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In talking about Easter at school, Colton received a sticker that said, “one way to Jesus.” I asked what the one way was, and C replied, “oh, you have to go up a hill.”

Colton was playing a game recently with a piece of rope. He declared, “this is how you get to God: you have to climb up this rope and the person who gets to the top first gets to God!”

We made the Resurrection Rolls from all over Pinterest (with marshmallows and crescent rolls). He was very into making them and explaining how the marshmallow was Jesus. When they finished cooking, I showed Colton how they were empty on the inside and said, “the tomb is empty because Jesus is alive!” C looked at me and said, “he is NOT alive. Because Jesus is the marshmallow and the marshmallow just melted away. So Jesus is not alive, he just melted up to heaven.”

I took Colton into “big church” to see his older friend baptized. While we were there, they served communion. I told him he wouldn’t get to have communion, but explained that the little cracker represented Jesus’ body and the grape juice represented his blood so we could remember how Jesus died for our sins. He requested his fruit twist and water bottle and declared, “the water is going to be Jesus’ body and the fruit twist will be his blood because it’s red!” He then had his own communion with everyone. For several days, he continued to ask for a “Jesus snack” that needed to have two foods, one of which had to be red, “because Jesus’ blood is red!”

 

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Mommy: Colton, I can’t play right now, Mommy’s pooped.
Colton: But Mommy, why’d you go poop?

Colton: I’m going to have lots of brothers! I will call them Tree, Grass, Leaf, Bush, Twig, Berry, Cotton Ball, Bird, and Nathan. ‘Cause that’s the brother I already have.

Mommy: Colton, what kind of things would you like in our new house?
Colton: Hmmm…my own room and a front yard with no holes.

Colton: No is my favorite word!

Mommy: Hey Colton, do you know what sin is?
Colton: When you do bad or don’t obey.
Mommy: That’s right! Did you sin today?
Colton: Nope!

Mommy: Do you know what the holes in your nose are called?
Colton: You tell me.
Mommy: They’re called nostrils.
Colton: Oh! Like ostrich!

Colton: I’m drawing this picture for Dolphin! (his little stuffed animal) When I’m done, you can write our names on it!
Mommy: Great! Can you tell me what letters are in your name?
Colton: I don’t know.
Mommy: Well what letter does your name start with?
Colton: I don’t want you to talk right now. I’m working hard on my picture for Dolphin. Because she wants me to draw her a picture. So that’s what I’m doing. I’m going to use all the ink in the pen for her picture.

Mommy: (getting ready to celebrate my grandmother’s birthday) How old do you think MeMe is? Colton: Six!Mommy: Oh, that’s a good guess. My Mom: (brings out a cake) Cound the candles and see how old MeMe is turning.Colton: (counts to ten) Ten! We were wrong!

Other fun things Colton says right now: he calls a jet ski a ski jet, which cracks me up because he knows the exact, proper names for other vehicle on the planet; instructions are “constructions;” his favorite number is “tenty.”

Dear Colton,

Now you are three! The past three years have been a wonderful adventure watching you grow, seeing your personality develop, and learning to parent you. You have brought so much joy to our lives!

IMG_0085If I had to describe you in a few words, they’d be: fun-loving, sweet, stubborn, silly and energetic. You love to laugh and make others laugh too. Your teachers said you would never sit in your seat during lunch time because you were too busy trying to entertain your friends. I could never drop you off at school or church without giving you a hug and a kiss, and you had to give me one too. Some of my favorite moments with you this year came right before nap-time. I would always say some variation of “I love you! You’re my sweet/special boy!” before turning out your light, and you would say, “no Mommy, you’re my sweet girl!”

Colton gave me a heart necklace for Christmas that says "I Love Mommy." His Daddy took him to pick it out, but he chose the heart and told him what he wanted engraved on it. He was so excited and proud to give it to me. Sweet boy!

Colton gave me a heart necklace for Christmas that says “I Love Mommy.” His Daddy took him to pick it out, but he chose the heart and told him what he wanted engraved on it. He was so excited and proud to give it to me. Sweet boy!

Your zest for life is contagious and overflowing. If you are awake, you like to be playing, exploring, or running. Never before have I seen so much joy in looking for worms, jumping off a tree stump, collecting interesting sticks and rocks, or just simply running down the road.

DSC02101This past year you have especially enjoyed learning about machines and dinosaurs, thanks in large part to the TV shows Mighty Machines and Dinosaur Train. You know so much more about machines than I do! I am forever getting a bulldozer and front loader mixed up, and you are quick to correct me. Not only do you know what they look like, but you also know the different jobs they do, which forever amazes me. I loved seeing you expand your play with trains as you started to play Dinosaur Train with them, and Night and Morning Train, loosely derived from the show. You identified with one of the characters, Don Pteranodon (who is so your dinosaur equivalent), and love pretending to be him, make his signature noise, and sleep in a nest. Thanks to you, I now make a mean Pterandodn squawk!IMG_0291

You recently listed the things you like for me. They are: machines, cars, trains, trucks, planes, helicopters, puppies, kitties, doggies, horses, porcupines, ducklings, dolphins, and probably more. I was trying so hard not to laugh when you got to porcupines that I had a hard time listening to the rest of the things you like.

DSC02140Just before you turned three you became a big brother. I was worried about how you would initially do with this transition, but you have surprised me with how much you love your brother. Of course, you have had your moments of learning how to be gentle, but it is so sweet to see you try to get him to take his paci to calm down or bring him toys to “play” with.

I love you buddy, and can’t wait to see what the next year brings us.

When a giant spring snowstorm derailed our day’s plans, I decided C and I needed a fun, easy to pull together activity.

Since we had just been to an Easter egg hung, we had plenty of eggs, and I remembered the Easter egg lunch I’ve seen everywhere on Pinterest.

I put my own spin on it, serving it in a muffin tin (I didn’t have an egg carton) with the eggs closed. Closing the eggs meant he had to guess what was in each one and since I told him the rule of his Easter Bunny lunch was that he had to eat what was in whatever egg he opened before he got a new one, it meant he ate everything in each egg.

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Our eggs were filled with cheese, carrots, crackers, strawberries, letter cookies, ham, tortilla and one egg had a piece of candy. He ate everything in the dozen eggs I prepared for him, and then fixed six more at his request.

I plan to do this again on a regular basis, not just at Easter time. It was a fun way to connect at lunch time (he needed help opening each egg and I prompted him to guess what was in each one), and I felt like he ate much better than he normally does for me. I think, if I planned this better, he would eat with a much better variety than he normally does.

Two years old is hysterical. And hysterically challenging.

C now says things like “oh-cake!” for okay and “noke-a-nuts” for no.  And at dinner, “I want to see the food in my tummy. Aaaaaaah! Daddy, you see the food in my tummy? Can you see it Daddy?”

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And yet there are days when I carry him out of the house, and he hangs on for dear life to the door handle, screaming. And then I cart him to the car, screaming, and wrestle him into his carseat, screaming and kicking, and deposit him at school. Where he has a fantastic day, go figure.

Speaking of school, we’ve been through some challenging days there with him pushing. Apparently my barely 26 pounds soaking wet toddler was “knocking down the little kids.” His teachers are wonderful though, and were very kind about everything, and even said they didn’t think he was doing it to be mean, just to play. The three of us decided to use positive reinforcement was the way to go, and he receives a Skittle from his teacher at the end of the day if he has a good day of no pushing. He’s gotten one two days in a row now and knows he gets one if “I no push my friends Mommy!” I remind him every morning to use gentle hands, be kind to his friends, and use his words and tell him how proud I am of him when he does well.

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Colton will sometimes sing unprompted, though he mostly likes to tell me what I ought to sing.  Old MacDonald is one of his favorites, but he likes to sing “Old MacDonald had a farm, eieieo! And on that farm he had a…bulldozer. With a push here and push everywhere! Eieio!”

One of the biggest issues we have at two and a half is control. C loves to control anything and everything he can. What we wears, when he gets dressed, what he eats, how he gets in his car seat, how we play when we play with him, etc. Pushing boundaries is is favorite! He’s very strong willed and independent, but what he lacks in cooperativeness, he makes up for in personality.

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Some of C’s favorite things at the moment include: trains, trucks, cars, buses, any and all construction equipment, graham crackers (or graham crack, as he calls them), watering things, and letters. This summer he only knew a few letters and didn’t really care about them, now he knows almost all of the capital letters (W, X and Y are hit or miss) and wants to know “what those letters doing?” This means he wants to know what they say; I can’t believe he’s gone from zero interest to understanding that letters make words, which tell us something in only a couple of months. I feel I should add that I don’t particularly care one way or the other if he’s an early reader or that he knows his letters, I’m just amazed and how quickly he has picked them up!

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Other random things: C sleeps in a toddler bed for naps and at night  and does a reasonably good job staying in his bed; is allergic to peanuts, eggs and cats; loves Mighty Machines, a 90’s Canadian TV show on Netflix, and is so excited about Christmas – decorating the tree has been his favorite thing so far!

Last Saturday, Colton turned two. The week before that, we celebrated with his friends at home. And I’m just now posting about it.

Colton has adored Curious George for quite some time, and I decided long ago we’d have a Curious George “themed” birthday party. Going into it, there were two things I knew: I wanted to use the more vintage, hand-drawn George (rather than the much more cartoony movie version), and I didn’t want everything to scream George. To that end, I settled on using red, blue and yellow as my main colors, and also decided on using polka dots. Polka dots are happy and fun, plus I found a great vinyl table cloth on clearance.

After doing some Etsy browsing, I found a seller with some two-inch punches from an old Curious George book, which I happily snapped up. Could I cut up a book? No. But I sure could buy a cut-up book! These were absolutely perfect – there were tons of pictures of George, and the Man with the Yellow Hat, and I think they were a great touch on my photo banner.

When Caroline visited, way back in February, I mentioned I thought I would take photos of him in a monkey costume I had snagged on clearance for this coming Halloween. She said, “we can run outside and take them now!” Since Caroline is by far a better photographer than I am, I jumped on that opportunity. I popped five in Dollar Store frames, spray painted red with paint I already had, and displayed the rest above the cake.

I briefly thought about making a cake, but my icing skills are completely lacking, so I paid a super talented friend to make one for us. All I did was give her my cake plate, Curious George ornament, and direct her to my Pinterest party board. She totally nailed it, and I spent zero time thinking about it, working on it, or stressing about it.

Quite possibly my favorite birthday picture. He was totally thrilled to be sung to.

We served fun, easy, loosely themed George food, like Chef Pisghetti’s Pizza, George’s 100 Dozen Donuts, a jungle fruit tray and individual banana puddings.

Colton’s birthday shirt was another Etsy find, and all three of us love it. When I showed it to Hubs before ordering it he said, “you’ll get that off of him when it falls off.” The quality is awesome, and George is fuzzy, which is a fun little touch.

Colton had a wonderful time with all of his friends (he asked for them to all come back the next day too), and I had a great time planning and decorating. And the end of the day, a happy birthday boy is the best thing I could ask for.

I recently had a revelation. Colton is fun. And not just fun in a hey he smiles at me and maybe does something funny once in a while, but fun in that he has a real personality, likes, dislikes and a sense of humor. I don’t just love him because he’s my child, but I like his personality and little quirks that are all his own.

Also, I totally had a phone conversation with him yesterday, and that pretty much rocked my world. I mean, the conversation may have gone, “Colton, Mommy is coming home.” “Yay! Mommy home!” “Do you want to talk to Nona and Popa on the computer with Mommy when she gets home?” “Uh-huh.” “Okay, Mommy is almost home, go wait for Mommy at the door.” “Uh-huh.”

Watering plants.

Part of what is making him so much fun all of a sudden are his communication skills. He’s always been a talker, but now his understanding and social skills have caught up with his plain old ability to talk, and we can have real conversations. We talk about his friends, what he learned about at church (goldfish, not God), what his favorite songs are and what kind of birthday party he wants to have (his request, cake).

Playing peek-a-boo at music class.

Colton has figured out he can say things that are funny, and there are times he really tries to be funny or make a joke. He even has a special face he makes when he thinks he’s being particularly funny; he grins, scrunches his noes so his eyes crinkle at the sides, and holds his bent hands by his face. It almost looks like a mouse impression. This face came out this week during dinner (hamburgers for the adults, a hotdog for the toddler) when we had a bottle of ketchup on the table. There’s a picture of a tomato on the bottle, and Colton pointed to it and said, “apple!” We told him it was a tomato, and he told us again that it was an apple. Finally, I guess he thought we were joking with him, because he made his funny face and proclaimed, “that not apple!” and laughed.

This month, Colton developed a love of watermelon.

Colton loves to get dirty when he’s playing, but then moment he stops playing long enough to realize he’s dirty, he wants to be cleaned up. He loves playing outside, and one of his particularly favorite activities is to sit in our ivy. Today we went to the park, and he picked a flower and clutched until after we’d been home for a while, telling me, “Colton pick beautiful flower.”

Playing in MeMe and PopPop’s fountain.

I’m not sure I can put into words what I love about this kid. I love the way he sucks his lower lip in, bits it with his top teeth and grins when he’s really happy. I love the way he runs, his knees pulling way up to his chest, arms flailing while he yells.

He is awesome.

My husband thinks our son should become a professional photographer. He’s got the stance down (seriously, you should see this – he looks like a mini art student with his legs spread, knees bent, trying to get the perfect shot), he tells his subjects to say cheese, and he has camera operation down-pat.

Maybe, just maybe he needs to work on his framing.

When Colton ran off during dinner a few nights ago, I didn’t think anything of it. He’s not in a booster seat anymore and frequently hops down to play when he’s decided he’s had enough of dinner. I don’t really mind, as it gives Hubs and I some time to finish eating without a screaming toddler who just wants to play. But this time, it was quieter than usual. So, I went to see what he was up to.

I had left my camera somewhere reachable, and he was walking around his room, pointing his camera at his car, the window, the vent, and the ceiling, enthusiastically telling them “cheese!” and snapping their picture.

There were well over 60 of these photos.

Colton's portrait of Mommy.

A budding photographer cannot be stopped.

First self-portrait

My toddler is a stinker.

I still adore him though! This month has been all about testing boundaries and consequences. For example, when I ask Colton to stop and come back to me, he will frequently stop, turn and face me, grin, and then run in the opposite direction. That earns him an automatic time-out. So does hitting me, Daddy, or anyone else. For all other offenses he receives at least one warning before I implement a consequence. Lately, he’s even pushing the boundaries while he’s in time-out. He knows I ask him to look at me when I come to get him out of his chair, and when he sees me coming, he covers his eyes and laughs.

I knew that oven lock would come in handy!

He’s developing his sense of humor, and loves to be called a silly boy. Mostly this comes in the form of him answering us with made-up words, calling us things like “MommyGaGa,” and putting things on his head. A stand-up comedian he is not.

This month, I’ve also realized how much of a ring-leader Colton can be. I’ve seen several different situations where he convinces other kids to chase him, run around like crazy people, or just do whatever he think is fun.

I love hearing Colton’s broken sentences. Some of my favorites are: “blanket, white truck, show you,” “Mommy hold you,” “Daddy, stroller ride push,” and “Colton do it self!” He also says “uh-huh” after most of his statements of fact or specific things he wants to do, like “Colton, trains read, uh-huh.”

I’m so very thankful this kid is mine.

Last month, I mentioned Colton started calling himself “Ten.” Over the past month he’s definitely developed a preference for being called Ten or Tenny. I love hearing him call himself Tenny-Ten; I think it’s one of the most adorable things he does.

Colton’s favorite things are still Thomas Trains, Curious George and trucks. He knows all of the major Thomas characters, and many of the minor ones as well. His favorite train is Thomas, but his favorite Thomas and Friends personality is Jack, a tractor.

Colton also greatly enjoys being outside, especially when he gets to play with rocks or dirt. At the park, he usually hands me fist-fulls of mulch, or just dumps it on his head. He also likes to pick out a “special rock” that I take home. We don’t do anything particular with the rock when we get home, but I love seeing him look at the rocks and select one that seems interesting to him.

Colton’s vocabulary doesn’t seem to have exploded as much as it has in previous months (though that may be because he has been so verbal that I don’t notice new words as much), but his enunciation has improved. Now, fish sounds like fish, rather than a curse word.

He’s working on sentences, though most are only three words, like “Mommy get it.” Most of his sentences are either commands or statements of what he sees; we don’t really have any “real” conversations yet. Colton does say please, but he won’t say “Mommy get it please.” Normally, when he says something like “Mommy get it,” I’ll ask him to say “Mommy get it please.” Usually he’ll say “Mommy please.” I don’t know if he can’t remember more than three words together or if more than three words is just too much effort or what, but I know it will come.

I worked with Colton over the past month or so to cut down drastically on his pacifier use. Prior to our cutting back, he just walked around with it in his mouth all day long. It did nothing to soothe him when he was upset, and I knew it had just become a habit for him to have, rather than being soothing. Now he only uses his pacifier for nap and nighttime, and is doing GREAT. I do allow him to use his pacifier, if he needs it, when he’s in his bed. This usually happens only occasionally after nap, and I would say he stays in the bed for 5-10 minutes until he’s ready to put his pacifier down and get out of the bed.

He is getting so big!

Just a 20-something girl living on the East Coast, trying to figure out life. I'm a wife and mom to two. I'm trying to rediscover my love for long walks, yoga and pilates. But not hiking. I still don't like hills. I was raised at the beach, but I don't like the beach. I like to look at it, but I don't like to swim in it, I'd prefer a pool, thanks. I'm just trying to become the best person I can be -- the woman God wants me to be. That's easier said than done!

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Contact me at longbrakeliving@gmail.com - I'd love to hear from you!

Hubby is my all-time favorite guy. A perfect mix of serious, sarcastic, laid-back, handy and nerdy, he is the perfect complement to me. I love his strong work-ethic and the way he always loves and supports me through everything. Some of Hubby's favorite things include: hiking, Virginia Tech football, woodworking, and his family. When I married him in July 2007, I had no idea what an amazing journey we were headed on, and how I could come to love him so much more each day.

Our oldest, Colton, is three years old. He is equal parts sassy and hysterical. He loves all things train, car, bus, truck, and machine related. He has a penchant for made-up words and loves to be the clown of his pre-school class. Our younger son, Nathan, was born this May. He is pure joy and full of smiles! He is such a blessing and a perfect fit for our family.