Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy 6th Birthday!

Dear Micah,

Today is a special day! Not only is it your 6th birthday, but it is also Easter Sunday. Since the day you found out (months ago!) that your birthday is the same day as Easter, you have been excited. Anytime anyone asked you about your birthday you made sure to exclaim "it's on Easter!". We teased you about the breakfast at church being for your birthday and you said "No, it's to celebrate Jesus' resurrection". So much to celebrate today!

This past year you started Kindergarten. You go to school every day in the afternoons. You've gotten used to being home in the mornings, but for quite a while the mornings were very long for you as you waited to go to school! You absolutely, positively love going to school. You love your friends, you love your teacher, you love learning. It's so much fun to hear about your day when you come home from school--we hear all about how you play soccer and you love the days when you get to be with your 5th grade buddies. Your teacher, almost every time I talk to her, comments on how you are such a nice boy. She tells how you are thoughtful at school and how you have such a wonderful personality. Your dad and I laughed after following you around at Family Fun Night: everywhere we went we heard "Hi Micah" from adults and children. You have a magnetic personality that shines while you are at school!

You are learning to read this year! You love when you see your popcorn words in a book and lately you are reading short books to Norah. When you come across words you don't know, you concentrate and make the letter sounds. You do a great job remembering that Mrs. R taught you to "stretch out" your words. It is fun to see you getting better and better!

This past year you continued to be my little helper. When we go to the grocery store, you bag the groceries. When I do the laundry you like to help sort and put it in the washer or dryer. When I bake, you pull up a stool and help measure and mix. You will grab a vacuum or a cloth and help me clean. I am often amazed at your willing and giving personality! I love that you enjoy being with me so much that you will help me get my projects done!

You still love to be silly and make people laugh. You have hilarious expressions and an infectious giggle. If you do something and it makes Norah laugh (like this fall when you jumped in the pile of leaves), you repeat it over and over again just so she'll keep laughing. Even in your silliness I can see how you love to think of others.

You love Legos and playing games. Oftentimes we find you creating a world with your Playmobil and Lego guys. There are whole mornings or afternoons where you and Ethan will sit and play Legos together in your room! You'll happily sit and play card games: Pictureka and Sorry Revenge are some of your favorites right now. You're learning that it can be fun to win and hard to lose, but you generally have a good attitude either way. You also like to sit and do puzzles; you will sit and do one after another! When you are outside, you love to kick a soccer ball around. You begged us to let you do AYSO this year because you love playing soccer so much. You were disappointed that it didn't work out, but we're hoping to get you enrolled in the coming year!

Once again this year you are in Children's Worship at church. You love to bring your offering and are excited to bring home your treasure each week. You also love to sit and page through the children's Bible at home. You study the pictures when you don't know the words and you love to help us read the stories that insert pictures in place of words. I love it when you burst into praise songs: you started teaching Norah the motions to "Jesus Loves Me" and she often asks you to sing it in Spanish for her. You learned a song at school that I asked you to sing over and over again simply because I loved to hear you sing the chorus of "hip, hip, hip hippopotamus, hip, hip hooray God made all of us".

Micah, you are my special little boy and it is so much fun to watch you grow up. I am so glad I get to be your mom. Happy Birthday little buddy.



Sunday, February 19, 2012

Happy 9th Birthday!

Dear Ethan,

How can it be that a year has passed and it's already time for me to sit down and write this letter to you? There are so many days where I wish that time moved much, much slower. Since that is not a reality, I need to remind myself to enjoy you at each and every age.

It's hard to know where to begin to describe your last year. It's easy to say that you've grown taller--I commented to your dad the other day I don't even need to lean over to hug you anymore. The great part about how much you've grown is that it is easy for you to get your arms around me and give me a big hug. I love that you still lean against me and let me hug you.

Over this past year you finished 2nd grade and moved on to 3rd. I apparently have a hard time remembering that because this fall I labeled all of your pictures for trading with "Ethan, 2nd grade". Thankfully your dad caught my mistake before you took them to school to pass them out. Next fall that will be your job! You still love, love, love going to school. You thrive on the routine of it, and relish the opportunity to learn new things. The other day you were sick in the middle of the school day. When I brought you home, you were upset about having to miss gym class. However, I think you were the most upset because you missed FRED (Free Reading Every Day) and the introduction to the space unit. You still love reading--this year you have loved reading the 39 Clues series and most months made it a mission to see how quickly you could get the time in for your reading chart.

This fall you started the Cadet program at church. You LOVE going to the meetings, though I wasn't sure you were going to make it through the year after the first few meetings. The end time for the program is past your bedtime, so for a while the few days after your meeting were not fun around here. Zero fun. To say that you were tired and crabby seems like a ridiculously huge understatement. We had to have a few talks about how doing activities like this were a privilege and how you need to learn how to not take your tired days out on your family. Especially your mother. We made it through that learning period, and now I can enjoy hearing about what you enjoy about the meetings (instead of worrying about the after effects!!). So far you've done glass etching, made a picture frame, learned how to make a popsicle stick "bomb" and a marshmallow shooter has joined the arsenal on the top shelf. You've learned to love hanging out with the guys--and I've learned to send you straight to the shower when you get home.
Your love of sports has not wavered since I wrote my last letter. We had a great time watching you finish out the school year with your AYSO soccer team. You decided not to play this past fall as you wanted to play baseball in the spring. I loved the joy on your face when I told you we had you registered for Little League. I can't wait to watch you play. You've become dad's sidekick as a sports fan--you love to talk sports and watch games with him--especially the Tigers. I was hoping they would win the World Series this year, mainly so I could watch your excitement. Since that didn't happen, I'm going to enjoy watching you through another season.

Where do I start in describing the big brother that you are? You and Micah are such good buddies--you can play for hours in your room with your Lego's or outdoors with whatever ball you guys decided to pull out of the shed. There are times when you act like siblings (fighting and hurt feelings and all that comes with growing up), but for the most part you really, truly enjoy each other as playmates. I also love watching you with Norah. The way you'll read to her or entertain her in her crib for a few minutes for me. You love to make her laugh, and there's not much that sounds more beautiful to me than my children laughing together.

I can't end my letter without noting how I've watched you develop Spiritually. You are learning to talk to God through prayer--I sat and listened to you lead prayer at a praise assembly at school recently, and my heart was so happy. You continue to learn Bible verses for school, and I hope that you are able to remember those verses as you grow. Your dad and I picked out a devotional book for you for your birthday this year. We are praying that it becomes an important part of your life and that it will help you learn even more about our awesome God and his kingdom.

My dear son, you are a joy to your dad and I. God has blessed us with a wonderful son and I am so thankful I get to watch you grow. I love you, buddy.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Happy 1st Birthday, Norah!

Dear Norah,

Oh sweet girl, how can it already be time to write this letter? I can't believe you are turning one today! This past year has flown by as we have gotten to know you and your sweet personality. Even though the year was filled with sleep deprivation, laundry, and diapers, I wouldn't change a minute of it because of the joy you have added to our lives.

How do I sum up how much you have changed in the year since you were born? You have gone from a tiny helpless baby to an energetic, spunky (almost) toddler. Forgive me, I can't yet wrap my brain around calling you a toddler. I think I'm going to be calling you a baby for quite a while!

You entered the world with blue eyes and sometime around three months they changed to an almost copper color. After that, they gradually darkened to a beautiful brown. When I look at your face, I'm drawn to your big, beautiful eyes. I love having a brown-eyed girl!

Right now you are a momma's girl. When I hold you and people talk to you I watch you smile and charm them. However, if they reach to try and hold you then you bury your head in my shoulder. I just smile and cuddle you closer--I'm happy when you make it so I don't have to share you!

Everywhere we go people love to stop and talk to you. I think it's a combination of your engaging eyes and pretty smile. Daddy likes to stand back at church and watch how everyone stops to greet you. Like I said before, you smile at people and charm them!

Daddy and I have decided that you are going to be full of mischief. When you reached a point where you could move around the room, you would crawl over to things that you were not supposed to touch. You would reach out, look at one of us, and say "what". Your favorite was the blinds. Now you are interested in cords, plugs, and any paper that we are not smart enough to put up high. We can see the mischief in your eyes and hear it in your little giggle!

One of my favorite things about you is how enamored you are with your brothers. You squeal when they walk into a room and you love it when they get down on the floor and play with you and your toys. They love to make you belly laugh--which you do when they throw things or themselves on the floor. I love to watch them do something over and over again simply because it makes you laugh. Right now they are trying to encourage you to walk. You took three steps last week so they like to stand you up and try to get you to walk more.

Over that last few months you have enjoyed the freedom that comes from crawling and you love to explore your toys. You will sit and flip through board books, push buttons over and over to hear music, and you love to hold your babies and pat them on the back while saying "awww". Daddy taught you to pile the rings on your stacker and you love to shake, shake, shake your rattles. We love to watch you do a "Norah dance" whenever you hear music. It's so silly!

I have loved listening to you find your voice. I miss the tiny baby babbles, but it's fun to hear you say "cah-cah" (for Micah), "bye-bye", "da", "ma", and "cra-cah" (cracker). Your other favorite words are "wow" and "what". Your first word was "uh-oh". We also think you say your own little version of "what's that", though I'm not sure how to type your version. You also love to use your ability to shake your head "no". One of my favorite ways to hear your little voice is when you mimic singing our "Bye-0-Bye" song.

My sweet girl, I'm looking forward to another year where I can watch you continue to grow and change. You have a darling personality that includes a wonderful mix of your dad and I. While I miss my tiny baby, I can't wait to see more of who you will be.

I love you, baby girl. Happy 1st Birthday.


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Quote of the Day

I guess it was more of a conversation than a quote, but cute whatever way you look at it!

Jason was getting ready to take me to work so he called up the stairs to Micah and asked him to come and get his shoes on. No response. He called a few more times and when he still didn't get an answer he went and knocked on his door.

Jason: "Did you hear me? It's time to go."

Micah: "I didn't hear you when you were calling me."

Jason: "How many times did you not hear me calling?"

Micah: "A bunch of times."

That boy cracks me up. I love how he didn't realize that he basically told Jason that he ignored him.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day 2011

Today, Mother's Day, was a lovely day for me.

The morning began with slobbery baby kisses, cuddles, and sweet Mother's Day notes from my boys. The other highlights of my day included hugs from my mom, a glass of wine with dinner, a long walk in the beautiful weather with my family, a call with my mother-in-law, and a l-o-n-g nap. In fact, it was so long I may not be able to sleep tonight.

In my opinion, a recipe for a perfect Mother's Day.

I am truly blessed.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Happy 5th Birthday, Micah!

Dear Micah,

I'm behind in posting my birthday letter to you. I could blame it on how quickly your last year went by, because that is true! I could say it's because I'm in denial about you being five years old already, because that would also be the truth. However, it came down to the fact that the week of your birthday was a rough week for dad and I and while we worked hard to make sure your birthday was a happy day (I'm glad to say it was!), this blog was not in the forefront of my mind that week. So, even though I've been thinking about this letter to you for many weeks, it's just now getting written down. Thankfully, you are a gracious, easy going guy that I know would say to me "that's OK, mom" if I told you I was behind. You are just that kind of kid.

Five years old. Oh my, how can that be? Over the last year, you have shot up in height. In fact, at your five year check-up I learned that you grew 2 and 3/4 inches over the last year. You are still my little man, but you are definitely bulking up and growing strong! Dad says that when you wrestle with him that you can hold your own. Sometimes you randomly walk up to one of us and punch us (I know, that doesn't sound nice, but I think it's affectionate?). After dad and I tell you not to punch people, we often comment to each other that your punches have crossed the threshold from playful to painful.

Much to your delight, you started preschool this past fall. You LOVE going to school! On your first day, you were so excited that you ran around the backyard. You could hardly sit still--I felt bad that you had to wait until the afternoon to go to school! I love hearing about your day at school and all the fun you have with your new buddies--Brady, Conner, Ella, and Mylia. I'm sitting here trying to think of which part of school that you would call your favorite. Could I say all of it? You love the stories, the rhymes, the songs, the books. You love cutting paper for projects and showing us your Clifford pages. You are thrilled when you get to bring show and tell and you absolutely beamed when Dad, Norah, and I were able to visit your class for your birthday celebration. Your teachers are fantastic and we love how they teach you and love you.

One thing that has not changed over the last year is how much you love to be a helper. You are my little shadow and you are willing to help me with whatever you can. We bake, clean up, do laundry. You make tasks that can be mundane so much more enjoyable. My favorite is when you help me bake. I think you are so silly because whenever a recipe calls for salt, you always want to try it. This year you did an awesome job of making your very own pie--with only minimal help from me! Maybe you'll be a pastry chef someday!

This year dad and I had the pleasure of watching you move from the role of the baby of the family to the role of big brother. You absolutely adore your sister--so much so that we often have to tell you to back up or leave her be! The beaming smile that you had on your face the first time you held he is etched in my memory. You always want to give her kisses, hug her, and you love it when you can make her laugh. I've watched you do the same silly stunt over and over again simply to hear Norah's giggles. You are a wonderful big brother!

I love to watch you play. You have a great imagination and you love to create little Playmobil, Lego, Batman, or Transformer worlds. Sometimes all of the worlds meet! You stay busy a long time and I love to see the make believe world you create. My favorite was when I found a line of guys lined up on the wood trim behind Norah's crib. You had them all in a "hands up" position. Like they were all waiting to be arrested. I wish I had come in time to hear the story that went along with that one!

You are my music man. During Advent you were gutsy enough to get up in front of church with three other kids and sing a chorus. We practiced and practiced and you did great! You were very serious when you sang, and you sounded like you were singing the bass part! Anytime we are driving around in the van you ask "Can you turn my kids music on?". You love to sing along with all of the songs, even if you don't quite know all of the words.

This year you also started going to Children's Worship at church. You love going to your class and hearing your Bible story. You faithfully remember to ask us for coins for the compassion child that you take an offering for. I love your giving heart. You love to say prayers at dinnertime and will carefully listen to the Bible story at bedtime. I love to hear the aspects of the story that you remember. Keep learning, little buddy, and may you continue to thoughtfully and cheerfully give to others.

Mr. Micah, you are such a joy in our lives. You have a contagious giggle, a sweet smile, and an awesome personality. I love you so much and I'm so thankful that I'm your mom and that I am able to watch you continue to grow. Happy Birthday, sweet boy!



Saturday, February 19, 2011

Happy 8th Birthday, Ethan!

Dear Ethan,

How can you be at yet another birthday? I blinked and the year is already gone. I looked back at my last few letters to you and it is so fun to see how you've changed and grown. You are still my same sweet boy, yet you continue to develop into so much more.

Over the past year you finished up first grade and made a smooth transition into second. You still love school, though this year you enjoyed your snow days and other vacation days instead of wishing you were still in school. Dad and I are amazed at all that you have learned already in second grade--you've moved beyond addition and subtraction to beginning multiplication and fractions. You read long books and you love to set (very) high reading goals for your monthly reading chart. Your favorite books are nonfiction ones about the subjects you are learning about in school. You also love mysteries, joke books, and the Boxcar Children series.

This past fall you started playing on an AYSO soccer team. It's perfect for you and you love every minute of the time you spend with your team, the Sharks. You have never played as part of a team before so dad and I were excited to see how you would do. Your excitement began on the day we signed you up and continued through every game and practice. I was working and had to miss your first game, but everyone who was there said you were in perpetual motion. On the days that I could, I loved watching you play--you have a great coach and he has taught you well. Dad and I especially love how exhausted you are after your practices and games. You crash when your head hits the pillow!

You are still quite a game player. Your favorite right now is the card game Monopoly Deal. At first I tried to be nice to you when we played. I should know better than to let you win. You don't need any help from me. It's all I can do to win when we play, even when I show no mercy! We play round after round after round. We still sneak in a few rounds of Triominoes, but I think you figured out that when I make you keep score it is so you can practice your math.

You continue to love anything sports related. When you play outside, you generally have a soccer or football field set up and you spend a lot of time dribbling the soccer ball around the yard. You love it when dad plays catch with you (not so much when I do it because there is no accuracy in my throwing!). On most Sunday afternoons you are checking to see if there is a ball game on TV--football or baseball, and you'll take a basketball game if it's your only option. Dad loves that you like to give a play-by-play during the game...just not so much when he's taking a nap. In September you were able to go to your first Major League Baseball game with "the guys". Sheer bliss for you.

This has been the year where you've decided to try pushing more boundaries--testing some of our limits and telling some lies. Thankfully for your dad and I, you are a terrible liar. You get this certain expression on your face and we immediately know that there is something you don't want to confess to. I think you try so hard to look innocent that we know there is something going on that you don't want to 'fess up to. You try to tell us "no" about things and boy does that bring out the stubborn in your mom and dad. We prefer the times when you'll talk things out with us, but I guess it's understandable that you want to test the limits.

You continue to be an awesome big brother. With the addition of your sister this year, there are more and more ways that I see how well you fit in this role. From the day Norah was born (after you declared "I didn't want a sister") you have been conscious of her and her needs. You regularly hold her for me so I can quick take care of something and you love to make her burst into fits of giggles. You'll even throw yourself on the floor if that will make her laugh. I also see patience and love when you interact with Micah. He loves it when you play Legos with him and you are often willing to include him when you play with your transformers. There have been days where the two of you will spend a whole morning playing together in the Lego world in your room. Thanks for being a wonderful big brother.

This year in school your teacher has been focusing a lot of time on prayer. I love that you are receiving that as part of your day to day education. Recently you had to memorize the Lord's Prayer; something you already knew. It was interesting to me to listen to you pray that prayer after I knew you had talked about it at school. I can tell that there is now more meaning behind the words for you--you are more careful and precise in your prayer. It is my hope and prayer that you continue to nurture that thoughtfulness and that you continue to think about your spiritual life.

Ethan Zachary, you are a blessing to our family and we look forward to what this next year holds for you. Happy Birthday, buddy!