Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Happy Birthday, Belka!

Belka Baby, it's your birthday! 

You came into our lives as a breath of fresh air and joy and life in the midst of much heartbreak. You may be just a pet, but really -- you are the sweetest, smartest, best pup in the whole wide world! We are so very thankful that God answered our prayers with you. Happy happy birthday, our pretty squirrel. May you have many, many more years with us! 

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Happy Birthday, Elijah!

Happy, happy birthday, Elijah!

It was so much fun to chat with you and the aunties about the day you were born, and reminisce about your early days and years. You are certainly one-of-a-kind, dear son! (And I still think that two-year-old you is entirely responsible for any white hairs I may or may not be hiding).

As your siblings point out, you are thoughtful, kind, helpful, talkative and a good eater! 

You are uniquely contemplative and purposeful in your affections and plans for your future. 

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

You are a precious, treasured Gift from God, and we pray you have an amazing year, dwelling in His love.

We love you, Elijah! Happy, happy birthday!

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Happy Birthday, Squishers!

So... 2021 started with most of my birthday posts for my kids being late. And then at some point, the year got away from me and... I didn't catch up.  I was chatting about this with my little sister recently, and we decided to refer to this past year as my blogging sabbatical, to make it sound planned and official. Planned or not, I think I earned it! Needless to say, all my kids got older this past year. But my sabbatical is done and instead of rehashing the inevitable, I'm going to start fresh here.


Squish! You're four years old TODAY! Finally! You've spent the last few months telling people that you would be four "tomorrow." Your persistence has paid off, Little Dude.

We still call you Squishy. Though, sometimes now, you'll tell us that your name is Jonathan and your last name is Squishy, or vice versa. I wonder how long this will last?

You're sweet and rambunctious and opinionated. You and Matthew are best friends, most of the time, and mortal enemies only occasionally. 

You really enjoy time with your non-sibling friends, too, and you're on high alert for the special someone who will allow you to refer to her as your girlfriend. 

Your prayers still regularly require interpretation, but you offer them sweetly and eagerly and fully. May you always run quickly to the One who holds all the answers.

We tell you this regularly, but it bears repeating: You are a gift from God, dear son, and God gives good gifts. We are so very thankful that He gave you to us!

Happy happy birthday, Squishy! We love you!

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Happy Birthday, SammySam!!

Twelve years old. What can we say?

You're quiet, good-natured, and super funny in the most random moments.

You're giving some of your older siblings who are also mathematically inclined a run for their money, but half the time, you have your head in the clouds. Pretty sure you're contemplating time travel and quantum theory while you're up there. 

You're a sweetheart.

And you're super good at remembering to wear your retainer.

And SammySam, you're a gift from God. This we know — God was not caught by surprise when He made you and placed you in this family at this time in history.  He knows what He's doing, and I can't wait to see where He takes you in life.

But for right now, we're really glad that you're here, with us, and twelve years old.

Happy happy birthday, Son. We love you. 

Monday, April 12, 2021

Happy (belated) birthday, Talia!

So, Tally're five!! (or, at least, you turned five six days ago. Sorry for the delayed post!)

Sweet, funny, beautiful girl, we are so thankful to have you in our family.

It's been a delight to see you really blossom this past year.

The world may have shut down, but you certainly didn't! You're laughing more often than not (what do Tally Sharks say? Heeheeehee). You love chatting with aunties and just about anyone you can find. You're a bundle of energy but also a sweet cuddle bug, during those rare moments that you're still. You're a big personality in a tiny package, and your inside voice is louder than most outside voices.

You're a good big sister and a delight to all of us.

We love you, TallyGirl, and as this next year brings new adventures, we hope you grow in confidence in how very much you are treasured.

Happy, happy birthday! 

Friday, March 26, 2021

Happy Birthday, JJ!'re eight. 

You've been sweetly waiting for this day for a long time... and yet it kind of snuck up on many of us.

JJ, you are a love. You are kind and gentle. You are a favorite among your siblings. Your laugh is contagious. You love math, and you're a card shark. You're also a cuddle bug.  

You've taken off in your reading abilities this year. (Was it just last summer that you were worried that you would never learn to read because you had only been working on spelling??) But math time with mom is still one of your favorite times of the day (and maybe one of my favorites, too.)

We love you, son. God is kind to have put you in our family. May you be blessed by His love all the days of your life! 

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Happy 365th Day, Matthew!!

Some fun facts about this day:

-It's been 365 days since you were born

-Today, you're both a day short of being 12 months old and you're finishing your 12th month

-Tomorrow will be the first day of your thirteenth month 

-We'll celebrate your first birthday three years and one day from today

-Three years from tomorrow will be one day past your first birthday

-For a math-loving family, your birthday is the most fun of all!!


Sweet Son, though there are many "fun facts" about your birthdate...but many not-so-fun facts about that day as well. The most traumatic live birth of all our kids, you really scared us that day!

Sometimes life is just hard, and we don't always see the purpose in the hard on this side of Heaven. But sometimes....many times...God gives us the sweetest gifts in the midst of the greatest pain. And though we've been through some very hard times this past year, you, our son, are such a sweet, sweet gift. To all of us. 

We don't know what these next 365 days of life will hold for you...or for any of us...but we hope and pray that as you grow, you'll always know how very much we love you, and how very thankful we are that God saw fit to let you be in our family. And even more so, we hope you know how very good God is, always. Always.

Happy, happy quarter birthday to you!

Monday, January 18, 2021

Happy, happy birthday, Selah!!

Sweet Selah... 13!! A teenager!!

My words feel so far short of my emotions this year, in seeing you turn 13.

We're so very proud of you.

Yes, you're still very distractible and would much rather bake or have an adventure than do schoolwork or chores ... but honestly, you're growing up with so much grace and beauty that we're a bit blown away by you.

This past year has seen many difficult adjustments -- we've watched you respond with gratitude and optimism. So many times I've told you about one more thing that I thought would disappoint you, only to be blessed by your response: "That's okay, Mom. At least we can Zoom ..." or something similar. 

When I asked you recently how you were processing other hard issues, you responded, "It's hard ... but I know that God knows what He's doing."

I have to tell you, that grace, that gratitude, that faith in the midst of trying times ... each of these attributes are gifts from God, and you're wearing those gifts with such beauty and maturity that all I can do is praise Him for His kindness and goodness, expressed through you, sweet daughter. 

We love you, Sweet Selah, and we're so very thankful that God made you and gave you to us. We pray this next year you'll know even more richly and fully the wonders of God's love and grace in your life.

Happy, happy birthday, dear one!!! 

Monday, November 2, 2020

Happy Birthday, Kiki!

Keanna! You're finally six! You've been waiting so long for this day...

But to tell you the truth, you already seem quite mature for your age. You have a sweet, quiet disposition that often sets you apart from your louder, crazier siblings. But you have a big heart and that puts you firmly and securely back in their midst.

This has been an odd year, to say the least, but you've handled it with much patience and grace. 

You've joyfully embraced your artistic side and have spent many hours drawing and coloring this past year...our walls are adorned with artwork created by you and Talia.

You love learning and are an eager student of any subject. You are joyful when it comes to chores and helping out around the house. 

You love playing in the backyard with your siblings, too... but this year has exposed that both you and I have some allergies that have grown with something out there! 

We love watching you grow, sweet Kiki, and we pray that as your knowledge and skills and confidence grows, you'll continue to acknowledge the good God who gave you such sweet gifts.

And we'll continue to thank Him for the sweet gift who is YOU!! 

Happy, happy birthday, Keanna! We love you so much! 

Friday, October 16, 2020

Happy Birthday, Danny!

Danny! You're fourteen. Isn't that crazy?!?

And what a crazy year for your golden day. (For everyone who didn't grow up in Minnesota, apparently golden birthdays happen at the age that lines up with the day of the month on which you were born. So, since Danny's birthday is on October 14, and he's 14 this year...)

Danny, we love you. This past year has found you fighting to become your own person... fighting to grow up during a year when you have spent more time at home than ever before. 

There's much we disagree about these days, but I hope that you know with everything we have, we love you, and we want the very best for you, always. We are for you. Always.

And we're thankful for your love of people, your sweetness with babies, your delight in adventure...

We hope this next year finds you with peace and confidence beyond your years. We hope this next year finds you discovering richest blessings and deep treasures of truth and love that amaze and delight you for the rest of your life. We hope you grow in knowing the depth and width and breadth and height of the love and mercy that God delights to pour out.

We love you. Happy, happy birthday.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Happy Birthday, Mikey!!

It's interesting how some birthdays sneak up on you and some feel so natural. It feels like you've already been fifteen for months. And not just because you're already taller than the average fifteen-year-old.

I rarely do this before writing a post, but I had to look back at your birthday post from last year, because it FEELS like this year has been big for you. It feels like we've seen you go from an obnoxious, brooding teenager to a pre-adult who we actually enjoy being around. But your birthday post from last year suggests that we were already starting to see some sprouts of that maturity. Maybe this last year just feels longer than most. Or maybe I was a bit traumatized by the three-hour standoffs of old.

You may sometimes still pretend to be obnoxious and brooding....but then you'll spend five minutes looking at the birthday cards your little sisters made for you, enjoying every detail.  So....we guess we'll keep you after all.

We love you, Son. And we eagerly look forward to seeing what God has for you. Happy, happy fifteenth! 

Friday, August 21, 2020

Sweet Sixteen

Eliana, our sweet girl, what words can express our hearts this day, as our beautiful first born child turns sixteen?

I've started this letter in my head many times over the last few weeks. I haven't held back the tears any of those times.  I'm  afraid this blog post is going to lack structure, as it bounces tracks from one thought train to the next. I just hope you know, sweet girl, regardless of my word failure, that you have our hearts. They are yours. We are so very proud of you, Eliana, and ever so grateful to the One who made you! 

Sixteen years ago today I was in labor with you. We had the worst doctor and your daddy kept pulling out a book from his luggage to reference ... a book that had been covertly passed on to him from another dad.  We thought we knew what we were doing and we didn't.  Not much went as planned but we were blessed, by the end of the day, with a beautiful baby girl who would defy our every expectation over the next couple of years and then fourteen more on top of that. We were in love. And God was so very kind and faithful.

My thoughts flit back to when I turned sixteen. It had been a rough couple of years in our home and the day was spent traveling with my mom and oldest sister back to Louisiana from Galveston, where your Aunt Charity had just had to endure yet another surgery. The two main memories I have from that day were a long drive full of at-that-time rare leisure conversation with my mom and the sixteen roses she had made sure were waiting for me on the table when I got home. 

I'm not sure what it is about this sixteenth birthday of yours that has my heart in knots. I cherish your youthful enthusiasm and your glowing smile as you consider this next season of your life.

You are such an interesting young lady, Eliana Joy. Your life is a strange hybrid of, on one hand, living in a pretty nice, protective community -- some would even accurately describe you as sheltered -- and on the other hand, you've had to process and grieve and live through some pretty horrible realities. You've done  so with grace, wisdom, and maturity well beyond your years and often beyond mine, as well! 

As your parents, we long to protect you from pain and struggles.  We love growing and fostering and protecting that beautiful spark of life and joy in you. But we know, so much more clearly year after year, that some things are not ours to determine. 

And with that, we are so very thankful that your life, our beautiful girl, is in the hands of the Rock of Ages, the Lord God Almighty, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords... our Abba Father. He is so very kind and faithful.

And with that hope, we eagerly grasp on to your joy as you look to your future. He is trustworthy.

We love you, Eliana Joy. Happy, happy birthday. We hope you dance!