Andrew's fourth birthday was such a special one! His theme was Toy Story, and I had so much fun with the decorations this year!
Andrew already owns a ton of Toy Story toys, so decorating was pretty easy! I just used his toys and books to put on the tables.
I loved this- I bought this box a long time ago, which was full of pull ups! I thought it looked like a toy box with Woody, Bullseye and Jessie peeking out!
I took this before I put up the balloons and streamers, but I loved how the mantle turned out.
The cake was another fun idea- Andy's bed and I had all the characters to put on it.
The cake table... I also loved spelling words out of the baby blocks with letters on them. Also, his Woody boots are propped up on a cute Toy Story tin, which you can't see very well. But he just loves his boots. I was surprised he let me decorate with them instead of wearing them! Ha!
The kids table
Ga Ga and Andrew
I had to laugh when I looked in the living room and saw this! All these kids and toys jam packed in our small room! Ha! They didn't seem to care!
This was so cute... Andrew's chair was at the end of the table, and his little friend Landon pulled his chair around to the side so he could sit right next to Andrew! Ha! I am so sad I forgot to take a picture of all the delicious food! We had a brunch this year, which I loved doing more than dinner. It was so easy and some of my favorite foods! We had egg casserole, cheesy hashbrowns, monkey bread, fruit and bagel bites from our favorite bagel place in town. It was all so good! I could have kept eating that stuff all day long!
This year we had ten kids at the party! There are getting to be more and more each year because of all the babies! I love it. Jack and Brooke (cousins) are on the left, the little boys in the green striped shirts are brothers Landon and Logan- I taught with their daddy, Greg, for about 10 years and our families are good friends, Andrew is in the front looking mad because it is cake time and I am prolonging them for a picture! Ha! I could not get the little stinker to say cheese! My best friend's daughter Lilly is behind Andrew. The baby in front and her big sister behind her in matching skirts are Stella and Norah. Their mommy and I grew up in the same town and were even in elementary school together! Evie and Jayden (cousins) are on the right. It was so fun to have so many kids there- all Andrew's dearest friends and family. It was a very special day and we were so happy everyone could make it.
I wanted to do something different this year and asked that instead of a gift for Andrew, guests bring a donation to the playroom at the hospital in Iowa City. Andrew got so many nice gifts for Christmas (and I am running out of storage places!) Plus, I have always wanted to give back to the hospital in some way, and I thought the year of his surgery would be the best time to do it. We got a box full of great toys and DVD's to take with us this month to share with the kids in the hospital! I am so excited.
Don't worry, Andrew wasn't forgotten! People were nice enough to still bring gifts for him, too! I was so overwhelmed with how generous our family and friends were.
Daddy got in on some fun and put a bag on his head! Now that's a good look! Ha!
After presents it was time to dig into the cake!
I love how he was looking at his cake with this shy smile as people were singing. He loves it when people sing Happy Birthday to him, but he gets all shy! It is funny.
More shy faces...
Four candles... I just can't believe it. How could time have gone so fast? It seems like just yesterday we had a tiny 3 lb. baby in our arms!
Soon we will have another baby to love (hopefully not 3 lbs though!) and I can't wait to see Andrew with his brother/sister. Look how happy he was gently tickling baby Stella here. I love watching him around babies. He always smiles at them and plays so nicely.
Daddy was having fun relaxing and changing the channel from the 3rd viewing of Toy Story 3! Ha!
Andrew was quick to take care of that problem! And get his giraffe hat back!
Andrew had so much fun with his big cousin, Jack. He loves it when Jack comes to his house, which isn't very often because they live four hours away in Minnesota. It is so nice that they make the long drive to celebrate with us.
This is Craig's oldest brother Keith, his wife Darlene, and Jack and Brooke. They are Andrew's Godparents. We think the world of this family- and we love to go to MN to visit them! We try to make it there a couple times a year.
This is Craig's younger brother Jason, his wife Rachel and their kids Evelyn and Jayden. We are so blessed that they live right up the street from us and we get to see them often. Andrew just loves playing with Evi and Jayden any chance he gets. We trade babysitting with them too, so we can have date nights! It is so nice to have them close by.
These are our special friends, the Jones family. Alissa and I have been best friends for years when we both met at a teacher training and then she came to teach at my school. Before we had kids we used to get together a lot for couples nights- going to dinner and movies and hanging out at each other's houses. Now it is just added fun having Lilly and Andrew! They are close friends too and go to the same day care.
These are our dear friends, Chris and Andrea and their beautiful daughters, Norah and Stella. Could they be any cuter?? Andrew and Norah are just a couple of months apart in age, and it was so fun being pregnant at the same time as Andrea. We love getting together to watch the Bachelor and Survivor! We just love this sweet family!
Andrew with his grandparents- Grandma and Grandpa Huegel.
And Papa and Ga Ga (by this time, Andrew was officially done posing for photos! Ha!) I wanted to make a special point to take a picture of Andrew with every family that came to his party. The only ones we missed were Greg, Emily, Landon and Logan because they had to leave a little early and I wasn't in photo mode yet! Ha!
The party was just so fun. I felt like I could relax a little more and got to visit with most everyone. It is hard hosting things at your house because I feel like I never get around to talk to everyone. Doing brunch made it so much easier. It was a very special day, and we're so grateful to everyone that came to celebrate!
That evening (since it was Andrew's actual birthday), Papa and Ga Ga came back to have dinner with us and have Andrew open their gifts and also his gifts from mommy and daddy.
We went to Andrew's favorite place- IHOP! Ha! He loves the smiley face pancake! And yes, we pretty much ate breakfast all day long! Ha!
It was so amazing, when we walked in one of our favorite heart friends, Melissa Hooper came running over to see Andrew! She used to watch Andrew for me the year I worked part time. Andrew has always had a special bond with her and he acted just like he remembered her! They moved away for a year but are back in town now and it was so fun to see them! She was there with her whole family and they all came over and sang to Andrew and gave him money! It was so sweet! I am so mad I didn't take a picture but I didn't even think of it until after they were gone!
Here is Andrew watching the restaurant staff sing to him. They brought him this giant sundae which he loved!
After dinner we headed back to our house to open presents and have more cake!
He was so fun to watch open gifts! He was so excited about everything!
I had him open this sack first because I had just put little small trinket things, like puzzles and a few books I had found I thought he'd like. He had much bigger presents to come, and I figured this sack would be a let down after the cool stuff coming soon! But he was so sweet and still just acted like this was the best stuff he'd ever seen. He grabbed it and said "A PUZZLE!!!!!!" We had to laugh at him because he was so excited about everything- even little things. Sweet boy.
Papa got him a remote control pick up like his. Look how excited Andrew was!
He got a Toy Story snuggie, which we thought would be good for when he went to the hospital this month. He loved it, too.
I just loved all his expressions! Mommy and daddy got him the Toy Story action links Junkyard Escape, which goes with another one he got for Christmas. They all link together and he just loves this stuff! He could play with it all day long.
Ga Ga bought him this Evil Dr. Porkchop spaceship and he could not have been more thrilled. He did not want to go to school the next day because he just wanted to stay home and play with all his new toys. He was so excited and happy. It was the perfect way to end my favorite day of the year. I seriously love Andrew's birthday just as much as Christmas! I will never get through that day without remembering how scary it was when he came early and had to have open heart surgery just a few days later. He was so tiny, yet so precious. Immediately my heart knew what it felt like to love something so much that it could burst. January 30 will always be that special day that my little miracle, my hero, was born.
Happy 4th Birthday, Andrew! I love you, to infinity and BEYOND!!!!