Happy 2nd Birthday, Tyson!!

We recently celebrated a very special day for our family, Tyson's 2nd birthday! Before I share about the festivities...

This kid, you guys. God knew all along what He was doing (of course He did!) when He chose our family for Tyson and Tyson for our family. That exact thought has come to mind every single day since we met this precious little guy. What I can't figure out is how we ever lived without him. I mean, just look at that smile!

Ryan's parents wanted to make sure that Ty had the chance to enjoy his birthday gift before the weather became too cold, so he received ride on front loader a couple weeks early. He really loves it! To be honest, Tyson loves toys! He probably loves them more than any other child in our family has ever loved toys. This precious little guy plays and plays and never grows tired of the toys in our house. The same is true for this front loader! TyTy will scoop up his toys and then toss them around, all the while marveling and laughing at his little game.

When I was trying to decide what type of birthday party to throw him, Noah suggested a construction truck theme since Tyson loves his front loader so much! It was such a brilliant idea, and I began finding all kinds of ideas for the party. One of my favorites was making dirt pudding for his dessert rather than typical birthday cake.

A month before the party, the kids ate dinner really well, and we passed our Oreo cookies. Tyson began signing more, eat, and please as fast as possible while shaking his entire high chair. I dipped an Oreo in my milk to make it softer (I still worry about crunchy foods since his surgery), and after one bite, Tyson was in love. He gobbled that Oreo cookie down in record time and began begging and signing again. He started yelling, "Oy-o! Oy-o! Oy-o!"  We were DYING laughing because at that point, Ty had very little spontaneous spoken language. He could say, "Dada, Nah-nah (mama), No-nah (Noah), Y-um (Liam), Tu-kah (Tucker), Ka-ka (Kya), dog, duck, oo-oo-ah-ah (Curious George), and No (of course!). Oh but don't you worry because he learned OREO and used it appropriately not just that night but also a week later when we got them back out. As soon as I brought that glorious blue package out of the pantry, we began hearing "Oy-o! Oy-o! Oy-o!" His highchair was shaking, Ty was signing as fast as he could. Oh TyTy!

So when Noah recommended a Construction Theme, the many uses of Oreo cookies flooded me and made me laugh out loud! We had make-you-own dirt pudding with lots of boulders (Whoppers), rocks (black Sixlets), stones (silver jelly beans), gummy worms, construction cones (candy corn), pebbles (Reese Pieces), and lumber (vanilla wafer cookies). I also made and decorated Oreo balls, which are insanely rich and delicious. We had pulled pork sandwiches, fresh fruit, chips, potato/macaroni salad, and chips to eat, and people could put them in brown paper sacks if they wanted. We had a fuel station with homemade lemonade and iced tea. I found the cutest construction themed shirt on Etsy, and he still squeals every time he sees it!

As much as I wanted to invite all our friends and family to celebrate Tyson's first birthday home, we knew how overwhelming that would have been for him. His grandparents (minus Ryan's mom who unfortunately was sick - we missed you Gloria!), great grandfather, Gale, Aunt Kelli, and cousins Mady, Micah, and Mikayla all came to our home to celebrate Ty's special day. It meant so much to have all of them there and thank them for all of their love and support in bringing Tyson into our family. They have all fallen for our newest son - it would be impossible to feel otherwise, right?!

After enjoying lunch, we all gathered together to watch Tyson open his birthday gifts. One very special gift he received was from his Grandma Till, who made him a book with pictures from the previous year. She makes all of our boys a book for their birthday, and they love to look at them! I know we will treasure them, especially as they grow older. He received several great gift! For those of you with two year old boys, here are some of the gifts he received as you make your lists for Christmas:

VTech Go! Go! Smart Wheels Carry-All Cargo Train

Stuffed Teddy Bear and Spiderman

Money for College Account

Needless to say, he was completely spoiled with gifts! He truly plays all day long with them. I love watching him play. There is just something about watching (what will likely be) my last baby doing baby kinds of things. I have the hindsight to know how quickly these days go by, and sometimes I'm afraid if I blink, I will miss it all. I have already missed 19 months of this precious baby's life, and it pains me to think about it. So, when you see me kissing him a thousand times a day or thinking that every single little thing he does is adorable and amazing, give me some grace. I'm soaking in these last baby days with my all my heart.

Opening gifts allowed us enough time to make room for dessert. It was the moment I had been waiting for - singing Happy Birthday to Tyson with our family! We stripped him down to his diaper because naked babies are the cutest we didn't want to ruin his new shirt. 

And with so much joy, I lit the candles, and we began singing to the world's cutest baby!

Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday dear Tyson.
Happy birthday to you!

I am so thankful this moment was captured in a photo. A child celebrating his first birthday home with his family, watching with wonder at his candles burning, holding his forever momma's finger. 

He began with a spoon...

...and then we upgraded to bare hands. He wasn't too sure about getting messy like that, so we went back to the spoon.

I am sorry, but I have never seen a cuter baby than this little guy! He holds my whole heart in the palm of his hands. When I look at him and fall in love over and over again, I can't help but think about all of the children just like him who sit in orphanages, foster homes, and on the streets, just waiting for someone to invite them home. This baby, this child I never even knew existed, has filled my heart in ways I cannot describe. By God's amazing grace, he accepted me from the moment I first held him. Our prayers for supernatural recognition were answered, and he has loved me from the start. My gratitude for that completely unexpected, undeserved gift is never-ending.

Tyson AnTao, your whole family loves you so much! From mommy and daddy, to brothers and cousins, to aunts and uncles, to grandmas and (great) grandpas, to friends near and far, you are LOVED! I sent pictures of your special celebration back to your sweet nanny who loves you so much. I hope it brought her joy to see you happy and loved. You are a gift to my life! I can't imagine our family without you. You have completed us in so many ways. Thank you for loving us and trusting us. We will love you forever and ever! Happy birthday, baby boy.
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