Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Three Years Little

"I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
as long as I'm living
my baby you'll be."
-Robert Munsch

The theme in this house for a long time now is that Ashton is most definitely not growing big. He's adamant that he is still a baby, and he resists anything to do with growing up. As his birthday approached he would often times become angry at the mere suggestion that it meant he'd be a year closer to that scary thing known as Big. He'd cross his arms tightly across his small frame, scrunch up his nose and spit out, "ANYTING!" This is his customary saying whenever something doesn't go his way or how he expresses his feelings of anger, frustration, disapproval, sadness, etc. I think he would have gladly given up his birthday if it meant he'd stay two forever, suspended in the world between baby and big boy.

But each day the idea of growing up seeps into his brain and little by little it doesn't seem such a scary prospect. Maybe by his fourth birthday he'll accept the fact that he is indeed big now. Until then, we keep trying to make it seem really fun and exciting to grow up, yet still accepting his wishes to be seen as little. On his birthday when I exclaimed that he is now three years old, he vehemently corrected me by stating that he is three years little.

Little or big, it really makes no difference to me. He's still Ashton, my stubborn, wild, caring boy who displays the classic characteristics of three-year-olds daily. If you ask him how old he is, he'll pause to hold up the right amount of fingers and proudly declare he's "pee" the way only little ones still learning to pronounce words can.

The morning of his third birthday he slept in well past his normal waking time and proclaimed his tummy hurt. We cuddled our way through the morning until finally he hopped down and joined his brother playing. We continued our tradition of lighting candles at each meal, and I'm secretly in love with the fact that he hasn't yet mastered blowing them out. His scrunched up face, the spit, the fire atop the candles barely flickering--it reminds me that he is indeed still little after all. We ended the night at McDonald's, improvising when the ice cream machine was broken. After a few tears, Ashton gladly accepted the cookie cake as an acceptable replacement.

His big party was simple. Some balloons, a memory picture board, a pinata and a lopsided homemade Thomas cake shared with our closest family and friends. Aunt Hopey and Uncle Brian spent the night, and we continued our celebration through to the next morning.

It's hard to know how Ashton will feel about growing big next year, whether he'll embrace the coming year or hold onto that hesitation to accept it. But part of me likes that he's in no rush to grow up. I feel less guilty about trying to keep him little for as long as I can. For now we'll celebrate that he's three years little.


A Tradition of Growth.

This is Daddy Bear, the growth marker we used monthly as a baby and now yearly. I suspect someone stuck this once ginormous bear into the dryer and shrunk him because, surely, it can't be that my baby grew that much!

Ashton's birthday interview.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


"Fall colors are funny. They're so bright and intense and beautiful. It's like nature is trying to fill you up with color, to saturate you so you can stockpile it before winter turns everything muted and dreary."
-Siobhan Vivian

Lately our lives have been filled with the mundane hustle bustle of our days. Each ordinary day punctuated by some exciting venture spritzed throughout the week. We're finding ourselves outside less and inside more. Slowly we watched the leaves change from green to gold and now the branches almost bare. And we waited. We waited and waited until there were enough leaves on the ground to finally bring out the rake and wheelbarrow and experience fall at its finest.

We ran through the leaves, disturbing their peaceful slumber after succumbing to nature and falling to their final resting place in the grass. We took handfuls of leaves and threw them up in the sky, making them rain over us. We swept up armfuls of leaves and dumped them into the wheelbarrow and hauled them to the perfect dumping spot. We raked the scattered leaves across the yard to make the biggest pile we could muster. Then, waiting to hear the words, we raced to the pile and jumped in. Over and over again. Ready, setty, go!!!

Lately we've been soaking up this season of our lives, because soon enough this one will fizzle into the next, and then the next, and the one after that.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Home, sweet, home.

"And home, sings me of sweet things."
-Bonnie Raitt

My mom was home visiting this week, and the great state of Minnesota had teacher conferences cancelling all schools, so we all reunited for some family fun. The boys and I made the two hour trek home Wednesday afternoon. I meandered off the interstate onto some country roads once we were close to my grandma's house to allow Ashton to nap a smidge longer. Of course, as several times in the past, I got lost. With an extremely full bladder and the clock ticking closer to our meeting time, I finally gave up, backtracked to the interstate, and sped to the nearest gas station so we could relieve ourselves. Instead of arriving with plenty of time to spare, we got there almost precisely on time.

After filling our bellies with a smorgasbord of food, we headed to my sister's house, and had a cousin sleepover. I shared a bed with Spencer, who likes to sleep sideways and on top of the covers, and snores just like his daddy.

Thursday morning our big group headed to the apple orchard. We somehow picked the nicest day of the week, topping the charts at 70 degrees. As the day went on, we were stripping off layers. We didn't pick a single apple, but we were kept entertained by the overload of activities. From slides to hayrides to mazes to tunnels to haunted forest, this place had it all. And by 2:00 my boys were reaching their limit. With faces caked with dirt and corn kernels in mysterious hidden places, we decided we should call it quits. We hopped back in the van, nibbling our snacks, and made our way back home, where Daddy was waiting with a frozen pizza for supper.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Glitz and Glamour

"There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million."
-Walt Streightiff

It never ceases to amaze me how the littlest things are enough for kids. They don't need the glitz and glamour. They are content with the smallest of things and the smallest of moments. Yet sometimes it is fun to give them some of the glitz and glamour.

Our week's glitz and glamour came in the shape of a small pumpkin patch. The boys and I spent a morning there. We fed goats corn from the palms of our hands, accompanied by gentle reminders to create a plate with our hands so the goats don't accidentally try to eat our fingers, and then the subsequent screeches when they neglected to heed this advice. We scrounged through the field for the perfect pumpkin. This one is too big to carry. This one is too dirty. This one tips over. This one is rotting. This one is too little. This one has pokeys on the "handle". Until, finally, they discovered just the right ones. The highlight wasn't the small petting zoo or the infinite rows of pumpkins to choose from or the big wagons to haul our loot, but instead the blue plastic police car so strategically placed down the center row of the pumpkin patch. Once the boys discovered there were two steering wheels in the car and they didn't need to fight over turns, they both crammed into that little car and vroom'd after imaginary bad guys, their loud sirens fading into the background of our beautiful glitz and glamour fall day.

Once we got home we set up camp on the dining room table and set to work decorating our new pumpkins. Three gallons of glitter later, we have some pretty pumpkins twinkling in our windowsill.