Luke’s party was such a wonderful day filled with many emotions. The biggest? Joy. We were surrounded by family and four very special boys who are fighters just like our Luke. Let’s get to the party, shall we?
TOP TEN: LUKE’S BIG DAY
1. The guests. We were super happy to have all the grandparents and an aunt, uncle and niece in the house. Our new little nephew was born a few days earlier, so Uncle Cory, Aunt Jennifer, Alex and Hudson got a pass this year!
We usually don’t have friend birthdays until age 5, but I bent the rules this year and invited three very special boys to the house: Bryce (left) Reece (middle) and Mitchell (right). Between the four boys, they’ve endured 24 surgeries and nearly a year in the hospital. Step aside, John Wayne, you’re no match for these four. Mitchell’s mom, Amber, and I were Fish Camp counselors together at A&M. Bryce and Luke were next door neighbors at Dell; Katrina, his mom, and I met at the scrub-in sink. Reece and his mom, Dina, were introduced to us by Kelli Kelley (founder of non-profit Hand to Hold). It is not possible for me to say just how much I love those boys and their mommas (their daddies are fantabulous, too). Between us, we know EVERY pediatric specialist in the city of Austin and can dish on every therapist in the greater Central Texas area. Their birth stories and subsequent journey through toddlerhood will bring you to tears. After meeting those boys, never again do I judge another child’s ability to meet milestones, or lack thereof. These boys fight for everything they have. They could teach the world a thing or two about tenacity, perseverance and joy. I am inspired, empowered and humbled by those families. One of Luke’s special gals, his occupational therapist, Laurie, was able to make it to his party. What a gift to have her there. To me, it was the perfect birthday for Luke.
2. The digs. I found some cute, inspirational ideas on Etsy, but nothing that captured everything I wanted. So, I just did it myself 🙂 My mother-in-law was such a trooper helping me put it all together the night before. Thanks, Carla!
3. The goodies. With four of the five kids having eating issues, I wasn’t sure what to have out! With a combo of goldfish, pretzels, cookies, cake and juice boxes, we found something everyone could eat or drink. I think. I guess it really didn’t matter, though, they had a great time playing together.
4. The stick horses. I put together most of the craft before the guests arrived and saved the mane and eyes for the kiddos to do. It was a simple craft, the idea stolen from my kids’ pre-school. All you need is a yardstick, file folder painted brown and cut out, two googly eyes, glue and some brown yarn. Luke is still dragging his around the house.
5. The cake. It was another awesome creation from Polkadots. This time, I just called Olga, told her the theme and emailed her the invitation. This was the gem I picked up before the party. Does she do it right, or does she do it right? I need to pay my friend Shannon a finder’s fee for telling me about this place. Luke didn’t love it, but I’ll tell you about that in a sec. The cookies were so delicious, created by the Cookie Haus in Pflugerville, I had to do Jillian Michael’s four days in a row to burn them all off!!
6. The party favors. While searching for ideas, I lucked upon these cute thangs. All the kids that came to the party need to work on their fine motor skills and crayons seemed to be a great way to do that. Thank you back-to-school crayon sale for just what I needed and to “M is for Moose” for her creative talent. I put a crayon roll, sketch pad and cookie in the goodie bags. Functional, yet fun.
7. “Wanted” for growing older. “This was another idea I found online, I just recreated it and made it an activity. Most of the kids had no idea what to do with the water bottle, but no matter. It gave me a good excuse to love on them while I helped! They were all so funny when they discovered that the water hit the poster. And, in some cases, my dad!
8. Cousin time. Clare and Ava clearly enjoyed themselves!
9. The “Happy Birthday” song. This almost turned disasterous. Luke took a swipe at the cake just before we started singing, so I encouraged him to lick the icing off his fingers. Bad, bad, BAD idea. He started gagging and it almost turned into a serious party foul. We were able to put some distance between the cake and Luke and talk him off the ledge. About a minute later, we were all smiles and giggles singing “Happy Birthday.” Whew. I will say, though, that if he had urped he was in company that would’ve understood. All those boys have feeding challenges, too!
10. No party would be complete without a family picture. I promise we didn’t plan their lineup. It took at Act of Congress to get them all in the picture, the least of my worries was lining them up in birth order. They did that all on their own!