Monday, December 16, 2013

Dear Hudson,

Happy Birthday! You have reached double digits! Ten years ago tonight you were this tiny little bundle, and now I can't hold you on my lap. You are long, big, and strong. Your feet are bigger than mine and your hands are close. Sometimes from behind in a crowd I will look for you and not recognize you because I don't recognize how big you are.

When I think back to you as that little baby there are some things I'm not surprised about.  You slept anywhere, ate a ton, and were not easily upset. You still sleep well, eat a ton, and you are very rarely upset. You were the sweetest, easy-going baby. You are a very sweet, easy going kid. The part that is different is now you are a very big kid, who is very physically active. When you were that tiny little bundle I didn't realize you would be this fast, rough and tumble, tree-climbing, athletic kid. It was hard to imagine that when you were a sleepy little baby. Now just looking at your strong, lean body it isn't surprising that you spend your days in constant motion.
The growing boy, always eating.

You play soccer, basketball, and tennis. You would really like to play football, but we have decided the risks of football just aren't worth it. You settle for touch football at school. While you have asked to play, you don't complain even though you have many friends who play football. That is a great thing about your personality and character. You aren't a whiney kid, and we really appreciate that. You don't get sucked into drama at school, and get along with just about everyone. You have told us that some kids aren't nice, so you don't hang out with them. It doesn't bother you. This makes you very easy to parent.

Fourth grade has been great. You have Miss Krell, and she is pretty much a miracle worker. Knowing that she is strict, I worried that you would have a hard time adjusting to her. But you handle her high expectations very well. We have said in the past that you don't always hear adult voices. They are irrelevant to you. But you hear Miss Krell! You like that she jokes with you and you have talked about school this year more than you ever have before. It is a fun development for us. You are sometimes very quiet, or at least quiet for our family. But especially when we have you alone you are a little chatterbox. It is so fun to hear what you are thinking and excited about.

You still love legos. In fact, I don't know why we have anything else but legos and balls. They are the only thing that kids in our family chose to do. It is fine with us. You build awesome things and have so much fun playing with your friends. If you could have a friend over every day you would. You walk in the door from school each day with two questions, "What can I eat?" and "Can I play with a friend?"A Star Wars model at Lego Land

Watching sports on TV with dad is something you have grown into this year. You want to watch the Ducks or Beavers football, and now the Blazers.  Last week daddy took you to a Blazer game and you loved it. Your birthday cake was the Blazer logo. I made the cake, but daddy did the decorating because he has spent much more time than I have with the blazer logo!
The Blazer game last week

Hopefully no one will use this next part as proof that you committed arson, but you think it is awesome that you have learned how to light a match and make a fire. When we burned our leaves this fall you were on a mission to rake them so there were plenty to put on the fire. Blowing on the extinguished fire to make it come back to life was your favorite thing to do.
Outside with neighborhood friends around "your" fire. 

The best thing this year is that you chose to be baptized. You haven't always embraced getting up in front of people so when we first started talking about being baptized you didn't know if you wanted to do it because you knew people usually give a short testimony first. After carefully considering it you decided to do it. Even though we said you didn't have to talk first, you did. I was so proud of you. Daddy baptized you and Ainsley in the Sandy pool. You invited a couple of friends. It was very special and I've never been so proud of you. I'm so excited to see what God has planned for you.

Tonight we celebrated your birthday and you were so gracious about everything, extremely thankful and polite, and just so grown up. You couldn't have been sweeter. It is such a delight to watch you growing up. Tonight we got a glimpse of what a great man you are going to grown into. I'm noticing how brave you are and what a sense of right and wrong you have. You have a fun little personality and enjoy laughing and being silly. You are fun for us and other people to be around because you are easy and fun to spend time with. You are a great mix of entertaining, laid back, and energetic.

Hudson, daddy and I love you so much. I can't believe how fast you are growing. There is so much coming up for you, and we are going to do our best at guiding you to live a life in which you use all the natural charm, magnetism, and energy God has blessed you with to do the good works He has prepared for you. Hudson we want you to chose to do the right and kind things all the time. We are so proud of you and are so happy for each minute we get to spend with you.Celebrating your birthday and Camden's birthday at Great Wolf Lodge last weekend.

There are so many verses in Proverbs that I want to share with you as you are growing. A few of my favorites that if I could I would have on a repeating track in your head are:

Proverbs 4:18
The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.

Proverbs 1:7
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 3:5
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 4:23
Watch over your heart with all diligence for from it flow the springs of life.

We love you so much Hudson. You are a joy and a delight. It has been a great ten years. I'm so excited for the next decade with you.



Thursday, December 5, 2013

Camden's Birthday Letter

Dear Camden,

Today you turned 7. You, my not-so-little-anymore boy, are an exceptional child. Each day of the last year, and of your whole life actually, has been exciting. It dawned on me a few weeks ago that the best way to describe life with you is that it is one cliff hanger to another. You never really know what is coming next, but we know it is going to be something big.

I'm sure every birthday letter since the age of 2 has commented about your language ability. This one will be no different. You express your thoughts very well. You still haven't developed much of a filter for your mouth, pretty much anything that goes through your head comes out your mouth as well. It is a bit of a chicken or the egg thing. Is your language ability so good because you talk so much, or do you talk so much because your language is so good? Either way, we love your communication skills.

 You love learning new things. Daddy took you on a date bowling on Sunday and was amazed at all the information about spiders and pilgrims you downloaded to him. Evidently, that is what you have been learning in school, and you absorbed it all. Dad shared more information with you about pilgrims and you were so excited about it that you made him come home and write it down. You wanted to take the paper to give it to Mrs. Terveen so she would give you, "extra credit." I don't think there is much extra credit given in first grade, but you certainly deserve some. Speaking of school, we just had your parent-teacher conference and you are doing great. You have lots of friends in school and work really hard. I am so grateful that you can channel your energy in school and keep it together to have good behavior. You love your classroom "clip chart" and try really hard everyday to make it to "outstanding."

For your birthday you asked for a microscope. But you said, "we have had the toy kind, and I don't want another one of those. I want the kind scientists use in laboratories." We managed to find one that we think will work well. It isn't what they are using at the CDC or anything, but I think it is real enough that you (and your siblings) are going to enjoy it.

You wanted a Ducks vs. Beavers cake. So even though the civil war was last week, the drama and excitement of it still lives on in our house.

Cyndi noted something a few months ago after you had been wrestling with John, you treat adults and older kids as your equals. And that is true. You have never met someone that you wouldn't just go up and have a conversation with. We haven't been real successful at teaching you the concept of "stranger danger." We were at a restaurant one night and there was a pretty rough looking guy, complete with a worn leather jacket and a backpack with strange pins all over it. You were fascinated with the guy. He wasn't super friendly, but after you escaped from us and went over to talk to him multiple times you won him over. He answered your questions, and as we were leaving he took one of the pins off his backpack and gave it to you. Your persistence usually pays off. This makes parenting awfully difficult sometimes, but is going to pay huge dividends for you as an adult.

In a few weeks you are going to be in the Christmas program at church. You get to play David. Barry wrote the play so it would start with Abraham and go through Jesus. When I told you how you were going to get to (carefully) swing a slingshot around and "kill" Goliath (played by Nathan Amadio) and then put your foot (again, carefully) on his chest you got really excited. You said, "Sweet! I then get to take his sword and cut off his head!" Points for knowing the story well, but no. We are not acting that part out. Excellent casting on Barry's part. It should be entertaining.

This last year you have grown up so much Camden. You are learning self-control and patience. It is great. You are always going to be fast and busy, but the improved impulse control is awesome. The potential you have for impacting the Kingdom of God is pretty amazing. You are smart, witty, creative, and bold. You are a natural leader and are so much fun. You have taught dad and I so much. I can't wait to see what incredible things you do with your life. It is always a fun ride with you.

You have fascinating and deep questions. You contemplate God and what Jesus means in your life. You asked me the difference between suffering and death. Keep in mind this is when you were six. You are very concerned with people who don't know God yet. You worry about being with people and trying to figure out how to be friends with someone who doesn't know Jesus yet.

My biggest prayer for you is that you will follow God with your whole heart. You need to use the intelligence, wit, creativity and boldness that God has given you to glorify Him. But you also need to be careful about having pride in yourself rather than recognizing that everything you have is from God and for His glory.

A Bible verse from Joshua sums up what I want to say far better than any of my words. Here it is:

Joshua 1: 7-9 "Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.  Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."

With you Camden, it is always going to be exciting. I always love the excitement of a good cliff hanger.

Daddy and I love you so much Camden. Happy 7th birthday.