Category Archives birthday

Birthdays Come and Birthdays Go

For weeks, I have been dreading this week. Not because of my birthday (today) and getting another year older. It has more to do with the crazy that is the week. Winter band/chorus concert, orthodontist appointment, Hebrew School, meeting, and another doctor appointment. In addition to these items, I need to turn up the heat on my public school advocacy. Some recent events have me even more concerned about the damage being done to children by education reform, specifically Common Core. Happy Birthday to me writing and calling more members of the NYS Assembly, more NYS Senators, and following up about something that still brings tears to my eyes from last week.

To distract me after plans for the weekend changed, my family thought ahead and asked to celebrate my birthday a day early. Sunday night we had a delicious dinner and ice cream cake (my childhood favorite) at Nana and Papa’s house.

Ice Cream Birthday Cake

Earlier in the day, TechyDad and I went shopping before the malls were super busy. I finally made it to the newly opened Vera Bradley store at the mall. I had received an amazing coupon to use and usually spent it online. It was such a great experience to go into the store and see the patterns and different items in person. In the end, I scored an amazing deal on a Backpack and wallet in Indigo Pop. Something very different, practical for my use, and fun colors to brighten the days and my travels.

Vera Bradley Birthday Backpack and wallet

Assuming we do not have a school delay for ice/snow, I hope to have a quiet day getting some work done and crocheting a bit. Now I will take a deep breath, count to ten, and get ready for whatever this week and the year ahead bring me.

It's Me

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Tenth Birthday Milestones

Dear NHL,

I sit here in disbelief. Ten years ago right now, I thought I had another two weeks before you would arrive and was trying to finish the latest Harry Potter book that had come out. I knew that once you were here, I would have little time to read. Of course, you decided to surprise me on the evening of August 16, 2003. When I stood up, heard a pop, and ran because I knew it was going to be time. The next twenty-four hours were a blur. I only remember seeing your sweet little face and falling so much in love.

Baby NHL - August 2003

How can you be turning ten already? I find it too hard to understand the concept of you being in the double digit numbers already. Even harder for me is to realize how much you have grown up this past year. Of course, a lot of that was not by choice. Circumstances happened and you had to learn to be an advocate for yourself. Though I wish some of the items never occurred, I am so proud of you and how you handled yourself. Though your new independence and tween attitude is hard to get used to, I will always love you no matter what.

Now let’s take a look back at the last year that has become a tradition of sorts.

Your ninth birthday was filled with all things related to Harry Potter. You loved all of the special LEGO books, the Hagrid’s Hut set, and the Hogwarts set that people gave you. You spent a lot of time building and rebuilding all of them while having nightly read aloud of the books with Daddy.

LEGO Hagrid's Hut for Birthday

Fourth grade started and you were an amazing big brother. I think you may have been more excited about JSL being in the same building than anyone. You showed him our first day of school traditions and helped us to get him ready for the day. Meanwhile you could not wait to meet your substitute teacher who would be starting the year in your classroom. Little did we know that she would be an angel to our entire family to get you off to a fantastic start. (September 2012)

First day of grade 4 and little kindergarten brother

Much of the month of October was spent getting your Halloween costume ready. For the first time in many years, you knew exactly what you wanted even before we went to the store. It was no shock to us that you wanted to channel your inner Harry Potter. I have to admit, your glasses really made the entire thing work beautifully. (October 2012)

My Harry Potter

November started a stressful time with a lot of changes to your world. By the time Thanksgiving rolled around, we were all ready for some time away from school. The long weekend gave you time to play with your cousins, celebrate Chanukah a little early, and get some fun back into your life. (November 2012)

Celebrating Chaukah with cousins

During part of November and December you were participating in Science Club once a week after school. You adored the experiments and items that you learned. I think it was thanks to this that I knew the camp we had to look into this summer. Along with celebrating Chanukah, you adored getting to go outside and actually play, build, and explore in the snow. (December 2012)

Fun in the December snow

2013 began rather quietly. Behind the scenes I was working on items to help you at school. There were a lot of road blocks and I think you likely sensed my frustration. As you know, I did not give up and eventually we were successful in turning things around. I only wish I had raised my voice a little louder and not let some bullies stop me. As we go along this journey, you will see that I learn something new about parenting while we move forward. You and JSL also helped me to do some book reviews. Both of you loved when they involved using the iPad. (January 2013)

Brothers reading together

Snow, winter break, and power outages meant that we stayed inside a lot. We made forts and even tried something new that I found on Pinterest. You loved helping to create the slime and used it for hours over many days. Another favorite item was creating mazes with the bricks that you received for Chanukah from Aunt A and Uncle J. (February 2013)

Forts, slime, and building

Spring time was a bit rocky from time to time. You were so very frustrated with some items happening outside of home and nobody else was listening to us. Then you did something that I was so very proud of, you learned to use your words and voice to be an advocate for yourself. You told people why you were scared of certain things and in doing this helped to teach others about autism. Of course, while all of this was happening we also prepared for Passover and you had fun being silly during our Seder. (March 2013) Slaying of the First Born Male

As the weather started to get warmer, things started to settle. It was so nice to see you happy and excited about things again. Seeing the smile on your face made me know that I was doing everything right as your advocate. One of the highlights for our family was going to the Albany Children’s Book Festival. You made getting author and illustrator autographs a sport. (April 2013)

Meeting Authors

As testing season at school began, we told you that we were not going to allow you to take them. This was hard for you to understand. In the end, you realized that it was not a punishment to you, rather we were looking out for you. One day you will understand more of why we were vocal about this topic. The rest of the time you were busy helping us to prepare for JSL’s birthday and making Mother’s Day special with my boys. (May 2013)

Memories of Mother's Day

The end of the school year was filled with supporting teachers and educators. Dad and I made the decision to take you and JSL to the rally at the NYS Capitol. It was a powerful day seeing you there with your teachers. As we made our signs for the rally, we talked about the importance of learning and why your teachers need to have more freedoms to do what is needed in the classroom. In addition to this, we went on your field trip, got to pick strawberries, and went bowling a number of times. (June 2013)

Monsters, end of school, bowling, and strawberry picking

The summer has been a time to get to something rather big. Just before Independence Day, you had your braces put on. You were amazing when they went on and have done so well following the rules. You also went to Science Camp for a week and had a blast. I think you were sad when it ended. We have also gone to visit a lot of science museums thanks to our membership at miSci. (July 2013)

Braces, museum, and lots of science

I hate to admit to you, but this birthday of yours is making me extra sappy. Turning ten just seems like such a milestone and is hard for me to really imagine. It seems like only yesterday that you were starting kindergarten and now here you are going to fifth grade and your last year of elementary school in a few weeks.

My NHL is 10

Always know that I am standing behind you and cheering loudly as you not only show me, but everyone else in the world who you are and why they need to get to know the real NHL. Never let anyone tell you that something is impossible, if you put your heart into it you can make any and every dream come true.



Past B-day posts to NHL:

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Disney Style Family Birthdays in August

The month of August is a big month in our family. Yes, there are back-to-back-to-back birthday celebrations in our family during this summer month. Papa’s big day is next Monday and TechyDad just celebrated his birthday on Saturday. While I was expecting NHL, we always assumed he would be born in September. He surprised all of us by coming two weeks early to join the August party parade. Now, ten years later, I am in denial that my oldest will be sporting a two digit number for his age. To help celebrate, I made a collage with all three of the August birthday boys from their last Disney trip with me (NHL/May ‘12 – Papa/May ‘12 – TechyDad/Dec ‘12).

August Birthday Boys and Disney Memories

Focused on the Magic

Be sure to stop by Focused on the Magic by clicking on the button above to join in the Disney magic this week.

It's Me

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Doctor Who Birthday Wishes for TechyDad

While I do not typically post anything new on Saturday these days, today I had to make an exception to the rule. You see, today is TechyDad’s birthday. While our plans are still not entirely set, I do know that the boys and I are going to make sure we have fun celebrating his special day. We will begin by officially giving him his present.

Doctor Who Birthday Wishes

The present is not a surprise. For quite some time, TechyDad has said that he really wanted a sonic screwdriver. In the time before I started Doctor Who with him, I really had no clue why this meant so much to my geeky husband. Then, as I started and quickly finished watching the new Doctor Who seasons with him, I started to get it. While the little toys that he had were fun, a true Doctor Who fan must really have their own sonic screwdriver. Simply knitting one for him was just not going to cut it. I can make those for the boys.

I finally figured I would surprise him buy purchasing a sonic screwdriver. Then, as I was talking to a friend, she asked me which Doctor was his favorite. While I was pretty sure he was a big fan of David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor, I wanted to make sure with such an important geeky purchase.  So I casually asked TechyDad which was his favorite doctor. His exact comment back to me: “Well, I like the Tenth Doctor the most, BUT I like Matt Smith’s sonic screwdriver more.”  Ooops, so I needed the sonic screwdriver for the Eleventh Doctor! Guess it was pretty obvious, but I had no real choice since I waited too close to his birthday.

We all went out the other night and picked up the sonic screwdriver above. In addition to this, TechyDad asked to get the light-up TARDIS for his desk, and I had to get the Dalek bookmark. Daleks are special in our house because they are what intrigued that boys with the show enough to finally start watching it.

So to TechyDad, I hope you have a wonderful birthday and we make many family memories celebrating your special day. I am sure your Doctor Who collection will continue to grow once we find a few more of the items that the boys and I wanted to get you. Thank you for being patient and letting me slowly become a Whovian who now loves to crack jokes all about Doctor Who and the crazy stories within the show.


Your Angel Forever

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A Pirate Craft Party

It should not be a surprise that I love to knit, crochet, and craft in general. I have all of my life really and it appears that my youngest kiddo is the same. If given an option of playing a board game or making a craft, JSL would likely select the craft ninety percent of the time.

When we asked JSL if he wanted to have a birthday party and invite some of his friends from school he said yes. Then, we had to brainstorm about places to have the party. One weekend afternoon, we happened to be at Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts store picking up some fabric. They had some tables set up in front for classes. I happened to ask if they did birthday parties. Yes, they did and I was told to call back Monday to talk with the person that coordinates them to get more information and availability.

Pirate Craft Party

This is not a sponsored post, we paid for the party completely on our own. I am sharing this to let others know about the wonderful experience we had. To make a long story short, we booked a party at our local Jo-Ann store and it was on June 1. When I booked it, Alex wanted to know what my son liked. I noted he wanted to do something with pirates (again) and that he loves to paint. As I sat in the party room talking about the event, she quickly came up with two crafts for the kindergarten set to make during the two hour party. I would simply need to tell her final numbers closer to the party, bring any decorations, and bake cupcakes and not decorate them. Another fun item, they gave me free postcard invitations to hand out to the kids.

We arrived for the party and the first craft was already set up. Each spot at the table had a small wooden treasure chest waiting for the kids to paint. While everything was getting set up, I worked on the snack/goodie table making the theme pretty obvious. As soon as the kids arrived, Alex and another woman (also named Alex) got started giving the kids directions and putting paint onto their paper plates to begin.

Painting Pirate Treasure Chests

TechyDad and I were beyond impressed with the variety of paints. If a color was running out, they got more and made sure the kids were happy. The two women were beyond patient with the kids and always helped them when they asked for something. When JSL wanted to write something on top of his treasure chest, Alex got a permanent marker and helped him to write on it where the paint dried.

Painted Treasure Chests

While the treasure chests were drying, it was time to make some jewels and doubloons to put inside them. The kids would be using Crayola Model Magic. To make it sparkle and look more like pearls, gold, emeralds, sapphires, and rubies – Alex had the kids mix in some glitter. This worked beautifully. The kids worked for quite some time making their items to take home.

Pirate treasures from Crayola Model Magic

Next, it was time to create some cupcake memories. Each of the kids was given a cupcake that needed to be decorated. They were allowed to ask for any color frosting that was available. They had a lot of colors in regular frosting, plus a bunch of fun glitter gels. Then once the kids had put on their frosting and gels, they were able to pile on some fun sprinkle varieties.

Kid decorated cupcakes at Pirate Party

JSL continues to talk about his party and already wants to plan for next year back at Jo-Ann. As a parent, I loved the ease of the planning and the interactive nature of everyone that works in our store. A huge thank you again to Alex and everyone else at our local store for making my son’s pirate dreams come true.

It's Me

If you are interested in learning more about the Make it a Party at Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Store, you can check out the information here. As I noted earlier, we paid for our party and felt it was a wonderful deal. The link is to the information that I found when I decided to schedule our party.

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