Twenty for TWO

I'm not sure if it's because we are less than a week away from our little boy's birthday bash, or if I'm just feeling sentimental thinking back to the days leading up to Cruz's actual birth-day, but it seems that lately, our Cruz Man is growing from baby to little boy before our very eyes.  We were sitting at the dinner table the other night, and Beau and I both agreed that in a matter of a week, Cruz had changed and 'grown up.'  And while a part of him will always be my baby, it's exciting to see him discover new things and grow more and more independent and capable all the time. 

Highlights to remember @ 'almost' two...

1. Cruz LOVES to read.  It's by far his favorite activity at home.  His consistent favorites continue to be his books about trucks, but we are also enjoying his many fall classics, especially Duck and Goose Find a Pumpkin.

2.  He continues to amaze us with the small things he seems to pick up on and remember.  Just this afternoon, Cruz and I were crossing the street to get the mail when our neighbor, Jim, pulled into his driveway.  As he climbed out of the car, Cruz waved and greeted him with a very clear and friendly, 'Hi Jim!'  Both Jim and I were completely surprised, as we don't even see Jim all that often, but I'm pretty sure he was glowing all the way to his doorstep!

3.  In addition to Jim, Cruz is also a big fan of Mike, the maintenance man at daycare.  Every day when we walk into daycare, Cruz says 'Hi Mike,' and he was in complete awe the other day when we walked in to find Mike fixing the drinking fountain.  Cruz was mesmerized, and repeated 'Mike fix broken,' all the way down the hall.

4.  Cruz LOVES babies, and turns into a little sap if he has the opportunity to be near one.  He could be throwing a complete fit one moment, and turn into the sweetest angel within a second if there's a baby in the picture.

5.  Cruz is a toughie, something we owe to his daddy for teaching him to 'brush it off' whenever he falls down.  From the time he was six months old, he falls and immediately stands up, brushes his hands together (and sometimes on the grass if he's dirty), and goes on with his play.  Lately, however, I've been playing this little game with him, making a fuss over the slightest 'owie.'  We kiss it, we rush to get the boo-boo bunny from the freezer, and we fake cry a little, comforting each other with big hugs and lots of 'all betters.'  I know it makes Beau cringe, but it's turned into this fun little game we play and I swear Cruz understands the sarcastic undertones hidden in my response.

6.  Cruz is a big fan of Papa Curt.  I think it has something to do with my dad's 'big kid' appeal.

7.  Cruz has lately found a liking to his puzzles, and has independently mastered the only three we have.

8.  Everything is 'my.'  "My dog," "My i-Pad," "My juice," "My Elmo," "My book."  I've decided I should start instructing Cruz on proper use of articles in the future.

9.  Cruz talks, a lot.  He's just recently been incorporating lots of small phrases, and continues to surprise me with what he knows.  

10.  Abby from Sesame Street is officially giving Elmo a run for his money.  

11.  Cruz thinks everything is a hat.  From a leaf outside, to his sippy cup at dinnertime, to his potty chair before bath time, Cruz will try anything on and exclaim, "Haaat?" in a high-pitched question form.  The worst part is that his potty chair has an uncanny resemblance to a cowboy hat, and Cruz is fully aware that when we scold him and say 'yucky,' we are holding back tears of laughter.

12.  Cruz has quite possibly the best animal sounds I've ever heard.  His newest sound is the owl, and it's about as good as his chicken.  

13.  Cruz does this thing that I like to call the 'grandma gail.'  A little hard of hearing, Grandma often responds to a question with a high-pitched, puzzled 'huhhhh???' Cruz does this too, and the only thing that would make this better would be a pair of dark rimmed spectacles sitting on the tip of his nose.

14.  I made the mistake of putting a box of scratch cupcakes in the back seat of my car on the way home from work the other day (you know, the brown cardboard with hot pink oval sticker adhered to the front).  Cruz whined and impatiently requested 'puffcake' the entire way home.  Can you say, photographic memory?

15.  Favorite song: The ABC Song or anything with drums or guitar.

16.  Favorite food: hot dogs, apples, yogurt, pizza, and berries (to which Cruz calls 'babies.'  

17.  Cruz will eat an apple (skin and all) down to the very core if I'd let him.  It's the only food he'll actually take his time to eat.  Beau always laughs and says he eats as if he has ten older siblings!

18.  My favorite word Cruz says?  Bus.  I have to get this on tape, as it makes me smile every time he spots one and gets so excited.

19.  Cruz loves to pretend.  His recent favorite is playing store, where we order some kind of food, Cruz takes our money, prepares our plate, and brings us the imaginary dish.  He'll make just about anything, and everything is conveniently priced at 'eight.'  

20.  He's a pistol, and likes to push our buttons and completely defy our requests sometimes (you know the just-keep-walking-and-they'll-follow-for-fear-we're-leaving trick?  Yeah, doesn't work for this one), he can turn on the charm in an instant, and is usually happy, content, and sweet.  I think he got the best of us all --- easy-going and lighthearted like his daddy, creative and independent like his mom, playful like his Papa Curt, and sweet and kind-hearted like his Grandma Kelly.  He likes his routine like his Grandpa Ray, lights up a room of full of people like his Grandma Mary.  We're so proud of the little person he's becoming, and he lights up our world and gives us so many reasons to smile.

It's hard to imagine our family without this little sprite.