Dear Eden

IMG_5197Happy 4th Birthday! Wow! Four years old seems sooo big to me, especially when we were looking back at pictures from when you were born and realized that today you are wearing the same dress Lydda Grace wore when she came to meet you for the first time at the hospital. You are growing in so many ways and Daddy and I are so thankful that we get to be your parents and be a part of your incredible life.IMG_5791

At four years old you are energetic, spunky and quie stubborn. You love to sing and dance and play. I love to listen and watch as you talk to yourself and go about playing all sorts of imaginings throughout the day. You are certainly very creative. For example, you will take a chip clip from the drawer and pretend it’s your gum or I will hear you yell, “Mommy!” and when I respond you tell me that it’s one of your babies actually calling out for YOU!IMG_5662

You are very determined at this age. You want to do a lot of things yourself, or sometimes not at all and there are consequences for this at times. While you are learning how to do many things independently, we are also trying to teach you that needing help is a good thing, that we can rely on our family and come alongside one another to serve each other and that accepting that help, love and service can be a good gift!

What do you like to do at age 4….

  • Coloring- you are quite good at coloring and will work for days on one detailed picture coloring every single bit of it. 
  • Reading- you love to be read to!IMG_5360
  • Legos- you jump right in with Wade and LG to create all sorts of fun Lego creations.
  • Star Wars- I never thought my 4 year old baby girl would love Start Wars like you do. Sometimes you’ll pretend you have a gun and are shooting storm troopers!
  • Snuggly and panda- You have had these since you were a baby and still sleep with them at night (and carry them around during the day if we don’t put them away!)
  • Ballet- you enjoy dancing in Miss Olivia’s ballet class

IMG_5478This year has made you a big sister and it is such a blessing to see how you love Boaz so well. You have had great models in LG and Wade and we are so thankful that the four of you are kind and loving to one another (most of the time!).

The coming year will hold lots of new things for you! You can’t wait to start choir at church and you are doing so well as we start doing 4K preschool work with you each day. You will continue to become more independent and will grow in knowledge, friendships and size! We can’t wait to see what this year holds!

Love and kisses,             Mama

 

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Dear Lydda Grace

Happy Birthday Lydda Grace-

You are nine years old now! And what an amazing nine year old you are. You are growing up so quickly right before our eyes and we love watching you change as years go by. IMG_9683

We’ve been back in America just over a year now and you have adjusted amazingly well. You are so outgoing, making friends so easily and diving in with your whole heart in all that you do. So many people at church commented when you sang in the Noah’s Ark musical that they were so blessed to see you singing so enthusiastically. I love that you give things your all.

unnamedThe hallmark of you at nine is probably your love for Bo. Since he was born three months ago you have been head over heels for your new little brother and such a huge help. I have to rein you in sometimes from loving him “too much,” but we are so thankful for your overwhelming love and care of your baby brother.

You and Wade still get along amazingly well. I hope and pray the special bond you both share will continue throughout your life. Y’all build Legos together, listen to audiobooks, play outside, draw together… so sweet! I’ve also been impressed with how you and Eden have grown together as you share a room. You are so sweet to read or sing to her some nights when she’s having trouble sleeping and you are so gracious about sharing a room with her.

Reading and art are still your “things.” You are just like me in that sometimes it’s hard to drag your nose out of a book, even after much prodding! You started taking art lessons this past year and have grown in your skill and interest. IMG_9666

It’s hard to believe in less than a week you’ll start fourth grade. I love that I have the privilege of teaching you at home, of seeing you learning right before my eyes, of catching your enthusiasm for subjects that you love and seeing you push through and do the hard work even in areas you don’t enjoy as much. Just the other day you told me you couldn’t wait to start school back this year. Made my heart so happy!

I’m so thankful for you Lydda Grace Wylie, you are the one who made me a mom, you’re the one who has taught me day by day as each new stage of life unfolds. I am thankful for your enthusiasm, your zest for life, your care for your siblings, your love of reading, your creativity, your bubbly joy, your lack of concern for what others think of you as you live life to the fullest.

I can’t wait to see what this next year holds!!!

Love you bunches,

Mama

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Dear Wade

Dear Wade-

Happy Birthday buddy! Wow, what a year this has been. When I stop to think of all that has changed in your life this past year, it’s pretty staggering. I guess every year is full of changes in one form or another but this year’s seem particularly momentous.
For starter’s not long after your last birthday we moved from China back to the US where Daddy started a new job at Covenant College in a town that was completely new to us all. We’ve joined a church, met a lot of new friends, you’ve tried out a bunch of new things like soccer and basketball and t-ball and choir. You’ve had a lot more to do in school this year as we’re focusing on reading. And to top it all off, less than two weeks ago you got a new baby brother! Whew!
All of these changes haven’t been easy. There have been times you’ve been sad, missing China and friends there. There have been times you’ve cried. But I have been so amazed by your flexibility and perseverance and willingness to branch out, meet new people and try new things.
So, what are you like as a seven year old?
You are an incredibly loving son and brother (most of the time!). You are encouraging to our family, you play really well with LG and Eden and you clearly love your new baby brother to pieces! You’re great at noticing things that need to be done and doing them and you’re often the first to respond if I need help with anything.
You are a little athlete. You have really enjoyed getting to play team sports for the first time and we love watching you play. You’re not the best player and you’re not the worst player, but the thing that sets you apart is that you play hard and give it your all every time you’re on the field or court. You also play with joy, and pretty much constantly have a smile on your face.
You love the outdoors. I am constantly amazed at the things you come up with to play outside. You are always collecting sticks, or finding bugs or building things, or playing in the “creek” beside the house. One day you took a blanket and snack outside all by yourself and just sat under a tree for awhile, quiet and watching.
You love animals and cried when the frog you caught got away. You’re smart, you are doing so well with reading and math and our other school work and I so appreciate your diligence even when it’s hard. You are a picky eater, *sigh*. You LOVE to listen to audio books, I mean, all the time! And you’ve listened to The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and Chronicles on Narnia many times already. I love that good stories are sinking deep in your mind and heart.
What will this next year hold? Hopefully a bit more stability and no huge changes for our family as we settle into the community here on the mountain and as we continue to learn and grow in grace together. I can’t wait to see how you continue to love Bo well as his big brother. You’ll be starting second grade and learning more in school and you’ll soon have a whole year of life on the mountain under your belt. Your friendships will grow deeper. You’ll gain more confidence, and you’ll grow bigger and stronger in body and heart and mind. There’s a lot to look forward to!
I love you Wade Wylie. I love that you give great hugs and kisses and that you still hold my hand. I love that you are a great snuggler and will still curl up beside me to listen to a book. I love when you wake up earlier than the girls (as often happens) and we have time to just sit and talk while the house is still quiet.
I’m so thankful for the privilege of being your mom.
Love you to the moon and back,
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Dear Eden

Happy Third Birthday!

I have felt like you’ve been three for awhile now. Partly because you just seem soIMG_8899 old and partly because as we’ve introduced ourselves to people over and over again in our new home I find myself saying, “she’s almost three” when I introduce you and I guess that’s sinking in. Even so, today is your big day and the first year that you really seem to grasp that having a birthday is fun and something to look forward to!

When I think of you at three years old, Eden, the word that comes to mind is,IMG_8999 FULL… of everything. You are full of life and energy and quite full of yourself as well. You believe yourself to be fully independent and we always find you full of words and ideas that we would never expect to come from someone your age.

IMG_4910Some of your favorite things at this age area reading, playing kitchen and playing with your baby doll, Stella. You also like Duplos (you call them play-plos) and trying to do anything that LG and Wade are doing. And you LOVE being outside. You’ve gotta have your panda and snuggly to go to sleep and (thankfully) are still taking a long afternoon nap. You are an extremely picky eater, much to my dismay and your favorite food, by far, is cheese, there’s nothing else that even comes in a close second. Your favorite phrase is, “I don’t know.” Which you say sometimes even when you DO know and just don’t want to answer!

You have done so well with our recent move back to the States. You sometimesIMG_8675 ask me about our friends in China or about things we left behind (you asked me to go back and get the stroller we left there for your baby doll), but overall you seem to love life here and the chance to play with other kids and be outside a lot.

IMG_9012I’ve realized these past few months how much you enjoy and look forward to going to church and Sunday School (“I’m es-cited Mama!”) and I am so thankful that you are learning to appreciate this early on and pray you will grow to know Jesus as your Savior and will always love being a part of His Church.

DSC_0056Sweet Eden Mercy! How I love you and your giggles and snuggles and determined spirit! Happy birthday baby girl!

Love,

Mama



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Dear Lydda Grace

Dear Lydda Grace,

IMG_8860Happy Birthday to our 8 year old! The other day I mentioned that you were going to be just two years away from double digits and you were thrilled! Me… not so much! You are growing up right before our eyes, you look older and sound older and act older and Daddy and I are so blessed to get front row seats to see how you’re growing into the person God calls you to be.

It seems like your birthday often falls right in the midst of major life changes for our family, moving to China, Eden being born and now moving back to the US. You amaze me with how you roll with everything and have such an adaptable spirit even while being able to express the things that are both good and hard. I love your thoughtfulness, the way you can really think through and articulate what you think or feel about a situation. IMG_4912Part of what helps you in the midst of these big changes is the love you have for people. You LOVE old friends and meeting new people. We still have to reign you in a bit and remind you not to be too over-the-top as you seek to begin new friendships. But that’s just part of who you are, you dive into relationships with everything you’ve got! I love that about you.

Another part of your personality that I love is your free spirit. You have absolutely no concern about what others might think of you, in a good way! You can sing along to a song in public, or dance, or introduce yourself to complete strangers or sing with ALL your might in church (to the point of almost yelling), or tell people jokes you made up… all without batting an eye. You get that from your Daddy and I’m glad that is part of who you are!

IMG_8736What are some other pieces of who you are as an 8 year old… Well, some things never change. You love Eden to pieces (sometimes almost literally), you and Wade are great buddies and play together so well (just last week you caught a frog together and created a habitat for it in a box in the yard), you read voraciously (your favorites are Boxcar children and books about animals, like Misty of Chincoteague), you still can’t get enough arts and crafts projects and are always wanting to do or make something new, and you are still often and easily in your own world of thoughts and ideas and dreams. IMG_4904

LG, you are a delight to me and Daddy and so many other family and friends who love you dearly. You are bright and beautiful and on your birthday as you receive gifts I hope they will be a reminder to you of two things: 1. Jesus is the greatest gift you have ever been given. 2. You are a treasured gift to us.

Love you bunches to pieces,

Mama

 

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Dear Wade

Happy 6th Birthday Wade!

IMG_4570As the A.A. Milne poem goes, “But now I am six, I’m as clever as clever. So I think I’ll be six now and forever.” And it’s true! You are a very clever little boy and we would be glad to keep you six “now and forever.” While I know that’s not going to happen I am so happy to be the mama of such a sweet, imaginative and energetic six-year old!

If I could sum up Wade as a six-year old in one word it would be…. “LEGOS.” You pretty much start on Legos when you wake up, stop playing during school time and Eden’s nap and then are back at it as soon as you can get back to your Lego playspace under the loft in y’all’s bedroom. I love that you enjoy creating and even more that you create from your imagination. Recently you and LG made your own mini Lego chess board so you could play chess together since we don’t own a chess set! And you’re always giving me detailed explanations of the intricacies of whatever car or house or rocket or fighter jet you have built.

IMG_8455As I look back on this year Wade, it has probably been one of the most stable years of your life. We’ve been in the same apartment, at the same school in Harbin for the past two years. You’ve been in homeschool full-time since August and you’re doing so well! You love your Math lessons and workbook and you are moving right along with reading (even though you don’t love it.) While you don’t like to read on your own, you really enjoy being read to. Daddy has read The Hobbit twice to you in the past year and you’ve listened to Daddy read Narnia through once AND listened to the audiobooks! I’ve loved seeing you start to make connections between what you’re reading to real-life, or remembering something specific from a book that I had completely forgotten about.

IMG_4632Your sixth year of life promises to be full of lots of changes. In less than two months we’ll board an airplane to move back to the US. We’ve talked a lot about what that might look like (even though we don’t know many details yet) and have been thinking through as a family how we can best say goodbye to our China-life and our friends here. It’s hard to believe that you have lived almost 2/3 of your life in China, this is really all you know and I wonder what the next year will hold. Daddy and I both have seen your resiliency though, we are always amazed by the way you deal with changes and transitions and disappointments… never easy for anyone, much less a kid! But what an amazing kid you are!

Wadester, my prayer for you this year is that you would continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus, that you would learn to trust Him in the midst of life changes, that you would continue to learn more about what it means to be a man of God, and that you would develop some sweet friendships wherever we end up settling.

I love you buddy! Thanks for still holding my hand when we’re out walking and never hesitating to give me big hugs and kisses. I’m so glad you’re my little boy!

Love,

Mama

 

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Happy Easter

Happy Easter

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