The Great Paci Surrender

the great paci surrender10When I was pregnant with the Happy Buddy I SWORE up and down and left and right that my kid would NEVER take a pacifier.

I mean, hello?!  I read all the baby books and I knew all about nipple confusion.

I planned on nursing this baby until he was at least 10 and nothing was going to get in the way of that.

Not to mention I didn’t want my precious child getting messed up teeth and have to spend thousands of dollars on dental work.

And besides, my baby wasn’t going to need a paci anyway because he was not going to fuss or cry like those other babies.

<<<<<<Insert lots of loud laughing here.>>>>>>

the great paci surrender6The Happy Buddy was not even alive a few hours before the Happy Hubby was marching himself down to the nurse’s station to fetch us a pacifier.

As soon as that funny little thing was popped into our baby’s mouth, there was no turning back.

Our boy love love looooooooved his pacis.

He needed at least 4 pacis in his bed at all times (apparently each pacifier brought a little something different to the table).

He loved sucking them and chewing them and throwing them out of his crib as a form of entertainment.

the great paci surrender8He needed them to calm down.

He needed them to sleep.

He needed them when he was bored.

He needed them to poop.

He needed them all. the. time.

Well, we eventually got him to a place where he was only allowed to have his paci during nap time or while sleeping at night.

When that happened, suddenly the Happy Buddy wanted to take a lot of ‘rests’ throughout the day. ;-)

As year 2 of his life drew to an end, the Happy Hubby and I decided that on his 3rd birthday, we’d ditch the pacifiers for good.

the great paci surrender9But then… the Happy Baby was born.

And the drama that ensued in our Happy Home after his birth put pacifier retirement at the bottom of our list of things to do.  The Happy Baby ended up having his feeding tube surgery on the same day as the Happy Buddy’s 3rd birthday, so we just couldn’t justify ripping away his one physical comfort during such a painful and trying time.

All of a sudden another year went by and the Happy Hubby and I are looking at each other wondering if our kid is going to college with a MAM.

So over the last few months we have started to drop subtle hints that the Happy Buddy was a big boy and big boys did not need pacis.

We even mentioned a few times that his 4th birthday would be the perfect opportunity for him to put those little suckers to rest.

We even made the call that if his pacis fell behind his bed or got dropped on a dirty floor or in the toilet (yes, that happened), I would not replace or clean them.  So once he was down to his last paci, that was it!

As his 4th birthday approached and we were down to that last paci, I started to get cold feet.  I didn’t want to be remembered as the big ogre mommy who took away his precious paci.  Couldn’t it be more organic?  More natural?  Couldn’t a bird just swoop down and pluck it out of his mouth and fly away with it to some far off country?

The birthday came and went and I did not take away the pacifier.

A few days later, however, the Happy Buddy came to us and announced (completely on his own volition) that next Saturday (not this Saturday, the next one) he wanted to take his final pacifier to the hospital where ‘we got the Happy Baby’ and give it away to one of the newborns.

The Happy Hubby and I nodded our heads and approved of this, but we did not think for one second that our addicted son would actually stick with his plan.

He surprised us again by saying one week later, “Saturday is when I am giving up my paci.”

We encouraged him but still did not think that he was going to follow through.

Well that Saturday arrived and, to be honest, I didn’t even remember the significance of the day, but the Happy Buddy got out of bed and reported to us first thing, “After my nap we are going to the hospital.”

The Happy Hubby pulled me aside later when we were making plans for the day, “We aren’t really going to do that, are we?”

And I was like, “You bet we are!  I think we better jump out this open window before it closes forever!”

After the nap we put the paci in a small Ziploc bag (as I am sure that last pacifier was the host of 8.2 million different kinds of diseases and every letter of the alphabet Hepatitis) and drove to the hospital.the great paci surrender

the great paci surrender2 He took a few final sucks in the lobby.

the great paci surrender3Then we rode the elevator up to the postpartum wing.

the great paci surrender4We met the head nurse and he handed his last paci into her outstretched hand.

I made a big show of his courage and bravery and determination.

And the Happy Hubby had a Frosty from Wendy’s waiting for him in the car when we returned.

It all seemed too… easy.

The first night without the paci went surprisingly well.  He woke up at 5:30 in the morning and simply couldn’t go back to sleep.  I was okay with this, figuring it was a one time deal.

24 hours later and I am mass texting everyone in my address book for prayer because I am seriously wondering if I need to put the Happy Buddy in rehab.

It was an ugly couple of days.

For some reason the Happy Buddy turned to chewing on clean pairs of underwear as a sort of substitute for the loss of all that oral stimulation.

You’d think a rabid dog had gotten to his Thomas the Train big boys pants if you saw what he did to them!

At one point I even recited Psalm 23 over him focusing on “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want” part and then changing the words to, “even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of no paci, I will fear no evil.  For you are with me…” :-)

But today is the 4th day post-paci and we’re seeing a bit of shining light.

the great paci surrender5We’re going to make it.

Now why am I sharing all this with you?

Well, I faced a good bit of anxiety about the fact that my child was 4 and still using a paci.  I also got some disapproving comments from other mommies who thought he was way too old to still be using one – which just piled on guilt.

In hindsight, though, I realize that it simply wasn’t as big of a deal as I (or others) made it out to be.

He eventually gave it up.

His teeth are fine (the fact that I constantly forget to brush them is more the issue at this point). :-)

He definitely did not have nipple confusion (I nursed him for 2 years!).

And he (and I, for that matter) learned a whole lot of great spiritual truths from the final paci surrender.

So, dear Mom who has a child with a addiction Lovey obsession – don’t worry.  I promise he won’t be climbing into bed with his new bride on their honeymoon and saying, “Hang on, babe.  I need my paci.”

I promise she won’t be sitting in the middle of an important meeting at the Fortune 500 company where she works with her thumb in her mouth.

I promise he won’t be telling his friends in the middle of the football game that he needs to go grab his blankie from the car.

Try not to fret about it.

Just do what you can to help your child see the bigger picture – that God is really all they need.

Happy Buddy, I just want you to know that I am so proud of you!

The choice you made to give up something that was so important to you… oh, how instructive that is to the body of Christ!

What beautiful sacrifice in doing the right thing – even when it cost you something.  That sounds like Jesus to me.

God helped you through the darkest hours, and you came out better and more seasoned (albeit with a few less pairs of undies) in the knowledge that you truly can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.  

But most of all you learned that He is enough.

Mommy loves you so much!

“But my God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

:-)

Happy Birthday, Happy Buddy

IMG_1589

Dear Happy Buddy,

Last night we snuggled in bed and I told you the story of your birth… How Mommy and Daddy were sooo excited to meet you.  How when you came out of my tummy you cried and it was the best sound I had ever heard.  How they wrapped you up like a giant 9 lb 15 oz little burrito and handed you to me and how suddenly my life really began.

You loved hearing this story and started to ask for more stories.  You wanted to know about when you were 2 and I found myself making that ‘blink-blink-I’ve-got-nothin’ face.  Why I can remember every single outfit I wore to important life events but yet cannot recall a single memory from your 2-year-old life is beyond me.

So I was incredibly grateful when I found THIS POST all bursting with funny things from your 2nd year of life and I vowed I would do it again and again on your birthday so that I never, ever forget all that God has done in your precious, awesome heart.

IMG_2121I love that you have one volume and that is full blast.

I love that you will do absolutely anything if ice cream, M&M’s, or Mom-Mom is involved.

I love that you suddenly stopped needing a Pull-Up at night this last week and I officially only have to buy diapers for 1 person in this house {fist bumps, anyone?!?}.

I love that you pretend to do ‘laundry’ by pulling out all the clean, perfectly folded clothes from your drawers and stuffing them into the refrigerator in your play kitchen.

I love that you can down a plate of chicken patties in 4 seconds but it takes 8 million years to finish one baby carrot.

IMG_2347I love that every morning you need breakfast served within the first 2 minutes of your eyes being open or Fruits of the Spirit start flying out the window.

I love that you freeeeeeeeeeeeeak out if I forget to put socks on you at night.

I love that the other day I found you in the living room, pants-less, dancing, and having the time of your life.

I love that you have to high-five everyone at least 7 times, or until the smack is satisfying enough.

I love that when we were at the park recently and a woman jogged by you said, “You go, girl!”

I love that your favorite thing about our trips to Costco is the cold room.

IMG_2612I love that the first thing you do when I pick you up from school is try to get your little brother to smile.

I love that you will remind me to, “Trust in the Lord” if I show signs of stress or anxiety.

I love that on our walk the other day you wanted to wear a bucket as a helmet while riding your scooter.

I love that I spend 95% of my day making sure that your little brother stays alive.

I love that you pull your little kid’s Ikea chair up to the kitchen counter and want to help me make things like brownies or meatloaf.

I love that you get really excited when we actually eat a meal at the dining room table.

IMG_3568I love that you like to follow me into the bathroom and sit on the floor while I repeatedly ask you to leave.

I love that you didn’t say anything negative about the haircut I tried to give you this year.

I love that you like to take the garbage men bottled water when they make their rounds.

I love that you have a crush on the girl next door and have been known to be a bit of a Peeping Tom.

I love that you love Clean Sheets Day.

IMG_3113I love that all you ever want to do – all day long – is play your drums.

I love that you race up to the employees at Chick-Fil-A and tell them excitedly, “Chicken, fries, ketchup and chocolate milk!!!”

I love that most of the food you eat is beige.

I love that you learned how to write your name this year.

I love that your favorite Bible story right now is the one where Gideon and his army blow trumpets and smash jars because it has to do with being loud.

IMG_5242I love that there are train tracks on our floor at all times.

I love that we went to Disney and spent all kinds of money getting us into the park and then the only thing you wanted to do was ride the free monorail.

I love that you say the same things to me every. single. night: “Can I pray and sing songs?  Are there angels?  I love you.  I love the Happy Baby and Daddy too.  Sweet dreams!”

I love that you always ask to read the book Love You Forever because you know it makes me get all weepy.

I love that being in a bounce house for a few hours is about the only thing that will inspire a nap from you these days.

I love that getting you to go #2 is practically a second job for me.  I will get you back one day for all the hours we have spent in the potty by sharing some super embarrassing stories about this very topic with your future wife.

IMG_5450I love that you are passionate about worship music and are always bopping around our house wearing Daddy’s slippers and my jewelry singing something you learned at church.

I love that really all you need is an elevator and some Goldfish to be happy for hours.

I love that you are nervous about swimming and you lose your cool when a balloon pops.

I love that I have taught you to either start playing with my hair or tickling my back if you ever want to stall your bedtime.

I love that you have the power to make your little brother laugh like nobody else.

summersational2013-003I love that you celebrate your imaginary friend, Geoffrey’s, birthday every day.  I think he is like 697 years old by now.

I love that your heart is moved at the sight of a homeless friend and you ask me if we can pray for them.

I love the giant red streaks of marker you drew on our carpet a few months ago.

I love the way you want me to reach back and hold your hand when we are at red traffic lights.

I love watching you sleep when I sneak in your room at night to pray over you.

I love that you give me big, fat kisses on the lips.

I love that your heart is moving more and more toward Jesus every day.

noahHappy Buddy, I could go on forever!

God has given you so much love and wonderment for everything around you – you remind me every day that the joy of heaven is even more than the joys here on earth.

So on this 3rd of July I want you to know that I am proud to be your mommy.

I believe that you have what it takes to be a great man and that God is going to use you in mighty ways for His glory and good purposes.

I can’t wait to see all that He has for you in this next year of your life.

Now, my precious 4 year old, in the spirit of what we tell you every night before bed…

Mommy loves you.

Daddy loves you.

And Jesus loves you more.

IMG_5889Happy Birthday, Happy Buddy. :-)

Love,

Mommy

“I see God working in your life.”

picnicSomewhere along the way of my growing up, I got it in my head that I had to be perfect in order to make people (and God) happy.

And I got pretty darn good at pretending!

I kept my room tidy, got straight A’s at school, combed my hair every day, acted respectfully toward adults…

Hearing, “You’re such a good girl,” was one of my greatest delights as a child.  I mean, who doesn’t love a nice pat on the back??

The problem was when “You’re such a good girl,” planted seeds of pride and self-reliance in my heart.

I started to think that I was a good girl.

Which led me to believe that I didn’t really need a Savior.

picnic1Fortunately, over the years (and especially after becoming a mommy, amen?!), my eyes have been opened to my short-comings and weaknesses and the Gospel has taken on a whole new meaning in my heart.

I literally cannot make it through a day without depending on His strength, grace, wisdom, power to survive!  Seriously the other day the Happy Buddy had left a yogurt cup on the table in the living room and the whole couch got a paint job courtesy of the Happy Baby.  On top of that, the two brothers were fussing at each other about every 8 seconds.  I was walking around our house shouting, “Lord, give me patience!” to try to keep from  losing one of the few marbles I have left.

picnic2Amazing grace, how sweet the sound!  That saved a wretch like me!

These are the words I long to hear spill out of my Happy Buddies’ mouths as they grow and learn about Jesus.

I long to see my boys clinging to God and living in His presence every minute of every day.

I don’t want them to think that their good choices or obedience come from their own strength.

We are sinners in need of a Savior.

I want them to know that God helps them grow.  God causes them to choose rightly.

So I recently decided to rephrase some of my words when I see one of my boys obeying.

Instead of saying, “You’re such a good boy!”

I try to say, “I see God working in your life.”

Because any fruit, any goodness reflected in our actions, is a result of Jesus’ work on our behalf.

I want to point my babies to Jesus so that they will come to depend on Him for everything.

picnic3Last week we attended a little last day of school sprinkler party at a friend’s house.

The kids were all playing with these fun squirt gun things.

One of the boys playfully aimed his at the Happy Buddy’s face and blasted him with water.

Ohhhh boy.  I didn’t realize that my boy was part Hulk!  He squinted up his eyes, glared so hard I thought his head might pop, and shouted at the boy, “STOP THAT, YOU MEANIE!”

I took the Happy Buddy aside and we spoke briefly about his reaction.  He’d been learning about 1 Corinthians 13 at school, so a “Love is kind” reminder seemed appropriate. :-)  He apologized to the boy.

A few minutes later everyone was running around having fun, but he got some water in the face again, and this time, I watched him closely to see how he would respond.

I saw the torment on his face – the struggle to keep his mouth from spurting angry words.

And I saw him choose to stay silent.

Later when we were in the house alone, drying off, I rested my hands on my boy’s shoulders and spoke to him.

“Precious boy, I want you to know how proud I am of you.”

He kind of looked at me in surprise.

“When the water was shot in your face a second time, I saw how you chose not to get angry.  I know that must have been a hard choice because your flesh wanted to yell and scream.  But I saw how God gave you the strength to do the right thing. I want you to know that I see God working in your life, my darling.  I am so excited to watch you grow in His ways!”

Well, you should have seen the look on the Happy Buddy’s face after that speech!

picnic4Oh I wish I did this more!

I feel like I spend more time fussing at him for obedience, but my goal is to be more intentional to look for the ways God is working on the Happy Buddy.

I pray that he will come to know the love of Christ that way.

That His love is less about rule following and tidy rooms and good grades and more about His amazing grace.

:-)

“It is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God…” Ephesians 2:8

Chocolate Ice Cream and the Big Poop

Someone went poopy in the potty today for the first. time. ever!!

So we celebrated accordingly.

Do you think the Happy Buddy will be mad at me forever when he is old enough to realize that I posted about his poop on the internet for all the world to see?

I’m just a proud mama, is all.

Nothin’ wrong with that, right?

I’ll try to show a bit more discretion in his teen years.

:-)

Dear Happy Buddy

Dear Happy Buddy,

Here are some things you’ve said and done in these last few weeks that I am writing down because I love them and I want to forever remember the way God is working in your little 3-year-old heart.

I love how in the last 2 weeks you started eating hot dogs, pizza, macaroni and cheese, and Chicken Cacciatore (without picking all of the vegetables out).

I love how you think that seeing a trash truck is almost better than having Christmas.

I love how you play ‘Trash Truck’ by going from room to room collecting random things (like clothes, toys, shoes, spatulas, etc.) and throwing them in giant piles all over the house.

I love how when I crawled into bed a few nights ago there was a Matchbox car under my pillow.

I love how you stopped crying at night before bed… You used to be afraid that Mommy or Daddy was going to leave because we had been leaving so much to visit your brother in the hospital, but now that he is home and we are finally a family under one roof, you have peace again.

I love the big goofy, toothy grin you’ve been giving the camera lately.

I love seeing you run around our house in your Thomas the Train undies.

I love that you like to do the ordering at the grocery store deli counter.

I love that you love school and have somehow managed to remember the last names of all your classmates.

I love that when your brother is in his crib not napping, we sit together and giggle and look at the monitor and tell him to, “Go to sleep.”

I love that I used the phrase, “Stressed Out” one time in your presence and now you repeat it back to me several hundred times a day – especially when I am trying to give your brother a bottle.  It’s a shame I can’t hide my feelings better. :-)

I love that you sing worship tunes around the house and set out books on the floor and call them your ‘screens,’ like the ones at church that display song lyrics.

I love that whenever you hear the gas come out of your brother’s feeding tube, you say, “Holy Smolies – did you hear that?!”

I love that you are mesmerized by Blue’s Clues.  I kind of am too.

I love how occasionally you will look over at me (and even when I haven’t showered for days) and say, “You look like an angel.”

I love that you lie awake in bed mimicking the ‘Woh, woh, woh” sound of my breast pump.

I love that when you see me sad and frustrated over your brother’s struggle to eat, you remind me to, “Trust in the Lord, Mommy.

I love that you started saying, “I love you” to Daddy and me and even your baby brother.

I love that you occasionally break out in prayers of thanksgiving.

I love that when you hear thunder clapping you shout, “Halleluia!

I love that when your brother recently took a decent volume of milk you got so excited and said, “Good job, Brother!”

I love hearing you say how much you love your bedroom.

I love that you don’t seem to mind an extra helping of TV shows while I spend so much time trying to feed your brother.

I love that you can recognize the word Jesus.

I love that when told it was time to go during our last two trips we have taken to the mall, you hopped right up and marched out the door without throwing a tantrum or getting upset.

I love that you know how to use iPads and iPhones better than I do.

I love how if you could drink chocolate milk and eat only pretzels for the rest of your life, you would.

I love that you can roll your ‘r’s’ as if you speak Spanish.

I love that you have an imaginary friend named Geoffrey who has a little brother with a feeding tube, too.

I love the way your little brother looks at you.

I love that despite the roller coaster that has been the last several months, you are still very much The Happy Buddy.

I love that you remind me of the bigger picture.

That the battle I fight daily with your baby brother’s eating issues is not one that will leave me consumed (although I apologize for the days when it seems it has and I am grumpy and weepy).

I love how the other day we pretended to put on our battle gear and armor before heading in to feed your brother.

Because I love that even if the outcome is not what I expected, you help me to see that I have the victory when I trust in Him.

I love how God has given you great wisdom for a 3-year-old.

Bottom Line – Mommy Loves You.

Happy Father’s Day – An Important Message from the Happy Buddy

Hey Daddy!

Mommy let me borrow her blog today so that I could tell everyone about how awesome you are.

There are like a billion things, but I will try to narrow it down.

First off, I love how you will play songs like Beat It and Sweet Home Alabama on Guitar Hero 17,000 times without complaining.

And it’s really great when you let me bang on the drums on the stage after church.

It’s cool how you’ve taught me super important things like the names of the drummer in Dave Matthews’ Band and the lead singer for Foo Fighters.

You’re teaching me how to protect our house (and Mommy) when we go Spider Hunting.

This year you helped me add French Toast to the list of 5 things I eat.

You don’t get mad when I visit you in your office at church and draw all over the whiteboard and dump all of the paperclips and rubber bands out of your desk drawers.

Thanks for teaching me how to swim and for taking me to the beach all the time.

You’re super talented.  I laugh so hard when you use funny voices to quote all of my favorite shows like Despicable Me and Phineas and Ferb.

You don’t care about messes.  It’s so fun when Mommy’s not home and you let me take out every toy, book, and puzzle that I own.

You know how to give me a thrill!  I’ll never forget when I got to sit on your lap and ride the bumper cars at the mall.

You’ve taught me everything I know about tools.  I get so happy when you let me use your hammer or screwdriver to help you with a project.

I love playing baseball with you.

It’s the best when I get to church on Sunday mornings and see you practicing with the worship band and you say hi to me in the microphone.

I feel so safe when you pray for me every night before bed.

I know you don’t really like watching that show with the big purple dinosaur, but you’ll watch it with me anyway without getting too upset because you love me.

You’re so smart.  You helped me figure out how to use toothpaste.

It’s amazing how you have this magical power to make me want to wear my big boy underpants.  I think you’ll be the reason I ever get potty trained.

Nobody can build massive train tracks like you.

You give the best big hugs.

Seriously.

You are simply the awesome-est.

And I love you.

Oh wait.

My brother wants to say something, too.DADDDDDYYYYYYYYYYYY!Thanks for always visiting me in the hospital.

You have some mad bottle-feeding skills.

I wanted to bust out of this joint last night to give you myself for Father’s Day, but the nurses were on to my escape plan.

They keep a pretty tight leash on me around here.

You should know that I think you’re the best Daddy EVERRRRRRRRRRRRR.

I can’t wait until I’m home and we can hang out ALL THE TIME.

P.S. Mom wanted me to say thanks to you for being so strong and tough for her while I am away.  I am pretty sure she’d be a big mushy pile of Jell-O without you holding her up.

*     *     *     *

Happy Father’s Day, Big Hunny.

We all love you so much.

Yesterday

Dear Happy Buddy,

Yesterday you did something that I will never forget.

Yesterday you did something that I will treasure for the rest of my life.

Yesterday you had a conviction.

Things were not going well.

I had said it was time for your nap (which also meant it was time for Mommy’s nap :-)) and you bolted from the room shouting NOOOOO.

I felt tired.

Bone weary.

I wasn’t sure I had the energy to do the right thing and shepherd the defiant spirit – redirect your precious heart to His ways.

So I prayed as I picked up toys.You were silent in the kitchen – the place where your NOOOO had settled.

I asked God for strength.

The house was still for several minutes.

Then suddenly you were at my side, following me quietly as I put the trucks in the bin and the books back on the shelf.

And then you were right in front of me.

Your arms raised.

I picked you up, sensing that the moment was somehow bigger than the two of us.

That something profound and special was happening.

Because when I picked you up, I knew that you had had a conviction.

That the Holy Spirit had moved in your heart to obey.

To surrender your will in exchange for what was right.Because I picked you up and you said, “I’m ready to go night-night, Mommy.”

I didn’t have to come and get you, screaming and kicking your way to the bedroom.

I didn’t have to talk through the consequences of your actions.

Because you listened to God.

You are learning to love Him and obey Him and surrender your will in exchange for His -

Because He knows what’s best.

I am so proud of you, Happy Buddy.

Mommy loves you.

“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation…” 2 Corinthians 7:10

The Happy Buddy’s Monkey Birthday Party

When considering themes for the Happy Buddy’s 2nd birthday, the Happy Hubby and I kept coming back to the monkey.

For one thing, we call the Happy Buddy our ‘Lil’ Monkey’ because he is all over the place.

We often catch him doing headstands in the crib when he should be sleeping (I love video monitors).

And for another thing, there are some ridiculously cute monkey ideas in blog world!

If you want to see the inspiration for the Happy Buddy’s Monkey Party – go HERE.

Okay, I’ll stop monkeyin’ around and get to it!My mom and I went to Kinko’s and enlarged the party invitation I created to greet guests as they arrived.Isn’t that a fun table?!

My mom is my hero.

I told her that I wanted lots and lots of color and she helped me put all of this together!

She made that cute little banner hanging in front of the framed invitation on the wall!

I can’t even sew a button, so I was super impressed when she showed it to me.The Menu…

Hangin’ Burgers
Monkey Tails (Hot Dogs)
Monkey Eyeballs (Grandmommy’s Deviled Eggs)
Chimp Chips
Gorilla Grapes, Ape-les, and Bananas, of course
Monkey Mix (a combination of animal crackers, pretzels, raisins, peanuts, and M&M’s)
Jungle JuiceIt wouldn’t be a Monkey Party without Monkey Cupcakes!!!And if you thought there wasn’t enough sugar at this Monkey Party, we had a banana split bar, too.

I love how even with all that amazing Monkey Food, the Happy Buddy wanted a bowl of Cheerios.

And it was his birthday – so he got it!

My mom found some cute wooden monkeys at JoAnn’s (just $1 each!) that the guests could color.

Yes, that’s me in the background.

Yes, I am wearing my fairy wings. :-)There were like a gazillion little stuffed monkeys (thank you Aunt Tina and Oriental Trading) all over the house – even in the bathroom.Everyone went bananas in the bounce house.  Thank you, Mom-Mom and Pop-Pop!This was definitely the Happy Buddy’s favorite part of the event – having everyone sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to him.

He asked for a reprise when it was over. :-)

This is me laughing because while I don’t do it all the time, I occasionally try to make healthy choices for our Happy Home.  So I made a special trip to Whole Foods to find an all-natural cake mix for the cupcakes.

Then decided that it was too much trouble to mix up the all-natural icing, so I went Duncan Hines for that.

I figured 50/50 of the cupcake was somewhat healthy.

Well, the Happy Buddy didn’t touch the cupcake part but seemed to think that the icing was a new form of heaven on earth.

Oh well!  Next time, Duncan Hines all the way.Present time!

The Happy Buddy was particularly excited about this new easel his Grammie and Pop-Pop got for him!Everyone went home with a stuffed monkey and some yummy candy in a happy little bag!

One of my favorite moments from the party – the Happy Hubby said a special prayer of blessing on our boy.And finally, this is probably my favorite picture from the party because with all of the monkey mania, bounce houses, presents, food, cousins, etc,. etc. all the Happy Buddy wanted to do was play with Mom-Mom’s i-Phone.

:-)

It’s the little things!

Happy Monkey Party-ing! :-)

Happy Birthday Happy Buddy!!

Dear Happy Buddy,

Today you are 2 years old.

Exactly 2 years ago your daddy and I were told that you were going to be 10 pounds and that we had to get you out of my tummy immediately!

We could not wait to meet you.  We were so excited that we went out to dinner the night before you arrived and I ate lots of ice cream to celebrate. :-)

The doctors were right.  You were 10 pounds.  A big baby – not just physically, but right from the beginning you’ve been big on everything else.

Like big on joy, big on laughter, and big on prayer.

And, how could we forget?  Big on eating!  I can’t leave home without a snack in my pocket to keep that never full belly of yours happy!

In honor of your special day, I thought I’d take a minute and tell you all of the things I love about you and your now 2-year-old self. :-)

First of all, I love that this is what you looked like when I woke you up this morning…

I love that you are all boy (note giant bandaid on chin – we seriously almost had to spend the Happy Buddy’s birthday in an ER getting stitches!)

I love that you think something simple like a balloon is a million times better than a room full of birthday presents.

I love taking walks every day and watching you push your lawn mower.

I love that you can’t wait to find the little hole in the sidewalk and we have to sit down and put a bunch of pieces of grass in it before moving on.

I love it when you make up new words – like how you call spoons ‘Ma-moos’ and shoes ‘hoofs.’

And I love that the way you pronounce other words (like ‘fork’ and ‘truck’) could get us in a lot of trouble.

I love your crazy curly hair that makes everyone stop and comment.

I love that you run around yelling when you’re really excited about something.

I love that you know how to use Mom-Mom’s i-Phone better than I do.

I love that the first thing out of your mouth in the morning is, “YOGURT?!”

I love that you race all over the house buck naked every night before your bath and shout, “Naked Run!”

I love that you can’t stand wearing your shoes and socks in the car.

I love that you let out a cry of delight whenever we go over train tracks or sing our special song in the tunnel.

I love that you feel so comfortable at church racing around and helping everyone stay off task. :-)I love that you always want to pray.

I love that every once and awhile you’ll slow down long enough to wrap your arms around me and lean in for a ‘Big Kiss.’

I love that you ask me to sing along with music in the car because I think you like to hear my voice. :-)

I love that you give big smiles to the ladies at the deli counter and can’t wait to eat your sample ‘piece.’

I love that your favorite thing in the world right now is your ‘Big Spatula.’

I love that you like to pull every single thing out of the kitchen utensil drawer and strategically place it all over the floor.

I love that you can now reach the light switches and you think it’s funny to leave me in the dark when I am using the potty.

I love that you find belly buttons fascinating.

I love how quickly you forgive when someone hurts you.

I love that you like to page through the Bible at night before bed looking for the picture of ‘Baby Jesus.’

I love that you would ride on the escalator at the mall for the rest of your life if you could.

I love that Chick-fil-A is pretty much the only source of protein in your diet.I love that bounce houses make you go bananas.

I love that you started calling the remote control a ‘microphone.’

I love that you like coloring with me while sitting on the kitchen floor every morning.

I love that you make sure all of the lights are out, windows are closed, and doors are locked when we leave a room or go somewhere.  Your daddy and I like to call you ‘The Efficiency Police.’

I love that you seem to have a thing for blondes.

I love that you enjoy reading Richard Scarry books in the backseat of our tiny yellow car.

I love that when I ask you how old you are going to be you say, “4!”

I love that you go crazy when the cuckoo clock at Mom-Mom and Pop-Pop’s starts chirping.

I love that you think it’s hilarious to eat your toes.

I love that you purposely dump the entire contents of your cereal bowl on your tray and announce loudly, “BIG MESS!”

I love that you roll around in your crib at night like an acrobat.

I love that you like Disney almost as much as I do. :-)

Happy Buddy, I could go on forever!

God has given you so much love and wonderment for everything around you – you remind me every day that the joy of heaven is even more than the joys here on earth.

So on this 3rd of July I want you to know that I am proud to be your mommy.

I believe that you have what it takes to be a great man and that God is going to use you in mighty ways for His glory and good purposes.

I can’t wait to see all that He has for you in this next year of your life.

Now, my 2 year old, in the spirit of what we tell you every night before bed…

Mommy loves you.

Daddy loves you.

And Jesus loves you more.

Happy Birthday Happy Buddy!

The Happy Buddy’s Baby Shower

It wouldn’t be Baby Week at the Happy Home Fairy if I didn’t share with you some pictures from the shower my mom threw for me when the Happy Buddy was in my tummy!

Let me just say – my mom is like the greatest party throw-er of America!!!!

She is so good at hostessing – even down to the smallest details!  I am always walking around with my jaw hanging open whenever I see the fruit of her creative hands!!!This was what guests saw when they arrived – a table full of teddy bears (handmade by my amazing Happy Aunt Tina!  She made one for every guest as a FAVOR!), and a basket that had a questionnaire about the momma-to-be (me!). :-)  Whoever got the most questions right was the winner!  Honestly, though, I thought that game was a cinch because I am definitely not secretive about the things I love (hello the color yellow, glitter, the Happy Hubby, Disney World, and Jesus)!  Haha!

There were just so many friends I wanted to celebrate with, so my mom had to accommodate a bit of an army!

Here are pictures of the tables…I love the bears popping out of everyone’s glass!If guests didn’t get a bear at their place setting, then they received a Boo Boo Bunny!  Don’t know what that is?  Go HERE!Another friend of mine also made Toilet Paper Roll Crackers for the event!  They were so cute and everyone loved pulling on them and having them explode candy everywhere!  She also included fun little baby-related quotes in the crackers like, “It is not a slight thing when those so fresh from God love us. – Charles Dickens.”  Go HERE to make your own!Don’t you just love the colors yellow and blue together?  This is the color scheme in 95% of the rooms in our Happy Home!Broke out the fancy china for this occasion!  The Happy Buddy is one special little man!I love how something simple like laying three different color ribbons across the center of a table really makes things beautiful!My mom is so cute – she was determined to make a fabulously cute cupcake for all of the guests!  I think they were just perfect for keeping everyone company at the tables.  Don’t you love how these turned out?  You can find out how to make your own panda cupcakes in THIS COOKBOOK.The food was OUT OF THIS WORLD!  We feasted on a ‘Trio of Salads!’  My famous broccoli salad(a MUST at EVERY party), a yummy chicken salad, and lots and lots of fresh fruit.

Click to Buy!

One of my favorite things about the shower were the New Mommy Advice Cards all of the guests filled out so that I would have a ton of great tips as I started my mothering adventure.

The best advice I got was on a card from my Happy Home Friend, Barb.  She wrote from the perspective of the Happy Buddy, “Dear Mommy, My advice to you at this time is to remember that as much as you and Daddy love me, Jesus loves me even more.  Trust Him with everything because He does what’s best.  Best Wishes, Happy Buddy (via Barb).” :-)

There’s me with the SPECTACULAR cake from Publix!  *Note – can you tell what I added in M&M’s to the cake?* :-)Sorry for the horrible picture – I had to scan this so that you could see and forgot to put a colored background on it!

My mom made these little baby carriages out of scrapbook paper and then I wrote messages on them from the Happy Buddy.  We scattered them all over the tables.

They said things like, “Thank you for helping me get my bedroom ready! Love, The Happy Buddy” and “I am so grateful that my mom has such magical friends. Love, the Happy Buddy.”  I also wrote some Bible verses that had encouraged me throughout the pregnancy as well as a few that went along with the meaning of the Happy Buddy’s name.Present time!  My Happy Home friends know me so well. :-)

I am happy to report that the Happy Buddy loves Mickey almost as much as his mommy.  I’ve been brainwashing him since he was in the womb!!!

And there I am with the Hostess with the Mostest – who also happens to be the most magical mom in the universe!  Thanks, Mom, for an amazing celebration!  The Happy Buddy and I truly felt showered with your love!

Happy Baby Shower-ing! :-)