Monday, November 18, 2013

A Tale of Two Birthdays

Eli's Train Tale
Two months ago our little guy Eli turned four.  Eli's changed a lot over the past year, definitely becoming more independent and developing a spunk of his own.  His laugh is still abundant and infectious.  However, he's not quite as laid back and easy going, as his sisters can testify.  It used to be that he would go along with anything they said; now he rather expects that they will go along with anything he says.  (When they don't, the whole house knows.)  Even so, at least once a day he'll come up, give me a great big snuggle, and say "Mommy, I love you!"  My heart always melts.

Eli loves planes.  Eli loves cranes.  But most of all, Eli loves trains.  This train cake was definitely a winner for his birthday celebration.

Wish the cake tasted half as good as it looked...  At least the kids liked it.

Going along with the train theme, we took Eli and the girls to see "Starlight Express" at Tuacahn the next evening.  The kids absolutely adored the show and still talk about it, randomly breaking into song now and then.
Here's Brooklyn, explaining the Starlight Express ticket surprise to Eli.
As much as Eli adores trains, he loves legos just as much.  Jason thanks everyone who is helping add to his collection.  (Of course, there is a bit of ambiguity in the referent "his"--are we talking about Jason or Eli?)

The last surprise was a big one--a balance bike from NomiAnn and Papa Kay.

At first they weren't sure if he would like it....
...but he does.

What else to say about our Eli?  He's a fantastic puzzler and Go Fish champion.  He's extremely social and misses his old friends, particularly Chloe.  Every time we hop in the car, he hopes that we will "find his new preschool," wherever that may be.  For one who was slow to start talking, he now chats incessantly, rarely bothering to check whether someone is listening.  He prays in a squeaky voice two octaves higher than usual (all the better to ascend to heaven?) and loves breakfast cereal as much as I do.  He is observant, inquisitive, sensitive to criticism, and attaches stickers to his forehead during the church Primary program.  (We discovered the latter this afternoon.)

This move has been confusing for our little guy.  A month ago he asked me to show him Africa on the globe and wondered if we could drive there.  It wasn't until he told someone the next day that we were moving to Alaska that I finally figured out how in both cases he was referring to Nebraska.  No matter the location, he appreciates having Jason back home.  Recently he exclaimed out of the blue: Daddy doesn't have to go to New York any more.  So now we don't have to miss him anymore!!!

What else?  Even though Eli is no longer youngest, he still gets pretty babied.  Using his small size to his advantage, he weasels his way into having others do things that he really could/should do himself--be it getting dressed or finding shoes.  He's in a terrible tantrum phase at the moment, although these ferocious storms are generally short-lived.  On the positive side, Eli can usually be reasoned with--eventually.  I recently had to smother my chuckles when Eli tried to talk his way out of shots at his recent visit with the pediatrician.  After circling round and round with queries of "Why do I have to?" and "But I don't like shots!", he finally resigned and told the nurse "Fine" with just enough attitude that you knew he had older sisters.
Yes Eli, it is fine.  Quite fine to have you part of our family.  Happy Belated Birthday.  We love you! 

Scrumptiously Seven:
I may be two months late with Eli's birthday wishes, but I'm a mere two days behind in sharing Talia Lily's seventh birthday.  And what a scrumptious birthday it was!  After the culinary wreck of Eli's train cake, I was determined that Talia's cake would at least taste good.  This "Carrot Cake Supreme" was divinely decadent, although the creators were right in insisting that it should be reserved for special occasions or murder by sugar.  Carrot cake is drizzled with buttermilk glaze...

...and then smothered in cream cheese frosting. 
Talia's three-tiered dream cake was a lot of work, but totally worth it for our princess.

Six has been a fantastic year for Talia.  I once worried about how our energetic powerhouse was ever going to survive the confines of school, but she's seems to channel that energy well.  She makes friends easily, although she rarely becomes attached to any one person. When I asked her who she would miss most from St. George, she mentioned Gabe because he races her at recess.  Just like her Daddy, Talia is a gifted runner.  She also loves biking, hiking, Daisy Girl Scouts, and most recently...
...reading!  Over the past few months Talia's gained fluency in reading both in English and in Spanish.  It's thrilling to have the entire world of print suddenly open wide.  For her birthday, Talia got her first chapter books (and her first scriptures.)  The next morning we found her looking like this:

Too cute!

Equally beloved, of course, was the adorable purse from Aunt Callie and Uncle Adam.

If there's anything our fashionista loves more than a cute bag, it's a cute bag full of bills.  I guess now we know why her eyes are green!

Perhaps Talia's most endearing quality is her kind heart.  Despite the typical sibling squabbles, she's incredibly generous and often thinks of people besides herself.  I love this sign she drew: "Happy Birthday Talia!  And others."  Even on her much anticipated special day, she wished others happiness as well.

Talia's kind heart earned her a special surprise--a fuzzy guest that accompanied us on her birthday outing.  Meet Hadi the Hedgehog.  Hadi is sent home to spend the weekend with first graders who have been particularly responsible, respectful, and courteous.

So where did Talia take Hadi Hedgehog?  Why, to the Omaha Mavericks hockey game--the perfect place to cheer and celebrate seven lovely years with our Tally Wally Doodle.

Happy birthday, Reddi Wip!  We adore your spicy sweet sugary spunk.

(By the way, lest ye think Talia's perfect, Papa Kay insists that she still needs to concentrate more...on growing her teeth!) 


Susie said...

Congrats on earning the right to Hadi the Hedgehog, Talia! Happy Birthday! Wish we could have been there to share that scrumptious looking cake and sing to you in person. Thanks for the wonderful blog posts, Kara. It's fun to see the pictures and to read your wonderful descriptions of happenings in your family. Great summary of Eli's personality! :)

Jason said...

Hmm... Seems like you've left a good summary of my personality as well, at least inasmuch as Lego's are at play! Thank you for the incredible portraits of our family that you've painted, not just today but in all of the posts that you have so carefully crafted over the years. Love you!

norma said...

I'm so thankful I broke down & opened up your delightful blog! The pictures & comments are all so beautiful - you really brought tears to my eyes! Oh how I wish we could have seen you all before you left Susie's! But these pictures do help. Love you all so much, & pray for your continued success in your new ventures!