Sunday, November 23, 2008

Kira celebrates her 3rd birthday

With all of the festivities for Calvin's 1st birthday, I didn't want Kira to not have a special celebration of her own. After all, she turned THREE this year (she likes showing people THREE with her fingers) the day after Calvin's birthday. In future years I can see the birthday weekend being a crazy one for the kids since they have them back-to-back. I'll try to make sure Kira makes friends ONLY with other children who have a sibling 2 years younger, haha! :)

Since the weekend was going to be crazy-busy with Calvin's festivities (see my previous post), I decided to host a party during the daytime for Kira's friends who are also children of stay-at-home moms. 7 moms came with their little ones (some with 2 children), so we had a full house! I served up simple fare for lunch (toddler finger-friendly), and the kids had fun playing in the basement playroom, eating lunch (and CAKE!) and finally, a bit of time in our backyard to burn the last bit of energy before passing out in their cars on the way home ("YAY!" say all the mommies). Kira had so much fun, and I was happy that we could spend that special time focused just on her.

Although I didn't serve it until the weekend, I prepared a birthday cake for Kira with her favourite Dora the Explorer. It was my first ever decorated cake, so I'm quite proud of it:

Here are some of the hit toys that Kira received, in case you have a toddler turning 3 and want some good ideas:
  • Aquadoodle (a lot of kids get this even from 2, but now that she's really "drawing", she has a greater attention span for this activity).
  • play food and a shopping cart (to go with her play kitchen). Pretend-play is starting with a vengeance!
  • board games. She now has a bingo game, a Chutes & Ladders, and Candyland.
  • a "laptop" computer. V-Tech makes a really great laptop that comes complete with mouse that you can control, and 30 learning activities / games. She isn't quite into that yet, but she loves to pretend to "work" when mommy and daddy are on their laptops.
  • dolls. Lots of role-playing and pretend play going on. Love it!
  • books. Kira has always been a book-lover so we can never go wrong by getting her books. She likes to "read" them to us these days, in "French"! I'll post of video of her "French" one day soon. ;)
Now that the birthdays are over, time to start preparing for Christmas (yikes, did I really just say that?!)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Calvin turns ONE!

Wow, did the year ever fly by. How and when did my newborn suddenly turn 1? I can't believe how quickly the year shot by, and to imagine at the same time that Kira is now 3... but more on her later.

Here's my wrinkly newborn Calvin. This photo was taken 10 days after birth, by photographer extraordinaire, Tanya Zaleski (yes, please ask me about her, because I will totally recommend her to you for preggie, baby, and family photos!).

Celebrations officially began on the Friday, when we took a little cake to Mums & Tots of Brossard (the playgroup that my kids belong to) to celebrate with the kids there. Unfortunately, there was BARELY enough cake to fill the many, many kids who were there on Friday! Here's a photo of the gang. Oops! Should have taken a much bigger cake, huh?

We hosted over 50 people over the weekend to celebrate Calvin's 1st birthday. Well, keeping with tradition we had to have a family bash, and if you haven't followed up on my past posts, this is an ever-growing family! All attending Takedas counted, there were just over 30 family including several babies and kids. With tremendous help from my sister in-laws Val & Gayle, there was a fantastic cake (see top photo - this cake was made by Val and decorated by her and her dad) and cupcakes (they're the colourful ones to the above right). I had ordered cupcakes as well, before I knew that Val had prepared her own - oops! Here's a photo of the cupcakes made by my Antonietta, who is a mom at Kira's preschool. She recently started her own pastry business - check out Les Sucreries Antonietta. Desserts galore! I didn't manage to snag a photo of all the hors d'oeuvres, mostly because as soon as they came out of the oven they disappeared. Val & Gayle had prepared spanakopita, meat pies, egg rolls, veggie rolls, and sausage rolls. In addition to that, we served salmon and chicken teriyaki, crabmeat tortilla rolls, munchies, gosh, I can't remember what else!

We were quite exhausted after this party, but there was one more to follow on Sunday. We invited some friends (mostly with kids of their own), and once again it was a full house. It was nice to be able to meet with friends who we seem to have so little time to see these days! Unfortunately, Calvin was quite tired and so he napped away half of th party, but it was great having so many people celebrating with us. We changed around the menu a bit and had make-your-own temaki sushi. It was a hit, needless to say.

For both of Calvin's parties, we had asked our guests not to bring gifts or if they did, to bring second-hand or creative gifts. We were pleased to have received some very thoughtful gifts for Calvin, including:
  • drawings and cards that were hand-made by children
  • a second-hand Brio train set
  • a craft book (crafts to do with your kids) that was never used because my cousin has a house with 3 "non-crafty" boys
  • a Little People set that my cousins had wrapped up for their own boy, but he got the same thing from someone else, so they kept and passed it forward to us!
  • second-hand clothes
We love that Calvin received such creative and thoughtful gifts because he has everything he needs already. Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Halloween '09

The above pumpkins were carved by Mark. The one on the right was actually taken from a drawing that Kira made. Mark transferred it to a pumpkin and carved it out. :) Here's a better look at the pumpkin art by combined daughter / daddy combo. Makes me giggle every time I look at it:

This was Kira's first year trick-or-treating. Mark took her out while I stayed home with Calvin, handing out treats. Here is Kira in her ladybug costume. Getting that costume was an ordeal in itself, since I found it online and had to ask my friend in the US to order and pay for it for me, send it to me by post, and then I forwarded the funds to him (the company didn't accept orders from out of the US, or payment either!). Thanks for the favour, Cliffy! You contributed greatly to making my daughter the cutest little bug out there! :)

Meanwhile, Calvin wore Kira's costume from a couple of years ago. Isn't he an adorable little ducky? Calvin got a lot of attention just from staying home and hangin' around by the front door. Groups of mommies and kids commented on how cute he was, and one mom even took a photo of my little poussin with her cell phone!

We counted just under 200 treats given out at our doorstep. Not a record, but a busy night nonetheless!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A weekend of Wiggles and babies

A belated welcome to the newest baby in the Takeda family! Jacob Takeda was born to parents Bryan and Tara on September 12th. He weighed in at 7 lbs. 6 oz. We paid a little visit to him and his cousin Tyson (who I wrote about here) during our recent trip to Ottawa at the end of October. Jacob and his mommy are above, and to the right is Mark hanging out with Tyson.

The highlight of our trip was Kira's first concert to see her favourite group from her favourite show "in the whole wide world", The Wiggles. Now, for those of you who aren't familiar with the Wiggles, they are 4 men from Australia (the highest paid entertainers in Australia - even higher than Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe!) sporting colourful shirts, who make their living entertaining the preschool crowd. They sing, dance, and generally act silly. And they're a hit with all the 2 to 4 year old kids I know! The show did not disappoint. During the pre-show, Kira kept asking "Where are the Wiggles? Where aaaaare theyyyyy?" until they came onto the stage in their Big Red Car. For 90 minutes, the Wiggles (Sam, Anthony, Jeff, and Murray) delivered a high-energy performance with all of their popular tunes. I must say, mommy had a blast as well. I'm not posting any photos of the Wiggles due to copyright issues, but if you want to check out who they are, here is their official site.

Just before the concert, I had the chance to reconnect with an old high school friend. We hadn't seen each other since we graduated from high school, so this was a reunion after 17 years! My friend Jane gave birth to beautiful twin girls earlier this year. She and Jim have their hands full with Samantha (Sammy) and Jessica (Jessie). Just wait until they start running around! Here's Jane & family:

And, here's Jane and I with our combined kids, 17 years after high school:

What a fun visit! Hopefully we'll do a better job at keeping in touch so the next time we meet won't be when our kids are getting married! :)