My baby boy turned two on March 17th. I can’t believe it! It’s been such a joy to watch him grow into a little man. He’s communicating so well now, and it sure is interesting to hear what he’s thinking about. Austin has also learned how to do little tasks like throwing away trash, putting laundry in the hamper, getting his shoes, and taking off his shorts. It might not seem like much, but these little steps toward independence are exciting to me. Austin has an infectious laugh that we have the joy of sharing in on a regular basis. He loves his mommy, can’t get enough of his daddy, thinks his dog is the coolest toy ever, but most of all he adores his big brother and wants to/ thinks he can do everything he can do.
As the time came to celebrate his birthday, we thought about what our little Gooby Spirit might want. His birthday fell on a weekday. I like celebrating on actual birthdays, but we knew that our family would not be able to celebrate until the weekend. So we decided that we would do our own small celebration on his actual birthday, and then celebrate him again over the weekend with the rest of the gang. Since Austin loves animals it seemed like the zoo would be a good place to go. At the regional park by our old house (where we held his birthday party last year) they have a small zoo that we thought would work well, and since my best friend Lisa lives around the corner, we invited her and her kiddos to join us.
We started Austin’s birthday morning with a special treat of powdered sugar donuts, which he thoroughly enjoyed (Mommy and Parker might have thought they were pretty yummy too and may have generously helped him polish off the bag). After our healthy breakfast, we got dressed and headed over to Lisa’s. Lisa and her mom were sweet enough to get Austin some birthday presents, and Austin and Parker were excited to have new toys to play with on the stroller ride to the park. We must have looked quite interesting as we walked along: me with two boys in the stroller and a baby in the belly, and Lisa with two kids in the stroller and a baby strapped to her back.
Shortly after we arrived at the park we were greeted by peacocks. The kids were fascinated and wanted to check them out (I suppose since their home is a park they are not particularly frightened of people). Once we got into the zoo, we decided to start by feeding the farm animals. Austin wasn’t sure he wanted to feed the animals, but he enjoyed interacting with them. Next we were lucky enough to get to see the trainers feeding and playing with the mountain lions. There were so many animals for the kids to see: a bear, a beaver, an ocelot, and more. After we had seen the majority of the animals, we found some benches and did our best to get everyone fed while preventing anyone from wandering off too far. Time had flown by, and we decided we needed to start making our way back to Lisa’s house.
It was a fun morning for all, but we had to say goodbye to Lisa and her family and head back home for naps. Once everyone was rested up, we headed out to the backyard to play for a little while. When Clint arrived home the celebration continued, and we let Austin open one present from us and his present from Parker. Then we all sat down for our traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal of corned beef and cabbage. The best part though was the cake. I let Austin pick out a small cake for his birthday, and he was dying to eat it until we put a candle in it and lit it on fire. He looked at the cake with disgust as though he was thinking, “What have you done?” It was quite amusing. Unfortunately Austin was never able to recover from the cake being on fire enough to eat it, but the rest of us thought it was delicious.
The Sunday after Austin’s birthday, we had a small family gathering to celebrate him some more. The day started off with church followed by brunch, which included my famous hash browns (note: Clint loves hash browns, so I searched for how to make the ultimate hash browns and found this recipe, which is now a family favorite). Shortly thereafter it was time for nap, and when he woke up, Austin got to open his presents from Grandma and Grandpa, Uncle Justin, his cousins, and one more surprise present from us. We enjoyed playing outside with the new toys for a while, and then we headed in for dinner. Clint made us delicious tri-tip sandwiches. For dessert the birthday boy was given the traditional homemade carrot cake cupcake. Austin absolutely loved it, so he asked for seconds and then thirds (we were smart enough this time to not put a candle in it). He also spent the week after eating as many cupcakes as we would let him have.
I think Austin enjoyed all of the celebrations, and we have certainly enjoyed having this sweet little boy in our life for the past two years. Happy 2nd Birthday Austin!