Thursday, August 31, 2017

Birthday Season 2017: Elliott is 12!

Remember when I talked about easy birthday dinner wishes? (Matthew wanted milk. Patrick and James asked for pizza.) Yeah. Well, then there's Elliott.

For his last birthday before teenhood, Elliott requested steak, mashed potatoes and green beans. Because he is and always has been a responsible adult who eats balanced meals.

Oh, and remember the store-bought cupcakes and brownies from a box? Elliott here requested homemade Boston Cream Pie because you're not even surprised anymore.

(P.S. I am grateful for whatever ridiculous singing voice Pete employed to elicit this genuine smile.)

Blowing out candles kinda makes him look like young again, doesn't it?!

Alas, he's a single parent, raising these three hooligans.

Just kidding. But he did get a sweet phone. That might be nicer than his mother's. But he's more responsible than me and needs it for making mobile mortgage payments and the like.

Ahh, the homemade brother cards! I will push this tradition as long as they allow it!

Now at this point, I can guess what you're thinking. (This is you. Read this in your best you voice.) "See? Things settled down, right? By the last birthday in Birthday Season 2017, I bet she was thinking she could handle it all and that four kids wasn't THAT big of a deal."

Totally.

To prove it, we had a bowling birthday party for Elliott because he hasn't asked for a party in years. We made a cake and iced it, but as we packed up two cars in order to transport friends (since our own children take up 28 seats all on their own), I thought, "Wait a minute." I had iced the cake on our glass cake stand, and I just knew that was asking for a birthday cake disaster! Don't be a dummy! Pleased with my thoughtfulness, I moved the cake to a plastic cake carrier.

Karma always rewards geniuses.

Soooooo, the handle--the part I was holding--broke right off.

Luckily, no one could tell I dropped it.

Then my friend, Matthew, (seen here, practicing a new eye roll) went from unimpressed and peacefully asleep to blow-out diaper, free of pesky poop clothing, in mere seconds.

But James is still really good* at bowling. (*Lie.)

No matter. Patrick wrapped up this game*, and Pete popped those stylin' shoes in his pockets**. (*Can't actually remember, and **another lie, galldarnit.)

Can you believe a bunch of tweenage boys were THIS cooperative for a group photo??!

Those sort-of pleasant tweenage boys eat like fully grown truck drivers who skipped their last seven meals. (Thank goodness for an endless pizza buffet!) And with all that nourishment, they were really solid bowlers*. (*How many lies can one post contain?) Still, it was adorable that they were pretty equally bad, and they all applauded each other's successes and failures.

That looks like success in the friend and party arenas, doesn't it?! I'll take it.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Birthday Season 2017: James is 5!

Realizing there was juuuuuuust enough time to sneak one more birthday into May, James turned the big 0-5 on the 31st!

But don't worry. He remains the shy, shrinking violet you remember.

His birthday dinner wish was to make pizza. (Bless you for easy pizza-kit wishes!)

Know what else? I bought some store-made ice cream muffins, and he thought he'd gone to birthday heaven! (P.S. I hope he never outgrows that uncertainty where he can't tell if he's supposed to sing to himself.)

A Spiderman ball (that sprung a leak and required dozens of air pumps before I hid it in the trash) was a big hit. In the hazy, just-had-my-73rd-baby days and weeks that followed, kindly people would ask James what he got for his birthday. He'd answer, "a ball." Kindly people would then glance at me with that awkward eyebrow-life and shoulder-shrug, like, "Way to go, Mom."

But there was other stuff, too!

Probably my favorite tradition is reminding the boys to make cards for each other. Just LOOK at the pride in Patrick's face and also in James' puffed-out tummy!

My second favorite thing is watching big boys get excited for little boy toys. Ya know. For James. They're not interested. They're just, ya know, being polite.

(Related: James' birthday trip to Toys R' Us)

Anyway, who am I kidding? The hit of the whole birthday was the Hot Wheels Ultimate Parking Garage from Grammy! It required two adults for assembly and an entire room for its residence.

That Saturday, we threw together a backyard party. I cared about one thing: the Krabby Patty dessert James found in a SpongeBob cookbook months ago and hadn't stopped requesting.

I mean, I can drop a whole lotta balls from here on out because even Eugene Krabs was jazzed about how these suckers turned out!

It was 1,000 degrees in the backyard, but with his best buds and an assortment of neighborhood kids who had swim trunks, we got this level of happiness out of the big guy.

Inflatable pool and water guns! The theme was, "Wet," and it was super-Pinteresty.

His bestest filled a pencil box of exploring items and adventures they can go on together, and it was about the damned cutest thing since the movie, "Up."

But here's the money shot. Aside from Elliott, who is entirely too old and mature to even be included, the fun on these faces tells me they'll remember, not that Mom was a zombie in 2017, but that awesome backyard party. Win!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Birthday Season 2017: Patrick is 10!


In hindsight, it's funny really.

Baby Matthew was born on Monday. We came home from the hospital on Tuesday night. Wednesday is blurry. Real, real blurry. Thursday was prolly part of the same blur.

That's when Pete looked at me and said, "You know Patrick's birthday's on Tuesday, right?"

Ridiculous.

I don't kid with this "Birthday Season" title. Check it--

First, it's Matthew's. One week later, it's Patrick's. Two weeks later, it's James'. Three weeks later, it's Elliott's.

Did I mention that three of four birthdays occur in May, the single, most insane month to have three kids and a husband in four different schools? And I just had a baby. And my van wouldn't start while I was picking up Patrick's big gift. And after I got the van jumped and got it into the fix-it shop, they accidentally flattened the back end while towing another car. And then Patrick got sick, got sick again and then missed school on his birthday, which happened to double as the big field trip day.

As a result, I was wildly sleep-deprived, the van needed a new battery and bumper, and Patrick never got out of his PJs.

Hap-py birth-day to you, hap-py birth-day tooo yooooou...

We made the most of it.

Smile big and convincingly, Paddy--

Better. (I mean, balloons are the best medicine.)

Without further ado (and because I have no other photos), the big present was: a French horn! (I know we seem like the weirdest gift-givers, but this was his actual instrument of choice after calling it quits on a few years of piano. I daresay, we make oddly musical children. At least, so far.)

Just one quick lesson from Elliott on how to hold it...

...and he was making toots!

One moment later, he was able to achieve Optimal French Horn Face!

We had his dinner wish (Sbarro pizza--not kidding) and readied our singing voices.

So, kid, how does it feel turning a decade under such happycrappy circumstances?

Eh. Dessert's in your immediate future. And there's always next year!

--------
Edited to add because I just this second remembered: We did not slight Patrick THAT much. He did, in fact, have a joint b-day party with his best buddy at a mini golf place. Phew! Quite frankly, I didn't remember because his buddy's parents took the pity-lead, and we didn't even attend!

Proof from the putt-putt party place--


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Birthday Season 2017: Matthew is 0!

You guys. Stuff has happened. And before more stuff happens, I'm going to blog about Birthday Season 2017. ('Twas a doozy!)

Here goes. With next to no Space, we made another Scully. (See what I did there?)

All indications were that I'd be pregnant forever...

...but heck if that kid didn't come out!

I could write a whole, long post about how we went into Dublin Methodist Hospital for a scheduled induction the morning of May 8 and how the kindly nurses had no earthly idea who I was or why we'd be there with overnight bags and hopes of no longer being pregnant, but that sounds boring. Suffice it to say Pete and I must've been convincing because LOOK what I did just a few short hours later--

(I may look sweet and motherly here, but this photo is actually badassery. I delivered drug-free! Just because!)

Pedro, ever the loyal Worthington rep, got to relish in my hard work.

Look at that hair! And all those bracelets and anklets! Mr. Matthew Henry, the baby my doc said I had less than a one percent chance of conceiving, was born at 4:08 p.m., weighing 8 pounds, 7 ounces and measuring 22.5 inches long.

He was unimpressed by the dinky hospital bed and dumb duck blanket.

Grammy, who lovingly raised the boys in our two-day absence, brought the big boys in to meet their new brother that evening.

Precious photo ops abounded...

...but YOU KNOW this shot is my all-time favorite.

While we got rid of most every single thing helpful in raising babies, we kept this! All four boys have come home from the hospital in this very outfit!

We couldn't wait to get out of the hospital (because we thought we'd sleep better at home--hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!), but this parting shot captures our sprawling accommodations.

But first! The obligatory look-how-ridiculously-small-you-are-in-your-carseat shot--

Here's where I'll tell you we settled into a peaceful routine at home, but you know that's a big ol' lie. Sleep deprivation is hard core. Getting breastfeeding established (even when you've done it before) can be tortuous. Realizing (over the course of many days and weeks) that we actually have four kids...going in four different directions...at four different speeds...is nuts.

But we'll only remember the snuggles, right?

We're keeping him.