{ Ryan’s 4th Birthday }

We seem to have two seasons of birthdays here-A spring/early summer session, and a fall/winter session. Okay, that basically covers every part of the calendar year, but it really does seem to come in two clumps. A couple weeks ago Ryan and Erika had their birthdays one day apart, my birthday was last weekend, Scott’s is the first week of December, and Aaron’s is in January. That’s a lot of birthday cake, and a lot of fun around here.

I have been talking with Ryan for quite a while asking him what kind of birthday he wanted this year. I love making a big deal out of their birthdays. It’s just one of my things I guess. Ever since Brianna and Austin were little we have had fun celebrating that special passage from one year to the next. We rarely have friend birthdays, but we make it big and special as if the whole town was invited. The kids love it. And I love it too.

This year for Ryan’s birthday he decided on a Wild Kratts birthday. Wild Kratts is an animal show on PBS Kids that both Ryan and Scott are crazy in love with right now. The Kratt brothers-Chris and Martin are our two boys. One has brown hair and wears the color green, the other has blond hair and wears the color blue. They are the grown up versions of our two boys. Scott claims he is the “green one” as I call him, I can never remember which is which, and Ryan is the “blue one”.

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I found the cute paw prints wrapping paper and some little animals at the dollar store, and suddenly Ryan got super excited about his birthday. He was excited before, but had a hard time really understanding when his birthday was-it just seemed like this far away fun time that would get here eventually. Those little animals were a game changer for him. He suddenly wanted to know everyday how many more days it was until his birthday. He was also super excited to find out that those animals he and Scott had been toting around where going to be the special guests at his party and the best part… they would come bearing gifts. I love the card that Scott make for Ryan! It has a picture of the two of them being the “Wild Kratts” with their creature power suits on. It was really sweet.

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No birthday would be complete without cake, and Ryan’s cake was about as good as it could get for him. A few years ago, my friend Lisa sent be a birthday package from Germany where they were currently living. I remembered tasting these hippos that were so good. I am pretty sure that I gobbled them up before anyone even knew  a package had come-they were that good. I have been looking for them here, and finally came across them a couple months ago at the commissary. We are now all addicted to them. Those Happy Hippos made by Kinders…yes they make us all very happy!

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When I told Ryan my idea to have hippos on his cake, his eyes got real big and then there was lots of cheering and happiness to be found. By all of us I think. We love those hippos!

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Ryan helped me make the cupcakes, licked out the chocolate bowl, and waited and waited for those things to cool. I finally gave him the thumbs up for frosting. We added chocolate sprinkles for the muddy edge of the shore, and a stripe of blue frosting for the water that our yummy hippo would be hiding in. Ryan unwrapped all of the hippos and helped put them right on top. The hardest part for both of us was waiting for everyone to get home so we could eat them!

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Ryan happily assigned himself the official hippo watcher until we were ready. He kept telling me about all the funny faces that the hippos were making. He thought that the middle one looked scared, and the bottom one was angry. We both thought that none of them looked too happy for being called happy hippos-so the only logical explanation is that they are happy hippos because they make us so happy when we eat them!

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Ryan’s birthday book for this year was Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. It is not only a favorite from growing up and fit the theme quite well, but a book that I realized most of my kids had never read before. What? How did I fail them? It made me all the more happy to now have it in our book collection.

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Fitting for the theme as well as our little Ryan’s personality. Wild thing? Yes indeed.

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It was really cute to watch him look through the book. He would carefully turn page after page looking at each picture as he tried to figure out what the story was actually about. We kept with our tradition of reading it that night for our bedtime story.

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It was so interesting for me to watch Ryan open his presents this year. He was certainly old enough to do it on his own, and all of the other kids were getting a little too worked up that Scott wanted to be right there helping him, but it really was the sweetest thing for me to see and capture on camera. I don’t think there could have been a better way to see their own little personalities at this time in their life and the sweet relationship they have with each other. I think it’s extra special for me to see especially because with Scott going to kindergarten this year Ryan has really missed his play mate during the day. As much as Ryan likes to be quite independent and do his own thing sometimes, he really looks to Scott to be the leader when they play. He takes his 5 year wisdom to heart and most days does whatever Scott wants him to do.

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Ryan’s big present was a wooden safari set to play Wild Kratts with. I love wooden toys, and this set was a great version of the girl’s “dollhouse” for the little boys.

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Funny/notsofunny story about the little gifts that our animals so kindly brought with them to the party. I had wrapped them up the day before-one little package on each of the five animals little backs. Notice that there are now only two that actually made it to party time. One of the packages had a mini pack of Double Stuf Oreos in it, and the others were Reese’s Miniature Peanut Butter cups-both are Ryan’s favorite. That night our dog Simon snatched one of them off of the table where we had all of the presents sitting. Nice. Chocolate for dogs is a no-no. He is a pretty big dog (close to 90 lbs.) so I hoped that one little pack of chocolate wouldn’t hurt him. We watched him that night, and he looked okay. I was a bit ticked off, but not so much as when I found out the next morning that he has snuck two more of the presents! I was hot! That dog will be the death of me I think! We watched him carefully again, and luckily he didn’t get sick. It is so frustrating at times-we put up food (especially food that we know could hurt him), even have it wrapped up and out of reach (so we thought) and he still is ruthless when it comes to food. The irony is that Ryan is pretty much the exact same way. We try hiding Oreos up high in the pantry, in our tallest cupboard, and any other hiding spot we can think of, and that kid still gets to them! Those two can sniff out those treats anywhere.

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Despite the fact that there were three missing presents, Ryan was still happy as can be when he discovered what was in those little packages. Reese’s are enough to make this kid happy any day of the week.

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4 Things We Love About Ryan at 4

  • That missing tooth smile of his. A story all it’s own that needs to be told, but for now I’ll just say that I am loving those cute spaces I see every time he smiles.
  • His excitement to learn. He loves learning his letters and numbers at preschool and then practice writing them at home for his “homework”. He is so smart that we really have to be on our toes to keep him occupied. Mischief is a true sign of boredom for him.
  • He loves music and can remember the words to songs SO good. We used to play Brianna’s Taylor Swift Red CD in the van while we were driving around town and he could sing the words to a couple of the songs better than the rest of us. Slow Motion was the funniest one to watch him sing-he could belt that thing out loud! Lately I will catch him singing Primary songs from church. It has been such a testimony to me about how influenced kids (and all of us really) are by music-for good or bad. Those sweet little melodies with the important words keep coming back to his mind all through the week. I love it!
  • His willingness to do a job for us when we ask him. He is my great dishwasher unstacker and helps Scott carry up both of their laundry baskets from the mudroom on Saturday to put away their clothes.


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