Friday, March 30, 2012

Cousin Time

I have several, very strong memories of cousin time when I was younger.  The aunts would usually take us to a McDonald's that had a playground.  I think that we ate lunch, but what I remember has nothing to do with the food.  I remember taking over the playground, the cousins would take control and dominate the play area.  It sounds kind of mean when I say it out loud, so let's just pretend it was a sweet thing that we did.  

I LOVE all my cousins.  We still have fun when we get together.  Now, today, I'm redefining "cousins."  When I say "we're going to go see the cousins," it usually doesn't mean my cousins.  It means Burl and Fern's cousins, which they adore.  They are all older and have ushered my children into the cousin world nicely.  This week, the aunts took the cousins to the park and for hot dogs.  I'm one of the aunts.  Which feels a little weird.  No, it feels a lot weird.  Like see-your-teacher-at-the-mall-weird.  Life changes.  Roles change.  We play different roles in our lives.  With these new roles, comes new memories.  

That quick little visit of play and eating will be a big memory for me.  I realized that I have a new role.  An aunt.  A mom with children who have cousins.  A mom who coordinates cousin time.  There's no doubt about it.  Cousin time is big time.  And big time makes for big memories.  

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Climbing Kool-Aid

Well, I've gone and done it.  I took a sip of the kool-aid.  It was so delicious that I picked up the glass and drank the rock climbing kool-aid all the way gone.  Bottoms up.  Bartender, get me another one.

We went on a day-date to the local climbing gym.  It was just the two of us that it went, and it felt like it was just the two of us there.  I climbed and climbed and it felt so good.  John told me I looked like I knew what I was doing.  He said that I had good technique.  Naturally, I didn't let him stop there.  I made him explain, in detail, just how good I was.  

The real challenge that comes with climbing is finding the time to do it.  It takes a lot of time.  Time is something that we don't have a lot of these days.  An infant and toddler have first dibs.  So, we're going to try and find a balance, because we both enjoy climbing.  We tried something:

We did what any abnormal, crazy people would do: we packed them up and took them with us. Joseph was with us, which helped.  We were bouldering (climbing small rocks without rope).  Including the kids while climbing was something that I'm still figuring out.  John asks me, "are we going to be a climbing family?"

I'm not sure what that means exactly, but I know some families that I consider climbing families. They've given me advice like:

~the key is bring lots of snacks
~start them young
~go with other families & just take turns watching the kids
~bring some rope and tie one end to them and one end to a tree (my personal favorite)

We'll have to figure out something.  I've got the gear and I can't not use it.  That would just make me a poser, and a poser I am not.  I'm drinking the climbing kool-aid.  I have a red-tinted upper lip because I keep taking sips.  It's just so delicious.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Small Courageous Walk

I've wanted to do this for a while, but it's taken some time to build up the courage.  

Most days out of the week, I take a walk or run through my neighborhood.  With spring, comes beautiful growth (insert cool spiritual analogy here), and right now, my neighborhood looks like a rain forest.  Take my word for it.

In all these runs and walks through my hood, I have fallen in love with with the bright green of the leaves against the bright blue sky.  Then, I come across trees and bushes and flowers in bloom-dogwoods mainly and I feel a little giddy inside.  

On Sunday, I finally had the courage to carry my camera with me.  With Fern strapped to my front and the camera strap twisted around my hand, I bravely went for it.  I walked around and snapped pictures.  I stood on my tip-toes at some points.  I got down on the ground.  I walked into neighbor's yards.  I took those pictures that I had been thinking about for so long.

I was going for the perfect shot.  The it shot.  I tried and tried and I didn't get what I was hoping for.  

Instead, I just got over the hump of fear.  I so feared what my neighbors probably said about me.  Before I turn this into a go-conquer-those-fears-post, I'll stop myself.  Even though that's what I did.  Even though I thought about all the things people said from inside their homes when they saw me:

"look at the yuppy and her big camera and her fancy baby carrier"
"honey, come quick, there's a girl on her knees trying to take a picture of some grass and she has a baby strapped to her chest!"
"someone thinks they're all arty-fartsy"

Deep down inside, I was still laughing at the ridiculous-ness of the situation.  I was still afraid of what people thought.  Pretentious is a 4-letter word around here, and here I am strutting around the neighborhood with a baby and a camera.  So what was the point?  What did I learn?

Did I learn not to care what people thought? I wish.
Did I learn to face my fears and just do what I want? Maybe
Did I learn that it's not about getting the shot but the process it takes to get there? Now I'm talking.

What I learned most from this experience is that the shot that I wanted probably won't come from my neighborhood.  I learned that I might need to spend some time by myself, finding a pasture (the fancy word for field), and trying to take those pictures.  That's what I want to do.  That's what I learned.  To keep thinking about what it will take to get what I'm hoping to get.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

This Week's Menu

"When being wrong feels so right." 
"Are those at our house?"
-a text message conversation between John and me.  I texted him the picture below.  We never buy Little Debbies, even though we talk about which ones were our favorite growing up.  We like to consider ourselves foodies, above those who eat such manufactured calories.  We're not.  It's been two days and there is only one package left in the box.  

We're hoping for better food in the week to come.  Here's what I'm planning...

Walnut and strawberry kale salad, bread
Tilapia, peas, lemon bake pasta
Burgers, roasted red potatoes
Homemade tomato soup, grilled cheese
Roasted celery chicken, brown rice, green beans

Friday, March 23, 2012

Mom Guilt

There was nothing special about this morning.  Nothing was extraordinary.  I had a bed to make, breakfast dishes to clean, a floor to sweep, and diapers to change.  The kids were being precious, which is par for the course.

I left the messes, forgot about the bed, changed the diapers and went to Burl's room for play.  All the "it goes by fast" and "enjoy it now" and "they're only little once" comments have made me so antsy.  I'm constantly planning, plotting, and worrying:

am I doing enough?
am I living in the moment?
what does being in the moment mean?
am I savoring enough?
do I clean too much and ignore my kids too much?
do I not clean enough and they live in dirt?

and the mom guilt gets so loud in my head.  I worry that I'm not doing this stage well.

Then there are bigger questions that cross my mind and I try to ignore because they make me so sad:

when is the last time that I'll hold them?  I'm not close, but it's coming.
when will they not want me to get in the bed and snuggle them?
when is the last time that I will hold them while they sleep?
how many days will I have them?
what is it going to feel like to not have them eat breakfast with me, pull at my legs, laugh at my bri'ish accent?
when is the last time that I will get down on my knees to talk to Burl when he's misbehaving?
when is the last time that Fern will smile with her whole body just because I touched her sweet little face?

I love being a mom.  I love snuggling, kissing, and holding them.  I love playing with them, laughing, tickling, and being goofy with them.  I love training them and teaching them and figuring out the mysterious world of discipline.  I really love it all.  Is it enough? No.  It's not.  I'm not going to get this perfect.  

I'm doing it as good as I think I'm suppose to do, but what I need to work on is that mom-guilt that speaks so loudly in my head.  It makes me antsy and worrisome and keeps me from living in the moment.  This morning's wonderful decision to not clean up breakfast and play instead felt so good and the whole time that mom guilt was whispering, "now isn't this great?  why don't you do this more?  Ignore the dishes every morning and enjoy those kids.  Never wash another dish."  Then, mom guilt 2 says, "you really don't need to neglect the dishes in real life because that would just make things worse..."  And then my head spins around in 43823 circles and pops off and shoots through the ceiling and that really keeps me from enjoying things.  

I don't have a solution, really.  I just want to stop trying so hard.  I want to just be.  And sometimes, I want to let myself believe that I'm a good mom.  

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

This Getting Dressed Business

We're all in this together, right?  This getting dressed, being cute, looking good, working on our fitness thing is a group effort?  Sometimes it feels competitive, but I think that happens in my head way more than actually played out in real life.  If we're all in this together, then I've got a few tips that I would like to share:

1. When things are going crazy, and the competitive-ness of looking cute gets loud, just shut it down.  This is definitely not my best picture (crazyhairdon'tcare) and I know I don't look as cute as everyone else out there, but I'm posting it anyways.  Because with every not-perfect image of ourselves, we set everyone else around us to be free to be imperfect as well.  Start measuring ourselves up to everyone else?  Just shut that down.  Right away.  No good comes of it.

2.  Buy the bigger size if that's what fits.  Sometimes I would rather say that I can fit into a smaller size than what I am, then I get home and never where it because it doesn't fit.  It's too tight.  It doesn't work.  That's when I regret my purchase, so I always try to remember that buying the bigger size (when necessary) will make me feel better in my clothes that fit.

3. Go get these shorts that I'm wearing right now.  Right now, ladies.  I have the hardest time with shorts, and most of my friends do as well.  I bought these shorts at Old Navy and love them.  La-huv them.  They fit well, they hang loose, they're made from linen, and most of all, they are super comfortable. I've worn them two, maybe three days in a row and I hope to get at least one more color.  They are perfect!

Those are my three little tips for right now.  I hope that everyday is a cute day for everyone.  I hope that we encourage one another and I hope that we all start to be kind to ourselves!  We're all in this getting ready business together.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Green Arrangements, Beautiful & Free

When I set the greenery in my window box, a little part of me oh-ed and ah-ed.  It looked so pretty.  The greenery of outside against the white paired with the light brown of the natural wood and the burlap took away my decorator breath.  I took the picture and fell in love.  This is me.  This is what I like in a home all wrapped up into one picture:

It really started with greenery from my front yard.  While Burl played in the front yard, I attacked my shrubs that line our property.  (Property sounds like we have lots of land.  As if...just a little slab of grass with a house.)  I snipped a few stems of our rosemary that is budding.  I snipped and collected and made some beautiful arrangements instead of buying flowers.  

This was the day that I decided that green was my favorite color.  The cluster of oval shape leaves in that rich, green color in white vases is gorgeous.  Something about it is so natural and simple and I love it.

The fun came when I started placing them.  What's better than white and green together?  White, green, and brown.  Not just any brown.  Not just the color brown.  I prefer a natural brown.    I want to use the word "dimension" when describing the brown I prefer, but that might be too fancy.  Let's keep it real and just talk about the brown of something that is from nature.  The wood of the frame.  The weave of the burlap.  The twigs in the wreath.

My blood is really pumping now because this is me.  This is 100% my look.  White and natural and a pop of color.  Don't think I'm exaggerating...I'm a little bit giddy right now and I'm glancing at the shrubs outside my window thinking, "I need more!!!"

White wasn't the only color of my vases.  I went with some clear glass as well.  

My little tip for the day (besides using greenery from bushes in place of fancy flower arrangements): save all those glass jars that food comes in.  I'm sure we hardly ever buy ready-made-foods from the center isles of the grocery store, but on those rare occasions we do, save the jars!  Use them for vases.  Vases to keep and vases to use to give away.

jelly jars
spaghetti sauce jars
salsa jars
caper jars (my favorite mini size)
applesauce jars (my favorite large size, pictured here)

Do the puzzles scattered on the floor take away from the greenery or does it give it a nice lived in look?  Nice lived in look?  That's what I thought.  Welcome to my house.  We keep it real.

Once again, the lovely white and green combo paired against the rich, {dimensional} brown of the burlap cover and the light khaki of the stacked starfish?  I love those starfish that I dove for on that scuba trip to Fiji I went on in college.  Oops, I mean that I bought 3/$1 at Panama City.

Ladies and gents, go get those branches.  Don't leave them alone.  Or, come get mine.  I have enough to share.  Or ask your neighbors.  Or grab some from brush piles on the street.  Been there-done all of that.  There is no shame in my game.  And there is no need for perfect flower arrangements at my house.  I love my free greenery.  Love.

This Week's Menu

Yesterday I was talking with friends at the park about the amazing goodness of Taco Soup.  (Hey Juli A.!)  The kind with 5,000 cans of beans and rotel, ground beef, a packet of taco seasoning, and a packet of ranch.  I usually avoid things with "packets" on the recipe, but come on, taco soup is worth it every now and then.  I did it.  I put taco soup on the menu this week.  I love when conversations help me plan my menu.

Also, we have a love/hate relationship with snacks in this house.  We don't eat them often and I would like to say that we don't need them, but we often find ourselves hungry and need of a little something.  (When I was pregnant, we had an endless supply of brownies and cookies that we used as snacks.)  John gets "crap out of the vending machine" at work on occasion when things get desperate.  Recently he asked me to make him snacks.  I've got a lot of recipes going.  This week, I'm making No Bake Energy Bites that are delicious.  They're like cookie dough balls without the raw egg.  I'm not sure they're healthy, but they're tasty and they really rack up the wife points for me.  Cha-ching. 

We'll be snacking on those when we're between meals:

Taco Soup
Kale/Mixed Green Salad, Bread, Hummus
Chicken Stroganoff
Black Bean & Corn Quesadillas  

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A St. Patty's Day Dinner

Ten years ago, I went to a St. Patty Day's party.  It was a small group dinner where the girls' group got together with the guys' group.  We ate on a high porch overlooking a golf course and mountains and a sunset.  I met someone new that night who had red hair, broad shoulders, and didn't say much at all.

We didn't start dating then.  We became friends first, not knowing what was in store for us.  Today and every St Patty's Day we talk about that dinner.  We ask each other, "what did you think of me?"  Neither one of us could have imagined our life like it is today.  

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

When Taking Pictures Gets In The Way

A few years ago, my brothers, John, and I had a friend take pictures of us so we could give the pictures to my parents as gifts.  I kept some of the pictures as well and two of them are hanging in my house.  One of the pictures is a great picture of all of us smiling and looking into the camera.  Another picture is a little blurry and we're all cracking up and I can describe exactly what's happening: Daniel's the one making the joke, John and I are laughing, and Joseph is trying to come up with the next joke to top the one Daniel just said.  The second-not-perfect picture is my favorite, because it represents who we are.

That's how pictures work.
They capture the moment.
They remind of us a moment or a time or a special event.  
They help us remember.  

Yesterday the weather was extremely warm and it made me so excited!  Besides being a huge fan of warm weather in general, I'm really anticipating not having to layer clothes on the kids.  Specifically, I'm looking forward to more of Fern's fat legs and arms to be exposed so I can kiss on them and squeeze them and feel the softness.  

Yesterday was the first day ever that Fern wore bloomers with bare legs and I was flipping out.  It was just too incredible!  While the boys were mowing the lawn, I took pictures of her.  I want to remember all that skin.  All that soft, chunky baby skin.

Then, we went outside and watched the boys mow the lawn.  I snapped some pictures.  

Burl was looking forward to it all day.

"After your nap, when Daddy gets home, yall are going to mow the lawn."
"Yeah.  My-my?"
"yes, you can mow the lawn too."

They did.  He mowed the lawn.  Poured the gas.  Got started.  

Mowing the lawn is great for Burl.  He loves it, but things can (and did) turn ugly easily.  He loves it so much that if there are any hitches, his little world comes crumbling down.  Kind of like vacation, we can put so much pressure on it to be perfect, that we forget to actually relax and enjoy it.  I got pictures that I don't want to post of Burl crying after this.  Years later, when I look at those pictures, I hope to remember how much he loved it and how hard it was when it wasn't perfect and how John and I handled the situation.  

Then, there is breakfast time.  The kids and I have a little routine for breakfast and it is incredible.  I think I'm just now realizing how special it is to have that time with them.  I usually take a picture every morning of us and send it to John at work.  Cooking, eating, talking, making faces, reading our little book.  I love it all.

I finally got pictures of Fern's new thing: looking up when we come in her room to get her from a nap.  She is all smiles and excitement and it makes me feel so warm and fluffy inside.  To make a baby smile is a cool thing, to make my own baby smile by just walking in the room is an exhilarating thing.  

And these are all memories that I want, no that I NEED on file.  And I'm so glad that I have a camera and files and computer storage and all that good stuff to take the pictures.  But, I'm trying to let go.  I'm trying to take the pressure off myself to not feel like I have to get everything on file.  I don't need a photograph of every moment.  

Today, I put my camera down after breakfast and just watched and tried to burn as much as I could into my memory bank.  Burl was running down a tree stump that is slightly higher than the ground.  We're talking 4 inches in elevation.  He did his little toddler run and his shoulders bounced and he cackled with laughter as I said "weeeeee."  He did this about 30 times in a row and it hurt.

I put Fern in a little dress without sleeves and she was happy and smiling and so content to just be.  She came alive when we talked to her and smiled with her whole body and it hurt.

It hurt because it's so great!  Kinda like the happy cry.  I know those are the moments that I'm going to miss.  Sometimes, trying to record that moment, trying to get the perfect angle, the perfect shot, can taint that for me.  Today, the camera stayed inside and I played and held and laughed and watched and it felt good.  Sometimes taking pictures can get in the way.  With the hundreds of pictures that I take every month, I think it's safe to say I'll have a good record of their childhood.  

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Live Music

I think it's John's fault.  He's the one who got me into live music.  He's really into music for the actual music-his favorite band being Punch Brothers.  He's taken me to a few concerts and I really get into how passionate the performers are.  I love passion-passion and hype and energy.   I, on the other hand, like music for music, lyrics, flow, and hype.    

The picture above is of myself waiting to meet some friends for the Mat Kearney concert that I went to in January.  More importantly, that's my concert hair.  I ran into a friend at the concert who saw the curls and asked, "what's this?"  I said, "my concert hair.  Wildhair-don'tcare" and I think that I did a little hair shake with it.  That's what hype does to me.

That wasn't the concert that really rocked my socks.  Mat Kearney was great, but The Avett Brothers really got things started for me on December 30.  Hype doesn't begin to describe how fun it was.  It was a very small venue, so it was a big treat to see them.  I can't really paint the picture accurately, but I can offer some YouTube videos that I found from the concert:

That was a great night, but I'm going to admit that I saved the best for last.  

Little Patty, Wildhairdon'tcare Keri, Mama'snightout Leila, and I went to the Mumford & Sons concert just five days ago.  Epic is the word to comes to mind.  Great music, super energy, and lyrics that cut to the core made that one fun night.  

"newly impassioned soul"
"your beauty trumps my doubt"
"it's not the long walk home that will change this heart,
but the welcome I receive with the restart"
"You are not alone in this, no, you are not alone in this.
as brothers we will stand and hold your hand. hold your hand"
"Love; it will not betray you
Dismay or enslave you, it will set you free
Be more like the man you were made to be"
"Where you invest your love, you invest your life"
And every word from After the Storm

It was great.  They brought up Jerry Douglas, Dawes, and O.C.M.S. and did an unplugged song.  They got the whole crowd stomping the floor.  They brought it.  Wanna see?  Here are a couple videos I found from the concert and one stalker video I found:

This might come off as bragging-like, "Look at me, I'm in the know.  I go to live music.  Rah, rah, rah."  That's not how I'm saying it.  I'm saying it like this...

OH MY GOSH.  LIVE MUSIC IS SO AWESOME!  WHY HAS NO ONE TOLD ME THIS.  The last concert I went to where I knew the words was Amy Grant, 3rd grade.  Seeing the shows that I have, I think I'm going to make this a regular thing.  We might just have to make a budget line for concert tickets.  Not only is it just good ole fun, some of those lyrics really get to me-in a good way.  In a way that makes me appreciate this life more than I do.  Hype. Passion. Energy. Sign me up.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Fern At Four Months: Girl Stuff & Food

My little Fern turned four months old last week.  That's not a huge milestone for most, but for us, it's big.  It means I get to take her for a checkup and I start her on solid foods.  

First the check-up:  I love going to my pediatrician.  He was mine when I was younger and I've gone to church with his family my whole life.  I love, LOVE going to the doctor for checkups because he is great at answering my questions, talking me through things, and encouraging me as a mom!  Sometimes I think it's more about me than the kids, which is a little backwards.  Fern is doing great, but I learned that she probably doesn't have my height-which is a little disappointing because I really like being not average.  My little shrimp was only in the 25% for height and 50% for weight.  Can it be that this 9lb 14 oz chunk of love is going to be petite?

That's totally ok because I still just love her so stinking much!  With a son, I feel like I have to be interested in things that aren't really me.  Tools, big trucks, burping.  (Well, I kinda dig a good belch, so I'll scratch that last one.)  I have brothers, so I'm comfortable with boy things, but I'm not an expert.  With a girl, I feel like I can be more of myself.  We'll be into the same things.  We'll know the difference between a dress and a skirt and a skort.  We'll know what "dress it up or dress it down" means.  I'm not a girly-girl or a tom-boy.  I like wearing ruffles and I like riding 4-wheelers.  I wear pink flower necklaces while I drive the tractor.  I hope I'm getting my point across.  

Anyways, when it's just her and me, I get this warm ruffly, flowerery glow inside.  I usually do the usual kissy-face, tickle thing with her.  Then, sometimes I talk girl-talk with her.  Sometimes I just say "girl-talk" and "long hair" and "dresses" to her.  Just the words.  Not in context.  Just because I can and I'm pretty sure she knows what I'm talking about.  She usually talks back with me.  She gives me a few oh's and ah's and eek's and I know she's getting into it.  

This weekend, we gave her solid food for the first time.  I mashed some bananas with water and went for it.  The four of us bonded over a common love: food.  From the few days that we've been on this path, I think that it's safe to say she likes food.  John, Burl, and I had a lot of fun enjoying bananas as a family.  Wild times on a Friday night!  

I'm only two kids into this, so I'm not much of an expert on what it comes to raising children or creating good eaters.  However, I try to listen whenever I hear people give their opinions or advice on things.  I remember something my mom told me over ten years ago.  She was working in the speech department at her school.

Babies love putting things in their mouth.  It's how they learn and explore their little world, so when things are constantly taken away from them or out of their mouth, then they can't learn new textures.  Without learning and being comfortable with new textures, eating and tasting new foods becomes hard for them.  With that in mind, I was pretty liberal on what I let both my kids put in their mouth.  Keys, pens, toys, broken pieces of glass, etc.  

I'm not sure how true that rule is, but I'm putting it out here to say I tried it and Burl's still alive and eats anything put in front of him, for the most part.  

If Fern's pallet goes anything like those bananas did, then I think we're going to be in pretty good shape.  Fern loved the bananas.  Loved the food.  And loved the full feeling that took her into her best night of sleep to date.  

Whoever she becomes,  whatever height she grows (or doesn't grow), and whichever food she picks, I love her.   I love my little girl, Charlotte Fern.

This Week's Menu

Every Sunday (or in this case, Monday) I post my menu for the week.  I love looking back at what I've made.  It helps me see the ruts that I have been in and it shows me the adventures that I've taken in the kitchen.  Adventures are very daring for me.  Sometimes they work out and I hit a home run and the ball is out of the park and I do a little dance in my head that I successfully tried something new.  However, sometimes it's just the opposite and I fail big time and we're eating hummus with bread and slices of cheese because things didn't work out.  I used to feel bad about that, but John has gotten pretty good at scooping up my ego and handing it back to me with these gentle words: "Meg, I LOVE that you try new things!  I love that you keep trying to find new recipes and cook different things for our family.  Thank you.  Don't stop." Ego restored.  Hummus and bread play a great backup for those nights.  

This week, I'm feeling adventures as well.  I'm serving an all kale salad and I hope it goes over as well as the first time I tried it at cooking club.  I'm also trying a new tomato soup that has curry and coriander and coconut milk.  Everyone cross your fingers.

A Simple Tomato Soup

Cajun chicken and bell pepper pasta
Kale salad and bread
Mashed potatoes, okra, pintos

*I got this recipe and amazing picture from 101 Cookbooks site.  I love this site!!!  She makes me want to be more adventurous in the kitchen and behind my camera.  Drool and swoon.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Burl's 2nd Birthday

Burl, how old are you?
I two.

And about 20% of the time, he can actually make a two with his hands.
The rest of the time, he does something like this:

Monday was a big day for Burl and a big day for us.  John took the day off, so we had a special time celebrating Burl.  All day long, we had special things for him.  It was great.  I love birthdays and celebrating birthdays, and nothing is better than celebrating kids' birthdays.  

The night before, I strung up balloons so Burl would get the hype that comes with celebrating.  Mama loves anything with hype.  We tried to explain to him what birthday meant for him.  Candles, balloons, party, cupcakes, presents, etc.  I think that he got it because he woke up at 6:45 and started yelling "yeah" from underneath his door.  This is WAY early for him.  I think it was a case of the Christmas morning syndrome.  The anticipation pulled him out of bed.

He saw the balloons right away and things got started.  I made one of his favorite things: meat, specifically sausage, with a side of eggs.  We sang happy birthday, popped a candle in that patty, and let him blow it out.  Repeat three times.  He even got a few little presents during breakfast: an art box full of crayons, scotch tape, play-doh, and safety scissors.  He also got this book, Little Blue Truck is kinda  big deal around here.

The morning was spent doing things that Burl likes to do.  Tool time with John and me was a hit, especially when I make the tool sounds.  He got to take a ride in John's truck and play outside.  We also gave him another little present.  It was good fun hype.  

After his nap, we had his little party.  We invited his cousins and a few friends to meet us at a local park and playground.  For each kid, I made a little snack box.  Oreo balls, cupcakes, salty snack, and a little toy.  

Everyone enjoyed the snacks.  And Burl loved the playtime.  

Fern was bundled up in the Ergo, so she missed out on a lot of the action, but we brought out for a family picture to prove that she was actually there.  

After the park, we went to this BBQ place that Burl likes (mainly because it was the first place he saw a real Santa and they have these big cardboard pigs that he oinks at every time we pass the place).  The grandparents, uncles, cousins came with us and we opened presents there.  Looking back at it, opening presents at a BBQ joint really doesn't sound like a good idea, but I'm pretty sure Burl didn't care.  

We went back home, put Fern to bed, and had a little playtime with Burl and his new toys.  We put him to bed, and realized that all the hype and worn us out.  It is no small thing to celebrate a birthday and I think that's how it should be.