The Great Mustache Bash

After much careful thought this year, we decided to combine the boys' birthday parties into one big celebration. We wanted to make it very special and landed on a "Little Man" theme with all the trimmings - mustaches, bow ties, mustaches, grilled burgers and hot dogs, and more mustaches! With the help of my friend, Dalia, to make the fondant bow ties and mustaches; Ryan preparing the yard and adding sprinklers, a pool, etc.; and all of our wonderful guests, we threw quite a MUSTACHE BASH! The invitations read Would You [Picture of a Comb] on over for a [Picture of a Mustache] Bash? So fun!! We invited all of our immediate family plus our dear friends who have babysat our kids in the past because let's be honest - they wouldn't be the little men they are without so many wonderful friends and family loving on them! We hope you enjoy the pictures.

All of the pictures were decorated.
Babies with mustaches are hilarious!

"Cigars" and the cutest cupcakes ever!

Noah and me all fancy with our ties!

Even the Willow Trees had mustaches!

Noah with his best buddy, Bryson, and his daddy, Matt!

Ava Sophia - wearing her daddy's Easter outfit from when he was 2 - just added a string of pearls!

Bryson with a silly mustache!

Andrew and Beau joining in on the fun!

Cheeto Mustache Face

Jackie (who we are forever grateful for watching the boys this year!) with her daughter, Ruby.

Noah wishing, and wishing, and wishing some more!

It was Matt's birthday, too, so we had his very own mustache cake!
My cute baby bowtie enjoying his first cupcake!

Icing mustaches are the best!

Photo Booth Fun!

Photo booth fun with Dalia and Ava!

Meaghan (right) with her friend, Heidi. We trust very few people to take care of the boys, and Meaghan is one of them! She has been part of our family since Noah was itty bitty.

Opening presents for two kids is crazy! Love this shot of Liam in the center of attention.

Grandpa Bauer and Nannie being silly!

Uncle Dan, Aunt Kristen, and Natalie hamming it up for the camera!

Grandpa and Grandma Till being extra goofy!

Noah and Bryson enjoying some "cigars" and juice after playing in the pool/sprinkler

Happy 1st birthday, Liam! Happy 4th birthday, Noah! We love our little men so much!

p.s., Kelli, Mady, Micah, Mikayla, Gloria, and John - I am bringing the photo booth props to HH with us so that I can get some outrageous pictures of you, too!


Happy 4th Birthday, Noah!

Noah just after singing his Mother's Day song with his class on the "big stage" at church.
Oh my Noah! How in the world are you 4 years old today? I kept begging you not to grow up...not to turn 4...but you did it anyway. When I asked you to just stay my baby forever, you said, "I can't, Mommy. Growing up is my job." True, buddy. Very true! Still, I miss the days when you could be the sole focus of my day. We had so much fun together those first 3 years, and it breaks my heart that you won't likely remember any of our adventures so far. At least we took lots of pictures, and I tried to write about lots of them in this blog, right?

At any rate, I am so proud of the little boy you're becoming. With each passing day, I see you growing more and more into the little man we are trying to raise with a kind heart and a compassionate soul. My biggest hope for you is that you continue to love God and love other people the way God loves you - unconditionally!

This is the first year that I've felt sad you are a year older. The toddler years are officially behind us. No more chubby wrists. No more bobbing around bouncing into things. Nope - you are officially a preschooler now, full of your own creative ideas. You love playing with your toy cars from the movies Cars and Cars 2. I think they are your favorite! You must have about 35 of them now. That's insane!! You still love watching movies, playing Zingo, and reading on your tablet. Much to my surprise, you recently began getting out huge sheets of paper and coloring, something you've never really been interested in before now. I love seeing you write your name and draw different pictures.

Yesterday, I took you and Liam to the zoo. Your brother had been sick for 5 days, and once he was fever free for 24 hours, I was desperate for some fresh air where he couldn't possibly get anyone else sick. So, we celebrated your birthday a day early together, looking at the different animals. My favorite was when you were being silly, and that HUGE walrus swam up behind you and just stayed there. All of the people were laughing so hard because you had no idea! It was hilarious! You raced the cheetahs, barely ate any lunch (shocker!), tried to pet the sharks, saw Nemo and his daddy, loved the elephants and giraffes, and explored the hot desert. We shared some dip-n-dots ice cream in between you climbing and jumping off a huge rock. It was a perfectly fun day that ended with you falling asleep in my car. You had popcorn shrimp for the first time at Red Lobster that night and LOVED it! Hallelujah...you liked somethin gnew! It was a great day!

Today, Daddy took the day off work to spend time with you celebrating your birthday. Before I left for work, we woke you up, sang "Happy Birthday," and let you open two presents. Surprise! A new car (Sarge) and a Dinosaur Train tablet game/book. I was super sad to leave you on your special day, but having a day with Daddy all to yourself was such a treat! He took you to Kids Commons (which you call the Claw Museum) for the day. After playing for a long time - including trips down the "toilet slide," you guys went across the street to play in the indoor playground. Daddy said you climbed SO SO high! I felt so proud of you! Then, you went across the street to Zaharakos where you ordered a ice cream sundae to eat BEFORE your lunch! You then, of course, had a corn dog and french fries. You played on your tablet to stay awake on the way home and then took a LONG nap once you got back to the house.

At 5:00 tonight, I woke you up and you opened the rest of your presents. A new "Smiley" castle, two more cars, and a Batman "bad guy." We took you to the backyard so that you and Liam could swim in the pool, but I think you had more fun putting cups of water down the big slide and flying down it as fast as you could go! For dinner you requested scrambled eggs, toast, "soft carrots," cantaloupe, grapes, melon, and one chocolate covered strawberry. You ate every single bite! We celebrated with some chocolate cake after singing you "Happy Birthday" and you making a wish/blowing out your candle.

You played all night with both your new and old toys. When it came time for bed, we read The Three Little Pigs and said prayers. I prayed that God would make this next year of your life one filled with happiness, good health, and lots of adventures. You'll be heading to preschool in August, and I am 90% excited for you and 10% anxious about it. I hope that you love your teacher, your school, and the kids in your class. I hope you meet new friends that are kind to you! I pray that you can be a leader and love everyone the way God loves you.

Four years. Four years of happiness. Four years of putting your needs above my own - a reality that I needed to experience. Four years of more love in my heart than I've ever had before. Four years of having a better understanding of how God can love us even when we make mistakes or even intentionally disobey His teachings (that has been a beautiful lesson to learn!). Thank you, my sweet boy, for these four years of joy you've given me. I love you with my heart and my soul. Cheers to many more beautiful years filled with wonderful memories!



On the Eve of Liam's First Birthday

One year ago today around 9:15 p.m., I finally believed I was in labor and getting closer to meeting my sweet baby boy. Ryan and I were walking around our old neighborhood, trying to get the contractions closer together and stronger. Liam's birth story is something I still remember so vividly in my head. Once we reached the hospital and got to our room, he was born about 40 minutes later in a tub of water! It was an intense, emotional, and beautiful experience, and I'll never forget holding this tiny, slippery, soft, warm body close to me and hearing his little baby cries.

I guess it is ironic that one year later, we spent the evening swimming at a friend's house, and we plan to go swimming again tomorrow to celebrate Liam's birthday. :)

So much has happened this past year. It has quite possibly been the busiest year of my life, but I'm beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Becoming adjusted to life with two kids was a transition in itself, and then starting to work part time with two little boys made life even crazier. For the past 9 months, I have felt like I am rushing everywhere I go and in everything I do. I rush getting ready in the morning. I rush feeding Liam. I rush to work. I rush to my friend's house to pick up the kids. I rush to feed Liam again. I rush to make dinner. I rush to play with the kids. I rush to put them to bed. I rush and rush and rush. Noah once asked me, "Mommy, why are we always in a hurry?" It was a really good question!

We decided to remodel the kitchen, which turned out to be great therapy but also kept us very busy! Then, Liam's surgery and recovery overwhelmed our lives, our hearts, and our minds for several weeks. The holidays, Liam's healing, and good quality time with Ryan and the boys provided a much needed break from the stressful weeks we had just experienced.

By mid-February, we decided to put the house on the market. We worked hard cleaning, painting, and preparing the house. Putting all of our trust in God's plan, knowing that He was in control of the situation, we listed the house on Sunday, March 4th. We had a total of six showings, two by the same family, and on the evening of Monday, March 19th, we had two offers! Praise the Lord! Yes, the market is improving. Yes, the kitchen remodel helped the house show well. Yes, we worked hard to make everything look really nice! But in the end, God was in control, and He answered our prayers in helping our house sell.

Of course, the aftermath of a signed purchase agreement meant packing, an inspection, more packing, responding to the inspection, more packing, closing on the house (which I couldn't attend after getting the stomach flu), more packing, and finally moving just this past Monday and Tuesday. Someone asked how the move went...and I said, "Imagine packing up your house and moving with two small children who need attention and redirection everything 1-3 minutes, and you'll know how moving went." It was insane, and I do not recommend moving mid-week when you are trying to work, too. Not our finest idea.

Last day at #3367
Regardless, we are all moved out and into our friends' rental house for the time being. It is the cutest little house (1400 sq ft), which is great because it's forcing me to keep the majority of our stuff in boxes. The house was in rough shape after two previous tenants, but we are slowly getting her in shape as we unpack. I think the neighbors appreciate the grass being mowed and bushes being trimmed. We are living with the essentials, and we have each other. What more could we ask for?

For years, Ryan has said he would like to live out in the country, and after living in closer quarters with neighbors, I have realized how much I would love to do the same. We looked at several pieces of land early April and found one we loved. Each day we would check online for new listings - who am I kidding? We looked multiple times a day and just couldn't find anything we liked. So, after 8 of the 16 acres was purchased by one family, we submitted a purchase agreement for one of the 4 acre lots. And you know what? It was accepted after one quick counter agreement stating it would take 2-3 months to plat the land. To say we are excited is an understatement! I am so ready for a space of our own, and I find myself dreaming of so many possibilities that lie ahead. Floorplans that we designed are being drawn up as we speak, and then we will have to bid the job out with several builders. We will see how everything goes!

Now that we've revisited the highlights from the past year, and you're up to date on the latest happenings, we are right back where we started - Liam's birthday tomorrow. Like I said before, it has been quite a year, but I can't imagine my life without this precious baby boy whose smile melts my heart, whose laughter is contagious, and whose spirit makes me think he got a little of my strong-willed nature. So in closing, a letter to my baby boy...

Dear Sweet Liam,
This past year, you have been my light. When the weight of the world and all of my responsibilities overwhelmed me, you helped me sit, relax, and just breathe. I cannot believe you will celebrate your first birthday tomorrow. You have grown up so much, and your personality is shining like never before. You play so well by yourself but love to check in with me from time to time to make sure I'm near. You eat everything in sight! Seriously, I thank God everyday for the good eater that you are. If you ate as poorly as Noah, I'm not sure what I would do! You love to bang wooden toys on the hard floor, and splashing in the tub is one of your favorites. Whenever I'm on the computer, you love sneaking up next to me and pushing buttons. It drives me bananas, but you just look at me and smile. What else can I do but smile, too? I love how much you like walking around holding my hand, and you are [---this---] close to walking on your own. You love to watch Noah, and I can't wait until you two play together even more. Noah doesn't like for you to play with his toy cars, but I always sneak you a few and let you play with them when Noah is sleeping. It's our secret, ok? :) When Noah was your age, I just couldn't wait to see what he would do next, so I never felt sad when his birthday came. But with you...because you are my baby...I get teary thinking that soon you'll be completely weaned, running around, and finding snuggle time with you will be hard to come by because you'll be exploring the world even more on your own. Tonight when I was feeding you before bed, you fell asleep nursing. It brings tears to my eyes because I know it could be the very last time you will fall asleep nursing. I just stopped and stared at you for a second, which is something I just don't do nearly enough. I'm sorry for that. I'm sorry that this year has been so busy. I am so hopeful that this summer will bring us days and days of relaxation, play, and chances to make memories together. I love you so much, sweet son, and I pray that this next year of your life is one full of wonder, exploration, and fun!

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