Wednesday, January 23, 2013

For Joseph on his 10th Birthday

Joseph was the first boy to have a birthday party in our new home.  Talk about nerve racking! I sent invitations to school knowing almost no one from his class.  He had only been in school two months and was just making friends.  A week before the party, we had two RSVPs that declined.  Panic! I sent an email out to the class, and at his party he had around 15 show up.  Phew!

He had a great party and saw that he had good kids in his class with whom he was developing friendships.  He even had two friends from Pensacola drive an hour to come to the party.  I was so happy for him.  He is not the most social child I have, and I really wanted him to have a good start in his new school.

Joseph is the strong, silent type.  It is often hard to get much information our of him.  He tends to have a knowing smirk on his face during conversations and every now and then comes out with a zinger....the occasional zingers make him all the more funny.

When we moved, Joseph accepted it, looked forward to it and never showed signs of uncertainty.  As he always has, he walked into his new school without hesitation and just did it.  He has always been brave.  Any time I worry about change or new things, I realize that whatever he is feeling, Joseph will just do it.

This year we will try to wean him off his medicine one last time.  For the first time, he expressed that he doesn't want to be on medicine for the rest of his life.  We don't know what will happen, but I do know that whatever comes, Joseph will face it, handle it and accept it.  He is a brave boy.  He is a funny boy.  And he is a smart boy.

Happy Birthday, Joseph!

For Nicole on her 6th Birthday

More than 6 months late, but here it is nonetheless.  Nicole's 6th birthday was filled with splashing, friends, food and games in the pool.  She had a wonderful time getting to be large and in charge!  She has the boys basically wrapped around her little finger anyway, but on days when she is the one with the "Big Day," she eats it up!

Nicole is a kid who knows what she wants and generally how to get it.  Jake is expected (and willing) to carry her on his shoulders at her will.  Luke caters to her whim, and Joseph is delighted not to be the youngest anymore.

Yet as large and in charge as Nicole likes to be, she is also a kid who wants to do the right thing.  She gets very worried if she thinks she made a mistake.  She tries very hard to follow the rules, even when she's not quite sure what the rules are.  And when a boy got in trouble at school for cheating at dodge ball, she was not unhappy at the sight of him being punished.

While she can be sensitive, especially in times of uncertainty, Nicole seems to always know her place in the family and her place in life.  She has a sense of who she is and that she belongs wherever she is at the time.  She readily accepts our new family and actively engages with each sibling.

There is no doubt that Nicole will get what she wants in life.  She will think there is no other option.  Gotta love a girl with attitude!  Happy Birthday Nicole!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

For Luke on his 12th Birthday

I am going to have to believe that it is better late than never.  Moving, getting married and getting settled have put me behind on Luke's birthday post.  This has obviously been a big year for us, particularly the boys.  Luke was the first one excited to move to Alabama and for "us to get married."  He was open to change and couldn't wait to have sisters.  Luke, on the surface, is a great go-with-the-flow type kid.

We moved during the summer, and had time to form our new family with my three boys and Donald's two girls.  When he started school, Luke was happy and excited.  But I could tell he was not adjusting as easily as he wanted to adjust.  With his big, gregarious personality, I think Luke felt like he had to hold back and couldn't be as much himself until he had found a level of comfort.

He had a lot of adjustments at once.  We lived in a new place, he had to make new friends.  He was used to having lots of friends who loved him.  He had to adjust to a new step-father and figure out how to accept this new authority.  He had to adjust to a new church.  He had to adjust to a new school and teachers and didn't get to go to PATS anymore.

Throughout, even with a bit of struggle to find his place in a new family and new place, Luke had a good attitude.  He persevered and made friends.  He joined lacrosse and went to a new youth group.  His new teachers loved him, and he has found a way to fit in with new friends.  He loves his new family, and he lets them know it.

One thing I love about Luke is that you always know where you stand with him.  He does everything all out and always tries to do it with a good attitude.  He has a fiery temper, but underneath that, he has the best heart.

Happy birthday, Luke.