Nat turns 9

Five years have passed in the snap of my fingers.  It seems like this nugget has gone from my timid, Mandarin speaking pre-schooler who couldn't believe she was receiving a birthday gift all her own to a "tell you exactly what's on her mind" fluent English speaker who relishes in the spotlight in no time flat.  

And yet when I pause to consider, I can hardly believe it has been only five years and a month that this girl has been mine.

her "All About Me" book that she has mostly completed by now

So much growth...and not just in height.

She has developed a sense of style all her own.  And she's bold enough to pull off pretty much whatever she just goes with her personality.

(though Mama wasn't quite ready for her personality to say no more fluffy, sequined skirts)

This one.

She's gonna change the world.

Because she is a force to be reckoned with.
Yes, admittedly there are days that "Hurricane Natalie" arrives and we all evacuate the immediate area to avoid being caught up in the aftermath.
But most of the time that force is for good.
She's not one that is going to let social injustice happen on her watch.
I'm just grateful to be along for the ride!

Natalie ZhangYun, from the moment I first laid eyes on your picture, I loved you.  Paperwork and government clearances just couldn't come fast enough.  We've learned so much in the five years we've been mother and daughter...our clumsy dance moves are almost rhythmic by now.
I look forward to seeing how you change this world for the better!
I love you always,

{Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.} ~ Helen Keller


My heart walks outside my chest...

Sometimes he drives them insane.
And the feeling is mutual right back at them.
But most of the time they're crazy about him.

We could have missed this.


a dozen years of Caleb

My dear son...

For your 8th birthday you requested, "the crunchy stuff with the brown sauce." And Daddy and I never could figure out what you were talking about.
Tonight on your 12th we stumbled upon 
"the crunchy stuff with the brown sauce," by accident as a side dish at a Thai restaurant new to us. 
Sorry it took four years...

Thankfully you didn't hold it against us.  That's one thing I can say about manage to be the epitome of "happy go lucky" and very, very rarely find reason to frown or to hold a grudge.

And offering you carbs, especially in the form of Asian noodles (Pad See Ew in tonight's case), for the past four years didn't hurt.

You my son find joy in the simple things.  

A fudgy chocolate cake with Nutella ganache, Coco whip and strawberries elicits that megawatt smile.

I probably shouldn't tell you but there isn't much I wouldn't do for that smile.  Thankfully it comes often.

Watching you blow out your candles reminded us of your amazing sense of humor.  Being around you is pretty much a guarantee to share a few of those smiles.  Your quick wit and often subtle sense of what is funny keeps us on our toes.  I have to pay attention to make sure I don't miss something bound to make me laugh...or groan.

You are one of the most easy going kids I know.  Siblings assisting opening your gifts?  No worries.  You know that in the end the gifts will be in your hands and don't stress about the added hands.

A Barnes and Noble gift card (you're currently wavering between another Minecraft guide book, some Harry Potter stuff or a few Percy Jackson books), a Garmin step tracker, and a set of 64 bb size rare earth magnets rounded out your birthday list.

I think one of my favorite parts of watching you open your gifts was seeing the recognition that I had remembered about the magnets.  While you are spontaneous and fast moving, you do catch details that many others the fact that we had seen those magnets together months ago and you realized I had held onto that little detail.

BTW, I'm sorry about the flowers that appear to be sprouting out of your head in your gift pictures.  Of any of our kids though, you're the one least likely to be stressed about something so silly when  you look back on these pictures later.

Ten years ago my heart ached on this day knowing you turned two half a world away from me.  But today my heart soars for knowing you.  You are an "all in" kid...putting your heart, emotions and activity level to the full.  It's interesting to note that in Hebrew, the name Caleb literally translates to "whole hearted."  I suspect that's why God whispered your name to me the very second I saw your picture for the first time.  He knew you would be one to whole heartedly embrace life...

Your happiness is contagious and your personality draws others to you.  May you always be confident enough to march to your own drum and invite others along for the journey.

I am beyond blessed to be the one you whole heartedly call Mom.  With all of my heart, I love you!


Because pumpkin...

When your evening schedule is too busy for a post dinner run to Goodberry's on pumpkin opening day, you have lunch dessert. 

For our family Goodberry's on September 30th is a yearly tradition.  Or at least my Facebook memories would suggest it so...


...and somehow she's halfway through this last year before she's a teen...

(Actually she's two days into this second half, school open house and hurricane prep pushed us back about 48 hours. thankfully she's cool as long as the chocolate covered, custard filled comes before long)
Happy 12 & 1/2 K-Boo!


11 1/2

I love you sweet girl, thank you for being mine!


celebrating our Nugget

Once upon a time our family was the M6 and we felt there was a little spice missing in our lives. Five years ago today we gained that spice and more.

Happy FIVE year Gotcha Day to my spicy nugget. You are the pizzaz the M family was missing all that time. I love you more than all the dumplings in China!