Thursday, August 30, 2012

Anniversary Weekend Celebration

Here are a few pics from our celebration the other weekend...

Arcade games. Followed by a very decadent dinner at Ruth's Chris. A bottle of french champagne and a half bottle of the best Pinot Nior I've ever had. Lobster, steak, dessert...we didn't hold back. Then a little dancing at The Brooksider. Even after being together a total of 11 years...I've never met anyone more fun than Bill Murray :)

Last year, Billy and I made a point to include the kids in a portion of our anniversary celebration. We want them to grow up knowing that we love being married to one another.  And that marriage is a big deal and should be celebrated.  It's a tradition that we continued this year....

...with a picnic at Loose Park...

Walking! (a few steps here and there :)
Just relaxing and eating a little shrimp :)
My boys.

Playing soccer!  Sullivan wanted to jump in so badly.

 ....Followed by ice cream at Murray's!
Max is seriously the sweetest big brother!  Loves to share with Sullivan.

Our actual anniversary was on a Monday.  I happened to be doing some freelance work for my old company that day so I was away the while Billy stayed home with the boys.  He was a busy guy preparing all of this AND playing Mr. Mom... 
1) Billy and I always make cards for each other and he got very creative using a champagne bottle as his "card" this year :)  He even glued pictures on the other side of the bottle.  2) He also dug up one of the little candles we gave away as favors at our wedding for our candlelight dinner. 3)  I came home to flowers, champagne, and a special dinner.  Billy also organized a little wine tasting for us that paired perfectly with our dinner.  (Max and Sullivan, I  hope you take notes from your Dada and always make the women in your lives feel as special as he makes me feel :)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Max's Half Birthday

The tradition continues:
2010....Max's .5 year celebration at "Max's Diner":

 2011....Max's 1.5 year celebration at "Max's Diner":

2012...Max's 2.5 year celebration:

I hope we keep this fun tradition alive.  Do you think Max will want to celebrate here on his 30 1/2 birthday? :)
Piggyback ride for T-Rex.
I hope they never outgrow this!

A little chocolate shake doesn't hurt anybody.

This T-Rex is becoming like a "Where's Waldo" in our photos lately.  Loves this thing.  Thanks to cousins Brandon, Preston and Keegan for passing it down to Max!
 Dear Max,

We went to your 2 1/2 year check up on the same day Sullivan had his 1 year appointment.  You're still ahead of the curve at 90th percentile for height and 95th percentile for weight.  Those stats actually kind of surprised me, because you don't seem to be THAT much bigger than others your age.

The most impressive thing about your development so far continues to be your verbal skills.  Last year at this time (18 months) you could only put together a handful of 2-3 word sentences and sing the ABC's...but now you and I can have a full conversation about nearly anything.   The ideas you have and your perception of the world is amazing.  It's interesting to go from trying to get you to repeat words to you forming and voicing your own thoughts independently.  Yesterday you told me "Today is so wonderful, momma." and "This food is delicious!"...your vocabulary is multiplying daily.

Of course, along with your ability to communicate comes the ability to express negative opinions more clearly as well.  I have to remind you at least once a day in my warning tone, "I'm the boss, applesauce..."  to which you always reply "No, I'm the applesauce!!"  It makes us both laugh which generally diffuses the power struggle.

Another interesting side effect of your verbal ability is that I'm constantly aware that you could embarrass me in public at any given moment.  Just because you can speak well doesn't mean you have developed your filter yet.  Or volume control.  You like to point at people in the grocery store and judge what they're buying...if you see someone picking up cookies you'll say "That's not healthy, momma, that guy is buying a treat!"  Or once when we were in a public bathroom you saw someone's feet underneath the adjoining stall and you yelled loudly "What's those shoes doing momma?  What's all that sounds?"  Soooo awkward to be the parent in those situations! 

You're also my little smarty can count to 20, identify numbers 1-5 and like to trace them with your fingers. You can recognize quite a few letters in the alphabet too.  You're so interested in learning how to read.  You memorize favorite books and are constantly asking "What's those words say?" on signs, on packaging, in books.  I love how much you want to learn.

You're also incredibly observant.  You will point out similarities in things that I didn't even notice.  You picked out the Murray family crest hanging on the wall at an Irish store and said it "looks like Dada's tattoo, but different colors."  You'll point to a random house and say " that looks like Mimi and Pop Pops because the windows blue" (blue shutters)  You picked out a person in the library that was reading the same book Dad has at home.  The list goes on and on.  I usually have to look hard to see what you're talking about and then I'm always astounded to see that you're right...and I never would have noticed those things if you hadn't pointed them out.  I'm fascinated by the way your mind works.

Your active imagination also creates some pretty interesting ideas too.  You have created an imaginary tiger that lives in our house.  Sometimes he's your friend, sometimes you're scared of him.  Many times before you go to bed I have to go to the back door and "let him outside" because your worried he's going to get you when you're asleep.  Or you'll tell me not to let the tiger get me.  You wake up at night every once in awhile and tell me you heard a scary sound and often blame the tiger.  Other times you tell me you were "thinking at night" that Daddy and I got lost and couldn't come back.  I try to explain dreams, but they're kind of difficult to explain.  We're entering a whole new chapter of parenting here!  I remember my parents telling me that I thought there was an alligator under my bed when I was about your age, so the wild imagination runs in our family :)

Oh Maxman, I really could go on and on.  You stop me in my tracks daily with your brilliance.  Keep it up wonder-boy, you make us so proud.

My whole heart,

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Happy 7 Years.

My dearest,

At the beginning of all of this it was just you and me. Our love was the start of everything else that makes up the content of our little blog.  So, today, I write to you...

Billy. You love me in a way that makes me want for nothing.  I try my best to give you the same in return.  Our family is full because of the husband and father you are.  I cherish our past, but am even more excited for our future.  As I always say, you are my true partner.   And I mean that in the truest sense of the word -- We are better together. 

I appreciate all the big things you do for us, but hold the small things closest of all.  You truly take care of my heart and for that you are the man of my dreams still.

You give me all of the love, adoration and patience a woman could hope for even when I'm sure I don't deserve it.  I said it on our wedding day and it still holds true...I'm so proud to be your wife.

My whole heart,

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Sullivan's Backyard Beach BBQ

Ok, last post on this topic!  Sully, you spoiled little stinker, you've gotten to dominate nearly every single post this month thus far.  But I cannot NOT post pictures of your big party.  You sure are one special little guy...
You're lucky to have a summer birthday.  We were able to invite lots of people since we planned an outdoor party.  I love mixing friends, old and new, with family, neighbors, etc.  I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I realized that the rain was going to stay away!  I absolutely loved planning this party.  It was to celebrate you, it was to honor all of our friends and family who are such an important part of our lives and to show appreciation for our playgroup friends who have watched you grow every week and were such a huge help when you were born bringing meals, etc.  It was a big "we made it through the first year!"  celebration and I think everyone enjoyed themselves.

Bubbles greeted guests at the front door.
The kids received sand buckets with goodies as favors. For the bar tables I painted old, wine stained table cloths with a beach ball on them to cover the stains :). Gram helped with the buffet....I tried to make the fruit tray into the shape of a beach ball, but I doubt if anyone noticed ;).  In lieu of gifts we collected OVER 70 new and used books from everyone to give to underprivileged KC children!
The kids loved playing in the big beach ball sprinkler, baby pool and with the water table.
"Sullivan's Sea" was the sidewalk chalk area.  The kiddos had fun drawing fish, sharks and boats.
Digging for sea shells and treasure in the sand!
I set up a table that had Sully's first year scrapbook, a hard copy of our blog with entries going back to when we found out I was pregnant with Sullivan and a guest page for everyone to leave their "fish print".
I promised myself that I'd always make my children's first bday "smash cakes".  I made a little treasure chest for Max's first birthday pirate party and I made this little beach ball for Sullivan.  I'm 2 for 2 so far :) The beach ball cake pop, however, where outsourced!

Cake time!  He had his smash cake AND a cake pop!  These pictures need no words.
Clean up time in the baby pool!
You can't go wrong with a few big red balloons...
Left to right:  1) BooBo & Sully 2) The regulars. 3) Some of our play group girls...Suzie, Caroline and Max grilling. 3) Mimi and Sullivan.  4) GG and Sullivan.  5) Lolli & Annabelle.  6) A couple playgroup momma's Jessica and Katie.
 Thus concludes the first birthday extravaganza!  You are worth every bit of it my sweet Sullivan ;)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Update: 12 Months

Well, my darling, you are officially one year old now. How much more can I dwell on this milestone? Even I'm getting annoyed with me ;) Oh well, I hope one day you'll appreciate how thorough I'm being with the coverage of your first birthday.

Sullivan had just gotten his shots at the Dr this morning and didn't have it in him to give me a smile.  Sad baby.
Friday you had your check-up and shots.  And your first haircut for your scraggly strands.  Had to look handsome for your big party on Sunday! 

Height - 31 inches (90th percentile)
Weight - 25 lbs (80th percentile)

Dr. Kate said you look perfect!  She noticed that FOUR of your top teeth are coming in at the same time.  Ouch!  It's about time currently only have your two little bottom bunny teeth.  You're trying to walk and will take 2-3 steps on your own before deciding you'd rather crawl to reach your destination faster.  You are doing great at using sign language to communicate basic needs and even have a few, woof-woof, up, book, ball, bye-bye (all the 'b' words sound kind of the same, but I always know what you mean ;) and, of course, momma and dada.  You love stacking legos and sorting shapes.  You can point to your nose, mouth, eyes and ears when asked.  You're becoming a master climber which is new territory for us because Max was never interested in climbing.  You try to get those chubby legs up on anything and everything!  You're still a very good eater.  Your favorite continues to be a hummus sandwich.  You also get excited for sauteed tofu with red/yellow peppers.  And the good old PB&J is always a winner too.  At some point in the past month you've sworn off blueberries.  If I put them on your tray you'll squeal loudly and throw them on the floor.  So dramatic!

Here are a few pics of your first handsome boy...

You did great!  The stylist and other clients commented on how laid back you were.  Max sat in the chair next to you and reassured you..."Is just a haw-cut, baby.  Don't wowwy." 

All that's left is the post on your big par-tay that took place on Sunday!  It was a whirlwind of fun that went by too fast.  I have a ton of adorable pictures that I'll document soon!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Beautiful Oops: A gift for Sully

Dear Sullivan,

I've made it no secret that you were a surprise in our lives.  I'm open about it because there's nothing inherently bad about the unexpected.  Its how we perceive those unexpected things that come our way.  In my case, the unexpected arrived in the form of a sweet, smiley little boy with an undeniably enchanting soul.   How could a surprise like you ever be categorized as an "accident"?    And I guess in a way you were part of the plan...just not one that your Dad and I happen to be in control of.  The plan of something/someone bigger than us all. 

Learning of your existence expanded my faith and made me take notice of all the wonderful things that cross our paths without being planned and controlled down to the minuet detail. With the knowledge that you would be joining our family I actually felt free from the plans, deadlines and schedules that I generally hold myself to.  I let go of my need to try and control every aspect of life and opened up to the amazing gift that you are.

This book is given to you with so much love and appreciation for the person you are. And the person you will become. The story is about how many "oops" in life can lead you to something even greater than what had been planned.

I hope you color outside of the lines, take a few wrong turns and make all of the "oops" in your life into something beautiful.

Happy 1st Birthday to my most beautiful and wonderful oops. 

My whole heart,

Here are a few more pics of how we celebrated your first birthday as a family earlier this week...
Max helped me set all of your presents out on the deck first thing in the morning on your birthday.  The grill is handmade just for you.  We also got you a bubble mower and the Beautiful Oops book.  Max got you wooden food for the grill and a grilling apron.
Sullivan approves of his gifts!
It took every ounce of self control Max had to wait his turn with the mower.  He kept saying "HappyBirthday, Sully.Do you like your mower?Can I borrow it?"  Trying so hard to sound sincere :)
Sullivan's turn again.  He giggled the whole time!
Max couldn't wait to get his hands on the grill and apron as well :)
After Sullivan's morning nap we took him on a special lunch date to Browne's Irish Marketplace. He loved the chicken salad and bites of momma's corned beef and saurkraut!

After lunch we went to Murray's Ice Cream for a treat...but it was closed!  So we headed to Glace' for some artisan ice cream.  We lit a candle and sang to the birthday boy.
Happy boy back at the house after a fun day.  What a year it's been!