Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Golden Birthday

6 years ago Dave and I brought our first little baby boy home from the hospital. Ethan Brooks, with his scrawny legs and fluff of white blond hair. He made this little squeaking noise when he was asleep - it was the cutest thing. And I can still remember that car trip home. It was January, but it felt more like April or May, the way the sun was shining. I kept looking back at his little car seat in the back of the Mazda. As if to make sure it was all really happening to us. It just felt so surreal, to be a parent. For life to change that much all in one day.

6 years later, and I just can't imagine what life would be like without our children! The 3 the Lord has given us to raise have blessed our lives in so many ways. I am continually reminded of what a privilege it is to have them with us.

Ethan, as our firstborn, makes us most aware of the quickly passing years, I think. It seems like I was just holding him in my arms, bouncing him because he'd cry every time I stopped, but I guess not, because he started kindergarten this year. He comes home from class with "fish slips" now for showing kindness to other classmates. But I remember when he was two and knocked over every kid in sight! Tim Gallagher even gave him a nickname...Bruiser, I think it was...I was a little worried that he was going to be a bully for life!

He turned 6 this year, and he was very excited because it was his golden birthday, you know. 6 on the sixth of January. I'm not exactly sure what that means, but to him, it was extra special. And he thought and thought about what he wanted to do for his birthday, how he wanted to celebrate with his friends. My sister had superhero capes made for the boys for Christmas, and somehow, that eventually evolved into us throwing a superhero birthday party for him. He was just over. the. moon. about it. He had lots and lots of plans. :)

We invited a few friends from Sunday School, soccer, and school, and his cousin too. This is what his invitation said:

Calling all SUPER Friends! You're urgently needed for a Birthday Bash! Come join us for a Super Hero Training Camp to celebrate Ethan's 6th birthday.

We here at the CRIME FIGHTING SUPER HERO LEAGUE have noticed you and your special skills. Skills that are necessary and vital to crime fighters. Do you think you have what it takes to be a Super Hero or Heroine? Ethan seems to think so. He has invited you to our SUPER SECRET SUPER HERO TRAINING FACILITY at the Everhart's. Training begins at 2 pm on the ninth day of January. No uniform required - it will be provided when you get here! Becoming a Super Hero is not for everyone, but it could be for you. We hope you decide to become a part of the...CRIME FIGHTING SUPER HERO LEAGUE.

Dave and I made capes and masks earlier in the week for all the kids, but when they got here we had a table with art supplies so they could decorate arm bands with stickers, sequins, and glitter. Superheros must have accessories, you know!

The birthday boy!

I just love the hat head these two have going on!

Abby Grace wore her mask to church the next day. Her mom said no, or she would have worn the cape too. :)

Next we went down to the basement for the *real* superhero training to begin. Each kid got a training manual with a page for each essential superhero skill: speed, agility, and marksmanship. If they passed each skill, they would become superheros. (They all took this totally seriously...cracked me up!)

The first event was a speed relay - they had to change into work clothes, and then when they heard someone in distress, change into their superhero costume and coming running to their aid. (The person in distress ended up being Dan Billon, one of Dave's college roommates, whose son Isaac played on E's soccer team. Dan was totally hamming it up for the kids! :)

Next the kids bowled for villains (water bottles with pics of famous cartoon villains on them - didn't get a picture of this). The kids LOVED this and it cost $0.

The final game was to test their aim. Dave drew some skyscrapers on brown paper and taped pics of Darth Vader, the Green Goblin, Captain Hook, the bad guy from Up, etc...in windows. And we broke out the box of nerf guns, so they had their weapon of choice! (We have way too many of those things :).

After they were done, we put stickers on each page of their manuals declared them all superheros. Then I told them I needed their help. A villain was on the loose in our house, and he had threatened to steal the birthday cake. I needed them to track him down with their skills and keep him from ruining the party.

Meanwhile Dave (aka, Mr. X) slipped out. :)

The kids followed hidden clues all over the house until they finally arrived back in the basement where Mr. X had covered the floor with black bombs (balloons). They had been told in the clues that they had to jump on the bombs to diffuse them, but to make sure NOT to jump on the green ones (those ones were kryptonite and would make them loose their powers).

They all passed!

Opening presents with friends - lots of silliness going on! :)

Andrew is his sweet friend from school.

All the kids tried to be in this shot - I love all their different expressions.

Grandma and the birthday boy. He loves the game you gave him! :)

Happy birthday, big boy!

We're very thankful for another year with Ethan. This last one has been a good one - we've seen him mature a lot and start to take on some responsibilities at home. He often asks to help us or asks for chores that he can do. He is learning to find the joy in serving. Love that! Ethan made a profession of salvation a couple months after he turned 5, and he seems to be growing in his knowledge and desire to live for the Lord. As a parent, it just thrills your heart to see your little one pouring over the pages of the Bible!

Most of all, we are just so thankful for a loving heavenly Father who loves Ethan more than we do. There is so much peace in knowing that it is not all up to us! The Lord is orchestrating the events in Ethan's life to grow him into the man He wants him to be...for His glory! We can try to faithfully raise him, by God's grace, but we know the Lord's pull on his heart will be far greater than any words we ever say.

So we just pray that his heart will stay tender to the Lord every year he grows older. Love you, honey!


Jennifer said...

You are a super cool mom! Great ideas! Looks like the kids had lots of fun. Jenn

Sarah said...

WOW! What an all-out party! Great DIY ideas!

Kelly said...

So much fun! It has been a joy to watch you and Dave grow as parents over the last 6 years and it warms my heart to see E growing and learning and already desiring the things of God! I pray for you all often and just drink in these posts about your kiddos! Love you!!

Anonymous said...

Well, I cried through most of that. It brings so much joy to my heart - the whole thing. I am sure the Lord was looking down on it with a smile. Mom

Stacy said...

I LOVE your birthday party theme and how you threw it all together! I'm glad my boys can't read this or they would think I'm the lamest mom ever!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a lot of fun..especially on a cold January day. Great job with the party!

Erin Conrad said...

coolest birthday parties ever my dear friend!

~ Rory ~ said...

I second the super cool mom comment! You are one of the most creative moms I know! Your kiddos are so blessed to have you as their Mama and not just for the super cool parties you through, but more importantly for the way you cheer them on through life and encourage them in the right path! Can't wait for them to get older and read the things you have written about each of them over the years!

bandanachick said...

Love it!! You ARE the best mom, I love how you are so creative. Your kids are all so blessed to have you in their lives.
Love you!!

**Did E's present ever arrive from us? I ordered it kinda late. :(

Christina said...

Oh my goodness. You give your kids the greatest parties. I'm hiring you to do all of my kids birthdays! You work for cake, right?

Rachel said...

Nah, I'm not that creative...I just know how to google. :) He was really dead set on this, so we just did a little research. Apparently he is not the first 6 year old to have these ideas!

And for the record, my mom was the QUEEN of good themed birthday parties - maybe that's why I am always game to try these crazy things??? Dave is totally baffled by it, but I think it's fun! :)

Ruth, yes, he got it yesterday! It's actually kinda nice to get stuff later - spreads it out a little. He LOVES legos. Thank you so much!

Melissa said...

SO much fun Rachel to read this and see what a blast the kids had that day. Certainly a birthday no one will forget : ) And it's also wonderful to see where God has brought Ethan and you all in the past 6 years!
I still remember the year my Mom did a themed Tea Party birthday for me...all my friends dressing up, each of us being renamed with flowery names, the hats we wore, the manners game!

Anonymous said...

Looks like a wonderfully fun time for the kids! Happy Birthday to Ethan!

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Eryn said...

holy cow! that must have been an awesome birthday party! i am sure he will remember it for the rest of his life.

Anonymous said...

Such madness it must have been - Jake still talks about it and of course wears the cape and mask all the time! I love the pictures. :) Sonja