I have thrown my fair share of birthday parties. Lego, pirates, Halloween, 80’s, sports, circus… Girls, boys, young and old…I’ve got a lot of parties up my sleeves. I though I had done it all. But I crossed off another party recently – a theme I hope to never repeat – a hospital birthday!
Hunter’s friend is still in the hospital and they brought him out of the coma days before his 11th birthday. He was still in the ICU, but the doctors said he could go to the pediatric wing for a birthday party – this was the first time most of his friends had seen him.
We had all the kids walk in with Scott faces (the same face that showed up in pictures the first day of school) – a little fun to break the ice.
We sang the birthday song and he blew out imaginary candles. Evidently hospitals have a no latex balloon and no candles policy – clearly anti-birthday!
He opened presents and there seemed to be theme – all sorts of things to help him strengthen his hands and arms.
We wanted to play a game, but it was made more difficult with a large group and the birthday boy who couldn’t really move his arms or hands. We landed on the candy bar game.
We bought a different candy for every kid in attendance and put them all in the center of the table. The kids took turns rolling 2 dice. If they got doubles, 7 or 11 they could pick a candy from the table, or point to someone and say what candy they had and steal theirs. This went on until every candy bar was taken from the table, and then we gave 7 more minutes so they could keep rolling and steal from each other. Scott had his dad rolling for him and as luck would have it he went 5 rounds rolling doubles. 5 candy bars hidden behind his chair – he was lucky as he could be spending his birthday as a burn patient in the hospital!! (in the end, those with multiple candy bars choose their favorite one and put the rest back on the table so everyone can leave with candy.)
Baxter the Diamondbacks mascot made an appearance and he gave everyone baseball hats. He was a fun surprise.
We had a couple more games in mind, but he was fading fast. A team of nurses and doctors waited outside of the room monitoring him and after a while he was hot and tired and they wheeled him back to his room.
It wasn’t a traditional birthday party, but it was a party none the less. A party to celebrate a birthday and even more importantly a party celebrating a life that we’re all so grateful was spared.
We celebrated this sweet guy all weekend long. (We like to spread birthdays over several days to really make the most out the annual event. Birthday lunch one day, cake the next, presents a day after that. We just keep the celebration going!)
A couple things we love about Steve:
His favorite shirt (warn in the cake picture above) is a cat pun shirt. Our good friends sent it to him during his petsmart days and it reads, “You’ve cat to be kitten me right meow.” No we don’t do cats…or any animal for that matter. But he loves the shirt and he cracks me up every time he wears it.
He loves experiences over things. I like to joke that by buying things we can create experiences…he disagrees on most accounts, unless that thing happens to be a boat. Still hoping that is in our future!
He’s a terrible at holding a tune but that doesn’t stop him from belting out songs in the kitchen and totally embarrassing his kids.
He does the breakfast cooking. I would be totally happy with cereal every morning – Steve has grander plans. Yes, we still eat cereal, but several days a week he makes a hot breakfast – he gets to sit and talk with the kids while he makes it and while they eat it. He doubles the time he spends with the kids in the morning.
His favorite family movie is Megamind and he has the whole thing memorized and quotes it often. The kids know better than to watch it without him.
We all agree he makes life fun. (He does have his limits however and he doesn’t love dressing up for Halloween, but he’s been a willing participant for many years!)
I’ve come to realize that birthdays are all about managing expectations (this includes adults and kids!). Surprises are always seem fun, but even with surprises you can fall short. Like the time we were so excited to give Hallie a trip to Disneyland (we were hopping in the car and driving straight there). We recorded her opening the tickets and she was kind and happy about it but she lacked the excitement we were hoping for. With further prodding, we learned that she didn’t know what Disneyland was and therefor didn’t know she should be excited. She was seven!
Kids are funny. Since then we’ve learned how to manage each kid’s expectations a little better and it can be a little bit of a dance. Bennett’s birthday was this weekend and we “danced”. The day before we walked through the whole day and the plan was laid out – he works best this way. Doughnuts for breakfast. Taco Bell for lunch taken to the school. Cookies for his classroom. Open presents after school and then a mother/son night at the school and dinner. Best laid plans.
We nailed the doughnuts. We nailed Taco Bell. (we couldn’t talk him into Chick fil a!) But his class was on the wall for lunch recess which meant he couldn’t play and he couldn’t buy a popsicle. We sat next to him on the wall with the rest of his classmates. Double bummer. His class treat was great but they failed to let us know they combined two whole classes for the day since they were short teachers – which we managed. We then found out the mother/son activity was being cancelled and he was devastated with just how poorly things were working out in his 8 year-old mind. How could all this happen on his birthday none the less?!?
The presents were perfectly curated for him and that was the redeeming aspect of the day, he got his very first brand new bike (not a hand me down from his brother) and life was good again. We made it to dinner at Red Robin, although he wasn’t pleased it was the whole family – he was hoping for it to be by himself. But we reminded him he gets to enjoy all the birthdays of his siblings – he wasn’t convinced that was worth it but he did give in.
The night ended with Hunter, Bennett and I riding our bikes, with Bennett on his new bike, to our local Dutch Brothers to get the birthday boy his drink of choice, an italian soda. As we rode back, Bennett marveled at the day, “This is the best day ever!”
In that moment, he was the happiest kid alive and he felt so loved. Mission accomplished. It was a dicey there for a little bit as he has high expectations and has a hard time dealing with changes in plans – which seemed to be around every corner – but we made it. His birthday ended with a bang.
He has been talking about his 8th birthday since the day he turned 7. 🙂
Here’s a couple things we love about Bennett:
He is by far the most expressive person in the family. Whatever the situation is – he will have a face to show his feelings towards it.
He loves to read. He caught the bug last year and he’s flown through the books in the closet. Whenever he knows there’s a possibility of him getting a gift – he’s requesting a book.
He is always looking forward to something and he needs to be looking forward to something. He wants to talk about it, he wants to full understand what he can expect and heaven help us all if the plan has to change for one reason or another. We’re teaching what flexibility means!
He’s funny and enjoys being the jokester. On April fools he took 6 brand new boxes of cereal and poured popcorn seasoning into them. The family was not too happy with him and he left for school a little deflated. Steve turned the tables on him and showed up at his school lunch with a happy meal…filled with vegetables. He’s a good sport.
He has more energy than any of us know what to do with and my mom keeps telling me the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. This year has been to good for him to start playing sports to get some of that energy out.
He loves and adores his older brother and wants nothing more than to be just like him. Hunter is working on being more kind in those situations.
He loves food. (probably because he burns so much energy!) and he is the one that can hear the crinkling of a wrapper all the way from his bedroom. Can hide anything from this guy.
He’s looking forward to his baptism and a birthday party with friends. And tomorrow he’ll start counting down to his 9th birthday. Life is good when you’re 8!
This afternoon Briggs was having a hard time going down for a nap. Before long, he was at the top of the stairs looking a little sheepish.
I walked up the stairs to put him back in his crib and he proudly said, “I got out all by myself!” Yes, he’s still in a crib because he has never climbed out and yesterday he turned three years old. It took him turning three to realize he was capable of climbing out on his own. I have a feeling a big boy bed is in his very near future!
Our little caboose turned three years old and all of the sudden he looks so grown up. Instead of mourning the loss of the terrible twos – we will happily move on and catalog all of the crying pictures!
Here’s a little look back at his first three years…
Here’s a snapshot of our new three-year-old:
He’s got a big personality and he knows how to use his voice – we’re working on that voice not being a scream. 🙂
His older siblings cater to him and at the same time the tease him relentlessly – hence the screaming.
At three years old he wants nothing more than to be with his best friends – he’s going to be social kid.
He currently loves Paw Patrol and PJ Mask and is elated when he gets to watch Netflix.
He’s potty trained and I’ve never been more excited to cancel an Amazon subscription.
Every night I put him to bed he requests the song “I love to see the temple” and he insists on knowing what breakfast will be.
He’s funny with clothes and if it is a button up shirt or a polo – he prefers it buttoned all the way to the top. Unfortunately, those buttons are not usually used on kids and they are hard as can be with their little necks and it’s often unbuttoned and a fight between us.
He loves his little scooter and cruises around on our evening walks – it’s a little weird to not need the big jogging stroller anymore.
He insists on brushing his teeth by himself and yet refuses to pull up his underwear without help.
He wants a bagel for lunch nearly every day with a cheese stick and gogurt. He also loves his carrots and ranch dip and I often find half eaten carrots throughout the house.
Somewhere along the line he must have said something that we told him was a “bad word”. Now he says something random like “Crybaby bop-it” and then assures me, “that’s not a bad word mom, crybaby bop it isn’t bad is it?!” I have no clue where this kid comes up with stuff!
He’s a puzzler. Every single day there are puzzles across our floor – I’m confident he picked up that interest from our other puzzler, Cannon.
I often find him talking to Alexa – he’s mastered playing the Trolls soundtrack – it took Alexa a while to figure out what he was saying, but now trolls is constantly playing.
We call him our little “Silly Billy” and it fits him perfectly. We sure do love this guy!