Liam’s 5th Birthday

Liam celebrated his 5th birthday on April 28th. He wasn’t really into having a big birthday party this year. They had one for him at his Pre-K with all his friends from school so we just had a small celebration at home. I got him a pirate themed cake and decorations since he is all into the Disney show Jake and the Neverland Pirates.

For his birthday gift, he finally got a bike and he was one happy little boy!

Easter 2011

Liam had his first Easter egg hunt of the season on April 16th at the hospital’s annual Easter egg hunt. Liam did quite well, his bucket was overflowing with treat-filled eggs.

MCH Easter Egg Hunt

Next, his Pre-K class had their egg hunt on April 21st at the park across the street from their building. It was lots of fun to see the kids clear the grounds in less than 5 minutes. I noticed that one inventive little guy, finding no more eggs, starting filling his bucket with pine cones instead. 😉

Pre-K Easter Egg Hunt

We were out of town for Easter weekend. We went to Round Rock for shopping at our favorite Ikea store (more on the Ikea purchases in a separate post). Liam is such a good traveler and we are so fortunate that is he is completely content just riding in the car patiently for 6 hours. He took a few books and things to play with but mostly he just likes to ride, look out the window, ask questions, catnap, talk, and sing along the way. He was very excited about going to Ikea because he loves the Småland play area where he can dive into the giant ball pit.

After we filled the car with Ikea boxes, we headed home on Easter Sunday. We stopped off to see our friends in Brady and Liam got one last egg hunt in.

Brady Easter Egg Hunt

I hope you all had a Happy Easter!

Spring Break 2011

Since my job is now part of the education system, I had last week off for Spring Break—yay!

We went to Washington DC & Virginia to visit our friends Chris, Teresa & Anna who we met in Moscow back in 2008. Although we hadn’t seen them since we left Russia, we’ve kept in close touch with them through the years and they graciously invited us to come stay in their beautiful home for a few days.

Chris and Teresa

Liam studied the presidents in his pre-school last month and was looking forward to seeing Abe Lincoln’s statue. He and Anna had a great time playing together and we really enjoyed our time there!

Click here to view photos from our trip.

Going for the Gold

This past weekend the weather was very nice and a perfect opportunity to let Liam burn off some cabin fever. We took him to the playground of what will most likely be his school next year (sniff). He had a great time playing until…

He was swinging and all was going well. He’s started to figure out how to lean back and pump his legs to keep himself going on the swing. Well somewhere in the midst of using all his new skills, he forgot the most basic one—to hang on! Yep, he let go as he was leaning back and did an almost perfect Gainer. I looked up about the time he was finishing his flip and on his forward lunge face-first into the dirt. My heart stopped and I just knew there was going to be blood everywhere when he got up. Rob scooped him up and after close inspection, we could not find blood anywhere but his face and mouth were full of dirt. We got him home and all cleaned up and other than his nose being scraped, he was fine.

I wonder how many more of these incidents I have in store for me. I’m afraid to even think about it because I know the count is going to be high. I took the picture below tonight while he was giving me his “I need sympathy” look.

Liam's scraped nose

Gotcha Day – 3rd Year Anniversary

Yesterday we celebrated Liam’s 3rd Gotcha Day. On February 1, 2008 he busted out of the Podolsk baby home and came to be with us forever. I don’t know if we “got” him or he “got” us but I’m feeling a song coming on… I got you babe

Here’s what has become our traditional stairway comparison photos on Gotcha Day:

Liam’s Gotcha Day 2008 Liam’s Gotcha Day 2011

and here’s a couple of photos of him eating his Gotcha cupcakes:

Liam’s Gotcha Day 2011 cupcake 1 Liam’s Gotcha Day 2011 Cupcake 2

We love you Liam!

A Texan in the Making

Texas ProudAs you may recall back in November of last year, Liam was working on his Texas Pride.

I’m happy to report that yesterday he officially used the word y’all in a sentence. It went something like this; “Mom, are y’all both going in the store?” This of course made me beam with my own Texas Pride.

Now, if we could just get him to like hot sauce, his Texan transformation would be complete!

Christmas 2010

Since this is the last day of 2010, I thought I’d better get busy and get this posted! We had another wonderful Christmas this year. Liam has made our Christmases a very special time. There’s just nothing better than all the fun things we do during this time of year and the build up to and the excitement on a 4 year old’s face on Christmas morning.

Liam on Christmas Morning

My best friend Karen (or a.k.a. “Nanny Karen”) spent the week with us and it always feels like our family is complete when she is here. She convinced me to make real cookies with Liam this year instead of our traditional open the package and put on the pan kind. We all had a fun time baking and decorating and Karen enjoyed my stressing over the cookie imperfections and sprinkle mounds that Liam put on the cookies.

baking cookies

baking cookies

This was our first Christmas in our new house. We started putting up a few decorations outside but soon discovered that we’re living across the street from Clark W. Griswold! And our next door neighbor is a close second with his incredible light-wrapped trees and giant wreath, so we sort of lost interest in doing much decorating outside this year. But we were very excited to have a fireplace for Santa to come down this year—its always been a bit of a mystery how he got into our house before. Of course, the big question now is how he avoids getting burned by the fire & hot ashes on his way down.

I heard Liam wake up early on Christmas morning but never heard him come out of his room. I went to check on him and he was still in bed with the covers pulled up and said that he had to stay snuggled in his bed or Santa wouldn’t come. It was quite a relief for him to find out that Santa had already come & gone. After further discussion, we discovered that we had both heard the sleigh bells and reindeer on our roof that night.

Needless to say, he loved all of his gifts and spent most of the day unwrapping a gift or two and then playing for a while. He had asked Santa for a Henry and James train (from the Thomas collection) and a Batman car (which is really the Joker car) and Santa came through for him and also included a train table. Here are a few more pics from Christmas morning and Liam reading his new books with Nanny Karen.

Liam on Christmas morning

Liam reading new books

Liam & Nanny Karen reading

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and have a safe and Happy New Year!

A Sign of Our Times

I’ve discovered yet another thing that our child (and the rest of what Rob calls Generation Z) will never know during Liam’s visit to the optometrist last week.

Until now his eye exams have consisted of the doctor pretty much just shining a light through a prism into his eyes, seeing how his pupils react, and making an educated guess about the prescription needed to correct his vision. Back when Liam was 2, the doctor explained to us that with young children he couldn’t do any type of formal exam but he would be able to get better readings the older that he got. Well, with this visit, he got Liam to read a symbol chart.

Instead of the standard E’s pointing each direction chart, what’s used for toddlers and pre-K kids is a picture chart like the one below: (sorry about the image quality, it’s the best I could find on the web):

Childrens vision test picture chart

The doctor asked about the first symbol and Liam identified it as a cake. When asked how many candles, he correctly answered “3.” So far, so good.

But when the doc started on the second row, he asked about the first symbol and Liam said it was a shirt with a pocket. That’s when it hit me — Liam has no reference to know that symbol is an old-style telephone. All the phones he’s ever seen are either cordless or cell phones. I mentioned this to my friend who works at the doctor’s office and she said most kids call the telephone symbol a shirt.

I’m always amazed by things like this because it makes me wonder what else will have no meaning to our future generations.