At five years old, he still loves to be hugged.

He hates balloons, loud noises, and unfamiliar foods. He’s not too sure about dogs.

He loves spaceships, rockets, motorcycles, and guns. He loves the idea of the Blue Angels but not so much the earsplitting scream of their presence. He loves Legos, and he can build anything.

He loves to argue. He loves to dawdle. He loves to push boundaries. He loves to be praised.

He loves his brother. He loves his family. He loves to run and jump and yell. He moves through the world with everything set to eleven. He is a wide-open flower tilted to catch as much sun as possible.

At five years old, he’s outgrown my ability to describe him. I paint a tiny corner of his ever-expanding picture and it’s never enough.

I can only tell you how much I love him. That’s an easy story to tell.

1party

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4party

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3yrs

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5yrs

Five today. All the fingers of a hand, spread wide.

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Shawna
Shawna
12 years ago

I have a 6 month old. that brought tears to my eyes. i can’t wait for all of that! Thanks for sharing.

JennB
JennB
12 years ago

Happy birthday, Riley, and happy birthing day, Linda!!

samantha jo campen
12 years ago

He’s heartbreakingly adorable and I can’t believe he’s FIVE already. Have I really been watching him grow up that long?

Happy Birthday Riley. And happy five year parentaversary Linda and JB.

Kristen
12 years ago

I love this post, especially the last line.

Jill
12 years ago

Wonderful post…Happy Birthday Riley!

Maureen
Maureen
12 years ago

Happy Birthday Riley! He looks very suspicious of his first birthday cake, I love that expression he has. I cannot believe he is already 5, just like I can’t believe my girl turned 16. I know a trillion parents have said this before, but damn it goes fast!

Anne
12 years ago

I love the babyish little pictures! It looks like you pasted a Riley face on a Dylan body. Awwww.

JR
JR
12 years ago

WONDERFUL shots – happy birthday boy (& good job mama)!

Annie G.
Annie G.
12 years ago

My son will turn 1 the day after tomorrow, and the last line of this post made me tear up in my cube. This was wonderful.

Jessamyn
12 years ago

Oh, teary here, too. Happy birthday, Riley! (Happy five years of motherhood, Linda!)

telegirl
telegirl
12 years ago

Oh, Happy birthday, Riley!! This was yet another beautiful post…

Pete
Pete
12 years ago

Awww, Good post. Happy B’day.

Wendy
12 years ago

Happy Birthday Riley! What a joyful little guy.

Pinkie Bling
Pinkie Bling
12 years ago

That is one beautiful little boy, and family, and post.

Happy birthday, Riley!!

6512 and growing
12 years ago

At five years old, he’s outgrown my ability to describe him. I paint a tiny corner of his ever-expanding picture and it’s never enough.

Sniff. That is beautiful. He is beautiful. Congratulations.

Anonymous
Anonymous
12 years ago

Happy 5th Birthday to your boy, such a wonderful post for an adorable boy.

On that note, my boy turned FIVE on Sunday!

Danell
12 years ago

Happy Birthday, Riley…and thanks, Linda, for sharing them all with us.

Dana
12 years ago

The baby photo – where he’s wrapped in the yellow towel? Unbearably cute. Congratulations!

ElizabethZ
ElizabethZ
12 years ago

Awwww! Love this post – Happy Birthday Riley!

Eric's Mommy
Eric's Mommy
12 years ago

So sweet, Happy Birthday Riley!

nonsoccermom
12 years ago

Beautiful post. Adorable kiddo! Happy birthday, Riley!!

H
H
12 years ago

Wow – you two look so much alike in that last picture! Happy Birthday Riley!

mixette
mixette
12 years ago

Happy Birthday Riley!

Niki P
Niki P
12 years ago

Happy Birthday Riley!

Mine is 5 times 3. How did that happen?

Christine
12 years ago

Once again you give me a glimpse into my future. (Mine is almost 4 and a half.) The amazingness of boys continues to be a revelation to me.

Sonia
Sonia
12 years ago

Happy Birthday Riley!!

Amy
Amy
12 years ago

Lovely. (Also, totally giggling over the photo of Riley looking suspiciously at his 1st birthday cake.)

Gretchen
12 years ago

Chills. You gave me chills. And for the first time in my life, I kind of want a boy instead a girl.

Jennifer
12 years ago

Love the sequence of birthday party pics. Grandma is there through each year and so’s little blond cousin. Riley looks like he’s catching up (height-wise) with cousin this year!

Did anyone notice Dog curled up in the background of birthday picture #1? Go Dog Go!

Melissa
Melissa
12 years ago

Happy Birthday Riley! Beautiful post – brought me to tears. Great pics. Good job, Mom and Dad. He’s a beautiful boy!

Angella
12 years ago

Happy 5th, little man. And to you and JB too.

YogaMomma
YogaMomma
12 years ago

Beautiful post and lovely pictures! I can’t recall how I stumbled upon your blog – not too long ago. I love your honesty and your sense of humor……I look forward to getting a peek into your life every morning with my coffee!

Amanda
Amanda
12 years ago

That 12-month picture. THE CHEEKS. They KILL me. Now my ovaries hurt…

Allie
Allie
12 years ago

Beautiful!! Happy Birthday, Riley!!!

deanna
12 years ago

happy birthday riley!

[btw, you look great. esp love the short blonde and bangs!]

Christine
Christine
12 years ago

Oh that was lovely and you made me cry. My husband and my nephew turned five just this past weekend. It went so fast.

jonniker
12 years ago

I can’t believe I’ve been watching that little boy grow up for five years.

Happy birthday, Riley. And thanks, Linda, for sharing him with us.

Brenna
12 years ago

I feel privileged to have ‘watched’ him grow. I can’t believe he’s 5. Happy birthday, Riley!

Ter
Ter
12 years ago

Happy 5th Riley! Give him big hugs and snuggles for me, I’m sure that’ll be difficult for you :)

June
12 years ago

Happy birthday, little man!

amber
12 years ago

Aww! I forgot how brain-numbingly adorable he was when he was smaller! Happy 5th, Riley!

L.E.
L.E.
12 years ago

OMG. That last picture brought tears to my eyes. You look so much alike!

JQ
JQ
12 years ago

I’m glad I’m not the only one who had to make a snurfling noise to suck back in the tears on that last line.

Crystal
12 years ago

Thanks for taking us along for the ride.

Mommy on the Spot
12 years ago

I found out about you on Twitter and from Mom-et-al. And I have to say, this is such a sweet post. It got me all mushy thinking about how fast time flies by. . .

Marie Green
12 years ago

Aw, happy birthday big guy! I can’t believe he’s five already! I get all sentimental on my kids’ birthdays, so I was happy to see the photo history here… sentimentality all around! He’s so big, Linda. And so little, too.

elz
elz
12 years ago

Oh my goodness, the boys look so much alike. I know (we get that all the time too with our girls). But, when you see the age progression pictures, it is really evident. Hope it was a very happy day. My 5 year old has kicked ass this year.

Kimalim
Kimalim
12 years ago

Your birthday posts have always made me cry. I still look forward to them every year. Congratulations on making it this far, some of us feel like we’ll NEVER make it to five!

Ashleas
Ashleas
12 years ago

Oh god.. I started reading you when I was 18 years old.. and RILEY’S ALREADY FIVE?! HE WAS JUST BORN! I WAS JUST IN COLLEGE..
I AM NOT 24.
Oh this is just too much.

Stacy H-W
12 years ago

Happy 5th Birthday Riley!! It goes so fast…