Monday, January 27, 2014

Collin's Third Birthday Party: Under Construction

Since the day after his second birthday party, Collin has known he wanted a " 'struction site " party next.  All year he never changed his mind.  He's obsessed with construction equipment, so we knew a construction site party would be perfect.

We had a really great time decorating for the party, primarily with a $7 roll of caution tape.  We put it everywhere - around chairs and stools, on cabinet doors, on the mailbox, and everywhere else we could think of.  Daddy also parked a mini excavator in the front yard, which Collin thought was awesome!

 I think it's fun to do a picture timeline of the past year.

We had a really fun spread of food, which I'm bummed to not have a picture of...  sandwiches, chips, veggies, dirt cups, chocolate-dipped strawberries, and salami & cheese.

Collin invited three friends to the party - Abbie Rae, Eli, and Oreyna.  They had a good time painting suncatchers together.  Four kiddos was perfect - they fit at the table and were all able to play together without it getting too hectic.

Collin chose some fun toys for his friends to take home.


The most important choice of the party, for Collin, was the cake.  We showed him some pictures of construction-themed cakes, and he chose the one with a backhoe digging into the cake.

It was a really fun time of mingling, chatting, and enjoying the company of our friends and family.

 We had a blast celebrating Collin's birthday, and we're so grateful for all the wonderful people in Collin's life.

Lauren Kate: 5 months

Sweet Lauren Kate is 5 months old today!

She is a joyful little girl, full of smiles and spunk.  When she's sitting or laying down, she swings her arms out with her smile.  If she's standing, she shows happiness by smiling and stomping her left foot.

We learned this month that Lauren is ticklish.  She grunts and squirms, trying not to laugh while she's being tickled.  She has a very sweet little laugh, which comes most often if we're blowing raspberries on her belly or making other funny noises.

Lauren is also very intrigued by the noises she can make, particularly with her hands.  If she accidentally makes an interesting scratch sound, she'll turn her head to stare at her fingers as she continues making the same sound over and over.

Lauren's hand control has really developed this month.  She has pretty good aim and is able to grab at things in front of her.  She does a good job holding onto toys and getting them to her mouth.  She puts everything in her mouth, so we have to ask Collin "Do you want her to lick it?" before he shows her anything. :-)  Her favorite thing to grab is food!

Baby girl is hungry!  She has enjoyed carrots, squash, and sweet potatoes this month.  She liked when she got to gnaw on a whole banana, but she doesn't seem to like the texture of pureed bananas.  One of the only times Lauren really cries is when her food is all gone.

Sleeping is still a favorite pastime.  Lauren is really logical about sleep, which most babies aren't.  If she only has catnaps all morning because we're out and about, she takes an extra-long afternoon nap to catchup on rest.  She goes to bed every night around 8:30 and sleeps through until 7:30 or 8.  Her waketime during the day is around 2 hours if her naps have been good.  Her napping schedule isn't particularly consistent, but we're having really great luck with letting her dictate her own daytime schedule.

Lauren loves to sit up in the bumbo, stand in the bouncer, and lay on her belly.  She can roll from her belly to her back, but she doesn't do it.  She can sit up by herself for quite awhile, and sitting time typically ends when she gets distracted and reaches for something rather than concentrating on sitting.

Smily girl likes to watch.  She's observant and we continue to be surprised by how good her eyesight is.  That awkward phase of "Can she see me from there?" keeps being confirmed by her big smiles as she hears Daddy talking to her from all the way down the hall.  She recognizes our voices and seems to have a good idea what to expect from our daily routine.  It's amazing how smart and perceptive a 5-month-old can be!

We are absolutely blessed by Lauren's laid-back and happy personality, and she is so cherished.  We love you, sweet cheeks!

Collin Cooper: 3 years

Our little Collin Cooper is a big, gorgeous 3 year old!  The past three years have been a trip full of joy, excitement, learning, and fun.  Our sweet guy has enriched our lives in ways we never would've imagined, and we are absolutely grateful for him.

At the ripe old age of 3, Collin is simultaneously huge and tiny.  His skills and demeanor make him seem twelve, yet his stature is small.  At 36" tall, he's in the 5th percentile for height, and 32 pounds puts him in the 50th percentile for weight.  He's growing, but not quickly.  What he lacks in size, he makes up for in personality!

He wouldn't say so, but Collin's favorite thing to do at this age is talk.  He talks constantly.  He loves to have someone's ear while he talks, but he's also willing to speak when he's the only person in the room.  He narrates his pretend play, explains things really well, includes all the details when he describes, and doesn't keep secrets.  His vocabulary is huge and his memory is unbelievable.

Collin also loves singing, dancing, reading, and pretending.  With his incredible memory, Collin knows all the words to more songs than can be listed.  He memorizes his books and spontaneously uses lines from books while he plays.  (As an example, while he's playing with his dump truck, he might say "His heavy duty dump truck tires were stuck down deep in muck and mire," which is a line from the book Little Blue Truck.)  We read at least 50 bible stories every day (I'm not exaggerating!) and pretend most often with trucks/construction equipment, tools, and cooking utensils.

 Collin is into tricks these days.  "Mommy, wanna watch me?"  He particularly likes jumping off things, spinning, and doing somersaults.  He also spends quite a bit of time practicing his dance moves.

Silly and outgoing around people he's comfortable with, Collin is the complete opposite when he's unsure of his surroundings or his company.  When we're in a new place, Collin prefers sitting beside us and watching to assess the situation.  Sometimes he'll venture out after awhile, and other times he'll watch the entire time.  He's not about to try something he isn't comfortable with.

Speech has improved by leaps and bounds since Collin's 2nd birthday, and he no longer qualifies for speech services.  We will miss Miss Terri, his speech teacher, who became an important part of our routine by coming to our house every Monday.  On the flip side, we are so proud of Collin's hard work and improvement.  There are still a few sounds Collin doesn't make, but they're all age-appropriate and we trust they will develop in time.

For fun, we conducted an "interview" with Collin to record his thoughts at this age...
favorite breakfast:  pancakes
favorite lunch:  peanut butter, jelly, and honey sandwich
favorite dinner:  pork chops and barbecue sauce
favorite snack:  dried pineapple
favorite song:  Twinkle Twinkle
favorite color:  green
favorite place to go:  somewhere to eat
favorite restaurant:  The Green Bean
favorite thing to do with Daddy:  play with toys
favorite thing to do with Mommy:  make things in the kitchen
favorite toy:  cars
favorite game:  hide and seek
favorite animal:  puppy dogs
favorite friends:  Eli, Abbie, Jadon
job he'll have when he grows up:  "Daddy's job!"

Collin still has his imaginary friend, who he still refers to as "my little boy," and Dino is an important friend too.  He also got a little doll friend this month, who he decided to name Tyler.  As anticipated, they're taking the blame for Collin sometimes...

"Collin, why aren't you napping?"
"Oh!  My little boy wanted to play, so that's why the toys are out."

"Collin, where would you like to go for lunch?"
"Well, Dino and Tyler say they want french fries!"

We're moving into new territory with our big 3-year-old, and we're so excited to see what's coming.  With such a fun and creative little man leading the way, we know we have loads of fun in store.  You're a good man, Collin Cooper, and we love you to pieces!