Toy Story #2 Party

Well, since the month of June is coming to a close, I wanted to go ahead and make sure I at least got my sweet boy’s birthday documented during the actual birth month, so let’s take a look at Wesley’s special day.

To welcome guests to the party, I decorated the front door with expo markers and a poster of Buzz and Woody. The inside of the door also had a poster where we played “pin the badge on Woody.” My niece Jenna won the contest, but only Wesley, Jenna, and Daniel played. The other kids didn’t want to do it, for whatever reason.

Wesley was pretty excited to see his decorations, espcially Buzz flying in the sky:

I love how he looks so tiny next to the table of goodies. (side note: I *almost* had a heart attack when Wesley nearly pulled the tower of cupcakes down, onto himself, just moments before the party was to start. You can ask my sister-in-law for confirmation of that fact. Fortunately, they just wiggled over to one side and then toppled back to even rather than smothering him in homemade chocolate icing.)

I made gift bags for all the kiddos that had fun goodies inside, along with giving each a Woody painting set. All the Toy Story decorations were mainly taken from the boys’ toy stash, and it was fun thinking of ways and places to use them. For example, each cupcake had a toy soldier on top. The below decoration was my favorite, although I think the concept of it was lost on all the kid guests, being that most have only seen Toy Story 3, not the first one, which is what this set-up references.

My friend Pat gave me a birthday kit that she picked up at work on sale, so we used some of the gift bags as popcorn bags at the celebration. We also used the birthday banner that was included, along with a few other goodies. Isn’t she so thoughtful? Pat totally knows I am a dork when it comes to parties and that I love a good deal, so it was a perfect fit.

We kept it low key structure wise, opening the gifts first so everyone could play with them, using the bubble machine inside, and allowing the kids to eat cupcakes before we actually sang to Wesley. It’s just easier that way. This meant that when it came time to actually sing and blow out the candles, Wesley already had chocolate on his face from his cupcake, which he did not eat but only licked the chocolate off of and then discarded randomly next to the couch. See exhibit a, to the right, for proof, as well as the image below.

I love how happy he looks about his cake and everyone singing. I had to help him blow out the candle, but later, on his actual birthday yet after his party, he blew it out without a problem all on his own.

It was great to have family and friends come to celebrate the life of our little one.We even played outside some so Wesley could put some of his new toys to use. No one stayed outside too long though because it was hot!

It is unbelievable how much he is growing, how much he is learning, and just how much we love this little wild and crazy son of ours. Happy 2nd Birthday Wesley! May God give you many, many more years of celebrations.


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To-Do List Reminder

Nap time is usually “attempt to get everything done time” for me. Recently, it is a guessing game if Daniel is actually going to nap or not, and even though he still has “rest time” it just does not work out to the same moment of opportunity as a true nap does.

Today, they both fell asleep, and I knew I could really get some things done. I was knocking out some things on my to-do list, which seemed to be way too far behind since VBS and Wesley’s birthday. To top it off, it was raining and storming outside, so staying indoors was all the easier and I felt even more productive.

Right in the midst of putting some laundry away, I heard Wesley awake from nap, crying. Crying when waking up from nap really just means he woke up too soon. I raced upstairs and scooped him out of his bed and sat with him in the rocking chair. He was crying, fighting me, wanting to get up.

Knowing he needed to keep resting, I told him to stay with mommy and then I began to sing to him. He settled down and began to play with my hair, which is something he does all the time as a comfort. Usually, if my hair is in a pony tail when I go to put him in bed, I have to let it down so he can get his hands on it. If not, he will rub at the hair at the base of my neck. He even plays with his own when he gets sleepy or upset.

Soon, his speed of running his fingers across my long strands of hair began to slow. Next thing I knew, he had stopped completely, his weight seemed to double, and he was back asleep. Success! I could suddenly get back to my to-do list.

But I couldn’t. I, instead, needed to just keep sitting with my “baby,” just like I got to do when I first welcomed him into the world (wasn’t that just yesterday??) Now, instead of being exclusively on my chest when sleeping, he needed my lap too, and his feet hang down past my knees. Now, I can’t breathe as simply when his full weight is at rest on me. Usually, he reaches for the bed before he completely falls asleep; holding him while he dreams is so rare.

So, we just sat there in the chair. I held him while I listened to the storms roll in, rain pound on the roof, the thunder rattle the windows, and the clothes in the dryer toss and turn in their cycle. I sat there and kissed his head while saying screw it to my to-do list.

Wesley is worth much more than another line through a daily chore.

Thank God for the reminder.

Keeping It Real, On Father’s Day

Today we celebrate fathers. As part of the plan to do just that very thing, Daniel, Wesley and I decided to let Thomas sleep late. When it was time to wake him up for church, we went in to greet him with a cup of fresh lemonade, complete with a lid and straw, his homemade cards, and his gift. Daniel was SO excited about giving his daddy his homemade card, so he insisted that he carry that portion into the room. This left the lemonade to Wesley.

As we crept in, Daniel went to one side of the bed while Wesley went to the other. Daniel gently said, “Wake up Daddy, it is Father’s Day.” Wesley said “Daddie” and sat the lemonade on the bed. Suddenly, Thomas awoke wide eyed and said “Cold! What is so cold??!!??!”

Yeah, turns out letting Wesley carry the lemonade, even with the lid on the cup, was not the best decision I’ve made.

At least Thomas got to especially enjoy the contrast of the cold to his warm shower, right?

So yeah, we keep it real, which includes this one and only photo of Thomas with his children this Father’s Day:

Perfect if I may say so myself.

8 years and 1/2 a 14er

Thomas and I have officially been married 8 years!

To celebrate this fact, we took a trip out west. We¬† have journeyed west before but we have never enjoyed the mountains. Thomas took the liberties to plan the whole gig, and he found a magnificent cabin right outside of Colorado Springs. Here is the view from the hot tub (or the couch), along with a photo of our “home sweet home” for a few days:

Our cabin rested on over 100 acres of private land. The land even had the original homestead present.

I, of course, liked to imagine what it would have been like to have lived there, in that homestead, in the late 1800s. The owners kept a great historical account of the land and the family in a book available for guests to read. The acreage was originally purchased by a single lady Imoda (I think that was how you spelled it) in the late 1800s. She later married and soon after gave birth to a daughter. About a year after her first child was born, she gave birth to a son. Shortly after his birth, she died from complications. It was interesting to know so much about the land on which I was residing without it being a major historical marker. Two lives were brought into the world right there in that tiny house above and one life was lost right inside of it as well. It was just intriguing, and I enjoyed the solitude that the land provided, along with the rich history.

While in CO, we met with a college friend and his new fiance in the city of Denver at a comfort food restaurant that was also hip, called Steuben’s. I had an entree of mac-n-cheese. Yum!

Denver had some interesting sculptures throughout the town that were fun to see. There was also a cool art show happening in the middle of a pedestrian mall. While observing the art, I heard “Summer??!!” and I turned to find a girl that use to live down the hall from me in the dorms while I was in college. It was SO random. She is very talented, and it was funny that I was fascinated with her art before I realized I actually knew whose art it was! I also knew her husband, but we did not manage to see him, unfortunately.

While away, we were able to visit the Garden of the Gods. The location gets its name because the natives had once said it was so beautiful that the gods must have come down from the heavens to play. There was certainly a perfect and picturesque view every which way you turned. We hiked though the grounds many miles, completely in awe of our surroundings.

The day after Garden of the Gods, we got up before the sun and headed to Pike’s Peak, one of Colorado’s 14ers. We planned to hike Barr Trail about 13 miles to the summit and take the cog train, which takes passengers to the top for summit viewing, down, back to our vehicle.

As we started the morning hiking, it was cool and overcast. As we ascended the mountain, it was amazing to literally hike into the clouds. We stood in them as the swirled away to make room for the sun of the day. No picture can do it justice. It was just amazing.

Despite living in a town that the Internet tells me is less than 400 feet above sea level, we were able to handle the drastic elevation change quite well. It helped that our cabin was at 8,00 feet, so we had slept at a great height for two nights. It was a bit of a challenge when we first started, for it was almost like the effort that you were exerting was about half of what your body felt like it was giving. Fortunately, as we ascended higher and higher, we acclimated quite well considering we were beginning the hike at about 6,500 above sea level and aiming for over 14, 000 at the conclusion.

We knew that our anniversary trip was a little early in the season to attempt a summit, but we at least wanted to give it a shot. We had noticed, from our excellent cabin view, that the snow was less every day and it even dwindled quite nicely by late afternoon. That gave us a little bit of hope. The only catch would be our way down, the cog train. If it was not summitting, we had a problem because we knew we could not hike the 26 miles from top to bottom, with the lack of daylight being just one of the reasons. And even though there is a campsite about half-way, that was not our objective, so we did not have any gear. (Side note: they do in fact run a marathon up and back down this mountain. That truly does blow my mind. The record holder is a local who holds both the half and the whole best times. His winning speed? I forgot the whole but the half, 13 miles up a mountain, he did in 2 hours and 1 minute. Wow!)

After hiking about 5 1/2 miles, which is just under halfway, we realized that it was too windy for our train to summit. No train summiting, means no Summer and Thomas summiting (see sign photo above). Summit was recording 80mph winds, so the train was not risking it. We, therefore, turned around and began to head down, for we wanted to be able to catch our train and ride it up as far as it was offering.

The train provided us with a great history lesson and some humor along the ride. Thomas took some artsy photos, which made me happy.

Lounging in the hot tub, cooking a few meals, sipping on wine, reading books, and just enjoying each others company was basically what made up the rest of the trip. We appreciated not having Internet for a few days.

Going to the mountains was a great way to reflect on our 8 years in marriage. We, in fact, went to the mountains on our honeymoon, but the Smokies are much less dramatic than the Rockies. All in all though, it was the same purpose 8 years later: to enjoy being together and being in love.

Our trip came right after a sermon given by our pastor on how empty nesters now hold the new #1 divorce rate. Why? Because for around 20 years mommies pour their everything into their children, neglecting themselves and not prioritizing their marriage. Daddies just go with the flow and begin to pull away from their wives. One day, the kids are gone and you realize you do not know that person next to you. You do not even know yourself. As he said “You said ‘I do’ to your spouse, not your kids. It goes God, Spouse, and then kids!” So, it felt good to take a break from the day to day tasks, to let our children enjoy grandma for a few days, and to go and invest in our marriage.

I’m such a blessed gal! I love you Thomas! Here’s to 8 wonderful years down and many more years together.