Happy 2nd Birthday, Miss Alexa Gabrielle. We adore your spirit, your silliness, your smile and the way you laugh. You are our little gymnast and adventurer who stays up all night singing and partying with your crib friends. We love your independence and constant refrain of “I’ll do it!” along with your love for life and personality that lights up a room. We love that Ryan is your hero and you are his sweetie.
Happy 5th Birthday to our silly, funny, handsome, smart, creative, curious, always moving, always talking, always singing, tushy-dancing buddy RYAN CHASE!
With you, there is never a dull moment and we wouldn’t have it any other way. You really rock and if you weren’t our kid, we’d be jealous. Probably a little more rested, but jealous. We hope you realize how wonderful and special you are and how proud we are to be your parents. You make us laugh like nobody else can.
Happy Birthday, Uncle JJ. This one’s for you.
I know I’m going to get blasted for this and I sound sooooo very ungrateful and rude, but here goes…
I can’t stand when people don’t ask for gift receipts when purchasing gifts.
Note to friends and family – this is a general sentiment and has nothing to do with the beautiful gifts we received for Alexa’s Birthday. Well, maybe a couple of them. But it wasn’t YOU.
I’m sure I’ve been guilty of this in the past (actually, I just gave my friend L a gift for her daughter and forgot to tape the receipt inside, but I have it and asked her if she wanted it) but what makes a person think that there’s no way in hell that someone wouldn’t like their gift? Of course everyone thinks they have fabulous taste, but I can’t help it if I’m not a fan of a velvet turtleneck in a 12 month size when it’s summertime. Just give me the chance to make it right and exchange it!
Some gifts don’t come with any proof of the store they came from so there’s no way to return it. I’d like to be able to exchange your gift instead of donating it in a drop box after you spent considerable time and money picking it out. Store policies today are so strict that I have to go into Toys ‘R Us with a friend’s driver’s license once I’ve hit $75 in returns in one calendar year.
There’s also the possibility that the gift recipient already has the gift and would like to exchange it. Without a receipt, I’m stuck with three different Memory board games and four of the same book. And I’m not a re-gifter, even though people tell me I’m crazy for not doing it.
Speaking of re-gifting, I remember in 2009 I received a gift that had a receipt attached from 2006. Did you think I wouldn’t notice? I didn’t even have kids then! Furthermore, if YOU didn’t like it, why did you think I would? That’s what gets me. I guess if you gave away an extra Memory game because you have four of them it’s not as bad as giving away some fugly outfit that you hate as well.
I know some people take pictures of their kids in horrendous outfits that they received so that the gift giver can ooh and aah over it and feel good. Then they hide it in a drawer, never again to see the light of day. I’m just not that nice. Or wasteful. Sure, if great grandma knit a sweater, of COURSE you’re gonna have the kid wear it when she comes over, but stuffing yellow polka-dot overalls with green smiley faces in a drawer robs another worthy recipient of it’s “fabulousness”.
Now that I’ve got that off of my chest, I can continue writing thank you notes while you curse me under your breath. Remember, it wasn’t YOUR gift. YOU have great taste and know exactly what I like. It was someone else.
Go ahead, blast me. I feel better now.
1. He actually thought it would be cheaper than going to a play place. Is he kidding? Has he gotten a chance to know me over the past 14 years? This is going to be like my second wedding.
2. For the 48 hours leading up to the big event I am like a crazy PMS robot gunning down everyone in my wake. People closest to me go first.
3. I am stressing that there won’t be enough food which means a mid-party run to the supermarket or the nearest catering hall, which means more money (see #1). Bonus points for reminding me that most parties feature only pizza and cake and that the guests don’t end up dying of starvation.
4. He will be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment in the form of wrapping favors, using Magic Erasers to scrub down climbing equipment and tying colored ribbon onto plastic white chairs.
5. I forced him to take Friday off of work so he can be my slave. In no way will this feel like a vacation. It may resemble a slightly nicer version of hell.
6. He will be subjected to multiple middle-of-the-night wakeups so I can pester him about my to-do list and constant worries that the party won’t be any fun.
7. I have formally relinquished my duties as “Mother” and am now to solely be referred to as “Party Planner”. Ryan needs his tush wiped? Your job, Daddy-o!
8. He doesn’t know it yet, but he’s waking up with the kids. I’m tired from my late night date with the hot glue gun. (Update: he did it without me having to ask. What a good, good man.)
9. Home parties need a theme, or at least that’s what I decided before I picked out the invitations. So in the spirit of Alice in Wonderland, Cory will be wearing a Mad Hatter hat made of green velvet in 80 degree heat.
10. He was coerced into signing a contract stating that if the party is a smashing success, it was all my doing. If it sucks, it’s only because he gave me no creative control. In addition, he must apologize to our guests by throwing himself onto the barbecue and allowing them to throw skewers at him.
Last weekend, I took Ryan to a 6th Birthday party at a planetarium. Fabulous idea for a party. The show brought me back to my childhood – the awesomeness of that great faux-sky… then my teenage years when I would go to see Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd laser shows at the Franklin Institute Planetarium in Philly and we’d go outside and
do bad things hang out. Anyway.
So I get to the party and I notice that my friend (the Birthday boy’s Mom) is there with her extended family and there are a couple of other adults. Then I notice there are like 20 plus kids there. A little strange – maybe the other adults are in the bathroom or something. Then a Mom comes with her son and my friend casually says to her, “12:30, okay?” and the woman nods. AND LEAVES.
OH. MY. G-D.
A drop-off party!
I never even considered this next fabulous phase in my life. Didn’t know it existed. Right now, Birthday Party Season feels like an endless trip to Toys ‘R Us and a mounting credit card bill. In a couple of years, it will feel like one big, fabulous vacation!
One catch, though. The adults present are in charge of keeping order, so it was like I was back teaching a classroom of elementary school students. Lined up the kids to go to the bathroom. Chose the best sitting table as the first for cake. Tried to tame a wild game of catch the zombie. Must be tiring when it’s your party, but the rest are someone else’s problem! Totally worth it.
Ryan came home and said he couldn’t wait until he could be 6 so he can be like those kids. Right there with you, bud!!
April 8, 2007.
You arrived eight days early. Fitting, because you’re always ready for an adventure. At nine months old, you were walking. The littlest man we’d ever seen on two feet.
It took us a while to get used to our new life. Us? Responsible for a baby? We felt like kids ourselves. Now we can’t imagine our lives without you. You are our lives. You made us a family.
A year passed and we couldn’t wait to hear what you would say. Now we can’t seem to stop you from talking. Questioning. Moving. Everything you do is go go go. We wouldn’t have it any other way. You are a bundle of energy and curiosity.
Two years old and we’re knee-deep in The Wiggles, Thomas the Train, colors, numbers, shapes and letters. Everything you see amazes you. You forget nothing. You test us from here to there and back again. We love watching you navigate this big, amazing world. And oh, that voice. It is the cutest, sweetest voice. We want to bottle it up and keep it forever. Ditto your long, curly hair.
At three, we notice the biggest changes of all. Your ability to reason, to empathize, to describe and to question grows in leaps and bounds. You express yourself beautifully through play, language, song and imagination. You develop real friendships. You love cars, trucks and things that move – much like you. You know what you want and you let it be known. You love holding center court, although it overwhelms you all the same. We love your independence, intelligence and ability to make us laugh with a silly face or a crazy song.
And now you are four. We don’t know what this next year will bring, but we can’t wait to find out. You have two parents who adore you and a baby sister who believes you hung the moon.
You fill our hearts with love and our heads with grey hair. Your innocence is endearing and your defiance is infuriating. The depths of our emotions for you are impossible to describe.
What an amazing ride we’re on together. What an amazing child.
You make us proud. You make us better. You make us love deeper.
We love being your Mommy and Daddy. We love you to infinity and beyond!