Sunday, September 28, 2014

birthday week: karsten

My baby is ONE!

He has begun the final process of exiting babyhood, entering into boyhood. While I am looking forward to increased sleep at nights and having both arms free to carry things other than my children, I am sad to see the chubby cozy baby stage passing by with such permanence. These days will soon be but a memory. And just like those old people keep telling me in the grocery store, they have gone by so fast. Sigh.

Alas, on to birthday wishes and the last of the September craziness...

Dearest Baby Karsten,

No one loves me like my babies do. Which may be one of the reasons I am so sad to see you grow. You have already stopped looking at me with hungry eyes, and find it more fun to chase your sisters than snuggle me on the couch.

Your personality is emerging, though yet to be developed. You are growing into an active little boy, and quite the "explorer". You won't rest until you investigate all things new in your surroundings. While this makes it difficult for me to have a conversation with anyone, or complete any task outside of shadowing you, I wouldn't have it any other way. All of this curiosity is part of using the brain and the intelligence God gave you - and I sure hope that brain keeps you from sticking your fingers in an outlet.

Along with learning to crawl, you began to teach us about materialism. You quickly established yourself as the reason that our laptop computer is acting strangely and the reason our DVD player is broken and the reason my Bible is missing some pages in the front. You are the reason my trash cans are currently being kept on top of the furniture and the reason our living room is a giant playpen surrounded by baby gates. Oddly, this is not the way I pictured motherhood, but it is turning out to be just fine, because none of these material things matter.

In typical male fashion, you love all things food. This is possibly one reason you have loved me so very much, as I have been the bearer of all meals this entire year. When in doubt, eating seems to solve all of your problems. We hope to make you more selective this coming year, keeping the acorns and cat poop out of your mouth while encouraging such delicacies as broccoli and brussel sprouts.

As the fifth member of our family, you have brought a balance to our dynamics. Now there is nothing that can be divided equally, so we have stopped trying. This offers a certain health to our family unit as we have quit being "fair" and embrace the sharing and servitude that God intended for us all along. Thank you for being one more piece in that puzzle.

We pray every day that you will grow into a man who follows after God with your whole heart. A man who is a humble leader, and wise decision maker. In a world that is experiencing a crisis of men who fail to behave as men, there is no greater gift I could ask for you.

With all my love on your first birthday,

Your cake might not have been as cute as the girls' this year, but it was the best tasting... which you would have known if you had eaten the cake instead of the candle.

All you wanted for your birthday was a ride on something noisy.

Nothing could have been better than a ride on Papa's tractor and a ride on an excavator!

Monday, September 22, 2014

birthday week: sommer

One of the things that makes turning three special is that Sommer can finally hold up all three fingers to show us how old she is. The problem is that she keeps telling us she is five, so we still have something to work on.

Dearest Sommy-som, Sommy-num, Sommer sunshine, Som-Som,

I really do want to put you in a bottle and freeze you in time. Your squishy squeezy babyish body can not hold all the personality in and it is always exploding all over the place, much to everyone's delight. You are charming and funny and kind and imaginative and silly and snuggly and creative and smart and very very talkative, when you are not low on blood sugar of course.

I love your voice right now. Your vocabulary is impressive despite the lack of Ss and Rs and Ls and you manage to say quite a bit without these extraneous letters. You pretend to read everything, and you surely have every word in your favorite books memorized. You are an excellent story teller and I am never quite sure if it is the story that has fascinated me or the listening to you and the inflection of your voice.

I love your spunk. I never worry that another child will bully you because you understand well the art of defending yourself. We will tame this over time to become more gentle and fully appropriate, but you clearly understand your personal boundaries. You say what you think, so we never have to wonder. This means we get to hear lots of spontaneous "I love you"s. This also means we never doubt when or why you are upset.

I love hearing you sing. You sing everything and everywhere. Some of your favorites are "Raindrops on Roses" and "Jesus Loves Me". You do a pretty good job with "Part of That World" from The Little Mermaid too. You have a song for all occasions. You sing while you play pretend and your animals often sing to each other. You even tell made up "story-songs". You carry a beautiful tune. But most importantly, there is a song in your heart. May it always remain.

At three years old you already have a clear sense of conscience, forgiveness, and God's ever-present love. You are even quick to remind me when I am hurting: "But, Momma, God loves you."  What could possibly comfort me more?

I love you deeply. May three years old be a wondrous, magical year full of good things and growth in all the right ways.

Love, Momma

Friday, September 19, 2014

birthday week: annike

That's right, it's birthday week. My three children are 5 years apart, and somehow all three birthdays are within 9 days of each other. People always want to know how that happened. Well, go ask your mother how it happened. All I know is that it makes for an exceptionally busy September. We bake and decorate a lot of cakes, sing a lot of "Happy Birthday"s, and celebrate a lot of little people. By the end of September, it seems like we have had way more than three birthdays.

Even though it is busy, I don't want to miss the opportunity to celebrate each child individually. Each child get his or her own cake. And each child get her or his own blog post. Without further ado, happy birthday to the sweet girl who made me a Momma only six years ago.

Dearest Annike,

You are a sweet, tender-hearted child with a wonderful sense of integrity. You know how to be both silly and serious, and you find great joy in the little things that life brings. I am sad that you are growing because you seem just perfect the way you are. There are so many things I love about you at this moment in time, I want to freeze them in my memory. The good news is that each year of life with you seem to be more fun than the last.

I love that your favorite color is blue instead of pink. That you would rather watch a nature show than a cartoon. That you accessorize with animal ears and tails and think that clothing made in cheetah print is the best. That you would rather play outside than inside and aren't afraid to get dirty. That you love animals, but aren't sad when they die. That you choose to eat an apple over pizza. I love that you want to hear stories about me and Papa when we were little, especially if there are animals in the story.

I love that you get excited about aquariums and museums and going to the library and visiting your grandparents. I love that you know the names of more fish than I do, and some of your favorite books are fish and bird reference books. I love your adorable drawings of animals. I also love that you are kind to me when I attempt to draw animals and you can't recognize them.

I love that you know how to share the joy of others and rarely feel in competition with friends. That you freely offer encouragement to your little sister when she tries something new or hard. That you worry about me being lonely, which seems like something that could never actually happen in the next decade of my life.

I love that I know you are always telling me the truth, because you don't feel right if you aren't telling the truth, unless you have your "stinker face" on and then I know you are trying to trick me. I love that Jesus is in your heart and you find His ways both mysterious and exciting.

Being six will be full of joy because you are full of life and adventure. I love you so much!

Love, Momma