Tuesday, August 23, 2011


We are wrapping up the celebrations around here.  We just finished with all the festivities for our little Isaac today.  Phew!! Four birthdays in 18 days; WOW!!  I am always exhausted when August 24th rolls around.  To see how we celebrated Stella’s birthday go here.

My birthday is the day after Stella’s.  It was a great day spent with my family.  I don’t have any pictures to share, but it was a day I won’t forget.

I do have lots of pictures to share with you about Jex’s birthday.  Only a few, well now you know I am fibbing.  If you are a faithful J & A reader you will know that I always share way too many pictures. But it’s my blog and that’s the way I like it.  I hope you do too. 

Jex’s birthday is next in line. Just six days after mine, and Isaac’s 10 days later.  Watch for details about what we did to celebrate Isaac’s fourth birthday today; coming in a few days.


This handsome boy reminded me that he will never be able to say that he is eight ever again.  I wanted to run and hide in my bathroom and cry.  How could he possibly be nine? Wasn’t I just figuring out how to take care of a newborn?  Now I have a tween that I am trying to figure out.  Actually he is a pretty easy TWEEN.

jex collage

I had to beg him to wear this hat, btw.

We love Jex so much.  We are so thankful that Heavenly Father sent him to our home to live.  We were excited to celebrate his ninth birthday.

nine in frame

It was a Saturday so we decided to spend the day just hanging out together, and doing whatever Jex wanted. 

We started the day with our traditional breakfast in bed.  We even did a re-do for Stella because we were not home to do it on her birthday.

Breakfast collage

I had the table all decorated when he woke up.  I had all the gifts wrapped and ready to go.

presents collage

He was looking forward to a particular toy so I knew he would want to open presents ASAP.  That was possible this year because Jonathan wasn’t at work. 


We let him open 1 gift.  It was a bay blade.  Are your boys crazy about these?  Our boys are just getting started with them.  They have really kept them entertained.  I can appreciate toys like that.  I get so frustrated when we buys toys that our kids never play with.

After a great breakfast of skinny pancakes(crepes) and playing bay blades, we went to a movie.  Jex picked Kung Fu Panda 2.  We love the $$$ theater.  It makes taking our kids to a movie affordable, and we don’t feel bad when they want popcorn.

We typically have Cold Stone Ice cream for lunch, but our plans changed when we went to a movie.  We decided to improvise.  Jex had wanted an ice cream sandwich cake for his birthday.  I had made one for Jonathan for Father’s Day, and Jex loved it.  I never posted it, but this is what it looked like.  It was delicious. I will have to post this recipe.

Ice cream cake 

It was late afternoon when we finally made it to Cold Stone, so we told Jex that if he would rather pick out a Cold Stone cake he could.  We settled on a Cold Stone ice cream cake instead of the one I would make.  It also took the place of our Cold Stone lunch. 

Man it was good.  I have always made my kids birthday cakes.  It was kind of hard for me to buy one. This cake looks so much prettier then mine ever do. I like to think the love that I put into my homemade cakes makes up for my lack of cake making skills.  You can pretend I made this pretty thing if you like.

Cake collage

We enjoyed eating on this delicious cold treat for several days.  What a fun idea.


Our kids always pick a special dinner on their birthday.  Jex kept it really simple this year.  He wanted Hot Dogs.  Well, that was easy.  He loved it, so what more could you ask for.

hot dog

I love singing Happy Birthday.  Everyone always has a smile on their face.

happy birthday

I love watching the anticipation as they get ready to…



blow out

(Notice he has his Bay Blade in his hand)

Jex couldn’t wait to finish opening his gifts, which mostly consisted of clothes this year. 

presents 1

He is nine so toys are becoming a thing of the past.  Which is kind of nice in a way.  He is beginning to appreciate fashionable clothing. (And let’s face it; I enjoy spending my money on that.)


We decided to just make a day of it, and go to a Traveler’s Baseball game.

Jex at travelers game

Jex had been talking about it all week.  We got great seats, and stayed and watched every second of every inning.  Jex loves watching baseball. 

Night at the Ball Park

Our kids did great considering how hot it was.  At one point I looked over at Tess, and her hair was drenched.  She never complained.

It was such a great day.  Jonathan and I looked at each other at during the game and said, “this is so much fun hanging out with our kids.” 

Jex and dad

As some of you may notice, we don’t have big friend birthday parties.  I am not saying that won’t ever have friend parties, or that we haven’t in the past.  In the last few years, as a family, we have discovered that we enjoy birthdays so much more when we can really focus on the person whose birthday it is.  Instead of twelve other kids, party favors, paying for a location and food for everyone.  Our kids have also realized that they get really special treatment from everyone in our family.  Birthdays have become almost sacred in our home.  It is almost as though I don’t want to have to share such a special day with 12 other people.  There will be birthdays when we do have a few friends, and I stress few.  For now, I am going to relish these birthdays that our kids love being together as a family.


Here is a list of birthday traditions that we do.  These traditions make the kids day so special.  These traditions allow us to do family birthdays, because they look forward to all of these traditions:

Breakfast in bed

A couple birthday pictures

Lots of decorations around the house when you wake up

Lunch at Cold Stone

A homemade birthday cake picked out by the birthday person

A family activity together

A special birthday dinner of your choice 

The table is decorated and candles lit 

We use our best dishes

Presents to open and play with 

Sharing new birthday toys with siblings

Singing happy birthday, and blowing out the candles

Sharing yummy cake with our family

I love birthdays, and I love our birthday traditions.

Jex and mom

Jex had a great day, and so did Mom, Dad, Stella, Isaac and Tessa. You could tell by the smile Jex wore all day.  I love celebrating the birth of my children.  It really is such a special day as a parent if you really stop and thing about why you are celebrating.  It is worth making it special.

Stay tuned to hear about Isaac’s special day.


The Simple Life of a Rich Girl said...

Oh my goodness - he looks like his Mama! What gorgeous smiles. Happy Birthday!!

Roxanne said...

Tell Jex Happy Birthday from the Bailey's! We love and miss you guys!

Darlene said...

Happy birthday Jex and Stella! Looks like a great day :).

Krysta said...

Happy Birthday to Jex! What a fun day FULL of celebrations. You always make your kids birthdays so special. They definitely know they are loved and that is most important.

I don't like sharing my kids special day with their friends either. Our compromise is a party every other year and their party is always on a different day than their birthday.

Love the cake too! We used to do store bought cakes all the time. They enjoy it both ways. I am torn between the two. It simplifies things that's for sure and sometimes that is what everyone needs. Each year is a little bit different and you are right when you said to improvise. You did a lot of that this summer!

K, now that I wrote a book I am done! :)

Christal said...

Happy August Birthdays to the Swenson's!

Jaimie said...

Happy birthday!

We always spend the actual day of birth together as a family and celebrate. Then we have a friend party on a weekend day. The best of both worlds!

Mr. Martial Arts said...

What gorgeous smiles. Happy Birthday!!

Michelle said...

You sure know how to do birthdays at your house! That looks so fun. Happy birthday, Jex!

Jaimie said...

Aw, I came back to look for a new post today and all your pictures say that your photobucket bandwidth is used up. No pics. :(

KW said...

Happy birthday Jex! Looks like you had a fantastic day. That cake looks yummy.

Brunson's said...

Happy Birthday to all the August birthdays. I remember this was your busy month. You amaze me. Your kids are getting so big but still as cute as I remember. HOpe all is well.

Pam said...

Look like you made special birthdays for the kiddos! Thanks for the pictures!

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