Myla and Luke had their annual check-ups in July. Both were healthy and growing. Myla is 46 inches tall (56%) and 39 pounds (14%!). Luke was 42 inches (86%) and 40.5 pounds (also 86%). But since then, Myla has probably grown another inch. I'm guessing she's still 39 pounds, as she has been for about two years now.
Matthew is out of town this week, so I was out to dinner last night with the kids by myself. At one point Myla and I have the following conversation:
Myla: Do you want me to get married?
Me: I want you to be happy. So if getting married would make you happy, I want you to get married. If it wouldn't make you happy, then I don't want you to.
Myla: Do you have to be married to have kids?
Me: Well, no, though people usually get married before having kids. And it's a really good idea, because being a parent is really hard and it helps to have a partner, like Daddy is my partner. (I'm thinking I nailed that, right? But then . . .)
Myla: What about slaves and orphans?
Me: (internally: Mayday! Mayday!) What about slaves and orphans?
Myla: With orphans, there's a lot of kids and only one adult to take care of them.
Me: Oh. Right, like in Annie. Well, people have figured out that that isn't a very good way to take care of kids, so we don't really have orphanages anymore.
Myla: Yeah. Mrs. Hannigan does a terrible job. (I still wasn't sure where the slaves fit in and I didn't dare ask.)
Also during this meal, Luke kept talking about the time he went to school and I went to asparagus. I eventually figured out he meant "Paris."
Last night at dinner, Myla was all excited to tell Kasey and I about something from school. It went something like this:
Myla: "Mrs. Beck said that if we bring in $2,000 we will get a duck trophy."
Matthew: "Who is Mrs. Beck?"
Myla: "The gym teacher."
Kasey: "Say that again."
Myla: "If we bring in $2,000 to Mrs. Beck we will get a duck trophy."
Matthew: "I'm so confused. Why would you get a duck trophy?"
Myla: "Because we brought in $2,000."
Kasey: "But why would you bring in $2,000?"
Myla: (getting frustrated) "To get the duck trophy!"
Matthew: (starting to laugh) "Let me get this straight...Mrs. Beck told you to bring in $2,000 to get a duck trophy?"
Matthew: "Did she just tell you this, or the whole class?"
Myla: "The whole class."
Kasey: "Is Mrs. Beck running a pyramid scheme?" (Matthew laughs, Myla shoots Kasey a look)
Matthew: "So we are supposed to give you $2,000 to give to Mrs. Beck?"
Myla: "No! We are supposed to email our friends and family to ask for it."
Kasey: "Oh, I see. So we should send an email to everyone telling them to give us money so you can get a duck trophy from Mrs. Beck."
At this point Kasey and I just gave up. This morning when we opened Myla's backpack we found answers. There was information in there for a Jump Rope for Heart Fundraiser where the kids are supposed to collect pledges. It clearly says that if a child brings in $200 in pledges, they will get the trophy duck.
So, on the way to school, I told Myla that I now understood about the jump rope fundraiser:
Matthew: "Hey Myla, I saw your info on the ducks for Mrs. Beck."
Myla: "Oh yeah.""
Matthew: "It is $200 not $2,000 that you need to raise for the trophy duck."
Myla: "Whatever, dad."
Matthew: "There is a big difference, Myla."
Myla: "I know."
Today was a bittersweet day. I sold my 2000 Camry which I leased in January 2000 and then purchased in 2004. It was time but it was still difficult. I couldn't help but reflect on the many places the Camry took me and so many other people. Some of the highlights over the last almost 14 years include:
I drove it to four different jobs
Been through 16 states, as best I can remember
Drove around an NFL kicker on a Saturday night
Been pulled over by a cop three times
Never been in a wreck
Picked up Kasey on our first date
Took Kasey on our date the night I proposed
Took Myla and Luke to school on a few occasions
It was a great car with a lot of great memories. How great that I drove it to my first job, picked up my wife on our first date, and then I also have pictures of my children doing this:
Their first car wash
However, my favorite memory is on the night I picked up Kasey for the first time. I drove to Lexington to meet her and some other friends from college. She got in the car, I slapped my hand on her thigh, and said "so where we going?" Her answer that night....I couldn't tell you. The answer 12 years later to "so where we going?" How about a move to Boston for a great couple of years, then a trip to South Bend where we have settled into awesome jobs, made great life-long friends, and had the two most beautiful children anyone could ever hope for. What a great 12 years in my life with so many memories. The Camry was there for a lot of them but it was time to pass it along to someone else. Especially since the moon roof doesn't open anymore, the fabric on the ceiling of the car is sagging, it's rusting, doesn't have the LATCH system for our car seats, is peeling paint, and doesn't have heated seats. I think the final straw was the embarassment I faced when having to drive my boss in it. Now it belongs in the hands of a family with several teenagers so that's exactly who I sold it to. So long Camry....you will always be remembered (sniffle).
Luke was wearing his Superman shirt this morning, and as I was helping him brush his teeth I was struck by how much he looked like this one picture we have of Matthew. The blonde hair and the shirt are nearly identical, and Matthew must be about three years old here.
I decided to try to recreate the picture (Luke was not terribly good at following directions like "Look at me and smile--show your teeth--now look off to the left--but just with your eyes!") But it's still pretty cool. See for yourself:
Myla said two funny things this week while telling her babysitter about our trip to the Science and Industry Museum. First, she called it the "Science and Interesting Museum." Much better name, I think! And then, when talking about the WWII submarine we saw there, she says "My mom's grandfather was in World War II and my dad was in Seabiscuit."
Matthew was in Texas for the Notre Dame game this weekend, so I had the kids by myself. They were as well-behaved as I've ever seen them. Helpful, patient, fun--they were real team players!
One thing we did was watch "The Little Mermaid," which just came out on DVD. It has some really scary parts, which we skipped, but Myla's biggest emotional reaction was at the end. When Ariel gets married and says goodbye to her dad, who remains in the sea as king of the mer-people, Myla bawled. Which made me cry. It was ridiculous. Heaven help us in 20+ years if/when she gets married.
The picture is one Myla drew after watching the movie. I think this is really her best artwork yet. There's a singing Ariel, Sebastian the Crab, and Flounder the fish. It's so colorful and detailed--this one will be on display for a long time!
Luke has been doing gymnastics for about six months now, but in a parent-tot class where we helped him do everything. Tonight was his first night in the solo class, and it was memorable. He had a blast, but I probably had more fun watching him. You can tell by the way my friend Jen and I are trying to hold in hysterical laughter in a couple of these videos.
I don't know which is my favorite, the somersault or the cartwheel. Very tough call.
Today was Luke's 3rd birthday. It's been a big week, sending Myla to kindergarten yesterday and this today, especially because I feel like 3 is the official end of the baby years. And Luke has been such an adorable two-year old! He's at a great spot right now, talkative and capable but still little enough to say and do the funniest things. I want to keep him at exactly this age, even though I know this year ahead will be great, too.
At age 3 Luke is a really caring kid, as I described in a recent blog post. He says the sweetest things and seems to know when you need to hear them. "Mommy, I love you sooooo much," "Best-ever daddy," or "thank you for taking care of me!" He's also super snuggly and gives excellent hugs. He's gone through several spells this year where he gets up really early, and Matthew and I have survived it by letting him watch a little TV while we get another 15 minutes of sleep (don't judge). When I'm doing this, he lays on top of me and is so affectionate that I can actually forget that it's 5:45. When he does that, or sits in your lap, or when you carry him (which happens more than it probably should, but hey, he's my baby), he puts 100% of his weight on you and doesn't help at all. It can be exhausting, but it's also kind of sweet the way he just relies on you completely.
We've also noticed his special talents more this year. It's been the year of the puzzle for Luke, and he's pretty amazing at them. He's really imaginative--one of his favorite toys right now is his "snappy snappies," which can be used to build things. The other day he built "Baw Baw holding a frisbee." He also likes to wear any kind of crazy outfit for pretending. He has had some really athletic moments, and can throw and hit a baseball pretty well. But he also runs with this chicken-wing action that really cracks us up.
Physically, he's now nearly 40 inches, tall--about Myla's height at age four! He's 37 pounds, which is what Myla weighs right now. He falls down a lot, though it's better than it was at the beginning of the summer! He still has his crazy blonde hair. Right now it's as straw-blonde as it's ever been.
As we have said multiple times on this blog, Luke's best friend is Myla. His friends at school are Tanner, Hayden, and Addisyn. His favorites things are Cars and Jake, any sweet baked good, Mumford and Sons, his new light-up shoes, his two bedtime blankets, sunglasses, and hats. And anything Myla is doing, or Matthew, or me. The kid really loves all of us right now, and the feeling is mutual.
Tonight we read Sandra Boynton's "Happy Birthday Little Pookie" at bedtime, and it ended with a very appropriate line--"Here's to a child who is joyful and clever. Happy day, happy year, happy always and ever!" We love you Luke, Lukey, Lukester, Lukester the Dukester, Duke, Luke-a-Duke, Luka-Luka, and Chumba-wumba!