Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Planes Trains & Automobiles Party

Brayden loves all things vehicular. The theme was only natural for his birthday bash. :)

Boarding Pass & Passport Invitations

Not bad for my first time using fondant. :)

Refueling Station

Baggage Claim for Favor Boxes

Snack Train

Traffic Lights

The birthday boy walking along his race track

Daddy taking Brayden to listen to some live music

One of the guests used the Construction Zone to write a message to the birthday boy! :)

Mmmm.... cake!

Helping Mommy clean up after the bash (and by "clean up, I mean "ask to eat the fondant plane")

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day!

One of the great fortunes in my life is having an incredible father. Because of my own experiences, once I started having kids, I had some pretty high expectations for my husband. The "father" role was a pretty tall order to fill.

But he did it - and he continues to do it every day. He has completely lived up to everything I could want from the father of my children. He is an amazing dad. And his (relatively) new role has given me even more reasons to love the man I married. Over the last two years, I've seen a new side of him. I've fallen in love with him again and again in different ways and for different reasons. Parenting allows you to see parts of your spouse you couldn't see any other way. And seeing this side of Lauren has only made me love him more. 

So today, on Father's Day, I want him to know a few of the things I think make him an amazing father. 

You are just so damn fun.

It's no secret that you're a performer. You love to make people laugh. And you do it so well. For more than a decade, you've added smiles, laughter and joy into my life. Now you're doing the same for your kids. I love watching how much fun Brayden has with you - and look forward to the same with Elissa.

You are successful.

Being successful makes you a great provider for your family, but even more importantly, an amazing example for your children. You're incredibly good at your chosen profession and are the living example of what intellect, ambition and hard work can accomplish. 

You're silly. 

I love that you're not too mature or embarrassed to act goofy with your kids. You're still a kid at heart -- which I adore -- and it really comes out when you play with the little ones. You get down to their level and act in a way they really respond to.

You're not short-sighted. 

When it comes to parenting, you're not afraid to upset your children in the short-term for something that's in their best interest long-term. I love that we're a team on this front. You're not obsessed with instant gratification, giving your kids everything they want, or avoiding tears at all costs. You've got a great balance of giving your kids what they want and giving your kids what they need.

You're talented.

You're good at a lot of things. Guitar. Drums. Soccer. Tennis. I love that the kids get to see you passionate about something. They see that it's fulfilling to have interests, to work hard to become good at them and to enjoy a variety of activities. Having passions and interests in life is great, and I think the kids are so much better growing up with a dad who sets this example.

You're open-minded about parenting.

You recognize that I'm with the kids almost 24 hours a day and don't have a problem following my lead on childcare. You don't have an "I'm always right" or "my way or highway" approach to parenting. It makes it easy for us to be a team, to discuss situations, and ultimately do what's best for our kids. 

You want to be a good father.

There's nothing more important than your own attitude about fatherhood and family. It influences everything you do and is its own message to your children. Your actions, your attitude and words make it so clear that your family is your priority. That you love your children and genuinely want to be a wonderful father. 

And you are. 

Thank you for everything boo. You truly are the best father I could have picked for my children. ♥ Happy Father's Day.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Toddlers Are the New Teenagers

Last week, in the middle of one of my son's more impressive meltdowns, I looked at him and said, "I would ask what it feels like to be a toddler, but I imagine it's just like being a teenage girl... and I remember those days well." My hubby laughed... probably not realizing just how similar the two actually are.

Lauren and I get a lot of compliments on how well-behaved Brayden is. And he generally is pretty good. But when he's not? Oh em gee. It's bad. So here's my two-cents on how similar he can be to high school girls.

1. Everything is the end of the world.

Oh, the drama! The Academy would be proud. Brayden has had performances that would win him all the votes (except for a small group of aging directors who would slam him for overacting). Like most teenagers, every tiny thing is of paramount importance. And when any of it goes wrong, there's simply no recovering. At least not without some massive water works and contorted facial expressions.

For a while, there was this lady on Tumblr who posted "reasons my son is crying." They were hilarious. (i.e. "I broke this cracker in half." "I wouldn't let him drink bath water." I laughed when I saw them a year ago. Clearly, I didn't know what I was in for.

Reason my son is crying: He finished his grapes.

2. You simply can't figure out what they want.

Brayden says "water!" I ask him if he wants a cup of water. He says yes. I give him water. He cries. I say, "oh, you don't want water?" and he shakes his head. So I take the water away. He cries louder. This process repeats with just about everything (being finished with lunch, playing with certain toys, etc.).

3. They can't even figure out what they want. 

Read above.

4. So much volatility. 

It's the switch that keeps on flipping. One minute they're happy and laughing and lighting up your world. The next minute, it's as if some video-game demon came in, took over their body and is hell-bent on breaking you (or at least getting you to run for cover). The following two pictures? They were taken less than two minutes apart.

5. They know your buttons and they push them. Often.

Brayden is a good kid. He really is. But when he looks right at me and does the exact thing I just asked him not to do (i.e. throwing a basketball at his little sister's head, kicking a book over into her face, standing on the box that's going to collapse on him any second), I'm always amazed that defiance starts so freaking early. I suppose they don't call it the "terrible twos" for nothing. (And by the way - if anyone posts anything about how threes are even worse, I'll go all teenage-toddler-tantrum on you).

6. It's impossible to discipline them.

Toddlers might even be worse than teenagers on this front. At least you can take away teens' technology and make them understand that their behavior was in some way unacceptable or unsafe. But toddlers? They either don't get it, or they pretend they don't get it. We've been trying to use time-outs with Brayden lately and he usually just sits in his time out area having fun with himself until we tell him he can go. Very effective.

Obviously distressed.

7. They're starved for attention. 

I was a middle child so I played this card often. I was forgotten about. Ignored. Treated so unfairly. I know the game Brayden is playing here.  ...Which unfortunately, means I know there's no way for me to win.

8. Most of the things they say make no sense.

I listen to teenage girls today and I just can't believe what they're saying. This isn't too unlike me listening to my learning-how-to-speak toddler and trying to decipher the actual words. When did every age group start speaking a different language? Man, I feel old. Or isolated. (See - being a middle child follows you everywhere!)

9. They know the right time to be super-sweet (or cute).

Brayden is freaking adorable. And he knows it. When he wants something, he looks at me sweetly, often climbing against my legs or petting whatever part of me is nearest to him, and says "beeeepppssss" (his version of "please"). When he's in time-out and wants to come out, he chooses to repeat the thing I say to Elissa often: "Sweet girl. Sweet, sweet girl." Man, this kid has my number.

10. They believe they're the center of the world.

How can you possibly not be paying me attention, mom? You're trying to eat your lunch? No way. I'm more important. You're trying to feed my sister? No way. I'm more important. You're trying to write on your blog? No way. I'm more important.