So today Gabe is ten (ten!) and in just a few days, Ben will be five. These are milestone years. It seems like Gabe was just the blue eyed kid eating chocolate (above) or the chubbo getting a bath in the sink (above). When Cole turned ten, I cried while he was at school thinking how quickly the time was flying by. Now that it’s Gabe, I can’t promise I’ll cry but I am equally — if not more — stunned at the speed of the years. I feel like Gabe is still just entering the nursery at church! He was such a cute baby and has grown into the cutest young man.
Sigh. He’s 15. We should be getting a learner’s permit, right? He’s got some catching up to do in scouts for that to happen. He’ll do it – he’s a self-motivated kid and we don’t push like some scout parents. I wish we could have given him a bigger celebration this year because he means the world to us but finances are tight and the poor kid didn’t get anything at all present-wise from us though his grandparents on both sides came through. He does know we love him and I offered to make him his favorite dinner but he couldn’t commit to one so we had Taco Bell. He did get the traditional family chocolate cake. He is the best kid we could have ever asked for! I wouldn’t even trade him for a girl. He’s always been a good kid and here’s to hoping it lasts at least through the rest of the teenage years (one can hope, right?). So anyway, here’s a very public birthday note for Cole: We love you, Cole! You make us proud in every single thing you do. You are a great big brother. You are a smart, capable, responsible young man and you surprise us almost every day with your intelligence and witty humor. We will forgive you the antics on early morning seminary drives (that would be your antics, not ours). Love, Mom & Dad
My baby is 4. And he’s not a baby (hasn’t been for awhile but I’ve been blissfully ignorant). He has taken THE. LONGEST. TIME. to potty train. All of my other boys were trained before 3 or at least right when they turned 3. I know boys take longer but aaaaaaaah! He’s finally got it…almost. We’re still working on #2 but he is doing so very good at staying dry in skivvies all day. He picked out a dragon birthday cupcake-cake and we all had green frosting everywhere for the evening. Bennie is such a joy. I just love to kiss his freckled face and squeeze him for hugs. He is a delight. I’m so glad he’s mine.
Gabe turned 9 today. I did not spend the day in tears like I did when Cole turned 10. Maybe next year. I am sad, however, that the time flies so very quickly. I remember the day he was born as if it were yesterday. He was such a chubby baby! 9 lb 1 oz. As they carried him across the surgery room, his chubby arm flopped over the towel and it looked like I had a toddler! I was nervous because he did not cry. Just opened his eyes and looked around. They laid him near my face so I could see him – even though my arms were strapped down so I could not hold him — and he just laid there and looked at me for the longest time. I think I got to hold him in the surgery room for more time than any of the other boys.
Today, he is still an observant yet quiet kid – until you push him too far. He’s the one who can ride in the car without too many arguments with his brothers (except he is our carsick-easy kid). I love this about him. He can be engrossed in just being outside, or a book, or a movie and is completely content.
Some of my favorite things about Gabe:
1: He lounges. The pic above was at Hermann Park. Everybody else was climbing, running, getting hurt and Gabe was lounging. The arms behind the head is a sure sign of Gabe’s favorite position. He is a laid-back kind of guy. I love this!
2: He loves cold things: ice cream, popsicles. This is my kind of kid. Ayurvedics call this vata, I think (or is it pitta?)…whatever. It’s his area of expertise. He can devour cold things like nobody’s business.
3: He is kind. When I offered to take him alone to see “How to Train Your Dragon” the first words out of his mouth were a soft but surprised, “But I don’t want to go without my brothers.”
4: Gabe is smart. He was his 2nd grade teacher’s favorite student. He continues to do very well in school. He is so imaginative that he has to work on concentrating but watch out when he applies himself, the sky is the limit.
5: He is funny. He has an amazing sense of humor – better than most adults that I know. Gabe has been making us laugh since before he was born. He tried to grab the amnioscentesis needle TWICE as the doctor reinserted it in different pockets of fluid. He could sense a disturbance in the force. It’s no wonder he’s a Star Wars fan. He’s a seriously funny kid – even at 2 weeks old. I was singing in the temple choir for Winter Quarters and had to buy a nice dress (2 weeks post baby!) for the dedication and we were in a nice department store and Don was holding Gabe outside the dressing rooms. He tooted so loud and so often that it sounded – no joke – like an adult. EVERY single woman there thought it was Don and he was trying to pass the blame to Gabe – a 2 week old baby (yeah, right!)…but it really was Gabe. We used to say “Gabriel won’t you blow your horn?” when he was so very tiny. Thankfully he grew out of this stage very quickly.
Gabe is many more things – I could never cover them all – but today, he’s 9. One more year we’ve been lucky to have him in our lives. We love you, kiddo. Love, Mom & Dad
Thank you, friends & clients, for the birthday cards in the mail!
Thank you, dear Facebook friends, for taking the time to email me short notes of love and encouragement.
Thank you, dear sister, for bringing over flowers and checking up on me (even if Mom did ask you to do it!). It helps.
Thank you, dear sister, for taking care of Mom & Dad this week and helping me feel better with an overly generous gift card (which will be completely used by me, I promise, I’m not even sharing!).
Thank you, crazy friend, for being so utterly creative and helping me have fun and vent my frustrations at the same time. I am so glad you didn’t get a ticket by that policeman.
Thank you, kids, for always being willing to help and snuggle only sighing mildly when you’re asked to pick up your things for the zillionth time.
Thank you, Don, for bringing home chocolate upon request and letting me sleep in.
Thank you, neighbor and friend, for your listening ear, cooking magazines, and rescuing my child from wandering the neighborhood.
I have been blessed!
What?! I officially have a teenager?!? News to me. Other than being the world’s biggest eavesdropper, Cole is nothing like your typical teenager (give it time, right?). He is still a great kid and I’m proud of him and glad he’s in our family. He is like a superhero – kind, helpful, courageous, righteous, strong, smart, imaginative, friendly – and he has only one weakness that I know of: spelling. It’s his achilles heel. Not a bad trade for a superhero.
Memories of Cole from when he was a baby: he cried constantly because he had reflux. We had to do step aerobics to bounce him to keep him happy. He has always loved animals – especially dogs (and they seem to love him, too). He is also a very good big brother – he has helped take care of each of his three brothers. His first word was “Jesus” (seriously, even before mama or dada). He has always made friends easily and has a great sense of humor. The daycare he went to as a baby called him Mr. Personality. He enjoys piano, just quit trombone (with our blessing; we’re just not band people), is a brown belt in taekwondo (sooo close to black!), scouting, camping, swimming, etc. I asked him if he wanted to live in the country or suburb when we moved to Houston and he said without hesitate, “country”. He’s just an easygoing kid. We are grateful for him! We’re proud of you Cole.
Yesterday, at church, he got to be the Bishop’s helper and he held the microphone for a confirmation and had to sit up on the stand all during sacrament. His brother, Jack, looked up and said, “What’s Cole got?” (we were thinking microphone) and then he answered his own question by saying, “Cole’s got the priesthood?!”
I didn’t get a chance to write a special post about Jack for his birthday during all of the holiday hubbub. I wanted to write a note for each child’s birthday on what we love about them at this stage of their lives. Jack is all boy. Last Sunday my sister’s husband, Ron, watched Jack run down the hall at church. He ran into a woman in our branch that is usually sick and frail, but not old. Anyway, he bumped into her and kept going down the hall (backstory: he had received a candy bar certificate for his birthday in Primary and wanted to get it. Fast.). Ron, said that Jack turned on a dime, walked ALL THE WAY back down the hall, and of his own volition politely apologized and with complete sincerity asked her if she was okay. He didn’t just say sorry…he looked into her face and genuinely apologized. All without prompting! What a great kid! He still got his chocolate and we’ll take care of running down the halls some other time.
Some other things Jack is doing right now: His favorite word when he likes something is “chocoboolate” (pronounced chalk-uh-boo-law-tay). He is starting to be a real big brother to Ben. He shares his toys willingly almost all of the time. He really, really likes Star Wars. He was dying for Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em for Christmas. He just discovered computer games and likes Civilization. He is, at the moment, a picky eater and likes chocolate, yogurt, milk, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cereal and not much else. He will eat salad but no other vegetable. He is a fast runner with the cutest little muscles (he’s got the most muscle of all of our kids). He has faint downy hair all over his body – more hair than a 6 yr old should have. He’s the best reader in Kindergarten by far – at least a 2nd grade level – and taught himself to read. He wants his hands free so badly that he had a cut in his skin from not wearing his mittens in the cold weather. He sleeps with Pokemon cards and books (we discovered 9 books in his bed with him). He likes to pull pillowcases over his legs and crawl in and fall asleep. His nickname is “Jack Juice” ever since it was his preschool icon for his backpack and cubby. When he was little, he’d come over to be tickled and say “Torture me!” and taunt you to catch him. His favorite shoes are camo mocs and crocs. He likes to wake up early EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. He would stand up for the right in any situation; he was willing to rat out 3rd graders at school who killed Gabe’s slugs on the school bus. He can handle the money in Star Wars Monopoly (he adds and subtracts like a 2nd grader, too). He’s just an all-around great kid. I love his round nose, blue eyes, sandy blonde hair and freckles — it’s a killer combo. He is mischievous and sweet and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Jack had a birthday waaay back on December 20th. He is happy to be six! He loved all of his Star Wars presents. He is our squeezy child. He is not fat at all but curls up into a ball and is just so fun to hug and squeeze. The other day he was mad at Cole and called him “fat and squeezy” and I told him that “squeezy” was a compliment. At least in my book.
I am loving this Christmas break. Lots of staying up late playing games and then sleeping in and staying in bed and reading. There is nothing better than reading for an hour after you wake up but before the day really begins. Normally, I would read scriptures and then hurry off to start the day but this Christmas break, Don and I have been waking up late and catching up on our fiction piles — such a nice treat. I am thoroughly enjoying the 2000 edition of the Best American Short Stories edited by E.L. Doctorow and Katrina Kenison. My favorites so far are a Utah author Ron Carlson’s “The Ordinary Son” as well as Amy Bloom’s “The Story” and Percival Everett’s “The Fix”. You can see more reviews at Goodreads . I do think it’s ironic Don is reading Twilight and going to donate blood to the Red Cross on his birthday. Makes me chuckle. He says he’s going to take it to read “in the chair” on-site. He’s closer to 50 than 30 today but I can guarantee you he doesn’t act like it. He will always be a boy at heart and I wouldn’t have it any other way.