One minute it's flying by you so quickly you can't seem to make sense of it, you see your life in frantic snapshots flashing by as you try to catch your breath.
The next it crawls, the minutes drag on as you await something important that's going to happen, an expected phone call, an anticipated visitor, or your baby's fever to go down, and you feel like you are holding your breath.
Then, it can come from out of no where...sneak up on you...surprise you...and knock the breath right out of you.
My baby turned 3 years old last weekend.
He just woke up one morning and was suddenly 1 more than 2...
1 step further from onsies, footie-pajamas and touch and feel books.
1 step closer to preschool, dental appointments, and big boy beds.
How can one day suddenly make him seem so big.
The night before his birthday when I rocked him and sang his favorite songs I could feel it. I could feel his legs hanging off the side of my lap - just a little bit further than I would like. I could feel his long curls tickling my neck telling me it was almost time for yet another haircut. I could feel his little hand gently rubbing up and down my arm in a loving way that told me he knew what it was to love his mommy. It wasn't something a baby would do, but a sign of the little boy he is now. And I loved it almost more than the words themselves. And I wanted to cry for multiple reasons - all of them good.
I don't suppose you're ever ready for your babies to grow up. But at the same time it is such a blessing to watch them do so. Every age. Every milestone. Every birthday - is a gift in itself. And this year, we celebrated the gift he is just as we did the last 3 - starting with the day he was born. And what a birthday that was.
(cue collective "awww"...ok now pick yourself up off the floor and stop crying..oh that's just me? oh...ok.)
So after mommy stopped being all mushy-gushy it was time to bring on the birthday festivities!
Phase 1: The Birthday
Starting with the breakfast of champions.
And with a candle in a donut...life was momentarily exactly as it should be.
Then - a gift...what every 3 year old needs...a motorized vehicle. Preferably one that's loud, easy to use, and has Buzz Lightyear on it. Thanks Nina and Papi....a lot.
And what better way to continue the day but to chill out in front of your favorite pass-time in your red recliner.
And if you should happen to stay in your pj's all day until presents that evening, so be it. Why not? It's your birthday. And you're only 3. If you can't do that now, when can you?
Gifts opened (check) Grilled cheese dinner with family (check) Run over presents with Buzzmobile (double check) I'd say phase one is complete.
Phase 2 : The Party
When it came time to planning Jet's birthday party this year - I had decided I would do it small. Keep it simple. Probably just family. Which turned into a few friends. Which led to adding few friends whom we had never had over before. And grew to almost the same number as we have had the past 2 years. lol. Oh well. Honestly, it was a little smaller. Maybe this is the kind of thing you have to wean yourself off of. ;) Next year I'll try and knock another 10 off the guest list. (lol. That sounds so mean! I am terrible at this.) But once the party was in fact happening, the theme was a no brainer. Toy Story has continued to be at the top of Jet's list since last summer and even made it in to his Halloween costume. So Woody and Buzz were an obvious choice.
And they made for wonderful decorations.
(Adorable personalized scrabble board was a gift from his Aunt Kay. It has all the things that make him who he is at 3 years old! Fact: I couldn't be more in love with it. )
And the "oh what should I wear to my party" decision was made easy.
I wasn't sure I could like anything as much as his Curious George party last year...but this year came pretty close. :)
(See a familiar little red-head? That's right! It's cousin Jane here for a visit from PA just in time for his party. Awesome I tell you. Awesome.)
And this next picture...an instant favorite.
(Thanks to awesome Hubby for creating this fantastic picture prop! You're the best Daddy ever.)
As you can see, some loved the photo op more than others. lol.
And did I mention we had water guns? Yep. We're cool like that.
(again...some more into the water guns than others. ha!)
And with bubbles, balls, a cookout and cupcakes - I think everyone had a pretty wonderful time.
Perhaps a little too much fun for some. :)
But as always, it was well worth it. <3
Phase 3 : The Thank You
You can't have a birthday party without realizing all the wonderful blessings you have been given.
Or at least I can't.
Celebrating another year of life with family and friends, enjoying good food and watching the littles have fun in the yard. Knowing that everyone is here because they care about my little boy - is the best blessing in the world. We felt loved.
And when you feel loved - you feel the need to give love. So we decided that instead of collecting more toys and presents for our already-s0-loved-and-blessed little boy - we would collect what we could for another little boy...who has more endured more heartache and challenges than our little boy...and without the love and support that our Jet has known his whole life.
We don't know a lot about Sasha. We know he is 8 years old. We know he is an orphan. We know he was born with Spina Bifida like our Jet but without the amazing doctors and therapists and nurses we have access to. We know he has medical needs that aren't being met, and based on the fact that he is living in an orphanage in Eastern Europe he quite possibly has emotional, social, mental, and spiritual needs that are lacking as well. And we know that this summer, Sasha has been granted an amazing opportunity to come to the US and stay with a host family for several weeks!
Meet the Dill Family!
This adorable family has been on the SB journey only a little longer than we have, as their son Jonathan is only a month or so older than Jet. :) Along with their younger son, Owen, Kimberly and Caleb have agreed to open their hearts and their home to Sasha as part of a missionary outreach program called New Horizons for Children. They have done fundraisers to raise money to bring him here and campaigned for medical services for Sasha once he is in America. And while they have had success and been met with support - there are still expenses that have yet to be covered. And with 2 children of their own (and Jonathan's medical expenses) taking on Sasha will place a financial burden on the family that they cannot fill alone. They have put their faith in God that He will provide - and He is providing, through the generous hearts of friends, family and strangers.
And that is what we decided to do for Jet's birthday, in honor of little Sasha and of all we have been blessed with, is to suggest that any money that would have been spent on a gift - to be given to this family instead.
We had several sweet families bring money for Sasha that we collected at the party, and others who gave online to the family. If you would like to give (even just $5!) to help the Dill Family and the care and keeping of Sasha this summer please check out their blog at www.macdillfamily.blogspot.com. You can read all the details of the host program they are participating in and what you can do to learn more/help/spread the word!
Having a child with special needs is not easy. I know with Jet we have had more than your average expenses and he is by far a very healthy little boy. We have good insurance and family to support us - Sasha has none of those things. And where he lives...he will likely not get them. This summer is Sasha's chance to get as much love, care, attention and service as possible - not just as an orphan - but as a child with medical needs that have otherwise been back-burnered. And the Dill family is seeking to do whatever is possible to make sure he can get whatever they can give him. Please consider doing what you can, giving what you can to help them. I assure you, it will not go unnoticed. It will not go unappreciated. If by no one else, than by a young boy named Sasha, and the family seeking to help him.
** So thank you.**
Thank you to our family and friends for always being there for us. Thank you for loving our little miracle. Thank you friends and fellow SB mommies for leaving comments and making me smile with the knowledge that we are not alone. Thank you for continuing to check in on this blog that only receives updates once a month (lol). Thank you for not forgetting us. Thank you for opening your hearts to our friends - people who you have never met and may never meet. And thank you for giving us your time...as it is fleeting...and precious...and always a gift.