Birthday weekend

****Disclaimer: this is a very long post! It was mostly written for family members who are far away and couldn't be here for Riley's birthday, and for me to have this all documented for future reference. You're welcome to continue reading, but don't blame me if you get bored...I warned you! :)

Whew. I'm exhausted! It's Sunday afternoon, and I am thankful to be sitting on my couch with my feet propped up, both babies napping, and all I hear is the sound of the air conditioner.

What a wonderful weekend of celebrating our sweet boy, though! I still can't believe he's 3. We've been talking about his turning 3 for several weeks now, so when Friday finally came and we went in to see him when he first woke up, he couldn't stop saying, "I'm 3 now! Mama, I'm 3! Daddy, I'm 3!"

And then he looked at me and said, "And after I'm 3, then I'll turn 4! Mama, am I 4 yet?" Woah, trigger! Slow down and enjoy a year of being 3 first! Time is already flying by, we don't need it to go any faster!

The night before his birthday, Daniel and I decorated the kitchen with a banner, balloons, streamers and a birthday table cloth. I bought one special helium balloon and tied it to his chair.

When he came in the kitchen, his presents were waiting on him, and he immediately went to his chair and asked to hold the balloon. For the next 10-15 minutes, that was his focus. He had the best time playing with the balloon, and really could have cared less about the presents. I kept thinking, what a lesson to be learned from a small child! It's the little things in life.

While he was playing with his balloon, cinnamon rolls were baking in the oven. I normally fix him blueberry muffins for his birthday, but Daniel suggested we try this new recipe I found in a magazine. They turned out okay (Riley loved them!), but I'll definitely be tweaking the recipe a bit if I make them again.

We finally convinced Riley to open his presents, and he was so precious as he opened each one. My brother, sis-in-law, and nephew sent him two new Hermie the Caterpillar DVD's. We owned two, and he loved them both, so I asked Jill to look for some more. I guess Riley didn't realize there were more than two in the world because when he opened the gift he looked up at us and said, "Well, I'm shocked!" LOL!

Ella is very advanced for her age :), so she made him a card. I was holding her while he opened the card, and he kept looking over at her saying, "Thank you, Ella!" It was so sweet! She also gave him a Sesame Street shapes and colors book that he can write in with a dry erase marker.

We gave him some building blocks, which he was excited about because he loves to play with the ones in the church nursery.

And then it was time to open Grandma and Grandpa's gift. I had no clue what it was, but I knew it involved cars and trucks, so I was sure he would like it.

Oh yeah, they hit the nail on the head! He loved it!


He immediately got to work with it.

It took some more convincing, but by 9 am we helped him decide it was time to eat breakfast. :) As is our tradition, we put candles in his breakfast and he blew them out (well, really the ceiling fan blew them out the first time, but he did a great job of blowing them out once we re-lit them).

The rest of the morning was filled with playing and running some errands. During lunch, Daniel and I worked on the birthday cake (another post in and of itself!). Riley then napped while Ella helped me finish getting the house ready for Daniel's mom and grandmother. When he woke up, Ya Ya and GiGi arrived with some more presents!

When Daddy got home from work, we loaded up and headed out for a picnic and swimming. We had so much fun together, and Riley had a blast in the pool! Ella is quite the little water baby, too! Of course, who wouldn't love just hanging out in a floaty being pushed around a pool?!

You think he was a little excited?!

She loves that thumb!

Sweet little wrinkled feet

One of those priceless pics you couldn't have planned if you tried

We all went home and crashed that night after Day 1 of celebrating Riley. 

The next morning, Daniel's dad arrived to spend the day with us, and he, too, brought some fun surprises for the birthday boy. Riley is really into sports right now - football, baseball, basketball - pretty much anything involving a ball. So, Daniel's dad brought him a Riley-size baseball bat and an awesome glove that has velcro in it so when he's catching the ball that came with it, it will stick to the glove. Needless to say, Riley was SO excited!

Time to play a little baseball!

When it's 100 degrees outside, you have to settle for playing catch in the living room

We all enjoyed a yummy lunch together, and then it was finally CAKE TIME! Riley had been hearing about and seeing his cake for 2 days, so he was ready to tear into it!

He chose the red car with haystacks (shredded wheat) on it.

I think he enjoyed it!

After a much-needed nap, it was time for his final birthday surprise. As you can tell from the cake, Riley loves trains. He loves to watch Thomas the Train on Saturday mornings, he loves seeing all of the trains that come through our town on a daily basis, he loves playing with his wooden train set...the boy just loves trains. So, when I heard there was a train ride in Jefferson, TX (about 30 min from us), I knew that had to be included in his birthday celebration. We loaded up in the car, but didn't tell him where we were going. When we drove up and saw the train waiting at the depot, he was so excited! He couldn't wait to get on and ride!

You know we all love this boy when we're willing to ride an open-air train in 100 degree weather!

His pure enjoyment made every single drop of sweat worth it!

Sister was such a trooper! She is very hot natured like her Mama, so she was sweating within minutes of sitting down on the train. She never once cried, though. She just enjoyed the scenery...

...and then went to sleep!

After the train ride, we went to an AIR-CONDITIONED restaurant and enjoyed delicious bar-b-que! And that was the completion of our 2-day, fun-filled celebration of Riley's 3 years of life! How grateful we are for such a smart, caring, hilarious little man. We love you, Riley, and we enjoyed making memories with you this weekend!

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