Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Happy Birthday, Mikey!

We can't believe it's been 13 years since that very long wait ended with a very quick labor, and then, you were in our arms. You were such a sweet baby, happy and talkative and laid back ... much like that baby who has graced our presence this last couple months.

This last year has been a huge growing experience for you -- literally, as you have shot past your sister, your grandmother, a couple of aunts, and who knows how many else, in height. Any second now you'll shoot past your mother, too!

We know that it's not always easy, these years when you're caught between the child you were and the man you will be. It's sometimes a battle. But sometimes, it's pure joy. Like when we see you protectively holding your youngest brother or cheerfully leading Talia in prayer. Or when we get into a long-winded conversation, pontificating about life, the universe, and everything.

We love how your brain works, Mikey (or Michael or Mike ... however you are introducing yourself these days). We're proud of your accomplishments and how you wrestle with your weaknesses and strive to do better. You may feel like we're often against you, dear son, but please know that we're not. We're for you, and we want to be allies with you in your battle to find God's best and highest for your life. 

We know that the very best condition God has for you (at least for a few more years) is with us, and for us with you. And we praise God for giving you to us! We love you, Mikey, and we hope you have the best year yet.

Happy, happy birthday, Wazowski!

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Happy Birthday, Eliana!

We're caught in a strange place. We want to keep you young longer, protect your innocence, and let you capture the joy of childhood for years to come. But we also see you becoming a beautiful young lady, and we eagerly look forward to seeing what else God has in store for you.

You're smart, funny and confident. Your smile lights up the room and your eyes speak volumes. You're often quiet and reserved, but you're not afraid to pull out the one-liner that cracks everyone up. You're an introvert who loves adventure. Your siblings can drive you crazy, but you're kind and most often patient. And you're happy to help out with your younger siblings any day of the week. Especially Jonathan. We love watching you glow as you rush to hold him close.

You may be the most driven, ambitious, self-disciplined person I know -- You definitely have a far better love and grasp of time management and scheduling and a passion for learning that exceeds anyone else I've ever known at your age. And it shows in your accomplishments. This year you've pushed yourself to independently study Latin and Coding while writing a book, learning to row, and designing artistic creations. Talk about a summer break!

Most importantly, we've watched you grow in your love for the Lord and your love for others. This year, you shared your desire to be baptized. We witnessed you being baptized in front of our church family, and rejoiced as you shared your testimony of the grace of God at work in your life. We praise God with you and for you, for He is good and kind to answer so many of our prayers with the gift of your faith in Him.

Thank you, sweet girl, for pressing into God and for loving and praying for and with your family and friends. Thank you for being such a delightful daughter, friend, and sister in Christ. May you continue to be amazed at God, and may God continue to do amazing things in and through you.

We love you, Girl! Happy, happy 14th birthday, Eliana!

Friday, August 3, 2018

Happy Birthday, Lijah!!

Kiddo! You're eight! (Well, eight years and one day. But given how close you were to being born on the 3rd instead of August 2, I guess it's fair to write your post on the 3rd. This time.)  That's huge!!

We love you so much. You have such passion and joy and exuberance in life. And I'm so glad that you're no longer two, or anywhere near there. You were still oh so cute back then, but I get a lot less white hairs now that you seem to have a healthy understanding of how to avoid making every action death defying.

We love how you love people. You can't get enough of talking to or about your favorites. (You really do have sooooo many words). You're confident and patient and you keep the long game in mind. You're funny and provide a good source of entertainment for your mama -- this is an important skill to keep in life. ;)

You love to read and to pray and you love developing good relationships with your siblings ... you and Sammy are still great pals but you've pulled J.J. into your world, and he loves looking up to you as his big brother.

You're going places, Kid! We love you and can't wait to see more of the world through your eyes!!

Happy, happy birthday, Elijah!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Happy Birthday, Sammy!

Sammy, my man! You're nine years old.

I was reminiscing about your birth this weekend, as I'm sure most moms do on birthdays.  It's fun to see my random thoughts that I posted as I was getting closer and closer to your birth, and then the sweetness that came with having you here, on the outside, with us.

From the beginning, you were a laid back baby. Day one, I remember waking up from a nap to see you had awakened before me. Instead of crying to be fed or comforted, you were simply watching me, with your sweet eyes studying my face as I slept.

We really enjoy your quiet, contemplative nature. You're a typically happy kid. You're ever so sweet with younger children. You don't antagonize or often annoy older children. You're a good friend, a good brother to your siblings, and a dear son to your parents. We are so thankful that God planted you right in the middle of our crazy family. You're good for us!!

This year you've especially blossomed in your joy in learning and watching and growing. We may not always realize that you're even paying attention, but you commonly surprise us with what is going on in your head.

We've watched your eyes light up as you talk about the goodness of God, and we rejoice with you in this faith.  We pray that this next year is a huge blessing to you, that you will continue to grow in wisdom and stature, and that you will always delight in the profound simplicity of God's love for you.

We love you, SammySam, and we thank God for you. Happy, happy birthday!

Friday, April 6, 2018

Happy Birthday, Talia!

You're two years old, Sweet Tally Girl.

Time has flashed by since you were our tiny baby girl, through infancy into toddlerhood to this point where your creative spunk and independent personality seem to be more and more developed each day.

You crack all of us up regularly, and you have each and every one of your siblings wrapped around your adorable fingers. I love seeing how your big brothers melt with your attention. And your big sisters have such delight in teaching you new things about your world.

You're a talker. You already use a few sentences comfortably. You're a singer, even making up your own tunes and words. And you have a few loyal obsessions -- doggie-oggie-oggies and GongGong (our Roombas) being your very favorite conversation pieces.

When we saw the meaning of your name, "Dew of Heaven," while you were still waiting to be born, I knew deep in my heart that Talia was the right name for you. As a family, we were in the thick of difficult times and the meaning with such a beautiful name was fitting in numerous ways. We had no clue at the time, though, when we named you, how many times Heaven would be almost touchable over the next couple of years.

Even in the midst of a season of countless losses, you have been a comfort, a joy, a delight to all of us. God created you beautifully, sweet child, and we are very, very thankful that you are ours. We love you so much and we pray that as you grow, you will know the deep, deep love of Jesus, and that you will delight in Him as He delights in you!

Happy, happy birthday, Sweet Girl!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Happy Birthday, JJ!!

JJ!!

It's your birthday!!

You're five years old, and such a dear, precious gift from God.

You're (most often) cheerful, you're (always) sweet, and you love, love, love life and siblings and your Mom and Dad and your friends and everyone you know.

You're tender and sweet with your baby sisters, and you give your Mama so many sweet cuddles, often rubbing my tummy and daydreaming about "Baby TinTin." And daily since I was about four months pregnant, you ask me, "How many more days until Baby TinTin comes out??"

You're an easy kid, you go with the flow, and you love to learn and grow. You've really enjoyed your preschool communications class this year, and we've seen you progress with leaps and bounds.

We're very much looking forward to seeing what this next year holds for you, sweet son -- including Kindergarten!!

Happy, happy birthday, JJ! We thank God for you!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Happy Birthday, Selah!

A full decade has passed since the evening you were born. I know your dad has fond memories of "the perfect birth." I do, too. Of course, I usually just tell the story of how you yelled so loud that the midwife came running -- sure that I had dropped you -- though your meal had just temporarily been interrupted.

I guess being loud is in your genes.

But with your loud, there's adventure. There's love for life. There's tenderness with younger siblings. There's a love for creation and beauty and fashion. Maybe not so much of a love for order, but there's a love for baking and cooking and anything else that might distract you from math (though you are quite good at that, too).

And we love you, sweet Selah. We are so thankful that God created you -- so beautifully -- and fit you so perfectly into our family. He knew what He was doing when He made you, as He always does. And we can see glimpses of that handiwork. We're so very thankful for His love expressed to us, in gifting you to us!

And we pray that your year will be blessed and your youthful enthusiasm for life will flourish. We pray that as you grow in wisdom and stature, you'll also grow in love and grace and mercy and righteousness. And we pray, as always, that you will know ever more fully the deep, abiding love that God has for you!

Happy, happy birthday, Sweet Girl!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Happy Birthday, Keanna!

Well, Buttercup, you're three today!

It is so, so good to have you in our family.

You're feisty and funny, you're brave, and you're kind. You're bossy, and you are sweet. You're thoughtful, and you are mine. Well, you're mine, and the rest of your great big, crazy family's, too.

I love how God has knit our "little" family together. Sometimes I feel outnumbered and a bit overwhelmed -- but sometimes, I feel like I see an amazing team being formed, right in front of my eyes. Each person a unique and irreplaceable piece of a bigger picture. And, darling, the picture is beautiful. Quite messy and definitely a work in process, but oh, so beautiful.

As I type this, you've fallen asleep on my bed, having convinced your Daddy that you wanted to hang out with us a bit longer tonight. I watch you sleep, and I remember when we found out that you were a girl. I've always said that I love having boys, but I'm so very thankful to have my girls mixed in -- it's good for boys to have females influencing them! So I was excited to have our streak of boys broken by you, and then your little sister following.

Your older sisters -- now they really rejoiced when they found out they were getting another one "on their side." Selah was talking about that today, about how much she loves having you as her first baby sister.

You've been a gift and a joy right from the start. We love how you live and love. We love how you care for your baby sister, and we love how you are a best friend to J.J. We love your confidence and your sparkle and your enthusiasm for life.

We pray that you are blessed, blessed, blessed this year and always. We pray you know how very loved you are, by God, and by us. We pray your joy only grows and your love only deepens. And we pray that you will run to Jesus with all of your heart.

We love you, sweet Kiki, and we thank God for YOU! Happy, happy third birthday, Sweets!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Happy Birthday, Danny!

Sweet Danny, you're eleven! It fits you well.

We're so thankful for you, sweetheart. You are a dear gift to all of us.

You're cheerful and helpful and thoughtful. You're a great big brother and a good friend to your older siblings, too.

You do everything with all of your heart, and you're sensitive and considerate of others.

We're so thankful for you.

Your name means "God is my judge." As you continue to grow, I pray that you remember that. People will always try to judge you, for better or worse. Some will condone your sins and some will misjudge your good deeds as well.

But God is your judge. His decree is the only one that ultimately matters. And if your faith is in Christ's finished work on your behalf, God judges you as righteous because of the righteousness of Christ. So trust in Jesus and have complete peace and confidence that you are right before God -- you don't need to be concerned about man's judgement when you have God on your side!

We love you, Daniel Joseph! We hope you have an amazing year. Happy, happy birthday!