Making Memories Part Three

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Last, but certainly not least: Henry’s trip to the 143rd Westminster Dog Show. I am NOT a dog person. I know, I know, if I’ve learned anything from “Friends,” it’s that you’re never supposed to tell people that you don’t like dogs. Or ice cream. Just to be clear: I LOVE ice cream. And it’s not that I don’t like dogs. I am just mostly terrified of them. At least the big ones. And definitely the jumpy ones. I’ve been bitten as recently as last summer, and I had two somewhat traumatic experiences as a child, so I think there’s probably some legitimate reasons why I am “not a dog person.” But, I’ve got a kid who is decidedly a dog person. And I figured the safest place to interact with a whole bunch of dogs would be at the Westminster Dog Show, where they are all committed to being on their best behavior!

The agility competition was our first stop (and finding Aunt Addie, of course). These dogs are all so fast!

Over at the big dog agility competition, H made friends with a border collie. I don’t have any footage because I was a little preoccupied with the fact that there was a rather large dog licking Henry’s face (fear of dogs, remember?) but Henry didn’t seem to mind. At least, he didn’t seem to mind too much.

Next stop was finding the requisite snack and souvenir. Henry had it in his head (for WEEKS) that he would get M & Ms at the dog show. I am not sure why, except that we never have them at home due to Sophie’s allergy. But Henry got his wish (and I was relieved we didn’t have to come up with an alternate snack option) and we were off to to the souvenirs. Henry perused all the booths and took his time deciding on a stuffed Dalmatian to add to his ever-growing dog collection at home.

True to form, Henry later demanded that we “return” the stuffed dog for a pair of men’s dog socks he had seen later and also wanted. But we took Dooley (the new stuffed Dalmatian) to meet the REAL Dalmatians at “Meet the Breeds” and that was pretty special.

These are not the greatest photos, I know, but everyone was so excited it was hard to get one where the people AND the dogs stopped moving. But that one at the end? That’s Henry’s happy face. The face of pure bliss.

And of course, we had to check out the pugs for Mom. I know they are ugly, but they are so ugly they’re cute. I am not really a dog person, but my love of pugs goes WAAAAAAAAAY back. Back to “Eloise” and her pug, Weenie. And then of course there was Bruiser. This pup is Ginger. We met her AND her mom, which convinced Henry that we actually need to get TWO dogs, because you HAVE to have a mom AND a baby.

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And then Henry’s eye caught this: FLOWER DOGGIES! And cats! H thought this was hilARious. It kind of is. Also kind of impressive. I mean, REALLY impressive. IMG_1590

Several hours and about a hundred dollars later, we made it back to our neighborhood for lunch. That dog show is WAY out there, folks. And the new cab surcharge is NO joke. But with the -10 degree windchill, I couldn’t face the crosstown bus. I may never take a cab again though!

This is the face of a guy getting a MILKSHAKE for lunch. Enjoying a meal with just one of my little people is really just that: ENJOYING a meal.

We had a great time, and even though Hangry H assured me as we were leaving that he DIDN’T have fun at the dog show because he didn’t want that Dalmatian pup (he wanted the socks), I’m pretty sure H loved it. And I think he was pretty happy with his new “pet” when we got home.

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It isn’t easy finding time and opportunity to spend time with just one of our kiddos at a time. It is SUCH a luxury, and it is so dang wonderful. I will definitely be reprising this idea for next Christmas. More memories, less stuff. Ok, we still have a TON of stuff, but you know what I mean.

 

It Wasn’t Perfect, But It Was Pretty Darn Cute.

The negotiations started weeks ago. One of our children needed ZERO encouragement to don a pretty outfit and perform in front of family and friends (I’ll let you decide which one). One of our children was pretty adamant about NOT participating in the wedding festivities. And one of our children fell somewhere in the middle: willing to fulfill his duties as flower boy, sort of excited about the outfit, but not quite as enthusiastic as the first.

Two participatory flower children would be a step up from the last family wedding they played a part in, but really, we were aiming for three. Their traditional Vietnamese wedding outfits (ao dais) has been custom made, and considering the flower child holdout was the godchild of the groom, getting him (or her) down the aisle felt like a high priority.

The negotiation went something like this:

Me: What if I gave you some Hershey kisses if you do your job at the wedding?

Child: 500 Hershey kisses!

Me: That’s too many.

Child: 100!

Me: How about 20?

Child: Woah. Ok! Twenty’s a lot!”

The math teacher in me cringed a bit at her offspring’s poor number sense, but the mother in me was thrilled to be emerging victorious (if bribing your child with twenty Hershey kisses can be considered a victory) from this negotiation.

The rehearsal did not go very well. Despite the promise of a score of Hershey kisses, two-thirds of our crew followed through with their flower child obligations, and one barely made it down the aisle with a lot of (literal) hand-holding from Mom. This was not the plan.

Considerations for alternative scenarios commenced immediately, and we spent the next twenty-two hours preparing ourselves for Plan B: three flower children and one Mom or Plan C: two flower children.

And then, at 1:30pm yesterday, without any mention of Hershey kisses, our holdout asked to suit up. Nevermind that it was a little too early to get dressed. Nevermind that there was a pretty big chance the ao dai would get wrinkled or stained before the ceremony. This kid wanted to get in his wedding outfit, and we were not going to stop him.

Two and a half hours later, they did what they had been asked to do. Quite literally. They threw the petals on the walkway (our efforts to distinguish between “throwing” and “sprinkling” came a bit late in the game) and went (RAN) to find Daddy at the end of the aisle. And while there may have been some Hershey kisses involved (only five!), those were really just a reward for a job well done.

I am so proud of my three little people for being so brave and for doing their job so well (which included sitting quietly–if not inconspicuously–throughout the ceremony). It wasn’t perfect, but it was pretty darn cute.

And what a special, special day it was celebrating Uncle Andrew and Aunt Evelynn. We are so glad they got to be a part of it.

You Can Squidge Me Forever, Mommy

This kid. Turning four tomorrow, and he is already such a big kid. That realization hits me sometimes, quickly, intensely, and unexpectedly. Like when I hear rustling in the kitchen at 6AM and I discover Henry in the freezer, pulling out the waffles. “I’m just getting breakfast ready,” he says. Or when he comes out of his room in the morning in a new pair of pajamas and says, “My bed got wet last night,” and we realize he took off his pajamas, put them in the hamper, got a new pair from the closet and put them on, and then went back to bed. All by himself. In the dark. In the middle of the night. Or like the other night when was helping him brush his teeth before bed. And there was nothing in particular that triggered it, but I just suddenly realized that he was getting so big. I gave him a big hug and a dozen kisses.

“What are you doing, Mom?” he asked through fits of giggles. And I said, “I just love you so much, sometimes I have to hug you and squidge you. You’re getting so big!” “But you can squidge me forever, Mom. Even when I’m a grown up and I’m taller than you, you can stand on your tiptoes and squidge me.”

Heart. Melted.

And now I’ve quoted him and written it down to live for all eternity in cyber space so that when he does grow taller than me and he starts to squirm away from my hugs and kisses, I can remind him, “You told me I could squidge you forever.”

The days are long, but the years are short.

Smash Cakes

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Last Saturday, we celebrated the trips’ first birthday.

Jack was pretty excited about the prospect of a party.

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Sophie could barely contain her excitement.

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Even Henry cracked a smile.

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Just kidding, Henry! We know you smile all the time. Especially when Dad is around!

We had fifteen adults, four one-year-olds (okay, 75% of those were ours, but still…), one two-and-a-half-year-old, and one three-month-old in our apartment. Scratch that. In our living room/kitchen. It was packed!

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See?

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Of course Sophie wanted to make sure she didn’t miss out on any of the action.

Question: How many people can you fit in our baby jail?

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Answer: A LOT!

Of course we took advantage of having so many family members in one place, and with Henry, Jack, and Sophie dressed up in their birthday best, we had to try for some family photos!

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Nonno, Grammie, and the trio!

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Cousins! And Emi 🙂

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Sophie Ann and Lily Ann meet face-to-face for the first time. I have no doubt that these little ladies will hold their own up against the boys!

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I guess it’s a lot to ask to have all FIVE of us looking at the camera!2015-04-04 12.47.19

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SMASH CAKES!

If you’re new to first birthday bashes (or if it’s been a while since you celebrated one), you may not know about the “smash cake” tradition. I’m not sure where or when it started, but the idea is that your little bumpkin gets a cake of his or her own to explore, eat, play with…SMASH!

It is probably no surprise to any of you who know us, but it is now confirmed. Henry, Jack, AND Sophie like sugar.

     All in all, it was a smashing success! Pun intended.

The Choo Choo Wagon in action…watch out, world!