december birthday boy

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My sweet Noah man

You are everything kind, tenderhearted, sweet, and brave.  You have a quiet strength, and it’s a good thing with all these sisters around to take care of.  I love the way you love others and care for others, seeing and noticing especially those on the fringes.  It’s a sensitivity I hope you hold onto in this abrasive world.  You love trucks and cars and its all you asked for for your birthday, besides green hand knit socks and a sweater.  (You are so sweet to your momma, loving the things I make for you and wearing them happily, treasuring them.  I don’t know how long that will last so I’m enjoying it while I can!)  You love pouring over books with beautiful illustrations so we bought for you the Nature Anatomy book, and you have been carrying it around with you outside, identifying all sorts of treasures in our yard.  Your birthday was spent first with pancakes, then opening presents with daddy before he had to go to work.  We planned to go the fire station but it was pouring rain and mommy made the rash decision to do a “quick” stop to the walk-in bone and joint clinic to check on phoebe’s foot (which she injured jumping off the stage at church barefoot).  That took far longer than anticipated and we had no time for the fire station and no where to park in all the rain, so we opted for hot cocoa and movie at home instead.  It’s just like you, to sacrifice your plans for others, but we will make it up to you and visit the fire station soon!  I think you still had a fun and happy day.  I love you so much my one and only little man, now six years old and so tall and grown.  It is a joy to see you growing especially in your reading and art skills, as well as in your faith.  You are so quick to remind me that you love me very much but “not as much as I love God.”  May He always have first place in your heart.  I’m so very proud of you.

Love,
mom

a (late) birthday letter

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hey baby girl.  can it really be?  you’re finally three.  i look back on those early days with you–oh, how happy they were.  you were born in laughter, and you were your strong-natured unique and spicy little self right from the start.  you were born just days before Thanksgiving and with everyone busy with family and festivities, we had a quiet few days alone together at home enjoying new you and the sleepy early days.

this past year with you has been fun and full and hard, a bit, too.  being two is hard, and maybe being three won’t be much easier.  but i see you growing and changing and learning, and i’m proud of you!  you began talking up a storm this year, and hearing more of your little thoughts and funny words for things has kept us laughing.  You call your bottom your “bawnos” and your fingers “fing-wey” or “fing-wa.”  hugs are “squishees.”  you call my yarn my “kninning” and my needles “neenles.”  i love the way you run, little arms down and flapping back and forth.  you love “moomies,” get excited about anything phoebe and noah are excited about, and you still love to be the family clown and make everyone laugh.

you can be bossy and head strong but also so sensitive, and a harsh word can easily send you into tears.  this year we worked on potty training, and it was a long, long road–with still some hard days here and there, but you’ve made great progress and how you’ve loved your new big-girl status.

you and noah are inseparable, the very best of friends.  often when i’m busy in the mornings doing school with phoebe, you two are off playing together somewhere and, boy, do you love to laugh together.  i hope your bond stays strong all of your days.

often you ask me how the baby is doing, and you seem so excited to be a big sister and not the littlest one anymore.  i think you’re going to love it and be a very good big sister.

sweet girl, you have a tender and joyful spirit.  i still love our evening sings and prayer time, just you and me.  watching you grow up is a delight.  seeing you become more interested in our morning family time in scripture, and your interest to always try and answer the questions.  to sense in you a love for God and to hear you pray is a blessing.  i pray for you continually to love Him, to walk with Him all your days, to know the joy it is to grow up in the shadow of His wings, facing all your days with Him.  He has a great plan for you life little one, and i’m thankful we get to be a part of it.

happy third birthday, philippa ruth.  i love you so ❤

mommy

 

six

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There were no gifts under the tree that year.  We didn’t really even notice, which is a wonder for me, a gift lover.  Our hearts were caught up in anticipating a baby.  I was as any first time mom would be: nervous, anxious, excited, filled with wonder and worry and dread and joy all at once.  It lent a whole new meaning to the Christmas story, to the Advent season, to the waiting for the coming of the promised One.

And then you came, so quickly, taking us all by surprise.  I called the midwife at 6am on that December 23 morning, she said to take my time coming in, but I felt an urgency to get to the hospital.  By the time we left the house for the 45 minute drive to the hospital, I was desperate to get there, contractions coming in wave after wave without a break between.  We got there, checked in, chatted with the midwife for a few moments, and suddenly I was in transition.  Within an hour or so of arriving at the hospital, you were born.  In about three pushes, they laid you on my belly and I just remember your dark quiet stare.  We didn’t have time to think about medicating, we didn’t have time to call family before suddenly there you were.  The midwife sat down heavy in the rocking chair at the foot of my bed and said, “Wow.  Now that’s how it’s done.  You need to give classes to all these other ladies on the LND floor.”  I felt proud, but the reality was, it wasn’t really because of anything I did.  My labor with Noah was far longer and far more difficult with complications to boot.  Its crazy how little of it is up to us, anyway.  “Birth plans” and such–an illusion of control.

From day one until this day, six years later, it’s never been in my control.  What a year we’ve had, you and I.  In a way different than the other children, I feel like we grow up together–you, the firstborn, and I.  You, the one who throws challenges at us that we are hardly practiced for, and we learn as we walk through them with you.

You amaze me as you grow.  I can’t believe we are one-third of our way through our parenting journey with you.  Only twelve more years until you’ll be free and ready to take off on your own little wings.  I hate the thought!  I can’t believe its gone already and I’ll never have it back, all those precious baby years with you, so tiny and so new.  Yet each year with you is so much fun, as you grow and change and become more and more your own little person.

I love everything about you.  I want you to know, you are so very special, my phoebe girl.  God has mighty plans for you.  He’s already working in you and through you.  He has entrusted hardships to you at a young age, and He will be faithful to see you through.  He will be faithful to carry you all the way.  He may not remove the thorn, sweet one, even though we so wish He would.  But He will bring great good from it, so much good that you will one day marvel with great joy and say, “The Lord is good to all,
    and his mercy is over all that he has made…The Lord is righteous in all his ways
    and kind in all his works.”  (Psalm 145:9,17)  ALL of it.  All.  We won’t understand a fraction of it, but we have this promise in black and white–He is good to all, He is righteous in all that He chooses to allow or cause.

You are still one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received in my life, you are such a treasure.  Through you God keeps teaching me that I’m not in control here–He is.  I’m so so proud of you, all your hard work, your willingness to try things that are scary and difficult for you, your quick turn to repentance when you’ve done wrong, your courage and bravery and general usual state of HAPPY.  I just love you so.  I treasured our day together today, playing together, snuggling, just keeping it simple, thanking God for the gift of life.

I love you so

Mommy

now you’re four!

15590014_10154686787277605_2767830364848305978_n.jpgmy dear sweet boy

never lose your tenderness.  be brave enough, be strong enough to be a tenderhearted man in your generation.  it is a beautiful quality of yours, something i love most about you, even if it is often misunderstood.  it isn’t weakness or shyness to be tenderhearted.  our Savior is tenderhearted, and maybe those with tender hearts see those that others pass over so quickly–the lost, broken, hurting.  it takes tenderness to extend compassion.  so don’t let a cruel hard world pound out of you your tender heart.  stay soft, stay breakable.

my, what a year you’ve had.  you have literally transformed before our eyes.  maybe this is so unusual to us because our phoebe girl grows so slowly, but you are surpassing her this year.  you are really growing up!  you moved into your own boy room, and have since loved the privacy that gives you, even though you don’t love being alone in the dark of night.  you’ve begun to battle nightmares almost nightly, and often come snuggle with us in our bed.  it’s the first time, though, that i’ve really seen you turn to the Lord in prayer on your own.  you are beginning to learn to pray on your own to your Heavenly Father, and not to be afraid to speak freely to Him.

this morning i said, “noah!  you’re not three anymore!” and you said, in a distinctively more grown-up-sounding voice, “i know but i still call you momma.”

you love playing with your sisters, and do so well with both of them.  your favorite things lately are to play that you are dogs, running around in the house and yard on all fours, and to play drums constantly to whatever music we have going in the house.  you are addicted to movies much to my chagrin.  🙂  you have learned so much alongside phoebe in our first year of home educating, and i can tell you are so bright and eager.  you still love to be tickled to tears before bedtime, as you always always have, and you love to be sung to.  you love trucks and cars endlessly.  you love to help me in the kitchen, really to help with any task.

i am so so proud of you, son, so thankful that God gave us you.  you came quietly on this december day four years ago, but with so much drama somehow at the same time.  what a champ you were as your momma struggled to recover in the weeks following your birth.  i especially want to tell you that i’m very proud of you for the way you have loved phoebe in all her health battles this year, being protective of her and looking out for her.  the way you told her you missed her while she was gone to winston salem.  it’s not easy having to bend to someone with a special dietary need, and yet you do it quietly and with such a good attitude.  thank you, son!  your daddy and i adore you more than we can ever ever say and we thank God for the gift of you!

happy fourth birthday, my favorite boy with the best giggle!

 

for my feisty girl

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Two years ago today, this little feisty bundle with a shock of black hair came into our lives. You looked at me fiercely with grumpy little eyes when I first looked at you, already trying to boss me around.  You wanted to nurse and you wanted it NOW.  You haven’t stopped bossing since.

Philippa, you are full of vim and passion and zest for life.  You love a good party, and you love to make everyone laugh.  At two years old you now have a head full of white blonde hair.  In the mornings I hear you yelling, “Mom!  Momma!” from your crib when you’re ready to get up.  You come running out and there’s no time for snuggling.  Quickly you busy yourself playing with brother or sister.  You love “can-cakes” for breakfast and you call your water bottle your “coffee.”  You love to go outside and “ho-high” on the swing all by yourself, pushing away our hands if we try to help you on the stairs.  The best moments are when you grab my face with your chubby hands and turn it roughly to the side so you can plant a big “tiss” on my cheek.  Or when you wrap your squishy arms around my neck and say “hold on ti-ight!”  Your snuggles are far and few between, but they are truly the best and your daddy and I live to sneak them in.  Whoever you have in the moment is your favorite and you couldn’t possibly even deign to look at the other parent.

I miss our nighttime nursings, but love that we’ve traded them in for rocking in the chair, reading board books that you toddle over to me, while you suck your thumb and we sing hymns and little songs that you love.  I love, love to hear you pray–“Dear Gah.. thank you for Noah” you always start with.

If you can’t tell, sweet girl, your daddy and I are just smitten with you.  You can be feistier than Phoebe and Noah combined, if you want to be, but you are just as capable of equal measures of sweetness.  Today at two years old, you have been grumpier than usual, and I wonder if we are entering those “terrible twos,” but thankfully, we have had a go at this twice before.  We engage it with a lot more laughter this time around and hopefully a lot more grace.  That’s the benefit of being baby #3.

We love you so so much, precious little biddle-e-dee, and always will forever and ever no matter what.  You are one of the greatest treasures + joys of our earthly lives.  We pray for you every day to know Jesus and love Him and use all your passion and headstrong ways for His name and His kingdom.  We can’t wait to see what this next year holds in store for you and we hope you have a very happy birthday!

Love,

Momma

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five years old

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You.

With all your laughter.  With all your curiosity, your creativity.  Your huge imagination.  Your happy approach to life.

I just marvel over you.  The unexpected and undeserved gift that you are and continue to be to me, to us, to this family.  In a hundred ways, you are wild grace to me from the Lord.

You’re my first, and in basically every way, you pave the way.  That can be a hard burden to bear, my girl, but I know the Lord equipped you specifically for that role.  This year with you has been so full of change.  You seemed to have transformed slowly before our very eyes into this grown up little girl child.  Still young at heart and little, but different somehow.  This year has been both death + life to us.  In the very middle of the year, we found out about your diagnosis with Celiacs disease, which felt very much like a death sentence in some ways.  Death to whatever was normal before.  I look at everything basically though the lens of “that was before we knew,” and “this is after we found out.”  And yet, that very same month, you so quietly decided to give your heart to Jesus.  I was skeptical at first that you really understood what you were doing, but I have SEEN HIM so change you.  How can that be?  I can’t explain it.  But a huge shift happened after that, and you have been such a conduit of grace in our family since then.  I have seen Him working in your heart, I have seen you become so repentant over any sin, and such a desire for God on your own, independent of our promptings.  How can this be for a four-year-old?  I don’t know, I can’t understand it.  But it is precious.

I love the way you pray.  The way you run in at night to your sister’s room as I’m putting her to sleep, the way you run in to pray over her and to sing her “Jesus Loves Me,” and kiss her goodnight.  The way you are protective over your brother + sister, and love on them so well.  The sweet bond I see forming between all of you, even amidst the days where there is fighting and tears.

I love the way you put creatures to sleep in tiny beds all over our house and dress up in the most gawdy of outfits, layers upon layers of tutus and dresses.  I love the way you still have to start the day with snuggle time with me first, and the way you don’t really feel like the day has begun until we’ve had that time.  I love your love for books and stories.  I love the way your coloring has taken off to a whole new artistic level the past few weeks.

You are hilarious and fun and I think you are a light to everyone who knows you.  Which is why we named you Phoebe, our little ray of light.  You are my girl forever and I adore you so much.  I look so forward to all that is ahead in the year to come!

Happy 5th birthday.  Now, how ’bout those birthday spankings!?

Love
Momma

the boy is three

 

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You’re such a stinker, my sweet sweet boy.  My favoritest littlest man.  I came into your room this early morning with a big number “3” balloon to wake you up, singing happy birthday, and you’re like, “No, momma!  Don’t sing.”  That’s so you.  You don’t love the attention at ALL.  You are such a quiet and tender spirit.  You can be louder than both of the girls, don’t get me wrong.  Never have I heard someone with a better ear-piercing high-pitched scream!

I say it every year, every birthday, with every child, I know, but I still can’t believe you’re turning three today.  You changed SO much this year, you changed from being my baby boy to my little man.  You are so tall, almost taller than Phoebe now, and definitely outweighing/outgrowing her.  You love pancakes every morning if you can have them, or puffins if not.  You love helping me make pizza so you can snack on the pizza cheese.  You fell in love with Mater + Lightning McQueen this year, and the infatuation still stands.  You gave up your bottle + after-nap snuggles this year.  Now when you wake up in the morning and after your nap, you push away my hugs and kisses and get right to work playing.  You love driving your cars and toys, laying down on the floor next to them so you can slowly watch the wheels turn as they drive.  You were obsessed with the Christian Mother Goose cd, able to recite the whole thing with it as we listen.  You’ve really started to learn and engage with our bible reading time, wanting me to ask you questions and explain to you like I do to Phoebe.  You transitioned from crib to toddler bed this year, loving every second of your freedom to get in and out on your own like a big boy.  We gave potty training a concerted effort this year.  Maybe in 2016.  You love for me to sing “There Once Was a Wild Little Donkey,” and “The B.I.B.L.E” (or “B.I.E.L.D” as you say it) before bed.

I love how when I ask you what you want or what you’d like to do, you say “Hmmmm…How’d about…”  Or how you call the blender/food processor “the louder.”  Popcorn is “pine corn.”  After breakfast you tell me your hands are “stinky,” meaning sticky.  In bed at night, you ask for a “speck” of water (sip).  When I asked you what you want to do when you grow up, you said “go sledding.”  You still get the hiccups HORRIBLY whenever I tickle you or get you laughing hard.  One night I was kissing you goodnight and you asked me, “Momma, where is God?”  And then as I’m answering you started sniffing and said, “I smell spiders.”  Classic.  Or how when you hurt something or we reprimand you for something, you always tell us “but that hurts my feelings,” pointing to some random part of your body.  When I tell you I’m going to eat you up, especially your cheeks because they’re so full of juice you say, “NO!  It’s all gone!”  Daddy was teaching you how to put your own shirt on, how to look for the tag, and as you were putting your pants on you said, “But I don’t see the flag!”  One morning you were coughing when you got up, I asked you how you felt and you said, “Berry Happy.”  You are still super attached to your “dee-tee” and now “little mr. fox” and “big mr. fox.”  You are starting to play with lots of imagination.  I love when you are playing with your big and little tractors and little one is the baby and the big tractor is “tractor mommy,” and listening in to the conversations they have: “do you need to go potty?” “No, I don’t need to go potty.”  “Tractor mommy!  Tractor mommy!  Where are you?”  Etc.  I love how one night at dinner you said to daddy, “watch your ‘tude, dude.”

Life with you is hilarious.  You are quiet and mischievous and stubborn as all get out.  You just recently started to ride Phoebe’s strider, after a year of trying to encourage you to pedal your “kykle” with your feet/pedals.  Now all you want to do is ride the strider.  If you feel like we are going to force you to do anything, you are afraid and dig in your heels, but if we give you some space and some choice in it, you will give something new a try.

We took you rock climbing for the first time yesterday to the indoor rock wall at the YMCA.  When I was walking you into the rock climbing area, you said “I just want to go home and watch a movie.”  Ha.  Finally toward the end, after watching all of us climb, you decided to try bouldering around and were so proud of yourself.

I know this next year will be full of change.  I know you’ll get the hang of this growing up thing in your own time and way, without too much force and pushing from others.  I hope we can do the best job of guiding you and helping you and encouraging you as you go through this process.  One night after I scolded you for jumping on me/hurting me, you burst into tears and said, “I just can’t be a good boy.”  You are so precious to me, my little man.  The truth is, none of us can be a good boy and girl on our own.  We need a Savior!  I hope and pray for you every day to love Him and turn your heart and life over to Him.  I believe in your own time and way, when you’re ready, you will.  I see in you such a kindness, a sensitivity toward the hurting and a desire to please God.  I see you.  I will walk beside you all the way.  I will love you, even when you push me away.  I will always be your momma + you will always be my boy.

I’m so thankful for you and the gift that it is to raise you and to love you.  Happy 3rd birthday Noah-man.

Love
Mommy