The sweet 16…

Hallie just had her friend party for her birthday this weekend (even though her birthday was two weeks ago) so I suppose we can finally close the Hallie 16th birthday celebration chapter. She has enjoyed every minute of it though!

We had a local sign company (spellitoutco) come leave her a little message in our front yard. That way everyone in the neighborhood would know we have a new driver on the roads.

We took her lunch at school with treats for her friends and surprised her with some flowers – and to add to her embarrassment, her friends made sure to sing happy birthday over and over again throughout the day. In class. Lunch. Anywhere they possible could!

We talked about having friends over that day for a little party, but her highest priority was to get her driver’s license which involved a road test – anyone that’s done that before knows that it’s an all day ordeal. She didn’t care – it’s the only thing she wanted for her birthday. So we delivered. Actually she delivered because she passed and got her official driver’s license on her birthday.

After she officially passed her driver’s test we came home to open presents with family before everyone scattered to their activities for the night.

Being an official driver she went and picked up a friend and they made the rounds to grab birthday treats and drinks – by themselves!! This is some serious freedom and they could not contain their excitement. Our lives have just drastically changed – and her friends are excited that one of them is finally a licensed driver. I have a feeling I’m going to see a lot more of these kind of pictures on Hallie’s phone.

She is good to the core and so much fun, but all the birthday fun must come to an end. You only turn 16 once and she nailed it!

Hunter’s birthday…

We’re in a busy season of life and the birthdays came hard and fast at us this fall. I always feel like Hunter’s birthday is always the start of the fall/holiday madness. I know once his birthday arrives everything moves at warped speed and this year was no different so I’m playing a little catch-up for Hunter’s birthday a while back. Hunter had two birthday requests: a pair of nikes and a hooded changing towel for the lake, as random as that sounds. Luckily, I was able to deliver on both accounts (which involved me texting Hallie repeatedly from Nike to make sure I was buying “cool” shoes!)

His birthday fell on a Sunday so he was home with us all day to celebrate and we gathered with family at night for treats. He’s easy to please and even more fun to celebrate.

Pure excitement on that kid’s face. (and the shock on Cannon’s face!) Steve was skeptical on the gifts but we followed his list and nailed it! 🙂

We took the traditional birthday growth chart photos and he’s grown leaps and bounds.

When we first started shooting these photos years ago he could barely hold the board – now it’s not too long before he’ll probably out grow it all together. At least he’s hoping he hits 6ft – lofty goals for a new teenager!

He’s another year older and wiser too…

Birthday girl…

This popped up in my Facebook memories from 14 years ago and it made my heart stop. My first, and only child (at the time) – almost two years old. We were living in Milwaukee and on an unseasonably warm October afternoon, we found ourselves outside waiting for Steve to come home, pulling the wagon up and down the sidewalk. She was a handful – full of spunk and sass.

I could not get enough of her blonde curls. And then after one haircut – they were gone – never to return again. Now, she would give anything for those blonde curls!

Here’s a snapshot of Hallie at sixteen years old.

She has been driving for 6 months now with a permit and she can’t wait to get her driver’s license. And Steve and I can’t wait for her to be able to drive herself to and from her activities. Although I will really miss our late night conversations on the way home from picking her up at a friend’s house.

She is a great student. She may not always enjoy being a great student, but she always puts in the effort. Even when she’s taking an online history course that makes her want to poke her eyes out.

Hallie is social – but doesn’t love hosting. She loves her friends and makes new friends easily, but STRONGLY dislikes the pressures of coming up with things to do and making sure everyone is happy and comfortable.

She always keeps her fingernails painted. She has her own gel kit and she has perfected the art.

She makes it easy to look up to her and her brothers adore her. It’s fun to see the unique relationship she has with each of her siblings. As Hunter gets older, their relationship has morphed into friends, not siblings, and I think they look forward to the one year they will share in high school.

She has worked so hard at tennis and it hasn’t always come easy. We were just talking the other day about how lonely tennis can be at times and how hard it was for her when she first started competing a few years back. The pressure would almost be too much to handle and it made her anxious and perform poorly. She has focused on mental toughness and has made some serious progress.

She follows the rules – which makes it easy to trust her and give her more freedom. I don’t know if we’ll be as lucky with all of our boys so we are currently cherishing this teenager.

Hallie is so much more than I could have ever prayed for in a daughter. She had me worried going through the terrible twos and even threes and fours, but she is far more pleasant than I could have imagined. 🙂 I get emotional just thinking about how much goodness radiates from her and how much joy she brings to my life.

Happy sweet 16!

He’s 8…

One year older and taller too…

The highlights of his birthday included:

Getting a Pop-it in his birthday bucket, because he “never thought he have the opportunity to have one!” (kids are surprisingly simple!)

Getting checked out of school for a lunch at Taco Bell, his choice, and his Dutch Brothers birthday smoothie.

Going inside the Mesa Temple during the public open house with his grandparents visiting.

And finally going to the BYU creamery next to the temple for his birthday treat – and having the entire crowded shop join us in singing Happy Birthday to him.

It’s great to be 8!

Birthday boy…

We have another birthday in the family.

Here’s a snapshot of Cannon:

His hair is still unmanageable. We cut it short and it sticks up. We keep it long and it sticks up. There is no amount of gel that can keep it under control and its been like this since he was a baby.

I just had parent/teacher conferences and his teachers were in agreement that he’s a leader in the class and is always willing to help other kids.

He’s slightly mischievous – not like Hunter – but in his own right. Sometimes when I ask him a question, (such as, are those clean socks?) he tilts his head and gives me a slight grin and I can see the wheels in his head turning as he gives his answer and then I’m questioning whether the answer he gave me was true! 

We just had a boy move in next door and this is the first time Cannon has ever had a friend within walking distance. He suddenly has a new found freedom not having to arrange a playdate and he is in heaven.

He still comes home with a shoe full of sand from the school playground and despite my best efforts to have kids empty shoes when they get home, somehow his room looks like a sandbox.

He just started some tennis lessons as his first introduction into the world of sports and he loves it. Not sure if it’s tennis he loves, or the idea of participating in a sport. Either way, he’s always excited when it’s tennis day.

He loved games when he was little and he still loves games today.

He is a talker. When he tells you a story, you better sit down. When you ask about his day – he will tell you. Every detail. Sometimes I’m convinced the event he’s telling me about isn’t nearly as long as the version he tells me. I love it. 

He’s requested Taco Bell for lunch and a Dutch Brothers smoothie for a treat – I think I can deliver on both accounts!