Somehow, Mason turned 3 on the 14th. It was so surreal to know he was turning 3. I keep thinking back to when Aubrey turned 3 right after he was born and it just doesn't seem like its been that long ago. I know there are so many parts of Aubrey's 3rd year I don't remember because I was in the newborn foggy stage so its almost like we are experiencing a 3-year old for the 1st time. Unfortunately, I didn't get to spend much of Mason's actual birthday with him because he had school and Aubrey had her usual busy Wednesday afternoon. I sent donuts to his preschool for their snack time after hearing him request them for the 2 weeks prior to the actual day. That evening, I convinced Aubrey to skip gymnastics that day so we could go out to eat as a family. The restaurant was having kids' night so they had a balloon artist there and it made dinner even more fun. After dinner we came home for cupcakes and presents. He seemed to enjoy both of them a lot and asked for 2 weeks after when it was going to be his birthday again.
We held Mason's birthday party at the Little Gym this year and it was so much fun. We had a range of ages from just-turned 2 to 7 and they all appeared to have a blast. This was the first year Mason has had a party outside the house and I think he enjoyed it so much. He really likes being the center of attention and the staff did a good job at making sure he felt loved. He was pretty sad when the party was over and has asked me a few times since if he can have another birthday party.
Next was Aubrey's birthday. If I was a little mushy about my youngest baby turning 3, I was a sappy mess about my first baby turning 6. I'm not sure why, but 6 seems soooo much older than 5. Aubrey was so excited to celebrate her birthday, though. She planned for weeks what she wanted for lunch and dinner on the actual day and then what treats she wanted me to bring in for the class. Luckily, I was able to take the day off from work so I did get to go to her school and eat lunch with her. I tried to soak in every moment of her hugging and kissing me in front of her friends because I know that will come to an end much too soon. The 2 of us got to sit at the "special" table which made me a little sad. I had hoped to sit with her friends and watch that interaction, but it was also sweet to spend time with just her. Todd surprised her by taking the afternoon off and coming with me to pick her up at school. We planned a trip to Concord Mills for her birthday so she could build Anna and Elsa bears at Build-A-Bear and then have pizza as she requested. After dinner we came home for cupcakes and presents from Mason. The day went by so fast but it was a good distraction from the fact inside I was a sappy mess.
Of course, Aubrey's birthday party was next on our list. This year's party was so dramatic to plan. She has gotten so particular in planning and wanted to make sure it went down just the way she wanted it. After throwing around several ideas and 4 or 5 different guest lists, we finally settled on a party at the Sports Connection. She chose to do miniature bowling and the bouncy houses, which were both great choices for her age. It was interesting to see her interactions with her school friends vs. her preschool friends. I had to keep reminding her to play with everyone because she is so wrapped up in school drama, but was insistent on inviting preschool friends. Everyone seemed to have a good time, though, which is all I needed to be happy.
In other non-birthday related events, Aubrey got her 2nd report card and made us so proud. She received achieving or above grade level marks for all of her work. It is amazing to hear her reading and doing math problems in her head. She hates reading, but mostly because she really has to work at it, but she is getting good at sounding things out. And she made improvements in listening and following directions. It is amazing how much she has grown academically in the first part of the school year and I can't wait to see how the 2nd half goes.
We also added a new member to our family this month. After months of looking and interviewing, we finally hired a nanny for the kids. There have been so many ups and downs through the whole process and we were glad to finally have a candidate that we liked accept the job. I did have to increase the number of hours we were willing to pay to get someone to take the job. But, the whole process led us to hiring a great young girl and so far we are pretty happy with her. She's only been working with us for a few weeks, but Mason loves her and is sad on the days she is not here at home with him. She has been so good with him and it makes me happy. I won't lie, though. Leaving her alone with him that first day was so nerve wracking, but I knew I had to do it so I could keep my job, so I pushed the worries to the back of my mind and told myself it would be ok. And it was. I can only hope things continue to work out with her because I honestly never want to go through this whole stressful process again.
So now that January is finally over, we feel like we can take a breath. I dread the exhaustion that comes with the months of December and January and am glad we have a little less excitement coming in February.