Saturday, April 11, 2015

Day Out With Thomas

For the kids' birthday, we got tickets to ride the REAL Thomas! They each picked a favorite Thomas shirt from our sizeable stash, and we headed over to Grapevine. They were excited to spot Thomas from down the street, and wave Hi as we passed to find a parking spot. We saw all kinds of fun activities on our way to the boarding area, and then waited in line to get our boarding passes. The kids got to wait on the edge of the platform and watch for the big guy himself - Eleanor was super excited, Steven was a little nervous.

Boarding the vintage train was fun - we got to go through the "party" car and into a nice coach with reversible seats so we could all sit as a group. Steven was still a little skeptical...

...and Eleanor had fun listening to the show's songs they played and presenting her ticket to the conductor to be punched.

Thomas did eventually get a smile out of him though.

After the ride, we went to the front to say "thank you" to Thomas, but they were both a little overwhelmed to "meet" him.

In the end, the scooter corral was a little more Steven's speed.

And Eleanor loved the big bubble machine.

It was a really fun Day Out!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

3 great things about Eleanor as she turns 3

Eleanor is so confident. She'll tell anyone who asks: she is a princess, she is a doctor, she is a good mommy to all her babies, she is a good sister to her brother. She's already ready to take on the world, and we can't wait to see how she does it. When we went to the zoo, she was at the front of the crowd at the snake show to see the snakes up close, and the first to the giraffe area to try to touch a giraffe. She's eager to take chances, eager to experience everything she can.

Eleanor loves to teach and explain. She's always telling us about what she's learned, or what she's watched, or what she's pretending, or what game she's playing, in a very professional, professorial tone. Our car rides to and from school every day are punctuated liberally with a very pedagogical "So." (And yes, I know EXACTLY where she gets that one.) I love hearing the let's-pretend games they come up with together in the back seat, where they decide which character they're each going to be, and what situation they're going to be in, and how they're going to help each other get out of it. Ellie has also been, this week, very into donning her doctor coat and explaining the checkups she's doing (on me, her brother, her baby dolls, the dog, etc., etc., etc...) in great detail. Her details may be a little mangled, but they certainly sound official!

Eleanor is a facilitator. She's glue. She's the person in a group who will make sure that the natural leader isn't getting too far ahead of the natural loner, and that everyone's playing together. She's the one that makes everyone want to play nicely, and if they don't, she'll come up with some rules and get everyone to follow them. I think that's why, when she talks about her (and every other 3-year-old's) favorite movie "Frozen," she associates herself most closely with Anna, rather than Elsa - she doesn't care so much about the cool (pun intended), flashy power; Ellie's priority is family and bringing people together. 

Friday, April 3, 2015

3 great things about Steven as he turns 3

Steven is so full of joy. He has an infectious laugh, and frequently has his whole class rolling on the floor. His parents, grandparents, and teachers love to find activities that will get him excited because it's so much fun to see the way he nearly levitates with glee when he sees a toy car launch off a ramp or blows a particularly big bubble. In ballet class, he's remarkably good at mimicking the teacher's movements, but occasionally feels the need to take off on his own for an impromptu jazz/funk solo around the room.

Steven is a wonderful brother. He loves spending time with his sister, and one of the most common things to hear around the house is "Ella! Come play with me!" - that is, if they're not playing together already. A recent favorite game is to play "going to bed" on the stairs - each stair is a bed, and they find pillows and blankets and babies (or pretend pillows and blankets and babies) and tuck each other in and sing songs and tell bedtime stories, and can keep their game going for hours.

Steven is such a sweet, sensitive kid. He picks up on everything (a liability sometimes - we have to be careful what we listen to on the radio) and processes everything and understands so much more than we realize sometimes. Somehow, at the same time, he's beautifully unselfconscious. He has so much innate confidence, once he decides on something he'll carry it through with no consideration whatsoever to what anyone else thinks of it - as long as it makes him happy, it's good. He has this very particular, wonderful way of speaking - there are still a few baby-isms in it, like "wallypop" and his cousin "Ay-vwee" - but there's also a funny adult precision sometimes that almost sounds like he picked it up from an old silver-screen movie star. "Cost-yume" and "SOW-lad" - really, he's so careful and precise about even his "baby" words, they sound very grown-up and considered. "Can you put the swob-bies in dee-air?" (the strawberries in there) Steven always makes you want to stop and listen to what he's saying and make sure you understand.