It has been an emotional week. Hurricane Harvey made landfall here in Houston six days ago and we have been cooped up while dear friends' houses flood. I feel like it is unreal that today is Mei's birthday; it must just be in my imagination. But like it or not, it is really real. Mei is one. I usually have a hard time coming up with a list of a person's attributes but not for Mei. I have no complaints about her. She is easy to talk about and I am full of praise for what is contained in her tiny, little body. She is moving constantly, getting into everything she can, and smiling the whole while. She is a bundle of joy and curiosity. She is the happiest baby and radiates that glee to everyone around her. She likes to be up to mischief of one kind or anything and when she sees me coming she only moves faster in the crime. I am looking forward to hearing more words from her so I can know what is going on in her mind; it probably has something to do with eating blueberries, smooshing things between her fingers, and climbing stairs. Mei is living up to her name and is everything beautiful.
Today marks 12 years since the day Rachael died. It was a peaceful day thinking of her. This picture used to make me so angry; we all look fabulous and then BAM! Bunny ears. But I saw the picture again today and it warmed my heart. My family is so kooky but I love them all entirely. My memory is imperfect and my brain wears rose-colored glasses but I am convinced my family is the best. While we were in Utah last month, six of the eight siblings were there (missing Flannel and Rachael). It was healing to hear stories of Rachael come up in regular conversation. We all know and love her and it was happy. I am grateful for pens and pictures that are stronger than my memory. I curled up on the couch tonight and cry-watched the video montage of her life and remembered: Rachael was goodness. What an incredible blessing it is to have a family.
I look at Alex and my heart swells and I puff up my chest; I am a proud mom. Alex is such an incredible kid. He is in tune to his feelings and the feelings of those around him. He notices people and wants to help them. He tries to follow the rules. But he is also a kid. He laughs at fart jokes, gets angry when he thinks he has been wronged, and throws a pity party with the best of them. He is eight years old. Unbelievable. I have vivid memories of his birth and now he is making vivid memories of his own. We are so glad to have Alex in our family. He is a gem.
(Camera battery died at the end. "We love you, Alex! Happy birthday!")
Today is our family's birthday. Sam is easy to love and has made these nine years spectacular. A lifetime is not long enough; I am looking forward to eternity with the most kind-hearted person I know. It is amazing how much has changed – and also how much has stayed the same – in the past nine years. I love being married to my best friend.
Today is Tax Day and Declan collected his four birthday hugs multiple times. Declan is the coolest four-year-old around. He is hilariously happy. He has always been even-keeled: the perfect third child. If something is not as he sees fit, he doesn't disagree or throw a tantrum, he just does whatever he wants. He is so calm (i.e. sneaky) about it, he usually gets away with it. He has a very good method to his madness. Sometimes I am surprised by how young he is because he seems so mature but he has hardly four years of experience. One day we were driving somewhere in Sam's car and he asked me why the keys are plugged into the car. Normally he rides in my van which has push button start. He did not know that keys were required to start a car! He is always cracking me up with his quirky and quick outlook. One day he tattled, "Edison stuck his beehive out at me!" He meant "Behind." It was too adorable. Declan rocks at life and we love having him in ours.
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