summer shenanigans

Consider this the lazy-man's kind of post. There will be pictures. I will comment about said pictures. Okay now.

We have returned from our week in Branson. It was a good vacation. The resort was lovely, the pools were plentiful, and our sunscreen worked beautifully. Lucas tried his hand at shuffleboard, and while he didn't quite master the finer points of the game, he quickly picked up on the shuffling part. He was a fan.

We, of course, had to try out a visit to the Dixie Stampede. The horses and the giant star lights were a big hit with the munchkin, and I admit it all rather excited me as well. Despite only paying for two adult tickets to the dinner show [which meant Lucas had to be a "lap child" who received no meal but got in for free since he was under 2], since we went to a 3:00 showing on a weekday, the place was probably less than half-filled and our waitress let Lucas have his own seat plus offered him almost the full meal. Score. The food was nothing spectacular but the horses made up for it. Lucas loves to clap wildly whenever there is applause, so there were more than a few times during this dinner show where he had the agonizing dilemma about how to clap while clasping a fistful of food. His solution was often to finally fling down the food and clap quickly [and usually belatedly] and then resume munching. Oh to have three hands...

The rest of the week was filled with a lot of pool time, Riding Ducks [which was much less duck and much more bad jokes than you would hope/expect], eating vacation food, and a little mini golf. We braved the heat and humidity, ate a few pints of ice cream, and even made the entire 4 hour trip home without needing to stop [Lucas gets three stars and five cool points for being such a great traveler on the way home]. It was a good time all around. Oh! And I collected two more squashed pennies for my squashed pennies collection. Always notable, no?

So, now we are home. No more traveling. No more vacations. Back to the good ol' routine. Routine is good. We like routine. Routine may sound boring, but let me give you a little peek into the adventure that is our daily routine and you may change your mind about that.

First, you wake up and do a little light reading before breakfast. Lucas finds the Creator or Liar? tract that Jason picked up during jury duty quite fascinating due to the color blue [refer to Jason's last post] and the classic horned and pitch-fork carrying devil representation. 

Next, you settle in for a relaxing back massage. Have you ever felt a deep tissue massage given by a toddler? It's excellent. This is just another example of how Lucas loves mimicking anything we do. He will now climb up on my back and start pinching me with his little warm, chubby hands if I ask for a back rub. I'm going to work on teaching him to feed me grapes while I lounge about...

Nap time comes around 12:30 these days. Lucas naps. Jason and I sometimes nap. Puma usually takes his third nap of the day. It's a napping kind of environment. And as you can see above, sometimes nap time comes smack dab in the middle of play time, and Puma has to pay the consequences. Who says Mega Bloks aren't cozy?

So, what is this picture showing? Post-nap stretching? Well, that would be a good guess, but the real answer is much, much better. We can now ask Lucas, "How much do you love mama/dada?" and he will stretch his arms out as wide as they go as if to say, "Thiiiiiiiiiis much, mama. Thiiiiiiiis much." Good stuff.  

Dinnertime! Anytime there is food involved, you know a mess is just right around the corner. However, there are the few special meals where, instead of a mess, you get an artwork of sorts. Examine the picture above [you can click on it to make it bigger, I think?]. What is on his nose? Is it just your typical yogurt splotch that any generic toddler would be able to create? No! Look closer! It is, in fact, an exact replica of the Mercedes-Benz logo. This child is a marketing genius as well as an artistic protege.

And of course, no day is complete without a round or two of, "Where's dada's nipples?" Hilarious game. I can't even describe the joy that I get from watching this game take place. You can clearly see how much Jason enjoys this. It's basically the highlight of his day, rightly so.

So, as you can see, a routine day is a day filled with all kinds of new and fascinating things. A routine day is a good day. The end.

Oh! right! One last thing before I sign off on this post. Lucas has been trekking along in his development, seemingly something new popping up every day. One of his latest achievements is the ability to draw more than scribbles. Okay, well, that's not entirely accurate. He is still only capable of scribbles, but now he knows to scribble in a specific spot. Which.... really doesn't sound all that amazing. But it is! For instance, in this picture, we gave Lucas the base picture of a circle head, two eyes, and a smiley mouth. On a whim, I then asked Lucas where the man's nose was, and he drew the nose you now see. I asked about the man's hair and poof! hair appeared in the form of an Alfalfa/Charlie Brown sprout. I asked about the man's ears and one ear and then two ears showed up. Lucas's second ear attempt [the left] was clearly much better than the first. I had no idea the amount of pride and exhilaration there would be watching this kid master the scribbles. Parenting is the best.

p.s. We have apparently referenced Lucas by saying "The Boy" so much that now I have to show him genders by saying "this is the girl" and "this is the man" so that he doesn't just keep pointing to himself when I say "this is the boy." Other phrases that elicit the immediate chest poking indication are "little tyke" [He will point to the Little Tykes logo on his swing and then point to himself. He will point to the Little Tykes logo on his lawn mower and then point to himself. Identification at its finest!] and "Who has the little bitty belly?" Have I mentioned how funny this kid is? Hilarious.


Some things are blue.

I never really noticed how many things in everyday life are blue. Blue is all around us. It is everywhere. It is on our clothes. It is on our food containers. It is on our books. It is on our cars, our toys, our toy cars... I never really noticed. I do notice, now. Blue is everywhere. It is all blue.

How do I know this? Because Lucas loves blue. He loves blue almost as much as he loves bananas. He's been distinguishing colors for a while now, pretty much once he figured out what we meant when we asked him to point at the green this, or the red that. A few days ago, though, he decided blue is best. Or, "bue" is best. "L"s are hard. Everywhere we go, he points out all the things that are blue and excitedly tells us, "bue!" I had no idea. I mean, it's a common color and all, but he finds blue everywhere. It's like the whole world is a "Where's Waldo" book to him, except Waldo isn't Waldo, he's blue. And blue isn't hiding, it's all over all the things. It's like suddenly Lucas's whole world turned to gray-scale, except shades of blue still appear blue so he has to excitedly point them out. Daaaa! Momom! There are blue things here! Did you see that lady running over there? Her shirt was blue! It was BLUE!

Lucas starting to talk more has really been fun. Sharayah talked about his odd choice of words to learn last time. He really does like that Grover fellow (who is blue, by the way). I love hearing his voice. I just want to have a whole conversation with him, but whenever he says enough words for a conversation, they are mostly gibberish. Still cute, but just indecipherable. Every parent must love the sound of their kid's voice, but I have to tell you: he has the best voice! It is the best. The search is over. Anyway, at some point I guess a switch went off in his head and he realized that, hey, if he understood most of the words anyway, he might as well try to mimic us when we say them. We're always saying words at him, maybe he should say some words back. So now he tries to do that. Sometimes the words stick (he's still talking about Grover and Zoe), sometimes they fall out of his repertoire as fast as they entered, but he is copying us and trying to say words, and we love it.

One of the games that Lucas plays... what should I call it? What would you call a game where you run back and forth between your parents, and each time you reach one of them you dive into an epic hug, giggle crazily like you're being tickled, frantically escape, and run back to the other parent to repeat the process? If you continued that routine for several minutes as your happy parents just sat on the floor, patiently waiting their turns and catching your epic, might-as-well-be-tackles hugs, what would you call that? Anyway, that is a game that Lucas plays. It's ok, I guess.

I'll end with one more story about blue (because all is blue and blue is all). There is this shirt. It's a really cute shirt. It's like, a big kid shirt. It has a little pocket on it. We really wanted Lucas to wear it. Lucas would not wear the shirt. Lucas cried if we put the shirt on him. Lucas hated the shirt. We began calling it the acid shirt, because he refused it so resolutely we thought he must think it was going to melt his skin. We tried and tried, every few weeks, to get him to wear it. We included it in his shirt choices many times. He stood firm in his convictions. We gave up. We stopped trying the acid shirt. Well, here's the thing. The shirt in question, the shirt made of burning acid which we cannot allow to touch our skin, is blue. It's kind of a gray blue, with white at the top, and on the pocket there are blue and white stripes. So I had an idea a couple days ago. Lucas loves blue. Maybe if I offer him this shirt the right way ("Hey Lucas, do you want to wear this shirt? It's blue!"), maybe he would wear it. And it worked. He loves blue more than he hates burning acid shirts. It looked good on him. He got food on it.

This shirt is not blue.


tubas and tanning

Yet another installment of the Here's and There's of Lucas's Life.

While I wouldn't say that Lucas's vocabulary has exploded or anything so gusto-filled, I think it's fair [and exciting] to say that he is now much more gung-ho about randomly trying out new words and sounds. And by randomly, I mean truly, truly randomly. For instance, words that we have said probably thousands of times by now [cat! Puma! love! bird! stinkypants!], he's got nothing. And words that would be helpful and useful in daily life, [food! diaper! want! bed! all-I-want-is-for-you-to-touch-Fao-Bear's-nose-to-the-color-wheel-and-I-won't-be-sad-anymore!], zilch. He doesn't even contemplate trying to say the word. He pretends he has no idea what all of our coaxing and prodding and "c-aaaaaa-t/foooooooooood"-ing could mean. But you point out a tuba in a new book? Suddenly, it's all, "Tu-bah! Tu-bah!" And that little blue monster you offhandedly introduce as Grover? "Go-vah! Go-vah!" It's pretty awesome. Sometimes he'll put considerable effort into forming the word. He gets all still, purses his lips [you can even watch the little muscles around his mouth twitching], and then proudly bursts out some sound that usually isn't even close to the right one. 

I never realized how difficult words are, how talking and understanding speech at all is a massive accomplishment. So many words sound similar to each other but mean something different. Or the words are the same but they mean something different. Or there are fifty words that all mean the same thing. It's all quite confusing. A recent example of this would be his latest verbal aquisitions, Grover and Zoe [the little yellow Sesame Street character]. Did you know that Grover and clover are virtually identical to a 20-month-old with sandwich in his mouth? You probably did. BUT, did you know that Zoe and sewer also sound the same, even minus the sandwich? Yeah, me either. But they do. So you just have to figure out by context that when you're outside, "Zu-ah" is sewer, and when you're inside, "Zo-ah" is a yellow monster. Got it? Okay. 

I also feel the need to mention how ridiculous it is that the words ball, bowl, book, bye, blue, and a large assortment of others sound nearly the same and yet somehow distinctly different. It makes me feel like a supermom every time I win at the "What Did You Say?" game with Lucas. Skills, yo. [And when in doubt, just say, "tu-bah!" and he'll giggle and hopefully forget whatever B word you were unable to identify.]

Oh! I absolutely cannot write on and on about Lucas's words without quickly mentioning his most recent accomplishment, one that will undoubtedly catapult him to the top of the 2016 Cutest Kid Ever rankings: Lucas has discovered "Uh oh." I'm not sure I've ever heard anything so cute in my life. I know millions of kids discovered uh-oh way before they were as old as Lucas and it's old hat to every parent out there, but I don't even care. It is the most adorable sound in the world. Mr. Frumble lost his hat again? Hand gets dramatically placed on the side of his head and the clearest little "uh-oh!" comes tumbling out. The pig falls into the water? "Uh oh!" You go for a bike ride and pass by a fire hydrant? "Uh oh. Uh oh. Uh oh!" It's excellent. I love this kid.

Ok, moving on. So! We recently got back from a pretty awesome Vermette family vacation. We took a 7-day cruise down to the eastern Caribbean islands and Lucas had a blast. He carousal-ed on bears and tigers and frogs and deer. He mini-golfed with gophers and turtles. He beached it like a pro and fell in love with sunscreen. He ate bananas like they were going out of style. Reggae music became his jam. He made grumpy people happy and 10-floor elevator rides packed with strangers less awkward. And, to top it off, right before the cruise, he finally decided to sleep through the night. We're talking nearly 12 hours straight every night [with one exception] for the past two and a half weeks. It has been glorious

Jason and I had resigned ourselves to the fact that Lucas would always wake up in the middle of the night. He would be 14 years old and wake up for a 3 am snack. We told ourselves we were okay with this, we could totally handle one wake-up a night, as long as it was only one. I think we had forgotten what it was like to actually sleep from night to morning without interruption. But now we remember. And boy are we loving it. It took just over 20 months for Lucas to figure out this whole sleeping thing, but he did figure it out. Take note, Future kpluBlet #2! You need to beat Lucas's time. Thanks!

As one last note about the cruise, here's a riddle: What can make Jason sad, impressed, and jealous all at once? Lucas's magic tanning genes. We slathered that kid with sunscreen; kept him shaded with clothes, hats, stroller sun shades, and our own shadows; and really only let him outside in the heat for very limited amounts of time, but somehow still Lucas came home with pretty defined tan lines. How can tan lines be cute? How? Somehow they are. It's ridiculous. 

And thus ends my ramblings. Life has been filled with fun times and exciting new developments. We will soon be heading off for our second vacation of the summer, a week in Branson. It will be our first family vacation with just the three of us. I'm looking forward to it muchly. Jason has grand plans for his garage organization. Puma is as fluffy as ever, if not fluffier. Lucas will no doubt be starting up his own Nature Treasures gift shop soon [expect a lot of clover and dandelion stems]. And I have high hopes to finish my research on the vast field of construction vehicles. By the end of the summer I will be able to distinguish between a skid steer, a front loader, and a bulldozer. Just watch.