Parenting has a way to lull a person to sleep. Not that any aspect of parenting is particularly boring or sedentary. But there are certain aspects of it that are mundane and quickly become routine. Making lunches, getting them ready for school, picking them up, doing homework and rushing off to different activities. It's a day in, day out kind of lifestyle that passes slowly by day, and whizzes past by the week, month and year. I often will look at the calendar and realize an entire month has flown by, and the boys are that much closer to being done with Kindergarten. One day they are struggling with sight words and inventing their own spelling, and what seems like a few days later they are reading independently and making 100% on spelling tests.

Such is the reality of raising children. Nothing brings this reality closer to home than watching the boys celebrate a birthday. They are at the age where this is so exciting for them, they can barely sleep for the week leading up to their party. Meanwhile, I mourn the passing of their preschool years and wonder where the time went. Did I spend it well? Did I sow more positive in their lives than negative? What will they remember about their childhood?

One thing we hope they remember is the fun they had at their birthday parties. We really did it up big this year for Sam and Nate. Turning 6 only comes around once, so it better be a good one. This year, we had their party at Pump It Up, a big warehouse with bounce houses, slides and obstacle courses. We have been to several parties at Pump It Up, so the boys knew exactly how much fun this would be. What was even more fun than watching Sam and Nate was watching their friends who had never been there before. It made the whole event even that more memorable to watch their friends experience the unrestricted fun for the first time. After about an hour and a half of jumping and sliding, we sat down to eat pizza and cupcakes. Nate even got to drink his beloved Sprite, which is a bigger treat for him than I even like to admit.

One thing we did differently this year was that we explicitly asked the party guests not to bring gifts. Sam and Nate (with some encouragement from their parents) decided to ask their friends to donate money to EB research, in honor of their cousin Ella. I even asked my colleagues at TCU to join in, and the results were astounding. They were able to raise almost $1,000 for EB research, which still seems just remarkable to me. I do not know the exact number because the website most of the people used to donate does not tell how much people donated. Anyway, we thought this was a great way to celebrate a birthday, by giving to other people and celebrating their lives as much as your own.

Despite my reluctance to let the 5's go, we had a wonderful day of partying and fun. Gina and I love Sam and Nate so much, and we are proud of who they are becoming. The boys are blessed with great friends, a family that loves them, and so many more reasons to celebrate.

You can see more photos from their party in our February Photo Album.