Monday, April 3, 2017

Choo Choo, Goodbye Two!

We celebrated B's third trip around the sun this past weekend with a train-a-palooza! 

We kicked off the festivities with ice cream cups for his classmates on Friday.  They all sang the birthday song, he blew out the class's special "3" candle, and he got to select the book while they snacked. He was so delighted by these developments that I'm pretty sure he thought this was the birthday party we'd all been talking about! We also got to check out Sister's Chinese dragon parade -- they are studying the continents and last week was Asia -- they stomped all over the school with their dragon creation as well as crafted Chinese lanterns, shouting "Chin Chin Chow!" (or Dow? anyone speak Mandarin?). It was ridiculously adorable, and I'm super pleased both of these events coincided with an off-work day for me!

Evan's parentals drove into town, and we all enjoyed a pre-birthday supper at True Food Kitchen in the Seaholm District.  We love TFK because the food is fresh, healthy, and delicious; the kids love it, because there's a huge grass courtyard right off the patio where they can run around while we wait for food; and B especially loves it because the old power plant smokestacks are "kinna yike twain smoke stacks!"

Friday night, post-kidlet-bedtime, E's dad and I built B's train table in my parents' living room {our house is being painted and they are in Paris}, Christmas-Eve-Style {so, loads of merriment + wine + swearing}. E and I usually do not buy the kids big gifts for their birthday, but B is so obsessed with trains, we knew he'd go bananas over a train table. We also knew both kids would get great play out of it for a long time {we'll definitely do a little Lego-hack to the flip side of the table top at some point}, so it was an excellent parent-grandparent-greatgrandparent combo gift.  After a bit of research, we went with the Melissa & Doug Multi-Activity Play Table and the corresponding Deluxe Wooden Railway Train Set -- all of which are compatible with the Thomas & Friends and IKEA trains and tracks we already had {as well as BRIO and pretty much any other wooden train accoutrements out there}.

{A few notes: This is one big-ass table.  It does have a storage drawer and loads of space for additional hidden bin storage, but it is going to take up a bunch of room in your home. If we didn't have the converted garage play area, there's no way I would have purchased this sucker. The train set itself is super adorable and well-made, but the elevated portions come apart pretty easily when over-eager preschoolers are bustling about. Amazon reviews recommended these train track clips, and I think I will definitely be investing in some! The set also came with little maps on how to put all the pieces together in different configurations... this was super handy during the initial set-up, but I really wish I'd taken a fine-point Sharpie and marked the individual track pieces with the letters indicated on the maps. Something to consider if you're procuring this particular set!}

As anticipated, the birthday boy flipped his ever-lovin' shiz when he woke up on Saturday morning and saw the new set-up.  His reaction was just the absolute best. It was hard to drag him {and L!} away for his actual party later that morning! 

We partied it up at our neighborhood park... I do love a park birthday party!  They are so damn easy and low-key, and they make me all kinds of nostalgic for my own childhood.  L celebrated her 2nd and 3rd birthdays at our favorite park in Lakewood, and it makes my heart happy that we've done the same for B in our new 'hood.  Thunderstorms threatened all week long but held off for our mid-morning fiesta.  I am sure one year my outdoor party luck with run out, BUT NOT THIS YEAR, SUCKERS!

We did breakfast tacos from Texas Honey Ham, a platter of chicken minis from CFA, fruit, and a quarter sheet cake {yellow cake with Elite icing - THE BEST} + a dozen cupcakes from HEB. For once in my life, I got the refreshment amounts perfect and we did not take home a zillion pounds of cake and snacks.

Nearly all of B's classmates came to play, and he was so thrilled to have them all together in one place {he is one of two kids in his age group at our school who attends all five days, so he has MWF friends and TTh kind of blew his mind to have them all in one place at one time!} -- I feel like I barely saw him the entire time!

 We also had an extra special surprise guest of honor -- my Mama J has been in Austin for the past month after some medical complications and just moved into an assisted living facility right down the street this past week.  She is doing swimmingly, and while leaving Waco for the time being has been a huge change, we are so excited to be able to visit all the time! B's party was her very first social outing in a month, and we were so elated she was able to come!

 What an awesome day celebrating with family and friends -- we love our newly minted Threenager like WOAH! Aside from trains {and Thomas and Chuggington specifically}, B loves playing outside and riding all of his wheeled contraptions {big boy bike, scooter, Cozy Coupe, and Plasma Car}; he spends hours on our Sport Court tooling about. He's not big into arts and crafts but does enjoy a good PlayDo sesh. He adores playing with L even though they often fight like cats and dogs. He flat out refuses to wear long sleeves or pants -- even long sleeved / pant PJs have been rejected. He has excellent manners and rarely has to be reminded to say please, thank you, excuse me, yes ma'am, etc. He is very into reading, and his current faves are The Goodnight Train, The Little Engine That Could, Demolition, Roadwork, Steam Train Dream Train, Little Blue Truck Leads the Way {"STWEET SWEEPER!"}, and the Llama Llama books. When we read, he constantly says "I wanna go dere for wreal! {as in "I would like to go actually ride on that specific train / truck / bulldozer, etc"}. He calls hotels "show & tells" and Tinkerbell "jinglebell" {my current two favorite Bradyisms!"}. Whenever he needs to say something or ask a question, he starts with "wet me tell you sumthin..." He loves to dance and sing. His favorite foods are mac and cheese, tortellini, pasta with parmesan, pasta with pesto {sensing a trend?}, berries, whole apples, mandarin oranges and bananas so long as he can peel them himself and they don't break apart as he peels, sweet potato fries, pancakes {"cancakes"}, and Chick-fil-a nuggets {"chicky-yay-yay"}. He slept in a daybed in California and is excited for his new "big boy bed" to be delivered.  He is fearless {until it comes to getting his head wet} and wild and crazy and silly and full of energy, but also sensitive and considerate and quiet when he's taking in new situations or trying to figure something out.   We could not adore our little monkey more.

We rounded out our weekend with a few non-B-centric activities... L played in her second tee ball game of the season {Go Rangers!} -- for a child who is generally pretty cautious, she is rocking this sport.  She is one of the only kids who consistently hits the ball off the tee on the first swing, and she loves running the bases {the girl did not inherit my lack of speed -- she is FAST}.  She got to play first base this game, which she liked but said "was a lot work!" She cracks me up in her hat!

E and I celebrated our anniversary with a jaunt downtown... We hit up the Driskill for pre-dinner drinks which was the site of our wedding after-party 8 years ago; we hadn't been back since so that was a really fun little walk down memory lane {a very hazy, champagne-addled memory lane}. Then we dined at Parkside which we've been wanting to try but didn't realize is located right smack in the thick of Austin's infamous bar district.  We were seated in the very middle of their picture window and were able to watch all of Dirty Sixth go by -- highly entertaining + the service and food couldn't have been better! We ended the evening with a 20 minute detour to Maggie Mae's down the block... I have not been "out" on 6th Street in over a decade {and I was a few years too old for it back then}; 20 minutes was just enough to be hilariously fun. 

Sunday was all about Kerbey Lane pancakes, a visit to Mama J's new digs {we came bringing cake leftovers!}, a ginormous thunderstorm, and take out at the park before bedtime. A pretty perfect weekend -- no foolin' here!

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