letter to my jay bird- three years

my sweet three year old

My dearest Jay Bird,

Sweet boy you are three today; this fact should neither surprise nor shock me since we have spent the last 12 days counting down until this day and jumping up and down as each day passes. Never the less, I find it hard to believe- my baby is 3!  You are growing up before our eyes kiddo and man-o-man do I wish that I could slow down time. I am positive that if I blink too long these days that when I open my eyes you will be graduating and leaving our nest – a thought that I just can’t bear to consider right now.

I struggle to find adequate words to describe you these days…  You delight in the smallest of things, you adore cars and books, your heart is so gentle and kind and you are stubborn to the core. Honestly, each day can be a constant battle; we have really, really great moments followed by knock-down drag-out fights that end in temper tantrums and time outs more times than I care to admit. And more often than not I am not really even sure what set you off. Sometimes it’s that you don’t get what you want, sometimes you don’t get things exactly your way and sometimes it seems as if there is no reason at all (i.e. you are 2!). Most evenings at supper time I get to play witness to a battle of the wills- opponent A: Jay Bird- fierce determined and decidedly going to declare that you want/like nothing that you are being given for supper. Opponent B: Daddy- fierce, determined and decidedly NOT going to give in or budge one bit. If I were an outsider I believe I might find quite a bit of humor in these battles however, since I have fought during both breakfast and lunch the humor seems to escape me.  So instead I sit, observe and hang on the knowledge that this too shall pass. And it will because it is a phase and all phases pass; however, at the risk of sounding contradictory, I don’t want this phase to pass too quickly because while you are stubborn to the core you are gentle, kind, sweet, smart and just so stinking cute sometimes!

You adore your brother Charlie and while y’all do fight over toys and have normal brotherly moments you are generally SO good to him. You let him play with your stuff, want to make sure that he is included and are the first to try to cheer him up when he is sad and crying. Most often, when he is crying, you will head over to him and ask in your sweet and concerned voice “what’s wrong Charlie?” and then start singing because you know that usually makes him stop.  It’s moments like these that make all the day-to-day crazy so incredibly worth it. A year later you still adore cars and while you vary the things you play with, almost everything is an accessory for cars.  Tools?  Things to fix cars with. Used dryer sheets? Parachutes for cars. Duplo? Used to build garages and things to house cars (although you do on occasion build with Duplo without cars) Mommy’s hair tie? Rope to tow cars with.  I love to watch your imagination at work and listen to your conversations as you play; some of the stuff you come up with is hysterical. Games are also another thing that you have taken to lately.  You love being able to play with me and Daddy after Charlie goes to bed and frequently request to play before your nighttime stories.  It is so fun to watch you play because you really don’t have a competitive bone in your body (you got that from me, not from Daddy).  You are ecstatic when anyone wins and you jump up and down and cheer them along giving congratulatory high fives.  It’s so great and I really can’t wait to see what you will use this encouraging part of your personality to do as you continue to grow;  whatever it is I know it will make me proud.  Along with cars and games you also still love books and want so badly to be able to read them on your own; we are working on getting there and I am sure it will come soon if you have anything to do with it.  You have already memorized all kinds of books and frequently “read’ to us.  Often, in the mornings Daddy and I will come into you room to find a pile of books on the ground that you have been reading all morning waiting for us to get up.  I also find books tucked behind a pillow and under blankets on your bed from before you fell asleep either at night or during nap time.  It melts me when you look at me with sleepy eyes (usually after nap time) and ask me… “Mommy let’s cuddle and read stories okay?”  I try to drop all things whenever possible at those requests because there is nothing that I would rather do than cuddle the day away with you.

Like I said earlier, I am finding it so very hard to accurately describe you sweet boy.  We have our moments and I do want to pull my hair out from time to time; however, more often than not I want to scream at the top of my lungs that you are mine.  Daily, you teach me new things, show me how to delight in the smallest and most simple things and you teach me over and over again how to love.  I hope you always know how very proud we are of you.  I know you will continue to do wonderful things and I can’t wait to see what is yet to come.  This life is quite an adventure kiddo, thank you for taking me along for the ride.

I love you sweet boy, Happy Birthday!

Love, Momma

the birthday boy

I really wanted to post a few of Charlie that I took throughout the day on his birthday- he was such a sweet boy the whole day and I want to remember it, so here it is.  And since I know that you all are probably getting tired of the birthday posts (especially since it happened almost a month ago) I will try to make this my last ;)

Opening presents from Mommy and Daddy in the morning. It was really hard for Jay to hold back, you could almost see him physically restraining himself- bless his heart.

Jay finally getting to help

Cake time… Charlie was hilarious with his smash-cake. Check out the video at the end (thanks Uncle Jeremiah for taking it) the photos don’t really do it justice. He smashed it and played with it for quite some time before actually taking a bite and when he finally did it was almost like he was saying “Hey guys this isn’t half bad!  Why didn’t you all tell me it was food before now?”

This photo reminds me so much of one of mine when I was a little girl. I am not sure if it was the angle or what but man do I think he looks like me when I was young here!

Getting hosed off after eating cake- yes, it was warm enough to be hosed off outside and yes, he loved it!

the cake smash video-

one year in flash (take two)

When I started thinking about Charlie’s first birthday party I was having a really hard time picking a theme that suited our family as well as Jay’s One Year in a Flash Party (original idea from here). And after thinking about it for a bit I realized that I could just do it again and I am so happy that I did- I really enjoy going through our photos to find a years worth of memories. We threw a One Year in a Flash Hot Dog Party (Hot Dog Party courtesy of one of my favorite blogs, recipe for crazy) and loved it.

Here are a few of the details from the party along with links to where I got things.

The invitation- I used Artboard to design his invitation, nothing special just a few cute photos of my sweet little boy and some party details.  We also did a time capsule for Charlie like we did for Jay and that info was sent along with the invite too.

 The drink table- We served sodas, the perfect complement to a hot dog in my opinion, and water. I used mason jars since I always have a ton hanging around instead of cups and got the paper straws from TJMaxx and amazon along with these really cute paper trays that we used instead of paper plates. We have a ton left over so I see them making an appearance at the next shrimp boil ;)

I used our big chalkboard to show off some of our month by month photos- I LOVE looking at these and seeing just how much they change in one year!

I saw a few chalkboard stats online (pintrest, etsy etc) and decided to doodle one for Charlie. I loved it so much that it’s actually still up but I will have to take it down soon…

I printed a bunch of photos using a coupon code at shutterfly to get all of these photos. I am pretty sure I only paid shipping for these which was like $4- yay!

The only other decorations that we had up were a one-year-old banner which I forgot to take a real photo of but here is one from my phone along with some framed photos. I printed the photos from mpix (my favorite photo printer) and used some frames that we had in the storage room to frame them.

Party favors- my go-to sugar cookies (I like edible favors since I don’t want to give someone something that they don’t really want anyway)

I printed the favor tags on my own, designed using Artboard (a Mac design program) and used the camera image that Nan designed for Jay’s party- thanks again Nan! (Check out her Etsy shop)

I wanted some chalkboard signs pretty desperately but I didn’t want to pay an arm and a leg for them so my lovely husband cut a bunch of shapes out of mdf for me (I drew what I wanted on the board for him) and I then I just painted them with chalkboard paint :)
here’s a phone photo of the progress and then one of the table where one was used

the food table… I used brown wrapping paper along with striped wrapping paper on the table (which was great to clean up) and made the cones for the popcorn out of the same paper. Our menu was hot dogs with all kinds of different toppings, including a Tulsa Dog and SoCal Dog, Mac and Cheese Bites, Strawberries, Caramel Corn (my Grandma’s recipe- it’s FANTASTIC!), and the best vanilla cupcakes with Whipped Vanilla Buttercream Icing.

It was a great party, many thanks to all that came. We can’t thank you enough for celebrating our guys with us!

sweet one year old photos

This makes the second post in two days- pure craziness I know!  I am seriously making an effort to catch up with things, specifically my photos and this here blog, but I make no promises- I mean come on it’s the holidays and I have an almost 3-year-old (2 and 3/4 if you ask the Bird) and  1-year-old… so let’s be realistic ;)

Jamie and I took Charlie out the weekend before his birthday to have a little one year old photo shoot and I am SO glad that I did!  I couldn’t adore these photos more :)

he looks like Jay to me in this next one…

on your mark, get set- go!

As I have said before Jay is obsessed with cars right now.  He plays with them morning, noon and night and we always have at least a few with us.  So what better theme than cars for Jay’s second party, right?  Right!  While not near as much time went into this party as it did for Jay’s 1st birthday bash, I still had fun coming up with (and finding) ideas for his party.  Here’s a few of the details…

I have been playing around with a program called Artboard lately, it’s a design tool that allows me to make graphics etc. I am by no means great at it but I am really having fun and that is the most important part. The weekend that Jamie was in Jacksonville I put together this invite for his party.

I didn’t put up a whole lot of decorations for this party; however, earlier in the week I did let Jay paint some small wooden cars that we had out on the tables. He also painted and put stickers all over some paper cars that we had (and after the party I used the back of those cars as thank you notes- yay for double duty projects!).

Here’s our “Refueling Station”… we served pulled chicken sandwiches both BBQ and buffalo style from crockpots that we set up in the kitchen (this was super easy and I would recommend it to anyone who would like an easy party meal). Along with the sandwiches we had apple and grape cars, stoplight sugar cookies (this is the best sugar cookie recipe btw), chips, carrots and cake. I baked a vanilla bean cake, frosted it with this delicious buttercream icing recipe and then decorated it like a track. I considered putting some cars on the track but Jamie vetoed that idea and it probably wouldn’t have been a great idea since Jay was within arms reach of the cake.

drinks table- it shows a few of the hand painted car decorations

The only other thing that I did for his party was to make a masking tape racetrack on the office floor (although this wasn’t really done for his party but as rainy day entertainment from earlier in the week-we kept it up for the party) and I built him a cardboard box car. I had seen a Lightning McQueen cardboard box car on pintrest and decided to give it a whirl. I loved how it turned out and Jay has had fun playing with it too.

and yes, the lights really do work- they are tap lights ;)
my favorite photo from the day :)
this is pretty much how Jay looked as soon as his guests arrived... non- stop motion (btw- he is wearing his self decorated birthday hat)
cake! or should I say frosting...

letter to my jay bird

Jay Bird,

Two- two, you are two today!!  Holy- Moly guacamole, I am in disbelief.  Every day I stumble over the reality that you are mine… you light up my life and make each day better than the last.

You are a constant joy to be around little one and when I say constant I mean it!  You talk constantly, you move constantly- you are ALWAYS on the go.  Most frequently you are either playing cars or finding more cars to play with.  To say that you like cars right now would quite possibly be the understatement of the century, my sweet little boy you are obsessed!  Cars are you world;  they are literally the first thing that you talk about in the morning and the last thing you think about before closing your eyes.  They watch you eat breakfast, lunch and dinner.  You ask to get down from the table to play with them, we must have at least one of them with us at all times and they clutter every corner of your bed as you sleep.  You play with them nonstop, making them go fast, flip, crash, jump, fly- you name it, they do it.  I love watching you while you play; your imagination is immeasurable and man that is so, so wonderful!  This is not to say that you don’t enjoy other things aside from cars, you do.  You love to color, use stickers, work puzzles, play with your duplos and read stories.  Your attention span is honestly quite amazing, you can sit through stories that some third graders would loose patience with- it’s a fact that constantly amazes your Daddy and me.  It also makes your Daddy very proud…he LOVES to read with you and will read any story that you put in front of him, he even reads them multiple times in a row (which you do ask him to do).

Hugs and kisses are plentiful in our house, which I love.  I am pretty sure that you are the sweetest boy that there is; sure, I know I am biased but it  isn’t far from the truth.  You greet everyone that walks through our door with a shy smile and usually by the time they leave you are hugging, kissing them and telling them that you will “see them tomorrow”.  Frequently, for no reason you will walk up to me and plant a big wet (yup- they are usually wet) one on me and follow it will an “I love you, Mommy”- melt.my.heart kiddo, melt my heart!  Just yesterday I was playing with Charlie on the floor while you played with your cars and for no reason at all you stopped what you were doing walked over to Charlie kissed him on the head and told him you loved him.  And you do, you love your little brother in such a way it makes me burst at the seams with pride.  You are always wanting to know what he is doing, you frequently bring him your blanket to use and not just any blanket your favorite I-can’t-sleep-without-this-blanket and when he is crying you will look at me and say “Charlie isn’t very happy” then look at him and tell him it will be okay.  I can’t wait to see your relationship grow as the two of you grow.. how wonderful it will be.

This isn’t to say that our time together is all rainbows and roses kiddo, we have our moments.  You drive me up the wall, I threaten to sell you to the highest bidder before your Dad gets home and when he does get home I say- “take him, he’s your son tonight”.  But honestly, those moments and those bad days are far out-numbered by the good.  I frequently have a hard time believing that two years has already passed since you made me a Mama.  My sweet little Jay Bird, it feels as though you were just born yesterday and yet have always been a part of my life- and maybe you have been, you just resided in my heart until two years ago today.  And what a wonderful day that was-  I fell in love with you the very moment I saw you and that love continues to grow with each passing day.  Every night when we put you to bed I stand in awe of you kiddo… amazed that you are mine, grateful for all the time we get together and looking forward to all that is to come.

I love you sweet boy, happy birthday- here’s to many, many more.



and since we aren’t heading out to take your two year photos until Sunday and because every post is better with a photo here is recent one of you and Dad driving that makes me smile

a message…

Jay, baby #2 and I are so lucky to have you in our lives; we couldn’t ask for a better Daddy or husband. We love you and hope you have a wonderful day!!!

p.s. this is the reason that Birthday isn’t written out in it’s entirety… this was no easy feat with a duplo lovin’ helper ;)

Also, Jay wanted to send along a birthday message as well… I apologize in advance for the lighting issues we were “filming” by the window and the clouds kept changing the light. I kept all of the video since it’s just too cute listening to him chatter on at the end. Who knows what he was saying but I bet it had something to do with how much he loves his Daddy ;)

more from Canada- party day

The big event for our trip was the 85th birthday party celebrating my Grandma.  It was such a wonderful event that celebrated an equally wonderful lady; we ate, caught up with family I haven’t seen for a while , watched a video that had wedding footage from when my grandparents got married, looked through old photos and just enjoyed the afternoon.  It was such a nice afternoon and I am so thankful for my Aunts and Uncle who worked so hard to make it happen, they are great!

my cousin Riley
my Grandma and two of her siblings

the birthday girl :)
my Grandma and her four children- Doug, Trish, Deb and Trudy
duplo and a few cars to keep this little one entertained
my great Aunt and cousin- Auntie Florence and Barb

Scott and Frannie- my brother and sister-in-law

Jay's first juice box :)
letting the balloons free after the party

another of my Grandma and her kids
Auntie Trish and two of her three kiddos- Amy and Riley
my Grandma and her grandkids (by birth and marriage) and great grandson

These are a couple from my Auntie Deb’s camera, I rarely get photos with me in them…

me and the birthday girl