Thursday, May 13, 2010

birthdays, etc.

We celebrated our boys' birthdays in April. Lucas turned one and Eli turned three (and I turned 25, again) within days of each other. We threw them a joint birthday party in the park. We had to reschedule the party and move to a new location at the last minute, so we were thankful for flexible and understanding friends. The theme of the party was Up!, my favorite animated movie ever.

My darling husband, who is known for fairly elaborate birthday cakes, upped the ante by about 150% with his Up house cake. He stayed up all night before the party (with the help of his brother - thanks, Matt) to bring his grand vision to life.

It really was amazing. If orthodontics doesn't work out, I think he could give the Ace of Cakes guy a run for his money.

It's such a cliche, but it really is so hard to believe how quickly my guys are growing. Eli is at a really fun age. Full of questions (and questions, and questions), developing a real sense of humor, learning and understanding new things at lightning speed, and saying so many funny things that I have to jot them down in my phone to share them with Ben every night. Eli loves to read (WIN), and loves to play outside. The kid would live in our driveway if he could. Since our acreage leaves a little to be desired, we spend lots of time park-hopping around the west suburbs. Our favorite parks are Bethany Meadows ("Pirate Park"), Magnolia, and Rood Bridge. One of the greatest things about the Portland area is the amazing abundance of parks, playgrounds, and green spaces. There seems to be a park of some kind on every block. Eli got a tricycle for his birthday and loves to ride it (although he prefers scooting to pedaling). We also gave ourselves a family birthday gift and bought a bike trailer, which has quickly become an oft-requested activity.

Luke's first year of life flew by. He is crawling, pulling up on furniture, babbling, and getting into everything. Lucas is a pretty happy baby, but decidedly more high-maintenance than Eli. He wants to be held and played with all the time. Eli was always content to play by himself for long periods of time - Luke, not so much. The evenings (and by evening, I mean from the moment he wakes up from nap until the moment he goes to bed), he cries this really annoying, fussy, whiny cry any time he isn't getting attention or food. Sometimes I feel like a zookeeper, tossing food at him to keep him happy while I cook, clean, entertain Eli, and occasionally try to talk to my husband. Lucas is a very sweet baby, though, and has a darling smile and laugh. It's been especially fun to see Eli start to play with him, rather than just on top of him. Someday, I remind myself, they will be the best of friends.

A couple of other random notes on life:

I am THRILLED to see warm, sunny weather emerge after months of gray, cold, rainy days. I've struggled with low energy for years, and I was beginning to think I might never "rise and shine" again. I'm amazed at how differently I feel and how much I accomplish just because the sun is shining. The Pacific Northwest in the spring and summer is breathtaking, and well worth the lousy weather we see from November to April. Looking forward to camping and trips to the beach this summer.

Some great friends came to visit us a couple of weeks ago from Idaho. Erica's been a dear friend since we were little girls, and her husband Scottie and Ben are two peas in a pod. We had a great time with them, spending time at the beach and playing Rock Band late into the night. They loved our church (and who wouldn't?) and our adopted hometown, and I loved having my kindred-spirit friend in town to indulge in some much-needed girl talk over the world's greatest chai (apparently). Erica is a wise, Godly woman with four kids and a great sense of humor. Win, win, win.

I am training for the Portland marathon in October. "Training" might be a stretch. I'm trying to run two to three modest runs (4-5 miles) a week, with a longer run on the weekend. I'm only up to seven miles, so I'm glad to have several months still to train. The biggest challenge is definitely finding the time to run, since I can only run with the kids in the stroller for a couple of miles before I collapse and have to be rescued by helicopter. I'm discovering how much I love to run, which is a nice surprise. Even with 80-year-old joints (seriously, my knees are a disaster), I feel so happy and well and
alive when I'm running. That's a God thing right there, folks.