It’s hard to believe that Damien has been in our lives for three years. I can’t believe that the little teeny baby – or even further back, the two lines on a pregnancy test – that inspired this whole blog is now a little boy with a distinct personality, a wild imagination, and a big heart. Dan and I just were reflecting that at this time last year we took note when Damien spoke in a complete sentence. This year, he speaks like a tiny adult (albeit one with a mild speech impediment. I love the traces of his toddler talk and will be sad when they disappear.)

His birthday was a fun day for all of us. This week he is slowly transitioning to the three-year-old room (which is actually not a room, as the three and four groups have the run of the whole preschool while the babies and twos are gated off) so he went to school on his birthday and all through the week. (Also, like I learned from his last preschool, as much as I’d like to spend extra time with him I will live to regret changing his routine any more than possible. Plus I can get a little bit done with only one kid in the house that I can’t get done with two.)

Damien woke up to a decorated door and his first present to open – a birthday tshirt from Old Navy (which, I discovered, was an amazing buy because all day people would say “oh, it’s your birthday? How old are you?” and Damien wouldn’t have to say anything, which was good, because he probably wasn’t going to.) He immediately put his shirt on and grabbed a balloon from the door and started batting it around.

PhotoGrid_1418749014266I brought him to school and dropoff wasn’t too painful; I promised to see him at snacktime with cupcakes, which I’m sure helped.

Le cupcakes - they are tiny (at the preschool director's request) and blue (at the birthday boy's request.) Damien and I decorated them together (I took frosting, he started sprinkles and I evened them out because OCD.)

Le cupcakes – they are tiny (at the preschool director’s request) and blue (at the birthday boy’s request.) Damien and I decorated them together (I took frosting, he started sprinkles and I evened them out because OCD.)

I sent a special birthday-themed lunch with Damien:


That’s cheddar cheese (cut with a small 3-shaped cookie cutter), PB&J sandwiches (cut with large D and 3 cookie cutters), chocolate milk, and banana chips/raisins. I tried to think of a birthday-themed fruit or veggie but couldn’t come up with anything, so I defaulted to a known favorite. Also, I drew hearts on the chocolate milk as a ‘love note’ since he couldn’t read an actual note. :)

During the day Dan and I got stuff done and prepared to leave straight from Damien’s preschool. We went to pick him up fifteen minutes early, so we could sing to him and eat cupcakes with his class. Birthday boy was excited to see us and went straight to the inside tables and sat down (it was raining, otherwise we’d be at the outside picnic tables) but he handled the rest of the birthday festivities with his traditional stoicism (in other words, if it seems like it should be exciting, it’s actually Serious Business. Then he’ll talk about how much fun he had for days afterward, even though in all the pictures he won’t crack a smile.)

pics pics pics

From the preschool we drove straight to the nearest Chuck E. Cheese for Damien’s promised birthday dinner. It was about an hour away and perhaps would have been quicker but it was raining sooo hard I could barely see. On the trip over I was second-guessing my decision to take him to another town for his birthday, but as it turns out we had a great time and it was totally worth it. The best part was my parents were able to get away from the afternoon and meet us, since the Chuck E. Cheese was about halfway between our two houses.

Bapa, Mimi, and boys!

Bapa, Mimi, and boys!

It had been many a year since I set foot in a Chuck E. Cheese – I think the last time I was there was for Kassi’s birthday sometime in elementary school, in 2003 or earlier. I was surprised that in this particular location at least, the place was classed up – the place was clean, neat, and organized, the games were upgraded (there weren’t as many rides and there was no playground at all though, which was a bit disappointing), and the menu was much larger (the salad bar? Amazing.) The semi-creepy animatronics remained, but they lent a bit of fun nostalgia to the evening, and no one was scarred for life or even scared at all. :)

IMG_20141216_191626297The pizza package I bought came with drinks and tokens. It was just enough for one three-year-old kid to run around and play basically to his heart’s desire, while his parents stole a few tokens for an epic Guitar Hero battle (we actually played co-op because Dan is waaaay better than me. It was really fun; I miss Guitar Hero! And we totally beat the pants off all the ten-year-olds playing, haha.)


Damien playing… something.


Rowen & Mama


Guitar Hero – bringing you back to 2006! (Was it 2006? I have no idea. Time has no meaning to me anymore. I’m officially old.)

Did I mention that Dan and I had fun? Because we totally did. We might have had as much fun as the birthday boy.


I grew another little me, made out of just legs.


This picture makes me laugh every time.


Taking the picture from an angle didn’t really work… I was trying to avoid being in the picture but instead I’m just a swirly blob with feet.

We also sat down at our table (which was held down by our jackets and a (small) pile of presents – there weren’t very many people there so it’s not like people were clamoring for our spot) and ate at some point. My verdict: pizza okay (but actually better than I remember it), salad bar amazing (they had sooo many options for everything! It’s way better than the college cafeteria salad bar I occasionally subject myself to.) Dan thought the pizza was crappy but he’s eaten much worse (read: on sale frozen pizzas that are on sale for a reason) so I don’t know why he was complaining.


We were sitting in a photo booth that distorted your faces, waiting for our print. This one came out a lot better than the one we paid for, haha.


Nursing On the Go: Chuck E Cheese Edition. (I should make a collage of these pics at the end of the year. Oh, the joys of being the second child.)

Damien opened his presents before we went home. Most of his present-opening would take place at his actual birthday party, scheduled for the Sunday after his birthday, but we wanted him to have something to open on the actual day so we brought them. I didn’t take a picture of the wrapped presents (which is too bad; they were cute) but here is Damien with his favorite present:


His smile was SO BIG. He saw this in the store and played with it adorably for quite a while, which is when I decided it was going on either his Christmas or birthday list.


Time for an impromptu concert!

(We also got him a few other things but none received this reaction. They were more appreciated at home though.)

And, last but not least, Damien cashed in his tickets for exciting (cheap and crappy) prizes and met Mr. Chuck E. himself.

Many, many photos were taken before Dan got a nonblurry one with Damien smiling. But, here it is!

Many, many photos were taken before Dan got a nonblurry one with Damien smiling. But, here it is! (Shh, it counts as a smile, just a very small one.)


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