Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Happy 4th Birthday Hayden!!

Happy 4th Birthday to my sweet, funny amazing Hayden.  I had a hard time keeping up with you for your knight party, but I think that is a sign that you had a full, fun time!  So far, as a four-year-old you are doing just awesome.  You are a sweet playmate for James but also for Calvin, you are helping mommy feed Roo almost everyday, and getting the hang of doing other chores by yourself as well.  You have been a great sleeper, were a rock star for staying dry overnight while you were 3, and you are making progress in the right direction on controlling your temper (which is so tough).  We just adore you big guy- I'm so glad you are in our family!

On to Hayden's Castle!

As our tradition, we decorated our dining room to fit our theme, but I didn't get as good of shots this year unfortunately!  I was able to grab some good close-ups though.  We did a fun castle door on one wall with the knight pennants hanging above it.  The table had a cute castle table cloth with the same colorful knights set by Meri Meri Brave Knight I loved this set!  The colors were beautiful- we used the invitation/thank yous, the table cloth, the garland, & the cup cake toppers.

For food, we tried a few new recipes as well as ordered some drummettes for our finger foods.  Without going to the medieval times fair & ordering turkey legs for everyone, this was our best substitution!  Below you see the Caramel Apple dip, which was a huge hit.  Will make this again, but the portion could be done in half to be less wasteful.

 This was called Nutella Cheesecake dip & it was my favorite!  The kids loved this one because it was a little easier to eat, and it was also great with pretzels.  Another hit.

 My talented Mother-in-law created some amazing desserts for the party!  She brought a fun dragon cupcake cake, but made a really awesome cake for Hayden to blow out his candles.

 Hayden had lots of sweets to celebrate for sure!  A cupcake castle by mommy & the centerpiece of the table was Mimi's dragon cake!  Hayden loved it, and it was delicious.

 Hayden has the luck of having the summer birthday in the family, so we always celebrate with a swim party!  The boys just learned to swim well this summer, so it was really fun for them.  Of course this age is pretty tough for all the boys to swim together without endangering each other, so Matt & I played life guard for the party to keep everyone safe.  Not the most social party for me, but I was glad to have fellow eyes watching with me!

Hayden wanted to have some swords for his party, so we got blow up ones & blow up dragons  for them to fight in the pool.  The knights enjoyed those swords for sure, hopefully without hurting each other with them!

Since all the kids were wet, we decided to bring our cake outside to sing & celebrate.  Mimi helped get the dragon cake set up, and the boys were able to get to enjoy the cake and then go swim again.

 Happy Birthday dear Hayden!!

Happy birthday to you!!  Love you so much.

Thank you to everyone who helped us celebrate our boy's birthday.  We had such fun planning this party for Hayden, and we are glad you all could come & enjoy it with us.

 Hayden perfected his cannon ball jump into the pool at his birthday party!  Our buddies Beckham&Fletcher taught the boys how to jump in like this.  They all took turns at the party, and it was such fun for them.  I love watching them enjoy swimming.

 Hayden's actual birthday was the following Monday, and we celebrated just us.  It is wonderful to have our friends&family surround us, but it is also just lovely to be together with our boy.  To have a front row seat to see his excitement, take his picture, and sing his birthday tune.

Thank you Lord for my son.  He is a joy in my life & I love him.  Thank you for his 4th birthday & the opportunity to celebrate him.  Thank you for his sweet 'Haddie hugs' and how he teaches Calvin to be affectionate.  Thank you for his wild bravery & full throttle energy.  Give us wisdom to teach him well & raise him.  Amen.

Saturday, August 8, 2015


June you were lovely.  Long, slow days of playing & house work & cooking & playdates.  We were able to visit family & enjoy the fruit of our swim lessons in more freedom for the boys to swim & enjoy the water.  June, you felt short!

We were able to spend some time with our dear Bailey before she headed off to S. America for the following year to serve.  My boys LOVE her & were pretty excited to have her come over to hang out. ;-)

I love sitting under these trees.

I love the boys' expressions in this image- their personalities show & so does their struggle.  I had taken them to the gym, but James had not won musical chairs.  It would have been fun, but sometimes it is just hard to lose.  And Hayden just enjoys being 'different' in his answers by being negative.  We are working on teaching him why that isn't good, but it became really predictable.  "who had a good time?!"  "I did!!" James/Calvin "I didn't." frowny face Hayden.  womp. womp.

The end of the school year kinda flew by with my work load, and I never got Calvin's thank you's done from his birthday in April. !  At least they did get done.  Better late than never; A thank you is worth it!

I was really excited to visit my parents in their new town for the first time after school let out!  The boys were good road trippers & we were able to make the trip without too much trouble.  We loved visiting Grammy&Papa, and now we get to see my brother's family too!  I am really looking forward to spending more time with them- we love them so!

Cousins are special.

and Grammy&Papa have a little creek with 'deer friends'.  What more could a little boy ask for than a place to throw unlimited rocks!?

So I read these, and they were great! but not.  The ending was so anti-climactic.  I have if you want to borrow friends!

James' soccer coach shared a goofy picture of their team- I love this age.

Next, we wanted to go visit our family down in Tampa, so the boys&I loaded up.  We got to spend the first day with their cousins, just before Max turned one!  It was so much fun to see them all together- cousins are special!!

And the FL Aquarium never disappoints!  Especially in the summer when it is so very hot.  They have a great splash pad for playing in as well!

Peek-a-boo lemurs!  They actually jumped right up on the window sill & the boys cracked up!!  It may have been their favorite thing.

We saw two different rainbows like this- small ones just over the back of our yard - after the storms this summer.  This one was a double!  I always feel the promise of God when I see a rainbow & I am so thankful for the peace it brings my heart no matter what else is going on.  So we got up from our meal & played in the driveway & took pictures of it.  SO beautiful.

Father's Day was a sweet day for us - We picked out some small gifts & put some home-made touches on each one.  We went to the movies & got some dinner & told Matt how much we love him. Simple, but honest.

I took the boys to the local library to see an animal show, and JAMES HELD A BIG SNAKE.  He was a little nervous, but so excited & proud.  I was proud too- but I would never do it myself!! hahaha

This is mostly what our summer looks like.  It is lovely.

I took the boys to the zoo, and it was HOT.  We braved the heat & saw their favorites.  This was our 'elphie' which is a 'selfie' with an elephant to raise awareness.  The boys love the zoo - for me it is an exercise in finding AC breaks!  haha

James practiced riding his bike without training wheels into our grass.  Not an expert yet, but it's fun to watch him go!

We lost our big tree in our front  yard after some storms.  It was a quiet, not stormy evening, and it just fell with a giant CRASH into the driveway.  Half the tree, which left only the half on the side of our house left.  We ended up having to take the whole tree out, to keep it from falling on our house.  I'm missing this tree already, but I am so thankful that we didn't lose anything except some time and money.  Could have been a lot worse!

Also: could have been the best night of James' life.  He woke up when the workers were clearing the street that night (because it was blocked), and wanted to go outside to watch.  So we let him.  He never stopped talking & asking questions.  I think he may have literally been bouncing up & down the whole time, and told us that it was the most fun he'd ever had.  Love this tender-hearted guy.

The library in our county does a great job at summer programs, and we were able to see one of Hayden's friends for the story time.  It is always better with a friend. ;-)

Thank you Lord for June.  For our memories & time set aside to spend with our friends and family.  Thank you for the quiet time at home & for lots of time spent swimming & playing.  Thank you for your protection for us from the tree & for the provision of all we needed to take care of it.  Thank you for the beauty in our simple, everyday life.  It is a gift- we are grateful for our days!