Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Hello.  How are you?  I have been busy.  Clearly too busy to write on here, no matter how much I may have wanted to.  And boy have I wanted to.  But between a bunch of appointments (annuals, semi-annuals, monthly, and maintenance for ADD and a new eye problem), my kids getting up earlier than usual, my husband traveling, our weekends being jam-packed, and everything else, my life has gotten a bit out of hand.  I'm so sorry for my absence here and hope to be back at it VERY soon.  To my small readership, please don't leave me.  I haven't deserted this space.  It just had to fall to the back burner for a while.  But I will get things figured out and things will get up and running again with pictures and stories here soon.

Until then ...

I hope all is well in your world.

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Negotiation Skills: Option 3

We had our first real encounter with Baylor's negotiation skills tonight.  Here's how the exchange went:

Husband Bryson: Okay, Baylor, you have two options.  Option one is that when we get to Oma's house, I will go in, give the cord to Grandpa E, come out, then we'll leave.

Baylor:  I pick option two.

Bryson:  Buddy, you don't even know what option two is yet.  Just listen.  (smiles)  Option two is that we'll ALL go into Oma's house when we get there, but we will ONLY be staying for fifteen minutes.  Do you still want option two?

Baylor: I want option three.

Bryson:  Well, there are only two options.

Baylor:  I pick option three.

Me:  Baylor, what is option three?

Baylor:  Option three is that we ALL go into Oma's and stay for a looooooong, loooooooong, long, long, long, loooooooooong, long, long time ... and then we go to Rivertown.  (His favorite place to ride elevators.)

Needless to say, there was a lot of laughter in the car during this decision-making session.

B is Three: The Photo Edition

Baylor is now three, and his birthday this year was filled with Baylor-centric fun.  Last year we were able to start tailoring his birthday to his preferences, and this year we were able to do that even more.  It's nice to know exactly what makes my boy happy these days.

As an early birthday present, my mother-in-law got him his own MP3 player, which we refer to as his "boom box".

The little dude loves it and carries it with him wherever he goes.  It was an excellent start to his weekend-long birthday celebration.

The day of his party, Baylor and I were outside getting things ready - he was supposed to be napping but I think the excitement was too much for him - and I asked him if there was anything he wanted me to draw on the driveway for him.  This is what he came up with:

The week before his birthday we still had no idea what he wanted his cake (or cupcakes) to look like, so Aunt Christine whipped out her cupcake cookbook and had me flip through the whole thing with him.  At the end, I asked him what he wanted and this is what he asked for:

Yup, "pool balls"!  At his party, he of course ate the number 3.

He had a heck of a time not touching them beforehand, though, and we had to put them out of his reach before the party even started.

Before the rest of the guests got there, Baylor spent some special time with the party's dessert chef!

And while Baylor kept her occupied, Mollie stole her purse and Blackberry.

Ah, my three year-old!

The other kids didn't arrive for a while, so Mollie got to enjoy a hair-raising ride in the Cozy Coupe.

Once everyone arrived, we got dinner going (burgers, hot dogs, fruit with yogurt and granola, veggies, and - of course - chips) and everyone enjoyed the meal.

We got things cleaned up as quickly as possible, then the kids gathered-round to watch Baylor open his gifts.

He got some pretty cool gifts, though it was tough to sit still for all that opening.  After the gift-opening came dessert, then a lot of the guests had to leave because the next day was the first day of school.  I have a feeling this will be a common theme for his birthday parties, but that's not always a bad thing ... it kind of keeps them short and sweet, you know?  We'll see how it all pans out in the future.

One part of his party was definitely new this year, though; he requested that we not sing "Happy Birthday" to him.  (He doesn't like the noise - or so much attention thrust upon him, I think.)  So, since he was the guest of honor, we respected his wishes and just watched as he blew out his three candles.  It was a little strange, but he wants what he wants and the last thing I wanted was for my little birthday boy to be unhappy.

Since his party was on Monday but his actual birthday wasn't until Wednesday, he got to enjoy his gifts "early".  Along with the boom box, an early favorite has certainly been his Melissa and Doug wooden train set.

The morning of his birthday, I don't know who was more excited, me or him.  Regardless, I had to snap a few early-morning pictures of my little man.

He loves to lounge in his crib for a while in the morning, so often times his sister wakes up while he is still "waking up" and that day was no exception.  Though they have been at odds a bit lately, they greeted each other warmly enough on his birthday morning.

And, as always, Baylor got a kick out of watching his sister be silly.

And, my, what a silly girl she is!

Those pants might be a little too big for her right now, but she couldn't have cared less!

It's awesome to see how much she looks up to her big brother.

We got ready as quickly as possible, visited with Grandma Paula for a bit, then headed over to my parents' house to drop off Mollie.  Baylor's birthday morning was going to be just him and I for the first time and I think both of us were pretty excited at the prospect.

The morning was beautiful and cool, perfect for walking around downtown.  After parking Wanda in front of the Calder and putting money in the meter ...

... we crossed the street and plopped down in the grass in front of the courthouse to listen to the clock chime at 11:00.

We sat for a few more minutes then headed down Ottawa to Pearl Street.  Our mission, which I thankfully prepared for ahead of time, was to find the Amway Grand Plaza to ride some elevators.  On the way, he stopped to inspect a fire hydrant.

After a few minutes of walking, we finally found it!  (Thank you to my husband for bringing up a good map for me to look at to get an idea of where we were going.  Who knows how long we would have wandered around before we found the hotel had he not found a good map for me.)

Baylor was positively giddy as he pushed the up arrow button for the first time.  And, truth be told, so was I.

Going up!

The elevator was a pretty fast-moving one, so each time it jolted to start he grabbed onto my hand and held on tightly.  Best part of my day, hands down.

It was so nice to be able to devote all my attention to him and listen to all the amazing things he had to say.

The elevator had a window on the wall opposite the door.  From the first and second floor you could see views of the cafe in the lobby.  The third floor notably had a view of a lovely black brick wall.  Then, from the fourth floor on up you could see wonderful views of downtown Grand Rapids.

After making a stop at each and every floor from one to eleven, we made the quick trip back down to floor one.  There, Baylor found the trash can, read the word "trash", and debated whether or not to stick his "trash" in there.  He decided against it.

We made our way back up to the eleventh floor where Baylor stopped the action for a squeezy applesauce snack.

We stopped again on the fourth floor and he got to have a mini box of raisins.

Then it was time to move on to the JW Marriott.  But first, we had to cross the street.

Once inside, we came upon an elevator with only four floor buttons.  Such elevators were substandard for this special occasion, but with unique labeling it made for an appealing attraction.

After we finished with the little elevator, we headed through the lobby to the bank of four elevators and rode one to the 18th floor!  From there we got a view of the lobby from above.

Not to mention a gorgeous view of downtown GR.

The elevator actually went up to the 23rd floor, but for floors 19 through 23 you had to have a key to access them.  Baylor would not be deterred, of course, and insisted on pushing the buttons to make sure.

The elevators themselves were gorgeous, shiny and new with a sort of leaf pattern on the inside.

He was all sorts of chatty as we skipped from floor to floor.

But eventually we had to leave there too, much to Baylor's dismay.  I ended up carrying him back to the clock ...

... and propped him on a ledge so we could listen to it chime at a quarter past noon.

He requested I join him, so I hopped up and gave him another squeezy applesauce to quell his hunger.  Then I was able to snag a passer-by to snap a picture of us for posterity.

After listening to more chiming, we made our way to Robinette's for some lunch and cider-making viewing.  When we pulled up, I noticed the tree in front of our car was covered in these awesome mushrooms.

So I showed them to Baylor and snapped a picture of them.  Too cool!

We ordered lunch while we waited for the cider making to start, and about halfway through lunch Baylor, my dad, and my sister left to watch the action.

It was all sorts of exciting and days later he is still talking about it.

Mollie, meanwhile, was trying to master eating an uncut apple.  It was tough going at first, but she eventually got the hang of it and ended up eating exactly half of the apple.  (Seriously.  She just ate an exact half of the apple.  It was bizarre.)

Baylor knew donuts were afoot so it was a struggle to get him to eat much of his lunch.  But hey, a birthday only comes around once a year, right?

Victory!  Nothing like a pumpkin spice donut to complete a birthday, right?

He didn't like the sticky, gritty feeling of the sugar on his hands, though, so he eventually moved to a no-hands approach.  It was quite adorable.

He rested for a while after we got home (I forget now whether he napped or not ...) then he got to play a little more with his trains.

And he put in his two cents about what I should be photographing.  The train was obviously picture-worthy.

He wanted me to take a picture of the piece of track he was holding, but I ended up just using it as an excuse to take another picture of my beautiful birthday boy.

Where would you want to go for dinner if you were going to do your third birthday over again?  Chuck E. Cheese?  Red Robin?  Some fine fast food establishment with a play place?  Yeah, my kid wanted to go to Carrabbas.  He's just that sophisticated.  (Or maybe he just likes to watch the fire in the pizza oven and the cooking area of the kitchen.  Who knows, really?)

Sadly, I cut up his spaghetti a little too much and he wasn't really able to twirl it effectively.  Sorry, little man!

Aunt Christine helped out with Miss Amalia who insisted on having some of her brother's pasta.

I had made arrangements for this table ahead of time, explaining that it was my son's birthday and this was his favorite table (and I'm sure my family mentioned it again to them once they arrived).  The awesome people at Carrabbas then took it to an awesome level and gave the little man a free dessert for his birthday.  We chose a crostata with ice cream for him (unbelievable!).  They were going to serenade him with a rendition of Happy Birthday, but I quickly stopped them and they seemed okay just to let him blow out the candle.

Unfortunately the little man didn't have as much air in him as was needed to extinguish the flame, so Baylor's new best friend, Chef Javier, helped him snuff out the candle with a spoon.

Crostada is yummy!

It was a gorgeous day, just perfect for a special birthday.

He opened gifts from us when he got home.

And a music card that plays the Winnie the Pooh song.

The little man's first watch!  He was pretty excited about it, but he doesn't really like wearing it much yet.

And bunches of books ... Harry and the Lady Next Door, A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee, and Learning to Ski with Mr. Magee.

After reading all the new books, we headed upstairs for bed time.

"Here's my belly button, Daddy ...

... and here's yours!"

Happy birthday, little man!  I hope it was all you dreamed it would be and more!  I love you so much!