Wordless Wednesday {King of the Hill ~ 'China Brother' style

celebrating their 7th Gotcha Day


'itty-bit' no longer

Last week my little her most exasperated tone...informed me in no uncertain terms that she was 'a big girl now' and I shouldn't call her 'itty-bit' any longer.

So I made a deal that as soon as her sixth birthday rolled around that I'd stop using her nickname.

Today she made sure to point out that 'itty-bit' was out the window...

The reign of "Sassy Skirt" is here.  No, that's not her new nickname.  But she wears a skirt nearly every day.  As for sass...well...let's just say she's got that covered.

An example you say?  Well, we recently discovered that our very favorite Lebanese restaurant is owned and run by Natalie's teacher's family.  Natalie pointed out her teacher in the "family owned" photo just last week.  And so she approaches her teacher the next day as she's getting something out of her desk and says, "Hey.  I saw your face at a restaurant," and just walks away.

Natalina Catalina keeps us on our toes.  One minute sweetly posing with Rainbow Dash, her favorite of the My Little Pony crew...

...the next carelessly tossing Rainbow Dash to the ground to proudly model her "Uncle Adam face."

We just never know what to expect with this little wild card.

One thing is for sure.  We know that personality is to be expected.  BIG personality at that.

Our birthday tradition is to let the celebrated child choose the meal, either their favorite for me to prepare at home or a visit to the restaurant of their choice.  However this year Nat's big day fell on Lifegroup night and she didn't even hesitate to postpone a special dinner.  No way this girl was going to miss time with her friends.

Natalie, as a new six year old, you love to "read" chapter books.  Many of the ones you select only have pictures every ten or so pages, but you take your time and study each and every page as if you were really reading...only knowing how memorizing sight words is going clues us in that you aren't getting the text just yet.  No matter, if there's a princes or fairy on the cover of a book in the juvenile section of the library, chances are you've selected it as one of your weekly picks.  You also love to sit on our laps and listen as we read picture books, especially those about ballerinas, monkeys or anything silly.

You still love to "just play."  That may come in the form of playing 'brothers and sisters' with Daniel, creating an imaginary world of spies with Caleb, or playing with your Journey Girl doll, Callie, with your sisters.  You've also long admired Kylie and Darcy's collection of Lego Friends, so this birthday provided a ballet outfit for Callie and two Lego sets.  A pizzeria that brought a smile (pizza is still your #1 favorite food) and then one that had your name on it when I saw it at the store.

Elsa's ice castle!  I could hardly believe my luck when I saw it.  You were speechless.

This was your third birthday home with us, and one priceless thing about you is that you still seem hardly able to believe that all the fuss is about you.  You absolutely light up when everyone stops for you in the moment.

Your cake wish?

"Just like Caleb's...but no choc-it.  All strawberry just like his strawberry.  Cause that was YUMMY.  And the same frosting.  And Strawberry Shortcake candles.  But only if you can find them.  If you can't, dat's okay."

Strawberry cake with Strawberry Shortcake candles you say?  You got it!  For you itty bit (sorry kiddo, old habits die hard), to see that smile I'd do nearly anything.

We've seen AMAZING growth in you in just two years.  I look forward to what this year brings...

I love you more than all the strawberries and Lego bricks in the world!


Caleb at 9

October 8th is all about you.

Dinner at our favorite Thai place for your two favorite varieties of 'flat noodles.' (Pad See-Ew & Kua Gai)
A cake with one strawberry layer, one chocolate layer, strawberry jam for filling and non-dairy whip for frosting.

And personality.

With you around there is no shortage of that...

Your expressions.  You've got no poker face that's for sure.  But that's okay, because that expressive face goes along with your ability to make us all giggle.  You my boy are truly one of the funniest kids I know.  Not just silly little boy humor, but a sophisticated, witty sense of humor that makes grown ups laugh.  For real.

You've also taken up the practice of responding to the notes I send you in your lunch each day.  Honestly one of my favorite moments of the day is opening your lunchbox to see what you had to say back to me.  Often your sense of humor shines through, but on occasion you've written something sweet.  You keep me on my toes, that's for sure.

At nine you still enjoy trading Pokemon.  It amazes me just how much information you have stored about all those characters in your brain.  Who evolves from who, how much damage they can inflict in battle, which types of pokemon are best to battle another type...  I may have yet to understand what "playing Pokemon" really means, but you and your brother spend a good bit of time battling it out.  Until you make him cry because you beat him so badly.  I suspect your freaky sense of math understanding helps in those victories, but cut your little bro some slack one of these days, okay?

Right now reading isn't your favorite way to pass the time, but we can get you to slow down enough to cozy up on the couch with a book. In those moments you do enjoy following the adventures of Geronimo Stilton, you laugh at the antics of Stink (Judy Moody's little brother), and you are currently reading How to Eat Fried Worms during your classroom 'read to self' time.  You crack me up with how animated you become as you discuss the eating of worms.

Speaking of drama.  That's you when it comes to eating.  If it is a noodle or rice, you are happy to try it...Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, or Indian.  But toss some vegetables in there?  Crank up the drama.  I promise I put those veggies in there for your good.  I'm not trying to do you harm.  Honest.

You love to tinker.  Legos, Magnetos, Snap Circuits, Zoob, Wedgits, you name it.  Therefore the Gyrobot seemed made for you and brought the smile we anticipated.

And of course so did the Pokeball.  We've already covered your love for all things animated...

But you know my favorite memory of the night?

Your smile when your cake came out.  You were kind enough to see past my limitations in cake baking and decorating and smile as if a professionally created cake were placed in front of you.

But I think that just reflects your personality.  Those who've made it into your inner circle are rewarded with your loyalty.  I am so very blessed to be part of that circle and to call you son.

Your big, BIG heart pretty much sums up who you are.  You rough and tumble with the best of them, but even in the midst of having fun, you will stop everything to tend to someone hurt, either emotional or physical.  Jesus' love really shines in you.

I can hardly believe I am the one who gets to be your Mommy.

To the moon and back...all 477,800 miles!



We have five kids ranging in age from nearly 6 to 9 1/2.

It isn't uncommon for the volume in our house to be at max.
It isn't uncommon for our kids to be scattered across our home each lost in their own activity.
It isn't uncommon for arguments to pop up or for voices to raise.
It isn't uncommon for feelings to be hurt.

I suppose that's what makes moments like this timeless.


On this particular day, a beautiful, low humidity, clear NC blue sky morning, Ian and I planned to take the kids on an easy hike to fully take advantage of the weather.

But they were all together.  Interacting happily.  Creating a Lego/My Little Pony/Pokemon world where each of them had a part to play.

So we saved the hike idea for another day and instead brewed a pot of coffee.  The harmony emanating from the playroom was better than any time we could have spent outdoors that day...



Natalie is in kindergarten!

The 25th was a trial run...her kindergarten assessment day.

She. LOVED. it.


And we got the complete play by play run down that evening.  The whole schedule of events for the day.  Including bathroom breaks.

On the 27th we went to find out her assigned class for the year.  She got a brand new, super sweet, very excited to be teaching kindergarten, teacher.  And her assistant teacher is a member at our pool.  Perfect!

And on the 31st (which also happened to be Daniel's 7th birthday...almost too much for a Mama's heart on one day), she went for her first real day of kindergarten.  Of course it rained like crazy that morning, making our usual walk impossible.

So Ian let the six of us out at carpool and I followed Natalie and Daniel down the hall as he took her hand and escorted her to class.  She was super confident and barely stopped to give me a smile before waving (obviously my dismissal) and heading to her desk.

I managed to keep myself busy and couldn't wait to hear how her day went.

While she was pretty exhausted...and therefore not extremely talkative...her expressions convey just as much as 1000 words could have.

Kindergarten was a hit.

And this little one?

She's an obvious star of the show!


half past nine

She's now officially halfway through this last year before she hits double digits.

Why can't she be a little less excited?


Just yesterday she was a chubby, very girly-girl, little toddler who refused to wear anything but dresses and today she's a willowy, strong-willed swimmer who seems to think athletic shorts and t-shirts are required uniform.

when you have four siblings you always have a photobomber...
Okay, so she wasn't really a toddler just yesterday, but this "blink of an eye thing?"  It's so real.  The passage of time makes me catch my breath on so many occasions.  I miss the tiny little girl she once was, but I do love watching her bloom into the uniquely cool person she is today.

So instead of lament how quickly time is passing, I will celebrate the amazing girl who turned 9 1/2 today.  We may have gone for donuts last night.  And tonight may have again been a school night.  And we may even have had to work around open house at school.

Still, we went to sing "Happy half birthday" to my big girl...and got another round of donuts.

Because that's how we roll.  Sugar rush and all.

K-Boo, today at 9 1/2 your favorite pass time would be toss up between swimming and reading.  If you aren't at practice for the Marlins, you are most likely to have your nose in a book.  Historical fiction is your favorite, specifically books set in the civil war period or in pioneer times.  You also have greatly enjoyed the Recipes for Adventure series by Giada de Laurentiis, probably because you love to step into the kitchen to help out whenever you can.  You are selective with your friendships, but those that you've let into your circle are friends for life.  This year you've also been active in Chinese dance, performing several times back at CNY and now with three performances coming this fall.  You love to braid both of your sisters' hair and enjoy a close relationship with both of your brothers.  To date your favorite foods are meatloaf, pickles and BBQ pork baozi.

We're (meaning the whole family) thankful to have you in the role of leader of the pack.

Happy half birthday my sweet!