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Ben and I met in 1996, began dating in 1999 and married in 2001. Now 20 years and 2 children later, we have returned to where our life together began. Ben works for the Federal Reserve and I have the privilege of staying home with our two precious boys.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Caden is 4

Caden turned 4 on April 25th. This little guy has the sweetest voice, the most obstinate personality, the strongest sense of right and wrong, and the best smile. He can also be the biggest stinker you have ever met but we love him ;-)

The Thursday before his birthday he got to celebrate his school birthday with his class. He asked for cookies as opposed to cupcakes so Mommy made gluten free chocolate chip cookies. His class must have thought they were yummy because I made enough for everyone including teachers plus extras and only 2 came back home.

 The next evening we had the Spring Fling at school. We had a great time but I forgot the camera so this picture from my phone is the only evidence of our attendance at this fun annual event.
Then on Saturday, his actual birthday, we had his birthday party. He asked for a train party so we booked one of the party cabooses at the Southeastern Railway Museum or SRM. Mimi, Uncle Chad, Aunt Ashley, and baby Collier came into town for the weekend to celebrate his special day. He was supposed to have a tee-ball game Saturday morning before the party which was the secondary reason for their visit but it got rained out. We were bummed that they were not able to see him play ball since this is his first season to play. But the rain, along with the forecasted severe weather AKA tornadoes made for one very nervous, party planning Mommy. I prayed a lot, hassled the SRM for their "shelter plan" since we were also responsible for our invited guests, and hoped for the best. Well...let me tell you, after the party I did the happy dance and praised Jesus because He showed His mighty power. A couple of hours before the party started the rain stopped and an hour after that the sun came out. It turned into a beautiful day!

We got there, set up, and got our party started! Their wasn't too much set up since the caboose's are already "decorated" so we just added train track table runners, the snack "train," our centerpiece buckets of train lollipops, and a few streamers. Caden's request was to invite his preschool class so we did that and also invited a few other friends. Considering it is spring and one of the busiest times of the year for everyone, they were not all able to come but we still had a good turnout overall and he immensely enjoyed himself! This is the first party that I have ever planned that I did not serve a meal. The party started at 1:30 so we served lights snacks and had cupcakes.

I ordered fondant train toppers for the cupcakes from Etsy but there was some shipping mishap and they didn't arrive in time...which I found out the day before the party when I inquired to the shop owner why I had yet to receive them. In a pinch, I had to come up with another topper idea so my friend, Michaela, suggested whistles. Brilliant! Everyone loves a train whistle...even though these weren't technically train whistles, they were still cute. Add some bottles of water and a cooler of juices, and the party started.

After snacks we sang Happy Birthday to the birthday boy and he blew out a red 4 candle. Shocked, I know, that the candle was red. Notice also his red shirt. And I think he had red on his socks, too. The boy can't get enough of the color red!

 So grateful for this lady who sacrifices so much of the little time that she has to herself to spend it helping others. This Mimi is amazing!
Once snacks and cupcakes were finished, our hostess, Miss Lolly, came to give us our tickets for the train ride. Since it was Caden's special day, he got his picture taken with the Conductor AND got to ride in the engine with the Engineer. He also "let" Daddy and Ethan go with him.
Then everyone else loaded into one of the passenger cars.
These guys were troopers because Chad had just had sinus surgery, Ashley was sleep deprived, and Collier was just getting over being sick. They must love us :-)
Look at that sweet girl' grin!
My sweet friend, Michaela, and Ethan's "twin" Ashley, who came early just to check and see if there was anything they could do to help. Ethan and Ashley have about the same energy level, they are quite a pair ;-)
Thankfully, Ashley wasn't stuck with the boys that day because some of Caden's girl school friends were able to come.
 So thankful for these families that thought enough of Caden to take time from their weekend to come celebrate with us!

 Our crew...disregard our friend who looks so happy to have his picture taken. Somehow, they got on our party car so I'm sure they were thrilled to be there!
 After the train ride, everyone got to explore the train yard. Ringing the bell on one of the retired engines was a favorite.
And one of Caden's first stops was the crane!
After spending some time in the train yard, the crew moved to the indoor museum. 
These three were inseparable and had a ball!
Sweet Jenn was also a trooper at 38 weeks pregnant. I can imagine that the train museum was exactly where she wanted to be ;-)
No museum trip is ever complete until you visit the gift shop. Caden wracked up because he got a shirt from the museum for being the birthday boy, Mimi let him pick out something, and Aunt Wanda let him pick out something, too.
After the party wound down and we got back home, Caden couldn't wait to open presents!
Mimi definitely provided the most excitement with a brand new 2 wheeled Razor scooter! He's a big boy now!
And Uncle Chad was not too far behind with his tow truck that actually tows things. It pulled this table across the house!
Love this picture of the men deep in concentration!
And this girl made a new best friend, Collier adored Lucy!
Always gotta have a cousin picture whenever they're together!

What a great weekend! 
Happy birthday big boy!