Thursday, May 21, 2020


Oh my heart.  My baby boy is 12, friends.  TWELVE. I know it's so cliche to say that "it feels like yesterday" that he was just a tiny baby but it really does! I remember his first little photoshoot for this birth announcement.  We were completely obsessed with our sweet new baby boy!

Fun fact: This photoshoot got messy and we had to clean that football pretty good afterward. #ifyaknowwhatImean 😂

Now my big guy is 12.  And I try to respect his privacy and keep stories and pictures off of here that I know would embarrass him now that he's older.  But Matthew, if you are reading this, somewhere down the line, I hope you don't get mad.  Because I'm about to get a little sappy.  #dealwithit 😉

But first, all the pictures.


Matthew was always the best baby.  He cried only when he needed something.  He smiled all the time.  He was happy and sweet and goofy and lovable and still is.  He's always been my more sensitive kid who is full of empathy and sympathy, kindness, compassion, and a desire to always do the right thing.  Not that he's perfect and always does the right thing.  But when he does mess up or make a bad choice it bothers him a LOT. He's quick to say he's sorry (unless it's to his brother...then it's like pulling teeth) and he means it when he says it because he doesn't like doing things that he has to be sorry FOR.

He can be a bit of a perfectionist which has created some anxiety when trying new things. He doesn't want to attempt it unless he knows he's going to be good at it.  I was the same way (and still am to a point) so I get it. Because I see so much of myself in him, we're able to talk about serious things pretty easily.  Sometimes I feel like I'm talking to my younger self and trying to tell him things that I know would have helped me.

Matthew had a great first year of middle school...right up until this dang coronavirus hit...and was thriving.  He found a group of best friends, was loving the saxophone, baseball...and his new cell phone...and was doing so well in school.  He would come home and say "I love school."  Seriously.  Now I'm not sure he felt like that every day but most days he really loved it.  He cannot wait to go back.

Of course, he's also becoming a teenager so it's not all perfect.  He will sleep until noon if you let him and he loves to curl up in his little "nest" as well call it and hang out in his room all day.  He's my little introvert and is perfectly content being alone but also loves hanging out with his friends. 

We love this boy so much.  He is such a blessing to us and we hope he will be for other people too as he gets older.  I can't wait to see who he becomes but if time could slow down a little, that would be great. ;)

Usually for the boys' birthdays every year, we have a joint birthday party.  Mason's birthday is 3 weeks before Matthew's (which I just realized I never actually posted about Mason's...gah I am the worst blogger) but since their birthdays are so close it's always been fun to do the parties together.  Every year we rent a giant waterslide and invite 30 or so buddies over to run wild, eat pizza or burgers, cake, ice cream--the whole nine.  They look forward to this waterslide every year!

So this year, since big parties aren't allowed, I tried to think of a way to make his big day as awesome as possible.  For Mason and Craig's birthday (they share one), we had a really big surprise birthday was so much bigger than we thought it would be!  The snowcone truck came too and everyone got snowcones afterward and tried to social distance in our culdesac while still safely chatting with people we hadn't seen in 2 months.  I also sent Mason on a scavenger hunt to find his presents and he loved that!

I decided to go for a "Favorite Things" theme for Matthew's birthday.  I wanted to surprise him with as many of his favorite things as possible and scatter them throughout the day.

We started off the morning with...

...BIRTHDAY DONUTS!  Matthew isn't a huge fan of cake but he loves donuts!  So instead of a cake, we stuck his candles in the donuts and sang happy birthday!

Make a wish!!

Next up was the same scavenger hunt that I'd sent Mason on to find his gifts!  This was a big hit by the way and so easy! I just printed out the clues from here!

The clues end with him finding all the gifts in the bath tub.  So we moved them on into the living room and let him open them there instead. ;)

In keeping with the "favorite things" theme, we got him a big bag of Hershey's chocolate bars (his favorite candy) and a bag of individually packaged Takis (his favorite chips).  I've said it before but we are also trying to put a little meat on this boys' bones if you can't tell. 😂

We also got him this raft with 2 oars among a few other things and when he opened it, he was way more thrilled than I expected.  But Matthew said they had just been talking about this the night before because we used to have one and then low and behold--he gets one for his birthday the next day!  Score!  (Also, ignore the Christmas wrapping paper I used to wrap things.  And that stained couch. Eek.  I told y'all we've been on the hunt for a new couch! Now you can see why! Haha!)

After presents were unwrapped, the boys dispersed to the office (Mason) and back upstairs (Matthew) while I cleaned up the backyard to prepare for the waterslide guys to arrive!  I told Matthew to expect a few more surprises throughout the day but he thought he was getting a birthday parade. I had shut all talk of the waterslide down pretty convincingly so he honestly thought that wasn't an option.  Which made this all the more fun!!  Waterslides are definitely a favorite thing!

The waterslide guys somehow managed to lug that giant waterslide right past the office windows where Mason was on the computer without him even knowing!  At one point, I went in and shut them all and told them I needed to dust them just so he wouldn't see. I wanted it to be a surprise for him too!

When it was all set up and the guys had just left, I heard a screech from upstairs and knew Matthew had just seen it from the window.  He came running downstairs so excited!  I wish I'd caught it on camera!

They quickly changed into swimsuits and tried to patiently wait for the pool at the bottom of the slide to fill.

I got a lot of questions about the slide!  We rented it from the same place we've been getting these for years.  For you locals, it's from Clown Around Party Rentals and this one is their 16' Purple Tropical.  They completely sanitized it before it arrived (even though it hadn't been used since last September) and sanitized the stairs and railings once more before leaving. We have had nothing but great experiences with them and definitely recommend them!

One good thing about having the slide all to yourself?  Getting to experiment with all their floats and rafts to see which ones go faster and we even used some dish soap to make it even more slippery. (Quick Tip: Wear goggles if you do this! Soap in the eyes is no fun! 😂)

I grabbed a quick pic with the boys before I went inside to get my own suit on. I don't play around when it comes to the waterslide! I LOVE THIS THING!

One quick selfie at the top of the slide!

SUNGLASSES / SWIMSUIT (so cute! I ordered one size up.)

(I put my phone in a plastic baggie after I took this!)

I'll never say no to a waterslide! Also, this filter makes me look orange. 😂🤷‍♀️

We spent all afternoon jumping from the slide to the pool and back again.  The weather was absolutely perfect, thank goodness.  Sunny and HOT!  (Also, the next day was cloudy and cool! I am SO THANKFUL for that sun on the right day!!  This waterslide wouldn't have been nearly as fun if that weather had shown up a day earlier! 🥶 #smallblessings)

My yard was a mess after this but it was totally worth it!

The slide people were coming back around 7 so the boys stayed out there as long as they could until... was time for Matthew's last surprise!  I ran up to Chickfila to grab a small nugget tray because this kid LOVES Chickfila we all do...but he is obsessed.  And being the very VERY picky eater that he is, we love when he'll EAT!  So nugget trays are the way to his heart and he was so happy to see me bring this out!

Everyone took a timeout to eat dinner (and oooh and ahhh over Mason's sunburn...#alwaysreapply) and then had a few more minutes on the slide before the slide guys showed up to take it down.

And if you're wondering, no Matthew didn't eat all of those in one sitting but he did a commendable job.  We've all been eating the leftovers!

And that was birthday #12 for my sweet firstborn! I think we all ended up with a little too much sun and some bumps and bruises from being a little too daring on that slide (there's a very colorful bruise on my tush that is no joke!) but it really was the perfect day.  Matthew said he wants a "quarantine birthday" every year now!

This is 12, y'all!



  1. Such a great idea and a fun way to celebrate while in quarantine! My oldest just turned 10 and this makes me want to surprise my boys with a water slide at some point this summer. May is a little cold in PA to have a water slide but maybe later this summer. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Oh my goodness, best birthday EVER!!

    1. It was so much fun! The boys keep coming downstairs and looking out the window every morning going "I miss the waterslide." 😂

  3. Such a good day! Why did you decided not to do a birthday parade?

    1. That's a great question and I should have explained that! Long story short, Mason has tons and tons of friends close by. It's like every other house in our neighborhood has a 4th grade boy, several of our church friends have 4th grade boys and his baseball team is full of them. And they all live close and I knew their numbers to text them about it. So I was able to invite a lot of people to his last month! Matthew is more of a quality over quantity type of kid with friends so his circle is small. I didn't want Matthew's parade to be 4 cars long and Mason's to be 40. He's only got 3 or 4 friends that live in our neighborhood (so I know the moms' numbers) and half of his baseball team lives 30 minutes away (so I knew they were out) and I didn't want him to compare his parade to his brother's. So we just decided to skip it and do something else instead. Our biggest challenge with raising these two since they are so close in age is getting them to stop comparing themselves to each other! "He's got more friends." "He's got more muscle." "He's better at baseball." "He's smarter." Its exhausting! haha

    2. That makes sense. Like you said, it still was a great day. Thanks for the reply!

  4. This is so special!!!

    1. We need to have a girls night with one sometime! haha

  5. The water slide is such a great idea! Might have to look into that!

  6. Looks like a great day! 👍

  7. What a fabulous birthday party!! I love those birthday donuts; I don't think anyone near us does anything like that.

    1. I bet there are places who do it! If not, show them this picture and give them a new money-makin' idea! ;)


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