No matter how hard you try, you cannot slow down the progress of time...
...and so it was, that we found ourselves on the threshold of Cody's sixteenth birthday!
All three of the bambini are so selfless, like their Mama was. Cody only asked for new scooter wheels for his birthday. That's it. The long standing tradition we have built for the bambini, is that they get to choose where we go for their birthday dinner.
Cody's favorite spot is Joe's Crab Shack.
I reserved the Wildcat room - complete with Wilbur the Wildcat's portrait on the wall!
Brendon and Cody sport some cool bibs as they wait for their food.
Kason, Tonio and Bryson get crackin' on some crab legs.
Ah, at last the crab legs have arrived!
Cody has always loved Joe's crab legs. He also likes the atmosphere and the singing and dancing that the waiters and waitresses do during the night. It's a festive place. Before it was Joe's, it was a Mexican restaurant called Carlos Murphy's. Kim and I liked to frequent their happy hour, meeting there after work, to sit on the porch eating tortilla chips and drinking margaritas.
Lexy, Breanna and Autumn prepare to dig in.
Janene, Andrea and Angie helped make Cody's sixteenth a special day for him!
Cody is not a big cake guy. Kim always made him brownies. So, I got up at 4 a.m. to make him a batch and even remembered to bring candles!!
I hope Cody's wish comes true!
Joe's does have an interactive birthday policy. Cody was well aware of it, and asked me if it was ok if he didn't have to play along this year. I told him OK. BUT...
Angie and Andrea were not a part of that promise and alerted our waitress, Jade, letting her know that Cody would like to have some celebration!
He gave me a look, I pointed toward the ladies and, being the good sport that he is, he went right along with everything! He sure can ride a stick pony like a champ!!
I was pretty proud of him!!
He was so appreciative of the dinner and the company, letting me know on the way home how much fun he had and how he loved the food and everyone who came!
Another cool birthday thing for Cody - he shares his birthday with Ami Bunch, his kindergarten teacher (Mary's sister), who also helps us with the bambini a lot! He has always thought that was pretty neat.
Later, when we got home, Cody enjoyed opening his gifts.
Tonio got him an Eminem shirt!
I had been talking with Mary earlier that day, as I made arrangements to get the little ones from her (she takes care of these guys so much...) and telling her that I was stressed. With the bambini, it's not stress over what they ask for, because they ask for so little. It's not stress about how much it might cost or how I will pay for the gifts - again, they ask for nothing and if they have something in mind, it is inexpensive. The source of my stress was making them feel special. Like Kimmy did. Decorations. Baking. Special wrapping. Countless little details for dinner, company, cards, etc, etc. I wracked my brain to remember....I'm not complaining, I just want them to know how important and special they are...
And you know, for such a special, milestone birthday, Kim would not be left out. She would have a gift for Cody. Her little man.
Several years ago, Cody perhaps 12, Kim bought him a Bob Marley print. She had begun decorating his room in a rock theme, as he had started playing the guitar. The print turned out to be an odd size and Kim had planned to take it to Michael's to get it framed. She was waiting for a good coupon and saving some $$, so wrapped the print up and stashed it up high in our hall closet for safe keeping. It never saw the light of day...
...until, a few weeks ago, while cleaning, yet again, I stumbled across it. How could I have missed it over the last two years? I swear that I have cleaned every square inch of this house countless times, including the hall closet. It's one of those closets that the bambini dump their stuff into, so every now and again I empty it out, straighten, organize and create at least one bag of donations...so how? How have I missed Bob?
The only answer is that Kim wanted to make sure she still had a part in making Cody's big day special...
I told him this story as he unwrapped Kim's gift...he listened silently. When he opened it, a smile blossomed across his face...he quickly disappeared into the garage, returning with a hammer and nail. He hurried down the hallway to his room and called me.
He was holding the print above his TV, where he would always be able to see it...
"What do you think Dad?"
"Perfect" I told him...
Thank you Kim!
The next day, Lupe, Manny and Monsi continued Cody's celebration!
They had taken time to decorate their house for Cody! A big part of Kim's prep came with streamers, banners, etc. So not only did Cody get that at our house, but at their house too!
Lupe made Cody his favorite nachos with an incredible cheese sauce and we had pizza.....and chocolate cake!!
It was a fun night. A fun birthday celebration. Cody's appreciation was evident.
I asked him later how his birthday was. He told me is was great - he went through everyone who helped make it a wonderful day, touching on how they made him feel special. I asked what his favorite gift was. He said it was the Samsung Galaxy 3 I got him (so now we can bump our phones and share files!)....and then, looking at me out of the corners of his eyes, said that the Bob Marley print was the best too...
Sixteen...Cody has become a man. We always called him 'little man', now he is as tall as me and really a man. I'm pretty proud of him - he helps me out around the house, is doing pretty good in school and is always polite. He still even tags along with me and the little ones from time to time...
Once again, Kim came through. Birthdays, especially milestone ones like a sixteenth birthday, were always so important to her. Not her own of course, but everyone else's. Her chance to make magic for who ever's birthday it was that day!!