happy birthday, husband

Today is one of my most favorite days of the year. A day that is not about me, not about the kids {impossible, I’ll try though}, but is dedicated, and all about my incredible husband. A man who loves his family unconditionally and shows it everyday {even if some days it seems as though we are living in the movie, Groundhog Day}. A skillful man, who is so darn good at everything {totally not fair} he does. Not to mention, very attractive with his dash of bad boy ;)

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I’m so lucky to get to spend my life with this man. He gets me {99% of the time}. He knows how to make me laugh, calm me down, push my buttons, cheer me up and help me relax. He does a perfect impression of me, that makes me laugh so hard I cry, each time. Pretty much, it seems as though he was made all for me. I am so darn lucky to have married my best friend.

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Thank you for making three beautiful babies with me, who look up to you like you are their everything. Because you are. Mine, too.

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HAPPY Birthday to the love of my life. The love of our children’s lives. You have made me the happiest girl alive, while also making me the craziest {but I wouldn’t have it any other way}! You are an incredible daddy to our three children, and I’m so thankful for you, and our family.

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To the man who makes our dreams come true everyday {and takes us on a two week Disney vacation every year}, we love you and hope you have a fantastic birthday, you deserve it!

LOVE you to the moon and back,

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MINE // #REDBALLOONSFORRYAN

ONE WEEK AGO, TODAY.

Friday. One of my family’s {most} favorite days of the week. The evening that sets the tone for the weekend ahead. I remember it being fun, a calm evening of just enjoying each other, and being together. We had picked up take-out, and had a great dinner that was filled with meaningful conversation, as all five of us sat around the table. We each talked about our day, our most favorite part of it, and our least favorite part. We felt connected.

Afterwards, we went outside to play. It was a bit chilly, so we bundled up in our sweatshirts, and big winter hats.

Tyler jumped in the trampoline and played with his football, Mason drove his police car and chased “bad guys”, and Ava happily carried one of her Disney princesses, and walked around the yard, smiling.

While sitting close to each other on the deck, I enjoyed a glass of wine, and Jake had a beer. We would occasionally catch each other’s glance, and smile. Without saying anything, I knew what he was thinking, and feeling. We both felt blessed. We both, at that very moment, knew just how lucky we were. We had made three beautiful children together, and were living a beautifully blessed life. We felt like the luckiest couple, and it made me feel so good, like we were living in a dream.

HALFWAY ACROSS THE COUNTRY..

…at the same time that I was feeling so happy, and blessed, another family was in the middle of having their worst nightmare come true. It is so incredibly unfair. A little boy, Ryan, with the best fiery red and curly hair, went home to Jesus, moments after chasing his frisbee into the street. He was simply in the wrong place at the horribly wrong time.

I didn’t know his mama Jacqui, or daddy Dan, or even his sweet little self. But I sometimes felt like I did. I followed @BabyBoyBakery on Instagram, read her blog, and saw this adorable little redhead {who was the exact same age as my Mason}, fill my news feed almost everyday. His mama captured such amazing photographs, and the love between them is outstanding. This story has brought me to tears more than once. Their only child was taken from them, in a second. If you’d like to, you can read more of this story, here.

I cannot imagine the pain that these two parents are enduring right now. I have to say, that my absolute biggest fear is loosing a child, it is an unhealthy and irrational fear that is quite consuming at times. This just hit too close to home. This could have been one of my kids. One of my rambunctious, full-of-energy little ones, who loved the life around them, and just wants to smile and laugh. I simply cannot allow myself to think about this anymore. It is just too heartbreaking.

Messages of love and support have flooded social media this past week, since the horrific news broke. It is amazing to see what is being offered. Shirts are being designed, jewelry is being crafted, and money is being donated. Such love to help these parents, as they grieve the loss of their {only} child. There has also been a Go Fund Me account set up to donate money to help with funeral expenses, and the loss of their income, as they take time off. My heart is broken for this family. No one should ever have to bury their child. Please help out, if you can.

Or, use the hashtag #redballoonsforryan, or stop by his sweet mama’s Instagram feed to grab a picture of Ryan, and to pay your respect.

As Mother’s Day approaches, love your kids harder, and hold them longer. I know I will.

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a letter to my son on his {third} birthday

DEAR MASON,

My little lover. My sensitive and caring little boy. Today you turned THREE years old. Although it’s hard to believe that we’ve had you in our life for three years now, I also cannot imagine our life without you. I have been thinking of what to write to you for a few days now, but each time I do, I’ve been interrupted by you; wanting to play, crying that you fell down, needing a popsicle, or just wanting a hug and kiss :)

I remember the day I met you like it was yesterday.  I was so unbelievably excited to meet you, yet so afraid that my heart wouldn’t know how to love another child. And then, I saw you.. And instantly, I knew it was possible. I had fallen in love {again}.

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…this is still your super-upset, crying face ;)

Since the day you were born, {and, although you were our most “planned” baby}, you have tested me everyday. You see, when your big brother entered this world, he was easy. It was magical. He taught me how to love more deeply, protect more passionately, and appreciate life more. But you, you were a little more, umm, challenging.. You were the baby that wouldn’t sleep unless you were being held, the baby who was constantly overflowing with spit-up, and the baby who hated everyone but your mama. To this day, you are still our high maintenance child; the one who keeps us on our toes. But, I wouldn’t have it any other way. You taught me just how strong I can be, and how capable I am of loving even when things aren’t perfect. Thank you, Mason.

You started off your second year of life as a tiny little toddler who could hardly talk.  In fact, your vocabulary was probably made up of less than five words {I blame the horrendous and constant ear infections you had until you were fourteen months old} and now, just one year later, you don’t stop talking… ever. You are forever stringing together sentences, stories, and songs.  Not everybody understands you, but what’s important, is that you do.

Tyler-Mason18 …such a little peanut. one year old :)

Right now, you are a beautiful mix of a big boy, who is daring and adventurous, and a little boy, who loves nothing more than hugs, kisses and cuddle time. We often call you our little stuntman, as you as climb, soar, scale, jump, dive, tumble and plunge. You are very independent, but also our little shadow. Always right by our sides, unless you’re being sneaky and up to mischief {which is actually quite often}. You are constantly needing a snack, you ALWAYS have your clothes on backwards {if you’ve dressed yourself, obv.}, and if there is music playing, your hands are on your hips, and you’re dancing. You’ve actually got quite the rhythm, little Mase.  You are very emotional, and you don’t try to hide it.. you just let it show. You are stubborn and impatient, strong-willed, spirited and rarely take no for an answer, even when it’s for your own good. One of your most favorite thing to do is make people laugh, and you are so good at it. You’ve mastered the ‘side-eye’ and you know just when to use it. “Me do it!” “Me love you!” “Me want hug and kissy!” …are just a few of your favorite phrases :)

Ava1Yr010 …handsome little guy :)

You are the perfect definition of a middle child.  You run as fast as those little legs will carry you to keep up with your big brother. When you are playing {nicely} with Tyler, you are your happiest. You LOVE him so much. But, as much as you try so hard to be just like Tyler, you try even harder to be a loving and protective big brother. Every morning, you listen for Ava to wake up, and insist on being the first one in her room. You tell her, every morning, how pretty she is and how much you love her. You smother her with kisses, and your morning isn’t complete until you blow on her tummy after her diaper is changed. You try so hard to make her smileYou LOVE her so much. And for that, I thank you. After all, I can’t imagine it being easy becoming a middle child at just seventeen months old.. Luckily, the transition went smooth. You embraced being a big brother from the first time you met her.  Like you were meant for it :)

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It is nothing short of pure joy to watch you grow.  I am so proud of the little person that you are. Your daddy is the most favorite toy you own, but right now you are such a mama’s boy.  You are my little buddy, my sidekick. I know that this will change as you get older, and you realize all the super cool things your daddy can do.  But for now, I am loving how much you love and want to be with me. I count my blessing everyday that you are mine..

Mason Michael, I don’t think you’ll ever know how much I love you, until you meet your own child for the first time. At that very moment, when your heart is stolen and your breath is taken away, you will finally understand a parent’s love. Until then, just take my word that I love you more than anything. Thank you for another amazing year.  You remind me what is important everyday: family, love, forgiveness, and bedtime ;)

Happy Birthday, my sweet little boy! I love you so very much. You are one of the greatest pieces of me that exist.

Love,
Mama

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..photography credit to shannon wucherer photography.

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