Hope’s eighth birthday

hope-baby“Making the decision to have a child – it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking outside your body.” -Elizabeth Stone

Today Hope turned eight. Yes, eight. Wow…I find myself still trying to figure out how time has passed us by so quickly.

I have to admit that it wasn’t until I had Hope that I felt so differently about birthdays. As an adult I can’t say they’ve ever been nearly as exciting as I remembered as a child, and now as a parent I sit and spend quite a bit of time reflecting and celebrating the amazing life I helped bring into this world. Birthdays aren’t about presents, parties, or cake & ice cream. Since having my children it’s always been about the two miracles I now have. And after all I’ve learned this past month or so I must admit I find myself even more blessed. So today, I was reminded of the day my baby girl was born…my “hope”.

Two weeks ago we had a party for the kids and so today I decided to do what I could, without having another party. To me it was far more important to spend time with the kids. Unfortunately Jason’s working a mandated schedule due to the Florida Classic bowl game so for the last couple of weeks I’ve tried to conjure up ways to make Hope feel special on her birthday.

This morning Hope woke up nearly an hour earlier than normal because she was that excited about her birthday. She was so proud that by the end of the day she claims 57 people told her happy birthday, yes, she kept count.

I was fortunate to get the opportunity to visit Hope for lunch at school and to spend a little time with her class. After lunch we went to recess with her class.


The last two years I’ve been lucky that Hope’s in such a great school with such great teachers who are so supportive. A few times a year I volunteer to go into the classroom and photograph the kids. I end up giving copies to the teachers to share with parents or to use for other school functions and so I can make a book, like Hope’s  kindergarten book, at  the end of each school year. For me, not only is it awesome to see Hope in school, but it’s just awesome to be surrounded by the energy of kids. Hope was found running around and having a blast during recess with her friends. Ah, how awesome recess is…


After recess the class went to the library and they all did “fast math”. It’s a way for the kids to get fast at simple math problems, without using their hands to add or subtract.


Hope was sure to point out when she beat her high score!


I have to admit I have so much respect for elementary school teachers. They have to keep nearly 20 young children under control as the students go from their class, to lunch, to recess, and other areas in the school on a daily basis. That’s a tough challenge with just one or two kids, let alone nearly 20! I couldn’t help but smile as I came up the stairs and the kids were waiting for her teachers. They all were sure to quiet down the moment she returned.


Before I left I returned to Hope’s class and she showed me her special birthday certificate her teacher gave her today. She was so proud and it’s was very evident how special it made her feel.


When Hope arrived home from school I took her and Jaylen out to the Build-A-Bear workshop. I’ve promised her for a few weeks now and so she was that excited about it that she’s been counting down every day. So for a few weeks she’s had her heart set on making her own Jonas Brother’s bear. While she picked out her bear and it’s accessories, Jaylen curiously watched her.



Then she had her bear specially made just for her. She ended up choosing the “Champ” bear where a portion of the proceeds are donated to the Build-A-Bear Hugs foundation to support grants to help support research towards children’s causes such as childhood diabetes, autism, and cancer.


She even picked out her bear’s heart. She had to warm it up first, because bear’s aren’t allowed to have cold hearts!


Then she dressed her bear, full of Jonas Brother’s accessories.


After her bear was dressed she filled out her bear’s birth certificate, yes using computers & keyboards that are reminiscent of a  “cold war era nuclear power plant”. (thanks for the reference Eddie!) Here she is with her bear that she named Stella Jonas.


Of course now that I have two kids, it’s always hard to do something for one without doing something for the other – even on their birthday. Seeing this photo made me feel so bad for my baby boy. However, he wasn’t pouting because he didnt’ get to make a bear – he was pouting because we made him get off the computer so we could go pay for Hope’s bear. He looked so small here…seeing this after the fact makes me feel as though he felt so left out…but I promise he wasn’t.


Though he was sure to let us know he really wanted to play on the computer at Build-A-Bear. So much so that he had a melt down. He threw himself onto the floor and just cried. Don’t you wish we could all do that when things didn’t go our way?


Instead of picking him up and giving him the attention he was expecting (which would in turn only make him do this more often) I stood there and told him to get up…and yes, I had my Nikon d700 out and took more pictures. Yes, I’m sure there were a few people in the store that had to have thought I was crazy. Though we weren’t going to make Jaylen a build-a-bear I did plan on letting him get a smaller one – it turns out a little puppy dog made him much happier. Yes, he quickly forgot about those cold war era computers!


Since Jaylen was 2 months old we’ve been doing photo booth every month on the anniversary of their birthday. I had done so well going every month, twice a month, for nearly two years. It wasn’t until I was pregnant again and then miscarried that I missed photobooth. We missed September and October and the first one in November, but today we made sure to stop at photobooth. It’s so awesome now that they both love photo booth. They both ran right in, sat down and took photos together.


Yes, they both truly enjoy photo booth every time we go now.


When I had Hope eight years ago I never realized how much my life would change in eight years. This little girl has definitely changed my life far more than she may realize right now.  I love seeing how much she’s grown these last eight years. But yes, there are still many days that I miss my itty bitty Hope that I remember from eight years ago.

Happy Birthday Hope!
(Yes, she reads my blog!)

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