Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Epic Silly String Ambush & Other Jewels From the Mercy Baby's Birthday

On Sunday we celebrated Henry's 8th birthday. I will always and forever look at Henry and see him as my mercy baby.  The night before I was to be induced (all of my babies insist on being fashionably late) Steve and I went to the adoration chapel to pray.

Nearly two weeks overdue, I was exhausted and so very ready to be done with pregnancy, but I did not want to be induced.

I knelt down, and with absolute abandon, begged God for the mercy of a short labor, and that my labor would begin naturally.  Three hours, I told Him, I can handle three hours, but nothing more. I'm not sure why I was so specific about the three hours. I suppose sometimes we pray for certain things without knowing exactly why.  We just pray.  And hope. And wait.

I was due to be induced at 6:00 a.m. the next morning, and at 5:00 a.m. set out to walk the dark halls of the hospital with my rosary and a lot of determination.  After about thirty minutes of shuffling, the contractions began.

Exactly three hours later Henry was born.  When the nurse announced the time of birth, I burst into tears.  I was already emotional at the sight of my sweet miracle, but when I realized it had all happened in exactly three hours, I began to sob.

I hadn't told a single soul about my prayers, even Steve didn't know. After I explained everything to him, we were both overwhelmed with emotion.

It was such a joyful time. I will never, ever forget the way in which I experienced God's mercy and love that day!

Henry's happy entrance into the world was just a preview of what was to come. He brings so much life and enthusiasm to our family.  Every day he hugs me several times, and often throughout the day, we will hear him laughing out loud at something or someone he thinks is terribly funny.  His laugh is incredibly contagious!

The look of total surprise on his face with every single gift had us all in stitches!
Birthdays are becoming a really big deal around here. The boys spend a lot of time planning and thinking about what they want to do for the special person weeks in advance.  I love the way they plan "secret" meetings with me to see when I might be able to take them shopping.  The older boys like to order gifts from Amazon, and wait in great anticipation for those gifts to arrive.

I gotta be honest, they make birthdays so great for each other, it really takes the pressure off of the parents!

Even better than the gifts the boys give each other are the pranks they come up with. I really love this aspect of mothering boys.  They have taught me a lot about the way boys relate to each other and how important their crazy ways of interacting are for building relationships.

Being ornery and teasing is one way that boys bond, and I love watching them grow closer with every hilarious stunt!
Andrew's idea to do a silly string ambush on Henry went over famously with the brothers. After Mass Steve lured Henry outside with his eyes closed, telling him that one of his gifts was waiting for him in the back yard. He put a silly string can in Henry's hand, and told him it was his "weapon of defense."

The boys darted out from under the deck and the battle was on! For three minutes everyone went absolutely wild, and then the string ran out. But, oh, what a grand three minutes it was!
They are already starting to scheme an even better plan for Andrew's birthday, which is coming up soon.

After the silly string war, Steve fulfilled Henry's birthday wish by taking him golfing for the afternoon.  Golfing is usually an activity reserved for the older boys, so it meant a lot to Henry to be able to have that special time with dad.
Last, but not least, there was pizza for supper and birthday cake.  I really like how dark this photo is, because that football cake, which was supposed to be "easy," didn't turn out so hot.  But put enough chocolate butter cream frosting on anything, and nobody cares what it looks like, right?

It's so easy, in the day-to-day happenings of ordinary life, to forget about the ways God answers our prayers, whether they be big or small.  But as long as I live, Henry will forever be my mercy baby, a flesh and blood reminder of God's gift to me eight years ago.


  1. So awesome! Happy Belated birthday mercy baby!!!!

  2. Happy birthday to Henry! Silly string is a great idea, we are about to celebrate my son's 8th bday- he would love that too!

  3. Happy birthday to Henry! Silly string is a great idea, we are about to celebrate my son's 8th bday- he would love that too!

  4. This post really helped me look at the way my oldest teases his sisters! So glad for this insight because what I thought was him being relentless was just him treating them like a boy. So wise thank you for posting


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