Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Happy Birthday, Danny!

You're eight! And living life to the fullest!

Danny, you're a sweet, cool kid. You love life and people. You're happy and kind and confident. You love talking on the phone to anyone who will answer. You love electronics and learning and playing games. You love singing and music and anything that has anything to do with "How to Train Your Dragon." You hoped that we would name your youngest sibling "Hiccup."

You don't love soccer. But you are enthusiastic about encouraging your siblings on in their endeavors!

You are sweet and affectionate and your eyes light up as you share your excitement with the world. You're kind to strangers and you make friends easily.

You're adventurous and fearless, always up for trying new things. You easily express gratitude and appreciation.

And we love you. God knew what He was doing when He placed you in our family, and we are genuinely thankful that He gave you to us. We hope and pray that as you grow in wisdom and maturity, you will find your peace and confidence in His goodness and His love for you.

Just remember: we're on your side. Happy, happy 8th birthday, sweet Danny!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Happy 9th Birthday, Mikey!


*Yes, this one is late, too, but hopefully we're back on track now!*

You're such a fun kid, Mikey. You're out there. You're bold. You're confident. You can talk more than the rest of your family put together, and in the extreme scenario that no one is listening, talking to yourself is not out of the question.

You're rough and tumble. You're  spontaneous and sometimes impetuous. You're constantly thinking and constantly doing and sometimes that creates and sometimes that... well.... destroys. But you're growing and learning and maturing and every day, we can see more and more of the man that you are becoming. And that is good and exciting!

You are kind. You are thoughtful. You are affectionate. You are sweet to your mother, and that means a lot, Mikey. That means a lot. 

You have great dimples. Great dimples. Seriously -- when you're excited, your eyes light up, your dimples pop in, and you brighten the room. It's both endearing and terrifying. But that's a conversation for another day.

We love hearing your thoughts. We love that you share your heart with us. We love knowing how you process deep, deep realities. We love how you feed knowledge with TRUTH and you love mercy and grace and forgiveness. 

We love you, Mikey, and we're proud of you. We're so thankful that God gave us to you -- in His perfect timing and His perfect design (even if you hold some records in the process! ;)) and we are so blessed, so privileged, so humbled and honored to be your parents. We may mess this up on a regular basis -- both the training and the growing and the teaching and the learning -- but we are in this process together and we have a very good and loving God guiding our course. Look to Him, remind us when we falter, and we'll remind you when you falter and we'll get there, sweet son, we'll get there.

Happy, happy birthday, dear Mikey! We love you! 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

You're Ten!!

*Another belated post. Sorry, Folks!*

Dearest Eliana,

I looked at Daddy recently and said about you, "She's growing up. We're going to have to figure out very soon what drug is needed to stop that." But then I had to admit, "But actually, I really like how she's growing up... so far, her growing up has been really neat to watch!"

It's true. We really like who you are, Sweet Girl. And who you are is just getting lovelier and lovelier all the time.

Now you're ten -- a whole decade old. "More than halfway grown up," you told me. And though we know that there will be stumbles and falls along the way (this is part of being a person, you know!), we are thankful for the young lady that you are becoming. You are responsible and kind, thoughtful and generous. You light up and glow when talking about any of the number of things that delight you (art, nature, animals, your friends, your youngest siblings...). You speak confidently about your faith in God and His goodness and you have much peace in His forgiveness.

You are sweet, and you are mischievous and the twinkling in your eyes as you harass your dad brings joy to us all... even your dad.

Remember that we're on your side. We love you and we're here for you, as we figure out this whole "growing up" thing together. You'll mess up, we'll mess up... but there is much grace and much love in the process. We want the very best for you, and we are confident in the One who loves you so much more and better than we ever could... we eagerly push you toward Him as we continue to push toward Him ourselves, knowing that what He desires for us IS the VERY BEST!

So happy, happy birthday, loved daughter. We hope you have a year as beautiful as you are, and we hope at the end of it, you know even more the depth of love you have at your disposal!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Happy Belated 4th Birthday, Elijah!!

*Note: It's been a bit of a crazy month or two around these parts, and due to family scheduling aspects, we didn't celebrate Elijah's birthday until about a week after his actual birthday. He didn't care as he's not yet to the point of checking out the calendar and counting down days or anything, and his older siblings were great about not making a big deal about the delay, too. We really wanted to get his post up and running before his big sister's birthday (which was celebrated late as well) -- but that didn't quite happen.*

Happy, happy birthday, Sweet Elijah!! Last year, for your third birthday, I recounted about half of your plots that changed many of my hairs to a bright white shiny color. You being two was an eye-opening year for me as I realized that "raising" three boys before you did NOT prepare me for the boy who is you!

But you being three years old has shown me a much different picture of the boy who is you than even you being two years old could. And as you turn FOUR, I get the joy of reflecting on my "Wijah" as the three-year-old that you have spent the last year being.

You're funny. You're gracious. You're loving. You give such sweet, unasked for hugs and kisses and "i WUV yous." Your eyes light up as your baby brother dives in to shower you with cuddles, and you love all of us so generously, extravagantly and energetically. Joy shines through your eyes -- well, just about any emotion you are feeling shines through your eyes!

You're confident and easy-going. You've filled the role of best friend and playmate to Sammy well over this past year... the two of you are nearly inseparable. Together, you love anything Star Wars and/or Lego and your whole body bounces with enthusiasm at every turn. (As I was typing this, you just came up to me to bestow on me some imaginary gift. I wasn't fully able to determine what this gift was supposed to be, but you did make it clear that both I and Jeremiah received the red one, not the green one.)

You love people -- there's nothing shy about you. You're very happy to walk up to random people and say, "And what's YOUR name?" before introducing yourself. And though you can certainly express your disapproval when "necessary," your regular disposition is happy and twinkly.

You also have a reputation for your regular rejection of pants.

And despite your sweetness, there is still an occasional air of inventive mischief to you. Though this doesn't stop my heart, in dread of what could have been, as often as it used to.

We love you, Elijah. You are a gift from God and a joy to our hearts. We are so thankful that He saw fit to add you to our family, and we look forward to seeing the man that He is creating you to be! Have a very happy year being FOUR!!

Happy, happy birthday!!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Monday, June 16, 2014

Monday, May 5, 2014

Happy 5th Birthday, Sammy!!

Happy, happy birthday to our sweet Sammy. We've loved watching you grow over the last year and really enjoyed you being four.

Long gone are the days that we jokingly referred to you as "Swiper" and instead, we have a sweet, affectionate, talkative, friendly young fellow who LOVES anything Star Wars. When you're not talking about droid armies and Jedi fighting tricks, you can be found pontificating on the mystery of the Trinity or just cuddling with your parents and telling us frequently, "I don't just like you, I LOOOOVE you!"

You've developed such a sweet tender heart, expressed so much more articulately this past year. I've often overheard you talking to your dad about how much you love your mom or find her to be beautiful... you melt my heart, son! You also are quick to share the delights of friendship, often talking about how much you enjoy your friends.

Speaking of friends, you and Elijah have become best of buds and are often found playing together with light-sabers or an electronic screen. You look out for each other, and I can't remember the last time the two of you squabbled. We love this about you and hope that you look out for each other for a long time to come!

We love you, Sammy, and we thank God that He saw fit to add you to our family. You are a joy and a gift and we hope that your awe and amazement at the concept that God Himself would offer us the position of child and friend only grows and flourishes over time.

Happy, happy birthday, Sammy! 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Happy Happy Birthday, Jeremiah!!

You're one!! It's amazing!!

It's been a really good year. You are such a joy of a baby, so happy and sweet. You light up a room and make everyone feel special. Each person around you just knows they are your favorite. All your siblings are united in their adoration of you, and it's easy to get a volunteer to play with you just about any time of the day!

We are so thankful for you, Jeremiah Joseph. You were born after a hard pregnancy that followed a hard, dark year of loss and grief. I remember Daddy expressing surprise that you were healthy and thriving considering how difficult things had been. I remember just being incredibly grateful that you were alive. Certainly many, many prayers were answered kindly and generously with your birth -- most consistently the prayers of your big sisters who prayed almost daily for you long before you were even conceived.

And thrive you do well! You live and laugh and love fully. You sing, you dance, you wave your arms in the air to music as if you are conducting a full orchestra. You love to be sung to... sweetly relaxing into each bedtime's rendition of "Rock-a-bye Baby." You blow kisses. And you are a tease!! You love to act like you are going to give your big sister a kiss, then at the last second, turn your head away. And you love to look mischievously into my eyes and babble, "Dadadada!" in response to my encouragements to say "Mama!"

We love you, Jeremiah, and we thank God for you. You are a sweet, sweet gift to our family and we enjoy you so much! We pray that God will bless you and keep you, and that you will always know the delight of His love and grace in your life.

Happy happy birthday, Sweet JJ!!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

2013 Family Photos

Our friend Jennie took these photos in December. They turned out great! Thanks again, Jennie!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Happy Sixth Birthday, Selah!!

I've told you this already, sweet Selah, but FIVE YEARS OLD was a really good age for you. We've seen you grow much in the past year. You've become more self-controlled and more loving and kind, looking out for others this year. You've become more confident and secure, and we've really enjoyed watching you dote over the newest baby in the house.

You've grown in your talents, and you and Eliana have really bonded in your creativity, especially as the two of you have worked together to make games, decorations, and other projects. It's been sweet to see how the two of you have really started to enjoy each other's company this year, and part of this has been due to you each growing in maturity in the way you relate to others. We thank God for this answered prayer, and we eagerly look forward to seeing what other plans God has for you.

This past year you have started school, started ballet, started riding a two-wheeled bike...

and each thing you do you do with joy and enthusiasm and pizzazz!!

But you still take the time to stop. And cuddle. And love.

You're a sweet delight, Selah. A precious gift from God. And we thank God for you.

Rest in Him, Sweet Girl. Trust Him and His goodness. Grow in His love. He'll take good care of you.

Happy, happy birthday, Baby Girl. May this next year bring more of God's goodness in your life.