Whew! As much as I loved making Jaden's birthday a great few days for him, I am somewhat relieved the week is over. I'm exhausted -- and incredibly grateful that I wasn't even closer to my due date than what I am.
Even though I'm not a big fan of my own birthday and don't really care much about it... it is my goal to make my kids' birthdays very special every year... so that they know how special that day of birth really was! I had been mentioning Jaden's birthday to him for a few weeks so that when the celebration took place he maybe had somewhat idea of what I'd been talking about. His actual birthday was on a Thursday with his party being on Saturday. We decided to do a football themed party because he loves football. (Don't know where he got that from). On the morning of his birthday, Cody and I walked into his bedroom with a balloon for him. Anytime we're in a grocery store or any place that has balloons, he gets incredibly excited. But because they're not his balloons - just display balloons - it's always a disappointment for him that he can't actually play with them. I thought it'd be a great way to kick off his day by having balloons for him he could actually play with. I was right - his face lit up when he saw the balloon we carried into his room for him. He held it the entire time we were getting him dressed, and then when he walked out into our living room there were more balloons for him scattered around the floor. He was in Heaven. It was so hard to get him out the door to head to daycare -- he didn't want to leave his balloons, and I didn't want to make him leave! I had made cupcakes for the daycare kids to help Jaden celebrate and decorated them like footballs. So he was able to have an extra special day while Mommy and Daddy were at work. He and his buddy Carter, who is about a year and a half -- both LOVED the treat at daycare. Apparently Carter got the frosting all over his hair and everything. A quick apology to Carter's mommy for the mess! The night of Jaden's birthday, we decided to cook one of his favorite meals - spaghetti. He devoured a whole bowl of it plus two bowls of fruit. (He got whatever he wanted for about three days straight!) We enjoyed the meal just the three of us, and when we were done both sets of grandparents came over with their presents for him. It was funny to see the difference one month makes. Over Christmas he really didn't care that much still about opening presents -- but on his birthday he knew exactly what to do and was even excited about it. After he opened the presents from the grandparents, Cody brought up our surprise for him. We bought him his very first "tool bench." He was pretty excited about it, although he still doesn't really know what it's used for. I think it will be something he gets more interested in as he gets a little older and starts relating it to what he sees Daddy doing around the house. After presents, we lit two candles and sang Happy Birthday to him - then let him eat ANOTHER cupcake. I have this process on video, and I will post it soon. It was hilarious!
The Friday morning after his birthday he had his two-year appointment with the doctor. He had one more shot he needed to get -- but now we're done with shots until he's five! Yay! He is 32 lbs. and 36 1/2 inches long. He is in the 95th percentile for everything!
Saturday was party day. We held it at my parents because our house just isn't capable of comfortably holding the number of people we invited. We had all of the little cousins, grandparents and big cousins over. Here is his awesome cake from HyVee -- and I'd like to thank Coach Farley for gifting Cody and me with this nice UNI appetizer helmet for our wedding a couple of years ago. It came in very handy! ;)
We asked everyone to wear their favorite team's football jersey/shirt for the party... in order to keep with the theme ;) I was pleasantly surprised that everyone participated. Including baby Lily! Jaden absolutely loves her!!
The big surprise for Jaden was having the UNI mascot TC make an appearance. I thought of this idea a few months ago because when he saw TC for the first time at a football game, he was immediately in love with him and had no fear whatsoever. He even chased him half the length of the football field after a game one time. He quickly learned how to say "TC" and has continued to talk about him quite frequently since then. I was pretty nervous leading up to the party that he would turn out to be afraid of him when he saw him again... so I couldn't wait for the big moment to arrive -- and to be over with in case it didn't turn out very well ;) But Jaden LOVED having TC show up on Saturday. He immediately went to him and pet his nose and gave him a high-five. The whole party he kept saying "TC!" "TC!" TC was GREAT with all of the kids (and the adults, too) -- and it was fun to get pictures of him in my dad's "Panther Pit." TC also brought TC coloring books and trading cards for all of the kids -- and made a special coloring page with a message to Jaden on it - "Happy birthday Jaden." This will go great in Jaden's new room. We have pieces of the old UNI football turf that we are going to be hanging in his room with a bunch of Jaden's sports pictures on it - kind of like using the pieces of turf as a bulletin board. This special picture from TC will be proudly hung on the piece of turf! It's now funny to think that TC surprised Cody and me at our wedding reception, too. It's beginning to seem like we can't have a big event without him! ;)
TC also autographed Jaden's stuffed TC for him - a very special memento!
I have a long video of our TC visit that I will upload soon. Thank you TC and all of Jaden's birthday guests for making it a very fun day for him and for his mommy and daddy. Every day Cody and I continue to be in awe of our little boy. Can't believe it's been two years since we met him -- don't remember what I ever did without him!