So, Ryan's birthday happened to be the day we were flying home from our Florida vacation. I was kind of thinking it would be a bit of a bummer of a day to have a birthday. You know, leaving the happiest place on earth and sitting on a plane. But I am happy to say that I was wrong! Ryan's only birthday request was breakfast in bed, so we made up a tray with whatever we had--I think we made a yogurt, peach cup, cheerio parfait with chocolate milk on the side. It looked a little sad, so we laid out 10 $1 bills with it. And when we started singing to him and he opened his eyes, I have never ever seen him more excited about anything in his life. Ever. That right there could have been all we did to celebrate his birthday, and he would have been completely happy. Note to me for next year, skip the presents and just give him $10 in cash.
Anyways, Michael and I were glad to see him so thrilled, and it was a very happy start to the day. We had also hidden little birthday notes all over the place for him to find, which he loved. He collected and saved them all in his backpack, and now keeps them in a little stash in his dresser drawer. He's a sweetie.
So, we made it to the airport and onto the plane without much trouble. It's nice that the kids are at pretty easy ages for traveling. At least compared to what it used to be! Michael sat in between Calvin and Sophie in the back of the plane, and I sat by Ryan kind of in the middle of the plane. Michael had put a bunch of new, fun games on the iPad for Ryan, so I let him play it as much as he wanted on the flight, which was a real treat! Ryan sat in the middle seat, so I was on his left and a nice man from Wisconsin was on his right. Of course Ryan talked-talked-talked to that nice man the ENTIRE flight. About everything. The guy got down his camera and showed Ryan pictures of the houses he did construction on and the huge fish he had caught in Wisconsin and on his vacation in Florida. And Ryan offered to teach the nice man how to play the games on the iPad (he politely declined). It was a fun flight, and when we got off the jetway, that nice man found us, gave Ryan a sturdy handshake and told him how nice it was to meet him, and that he hoped he had a very happy birthday. Then he gave him $3! Well, if I thought Ryan couldn't get any happier, I was wrong! That kid was in heaven, thanks to a very nice man from Wisconsin.
Well, we all got home just fine, and we had decorated the house before we left, and Ryan hadn't seen it since we had picked him up from school to head to the airport, so Ryan was very pleasantly surprised with all of the decorations and mirror notes and balloons and wrapped presents waiting for him (thank you Grandpa and Christy!)! He elected to open them all right away and was, of course, very excited about it all. Since we had just walked in from the airport, I didn't even attempt to make dinner or a cake. We just asked Ryan where he wanted to go eat, and he picked Old Country Buffet (which was actually pretty gross, but what can you do?). So we went there and had a nice time and then the tireds caught up to everybody and it was definitely time to go home!
So, Ryan said it was the very best birthday ever, and I'm glad, because effort-wise I was pretty sure I was a failure of a parent, but I guess I was wrong! I'm certainly glad he felt like he had such a great day! He got lots of phone calls throughout the day from family members who were thinking of him, and he felt very loved!
On Saturday we had his friend birthday party. I told him he could invite a maximum of 5 people (last year we had 20. And it was an art party. There was no way I was doing that again.), so he invited a couple of friends from church and a couple from school. He had three requests. 1. A remote control car party. 2. Watching the movie Cars2. 3. Vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting piled high. Sold! So we invited friends to bring a remote control car if they had one and moved our living room rug so they could do races. Well, Ryan technically didn't even have his own r/c car (Calvin owned 2...), so when his friends showed up with all of these awesome cars, Michael and I felt bad. So Michael and Sophie snuck off to Toys R Us and got Ryan one last birthday present... When they got back, we opened presents right away, and imagine Ryan's surprise when he got a new 2 pack of remote control cars--one rad sports car and one police car to chase it! He couldn't have been happier. Then they all raced the cars for a good long while.
It was a pretty laid-back party. When did pizza, cupcakes and ice cream and then put on the movie! And that was it! Ryan had a really fun time, and I think it turned out pretty much the way he wanted it.
So, this has been a long post already, but I though I'd just make a note of a few things about 7 year old Ryan, since at this rate he'll be 15 before I catch my breath.
-Ryan is a sports car/ race car fanatic. It is all he talks about, and he almost never checks out library books on any other subject (except when he gets a shark one for Calvin). He remembers everything he reads about race cars, and often he will tell me things and I won't believe him and later I'll find out that he was actually right. Like, for instance, how a "top fuel dragster" (who even knew those existed?) can go from like 0 to 60 in less than a second. Seems pretty improbable to me, but he was right!
-Ryan is still such a bright, intelligent kid. But he seems to be funneling most of this into cars. We are trying to get him to branch out a little, but he seems to have only one love. And it permeates everything he does! When he goes from point a to point b, he makes race car noises and runs into things on purpose. When he plays with Calvin or Sophie, he almost always gets them to play race cars, and even if they resist and he gives in and plays what they want to, it always ends up involving an element of race cars. Case in point, this morning Sophie and Calvin wanted to play "mom and dad" and Ryan wanted to play with them, so he finally got them to change the game to "race car mom and dad". Then Calvin added on a campout element, so it ended up being "race car mom and dad campout".
-Ryan is a very helpful boy. He knows what is right, and he really really tries to do it. He is always offering to help or asking what he can do for me. The other day he said, "Mom, whatever you need, I can do for you. And that's going to be pretty much for forever." He is a very sweet, loving boy.
-Ryan likes to make up jokes. They usually don't make any sense at all, but every once in a while he comes up with one that actually makes sense, and that's always fun!
-Ryan still loves his goodnight song and back scratch routine. Whenever he's been a little crazy or naughty and then I am tucking him in and ask what song he would like, he usually says, "Mom, I just don't think I deserve a song tonight." And I tell him that of course he deserves a song. And that makes him feel better.
We love our great big boy! Happy Birthday, Ryan Bear!
Here are some pictures!
Michael and Ryan on his actual birthday, putting together his model Ferrari:
Birthday party day--opening presents:
Opening his remote control cars--look at that face!
Racing remote control cars:
Watching the movie (yes, our TV is inside our piano. Michael can field any questions on the subject.):
Ready to blow out some candles:
7 is a great age for trick candles. 2.5, on the other hand, is not. Look at Sophie's face!
When we were ready to sing, Ryan's best little school friend, Gabe, told us he could accompany the song on the piano! And he could! It was awesome!
Here's a video of Ryan blowing out the trick candles. We told him that however many candles he ends up not being able to blow out is the number of girlfriends he has. It was really funny. Do yourself (and me!) a big favor, and turn down the volume until he actually starts blowing out candles. My singing is absolutely horrendous. Gabe's accompaniment was lovely, but in completely the wrong register for me. I should have gone low, but I went high. It's not pretty. but the video is funny nonetheless!