Thursday, November 29, 2012

Birthday Fun

What little boy's third birthday is complete without a visit to his school from a fire truck?

Coincidence? Maybe. Unless the director refers to your little boy as "her boyfriend," treats him like her own child, and knows how much he loves flashing lights. In that case, she might have planned the fire truck for his birthday. Hard to say.
Cullen was not impressed with the firefighter (obviously), but he loved the truck.  
He WAS impressed by his birthday sign. He pointed out his name and the number three to me. Smart little guy. 
Cullen was so excited that I brought Cars napkins for his birthday snack. I'm relatively certain he's the only three year old to ever request popovers instead of cupcakes, but he was sure happy about it. 
See? That's excitement. 
And since we're having a blast, let's just stop by the doctor's office... He was a great sport about it. 
He even got to do a vision and hearing test. Cullen did great on both of them, and he looked so big doing it. It kind of broke my heart a little bit.  
After the doctor, we had a birthday dinner with my parents and James' aunt and uncle. Cullen was beyond thrilled to have his favorite people around, and he loved that they all came bearing toys.  
He was too busy playing to eat anything useful for dinner, so he had a tortilla. I'm sure it could be worse. 
Like father, like son. 
Nana thought it was funny to play with the monkey she had just given Cullen. Cullen didn't find it funny at all. It's good to see that he's just as impatient at three as he was at two. 
 And how about that space ship?
And a big boy bike! 
My big splurge this year was getting Cullen a bounce house for his birthday party. The kids and adults alike had the best time bouncing. This is the only picture I got that was even remotely clear.  
And, of course, I made too many cupcakes and too many cookies, and we ate them all.
Cullen even liked the frosted cupcakes, because they had Lightning McQueen on them!
We decided to let Cullen open gifts sporadically so that he would have the opportunity to appreciate each one. One of the first ones that came out was this awesome little boxing bag. It was complete with gloves and a little stand, and Cullen thinks it's hilarious. 
We took Cullen out for a ride on his new bike in his pajamas, because we're really classy like that. It's okay, though. I was wearing yoga pants and a t-shirt. And maybe slippers. 
After a weekend of excitement, Cullen got sick. For five days. Since his "sickness" consisted of nothing more than a fever, his days looked a lot like this: 
And this.
And this.  
And, on the day Daddy stayed home with him, like this.  

At this point, I'm pretty sure he figured out how to fake a fever just to stay home with his toys, but I think we all enjoyed the extra down time.

xoxo ashley

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Gangnam Style

Just like every other person in the world, Cullen has heard the song "Gangnam Style."

And like every other person in the world, Cullen has caught onto it quickly.

He learned the dance moves from James, and he learned the words, because I leave the song on any time it comes on the radio. I'm a good mom like that. Cullen thinks that it's James' favorite song.

Cullen's favorite line to sing?

Heeeeeeey sexy lady.

What about that isn't age appropriate?

xoxo ashley

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Happy Birthday Baby

 Today is Cullen's third birthday. He is three. How did that happen so fast? During dinner with a friend last week, we were discussing why this birthday seemed so big. My little baby is a little boy now. He talks, he walks, he has an opinion. It is beyond difficult to put into words.

I will never forget the day we found out Cullen was on the way. After so much waiting, so little patience, and an awful lot of heartbreak, we were going to have a baby. And I knew from day one that this baby was our baby for good.

I will never forget the day we found out that we were expecting a little boy. James was working in Houston, so one of my very best friends sat next to me in Austin with her two little girls while James was on speakerphone so that we could find out at the same time. Snips and snails and puppy dog tails. A boy.

I will never forget the day Cullen was born. A no-big-deal checkup to find out that I was already in labor, and he was on the way. James got to the hospital as quickly as he could, and Cullen was in our arms just a few hours later.

In my mind, Cullen will always be this little boy.
Tiny, wide-eyed, constantly alert. And finally, he was ours. I remember wanting James to drive faster when we left the hospital. Just in case someone noticed that we had taken off with a little baby not even two days old. Sure, I signed the discharge papers, but it didn't seem likely that anyone would be okay with us just taking him home like that. Like we knew what we were doing.

Cullen has taught me so much over the last three years. He's taught me more about love than I ever could have imagined. He's taught me about the important things in life. He helped me learn that a child's laughter is the sweetest sound I could ever hear. That his tears could bring me to tears. That the love a mother feels for her child cannot and will not ever be replaced.

I love that when Cullen should say "thank you," he sometimes says "you're welcome." And if he does say "thank you" first, he will race you to try to say "you're welcome" before you have a chance.

I love that Cullen is telling people he is three and a half today. Close enough.

I love that when a stop light turns green, he yells, "Go Baylor! Sic'em bears!"

I love that he is an affirming and loving little boy. When I say, "You're my best boy!" He responds with, "You're my best mommy!"

I love how smart he is. How he won't let us pull the wool over his eyes. Last night, Cullen asked James to go upstairs to get a toy for him. Not because Cullen was too lazy, but because Cullen knew that James would turn off Cullen's movie if Cullen walked away.

I love how passionate he is about the things he loves. His first request this morning was for his Lightning McQueen birthday party. He'll have to wait a few more days, but you can't blame him for being excited!

I love that he is thrilled to have popovers instead of cake today for his birthday. What three year old loves popovers? My three year old. Especially when you add sprinkles.
I love that he was over the moon to receive a book as his first birthday present this morning.  
I love that he knew the mouse as soon as he saw him. He knew that it was the same one from If You Give A Mouse A Cookie. It's his birthday, too!
I love that he saw the birthday sign outside of the school and knew that it was time to celebrate. 
I love that his entire class broke out into song when he walked in this morning. And little Michelle gave him a big hug and told him she loved him.

I love what being a mother has done for me and for our family. And I hope that I can use that experience to love Cullen even more. He will always be a highlight in my life, and I couldn't be any more proud of the little boy he has become so far. I can't wait to see what the next year brings us.

xoxo ashley

Baylor Homecoming 2012

Baylor Homecoming. The time each year when the bears all head to Waco to meet up, enjoy fellowship together and do all things bear. I love Homecoming. I love seeing old friends. I love seeing a stadium full of green and gold. I love remembering what Homecoming means to me.

Homecoming 2002 was the first time James asked me out. He invited me to the KA tailgate, where I met his fraternity brothers and friends. It's been 10 years, and I still love to think about that day. Among other reasons, that made this weekend even more special for me. Cullen's first homecoming, 10 years since our first "date," and Charly nominated for Homecoming queen. What's not to love?
 We started out early with a lunch at George's. Cullen spent time teaching Charly about If You Give A Mouse A Cookie. Charly read to Cullen, and he corrected her where he thought he knew the story better. 
We spent most of the afternoon wandering around campus. We got pictures of Cullen in several iconic places where he shouted CHEESE! as loud as he possibly could. I now have a collection of Cullen pictures with this face. 
The lighting is a bit off in this one, but I love that look on his face.  
Of course, we had to take a "little break" from chasing the squirrels.  
One of the highlights of my Friday was getting to see Keane, my director for student involvement back when I was a student. He was (and is) such a great guy to be around and a fabulous mentor. It was so fun to come back to say hi again and introduce him to Cullen.

And the highlight of James' day would likely be seeing the Heisman. I told James about it when we were in the SUB, and we managed to walk up just a couple of minutes after they put it on display. Enjoy the ridiculously unflattering picture. 
The silly people put the Heisman out without a case. Of course, it's just assumed that we would all know not to touch it. But Cullen didn't know. And Cullen man-handled the Heisman. Cullen almost got man-handled by a police officer.  
He took it in stride and took this hilarious break to drink some milk.  
We had dinner with friends that night and then headed back to campus for the bonfire. Cullen was not impressed. 
He was also not impressed by Isaiah Austin. James got really excited about him being some important basketball recruit. I just take the pictures. 
And we got to see the bears. Up close and personal. Cullen was pretty excited to see them playing. 
The necessary photo of Pat Neff at night. And an itty bitty Cullen sitting on the lawn. I didn't even make him do that. He is just that cute. 
We ended up spending the night in Hillsboro, so we got to drive by James' great-great-grandfather's house on Saturday morning.  It's pretty awesome to know that we had family living there about 80 years ago.
Saturday morning was the parade. THE parade. We got a really great place to watch, and I was so excited for Cullen. His very first parade! 
He HATED the big bear. 
After about a 30 minute delay caused by a broken float, the parade was re-routed. I saw the first float turn, and we booked it to the new parade route. Just a few minutes later, our favorite Homecoming nominee came around the corner. 
James is such a great dad, and Cullen had the best time with him this weekend. I love having family time with my boys. 
Charly looked just perfect on Saturday. We were so proud to cheer for her in the parade! 
Cullen and James are so silly together. I can't even remember why at this point, but a while back, James taught Cullen to rub his chin and say, "Veeeery peculiar." Cullen says, "Berry culiar." 
From the parade, we moved on to tailgating. We visited with friends while Cullen met a new girlfriend. She was a few months younger than him, and he was absolutely smitten. 
And what's a Baylor tailgate without Ken Starr? 
Cullen was a great little spectator at the game. He had a lot of fun and a lot of snacks. 
He was a fabulous cheerleader for Baylor. 
And Laura got some really great pictures of Cullen with James 
How big is this kid? 
Within five minutes of car time on the highway, Cullen was out. He slept most of the way home and asked for more parade when he woke up. I can't wait to take him back to Homecoming next year! 
xoxo ashley