Becks is FOUR!

Becks Lynae,

Four years old! I knew it would happen and yet, like every birthday, it leaves me a little breathless. You still sound so little, your high pitched voice carrying your toddler self with it a little longer. You still are so little, your tiny feet and tiny features and small stature leave some baffled at your actual age. But when I have the opportunity to sit and just watch you, and I look in your crystal blue eyes-- I see it then-- I see you are four, and you are growing up.

You are growing up in the way you observe and take in this world. You are more inquisitive, sometimes taking something in for entire minutes before forming a question about what you are observing. You are growing up in the way you process. I have watched you learn how to cope and deal with situations that aren't going exactly your way, far better than you used to. You have [a little ;)] more patience and can handle changes in plan so much better. You are, in fact, becoming a big kid-- you are four. And a couple of weeks before you turned four you came running into the room and bursting with excitement said, "Mommy! I'm FOUR!" I informed you would be in a couple of weeks and you said, "No, I AM four because I can turn on the light now!!!" You hadn't been able to reach the light switch and you kept asking me when you would be able to, and I just guessed and said, "When you're four." You took my word for it!

You are our feeler, in every sense of the word. You feel deeply about everything. You feel every emotion fully. Happiness. Excitement. Anger. Fear. Sadness. Compassion. Hilarity. You feel it all clear through to the tips of your toes and all I have to do is look at your face to know what emotion you are harboring. When you are fearful your body shakes. When your sister got a bloody nose you trembled and cried about it longer than she did. When you find something really funny your laugh cannot be contained and you cannot make it stop. When you're excited, or just happy, you hop around like you have springs in your legs. When you are angry, everyone in a ten mile radius knows about it because it spews out of you like a volcano. And when you're at peace, you are so very content to just be alone.

You are also a feeler in that you want to touch and snuggle and hug and kiss. Nan does not always appreciate this part of your personality, but you usually sneak a few hugs out of her by the end of the day. At least once or twice during the day, I'll find you curled up on my lap, and I don't even necessarily remember how you got there. But you found your way. You love to be scratched and give the absolute best and most sincere hugs.  I am not a big toucher, but you have taught me how to slow down and just sit with you; you've taught me how our skin next to each other can speak love. I think because of this physical closeness, you're also incredibly intuitive and sometimes a little prophetic [which can be creepy ;)]. You told me multiple times that there was a baby in my tummy, before I ever told you I was pregnant. When I miscarried Jordan, it was almost as if you knew before I told you. You handled these big, big things this year so well because there is something very tender inside of you, Becks.

Once of your favorite things to do with me is help me with meals. You scurry up on the counter and cross your little legs and help stir or pour or measure. You help me keep track of how many cups of flour I've put it [because I'm bound to lose track!], and you LOVE to plop a tablespoon or two of butter into a pan because you squeeze it really hard as it slips out of your fingers so that you can lick the residue. You are content on that counter with me, and you rarely make making a meal more difficult because you are actually helpful. You've started asking good questions about why I do certain things a certain way, and it's been a fun thing to share with just you.

You and I will start preschool together this year. This will be a thing of growth for both of us, I have no doubt. You have started to want to learn more though, and will let me show you letters and numbers, and teach you little things here and there. I did order more of a curriculum for you than I did for Blythe, because I think a little structure will be better for both of us when it comes to working together. And it's not because you're difficult, please don't hear that. Oh no, Becks Lynae, it's because you and I are cut from the very same cloth, and sometimes when two people are so similar it can be hard to be student and teacher together.


Becks, you are still the most determined girl. If you make up your mind about something, it can take almost an hour to bend your little will. That is a very long time. But I am praying that those hours add up to a big deposit in your heart that teaches you that there is Someone greater looking out for you. I hope you learn, through our hard fought battles of determination, that that Someone Greater has plans that will blow your mind and far exceed what you could come up with or make happen in your own power; that giving up what you want for something better is not just me "winning a battle", but it's so you can see with your own eyes the Something Better God has in store for you in this life. Relax your will, little one. I love your fire and your passion, but don't let it keep you from a God who will ask you to die to yourself daily. 

 You consistently make me laugh. Like the time we got in the car and you screamed from the back, "Mom! Buckle me up, you silly old woman!" Or when you are super literal and I ask what you're painting and you respond, "A big blob." Once you were running a 102 temperature and I asked if anything hurt. Never one to miss an opportunity, you responded, "Blythe hurt my feelings." Or when your dad was apologizing to you one time for losing his temper and yelling, you looked at him square in the eyes and said, "Try not to do it again." This age is one of my favorites, because you don't quite have the words for everything, and yet it doesn't stop you from forming any sentence. For example, a unicorn's horn will forever be a "une" in our family because you coined it that. You once asked if I had any socks the size of you, and you informed me you "knew what to spell if our house gets on fire: 991." I don't want to forget the time at lunch you told Nan she had a "short, little, pokey name," or when you were running around right before bed and then laid down and, with cheeks still red from exertion, grabbed your feet and said they were still busy. Oh I could go on and one. You are so funny. Just the other day you said, "Nan, moral of the story: this is mine." I can't wait to just listen to you all the days of your life.

Becks, you are so unique and beautiful. I love how you like to be alone and need space sometimes. You like to access new situations before you jump right in, and I will forever remember your head buried in my leg at this age when we are in public. And yet, you are so full of life and spunk and fun. I am so deeply thankful you are a part of this family. When they laid your so small body on my chest four years ago, I had no idea how you would make me into a new kind of mother I had not been before your arrival. You require things from me I hadn't had to develop before. You have made me look in the mirror and pray in ways I hadn't. And I will forever be thankful for these gifts you've given me and for what you've taught me and all the things I have yet to learn from you. We continue to pray you are full of integrity, and patience. That you be devoted to God and your people and the work He calls you to and that you live your life with purity.

As I always do, I will end this FOUR year old letter with this: Your dad and I hope you always understand the why behind our no-s. We hope you feel safe in the boundaries we set. We hope you feel freedom in the wide open places we leave for you. We hope you see God in our actions and words. We hope when you leave our little home for good and go out on your own that you'll look back on this simple little life we had together-- chaos and mistakes and messes and all-- and see that it was Grace that held us together; that you see that it was God's daily bread that provided it all.

Happy fourth birthday, Becks Lynae! There is nothing you can ever do that will ever make us stop loving you!


Happy SECOND Birthday, Nan Louise!

 Nan Louise,

Two years with you have brought so much laughter into our hearts. You've grown and changed so much this past year, as I knew you would. I ended your one year letter saying that I knew I would look back on those pictures and think your face looked so baby-like-- and it does! And while you don't have MUCH more hair [which is definitely red], your big personality has only grown bigger and bigger by the day.

When you began this second year of life, you weren't yet walking [which didn't stop you in the least from getting what you wanted], but very quickly you started walking and by day two you were running. You are easily our most active child-- you climb and run and get into things and onto things your sisters would have never dreamed about, but that just seems to be your trademark: making sure we don't compare you and that you are your OWN person. I think often the third child can just be lumped in with the rest of them, but due to your special brand of spunk you've made sure that's been impossible for us.

We found out at your one year well-check that we needed to schedule you with an eye-doctor. You handled that appointment well, and our doctor decided to see you around age two. At your last appointment we discovered you have astigmatism and will need glasses. Since it wasn't super severe, our doctor thought we could wait one more year before getting you fitted for those, so this will be your last year without glasses. I think you're going to be so adorable in whatever glasses we find for you. If you have any issues with your vision, you haven't shown us anything in the least bit.

Nan, you make the craziest sounds! You growl and screech and even your normal talking voice is a gravelly little thing. You can mimic just about anyone-- the tone of their voice and the look on their face. When your sisters are crying you either fake cry with them, or you hug them and try and make them feel better. However, when YOU are upset and Becks tries to hug YOU, you usually shove her away rather fiercely. Generally you accept hugs from Blythe at any time.

You and Blythe have always had a special relationship, easy from the start. But you and Becks have grown so close during this school year while Blythe is away. Sometimes I find you sitting on Becks's lap, or you're playing "moms and kids" together. One of your favorite games to play together is to try and sneak up on robins in the yard and catch them. You haven't been successful yet, but I'm afraid you may be one day! Overall you seem to like animals, at least from a distance. You can spot any bird in the sky [calling most of the "eagles"], or any horse or cow in a field.

You communicate very well, and say a million and one things. You aren't super easy to understand [to others], but even if someone doesn't understand you exactly, you make sure to get your point across! When someone picks you up, if you want something, you grab their shoulder and say, "Go. Go!" or "Over there!" or "Come!" And for some reason you are really hard to resist. You also understand about 98% of what we tell you or ask you, and I think the other 2% is already just "selective listening." The other day we were at the grocery door by the cold section that is just open-- with butter, and yogurt, and juice. While I was grabbing what we needed you looked at your dad and told him to "shut the door!" You kept repeating it, waiting for him to do what you commanded, but we just stood and laughed and laughed. There was no door to be shut, but you were cold and demanded someone take some action!

You really love to be outside. You like to play in the sandbox, or ride your little bike/car, or jump on the trampoline with your sisters. You like to swing, but now refuse the baby/toddler swing and have to be in a big swing like Blythe and Becks. I'm convinced you would be this way even if you were the oldest and didn't see them-- you just like to live on the edge a little. You are doing things way before they ever did: in part because you're our third and we just kind of let you/need you to, but also because you adamantly refuse most help or assistance of any kind.

We are just getting ready to move you into a room with your sisters. You've had your own room for two years, but now your soon to be baby BROTHER is kicking you out. We are really excited to watch you become a BIG sister. You don't have a great track record for having "gentle hands", but I have learned that little ones seem to catch on pretty quickly. We are praying the same will hold true for you.

Some of your current favorites include being outside, playing in Papa's truck and crunching on his coke ice, playing with your sisters, looking at "bideos" of yourself on my phone, horses, running naked through the house, having PopPop "hold you, hold you,", suckers from the bank,  being scratched and having "Jesus" [Jesus Loves Me] sang to you, and jumping off the couch into a pile of pillows.

You stomp your foot and cross your arms and pout and holler, but you are sweet as pie inside. We are praying that you grow in patience and grace, that your little soul will know its need for our great big Savior. You have taught me a lot about that need, little one. Growing to a family of five was an adjustment, and while some things seemed to naturally expand, my capacity to be everywhere I am needed did not. And you're addition to the family has continued to teach me my natural need for a Savior is a good thing to be aware of. Many days while I read my bible at the counter, you climb up in my lap and you "pat the Bible" and we say together, "God's words are true." I pray you grow to cherish those words all the days of your life.

she saw a fly...and was "all done...foo fly"

 We still pray you are generous and that you are faithful in your relationships and actions. We pray you are attentive to others when in their presence, and that you walk with humility throughout this life. As I have ended all birthday letters, I want to end this one to you, sweet Nan, as well: We hope you understand the why behind our no-s. We hope you feel safe in the boundaries we set. We hope you feel freedom in the wide open places we leave for you. We hope you see God in our actions and in our words. We hope when you leave our little home for good and go out on your own that you'll look back on this simple little life we had together-- chaos and mistakes and messes and all-- and see that it was Grace that held us together; that you see that is was God's daily bread that provided it all.

We will fail you Nan, but know we also love you with no end and that we enjoy your presence and who God has made you is making you. Year two to three is one of my absolute favorites, and though this year will hold many many changes for our growing family, I plan on fully embracing this year with you as well!

Happy second birthday, Nanny Lou!
There is nothing you can ever do that will keep us from loving you.