Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Sullivan's 6th in Pics {a Penguin Popsicle Party}

Dear Sullivan,

You are straight out of my dreams.  You're the image I conjured up when I thought about the son I might have one day.  Dark hair, blue eyes, tender-hearted and creative.  You are him.  And even though we didn't expect your arrival, you were exactly the person we needed in our lives.

You're a pretty amazing 6-year-old, Sully.  Your selflessness startles me, because it's a trait that honestly doesn't come easily to me (and most humans).  But you were born with it in your bones and embody it fully.  You'll effortlessly give up your favorite toy to Milo, give Max the last cookie without a fight and pass along every "parachute guy" you catch on the Fourth of July to one of the other kids in attendance...even if that means you don't get to take one home for yourself.  I am awestruck by this very rare quality you possess. It's not always easy to put others first and yet it is part of the fabric of who you are.

The morning of your birthday you came downstairs as I was hanging up your birthday banner and said "thanks mom".  I thought you meant for the banner so I said "oh, honey, it's just the same one I hang up every year! But you're very welcome." Then you said, "no...thank you for bringing me into the world on this day."

Every momma in on earth would love to hear those words from their child.  And the ones who do...I doubt it was from their 6-year-old!  My sweet old soul.  You immediately regretted it because I hugged you and kissed you and got all teary-eyed...things that make a 6-year-old boy squirm :)  But I could tell you genuinely meant your words.  
And I want you to know that they'll ring in my ears forever.

My whole heart,

And now for the party!  Every.Single.Year. it RAINS on Sullivan's special day (See Sully's Soggy 3rd Bday and Celebrating Sully:the rain curse continues for proof).  I always worry about oppressive heat and each year it's cool and rainy.  It never gets him down though.  And he continues to insist on outdoor parties.

I threw together this invitation to print, but ended up sending an evite instead just to keep things simple.  You get the idea...

Sullivan is OBSESSED with penguins...real ones, stuffed ones, plastic ones, books about penguins...I don't know where it came from but they're his favorite thing ever.

Sully wanted Penguin crackers (only sold at ALDI, ha:), popsicles and Jello Jigglers. I love how easy he is!  And my amazingly talented friend, Gina, made the penguin cookies without me even asking...just because she's the absolute best.  Everyone needs a Gina in their lives.
Not only cute, but they were delicious!

The day was cloudy and on the cooler side after crazy torrential rain the night before, but that didn't stop him or any of the kids from enjoying the sprayground.

The boys made this penguin stacking game themselves out of paper cups and white sticky felt:)

All the kids got to take home a penguin beach ball

Penguins in ice!  The most random things keep kids entertained :)

After the park, we had family back to our house for Chicago dogs and more penguin-related fun.  I cut the bottoms out of the cups and cut the tops off some balloons to make "penguin poppers".  They loaded the cups with cotton balls and targeted each other.  Cotton balls everywhere.

They also made igloos out of marshmallows...

One of Sullivan's favorite gifts was from Lolli.  His own camera.  
He wants to be an "arctic photographer" these days.

Max (surprisingly) offering the candle for Sully to lick;)

Sullivan collected a big tub of books to donate to The Family Conservancy thanks to all of our generous guests!

+ a few random ones from my phone...
Opening a gift from Max first thing on his bday...because neither of them could wait another minute!
do you think we have enough, mom?
Sixth birthday success!

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.