Tag Archives: birthday

Spoiled Rotten: Further Evidence


My birthday. I hold my breath and wonder what exciting gadget/software/technological miracle The Geek has found for me this year. Whatever it is, I know from experience that it will suddenly and inextricably become a pivotal part of my functional life and I will lose my ability to remember how I lived without it.

Exhibit A:

I didn’t even know I needed one of these, but let me tell you how totally cool it is.

It surfs the internet, sends and receives email, catalogs my contact list, and syncs its on-board datebook with my Google calendar.

It holds all my music, shows videos, and plays games.

With a simple touch, I can access the weather report, a calculator, road maps, stock prices, or a simple notepad.

It has tons of downloadable free applications, including the Bible, Sudoku, and Pandora radio.

Scrolling by flicking your finger across the screen is indescribably satisfying.

I’m still figuring out all the things it can do, but it has already effortlessly replaced my old iPod and my Palm Pilot in one swift stroke.

In short, I love it.

Thanks, babe!

Happy Birthday, WDF


Thirty-three years ago today, through a complex series of small miracles, Paul landed in the world. And today, in commemoration of that blessed event, we ate hamburgers as big as our heads and took a monster nap right in the middle of the afternoon.

Actually, since today was Sunday and already filled up with church and Bible study and all good things, we did the bulk of our merrymaking yesterday, in celebration of both Paul’s birthday and his safe return from a week of teaching at church camp.

Can I just tell you how much I missed my husband last week? A whole long week of no warm body next to me in a bed as big and as empty as the Sahara. A week of watching movies alone and turning around to share my pithy observations with someone who wasn’t there. A week of killing my own spiders, doing the Icky Spider Dance of Girliness to a non-existent audience. A week of missing the love of my life keenly, and realizing (even more than usual) how blessed I am to have someone so wonderful to miss.

Halfway through the week, I sat down with the birthday wish list I had pried out of Paul’s brain before he left and tried to decide what to get him as a gift. Usually, I ask Paul for a bunch of ideas, settle on one, and buy it. He likes it, he thanks me, and everyone is happy. But this year, for some reason, it just didn’t feel like enough. Scanning the list, I considered the possibilities: disc golf equipment, computer software, gift certificates. Any of them would be met with sweet gratitude by my easy-to-please husband. But none of them seemed right.

Let me tell you about my birthdays. Every year, I make a wish list. Paul takes it, reads it over carefully, and throws it away. Then he searches my heart and mind to discover the one gift that I want more than anything but would never dare to ask for because it’s too expensive, too impractical, too extravagant to even be committed to paper. And he buys it. Like my laptop. Like my digital SLR. Like my scrapbooking desk.

For once, I wanted to be a scandalous gift giver. I wanted to make Paul feel like I feel when I tear open the wrapping and my unspoken dream thingy is sitting there. I wanted him to know that he is loved beyond all reason, beyond mere practicality.

So I searched his heart and replayed our recent conversations in my head until I came up with it. The thing he would never ask for, but I knew he really wanted: a Nintendo Wii. Giggling with glee, wild with anticipation, I picked up the phone and started calling around town to locate the gaming system. Target, Walmart, Game Stop, Circuit City–all were out of stock! I was starting to feel a little desperate. It was Saturday morning and I was nearly resigned to having to order one online when my last call, to Best Buy, hit pay dirt! They had just received three that morning, but they expected to be sold out within the hour. I loaded up the kids and burned rubber and before I knew it I was finally holding the prize in my hot little hand. Having completely abandoned myself to the spirit of wild giving, I didn’t stop there. After a brief consultation via phone with Paul’s brother, who also has a Wii, I threw extra controllers, a recharger, and several games he recommended into the cart as well, and before long we were driving home with the precious treasure safely in our possession.

I can’t remember when I’ve been more excited to give someone a gift. And I don’t know which was better: his amazed reaction, or simply having him back — to kill spiders, to be the big spoon, and to make the joy of living twice as sweet in the sharing of it.

Happy Birthday, love.

May you always bii as happii as you have made mii. (Hii hii!)



Caleb Five 1

Today he’s five.

He’s five and fearless.

He’s five and ferocious.

Five and full of frantic energy; it buzzes beneath his skin like static, and before I blink, he’s off to whatever new adventure awaits on the other side of the room, the other side of the world. Maybe he lets me go with him, or maybe he doesn’t. It’s a great honor to be invited.

He’s five and funny. Sometimes on purpose, even. He mixes up words and tells jokes and says things so unexpectedly profound that it’s hard to tell if he’s confused or Confucius in a forty pound pack.

Five and friendly. Hello to the checkout lady. Hello to the neighbors. Hello to the grumpy guy at the bank, who breaks into maybe his first smile ever, so creaky and unexpected. Five and friendly, except when he’s shy, peering out from behind my legs like he did when he was freshly upright and toddling around, looking at the big, wide world from high-up eyes for the first time. We all need someone to hide behind some days.

Five and fast. Too fast. He runs to Daddy. He runs to Bible class. He runs away, running and running. I call to him to come back, but back is not a direction kids go, so I run along behind the best I can, sometimes staying close and sometimes falling back, watching and panting from the exertion of trying to keep up.

Look at my boy, running.

He’s five, and he’s fascinating.

Happy Birthday, Caleb!

Caleb Five 2

Caleb Five 3



Katie Nine 1

Today I am the mother of a nine year old.

Nine. The last single digit birthday. The last age that sounds right with “and-a-half” tagged onto the end of it. The last year of the whimsical, wonderful pre-pre-teen stage, when magical thinking and a burgeoning awareness of the world live comfortably side by side behind an enigmatic expression.

Katie, my little girl, is nine.

Didn’t she just turn eight, like, yesterday?

I’m trying not to panic here, but tell me this: where does the time go?


Katie Nine 2

Katie, I love you. I love the baby you were and the child you are and the woman you will be.

I love your zest for life, your unquenchable optimism, your childlike faith. I love the cute crooked teeth (those are from me; sorry!) that peek out from behind your ever-present grin. I love the way you face each day with determined good cheer, and the way your infrequent burst of temper dissolves as quickly as it came, like a brief summer squall passing away in the sunlight.

I love your goofy jokes (even the ones that don’t, strictly speaking, make sense) and your easygoing ways and how you get giggles which, once started, can’t be stopped by any force under the sun until they’ve run their full course and tears are streaming down your face. I love your tender heart and your million questions. I love the way you protect your brother, even when the protection is clearly (and loudly) unwanted. I love your joy.

I love your growing independence (but you might have to remind me sometimes). I love your tender heart. I love the way the world looks through your eyes, even while I’m showing it to you through mine. I love our talks, long rambles through the garden in your mind. I love our time together, and all the more because I know it will be short.

I love you, Katie. You are one of God’s best creations.

Happy ninth birthday.


(You just came up and started reading over my shoulder. Don’t worry, sweetheart. They’re almost all happy tears.)

And now for something completely Katie: