Happy 7th birthday Mario!

Happy 7th Birthday Mario!

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Of course, we started it off right with a chocolate iced donut in hand. You have adored donuts since the womb when you used to kick each time I devoured one. You get your sweet tooth honestly. And you grew up loving to stroll to Tim Horton’s on Sunday mornings and eat ten timbits.

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What have you been up to over this past year?
1. You dove off the high dive like it was nobody’s business. You just walked to the end of the board and dropped off. Last year, you would rarely make it up all the steps and if you did, you’d never get to the end of the board. This year, you acted like you had been doing it for years! My brave guy.

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2. You learned how to play a mean Minecraft and Animal Jam computer game. I cannot get over how technology savvy you are. Your sis has assisted you with developing this talent. You can navigate the heck out of the World Wide Web and create worlds left and right on Minecraft.

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3. You continued to master your fishing skills! You fished at Uncle Mario’s, Grandma Ionno’s and Peepaw’s houses and always somehow caught larger fishes than them (at least that’s your story and you’re sticking to it!).

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4. You completed Kindergarten and started 1st grade! The beginning of Kindergarten was rough with lots of tears and pleas for dad and me to stay but you finished with a bang and now go to visit Mrs. Page every chance you get (you also wrote her a note at the beginning of this year that said “I miss you Mrs. Page.”). You are going into school all by yourself this year! We drop you off in front of the building, you jump out with your bookbag on your back, and wave goodbye. However, you are a little more ambivalent about school this year and would much rather stay home than head in each morning. Unfortunately, I have a feeling this may not go away in the next 12 years…

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5. You have found a best buddy in Rocco. We got him two days after your 6th birthday last year and you have loved on him and wrestled him ever since. You continue to fret about him every time we let him out back without his shock collar on him. You yell at the top of your lungs “don’t let Rocco out without his collar; he may run away!” And when dad pulls up in the driveway, you stop Rocco in the yard and hold him until dad stops the car. As much as dad and I tell you to not wrestle Rocco, you can’t stop yourself. You hide under the blanket and let Rocco pull on you and hop on you and then you wrestle with him all over the family room. But you also love to cuddle with him and give him smooches.

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6. You are playing tackle football! What the he–?! You look like a miniature pro in those pads. It’s strange how young you look in pictures from flag and how old you look just a year later. Not sure I dig that action….And you are no joke buddy. You love to tackle and you have taken your share of hits and popped back up smiling away. You are really loving it this year.

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7. You have dissed the stroller! You are now completely embarrassed about riding in it and refuse to do it. This didn’t happen until the Summer but it was a quick transition. One day you were letting me stroller you to Giant Eagle and the next, you were hopping out of it as soon as you saw a friend walking down the street – and swearing to never go in it again. I understand why you’d be over it but it still breaks my heart that the BOB is relegated to the dump.

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8. Not only did you go to your first Reds game, but you got your first professional autograph from Billy Hamilton and got a ball tossed to you from Billy Hatcher!

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9. You participated in your first Boy Scout Day Camp and loved it! Dad took you a couple of days and Grandma Ionno took you for a couple and I met up with you one afternoon. Your favorite activities were shooting with a bow and arrow, fishing, and creeking. You were so excited to accomplish the different activities.

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10. You got a bee bee gun and love to shoot it. You are begging for a bow and arrow from dad next…. You are a little outdoorsmen and if you could spend all day with your dad hunting, it would be an awesome day in your eyes.

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But most of all what I remember about this past year is your zaniness and fierceness and curiosity and desire to make people laugh. You are an incredible kid, Mario Joseph, and you bring joy to so many people. Dad and I marvel at your grit and perseverance and at how much you’ve grown in a year’s time (you finally got to 55 pounds for football!).
I hope you continue to find humor in yourself and life in general. I hope you continue to love making people smile. I hope you continue to want to learn new things (not just computer games!). I hope you have a great school year and challenge yourself. I hope you continue to want me to read to you before bed. I hope you are grateful for all you have and share with others. I hope you get to go hunting with your dad this season. And I hope you know deep down inside how much you are loved. We are so glad that you are our son and that you grace our world every single day. Happy Birthday (and yes we ended the day with more sugar – chocolate donuts and ice cream!)!

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Happy 7th Birthday, my darling girl

Sweet Maria:

Tomorrow, at 2:49 pm, you will be seven years old.  Seven years old.  Seven.

At seven days old, you slept for hours on end in your frilly bassinet; the sun shining onto your perfect round face.

At seven months old, you did not want to leave your mom and dad, and you never broke a smile! You were a little buddha with a somber expression.  

At one year and seven months, you loved to sit in your diaper and rub you silk bunny against your cheek.

At two years and seven months, you loved playing with your kitchen set and your baby dolls and purses; you learned to go potty all by yourself – alleluia; and you had quite a temper when you were not allowed to watch Dora.

At three years and seven months, you took good care of your baby brother, feeding and holding him and finding his binky.  He had a different brand of binky than you, thank goodness, because you had not given up your binky yet!

At four years and seven months, you loved to ride up and down the street on your princess bike and eat Jeni’s ice cream.  You earned the nickname “the Muscle” at preschool because you protected kids from bullies.

At five years and seven months, you had started kindergarten.  You sat at a desk with your name on it and worked on your letters and numbers and made new friends. You had a sleep over with all of your girlfriends and danced around the house all night. In the summer, you jumped off the high dive!

At six years and seven months, you had started first grade! You dressed yourself every morning and made your own lunch! You made yourself barbecued chicken hot pockets and lasagna and wrapped them tightly in foil.  You learned to read and ride your bike with no training wheels! You started listening to Justin Bieber and Katy Perry and dreamed about meeting James in Big Time Rush.

At seven years old, you are a most animated, joyful being. You smile constantly.  You laugh heartily. You love your family and friends. You could eat spaghetti and meatballs every day and top it off with Orange Leaf yogurt bowls.  You love to climb trees. You concern yourself with others.  You look out for your little brother and still cuddle with your dad and me. You question things and aren’t scared to disagree.  You stand up for yourself.  You care about the Earth.  You are comfortable with yourself. And you are absolutely amazing beyond words, my darling girl.  Happy 7th birthday; we love you to the moon and stars and sun… and back.