Thursday, September 3, 2015

Riley’s Fifth Birthday

Riley’s birthday celebration extended over a few days this year. He got a birthday crown at school on Friday. He hopped into the car that afternoon wearing it and was so excited to start his special weekend.

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On Saturday we went to Steve and Jaimi’s to celebrate Zac’s birthday. This was like a present for Riley since he loves playing at Zac’s house with Zac’s Legos. He spent most of the party in Zac’s room, but the boys did venture out to play later in the afternoon. Riley loved pretending to be a stormtrooper and General Grievous. (And isn’t Zac’s hamburger cake awesome??)

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Then there was Rory. He had fun but he didn’t nap and was a bit tired at the end of the day.

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The next day we had a fun plan in place to honor my firstborn on his 5th birthday. Riley and I talked earlier in the week and he decided he wanted to do three things: get donuts for breakfast, go to Storyland and Carousel Gardens in City Park, and then get lunch at Backyard NOLA. However, when Riley woke up on his birthday morning, he nixed every single aspect of that plan. He simply wanted to stay home and play with Legos.

I can’t say I’m surprised, and we certainly didn’t force him to do anything he didn’t want to do, especially on his birthday. However, we did manage to coerce him into venturing out to get birthday donuts, even though he said he’d rather me go pick them up and come back home to eat. We went to Tastee and he even wore his birthday crown that he got at school. That crown caused many people to wish him a “Happy Birthday” and Mrs. Suzanne even brought two petit fours out on the house for the birthday boy and his little brother. So sweet.

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We got back home and the Lego playing commenced. Riley had built his two ships that he got at his party, a TIE fighter and a Jedi scout fighter, plus we had the Jedi interceptor and the mini Millenium Falcon. We battled it out in Daddy’s room and lost one of Riley’s Darth Vader minifigures in the process. He’s somewhere in the house but has failed to make an appearance again.

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Kenny and I gave Riley his birthday gift from us just before lunch. He totally knew what it was since we got him what he asked for months ago: a Lego Star Wars AT-AT set. Riley and I started building it this week and it looks really cool already.

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Riley’s birthday lunch was summer sausage, string cheese, pickles, and veggie sticks. Not exciting at all, but it’s what he wanted. We let him skip his nap, but Rory slept for a couple of hours. (Speaking of which, I have a very important milestone for the little one to tell you about soon!)

Later that afternoon, some of the family came over to celebrate with Riley. Kenny and I served homemade vanilla cupcakes with green icing and sprinkles (Riley’s request and then he never even ate one), Riley opened presents, we watched the Saints preseason game, and most people stayed for a crockpot white beans and sausage dinner. It was a great afternoon.

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But I especially love when I told everyone to make a Darth Vader face before Riley blew out his candles.

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Riley got to celebrate his birthday again at school on Monday. Mrs. Allison’s birthday was the same day as his, and Mrs. Ceci’s was two days later. That meant they partied at school for two straight days. The kids made cards for their two teachers, our class birthday mom got balloons for them, and we provided donut holes, cookie cake, vanilla cupcakes, and apple juice for yummy treats. I also decided to get flowers for the two birthday girls to brighten up the classroom this week. And Mrs. Allison was kind enough to let me pop in to see my boy during his special celebration. He was so cute passing out the juice boxes to all of his friends. But I especially loved when he declared that he was sharing his birthday with everyone. Sweet boy.

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And that’s it. Riley-bean is really and truly, officially five years old. One whole hand.

I can hardly believe it.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Five Years {Riley}

My Riley-bean,

Today you turn 5. One whole hand! How did that happen? It seems like just yesterday that Daddy and I brought you home from the hospital. You were brand new, and we had no idea what to do. But we figured it out as we went along, the three of us together.

Now we are a little family of four, and I love how you are a part of that. You are silly and goofy, smart and thoughtful, moody and mopey, sweet and loving. You are all of those things. They are what make you Riley-bean. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Sure, sometimes I wish you wouldn’t hit your brother or get upset over the littlest thing or laugh when you should say you’re sorry. But I know you’re trying to figure out who you are and how to handle things. Newsflash, buddy, I’m still trying to figure the same thing out myself. You never stop learning. I learn from you all the time. Thank you for that.

You are so headstrong and stubborn. I know I’ve said that many times before, but it’s SO true. You are so steadfast in what you believe is right and you will argue your point adamantly. Even if you’re wrong, which you don’t like to admit.

You had many meltdowns over the summer when you didn’t do the right thing. That was tough for me to watch. I hate seeing you cry that hard over something so trivial. But I know it doesn’t feel trivial to you at the time. I need to try harder to remember that in the moment and treat you with the compassion that you deserve. You’re just trying to figure out all of your emotions. I get that. All I ask is that you try to let Joy drive more than Anger. Okay?

I love watching you get so excited about something or laugh at something your brother does or be amazed at something you see on tv. Seeing your smile and wonder and joy makes me so happy.

You love your family, and you love playing with your friends, especially Claire. The relationship the two of you have is so fun to watch. I hope it continues for a long, long time.

You love, Love, LOVE Legos and Star Wars right now. Your imagination with your Legos astounds me.

You love music and will often dance around like the crazy wonk potatoes that you are. I love watching you be silly and have a good time when a song you like comes on.

You don’t like going to school, and I hope that changes. Because you are SO smart. School is where you will learn so many things, not only from books but from your teachers and from your friends. Sorry, dude; you can’t always stay at home and play with your Legos.

I always ask you to be good, to be nice, and to be kind. I know it’s hard sometimes, but I can’t tell you how important it is to treat others the way you want to be treated. You will go so far in life if you are kind. And you are kind. Remember that. Even when you’re playing bad guys.

Four was a bit of a hard year for you. We had some trying moments, but we had a lot of fun, too. And we made some wonderful memories. Now I am excited to see what your fifth year brings. Daddy and I will be right there with you, and know that we’re always here for you if you need us. Let’s do this!

Happy, Happy Birthday, my sweet Riley-bean. Guess what? I love you. All the time.

Love, Mama

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Friday, August 28, 2015

Come to the Dark Side…There Will Be Cake {Riley’s 5th Birthday}

Riley came bounding downstairs the morning of his party at exactly 6am. He was so darned excited. I wish I had taken a picture of his face when he saw his cake for the first time; his entire face lit up in a huge smile.

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Kenny and I got a few last minute things taken care of, the bounce house crew arrived to set up the waterslide, and before we knew it, the party was getting started. We snapped a few quick family pics before too many people showed up, and then Riley was off and running.

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The inside of the house looked really great (if I do say so myself…..I even had the Star Wars soundtrack playing on Spotify), but the majority of the party took place outside. The kids (21 of them total!) had a blast on the waterslide. Rory may have enjoyed it the most, though. He went over and over and over and over and over again.

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After the kids had played for about an hour, we got them all out of the pool and inside for cake. Suddenly the previously empty house was packed with family and friends. We sang to the birthday boy, he blew out his candles, and then we cut into Darth Vader. I really wanted to get a picture of all of the kids sticking their tongues out after eating that black icing, but it didn't happen. I did get one of Uncle Jeff though!

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Most of the kids didn’t stay inside for long after finishing their cake. They went right back outside and onto the waterslide again. Only this time they took their lightsabers with them.

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The party started breaking up shortly after we handed the lightsabers out. When most everyone had left, except for family and Claire and Colin, we let Riley open his presents. Everything he got was either Star Wars or Lego related. He was in heaven!

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Oh these two.

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Everyone left after presents, and Kenny and I started cleaning up a bit. Then we realized we were both starving, so we ended up going to meet Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle Steve, and Zac for lunch at the Galley. I was so exhausted, but just being able to sit down, sip a cold beer, and eat some good red beans was very restoring.

We had the waterslide all day, so even though we were all tired, we went back to the house after lunch and played on it until they came to take it away. Dana brought Claire and Colin back over and they stayed until 7pm. We even bathed the kids (in their bathing suits) in the crazy hose on the driveway. So much fun.

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What a day. I think Riley had a really great time, and it seemed like everyone else enjoyed themselves too. Another great birthday party in the books!

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