Sunday, March 30, 2008

Happy Birthday, Kellen!!

Why does this keep happening to me --- these kids, and the shock of how they INSIST on growing older when I’m not looking???

Kellen, I’m not quite sure how you snuck this one by me …. But you turned TEN this week! I am alternately horrified, and thrilled, that you are turning into such a nice young man. (But secretly, horrified at the thought my little boy is not so little any more.)

Yours was the pregnancy that proved God has his own timeline. Yours was the pregnancy that stunned us beyond words. So stunned, in fact, that I almost didn’t believe it was really happening until it was time to go to the hospital and deliver you. Yes, I gained 60 pounds and yes, the ultrasound showed there was a baby in there ….. but how could I be sure? Maybe it was just a tumor, or something. Seriously? After all those years of trying …. Pregnant???

Yours was the labor that refused to start on its own, and that then wouldn’t end. I say even now, at the age of 10, you’d still be in there if you could. Two weeks past due, and you had no intention of coming out and greeting the world, let alone your parents and older sister.

Finally, after being at the hospital two days, on meds to induce labor, not sleeping for over 36 hours, with the slowest-progressing labor ever known to mankind, the doctor asked what did we want to do …… turn off the IVs, get some rest, and try again the next morning? Or have a c-section? I replied, “I don’t care if you pull this kid out of my nose …. I’m tired, and I want it over with.” And so, a calm, controlled half hour later, you finally arrived. Fat, wrinkled, adorable.

Kellen, birth photo, March 25, 1998

You were the lucky one. We had already gone through all the newborn trials and tribulations on your sister, fairly recently. So you got none of the new-parent jitters or anxiousness; no parenting by trial and error. Actually, by the time you arrived, we were so exhausted that we must have seemed like the most laid-back parents on the planet. We had a newborn, and a 13-month old. We were thrilled, sure, but truth was, we were just too tired to worry about much.

Despite that, we loved you without measure, and still do.

I thought it was adorable that you were the fattest baby on the planet.

Kellen, age 4 months

And the smiliest. (When you weren’t crying and screaming and pitching a holy fit, that is, until I tossed my smug, superior parenting skills out the window and gave you a pacifier just to stop the screaming this kid screams all the time for goodness sake I just can’t take any more make it stop!!) But usually you were the smiliest.

Kellen, age 8 months

And although these were busy times, I still thought you were the cutest little boy on the planet. How could anyone not want to just squeeeeeeeeeze those precious little raccoon cheeks???

Halloween, 1999, age 1

Slowly, you started turning from a toddler into a little boy. Truthfully, I wasn’t too happy about it. I mean, sure, now you were a lot more fun, and I could see your personality traits starting to veer towards typical “little boy” interests.

You were perfectly happy making a mess. Toys, blocks, mud, food; it didn’t matter. Pictures like this one are especially dear to me, because the truth is, you ate like a bird (still do!), trying to prove to me that small children can survive on air. I love the photos that show evidence I actually do feed you, since Lord knows your scrawny little chicken legs and concave chest seem to say otherwise.

Kellen, age 2

And you were, are, always have been, and most likely always will be, a true child of the outdoors. Nothing made you happier and your joy was infectious. Still is.

Summer 2000, age 2

See what I mean?

Kellen, age 3

One of the things I love best about you is your ability to switch back and forth between being a rough and tumble boy, to being a sweet kid who would sit on his mother’s lap, to being the kind of kid who can play well with others, whether it be outside games involving sunshine and fresh air, or inside games involving army men and fort-building. You are truly a go-with-the-flow, agreeable little guy and I believe it will serve you well in life.

Kellen, 3rd Birthday, 2001

*MOST* of the time, I can count on you to do what I ask without complaint or attitude, although you are getting a little cheekier as you get older. Sometimes lately I want to take you by the arm and warn you, “Hey, you’re fixing to make things a whole lot harder for yourself” ….. and sometimes I have to turn away because your smarmy comments and “Cut your nose off to spite your face” streak comes straight from my DNA. I don’t know whether to shudder or laugh when I see it right coming right back at me, from son to mother. Your sister started developing her “pre-teen” attitude about age three …. Yours, sadly, is just starting to rear its ugly head.

Summer 2002, age 4

I was so worried when at age 4 I enrolled you in all-day Pre-Kindergarten at our local public school. You looked so tiny, what was I thinking? Sending you away from me all day???

Summer, 2002, age 4

I needn’t have worried. You loved school, loved making new friends, loved learning, and loved having your creativity and imagination fostered. Too young for all day school? Hardly.

Halloween, 2002, age 4

I do look back on these photos, however, and wonder where the time has gone. Wonder where the little boy who was content to sit in my lap for hours and watch tv, drinking his chocolate milk and twirling his hair, has gone.

Age 5

Age 5

October, 2003, age 5

Mainly I wonder if I’ve done enough, or done well enough, these first ten years. Have your father and I taught you the lessons we want you to learn? Have we been patient enough, and fun enough, and empathetic enough, and creative enough, and firm enough?

Age 6

Summer, 2004, age 6

Summer, 2004, age 6

Will you remember the first half of your childhood as one filled with adventure and excitement and security and love? Will you remember parents who took time to play with you and teach you and guide you? Who found every single dinosaur picture you drew fascinating, and who took the time to pretend with you in the forts that you built? Parents who never missed a practice, or a game? Parents who were always available to help with homework, or play a game of basketball in the driveway, or look up shark facts on the computer?

Kellen, 7th Birthday, 2005

Age 7

Age 7

Florida, July 2005, age 7

Age 7

Probably not, because those parents don’t seem to exist in our household. We love you beyond measure, and want to do anything we can to help you succeed, but we’re human, too. Some days we are tired and don’t want to play catch, and some days we have to cook dinner instead of playing yet another game of Boggle or Yahtzee. Some days, to be completely honest, I don’t understand your math homework, or am just not in the mood to watch another skateboard trick. Those days, I worry about what failures we seem to be as parents, and whether love will be enough.

Kellen, 8th Birthday, 2006

Age 8

Age 8

So I guess for now, we’ll just cross our fingers and say our prayers every night that we’re doing an OK job. Not perfect, no matter how hard we try, but at least good enough.

Age 9

Age 9

Age 9

Memorial Day, 2007, age 9

When I look at these photos of you, and especially this most recent photo of you on your 10th birthday, and see the handsome, smiling, confident, caring, friendly, kind young man you’re turning into, I have a warm feeling inside that at the very least, we’re getting the LOVE part right.

Kellen, 10th Birthday, March 2008. And yes, those are toothpicks we are lighting. Because not only did he get store-bought cupcakes instead of a real cake, I didn't even realize until two minutes before this picture that I was out of candles. Don't you wish all your friends were as classy as we are????

Cold hard cash. The best gift of all.

I hope you always feel it too, buddy. But in the meantime, could you maybe start eating a little more? I’m afraid you’re going to shrivel up and blow away before the next birthday.


Pam Doughty said...

Handsome young man! In that last picture before the birthday ones, he reminds me of Prince William at that age. It seems to me that you're doing a great job with all your kids, Kristie (and Blaine). They're surrounded by love, and that's what matters. As Carrie Underwood sings,
"when you figure out love is all that matters after all
it sure makes everything else seem so small"....

Anonymous said...

What a good looking guy! That walk down Memory Lane was a lot of fun...thanks for taking us with you!

Happy Birthday, Kellen!


Anonymous said...

I love how you write the birthday letters to your kids! I wish I had thought of that with my four. And I love the pictures. Especially the last one(get his mind on the cash while someone slyly takes a cupcake!). And also the cheek pictures (facial and bottom) :)
You are such a good Mommy!

Leeann said...

Happy, Happy birthday Kellen!

I have always thought you are one of the cutest little boy kids that I have ever seen in my life.

Your heart and your personality just shine!

I hope you have a wonderful two-digit year!


misty thacker said...

Happy Birthday Kellen... and looking at your pics growiing up is wonderful you are one handsome young man. my oldest is turning 10 in aug and i got all teary eyed reading your moms post... im so scared for my oldest to turn ten, so bad i want to stop time for just a brief moment and keep him little... have a great day bud!

Bec said...

I LOVE all the pictures of Kellen. What a sweet way to show him you care (although I can hear his comments about the 'naked' summer picture all the way out here in Georgia!!!) Glad we were able to spend a couple of those birthdays with you.
Happy Birthday Kellen!!

Monica H said...

He is such a good looking kid! His 8 month old picture looks so much like Kendrie, though.

Happy 10th Birthday Kellen, eat up!

Heather said...

Kristie, you made me tear up... you speak so honestly. My son is morphing too... he turned 5 in Dec. and is twitching to go to kindergarten. Preschool is just not cutting it anymore!

You must be doing a wonderful job raising your kids... they have a look of contentment and love on their faces in the photos.

Happy Birthday Kellen!


Colleen said...

I love all these photos. Kellen was such a cute baby and is really turning into a handsome young man! Your posts on your kids birhtdays are always some of my favorites.

Happy Birthday Kellen!

Marisa said...

Happy Birthday Kellen !!

Ditto other commenters on your parenting !! Seems like you and Blaine are the bewst parents a kid could ask for.

Denise Tidwell said...

Happy B-day Kellen. Double digits at last!! Have a great day and don't spend all that green in one place!

jadine said...

Happy Birthday, Kellen!

Love from,

Jadine, Richard, and especially Stone and Mason...who really miss you!

P.S. Why the heck are we collecting those soda can tabs??!

Anonymous said...

Nice looking young man! I just gave birth a few days ago (so it seems) and the baby turns 4 in May...time is FLYING! Also...gotta admit I didn't know that toothpicks would light. Great idea!


Kris said...

So, I get my four kids to bed and sit down to stress eat a platefull of nachos while reading about you and yours. As I was reading all of the wonderful things you do for Kellen- never missing a thing- I started to feel worse. I am a single Mom of four- ages 8, almost 7 and 5 yr old twins. We had a terrible day today. Noone listens until I am yelling and screaming. Which then leads to Mom eating the plateful of nachos when they are in bed. Anyway, I am almost in tears over what a horrible mother I am that I miss so much of their stuff. Imagine my delight when I kept reading to find out that you are only human, just like me! I was giddy with joy when I got to the part about the toothpicks for the store bought cupcakes. Thanks for the great idea when I forget next time (You know I will)Thanks for the reminder that the love is the most important part. Everything else is just stuff in between. Happy birthday Kellen!!

Natalie said...

Happy Birthday, Kellen! What a great tribute to a great young man, Kristie. And oh man, do I want to squeeze those chubby baby thighs!!!

Anonymous said...

Happy B-Day Kellen. Jacob and Nathan want you to come to their party...are you free? Hope it was a great one. Those first few years seem like just yesterday and the pics. brought a tear to my eye. You are a handsome guy now and always have been. We miss you guys! xoxoKimmy and all xoxo

Grandma J said...

Happy Birthday Kellen! What a nice tribute to a handsome young man.
Two kids in double digits! Where does the time go?
Also, I never knew about using toothpicks....nice to know.

Hyzymom said...

Brought a tear to my eye since my "baby" turned 10 last week. I'd like to copy your letter and give it to Zack unfortunately he wouldn't know who it was from! :o) I as well have done the toothpick candle route. This year we had candles, but no cake... used donuts instead. We as well are classy. I'm finding this year quite a shock as my "baby girl" turned 15 and has bigger boobs than I had when I got married and my "baby boy" hit the double digits as well. I just want to get off this time train for a little while and catch my breath!

Beverly said...

Happy Birthday Kellen

The Running Girl said...

Happy belated birthday, Kellen. Dalton will be 10 in August, so we're not far behind. If you figure out how to make them stop growing up so fast, please let us in on the secret.

lizinsumner said...

Happy Birthday, Kellen!!! Hope all of your wishes come true! Loved the heiney picture when you were two!!! I have a hunch your folks might consider using it for their benefit when you're a bit older and dating!! I know that I have one such photo of my son all picked out and waiting for some such opportunity - hey, even parents are entitled to have SOME fun!!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Kellen! And the photos are awesome....what a great looking kid! I have a 10-year old girl that would be quite impressed!

Hope things are going good for you all!


leeanne said...

Such a good looking young man! By the look on his face in those pictures, I'd say you're doing a wonderful job as parents! Happy Birthday Kellen!

M, Ms. R, Mom, Auntie M, Marey said...


Marie said...

And he's had the same haircut all this time. :P

Kim said...

I left this message earlier...hope it shows up this time.

Happy Birthday, Kellen!
I enjoyed the great pics of kellen through the years. As I watched the progression, I can almost see him maturing over the next 10 years...whew! Y'all better watch out!

Missing you in Georgia,

mom25in5 said...


I looked at these pictures and realized I will be making myself the same timeline in about 5 months. I am stunned...I didn't realize that 10 had snuck on me. Yikes!

Happy Birthday Kellen! I hope it was a wonderful blessed one!


Mom to:

Daniel-13 in 7 days
Sarah-8 today!
Dana-8 today!

Anonymous said...

Hi Kristy,
Well I am just catching up on my favorite Blog out there and this entry just brought too many tears to my eyes. I just gave birth to my first son...2 weeks ago. He is sleeping on my lap right now as I type (the sweetest baby)...and I'm sure i'm a little hormonal, but man, i dont want to ever think about how quickly time goes by! i though 9 months flew, and now 2 weeks are already over. augh!
I wanted to share w/ you that you are the sweetest mom ever! i'm sure all 3 of your kids know love! and the families that you have helped grow too also know it!
Thanks for your compassion and wit! I love this site! Kelly