Last week we celebrated Cannon, this week the happy birthday bucket and decorations are back on the counter as we celebrate Hallie.
At dinner tonight we talked about Hallie and how she came into this world. We can’t talk about Hallie as a baby and not talk about how she almost became an only child! She always asks questions about how bad it was for us when she was a baby. Time has healed some of those wounds but the memory is still there!
And as much as I would’ve given her away as a baby – I wouldn’t trade her today.
Here’s a snapshot of Hallie at 14 years old:
She remains kind and patient with her brothers. Briggs is her little buddy and their relationship is just about the cutest thing.
Junior high has been extremely good to her (which is not always the case for girls) and she is turning into quite the social butterfly. If she has a free weekend night (not babysitting or other obligations) she is with friends.
She is the easiest when it comes to food – she loves anything I cook. If she’s going out to eat she loves In-n-Out, Chipotle and Panda Express (still a favorite and has been for years).
She’s loving tennis and has a new coach and its been fun to watch her excel. Now we need to work on her mental game, that’s usually what gets in her way.
She’s usually wearing jeans, a striped shirt and black vans.
School keeps her busy and she’s wondering why in the world she’s in honors science and having to do science fair projects!
She doesn’t have a phone yet, and she has been extremely understanding about not having one. We did give her the ability to text from an apple account from a device at home and that’s been great for her to connect with classmates on school projects and friends.
She is tender hearted, just like her father. And yet, Steve tells me she’s just like me. Not sure how that works?!
She is and always will be our favorite daughter. 🙂
He came out with a head full of dark hair and it’s been giving him problems ever since!
Here’s a snapshot of Cannon:
He is kind and patient.
He loves a good snuggle and loves when his dad reads Shel Silverstein with him before bed.
He has some crazy bed head. He’s learning the importance of wearing tennis shoes to PE.
He loves his friends and every day the minute he gets off the bus he asks to play with friends.
If he was choosing dinner it would be a corn dog.
He thinks sharing a room with Hunter is the best thing ever.
He loves the beach – he could take or leave the ocean – but loves the beach.
He empties the dishwasher like a champ and picks up all the fallen fruit in the yard.
He is happy and obedient and we all love him dearly.
Here are a few things we love about Cannon: Briggs: Loves that he shares his candy with him Bennett: Loves playing chess with him. Hunter: Loves that they get to share a room now and they get to talk at night. Hallie: Loves cheering with him at ASU games. Kara: Loves that he has a passion for music just like his older brothers and he asked to be the DJ in the car for his birthday. He played us some great tunes. Steve: Loves that for the last year before Cannon started kindergarten they would spend their lunch together playing games – mostly UNO.
We’ve got a special 11-year-old today and he got the birthday treatment!
Doughnuts and birthday bucket at breakfast.
One of his best friends, Scott (who’s currently not attending school because of his burns), was able to surprise him at lunch.
He had a favorite dinner (hot diggity dogs) with special dinner guests and then it was presents and treats and then off to soccer. The only disappointment of the day was the Packers losing to the Eagles.
Hunter is fun. He’s confident. And even better, he’s kind. (although his brothers might disagree at times!)
Earlier this week, we were talking with some people who live in the neighborhood and have a boy Hunter’s age. For the most part they have different interests and they don’t seem to spend a lot of time together aside from annual birthday parties or occasional night games.
But evidently, their boy loves Hunter and really looks up to him. They talked about how kind he is to their boy who isn’t very social and doesn’t do a ton with friends. Their child looks forward to riding the bus because he sits with Hunter. They appreciate how Hunter includes him on the playground even if he’s not the most athletic.
As the parents went on, I could feel of their love for Hunter because of his love for their child. Kindness goes such a long way and Hunter is learning how to give it generously.
Both Steve and I were beaming as they spoke – those are the best parenting moments.
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!)