Sunday, August 11, 2013


My baby is officially a 5 year old now!! How?! What?! It’s crazy to think that I had him 5 whole years ago!

In his short 5 years of life he has taught me some of the most important things I have ever learned! He is truly an angel and the light in my life!! He has changed me forever and I am SO grateful for that! I truly feel it an honor to call him MY son!!

This year his birthday was very fun because I feel like he was actually excited about his birthday for once. Almost every time we would talk about his birthday or his birthday party he would crack a smile. Even though we definitely aren’t the norm, I think that is age appropriate at 5 to finally get what your birthday is all about and really be excited about it!!

As I always say…a birthday is WAY more then just a day…it should be celebrated AT LEAST a week or the whole month really!! So it is for Dakotas as well!!

He started it off with a cousin party. Zach’s mom is so cute and started having a cousin party for each grandkids birthday. We just had Tate’s cousin party since he turned 1. For Tate’s party we went on a family bike ride around Mantua and then a picnic. It was so fun!!! Surprisingly I think Dakota enjoyed it. We don’t own bikes or a trailer so luckily we have some awesome friends that let us borrow theirs! ;) I even got a Dr. Pepper bike!! Couldn’t have been more perfect! ;)

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All the cousins! Of course Grammy is SO cute and had them all matching race bandannas!! ;)

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Check out that SWEET Dr. Pepper bike! If it is one day stolen from your house Amber…it wasn’t me!!! ;)

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Just chillin…it’s a rough life when you don’t have to petal! ;)

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Nice view…I’m talkin about the one on the right! ;)

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Then time for a picnic!! Yum!!

For Dakota’s cousin party we had a cowboy dinner in grammy and poppy’s backyard.

Are they not the cutest grandparents ever!! They went to so much work…each kid had their own western name! ;)

Then we headed over to our brother-in law Beau’s for a horse ride (since Dakota is a cowboy it was only appropriate! ;))Even though Dakota wasn’t feeling great he LOVED it!

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Dakota and Uncle Beau…2 cowboys…so happy! ;) Not sure how excited he was about his mustache…but we thought it was cute! ;)

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He had to take turns with his cousins…luckily he is a good sharer! ;) Tate and Maelee. (somehow I missed Houston :()

He even got to ride the tractor too! He was in heaven!!!
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Then it was ice cream time!! Perfect treat for Dakota man!! He LOVES ice cream!!
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So did the rest of the kids as you can see them surround grammy! ;)

I wasn’t planning on throwing him a friend party but as it got closer to time I changed my mind. I decided to throw him a little friend party because he has so many cute little friends that just love him and I want him to feel that love!!

I also think there is something inside of me that I can’t pinpoint…but because Dakota is the way he is I feel like I have to try harder to help his friends see how special he is so that they want to be around him. I know that sounds weird…but I want them to think of Dakota with happy and fun thoughts and I want them to be able to have fun celebrating him!! I want them to see that even though he can’t run and play with them like other kids he is still fun!! (It is so hard to describe but it is just a mix of emotions!)

I threw a big party at the pool for him last year but this year I decided I wanted to keep it cheap and simple. So I decided do a little water party in the backyard for a couple hours. As I started thinking about what to do to make it more fun for kids I decided a Pirate Party would fun…so boy and so perfect since Dakota WAS a pirate for Halloween last year! ;)


The more I started thinking and planning the more and more excited I got about it and it didn’t end up as simple as I imagined it being but it was SOOOO fun and SO worth all the work!!!

It all started with the invitations. I don’t think I am a super crafty and creative person…at least I don’t put myself in that category. I like to make cute things but I’m not the most computer savvy, how to person to do it. I wanted to be cheap with my invitations so I thought for sure I could find something online. There were of course some cute ideas on Etsy but I didn’t want to pay for them so after awhile of searching I thought…I can do this! So I put on my Can Do panties and got to work…they ended up so much more fun and cuter then anything I could have bought!

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I hand delivered the rolled up ones to friends close and mailed the folded up ones. I wanted to put them in old bottles with sand but I couldn’t find any bottles to use and I was crunched for time.

I wanted the kids to all be able to be piratey so I made headbands, eye patches, and swords!! The swords were taking me forever and I was thinking WHY am I doing this…does it really even matter…after staying up til 1 a.m. getting 1/2 way done with them one night. The next morning I showed them to Dakota and he was all smiles and then I knew it WAS SOOO worth it!!! Just because he can’t talk and tell me what he wants…doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve the best birthday party ever! ;)

So fancy I know! ;)
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Luckily the next night (the night before the party) 2 of my cute friends Jessica and Lacy helped me finish the rest of the swords and cut up all the food so I didn’t have to stay up so late again! Thank you thank you!! ;) It cracked me up though that by the end of the party most of the boys were taking everything off the sword until it was just pipe and they thought that was even cooler…crazy kids!!!

SO…after all the hard work it all paid off! Zach’s mom came up early that morning before the party started and we got EVERYTHING done in the knick of time!!

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When the kids walked up they got all of their pirate gear…eye patches, tattoos, headband, and sword. So they were ready to be REAL pirates!!

Drink table…salt water (not really ;) ) and Pirate’s Punch!

Food Table…most important in my book! ;) I just did snacks since it was at 10:30 in the morning!

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I think the kids loved the sharks in the jello the most! LOL

Had to have a pirate cake to go with it! This looks a lot more fancier then it really is…I just used the sugar sheets you can buy and cut out all the pieces and slapped them on there! All the kids wanted some of the head! ;)

He had so many of his cute little friends come and love on him and share in his special day!! I think all of the kids had fun too.

“Baby corner crew!” ;)

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Tried to capture everyone but I know I didn’t!!

Dakota totally grinned when these two cute girls wanted to take a picture with him! ;)

Captain Dakota himself!

There were lots of things to do…I tried to think of as many as possible to keep them all entertained! ;)
We jumped with sprinklers on his new birthday trampoline!!!

We did the slip and slide…also used as a splash pad for some of the kids who just wanted to walk on it! ;)

Vicki and I attempted to help Dakota down…
Not sure it went so well! ;)

We walked the plank…

And sat on it! ;)
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My sweet friends Josh and Capri let us use their waterslide bounce house…which of course was a hit!!

We shot water ballons with launchers at the kids…but in the end all they really wanted was their own balloon to throw at each other! ;)
I wasn’t the best aim! ;)


My favorite thing of all though…I had those bath tub crayons for the kids to draw pictures and write Dakota birthday messages on our vinyl fence. I tested it first to make sure it would come off so my husband wouldn’t kill me! ;) It was the SWEETEST thing to see all the kids drawing and all the cute messages that were left for him!
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The end result…
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My favorite little find!!!

And of course there was ice cream and cake time!!
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At the end some of the kids were SOOO excited to give Dakota their present they just started bringing them up to him. I told people that asked not to get him anything cuz I never even know what to get him and he already has plenty but it was SO cute to see the joy that these kids found in picking something out just for him and wanting so bad to see him open it! He got some pretty awesome stuff! Sometimes it takes other people to help me think outside the box of what he might like! Thank you EVERYONE for your sweet gifts!!

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Zach was a little overwhelmed trying to help but he did a great job! ;)

Thank you to everyone that came to his party and made his day EXTRA special!!!

Later that night we went to a little fiesta at Zach’s Grandpa Ed’s assisted living home. They had this cute couple come and sing some western music and they even sang to Dakota! It was SO darling!!
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Listening with grammy and poppy. He smiled the most when the lady yodeled. Maybe I should learn how! ;)

The day after his party was his actual birthday.

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He woke up to some yummy yogurt! ;) Lucky boy I know!!! ;)

The cute Winwards had given him movie passes to see Planes so we decided for his birthday to take him! He seemed to really enjoy it!!
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So relaxed and content with dad!! Zach had never been to the movie theatre with him since his accident. I have just been taking him to the summer movies by myself so he was shocked at how good he was during it!!

Happy Day!! (All people carry their 5 year olds out of the theatre in a chair right?!) ;)

Later that night his cute grammy and poppy came and took him to go get ice cream!! He was a spoiled boy!!!

We still have a family party to come…so the partying is NOT yet over!! Today he listened to his aunts and cousins birthday messages and was ALL smiles! He got sang to in his primary at church…he is loving life! ;)

IT’S GREAT TO BE 5!!!!!!!!
(I secretly wish I was 5 again!! ;))



  1. YOU are the perfect mom.

  2. Sorry, I didn't finish writing my last comment above...I think you are an amazing woman and seriously you inspire me. Such a great mom!

    1. Thank you!! I don't think ANY mom feels like they are a great mom so I appreciate that! All moms are amazing in my book! THank you for taking the time to lift me up! ;)

  3. It is obvious why Dakota chose you and Zach (and your families) to come to! I am always so in awe of you and your abilities...even in the 'crafty' department :)
    He is an amazing, little boy, and needed amazing parents...good call, Dakota! Love you all and thanks for always sharing your life, challenges and most importantly, your little angel, with us {{hugs}}
    Happy Birthday, sweet Dakota!!

    1. Jenell...I'm sure if he would have chosen you he would be in heaven right now!! You are amazing in my book!!! Thank you though for that! You always know how to make me feel good! ;)

  4. Your little man is so cute. What an awesome party!