Sunday, July 27, 2014

To Jonah, on your 8th birthday

Dear Jonah,

Writing these birthday letters on your blog always makes me wonder what you will be like when you read them.  And, who knows, maybe this is the year that you will.  But, whether you read them here or find them tucked away in your box of memories, I hope you will take all of these words to heart.  Whether you read them in 2014 or 2027.  I want you to know how much you were loved in the year they written and how much you will still be loved in the year they were read.

Today, you will turn 8 years old.  8 doesn't quite seem the milestone that 5 was or that 10 will be.  But, it is important in it's own right.  This is the year you will start 3rd grade.  You will also begin your 3rd year in piano lessons.  It is the year that you will go away for your very first sleep over camp during the summer.  It is the year that you say you will try soccer and basketball again.  It's the year that you will have a new teacher and meet new friends.  More than anything, I pray it is the year that you ask Jesus into your heart.  Your mom and dad have been praying that God would move in your little life and you would recognize your need for a Savior.  You have all the head knowledge but just not the heart tug.  Prayerfully, this is the year.

It is hard to look ahead to 8 without thinking back to 7.  You seemed so big and grown up when you turned 7.  You broke two boards at your martial arts birthday party and then marched right in to being 7 years old like you knew exactly what to do. 

7 was the age when you realized that girls were "a little not so fun" to hang out with.  The same girls who had been your friends (and even girlfriend) in K3, VPK, Kindergarten and First grade were no longer your friends.  You didn't dislike them but you certainly didn't find yourself hanging out with them.  2nd grade seemed to be the year that boys stuck to boys and girls stuck to girls.  Although, there was this one girl this year.  Her name was Sarah.  You told us early in the year that "Sarah always tells me she likes my hair!"  (Which, I might should add, if anyone ever tells a member of this family they like their hair, TAKE THAT COMPLIMENT!  Because, son, we have some bad hair in this household!)  And, speaking of girls, as long as the girl wasn't in your class and in that little group of friends, you were A-OK hanging out with them and spending time with them.  It's an odd little dynamic. 

And, at 7, you still love school.  Your teacher, Mrs. Newman lives one street over from us and we still have to drive by her house every day just to see if she is in her yard so you can wave.  You have loved your teachers every single year.  You have loved school every single year.  I'm so glad of that because it makes life easier on us that you love to go.  School has been nothing but a positive experience for you.  I hope that remains true with each passing grade. We are all a little anxious to find out who you will have as a 3rd grade teacher.  I believe strongly that the good teachers you have had have been so much part of your positive experience.  So, I'm ready to know who the one that will influence you, teach you and love you next year will be. 

This was also the year that you realized you weren't as good at sports as your closest friends.  I'll never forget the night you walked into the kitchen while your dad and I were sitting at the table and said "today I heard Brock tell the other guys to 'let Jonah get the ball' when we were playing football at Ha time."  You told us that you never got the ball on your own.  We talked with you about how we are all good at different things and that football may not be your thing and that was okay.  But, the important thing was to realize what a good friend Brock was for doing that for you.  He stuck up for his buddy and that was a huge life lesson for you.  (and, maybe it made your mom cry a little bit because I was sad for you but so grateful for a friend who cares so much for you.  And, maybe I text his mom to thank her for raising such a kind and considerate boy!  But, I didn't tell you any of that because I'm sure it would embarrass you!)

At age 7, there is nothing you like more than having friends over for play dates.  You would have a friend over every single day if I would let you.   You talk about your friends all the time.  But, there is no one who holds a candle to this man!

You are a daddy's boy through and through.  And, I'm a little partial but I know that you lucked up in the daddy department.  He was there from day one holding you, changing diapers, dressing you, singing to you and loving on you.  He still puts you to bed every night that he is home.  Sometimes when he comes home after a long and difficult day, all he wants to do is sit in his chair and not think about anything.  But, when you say "do you want to play a game with me?" he gets up from that chair and even though you don't know he has the weight of the world on his shoulders, he plays with you as if that is the only thing in the world that is important.  Even though you are only 8 years old now, I just KNOW that you will be a good daddy one day because you had the very best teacher. 

They say in life, everyone is a hero to someone.  I know that is especially true when I see you with Micah.  That kid could not love anyone more than he loves you.  I hear "I want my brover Jonah" at least 20 times a day.  He adores you.  You are so good to him.  You are gentle and patient.  (most of the time)  You read books to him.  You tell him stories.  You teach him to play games.  You encourage him to do his best.  You cheer for him when he needs encouragement.  You are a great big brother!  You loved him from the minute you first laid eyes on him. 

I wish I could see into the future for both of you.  I wish I could know what colleges you will attend, what girls you will date, what homes you will buy, what jobs you have and what your families will look like.  But, most of all, I wish I could see that you two were still close and love each other as much as you do now.  A brother is a special gift.  I will always encourage you to love Micah, to offer grace and forgiveness to him, to make time for him and to cultivate a relationship with him.  The payoff will be so great for both of you.  And, as time passes, I pray your love only grows stronger than it is now. 

 Oh, sweet Jonah!  I could go on and on about how special you are.  I could tell you so many stories of the ways God has used you to bring joy to the lives of others.  I could tell you story after story of the sweet moments we have had with you. But, on this day, most of all, I want you to know how much God loves you and how much I love you.  You are the one who made me a mommy.  

Happy Birthday, sweet Jonah!  You'll never know how much I love you!  But, I'll spend all my days pointing you to the One who created us and gave us this special mother/son relationship. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Jonah's 8th Birthday party

 Oh my word, we seriously just had THE BEST birthday party that a little guy could ever hope for!  It was so wonderful.  This was my tweet an hour or so after the party ended. 

I don't usually do party favors unless it is something useful or something that really goes along with the theme.  These little gumball tubes fit that bill!  I ordered one inch green gumballs and put them in tubes then put stickers for each letter on the tube. 

I can hardly believe this sweet boy is almost 8 years old.  It seems like yesterday we were planning his first birthday with all the monkeys and bananas.  But, time marches on and here we are with a boys only video game party. 

I always try to get a few family photos on birthday party days.  And, Micah was totally against that idea.  (This is the exact reason he needed a nap today but never went to sleep!)

The balloon wreath is the same one I made for Jonah's 5th birthday.  I just pull it out and reuse it for every birthday week we have around here!

Our friend, Ginny Beth of Ginny Beth Cupcakes delivered Jonah's special yummy treats just a bit before his party started.  We love GBJ and her cupcakes!
Little brother was all excited about The Game Truck but we knew it wasn't the best thing for their brotherly relationship for him to be there the whole time.  So, our dear friend, "Misaweez" came to rescue Micah with a special trip to Chili's and The Dollar Tree. 

We had the VIP access badges under a tree so the kids could grab theirs before loading the truck but it started raining just minutes before kids were to arrive.  We had to quickly move the table beside our front door.  Jonah (not-so) patiently waited for his friends to arrive so he could give them their badge!

The Game Truck coach gave the first party goers the instructions and the party was off!  We were able to go onto the truck first to remove any games we weren't comfortable with!  We kept only the E for Everyone games but as you can see, there were SO many left to choose from. 

16 kids can play at once so I made sure to invite less than that number so all the kids can play without having to wait.  And, since one kid didn't get to come and one got there late, Ray and Dan got to play!  And, they really enjoyed being in on the action!

Micah got back when there was about 20 minutes left of game time on the truck.  He was happy to join "da big kids on that truck!"

And, when you have to pull little brother off the truck, this is what you get!  Can I mention again how grateful I am for Louise and Hazel taking him for a while?  Ahem...

I'm super happy to have this picture of Jonah and lots of friends!  He wants a copy of this in his room!  It always makes me nervous to merge different groups of kids for parties.  This party had friends from school, church, tennis camp, VBS and neighborhood.  And, they all had fun! 
There ALWAYS has to be a silly picture!  Right?  Especially with boys!!!

After time on the truck, we moved inside to sing Happy Birthday and then to the back porch for pizza and cupcakes!  And, just so you know, the HIT of the night was the green Gatorade.  Who knew providing Gatorade would be such a big deal to kids?!!?  They kept saying "we normally get juice" or "who told you we liked Gatorade so much?" or "This party is great because of the truck AND the Gatorade!"  Honestly, I was just looking for a drink that matched the colors of the party!  :-)  But, I'll take it.  Gatorade for the win!

(Yes, we just did a patio redo with yellow cushions and the navy/white Chevron rug!  But, I didn't think brand new cushions, pizza, icing and 8 year old boys would be a great mix!!)

I had plans to let Jonah open his gifts with his friends there but The Game Truck coach gave the kids an extra 20-30 minutes to play so I knew they would rather do that than watch Jonah.  He was disappointed because he wanted to "thank them in person."  When he expressed that, there were still a few parents there getting their kids so he grabbed those gifts and opened them in front of them. 

Rylan and Aaron had a stare off while Jonah was opening gifts.  Funny boys! 

 was a good day!  Jonah loved his party and loved his gifts.  He went to bed a happy little boy who feels very loved!  And, his mommy is grateful for that!  (And, regretting the fact that she let Micah get this voice changer as a gift for Jonah.  Can we say LOUD and ANNYOING?!)


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