Celebration…

Zachary’s birthday was last Sunday, December 7th. He has been looking forward to turning 4 for quite some time. For the last year, any time anyone would have a birthday in which they would turn anything over age 3, he would inform us that he was still three with disappointment. So, it was with great anticipation that he starting counting down the days on November 27 — 10 days before his birthday.

I asked him several times what the big deal was about turning 4, and he explained to me that several things would happen when he was 4:
* he would no longer be a baby – though I explained to him that he would always be MY baby, he was pretty insistent on this one. It really threw him when I told him that Scott was still Grandmama’s baby and that Grandmama was still Gran’s baby…

* he would no longer suck his thumb – we have been passively working on getting him to give up this habit. Having been through before with Emily, we knew better than to push too hard until he was ready. He had decided that he would be ready when he was 4. So, on the night of his birthday, we told him to try to only suck his thumb at bedtime. No point in going cold turkey on a 4 year old habit! Well, I have to tell you that he has done so well. He hasn’t sucked his thumb at all since last Monday night. Not even in bed!

* no more dragging his blanket everywhere – he has carried his “blank with fringe” with him everywhere he went for the past 4 years. He still plays with it around the house, but that’s it. No more getting dragged into the car and begging to take it with us wherever we’re going.

* play on the computer – Timo LOVES to play on the computer. Somehow, Zachary has gotten it in his head that he would suddenly know how to play on the computer when he turned 4. I was willing to show him how to play before then, but he really wasn’t interested. Well, this week, he came to me and asked if he could play on the computer. I opened the NOGGIN website for him, showed him which mouse button to click and he was off and running! All our educational games have gotten pretty scratched up through the years. I guess that’s something we should put on his Christmas wish list…

* go to school – I’ve been surprised that he hasn’t asked to go to school this week. Anytime he would tell me that he would be going to school when he was 4, I would remind him that he would after he’d been 4 for a few months. He’ll be going to pre-K in the fall.

There have been other things mentioned, but those are the top 5. Turning 4 was a BIG deal in his mind. So, we started planning the celebration in early November and the celebration really started at Thanksgiving. On the day after Thanksgiving, he had a mini-party at Gran & Ol’ Granddad’s house where he got to open his presents from Grandmama & Granddad and Gran & Ol’ Granddad. He was quite excited to get a Ben 10 Alien Creation Chamber and some “dollars” (that he later used to buy a Dora game for his Leapster). We all spent the rest of the weekend making aliens.

We came home from Amarillo on Saturday. The next few days were rather tame as far as celebrating his birthday were concerned. We put up Christmas decorations and continued the countdown to December 7th. Grandmother & Granddaddy arrived on Friday. Their visit was mainly to see the kids (and, I like to believe, to see us), they were also coming to see the new house since they had not been up since we’d moved back to Plainview. We’re hoping that we’ll be in yet another new before too long, but that’s for another post.

Friday evening was spent enjoying spending time with Grandmother and Granddaddy. We left the house once and drove ALL the way to Wayland to see the living nativity before dinner, but that was our only outting. Before bed, I baked a birthday cake to be iced the next day. As he smelled the baking cake, Zachary knew he would soon FINALLY be 4.

Our plan for Saturday was to go to Chuck E. Cheese in Lubbock. We always let the birthday child choose one special meal for their birthday, and that was Zachary’s choice. We had big plans for the 7th, so we went on Saturday. I decorated the cake to look like an Omnitrix (from Ben 10) so we could take it with us. We decided to let him open his gifts before we went. He likes to dress up like the characters in his shows. We had got him some clothes similar to what Ben wears in the show, and we thought it would be fun for him to dress up like Ben to go to Chuck E. Cheese. He was very excited to get his own Leapster (so he doesn’t have to beg Timothy to let him play his anymore), Diego checkers, cards, and “magic ink” coloring book, and his Ben clothes (a green windsuit). We arrived at Chuck E. Cheese around 2:00 and had a great time.

On Sunday, Zachary decided to wear his “Easter suit” to church. We have a “Birthday Champ” ribbon that he wore proudly. He had a great morning telling every one that it was his birthday. Because he’s 4, he now gets to go to worship with the family. We had a great time worshipping together. After church, we went to lunch and then headed home.

Now, for the evening, we had a decision to make. After getting the tickets for his REAL birthday gift, a ride on the Polar Express, we had found out that the Children’s Choir Christmas musical was that night. All the kids were scheduled to sing. The service started at 6 and we had to be at the Polar Express Train Station in Lubbock by 7:45. We probably could have done both, but our time would have been rushed. So, we explained to a tearful Emily (the boys couldn’t have cared less) that we’d be skipping the musical. We arrived at the train station at 7:45, picked up our tickets at will-call, and found our place in line to get on Train Car 1.

The train ride was wonderful! Zachary enjoyed letting everyone know that it was his birthday. The whole train car sang Happy Birthday to him twice! Everyone enjoyed singing, dancing, listing to the “Polar Express” story, having hot chocolate and cookies, and of course, getting to see Santa and his Elves.

These pictures are from Chuck E. Cheese and the Train Ride.
http://www.flickr.com/slideShow/index.gne?user_id=90334724@N00&tags=zacharys4thbirthday

There has been one interesting development of letting Zachary open his presents before his actual birthday. Any time someone asks him what he got for his birthday, he tells him that he didn’t get anything. He got a Leapster, Ben 10 clothes, Diego checkers, and an Alien Creator when he was 3, but he didn’t get anything when he was 4. Little turkey…

🙂

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Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

We went to the drive-in theater a few days back and saw a couple of flicks. One, I liked, the other, I could have done without. I’ll save the one I liked for another day.

Neither Lori and I have been very big “Pirates of the Caribbean” fans. We have seen all of them but we’ve not been able to get into them. We watched the first one and liked it pretty well. Lori was in her Orlando Bloom phase and I was in my Keira Knightly phase (which is not quite over, yet). We eventually saw the second, quite a while after it came out on DVD. We were pretty lost because we couldn’t remember what happened in the first one. The same thing happened for this last one. We were a little lost for a while. I’m just not that intrigued by the story line, nor do I feel like it makes sense to have such an extensive group of theiving, savage pirates who adhere so closely to some pirate code. Plus, on top of that there are so many rules that they follow that it comes across to me like kids playing on the playground who just keep making up new rules for their games as they go. It’s the reason I preferred to play alone when making believe. Then, I only had to play by my rules.

If you liked the first two movies, you’ll probably like this one. If they were just okay, then this one is way too long to enjoy. For those who say its the best of the three, in my humble opinion, they’re wrong. I’d rank them as

  1. Curse of the Black Pearl
  2. At World’s End
  3. Dead Man’s Chest

I’d give it 2 out of 5 stars. Not one I recommend.

For a much better review of the flick, go watch my favorite video podcaster, the ninja at “Ask A Ninja“:

http://p.castfire.com/1P48R/video/1408/aanq_2007-05-25-153311.flv

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

We went to the drive-in theater a few days back and saw a couple of flicks. One, I liked, the other, I could have done without. I’ll save the one I liked for another day.

Neither Lori and I have been very big “Pirates of the Caribbean” fans. We have seen all of them but we’ve not been able to get into them. We watched the first one and liked it pretty well. Lori was in her Orlando Bloom phase and I was in my Keira Knightly phase (which is not quite over, yet). We eventually saw the second, quite a while after it came out on DVD. We were pretty lost because we couldn’t remember what happened in the first one. The same thing happened for this last one. We were a little lost for a while. I’m just not that intrigued by the story line, nor do I feel like it makes sense to have such an extensive group of theiving, savage pirates who adhere so closely to some pirate code. Plus, on top of that there are so many rules that they follow that it comes across to me like kids playing on the playground who just keep making up new rules for their games as they go. It’s the reason I preferred to play alone when making believe. Then, I only had to play by my rules.

If you liked the first two movies, you’ll probably like this one. If they were just okay, then this one is way too long to enjoy. For those who say its the best of the three, in my humble opinion, they’re wrong. I’d rank them as

  1. Curse of the Black Pearl
  2. At World’s End
  3. Dead Man’s Chest

I’d give it 2 out of 5 stars. Not one I recommend.

For a much better review of the flick, go watch my favorite video podcaster, the ninja at “Ask A Ninja“:

http://p.castfire.com/1P48R/video/1408/aanq_2007-05-25-153311.flv

Casino Royale

We rented (wink wink, for those that know the secret) Casino Royale and watched it last night. I have to say that I really enjoyed it. It is the latest edition of a James Bond flick with the newest James Bond, Daniel Craig. Now, I’ll admit to not being an expert on all the individuals that have played the role in the past but I really felt like the new guy is probably one of the best I seen in the role. How would I rank them you ask? Well, of the ones that I can remember, I would probably go with:

  1. Sean Connery
  2. Daniel Craig
  3. Pierce Brosnan
  4. Roger Moore
  5. Timothy Dalton

I know there are a couple I left out but I’m too lazy (or uninterested) to even Google the rest. I’m tempted to put the newest Bond at the top of the list since I am member of Generation X and am addicted to special effects and computer enhanced movies. That means that if I had to choose between watching movies made in this century as opposed to the last, I tend to choose graphics over plot. (Shame on me)

As for this one, they followed the same plot line of the last Jack Ryan movie (starring Ben Affleck). They go back and treat Bond as just starting out, portraying events early in his career just as he has been promoted to being a double agent. They don’t worry about details like the fact the “M” is still Dame Judi Dench (or Jame Dooty, as I have been known to call her), the first woman to play the role and who entered the role along side Pierce Brosnan in Goldeneye. They also don’t worry about the timeline. It is as though he is just starting out this year, not dating back to before the first Bond movie. Nevertheless, none of this interferes with the fact that it is still a very good story with a window into the more human side of James Bond.

In the end, it is probably a 4 out of 5 stars. I recommend it.