Surrender 79: Weston’s Birthday Party

The family joined together this afternoon to celebrate Weston’s birthday. This adorable little boy, the grandson of my sister Linda, turned three on March 16. He chose to have a Minion/Paw Patrol party theme, and why not? He enjoys both sets of animated characters. That combination made his party as unique as Weston is. 

 I love that this hand crafted minion has hair and eyes that are the same colors as Weston’s!  

 
Although these birthdays seem to roll around quickly, I can recognize the passing of time by observing the birthday boy. Last year, he was a toddler, leaving babyhood behind. This year, Weston is an active, smart, curiosity driven boy, with the role of toddler being assumed by his younger sister, Lola.  

He knew what this celebration was about this year, and he was eager to get his party underway. Told he had to wait for his daddy to get home from work, before he could open presents, Weston was content to play with his cousins…until his daddy walked through the door. The moment Daddy was home, Weston was selecting his first gift to unwrap. 

 

 
 

I laughed at Weston’s no nonsense approach to opening gifts. He carefully removed all the paper from each present and wasn’t distracted by the cheerful ruckus going on around him. As he tore the paper away from one large gift, his mom asked, with enthusiasm, what he had received. Without pausing in his gift reveal, he held up one hand and said firmly, “Not now, Mom.” It was a polite response meaning, Don’t bother me right now Mom…I’m busy!

 

 
  
  

I loved what his mom and dad surprised him with. Like many young children, Weston enjoys watching YouTube videos in which small mystery packages are opened, revealing the surprise within to the audience. It sounds strange to adults, but kids love these videos. The mystery packages are often placed in a huge plastic egg and then covered with playdoh. Weston is blessed with parents who understand their child well. He had fun experiencing the egg full of surprises. 

 

 

  

What a special day, celebrating an amazing little boy. Weston is intelligent and wise, playful and mischievous, and a peacekeeper in the making.  If his cousins are being too rambunctious as they play together, it concerns him. He wants his mom to sort the situation out. He has serious brown eyes that perceive deeply. And a dashing cap of riotous red curls. He loves his family. And his family loves him. 

Happy birthday Weston! I love you. 

  
  

Journey 260: Happy Birthday Adriel

Today my youngest child, daughter Adriel, celebrates another year. She worked last night and so got to sleep a little bit today. I had the opportunity to see her and her fiancé Nate for a short time this evening, to wish her a very Happy Birthday and give her dessert to take home. A new tradition was born last month, when my older daughter Elissa celebrated her birthday. Her dad and I asked what special birthday sweet she would enjoy and we took her chosen dessert to her. Today, I asked Adriel the same question, and not surprisingly, she asked for the same thing…a double doozie chocolate chip cookie from Great American Cookie Company. Because Nate and Adriel were out for dinner, they stopped by my house on the way by, to collect the cookies and visit for a few minutes. As it was with Elissa, it is difficult to believe another year has flown by. Didn’t we just celebrate a milestone birthday for Adriel? And like her sister and brother, it has been quite the journey for her this past year.

Adriel birthday cookie

Adriel has accomplished so much since her last birthday and experienced several major life changes too. After diligently pursuing her goal of graduating from nursing school, she walked across the stage last December, at Crowder College, to receive her diploma. Her dad and I had the honor of pinning on her nurse’s pin, during the ceremony. The tears carried more emotions than just joy. What a tough road this was, and yet this young woman never gave up on her dream, and overcame challenges that would have caused many to quit or at the least, withdraw for a time. I am so proud of her. A couple of months later she passed her board exams on the first try, becoming a RN, attaining the role she first envisioned when she was 14 years old.

Adriel nursing school

Not all of Adriel’s paths were pleasant ones last year, but she lived her life with grace and dignity and held on to her sense of humor and sense of purpose as well. She said good-bye to some people who had journeyed with her for a time, and not without sadness. I trust she will, as I have so often done, look back someday and see and appreciate the gifts that all have brought into her life, and see how she grew through those times. She sold a house that meant a great deal to her, sorted out who she is and where she is heading, and then resolutely turned her face toward a future that is bright with promise. JOURNEY has been a good word for Adriel this year as well, as she has seen the landscapes around her changing, and yet bravely traveled onward and upward.

And there were happy celebrations as well, one of the most significant being her engagement to her sweet Nate. It is good to have traveling companions, and Adriel and Nate journey well together. They have many areas of common interests and they love to seek out adventures. On their days off, I might hear that they are walking trails with their assortment of furry babies, or floating the river with friends or siblings, or visiting a wildlife preserve. Adriel has a close-knit group of friends, her Life Club as they refer to themselves, who are all wonderful traveling companions as well. They encourage and support each other, and have great evenings of fun.

Adriel and Nate

Foremost among those who closely walk with Adriel are her brother, Nathanael, and sister, Elissa. I am so thrilled with the relationship that my adult children have with each other, how supportive they are, and how competitive they can be, in a fun way. Little sister Adriel has always sought to keep up with her older brother and sister, and I think we can all agree that she has, and continues to. This past year, Adriel cheered on both siblings as they married, present for them in more ways than merely attending the ceremonies, a smiling face in the crowd that let both of them know how happy she was for them.

Adriel and her siblings

I trust this next year will go more smoothly for this bright girl, although there are sure to be surprises, delightful ones I hope, and unexpected turns in the path. With her creativity, strength and determination, there’s not anything that Adriel can’t handle or work her way through…she’s proven that. Let your light shine brightly, beautiful child of mine, as you continue to make your way in the world, offering from your kind and compassionate heart. We are all here, walking with you, cheering you on, and today and everyday, celebrating you. Happy birthday, Adriel. I love you so much!

Adriel and Frances

Day 200: Christmas in July

July Xmas other side e

I know many people who celebrate Christmas midyear. However, my family has not done this, until this year. My sisters, our children, all have families and traditions of their own. It is difficult nowadays to get most of us together to celebrate anything! For my first today, I gathered with many members of my extended family to celebrate with a traditional Christmas dinner.

This was a fun day. Another first for me was the privilege of including Joey and Oliver in this family event. My son Nathanael had to work today, and his lovely bride-to-be, Megan, had a day long class at MSSU. They couldn’t join us today, but they allowed the three children to ride to Broken Arrow, OK with Greg and me. I was excited about this, our first outing. I have to say, the kids did great, riding in the car for such distances and playing with cousins. Many more adventures together await us.

July Xmas Greg and Aubrey e

My niece Ashley, and her husband Jon, once again hosted the family for a large dinner. They are such gracious and generous hosts, opening their beautiful home and planning and carrying out these get togethers. Parties are such fun….and a whole lot of work. This young couple focuses on the festive aspect of parties, not the hours of labor involved. I am grateful for them.

Everyone contributed a side dish, sodas or appetizers. Mimi Jerri and Steve brought the chocolate cream pies! Jon deep fried the turkey breast and it was delicious and juicy. We all feasted well and enjoyed a day of visiting, laughing and taking turns keeping an eye on the kids. I was grateful daughter Adriel was able to join us, and grateful for daughter Elissa as well, who was accompanied by boyfriend Josh and his son, Jonathan. Linda’s son Scott and daughter-in-law Nicole were able to be there, with toddler Weston. By the time we say Merry Christmas again, in December, this wonderful couple will have been blessed with a baby daughter. We missed Nate and Megan, my grandson Dayan, who was with his dad, celebrating their Christmas in July this weekend, Adriel’s husband Kelly and Linda’s son Eric and his family. Mom and my stepdad Walter stayed home too, as Walter is recovering from heart surgery.

July Xmas left side e

July Xmas Josh e

We didn’t exchange gifts today, or sing Christmas carols, although we did wish each other a very Merry Christmas. The purpose today was to take time now to get together, as a family, and celebrate life and successes and express love and joy to each other. And those are the greatest of gifts, to offer and to receive.

July Xmas kids e