June 27, 2010

A Very Happy Half Birthday

Ok, so I can guess what you're thinking:

Who celebrates half-birthdays? And why? Aren't regular birthdays enough?

Yes, they are. Unless your birthday happens to fall close to Christmas. Like Caleb's. Born on January 3rd, Caleb will forever compete with that other Major Gift-Giving Holiday when his real birthday comes around. We knew this when I got pregnant and discovered my due date was December 31st. We also knew we didn't want our child to feel like Christmas always trumped the day of his birth.

And no, this isn't just about presents. Planning birthday parties at the tail end of the busiest season of the year didn't sound like fun. People are away, visiting family. Christmas parties, New Year's parties, and other social obligations fill calendars, and who really has all their decorations down by January 3rd, to make way for Happy Birthday signs and streamers?

So with Caleb growing inside me, Jason and I divised a rather un-traditional idea: we would celebrate our child's half-birthday in the middle of summer. Away from major holidays and at the peak of a season where kids are out of school and the weather is warm.

And yesterday, we made Neuhauser history by celebrating Caleb's half-birthday for the first time. He is now officially 3 and a half. :) And the party? A total success!

Birthday hugs from Grandpa

Birthday bubbles on the tummy from Nana


The funky eagle hat
(there's a story behind this hat, but that'll have to wait for another post)
((this hat will play a crucial role in the party later on... stay tuned))

Our living room floor looked remarkably like Christmas morning, only without the wrapping paper. Grandpa and Nana went a little oveboard with the gifts and we could tell Caleb was getting slightly overwhelmed toward the end. We do, however, have an infusion of new toys to keep boredom at bay this summer. Mommy like.

Now for some silliness!
That eagle hat found many admirers last night. Everyone had to try it on.
Kim, my MIL, was the first.

Then John, my FIL . . .

. . . followed by G.G.
(Kim's mom and Caleb's great-grandma, whom he calls G.G. for short)

Heck, even Helen's boyfriend got in on the fun.
Maybe because he had a matching tatoo?

And then there's Michael, who of course wouldn't face the camera.
But he did wear the hat. :)

After that, it was time for cake.

(we'd had a "Caleb-what-are-you-doing-ARGGGHH!!-NO-SON-OH-MY-GOODNESS-DON'T-TOUCH moment with the cake earlier in the day... thankfully, the Mommy patched it up with frosting and no one was the wiser)

See? No holes or bite marks anywhere! ;)

The robot on the cake is the Iron Giant from the 1999 cartoon movie. This movie is one of Caleb's ABSOLUTE favorites. We have large portions of it memorized, and I knew for Caleb's half-birthday, I wanted the robot for the cake.
Thank you, Ebay!

Frosting Face, with his robot in hand at last. :)
The Iron Giant turned out to be the highlight of the evening. He rarely left Caleb's hands the rest of the night, and when I checked on Caleb before going to bed, he'd curled up on his bed with the robot lying right next to him.
Precious, I tell you.

A very happy half-birthday, little boy! We love you so much!

June 22, 2010

Kicking Off Summer, Toddler-Style

Summer is here. Officially. At 60 degrees outside, it sure doesn't feel like it, but Caleb is out of pre-school, so summer is here, whether I'm still wearing jeans or no. And this Mommy has been busy preparing all sorts of activities and outings to keep her Little Man busy during the long and (hopefully) sunny summer days.

Last Thursday, we kicked off the festivities with a trip to the Everett Children's Museum. We were supposed to go with the local MOPs group, but, well, we didn't wake up early enough. Ahem. But that's a whole 'nuther story. . .

We drove down the whole length of the island and rode the ferry across the channel for fun. Caleb loves the ferry. So do I. :)

I had no idea what to expect when we arrived, but not in my wildest imaginations could I have conjured up what the museum had in store for us. The main floor housed an entire town, built to kid-level and totally hands-on. Fire station, barnyard, theater, barber shop, wildlife rescue clinic, treehouse, Italian restaurant, bank, airport. All of it beautifully designed. Every station and exhibit begged to engage your imagination; and while the kids laughed and played, they learned, too. Because every part was also educational.

Mommy like. Mommy like very, very much. Mommy wanted to drop Caleb off at the train station and go pretend to be a pirate or a veternarian or a ferry boat captain for the rest of the day. But instead, Mommy took pictures and experienced the wonder of exploration vicariously through her son. :)

The enormous rail station train set. Guess who thought this was just about the best idea ever?

Finally dragged Caleb away from the trains long enough to realize there was more to see!

The barnyard. Complete with a horse, tractor, and
water-milking cow

Hmmmmm, what are these?

The H2O Exhibit, housed inside a faux ferry boat.
I think this was Favorite Part #2

Pizza, anyone?

Sorry Caleb! It's not real!
(he lost interest once he realized he couldn't eat it)

After two hours inside, we discovered there was a roof-top station.
Oh my.

One Gi-Normous jungle gym (this photo only shows half of it)

Diggin' for dino bones.

Largest chess set ever.
Caleb thought this was pretty cool, sort of like a cross between bowling and dominoes,
because he kept trying to knock all the figurines down. :)

3 hours of play. 4 hours of driving.

2 very happy people.

Our summer's off to a good start, I think.
Now I'm curious: what are y'all up to these next few months? Have any interesting plans or places to go? If you've got littles, what are you doing to fill the days?

June 13, 2010

The Ants Go Marching Two By Two

Look what made their way into our home last week:

Wonder what they're after. . .

What's this? They found cupcakes?

I'm scared for the cupcakes.

Ants on cupcakes.
There's something you don't see every day.
Unless you're at a picnic.
Poor cupcakes.

Actually, we were at a picnic on Friday. Caleb's end-of-the-school-year Preschool Picnic.
We decided to take the ant-covered cupcakes with us.
And contrary to what one poor kid thought, they were completely edible.
The cupcakes AND the ants. :)

See? Chocolate and Junior Mint ants, chillin' in the fridge.

Cupcakes waiting to be frosted.
Caleb helped make them.
He loves to help in the kitchen these days. I can't pull out a mixing bowl
without him running for a kitchen chair and calling out "Helpin'! Helpin!"
Melts my mommy heart every time.
So he stands on his chair, cracks eggs, pours milk, gets flour everywhere, stirs with a big spoon,
and licks the beaters when we're done.
And while we're quite messy by then, we're also quite happy.

As for the ant cupcakes?
They were a big hit at the picnic. :)
Except for the one kid who thought the ants were real.
He refused to eat the cupcake, even after a kind teacher lady removed the offending insect.
Poor kiddo. I felt bad.
Then I ate a cupcake. And I felt better. :)