Thursday, May 5, 2011


Brennan turned 10 a few weeks ago. 
I was, and am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I now have two kids in the double digits.

Brennan is wonderful, and ten is an absolutely magical age : old enough to begin to reason, but young enough to play, and play hard. 

Brennan's personality is very much like Josh's with a few dashes of my Mom thrown in for good measure.  When you are around him, you will probably be asked a lot of questions about what you think and like, because he cares a lot about the details of a persons life.  He doesn't have a great sense of diplomacy yet, in part because he asks so many questions, but I am sure more poise will come with age.  He also questions himself as much as he questions others. He generally assumes he can't until little by slowly he realizes he can. We are intent on building confidence in him, and in true Brennan style: slowly, surely, and carefully, it's happening. He is sensitive and genuine and intense about the things he loves. He doesn't do half-way.  Right now he is totally immersed in Lego and all things Vancouver Canucks, everything else is just stuff that has to be done between the next Lego project or watching the next Canucks game.

I love Brennan a lot.  In part because he reminds me so much of his Dad.  I loved his Dad enough to marry him when I was ridiculously young. True story.

In lieu of turning 10, I began to plan his birthday party.

My inside voice surrounding his birthday planning went something like this:

1) I realize everyone who has children and writes anything: a letter, an email, a blog or has a conversation with anyone else about their kids says the same thing:  they grow up SO FAST.  It turns out they say this because it's true - they grow up SO FAST.

2) Maybe I should start a new trend, the "I totally feel prepared for the stage of life my kids are in" trend.  Conversations would go like this: 

"Brennan is turning 10 and it's unfolding exactly how I thought it would, his height, his personality, his interests are all right on target for what I expected.  In fact I have had 12 different pre-planned conversations with him that I knew were totally necessary, because I am totally in sync with where he is in life."    

"What was that? No, I've never read any parenting books or burden my friends or my mother with child-rearing questions.  That's unnecessary, because I innately know what to expect."

3) It would be a trend built on lies and false information...I would sit on a throne of lies and smell like beef & cheese, I am sure.  Let's scratch that idea.

3)  Beef and cheese...makes me think of Taco Time soft meat burritos - must have my yearly fix and soon.

4)  Ten is a big deal.  At least, I remember feeling like 10 was a big deal.  I think I turned 10 the year my parents were building our house and so I think I had my tenth birthday while we were living at my Grammas...I think it was a princess party.  Not because there was the Disney Princess mania that exists now, but because I really really wanted to be royalty, or more succinctly, the Queen of the World.  I was willing to settle for being the Princess of A Lot, though.

5) It's unfortunate how little I remember about my 10th birthday party because my mom went to great lengths to accommodate every reasonable request I ever had for and of my birthday parties.  I had a lot of unreasonable ones too - Kirk Cameron apparently wouldn't be making any appearance, and unicorn rides are hard to come by - but she always did great parties and made fantastic cakes.  How can I do that same for Brennan?  I'm pretty sure that Princess parties are out of the question.

6) I feel conflicted over liking soft meat burritos from Taco Time, cause I am sure they have little, if any, real beef or cheese in them. Mmmmmm....sacrelicious burritos.

7) I bet Brennan would like a hockey game to be involved somehow.  Yeah, let's go for that.

What started out as one small party turned into three  birthday events, fittingly dubbed "Tenth-fest" by a friend of mine.  It didn't start out that way, but it did grow into quite an, um, fest!

Party Number One:
Bren chose to do a very small party in order to see a live Abbotsford Heat (AHL) game and get a real Canucks jersey for his gift. I shouldn't have been surprised that he turned down the option of taking a bunch of friends to the game and foregoing the jersey - but we already discussed how I don't always know what to expect from my growing kids.  It was going to be just Josh, Brennan and his best bud Luke going to the game.

I am not sure if Luke's mom has forgiven Josh yet for letting them eat an unrestricted amount of hot dogs.  Luke may or may not have made himself sick at home that night.  Bren pounded back four hot dogs and held them down like a trooper...ok, maybe he does take after me a little bit.

He does love him some hockey though - check out these guys on their way to the game.

Peas in a pod, those two.

They went to the last game of the season, and as luck would have it, they lost.  This is what is looks like when you watch your team lose:
This, followed by...
I can't look!
They still had fun - unrestricted hot dogs, remember?  This was originally going to be it for his birthday party.  I didn't envision getting convinced to throw not one, but two more "events"  in the following week.  I am a sucker for a party and he knows it!

Party Number Two:
In our home, sleepovers are a lot like unicorns in that they are very, very rare. Brennan really wanted to have Luke sleep over after the game, because sleepovers, unlike unicorns*, are only "allowed" after our kids 10th birthday has passed.  It was clear this felt like a right of passage to Brennan, but the game day was a school night so it had to wait for the next weekend.  Again, there was no cake, or treat bags, but we did our best to have an appropriate amount of junk food available for these growing 10 year olds.

*For the record, we do allow our kids to play with unicorns whenever we happen across them.  We're really lenient like that.

Party Number Three:
Our beloved Vancouver Canucks are in the playoffs.  Hope springs eternal that they might win the Stanley Cup this year.  Maybe, just maybe, after so many years of embracing the phrase "There's always next year" we will have our chance to win it all.  I am not a hockey fan, but I love a chance to eat a lot of food and make a big deal out of anything, so when Brennan asked if he could have a playoff party, cause there was, after all, a Canucks game the day after his actual birthday, and he hadn't had a cake yet, and he wouldn't even ask for presents, or treat bags,  just for a could I refuse?

Instead of a cake, I decided to go for "cake-pops".  For some reason this sounded like less work than making a cake.  I can rock out a pretty decently decorated cake in about an hour. If you are under this same impression, let me save you the trouble and tell you to run, far, far away from making cake-pops, or as these turned out to be, cake-pucks for our playoff party.  SIX hours later they were done.  SIX HOURS LATER!!!!!  I say this for posterity so Brennan will know how much I love him - I didn't even complain, but SIX HOURS!!!!!!

If that isn't love...
In case you were under the impression I was tidy in my work.
We painted the Canuck logo on our front window, had great "hockey music" blasting when his friends came over, we drank "Mean Green Sedin" soda, had blue and green chocolate dipped marshmallow, and as many other green and blue themed foods as we could think of.  And pizza.  Ten year old boys must be fed pizza in order to survive.  It's on wikipedia and everything.

Go Canucks!
And the Canucks lost.  Big Time.

This is what a bunch of ten year old boys look like when their team is losing by a lot:

I was so proud of how these boys, all rabid Canuck fans, were so willing to embrace "plan b" for the evening. Even more proud when Brennan, who tends to be a bit of a pessimist, led the way.  The Canucks were supposed  to win round one if the playoffs that night. And while it's only a game to me - it's a big deal to these 10 year olds. They all eat, sleep and breath hockey this time of year.  However their team was losing, and losing big.  The boys didn't even finish watching the game, they just moved on and made it a fantastic, memorable evening, without the Canuck win.  There are going to be a lot bigger moments in their lives where they are going to need to embrace plan b - it's great to see them choosing to find joy wherever they are already.

While we try to teach our children all about life,
Our children teach us what life is all about.


  1. Loved this post. He'll love reading it when he's older(probably now too.)You are such a great, inspiring mom.

  2. Since he made it to the bathroom this time, I forgive you, er, Josh!
    I love this post!
    I always think that one day I will no longer laugh and shake my head at your humour, but we've hit at least 20 years by now and I'm still laughing!
    And Kyla, yes she is!

  3. I hope Brennan likes it when he's older! Thanks for always being so encouraging Kyla! And Sher, It's impossible you have have known me more than 20 years, because we met when we were thirteen and it isn't possible that much time has passed...we aren't 35 this year, are we?.

  4. My family always seems to end up celebrating birthdays multiple times. I think it's great! Trevor calls it birthday week.

  5. I love the idea of birthday weeks! However, with the ever growing number of people in our family, we may always be in birthday week mode, if we're not careful!


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