Happy Birthday, Gavin!

I can’t believe Gavin is 2 already!  He’s such a sweet little guy with the most amazing giggles and guffawing laughs that you’ve ever heard.  “Goovin,” as Marcus has taken to calling him today, is quite thrilled to be 2.  When asked, “How old are you, Gavin?”, he responds with a very enthusiastic “I’m TWO!”, complete with a big grin and, if you’re lucky, a happy dance.  He loves to snuggle and be tickled.  He’s turned into quite the monkey, climbing and jumping on (and off) things with abandon.  He’s also very mischievous and gets into all sorts of antics with his big brother.  My dad actually said Gavin looked mischievous when he saw a picture of him . . . in my womb (it was one of those crazy 3D ultrasound images).  See that impish monkey face up there?  He apparently was baked that way.

Anyway, our celebration today was pretty low key as Adam was out of town.  Breakfast was eggs (soft-boiled “gooey eggs” for Gavin and hard-boiled for Marcus), bacon, pumpkin bread, and fruit smoothies.  We went out for lunch at a local NY-style pizza joint that turned out to be pretty decent.  Marcus had the standard pepperoni and Gavin asked for plain cheese.  Gav ended up ditching his cheese slice and eating my entire “Brooklyn” slice, which was pepperoni, meatball slices, onions, mushrooms.  Who’d a thought?  Then we popped over to a new cupcakery for some birthday cupcakes – vanilla with chocolate icing for Gavin, red velvet for Marcus, and lavender lemon for me.  The place is pretty fancy and there were all sorts of people just sitting about quietly enjoying their coffees and cupcakes.  The boys were quiet too as they made quick work of their desserts.  But then Marcus, out of the blue, says loudly (I think he only has one volume when he speaks), “I really have to poop.”  Before I could stop myself, I asked reflexively, “What?”  And he replied, “There’s a soft poop that wants to come out now, mama.”  Mmmm . . . enjoy your coffee and cupcakes, folks.

Dinner was a quiet affair too.  I made butter chicken with steamed broccoli dressed with a little butter and salt.  For some reason, the kids didn’t like the chicken that much (Gavin refused to eat it at all), even though they’ve had and enjoyed this particular dish and other similar ones in the past.  Even more strange  . . . they actually ate, enjoyed, and practically fought over the broccoli.  I was so confused.  But happy!

Here are some recent photos of the birthday boy.

Making a silly face while eating lunch.

Enjoying a book - love the crossed legs and exposed belly.

On a walk with Mommy.

"I sit on Elmo?" Indeed.

Biting into his birthday cupcake today.

Mighty pleased.



Christmas, Part III

We had another little Christmas celebration at my parents’ house in NC.  Lots of fun and good food.  Some photo highlights:


Adam and Gavin making headway into the pile.

Marcus rooting around for more gifts to open.

My brother V looking like a monk in his new slanket.

Snuggling with Dad (with the infamous Mia who got punted).

Gavin wanted in on the action but didn't really want to share his Daddy.

Marcus playing with his new Mater alarm clock radio from his Uncle B.

One very excited little fella.

Christmas, Part I

We’re having Christmas three times over this year!

For Christmas Part I, we traveled up to see Adam’s parents in the Cape.  The travel itself was ok overall.  Marcus was a total sweetheart, but Gavin was another story.  He’s developed a horrendous, piercing scream that he employs with way too much regularity and for no apparent purpose.  It’s not so bad when he does it at home, but it’s unbearable when you’re locked up in the car with him and downright embarrassing (and alarming) when he’s doing it on the plane.  Anyway, we made it to the Cape fine and in one piece.

The boys had a ton of fun this year with their Grammy and Grampa, their Auntie B and Uncle M, and of course their favorite cousin, A.  Gavin in particular was enamored with A.  He loves attention and playing with other kids.  Marcus rarely gives him the time of day, so he was tickled pink when A played with him.  So cute!

This was also the first time we bunked the boys together in the same room.  Gavin was in a crib, and Marcus was next to him in a twin bed with guardrails.  We were worried that they wouldn’t sleep, especially since Gavin is teething and he’s been fussy lately at night.  But things worked out.  We would get the boys ready for bed, then Marcus would climb in and I’d sit on the bed with Gavin.  I’d sing them ‘The Eskimo Song’ (a.k.a. Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…), or as Gavin calls it, “Eh-mos,” three times following by ‘White Christmas’ (“Wit-mit”) three times.  Then I’d pop Gavin into the crib, instructed Marcus what to do if Gavin cried, left, closed the door, held my breath, and hoped.

[Gavin starts crying.]

Marcus: It’s ok, Gavin.  Don’t cry.  I’m here.  It’s ok.

[Apparently unconvinced, Gavin continues crying.]

Marcus: You want me to sing?

Gavin: Sing?  Sing.

Marcus (a bit off key): Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way. [Pause.] Sorry, Gavin.  I don’t know the rest of the words.

Gavin cried at first every night, and Marcus sang to him every night.  Adorable!  Makes me think we should bunk them together for a little while.

Anyway, some pictures:

'Twas the night before Christmas...

My in-laws always do such an amazing job with the Christmas decorations. The tree was amazing!

Stockings on Christmas morning

Eating a hearty breakfast to sustain him through The Unwrapping.

One of my favorite presents

All cleaned up after presents and naps. With much cajoling and promises of cookies, we tried to get photos of the kids in their Christmas outfits. I like how they each are looking in a different direction. Classic.

Handsome little fellas, aren't they?

Enjoying the promised cookies

My parents and two of my brothers came up for Thanksgiving.  The boys had a great time hanging out and being silly with everyone.  And of course we stuffed ourselves silly with not one but two Thanksgiving meals at the same time.  In addition to the usual spread, my mom made some delicious vietnamese curry over noodles.  We were soooo full.

Marcus and his Ba Ngoai

Me, my mom, and the boys (Adam and V in the background)

Gavin and his Ong Ngoai

Hanging out with Uncle B

Chillin' with the villain, Uncle V

Turkey, cranberry sauce, gravy, butternut squash and sweet potato casserole topped with marshmallows, stuffing, roasted brussels sprouts, creamy mashed potatoes. (Wish I had taken a pic of my mom's curry!)

Homemade apple pie

Cap’n Marcus turns 4!

Happy Birthday, Marcus!

We had a great time celebrating Marcus’ 4th birthday with our friends and family.  He’s been very into pirates lately, so we, of course, had to throw him a pirate party!  I admit that I may have gone a little crazy with the details. 😉

The party in pictures . . .

Guests were first greeted by a pirate, dubbed "Willy" by Marcus. Or, "Pie-wah WEE-lee!" as Gavin calls him.

The kids were sent off on a treasure hunt. 5 stations were scattered about the house, each marked with a sign showing a particular shape. The kids had to find all 5 stations in order to get the stickers to cover the shapes on their map. Once their maps were complete, they got lots of treasure!

Pirate Hat Station

Face Painting Station

Eye Patch Station

Tattoo Station

(blow up) Sword Station in the background

Marcus towards the end of his treasure hunt.

Once the kids completed their map, they each got a loot bag (partially pre-filled with pirate-themed goodies) that they got to fill with additional treasure (necklaces, rings, gems, coins, candy, etc.) from a wooden pirate chest. They also got to keep their treasure maps and pirate gear they gathered on their treasure hunt.

The kids pulled their drinks from a treasure chest.

The dessert spread! (Marcus sampled probably 3/4 of the goodies. He was a happy camper.)

Rice Krispie treat pirate ships, marshmallow pops and S'mores pops, super chocolately cake.

Vanilla cupcakes with cream cheese frosting in the center, on the left side of the cupcakes are mocha chocolate chip cookies (made with love by Grammy!), Rolo pretzel bites, and chocolate crack(-ers).

Banana pudding, Oreo truffle pops, fruit skewers, and cones of kettle corn. I made all of the desserts except for the TJs kettle corn and Grammy's cookies. (I told you I went a little crazy...)

Lighting up the birthday cupcake.

Waiting with baited breath.

He was so happy to hear everyone singing for him...

Blowing out the candles.

Enjoying the spoils.

Gavin with his Ba Ngoai and his little girlfriend, J, watching from below.

With my little pirate.

Pirate Gavin

Pirate Marcus

With Grammy & Grampy

With Ba Ngoai and Ong Ngoai

Uncle Nam

Gavin training with Ba Ngoai...

...so that he can take on and defeat Pirate Willy!

Nice pants.

A thoroughly sated, happy, and tired birthday boy!