Monday, December 12, 2016

It’s been a year.

It's been nearly a year since the rug was pulled out from under our family. 
Normally I love documenting milestones and anniversaries, but this is one I’ve been dreading. 

Life can be so tragically random.   And death, from this side of it, seems so vast and enveloping.  It’s something I hadn’t ever truly faced before.  It’s hard to articulate how it feels to walk around in this new reality…although I know I’m not alone in this club no one wants to be a member of.

I’ve spent so many quiet moments over the last year whispering out loud to the universe…“What is the world going to do without him?”   It just seemed like so much hinged on his being.  His goodness, his opinions, his experiences and wild stories.  I’ve learned that life truly does go on, though.

In some ways he's still very much alive in my mind because my memories of him are so vivid.  His larger-than-life presence hasn't even begun to fade around me.  I'm grateful for that...but I wonder how long it will last as time marches on. 
It seems daunting to face the rest of my life without his physical presence, but in these last 365+/- days I've tried to open my eyes and see all that he has left.  Mostly, that brings into focus the kids - his grandchildren.  Those who will carry on his legacy...
Dear Max, Sullivan, Fletcher, Milo + Annabelle, Sadie and Peter, 
I want you to know…your Boobo couldn’t wait to become a grandfather.  You could almost see his heart glow with pride when he met each and every one of you for the first time.  May you continue to sense his love and warmth throughout your lives.  

I hope you always know him by the gentle nudge you feel to do the right thing, in that instinct you have to give someone a chance, the urge you get to pass along your good fortune or the fortitude that rises up and pushes you to take a giant leap of faith.  That is him beside you.  Those are the things he valued and lived daily.

The greatness of his love is still with you. Multiplied indefinitely among you all.  And whatever reality lies beyond this life, please never ever doubt the deep, steadfast love he has for each of you.

My whole heart,
Momma/Aunt Billy

One of a kind. I miss this face so much.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Fletcher's "Cardboard Box" Birthday

The cardboard box wonderland as requested by Fletch.

Dear Fletcher,
You’re three!  I won’t make the cliché “I can’t believe it!” statement, because with your feisty attitude I’m most definitely aware that “the three’s” are upon us….although, to be honest, you’ve always been a force, my boy.

You’re an adorably terrifying combination of magic and mischief.   
It’s written all over your face…punctuated by those irresistible dimples.  
You are smart and independent and strong-willed.  You have humbled me in many ways as I’ve learned to be more flexible with what I “know” about parenting.  There's a spark of determination inside you.  And if that continues to grow, you’ll be long as we can harness it for good ;)

I read a quote recently that made me smile and think of you:
God makes children so specifically for us, each of them.” 
-Arianna Segerman

I thought back to that quote as I cleaned Sharpie graffiti off the kitchen cabinets, tossed out my lipstick-stained duvet cover and scrubbed blue paint off of my innocent-eyed “batman”.  All of which happened while I left you alone for 2 minutes.  And I’m sure I had hidden all the Sharpies, locked up the paint...and that color of lipstick isn’t one that I recall ever buying.  Like I said, magic and mischief…and LOTS of creativity inside you, Fletcher William.
He said he "wanted to be Batman"
But you are so much more than the sum of your mischievous behavior.  You're also affectionate, kind to others and always happy to be a helper.  You've got it all, my dear.

  In your bones is the best of my strength.  In your heart is my deepest courage.  And in your arms is all the love I've ever known.  You have so much to give and I know you'll move mountains one day.

Happy three, baby boy.

My whole heart,
This is perfectly us.  Oh how I adore you.
// And now......The Party! //

   | invite front & back |
Fletcher's favorite book is "Not a Box by Antoinette Portis" and when I asked him what kind of party he wanted he said,
"A BOX BIRTHDAY!!!" without hesitation.

However, after making those Pacman Halloween costumes a few weeks ago, I was SUPER OVER cardboard box construction. 

But I can't say no to my little Fletch.

So I began collecting boxes again...from my in-laws who moved recently and the people down the street who just got new furniture delivered.  Gotta be resourceful.

And once again, we got busy cutting and taping and shaping the boxes
 into: a rocket ship, a castle with drawbridge, a race car and a dining table.  Fletch was thrilled with his "Not a Box" wonderland.  I put out stickers, markers, stamps and other crafty stuff for the kids to use to decorate the creations.

I served juice boxes, "packing peanuts" aka popcorn, and cupcakes...and called it a party.  Embarrassingly simple.  I used to pride myself on my elaborate parties, now my goal is to see how sweet and simple I can keep it.  Especially since there seems to be no correlation between my kids' happiness level and the price tag on a celebration.

He insisted on being sung to in his castle.

The party favor was "packing tape" aka Fruit by the Foot...because kids love that junk :)

Red-frosting sugar high. And happy with all the items he gets to donate to the Children's Mercy Mitten Drive.

ALSO a few pics from his birthday breakfast and gifts from us.  Phew! Never-ending blog post...

So, this is a sad story:  Both Max and Sully have "1st Year" scrapbooks, but I didn't make one for Fletch because the same info/pics were documented on the blog (which I have printed every year).  It seemed redundant. However, the boys regularly like to flip through their scrapbooks at bedtime and Fletch always asks "Where's mine, momma?" :(  I never thought the boys would be so into them or that Fletch would ever notice.  So I finally made him one.  It might have been his favorite gift!
His very own "1st Year" scrapbook.
The follow up to "Not a Box"..."Not a Stick"!

We had so much fun celebrating you, Fletcher William!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Goodbye, Summer

Our last few weekends have been spent outdoors chasing what's left of the summer sun.  The weather has been beautiful so we decided to soak up all the warm rays we could to last us until next year.  We're definitely ready for a new season around here, but it's always a little sad to say goodbye to summer.  

Each year as fall closes in, I feel like we need to squeeze in one more pool day or run through the sprinklers, take a sweaty walk to get ice cream, eat corn on the cob or spend a whole day barefooted (and if you're my children...shirtless and maybe also pantless ;)).  
And so we did.

 I've pretty much forced the boys outside every free minute of every day recently.  I can't handle them being indoors when the weather is perfection.  They sometimes fight it, but a couple hours later I can barely drag them in for a meal. 

 There's something about the fresh air that makes the boys' imaginations come alive.  With grass stained feet carrying them into the land of make-believe, they become pirates, detectives and super hero's.  These boys are wild and full of endless possibility.  I love how adventurous they are.
  I am grateful for slow, lazy weekends spent outside and my ever-growing appreciation for the best things in life.
Now we're looking forward to the coziness of fall.  I can't wait to have the windows wide open. I want to make soup and wear sweaters.  And I love the smell of the furnace when you turn it on for the first time (is that weird?).  It's the simple things :)

Goodbye, summer.  You were good to us.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Milo's "If You Give a Moose a Muffin" Party

We had beautiful weather for Milo's party this past weekend.  

The theme was "If You Give a Moose a Muffin" because we've called him our little moose since the day he was born, 
weighing in at 10lbs 1oz.   The name stuck and now he answers to it :)

I love, love throwing parties and actually enjoy making the invites/decorations/etc.  His party was pretty short, sweet and simple, but it was perfect for a first birthday.

// invite //
The theme evolved to include all the Laura Numeroff books.

Blueberry, banana and bacon/egg/cheese muffins.

Monthly pics hung from balloons.
My sweet niece, Sadie!
morning essentials:  mimosas and coffee.  And I love the pic of my ladies in the reflection.
Fletch was in heaven.  This child loves breakfast.
I've made all the boys' smash cakes.  I enjoy cooking but loathe baking.  So these little cakes are always a labor of love.
All store-bought cakes from here on out kids...
There's something so satisfying about seeing a smiling baby covered in cake.
Get it, buddy.
Sharing with Lolli.
A kiss from GG.
Love from Mimi and PopPop
Milo collected lots of items for the animals at the Humane Society.  And gave out moose cookies as party favors.
Snuggling with Uncle Sean.  The Moose was not happy to be woken up from his AM nap at first.  He warmed up soon enough.

And a few pics from Milo's actual birthday...opening presents from us.  
He got an activity table and personalized Royals jersey.
loves his new activity table.  brothers in the background reading bday cards.
Brother love!  (and my child who refuses to wear clothing)
First birthday success.

For nostalgia.  The other three on their 1st birthdays: