Tag Archives: birthday

Then Came Ten

27 Apr

Where did nine go? It was just here a sleep or two ago. The year was so fun, busy and marked with many changes for our (not-so) Baby Bean.

November 2012

November 2012

You sprouted like crazy. At the end of your Third Grade year, you were frustrated how the older kids would say you looked like you were a Kindergartener. Now, you may likely challenge some of those kids on inches. You are catching up to mine, now almost up to my shoulder. I had you sit on my lap the other day and almost cried. You will always “fit” there (love-wise) but it was then that I realized, you don’t fit there (size-wise) anymore.

Bean Sprout

Bean Sprout – April 2013

A braver Bean also started forming this year. “I’m auditioning to be Elfis in the class musical “Elfis,” you informed me. Out of your shy shell, you put on the costume, rocked the Wii guitar and sang in the microphone in front of three audiences of all ages. You memorized your lines and delivered them in character, getting giggles from the crowd. It was wonderful watching you on the stage and not even flinch when a child yelled out, “That’s a girl! My dad told me!” You even made one boy slap his own face when he discovered you were a girl hiding under that Elvis wig. What a moment.

In Character - December 2012

In Character – December 2012

The year of Nine had you caring about how you did in Gym Class for the first time ever. Each year, they offer medals for how many Phys.Ed. challenges students pass. They are handed out at the end of the year awards ceremony, along with the academic achievements. You always get “gold” for great grades and behavior but you’ve never earned a medal for athletics. You worked hard at this. You came home and practiced volleyball. You practiced stretching for several nights so you could improve your reach test. You succeeded. This athletic spirit also started showing when you ran in Mile Fun Run races. You pushed yourself and earned a place medal. Get it, girl!

Brother First | Sister Second

Brother First | Sister Second

Nine will also be known as the year when you began being ok with saying goodbye to your Barbies and dollhouses. I thought this would be a more gradual process but you made up your mind and started piling the dolls in a box. You gave eighty dolls to bring love to another child. It made room for a zebra-striped reading bean bag and a desk that will take you through high school or longer. You also want to paint over the princess crowns and castle lining your wall with a big purple stripe. However, while you are working your way to “older” things, you still find room in your heart for a few things from your “younger” years.

Annie and Nia

Annie and Nia – January 2013

Your interests also started expanding this past year. Your daddy introduced you and Nate to Star Wars and you couldn’t love it more. You watched all the movies and then watched all the movies again within a few weeks. You know more about the characters and events of the movies than I do and I’ve watched the movies more. The love of the movies has made you love all things Star Wars. Your Angry Birds Star Wars drawing is a great example of that.

Angry Birds Star Wars by Nia

Angry Birds Star Wars by Nia

You are such a considerate and caring person and it really showed this year. You have a helping heart and I’m amazed how you can easily play with children of all ages. Your patience and selflessness with younger children is beautiful. You also genuinely worry about others. You have a compassionate sense of right and wrong and try to protect people from being hurt. That includes yourself. When another student tried to hurt your feelings by calling out your “unibrow,” you calmly replied to her with, “I know I have one. So?” I know this is tough for you because you are a sensitive soul. I am so proud of you and often think of you to remind me how to react to things as well.


Protector Bean

Helping Bean

Helping Bean

This year also meant taking boys more seriously. Well really, “boy” more seriously. You’ve had the same “boyfriend” since Second Grade but you never really blushed when you talked about him until this year. Now, things he says to you or gifts he gives you are very special. You keep them close and let us know about things that happened that day around him. All of this is comfortable for us because you are both sweet kids and you tell us EVERYTHING. Seriously, everything. I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining because I’m glad you share things with us. I know there will be a time when you will stop sharing. Thank  you for letting us into your world and trusting us with your heart.

Gift from a Special Someone

Gift from a Special Someone

Your heart also has so much room in it for your little brother. You love him dearly – even when you are nah-nahing each other. He looks up to you too and is proud of you. When you told us about your possible gold medal in P.E., Nate was the first to praise, “Great job, Nia!” I hope you two will continue to be each other’s biggest fans. I can’t explain how happy it makes me to see you showing unconditional love for each other.

Little Brother | Big Sister

Little Brother | Big Sister

It’s difficult to capture the beauty of your heart, Bean, but I hope when you read this it gives you a glimpse of the amazing young lady you are. You are a treasure to everyone who knows you because of your attitude, kindness and hope to bring happiness to others. One example of that is how you love to make up jokes to make us laugh. “Why is my coat on the floor? It’s tired because I wore it out.”

Silly sweetheart, I love you so much. Happy birthday, 10-year-old.

Why Is Nine Afraid of Seven?

29 Apr

Because eight was so great.

Department Store Catalog Pose featuring her Fashion Creation

I know nine will be too, I’m just going through the typical parent emotion of watching the years fly by. To see Nia’s sweet, smart and caring spirit adapt to and try to understand different experiences as she figures out how to respond and feel. To see her become her own person, create her own sense of style, humor and thoughts. It is wonderful, but wild.

Trying to be serious during a fit of giggles.

Her eighth year was full of firsts and new emotions. Riding without training wheels; keeping her Barbies in the drawer and, instead, spending more time with the door to her room closed to sing and dance to the latest pop music; watching less cartoons and more human-acted TV shows and movies; falling in love with Grease (and even seeing it live as a play – thanks, Aunt Ree!); and wanting to put a little more distance between her mom or dad as she plays outsides or explores a store. (I never let her out of my sight!)

Little Mall Shopper

Now, as she starts on her ninth year, I hope she handles her new adventures and challenges with the same thought and heart that she has shown so far. She tries her best, loves a good joke (which I attempted for her with the title), knows how to laugh at herself and how to make others laugh, and most beautifully, is caring to all.

Sharing the love while she sleeps.

From Sick to Silly

29 Apr

Her birthday party invitations asked her closest girl pals to join her at the theater for popcorn, sweets and a cute flick called “Chimpanzee.” Her request for a red velvet cupcake was going to come true and the silly favors were ready – miniature Monkeys-in-a-Barrel. Then, Strep throat struck the star of the shindig.

Party postponed.

A very saddened and sick nine-year-old cried in my arms. I wanted to cry too but amazingly (unbelievably) I didn’t ( in front of her anyway). I told her we would still have the party, but we just couldn’t today. Yes, sweet Bean, you will still get a red velvet cupcake if you want.

She slept through the time she would’ve been celebrating.


Sicky and Sleepy

The rest was needed. A day later, thankfully, she was back to her silly self and asked for pickles. Party on.


Feeling Better

We held the party do-over a week later and it was a success! Bean loved her birthday at the big screen – complete with giggles and chattiness that couldn’t be helped among the girlies.


27 Dec

We called you that because you looked like a potato in the ultrasound picture. An adorable, precious, squirmy, overwhelming potato.

I remember I cried when I found out I was going to have another baby. “How will I ever love another child as much as I love Nia?” I worried. You were a surprise. You were a blessing.

You were due on December 20th. I bought baby’s first Christmas clothes and ornaments. It would technically not be your first Christmas. You arrived on December 27th and not without a dramatic entrance. We finally would find out if Spud was a girl or a boy and – oh yeah – that emergency c-section. You were healthy after a struggle of an arrival and were a boy. We cried out of relief, excitement and love.

Today, six years later, you woke me up with a cuddle and a happy, “Today is my real birthday!”

Yes it is, Spud. And I’m so glad for it.

Lessons from a Birthday Party

1 May

Nia’s 8th birthday party taught me a few things about party planning and celebrating:

  • When my daughter tells me she only wants to invite five of her school friends, plan for that instead of something bigger and guiding her into inviting more so that so-and-so’s feelings aren’t hurt. Which also translates to: save stress, energy and money.
  • Next time, I’m going to mail invites to people’s homes instead of hoping the invited kids will then give it to their parents. That way, at least I’ll know an adult is failing to RSVP instead of wondering if that adult even saw the invite.
  • A child doesn’t need a huge party, just their party. Nia had a great time with her two special BFFs, friends Jamie and Aaron and her brother. I think the adults helped some too. (See next lesson learned.)
  • Those burns the kids get from bouncies dang hurt. (My 10 minutes of jumping graced me with two – one on my forearm and one on my knee. I’m actually proud of them – I laughed the whole time they happened.) Andrew also notes that if we were to by our own jumpy, it would be the basketball one. (You likely know how he loves researching things. He and Nate had a blast in there.)
  • Kids have fun spinning in circles. In other words, why do we (parents) feel the need to go all out for parties? My friend, Allison, and I were talking about how it used to be (yes, back in my day) that going over each others’ houses to play with toys and have cake was party enough (and a ton of fun). Now, we rent jumpies, petting zoos, face painters, Santa and Mrs. Claus… It’s like constantly having to out-do or meet the special-level of the last party. Where do you draw the line? Now that I’ve gone there, when/how can I tame it down?
  • When it’s all said and done though, my beautiful Bean is “almost 9” as Nate pointed out during the party. Time flies when you’re a child in a hurry to have another birthday party. I’m glad we have a few months of a break.

You Reach, I’ll Hold On

26 Apr

Little Birthday Bean,

The years now say you are 8 but your size says you are still a 6X. You want to wear the clothes made for girls your age but they are too big for you.

You have a big kid bike but often like to take a spin on the tricycles you still fit so comfortably on.


Still fits!

You still enjoy reading books for younger children (and even reading them to younger kids) but can tear through a chapter book better than many adults.


Bean and Her Books

You love playing outside and are probably now old enough to play at the front of the house by yourself but you stay in the backyard where it’s fenced and where you can swing for as long as your heart desires. You are even happier now that your daddy raised your swing up higher off the ground – making you feel like a bigger kid while you sing to yourself as your tiptoes of one foot touch the ground.



You have such big dreams. You say you want to be “an actress who’s an art teacher and who can sing.” You recently asked if you could be all of that and a photographer too. I love that you have a passion for the creative and still have the brain for the scientific, bringing home 100’s on your schoolwork and continually scoring the highest possible on your report cards. For as little as you are, your brain is gigantic and amazes us every day with your smarts and your wit. You tell us jokes on a daily basis, often ones you make up yourself. (I’m especially impressed by this because I can’t ever remember jokes and bomb at telling them.) My favorite of yours is the Poo-Poo Train one…


"I want to be a photographer."

The love you have for your little brother is also enormous. You take care of him when it’s just the two of you while you’re playing outside or at your after school program. Sure, you two nah-nah each other a lot but you also make each other laugh a lot. (Like in the picture below from the zoo where you both were making faces to the hand dryer nozzle to see your distorted, silly reflections.) You are such a caring big sister – often reading Nate a book or trying to help him tie his shoes. Nate is so lucky to have you.


Silly Sibling Faces

This is such an interesting age. Because, like I keep repeating and holding on to, you are still so little and it’s hard for me to connect you to or get used to your interest in older kid things. Like Katy Perry’s CD (which features some songs not appropriate for young ears but you marked them on the CD case and sincerely told me you wouldn’t listen to them) or your first teen celebrity magazine. Your eyes were so wide when you saw it in the store last night and you were so happy when I told you could have it. You immediately started reading me snippets of scoop, seeming so excited to learn it. You couldn’t put it down.


First Teen Celebrity Mag

You also couldn’t wait to tape the poster of the boy band, Big Time Rush, on your pink princess wall. This is probably the most descriptive way to show how you are reaching for those older years but still aren’t quite ready to let go of being little. I asked you about taking down Sleeping Beauty but you told me no. That you liked it there still. I do too, Bean. I do too.


Boy Band vs. Princess


Happy Birthday, Beautiful Bean

“Perfect 8th Birthday (fun)”

10 Apr

That is just one of the many wishes Nia has added to her birthday list. No pressure, right? What I find even more innocently sweet is that it is not even the first thing on her list. It’s sandwiched between “dresses (gouns)” (I love that she sounded it out and spelled it to rhyme with nouns. Yes, wrong but still – it’s a young brain thinking!) and “a sock monkey mini (with a little hat).” (I’m going to have to google that one.)

Little growing up Bean, I hope your party is perfect to you. Even if you don’t get everything on this wishful list that I’ll always cherish.

Party Plans and a “Pinana”

2 Jan

Nate had big plans (and worries) for his 5th birthday party:

  • He kept reminding us what day his party was on – even if he had the day wrong because he didn’t want to wait until Sunday. On Wednesday, he told us that his party was on Friday. I guess he just wanted to make sure we didn’t forget it was coming.
  • He was concerned that we might discipline his friends. While Nate was taking a shower one night, I saw him peek out of the curtain and tell Andrew, “If my friends are bad at my party, you don’t give them spankings.” Not sure where that one came from but it made us chuckle.
  • He wasn’t happy until he was sure Joey wouldn’t bother his friends during the party. Before bed one night he asked, “Can we put Joey outside for my party? I don’t want him to bite anyone or bark at anyone.”
  • Black olives and pickles were a must on the menu. (And Honey made plenty of pigs-in-a-blanket, his new favorite snack.)
  • He wouldn’t rest until he knew his friend Madeline was coming. “Did you call Madeline yet, mommy?” “Did you call Madeline’s mommy yet, mommy?” (Thank goodness she came!)
  • He planned and announced over and over again that Madeline and his other special friend, Ella Grace, would sit next to him for cake and ice cream. (A picture below will show this came true.)
  • At first, he wanted to wear church clothes to his soiree. That eventually turned into a tie, with Super Mario socks stuffed into his shoes. (He said the tie would make him look handsome.)
Nate and His Necktie

"Pinana" Time!

Andrew also had big plans for Nate’s party. He constructed the pinata (or as Nate kept calling it, a pinana). He made it out of paper mache and it was intense. So intense, the strings on it broke. The kids still got their goodies though and it seems they had some fun when they got to swing at it. We let Nate finish it off, of course.

From the weeks before it to the hours after, Nate seemed to really love his party. He gave everyone hugs and would yell their names when he opened the door and saw them. Sweet, birthday boy. I’m so glad you loved your party. Now, we have a whole year to plan your next one. (Andrew, you may want to think about stronger string.)

Tie Off = Party's Over

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“I’m 5 today!”

27 Dec

He woke me up at 6 am-ish, frantic that I need to call one of his friends to invite her to his party.

This is my first memory of Nate’s 5th birthday. Even as a baby, he was intense. He waited a week past his due date to say hi and when he did, he struggled his way out through an emergency c-section. Now, he’s a wonderful mix of tough and sweet, competitive and sensitive, fighter and lover.

In fact, my second memory of his big 5 day is him running to me (when I actually was awake) for a giant hug and yelling, “I’m 5 today!” He then added with the same excitement, “I can play football now!”

The next memories involve requests for a “big kid breakfast” and two bagels because “that’s what big kids eat.” (He got one but became very happy when he saw it was cut into 5 pieces.)

Nathaniel Robert, you may be 5, but you’ll always be our baby boy and little brother.


Loving Little Brother

Bouncy Birthday

28 Apr
Nia’s 6th birthday bash was a blast!  As usual, all of my pre-party stressing was for nothing.  Everything turned out just fine – there was plenty of favors and food for everyone, the only tears shed were from a little boy whose mom didn’t let him get a temporary tattoo, only one “I’m Nia’s best friend” argument was overheard (thanks Paul! Also, Nia handled it super, saying “You can have more than one best friend.”) and the princess of the party seemed pleased throughout!
Out of all the moonwalk businesses out there, I’m so glad I picked our town’s jumpy place.  Our group had the entire space to ourselves and the owner and worker were so accommodating and nice, they really helped us create great memories.

I’m just so glad Nia enjoyed herself.  I’m finding it’s getting harder to keep coming up with different, fun ways to celebrate the kids’ birthdays.  After this party, it seems like we can’t go wrong with jumpy places!

Love you Sweets!

Birthday Bliss

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