charlotte | luca is THREE.



for luca's birthday this year, i went to charlotte for a full week. i knew i wanted to be there for his actual birthday, which was on a tuesday, and my schedule was (at the time) whatever i decided it to be. so why not just stay through the week? thankfully, even when i got hired at my job, i was still able to take the week off––just two weeks after starting. this is why god is so good. he cares about the big details, like needing a job, and also the little details, like one that is flexible with my nephew's mid-week birthday.

(will i ever stop talking about my employment situation and how it taught me things about god? probably no.)

H had arrived on friday morning and i got there on saturday afternoon. this photo is not really flattering and it looks like my head is floating mid-air, but it was a fun time and worth documenting so here we are.

since T and lee had a gap of time between moving out of their townhouse and into their actual house (!!), they were staying at my parents', which put us all under the same roof. it was so nice to be all together, without having to leave at the end of the night or work out who would be at T's to put luca to bed, or down for a nap in the afternoon.

on sunday, we all spent the day together at the lake, because luca is a big fan of the beach and the lake is the best you can do when you live in charlotte. it is very much not the same thing, in my opinion, but when you're three it's still good enough. and that was good enough for me.

a good time was had by all, as you can see here from all of our cheese faces.

on monday, we went shopping at the outlets––me and my sisters and luca, who is (the point of this whole post) three years old. the best well-behaved-while-mommy-and-aunties-shop three year old.

later, after luca went to bed, we went into birthday elf mode.

there were printed coloring pages of his favorite tv characters, birthday "cards" from those same characters hung on the wall, balloons filling the floor of his bedroom for him to wake up to, a happy birthday wall with a giant "3" made out of streamers, and pure excitement filling the air.

and then, it finally arrived. luca's birthday.

we started the day by going to dunkin donuts to get his pink donut. the strawberry frosted (with sprinkles) is his favorite, and the only thing (besides chocolate) he said he wanted for his birthday.

then, we headed to the aquarium, where luca was 70% afraid to stick his head in the little viewing bubbles they have in the tanks, 20% willing to do it as long as you did it also (and first), and 10% asking if we could "go in there"––and, you know, swim with the fish and the sting rays and the sharks (all of which were named "brucey," of course).

he would tell you brucey was his favorite part, but i would say it was the octopus, as he was endlessly fascinated by them––especially the one that kept moving around the tank––and obsessed with wanting to see their eyes.

H left after having cake on tuesday, and the rest of the week was filled with everyday hangs. going to the pool, hanging out with luca while T worked, eating meals together, watching blue bloods (because, my dad is obsessed), playing games, eating leftover cake, shopping, finding out that the dairy queen is out of chocolate ice cream (when soft served ice cream is pretty scarce to begin with). you know, the usual.

getting to spend a whole week with my family, and luca especially, was such a treat. he is so fun and funny and sweet and lovey. so of course i took some notes, to remember what these days with him look like.

this is luca, at exactly three years old:

+ he pronounces "c" sounds as a "t" sound, and "g" sounds as a "d."

+ he says his name like "wuh-cah michael doodin" (and almost always says all three when you ask what his name is).

+ motorcycle (still a favorite thing for him) is pronounced "michael michael."

+ bulldozer (as in, boulder transforms into a bulldozer) is pronounced "buzza buzzo" –– although i've heard that, unfortunately, my dad has since taught him the correct way to pronounce it.

+ he says my and myself as "mine" and "mineself."

+ he got a few toys for his birthday that he just couldn't get over the excitement of and walked around saying "this is so tool. this is so tool, man."

+ he likes watching tv and although the answer is usually no, i love the way it sounds when he asks to "watch suntin."

+ he'll ask what we're talking about or laughing at when he wants to be included in conversations. which, he's been able to talk and speak in full sentences and respond appropriately for a while, but he's now old enough to want to have actual conversations.

+ instead of just no, he (still) says "no way."

+ when he doesn't want to give you a hug or kiss when you ask for one, he'll sometimes say, "no, not today."

+ when you're sitting in a chair in the play room and he's playing on the floor and wants to play with you, he'll say, "can you come down here? i can't reach you up there."

+ he gives big squeezes when he hugs and wraps one leg around you to squeeze even tighter.

+ he plays hide and seek for real now. before, you'd chase him into the room and pretend you suddenly couldn't find him. now, you count to 10 and he hides. or he counts to 10 and you hide (in real spots) and he'll find you.

he is at the age where he thinks this game is SO FUN. and i am at the age where i can't believe i'm the grown up in this situation.