Thursday, August 22, 2013


"Gratitude begins when a sense of entitlement ends." - Steven Furtick

The boys are young but beginning to grasp the reality that there are people in this our community even...that live very different lives than we do.  This is our main reason for collecting donations rather than presents at their birthday parties.  I know it will get increasingly difficult as they get older, but I hope by then they realize they're not entitled to endless gifts on their birthdays.  They have a responsibility to use their good fortune to help others.

We had so many wonderful books donated at Sully's party we couldn't wait to pass them along.  So we took them to The Children's Place to pack them in backpacks for the kids to take home. 

Each month The Brookside Mothers' Association packs food in backpacks for children at The Children's Place (a place where young survivors of abuse and neglect in KC receive treatment).  The food goes home with the children so they have meals for the weekend.  It had been mentioned that it would be nice to include a book for them to take home too since many don't have any of their own.  I knew it would be an awesome way to pass along the books we received from our kindhearted guests at Sullivan's birthday.

I also liked that it was a tangible way for Max and Sullivan to see how they could spread kindness with their own two hands.
Trying to choose the perfect book for each backpack.
The primary reason we were there volunteering was to pack food, so we started by organizing the assembly line.  Max had bugged me for a snack the entire car ride there so when the food was brought in to be unloaded I thought he'd beg me for something off of the cart to eat.  But, surprisingly, not a word about anything for himself.  

The boys dutifully unloaded chocolate pudding packs, applesauce, oranges and mac & cheese onto the tables.  The same items that cause major meltdowns at the store if they don't make their way into our cart were being passed up for other kids who needed them.  Watching my boys serve a purpose with pride made my heart full.

They worked so hard unloading all of the food and packing the backpacks they were rewarded with a little time to play as well...
They have some cool toys here!

 I love my sweet boys and their big hearts.  

Thanks again to everyone who attended Sully's party and contributed books to give!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

An Uphill Marriage: 8 years

Dear Billy,

The title of this post might make you wonder where I'm headed with this ;)  It seems going "uphill" gets a bad rap.  It's usually paired with the word "battle".  But why is uphill a negative thing?  It allows for more growth than shuffling forward on even ground.

When I look back on our relationship from the beginning I imagine us starting at the bottom of a mountain.  Climbing upward day after day.  Stopping now and again to catch our breath, looking down to see how far we've come.

Going uphill to me means having goals and fighting together for what we want.  Accepting challenges and grasping each others hands tightly.  One pulling the other up every so often when one of us looses their footing.  It's constant forward progress.  Becoming better people and a better partner for the other with each steep step we take.

So my dear, here's to heading uphill together for the rest of our lives.  We have a long way to go, but the view from up here with you is already breathtaking. More beautiful than I could have imagined. I can't wait to reach the clouds and stars and mountain tops that await us as we continue our climb together.

Happiest 8 years.

My whole heart,

{St Lucia honeymoon | August 2005}

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Moments Bound for Memory

Yesterday afternoon we treated the boys to our traditional "anniversary celebration day".  We reserve time each year to celebrate our wedding date with the boys.  It's a family holiday.

We always want them to know how much their Momma and Dada love one another.  That we made a promise to each other and we will keep it forever.  Even if Dad is forgetful or Momma leaves dishes in the sink or we don't agree on the right way to get somewhere in the car.  We're a team.  And they are on our team too.
We tell them about our wedding day, show them pictures and talk about everyone who came to the party.  And of course do some of our favorite family activities...

A walk to the bakery for fresh cinnamon rolls in the morning:

A stroll down the Trolley Trail for some lunch at one of their favorite spots - Jalapenos.

It seems like we left no stone unturned in Brookside yesterday as we spent the entire morning and afternoon walking.

Wandering around our little community always makes me feel like we live in a different place in time.  A slower, friendlier time.  
We'll usually run into an acquaintance on the sidewalk or trail.  We pass lemonade stands and boys playing baseball in the front yard.  Among the historic houses and tall trees...something about it all comforts my old soul. 

On our way back home we passed a fire hydrant that was spouting water.  With the road blocked off we let the boys run free.  They were so intrigued with everything...the force of the water, the way it rushed down into the street drain, the fact that they were dancing in the water used by firefighters to put out fires.  I think this was the highlight of their special day.  Like we had planned this surprise water party for them.

Soaked and tired we walked the rest of the way home.  I took off their wet clothes and put them directly in bed for naps.  I checked on them a few minutes later and they were both completely passed out.  

I hoped that their minds were processing all the fun of the day.  Filing away the joy they felt in their hearts.  And that these moments we had created were bound for memory.  Even if the events of the day didn't make it to their long-term memory, they still have the pictures from this blog to remind them of another successful anniversary holiday :)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Max's Half Birthday

When I was growing up a "half birthday" wasn't a thing in my family.  And really, why would it be?  
It's kind of ridiculous actually.  

When we had Max (our first baby, our only child) we were just so in awe of the 6 month mark...halfway to him being ONE!  It was unbelievable.  Where did the time go?  So we celebrated at Max's Diner to mark the milestone.  Then when Sullivan turned 6 months, it was equally remarkable and we conveniently discovered a place called Sully's Pub.  And just like that the boys each had their own "place".  And I'm not one to break tradition.

Its just a fun excuse to make our little guys feel special...and eat burgers, fries and milkshakes on a random day.

You know how I like to do quick flashbacks of previous years so here it goes:

August 13, 2010

August 13, 2011

August 13, 2012

August 13, 2013

A lot has changed in the past year.  Sullivan went from being a chubby little baby brother to Max's best friend.  In fact, as you can see below, Max loves Sully to pieces.  Sullivan thinks Max cramps his independent style most of the time, though :)

The milkshake brain freeze...

The best cheeseburgers and curly fries.

After we ate dinner Max carefully cleaned up Sullivan's shirt, hands and face :)

I love celebrating this guy.  On his half-birthday and every day in between.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Sullivan's Birthday | Part II {the PARTY!}

Sullivan is lucky to have a summer birthday.  And this year the weather was even better than we could have hoped for.  This past Saturday brought us a sunny, 80 degree day that was perfect for being outside.  Sullivan was surrounded by family and friends and was one happy camper ;)
The campsite.
1) Annabelle lounging by the "campfire" 2) Sullivan roasting a marshmellow 3) Kiddos at the fishing hole

My personalized Walmart cake.  I added Pirouette cookies, melted cinnamon and butterscotch candies for the "fire" and made little a banner.
Sullivan looking out at an impressively full backyard of people singing happy birthday to HIM!  
Major mom fail:  I only put one candle on the cake?!
  We realized the one candle after we already sang happy birthday.  So we had the boys hold up two fingers for the record :)

The only thing that really matters is this happy little face.  
He was having a blast and enjoyed BOTH the orange-marshmellow cupcakes and the chocolate cake :)

Sack races!

I love the look on Max's face here :)  Listening to Boobo tell them the rules...

Trail Mix Bar for guests to make their own mix.

Nora and Max enjoying their cake.
Jennifer and Annabelle
Sullivan with Mimi and PopPop.  He just mastered holding up two fingers a couple days ago and is pretty proud of his accomplishment :)
Loved Lolli and Boobo's dancing squirrel card.
Sullivan's new tricycle from Lolli and Boobo!
Aunt Colleen helping Sully pedal.

Opening a gift from GG.
Guests left with S'more for later...
And we get to take a very nice donation of books to children who don't have many (if any) books to call their own.  We're taking the younger-aged books to The Children's Place (BMA's philanthropy) and the more advanced books to Hands to Hearts KC (Sullivan's personal philanthropy :)
Thank you to all of our guests for donating so generously!