In years past, I’ve been super excited to plan and throw some fun themed parties. If you’ve been here for a little while, then you may have seen one or two of them. Some of my favorites are Gav’s construction, Ro’s 2nd trip around the sun, and Ro’s Wonka party. This year was a little different.
Well…I did the unthinkable. I sent an evite for Gavin’s birthday party this past weekend.
Ok, ok. I kid. (No really, please don’t think I’m THIS dramatic.)
But, as one of “those” moms, those “Pinterest” moms, I enjoy doing all the bells and whistles for birthdays. Yes, I ACTUALLY ENJOY doing all the crazy labels and renaming food and decor and anything else I can do for a theme. Yes, I realize that it’s mainly just for me and my children will have no recollection of said party. It’s just who I am. However, as kids get older and my house continues to stay the same size, there’s less and less space to have the parties at the house. This means jumpy places and specialty parties and those places cost the money that I would normally spend.
Hey strangers! this holiday season has been pretty hectic for me but all in a good way. I’ve been doing shows for the first time with my shop and I’ve been busier than ever with orders, which is amazing but stressful. So, if you’ve wondered where in the world I’ve been, that’s it. I’ve been elbow deep in snowman ornaments, house drawings, and canvases. My hope for the new year is to continue the momentum as well as keep a balance here. More on that in my coming new year post! On to the holiday goodness!
I love traditions, especially ones that involve food. My mom started this gingerbread house one three years ago and each year I think we get a little better. I think… While its super fun each year, I’m looking forward to when little Ro can join in which will more than likely be next year. We just weren’t ready to let the two year old (who seriously needed a nap) loose on the candy and icing. So, without further ado, here are some pictures of our third attempt at gingerbread house engineering.
It feels like yesterday that you needed me for just about everything other than walking. I would wake you up, change your diaper, get you something to eat or drink, give you cuddles when you were tired, get you dressed, etc. I would push you on the swings and you would crawl up in my lap when you started to get sleepy.
Now things are different. Not a bad different just…different different.
This past Saturday was our precious firstborn’s birthday. The last time his birthday fell on a Saturday was his actual BIRTH day. The day he came out! You can read all about that HERE. What was the theme this year? Why only one of his favorite things to do, tae kwon do! Gav started taking tae kwon do last summer and immediately loved it. His masters are so encouraging yet firm and he thrives under that sort of discipline. This practice has been so good for him and lucky us, they throw birthday parties! We knew this would be perfect. We literally had this party booked in November.
I can’t believe that I finished this space a while back and I’m only now sharing it. Maybe because it never feels fully done, or that it’s not as polished as I’d like it to be. But after stepping in the room to take pictures, I knew that this room would never be fully done. It’s always going to be evolving into whatever it is that strikes Gav’s fancy at any given time. He’s still very much into cars and vehicles, which is the main theme of the room, but he also loves dinosaurs, space, Paw Patrol, and his sports trophies. None of those things “fit” into the theme but I love his room. It’s becoming an expression of who Gav is at this point in his life.
So, without further ado, here is Gav’s 4 year old bedroom in all of it’s mix and match glory!A few heirlooms here and there and a keepsake from his SECOND BIRTHDAY.Why yes, That is a minion hanging from the airplane. Perfect touch don’t you think?!XO, Kelly
Last week, I brought my boys with me to work. I’m not really sure why I thought it was a good idea but I really just wanted to give my parents a break from watching them two nights a week. It was picture week and I thought it was going to be fairly easy, but long story short, it wasn’t. For the first hour or so, it was pretty chaotic trying to figure this that and the other out. Gav was playing in an empty studio, no big deal. Ro was strapped to me in the Tula, also, no big deal. Well, there was so much back and forth that I had to call my mom for help. She said she’d be on standby if I needed her and thank goodness she did!
After they had been gone for another hour or so, I got a text from my mom saying that Gav had told her that two boys, he described them as a boy in a red shirt and a boy with longer hair, had told him they were going to kill him and steal his stuff. As I read those words, I was mortified. I felt my body get hot and anxiety started to rush through me. Then the next words crushed me. “He’s scared.”
My sweet boy had been bullied. He had been threatened. He’s only four, how is this happening now? Why was I not there? The thought of him being scared and me not being there to comfort him broke my heart.
Based on his description, I knew exactly who these boys were. They are at least 3-4 years older than Gav and, of course, bigger than him. Cue mama bear! I could feel it coming on like watching Bruce Banner turning into the Hulk. If this were a Marvel movie, this would be the close up of my arms getting all hairy, my claws and teeth coming out, and then that awesome close up of my eyes as they flash with natural instinct. (Yeah…a bit dramatic but it’s how I felt.)
One of the young boys had already left by this time but the other was still there and so was his mother. I knew where she was and I headed back to inform her of what had happened so that it could be dealt with. But this is where the mama bear in me clashes with the “flee far away from conflict” side of me. I don’t like confrontation or conflict. I avoid it at all costs, in every aspect of my life. I also can’t be around others in a confrontation, even if it doesn’t involve me. A lot of it may have to do with my perfectionist personality, or my incessant need to people please, but whatever the reason, confrontation causes me serious anxiety. So as I walked to the back where the other mother was helping someone else’s child, I was waging an internal war with myself. As the anxiety began to rise at the thought of telling other mother that their child had done something wrong, something that had hurt and scared my child, mama bear was telling that little voice to buck up because my son is way more important than my little insecurities. As I was breathing faster and trying to push the fear out of my gut, I was telling my self that I must protect my baby. As I was rounding the corner, mama bear was in a slight lead and I walked up to mama number 2.
I quietly (ok let’s be honest, it was probably pretty timid.) asked the mom if I could speak to her for a moment. She looked surprised and, I assume she judged the tone of my voice, concerned. She could tell that this wasn’t going to be a pleasant moment of conversation. I explained to her the situation, how my son described the boys, and added to it that I didn’t know if it was true but that I felt she should know.
Now let’s pause for a sec here and discuss that. I know my son didn’t make it up. HE’S FOUR! He watches PBS kids and Paw Patrol. Occasionally he’ll watch the Ninja Turtles (the cartoons, not the “live action” ones) but that’s not where he would get that kind language. If anything, it would cause him to kick or fight, which he doesn’t do. He also doesn’t play video games. But I added that it for good measure and maybe a little out of fear of back lash. Please forgive me…
She looked at me with stunned eyes, said ok, and asked her daughter to go get her son. I assumed she was going to talk to him about it. So I went back up to the front desk, feeling the anxiety wave crash over me, and sat down. Now it was a waiting game, to see who the mom handled it, how the kid handled it, if he would own up to it. As with any confrontation, after it’s over, I stew in it. I began to breathe heavy breathes and felt like I was going to throw up. Sadly, I never spoke to that mother again that night. She left without saying a word.
Eventually my mom was able to bring the boys back and we ate some dinner, I finished up pictures with my kids and we headed home. While driving, I told Gav how proud of him I was that he knew to tell a grown up. He said thank you and told me that he was proud of himself too. As well he should be! I asked him what he did when they told him those things and he said that he asked them to please stop and, when they didn’t stop, he walked away. I was so amazed by how he handled himself. I asked him if he knew who was with him when he was scared. Without missing a beat, he said “God!” That’s right buddy.
Then we began to have a talk about bullies. Sitting on the couch, I told him that those boys were bullies, a word he told me he knew from TMNT. (See! He knows those guys are bad!) We talked about how what they said was wrong and that you should never say those words to someone and he, of course, agreed. This was obviously becoming a teachable moment now that he wasn’t scared anymore and I asked him what he thought he should do if he ever saw someone else being bullied.
“Run the other way!” (I had to hide a little giggle because it just struck me funny.) I suggested that maybe he should help that person. Here’s his response:
“Yeah, because two is better than one.”
Surprised by his answer, I told him that he was right. “I learned that in church.” He said. Instead of guilt and sadness for my child, I began to fill up with such pride. But it didn’t stop there. He started telling me more about his exchange with the two boys and how they told him that he was little.
“But you know what I told them?” He asked me.
“I might be little, but I’m stronger than you.”
“You said that?”
He’s four. FOUR! The pride that had been slowly rising may as well have trust out of the top of my head like a cartoon character. This “little” boy had courage to stand up for himself, to not give those boys the upper hand, and knew to tell a grown up.
I had no idea I would be dealing with this type of situation so soon in my mom career. To most moms, I’m still a rookie! I didn’t know that I would have to prepare him for this type of behavior at this point in his life. Maybe a kid not wanting to play with him or sticking their tongue out but not this. Not bullying and threats. But I forgot that he could be around bigger kids. Kids who, nowadays, see too much and hear too much. These kids use words without thinking, they repeat things they hear without know what they mean or the impact they can have. Words that can frighten and, these days, can’t be taken lightly. But the way that my son handled the situation is beyond what I could have ever imagined. More than I could have imagined for kid, let alone a four year old. I have never been more proud of my son.
And don’t you worry, I’ll be talking to the other mama just as soon as I can. Confrontation or not!
Sometimes I just sit back and watch as my boys interact and it simply amazes me. The love that those two have for each other, that they don’t even realize is there, is sometimes overwhelming to me. But in a good way. I see the awe in Ro’s face as he takes in his big brother. He knows that this is an older kid, babies have that sense in them, but he also knows that this is someone special. I also see the protectiveness in Gav when he’s around his baby brother. When the girls in his class flock to the baby carrier when I visit his school, Gav is right there beside it saying, “This is my baby brother.” He takes ownership, he’s proud.
The older Ro gets, the more I see their bond evolving into something amazing. This isn’t something I have ever experienced myself. I don’t have any sisters and my brother is 9 years older than me. While I definitely got to experience what it was like to have and be a sibling, we are so different in not only gender but age. I’m watching these two incredible little boys make one another laugh. I’m watching Gav show concern and caring when Ro cries. I’m watching the look in Ro’s eyes as he sees his brother playing or talking. The smiles these boys can get out of one another is heart melting.
I’m so beyond thrilled that God has given me not only the blessing of being their mother, but the blessing of witnessing this relationship. Don’t get me wrong, I know there will come a time when Ro is “annoying” or Gav is “being mean”. I’m fully prepared to breakup wrestling matches that get a little too real and tend to wounds inflicted in revenge. It’s only natural. I’ve heard some of my hubby’s stories between him and his sister, so I can only imagine what lies ahead with two boys! But I know that the good will far outweigh any of the
trips to urgent care and ERstruggles.
As any mother will admit, I want my babies to stay little forever but I also look forward to watching this bond of theirs blossom. I look forward to little things like how Ro will say “Gavin” when he starts talking or late nights when I can hear them talking to one another when they know they should be asleep. Knowing that they will go to each other for advice and one day, very far in the future, listening to a best man speech or two. Every day watching these boys of mine grow together is such an incredible gift and I am so blessed to call them “my boys”!
Last year, during a small group, we talked about traditions. As I thought about it, I couldn’t think of anything that was specific to our family and that made me a little sad. It also made me determined to start at least one! We were then directed to think about them less as “traditions” and more of “we always…” statements. Then I got to thinking about what I could do that would be very specific to me and my boys. What will they remember years from now, tell their kids about, and possibly carry on.
So what I came up with was cookies. For every holiday, we make cookies in fun shapes, decorate them, and enjoy! It’s pretty ironic too since my mother never fails to recall this one story of when I was younger and I told her that I was going to be a “real mom” and make cookies for my kids. *facepalm* I mean, come on…I promise I wasn’t always that awful!
I finally found a recipe that I didn’t have to completely make from scratch and works so well. The first time I tried it, my ghosts turned out a little portly and my pumpkins looked like blobs. *facepalm #2* Then I didn’t do it for Thanksgiving or Christmas. *ugh…#3* Anyway, once I got my hands on this glorious Betty Crocker mix (with a specific recipe for cutout cookies), I want to make them all the time! They’re super easy to make and a big hit with Gav. I definitely look forward to when Ro can join in and all of the cookies and memories we’ll make over the years!
It may not come as a surprise but I LOVE Pinterest. Everything about it from the inspiration to the recipes, even to the gorgeous wedding pics and boards. I may be married but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate all of the pretty inspiration photos! But in my mommy world, the kind of parties I’m looking to plan are of the kiddo variety.
There are probably double the number of pins as there are children in the world for every type of party you can imagine. And you can best believe I already had a full board of pins for Gav’s first birthday before he turned 6 months old. (Ok…ok…Roman too!) I can’t help myself and I’m not even doing it for the “wow” factor of party guests. It’s for me! I absolutely love all of the themed food, games, and favors. As a crafter since birth and perpetual DIYer, it’s fun for me!
But this year, for Gav’s 4th birthday, well…I didn’t. I had a really hard time with it at first. There was just no way I could have as many kids as we were inviting in my house. If Gav had a summer birthday, maybe, but with a January birthday, outdoor activities aren’t an option. So we booked a party at a jumpy place and I began the mourning process of my Pinterest board. But then the more I started to think about how I wouldn’t have any clean up, no worries about where to put the cat, no millions of cars on my lawn, and minimal expenses, the better this party was sounding.
Then, after looking at my board, I realized that there were a few elements that I could still do, like pizza box favors and TMNT balloons. I was going to get to do some of my favorite parts and not have to worry about the rest which, even before I had two kids, can get stressful. Don’t get me wrong, the stress is beyond worth it, but this time around, I was willing to let the board go. Plus, I still have a few years of Pinterest parties left with Ro!
I was feeling so relieved as we pulled in to the parking lot with only balloons in my backseat but the best part was once we were inside, Gav looked around the play area and, jumping up and down, he said, “I’m so excited! It’s my party!” That right there was the most perfect moment. To make it even better, my aunt over heard my sweet boy with two of his friends saying, “Isn’t this amazing?!”
Sadly, I left my DSLR at home in the rush to get out the door, but thank goodness for cellphones!My mom and my aunt even bought matching TMNT shirts!