Friday, May 12, 2017

Happy Half, Fletcher William | 3.5

Dear Fletch,
Here we are again, another Happy Half in the books.  
And here's me, once more, grasping at what I can with pictures and words.
My lame attempt to slow the passage of time by documenting it.

We went to "your" spot to celebrate you...Foo's Fabulous Frozen Yogurt.
{the story of how it became your spot is here}
So happy to be "free-nanda-half"! (aka "three and a half") :)

 You were soaking up being the center of attention, my little ham...

Dad chased Milo the whole time...
Dude...more brain freeze!  I couldn't convince you to eat your ice cream slower.
That face cracks me up though :)

Sully was happy to play photographer with Momma's "real" camera...

I will look back on these pictures from today, years from now, and remember:

your wispy hair against my cheek as we snuggled on the sidewalk bench
the way you kept asking me "how old I am this day??"
and after I told you...
the pride in your voice when you announced to everyone that you were "free-nanda-half"
those devilsh dimples that make my heart skip a beat every time I catch them
your sticky hand holding mine on the way back to the car
and the sound of your happy, sugar-induced, giggles on the ride home 

All of these things will stay like glitter in my memory.

Happy half, sweet thing.  You are the most fiery force of nature I've ever had the privilege to know.
And I'm so happy you're all mine.

My whole heart,

Thursday, March 2, 2017

1.5 | Happy Half, Milo "the Moose" Byron

18 months.  
The age of perpetual frustration and constant motion.   
Milo has discovered his independence and will let you know immediately if he feels his freedoms are being infringed upon.  
Protesting includes back-arching with super-human strength, scowling and ear-piercing screeches.  

When he feels free and in control of his destiny he's possibly the happiest human on earth with a smile that couldn't possibly be bigger.

But I had forgotten what a volatile age of self discovery this is.

To celebrate this little one, who we so lovingly call "Moose" due to his 10lb 1oz weigh-in at birth, we had dinner at the Blue Moose.  
And he couldn't have been more irritated with the situation...until we let him loose in the booth.
 Being strapped in a highchair has become the pinnacle of humiliation for Milo.  
Especially when being taunted by his free-roaming brothers.

side story:  after I took this pic I said "you two are the cutest bffs!" and Max said, "No, mom, we're BBf' BROTHERS forever."

Freedom provides a major attitude adjustment.

These two.  Milo thinks Sully was put on earth just for him.  And I think vise versa.

And then there's the ringleader of it all.  So proud to be head of the pack.

so much joy in this pic I could burst.

And you know how I love to do flashbacks...
2016, Milo's 0.5 celebration

Monday, February 13, 2017

Happy #7, Max McAlister!

Dear Max,

I can't believe I've been a momma for 7 years!  I should be an expert at this by now, right?! ;)  
Unfortunately, I never will be, as much as I'd like to think I have all the answers.  

Until fairly recently you believed I truly DID know everything there was to know.  But as you've grown, you've started to realize that I have fears and uncertainties and so much to learn, just like you do.  

Your questions about life have gotten harder.  And to be honest many of your questions are the same ones I have too.  There are so many things that don't make sense, or don't seem fair, or are so overwhelmingly magical that you wonder how it can possibly exist in this world.  The depth of your thoughts actually stops me in my tracks sometimes.

I had always worried about the day when you noticed that I'm not superhuman, however realizing that ALL of us are a constant work in progress has been good for you, my little perfectionist.  You want to be THE BEST at everything, but now that you're slowly seeing that everyone on earth (including your parents) is still learning and growing, you seem to be putting less pressure on yourself to know everything about everything at age 7.
Even though your father and I will never be perfect we will always be purposeful in the way we're raising you. I hope that we're teaching you to listen to your heart and that it will lead you to see the world.  I hope that we're instilling in you the courage to go after experiences which challenge you beyond the limits of comfort, because it's in that place you will stretch and grow and become who you're meant to be. 
Things will only get more complicated and confusing as you navigate your place in the world, but we're here -- both your solid foundation and a soft place for you to land.  Forever and ever.  No matter what.

Happy 7th Birthday, my love.

My whole heart,
Momma (and Dad too :)

And now a few pics of the festivities...

Max requested a Super Mario theme + Italian feast for his family party.
Max's menu include two kinds of lasagna, buttered noodles with "shaky cheese" and bread.
He let me know that the salad was NOT requested :)

feeding his Michael Jordan obsession.
No joke, my child begged for a Dictionary for his birthday.
Lots of Star Wars legos from Lolli!
Attempting to capture these crazy cousins...

 Max also got to celebrate with a few friends at Waldo Pizza and Lego Batman in 3D.

This is the 7th year Max has collected donations for RMHKC in lieu of gifts for his birthday.  This is one of his favorite traditions - can't you just see the pride on his face?
And he obviously (see above) gets PLENTY of presents:)
I remember filling out the donation form with a wiggly one-year-old in my arms that first year.  
Now he can fill it out himself :(

Lastly, treats for his friends at school.  He insisted they say"Maxman" instead of "Batman".  
This kid knows what he wants.
Ok, Maxman, birthday extravaganza is OVER.  Until next year.

Monday, February 6, 2017

5.5 | Happy Half, Sullivan Michael.

Just a few quick pics of Sully's "Happy Half" celebration...our little tradition of gathering at each kiddos "spot" on their half birthday and giving them some extra love.  

Over dinner we say things like, "Can you BELIEVE you're already halfway to your next birthday?!" and "Have we ever told you that we're SO glad you were born?".  The boys' responses are always "yes", "yes" and "Wait, why don't I get presents today??". 
So sentimental they are ;) 

 However, they did agree to continue doing our Happy Half celebrations even when they're grown-ups, so...I win.

Before we go on, can I just do this real quick? #flashback
Growing up so fast!

Everyone particularly loves Sully's half because his place has plenty of games and junk food.  We give each of the boys a stack of quarters to spend on the games/candy machines while we order nachos, warm pretzels and pizza for dinner.  Everyone is fat and happy by the time we leave.
skee ball is always a major hit with the boys.
my Pac-Man partner.
Lolli and GG got to join us since it coincided with our weekly "Monday Night Dinner" this year!

Me and my sweet Sully.  photo cred: Max

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Chaos & Christmastime

As usual, our Christmas season was a good mix of joy and chaos.  I'm still feeling a little dizzy from all the merry madness.

I look forward to the holidays each year, yet it consistently feels like we didn't quite fit everything in.  We're perpetually rushing around to go/do/see.   It's challenging to keep up with all the fun traditions, yet slow down enough to truly enjoy them. I'm not sure we've found the right balance quite yet.  There's no escaping it, December is the busiest and also the most wonderful time of the year.  

Regardless of the general holiday hustle/bustle we found happiness in the little, big, magical (and even the imperfect) things this season always brings.

A few blurry scenes from our Christmastime festivities:

Christmas Eve Jammies
(and Milo's absurd reindeer hat. He's wearing it ironically... ;)

So much brother love I could burst. Even Fletcher is looking lovingly at Milo, ha!

The most decadent Opera Cake, thanks to Aixios! 
Always so good to us, and always so delicious.

I'm pretty sure this blurry iPhone pic is the only one we have of the whole clan (with everyone semi-looking in the direction of the camera).
Christmas Eve at Lolli's.

The boys sprinkling reindeer food in the yard before heading to bed on Christmas Eve.

This is it!  Christmas morning. The moment they've been waiting for.  
Boo again for low-quality pics.  (I've gotta get out my good camera more often!)

They literally couldn't wait another second.

Each kid gets three Santa gifts every year.  
Three Wisemen, three gifts for baby Jesus...this rationale makes sense to the boys and Santa's bank account ;)
Max: telescope, lava lamp and rock'em sock'em robots.
Sullivan: air hockey, the game of perfection, magic penny
Fletcher: marble tree, AlphaBuild magnets, guess who
Milo: bilibo, counting hedgehog, bag of balls (his fave)

Deep into the Christmas morning wonder...  

This guy just wanted Santa's leftover cookies.

They get one "group gift" from Santa too.  This year it was a VW tent.  
All four of them love to hoard all of their toys inside and pile in together.
Sully shoving Milo in :)

my four little ducklings, all in a row.

Last but not least, OUR gift to the boys.  A full band set up on stage.  
Lots of joyful noise coming from the basement these days!!!

Max has been taking piano lessons for almost a year now.  
It was sweet to listen to him play music from my old Christmas recital primer circa 1989.

Sully on drums!  
Plus, bonus gift from Billy to all of us.  
A hand-painted flag of the Murray family crest custom made by COMMONWILD Flag Co

So much destruction.  So much fun.
Air hockey has been a major hit.

I used to think there was nothing better than being a kid on Christmas...until I had kids of my own. I never get tired of re-living moments of my own childhood through them. The infinite loop of past and present, I think it surely must top the list of "things that are pretty cool about being a parent". 

We hope you and yours had the merriest holiday season!

A few memories of Christmas' past, just because: