Showing posts with label birthday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label birthday. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Aaron's 5th Birthday

My first baby turned 5 years old last week. I'm feeling a little old but so grateful for this amazing boy we have been given. He is such an interesting combination of both my husband and I. He likes computer programing and high tech stuff, but he also likes cooking and crafts. Energetic and imaginative he has lots of adventures everyday right here in our home.

Aaron is generally a good example and big brother to his younger brothers, which we are very thankful for. Aaron and Andrew are best of friends most of the time, and best of irritants some of the time. These two, so close in age, make up all kinds of crazy games and wonderful make believe worlds all the time. Aaron also loves his baby brother ton and is sometimes a little overprotective of him when we go out and everyone wants to see and hold him.

Aaron has always been an extremely verbal child and gifted with words. Even though we intentionally exposed him to written language from infancy, and he read his first words at 9 months, he continues to surpass all our wildest imaginations. This spring he started reading Beowulf and discussing it with daddy, and he accomplished his goal of finishing it before he turned 5. Something else also seems to have clicked on in his brain this spring as he is now flying through math, trying to beat all of the math computer games as fast as he can. Addition and subtraction quickly became too easy, so he finished multiplication to ten, and he is starting to work on division.  If he continues at this rate, we're going to have to review our Algebra through Calculus much sooner than we anticipated. He is also a big helper in the kitchen and around the house. He can pick up toys, set the table, sweep under the table with a small broom and dustpan, and help with laundry.

Even with all he has learned it is so fun to see the "normal," goofy, little boy side of him too. These attributes combine to create an amazing unique kid who reads Curious George and Beowulf, plays Candyland and Chess, watches Winnie the Pooh and documentaries, and talks about the craziest nonsense and rather deep concepts.

We celebrated Aaron's 5th birthday at home with a checkers and chess party. I'll share some of the ideas we did more in depth soon, but we had lots of fun with lots of games and game themed food and decorations. One other really special thing about Aaron is how he turns almost every book, computer or board game into a "real life" game or adventure in our living room. Aaron and Andrew are always becoming Tiggers bouncing up and down all over the place or knights ready to slay dragons or capture pawns.

Checker cake

Checker puzzle punch button pinata

Checker puzzle bean bag toss

Sword fight

Tastiest checker game ever

Pin the checkmate


Chess bozo buckets

Fabric chess set

Making weird noises with a plastic frog while he plays chess

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

DIY Easy Dark Chocolate Cake

This is the recipe for the cake my guys made for my birthday. It was absolutely awesome with chocolate ganache and caramel sauce on top, but I am sure it would be great with regular frosting on top as well. I think it would be hard to go wrong with this cake as a base for a dessert recipe.

Homemade One Bowl Dark Chocolate Cake recipe

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup boiling water
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease 9x13 cake pan.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add the eggs, milk, and oil, mix until well combined. Stir in the boiling water last. Batter will be thin. Pour evenly into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake 30–35 minutes in the preheated oven, until the cake tests done with a toothpick. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Family Fridays: My Birthday

This past Friday was my 26th birthday, and it was a lovely day. My husband and boys spoiled me.
Pastries from local Western bakery, yummy start to my birthday.
Nate and Aaron baking an amazing dark chocolate cake for me.
Even Andrew got to help.
Relaxing with Andrew and new baby.
A sweet friend of mine made me a chocolate, chocolate cake.
The boys were very excited about an extra surprise cake.
Nate brought back McDonald's double cheeseburgers.
Double cheeseburgers taste amazing on this side of the world.
My sweet honey got me beautiful flowers.
Aaron went with daddy to get the flowers and brought me this rose.
He bought it with his very own cuteness!
He also managed to get me a birthday balloon
from the pharmacy with his cuteness.
Andrew found a balloon in the house to give me too,
little sweetheart.
Aaron wanted to play party games.
Cards and gifts from Nate and the Boys. My sweet honey also wrote
me a computer program so we can organize our family videos better.
Amazing dark chocolate cake, with chocolate ganache,
caramel sauce, and chocolate chips on top.
Yea, for cake number two!
We continued celebrating the next day by going
to Chicago Coffee for pizza. The boys enjoyed coloring
with our friends there.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Family Fridays: Andrew is Two Years Old

Andrew officially turned two years old on Sunday. He is terrific and trying at the same time. He is definitely way ahead in everything to do with physical abilities; trying to keep up with big brother is highly motivating to him. Andrew is trying hard to run and jump like Aaron. He can throw and hit with about the same accuracy as his older brother. He is also meticulous with fine motor skills and already has an excellent pencil grip. He can also use a fork and spoon really well, but that isn’t surprising given his love for food.

Andrew is recently becoming able to sit still nicely for short periods of time and is starting to get interested in learning. He is talking more and more and using short sentences, and of course his favorite word is "no-no." He has learned a lot of numbers and letters lately and seems to be on the cusp of reading. He just surprised mommy by spelling "daddy" with 4/5 letters correct.
He is a sturdy young man at 28 pounds and 34 inches tall, which is 50th percentile for weight and 40th percentile for height. He and his brother seem like they compete for who can eat more of certain foods, like eggs and noodles.

We went out to dinner at KFC a few days early, so we could get the last of the Thomas characters (wouldn't want to miss out on Harold) in the happy meals for the boys from Grandma and Grandpa. So it was a quiet day at home for Andrew’s birthday, but it provided more than enough excitement. Waking up to balloons and Pooh characters around, talking to grandparents on Skype, opening presents, and a singing and fire shooting flower candle on a Piglet cake (see below), made Andrew so excited he couldn’t possibly nap and barely ate anything all day.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Aaron's Third Birthday and Andrew's 18 Month Birthday

Wow! My firstborn is turning 3? I don't have two boys two years old and under anymore? I don't have only babies in the house any more? Andrew is already 18 months old? How did that happen? It sure seems like both Aaron and Andrew were just born not too long ago. I am finding the saying "Some days can be long, but the years are short" to be very true.

Andrew is an amazing son.  He as always excelled at anything related to physical development. His all of his motor skills (both gross and fine) have always been his most advanced abilities. Of course, he is trying to keep up with his big brother. He can throw and hit a ball almost as well as Aaron can, and he can already walk on his tip-toes. He doesn't quite have the running motion down yet, but his walking speed can be just about as fast as running. The other day, he decided he wanted to watch a Thomas The Tank Engine video, so he took it upon himself to plug the portable DVD player into the tablet computer and press enter to start it. Andrew was the only one in the room, so it had to be him. This speaks highly of his fine motor and computer skills and sheds light on why the USB ports are wearing out.

Everyone here says Andrew is very fat. At 27.5 pounds and 33 inches tall he does dwarf the Chinese 18-month-olds. But he is hardly fat since he is in the 75th percentile for weight and the 75th percentile for height (by American standards). I think that that is a pretty good weight for his height. We take it as a compliment that he is of healthy constitution.

Andrew is just developing the ability to sit still for more than a minute. An ability he lost temporarily when he learned to walk at 9 months. As such, he can read a couple of words and letters, but is just starting to develop a real interest in learning. Now he loves to look at the computer, books, and pictures. His verbal skills are starting to take off once again too.  He is rapidly adding to his vocabulary, both in English and Chinese. His desire to communicate meaningfully is kicking in, and he loves to "talk" about everything he sees, whether in English, Chinese, sign language, or by simply making Animal noises. The last activity is one of his favorites as of late, especially snorting like a pig.

Aaron is an equally amazing son with different strengths. At three years old, he already knows words in four languages, reads English proficiently at about 4th grade level, and uses a computer almost too well for his age.  Once he surprised me by using the table of contents to find his favorite Winne-the-Pooh story. His daddy taught him how to use a table of contents and how to use a computer, so it is no surprise he is great at it.

At three years old he is 33 pounds and 38½ inches tall, which is 80th percentile for height and 65th percentile for weight. We know he is growing a lot lately because he is eating more than Andrew again. He loves to run, jump, and climb trees, and he is getting much better at throwing and hitting balls.

Aaron is starting to make clearer, more purposeful lines and drawings. He loves to cut and glue things. So far this hobby has been contained to approved paper. He loves to help around the house and is beginning to be a really useful boy. Aaron can help set the table, clear dishes (we use metal camping dishes), put dishes in the dish drainer, hang up and fold diapers and diaper wipes, shake out the rugs, and pick up toys. He also loves to help mommy when she is cooking and baking, although perhaps his favorite part is licking the spoon.

Andrew and Aaron's favorite fictional characters are from Winnie-the-Pooh and Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends. Since we had a Winnie-the-Pooh party for Aaron's second birthday, we went with Thomas this time. We found Thomas coloring pages online and colored a bunch of them for decorations. I put them up the night before Aaron's birthday so that he would see them first thing in the morning.

The birthday fun started when Aaron awoke while I was blowing up balloons for him. Aaron and Andrew ran around naming all of the engines and singing the "Doodle-doot Song" (their name for Thomas's classic theme song). Aaron had great fun picking out which color balloon should be next and naming each after an engine of the same color.

We had breakfast and talked to both sets of grandparents on Skype. Aaron was super excited, except when his grandparents tried to sing the birthday song to him. For some reason, Aaron decided he hated the Happy Birthday Song being sung to him. He got cranky each time the grandparents sang to him.

That afternoon, as part of the boys present, we took them to their two favorite places: Walmart and KFC. Behind Walmart there are those funny little toy vehicles that you put a coin in and they move and sing for a while. The boys were thrilled that they each got a ride one and then play a wack-a-mole game. After that, we went to KFC for ice cream cones, and the boys played in the playplace for a long time. Well, they played in the playplace until Andrew discovered that he can now climb into the KFC highchairs by himself. These new jungle gyms then became the most exciting thing around.

We had a few of our friends over for a small party that night. Three girls in their twenties are probably not the most traditional guests at a 3-year-old's party, but these are some of Aaron's favorite people here. At first, he said that he didn't want any birthday party, and then later he said that these guests could come to Andrew's half birthday party. It's a good thing it was the same party because Aaron actually loved it when they came. The six-year-old boy we invited was busy, and we decided against inviting kids from the neighborhood because Aaron is so bothered whenever their grandmothers try to touch his blond hair. The small party was just right.

Nate printed some extra Thomas pages to color at the party and a complete set of coloring pages as a gift for Aaron. I also made some Thomas themed games. The boys had fun with the games, even though they didn't really follow the traditional way to play Bozo buckets or pin the tail on the donkey. It is easier, after all, not to have to stand behind a line or use a blindfold. Everyone got prizes anyway. Andrew made sure that everyone had plenty of prizes; he loved passing them out.

I made a cake with a map of the Island of Sodor (from Thomas the Tank Engine) and put Henry (engine number 3) on top for Aaron and a half a cake with a Thomas (engine number 1) for Andrew. Once again, Aaron said that he didn't want the birthday song sung to him, but he said we could sing to Andrew. So, we sang a general Happy Birthday song to both of them. Aaron then proceeded to blow out his three candles and Andrew's one candle. Poor guy, we had to light it again so that Andrew could blow it out himself.

We ate cake, ice cream cones, and watermelon, and then the boys opened a few simple gifts. Our friends brought Aaron a bunch of cars and stickers. We gave Aaron a few gifts we made and bought both Aaron and Andrew a plastic bat and ball. Aaron couldn't have been more excited. He stayed up late looking at all of his new things and coloring his coloring pages. Then he announced that he was ready to go to bed, laid down, and fell asleep instantly.

A few days later, when the packages arrived from the grandparents, it was celebration time all over again. The boys just kept opening presents until everything was spread out all over the floor. Then they play with the new toys all afternoon. Aaron got so sad when we all needed to go out for a couple of minutes to pay the electric bill, even though we said we would take him to the park on the way back. He is usually begging to go outside, so the gifts from the grandparents were a huge hit.

It has been a wonderful  (albeit sometimes grumpy) year with Aaron, and we look forward to seeing what God will bring in the next year of his life.


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