Friday, May 19, 2017

And Then You Were 8 {Happy 8th Birthday Meridian}

Happy 8th Birthday to our sweet with a bit of stubborn, quiet, dancer, love bug, and dreamer Meridian Piper!

I can hardly believe today you are 8! I just keep thinking back to three year old Meridian, with a head full of ringlet curls, always off doing your own thing. Dancing to your own beat even then, playing by yourself, a little dare devil that always kept me on my toes, and doing it all with your sweet little smile. Not much has changed since then, although you aren't much of a dare devil now. But man did you used to scare me as you climbed things you shouldn't, and got into more things than I ever thought possible!

Today those ringlet curls have grown longer, and your fine, curly hair tends to knot up if left alone for even a day. You like to have mama sometimes brush it, but mostly you love to have it braided, and in this house, we all know daddy is the best braider. You have the most unique not quite green, but not quite blue eyes, framed with gorgeous envy-inducing eye lashes. You are beautiful in that take-your-breath-away type of beautiful, and yet you seem to be clueless about how beautiful you are. While your beauty shines on the outside, it is your sweet, humble heart that outshines it all.

This year you went to school for the first time. For the first few weeks you would come home from school mad. You were tired, you were overwhelmed, and you missed your mama. But for you, mad never lasts long and while we see glimpses of stubborn, the sweetness always dominates. This year in school you learned to read. It has been perhaps your greatest challenge, but you are reading. You love math, and anything with art so you can design and dream.

After being in gymnastics last year you decided you maybe didn't want to do that anymore and instead you wanted to be a dancer. You make a beautiful dancer! While I still don't hear much about your dance classes, I catch you from time to time quietly working on your different dance positions. The sweetest is when you put on your little play tutu and dance your way around the house as if no one is watching. You once again were in choir and while you love to sing, I still think you like to be the director more as every concert your mouth barely moves, while your little hands direct at your sides. It makes us giggle every single time we watch you. While you hate practicing piano, you actually love to play and you are a very quick learner.

Everything you do just oozes sweetness. You are often busy in your own world, and I wish I could just get a glimpse of the thoughts going on in your mind. You are quiet, and the perfect balance that I needed between your two spunky sisters. You love to play with Legos and spend hours creating them, sometimes using the instructions, sometimes not, and most of that time we would hardly know you are here. When not playing Legos, you love to play outside with your sisters. It seems like both girls gravitate towards you because you are the calm. I smile every time I hear your little sister say, "Hey Rinnie, want to go play outside with me?". Swimming is a favorite of yours, and often you are the last one out of the pool in a day.

A little snuggler, you seek me out multiple times during the day just to get a hug or give me a kiss. You still love to crawl into our bed sometime in the middle of the night, and I don't have the heart to ever tell you no because this time with you is so short, and before I know it you will think it was weird you ever snuggled between us. Sweet Rinnie Roo, you may be your daddy's little girl, but man have you captivated my heart. We are pretty much different in every single way (except you look just like mama's side of the family just with blonde hair), but I can't help but just love you for who you are. Your little crinkle in your nose when you smile, the way you whisper to yourself as you play, how you always blow me a kiss from your bed every night as I'm leaving your room. Our whole family adores you Miss Meridian.

This morning, I woke up early and at exactly 5:56 a.m., the time of your birth, I looked at the clock and whispered, "And then you were 8, Happy Birthday Rinnie Roo." it's gone faster than I ever thought possible, and so many of my memories are fuzzy from parenting three girls under three. Even many of my pictures of you have one or both of your sisters in it. I pray you never feel like you didn't matter as Meridian in the middle, but instead, I pray you realize how precious you are to us and your sisters. You are the sticky, sweet honey that this whole family needed before we ever realized we needed you, and I thank God every single day that He gave me the privilege of calling you daughter.

I pray as you go into your 8th year you realize what a treasure you are. That you would never feel less than because you are quieter than those around you, but instead that you would know how treasured you are and that being the listener and peacemaker is a gift that draws people to you. Happy 8th birthday!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

10 Years Of Loving You {Happy 10th Birthday Zoelle}

Happy 10th birthday to our ever inquisitive, always talking, piano playing, gymnastics loving, and heart of gold Zoelle Grace.

I've spent 10 years loving you! 10! Today you are double digits. I can hardly believe the girl whose doctor's once told me weren't sure what was going to happen with her heart (with the 3 holes as you like to remind me), is now 10. The girl who could talk in complete sentences at 9 months old, and read fluently at age 3. The one who would go on walks with me everyday and we would watch the scary snort (bulldozer) work on construction sites. The one who couldn't wait to do school with me at home. The one who cried to leave me on her first day of school, and cried on her last saying goodbye to her teacher. Now on the brink of teenage years, but still a little girl.

Sometimes I stare at you with that blonde hair that much to your chagrin just keeps getting curlier (which much to my chagrin you comb those curls out), and those blue eyes the color of the sky, with that sprinkling of freckles placed perfectly across your nose, and I'm in awe. You, perfect you, came from me. You are stunning! As beautiful as you are on the outside, your inside is where your heart of gold is. You care for those who are hurting. Your teachers all tell me if only they had 25 Zoelle's in their classroom, their classrooms would be full of polite, smart, well-behaved, and kind children. Maybe they tell this to all the parents, but I'll just go on believing you are special. Mainly because I know you really are.

You are smart! I'm amazed at everything you know, and how you have a constant thirst to know more. Reading is a love, and I can't seem to ever find a book you haven't read. Probably because most times I look at you, you are reading. When you aren't reading you are playing piano. Always working ahead in your piano books, practically teaching yourself your lessons from week to week. You love to sing and you have a beautiful crystal clear voice. Every once in awhile I catch you practicing violin. It's not that you don't like it, it's just that you took a few years of lessons before joining orchestra and so orchestra seems pretty easy right now. And if there is anything I know about you, it's that you like things that challenge you.

You are athletic! Your love of gymnastics has grown over the year as you entered into a new season of competitive gymnastics. To watch you pour your entire heart, and all your energy into gymnastics was a beautiful thing. I know it's hard sometimes having a younger sister who has a talent in something you love, but Z, I was proud of you! You got over your fears, and you worked amazingly hard at something that didn't come naturally to you.

Everything you do has to be done with your whole heart. It's where your intensity for life is used for good. I know you can't see it yet, but He really does have the best plans for you. I watched it play out 10 years ago when He provided the best doctor to give oxygen to your broken heart right after you were born. You are a complete miracle. Try telling me God won't use your intensity for good, and I will never believe it. He has great plans for you!

You gave me the name Mama, and these past 10 years watching you grow has been the greatest honor of my life. I love you more than you could possibly understand. I know both of us with our intense personalities challenge one another and get on each other's nerves, but I adore you ZoZo. I can already tell that when you are grown, you will be one of my closest friends.

My sweet girl please keep snuggling your mama from time to time. Keep laughing because you have the best laugh of anyone I know. Keep knowing your value comes not in what you accomplish, but who you are in Him.

As you go to sleep today on the eve of your 10th birthday, I'll do what I've done since you were a baby, play with your hair. I can picture you in my arms rocking you to sleep as a baby. I would take my hand and rub it over and over your almost non-existent hair. Over the years, your little hand would reach up, and play with mine. And now it's become our nightly ritual, you come to me and say, "Can I play with your hair before I go to sleep?" and I say, "Only if I can play with yours." and without fail it brings a smile to your face every single time. I hope you never stop asking to play with my hair, and that you never stop letting me play with yours.

I love you girlie! I've spent 10 years loving you, and I can't wait to spend the rest of my life loving you. You are a delight and a joy to me every single day. I pray this birthday is a beautiful one, and that you live this next year realizing how very precious you are! Happy 10th birthday!