Happy 11th Birthday, Kaden Brooks. Your Year in Review.

Times files...when you're having fun. And that is just what you did this past year.

When your birthday falls on Christmas Eve, it's hard not to feel the excitement when the big day rolls around. Lucky you, the family has somehow managed to separate your birthday and Christmas, resulting in a ridiculous amount of gifts love.

But it's not your fault. You were suppose to be a January 2002 baby. I guess you had other plans.

Thank you for blessing your Dad and me with the best Christmas gift that year.

December 2011

This time last year, December 2011, you and Isaiah were having a blast. We stayed at a local hotel, went to Chuck E. Cheese's, the mall, then resumed the fun back at the hotel.

For your birthday, you wanted to eat at Sakura. I think it was more for the experience. We had fun.

On Christmas Day, you were beyond excited. It is always so much fun watching your eyes light up when you open your presents. I think this is the best part of the day for your Dad and me.

 A few days after Christmas, we spent a few days at the Gaylord at National Harbor to celebrate your 10th birthday. You brought along your trusty sidekick (and cousin), Isaiah.

This was a blast. We never had to leave the hotel. All the excitement was just an elevator ride away.

Once we returned home, the celebrations continued. One of your Christmas presents from your Dad and me, was a University of Maryland game at College Park. 

January 2012

Finally, you could rest...sort of. You found time to start reading, "The Hobbit", but I'm pretty sure that you have a lot left...one year later.

Basketball season was also in full swing.

We had a little sprinkle of snow and managed to hit the hill for some tubing.

And look who wanted to show their love for their son – your Dad! As if you weren't already permanently a part of him, now it's etched on his body forever.

February 2012

Kaden and Aunt Kinsey take New York! This was one of your gifts. You were going to visit the Big Apple and conquer the streets of Time Square. You hopped on a train and spent the next few days being a tourist. Now, whenever you see an image of New York, your immediate reaction is, "I went there." I guess those memories will forever stay.

We got "crafty" with your Valentine's Day cards for school. We made the cutest cards and cake pops to accompany them. Next time, we'll leave the glitter to the pros.

You continued to spend time with your cousins. Your buddy Saniyah is always fun to hang with.

You, Isaiah and Ryan had a great time in Baltimore. First, we visited the Maryland Science Center. You ate your first bug meal, chips and bug salsa. Then, we watched a Monster Jam show.

March 2012

It was the end of basketball season. Your team missed first place, losing the championship game. It was a great year.

Soccer season started as well. It was another year of fighting with the forever insane Cape St. Claire team. We finally found some resolve. They no longer play against us. You were the bravest boy during these trying times. Good for you!

We attended the circus with Aunt Nisey, Cousin Yolanda and Nadia. 

You were wrapped up in the reading the series, "The Hunger Games".

April 2012

There was a lot of fun this month. We were on the go nearly every weekend. 

Can you believe this was our first time visiting Medieval Times?! Ryan, Dad, you and I were totally in character as we ate with our hands and cheered on the jousters. 

By this time, you had put your pool pass to use. Your grandparents gifted you one for Christmas. We loved bringing along your cousins to make the time even more special.

You were selected to represent your school at a leadership conference. I like to think of you as a quiet leader. You have great ideas and an opinion, but you don't have to shout to be heard. Looks like it paid off. 

For some crazy reason, you decided it would be a good idea to play basketball and soccer...at the same time. We only played a few basketball games, but it was a great experience.

Poppy, you and I toured the Washington National's stadium. It was an initiative for Chevy Youth Baseball.

Dad, you and I hopped on the metro and attended the USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, D.C. It was chaotic, but worth it. We saw some great exhibits.

May 2012

A few days before its release, we attended an early screening of Marvel's The Avenger. It was the longest movie ever, but I completely enjoyed it. 

We headed back to Washington, D.C. to visit the Spy Museum.

You had yet another concert. You looked like a natural with your bass.

The annual Marlboro Day in Upper Marlboro, MD was the perfect way to spend time with your cousin, Saije. We don't see her as often as we'd like, but when we do, it's just like old times.

The Air Show at Andrew's Air  Force base was great. We walked around for hours exploring all the planes and air crafts.

June 2012

We woke up EARLY to see a pre-screening of Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, in D.C.

M&T Stadium hosted Monster Jam again. It was action-packed.

More swimming. First, the entire soccer team was invited to to enjoy the pool at a player's home. And we still took advantage of the pool pass at a local aquatic center.


A soccer tournament brought the entire family to Ocean City, MD. Once again, we placed 2nd. However, there was a beach and food, so it wasn't so bad. 

July 2012

Independance Day! You spent the day with your cousins, Isaiah, Mariah and Iyana. We were suppose to go to the beach, but it there was a power outage. Go figure. Instead, we made the best of the day by going to the local water park. Everything turned out great.

We celebrated the end of the soccer season at a player's house. It was awesome because you were able to ride a kayak, get in the hot tub and spend time with your friends.

You caught a cooler of fish with your Uncle Brandon. You even cleaned them and ate them for dinner.

It was Christmas in July at Gaylord at National Harbor. Saniyah and you had fun previewing all the excitement.

An Orioles game solidified your passion for baseball...somewhat.

We tested out the new Nintendo Wii U before it hit the market. It was cool.

August 2012

More swimming. 

You spent time with your godAunts.

School started. 5th grade. Wow!!!

September 2012

Soccer. Soccer. Soccer.

A Washington National's game with great seats. 

October 2012

We met Dave Finnegan, Chief Information and Interactive Officer CIO at Build-A-Bear Workshop, at Westfield Annapolis Mall. We even created a bear for the first time. Can you believe it?!

You came up with the idea to be an iPod for Halloween. We put our creative minds together and built a wonderful replica. It was a hit. 

November 2012

Back at Gaylord National to experience ICE!

Your soccer team placed 2nd in a challenging tournament against travel teams. Great job, Storm!

You tagged along with me to vote. President Obama secured a 2nd term.

You became a 1st cousin. Welcome, Seth.

December 2012

You and your soccer team took the field at a Baltimore Blast game for the Parade of Champions. 

Another winter concert. Great job, again. I was shocked to hear that you auditioned for a group solo in the chorus and got it.

Basketball season is in full swing.

These are just a few of the moments. Each day presents another opportunity. Who knew that 11 years ago, you would be the young man that you are today. God has truly blessed us.

You're smart, talented, caring, funny and creative.
What a lethal combination!

You have even embraced your soon-to-be role as BIG BROTHER.

I can't wait to see where the road leads you.

Happy Birthday, Kaden.

You are truly loved.

photo courtesy of Keith Estep Photography

Love always,

Mom & Dad
Check out Happy 10th Birthday, Kaden Brooks.
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