Tuesday, August 7, 2018

John Paul Turns 3! With a Train Birthday!

My big kid turned 3 back in May.

What a gift it is to have a 3-year-old!

John Paul Fulton, watching you grow is such a joy. You have become such a chatter box, telling us stories about any and everything, and talking to anyone who will listen. You're favorite story to tell these days is, "When I was a baby, I used to call 'chocolate' 'lala'!" . . . which is entirely untrue, but I love how much you love making up stories about when you were a baby.

You love to explore the world around you, taking in every detail possible. You'll be telling us about something you saw weeks ago, and you'll recall the most random detail about it. It always shocks us and makes us chuckle. 

You still love books, and would curl up on the couch to read with us all day if we had the time. Your favorite books are the ones with vehicles, but you'll even give non-vehicle books a go from time to time.

Your eating habits have remained pretty much the same over the past year. If it were up to you, you'd only eat pasta, grilled cheese, or pizza every meal. We've gotten you to try a handful of less toddler-friendly foods, like tofu and kale and carrots, but you'll only eat them if there's nothing else around. You have quite the sweet tooth, which we don't indulge often, but I do use it to my advantage when I'm trying to get you to cooperate with pictures. (Candy bribery, ftw!) No wonder I have so many great pictures of you!

You have such a big heart and it always warms mine to see your love in action. When Jude gets hurt, you rush to his side to give him a hug and tell him, "It's ok to cry!" When you see a baby, you just want to hang out nearby and talk about how cute and little the baby is. When you wake up in the morning, your favorite thing is to climb into our bed and snuggle for a while. You'll often ask us how our sleep was and tell us that you love us. You're such a snuggly, sweet boy.

You love water! Whether in the bath, or the water table, or just playing in the sink, you gravitate toward anything involving H2O. And so long as we're not actually trying to clean you with it, you are giddy whenever water is around. You especially love cups in water because you get to practice pouring, over and over and over.

You also love to ride your bike. You mastered your tricycle as a 2-year-old and moved onto your balance bike pretty quickly from there. Now you zip around on your green balance bike with the greatest of ease. It always shocks me to see how quickly you can ride, and how much control you maintain. I wonder if it's time for an upgrade to a petal bike? For now, you're having fun also learning how to maneuver a scooter. And man, can you motor on that too!

You LOVE family. When we're not around your grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, you're constantly talking about them. My favorite is when you're enjoying something like a toy or a meal and you stop to say, "Nana would love this!" It's such a blessing to have John's family nearby. And even though my family is far, we FaceTime often and they visit when they can. And it's a good thing, because this boy sure loves his Rhode Island family too!

You are still a pro-sleeper, and we sure do appreciate that. You take one nap, from around 1pm to 3pm, and you sleep through the night from 9pm to 7:30am. You still sleep in your pack n play (lol), but you love it and we're not going to rock that boat if we don't have to. You are, however, welcome to sleep in that big boy bed we bought you (over a year ago!) whenever you're ready. :P We started using the OK to Wake clock a few months ago and it's helped you stay in bed in the mornings until a reasonable time. The clock turns green (at a time we preset) when it's ok to be up, and you have adjusted to it really nicely! Thanks for letting us "sleep in" 'til 7:30am every morning, kiddo.

One huge accomplishment in the past few months has been POTTY TRAINING! We officially have you out of diapers during waking time, and it's so nice! You still haven't learned how to hold while you're napping or overnight sleeping, so we put you in diapers for sleep, and you've managed to hold your poops until you're in that sleep-time diaper. But you pee on the potty like a boss and we love it!

You know, being 3 has its difficulties too. You really don't like it when things don't go your way, or when we have to tell you no. And if your brother tries to get involved when you're concentrating on a toy or task, emotions fly high. But overall, you do make this life pretty easy on us.

Bud, it's a pleasure to be your mom. Thanks for filling our days with love, laughter, and wonder. We couldn't imagine our family without you. Thanks for being you, kiddo!

For John Paul's 3rd birthday, we decided to skip the party and plan a trip instead! We knew he'd LOVE to ride on a Thomas the Train, so I did some internetting and found Thomas was going to be just a few hours away in Chattanooga the day after John Paul's birthday! It was fate! So we planned a long weekend out of it, booking a nice Airbnb apartment just outside of downtown, and filling time with fun activities and yummy restaurant adventures. John Paul's aunt, uncle, and 1-year-old cousin joined in on the fun too!

On our first full day (John Paul's actual birthday) was spent at the Chattanooga Aquarium. And it really was a full day! We started there right after they opened, took an afternoon break for lunch and naps, and then went back to finish exploring. Lots of great pictures to be taken . . .

For dinner, we found a pub near the old Chattanooga choo-choo, so before dinner, we explored the old train and several old train cars. They're not in operation anymore, just on display for tourists and train enthusiasts to enjoy. Some of the old train cars have been converted into shops, and one was even a bar! We didn't stick around for long, but John Paul LOVED this short train adventure.

After dinner, we had cake back at our rental apartment. We just picked it up at Whole Foods when we arrived in town. Birthday boy was thrilled to pick the flavor: strawberry. Easy peasy.

The next day, there were many more train adventures to be had. In the morning, John and the boys got to ride a funicular train 1 mile up the side of a mountain! John Paul loved it so much, he's still talking about it months later. And then in the early evening, we finally got to meet and ride Thomas! John Paul was totally in train heaven. I have this sweet video of him saying (totally unprompted), "Eeeeeee! I'm so happy!" while we road Thomas. It was precious. Oh, and he got his first slush puppie, so he was basically on cloud 9.

^^sporting his Thomas tattoo

Happy 3rd birthday, John Paul! We love you! Can't wait to see where year 4 takes you!


  1. Happy birthday John Paul! Wow, can't believe he's 3. Parenting is such a joy. <3

    1. Thank you! I can't believe he's 3 either. It all goes so fast!!

  2. Wow, another year old already. Happy Birthday! We love taking our boys to Chattanooga to see the trains. Great gift idea!

    1. Thank you! Chattanooga really is the place to go if you love trains! Do you live close?

    2. Not really, 3 hours away in KY. But we love Chattanooga for a short vacation.

    3. That's about how far it is from us too! Definitely the perfect short vacation destination.

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