love letter to a 7th grader

Dear Charissie,

Today I dropped you off for your first day of 7th grade. I won’t lie, I cried a little after I finally got out of the madhouse that is the streets surrounding your school. I didn’t cry because I was so sad to be dropping you off but because I am just in awe of the wonderful person you have become and are in the process of becoming. What a joy! What a gift it has been watching you blossom.

I am so proud to be your big sister. I am just honestly so proud to know you. I’ve known lots and lots of kids your age throughout my life and I have to say that you are the most amazing of them all. I feel like when someone first said the phrase “march to the beat of your own drum,” they had you in mind.

It’s mind-boggling how much that phrase applies to you. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you are so apologetically authentic in who you are. There’s no real box you fit into at all — you have friends in all kinds of groups, your interests are crazy-varied, and your humor is ridiculous. You are both a tomboy and a little girly at times. And you’re perfect. I wouldn’t wish you to be any other way. I want lots of things for you in the future, but more than anything else I want you to remain undefined by the world.

When I dropped you off, I said all of the things I always say when I get to take you to school, whether it’s the first day or the hundredth: have a great day, learn something, I love you. But because today feels heavier and more significant than usual, I added a few new ones this year: be brave, be kind, be the best Charisse you can be. You rolled your eyes a little at me as you gave me a kiss and a hug, but those are my three wishes for you, three things I am praying for you this school year.

Be brave, my sister. It takes such courage to be brave. I hope you can be brave with your life so others learn from you how to brave with their lives. I hope you are brave in big ways but also in small ways, in ways that only you can fully understand and appreciate. I pray you are brave when others are mean or fearful or hurtful. I pray that you’re brave and you take risks, even if it means you will fail sometimes. Be brave enough to try and fail, because you’ll be brave enough to grow.

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Be kind, my lady man. There is enough cruelty in this world. You can contradict that poison with your gentleness, your compassion, and your love for others — it all comes from your kindness, your healing words. I’ve seen you do this with your friends. Keep doing it, every day. It is who you are and it is and will continue to make a difference.

Be the best Charisse you can be, my Charissie. You weren’t meant to be any other person. You weren’t meant to be like Heidi or Jane or Jader or Emma or anyone else but you and I love you exactly as you are. I tell our broken-hipped, noodle-necked Penny-dog all the time, “I wouldn’t want a Penny-dog any other way because it’s what makes you you” and even though you’re not a dog, the same applies. You are authentic because you embrace yourself fully. Be the best you. Don’t settle for less or for being someone else. Don’t let others convince you that you need to change.

I read a book recently called The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White. White describes a scene where the main bird, Louis, is flying for the first time.

Louis was more excited than he had ever been. “I wonder if I can really do it?” he thought. “Suppose I fail! Then the others will fly away, and I will be left here all alone on this deserted pond, with winter approaching, with no father, no mother, no sisters, no brothers, and no food to eat when the pond freezes over. I will die of starvation. I’m scared.”

In a few minutes, the cob glided down out of the sky and skidded to a stop on the pond. They all cheered. “Ko-hoh, ko-hoh, beep beep, beep beep!” All but Louis. He had to express his approval simply by beating his wings and splashing water in his father’s face.

“All right,” said the cob. “You’ve seen how it’s done. Follow me, and we’ll give it a try. Extend yourselves to the utmost, do everything in the proper order, never forget for a minute that you’re all swans and therefore excellent fliers, and I’m sure all will be well.”

They all swam downwind to the end of the pond. They pumped their necks up and down. Louis pumped his harder than any of the others. They tested the wind by turning their heads this way and that. Suddenly the cob signaled for the start. There was a tremendous commotion — wings beating, feet racing, water turned to a froth. And presently, wonder of wonders, there were seven swans in the air — two pure white ones and five dirty gray ones. The takeoff was accomplished, and they started gaining altitude.

Louis was the first of the young cygnets to become airborne, ahead of all his brothers and sisters. The minute his feet lifted clear of the water, he knew he could fly. It was a tremendous relief — as well as a splendid sensation.

“Boy!” he said to himself. “I never knew flying could be such fun. This is great. This is sensational. This is superb. I feel exalted, and I’m not dizzy…

I was thinking about you and then a song called “Born to Run” came on the radio. I heard the lyrics, “Baby, we were born to run” and I thought about you and then Louis as he flies for the first time.

You weren’t born to run, my Goosie.

You might be scared to try that first time, but baby, you were born to fly. I am watching your body take flight, and let me tell you, sister, it is superb.

You are my greatest joy.

Love forever,
Sissy

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Harry Potter birthday party

On Saturday we celebrated Charisse’s 12th birthday (which was actually on the 12th, but she was in Oregon in the snow on her big day!). We’ve been planning a Harry Potter-themed party for her for months, buying things online here and there and stashing in the garage. A few weeks ago, Charisse, me, and our mama had a brainstorming session for the party to figure out everything we were going to do. And yesterday, in perfect So Cal sunshine, the big day arrived! It was a long and tiring day (and my calves are screaming at me today, complete with middle-of-the-night Charlie horse) but so fun and perfect. Charisse loved it and had the best time with her friends.

First things first. We definitely put the Gryffindog, Hufflepup, and Slytherrat (Pepper, Penny, and Chloe) in the office so they didn’t run around these 12 crazy girls.

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Each student was sent an acceptance letter to Hogwarts (on parchment and sealed with red wax, of course!). Inside the letter was a ticket inviting them to take the train from Platform 9 3/4.

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Her buddy Emma came over before the rest of the girls arrived. They were trying on the sorting hat. Students were instructed to wear white shirts and black bottoms.

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Meanwhile, in the kitchen, the house elves named Krista and Melanie were slaving cooking from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook. Charisse picked out these peas and potatoes (and she is obsessed with them a few days after the fact, too, and I don’t blame her because they were pretty tasty!). We grabbed four roasted chickens from the grocery store (and let me tell you, 12 little girls turned four chickens into scraps — they have giant appetites!) and a couple of Casar salads. Charisse also requested mint-cucumber water.

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Outside, the tables were getting set up. There was a banner for each of the two houses represented (Gryffindor and Ravenclaw). Each house tables was complete with appropriatly-colored plates and wax candles. (We did have to move most of the candles off during dinner because they kids had a feast and there wasn’t enough room for candles and delicious food.)

candles

These candles were so great at setting the ambiance of the night and really easy to do. It’s just brown glass jars that had kombucha in them. Charisse drank it and then we peeled the labels off (that part was hard — a blow dryer is your friend!). The white candles were purchased at Target. And once the wax started the melt down the sides of the candles and jars, it was a thousand times cooler.

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We had a sorting ceremony but before we could do it all of the girls had to arrive. Two of the students were coming from a play rehearsal so the other girls went outisde and had some fun in the photobooth. Most of the images here were made from googling things and from using word and a free Harry Potter font. Pretty easy and way fun! The props are glued to cardstock and the sticks attached to them are actually Wilton Cake Pop Sticks from Micheal’s.

sorting hat

Once all of the students arrived, we read the Sorting Hat’s rhyme from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (and we eliminated the verses about Hufflepuff and Slytherin since we didn’t have those houses at the party). Each of the girls put a hat on and then drew a slip of paper from a bucket. The papers had pictures of the house shields on them and we would announce in a loud voice “Ravenclaw!” or “Gryffindor!” There were an even number of girls at the party (12) so we had six slips for Gryffindor and seven for Ravenclaw (Charisse was in Gryffindor so she didn’t actually take out a piece of paper).

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Class photo! All the girls, including the three high school prefects, got together for a picture before the madness began. Look how sweet they look there together!

After they were sorted, we broke up into houses and went to class! Ravenclaws started with me in Transfiguration, where we played the grossest and funniest game ever: Beanboozled. I have no pictures of this which is a good thing because it involved lots of screaming and dramatic faces while spitting out half-cheweed jelly beans into a bowl. You know what’s gross? A bowl full of half-chewed jelly beans and saliva that smells like barf, dog food, skunk spray, boogers, and more.

The Gryffindor students started their class in Potions, where they used essential oils, shea butter, avocado oil, and water to make a perfume, a spray, or a lotion. Their classroom smelled a thousand times better! We switched classes after about 20 minutes.

Once classes was over, it was time for dinner in the Great Hall! First the girls picked up a formal gown to wear with their uniforms and then they went to their house’s tables and enjoyed their dinner. I have never seen such small humans each so much meat.

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Once dinner was done, it was time for everyone’s favorite: presents! Charisse has the best friends. There were so many handwritten notes and homemade cards with her presents. These girls love her well. presents

That’s Bill over there on the left and in front of all the presents. A little girl named Mia made Bill, which is a replica of The Monster Book of Monsters, a textbook selected by Hagrid.

mamadaddyspresent This is my favorite series of pictures from the evening. She saw this full set of books at Target not long after Christmas while we were shopping. They were $70 and she had $100 to spend. She wanted them and I said, “Your birthday is in a few weeks so wait.” Mama and Daddy got them for her and while I think she was expecting tons of Harry Potter presents, this wasn’t something she anticipated. Her face just kills me! She loves that the spines of the book make a picture of Hogwarts and I don’t blame here.

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Dessert was a bundt cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes — a lemon layer and a cinnamon swirl layer. Daddy-man was responsible for the awesome quidditch hoops. That cake was AMAZING.

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We took a quick picture of everyone in their gowns, which they took off after dinner. Then it was movie time! What Harry Potter party is complete without the birthday girls’ favorite HP movie, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban? We played bingo to keep the attention of some of the girls who wouldn’t be interested in otherwise.

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And then the night was over! (Let’s be real, this was a five-hour party so no one left feeling like it was too short!) Lots of planning and lots of fun. This girl was pretty overjoyed at the whole evening and went to bed very happy.

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messy time

It is June 10.

It’s a warm, beautiful day.

Today Charisse is promoting from fifth grade to middle school.

And I am in disbelief.

Yesterday, I was looking through my Timehop app and I saw a post from six years earlier. It said:

At Charisse’s preschool graduation. I cannot believe this little girl will be a kindergartener soon! I remember when she was a little baby!

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Six years from today, twelve years from when that last post was written, I will look back on the words bouncing around in my heart today: At Charisse’s fifth grade promotion. I cannot believe this little girl will be a sixth grader soon! I remember when she was a baby kindergartener.

Six more years seems like nothing… but in six more years she will be getting ready to start her senior year of high school. Time is messy to me like that… Six years ago she was a tiny girl and in six years she will be a woman.

But right now, in this here-and-now, she is perfect. I don’t want to wallow in missing her childhood too much, but I also don’t want to speed things up. I want to love her right now. Today. I want to fully love the young lady who loves Harry Potter and is a self-proclaimed tomboy, the swimmer who shaves off seconds at her swim meets. I want to embrace this person who has compassion for animals but especially for dogs. I want to laugh until my belly hurts because of the ridiculous things she says and hug her when middle school girls are mean and tell her how I survived because that’s what big sisters do. I want to ride bikes and play board games and talk about books and do crafts and enjoy the heck out of this time with her.

It is an honor and privilege, one I don’t take lightly, to be this girl’s big sis. I feel so much pride as I see her today, strong and confident. She is my very favorite and I feel so, so insanely lucky to get to love her alongside her mama and daddy.

Happy promotion day, you middle school smarty pants!

#HappyBirthdayHoogle!

Dear Charisse,

Today you are ten years old. It’s been more than three thousand days since I met you for the first time. Closer to four thousand if we are doing an estimate. That’s crazy. It seems like I was just meeting you for the first time and yet it seems like I’ve known you for a thousand years – quite the paradox.

Holding my sissy-missy on her birth day.

Holding my sissy-missy on her birth day.

Oh sissy, I just love this first picture of me holding you. From the moment I saw you, I loved you. I loved you before you were born, yes, but it was different. I didn’t know you. It wasn’t until I met you on February 12, 2004 that I realized how deep love can run in our veins. You won’t know until you’re an auntie or a mama how much love it’s possible to possess. Thank you for giving me that love. It has changed my heart and my life forever – if it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t know how to love people the way I do. Someday I hope you get to love my own littles the way I love you – unceasingly. without end. infinitely.

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You are the most amazing kid I know. May your tenth birthday be the start point of growing even more creative, kind, intelligent, beautiful, and compassionate. If I could, I would give you the world – but I know you don’t need me to because you’re already going out there and making a difference in the lives of other people.. Keep on kicking booty and taking names.

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As we celebrate this tenth birthday, I want to tell you:

Live adventurously.

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Take the world by storm. 

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Hold it captive.

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Inspire – others and yourself.

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Do good.

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Keep on going good, even when people laugh at you.

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Dream mammoth dreams.

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Live an exorbitantly large life.

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Fly.

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Soar.

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Be marvelous you.

I love with so much starfish,
Sissy

2013 Christmas Card

I always feel a little bit like a goofball sending out a Christmas card as a single woman. I mean. I don’t have a husband with interesting stuff going on in his life. I don’t have kids. I don’t even have dogs of my own to take pictures of. So this is my Christmas card to you and a recap of 2013 (because I’m failing at my goal of blogging once a week throughout the rest of the year!).

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2 Things About This Card:

1. I feel like it’s kind of blurry but I tried so hard to make it not. Oh well.
2. It’s incredibly difficult to put yourself, alone, on a card without feeling kind of like an idiot. Oh well. Laughing at myself.

Book updates (important things first!)

Ok, first of all, I have given myself some high expectations for this year, having read 80 books last year. But it’s been a ridiculously busy year and as of today, I’ve only read 34  (with maybe two more about to be finished). I’ve read a pretty decent amount of meh books, but here are my top three:

bookcollageGone Girl | Someday, Someday, Maybe | …And Ladies of the Club

Gone Girl was so crazy and mind-trippy and AWESOME. I also like Flynn’s book Sharp Objects; however, I avoided Dark Places because of some issues that weirded me out and I later found out it has elements of Satanic worship in it. Someday, Someday, Maybe is the debut novel of Lauren Graham (yes… my beloved Lorelai Gilmore) and I loved it so much. I can’t wait for her second book! I would recommend …And Ladies of the Club to anyone who enjoyed Gone with the Wind.

My sissy girl

I feel lucky enough to get to be an ongoing part of this wonderful little girl’s life. She is so funny and makes me laugh incessantly. The joy she brings to my life is unending. She finished third grade and started fourth this year. She excels in pretty much everything she does (two awards this year for writing/language arts!) and is doing so well at swimming. I love watching the person she is becoming – she unfolds a little more each day and she’s amazing. She is a compassionate little person who loves animals. Her tender heart moves me. There aren’t enough words in the English language to describe how I feel about her!

Work

I was blessed to receive a fantastic job in May at the church I attend. I had been working for a tax firm with a friend and knew my job was going to come to an end the day after my 30th birthday. I tried, in a sudden moment of panic, to take things into my control but God had other plans for me. I’ve been here almost eight months and I can’t believe how fulfilled I am at the end of every day. There are moments where I think, “Yeah, I got this. I’m a pro at this job!” and I get all caught up in my own strength and pride and God humbles me massively. He is so good and has been so good to me this year!

Dogs

Well, I couldn’t let this card go without mentioning my furry loves! In January, my family adopted a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy who was 12 weeks. She is currently just over a year – she is our wonderfully crazy Penny dog (known by a zillion nicknames, including Pennifer, Penny pup, Penny pooch, Pen-pen, and ding dong). Sadly, not long after we welcomed her into our family, the painful, heart-breaking decision was made to put Baytor down. She had a degenerative nerve disease that caused the quality of her life to drop rapidly, and she was suffering and in pain. It would have been selfish for us to hold onto her simply because we weren’t ready to let go. She will never leave our hearts – our So Big made a lasting impact on all four of us. I am so thankful for the opportunity to spend thirty minutes the night before lying with her on her bed, petting her and telling her how much she meant to me. I cried and I snuggled her for that last time. It was so special. She was put down on February 22 – and little did we know, on February 21, a tiny little rottie who would come into our lives was being born. That dog came to us six weeks later and she is now our 10-month rottie named Pepper. At first she reminded me so much of Baytor, and that was both comforting and sad. But now that’s she’s nearly full-grown, she is different different different! She is a fully, happy pup and I love that she rounds out the trio. Chole is still here. She still has no front teeth and thinks she’s the queen dog. She loves to snuggle (currently she is right against me as I type!). I love this wonky, wacky, weird pack of dogs.

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3 amigos (Penny, Baytor, Chloe) | Penny | Chloe | Pepper

That’s all she wrote! 2013 was a good, good year. I can’t wait to see what 2014 brings me way!

the circle game

Good morning, my super silly sister,

Today is the first day of 4th grade. I’m so terribly excited for you, but I keep staring at the calendar in disbelief. It seems like it was just June and we were making tentative plans for me to take you to school for your first day. Where did summer go? There’s a song called “The Circle Game” I heard about in high school by a singer named Joni Mitchell. The song repeats these lines:

And the seasons they go ’round and ’round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look behind
From where we came,
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

I don’t expect you to understand this now, or even when you’re old enough for me to give you all of these letters I’ve written to you on birthdays and first days. More and more, though, my Goosie, I am caught up in the sensation that we are moving forward too fast to understand. I have loved this summer with you, and we will have more summers together, but my heart and my breath catch knowing that next summer that comes will make you one more year older. I wish, sometimes, that I could freeze you in this moment of life, but I know that it’s impossible, and besides – I would miss out on the great person that you are in the process of being and becoming.

A few days ago, you and I were getting lunch at Urbane Cafe and while we were walking into the store, we were having a conversation about how cool I am. You stopped and put your little hand up and said, “Wait, wait, wait. Back that train up.” I couldn’t help but laugh because you say that funniest things I’ve ever heard come out of a kid’s mouth. Maybe it’s because you’ve spent your life surrounded by adults who speak to you like an adult, maybe it’s because you are an incredibly bright, creative kid – but you make me laugh every single time I see you. I love that about you. As you’ve gotten older and you’ve figured out that you are a witty weirdo, you’ve learned how to use it to your advantage. Thank you for making me laugh, my littlest love.

Oh Charissie girl. This year is going to fly by, I just know it. I don’t want to rush it away, but I know that’s what’s going to happen. I’ve learned from years past that I snap a picture of you on the last day of school, shaking my head in disbelief that the year is done. I hope when you are on the cusp of fifth grade that we can look back and see that fourth grade was the best year of your life. It will be, I hope and pray, the year of your bravery.

Be brave this year, my sis. You have had nearly ten years of being yourself. Mama and Daddy and as a result me have always let you be who you are: a quirky, independent thinker. You are truly a free spirit. You know what you like and what you don’t. You have a sense of identity that most people never fully develop in their entire lives. Live up to that, kiddo. Be brave and be you. The ones who love you best wouldn’t want your bold, sparky self in any other configuration. When peer pressure tries to change and reshape you, withstand it. That’s what bravery is – fighting to be authentic in the face of popularity. You are the most authentic child I know and I love that about you.

Be brave when it comes to others, too. Your little heart is so full of love and compassion – give it freely this year. Be kind to the ones who need it the most. Stand up to the bullies and befriend the underdog. I know it will be hard, but Goosie, you’re already a world-changer. Don’t stop now. Change the world for another boy or girl who doesn’t know how to be brave yet. Give them that gift, because you can teach it to your classmates better than any adult possibly can. Love those who seem unlovable and watch them grow.

Be braver than you think you are, sweet girl. Don’t lose your voice in the crowd. Last night you told me, “We only get morning recess and lunch recess this year. They think we’re more mature.” You are. Yes, you are more mature. But don’t forget you’re just a kid still. Ask us for help. Be brave enough to know that we are your family, and we will help you be a kid. I tell you all the time that you have the rest of your life to be a grown up, and sissy, I mean it. Fight the need to be a teenager. Resist the pull to fall in line. If your friends are racing toward adulthood, it’s okay, and maybe the bravest of all, to keep your feel firmly planted in your childhood. Crushes and dances and parties will come as the years slide past us. Don’t worry about them now.

This year, build a mission. Be in the Gold Rush play. Sing to your heart’s content. Imagine and create and invent worlds and games at school and at home. Enjoy this time.

I love you so much, my sister mister. I am so thankful and thrilled to be a part of your life. I can’t wait to hear what this day has brought you.

Love you always and forever,
Sissy

You light up my life

Dear Crazy Sissy Missy,

Nine years ago today we met for this first time. It was easily the best day of my life. There was a lot of fear in it for me, because I had no idea how you would change mama and dada’s world, and in turn, my own world. You were an unknown whose consequences I could not possibly imagine or figure out. But the first time I held you in my arms, it didn’t matter how you would change my relationship with mama and dada. Because you were here, and it meant that you changed me.

Happy birthday, baby! We meet for the first time.

Happy birthday, baby! We meet for the first time. You were so teeny-tiny.

And now you’re nine. It’s unbelievable, really. It doesn’t feel like it’s been nine years since I was driving the Rocha kids to school as their nanny, all the while waiting anxiously for my phone to ring to tell me you were here. I couldn’t wait to find out whether Sprout, as we fondly called you, was a girl or a boy. And my phone rang in the eight o’clock hour, and it was mama, and she said, “Charisse is here. She was born at 7:45. She’s healthy. You can come by later and meet her.”

Uh-oh. Didn't they read your shirt?!?!

Uh-oh. Didn’t they read your shirt?!?!

Sissy, you won’t understand this now, but as I write these words I have tears in my eyes.

Your half birthday a few years ago. Always we take goofy pictures together.

Your half birthday a few years ago. Always we take goofy pictures together.

I met you and I fell in love. I hope some day you get to know what it feels like to love someone the way I love you. I’m not your mama but I love you so much I feel like I could burst sometimes. I hope you get to be a mama and an auntie someday to my own kids and get the wonderful job of loving them just like I love you. The way I feel about you is something I wish everyone felt about someone else at one point in their lives.

Hanging out on your bed on Christmas day.

Hanging out on your bed on Christmas day.

You truly are the light of my life. You are one of the few people who can make me so mad (hellooo, slow poke!) and five minutes later have me laughing so hard I’m crying. I seriously cannot believe some of the things that come out of your mouth sometimes. I know it won’t be long before mama calls me or texts me to tell me “Guess whose sassy mouth got her sent to the principal’s office today.” Some of your recent gems:

Me, playing a game: “Name the three primary colors.”
You: “Red, while, and blue!”

You, being gross: “I’ve given myself a Dutch oven. It’s actually quite delightful.”

Me: “What’s the name of your choir concert?”You: “It’s the ‘Share the Joy’ [insert eight-year-old air quotes around that] concert.”
Me: “Uh, that’s not how you use air quotes. Why are you using them?”
You: “Because ‘I’m already it the concert!’ [more air quotes there]”

Mama: “Reesie, you have cream cheese around your mouth.”
You: “I know. I’m saving it for later.”

Beaver teeth in Photo Booth, your favorite.

Beaver teeth in Photo Booth, your favorite.

My Goosie Girl, I just love you so much. You are one of the happiest kids I have ever met. Seriously, me and mama and dada are always commenting about how happy you always are. You love to giggle and it’s easy to make you laugh, whether it’s with a cheesy joke, a wrestling match, unexpected zerberts, ticking that spot behind your knee, or watching America’s Funniest Video (once you asked me, “Sissy, why is it so funny when they get hurt?!”), we can almost always get a giggle out of you. And your imagination! Even though we live in a world where all you have ever known is technology, I love that you can put down the iPod and computer and play. You love to tell stories and make books with paper, and just last week you and Maddy took about a hundred cardboard boxes out of the recycling bin and turned them into a village for your zoo of Littlest Pet Shops. You name — and remember the names! — of all of your stuffed animals. You’re a dog lover and so compassionate when it comes to animals. You enjoy trying new foods and can gobble sushi with the best of them.

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Penny pup loves.

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Lovin’ on So So Big is a Dog.

But what I love the most is that you’re just you. You haven’t lost your individuality. You’re starting to like things that are more popular, but you are still uniquely Charisse. The outfits you put together, the way you interact with people, the things you say and the wonky way your brain works: DON’T EVER CHANGE. I love that you’re true to yourself.

You're my favorite kid to kiss.

You’re my favorite kid to kiss.

I pray that nine is a big year for you. You’re growing up, my littlest love. I tell you all the time that I want to freeze you in this moment but I can’t, and I wouldn’t, because I am excited to watch you become the girl you’re growing in to. I pray that you learn to love God and stay true to yourself and know who you are and that your value and worth are so much more than you could ever imagine.

An Angry Bird for a very happy girl.

An Angry Bird for a very happy girl.

Thank you for nine years of laughter and crazy nights and for the one time you threw up all down my back and all over my bed. I would not change a single second of it because I have you as my Sissy on this day, your ninth birthday.

The cake says it all.

The cake says it all.

I love you so much starfish,
Sissy Krista