But back to Lou.
His actual birthday was on a Friday and it just so happened that his school was closed for a staff development day. I did not realize this of course until the Thursday before (not through any fault of the school's, I just sometimes cannot keep all the schedules straight). Norah's school carnival was the next day and my plan had been to take the day off of work and do carnival stuff while Lou was at school (PTA is a lot of work) and then hang out with him for the afternoon. Thankfully, BVZ was able to take THREE WHOLE WEEKS off in between jobs (which is unheard of around these parts) and so did some quality hanging out with the birthday boy.
First thing in the morning we let him open presents, which consisted of a Spiderman dune buggy, book, and beach towel.
He also got a balance bike from us. He does not love it yet, which has been disappointing but I am hoping that will change. He just does not seem to get how to make it move just yet.
Norah is very excited that Louie is now three. She says it makes him "more on my level now."
I took Norah to school and then spent the next 3.5 hours making cotton candy for the carnival. This was about the 8,000th hour I spent on carnival related business. Cotton candy is incredibly messy. It is still made in machines from the 1970's and the floss sugar gets into the air, on walls, in hair, etc. It is (literally) a hot mess.
Back at home I tried to get some photos of Lou on the recliner for old times sake. This is what I got when I asked him to smile.
Then this one...
And finally this.
I wanted a sweet photo of us together on his birthday, but I was still covered in a fine layer of sugar and he wanted no part of it so this is what I ended up with. I'll take it.
As I suspected, he ate up all the apples and fries in 30 seconds and wanted absolutely nothing to do with the hamburger.
He was, however, very interested in the milkshake and pink-eye infested play structure.
We played for the rest of the afternoon and then when Norah got home from school he got to do his favorite weekend activity--hot tubbing.
The family was supposed to come over but the T's got sick. Thankfully, the S's, Bubby, and Reid still made it and we celebrated with spaghetti, cupcakes, and presents.
Spiderman was the theme of the year and Lou amassed a good collection of books, figurines, and this little gem.
Bubby also came through with a fire chief suit.
He had no patience for me making an "interview" video with him and refused to participate. This is the best I got from him:
Best friend--Jonah, Andrew, Nani, and Trevor
Favorite show--Jake and Handy Manny
Favorite toy--My big rig
Thing I like to do best--Play with my big rig
Thing I like to do least--Play with princesses and brush my teeth
I can't believe he is three. He has SO MUCH personality and makes me laugh (and sometimes cry) every single day. He has the best sense of humor and can be the sweetest, snuggliest, most endearing kid on the planet. When he wants to be. He also frequently punches me in the face, melts down in the most spectacular fashion, and basically refuses to do just about anything he doesn't want to do.
My sweet baby conked out that night with the Green Goblin watching over him. Not surprisingly, Lou likes the villians best.
I can't remember exactly why, but he ended up in our bed that night. And so did Green Goblin.
The next day was sweet baby Camilla's first birthday. It was also the day of Norah's school carnival. It was a smashing success. It was also so much work. I worked about 8 hours that day and saw my family for about five minutes during the entire event. But they had a great time. I got home to find that Norah begged to go to bed with her face painting intact. BVZ told her she couldn't wear pajamas and had to put a towel on her pillow but said okay. That's a dad for you.
Now that the kids are getting older we have instituted a chore chart around here. There are tasks the kids are expected to do on a daily basis in exchange for food and shelter, but then there are extra things they can do as "chores." All of the chores benefit other members of the family. For example, Norah's "chores" are to pick up everyone else's shoes at the end of the day and return them to the shoe rack; feed the cat dinner; and clean up the playroom after dinner. She gets one sticker per chore per day, so has the potential of 21 stickers a week. If every square has a sticker by Saturday night she gets $2. Norah is bananas for the stickers and takes great joy and pride in completing her tasks. Louie has age appropriate chores of his own. He earned one sticker for the entire week. And told me point blank, "I don't care about stickers."
This is what happens when Lou helps with the laundry.
Amy and I decided to throw a joint birthday party for Lou and Camilla because about 85% of the guest list would be the same. I don't know how long we will be able to get away with it, so we are doing it while we can. Theme was bubbles (Camilla) and monster trucks (Lou). Menu was pulled pork sliders on Hawaiian rolls, homemade potato salad, ranch beans, tortilla chips with salsa, and fruit salad.
I took maybe 20 photos of the whole thing and at least 5 of them were of the fruit. I guess I really liked the fruit.
I failed to get a single close-up of the cupcakes, which is really irritating, since they took for freaking ever and I was really pleased how they turned out. I did two dozen "bubble" cupcakes, which were vanilla with lavender frosting and white sugar pearls. Then I did two dozen "monster truck" ones, which were either red, yellow, or green with a tire on top (chocolate donut) and cupcake topper.
I also did a combo gluten free dozen. Only nine of them made it to the actual plate.
Cake boss (ie, Aunt Stephanie) came through again with a monster truck cake all of Lou's own. It had an m&m border and cookie crumb road and was decorated with real trucks. Lou was obsessed with it.
Amy had a rough couple of days and celebrated by shotgunning a beer at 10:30 am.
Beautiful birthday girl!
The plan was to have a bubble wonderland in the backyard and a monster truck rally in the driveway. But then it was cold and rainy and BVZ and I didn't start the monster truck course until 10:00 pm the night before so it ended up being two cardboard ramps in my office. The kids were crazy for it. CRAZY. It was a huge hit.
Megan and Trevor are the best big cousins ever. They ran interference with all of the little kids, helped serve cupcakes, and were all around awesome helpers. I feel like we could make a ton of money hiring them out to other kid parties.
Louie's two BFF's from school came. It was fun to watch him in his element. Apparently he is the "class clown" and "instigator" at school. But that's a discussion for another day.
Norah insisted on wearing a fancy party dress.
I think we ended up having about 60 people, which was a big group but a ton of fun. It was wet outside but not raining so bubble-palooza happened after all.
And then helped all the kids navigate it.
Lou waited SO patiently for that cake and was rewarded with the big green monster truck at the end.
Camilla got some face in cake action.
Everyone seemed to have a good time and the kids all got along. It was a certifiable success of a party. Hopefully someone will send me photos of the festivities and maybe one of them will actually have me in it. We have been horrible at taking a family photo at these kinds of events--a practice I need to remedy ASAP or our kids aren't going to believe we were actually present for any of this stuff.
I did get a sweet one of Lou and cake boss.
Three years old is proving to be the sweet spot for cousins. I would say they are now 75/25 for being best friends/beating the crap out of each other. They seem to genuinely enjoy each other's company and are getting in all kinds of trouble. They went missing for a minute as we were cleaning up post-party and I discovered them giggling and hiding in a cabinet in the playroom. They were quite proud of themselves.
Now starts the planning for BVZ's big 4-0 this May. I hope he likes fruit salad.