Happy 4th Birthday, Charlie!

Mr. Charlie turned 4 on September 9!  We had a lot of fun celebrating our little man.
We did the annual birthday countdown like we did for Jack.
Here's what the notes in his balloons said:
10. Find a surprise under a bed (arrows for his suction cup bow & arrow set)
9. Look in the laundry room for a surprise (a money clip!)
8. Ice cream or sno cones - your choice
7. Ask for a clue for tonight's surprise (butterfly garden)
6. Find a surprise where you sleep (a new puzzle)
5. Follow the scavenger hunt to find your surprise (a few new Mr. Men books)
4. Sleep in Mommy & Daddy's bed tonight
3. $10 for the toy store
2. Surprise in Mommy's car (new booster seat)
1. Surprise in the living room (new Star Wars Lego set)

I have to say the booster seat was probably the highlight of Charlie's birthday gifts.  He had been asking daily when he could move to a big boy car seat and we had been telling him when he turns 4 and weighs 40 pounds (the law).  Leading up to his birthday he even went so far as to get on the scale a few times - haha!!  He weighed about 38.5 pounds a week before his birthday, so we pulled the trigger and got him the new seat.  He was elated!

Charlie's birthday was a school day, so Jason and I took him to lunch.

  That night we had Grandma and Grandpa Clayton over for dinner and cake.

So, a little about our big four year old:
This guy is super lovey.  He is always snuggling us, hugging us and telling us he loves us.  He is all about issuing compliments too: constantly telling me he likes my outfit or telling Grandma her hair looks nice, for example.  The one exception: if my hair is in a ponytail.  For some reason he has something against me wearing my hair up.  As soon as I pull it up, he's asking me to put it back down.  It's the funniest thing.

He officially moved to a Kindergarten Prep classroom at school.  Since he doesn't start kindergarten until 2017, he will likely do a one-year stint in each of the two K Prep classrooms there.  He's doing great, and learning a lot.  My favorite is when they talk about "kindergarten behaviors" (i.e. remembering to tuck your chair away) or "kindergarten words."

Charlie is doing great at school - he writes his name really well, can identify all of the capital and lowercase letters, numbers and shapes.  He has recently gotten really into drawing and coloring, and stays very well in the lines.  He is very curious about how words are spelled and what letter words start with.  He's recently started writing his name with a capital C and the rest lowercase.  Here are a couple recent works of art by Charlie:What are you thankful for? (Usually his people have arms and fingers, but still no bodies - love it!)
Batman symbol for Daddy
 Charlie speaks very clearly and has a pretty decent vocabulary for a four year old.  There are a few words that he doesn't pronounce correctly: fefore instead of before (Jack actually told Charlie the correct pronunciation this one in July, and we were sad about it), thingers instead of fingers, bifferent instead of different.  The big thing with his speech though is that he doesn't yet pronounce the 'k' sound (pronounces as 't' instead) nor does he pronounce the 'g' sound (pronounces 'd' instead).  Last year at a Parents as Teachers screening they flagged Charlie for a follow-up visit with a speech therapist, but we declined because those sounds are supposed to be mastered at 3 1/2 and 4 years old, respectively.  But here we are a year later and he still hasn't mastered them.  This time we took Parents as Teachers up on their offer for a follow up screening with a speech therapist.  We learned today that he will start therapy next week (once a week for 30 minutes) to work on those two sounds.  He is doing great with ALL other aspects of his speech, including some sounds that aren't expected yet at his age, so we're hopeful we can knock out the therapy quickly.

Like his brother, Charlie loves all things sports.  This summer he became a huge Cardinals fan, always cheering for the players by name, asking who was pitching, etc.  When the boys would play baseball in our backyard, they'd always pretend to be different Cardinals players (Molina, Carpenter and Heyward were favorites).  He also always asked for updates on the injured players: "Is Matt Adams still hurt?"  We think Charlie's going to be a good little athlete too.
At his 4 year check-up, Charlie was 41 1/2" tall (74th percentile) and weighed 38.5 pounds (70th percentile).  He knew the answers to all of the questions the doctor asked him, and even surprised the doctor by spelling his last name for him (after he was asked for a word that started with 'C').

Charlie is a good eater and will try (and like) most things that we offer him, BUT he might be the slowest eater on the planet.  Grandma Clayton jokes that this guy will never have indigestion issues.  Ha!  He requires a lot of reminders and some nights he's still sitting at the table well after the rest of us have finished our meals.
We have so much fun our Charlie man.  He's always being silly and making us laugh.  I can't wait to see him as a big brother!!  Happy birthday to our soon-to-be middle child!!

Labor Day at the Farm

We spent Labor Day weekend at Grandma and Grandpa Clayton's farm, and we had a great time.  The boys basically wanted to fish, fish, fish the whole time.

 The other highlight for the boys was getting to shoot a gun for the first time.  They thought that was super cool, even though it made Mommy a little nervous...

We had a low-key, but very nice weekend, and we can't wait to go back again!


Lego Birthday Party

This year we decided to have a joint birthday party for the boys.  We went with a Lego theme because we have quite a Lego obsession at our house.  We invited the usual crew: grandparents, Jason's sister's family and the neighbor friends.  We had a full house!

I was proud of the invitation, which I made myself.  The boys were really excited to make their age out of Legos - they turned out great with almost no assistance!
I didn't want to go too crazy, but did find a few decorating ideas on Pinterest.

We only really had one activity at the party, but it ended up being a huge hit.  I bought a set of wheels and a steering wheel for each kid, and then had a few bowls of extra Lego pieces (and Duplos for the littlest guys).  We made a race track out of some scrap plywood so they could have races.  Quite a few of the kids spent at least an hour at the table building and rebuilding their race cars.  I was impressed how long it kept their attention!

 Their Lego race cars were also their party favors - two birds with one stone!!

Dinner time!

Lego Cakes!

The only video from the party: singing Happy Birthday

Here's our toy room during the party.  I think you could say the kids had fun down here...

And surveying their loot the next morning...
And here are the thank you notes we sent out after the party.  I decided not to have the boys write the notes on the back (I did it this year; probably Jack's last year of being off the hook for that task!!); they just signed their names (which took long enough, if you ask me!!).
Another great birthday party in the books!!