Thursday, August 27, 2009

Back to School

Oscar and I’ve made the decision to not put Gabe in preschool. However, we still want him to get exposure to other children and other adults as teachers. So we’ve decided to sign him up for a few classes/activities.

I’ve mentioned before that he’s in a gym class, or rather a sports class. He took a break from it this summer, but will be starting again next week. They’ll be learning about football and basketball. He will also be starting soccer again in a couple weeks, and this time they’ll be playing actual games.

Our local rec center also offers classes for preschool-aged children. Our friends S. and A. have signed up their girls for a bunch of classes, so Oscar and I selected a couple from their schedule to sign Gabe up for too. He’ll being doing a science class and a swim class. I think he’s looking forward to these the most, since he knows he’ll get to see S. and C. on a regular basis.

I’ve questioned our decision not to put Gabe in preschool many times. I worry that he won’t be ready for kindergarten next year. I worry that he’ll be behind his peers. I worry that he’ll have behavior problems (in case you couldn’t tell, I worry a lot). I also know that even though he’ll be one of the youngest in his class, that it’s not fair not to start him next year since all of his friends will be starting.

I hope the classes we’re signing him up for this fall, and the ones we’ll sign him up for in the spring will be enough to prepare him to start school. I want him to feel comfortable at school and enjoy it. These will be some of the best years of his life and they will really shape who he is as he grows up. I know Oscar and I will still have a huge influence in it, but so will his peers.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Welcome to Toddlerville

So life with a toddler, especially when that toddler is teething and has a cold, is not exactly the most fun you’ll ever have. This morning was a prime example. Nick was mad at me about something; I think it was not letting him go downstairs, so he proceeded to throw books everywhere. The bottom shelf of my bookcase (which is devoted to his books), all pulled off. The little book shelf in Gabe’s room, random books were pulled off, spread throughout Gabe’s room, and the hallway.

Last night was just as bad. I wouldn’t let him pull clothes hangers down to play with so he ran over to my bathroom cabinet and opened it and started reaching in with the intent to throw things out of it. I caught him before he could grab anything and he started howling at me.

Gabe’s not much better when he’s in a mood (oh and sick). I was trying to discuss something with Oscar, and Gabe choose that moment to start making “music”, which involved banging on a small clanky toy piano with one hand, while banging various objects on the metal wall vent in his playroom.

At least they love each other, when they’re not fighting over toys. The highlight of Nick’s morning is when Gabe gets up, since inevitably Nick gets up before Gabe (he also gets rather miffed if I don’t let him go wake Gabe up when he wants to play with him). Nick will squeal with delight when he sees Gabe and then proceed to hug/tackle Gabe.

It doesn’t help that everyone seems to have come down with a cold. The type where your throat feels like it’s on fire and you’ve got this hacking cough that sounds like you smoke a pack a day, which I most certainly do not (and never did even when I did smoke). I can only imagine how the boys are feeling if Oscar and I feel this awful.

I feel awful, and the only way I’m getting through feeling awful and having to be at work and going to school is that on Friday I get to spend the morning at the Leesburg outlet mall, which always makes me enormously happy, even if I don’t but anything.


Tonight is Nick’s last gym class of the summer session. It is also his last evening gym class. Fall session starts next week and Nick moves up a level. Unfortunately his next class would be at 6:30 on Wednesdays, not get done until 7:15, and we would get home until almost 8:00, which is much too late for him to be up. So we will be switching to Saturdays at 8:30.

I’m not sure what I think about having to be out the door by 8:00 a.m. every Saturday, but at least there will be coffee. If I leave the house early enough I can at least spend all of October sipping a Wild Pumpkin coffee concoction from Caribou every Saturday. And if that’s not worth it, I’m not sure what is.

However, I was supposed to be talking about Nick’s last gym class, not Wild Pumpkin coffee as good as that is. I’m a little worried about class tonight, since Nick (and everybody else) isn’t feeling well. But I don’t want to miss it since it is the last class. Oscar has been going with him lately, so I’m anxious to see some of his new tricks. Also want to get his teacher’s e-mail, since she is a favorite of both the boys, so that we can get together outside of class.

So I think we’ll go. Nick isn’t too coughy and his nose isn’t runny. I think the rest of us will just suck it up so he gets this last experience before moving up a class and to Saturdays.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I Think We'll Win Again

I know it’s early for a Halloween post, considering that we’re still in August, but we just bought our costumes, and I’m excited. I love fall!

Every year the community where we live does a costume parade a couple weeks before Halloween. Everybody dresses up and they hand out prizes for the best costumes. At the end local businesses have booths where the kids can go trick or treating. This year will be the third year that we’ve marched in the parade.

Last year our friend S. convinced us to do a Wizard of Oz theme with them, and we ended up winning first place in the contest. A. is an artist and decorated their wagon as the Emerald City. We had all the major characters covered. Gabe was the Scarecrow. Nick was the Cowardly lion. Oscar was the Tin Man. I was a munchkin. S. was the Wicked Witch of the West. A. was a flying monkey. Their older daughter, S., was Glinda and their younger daughter, C., was Dorothy.

This year we’ve decided to do a Sesame Street theme. A. is going to decorate their wagon to look like the backdrop from Sesame Street. S. and I are going to be Bert and Ernie (I’m Bert). Oscar is, of course, going as Oscar the Grouch. A. will be the Count. Gabe is going as Cookie Monster and Nick will be going as his beloved Elmo. The girls will be going as Abby Cadabby (S.) and Big Bird (C.) S. has also convinced her cousin, who’s staying with them, to march with us and he will be Super Grover.

I’m really looking forward to it. It’s been a good time every year that we’ve gone, and even if we don’t win I’m sure we’ll have a good time this year.

The area where we live really loves Halloween. Besides the parade, the local farms also have huge fall celebrations. Gabe has been asking for months when he gets to go to the pumpkin patch, which is no ordinary pumpkin patch. They have animals, and pony rides, and giant slides, and hay rides, and a corn maze, and lots of food. It’s always crowded in the fall. Many of the schools do field trips there.

I wasn’t able to go to the pumpkin patch with Gabe last year due to Nick and work, so Oscar went alone. This year I’ll be going too. I love watching my boys get so excited about things. Their joy makes it that much more enjoyable for me. So many things are new again to me again now that I’m experiencing them with my children. Gabe’s excitement over pumpkins and costumes, and trick or treating feels tangible, as though I could capture it and bottle it and take it out and feel years from now when he’s grown.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Not Ready

I think it might be time to switch Nick to a toddler bed, or at least that's what Oscar and my MIL think, and it scares me and hurts my heart a little at the same time. I mean, he's not even 18-months! I'm not ready for this.

I love walking into his room after he wakes up to see him standing there clutching the crib rails. I love lifting him out and having him bury his head in my shoulder where I can sniff his sweet baby smell and cuddle his footsie-clad body. I'm not ready for a little boy who leaps from his bed and runs into my room whenever he feels the urge to be out of bed.

The problem is that his crib can't be dropped any lower (well, I guess it could drop another inch and a half, but we're missing a bolt for the corner on the lowest setting from moving it so much). Nick's can practically hang over the top of the crib now. He has recently started trying to climb out. He did, with some success last week, landing on a couple stuffed animals and his diapered bottom, which surprised him. This morning I walked in and he had one leg over the rail.

I'm worried that he could really hurt himself. I've been doing some research and the average age that most children switch is two, so I have about seven months before we get there. Recommendations for protecting little climbers include those mesh tents to put over the top and blankets or cushions on the floor. This is in addition to dropping the crib as low as it can go, which we can't do.

I'm not ready to let go of my baby. I still want the crib and the bottle and the rocking chair. I know his growing up is inevitable, he reminds every day how quickly he is leaving babyhood behind as he races towards childhood. I just wish it weren't happening so quickly. Even as I adore the child he is becoming, I miss the baby that he was.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


So I've reached a plateau in my weight-loss journey. I've reached that "comfort weight" where I struggle to lose anything beyond that, even if I'm not happy with the way I look. Especially my "mummy tummy". I work out about 5 days a week, sometimes twice a day. I'm watching what I eat during the week, although I'm not as good on the weekends. Particularly when it comes to my coffee. I really heart Starbuck's White Mocha and am looking forward to fall coffee.

I just bought a Wii and a Wii fit, which I'm going to set up and try out this weekend. I'm also thinking about starting a Couch to 5K program, which will hopefully prepare me not to embarrass myself in my first 5K, which will be in November. I'm going to try something new, or rather something old, for my dieting. I've been on Nutrisystem, which hasn't been working for me. So I'm going to try Slimfast again.

I would really like to be down to my goal weight by my anniversary on October 30th, so that means I have 2 and a half months to lose 15 lbs. That could be really difficult. Especially with fall coffee starting. Perhaps if I make that my only treat, I could still be successful? I'd like to think so. It just means careful attention to my eating and lots of working out. I have 10 weeks, so that amounts to about 1.5 lbs per week.

Also, as a side-note, how cute is this top: I so want it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


This past weekend was one of celebration. Some friends of ours, who were unable to make it to Gabe's birthday party, invited us out to Chuck E. Cheese on Saturday to celebrate with him. It was fun to catch up with them, we haven't had a chance to hang out in a while. Gabe had a great time playing with their girls. I know he misses them.

They all did a bunch of games and rides, as well as climb through the jungle gym (I don't know what else to call it). We had snack foods and pizza and soda, all delicious junk food. Nick also went on a few rides, and would have climbed through the jungle gym had we let him.

The pure joy a place like Chuck E. Cheese causes kids is so cute to watch. Although the one we went to was no where near as good as the one I went to as a kid. This one only has an animated Chuck E., the rest of the characters are on a TV screen. Also, no ginormous ball pit, and wasn't that one of the best parts? The best one I ever went to was in Olympia, WA. Trust me, it's huge!

I had a lot of birthday parties there, and as a December baby, truly enjoyed hearing Feliz Navidad sung to me by a large robotic mouse.


On Sunday we went out to the Golden Corral to celebrate my FIL's birthday, which was early last week. The Golden Corral is like the King of buffets. It's huge and noisy and crowded and has tons of food. Again, not exactly diet friendly. Although I don't think I did too badly. In addition to my FIL, my MIL, SIL, FIL's sister, and MIL's brother also came. Plus Oscar, myself, and the boys. We had quite a party going on, and of course, Oscar and I were relegated to last place as far as the boys attention was concerned.

One thing that bothered me was my SIL getting Gabe dessert while Oscar and I were in the bathroom. She didn't ask us, she just waited until we left, and then got Gabe a big thing of ice cream and candy. We limit Gabe's sweets, especially since he rarely eats a lot for dinner. He had already had a little ice cream and a couple gummy bears, and it was close to his bedtime. Plus, sugar and dyes really mess with his system. Not sure how we should have handled this. He was already eating it by the time we got back and there were a bunch of people there.


Other than going out to celebrate birthdays, we had a pretty low-key weekend playing with the boys around the house and doing house work.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Check Up, Mate

Gabe had his 4-year check up yesterday, which went really well. He remains in the 50th percentile for both height and weight, so I guess my fears about him not eating enough are pointless. Apparently his ribs are supposed to be visible and his stomach is supposed to be hollowed out at this age.

He just looks so skinny. And lives on carbs. Mac and Cheese, plain past noodles, cheerios, animal crackers, bread... peanut butter and chocolate milk are his main source of protein. Occasionally he eats hot dogs and hamburgers. He also eats strawberries, bananas, grapes, and apples. However, I was assured that his diet was just fine and the he is healthy.

We also discussed behaviour, Gabe often has tantrums that spiral out of control, and we discussed methods for dealing with this. Including a sticker chart for good behaviour, and putting him in a safe room until he was ready to calm down. However, we were told that it should get a lot better now that he's 4.

He also demonstrated his motor skills - walking, running, jumping, balancing, as well as writing. He was able to successfully draw a circle and a plus sign, but not a square, which is normal for his age and gender. Also, it is normal for him not to be able to color inside the lines in his coloring books.

One of the things I love about our pediatrician practice is that all the doctors listen to our worries and concerns and address them, as either that's normal or here's something you can do to work on that. It's a very comforting practice and Oscar and I are very happy that we found them.

On a side note, Nick was bothered by the fact that the appointment was not about him and had to be the loudest person in the room. Every time any one went to talk he had to yell over them. He also was running around the room, playing with the blinds, and climbing the chairs. If you tried to hold him he would squirm or scream until he got down. Welcome to the toddler years.

Note to self: Don't take Nick to the doctor if the appointment is not about him.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Weekend, Revisited

This past weekend was fairly relaxing, as far as weekends up the country go. That is if you count chasing after a toddler in a non-child-proofed house relaxing. Nick was a bloody terror the whole weekend, wanting to get into everything and climb on everything. And it's not like I could have him outside for too long. Oscar and my MIL were busy working on the shed, and the bugs and heat were awful.

Friday was my first flex day and it was wonderful. Oscar and I drove to IKEA and Potomac Mills. We got the slats for Gabe's bed, and then went outlet shopping. I was able to get a couple new outfits, we picked up a present for my SIL who is due any day now, some polos for Oscar, and some ubercheap winter shirts for the boys.

After shopping we picked up Nick, so my MIL could head up the country with Gabe. Oscar and I packed and then went out to a late lunch at Red Lobster - so good. Nick ate fairly well, although he is in a throwing food phase, so a lot of food ended up on the floor too. My favorite is when he swishes both arms back and forth over the table or tray to get as much food as far from his highchair as he can.

After lunch we drove up the country and Oscar and his mom started work on the shed right away. I focused on getting the boys some dinner and then getting Nick ready for bed. Oscar and I went on a car ride with Nick afterwards and I got some delicious ice cream - soft serve with blueberries in blueberry syrup and chunks of cheesecake. (I'd like to take this opportunity to point out that I worked out for an hour Friday morning.)

On Saturday I stayed inside most of the day with Nick, while Oscar and his mom worked on the shed. We bought a DVD player so that I could have some cartoons in the background as Gabe traipsed in and out of the house. He didn't like being cooped up for too long, but got too hot and was bothered by the bugs outside. Oscar took a break midday to put together the little gas grill we bought for the country house and grill some hot dogs and hamburgers.

As a reward for good behavior, while he and his mom were working on the shed, Oscar and I took the boys out to dinner at the local sit-down Pizza Hut. Nick was, again, a charming terror with his food. And I am shamed to admit that I ate almost half a large pizza by myself. My MIL chose to stay home and relax a little without the boys.

On Sunday I took Nick on a drive to Starbucks by myself. I had hoped he would nap during the trip, but no such luck. Oscar spent most of the day working on the shed, and they were able to get everything done, but the doors, which they'll finish when we go back up the end of the month.

As usual, the rest of Sunday was hectic, what with grocery shopping and getting ready for the work week. I'm filling in for a coworker this week, so I had to get a few more things together than normal, since it I'm not working in my normal office and having to commute.


This past weekend really enforced the fact that Nick is no longer a baby. He is now a toddler. At times I felt like he was really starting the terrible twos early. His vocabulary and comprehension are excellent, his coordination is much improved, as is his ability to scale most objects. Also, the tantrums and the food throwing. They're driving me up the wall! On many occasion I wished I had a cage playpen to contain him in temporarily.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Bad Habits

I don't really miss alchohol. I mean sure I occassionally will have a glass of wine or a mixed drink with dinner, but I don't crave it. I don't think, gee, I wish I could have a drink right now. Although, if I did, it would come as no suprise. I come from a family of alchoholics. I also drank a lot during those early years in the military. I was young and single and so very lonely. Alchohol was a way to help the loneliness, it was social, and so was I.

However, unlike alchohol, I do miss cigarettes. Another bad habit I picked up while stationed in South Korea. I was addicted and it was hard for me to quit. That is, until I got pregnant. Do I turn up my nose when I smell cigarette smoke? Of course. Unless... I'm alone and it's menthol and then I might inhale a little deeper than I probably should. Do I want my children around it. Of course not. I think all public areas should be smoke-free (hint hint, local bowling alley).

Whereas alchohol helped make me more social, smoking was social. I remember many occasions spent in the smoke shacks at work with other fellow smokers trading stores and jokes and making weekend plans, while having one or two, or maybe even three cigarettes on break. I made a lot of friends while smoking.

It relaxed me. It calmed me. And I miss it. Would I ever go back to it? That's a hard question. Do I know how unhealthy it is? Yes. But I want to. I learned a lot of useful things during the five years I served, but I also picked up a few bad habits

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Making Progress

So this morning, Gabe called me into his room about 10 minutes before his "alarm" (this totally awesome night light) went off and told me that he needed to go to the bathroom. He still wears pull-ups at night, and sometimes even those aren't strong enough, but this morning he was completely dry. I was so proud of him for recognizing that he needed to go potty when it was still technically night time for him.


Nick finally had another tooth pop through a couple weeks ago, which briefly improved his sleeping habits. However, he is now working on a molar, and it is making him miserable. Not only is regularly waking up at night in pain, he is also not eating very much, which isn't like him. The not eating is also causing his stomach to hurt and causing painful bowel movements. I feel so bad for him. It's so frustrating that teething can cause so wreak so much havoc on his little body.


I have consistently worked out four days in a row. Not that it has made much difference on the scale. I wasn't very hungry last night so I just had soup (very high in sodium soup) and the scale was up 4 pounds over night. So frustrating. I'm working so hard, and it isn't making a difference. I know it's just one day, but I want to be able to see changes. I want to know that what I'm doing is going to get me to where I want to be.

Oscar doesn't help. Tomorrow will be my first flex day and I've mentioned that I'm really trying to eat better, and he suggests going out to eat at one of my favorite restaurants. And of course if I'm eating there should I get some boring healthy thing or should I get my favorite? Of course, I'll probably get my favorite and he'll encourage it. I know he's just trying to be sweet, but it makes it so hard to follow a diet if your partner isn't.


A couple weeks ago Oscar started helping his mom put together her shed at the country house, and they only succeeded in getting the foundation done. We're going up again tomorrow afternoon, with the hopes that they can get the rest of the shed finished. At the very least, Oscar wants to get the walls up. If they can't finish it this weekend, it will have to wait until September.

Going to the country house on the weekends is never the most pleasant prospect for me. I'm not outdoorsy, so going trekking through the woods, where I get eaten alive when I'm not breaking out in hives from all the plants I'm allergic to, isn't really an option. Also there is limited cable and no interned. Plus, the house is like a toddler death-trap, so I have to be on constant alert while we're there. It's just not a good time for me.

Gabe, loves it, even though I'm pretty sure he has allergies, not to mention my highly edible, very pale, sensitive skin. He would happily spend most of the day outside. So would Nick for that matter, but again, it's not exactly safe for him. So we go out for short periods before returning to the indoor death-trap, only slightly less dangerous, but more contained.

I'm never sure what I'm supposed to do while I'm up there. My MIL seems to think caring for Gabe is her responsibility, as is providing all food other than milk for Nick. She also seems to want to help on the shed, which is where Gabe wants to be. So that leaves me to watch Nick, whom I adore, but I just feel a little useless. It's hard to read because I have to be so vigilant of where Nick is and what he's getting into. And like I said limited cable and no internet.

We'll be going up again at the end of August for the county fair. My MIL will be in Alaska visiting my SIL and her new baby, so it will be just the four of us. I think we'll have a more relaxing weekend, but I'm still not sure how I'll spend the time we're not at the fair.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Flexing It

I've recently decided that I would benefit from an extra day off every couple of weeks. However, I really don't have the vacation days available to do so. Oscar suggested that find out if I could work a flex schedule. At first I considered working a 10-hour shift and having every Friday off, but finally decided that I just couldn't do 10 hour days, but 9 hours was doable, especially since I often worked longer hours any way.

I got approval from my boss and worked out a childcare arrangement with Oscar. I drop off the boys at my MIL's in the morning shortly before 7 a.m. and he picks up the van at a quarter to 3 p.m. and then gets the boys. This way I'm getting home about a half later than I would have been had I left around 3 p.m. and picked up the boys myself.

My extra days off are really for me. A chance to sleep in or schedule appointments or catch up on school work if I need to. They are also a time that I could pick up the boys early or go on a date with Oscar.

This Friday will be my first day off and I'm really looking forward to it. Oscar is also taking the day off, so he's going to drop off the boys for me and let me relax in bed a little longer. Then we're going to go IKEA (to get those wooden slats we need), grab lunch, and then head up to the country house early.

I used to flex in my first job out of the military, that is after I came back from maternity leave. My coworker took Fridays, so I chose to take Mondays. Usually I kept Gabe and enjoyed an extra day with him, which was usually pretty relaxing. Not sure it would be the same way with two children. Although it is something I might consider to enjoy extra time with them.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Four Years and Sixteen Months

I have started my quest to lose weight yet again yesterday. I got up early and worked out for 30 minutes and then worked out again yesterday evening for 30 minutes. I was very good about sticking to my diet with the exception of four Swedish Fish.

I have posted before photos the Flickr: Accountability group. However I will also post them here for your voyeuristic viewing pleasure. I know, I know, I'm a little crazy. I was too self-conscious to wear anything but a tankini to the beach where I was surrounded by thousands of strangers I will never see again, but I'll post it in my blog for the entire Internet to enjoy if they so choose. Somehow it's less scary. I don't know why, but it is. I hope to post photos showing much improvement in 6 weeks.

I realize I'm not doing that badly for a mother of two. I have a 4-year-old and a 16-month-old, and I'm at my prepregnancy weight of 153. It's just not a weight that I'm proud of. It's not a weight that says hey, I look good.

I'm trying to be consistent with my exercising and eating better. It's much harder on the weekends when I don't have consistent schedule. I love to eat out. I love sweets. I love breakfast foods. Oscar, loves to indulge me. It's not a good combination. We go out and do things a lot on the weekends. Go up to the country house, like this coming weekend, or spend time with friends. It's hard to ensure that making healthy choices in these situations.

I'm trying to figure out the best way to reward myself for hard work without turning to food. I've thought about getting new clothing or going to the salon for a pedicure or massage. Or even just a long bath with a yummy smelling bath fizzy (this one is a favorite). Too often I turn to a high-calorie restaurant meal or a container of Phish Food. Unfortunately after a weekend of that and I've undone all my hard work from the week before.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Party On, Gabe

Yesterday was Gabe's 4th birthday, and I think it was a great day. He had a good time, and the party went well, and that's what's important. Although I have to admit, I think he's a little weird, because he really didn't have any interest in cake or ice cream, however, frosting was acceptable.

We started the day with a trip to Starbucks (for me, not him), while Oscar finished putting together his IKEA bed. I got a couple of calls complaining about IKEA furniture and the challenges of putting it together with a toddler running about. Unfortunately we forgot to buy those nice wooden slats I linked to on Friday, so the mattress didn't fit. Since it was coming from our guest bed, we did have a box spring, which did fit the frame, it just made the bed super high. So Gabe needs a step stool to get on his bed. He loves it, which is what counts. He was so excited to see the big bed with his Handy Manny sheets.

Shortly after that Oscar's parents and sister came over so we could all go out to breakfast at IHOP. When we got there the waiters were singing happy birthday to someone, which Gabe was really looking forward to for him. Unfortunately, they said they were too busy to sing to him, and just dropped off ice cream, which, as I mentioned, he was uninterested in. He wanted the spectacle of everybody singing to him.

We tried to get Nick to take a nap after breakfast, since Gabe's party was from 11:30 to 1:30, but he wasn't interested. He finally fell asleep about 10:50, and woke up as soon as we got to the bowling alley. I highly recommend a party at a bowling alley. It's very easy, lanes and shoes are included in the cost. Most of them, including the one we went to, have snack bars, so pizza and drinks were included in the price. Plus, they set up the party room with plates and cups and tablecloths all bowling-themed. It was so easy.

The party was a ton of fun. We got an extra lane so that the adults could bowl too, when they weren't helping their kids bowl. We only played one game, with so many people present, but everybody was really enjoying themselves. Oscar and I bought bowling shoes the day before, so we both tried those out. They really are much nicer to wear than the bowling alley shoes.

My MIL made the cakes for the party. She made two - one for the guests and a special one for Gabe. The cake for the guests was a bowling ball sitting on a bowling pin. She made the pin out of yellow cake with white frosting and the ball out of chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. Gabe's cake was just a bowling ball made of yellow cake with a chocolate frosting as a filling and then dyed white frosting. He requested that the ball be blue with a rainbow on it. However he ate mostly frosting and a little of the cake, but no chocolate frosting. He really doesn't like chocolate.

After the party we went home and Gabe opened his gifts. Every gift was more exciting than the last, although the toy he seemed most interested in playing with was a hot wheels set that had detailed instructions on how to put it together and lots of stickers to apply, plus pieces that would appeal to Nick's mouth.

Finally, we took Gabe out to dinner at Outback, where he feasted on bread and strawberries brought from home. He also got ice cream again, but this time he was sung to by the wait staff, which made him very happy. He really loves feeling special, which can be difficult sometimes with a baby brother.

I'm glad he had a great day. He's a wonderful boy and I can finally say he's just 4, instead of almost 4 as I have been doing.

Happy Birthday Gabe!