Robert is 4!

I bought a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle dvd a month ago and introduced the foursome to Robert. I did it in part to see if he’d like a TMNT birthday party. I was really just going for anything besides cars. He loved them, so was gung ho when I presented him with a ninja turtle birthday party.

We got him a bike for his birthday and he was thrilled. Nah, he does like it, but I don’t think he’s quite ready for it yet. I just didn’t want to wait until next Christmas or birthday because I do think he’ll be ready for it before then. It was a yucky, rainy day today so he hasn’t gotten to try it out yet.


The birthday boy got to choose breakfast so we had donuts and kolaches and then we went to a matinee showing of Free Birds. 


We traveled up to Spring to have Robert’s birthday party since we don’t really have any friends here yet. We had it at Double Dave’s, the same pizza shop that Clara had her 4th birthday at.

Here’s the cake. I’m pretty proud of this one. They don’t make Ninja Turtle cake pans anymore, so I free-handed this bad boy. He didn’t turn out half bad. I also made a “fruit pizza”. He really wanted one since the turtles eat them. I just pressed rice crispie treats in the bottom of a round pan added marshmallow creme “sauce” and topped with cut up fruit. It worked great and allowed our wheat-free friend to enjoy a treat too.

I made masks for all the kids out of old t-shirts but they thought they were itchy, so they didn’t stay on long. I had to take a few quick pictures before they ditched them. You’ll see they all ended up as headbands eventually.

The plan was to give the kids lots of quarters and let them loose playing the games and buying cheap toys from the machines and they had favor bags to put their stuff in. Yeah, the change machine was out of quarters and we had to wait a long time to get some from the cash register, so the kids were going kinda crazy as we waited for our pizza.

Robert had a lot of fun and loved seeing his old friends. On the way home he said “that was the bestest birthday ever!” Robert got a quick bath and then got to play with his new toys for a few minutes before bed. I think he needs practice.

And one last special gift before bed. I sing Puff the Magic Dragon to Robert before bed every night, so I hope this stuffed Puff will be a very special toy for many years to come. If his reaction is any indication, I think I needn’t worry :)

I still can’t believe this sweet boy is 4! His big sister was just as excited as he was today. She could not contain herself all day and was told continually to calm down. Robert’s a lucky boy to have such a loving sister. She gave him a card that read, “You can come into my room for one week.” So giving :)


“Helping” Mommy

Robert’s big day is tomorrow! I made his cake this morning and let him lick cake batter for the first time. Since Clara is allergic to raw eggs and broke out in hives when she had her first taste, I’ve never given Robert any while she’s around. I don’t try to shield either of them from all disappointment regarding their food restrictions, but for some reason this is a biggie for me. I just don’t like the thought of her having to watch her little brother enjoy this special treat. And enjoy it he did. And yay! No hives!


After taking care of the beaters, he rolled up his sleeves and really got down to business.


Clara’s Fun Filled Family Birthday

It’s hard to believe, but Clara turned 7 yesterday. We’ve been working a lot lately on teaching her to be grateful for what she has, so I want her to get used to the idea of not having a birthday party every year. Last year was her first big birthday party, at Pump it Up. Every other year has been a small party at home (or Double Dave’s the year I had a two week old at home and couldn’t entertain the thought of having guests in my house), but I wanted her to know that even that is not something she should expect every year. I think that having a party every few years would make them that much more special to her.

So awhile back, I broached the subject of not having a party with her. It was not received well. Which made me all the more determined to get this entitlement mindset out of her. I asked her to hear me out and gave her my ideas of what we could do instead and she eventually was enthusiastically all in. I think at first she thought no party meant no special day for her. And I’m not that cold-hearted. My intent isn’t to make her feel like she is unloved or not worthy of celebration. I wanted to celebrate her; just in a different way. Our day included several things that we don’t normally do, so that made the day extra special for her.

I woke up at about 4:00 a.m. just giddy. I couldn’t wait for our day to start! I seriously couldn’t sleep and only dozed off a couple of times for a few minutes before Robert came into our room at 6:30. And because having a day of celebration run smoothly and according to plan wouldn’t be much fun, Chris woke up sick with a cold, so we brought the party to our bed. Robert got Clara a birthday Barbie. We’ve officially lifted the Barbie ban this year. She had one other Barbie that she got as a party favor several years ago and recently started asking for them. I always said that I wasn’t against Barbie per se, but that I believed she wasn’t age appropriate for very young girls and we would revisit the decision to have Barbies at our house as she got older. Chris took a little more convincing but mainly because he doesn’t want little pieces lying around. So welcome to our home Happy Birthday Barbie! May you stay modestly clothed and may your hair remain intact.

About the only other thing she said she wanted was a pink Christmas tree for her room. Grandma and Grandpa made her wish come true and got her a tree with all the trimmings.


She got a little sewing machine and lots of book sets from Bia and Pawpaw.


And as you can see, she was thrilled with her gift from us. She just looked at it at first, trying to figure out what it was. She thought it was a watch. We told her to turn it over and then she knew exactly what it was.

Her very own waterproof, shockproof, crushproof camera! And then she thought it was cool. We’re actually not a big fan of getting kids electronics. (Our kids will probably be some of the only ones in their generation that didn’t have a leap pad.) That said, of all the electronics out there that young kids are getting, a camera is one that we could get behind. She’s had the little v-tech one that takes horrible pictures since she was three and she still carries that thing around taking pictures.  This will also be a good lesson in taking care of things. She knows it’s a real camera and that it will be taken away if she isn’t careful with it. I’m hoping this gets her creative juices flowing and I can’t wait to see the world through her lens.


She took a few pictures and then wasted no time trimming her Christmas tree.


Chris wasn’t running a fever, so he took some Day-quil and put on his game face and we were out the door on our fun filled family day. First stop was Panera Bread for breakfast.

And then on to the mall. This was the idea that got Clara on board with my non-party idea. She’s wanted a Rudolph from Build a Bear since she first saw him a year or two ago. In the end, she decided to make Clarice and Robert made Rudolph. You get to put a little heart inside your stuffed animal and here Robert was instructed to hold his heart tight in both hands, close his eyes and make a wish. So cute.

After they built their reindeer we went to to see Wreck it Ralph, although you can’t tell from the glare in the picture. It was really cute and we all liked it. Robert made it through the whole movie even! It probably helped that there was a bit of racing involved. And popcorn in his lap. At first, my plan was for one of us to take Clara by herself while Robert napped, but she wouldn’t hear of it because she wanted all of us to go together.

We went to have a cupcake across the street from the theater when the movie let out. Since I was full of popcorn and Chris was sick, only the  kids got one. They wanted the candy cane ones and I should’ve known that was a mistake, but I let them both get one anyway. Robert liked his at first, but then got a mouthful of candy cane frosting and it was a bit much. We got him another, much safer vanilla cupcake. So maybe cupcakes right after a full belly of movie popcorn wasn’t such a good idea. They only ate a small bit before they were done. And Chris had had about enough fun for the day at this point. He was such a good sport all day, but it was almost 1:00 and his meds had worn off. So we headed home for naps.


Clara got to pick dinner which we knew meant Chinese at her favorite spot. All of the ladies were so sweet to her. They put 7 fortune cookies on a plate, stuck a candle in the middle and we sang Happy Birthday to her and she got her meal free.


Initially, our evening plans were to go to Zoo Lights at the Houston Zoo, but I didn’t want to go all the way down there with the kids by myself. I talked Clara into going just the two of us to walk around Market Street. I knew she wouldn’t remember the big Christmas tree since she hadn’t been since Robert was a newborn and I figured she would enjoy walking around with all of the Christmas lights and decorations.


Clara got a smoothie at Jamba Juice and one more special treat from Bath and Body Works (lip gloss and a mirror) since our evening hadn’t gone as planned and she was being such a good sport about it. We walked around for about 45 minutes and then called it a night.


On our way home, I asked her what her favorite part of her birthday was. She sweetly responded, “Spending time with my family.” Either she’s good and was telling me what she thought I wanted to hear, or this girl gets it. I was so proud of the way she handled herself when Chris was sick. I know she must have been disappointed when we had to alter plans because of it. I mean, I was too, but she bucked up and made the best of the day and had a wonderful time. As it turns out, not having a party with friends isn’t the end of the world after all :)

Being 3

 Robert sleeps amazingly well, from 7:30 to 6:30.

He wakes happy.

He still naps every day.

His bedtime companions are his hooded frog blanket and seahorse, along with a few other non-essentials.

He gets 2 stories and a song at bedtime. Current favorite book and song: Puff the Magic Dragon

Robert is still a terrible eater (although he likes tractor tacos).

He hardly eats a bite and will go to bed hungry most every night after refusing to touch his dinner.

That said, he is improving. He’s adding new foods to his diet, just not nearly as quickly as I’d like.

He is still dairy-free. He drinks rice milk and eats soy cheese.

We’ve introduced several nuts and peanuts. The booger isn’t allergic to anything, but he hates peanut butter.

 Robert loves school and is doing very well.

He can sing his alphabet and recognizes all of his letters since starting school.

He also recognizes his numbers.

Neither of which would he allow me to teach him.

So yeah, school’s been good for him.

Robert is a complete joy.

His voice and choice of words are just too much.

He makes me smile.

He is very polite and gets compliments all the time on his good manners.

His mean face is hysterical.

He is also a complete toot.

I’m guessing that’s his daddy in him.

Robert’s Favorites:

Disney Cars


Anything else with wheels

books about anything with wheels

Pink Panther

Buzz Lightyear pajamas

frog blanket


putting things in his mouth

playing outside


scaring people

Robert’s Not So Favorites:

loud noises


being dropped off at school (for about 2 minutes)

sitting still

Dino-Mite 3rd Birthday!

After lunch, Dan and Linda went to check into their hotel while Robert napped.  I got his little party together so that as soon as he woke we could start the celebration. The wind was still blowing, so I had to forgo putting out the decorations I had bought. I also got a little pin the head on the dinosaur skeleton game, but decided it was probably too windy for it too. We bought a Coleman oven that goes on top of a camping stove so that I could make cupcakes while we were there. They also make a shake and pour cupcake mix now, so it was nice and easy to make his special treat. I bought silicone baking cups that sit on a pan because the oven is too small for a muffin tin. They turned out great. Not the most beautiful things you ever saw and you did have to cut the burnt bottom off of each of them, but otherwise, not so bad.



Clara made a birthday banner for the party, complete with dinosaurs and dinosaur tracks.


I put together a little scavenger hunt to lead him to his gift from us. Clara read him the clues and they had fun running around the campsite looking for the next clue. The last clue led him to Grandpa and Grandma’s car. Here was his reaction when he laid eyes on his gift.


I don’t have to tell you, he loved his gift. He also got a fireman suit and hatchet from Bia and Pawpaw and put the hatchet to good use that day. He would start to drive, then stop abruptly and say, “Oh no, there’s a tree in the way!”, then hop out, get the hatchet from his truck and go “chomp” them down. And then drive another foot and repeat. All afternoon.



The next day was his actual birthday. He had powdered donuts for his birthday breakfast, something I don’t think I’ve ever bought for him. Man, those things are good.


Problems arose seconds after this picture was taken when we noticed he thought the entire plate of donuts were his. He was guarding his tasty morning treats from any would be thieves who might be bold enough to reach across the table to snag one.


After breakfast, we met Grandpa and Grandma at Dinosaur World, which is right next to the state park. We ended up having to take the dogs with us in the car. They were really worked up at the campsite when we tried to leave them in the camper in their crates and Max was barking his head off. They stayed in the car and I was worried he would bark there too, but he did ok. It was really windy and really cold when we first arrived. Grandma and Grandpa weren’t quite sure they were up for it and almost backed out since they weren’t dressed warmly enough. Thankfully they decided to try it and ended up having an enjoyable time. Once we got inside, the trees did a pretty good job of shielding us from the winds. You walk along a winding path and come across lots of full size dinosaur models with descriptions of each. We had a hard time getting Robert to slow down and pose for pictures.



I don’t think I had ever seen this guy before. He looked a lot like Godzilla.





Their favorites were the baby dinosaur trash cans along the path. Maybe because they were the only ones you could touch.


The walk takes about 30 minutes and then you end up back at the front, were there is a fossil dig and playground.



The kids have 10 minutes to dig for real fossils and then get to keep their three favorite. The dig didn’t keep Robert’s attention for long because he was itching to get on that playground.

We finished up the birthday celebration with a trip to the gift shop and then lunch at Dairy Queen, complete with a tasty frozen treat before Grandpa and Grandma headed home. It was a dino-mite day for our little birthday boy.

I Had a Birthday

And didn’t take any pictures of myself. I did, however take some pictures of Robert enjoying one of the scrumptious chocolate covered pieces of fruit that Linsey sent to me for my birthday. Thank you from the three of us, especially Robert!

My birthday was pretty uneventful due to Chris being sick this week. He was complaining about back pain earlier in the week and by Tuesday night he was in a lot of pain and had planned on getting into the doctor on Wednesday. During the night, the pain became unbearable and he was unable to breathe deeply or move very easily, so he decided to go to the emergency room around 1:30 am.

It turns out he has pleurisy, a viral infection of the lining of the lungs that you get following another virus. (He had a virus that he had a really hard time getting over a while back). It’s extremely painful but not cause for worry. Because it’s a virus, it just has to run its course. His pain meds weren’t working very well the first few days, but as of yesterday, he’s doing better. Today he’s just been exhausted and has slept most of the day.

He was up for dinner last night, so I asked to go to Saltgrass for my birthday. It was yummy. And that was the extent of the birthday celebration.

Pump it Up

I caved this year and had Clara’s birthday party at Pump it Up, an inflatable party place. I wanted to do a big party for her this year and invite all of her classmates so we couldn’t very well host that many people at our house. We made sure and had the just-because-you-get-a-big-party-this-year-does-not-mean-you-get-one-every-year talk just to be clear. She wanted a Princess Leia party but I think that’s more of a home party theme where you can do all kinds of cool stuff, so I asked if she would like a Hello Kitty party instead and she got super excited. She got a Hello Kitty t-shirt and socks for her birthday to wear to her party. I present to you the cake.

And the mess that was created in the icing making process. I think that’s my least favorite part of making cakes. That and the icing clean up. It’s totally worth it in the end though. I think.

Clara’s party was on Friday night. She ended up having about 10 friends and about as many siblings attend. Robert headed straight for the big slide. That booger was able to climb up by himself with no problem and slide down without hesitation over and over and over. And over.

Of course, he wasn’t the only one that enjoyed the slide.

Celebrating 6!

I really enjoy coming up with lots of little surprises on Clara’s birthday to make her feel special all day. I had to get creative this year since she was at school all day. She got to wear her birthday headband to school and got up a little early to go get donuts with Daddy. I also put a special treat in her lunchbox and a birthday card that made an announcement naming her the most beautiful birthday princess in all the land (or something to that effect).

Then I came up to the classroom at the end of the day and brought cookies for her class. She got to stand on her chair while everyone sang the school’s rendition of “Happy Birthday” to her. The kids were nuts! They were chasing Robert around, but Robert was scared of a herd of 10 kindergarteners closing in on him. Robert was getting into everything, climbing under the teacher’s desk and pulling stuff off of shelves and then I looked around and there were crumbs everywhere! I felt so bad and started trying to clean off the tables. I was glad to finally get out of there.

If you can’t tell, Clara loves her teacher.

That night, we let her choose dinner and sure enough she wanted Chinese. We reminded her that there were rolls and muffins she could catch at Potatoe Patch and then threw in the promise of a birthday dessert afterwards, and that was enough to reel her in.
I guess she decided that six year olds cut their own food, so I had to get a picture of the determination on her face as she cut her chicken. Oh, she got to choose any drink she wanted too, which she isn’t usually allowed to do, and she chose sweet tea like her Mama.

We snuck in her birthday gifts from family and she got to open them after dinner and then finished the evening off with a bowl of ice cream.

I saved one gift for her and left it on her bed. So after she showered, she got to open her gift from Grandpa and Grandma. It was Kit’s nightgown and a matching nightgown for her. She was in heaven! It was the perfect end to a perfectly lovely birthday for my special little girl.

Early Birthday Gift

We ordered this bunk bed for Clara’s birthday and decided it would be more fun to surprise her with it already built and ready to go. It was being delivered while we were in Pecos, so Chris got it upstairs (all six boxes) and built all by himself so that it would be ready for her when we got home on Friday.

And here’s the finished product. It has a desk with 3 drawers on one side and the other side has a shelf behind the drawers. We ordered the mattress for the lower bed the day after we got back and were able to pick it up later that week. She was glad to see the final product and now the lower bunk is for nights when she’s too tired to climb up to the top bunk :) There is still one more thing to do; we’ve got to remove the ceiling fan. Ceiling fans and bunk beds do not mix.

If you can’t tell, she loves it!

Robert is 2!!

I asked Clara to make a sign for the front door to greet our guests to Robert’s racecar birthday party.

I didn’t put a whole lot of effort into this party. Just a spray painted car, a couple of friends and some pizza, but it was the perfect low-key party. The car was missing a steering wheel (which many partygoers made sure to mention), but it still made for a fun photo op.

The cake. I spent roughly two and a half hours decorating this bad boy and do you know what Robert’s favorite part was? The wheels. He wouldn’t touch the cake. When Chris put some on his mouth, he promptly spit it out. The other kids kept asking for more wheels too.

We could not get those two boogers to look at the camera at the same time. Here Robert is watching Grandma and Grandpa. See them? They’re sitting in front of Clara. They skyped in for cake and presents. Oh man, we totally should have held the screen up so they could be in the picture.

Singing “Happy Birthday” to the birthday boy.

And just a few more pictures of all the fun.