Monday, September 19, 2011

Happy 7th Birthday, Hunter!

Seven?! Wow. Seven.

We celebrated Hunter's seventh birthday last Wednesday, September 14, here in the Bahamas. It was a great day. We started with birthday donuts. They were a little dense here in the Bahamas. No Dunkin' Donuts or Krispy Kreme here (sniff, sniff), but we kept the tradition alive by ordering from a local bakery.

Hunter is crazy about ocean life right now. Nearly all of his presents and his party revolved around the ocean. Two of his presents that thrilled were two ocean pop-up books - one from Mimi and Ddad (my parents) and one that Hunter bought here with some money that Grandma and Grandpa (Donny's parents) sent. Man, there are some good pop-up books out there. Last year, his Star Wars pop-up book was the prize present. Who knew these things would be such a hit? They really are incredible. If they are anything like his Star Wars book last year, he'll still be talking about them and using them a year from now.

We met some friends at a local restaurant for dinner and cake. Hunter specifically requested that we have his party at "Port Lucaya" at the Unexso pool. You'll see the pics, but it is a great poolside restaurant right on the local tourist port here. It's a super fun place to have dinner and swim in the evening. The sunset is beautiful as well.

Hunter requested a cookie cake, so I googled "homemade cookie cake," found a recipe, and off I went. Having never made his birthday cake before, I was a little nervous. The Lord has given me a sweet friend here in Freeport in Alicia. She made an awesome horse cake for her daughter this summer, so I enlisted her help to decorate my cookie cake. I really can't tell you how my heart lept when she brought the cake in for Hunter's party. It was perfect. Birthday cakes are so important to me. I don't know why. I guess it's the biggest reminder to me of what the theme was, what the kids were into at the time, and it's a special way to celebrate them with their name on their very own cake. I have loved every cake I have had for the kids' birthdays, but the most memorable for Hunter have been the ones that my sister made for his first and second birthdays and now the one Alicia decorated for birthday number 7. Amazing.

Hunter, you are so much fun. You love to read, write, and draw. Your reading amazes me. You read far beyond what I have taught you. I do love teaching you and seeing you learn things firsthand. I don't know if I will teach you throughout your school years, but I will enjoy these years with you at home while I can. We all love your shaggy long hair right handsome. Recently, you topped off your island look with a shark tooth necklace. So cool. All the girls here in Freeport are crushing on you. You're the only boy your age at our church, so you get plenty of attention from the ladies (yikes!). You love snorkeling and fishing with your dad and love all things that have to do with the ocean and ocean life. You have your checklist of things you want to see in the water while we are here. I have no idea what they are, but you are checking them off little by little. I think "nurse shark" is up next.

You love your sister and little brother. You are a champ at making Will smile. You are generous, creative, and caring. I love the little man that I am watching you become. I thank God for giving you to our family seven years ago. You are a gift. I treasure you so very dearly.

A habit we have started recently is me singing a song and scratching your back before you go to sleep. You choose the same song every night: "Good Night, My Someone" from the Music Man (you don't know it's from the Music's just your favorite bedtime song). It is one of the first solos I ever auditioned for as a child, and I love that you love that song. Millie rotates her requests, but you ask for that one every night. I love those few moments we share together as you drift off to sleep.

Happy Birthday, Hunter Levi. We love you so much.

Birthday Donuts - A Friederichsen Family Tradition

Ocean Pop-Up Book - So cool!

Incredible Birthday Cake - I still get giddy looking at the picture. So special.

Blowing out the candles

So thankful for very fun friends here in Freeport

Goody Bags - I was feeling very accomplished having used
Pinterest for the first time to find the idea for these bags.

My friend, Alicia - cake decorator extraordinaire!

Thank you, Lord, for our dear family
and for our sweet seven year old.

A wonderful day topped off with a beautiful sunset.
Thank you, LORD!

Will at 8 months - and Wisdom from Dr. Suess

September 2, 2011 - 8 months old

Today I was given the gift of an unexpected phone conversation with a very dear friend. We happened to be on Facebook at the same time, so we took that precious time that is "while the kids are sleeping or otherwise occupied in the middle of the afternoon" and talked for 42 minutes. It was a glorious 42 minutes. We haven't talked in months. That's about how it goes with us. BUT we picked right back up where we left off. That's also how it goes with us. Aren't those types of friends the best? We haven't lived in the same city in over four years, yet we are as close as we were when we lived just down the road.

Anyway, our baby boys are just a few months apart in age, so we were talking about them getting bigger, reaching milestones, and mourning the soon-coming end of the baby phase. She shared this quote with me, telling me that she needs to post it somewhere where she can see it: Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened. Oh, what rich and timely words for me today. I have been feeling that conflict since Will was born. His birth was so traumatic that I have soaked up everyday we've had, and I have not taken these days for granted. BUT I feel that inner tension, that sadness that these baby days are coming to an end. Life with him (and all our children and my husband and my friends and family) is such a gift. I am thankful for that reminder today, and I am thankful that today happened...complete with its drool-covered onesies, cheerios all over the seat from missing his face, early waking from a leaky diaper, and all the silly tongue filled grins while his first tooth is coming in. So glad they happened. So glad he happened. I admit, I am still sad that baby days seem to be passing quickly, but I am smiling now, thankful for the reminder that these days are a gift. I am so glad God has seen fit to give them to our family.

Now...on to sweet William. He is 8 1/2 months old. What?! How did he get this big? At eight months, Will has added squash, sweet potatoes, rice cereal and Cheerios to his solid food repertoire. The Cheerios are more of a game at this point, but he gets a few of them in his mouth every once in a while. He is still nursing 6 times/day. I am still waking him at bedtime for a dream feed. His afternoon naps are lengthening, and we are dropping the evening catnap. Sooo...he is napping a good morning nap, a late morning catnap, and a long afternoon nap. Since he is cutting his first tooth (appeared last night), he is waking more at night. I hope this phase passes, because I like uninterrupted sleep. Oh well, give it 18+ years, and I might get some consistent, uninterrupted sleep. Maybe.

Will continues to be so smiley, sweet, and cuddly. He is sitting stronger in his Bumbo and high chair, but he is not sitting on his own yet. Just like his brother and sister, he is not going to break any records with physical milestones. That is just fine with me. Hunter still holds the key to make him laugh and smile the most, but he pretty much smiles for anyone. Such a sweet boy. I haven't had him weighed since 6 months, so I have no idea how much he weighs, but he has grown so much since we have been in the Bahamas. I love going to wake him in the mornings or after naps. I always get a huge grin usually with some leg thumps on the crib mattress. He is not attached to a blankie, but he does snuggle right into me and suck his left thumb when I drape one of his Aden and Anais blankets over my shoulder. I melt. It is such a thrill and honor to be his Mommy.

Still working on sitting up...sweet little guy.

One of my favorite places - with Will on my left hip
snuggling in with his thumb in his mouth.

Donny getting some giggles from Will

And Hunter, our "Grinmaster" - He can always get Will to smile.