Thursday, September 1, 2011

On Being A Girl Who Loves Football

Something big is happening this weekend!

What? Our wedding anniversary is this weekend? Oh, yes, that too. But I'm talking about something that is on waaay more people's calendars. It's Razorback football time!

I love football. And I don't just mean going to football games, and I don't just mean Razorback football, though I do love those things. A LOT. But I actually love the sport of football. I find it fascinating and entertaining. Yes, I'm a girl. No, I'm not a tomboy. I don't like racecars or power tools or other traditionally "boy" stuff (though for a brief period in college I was a pretty enthusiastic pro wrestling fan--but that's another story for another time). I just really enjoy football. I know I'm not the only girl around who feels this way--many of my girlfriends like it, and a few even love it like me.

The girls I know who care nothing about football think I'm weird, I know. They can't imagine why I'd be interested in what, on the surface, looks like a bunch of giants smashing into each other. There are plenty of reasons for my devotion, though!

1. It's all about strategy and logic. Whoever came up with the stereotype that people playing and coaching football are dumb clearly never took a look at the rules. The game is intricate, and playing it well requires intelligent planning and creative problem solving. Watching great coaches orchestrate brilliant plays is pure joy for my brain.

2. There's some serious talent out there. I've seen athletes throw and kick with strength and accuracy I can't fathom even after seeing it. I've seen guys run, I swear, without their feet touching the ground. I've seen players have two or three opponents dragging them to the ground from the back and they still manage to move forward, and I've seen them do somersaults in midair to avoid a fallen player and land on their feet to keep running. Football players have strength, of course, but watching their balance, grace, speed and skill in action is a fascinating study in physical superiority.

3. I like being a part of the cool crowd. Well, you know. If you live in Northwest Arkansas, you are surrounded by Razorback frenzy. I love being excited about something that unites me with my alma mater and my community. In a larger sense, I can go anywhere in the country and meet a complete stranger, and if they like football we have an instant connection and conversation fodder for as long as we need it. Unless they are an LSU fan; then I will have to walk away immediately and go wash my hands.

4. It can be so very, very satisfying. I don't care how un-football, how girly, how dainty you are, EVERYONE has a moment now and then when they want to throw something through a wall. That thirst for aggression is beautifully quenched when, say, a receiver catches a pass and is immediately and cleanly slammed to the ground by a defender he never saw coming. I'm sure anyone who doesn't like football and just read that last sentence is rolling their eyes and mottering something about Neanderthals and violence. Whatever. They just haven't seen a really good tackle.

5. It's exciting! I think everyone needs to have some hobby in their lives that they enjoy so much they have to cheer about it. It feels GOOD to hold your breath in anticipation of a pass landing in the right hands, to high five random people around you, to yell a cheer so loud you go a little hoarse. I mean, scrapbooking's great and all, but when is the last time it earned anyone a high five?

When I was in high school, my best friend (who will remain nameless because she might kill me otherwise) was quoted in our yearbook as saying that football was her favorite sport because of the tight uniform pants. She made a good point, but that doesn't really factor in for me these days. I love football for the game that it is and the experience of watching it. I am so ready for kickoff. Go Hogs!!!

Monday, August 29, 2011


You know what I dread more than anything else?

No, it's not Abby's first date (though thinking about that does make me hyperventilate a little). It's not paying for three college tuitions. It's certainly not turning gray (as my children will happily point out, I'm already well on my way).

I dread the first time that I see my grandmother and she doesn't know who I am.

There's no way to know when this will happen, but as her condition continues to deteriorate several years after her Alzheimer's diagnosis, I see that we're getting closer and closer to that moment. For now, she clings to some memories. Not always our names or details, but she knows me and she knows Matt and she even knows the kids. You know, I always thought no one could love my grandmother more than me until I saw my kids get to know her. Abby and Ethan have put their Gigi on a pedestal that can't ever be touched. Remarkably, she lights up when they're around, somehow cutting through the fog that Alzheimer's has poured into her mind.

I know, though, that even the little clarity she has left won't be there for long. She's already lost so much. Every time I talk to her or visit her, I can see the erosion continuing. We've begun preparing Abby and Ethan to understand her confusion. I pray desperately that Aaron will get at least a little time to know his Gigi.

My best childhood friend, Steve, recently lost his father after a brutal fight with Alzheimer's. Before his dad's death, Steve and I were talking and he described Alzheimer's as a hateful disease, stealing the soul of the person we love and leaving their body with us to taunt us every day with what we no longer have. He is so right.

This experience with my grandmother has been so hard, but it's also given me a perspective that most people my age don't have. We're all so busy working, raising kids, squeezing in some fun between grocery store trips and meetings, that it seems like life will be like this forever. It won't, though. Eventually we'll be old too. In all likelihood, if I live long enough I will develop Alzheimer's. Will there come a day when I look at the children I gave birth to and raised and see them as strangers? Will Matt have to spend his days feeding me and making sure I don't wander out of our home? Will I be constantly terrified and confused?

Oh, I hope not.

We all face the probability of contracting Alzheimer's. The longer you live, the more sure it becomes that you will be diagnosed. It will be virtually impossible to live into your 70s or 80s and not have either you, a spouse or a sibling suffer. Is this how you want to end your time on this earth? I know it's not what my grandmother wants. It's not what I want either.

Our family is participating in the 2011 Walk to End Alzheimer's on September 10. Abby and Ethan know that we are doing this walk to raise money so doctors and scientists can work to cure the disease that has hurt their Gigi. For them, that's enough--they are ready to walk all day.

If you would like to donate with Team Gigi, you can go to the team's website here:

and click on General Team Donation. We want to do this event to raise money to help end Alzheimer's, and we also want to teach our children that when there's something you don't like in the world, the first thing you need to do is try to change it.

I would love if the people who have read this blog entry decide to donate, but that's not why I wrote it. I wanted to remind people that Alzheimer's is not a disease that affects only the people who get sick, or even their families. It's a big, scary cloud hanging over every single one of us. This day I dread? It's coming for us all unless we do something to stop it now.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

FIrst Day

I have always loved the first day of school. There's so much newness and excitement. I'm a sucker for school supplies and the smell of freshly cleaned hallways. Now that it's my kids' first day and not mine, I find a whole new set of reasons to enjoy it. I get to experience a milestone in their lives, meet the teachers that will be guiding them for the next months, and I get to usher them off to another building five days a week where other people will deal with them for a while!

Just kidding about that last part. Really.

I don't think there's ever been a more responded-to AMEN post than the one about what Abby should wear. It tickled her to pieces to hear what all my friends had to say about her wardrobe. In the end, the purple and black won out (due in large part, I think, to its bling). Not to worry, those of you who voted for the other outfit: we kept it and it was her Day 2 look. Here's the fashionista on her first morning of third grade:

(Did I REALLY just write third grade? That is ridiculous.)

And speaking of ridulous, check out how cute an already-smoochable 5 year old boy (whose Kindergartener status his mother is not yet prepared to discuss on this blog) can get when you add new glasses to the mix:

I could eat them both up. They were remarkably patient with my photo session, probably because they knew I wasn't letting them go anywhere until I got what I wanted. The backpack photo was their idea, though:

Just in case there's a chance you haven't yet fully realized the fabulousness of my two older children, here's a closer look:

Ugggghghghghg. I need to look at these pictures every time I'm about to throw one of them out a window to remind myself of their many redeeming qualities.

I held it together really well while we dropped them off. The only time I teared up was when, without prompting, Abby ushered Ethan into what had been her school, and was now their school. Watching them walk together ahead of me made me a little weepy.

We walked them both to their classes and got them settled. They were both eager to get going and just fine to give us a quick hug and kiss and let us move on out. I dread the day when they don't need me to walk them in on the first day anymore. And by "need" I mean "want" since, let's be honest, they don't NEED me to do it now.

And in case you were wondering, Aaron took all this fuss and hubbub over his siblings in stride.

He knows that now he's effectively an only child for most of every day. Life is good.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Dress My Daughter

This daughter of mine is something else.

We went shopping for her first day of school outfit, and we found two that we loved. I bought both, and we decided to think about it and decide later. Proving that social media has soaked into pretty much every pore of our culture, my 8 year old daughter, who has never been on Facebook but references it frequently as something her parents use to talk to people, suggested that we put pictures of the outfits on Facebook and let people vote.

She had a moment of hesitation when she realized that there are people that she does not personally know that would be able to vote. She does have about 3 ounces of shyness deep down inside. Finally, though, curiosity got the best of her. I decided to put the vote on the blog so I could write a little more than on Facebook.

Ironically, when she put the clothes on for the pictures, she decided she knows which outfit she wants to wear. However, this is the child that can change her mind about what flavor of ice cream she wants 3 times while we're getting spoons out, so I'm not confident it's a final choice.

So, here we go: let's play Dress Abby for Third Grade! Below are the two looks. Please comment ON THE BLOG (I need them all in one place to show her) with which you like better as a first day of school ensemble. Be sure to put your name in your comment so I can tell her who said what.

**Please note: I did not tell her to stand that way. This is her go-to trying on clothes pose.

Look 1: Pretty in Purple

Look 2: Lovely in layers

Time to vote!

**A point of clarification on the layered look: it's faux layering. The shirt is all one piece, designed to look like two. The skirt is attached to the leggings and is not real denim--it's a pretty thin cotton.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Parasailing, or Why Never to Trust Someone Doing Business Out of a Hut

Two years ago on our trip to the beach, Matt and I and my sister-in-law Patty went parasailing. We loved it. I mean, loved it. We checked in at a dock in Destin, were ushered onto a swank boat, and zipped off into the ocean. Once there, we took turns pairing up and sitting down on the back of the boat, where we were harnessed to the parachute and lifted gently into the air to float along above the boat until we were brought back down again. Just before getting back to the boat, we were lowered until our feet dipped into the ocean and then zipped back up again. That's the only time we got remotely wet. It was relaxing and peaceful and really, really cool.

This year we thought it would be great to take Abby and Ethan. There's not really a minimum age, and I knew they would love the experience. Patty decided to take her oldest son Jake, too. Once we got situated at our house I set about making it happen.

Seacrest is a little bit closer to Panama City than Destin, so we decided to go there this time. I researched companies and narrowed it down to the one that seemed the nicest. I called ahead and made reservations. The lady directed us to show up at a beach, and when I asked her if there was a dock, she said we'd have to ride a smaller boat out to the main boat. Okay, sure.

On the designated day, we left Jake's little brothers and Aaron in the reliable care of Jacob, Michael and Siobhan and headed off to PC. We found a great parking spot and walked onto the beach. Here's a picture of Abby and Ethan, ready for the sail.


Over Abby's shoulder can you see the little brownish umbrella. Well. That was the parasailing company. It was sort of a little hut thing. The company representative, a middle aged woman in a sring bikini, was checking another family in. As we listened while we waited, I grew increasingly alarmed. First of all, she told them that they couldn't bring anything with them that they didn't want "completely soaked." Then when they asked how they were getting to the parasailing boat, she pointed at a giant yellow raft called a banana boat. I wasn't terribly worried about that, though, because the woman on the phone had assured me they had a much drier and safer option since we had children with us. Finally she told them to expect to wait at least an hour for their turn, but again I wasn't worried because unlike these other slacker customers, we had reservations.

Then I checked in.

While she was working on our paperwork, I said, "Boy, I sure am glad we don't have to ride that banana boat thing. That looks terrifying!" She looked up and said, "You DO have to ride it. That's the only way you're getting to the boat." Apparently the other, non-perilous option had broken down the day before.

Now let me just pause in my narrative a moment to explain to you what a banana boat is. You should Google it to see that I'm not exaggerating. It's a giant raft shaped like, well, a banana. 5 or 6 people straddle it and hang on to little handles. It is PULLED BY A JET SKI through the waves. And I don't mean over them, I mean through them. We watched a group go out, and at more than one point the banana was nearly vertical. People pay to go on these things as a thrill ride. I am not those people.

I expressed my concern at my children's ability to hang on adequately, and she peered at them and said, "Oh, kids usually only fall off if their parents hang on to them too tight." Super.

(A small side antecdote: when she looked at the kids, she noticed they'd taken their flip flops off and warned them to be careful of broken glass in the sand due to the recent tornado. WHAT? Do YOU remember hearing about a tornado in Florida ON the beach recently? Or EVER? Yeah, me either.)

At this point, I can see that if we survive the ride to the boat and back, we are going to be soaked and terrified. Everything within me is screaming at me to walk away, but I don't want to disappoint the kids, so I finish the paperwork. As she handed me the receipt she said, "Now we'll need you to be patient. It could be a while."

What? I had reservations.

Well, she explains, that apparently doesn't mean a whole lot of anything. They're running behind and there are people waiting in front of us. How long will it be, I ask. She confers with her assistant, the older shirtless hairy man sitting on a bar stool, and tells me to expect an hour. Over her shoulder, he mouths at me, "Closer to two hours."

That's it.

After a brief conference, we bribe the children with ice cream and get a refund while resisting the urge to tell them what to do with their banana boat. Once we got home I called the company in Destin that we sailed with before and booked us for our last day in town. Thank goodness, I thought. The drama is over.


We got to Just Chute Me's office in Destin (clever name, eh?) and were thrilled that all workers were fully dressed. Well, except this one:

One of the workers had her dog with her, and I think the dog was more well mannered than Ms. Bikini. We had a speedy and very professional check in and were escorted directly to our boat, which took off the moment we were seated. Aside from the 6 of us, there were 6 other passengers from Georgia and the two guys working on the boat.

We quickly discovered why everything was so quick--there was a megastorm headed straight for us and they wanted to do their best to let us all sail before it got too close. To speed the process up, they wanted us to go up in threes instead of twos. After a quick conference, we decided to send Abby with Patty and Jake (she loved the idea) and Matt and I would go up with Ethan.

The Atlanta group went first while we enjoyed the boat ride and waited our turn.


And before we knew it, our little girl was being strapped into a harness that was being attached to a parachute. I started to have a little mama-panic, but then I looked at her beaming face and realized she would be just fine.


And sure enough, she lapped up every moment. She's like me--any time I am enjoying something thrilling, I have a huge goofy grin on my face the entire time. I look like an idiot on roller coasters, but I'm laughing so hard I don't care.

2011Florida-Parasail 002

Look how HIGH she was! How far away! She was startled to see this picture and realize how high up she had been.


Their dip:

2011Florida-Parasail 023

As they started being pulled in, we noticed that the two guys who were working the boat were moving much faster than before. When they landed Abby, Jake and Patty, they had them unharnassed and back in their seats in seconds. While they were up, we had been hearing very unsettling phrases on the boat's radio, like "serious winds" and "dangerous waves." The captain looked at me, visibly upset, and said, "I'm SO sorry, but it's just not safe to let you guys go up." We could see the storm bearing down on us, so not only did we not fault him for that decision, we were kind of glad he wasn't willing to risk our lives to make a little money. Ethan is a 5 year old who has no concept of wind velocity dangers or credit card refunds, so we were worried he would melt down, especially after seeing how much his sister had loved it. I explained the situation to him, and here was his reaction:


Bless his heart, I don't think I've ever loved that boy more than I did in the moment when he said, "It's okay mom! Maybe I can just go first the next time we come to the beach." I was astounded. The captain (who, it should be mentioned, was also on our boat the first time we went two years ago and so, even though he didn't remember us at ALL, we thought of as our old pal)(and who, despite the stuffy title of "captain" is young, laid back, and rather freakishly cute in that I-spend-all-day-every-day-on-a-boat-in-Florida way) was really bothered that he couldn't let us go up and decided to go into the harbor to see if the weather might let up enough to let us go there.

Once we got to the harbor, Cameron (that's the captain) pointed at Ethan and asked his name. E answered and Cameron said, "Well Ethan, while I see if I can get you in the air, how about you come drive this boat for me?"

Right then it turned into the best day of Ethan's life.


Everyone cheered while Cameron showed Ethan how to handle the steering wheel. Then Cameron jumped on the back deck to work on the equipment. He stayed there. Out of reach of my son, who was in reach of the steering wheel and the throttle of the boat holding 14 people. Ummm. We know our son and so we were a little worried, but E handled it beautifully and was in heaven.


Finally it was determined that parasailing was just not to be for us. Ethan barely noticed, because after Cameron came back to the wheel he kept Ethan there with him and opened up the boat to about 40 miles an hour. We all clung to our seats and prayed while E and Cameron had a grand time zipping through the water. When we got back to the dock, we thanked Cameron profusely for giving Ethan such a great experience and told Ethan he could tell his Kindergarten class this fall that he had driven a boat in the ocean. Everybody left happy.

I like to let the public benefit from the knowledge gained from my experiences, so if you are considering going parasailing on the Florida panhandle (and you should DEFINITELY consider it) here's my advice: Stay away from Panama City, banana boats, and women in string bikinis. Go directly to Just Chute Me in Destin Harbor and ask to get on Cameron's boat. Who knows, if you're nice maybe he'll even let you drive.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

AMEN at Seacrest Beach

Well, God bless Facebook. I have been trying to post pictures on this ridiculous thing for days and was pulling my hair out when a high school friend who I've reconnected with on Facebook introduced me to the miracle that is uploading to Flickr and imbedding the photos in the blog. What would have taken hours took just minutes. BLESS you, Jennifer!

Now Jennifer's saving advice means you all get to look at entirely too many pictures of our vacation, entirely too long after it happened. Sorry, but this is as good as it gets.

Our rental house. It was wonderful. Ours was the room on the second floor in the front--please note all our swimming laundry hanging out, white-trash style, on our balcony.

Our little hooligans after their first swim.

Man, this girl loves the beach.

She tried out boogie boarding for the first time and LOVED it, though her coordination left a little to be desired. When she would get a good wave, her face was the perfect combination of terror and delight, which is pretty much exactly what I felt watching my baby get tossed around by the ocean.

And here's the middle hooligan, whose attitude at the beach can only be described as happy-go-lucky. He didn't care what anyone else was doing, didn't need attention or anyone to play with. He just hung out with the ocean and the sand.

His favorite thing to do was stand in one spot and jump over every wave that came in. He could do it for an hour and never get tired of it.


And then there was the littlest man. Aaron loves the water as much as his siblings. 003

Unfortunately, he got a nasty diaper rash while we were there, so he was stuck in his stroller for much of our beach time. He's like his mama, though--give him a good book to read and he's as happy as can be.

Our house came with a couple of bikes that had infant carriers on them. Matt procured a toddler helmet for Aaron and took off the first chance they got. Aaron LOVED the ride.

A couple of times, Matt stayed at the house with Aaron while I took the older kids to do something with the group. Both times, Matt and Aaron took long bike rides that ended with lunches at little cafes. I have my suspicions that they were using the cuteness of a baby on a bike to strike up conversations with pretty girls, but they both deny it.

I mean, look at them. Who do you believe?

Our last night at the beach, we went to a crab house for dinner. While waiting for our table we decided to take a few pictures. Here's the best one of our family:

This is my oldest brother Michael, his wife Siobhan, and their children Claire, Aidan and Natalie. I tried to sneak Aidan home with us in my pocket but he wouldn't let me.

This is my brother Jacob, his wife Patty, and their boys Josh, Jake and Drew. Josh and Drew are twins. Really. I promise.

This next set of pictures will give you the best sense of what our vacation was like. All 9 kids all together. Siobhan had to hold Claire as she was not in a mood to humor her pushy Aunt Nancy. The pictures make me laugh every time. While there was no chance of getting one where they are all actually looking at the camera and smiling, I was just so happy to have them be still for 10 seconds.



This is what WOULD be a fantastic family picture if SOMEONE had not made a goofy face. I'm not naming names, though.

And this is what we had to say goodbye to. Boo.

A huge part of our trip planning was that we were going to take our kids parasailing. The story is too good, and too long, to be in this post, so it gets its own. And now that I have the gift of Flickr, it will come with pictures! Lucky, lucky you.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

My body's at home, but my brain's at the beach

A little less than a week ago we got back from our vacation. I’m just now accepting the fact that we’re home, and therefore willing to blog about the trip as a past experience.

We went to Seacrest Beach, a tiny little beach town in a string of tiny little beach towns between Destin and Panama City. We sort of went there by accident a couple of years ago (you can read about that here and here) and we fell in love with it, so we couldn’t wait to return. We rented a big house with my brother Jacob and his wife Patty, my brother Michael and his wife Siobhan, and their two sets of three kids each. Yes, that makes 6 adults and 9 children in one house. Yes, it was loud. And messy. But it was also lots of fun.

I went through my pictures and noted the ones I wanted to put on the blog. Then I counted them. There were 58. Unfortunately, with Blogger, it would take about 4 days to upload that many pictures. I whittled it down to 30-something, and I think I’ll split those up into a couple of posts.

In fact, it’s being particularly persnickety right now, so I think this post will just have to start things off with 4 pictures, and maybe it will be a little more obedient tomorrow.

Our halfway decent family picture, if you don't count my out of control hair:

All together now: awwwwwwwwww.....

Boys sure do love sand. Pretty sure Aaron ate about 3 cups of it while he was sitting there.

I guess eating sand wears a little guy out...

Blogger has my blood pressure up right now with this photo frustration, so I'm going to walk away. Tomorrow I'll try again with more pictures--I really do have some great ones. In the meantime, go Google Seacrest Beach and see why I'm in denial about coming home.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A little perspective

I love living in a place that has 4 seasons. Even though my car serves alternately as an oven and a freezer, and everyone in our family has to have two entire wardrobes (and there are many days where we need to access both of them) I love it.

A few months ago, we were experiencing one of the snowiest winters I've ever seen, along with some bitter cold. Facebook was awash with complains about missing the sun, and oh I'm freezing, and where's summer? Now summer's really gearing up. We've had about a week of temperatures in the 90s. And guess what? I open up Facebook to choruses of I'm melting and this is miserable and where's the breeze? This must be where the adjective "fairweather" came from.

I do get it. It's hot. If you're sitting at the ballpark watching your kids, or walking your dog, or weeding your garden, you're going to be uncomfortable. But before you get geared up to complain about it, let me offer you some perspective.

Last week, my friend Amy and I made the hour drive to Joplin, Missouri. I'm sure you know that much of Joplin was destroyed by a tornado that killed well over a hundred people. It was a week and a half later and we weren't sure what we would do, we just knew we wanted to help. We ended up working with a Lutheran church that was just outside the path of damage. We loaded up the car with coolers filled with cold Gatorade and water, and set out to give them to anyone who looked thirsty. It was about 96 degrees out, and we started in the worst part of the day, midafternoon.

I will not attempt to describe the damage we saw, because I'm incompetent to do the horror justice. Just know that whatever pictures you've seen, it's worse. Thousands of homes. Just meditate on that for a minute. Thousands. If you're familiar with NWA, a comparison of the length of the damaged area would be like driving from the 6th Street exit on I540 in Fayetteville to the Wagon Wheel exit in between Springdale and Rogers--about 13 miles.
It keeps going and going as far as you can see. We drove for over 3 hours, never going to the same place twice, and still didn't see the end of it.

I will tell you what we did see, though. We saw homeowners out in that heat (no shade, because nothing's left standing) combing through debris to find anything salvageable. We found a family trying to find some decorative items in the rubble of their elderly mother's home so she could feel somewhat at home in her new apartment despite the fact that they were so tired they could barely stand. We saw volunteers who had taken off work to spend 12 hours a day in the sun lifting splintered boards, window panes, and pieces of roof so they could prepare the lots of complete strangers to be bulldozed. We saw electricians sweltering while they raced to restore power to the fortunate homes that are still standing. We saw teenagers wandering in their neighborhoods, wanting to be close to home but not having them anymore.

Here's what every single person we came in contact with had in common: they were all VERY hot. They were all VERY thirsty. And they were all very, very happy to be there. The volunteers were cheerful and kind. The workers were all grateful for something cold to drink. The victims of the tornado, even the ones who lost every single thing they had, insisted that they were lucky, blessed, better off than others.

And do you know what NONE of them did? Not one of them complained about the heat.

That day in Joplin gave me tremendous perspective. I am so much more aware of how easily everything you value can be gone in a heartbeat, but also of how resilient people can be if they choose to. I may have to be hot a lot this summer, and I may not love it, but I can take it.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The weekend, part 3: Our last first birthday

I've delayed writing this post for a week now. When I'm done, I will have posted about one of my children having a first birthday party for the very last time. Oh, the bittersweet of it all! Okay, I'll downshift on the mama drama a little.

Since last weekend was so filled with Abby's dance recital and other activities, we couldn't schedule Aaron's birthday party until Sunday afternoon. It worked out great. After lunch, Abby and I headed back up to the church to decorate. Abby made this beautiful sign for the door. The things that look like giant eyelashes on each of the letters are supposed to be fireworks. Please don't tell her that her "1" is backwards--it's a sensitive topic.

Aaron was very blessed to have lots of people who love him come to celebrate his birthday. We didn't do much (really, what all is there to do at a party for a one year old?) but we had plenty of fun. We did remember to get a family photo, and once again I was very happy with the results:

We also took a few shots of Matt and I with our baby-no-more. He cooperated beautifully, mainly because I was tickling him the whole time.

He was not, however, so agreeable to being put in the middle of a kiss sandwich. Too bad for him.

The big kids were very well behaved, and wanted to make sure I documented their presence.

And now to the part everyone is always waiting for. The smash cake. Abby refused to get messy with hers. Ethan went hog wild with his--we found icing in his ears for days. I posted a couple of pictures of that day here. Aaron was the perfect middle ground. He enjoyed his cake, but did not bathe in it. He was quite delighted to get to eat it all by himself. Observe the progression:

And just like that, it was over. We have a one year old. And a five year old that starts Kindergarten in 3 months and an eight year old that just danced in her first recital. I think I need my own cake now.