Dear 2013 ::
There are so many moments of joy that you brought into my life this year 2013... Thank you. I want to start by also stating the fact that just because I had lots of joys in you doesn't mean there weren't several times where I didn't loathe you. :-] I mean, if we're being honest here, which I am... You threw me quite a few curve balls that I completely bombed. However, through those curves you slyly and mischievously placed in my life, I grew. I made lots of mistakes.... Oh boy did I. Mothering has been everything but easy. But I learned -- a boat load. :-] Thank you for that. I grew closer to my God. I realized that I am 100% incapable of the job He has placed me in here with these 5 kiddos. But I've also learned time after time after time after time after time (are you getting the picture yet?) that no matter what circumstances you threw in my face, HE IS BIGGER AND BETTER AND SUSTAINED ME THROUGH THEM ALL. So here's to another year -- bring on 2014! I'm sure you have more curve balls up your sleeve.... but you know what? That's just fine. I have full confidence that my God will go before me this year just like He has every other single time.
Best Regards ::
To My Baby Chui ::
This year was such a whirlwind with you! You have been one of my greatest sources of joy baby boy! Even though you are officially using 4T clothes and you're only 2 (yes, that makes Mommy want to cry incase you were wondering :-]) you will always be my baby boy. On your 2nd birthday this year we discovered by Dr. Duane that you were in the 97% tile for your weight and in the 67% tile for your height. You are one big boy! I'm you will make one amazing football player some day. You absolutely love playing with Soraya. Luisa on the other hand... well sometimes you and her are just about arch enemies. I'm hoping in 2014 you and Ithan can strike up a friendship since your world is basically all women right now. YIKES! You are in love with any animal, especially horses and cows! One of your favorite things to do right now is go see the "click click smooch smooch" (horse) which is about the funniest thing ever when you tell me. Your words are coming slowly -- you're doing a lot of english which is just incredible for me to hear. Don't worry -- you know spanish too and whenever you decide to ignore Mommy (which, lets face it -- is happening more and more these days) I often switch over to spanish for some reason :-] It's funny. We're still mastering potty training. You have no problem peeing on the toilet and really haven't since the day I put you in your little boxer briefs, but going poop... Let's just say Mommy has lost her patience with cleaning up your poopy underwear more than a couple times. :-]
I am so thankful for all the first that you've had this year and praise Jesus for the man He is creating you to be! I stand in awe of what He has done in your life and I know He will continue to change you and mold you into something more amazing than I can even imagine.
I love you!
Dearest Laura ::
How my heart melts at writing this. I think it's safe to say that you have been one of my biggest challenges in 2013... but through the challenges it has brought our hearts so close and has put a deep love for you in my heart! This summer was a big struggle with you after Jessica left. Your emotions were everywhere and you were one scared little girl, in need of some BIG TIME security. At times I wasn't sure what to do with you - but Jesus knew every step of the way what to do. You brought me closer to Jesus :: thank you. :-] You had your first year of kinder and you love your teacher Carissa. She's teaching you so much about your letters, numbers, colors! Everyday after school you come home with pictures and stories about what happened in school that day. I only hope your love for school continues in the future! Glori, Dari, Tania, and Keyla are some of your best friends. You and Glori play together for hours on end when you invite her over. It's really adorable to be honest! We discovered this summer that you really do like melon (remember all the tantrums you use to throw? :-]) You absolutely love doing your hair and getting dressed up. Clothes are just your thing! If I didn't know any better, I would think you were really my daughter. Thank you for making me smile and for all the hugs and snuggle time you give me.
What has surprised me more than anything this year is how much you have learned about Jesus! So often I feel like I fail at showing you who your Savior is and telling you about His incredible stories and His love for you... And more times than not you remind me of how Great and Awesome He is. I'm so thankful that you are learning about Him and how much He is changing you!
I love you Laura!
To Cristina the Beautiful ::
Oh Cris! What a little woman you are becoming before my very eyes. You arrived here a little girl -- but this past year you have matured so much! When you first came to me you were scared, hurt, and caring for all your siblings like a mother. After we got you out of your 'mothering role' you took off in your studies at school and you learned to read so quickly! 2013 was an incredible year for you! Just the other day you commented to me "Rocky, now that I can read, I just read everything that I possibly can! Signs, books, stores, everything!" and you were SO HAPPY! My heart fills to overflowing when I think about how much you have accomplished in such a small amount of time. You love to have responsibility and don't shy away from helping me whenever I ask you to do something. Thank you for being so willing! You love playing with your siblings and do a great job at it too! You have such an incredibly giving heart when it comes to them as well. You always want to share your sweets and toys with them which just utterly amazes me because I don't think I ever would have shared the way you do. :-] Your favorite movies are all the Narnias... and I must say, I kind of like them too. You've just recently started helping more with cooking and are just so adorable in the kitchen by my side.
I hope that in your future you can realize just how beautiful you are and believe it. Jesus has chosen you to be His and I pray that every day you can learn to accept that Truth.
I love you Precious!
Graceful Belinda ::
2013 brought a great deal of changes into your life! You weren't very accepting of some of those changes, but over all you handled everything so well and gracefully! I am proud of you! Heidi left CVE, you came to live at my house, your sister married an amazing godly man and they are expecting their 2nd child together any day now! Your world was turned upside down and yet, through it all, you stayed as sweet as ever! Your demeanor is so tender and caring for others. It's been such a blessing to have you become a part of my home. I love how willing you are to take Chui when he gets restless to go outside and I'm not able to take him myself. You are still inseparable from Nere and Jules. I often call you 3 the Musketeers because you're together all the time. You love having time spent with Dani & Zach and I'm so thankful that they are our neighbors so you can pop by their place whenever you want to. It's been incredible watching Zach's family take you and your sisters in as their own. I praise Jesus for it!
You are becoming a beautiful woman and I pray that you can learn to glorify God in every step of your life. Know that you are loved more than you can imagine!
To My Oldest Belem ::
Well, just like your sister, you've had quite a year of changes too. In some aspects she took the changes better and in some aspects you took the changes better. 2013 was a different year for you and I. We went from being good friends and me mentoring you to WAM me taking care of you! It was a rather smooth transition (PLT for that!) and it quickly felt normal for us. You finished your first year of junior high which was a big deal! You're now in your 2nd year and doing very well. Jazz and you have rekindled your friendship which has been incredible to see blossom again. Without going into details on here, November and December have brought many challenges for our relationship. We're still in the thick of it right now as I type this and it's not pleasant -- for you or I. But what I can tell you is that there is not a single circumstance or object or situation or sin or anything that can make my love for you any less, my child. You have brought me to my knees with Jesus more times than I can count. And while there have been struggles between us, Jesus has never left our side and He never will. I have full confidence that He will guide us through these hard days and we will both be able to smile again and praise Him joyfully after this storms passes. How long that will take... Only God knows. But we can trust that He's here in the thick of it all with us.
In 2014 my prayer and hope for you is that you accept more of the truths God has for you and take them to heart. I pray that you grow closer to Him and that He would bathe you in His love. I pray that you would run to Him and not from Him in the pains of this life and that you would feel His arms steady you in the storms.
Oh, how my heart loves you dear!