean is enjoying reading them and I’m glad we have them for both Wes and Madeline.


For the last few weeks, Wes had been pointing out these cupcakes at Wegmans and told me he wanted them for his birthday.  At first I was disappointed he wanted something store bought instead of home made, and then I remembered I have a newborn and decided to be grateful.  So Wegman cupcakes it was this year!  They weren’t bad.

Sean, Madeline, and I went to Wes’s classroom to read books for circle time and have a special snack.  We had kept it a secret that Sean was coming and it was very special to have him there!

So happy birthday 3rd to our sweet Wesley!  Thanks for making us parents and keeping us laughing with all the funny things you say.  We love watching you grow.

Pumpkin Patch

Even with Madeline, I wanted to make sure we accomplished two things in October.  The first being finding pumpkins at a place somewhere other than the grocery store.  And luckily, my mom friends told me about Nall’s Produce, 12 minutes from our house, and I knew that pumpkin picking could still feel fun this year even if we didn’t make it to some of the big festivals we did last year or the apple orchard.  

This place was right on a busy road but still let their chickens run around with no fences.  It felt like a bold move to me!

  

This poor pig.  Wes threw a handful or tiny pebbles into her pen and she thought it was food.  She didn’t eat our pebbles, but I’m sad we fooled her.

Wes had a great time!  He jumped and danced and didn’t want to leave.  He didn’t realize at all that we weren’t at some big fall festival.  

And I’ve been meaning this whole week to take pictures of the pumpkins we picked but still haven’t.  So you’ll just have to imagine.  

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

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A friend of ours had a birthday recently, and to celebrate a group of us were invited to join her for a Nats/Cubs game.  She’s a Cubs fan.  It was a 7 p.m., Monday night game, so initially I told Sean he’d probably be going on his own if he decided to go.  Getting a sitter to our house in enough time for me to leave to get into the city on a weeknight is tricky.  And then I thought, but this could be so fun!  I want to go!  And Sean and I talked more and we said, we should just risk it and bring Wes because the cost of the babysitter would have been more than his ticket.  So in a very unlike us move, we ended up breaking our rules and bringing Wes to a baseball game that started at bedtime!

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I’m so glad we brought him!  This worked out so well and was a lot of fun for all of us!  Wes, of course, didn’t really know what was going on, but he occasionally popped up on Sean’s lap and Sean would walk him through what was happening.  He liked when people clapped and cheered and would join right along with them.  He danced to the music, made friends with the birthday girl, and mastered drinking water straight from the bottle.  A very successful night all around.

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We made it through the first half of the 5th inning, or about 8:45 p.m.  Which meant we made it for the Presiden’ts Race!  I love the President’s Race!  George won.  We parked at Sean’s office and our house is a little ways out, so I knew getting home would take awhile.  I thought I was so smart coming prepared with pajamas and putting him in them before we left for home.  Because of course he’d fall asleep.  Right?  Nope!  He chatted the whole 35 minutes home!  “You’re going in the wrong direction, Momma.  Daddy told you the right way to go.”  “It’s raining?  Are we going to see lightning?  I need to call my friend Eleanor.  We’re going to talk about the ligtning.  Did you bring my phone?”  (It was not raining.  No, he doesn’t have a phone.)  “Momma, you crack me up.”  “Do you see the crane?  Are the construction workers still working?”  And he recapped the foul ball that landed incredibly close to us.  The man who caught it spilled his peanuts and Wes cried.  I’m not sure if Wes cried because he was scared by the close proximity of the ball or because the man spilled his peanuts.  I think it may have been the spilled peanuts.  It still comes up and he always leads with the peanuts spilling, not the ball landing.  While I didn’t really want him to fall asleep at 10 p.m., I really enjoyed experiencing a ball game with him and his loopy chatter at the end of his night.

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A Crib for Baby Margaret

Daniel Tiger has a lot of power in our house.  Or did.  Until we introduced Bob the Builder and now Bob the Builder is the only thing Wes will watch.  But, at the time we told Wes he was going to be a big brother, Daniel Tiger was it.  To break the news we got him a Baby Margaret doll.  In case you’re unfamiliar, Baby Margaret is Daniel’s little sister and there are a few episodes around her birth and the disruption a baby might cause to your family.  Baby Margaret comes in a cardboard crib that I had planned to recycle right away but Wes wanted her to sleep in it, so I kept it.  The crib had a slow destruction.  It would be missing this little piece and then this little piece until finally it just wasn’t an effective crib anymore.  Wes wanted a new one though.  Baby Margaret needs a crib!  Daddy can make a new crib, but, of course, Wes had to help.

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We appreciate that Wes is a kid that loves his Baby Margaret doll so much that he wanted to make sure she had a proper place to sleep, but at the same time wanted to be involved in all the sawing and drilling and hammering and building.

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Sean did let Wes help a bit, but most of his “help” was watching or using scraps of wood and a few safe tools to “build” something of his own just outside of Sean’s wood shop.  He still loved being a part of this project though.  Wes is in a phase right now where Sean is IT.  When Sean’s home I’m banned from the playroom or the basement or wherever he and Sean and working on a special project (even if that special project is just coloring).  Sometimes we tell him it’s family time and I can be in the same room as them, and sometimes I say okay have your special time.  I’ll take advantage of this time alone.  Since there was a phase where Wes didn’t want Sean ever, it’s nice that they’re getting some quality time together now.

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This was a multi-weekend project and we’re all very happy with the final product!  Baby Margaret’s crib has a special place right next to Wes’s bed, although her place during naptime and bedtime is still with him.  Along with what feels like 50 of his other stuffed animal friends.  It’s getting to be a real zoo in there.  And it’s remarkable how he knows when just one is missing, and that one must be found before he can settle into bed for the night.  Because the other 49 stuffed animals just won’t do.

Strawberry Picking

Wes and I went strawberry picking last Friday with our friends Erin and Eilley.  I was so excited to go because Daniel Tiger goes strawberry picking in an episode and Wes really likes strawberries.  Wes was pretty excited to go until he fully understood the conditions.  Unfortunately it rained most of the week leading up to this outing and it was very, very muddy.

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This is Wes giving me a status report on the mud before we even got to the worst part.

Honestly I didn’t think Wes minded mud.  So I learned an important lesson about my son’s preferences.  He HATES mud.  Or, he hates mud when he’s wearing the only water/all-purpose summer shoe I have for him, Natives, which have small holes in them.  I tried to talk about what happened on our car ride home and I feel clear it was the shoes but unclear of the specific details surrounding the problem of the mud and shoes combination.  I think the holes might be it.  I think he needs rain boots for a future activity like this.

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Wes did pick some berries.  When he was standing in a less muddy spot, I think he enjoyed finding the red berries and putting them in his basket.  If it weren’t so muddy, I can imagine him getting really into it.  But this time there was a lot of crying about mud.

Initially I tried to talk him through the mud and explain where he should step so he could enjoy this outing more.  I gave up when nothing seemed to work and told him (in a kind way) to stand in the grass if he didn’t want to be in the mud.  Because I didn’t drive an hour to go home after 10 minutes with two strawberries.  So he stood in the grass.  He also explored the grassy area and watched the big kids and ate maybe a few too many strawberries before we paid for them.  He was pretty patient while I kept picking.  I had a lot of fun and was so happy with my full bucket!  Thanks for your patience, Wes.

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Can you spot him?

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See that sweet cheese face again?  My friend Erin took this picture and when she sent she commented that it almost looks like he had a good time.  So don’t let the sweet cheese face fool you.  (He also looks 5 here, right?!)

Erin sent me the recipe she planned to make with her strawberries, Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins.  They looked so good that we made a batch too!  I made ours mini muffins so I could freeze them and use them for Wes’s breakfasts.  They are delicious!  I substituted one cup of all-purpose flour of a cup of whole wheat flour but kept everything the same.  Erin told me she was planning to swap in applesauce for the oil.  We both opted for mini chocolate chips instead of regular chocolate chips.  You could maybe half the amount of chocolate chips if you were looking for a little more strawberry flavor.  Personally, I will probably always make these will a full cup because that’s what’s important to me.  Just some ideas for you if you decide to give these a try yourself.

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Cracking eggs is Wes’s favorite!  Some shells usually need to be rescued but cracking eggs makes him so happy!  (Oh, and he wiped his eggy hands on his white shirt, in case you’re wondering about that outfit change.)

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Not surprisingly, they are the new breakfast favorite.  They are a very tasty muffin, so I do recommend them if you’re looking to do something with your strawberries.  And next year I’ll watch the weather more closely and plan our strawberry picking outing for a dry week.

Burke Lake Park

We’ve visited Burke Lake Park a few times, but we’ve only been to the playground.  Recently we went with friends and they took us on an adventure around the actual lake!

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It was so pretty and peaceful!  There’s so much to do here.  You can rent boats and camp and hike and picnic.  Wes was thrilled to be near the water and see the fish and the ducks.  He was also just so delighted to walk through the woods to get there, looking for sticks (he would dart off the trail and find the biggest stick possible and ask if he could bring it along…and we’re talking small logs).

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He’s basically dance walking with happiness here.

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Can you tell that the guy in the background is fishing?  Well he caught a little one and let the little boys touch him before throwing it back in.  Wes was excited to see the fish up close, but didn’t want anything to do with touching the fish.  Which I totally understand.

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I’m so glad we discovered there’s so much more to this park than the playground!  It’s so close and so pretty!

Tudor Place

We’ve become friendly with some of the moms and kids in Wes’s preschool class, and one mom is a part-time museum educator.  On May 1st she organized a trip for us into DC to see the gardens at Tudor Place in Georgetown.

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Isn’t this tree just beautiful?  It’s 200 years old!

I drive to Georgetown for Junior League meetings in the peak of rush hour.  So I was really delighted to be reminded that it’s only 30 minutes for us to get there.  I’m going to try to remember that for the future because it’s a nice place to spend a morning.

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This is Wes’s friend Ian.  They really like each other.  It’s pretty sweet.  Ian’s mom took all the close up pictures (thanks, Christy!).  Here’s Ian and Wes at Frying Pan Farm Park last spring in case you’re curious in the difference a year makes.

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The gardens were beautiful.  From what I could occasionally hear, the woman leading the tour did a great job of engaging the 4-5 year olds with discussions about flowers and plants.  The three boys from Wes’s class…way more interested in the sticks, rocks, and just generally running as far and as fast as they could in the green space.  But, hey, at least they learned that a garden is a nice place to be!

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Apparently this is the face Wes gives you when you ask him to smile but don’t say cheese first.  It’s so funny to me!

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In case you’re curious, Wes is not that much bigger than Ian.  Wes is on the big side still, but Ian’s just sitting back.

Again, a big thanks to Christy for taking some pictures of us together.

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A Day of Favorites!

For Wes’s 2nd birthday, we celebrated just us three with all of Wes’s favorite things!  Staring with pancakes for breakfast.  I assure you, he was much, much happier with this than he looks in this picture.

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Then we headed back to Frying Pan Farm Park for a morning with the animals.  Wes is very into roosters right now.  I think it’s all because there’s a rooster that cock-a-doodle-dos about every hour in the produce section of Wegmans.  It’s a really big deal.  We spent most of our time with the chickens and the small tractors, but if you asked him about what he did at the farm he’ll tell you we saw cows.  The mind of a child is such a curious thing.

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These are tiny, brand new piggies!

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“Hi Roosters!”  “Hi Chickens!”img_6170

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“Daddy here!”  “Daddy closer!”

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Then we came home, lunched, napped, had a chocolate chip pumpkin cookie snack, and opened gifts!

For dinner we went to our favorite Mexican restaurant because Wes loves chips and quesadillas.

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Also limes, it’s kind of weird.

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Rounded out with ice cream and chocolate sauce.

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And if ice cream weren’t enough we quickly ducked into our neighbor’s house after dinner for a little pumpkin pie and another candle picture.

It was a fantastic day and a great celebration!  I’m still not sure I believe I have a two year old though.  The first year of life crawled by, but this second year flew.  Thanks for all the joy you bring, Wes.  Happy birthday!

PS – Last year’s celebrations recapped here.

Wes’s First Day of Preschool!

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Wes had his first day of preschool on Tuesday.  He was only an hour, but it was a great success!  Isn’t he adorable in this picture?  Here are the outtakes:

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Really, mom?

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But I promise I am sitting up straighter.  What does that even mean?

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Motor lips.

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These last four photos are courtesy of our friend, Christy.

And while I looked forward to this all summer, because I really missed our PDO program from last year, there was something about sending him off to preschool that was a little bittersweet.  He’s so very much my little buddy all day.  He never leaves me in wonder about what’s going on because he narrates everything.  “Wesley eating.”  “Wesley cooking pancakes.”  “Wesley working on projects.”  “Aiden barking.”  “Corn!”  “Onion.”  “Cindy home.”  “Da-da home.”  Nothing (and I do mean nothing) happens without Wes stating exactly what’s happening.  I can’t believe I’m going to admit this, but I think I’m going to miss the constant chatter.

Although maybe we should see how I feel in a month.