My Oldest Turns 7

Dearest Lillian,

Today is the day you turn 7. (My heart beats a little faster and I get a little shortness of breath when I say that). You started talking about turning 7 for at least the last 364 1/2 days. There has been a change in you this past year.  You are growing taller and looking more mature.  You are such a little beauty. Not only on the outside, with your long hair, but definitely on the inside. I heard in a sermon that said the more a person develops a servant heart the more mature they become.  My dear you are on the path of developing a very loving and sincere servant heart. You serve your family and friends well.  You are a helper and SUCH a hard worker.

Things that remind me that you are more 7 now than 6:

You sit and talk with me and Dad a little more often than play on the playground with the Leeland and Norah. When we ask you if you want to go and play you say, “No, I”m good.”

You started to carry a purse. It’s contents include: Chap stick, Hand sanitizer, a little purse with some spending change.

You talk about having alone time

You demonstrate you cutting skills on preparing fruit and snacks for Norah and Leeland

You want to talk with the older cousins, but still have great play ideas for the little cousins.

You demonstrate your complex monkey bar routines and tricks, and make it look easy.

You ride your bike like a pro and have started to stand up a bit when you peddle.

You helped Grandma Wilken sell flowers and make arrangements at the market this summer.  You were so proud when your bouquets sold.

You ask great questions about what we read, learn, hear about, and about God.

You are starting to love others more than yourself. This my daughter is hard and you are doing it well.

Mom and Dad are starting to see the things that make you come alive with excitement and passion. Flowers and making things beautiful makes you passionate. Planning special birthday parties and scavenger hunts for your sister made you giddy with joy.  Spending time with others is your love language.  You love people and love to make them feel special. We pray that you continue to put God, and the needs of others at the forefront of your mind, heart and actions. We love you with all of our hearts.


Your mom


note: my blog is maxed out on space for pictures so today will have to be a post with just the sweetness of words.


LEELAND turns T W O!!


Dear Leeland,

Today is your birthday. I have been telling you for the last few days that this time we are going to say Happy Birthday to Leeland.  You say, “No!” When I carry you to your crib, I say, “Are you my little baby?” and you say, “No!” You are absolutely correct though, you are my big, active, 30+ pound, fun loving two year old!

Mom and Dad joke because we say we feel like you have been two for  many months now. You have grown up fast and love to keep up with those sisters.  You and Norah are very good buddies, you play well together usually.  You are always calling her name and looking for her.  You let Lillian read you books and help you get water.  They take good care of you.

You are talking up a storm. Some words we understand and most we don’t.  Everyone says that you are going to talk a lot.  You have many important things that you want to tell us.  You are using two- three word phrases: Please help Mom, more wa-wa please, up please.  You also use the word MINE a lot.

You absolutely love trains, trucks and cars.  You take them to nap with you and sleep with them at night.  You like to carry them around the house and move them on different surfaces.  After breakfast you always love to play with your trains.  You like to watch trains videos, and wear your Thomas shirt.  Sometimes you take all of your trains and little buses and put them in the Doll house mini-van and move them around.  Putting things in things never gets old.

You are now officially a fan of books. You like to read before nap and bedtime. Here are your favorites: Good night Gorilla, Little Blue Truck,  There’s a Mouse in the House, Pat the Bunny, and any touchy feely Cat , Dog, or Cow book!

You love to sing, dance and move fast.  You can even go down the carpeted stairs on your tummy in about 2 seconds.  You  love to make things fun!  you can keep going strong, but still take a long two + hour nap in the afternoon. If you wake up on your own you always have a smile on your face and are pretty happy.

We are excited to celebrate you today! My sweet boy!



Previous Post: Leeland turns One,  Meet Leeland


Lillian Turns 6

Lillian’s birthday was such an amazing day this past month in September. It was awesome for this mama because it hit a few of these benchmarks:

  • Her party was on her actual birthday! She was born on a Saturday and it was awesome.  I love it when we get to celebrate on that day. Make a big deal and then we are done at the end of the day.
  • We had the party at a beautiful park in LuVerne. We love this park due to it’s enormity in size, benches that are swings,  beautiful surroundings, and the fact that it has all these playground you can go around and play at.
  • Family on both sides could come and celebrate.  It’s a beautiful thing to see family come and love on your kiddo

You had a park birthday -themed party.

These friends helped you celebrate:  The Rupps, Maloneys, Hawkins, Grimmius’, G& G Maloney, The Wilkens, & Grandma Wilken

Costco provided your birthday treat, which was a chocolate princess cake.

One of the best things that happened at your party was: we got to have it at a park with lots of equipment to play on.

Some of your gifts included: American Girl Doll, spot it, a bed for your doll, fairies, Elsa dress.

Here’s how I’ll always picture you at this age: : Long blond hair, busy girl who is growing up.

God has definitely given you natural ability! I love to watch you sing, learn , bike, do the monkey bars

This is the year you biked on two wheels for the first time.

This is the funniest thing you’ve ever said! (so far): You say “That looks interesting” when you want us to buy something for you at a rummage sale.  


Here is her Birthday Interview from the Birthday Journal we fill out every year:

Interview conducted by Mom on 9/21/2015

We sat down at our family room for a nice long chat.

During the interview, the subject rocked in the rocking chair.

Here is what we discussed:

What are you thankful for today? School

What’s something you’re really good at? reading words

What do you wish you knew how to do? climb a tree

What would you like to be when you grow up? a nurse

What’s your favorite song? “Let it Go”

How does it feel to lose teeth? Hasn’t happened but she wants to.

Is there something you’d like to ask God? What is it? How did you make us?

Lunch :Bread,mayo, butter, and meat sandwich

Thing to wear: Elsa dress

Time of day: morning

Activity: swimming

Person to spend time with: Logan


Guess what? You’ve been named president of the world!

What will you wear on your first day in office? A dress with cherries on it.

What special song will they play when you walk into a room? “Let it Go”

You have the chance to change one big problem the world has today. What problem will you fix? Feeding Animals

How will you do it? I will be feeding them food.

Who is the best person to help you do it? Why? God- because he knows about everything.

Read about her 1st birthday here,  3rd birthday here, 4th birthday here




Today I turn Thirty-Four. I’m almost positive that is how old I am. I did the math and checked with my husband and we are pretty sure that is the number.  I woke up thinking and feeling blessed. I thought back to all those birthday parties at the farm. Where mom would make an enormous angle food cake and meal for me on the 28th and then invite the whole family back the next day to celebrate my sister Laura’s birthday.(Serious Mom … how did you do that??) But she did it because she wanted each of us to have that special day… to be celebrated… to feel loved.  There was always a family party with crispy baked chicken, potatoes, mom’s special cinnamon pickles and all the family.  I remember a few friend birthday parties throughout the year but mostly it was celebration with family!  A few years we celebrated birthday’s in Decora, IA so we could celebrate with Laura at college.

I remember that Mom and Dad would call me at college early in the morning and talk about the day I was born.  This was the days that they would both jump on the land line and talk to me at the same time (Mom in the kitchen and dad downstairs).  Even when I was away they made it appoint to call or come over and always send a card.

Last night I recounted to Lillian the year she was born I celebrated my Golden birthday. I explained what a Golden birthday was and when she would have hers. I told her that we celebrated at Aunt Laura’s house and Aunt Heidi decorated with Gold paper cups and decorations. I remember the feeling of celebrating that birthday but stepping into this new Mommy tradition in my family.

Now of days, my kiddos get super excited to for my birthday and Chris’ birthday. They already have that attitude of wanting to make that day special for that person.

Earlier this year my sister Laura found another interesting thing in dad’s office while they were cleaning it out.  They found a letter typed to Fairmont Obstetrics Floor on October 5th ,1981. One week after I was born my mom and dad typed a letter to the Staff thanking them for the special birth experiences with Marisa Joy on September 28th.  Long before it was “cool” to write out your birth story and post it on the internet. Dad and Mom brought out his typewriter and wrote mine out.

Mine was the first birth that they were allowed to have “very little interference.” Dad got to “weigh Marisa and measure her and I liked knowing she was in sight.”  Mom remember, ” my other babies being taken away from me shortly after birth.  I remember many anxious moments I had wondering about my babies as they were separated from me.  That’s probably why I think about Marisa’s birth with complete Joy!” 

Then my parents pack up and went home, “only four hours after delivery.” This is why they said the did this, ” We chose to have an early discharge from the hospital…Probably the biggest reason we wanted to get home was our other children ages ten, nine, and four.  We really felt they needed to be apart of this unique experience in some way- after all they lived through nine months of my pregnancy also.  Our children were happily surprised to greet their new sister when they awoke in the morning and enjoyed going up to my bed to see me and Marisa at any time.’ Perhaps our four year old benefited the most by having me there to assure her I still loved her and helping her adjust to being a big sister.  She is extremely tender and gentle with Marisa so far.  The older two also have gotten very attached to her and race to where ever she is after school to hold, kiss and love their little sister.”  

Yep, folks I was born at 2 in the morning and mom and dad were home before 7.   The were confident in their care but wanted to get home so that they could start being a family of six.  At the end of the letter they put a p.s. written by me, ” To the nurses and Dr, Thank you for making my birth so gentle. I hope more babies can have a birth like mine. It’s an interesting letter to write to your hospital and probably an even more letter to keep as a keepsake.  But I treasure the care and thought that my parents helped to bring me into this world with

Today I will teach school and hang out with the kids, go out to eat and then go swimming.  Sounds like a great birthday to celebrate 34 years of life.


Happy 5th Birthday Lillian!


Dear Lillian,

Today is the day you have been waiting for since you turned 4 years old last year. This is the day that you have been asking about and counting down with your fingers.  You are officially 5 years old.  You woke up with a huge smile and a birthday breakfast of surprise cinnamon rolls.  It’s getting harder to surprise you because you wanted to plan most of your birthday party.

Dad and I have been trying to shrink you down a bit because you are getting too  tall and so mature.  You are my big Kindergarten girl.  You love to look at books and read to your sister, even though you say that you are just making up the words.  You get the biggest smiles from Leeland.  This morning he just kept smiling at you during breakfast.  You said, that his smiles were his birthday present to you.

You are still small enough to want to crawl in to bed with me in the morning, snuggle on mom and dad’s lap during a movie and be tickled by dad when he comes home. However, you are big enough to make a peanut butter sandwiches all by yourself for lunch, big enough to ask dad how his day was at work, and big enough to help entertain Leeland in the family room by yourself.

You love to Learn. My prayer for you as your Mom and your teacher is that you always “LEARN WITH JOY”. Learn how to read, how to write, how to to be content, and how to Learn more about God with lots of JOY.

Happy Birthday my Sweet Lillian Louise!