06 July 2015

Zachary turns ONE!


Let the celebration begin!



Zach says, “Welcome to the party!”



The treat table. Yum!


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The birthday boy with his big sissies.


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The glasses came off for this one.


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My loves!


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Love this happy boy!


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The First Birthday sign and the decorations all came out so cute.



Toppings galore for make your own sundaes.


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My sweet friend, Jill made these scrumptious red velvet cupcakes as well as the party favor bags filled with the cutest shortbread cookies.


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Whatever floats your boat!



The waterslide is ready and waiting!






Family and friends begin to arrive… Aunt Mary, Grandma, Kyle and Jennifer.



Caleb, Vivien, and Faith.


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Levi determined to win the staring contest with Zach. :)



Mr. Jose lovin’ on the birthday boy.



Sweet Madilyn borrowing Zach’s bib. 



Leaving Zach a birthday note on his #1 board. I used all of my Instagram photos of him to make this collage.



The girls decorated these picture frames.



Brandon & Joe, enjoying lunch under the misters.



The kids outside.


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Singing Happy Birthday!


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He dives into the whipped cream!


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“Am I supposed to do that, mama?”



Not sure about the taste.


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Happy Birthday, little man!


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I scream, you scream. We all scream for ice cream!



Let the sundae making begin!



Rich, mom, and gomo.



Sylvie & Hailey enjoying a float.



Morgan testing out the waterslide for the kids.


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It’s not a party unless Morgan and Ben are competing against each other.



Dad approved! Let the fun begin!



Grace having a blast.



My dear girlfriends: Jill, Melissa, and Karen.



A selfie from Kyle.


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Fun gifts!


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Mama and her boy.



Daddy wanted to cool him off (with his clothes on).


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And he thought the birthday boy needed to go down the slide!


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What a brave boy!



“Is it nap time yet?”



My fun girlfriends. Who says moms can’t be fun?


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Tuckered out and ready for his nap.



These were the adorable and yummy cookies that Jill made as party favors.



Such a special keepsake!



Later in the day, after everyone went home, it was mama’s turn to slide! Weeeeee!!!!!! :)


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SO glad we got the waterslide! Worth every penny.


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The girls spent the next few HOURS on the slide.



Relaxing in the “pool.”



They finally came in at 6 pm. Only because they were hungry… again! :)

Whew! What a CELEBRATION!!!

We are SO blessed to have such good friends and a loving family. They have come alongside us in prayer, petition, encouragement, and of course, JOY!

Zach might have had a rough beginning to his life but thankfully, our beginnings don’t dictate our futures. He has come such a long way and we are so grateful to God.

I truly had so much fun creating the details for his party. Everything turned out great and the food was a cinch, too. It helped that I started planning EARLY. ;)

I stuck with a simple summer theme for the menu:

  • Shredded Honey BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
  • homemade potato salad (with lots of bacon and eggs)
  • Asian slaw
  • potato chips
  • watermelon sticks.
  • lemonade & water

I got several requests for the Shredded Honey BBQ Chicken recipe so I’ll post that later this week. But the highlight by far was the dessert table! We had make your own ice cream sundaes with fun toppings like sprinkles, mini m&m’s, gummy bears, and nuts. We also had chocolate and sea salt caramel syrup, and of course, whipped cream! Or, you could make your own floats with vintage Root Beer or Orange Crush. On top of all that, we had kettle corn, licorice, and Jill’s amazing cupcakes and cookies. It was an extravaganza for the kids! Ok, maybe the adults, too. :)

All in all, the day was a culmination of a year that flew by for me as we watched God heal our boy and make him new. He started out as a fragile little thing, barely making it out of the NICU but day by day, we watched him grow stronger, more able, and most of all, happy and healthy. Our hearts are FULL!

Dear Sweet Zachary,

You are one brave and determined little boy. But that doesn’t surprise anyone in the least. You’ve already overcome so much in your first year of life. You are also passionate, purposeful, playful, and funny. Everything you set your mind to do, you do it with your whole heart. Even your giggles and your laugh come from deep within your belly.

You are becoming very wiggly these days. When you see something you want, YOU GO FOR IT! Although you are not crawling just yet, we can see that coming VERY SOON. Something tells me when that happens, I’m going to miss the days when you were a baby, content in my arms. (You’ll ALWAYS be my baby.)

Seriously, how can we even imagine our lives without you in it? We don’t want to. All of us have our own unique bond with you and you hold such a special place in our hearts. You’ve brought us so much JOY, Zach. Joy that we didn’t know we needed and we definitely don’t deserve. In you, we see the goodness and mercy of God. He has big plans for you, buddy!  He saved you for a purpose. And we’re seeing the beginnings of that purpose play out in our own lives. What a privilege it is to take part in leading you in the way you should go.

I remember towards the end of your 75 day NICU stay, we were seeing glimpses of hope and Sue, one of  our favorite NICU nurses told me, “Catherine, one day, this will all be a distant memory.”  At that moment, how I wanted that to be true. We loved how hopeful she was. Today, on your first birthday, it’s still not a distant memory but I’m not so sure I want it to be anymore.

Our pursuit to bring you home and your determination to live serves as a reminder of how far you’ve come…How far we’ve come.

May you take that determined and passionate spirit God’s given you and use it all for His glory. Our greatest prayer for you is that you would grow to follow Him, love Him, and serve Him all your days.

Happy birthday, son. I am so proud of you.

I love you.

xoxo, mom

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