The Week My Son Turned 3

March 14th, 2014, I was blessed with a 8 lbs 8 oz bundle of joy. This past Tuesday we celebrated the 3rd anniversary of his birth. We were originally supposed to have a big birthday party with about 20 family and friends in our hometown. Recently, we have been experiencing some car trouble and were unsure if they’d get fixed within the week to host said party, so we cancelled the bash. This week ended up being filled with celebration, exhaustion, and accomplishments. Here are the details.

car's 3rd birthday cake

Monday was regular enough except for the planning and preparation for the little get together we had in lue of the big birthday bash. I bought some juice, muffins, and made goody bags to leave at his daycare. I think its really sweet that his daycare teacher plans things for their birthday. When I told her the previous day that his birthday was tomorrow, she calmly replied “I know”. I’m not sure how typical it is for daycare providers to know and make plans for each child’s birthday, but I think that’s really special. Even if I had got too busy or something, Ana had it covered. Whenever I asked him what he wanted for his birthday, for the past month, his respond had been “strawberries”.  I made a cake that was strawberry with confetti icing, and bought 2 pounds of frozen strawberries for his party that evening. Since its not strawberry season yet, I didn’t want to risk getting fresh ones. His party was supposed to be Disney’s “Cars” Themed. That week he started asking for a “Mator” and “Lightening McQueen”, so that night a Walmart, I found a Lightening McQueen T-shirt, wear that day, a Mator toy with a suction cup that allows him to actually tow (it doesn’t work that well), and a small Lightening McQueen toy that came with a set of race tracks. I was trying to decide whether or not I wanted to make the cake that night, but I decided to wait until I got out of school so it would be fresh.

 

Tuesday was his big day, and while it is usually a struggle getting him out of the bed today he woke up excited for his “cupcakes” (muffins) at daycare and his McDonald’s party with Mator and Lightening McQueen. I invited my sister and his two cousins, and a friend of mine at work with her family, she has two kids as well. I baked the cake, but didn’t have a lot of time to let it cool, so it was covered with a glaze. It was still tasty. I called in to McDonald’s and ordered sweet tea, mcnuggets, fries, and mcdoubles for the group. I would sneak next door to get a burrito bowl from Chipotle, since there aren’t any viable vegan options at McDonald’s. We sang the Stevie Wonder version of “Happy Birthday”, because for the past 2 years he cried when we sang the original. I discovered slow songs make him sad. He cries at other parties, as well as when he wear “Silent Night”. He enjoyed the new rendition and asked me to sing again when I was putting him to bed that night. This party was a great success. That was the party I originally planned to have, but as the date got closer I couldn’t resist doing the usually over the top family celebration. I’m not happy to need car repairs, but maybe it was for the best, because Xavier couldn’t have been more ecstatic.

The birthday part was over so I could relax, right…..wrong. I volunteered to be in our school musical, Suessical, as “The Cat and the Hat”. I absolutely enjoyed participating with the kids, but it was just horr

me as "the cat in the hat"
Me as “The Cat in the Hat”

ible timing. So I would have 4 performances in the next 3 days, and I did not know my lines yet. The kids would ask me during class….”Mrs. Marshall, do you know your lines yet?” I’d reply “Don’t worry about my lines, worry about actually singing out.” I did learn them relatively well enough to ad lib and not through everybody off. I was The Cat in the Hat, so it was my job to say off the wall stuff. We had performances after school at 6 pm Wednesday and Thursday, and two on Friday during the day.  There was a morning performance Friday for the neighboring elementary school and that afternoon for our middle school student body. All the kids were most nervous to perform in front of all their peers, and to be honest so was I. Friday I had more than one person say to me “I know you’re glad it over, you look tired”. I would say, “gee, thanks”.

 

The day of Thursday performance I was not at work because my son had his 3 year well visit. At this visit the doctor diagnosed him with……Asthma. It seems his stomach bugs that he’s been getting for the past year are probably reactions to food allergies, and his cough that he’s had for the past couple weeks are asthma. The doctor started putting the pieces together as I was telling her about all the different symptoms, paired with the family history of my allergies, my father’s asthma, and a listen to his chest which reveal wheezing. He has also had eczema since he was a baby. They all pointed to asthma. He has an appointment with an allergist to find possible triggers and a follow up with his pediatrician in two weeks.  So his belated birthday gift from the doctor was an inhaler and spacer. He’s sometimes reluctant to let me use it. So I showed him a few cartoons of Baine using the mask with medicine to give him muscles of powers, and that did the trick.

3 years vs 9 months well visit
3 years vs 9 months-well visit

I was informed by my cousin that my sister and mother were planning a surprise visit since we couldn’t come up there this weekend. I’m glad she let me know, because that kind of surprise was the last thing I needed this week. Once I knew about it, I was happy. I’m always happy to visit or get a visit from my family. But had I not known I would not have been able to clean and make sure my home was presentable; rather than lake a tornado, blizzard, hurricane, all dropped at once. To top it all off, I never did get those car repairs. It just wasn’t the week to have to coordinate dropping off and picking up a car. Along with either renting or borrowing a car while my was getting repairs. I know that shaking, smoking smell, check engine light flashing is really, really bad, but the mechanic said I could drive on it, so I’ll handle it next week when to dust had settled.

So yes, my son turned 3. And I could not be more happy and proud of the young man he is becoming. Being a mother never gets easy, but just like this week we will all get through it, somehow, together.

 

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The Force is with Me

*Spoiler Alert: For anyone who hasn’t seen Star Wars: Rogue One*28661518704_3696355db9

Yesterday, December 27th, 2016 Carrie Fisher, the actress who plays Princess Laia in the Star Wars movies passed. It was also the day that I finally saw Rogue One, although I did not plan it out that way. I am not writing this necessarily as a movie review, although I will be giving my overall opinion of it. This is my telling of how the universe or “The Force” if you will, led me to finally seeing this blockbuster movie.

My birthday was the 17th of this month and our original plan was to see either “Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them” (that’s a long title) or “Star Wars: Rogue One”. My birthday is typically near the release of some awesome Sci-Fi/Fantasy film and it has kind of become a tradition to go to the movies to celebrate. Last year we saw “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and previous years we saw the Hobbit trilogy movies. In the pre-baby days we went night of my birthday, whether I had to work or not. Now we have to schedule it on a weekend and if we can find a baby sitter. This year I had a friend’s party to attend and circumstances did not allow me to go to the movies on my birthday, even though it was actually on a Saturday this year. We just put it on the back burner and decided we would go when the opportunity presented itself again.

Fast forward to December 27th. We planned to meet up with family and go out to eat. Each year my father asks for one thing for Christmas, which is to go out to a restaurant with his daughters and grandchildren. My parents also wanted to keep our son a little longer over the break. So when we parted ways it was just my husband and I.  It seemed that the opportunity to finally go to the movies had presented itself again. We were low a cash post-holidays, but we remembered we had a gift card for Regal Cinemas on stand by. We did not have that theater where we live, but the city we met in for dinner did.

On the way I was still trying to decide which I wanted to see “Fantastic Beast” or “Rogue One”? I had heard equally positive reviews from friends for both. I have equal love for both franchises so this tough for me. I knew “Fantastic Beast” had been out longer and wouldn’t be in theaters for much longer. But I also didn’t know if I’d have another chance to see “Rogue One” before it was removed. I was told both were movie theater worthy, so I decided to just go and decide when I got there. When we got to the box office it was about 4:30 pm. There was only an 11:00 showing of “Fantastic Beast” (not even sure if it was pm or am) and a 5:00 showing of “Rogue One”. The universe had decided for me. It was even matinee so the gift certificate covered the cost of the tickets, with us only having to spend a couple dollars to get popcorn and soda. Although we had just eating, popcorn and a Coca-Cola are a must for us at the movies.  We were ready, just us, to finally enjoy my birthday movie date.

Even though I had been trying to decide which movie I wanted to see, surprisingly, I did not search the internet for reviews. Maybe the business of the holidays kept me from it. But I didn’t know much about the movie going in. Before I talked to others, I wasn’t that excited about it because I thought it was going to be some rinky-dink spin off.  Even in talking to friends they didn’t reveal much about the movie itself. I was wrong, it was not just a rinky-dink spin off. The one thing that caught my eye about the movie when I was trying to make my decision, was the fact that Donnie Yen, was in it. I loved him in the IP Man movies and knew that he would be great in “Star Wars”. There is always a snarky droid in the movies, in this case it was K-2S0. I couldn’t help but envision Sheldon Cooper, from “Big Band Theory” as he spoke. I was also excited to see Forest Whitaker in this movie. When the movie first started I was wondering where in the cinematic timeline did this movie fall. Was it after or before the events of “The Force Awakens”? Or maybe somewhere in between? It became evident as the movie continued that it was set in between the prequel trilogy and the original. When it started to be clear to me a tried asking my husband, but he only trolled me saying it wasn’t as revenge for talking to him during the movie. It was somewhat of a bridge that led directly to the events of “Episode I: A New Hope”. The epic battle scene on the beach seemed like what D-Day on the beach of Normandy might have been like. The most devastating part was to see Chirrut Imwe die. I just new IP Man would survive, at least. The biggest thrill of the movie was the appearance of Darth Vader, voiced by the original James Earl Jones, and to see him welding his lightsaber annihilating everyone in his path to grasp hold of the death star plans.

Hope was a theme that kept coming up in this movie. I believe it was done intentionally to create that connection to Episode I. But everybody gave everything in this movie, for hope. There could be no survivors if the events of the next movie in the timeline were to make any sense. The last scenes showed everyone grasping at straws to try to make the plan work. It was like watching dominoes, each fall giving way to another step. At the very end the plans narrowly escaped Darth Vader and reached Princess Laia, partially digitally portrayed by the ,on this day, deceased Carrie Fisher. It was at that moment that I realized “The Force is with me and I am one with the Force.”