Wednesday, June 4, 2014


My Dear Stevie,

Today you turned 5 years old.  I can't believe you're 5 years old already.  It seems like you were just a 2 year old yesterday.  I remember watching kindergarten children getting on and off the bus when you were a few months old and realizing it was going to come all too quickly... and it has.  You're going to be starting Kindergarten this fall!  I'm so thankful that we'll be doing to it together, and I'm very excited to be part of that new adventure with you.  I'm sure we're going to learn a whole lot more about trains. :)

This year you went to Preschool, and Ms. Sue was your teacher.  You loved school so much!  Almost every class day, I would make it a point to get to school early to pick you up....just so I could catch a glimpse of how much fun you were having on the playground or in the gym with your friends.  Of course the best day for me was the day you were ok with me coming to your class.  You showed me everything and loved having me (and Daddy on his day...your 1/2 birthday day with donuts) as your guest.  Whenever there was a party at school, and you came home with a goodie bag, you'd give Lydia a treat from it first.  You are that kind of brother....that kind of awesome boy!  You always picked something pretty small for show and tell...usually matchbox cars of some kind, or trains, or planes, or helicopters.  I'm sure 95% of the time you mentioned, "Mommy got it at a garage sale."   At Graduation, you were so proud, and we couldn't have been more proud of you.  You even chose to wear a tie ...putting it on yourself....because it was such a big deal.  The huge smiles, waves, and thumbs up you sent our way just added icing to the cake.  This was such a good year for you, and a part of me wishes it could've lasted forever, but I'm sure you'd like to keep getting bigger...just like Daddy, you say.

You still love to ride your bike, swing on the swings in the backyard, hit the wiffle ball high and far with your bat, and play basketball (and Dude Perfect).  You now like me to defend you as we play one on one games.  That's pretty cool...and if my arms aren't up or out, you let me know, and you tell me to "scoot, Mom."  You make the score up as we go and announce, "3 to 5."  You made your "Home Shot" which was pretty exciting for us all.  You can make some pretty sweet shots!

Now you've started soccer.  You wanted to play, but you weren't so sure about it the first few practices and games with so many kids on the field and the loud whistle, but God made you a strong boy who is brave and tries his best...even if we need reminders to get up and keep going.  You are playing now and you really enjoy it!!  The number 5 cool blue jersey helps too!  You are so proud when you make contact with the ball, and we love to catch that smile.  Keep it up, buddy!  You are so courageous.  We've been praying for that...and God is answering.  It's not always easy to have courage, but you can do ALL things with His strength.  You went down the SUPER fast, adult water slides when we went to a hotel water park last month.  I couldn't believe it!!  All of a sudden, I saw you at the end of one slide and Daddy on the other.  All by yourself!  And, you had fun!  Look at the things you can do when you try!  You still like your typical favorite foods and meals (chicken nuggets, hot dogs, chocolate chip cookies, ice cream, and chocolate in general), but you are eating so much healthier now overall and you are willing to try so many new things and have found them to not be so bad after all. 

You are a wonderful brother to Lydia.  You aim to protect her from danger and you are best buddies.  You get into mischief together sometimes, and you wrestle sometimes....and sometimes you are so loud together people wonder how many kids we have in the house.  You pretend to do all sorts of things together, riding trains and buses, taking a sick baby to the hospital.  You often let her sleep in your bed even though "she has too many friends" she brings up with her.  You are so caring and sharing, and if she's ever crying or hurt, you try to make her feel better.  You're also her translator...though she rarely needs one, but you want to make sure I know what she needs or wants.  If she makes a mess, I hear about it from you, "Ohhh, Lydia Matthew!!" 

You still love all trains (steam trains are your favorite) and any kind of vehicle or mode of transportation.  Some of your construction trucks made appearances in our Nativity scene last Christmas.  You were a fantastic shepherd in the Live Nativity this year...blowing us away, as if it was "your thing."  Over and over again, the Lord provides exactly what you'd like for gifts.  For Christmas, you got your special train Lincoln Log set, and for your birthday, you got a motorized engine for your wooden tracks and you got the Thomas carrying big that unzips to a play mat.  You like those hard to find items, and God brings them in.  Knowing how much I love you, and seeing acts of special love and touches on your life by our God brings me closer to Him.  You are so precious to Him, and you're so precious to us.  God is already using you in my life, in Daddy's life, and in others' lives for greatness.  You praise the Lord whenever a lost toy is found, whenever the sun comes out (EVERY time), whenever something wonderful comes your way.  Your prayers are so rich and good.  You don't say a lot, but you ask for Daddy to get home safe each night, you ask God to touch your skin (boo-boos or eczema), you thank him for everyone in our family, and you ask him to help you obey.  What that does to your mom's heart....what that must do to God's heart.  You are like David in the Bible...seeking after God's heart.  When you obey Mommy and Daddy, it is not only good for your well-being, you are learning, growing, and practicing to obey Jesus.  Ohh the things He can do through you when you obey...and with that courage that is growing within you and your caring, compassionate heart!!  I get so excited just thinking about it!   

I love you so much, Stevie....and it's not because of what you've done or what you'll do.  I love you because you're you.  We're with you during the highs and we're with you in the lows.  No matter what, we'll keep cheering you on.  I know you've said it a couple times....that it's your best birthday ever.  I really hope you feel as loved as you are.  5 years old!!  Happy Birthday, Steves!

With love and a kiss, always and forever, through the sunshine and the rain,

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

3 Years Old

My Precious Lydia,

Today, you turned 3 years old.  Where do I even begin with the stories you leave me to remember and share?  This past year you (and your brother) have kept me so incredibly busy and one day, I am determined to be one step ahead of you.

For starters, I want to let you know that I love you SO much.  You add so much joy, adventure, and life to our days.  You make us all laugh....and your laugh is completely contagious.  You are strong, and you still love to climb, jump, and tumble up/off most anything.  You love gymnastics, and I love that special time I get to share with you there.  It's pretty much a perfect fit for you love it all....and to top it off, you love to wear your leotards.  On your first day, you showed off your beautiful forward roll complete with the Ta-Da stance at the beginning and the end.  When you stumbled and fell out of your cartwheel, you sighed and shouted, "Got it!  Got it!" making your coach laugh out loud.  You are also caring ...especially when others are hurt and sick....and you're always ready with a hug.  When I had a migraine, you tenderly asked me if I bumped my head and needed a bandaid.  You love to help me put away laundry and sweep.  Sometimes you start the washing machine (for a 2nd time or when it's empty) without my knowledge.  Your bunny is still your most cherished possession, and he goes almost everywhere with you.  You love to dress up....skirts, princess clothes, heels, jewelry, and hats.  You also love balls.  The only things you asked for for your birthday was a ball and fruit snacks.  There is not one food either your Dad or I can think of that you don't eat.  Not one!!  You eat everything and a lot of it.  You are always ready to try new things, whether it's food or an activity.  That makes things a little easier for me ....for the most part. :)  You love to sing, and I never get tired of hearing you...whether you're singing about what you're playing or real songs.  Your favorites are "When we all get to Heaven" and "Away in a Manger" (before the 2nd verse, you say, "How 'bout the cows?).  You love your brother so much.  You are best friends and partners in fun and mischief.  I hope you are always close.  I just know God made you the way you are to do some wonderful things...even amazing things..., and I have no doubt you will bless many lives.  You already do! 

I could write a book about your antics over the last year alone.  Some day, I may just write that book.  "Life with Lydia" or "While Mommy was in the Shower."  For now, here are some etched in my memory:

*You flipped up the seat on your big wheel (that exposes the storage compartment) and tried to use it as a potty seat out in the front yard.  There you were, sitting with a smile and no pants.  I caught you just in time to let you know that it was NOT a potty seat!

*You locked me in our storage room closet when I was organizing.  I definitely panicked because you couldn't get the door open again.  Big Brother saved the day!  I now have to keep a phone with me when I go in.

*You and Stevie ate almost an entire bag of Hershey kisses at Christmas time (while I was in the shower)....among other goodies on what seemed like almost a daily basis.  Even with chocolate covered faces you told me that somebody "taked all your trocoloate."

*You were offended that an excavator would not "scooch" over for us while we were driving in a construction area.

*You finished off my box of sour patch kids I had in my purse.  With an awful look on your face, you were convinced you liked them and powered through.  You still love to dig out "grump" (gum) from my purse.

*You were calling glitter "gidders" and now it's "glivvers."  I love both versions.

*You asked Bunny if he'd like to go to Sky Zone...and then you started to jump on an over-turned baby gate.  Only Bunny can go to that Sky Zone, Lydia.

*Your first imaginary friend was Buzz-Saw Louie (or "Loulee" as you called him)

*You tried to eat out of a yogurt container with a spatula.  One of many utensils you've utilized creatively.

*Sleep is not your favorite activity...because you're not able to be active.  I often find you out of your bed providing a picnic lunch for Stevie's dinosaurs or modeling inside out Thomas the Train swim trunks and shoes over your jammies in the late hours of the evening.

*You always want the biggest of anything....the biggest snacks/desserts, the biggest rides, the tallest balance beam, the highest bouncy slide, the tallest mats to jump off of.  Go big or go home....that's you.

*You call Grandpa daily on the real phone and your play phones.  "Well hello, Grandpa."

*You used your Christmas present ironing board as a boat since day one.  You still aren't sure how to use it the right way.

*You wished people a Merry Christmas long after Christmas was over whenever we said goodbye.  When guests leave our house, you're quick to say, "Fank you for coming!"

*You tell me almost daily (when you barge in) that I'm too big to use our toilet.  You still have not come up with a suitable solution for me. 

*Usually when my hair is wet from my shower, you run your fingers through it.  Even though it messes it all up, I love your affection....even if you sometimes say you're petting me.

*Sometimes you sneak upstairs and change into a skirt instead of your pants.  Sometimes, your skirt is really a short sleeve shirt you're wearing on your hips....the neck hole around your waist. 

*Daddy brought home a co-worker from Germany for dinner for the first time.  You happily sat next to him telling him all about how you have to keep your underwear dry.  You also initiated a snowball fight with him.

*You threw a jump rope down the stairs yelling, "I pink it's a snake, Steebie!"  Thankfully, it was just a jump rope, but I came running!

*You've been known to streak through the house in only your cowgirl boots...and those are often on the wrong feet. 

*You tried the oven mitt on as a slipper.

*You talk and talk to me in the van (if you're not singing), and one day you were going on and on about the garbage truck in front of us, telling me the noises it makes, how it works.  You ended your verbalized thoughts with, "And it'd be so fun to drive, right Mom?"  Then you moved onto whatever else was on your mind.

*Some day, ask me what you meant by "Ladybugs crashed into my belly."  I'll share the anatomy lesson you gave me.  You love ladybugs.  You're also scared of them.  You wanted ladybug decorations and cupcakes for your birthday.

*When we were out to dinner, you pointed out another couple asking me if I "see the Cosbys, Mom?" One of your baby dolls has been affectionately named, "Little Bill."

*We only have a shower, so we sometimes fill a large Rubbermaid bin for you to splash around in like a bathtub.  We went down the storage aisle at Walmart, and you shouted, "Look at all the bathtubs, Mom!"  You wanted to get a purple one.

*Whenever you don't know what something's called you ALWAYS say, "Oh, you've got ....those Mom?"

*I got you a pair of brown sandals.  You asked if they were Jesus'.

*You often start and end your questions with Mom ...Mom?

*Our home phone....for months....was often out of battery because you would put your own Minnie Mouse or Princess phone on the charger instead of our real one.

*You have a sparkly, glittery baton you use as a pointer like Grandma does in Sunday School.  You've named it your "Blessed are they."  You've also whipped around in front of Stevie asking him if he wants to fight.  We prefer you to use it as your "Blessed are they..."

*You love to rub noses with me or Daddy...but especially Daddy.  Whenever he calls your name, you almost always tell him you love him.

*It's always special to find you sleeping in Stevie's bed next to him.

*Today you sang "Happy Birthday" to yourself...several times, but whenever anyone wished you a happy birthday, you wished it back to them.  You asked me frequently through the day, "Mom, is it my birthday?"  Yes, Lydia.  Then you'd give me a knowing smile...proudly soaking it all in.

We are so thankful for you!  We wish you the happiest of birthdays!

Love you always and forever,

Monday, March 10, 2014


It's hard to imagine having a one year old toddling around our house today.  Stevie and Lydia are keeping the house noisy and busy, playing basketball.  Yes, we have the Little Tikes hoop inside.  So, I try to imagine a little guy in the mix chasing after a ball with the other two.

We would've been celebrating his first birthday today. 

Instead, he gets to celebrate today with Jesus.

Lydia sat next to me on the couch for a minute this morning and started singing her favorite song these days.  "When We All Get to Heaven." 

Have a special day, Zeph.  Mommy loves you.