I cannot believe that my baby boy is three. He is growing up way too fast and seems SO much older all of a sudden. He has turned into a wonderful little conversationalist and has the funniest sense of humor. So far, three has been pretty great for Charlie. He still has tantrums every once in a while, but for the most part, they have disappeared. Although he sometimes has a hard time listening and following directions, he really does want to be good and hates to disappoint me or Clint. Even if he doesn't want to do something, he really responds to logic and as long as I explain the reason he needs to do something, he will almost always comply. Charlie is a great little companion and we spend so much time just visiting about our world. We are in the middle of the "why" phase right now, and this is definitely testing my knowledge. Charlie and I google things constantly and I have learned more about trucks and dinosaurs than I ever thought possible. He is wearing big boy underwear now, is helping out around the house, and--what Charlie is most thrilled about--can pump his own legs on a swing. In general, Charlie is just much more independent and easy. He sleeps in a big boy bed with no rails, he doesn't need a booster seat, he drinks out of a real cup and uses real utensils. He is much more resourceful these days and has even figured out how to fix his own train tracks, find his own lost toys and books, etc. I love this independence, and Charlie is so proud when he figures something out all on his own. We have been working on manners, and Charlie is doing really well (for the most part--when he is showing off or over-tired, his manners turn absolutely terrible :). He says "please" and "thank you" very consistently now (as does Evie, but her please is more of a loud, shrieking "PEAS!" when she wants something I don't want her to have :), and says "may I be excused?" when he finishes a meal, carries his own plate over the sink (a mixed blessing at times, but I'll take it). The thing I am most happy about is that he often seems very genuinely grateful for things, even the small things. Every once in a while, he will just be so thankful about something, and I will get a very enthusiastic "THANK YOU MOMMY!" My favorite moment of gratitude recently was when he was eating chips and nachos from Mi Cocina and turned to me and said, "THANK YOU Mommy for this wonderful dinner!" He instructs Evie on manners as well. One day, they were conspiring to get goldfish out of me, and I heard Charlie tell E, "if we want goldfish, Evie, we just have to say 'please!'" Charlie still loves reading as much as ever, and stays up late at night "reading" in his room. Clint and I always laugh when we see him on the monitor at 9:00 at night, kicked back in bed, with a big book propped up in front of him. We read lots of Richard Scarry, Peter Rabbit, dinosaurs, Thomas, and Curious George. We have been loving swimming this summer, and thanks to all the lessons we've been doing, Charlie is doing really well with his swimming. He loves to run and jump in the pool, he has a very dramatic dive, he loves the diving board, and he is very proud of the fact that he can now swim with his face underwater. He has absolutely no fear in the water, which is nice for him, but terrifying for me. We have had some very stern talks recently about telling me when you are swimming to me! In general, Charlie is very daring and loves any physical challenge or adventure. This has resulted in more than its fair share of bumps and bruises. :) One of Charlie's most defining features is his social-ness (is that a word?). He loves big gatherings of people--whether it's a birthday party, a family gathering, or just a big, random gathering of kids at the park. Charlie makes friends wherever we go and will strike up a conversation with anyone. I always hear him walking up to people and asking "what's your name?" or (if appropriate) "why doesn't your truck have a trailer hitch on it??" He is very interested in his friends and family and we spend lots of time talking about them, what they're doing, what they're saying (a favorite topic of speculation), where they live, and who lives with them. There is no shyness to him. Unlike Evie, who takes a while to warm up in big crowds, Charlie charges in without looking back and we usually have to drag him out at the end. Charlie loves pretending right now, and he is almost always in the middle of some adventure. Sticks are always turned into guns, his scooter and trike are usually police cars, fire engines, or trains, and our walks always turn into bear hunts. I have been attacked by a "big bad T Rex" more times than I can count, and then five minutes later, presented with a handful of baby lions (just don't stop pretending to hold them--Charlie will yell that you are dropping the lion cubs on the floor if you open your hands before you've passed the lions on). It's impossible to talk about one of our kids without talking about the other. Charlie and Evie spend all of their time together, and although they do fight from time to time, they are so sweet to each other and have so much fun together. Evie absolutely worships Charlie, and he is really surprisingly sweet with her. I love to see them spontaneous hug or hold hands--there is just nothing sweeter. Their favorite thing right now is pretend, and Evie tries her best to play along, even though you can tell that half the time, she has no idea what she's doing. But it is so cute to see her pretending to eat food, running around the house and pretending she's in a train with Charlie, hiding in a hideout and whispering with him, etc. They love to run into Charlie's room, dive into his stuffed animal pit, and then hole up in his Thomas tent and hide from me. I love hearing their little giggles when I am looking for them. Charlie does get frustrated with her baby ways, though. They were playing airplanes the other day and Charlie (of course) got the airplane and Evie got the baggage cart. Charlie watched, exasperated, while Evie "flew" the baggage cart around the playroom. Finally, he turned to me and said, "Mommy, please tell Evie that baggage carts don't fly." He likes having a sister, but has been talking more and more lately about wanting a brother. Today, he said enthusiastically, "When Evie gets older, she will become a brother, right?" Evie has been talking more and more and Charlie thinks that her words for things are endlessly funny. At first, he was very curious why she said "tank u" instead of "thank you," "mak" instead of "milk," etc., but now that he's figured out, his favorite game is to tell us things that he said when he was a baby (all inaccurate). A sampling from our ride home from church: "When I was a baby, I called propellers 'houses.'" "When I was a baby, I called trees 'bees.'" "When I was a baby, I called Evie 'Jeebie.'" "When I was a baby, I called dishwashers 'pishwashers.'" Never gets old, does it? Charlie has been really protective of Evie (aside from those times when he is trying to pummel her) lately and it is so sweet to see. He becomes a worried old man with her--when she walks to close to the street, he runs over and worriedly shepherds her to the curb; when she climbs on the table or the countertop or some other precarious position, he yells for me to come help her down; when she is crying, he runs over to kiss her, take her a paci, or whisper sweetly to her until she feels better; and when another kid takes her toy, he will take off after him. :) Evie was having a tantrum the other day and I found Charlie lying on the floor next to her, stroking her back, and whispering, "it's ok, sweetie, don't cry...shhhhh..." I love seeing him being this sweet about her--it helps to makes up for the times when he just turns around and hits her for no reason at all (and may explain the worshipful way she looks at him :)!
Favorite foods: PB and J, macaroni and cheese (don't call it "mac" and cheese, for whatever reason), green grapes, pretzels
Favorite colors: purple (he will never tell you this is his favorite color, but he loves it--he always gravitates toward purple things :), brown (this is what he says his favorite color is, and he really does love brown too), green, red, and camo (is that a color?)
Favorite vehicle: Ranger
Dream job: Fireman Favorite stuffed animal: John Henry, his stuffed puppy
Favorite pastimes: reading, swimming, playing in his fort, playing at the park (much to his consternation, there is less of that during hot Dallas summers), swinging (on his swing or his glider), playing in the sandbox, playing chase (or any game involving an element of surprise or fear :), playing tickle monster, playing basketball, baseball, football, or soccer, playing with his train table, pretending with his trucks or animals Favorite ride-on toys: scooter and tricycle--he is a maniac on these! Favorite concept: Still "big-ness." Ever since he could first talk, Charlie has been obsessed with things that are "big" (e.g., "big truck," "big bop," "big cheese," etc.). For some reason, "big" has always been synonymous with "good" in Charlie's world and that still hasn't changed. He is a very "big boy," and is very interested in the rate at which he is getting bigger. He still always wants the biggest, fastest toy, and is very impressed with anything that is big, fast, or, ideally, both. :) Favorite TV show: Thomas the Train (but favorite train? Gordon, the biggest and fastest engine, of course. :) Favorite animal: Lion (particularly, the daddy lion) Favorite dinosaur: T Rex
I see the face below all the time--this is Charlie's quintessential "explaining things" face. I'm sure he was telling me why he needed to be done taking pictures because he had to go run and jump. :)
Our wild and crazy 3-year-old!
As wild and crazy as he is, one of my favorite things about Charlie is his sweet, sensitive side. He can always tell when something's wrong and is the best little friend and comforter at those times. I get many spontaneous hugs and "I love you so much!" every day, and that just makes life so much sweeter. The other day, I was feeling so tired in the afternoon and decided to rest on the couch for a few minutes while Charlie and Evie played with their trains. I had closed my eyes for about 2 seconds when I saw two little blonde heads climbing up next to me. I couldn't help but laugh when Charlie exclaimed, "here come two little kids who are missing you!" I love going in to his room to get him up in the morning. He always pops up and exclaims, "How was your night, Mommy?" But my favorite is when he rides his scooter far in front of me down the sidewalk when we are taking a walk. He always screeches to a stop at the end of the sidewalk, lays the scooter down, and turns around and runs back toward me, arms outstretched, with a big smile on his face. That bear hug and "I love you!" is just the best ever. Current Stats: Weight: 33 pounds, 3 ounces Height: 3 feet, 2.25 inches Charlie, we love you more than we ever thought possible. You are the best BIG boy in the world!
After a couple of nights in Seguin, Charlie and I decided to leave Evie there and go hang out with Foggy, Meg, and Walter in Austin. We were so glad we did! Walter is getting so interactive and fun, and he showed us a wonderful time. Charlie is amused by just about everything he does, and it's hard not to be--he really is the sweetest baby ever.
We got to help feed Walter. That boy loves his teething biscuits. He is just as clean as my kids were with them. :) Although Charlie thinks Walter is amazing, he had to protest when Meg referred to W as a "big boy" because he was eating purees. Charlie thinks anyone short of 3 years old and not wearing big boy underwear does not deserve the coveted "big boy" moniker. :)
The boys got suited up for an afternoon swim. Walter really knows how to swim in style! Meg noted that W looks like C's secret service agent, and it is so true...
....especially here. I mean, who wouldn't be scared of this guy??
These two love each other already, and I think they are going to have so much fun together as they get older!
The kids and I are trying to get lots of Seguin-time in this summer, so we took the first (of hopefully many) trip down there last week. It was a short trip, but so fun to be around such fun family. My mom has gotten out and cleaned up all kinds of fun toys from when we were little, and the kids were obsessed with our old matchbox cars, construction site (this is an old favorite there), Little People, Jurassic Park dinosaurs, and baby dolls. I loved it too!
We started out our trip with a celebratory trip to a new ice cream parlor in Seguin. Charlie had been working toward an ice cream treat as one of his potty rewards, and you've never seen such a proud (or focused) honoree.
Evie liked the idea of ice cream, but wasn't so taken with the actual thing. NOT my daughter. :)
Not surprisingly, Charlie polished his off.
After one or two bites, Evie was quite pleased to be "all done!"
Poor Papa was working hard the whole time we were there, but we did get in fun times at night, especially when the Spurs were playing. These kids LOVE their Papa!
Thumbs down for the Heat. :)
After we'd been griping about the Heat for a while, Charlie disappeared and came back with a gun. He proceeded to wildly "pow" the Heat. Not sure we are doing the best job of teaching the concept of good sportsmanship...
We spent lots of time with the Reeds, both at the Fretses' house and at the Ski Lodge. Charlie loves nothing more than playing with these three, and they are so good for him--he learns new things every time he's with them, and has gotten so brave in the pool since swimming with them. But most of all, they are just so fun! :)
Fun, post-swim lunch at the Ski Lodge.
Evie's new trick: "cheese!"
Julia was so sweet on this trip, and spent so much time playing with Charlie, swimming with him, jumping in the pool with him, and just being so sweet to him. He looks up to her so much, and I just love her kind ways.
Can you see how much he adores her? :)
This picture is so random, but it cracks me up. My dad makes a smoothie every morning and the kids think the blender is so loud. Somehow, this is a big deal EVERY morning.
I guess I should have known that Charlie would cause Evie's first haircut.
This warning would be more helpful if Charlie could read (or follow instructions).
After a lot of yanking and untangling on my part (during which E remained remarkably calm; the girl has the least sensitive scalp ever!), there remained a decent little chunk of hair that I just couldn't get out of the jeep wheels. So unfortunately for Eves, we had to give her her first haircut. After two quick snips, she now has lovely, choppy layers. :)
To get Charlie back, Evie and I took him for a haircut of his own...
[Charlie was ok with the haircut as long as the lady used scissors, not clippers...in preparation for the cut, he asked me about 20 times, "what are those things I don't want her to use called?" He finally got the name down and she got a very stern warning about them. :)]
...while Eves lounged nearby and lorded her sucker over him. :)
We had a relaxed, sweet Father's Day weekend. Clint was working for most of it, but we still managed to fit in some fun family time. We did a fun dinner out on Saturday night, and enjoyed swimming and grilling on Sunday night. Clint briefly questioned how him making dinner for us was a Father's Day treat, but I quickly reminded him how much he loves grilling--especially with his two excellent helpers! :) The kids loved celebrating their sweet daddy. They know how lucky they are to have gotten one of the great ones! :)
Perhaps even happier chip-and-salsa-eaters. :)
The crazies LOVED our Sunday of swimming and grilling. They were so happy to come in and find music playing--you've never seen such vigorous dancing. :)
On Sunday night, when I was putting Evie to bed, she sang along with my lullaby for the first time. She was so pleased with herself--I just love seeing that big smile and those little alligator teeth looking up at me. She gave me the sweetest kisses, and it just made me want to hold her all night.
We brought Charlie downstairs with us to watch the Spurs and he was pumped up (as usual). He raced down the stairs, yelling "I'm so excited about the Spurs!" Clint had picked up food from Mi Cocina for us to eat during the game, and as Charlie dug into his first nacho, he turned to me, and in the sweetest, most genuine voice, said, "THANK YOU Mommy for this lovely dinner!"
It is great days like these [minus the Spurs loss] that I need to remember when things get a little more harried around here... :)
Sweet cuddles in the morning...
...following by a wild day full of fun friends and fun swims...
When he was one, Charlie found my favorite (only) stuffed dog, and it has become his very favorite stuffed animal. He has cuter, softer animals that he has gotten since he was born, but they just don't appeal to him the way this one does. Once he could talk, he named the dog John Henry [not sure whether the name comes from Mimi and PawPaw's very fuzzy dog, also named John Henry, or is just due to Charlie's propensity to choose double names beginning with "John" (e.g., John Charlie)]. Since he got a bed, John Henry is the only animal always allowed in (he will sometimes include Duke (currently on loan to Evie, who really really loves him) or Monkey, but they don't make it in quite as consistently).
Recently, I noticed that Charlie and John Henry have been having actual conversations (with Charlie speaking for both of them, of course). I was cleaning up in his room today before his nap and I overheard the following:
"Yes, John Henry?"
"I want to read a book."
[Charlie carries John Henry over to the bookshelf.]
"Can I pick it?"
[Charlie takes John Henry's tiny paw and taps a book.]
"Ok, I will get that one for you."
"Can I get one more?"
[Charlie again takes John Henry's paw and taps a book.]
"Yay! Now let's get in bed and cuddle!"
[They run to the bed and get in, and Charlie arranges John Henry on his lap so he can see the book, and starts reading to him. :)] And several times recently, I have heard Charlie saying about John Henry, "I love this sweet little guy!"
I love their "friendship" and am glad that my old dog is so loved!
We had our last day of school last week and it was so bittersweet. I am excited about summer, but I will miss our sweet teachers and friends so much. We aren't going back to this school next year (the drive was just too long), and since I loved the school, the finality of the last day made it even harder for me. I am so glad Charlie and Evie had such a fun, stimulating, exciting first year.
Here are the two little ragamuffins on their way in to school (pictures aren't great, but we were ten minutes late and I was trying to knock them out quickly).
Don't think that Charlie and I are just shirking our bag-carrying responsibilities and over-burdening Miss E; she insists on carrying ALL of the "pack packs" herself.
I think she finally hit her limit...3 pack packs was just too many. :)
Charlie's class tried to get a picture with the teachers after school, but 3-year-olds are not the most compliant lot, especially when they are still waking up from their naps. Luckily, Charlie was so groggy that he was quite compliant. :)
Miss Vicky and Charlie.
Just for comparison's sake, here are the pictures from our first day of school. It seems like just yesterday, but I am astounded at how different both kids are now. It makes me so sad! [Note that Charlie's face is scarred in both pics--skinned nose on first day, black eye on last day. :)]
Can you believe I sent this baby off to school? I feel so guilty!!