Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Thank You!

Max got to take a large donation to The Ronald McDonald House yesterday thanks to all of the items our generous guests brought in lieu of gifts to his party last week.  

It's our third year of this tradition, but it's the first year Max struggled with the idea of giving instead of getting.  He understands what he's missing now and it's hard for a 3-year-old to act selflessly.  

In the weeks leading up to his birthday we talked about the children in the hospital and their families.  How it must feel to not be able to be in their own homes.  Max asked me why the kids have to be in the hospital at all.  I said "Because they're very sick and need doctors."  Max said, "You mean the kids have owies?  Like scrapes and bonked heads?"  The innocence of his question gave me a lump in my throat.  The worst thing he can think of is having a "bonked head" or a "scrape".   But I just said, "Yes, exactly, buddy."

By the time his party rolled around he seemed comfortable with the fact he wasn't going to have gifts to open.  He'd say, "I have a lot of tings and other people need stuff more than me."  But then he'd say..."But you're gonna give me a pwesent, right momma?"  My sweet boy.  I could relate to the inner struggle.  I want "things" too.  We all deal with some level of materialism.  I don't want him to think there's anything wrong with wanting something, but I don't want him to be consumed with consuming either.  It's a hard concept to learn and it can be a hard concept to live.  We're working on finding a good balance.  Watching his reaction to giving, though, made me feel like maybe we're doing something right...
We hadn't planned on dropping everything off on this particular day, but we had gone to the library earlier that morning and Max got busy coloring pages and pages of print-outs they had on the art tables.   After he had gone through more than ten pages, I said,  "Who are all of these for?!"  He said, "I want to take them to the Ronald House with our donation."  It caught me off guard because we hadn't talked about the donation in a couple days.  I thought it was so sweet that it was still on his mind although all the items had been sitting in the back of my car for over a week.   He also asked me to put "I love you." at the top of the pages.  He said he thought it would make the people feel  happy.   Talk about proud momma moment!  His little three-year-old heart is so big.
When he handed over the drawings to the person at the front desk he was jumping and clapping...clearly so proud of his work.  Watching his reaction made me realize that this act of giving made him even happier than opening presents.  He even pulled out all of the items to show her what we had brought.  I wish I would have gotten a good picture of his face...he was beaming!  
The thank you notes Max sent to his party guests for bringing donations.
 However, Max did not completely go without.  Here's how we celebrated on the day of his birthday...
Present opening first thing in the morning!  He had been patient long enough :) Max wanted to open his presents sitting on his new tractor.  Sullivan wanted to help with opening presents too...
Sullivan gave Max a pair of Toy Story headphones he had been asking and asking for.  Max was thrilled.  He gave Sullivan a hug and said "Sully you're the best brother EVER!" :)

Loving the new (old) tractor.
The SmartMax building set was a hit too.  Max likes to make microphones out of the pieces :)

We met Annabelle, Aunt Jenni, Lolli and GG at SeaLife later in the morning.  Then had lunch at Fritz's. 
All holding hands.  These three love being together!
 After a fun filled day we had Max's favorite dinner...Mr Goodcents!

And the cake he requested...Woody and Buzz :)

I think Max had a fun and rewarding birthday.  He got to give a little and get a little.  And eat a LOT of cake.  What more could a boy wish for?

Friday, February 15, 2013

"Valen-time's" Day

 I'm so happy I get to call these sweethearts mine.  These boys make love easy...
As soon as the holiday display in the dining room changes...the boys are intrigued.  It set's into motion new anticipation ...Max says, "What's next, Momma?!"  We make our lives  a constant cycle of celebrations.  This display was particularly enticing because of the arrows.  Max begged me to play with them daily.
Another clue that there is a new holiday to look forward to is the chalkboard wall in the kitchen.  Max notices immediately when it changes.

I got the stinkers a couple small things to acknowledge this Hallmark holiday...
A new book for my guy who loves to read and some fruit squeezers for both of them.
A new record for my guy who has a love affair with our record player...
I set up a little breakfast at their desk in the living room.  They were very excited, but INSISTED on putting on the new record before eating.  You know, for ambiance.  Oh the sound of Chip N' Dale singing "Oh my darlin' Clementine" before 9 am....love it...
Max took the lead this time.  He's better at setting the needle than Sullivan is at this point :)
I made their favorite breakfast:  Grilled peanut butter and honey sandwiches (cut into hearts, of course!), greek yogurt with stawberry sauce and sliced apples.  Except Max informed me this morning that he no longer "cares for apples".  Something new every day!
Dancing and signing to the new tunes.
So much love between these two!  It's amazing my heart hasn't exploded yet.
 In the afternoon I helped out at Max's school party.  Sullivan got to be in the mix with the big kids again.  Luckily Max's classmate, Hector, has a little brother exactly Sullivan's age, so he had a buddy his own age to hang with.
Watching the kids exchange "Valentime's" was adorable.  Max carefully passed out each of his "Little Cutie" oranges.  He's always so proud when Sullivan is in his classroom.  He shows him around and showers him with hugs and kisses.
Can you spot the impostors?  Sullivan and little Elliot (on his left) trying to blend in during story time :)
 I came home from Max's school party to find unexpected flowers, a spa gift certificate and the promise of a home cooked romantic dinner from Billy.  It makes my heart smile that my guy knows I'd rather have an assortment of purple flowers over roses any day.
I'm lucky to have not one, not two, but THREE sweethearts on Valentime's Day.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Happy 3rd Birthday, Max!

Dear 3-year-old Max,

It's crazy that someday you'll read this and think..."3 years old?! I was so little!" But to us. Right now. You couldn't be a bigger boy. We can't contain the pride we feel for you. The way you mentor Sullivan. The kindness you show others and how intuitive you are.  You are so wise beyond your years...an old soul.

You're learning and changing so fast that it makes me feel anxious. I don't want to miss a single moment or forget a single, hilarious word that comes out of your mouth.  I think you're starting to see a reoccurring theme on this blog...The fear of letting time slip through my fingers.

With that in mind your Dad and I stubbornly dig our heels into the present. Each new day races towards us and we're discovering that its a losing battle trying to slow it down.  Instead we hold each other close and brace ourselves against the rapidly approaching future. A time when you'll be ready and reaching for more freedom. Anxiously welcoming the next step toward independence.
We already see it happening. 

Your father and I will forever be behind you with our arms locked as we watch you take each step away from us to become the person you were meant to be.  We'll be nervous.  And proud. And hoping that your moments don't pass you by too quickly, because we already know that they do.

Always & forever,
Momma & Dada

But today, as I type this, you're the little guy pictured below.  I'm going to focus on that now.
We celebrated your birthday with your pre-school class yesterday.  You were so excited to have me there and I LOVED being in your classroom with your little friends.  I got to read "Birthday Monsters" to everyone and you passed out the "marshmellow pop" treats we made together.

Sullivan was so excited to join the big kids (see him at the end of the table?)

Max and his good buddy, Hector.

Once the girls saw Max & Hector taking a picture...the girls gathered around saying "I want a picture with Max!  I want a picture with Max!"  Ladies, ladies...no need to fight over him :)  Max looks a little nervous though ;)
Max definitely wanted his picture taken with Rosemary, though.  She's his best girl buddy.
Announcing the book his Momma is going to read to the class!
And then there were Sully and Ned chilling on the couch.  These two operate on the same speed :) I love to see Sullivan mixing with Max's friends.  Something about this picture makes me flash forward to the teen years.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Max's Road Trip Birthday Party

Oh what an adventure its been so far, my dear Max.  

This business of being a parent is much like one wild road trip adventure...you sometimes feel lost, you try to embrace the detours and you might even feel like screaming "are we there yet?!" on occasion.  But when you look back on the bumps in the road, they make you smile...and you realize that they're kind of the best part of the adventure.

These thoughts that occupy my mind, coupled with the fact that Max is fascinated with any and all maps (random, I know) gave me the inspiration for a...ROAD TRIP PARTY!

Max was in heaven.  His favorite foods, one of his favorite activities (dress up) and CAKE!  Not to mention many of his favorite people in attendance.

The invitations:

I created four versions of the invitation using art from old postcards.
Souvenirs for the guests:

Choose-Your-Destination Dress Up:
Mardi Gras was the favorite destination! :)
Max and I made his cake in the shape of the USA and covered it with sprinkles.  For food we had KC BBQ, NYC Pizza, Chicago Dogs, Wisconsin cheese, California grapes and Florida oranges.

Lolli and Max!
1) Annabelle checking out Max's "Year in Review" via the viewfinder.  2) Uncle Bill and Nora.  3) Max and Great Grandpa Meyers playing the US State Capital's game.
Magnetic map puzzle and a couple other road trip games.
I bought us all some t-shirts that had different destinations on them at a thrift store. Sully looked pretty cute in his San Fran shirt :)
Such a gentleman...sharing his most prized possession, his ball.

Everyone had a blast.  Most importantly, Max was so happy.  When I tucked him in later that night he said "Thanks for giving me a great party, Mom."  Those words make it all worth it.

And it's not over yet!  His actual birthday is February 13th, so there's even MORE fun to come this week! :)