Dear self,
Yesterday you turned the big 3-0. Thirty.  Take a deep breath. That’s right. You are officially out of your 20’s.

Your 20’s were good to you. They brought you your husband. Your kids. Your career. Your passion.

But they were rough, too. The loss of your brother, your parents. Chronic sinus problems. Back trouble. Bad feet.

You’ve had some good times – times you’ve laughed until you’ve cried, times you’ve cried until you laughed.  Sometimes those events were the same day!  There’s been lots of lessons learned.  Lots of friends made, and more than a few you’ve lost touch with over the years.  You’ve learned relationships are tough.  Sometimes really tough.  Tough just to keep going – tough to put the extra work in to keep the flame alive.  But oh, so very, very worth it.

I guess I wanted to write you this to give you some advice. Advice you probably won’t listen to, but you’ll nod and smile and say you’ll listen, and I wanted to write it out here so there were witnesses, so to speak.  So here it is. The big advice for you going into your 30s:  Do hard stuff.

Life is hard.  Marriage is hard. Parenting is hard. Friendships are hard. Work is hard. Faith is hard. Cleaning is hard. Downtime is hard.

Cooking is hard to find time for in light of all that other stuff.

Be kind to yourself – but also, be good at doing hard stuff, because at the end of the day that’s really what life is about.  Dig in to the moment, be present and real with people.  Acknowledge that you’re doing something hard, and then do it.  Give yourself a break when you fail, because you’re going to. Just be ready for it.  Every day you’re going to wake up with 57 things to do and you are going to fail to do most of them.

Try to do them anyways.  Don’t half-ass it, either, because who wants half-ass attention? No one. So do one thing really good. And then do another, and another, and another.  You may end up with 14 good things by the end of the day. Awesome. You did good.  You failed at 43 things, but they don’t matter because you rocked at 14 things.

When you turn 30 (if you’re me) you start to think about your legacy.  At the end of my life I want to be known as someone who was real.  Someone who had to dig her way through life with broken nails and tear stains and dirty tennis shoes who was a real person to the people she interacted with.  I don’t want people to think I’m something I’m not. I’m a mess – just like every other human being on this messy broken earth.

By the grace of God I’d like to fight against that brokenness – the brokenness that destroyed my parents, the brokenness that threatens to take others every day… I’d like to BE KIND and DO HARD STUFF because it helps fix some of that brokenness. And if on any given day I can only do 14 good things, or even just 1 good thing, it means the world is that many more things better than it was yesterday.

My dearest Benjamin,

You are 4 years old!! FOUR! You’re such a big kid!  I’m so grateful for the boy you are becoming.  You’re a good kid – polite and kind, and usually using manners.  We had a lot of fun this year.  Last year you learned you had a baby sibling on the way…and we worked pretty hard to prepare you.  We spent a lot of time with you before your brother joined the family – hanging out, going to the park, taking trips to Houston and swimming any chance we got.

sep 18 park
sept 14 park
april 10 kemah

You potty trained in year 3 – right after your birthday – and as we promised, you got to go to the Zoo.  We told you that only big boys got to go to the zoo, and so as soon as you were using the potty consistently we went.  It was awesome!  You had a lot of fun and your favorite part was the aquarium and the gorillas.

zoo july 19

You got to spend a lot of time with your adopted siblings, Aedan and Kaley.  They have been such a blessing to you, and you to them.  You play so much harder when you have friends to play with, and it’s been good preparedness for working and living with other kids.

april 25 kids
cookies sept 28

We decided to try to discipline you by offense – different things for safety violations, rudeness and attitude.  It’s been pretty effective, and when you’re in a good mood you’re incredibly polite and pleasant to be around.

We were reading a story the other day and there’s a part about “a yellow see-saw built for two.”  But Mom, you asked me, aren’t ALL see-saws built for two?!

oct 14 stylish

You get your literalness from your dad.

Some of the highlights this year for me was Halloween and Christmas.  You dressed like an astronaut for Halloween, and it was adorable.  I let you carve your own pumpkin with awesome results – you thought it was the most amazing thing EVER. Seriously, you obsessed about it.  It was so sad when it rained before Halloween and was ruined.

OCT 20 pumpkin
oct 31 2
oct 31

Christmas this year was interesting.  Your dad and I… we’re not big fans of Santa.  Not that we outright hate him or anything, we just never really got into the concept of deception (and don’t get me started on the Elf on the shelf nonsense).  BUT – we recognize that some kids want to pretend, and that’s what you said you wanted to do.  We talked about how Santa is a pretend guy that some people pretend is real, and that it’s OK if we want to do that.  So mid December we’re out shopping at the mall (actually, I was pregnant and going stir crazy and needed to walk) and I realize a moment too late that we’re about to pass Santa.  And you want to go meet him! And take your picture! So… we did.  And I’m so glad, because you look totally adorable.  I’m still not sure if you actually believe in Santa or not – you change your mind whenever we talk about it – but we’re content to let you do your thing.

dec 13 christmas

You played Soccer for the first time ever this year.  Winter and Spring seasons at the Y with your best friend Aedan.  It was a pretty awesome experience for you; and you were glad when it was over.

jan 18 soccer
april 26 soccer

We spent a lot of time playing games, electronic and otherwise, and we’ve learned something important about you.

You HATE losing.

Like, A LOT.

nov 16 ducky momo


I sympathize so much with you, because I was the same exact way as a kid.  I didn’t understand letting other people win; why do that? What was the point?  If someone happens to win Chutes and Ladders you collapse into sobs, “But I wanted to win!!!!!”  So far talks about letting people take turns winning falls on deaf ears; but I can’t really blame you.  I’m almost 30 and still like to win.

So sometimes we do other things, like make cookies – you’re quite helpful in the kitchen!

dec 9 cookie

You had your first real beach trip – real because it was the first time you were really old enough to hang out and play and put your toes in the water.  Your favorite part was throwing sand.

oct 26 beach

You’re the most articulate kid I know.  There’s a lot of stuff you haven’t figured out yet – you don’t like letters very much and have little interest in reading.  Other kids are more advanced in some ways.  But you are an excellent orator.  Your tone gets you in trouble sometimes, “Mommy, I KNOW!” but for the most part I just enjoy being able to have conversations with you.

MAR 29 hockey

You’re curious about everything and we do our best to answer every “why” – even though sometimes we just have to ask you to stop.

nov 4

I think one of the best things about this year was watching you grow into a sibling. Your tenderness and love (and sometimes roughness) with your little brother Eli is pretty much the most amazing thing I’ve ever witnessed in my life.  You love him SO much.  Even though he cries, even though he smells, even though he takes up SO much of my time.  You love him.  Sometimes you insist in taking a turn sitting in my lap (which I almost always try to oblige) but for the most part you understand that he’s a baby and that there are things you get to do that he doesn’t.  I know one day you guys will fight and argue, but for now there’s so much love.

jan 6 eli
april 26 brothers

june 3 feeding

When you get in trouble we tell you that we’re correcting you because we want to help you be a better person. We tell you that we want you to be a good kid, and that you ARE a good kid, and that some times good kids do bad things – but what’s important is that we keep trying to do good things so the good outweighs the bad.  You tell me you’re trying, and that’s all I need to know.
sept 14 park 2

I love you so much, son.  Your smile and hug and big ears and questions and fish faces. I love you, I love you, I love you.

june 15 cake
june 15th



I did this last year and thought it was worth repeating!

1. What is your favorite color? “All the colors in the world”
2. What is your favorite toy? “Ummm, jets?”
3. What is your favorite fruit? “Apples”
4. What is your favorite tv? “Cat in the hat”
5. What is your favorite movie? “Lion King”
6. What is your favorite thing to wear? “My superhero stuff”
7. What is your favorite animal? “Zebra”
8. What is your favorite song? “Let it go”
9. What is your favorite book? “Curious George goes to the zoo”
10. Who is your best friend? “Aedan and Kaylee and Ethan”
11. What is your favorite snack? “Crackers”
12. What is your favorite drink? “Soda”
13. What is your favorite breakfast? “Macaroni and Cheese”
14. What is your favorite lunch? “Green beans”
15. What is your favorite dinner?  “Macaroni and Cheese”
16. What is your favorite game? “Super smash brothers brawl and Lego superheros”
17. What is your favorite thing to play outside? “Swing”
18. What is your favorite Bible story?  “Um, Jesus loves me, that’s a good one.”
19. What do you sleep with at night? “Chloe and Eli”
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? “a car-worker” (Mechanic)

Dearest Eli,

You’ve only been here for 4 and a half months, and I already can’t even remember what life was like without you here.  You joined our family December 31st at 4:07pm. 8lbs, 15oz, 21.5 inches long. Right from the start you were so beautiful to me.



Your hair! I told your Dad about a week before you were born, “I know it’s silly, but I prayed to God that Eli would have brown hair.”  When you came out your Daddy looked at me and said, “Look, Net, brown hair!”  So if you hate it – totally my fault.  You’re a perfect blend of us – everyone says you have your Daddy’s hair, but he and I know the truth – it may stick straight up in the air like Dad’s, but it’s my color.  You’re a lovely combination of the two of us.


So adorable.

You scared us your first few hours in the world.  You had the cord wrapped around your tiny neck twice and you could barely breathe. Once they got you breathing, they realized your blood sugar was dangerously low.  There was lots of worrying those first 24 hours… but in the end you were a champ and powered through it.


I was so thankful when we finally got to take you home!


Those first days at home went by so fast.  You were so quiet, so observant.



You ate every 15 minutes (it felt like) and your brother stayed close by your side.



Your hair!!  That face!!



You’re a ferocious eater (seriously, the first few weeks when you would root you’d scrunch your face up like this and I would just die from cuteness)



I promise your brother wore things other than his Batman pajamas…


Your first Superbowl:


You smiled so early.  I don’t have much evidence of it, sadly, because the smiles didn’t last long…but they were there.


(Sorry; you had baby acne like WHOA)

You took a trip to Tennessee at just a few weeks old; you were a champ; how did we get so lucky with you?  But you were happy to be home (just like the rest of us) This was right after you traveled in a car for 12+ hours through rain and sleet and ice cramped up in your car seat:


See? Happy.


Your pacifier was your friend for quite a while (still is!)


It’s been a few months now, and you’re already rolling around and laughing when we tickle you and I feel time slipping by so fast.


You never laugh as hard as you do when your brother is playing with you.  You roll around and you’re not afraid to yell if the dog gets too close.


You bring me such joy.  Very little bothers you.


I can’t wait to see you and Benjamin grow up together. He loves you so much – we have to remind him to let you go so you can breathe! “Six inches, son” is said a lot when he’s trying to hug/smother you.

I always felt like a mom with Benjamin; but now that you’re here I feel more complete.


(us on Mother’s day. You’re pretty amused at your brother’s temper tantrum…)

Everyone at church loves you – you’re so sweet and they all love your hair – you look like a little cockatiel.



You are PICKY.  You don’t like certain blankets, you didn’t like footie pajamas (and you were born during one of the coldest winters ever!) and heaven forbid I hold you the wrong way when you’re trying to go to sleep.

You roll across the living room like it’s nothing.  You’re really starting to enjoy the bouncer, and just like your older brother you’re a parrot hunter (obsessed with the hanging parrot on the bouncer). You’re observant and quiet for the most part, but you’re starting to learn to squeal to get attention, stay awake, or yell at the dog.  You smile when I come home from work and I’ll never get tired of it.  You’re an easy baby; you eat and go back to sleep at night and you love to bury your face in soft things (mom, pillows, stuffed animals, blankets, etc).


I can’t wait to get to know you more.











It feels like yesterday I was hugging their necks. I miss them so much. I miss the feel of my Dad’s rough hands, I miss the sound of my Mom’s laughter. Five years seems like such a long time; but it also feels like just minutes ago.

Hug your loved ones today. Tell them you love them. You are not promised tomorrow!

Note: 2012 Year in Review for those interested.

Initial Summary:

Where were you when 2013 began?
SLEEPING! I worked New Years Eve and New Years Day on dayshift, so I needed the sleep. Plus, everything going on in my life at that time (Cancer, job losses, family overrunning my house, etc) really made me not feel like a party was in order.

Who were you with?
Fankie and Lucky off and on. I snuggled with Benjamin before he went to bed, and Justin came in and tucked me in, but I fell asleep by myself. I don’t think Justin got in bed before midnight either.

Was 2013 a good year for you?
Eh, it has its ups and downs.  There was a lot of chemo, radiation, death, etc in the early part of the year and work was INSANE, I struggled to develop myself as a leader and I was pregnant. So, no, not really, but it set the stage for 2014 to be pretty amazing AND ended in the birth of my second son — so there is a lot of redemption there, obviously.

What countries/states did you visit?
Visited Tennessee in the spring and Mississippi in the early summer.

Did you keep your new years’ resolutions? 
Nope. I did good till I got pregnant though!

Did anyone close to you give birth? 
Yes! Megan had Brooklyn April 20th, Niki had Emryn December 23rd, and I gave birth too 🙂

Did anyone close to you die? 
I found out sometime after the first of the year that my Aunt Karen passed away at the end of 2012. She was my Dad’s sister and the last time I saw her was at my Grandmother’s funeral.  We were never close – estranged, I think the word would be – but it was still sad to learn of her passing. 

In May and June we lost Justin’s grandparents on his Dad’s side – Mimi and Papaw.  It was the first time Benjamin really had dealt with death.  He’s still a little too young to really understand, but he did pretty good.

Not-as-close-but-still-hit-me, one of our officers lost his wife to cancer. Christine was an amazing lady. Casey’s father also passed away – Casey is one of my younger brother’s best friends, and like a brother to me.  Very sad… but Casey did an amazing job at the service.

What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? 
December 31st, 2013 – The date we welcomed Eli Leonard Sullivan into the world!


What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?
Saw a counselor.  That was an interesting experience.  Had a second pregnancy and a delivery in a hospital.

Did you have fun in 2013?
I did. I also worked really, really hard.

What do you wish you’d done more of?
Exercised!! I got sick, tired, and large and stopped doing it like I needed to.

What do you wish you’d done less of?
Had less heartburn? This question is always so hard.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 29 years old, and Teresa and I went and saw Sara Bareilles in concert once I got off work. All in all it was a really fun day.

What did you want and get?
My husband surprised me with a kindle paperwhite!! I love it a LOT and read a LOT more than I did last year!! He is the best!!!

What did you want and not get?
I hope people don’t take this the wrong way, but I was hoping to have a girl for my second child.  Justin and I really wanted one of each.  However, we tried for several months to have a girl (there are ways to try to tip the scales in favor of one), and during the months we were giving it a break (so we wouldn’t have a November or December baby) we got pregnant with Eli. So, all in all, I’d have to say that God was pretty clear this was what he wanted. Now that he’s here, of course, I can’t imagine having anything other than his beautiful face.  I did offhandedly mention to Justin that I hoped this little boy had brown hair, and BOY did that happen! 

I also wanted a new refrigerator, but that’s on the “goal” list for 2014.


Whose behavior merited celebration? 
Benjamin’s! We successfully potty trained this year (yay!) and he is growing up to be a very bright young man.  He has an awesome personality and is well liked by pretty much everyone he comes in contact with.  He has a LOT of charisma (which is normal, I know, for some kids this age) and is learning about the importance of good behavior.  He’s also extremely excited about his new baby brother – he loves to snuggle him and give him kisses.

Also, the staff in the Communications Division where I work.  We had a ridiculously stressful year with TONS of upgrades, mandatory training, overtime and very little to give them to thank them for all their hard work.  I think everyone surviving the upgrades of 2013 with their sanity intact was pretty awesome.

Whose behavior made you appalled, depressed, or sad?
I had a few issues with a few people; I don’t tend to get appalled depressed or sad, just disappointed. 

Did somebody treat you badly in 2013?
Meh. I don’t know. I don’t think so, really.

Who were some new people you met?
Leah, the new records supervisor, who is super cool.

Favorites/Least Favorites:

What was your favorite month of 2013? 
December. The rest of the year pretty much sucked, but December is always full of Christmas anticipation and plus I HAD A BABY!

What was your favorite moment of the year?
I was thinking, of course, that my son’s birth would be my favorite moment. But he came out with trouble breathing and was pale and everyone was worried about him, so that kind of bummed me out.  I think my favorite moment is two things – the first is when we told Benjamin he was going to have a baby brother.  He was so excited!!  The second moment was when Justin told me he’d eaten lunch the 31st with my emergency $20.  That requires a bit of back story.  See, my Mom always carried an emergency $20 dollar bill in her wallet.  I remember her pulling it out every once in a while – when she really needed it (and once when she was craving chocolate and we were broke, hah!) and commenting about how important it was to have it.  The day we went to the hospital in labor, Justin forgot his wallet at home.  And, because we didn’t plan ahead well enough, we hadn’t eaten prior to getting to the hospital.  So he was starving and when he finally got to sneak away to grab some food he used my emergency $20 that I keep in my purse.  I didn’t realize any of this until that night, when I realized he’d eaten but not had his wallet.  When he told me he used the emergency $20 I started crying, because I really miss my Mom (especially on big days like the birth of my son) and something that was SO HER was used, and it was kind of like she was here in spirit, even though she can’t be here to hold her grandson there’s still a part of her that I carry with me, and that helps, and I’m crying again. Dang it.  So yeah.  Getting to have that at Eli’s birth was pretty amazing.

What was your least favorite moment of the year? 
Probably the few minutes after Eli’s birth where he wasn’t getting enough oxygen and I looked at his little arm and it was ash grey.  So not cool.  So glad he recovered quickly!

What was your favorite TV program? 
I don’t really have time for TV most the time, but I did watch Walking Dead and enjoy that, and I’m getting into Burn Notice.

What was the best book you read? 
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. It had been on my list to read for a few years because it came highly recommended by my friend Maria, and it was definitely well worth the wait.  I may or may not have sobbed at the end of the book.

What were your favorite films of this year? 
The Desolation of Smaug is definitely the best, hands down.  SO glad it was better than the first Hobbit movie!!!  I also REALLY liked “White House Down”.  I thought it was going to be a lame action movie with lots of eye candy, but oddly enough it had great action, plot, acting and Jamie Foxx rocked it as the President.  Plus, who doesn’t love to watch Roland Emmerich blow up the White House?

Runner ups: Man of Steele, Star Trek Into Darkness, and very far below that (mainly for the war scene at the end), Enders Game.

What was your favorite video game you played this year?
Diablo III!!! I was very excited they rolled it out for the PS3. 

What was your favorite new technology/application?
Cozi! Phone calendar app that is more user friendly than Google (once you get used to it).

What was your greatest musical discovery?
Two songs.  

“Say Something” by A Great Big World.  It’s not very often that a piece of music is really something I would consider “art” but this is absolutely art at it’s finest.  It’s a song that can mean many things to many people.  Wonderful.

“I see Fire” by Ed Sheeran.  It’s the song that plays during the credits of The Desolation of Smaug and I’m kind of in love with it.  It played on repeat while I was in labor with Eli.
What was the best thing you bought? 


What was your biggest achievement of the year? 
Carrying another baby!

What was your biggest failure? 
Gained too much weight (in my personal opinion, doctor had no issues but I wish I had gained less)

Did you suffer illness or injury? 
My allergy stuff. Still.

Where did most of your money go?
Debt, food, and 800 dollars to getting a dead tree off the property. Oh, the joys of homeownership!

What kept you sane?
I’m not entirely sure I stayed sane this year, but the thought that “this too shall pass” was very helpful.

What political issue stirred you the most? 

Who did you miss?
My family and Amy.

What did you get really, really, really excited about? 

Compared to this time last year, are you:
I. happier or sadder? Hmm. Hard to say. Last year at this time Justin told me we could try for a second baby, now I have the baby! But I’ve also had a very trying year at work. If I had still been pregnant at the end of the year I would have been about the same, I suppose, but since I’ve had Eli I’m definitely happier 🙂
ii. thinner or fatter? FATTER
iii. richer or poorer? POORER

Did you fall in love in 2013? 
Over and over again!

Did you lose anything important this year?
My sanity.

What was your proudest moment of 2013?
Giving birth. There’s really not much that can top that, honestly.  It’s hard work!

What was your most embarrassing moment of 2013?
Hahaha, giving birth!

Gauge your:
(On a scale of: Very Good, Good, Fairly Good, Fairly Bad, Bad, Very Bad)
• Relational Health – Good
• Emotional Health – Fairly good
• Physical Health – Fairly bad
• Social Health – Bad
• Spiritual Health – Fairly bad
• Intellectual Health – Fairly good
• Financial Health –  Good

In the future (authors note: filled this out in early 2014 so it wasn’t in the future, just the recent past):

How will you be spending Christmas? 
I spent Christmas lounging around the house, feeling very 2 days overdue with a swollen belly, watching Justin and Benjamin enjoy their presents.

How will you be spending New Years? 
I was in the hospital after delivering a baby – I looked up at the clock, whispered “Happy New Years, Baby” to Justin and went back to sleep.

What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013? 
Smooth moves. One of the things Justin got me for Christmas was the promise that we’d take dancing lessons sometime this year!

What are your plans for 2014?
Raise baby, take Benjamin to see “real snow”, have a family reunion, pay off hospital bills / continue to save money, buy a fridge.

Will you make any new years resolutions for 2014?
I didn’t bother. I’ve got a newborn and a toddler.  Keeping up will be my resolution! 🙂

In Conclusion:

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013: 
You don’t become the person you want to be overnight, and you usually have to make a lot of mistakes in the process.  I’ve learned this lesson before, but this year was a good reminder.

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year: 

And I am feeling so small.
It was over my head
I know nothing at all.


I’ve seen a few different parents do this and thought it would be fun for Benjamin.  I did it at the end of a long day, so I’m not sure I picked the best time, but I still got some pretty cute answers.

1. What is your favorite color? “Orange”
2. What is your favorite toy? “Cars are my favorite toys”
3. What is your favorite fruit? “Cherries” (really Benjamin?) “Yes, Cherries!” (really: apples and grapes)
4. What is your favorite tv? “Wonder Girls!” (you mean Powerpuff girls?) “Yes, Wonder Girls!”
5. What is your favorite movie? “Just Wonder Girls” (he had just gotten done watching Powerpuff Girls for the first time – said it was his favorite even though I’m pretty sure Curious George should win)
6. What is your favorite thing to wear? “Underwear!”
7. What is your favorite animal? “Zebra and birds”
8. What is your favorite song? “I like songs”
9. What is your favorite book? “Oh the places you’ll go, and Wocket in my Pocket”
10. Who is your best friend? “Aedan and Kaylee”
11. What is your favorite snack? “Fruit”
12. What is your favorite drink? “Orange Juice”
13. What is your favorite breakfast? “Tuna salad”
14. What is your favorite lunch? “I don’t know”
15. What is your favorite dinner?  “I don’t know”
16. What is your favorite game? “The balloon game”
17. What is your favorite thing to play outside? “Shark play”
18. What is your favorite Bible story?  “God is my favorite story”
19. What do you sleep with at night? “Friendent!”
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? “I don’t know”

It was a pretty interesting time. I was a bit surprised by some of the answers – cherries, for instance… we hardly ever eat cherries.  Breakfast was just the first food he thought of, because he’d refused to eat tuna salad for lunch.  “Wonder Girls” is a mix of Powerpuff Girls and Word Girl (I think, totally guessing).  And we obviously need to sing more songs with him.  He doesn’t have to tell me though – his jam is “Moves like Jagger” by Maroon 5.  Can’t wait to do this again next year!

Dear Benjamin,
Six days ago you turned three. My mind still can’t wrap around that entirely. Where did the last year go?!

Year two was definitely the year of the superhero. You have embraced a world where superheros exist and it is weaved into the fabric of your life.

You have learned so many things in this past year.

You have learned about cancer. You have learned about hospitals and beeping machines and how Nanny is sick and there’s nothing we can do to fix it but take her to the doctor and pray.

You have learned about death. Having to explain to you that Mimi (your Papa’s Mommy) had died was difficult for us. Making that decision on whether or not to take you to the viewing was a tough one to make. And now, just a few weeks later, you’re in the car traveling again to Senatobia for her husband’s funeral.

You have learned how to sing. It makes me so happy to hear you in the back seat of the car singing about how the Wonderpets are going to save the baby deer. “Wonderpets! Wonderpets! We’re on our way! To help the baby deer and save the day…” Even though I think that show is a bit obnoxious.

You’ve learned about counting. We’ve been teaching you about counting for ages, but you’ve finally learned how to *actually* count things. You can tell me how many fingers I’m holding up, and if I ask you to count how many of something there are (like, apples, or shoes on the floor) you can usually count each item and give me a relatively close number. Instead of just counting to 12 really fast, you’re taking the time to count now.

You’ve learned to say “I love you,” and “you’re pretty,” without prompting. Oh, my, how you melt my heart when you do.

You’re so young, and the world is still so full of magic. I hope we can keep that alive in you even in spite of tragedy, struggle and heartbreak.

You have a baby sibling on the way – you keep telling me you want two baby sisters. I keep telling you that you only get one, but I’m not sure you’re convinced. We had initially only planned on having you, and adopting another child, but the more we thought about it the more we thought you’d benefit from another sibling earlier in life. We’re still open to adoption or fostering, but we’ll see how this new baby fits into the family first. Girl or boy, I have high hopes that you will be a great older brother.

You have a lot of friends, you’re quite social. You call all small children “my kids!” If Aedan and Kaylee show up to play: “My kids are here!” If Dylan and Noah show up: “My kids!” When you leave church, “I had fun with my kids!”

For your third birthday I asked you what kind of party you wanted. You said, “I want a Batman party!” When I asked you a week later, “I *said* I wanted a Batman party!” So we had a batman party, and we invited Batman to come to the party. We spent WAY too much on a really good Batman costume rental, but considering the adults had as much fun as the kids did, I’m calling it a success. You were afraid of him at first, when he picked you up and tried to take you away from me you burst into tears and snuggled into my neck for safety. Once he introduced himself to you, though, you warmed up to him. It was amazing. He played with you and “your kids” in the backyard and through the house. I’ll probably never tell you that “Batman” was played by your Uncle Cory.

Oh, son. This was such a fun year. You’ve been a beast for quite a lot of it, I won’t lie. You’ve spent lots of time in the corner with your hands on the wall for various transgressions. But you’ve also spent a lot of time having FUN. Running, playing, swimming, jumping, and going on adventures. I can’t wait to see what the next year has in store for us.


One of my friends posted about this poem on facebook, and I thought it was worth posting here.  Happy Father’s Day to my amazing husband who is one of the best Father’s I’ve ever known!!

A careful man I ought to be,
A little fellow follows me.
I do not dare to go astray,
For fear he’ll go the self-same way.

I cannot once escape his eyes,
Whatever he see me do, he tries.
Like me, he says, he’s going to be,
The little chap who follows me.

He thinks that I am good and fine,
Believes in every word of mine.
The base in me he must not see,
That little fellow who follows me.

I must remember as I go,
Thru summers’ sun and winters’ snow.
I am building for the years to be,
In the little chap who follows me.

by Rev. Claude Wisdom White, Sr

On February 5, 1988, I was 3 1/2 years old.   We had been going through the process of moving to a new house. I don’t remember much about that time period; just glimpses and flashes of memories – an empty house at 2655 Sierra Street, a mattress on the floor, a stuffed animal held tight at night.

On that night, 25 years ago, I went to the hospital with my Dad. Honestly, it might have been the day after, but for purposes of this blog we’re going to pretend it was the 5th, OK?

I was so excited! I was wearing a purple shirt. I walked into the hospital room, and saw my mom.  In her arms she was holding my brand new baby brother.   I walked into the corner, by the couch, and stood there until she beckoned me closer. I peeked over the edge of the bed, nervous, but excited.  I saw, for the first time ever, my youngest brother.

I didn’t know then how much joy he would bring me.  I didn’t know the love I would feel teaching him something new – the first thing I ever taught him was how to spell “Banana.”

 I didn’t know how much I would tease him, how much he would tease me.

I didn’t know he would have the power to break my heart and yet make me feel more loved than any of my other siblings during a lot of my younger years.

I didn’t know he would love me so much, hold my pinky so fiercely, turn to me in times of need as much as he did. I didn’t know what it was to truly love another person because of who they were before he came around.

I didn’t know how he would drive my mom crazy with his mohawk, I didn’t know how he would live so close and yet so far away and drive me crazy.

I didn’t know he would be my adventure-buddy, my friend without judgement.

All I knew was that this little bundle of joy was my brother; his soft cries made me so proud.

In fact, he made me so happy that I didn’t want to leave the side of his bed, so happy in fact, that I peed in my pants, making my dad take me back home in wet britches.