Birthday boy…

We have another teenager in the house!

Hunter is likable on every level. When he was younger, he was mischievous and I worried what lay in store for us with him as a teenager. And now that he’s a teenager – I happy to report he no longer trips little boys at church or goes to the bathroom where ever he feels like in the house. We’ve made so many great strides!

Here’ s a few things we love about our new teenager:

He really plays with his little brothers – and they love him for it. He makes up games for them and teaches them sports. Bennett doesn’t always appreciate his help, but someday he will!

He is a music lover. When he is surfing on the boat, he needs good tunes to keep the board moving.

He has surrounded himself with some great friends and they are thick as thieves – and the circle just keeps getting larger. It’s started out with 4 buddies, and over time it’s just grown to a much larger number. Which is a bonus when you go to junior high and you have friends in every class.

He is a Green Bay Packers fan through and through. He was born in Wisconsin and he is a cheesehead at his core.

Although tough on the outside, he’s got a tender heart and he’s great at looking out for the under dog and loving them.

He’s athletic and loves to be active. When he was little (we’re talking two years old) Steve was worried his hand eye coordination was going to limit his ability to play sports. 🙂 Luckily, he didn’t lack ability, he was just two years old! He plays soccer, tennis, flag football and basketball and he does just fine! On top of that he loves long boarding and wake surfing.

He loves to wear hats and he’s got plenty to go around. And yet every birthday/Christmas he’s asking for more hats.

He’s very aware of his surroundings and observant. As we’re teaching Hallie to drive, we’re teaching her the roads that she needs to be familiar with. Tonight we were driving to Steve’s brother’s house and although we’ve driven it an hundred times, Hallie was unsure as to what road she needed to turn on. Without skipping a beat Hunter named the street. To be honest, I wasn’t even sure what the street name was, we just always turn on it. As we got to the street, I was surprised to see Hunter was right. At some point on one of our drives he recognized the street name.

He’s a great lawn boy. He’s been mowing our lawn for years. Our neighbor noticed his good work and hired him to do his lawn and Steve’s dad also picks him and Bennett up almost every week to do yard work at his house. In Arizona, it’s a painfully hot job – but it’s a great way to earn money at a young age.

Hunter is affectionate with words and touch. Every night he’ll come give me a hug before bed and if I’m every dropping him off somewhere he says, “I love you” before shutting the door. Even when I drop him off at soccer and all his buddies are with him. It melts my mama heart.

The older he gets, the more I enjoy his sweet natured, but joking personality.

40…

This was a while back but I’m still playing catch up from summer and school starting and this was just as the craziness was picking up. Our favorite man had a big birthday. I love to throw parties and I went through the best mental list of all the parties we could throw for his big day. I floated the idea by him of having a party and he shut it down. Of course, I’m more persistent than that. So I kept working through what a reasonable party for him would be and he reiterated several times that he did not want a party. Who doesn’t want to celebrate with a party?! Evidently, Steve doesn’t.

So there was no big celebration. (Which in my mind is a little anti-climatic)

We quietly celebrated 40 wonderful years with a trip to Dutch Bros for a smoothie, a wide variety of root beer from Total Wine and More, an afternoon of swimming in the pool, a quiet dinner for the two of us and a special gift that so many of his family and friends contributed to – a book: 40 years of influence.

Steve is hard to give gifts to because he doesn’t want for much – but a personalized gift always trumps anything I could ever buy for him. Earlier in the summer I had collected letters, memories and pictures from people that Steve loved and admired: People he’s related to and people he’s worked with – and everyone in between and it was the perfect gift for him. He said it was better than a party – I think he’s forgotten how amazing my parties are!! 🙂

A special birthday…

You know what’s great about Steve – He is always willing to help me test lighting. When I’m about to shoot a group of people, Steve is eager to jump in assist. He never sits and smiles normally – nope, he loves to pose. And I remind him that one day these photos will come out of a vault for all the public to enjoy.

And that day has arrived, in honor of his 40th birthday!

He has been entertaining me for 18 years now and he’s always good for a joke and a giggle – he’s playful to say the least. Which means life is rarely boring when he’s around.

On the flip side, he loves deep conversations and really learning about other people. When we’re with my family, it’s not uncommon to hear, “That is such a Steve question!” He doesn’t just ask how you’re doing. He asks how you’re feeling and what keeps you up at night. He makes you feel comfortable and loved so you can answer his questions honestly. He’s always in the middle of a good discussion.

Steve and I are opposite in most aspects of our lives and yet I love his willingness to jump on board with some of my crazy ideas. He doesn’t need an updated house, but he supports me with each wall I decide we need to tear down. He would prefer a relaxing weekend, and yet he knows that is some valuable project time. And he despises Halloween and would prefer we not dress up, yet every year he willingly gets dressed up in whatever I lay out on the bed. He doesn’t stay in costume very long, but he goes along with it for a bit.

He is an active participant in each of our kids’ lives. He plays with them and reads to them and watches movies with them and teaches them and above all… he cooks them breakfast! He is present in everything they’re interested in and he loves them deeply.

He is love. He is light. And everything that is good.

He is my balance.

He has made a major impact in his short 40 years.

Happy Birthday Steve!

Birthdays are the best…

The best part of birthdays is you have an entire day dedicated to you. (In a family our size, that’s a really big deal!) You decide breakfast and dinner. You decide what treat to take to class. You get a birthday bucket with your favorites. People sing to you. Give you presents. Restaurants have birthday perks. BIRTHDAYS. ARE. THE. BEST.

And I’ve mentioned this before, but giving gifts to Bennett is fun. He makes you feel like you nailed it. In fact, when I was asking him what he wanted for his birthday he told me he doesn’t need to make a list because I always do such a good job. He then proceeded to tell me two items he wanted; Harry Potter Lego set and the Fun Jungle book series by Stuart Gibbs. Lucky for him, I already had both of them purchased…months ago. 🙂

The worst part of birthdays…having to wait another 365 days until you can celebrate it again.

Birthday boy…

Someone has a birthday today!

You have not met a kid more excited about life than Bennett. He oozes energy. When he finds out he’s got a friend coming over to play, he yells, “Let’s go!” and pumps his fists.

He’ll be the first one to jump in the cold lake.

He finishes his homework the minute he gets home from school.

He sings louder than anyone I know.

He runs around the house casting Harry Potter spells on his brothers.

He always has me change the song when he knows it has a bad word.

He gets up in the wee hours of the morning on Saturdays because he knows he’ll have complete control of the remote control. 🙂

He keeps the cleanest room out of all our kids.

He remembers details. All details. If you say something, he will hold you to it!

…and he’s my favorite 10 year-old-boy.

Happy birthday!