Tag Archives: Birthdays

To Andrew:

This day is an important day.  Not just because it is your birthday, but because it marks one year from when our family went from three to four.  From one girl, to one girl and one boy.

You have rocked my world from the beginning; making your grand entrance on your time not my time.  Since you arrived, I cannot imagine our family without you.

I was afraid, at first, of having a little boy.  I felt comfortable with Emily and was unsure of how to respond to a male.  That is, until you were born.  From those first few moments, I felt a special bond forge between us.  I held you constantly, not willing to let the nurses take you to the nursery; I felt much better with you nestled close to my body.   This didn’t change when we brought you home.

The calming spirit that you emit helped ease the transition from one to two.  Your sister, fascinated by your presence at first, now  likes you much more than me.  She prefers you awake and near her at all times.  I do too.

Since your birth, you have preferred my arms over the floor, crib, or anything.  I was and am okay with that.  At one time I would have been frustrated by this constant neediness, but I realize its importance now: I have made it through some difficult times because of your innocent dependence on me.

Today you turned one.  Over the past month, I have felt you pushing me away more and more.  Not because you don’t love me (admit it, I’m your favorite), but because you are gaining independence.  I am okay with this as well.

But, remember, you are my baby.  You look like a baby, not nearly old enough to be one.  I am grateful that you haven’t discovered walking yet, though I’m sure that will come soon.  I am also grateful that you’ll snuggle with me while you drink your bottle and while I read you and your sister stories.  I treasure these moments.  The few times when it is just you and me.

I look forward to this next year as your gain more mobility, knowledge, and language.  I am curious to see your social development as you already seem so aware of what goes on with other people.  Especially your sister.

I love you my sweet, little boy.




Filed under Letters

Dear Ashley

Birthdays are special.  It’s like a bookmark, with each year signifying the end to a splendid chapter.  I am sure this last year had many highs and lows.  Like the time you took Emily for me when I went into labor with Andrew.  Or when you took all the exquisite photos of our family.  I am sure there are other more distant memories that you can recall better than I.

It’s funny how we spent so much of our teenage years fighting.  Your iron will against mine.  A clash of Titans.  Physically, you won much more of the fights, but emotionally, I’d say I did some damage.  I’m sorry for that.  I am grateful that we have moved past that adolescent nonsense and turned our relationship into something much better–a sister relationship.  We still exchange silly banter but our fights have diminished, our iron melted down.  We have our differences, of course, yet we see past those.  Recognizing how much we need each other.

I felt it more poignantly after I miscarried.  You called and it meant the world to me.  Knowing that I had a sister who cared and would listen.  Thank you.

I wish you the best on this birthday.  Enjoy the cabin and the fishing.  Above all, remember that I am here, forever, as your sister.




Filed under Letters

To My Eldest:

When you emerged into this world,  your curiosity was unquenchable.   That first night, you stayed up with your dad,  learning about your new world.  Your bright eyes–big even then–stared at everything with wonder and amazement.  With your first breath, you stole my heart.

That curiosity has remained part of your personality.  You learned to sit up, crawl, and walk around on furniture early because it enabled you to explore further and deeper.  Though your adventurous spirit often led to calls to the Poison Control or the doctor,  I was ecstatic to have such an interested student of life.

This day marks your second year in this world.  Thinking about that makes me gasp with how remarkably fast everything went.  I am not sad to see you grow up because I thoroughly enjoyed your infancy.   Your ready smile and brilliant, blue eyes kept me joyful and captivated.  You taught–continue to teach–me how to be a mother.   Even when your brother came so soon after your own year birthday, you remained the happy little girl you have always been.

As you are learning to communicate better,  I am discovering another component of your personality: compassion.  When I am frustrated or in pain, you immediately recognize that something is wrong and quickly quip, “Are you okay?” while pausing in whatever endeavor you were pursuing.  This question always gives me chills, even when I respond, honestly, “No, I’m not.”  This coupled with watching you interact with your younger brother has given me brief glimpses of the woman you will become one day.  I hope that you cherish that bond between your brother and yourself.

Dearest Emily, you have been patient with me during my evolution these past two years.  I am constantly grateful for your everlasting love.  You and your brother are my greatest treasures.


Your Mother

I emerged for a few days only to leave again.  Fear not,  I will be back very soon!  Have a wonderful (early) weekend!


Filed under Letters

Dear 23-Year-Old Self,

Yes, I am finally back online.  It will take me forever to get caught up but so life goes.  While disconnected, I was thinking about this blog and realized I did not write myself a birthday letter; thus, this post’s inception.

Remember those goals you wrote when you were 12?  The sheet was short and simple–something like this (in no particular order).

  • Marry a worthy returned missionary in the temple.
  • Graduate from college.
  • Become a mom.

The goal you hoped most to achieve was motherhood.  You had no idea when that would come to pass and marriage seemed like a fleeting fancy, something that happened to those who were beautiful and witty, characteristics you (falsely) believed you lacked.

Yet, here you are at 23.  You have achieved those goals.  You are a college graduate–the first in your immediate family. You have married an incredible man who is everything you hoped he would be and more.  You have two beautiful children that bring unsolicited smiles frequently.

Motherhood was harder than you expected.  With school, you knew what was needed to receive that “A.”  With parenting, there is no syllabus with its accompanying assignment sheet.  You can’t check Blackboard for your grades.  There is no professor to explain difficult concepts.  So, the next time you envision that imaginary audience who groans and shakes their heads at your mistakes, remember that there is no imaginary audience.  When you make a mistake, it is okay.  Grow from your mistakes, don’t dwell on them.  When you do have a question, ask your friends.  You are surrounded by experienced parents who would not think you are a failure for asking.

Please forsake those insecurities that tie you down.  You are not the awkward teenager who once lived in her older sister’s shadow.  You are beautiful, vivacious, and benevolent.  You have a husband who would slay dragons for you.  You have a daughter and son who instantly forgive your shortcomings.  You have accomplished all the goals you once set for yourself.

People do not look down on you because of your choice to become a stay-at-home mom.  Stop using your education as a snobby reminder that you could have done more with your life.  This is your dream!  Even if someone thinks less of you, it is your choice to believe it or ignore it.   Instead of “if onlys” become the best mom you can possibly be.

Replace your doubt with trust.  You know what is best for you and your family.

Above all, trust your husband.  Trust your friends.  Trust your parents.  Trust your Savior.  Embrace forgiveness–of others and of self.  Hold fast to the truth that has constantly guided you.

Love always,



Filed under Letters, Reflections

One Year Older and Wiser Too

Despite all the verbal hints, written notes, and ripped magazine pages strewn around our house, my husband did not send me to a luxuriously furnished cabin on a remote island with the option of ordering takeout for all three meals.  Maybe next year.

I can’t complain, though, because I was given a much better gift.  For the first birthday in two years, I am not pregnant!  Let me explain why this is important.

  • Because my belly isn’t abnormally large, I can fit into a sexy outfit and head out to my restaurant of choice.
  • Because I am not sick, I can actually eat the food at that restaurant.
  • Because I don’t feel weepy, I won’t cry because I can eat the food.  (Okay, maybe I will.)
  • Because I’m not exhausted, I will not fall asleep during the movie I choose for tonight’s fun activity.
  • Because my body doesn’t hurt, I will not have to sit down every 5 minutes to rest.
  • Finally, because my moods are somewhat regular, I will not be upset with my husband.  I think this is Ben’s favorite reason.

I am not quite sure who to thank for this fabulous gift (because I obviously do NOT practice abstinence), so I will send a million thank you cards to God.  I think He can redirect them if needs be.

Congratulations to the three that correctly guessed my age.  If you promise to still be my friend, I will tell the rest of you.


Did you promise yet?


All right.


I am 23.


Don’t hate me.


To honor my birthday, I am closing the comments.  Now go do something fun!!

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Filed under Uncategorized

A Birthday Letter for Two

Katelynn and Alivia:

It seems nearly impossible that out of the 365  days of the year, God chose both of you to be born on the same day.   To honor the both of you,  your letters will be posted on two successive days.  Starting with Katelynn (she is, after all, the oldest) today.

Dearest Katelynn,

While looking for a picture of you, I came across this one.  I sat and stared for a while.  No, not at my cute little guy, but at you.  At how beautiful you have become.  I think back to when you were born.  You were a delight from the beginning.  I think God blessed Mother with you because Aaron was so exhausting.  He sent you to bring balance back into the family.  You did and still do.

I’ve never told you this, but I felt a lot of guilt about your baby years.  I felt I should have held you more, played with you more, and paid you  more attention.  I was sure that my selfishness had ruined our relationship forever.  This idea held me back from basking in your delightful spirit for many years.  I didn’t think I was worthy enough.

I know it must be hard, smashed by 2 older brothers and 3 older sisters, but you have learned to hold your ground.   Your voice is often the reasonable one amidst the torrents of nasty remarks.  Your slick sense of humor can ease tense moments.  Your calm demeanor helps us all to be more patient.

You might be younger than me, but I look up to you.  Your courage in all situations stuns me.  Your desire to do what’s right no matter what makes me shiver.  Your valiance.  Your strength.

You are a strong young woman.

I have no doubt the Devil shudders when he sees you.  May that always be the case.

With admiration and love,



Filed under Uncategorized

To My Little (Big) Brother Austin:

Once upon a time,  I prayed and asked God how I could juggle pregnancy and a 6-month old baby.  He answered me by sending you.

I would sit in my rocking chair, holding my little baby, a bowl within reach, and rock and rock–seeking some relief from the constant nausea.  You would feed and diaper the Queen,  clean the dishes,  and wash the laundry.

When I was feeling blue from the constant sickness,  you’d put on my favorite movies.   I smiled when I saw how much you enjoyed Sense and Sensibility. You fell in love with Elinor Dashwood and cheered on her romance with Mr. Edward Ferrars.

Those mornings when I cried because of the constant vomiting,  you would send me off to bed with a promise that you would take care of the Queen.

You and Mr. B got along swimmingly.   You kept his mind away from his crazy, sick wife and helped him relax.  You watched the Queen so he could take me somewhere to eat.  The companionship of another male was exactly what Mr. B needed to handle a very tough semester.

I can’t forget how you helped me see the humor in my sickness–laughing over my new “diet,”  and reminding me that it was worth it.

The time came for you to leave.  I’m sure feelings had been hurt,  as they are apt to be in a small space with three adults,  but you have remained a favorite of the Queens and an excellent friend to Mr. B.

And now you are turning 19.  You will be leaving for your mission to Peru soonly.  I will miss you.

It is strange to think of you,  my 6 foot brother, as my little brother.  But you are and will always remain so.

Happy Birthday little (big) brother!



If you have time, will you leave some birthday wishes to my sweet brother?  He will be reading them!


Filed under Uncategorized