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! 

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Happy Birthday, 'Lijah!!

I can't believe it's been ten years since that night.
Aunt Charity and Aunt Laura were on a train, heading in our direction.

I had never had a baby more than three days early, so it seemed like we had plenty of time.

But there we were, heading to the hospital, eight days before your (estimated by me) due date and 14 days before the doctor thought you were due! 

Clearly, you had places to go and as the evening drew to an end, the only real question was whether you'd be born on August 2 or August 3. When you entered this world, the clock hanging in front of me and the other to my right said two minutes after midnight. But when the nurse read off your birth stats, she announced 11:59pm as your time of birth. She then told us that the clock on her monitor was the only one that mattered, so August 2 became your birthday.

Your double-knotted umbilical cord should have given us all the warning that we needed about your desire to tempt fate over the next few years. I'm still not sure how either of us survived your "twos"  --- smart, quiet, fast and fearless,  I never knew what you'd do next.

Thankfully, you've calmed remarkably and the last seven years have been smooth sailing in comparison.

So here you are, ten years old. We thank God you made it, and we thank God for you!

Happy, happy birthday, Elijah! We love you!  

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Happy Belated Birthday, Squishy!

So sorry for the late post, Jonathan.* I have no good excuse.

Squishy, you’re two!! And yes, you sometimes have terrible moments but 99.5% of the time you are a delight.

We’re loving watching you grow but we also savor your sweet, squishy cuddles and love.

We love that you always sing, “I love you.”

We love how you eagerly fold your chubby hands when it’s time to pray.

We love how you love your siblings, from the biggest to the smallest.

We love how much joy FaceTime brings you, and how the phone is covered with kisses and cuddles when your aunties chat with you.

And we love that you self-initiated potty training during the great shelter-in-place orders of 2020. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have initiated that this year otherwise!

Most of all, we thank God for all the ways that you have brought joy and comfort to our lives. You are a blessing. “The Lord gives.” Have a wonderfully blessed year, Squishers. Happy, happy birthday.

*I use the name “Jonathan” as that is technically his name, but he most typically responds to some variation of Squishy, a Finding Nemo reference bestowed on him by his siblings. But just in case this moniker wears over time, I wanted to make sure his given name was attached somewhere to this post 😘.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Happy happy birthday, Snappy Sam!

I don't feel like I have a lot of words this year, but I'd be amiss not to share a few about you, Sammy, today as you turn eleven years old.

You've always been a pretty chill kid. I remember when you were just hours old, you laying beside me as we dozed together, resting up after a fairly easy labor and delivery (at least as far as labor and deliveries go)!  I woke to find you awake, content, just staring at me with your baby grey-blue eyes. Always adorable, you were and are as sweet as can be.

You're steady like your dad. I can always count on you for a joke at exactly the right time (or to be deeply amused at the humor around you), but you also regularly surprise me with your depth and heart. You trust big things to God in prayer -- much more faithfully than most.

You're a treasure. A gift from God. A balm to the aches and pains of this world.

We love you, Snapper. Keep snapping.

Happy, happy birthday.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Happy Easter!

Monday, April 6, 2020

Happy Birthday, Talia!

You're four years old today, our Tally Shark!!

I know this year is different. It's sweet, but it's hard, and I'm sure that someday we'll look back and talk about this time for all its distinctness.

But no matter how we look back on this time,

I want you to know that today, you are a sweet gift. Every day, you are a sweet gift. And we are so very thankful for you.

Your personality has really blossomed this year. You have this funny way of being oh-so-quiet (while smiling with every ounce of you) and then launching into full stories out of the blue.

You remind me regularly not only what your favorite color is, but what everyone else's is, as well.

You are already planning your wedding to your sweet friend, Micah.

You bring me oh so many flowers -- usually dandelions -- and you smile so sweetly when I tell you that you are my favorite flower.

You love to learn and to draw and to play the piano, and you love talking about your good friends and your aunts and your teacher.

You're a delight, our TallyGirl, and we love you bunches.

Happy, happy birthday, our Sweet Girl!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

You're Seven, JJ!!

Happy Birthday, Jeremiah!

It's been a good year for you, J.J., and I can certainly imagine your next year being just as good if not better.

You are a good, sweet kid. You love your mama and still make sure to give me my cuddles, but this year, you've also set your eyes on another sweet young lady, of whom you'll boldly say, "We're in love. We're gonna get married!" Of course, I applaud both your taste and confidence.

You have the best belly laugh. I was remembering earlier today your toddlerhood...we'd imitate fake laughs ("Hahaha, hohoho, heehee!") and lately, your boisterous laugh has had me cracking up and thinking back.

You're working hard on your reading skills and your math skills have skyrocketed this year. You also love piano lessons and Speech!

You and 'Lijah are great buddies, but you also are a sweet big brother to the little ones.

We're eager to see what yo

ur future holds, dear son, but in the meantime, we'll hold you close and cherish these days. You're a gift from God, and we are thankful!

Happy happy birthday, J.J.! We love you!!

Monday, January 20, 2020

Happy happy birthday, Butterfly!!

Selah, you're 12.

We tease you that you've been practicing being a teenager since you were eight... but really, you're a pretty sweet young lady!

You bring so much joy and laughter to our house. You're always up for adventure. You excel at friendship and baking and getting your schoolwork done.

I love that your favorite types of shoes have wheels, and you take great joy in all that sparkles and lights up our world.

I've seen you maturing and in doing so, you're sweet and thoughtful of those who are younger than you. You seek out wise counsel and have found good role models.

We pray that this year brings you a depth of joy and peace and love and kindness that exceeds all that has come before. We love you, Butterfly, and we thank God that He saw fit to put you in our lives!!