Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Big 3!

Spencer Allen Mahlke - born August 8, 2009.
It doesn't seem real that it's been three years since my little baby boy entered this world and changed my life forever. I never realized just how much a person can truly love another human being until Spencer was born. And how each year that love grows and changes just as much as Spencer himself does. It's been an exciting, challenging, adventurous and amazing three years. Happy Birthday, Spencie!

I love birthdays and I very much enjoy making a huge deal out of them. I don't think you can fully celebrate a birthday in just one day, so I like to extend it out at least a week. This year I decided Spencer needed three celebrations: the big family party, a small family affair, and a best friend one.

Part 1: The Big Family Party.
The Saturday before Spencer's birthday, grandparents, great grandparents, aunt, uncle, and close friends gathered at our house to celebrate. The rain that trickled down all morning stopped in time for the party. We ate food, we played, we chatted, we had fun with water balloons, we sang and ate birthday cake, and finally we opened presents. After the festivities died down and everyone left, my mom, sister, and brother-in-law stayed overnight to continue the party. Judging by the smile on Spencer's face as he enjoyed all the attention, I would have to say his first party was a success.

Party favors.
Not too thrilled to show off his birthday shirt.
Eating at the kids' table.
Water balloon pinata.

He finally broke one!
Little Brother was a bit overwhelmed with all the excitement.
Water balloon fight!

Briella must have gotten someone!

My smiling birthday boy.
He needed some help from Daddy to blow out the candles.

His new backpack for preschool.

Modeling his new fishing gear.

Part 2: A Small Family Affair.
Wednesday was Spencer's actual birthday. Last year I started the tradition of lighting candles and singing to him at each meal, so I decided to continue the tradition this year as well. We met Dave at McDonald's for supper to have a small birthday celebration. Spencer was too amped up to eat much, so he munched on the apples and nuggets between playing with his new friends in the play area. Ashton did not want to miss out on the action, so I followed him through the tunnels. He is very adventurous and a bit of a monkey already. I'm far too big for those little tunnels and had quite the time following after him. After sticking three candles into a cup of ice cream, we sang to Spencer and then he opened a small gift from us. We ended his birthday night with a call from Aunt Katie and cousins Samantha and Hunter. Spencer shyly refused to engage with them on the phone, but he was grinning. He obviously loved the birthday phone call.



McDonald's play area.
Birthday ice cream.

A birthday call from family.
Part 3: A Best Friend Party.
Spencer's last birthday celebration was on Friday, which was actually my birthday. (For the record, I turned about 23 for the 6th or 7th time!) It is tricky having my birthday two days after Spencer's, but I very much enjoyed spending the day with my family and close friends. We had a tractor party at Grandma Amy's and Scharmer's house. Spencer invited his two best friends, Briella and Jackson. I think it's safe to say everyone enjoyed Scharmer's "toys"!! We started with food, cake and presents, of course. Then we ended the night at the lodge driving tractors until the darkness took over and we all retreated home. Before going to bed, David and I toasted my birthday with a beer on the deck.

Ashton's only tractor ride. He snoozed in a pack 'n play at the lodge while we all played.

This never gets old for him!

Our last gift to him: Cars bike helmet and bell.

Buckle up! I drove through "scary" trails.

Something is obviously hilarious!

It looks like Spencer is about to jump ship. If Briella drove like her mommy did on the Kubota, I do not blame him!!! Scary Zeisel drivers!!
After a brief tutorial on how to drive the "huge" tractor, I was allowed to drive it all by myself. Hey, I think I did pretty good!

Julia's turn to drive, much to her parents chagrin!
Spencer had enough sharing his tractors.

An old tradition and a new tradition.
Up until Spencer was two years old, I took pictures of him each month with the same teddy bear to mark his growth. After his second birthday, I decided to just take them yearly instead. Here is a collage to show his growth over the past three years.
And this year I decided to start a new tradition. A few months ago I interviewed Spencer on some random date. I enjoyed doing this and found the outcome interesting, so I plan to do it yearly on his birthday. Here is the interview.

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