Miles turned five last Wednesday. Five. It’s finally starting to sink in. When Miles was born five years ago (yes, I was blogging way back when!), I used to imagine who he would be and what he would be like as he grew; now I am watching him become a smart, curious, imaginative, increasingly independent boy right before my eyes. It’s fun. It’s also a little bit daunting. The past four birthdays, while certainly special, never seemed quite so monumental. He was getting older, sure, but he was still my baby. “Toddler,” “preschooler”—these terms still felt baby-ish to me, and I was okay with that. The physical proximity of a mother to her young child ensures a certain closeness in the relationship as well, but as our kids grow, our relationships become much more complex. They are individuals, and they increasingly make that fact known to us. We have to work harder for that closeness. I’m finding that Miles and I butt heads with much greater frequency lately, but at the same time, my love for him has never been deeper. We talk now. Real conversations about important things (goofy conversations too!) He has opinions and ideas and quirks. He surprises me every day.

Last year, we made a little birthday book in which Miles answered a few questions and drew little pictures. I thought it would be fun to continue the tradition and compare how he has changed in the last year. Miles, at five:
• I am special because… “I am really good at reading.” (he is!)
• What is your favorite thing to do? “Play iPad games.”
• What do you want to do when you grow up? “I’m going to be an author. You can call me Miles Seuss. Or a person who works at Superior.” (Where his dad works)
• What is your favorite color? “Any kind of blue.”
• What is your favorite animal? “Penguins.”
• who is your best friend? “Zeke!”
• What is your favorite food? “Cheese. But I don’t like spicy fish.”
• I love my family because… “They are always nice to me.”
• What is your favorite book? “The Magic Schoolbus in Outer Space.”
• What is your favorite place? “Fun City and my clubhouse.” (His clubhouse is the magnolia tree in our yard)
• Sometimes I wish I could… “Let the kitties in Mom’s studio.”
• When I am six, I will… “Read really, really long books.”

Five is exciting. Five also brings about some tough decisions about Miles’s education. Stephen and I have always considered the possibilty of home schooling our kids. It’s not a far-off possibilty anymore though, and we facing the point where we have to make a decision. Yes or no. Will we or won’t we. And as Miles becomes more independent, I am realizing the importance of including him in the decsion making process. We have a bit more time, and we have yet to decide for sure, but I will say that we are leaning more heavily than ever in the direction of home schooling. Our reasons are many and complex, and I will probably discuss them in more detail later (or not. Maybe.), but this is a Birthday post, so on with the celebration!

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug Party prep: lemonade in the making.

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Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug I wanted Legos. He wanted Star Wars (he has never even seen Star Wars). We compromised. And I bought a cake.

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Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug Smile nice for the camera? Not a chance! (Love that goofy face anyways!)

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Happy Birthday, Miles!

Better late than never

I am actually awke past 8pm, and I actually uploaded the bazillion or so photos that have been sitting neglected on my camera the past couple of months. This is big, folks! And so, without further ado, here is Miles’s birthday in pictures:

mmmm… chocolate with cream cheese icing

we kept things simple : a little wooden airplane for a cupcake topper, a paper airplane garland, fruit kabobs, pretzels, and nuts for snacks, and a paper airplane contest for an activity.

I love the look on his face as he is soaking up the “Happy Birthday” love 🙂

make a wish!

test flight

time for take-off!

Four is going to be a good one, I can tell!

Birthdays and such

30. Yes, I have arrived. And what a welcome my thirties had in store for me. The last couple of weeks have been exhausting, I’m not gonna lie. And scary. I spent my 30th birthday in the hospital with heart arrythmias that the cardiologist deemed troubling enough to admit me for two days. I did finally get some good news though, that the troubling spells were not v-tach like I was originally told, but AIVR. A relatively benign arrythmia, though it is still scary and uncomfortable and exhausting. All tests (echo, stress echo, ekgs) have shown that my heart itself is healthy, and my cardiologist strongly suspects that the arrythmias are related to my thyroid disorder. (And I am on a 14 dy heart monitor just to be extra certain tht all is okay)

So I am behind on everything, I haven’t stayed up past 8ish in… I can’t even remember, I am lightheaded from the medication I am on to treat the arrythmias, but I am alive, and I am grateful. And I am learning to be more patient with myself as I recover.

Enough about me, I am not the only one who had a birthday around here:

These birthdays of his are coming faster and faster, I swear!

We started off the day with a trip to the library (one of Miles’s very favorite activities!) for story time, then drove up to meet Papa for a lunch of pupusas (another of Miles’s favorites) in Rogers. On the way home, we stopped by Toys-R-Us so he could spend a liitle birthday money from Grandma, then the pet store to pick out a new fish. We finished the day with a little outside time (oh, the beautiful weather we have had lately!), some ice cream, and a game of candyland. We will have a few friends over for cupcakes this weekend.

(I apologize for he lack of “real camera” pictures lately. Hopefully they will return now that I seem to be on the mend. For now a few instagrams will have to do!)

What an honor it is watching this boy grow and learn. He is becoming such a smart, creative, funny, and caring kid. He loves reading, writing, drawing, puzzles, and despite my best efforts, TV (don’t judge, these past few weeks have been rough! 😉 He loves being outside -something we try to make at least a little time for every day- although you’ll more likely find him lying in the grass watching a bug with a magnifying glass than running around playing. His current obsessions are planets and volcanos, and if you happen to stop by, he will talk your ear off about either subject. Unless he is a cat the day that you stop by. Then he will just meow.

Love this fish drawing!

Miles, I hope you carry your passion, love of learning, and curiousity with you all your life. Happy fourth birthday, Son!


My little Miles turned three yesterday! Where does the time go??? One day you’re holding your tiny baby, rocking him to sleep, and then before you know it- before you’re ready- he’s trying out his independece, wanting to do everything “all by himself.” I do love this age though. (Don’t I always say that?) Full of wonder and curiosity, always exploring, searching, questioning (my, can this boy ask a LOT of questions!) believing that anything in the world is possible… Ah, yes, I hope I can always keep a little bit of three in me no matter how old I get…

We had a fun little birthday shindig on Saturday with several of Miles’s good friends. There were yummy caterpiller cupcakes, rainbow fruit cabobs, apple juice, and carrot sticks to be enjoyed, a caterpillar puppet craft project and lots of lego-building fun. I think a good time was had by all 🙂
Miles was super excited about his new soccer ball and mama-knit sweater too! (okay, maybe mama was more excited about the sweater than Miles, but he did look awfully cute in it!)

Three years of snuggles, of kisses and giggles and smiles… three years of wonderful, amazing you 🙂 Happy Birthday Miles!


Happy birthday to the most amazing kid I know! Two years ago when you were born, I could never have imagined just how much joy you bring me each and every day. I love you Munchkin!

Friday morning it started snowing. We weren’t supposed to get much, but once it started it just didn’t stop. By friday evening, we had 4 or 5 inches of new snow (on top of all the old snow and ice!) and I started to worry that no one would be able to make it to your party on Saturday! I shouldn’t have worried though. You are so special that all of your friends braved the weather anyways just to come see you! Well, cabin fever may have played a small role in motivating them to come 🙂

Oliver, Madelyn, Caleb, Kyron, Jacob, and Arabella were all there, as well as all their parents, your Papa and Grandma Brannan, and Tia Melissa. We all had a great time celebrating your special day!

So what is life like with a two-year old? Well, you amaze me with something new each day! You are the happiest, goofiest kid I’ve met, and you make me smile every day. Right now, you know so many words and are just starting to put them together into little sentences. You’ve even figured out how to ask questions in your own silly way. Whenever you want something, I hear “Miles milk, m-kay?” or “Miles go outside, m-kay?” or “Miles watch movie, m-kay?” or my favorite: “Miles kisses, m-kay? You can recognize at least half of the letters of the alphabet, especially M for miles and C for cookie, and can say them, beginning with Q, all the way to the end. We’re still working on the first half 🙂 You know triangles, circles, squares, and stars, and you love pointing them out to me in your books. Speaking of books, you LOVE to sit and listen to Mama and Papa read to you, and we have been spending a LOT of time at the library this winter! One of your very favorite things to do is to help Mama bake. Mama got you your very own step stool so you can reach the counter and help mix muffins, or cookies, or bread….  You ask “Miles mixin’, m-kay?” at least once a day! You also love painting and play dough, and all things Elmo.

Today you woke up bright and early (a little too early for Mama!) singing the Sesame Street theme song: “Sunny day, Sunny day, Elmo sunny day!” You climbed up in bed with me and Papa and gave us each a big hug and kiss and then told us, very matter-of-factly that we needed to get up and play. You danced around in circles till you fell over dizzy while I fixed breakfast, and insisted on snuggling after your bath. You put on your big-boy underwear and your cowboy boots (and nothing else!) and proclaimed that you wear ready to go outside, and when we finally did (after Mama dressed you properly, of course) you squealed with joy as you hopped from one pile of snow to another on the way to the car.

That’s what life is like with a two-year-old. Very sunny indeed. 🙂


Happy Birthday, Mr. Tobe!

Tomorrow Toby turns 5 years old. Where has the time gone? I remember when we were first married and living in a 450 sq ft apartment and Stephen was quite certain we did NOT need a cat. But I was persistant. And I won=) Soon we brought home the lanky, scraggly looking kitten with the ridiculously long whiskers that we found in a newspaper ad, and the rest is history. Toby has turned out to be the most loveable, cuddly, egotistic, and completely obnoxious cat in the world.  He never ceases to be entertaining, that’s for sure. From learning to open kitchen cabinets as a kitten (at least we don’t have to worry about baby proofing the kitchen-already done!), to getting himself stranded on door tops and shower curtain rods because he is too scared to jump down after jumping up (not even joking about the shower curtain rod. this cat has seriously good balance) to managing to get himself stuck in the attic on not one, but two different ocassions, Toby has certainly kept us busy. And as I type he is curled up on my lap purring his signature can-be-heard-across-the-room pur, the one that keeps me up nearly every night. sigh. I love this cat. Happy birthday, Mr. Tobe!