James Turns Eight!

On February 27, our sweet boy turned eight! He is thoughtful, kind, funny, smart, sweet… I could go on and on. We are so proud of the person that he is, so grateful to be his parents and get to watch him grow, and, hopefully, help shape the man he will become. Happy Birthday, James! 
Since his birthday was on a Monday this year, we decided to celebrate over the weekend before. On Saturday morning, we surprised him with his birthday present– a new bike! Not just any bike, a 21-speed mountain bike that can hit the trails with Dad! He was thrilled (and remains thrilled about it to this day) so we will call that one a parenting win.
Love his face when he sees it for the first time!
This was his face for a while. So cute and excited!
Chris helps him get on and get going and then he was off on his own!
Taking the new wheels for a spin around the yard. Love that face!
James requested that I make him a heart-shaped cake this year.
I love that he still wants me to bake for him.
Thinking about his wish while we serenade him with the birthday song. 
A properly big bite for a big kid. Can’t believe he’s 8!
On Sunday, he wanted to spend the day at Hollywood Studios and finish up at Epcot. Our friends, Dave & Larcy, joined us for his special day. Good times had by all for sure. 
Birthday donut bigger than your head? Check!
Checking out the parade of Storm Troopers. He’s a big fan of Darth Vader.
Where did we go wrong?
Unca Dave gives him a lift for a better view.
Modeling the latest in Aerosmith rock wear at the Rock-N-Roller Coaster. 
Spotting a “hidden Mickey” at the fish tanks in Epcot.
For his birthday each year, we give James the option to have a birthday party or to have some kind of special experience. For the last couple years he has chosen the experience and this year, he wanted to spend the day at Busch Gardens with just Chris and I. At this point, I knew I was pregnant and so the fun roller coasters were out for me, but I was thrilled to get to spend the day with our little family and I got to hang out with our little foster kiddo, Dixie, that we had at the time. 
He got his birthday button and was ready for a day of fun!
Family selfie with the elephants.
Bumper car time with Dad! 
Not quite big enough to drive by himself, but big enough to ram other drivers.
Enjoying his lunch of some kind of pretzel-wrapped hot dog.
I don’t know, he’s 8.
In line for this ride, he charmed this little lady into riding with him. He has mad skills with the ladies.
Mom got to ride the Skyride with James. No charming necessary. 
The next weekend we celebrated James with the Shenk Family at a special dinner at Kobe Japanese Steakhouse. Having made it to ten weeks pregnant at this point, we let James surprise everyone with the announcement that he was going to be a big brother. 
Our birthday boy! 
James and his Mimi, whom he especially wanted to sit next to.  
Onion volcano! Awesome! 
Birthday cupcake. Authentically Japanese? Probably not. But he liked it.