Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Ever's Birthday Interview

Ever Knight and bacon are like two peas in a pod, at least that's how Ev sees it. There is almost nothing he loves more than bacon, actually I can't think of anything he loves more than bacon! My baby boy turned FOUR today and has been telling me for weeks that all he wanted for his "birfday bweakfast" was bacon--and lots of it! "You can get some donuts for T, but all I weawy want is da bacon Mom!" he told me. Once when he visited Grandma Winnie in Chicago she let him eat as much bacon as he wanted, and he has not forgotten the beauty of that day and has begged to recreate it! So this morning James fried up a pound of bacon and you better believe that baby scarfed it down like he had never eaten before. When I took my one measly slice from his overflowing plate he grinned and said, "Now Mommy, you wouldn't want to take da bacon from da birfday boy, would you?" That little boy knew how to work the system today, that is for sure!

This was the first year that Everett was super dialed into the birthday thing and has been planning his big day since T turned six in March. Last week he rehearsed his meal choices with me one last time, probably for fear I'd forget. "Bacon fo bweakfast. Gway's Papaya fo wunch--I want my own juice. McDonald's fo dinno so dat I can get a toy." He went back and forth on what kind of cake he wanted, but at the last minute bagged the idea completely in exchange for the mysterious new treat Mom told him about: banana splits. His first go at that sweet treat made for birthday gold! I gave him all sorts of options for how we could spend the day, but in the end he opted for playing at Pier 25 with his best bud Hudson and hanging out at home playing with new toys. In many ways the day was unglamorous but in so many ways it was the perfect Everett holiday--low-key, good food and close to home.

Ever Knight is a fiery little monster and the sweetest, cuddliest puppy dog. Sometimes I think I'm beginning to understand him and then he does something new or says something unexpected and I realize that I have a long way to go before I really get this little dude! He's artistic and loves to color and paint and create beautiful artwork. He loves action figures and super heroes and monsters and LOVES to fight--really loves to fight. He's sensitive and easy to cry; he's aggressive and easy to yell. He is the greatest big brother to Quinner and all of the babies in the neighborhood for that matter and he adores his big brother more than words can express. He's a cuddler and will never pass up an opportunity to be held and carried and loved. He's easy to smile and a total flirt, but lately also a little bit shy. He likes attention, but he doesn't need attention--days with him are quiet and easy and super nice. I love that little boy and he truly, deeply loves me back.

Happy birthday dear Ever! This will be a big year for you and I'm excited to be riding shotgun.

Without further adieu, a birthday interview:

What is your favorite...
Color: Orange
Food: Bacon
Game: Uh, not games. Puzzles. I like, uh, I gonna say, uh, I wike my super hero puzzle.
Book: Uh, Da book wif no pictures. Ha! 
Toy: Uh, uh, dis guy. Fwed.  
Treat: Uh, uh, donuts. 
Song: Uh, I love to see the temple.
Thing to learn about: Uh, books. Yah, books. Book, book, book, book.
Animal: Uh, books. hahahah (laughing hysterically!) Ok, cheetahs. 
TV show: Uh, I fink I know what it's going to be. I fink I'm going to like dis one (holding up his new movie from Cousin Sally, Horton Hears a Who).  
Thing to wear: Uh, pajamas. 
Holiday: Uh, Sunday.  

What do you want to be when you grow up? Uh, a superhero. 
If someone was being mean to your brother, what would you do? I would punch them cause I am a superhero.

Who is your best friend? Hudson and Ben
What is something you want to learn to do this year?  Handstands

What is something that you are really good at? Uh, fwips. 
If you had a million dollars, what would you buy? Uh, uh, a twansformer.

If you were an animal, what would you be? I would be an ewephant and an eagle because ewephants and eagles have E's in their sounds.
What do you want someone to invent? Uh, I don't know. A machine, dat can take over houses.

If you could have a magic power, what would it be? Ice power...I fink, but maybe I'd be hawkeye wif a bow and arrow. 
How many kids do you want to have when you grow up and get married? 11. Because I want dewe names to be Evwit. I hope dewe's a boy!

What kind of house would you like to live in: an igloo, a tree house, a castle, a cave, or our house? A twee house because you get to cwimb up it and we wuv to cwimb.
Who is the prettiest girl in the whole world? You! 

Where do you want to go on your mission? Dis is so wong I can't even bweath! To Colowado. 
What's your favorite scripture story? Uh, David and Goliath.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Last day of school! Last day of school!

Hooray! Woo-hoo! Ay, Ay, Ay! School is officially out and holy hannah are we excited to party it up all summer long. It's about time I got my little adventurer back with me because this city and us Wiggy's are going to make an awfully good team for the next couple of months. That does not mean, however, that there weren't MAJOR tears shed on the last day of school--by me, obviously. I couldn't even look at Talmage, Ms. Steiner, or anyone in his class without breaking down in sobs. She is the BEST teacher and this was the best year and I look back at the me from 10 months ago who was considering not ever sending her child to school (or kidnapping him from school drop-off!) and I'm so glad she/I decided that this Ms. Steiner was someone worth trusting. I could never be more grateful for the introduction to education that she offered my baby boy and our whole family. {If you're reading this Chelsea--thank you! And if you're reading this future Ms. Steiner students--consider yourself the luckiest!}  

This picture was actually taken the second to last day of school when Ms. Steiner had a free second to spare for a picture with T. He told me after the last bell rang, "Mom, Ms. Steiner cried a lot at closing circle today. I cried too Mom, because I really love her and I'm going to miss her. I almost wish I could just stay in school so I could still see her everyday." If you know how much that little boy loves adventures you know that him wanting to spend a summer in school is a HUGE deal. That Ms. Steiner, she's something special and worth it!

The actual last day of school. This picture was taken after I cried at home reminiscing about how his first day of school (and birth for that matter) felt like just yesterday, and before dropping him off at school and crying when I realized that we won the school/teacher jackpot this year. Talmage was just excited for school to be done so that he could order the double ice cream cone he's been coveting for weeks.

Daddy has been the drop-off hero this year and these two are so cute every morning. They have loved their traditions of running down the stairs instead of taking the elevator, racing to each corner to see who is fastest, and T is sure to tell me when Daddy sings "Oh what a beautiful morning" on the street to embarrass him! I love that they've had this special time to share together.

T and some of his school buddies.

Ms. Denise is the para-professional in the classroom and she is amazing! She is great at explaining things to the children and they love her for helping them with everything. As if having Ms. Steiner as a teacher wasn't great enough, we got Ms. Denise as a cherry on top.

These two little line partners spent a good portion of the year thinking that they were pre-arranged to marry because they had to hold hands walking to and from class! T actually told another classmate once when she proposed to him (not joking), "Sorry, I can't marry you because I'm pretty sure we all have to marry our line partners so I'm marrying Violet!" Love that girl and ok with that prospect!

Double cone, yo! SUMMER!!!!!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

June Extras

T lost his first top tooth, bringing his total number of lost teeth to FIVE! I love that little gap in his mouth making him look like such a 6 year old.

FHE Headbandz!

Everett and I were reading our books together on the couch during Quinny's nap and all of a sudden I looked over to find his head bobbing. Fast asleep! The exact same thing happened to me the night before this so I totally understand! 

Quinny and (one of) her boyfriend(s) Maxwell.

Preschool graduation for these crazies!

I caved and bought the boys water guns. I was against it for so long, but I finally just said a big ole "Whatever!" and now we're the proud owners of two giant super soakers. It's never been better as a Wiggy boy than right now.

We've been spending a whoooole lotta time with this BFF. Hudson and Everett are joined at the hip, always.

Quinny and a few of her cutie boyfriends (and my girlfriends looking gorg!)

 Picnicking in Central Park on Sunday evenings makes me want-to-burst happy! Just some of the wonderful men that were at this specific goodbye picnic for some friends.

 And the kids...all those kids!!! (Note T's mouth and Ev's muscles. Their photo-taking skills are amazing!)

 Ever's letters from preschool--he worked hard this year.

Me and my baby boy. That kid is the whiniest on the planet but boy he has my heart.
She thinks she is allowed to grow up and it's making me all sorts of crazy. How is she old enough to be walking around and playing in the splash pad I just have no idea?!
And after the splash pad was the after party. Brooklyn ice cream is always the best.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Cowabunga Dude! Ev's 4th Birthday Party

Everett's summer birthday has historically made birthday-partying a little tricky because sooo many people in our transient town head "home" for the summer. This year school gets out just a few days before Ev's birthday and as luck would have it a whole slew of his buddies are skipping town right after the last bell rings so we decided an early birthday bash was in order! This was Ever's first friend party, and boy did we do it right. He went back and forth on what kind of party he wanted to have (Big Hero 6? Newsies? Fighting Party? Of course he wanted a fighting party!) but ultimately settled on his true love--Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This was rather convenient for me because one of my college roommates had recently planned a TMNT party for her son, so many of the ideas for Ev's party were borrowed (uh-hem, shamelessly copied) from Marcelle (thanks Celle!) Now if only I could steal (I mean borrow) Marcelle's photography skills life would be real good.

Are you kidding me? How cute are these preschool ninja turtles?! We stuck to inviting his preschool class with just a couple other little boys added to the mix for good measure. We held the party in Central Park, right across from the Imagine Memorial where the people are few, the space is large and the smell of pot is always wafting in the air. We did not, in fact, pick the location because of the Mary Jane, but I just wanted to set the scene accurately for ya! "Mom, I fink dewe is a skunk awound hewe." "Yep Ev, I fink you're right." Eh hem.

Enough about drugs, let's talk decor. At the last minute James decided to grab the card table and I'm so glad he did. Everything looked way cuter on a table than it would have on the picnic blankets. I always keep it simple when it comes to party decorations, and this was no different. Our trusty birthday sign, some character plates, a few balloons and the cutest Leonardo lovey that Aunt Ash sent him for his birthday. Green juice boxes and green grapes and ninja turtle cupcakes just added to the fun.  

This guy has not left Ev's side since he opened him. He was reeaaalllly upset that we were using him for decorations because "dat is not a decowation, dat is my wuvey!" but I talked him into letting Leo protect the cupcakes. It worked! He also said, "Aunt Ash knew I wiked da bwue guy cuz he's in chawge." He's never seen a ninja turtle show, but that kid knows what's up!

Our little corner of beautiful Central Park before the kids got there and I started running around talking in funny voices trying to get everyone pumped! Birthday parties are so fun, and so crazy!

Ninja turtle plates. I don't know if you know this, but that's a suuupppper big deal for an almost four-year-old like Ev. He walked around holding his party plates for days after the kind Amazon man delivered them to our door. "Dose ninja tutos aw fighting on my pwate, dat is so awesome!" and then he would giggle and giggle. He also picked out his cupcake toppers at Party City. I was all ready to throw down a Ninja Turtle Cake like no one has seen before, but he saw those and it was love at first sight and so, there you have it, the easiest birthday cupcakes that ever existed and a little boy who got everything he wanted on his big day. Winning.

Ninja Turtle balloons won us major brownie points with the kids because they all got to bring one home. The humidity made the streamers a little melty but nothing a little tape couldn't fix. (Let's just pretend that the yellow guy is wearing an orange mask because I'm a little brain dead and forgot to get orange streamers. And purple for that matter. But wemembew dat da bwue one is in chawge anyways?!)

We played a water relay and a TMNT dress-up relay with costumes and I'll tell you the truth, total combined time with both relays was probably 5 minutes. There was a whole lotta cheerleading from the sidelines but the kids were not too sure about any of it. Oh well, moving on...!

Decorating cardboard pizzas was a crowd pleaser. James made all 12 of these and cut out cheese, pepperoni and olives so that the kids could glue them on. Ever is our little artist so he loved this activity so much. It's always fun to let the kids go on an art project and see what they come up with. Some kids made pizza like they would want to eat, others wanted patterns or designs, some wanted to just hold their pizza but put nothing on it!

Another one of them decorating their pizzas. I had to include this one because our baby monster was trying to attack all the kids and eat their work. Luckily all these kiddos think Quinn is the greatest and not the annoyingest! After they decorated pretend pizzas we ate a real pizza dinner while the glue dried. I ordered 6 pizzas and just for reference sake, that was way too many. I fed the kids and the adults and still came home with two full pizzas!

Everyone's FAVORITE part of the party by far was when I let them open their favors (shirts, masks and TMNT fruit snacks) and dress up like REAL Ninja Turtles so that they could fight the evil Shredder. James was the man of the hour and wore a hoody and mask and let those kids chase him around the park for at least 20 minutes. They giggled and screamed and through their pizzas at him in earnest and even now sitting on my couch the memory makes me smile till I'm giddy.

Finally they caught Shredder and didn't waste any time in torturing him with tickles and tummy-jumps. The look on his face seems to say, "What did you get me into?" and at the same time I think it says, "This was the most fun I've had in forever!"

This was post-battle when all of our Ninja Turtles were caked and presented and ready to head home for an early bedtime. Everett has such a great group of friends and I'm so glad they were able to come celebrate his birthday with us. He is a special kid that Everett, deserving of a big bash indeed!

Two grainy phone pictures from the way home when my little Ninja Turtles were leading the way and every head was turning to look at their cuteness. I'm lucky to have them, they're lucky to have each other, we're all just really lucky. Happy birthday Ever Knight. You know how much I love you--a million!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A Father's Day Win: A New Toy for Dad

James said this was the best father's day he's ever had. THE BEST! I had kind of hoped that his declaration was based on my phenomenal performance in the kitchen (because just look at that fresh fruit tart) but turns out the real reason this was the best one yet was because we bought him a toy instead of socks! Yes, James is now the proud owner, or should I say father, of a white quadcopter drone and let me tell you that baby has totally consumed every one of his thoughts and daydreams since Sunday morning at 7 am when he opened the big box wrapped in jazzy paper. The shock and excitement on his face let me know that I had done good, reeeaaaal good. It's Tuesday night and the only reason he's not flying it right now is because there's a serious thunderstorm happening right outside our window. Otherwise you know where he'd be (the same place he spent most of Sunday and our Monday FHE!)

Sheep Meadow, that city view, and those boys who were so delighted I can't even begin to tell you. I think we have a new Father's tradition--toys for Dad. I'm guilty of buying need gifts over want gifts, especially for adults, but seeing him revert to an 11-year-old has been so much fun I want to do it again and again and again! I did promise him so many years ago that I would be the spice in his serious life, and this drone was just what all of us needed!

 Quinn and her big city. 

QUINN!!! Oh, you mean this post is supposed to be about the drone? Right, right. But how cute is Quinn?

Come visit and fly with us, I mean him...I wouldn't touch that thing for fear of breaking it if my life depended on it.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Future Yailees?

A few weekends ago we took the train to New Haven to see Yale campus. Our friends Gladriel and Jared both went there for law school, so they were the perfect tour guides showing us all around this gorgeous and historic campus. We were all impressed! Talmage even mentioned that behind BYU and Stanford, Yale was his #1 choice!

Future Yailees?

Future Yailee!!!

We ate our way right around this place, which happens to be the Wiggy's favorite way to get to know a town. The ice cream at Ashley's is shipped in fresh from a farm close to New Haven and holy hannah is it creamy and perfect.

 Our awesome friends and their cutie-pie kids.

Sally's Pizza gets two thumbs up for deliciousness and service! I was so excited about their ovens and before I knew it they had invited me back to {pretend} shovel coal into the flames. It made my day!

This cuddle muffin hung close to me on the train ride home, and I don't think it was only because I am the keeper of watermelon bubblegum.