life is always about the journey...

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Happy 16th!!!

Today 16 years ago I gave birth to a HUGE BABY BOY LOL!  
That would be my baby boy Riley!
Well he's certainly no baby anymore and is on his way to becoming a wonderful young man. 
He's now 6'3 and 230 lbs so the "baby" tag doesn't work to describe him much anymore but he will ALWAYS be my baby no matter what....a momma's prerogative!

So I thought I'd do a trip down memory lane starting 16 years ago through today with some thoughts and stories thrown in the mix.  Yes he will probably KILL me when he sees this but he's used to my nonsense since I've been blogging for 7 years now hehehe!

A few birthdays pics from the past to start us off with:

10 Days Old
This was his first picture and only 10 days is my absolute FAVORITE picture we've ever had taken. Its so HIM...even now!  Baseball cap, jeans and peaceful...he was such a quiet, laid back baby. Hardly ever fussed...always had a smile..just really easygoing until about age 13 LOL!

First Birthday

2nd was all Blues Clues and his first "friends" party. This was his own personal cake...we always got the kids their own mini cake to dig into when they were small.  Then a bigger cake for everyone at the party!

He seriously had the cutest smile in the whole wide world...he smiled with his WHOLE FACE!
Nowadays its harder to get a picture of his smile...teenager angst I guess...but its improving!  He also had the most gorgeous curls...we cut them off at age 4 because hubby encouraged me too...but he was just adorable!

And since we are preparing for a wallop of a blizzard-snow event here tonight and tomorrow I thought I'd share his very first snow.  He was both entranced and scared by it LOL but soon figured out fun sledding and building snowmen were!

He's had glasses since he was 5 and has a love/hate relationship with them.  This summer he decided he wanted we pursued it..and he didn't care for them LOL.  So he's back to glasses for now!

He's a boy that has always loved anything trains, planes & automobiles.
One of his favorite things to do was to go to air shows and airports...especially WWII planes!
And he can probably give you more details about each than you'd ever really want to know!

And if it involves the military, a battle, any US or World History...he's your go-to guy. He's in AP World History now and he sleeps thru the class, sometimes helps teach the class and has a 98% in the class. LOL!  Its something he's just always been interested in and loved!  He has done military re-enactments with his dad, gone to Civil War camp and had more little soldiers from so many centuries I can't even give you a count.  They were always underfoot, on tables in battle waves, just everywhere...I kinda miss those days now...sniff sniff!

He loves the beach and South Carolina as much as the rest of us.  We all feel real at "home" in SC!
And we've been vacationing there for years and will be there for Spring Break again this year.
Nothing like the sun and beaches in SC...soon to be our permanent home home in 2 years.

He likes the quiet kind of past, boating, playing battle games, and golf.

He's had the same best friend for 8 years...since we've moved to Virginia that is!
Tariq lives up the road from us and I'm pretty sure he lives here more than at his house.
He's at every sporting event and party we have at our house.  He's been a great best friend for Riley and I know they have each other's back!

One of his favorite places on earth is Maui...he will tell you it was the best vacation of his life...which there have been many in 16 years LOL. He fully embraced every aspect of island life!  The two weeks we spent there he really grew a lot, not physically but in spirit and personality.  He was open to trying new things that were a bit scary at first and really just enjoyed every moment there.  He jumped off of high waterfalls, snorkeled with the sea turtles, leaped off of boats, took to zip-lining and trying new was amazing!

He loves his DC Sports teams (cuz' his parents raised him well heehee) and sometimes is a bit too emotional about game losses LOL. But he's loyal to a fault and he just loves his Washington Redskins, Capitals and Nationals.

And his size has made him great on the high school football team as a linebacker and defensive end.
This year he got to play in a few Varsity games which was super exciting.  Although as the momma I always hold my breath when he's out on the field but I am so proud of him!

He's an animal whisperer...he always has time to play and give affection to the animals of our house.
He's just always loved all animals.  His favorite show when he was younger was Crocodile Hunter and we always laughed that Riley would one day be his protege.

He was a momma's boy (shhhh) till about age 12...then that changed a bit.  But we are still very close and I'm thankful every day for that.  Both the kids would rather spend time with me and their dad than their friends most of the time.  Riley will laugh but he does like to sit and watch "girly" shows with me and Alexa...he may roll his eyes..but he still does it ahahaha! He will make a great husband one day as he and his father are a lot alike :)

He has a "special" relationship with his older sister.  They are actually 22 months apart and have been oil and water most of their lives. He was always smaller than his sister until about age 11 when he had a HUGE growth she looks like the younger sister LOL!  But at the end of the day I know they love each other and have each other's backs.  And they always hang out with each other when we are on vacations or getaways and have some bonding time.  We ARE the Dean 4-Pack ya know!

All of us Deans are a bit goofy...we like to have a good time and goof around.  No topics are off the table at our house...we are all very open with each other.  We like to have fun and laugh and if we look a little crazy that's ok ;)  We love to play board games together and usually end up laughing our bums off!  Don't get a hotel room next to us because we are usually up late ordering snacks, watching movies and giggling!  And we tend to be the LOUDEST table in the restaurant...not because of bad manners..but just because we are enjoying our time with each other.

He truly loves his family...all of them...and he loves to spend time with his family.
One of his favorite things to do is go to upstate New York where my grandmother and uncle and cousins live. He loves being in the country, relaxing, fishing and hanging out with everyone.  My Gram is 92 and Riley dwarfs her but he loves to be around her and hear her stories...I just love that about him.

He has 4 basic food groups....sandwiches, pizza, candy and seafood.  He shares his momma's love for lobster, crabs and scallops...mmmmm the good stuff.  His favorite meal is a ham and cheese sub with the lie...he used to say he wanted to own a sub shop LOL and you just never know!

Some fun Riley facts:  
*His first word was BaBa...his bottle...he was always more interested in food than anything else ;)
*He spent his 14th birthday in Disney World..a trip that was a surprise, picked him up at school and whisked him away.
*He has a baseball hat fetish...he owns way too many
*His sister once convinced him at age 3 to dump water on the upstairs hall carpet and flowers would grow...well nothing grew but water did come thru the first floor ceiling ;)
*He likes athletic wear...I've gotten past it, as long as it is clean & it matches 
*He wears a size 14 shoe..yeah those are pretty big feet
*His room is always neater than his sister's bedroom
*He's easily distracted by most anything
*He loves military battle strategy video games
*He loves pickles and anything sour
*He identifies most with his Irish heritage & hopes to go to Ireland for his senior graduation present.
*He was thick curly hair that he likes to wear LONG but momma protests and makes him cut it
*He has a great goofy sense of humor and LOUD laugh

I can't wait to see the man he grows into. I am so proud of him in so many ways.  He may be BIG but he's still my baby and he's still the smart, sensitive little boy inside that he's always been.  The teen years have been a roller coaster but for the most part he's been an easy kid to raise.  I know he will make a great husband and father if that is something he decides one day...they will be lucky to have him. I want him to be happy, fulfilled and healthy in his future AND of course visit and call his momma regularly!  

I love ya may tower over me and your dad but you will always be our baby and hold
a special place in our hearts!

Happy 16th Birthday!



  1. Wow, what a wonderful story. I loved reading this email. You are a special family. You are also a great story teller as well as a wonderful creative artist. Thanks for sharing your family's story with us.

  2. This is a really nice post Suzanne! Happy Birthday to your son! :)

  3. What a wonderful young man you have for a son, Suzanne. He reminds me on my oldest.
    Happy SWEET 16 Birthday, Riley!!!

  4. These pictures were awesome! You have a beautiful family I am glad to see you enjoy it so much, the years do go by too fast.

  5. What a beautifully written "This is Your Life, Riley!" story! He sounds and looks like an amazing young man and one I would love to know. I'm sure he'll get his trip to Ireland and he'll love it. With his love of planes and military I would suggest he visit Tucson someday. Davis Monthan AFB is the "graveyard" of out of commission military aircraft and the PIma County Air Museum would be interesting to him. Love those pictures of him growing up...What a cutie! You are right...He's got the brightest smile and he should honor the world by wearing it more often!! HAPPY 16TH BIRTHDAY, RILEY!!!

  6. Happy Birthday Riley. Super cute photos!

  7. What a great posting in honor of Riley......Happy Birthday!!! You've got a wonderful family, Suzanne!

  8. I hope he had a fantastic birthday. You can still see him in his first birthday picture!


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