Madeleine CaiQun is 6!

I haven’t gotten a chance to blog about it yet, but last month our sweet Madeleine CaiQun turned six!

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This girl is oh-so-precious to me. She is sweet and thoughtful and fiercely loyal, particularly when it comes to her siblings, both of whom love her to no end. Atticus can often be heard asking, “Mei mei? Mei mei?” when he doesn’t see her, and though she would rather prefer that this not be the case, his first activity each morning, after waking Matt and me, is to run into the girls room, shouting, “Mei mei! Jie jie!” and climb into their beds with them to wake them.

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Miranda picked out this large Star Wars coloring book for her, and it was the perfect gift for our Star-Wars-obsessed girl! The other day I asked her to make a guess about what the names of 2 girls in a painting might have been, and she looked at me and announced, “Mom, my brain is just so full of thinking about storm troopers and clones, I can’t think of names for that!” Funny girl 🙂

Madeleine CaiQun is also a lover of soft and silky things, and these new pajamas from her grandma Nancy were definitely a hit!

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Our sweet girl generally prefers to run around in just her underwear (one reason it’s hard to find blog-appropriate photos of her!), but when she does get dressed of her own accord, you can be sure it will be in something soft 🙂

My mom came for a visit to help us celebrate Madeleine CaiQun’s birthday, which was great! We had a pretty low key day. She chose to have homemade pizza for dinner and a strawberry cake for dessert, and we played and just enjoyed spending time together. Mei mei is such a great kid, and it is a joy to be her mama and to see her grow and develop as a person. I’m looking forward to the adventures with her that the following year is sure to bring!

Happy birthday, Miranda Grace!

We’ve had a busy few weeks around here, and I have a lot of catching up to do here on the blog! First up: happy birthday, Miranda Grace! This little girl made me a mama 6 years ago, and I rather adore her!

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She is intelligent and creative and highly passionate! As the oldest, she is our parenting guinea pig, and I often feel that we fail her in one way or another, but we keep pressing on together, doing all that we can to figure out how to live this life well.

Upon realizing that birthday parties could have themes, Miranda requested a Choco birthday, a la A Mother for Choco. She had assumed that just as her cousin Averie had been able to have a party with all things Frozen, we would easily be able to pull together a variety of Choco-themed party-supplies – not so much! However, Grandma came through with Choco shirts for the girls, about which they were thrilled 🙂

IMG_0296Miranda also requested a pinata for her birthday. Matt played with the idea of making a Choco pinata for her. I wasn’t sure this was a good idea – in part because at Averie’s party, they’d had a new type of pinata in which a number of ribbons hang down, and the children take turns pulling ribbons until someone pulls the one that releases all the candy, and I wasn’t sure Miranda really understood that a homemade Choco pinata would mean beating Choco with a baseball bat until he broke open. Once we explained the idea to her, she seemed enthusiastic about that possibility, too, though. However, when I was at Target purchasing candy with which to fill her pinata, I noticed that they sold ready-made pinatas for only $15 – $20 and called Matt to ask if I should get one of those. That was rather fortuitous, as he was just realizing that he might have over-committed himself in his proposal to create a homemade Choco pinata. Fortunately, Miranda was agreeable to that option and excited to choose a Darth Vader pinata (ribbon style, which, honestly, is mama-preferred!).

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In years past, I’ve simply allowed the birthday child to select a boxed cake mix for their birthday, but this year, in keeping with our new diet, I thought I’d offer to make something from scratch – perhaps a carrot cake or an apple cake? After hearing my suggestions, Miranda announced that she’d like a raspberry cake – not something I’d ever heard of before, but I told her I’d give it a try!

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Fortunately she was pleased with the result!

She got some gifts, mostly from Grandma 🙂

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We gave her a few small presents, but our kids have SO MANY THINGS, and we’re trying to encourage them to value experiences over stuff, so our big gift to both of our girls for their birthdays this year is a family weekend in St. Louis filled with fun activities. They’ve been talking about it and asking exactly when it’s coming up, so I’m hopeful that they’ll really enjoy it!

All in all, we had a very fun day celebrating our wonderful girl 🙂 Even on our hard days, I’m so thankful she’s in my life and that I get to be her mama. We’re 6 years into this journey of a lifetime, and I can’t wait to see what is yet to come!

Happy Birthday, Miranda Grace!

Amazingly enough, last week my precious firstborn turned FIVE! It feels like just yesterday that she was born, and here we are at five, which seems like such a big age to me. I’ll probably continue to say that year after year, but five is definitely a milestone. She’s really “school age” now. She’s big enough to push her sister on a swing…

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…big enough to love her baby brother with incredible passion…

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…and big enough to be into chapter books. We started reading Little House in the Big Woods on a road trip last month, and both girls are hooked on “the Laura books,” as they call them.

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Of course, in other ways, five is really not that big. It’s big enough to feel ALL OF THE FEELINGS but not big enough to know how to deal with them constructively. It’s big enough to ask good questions but not always big enough to understand the depth of the answers. We’re working our way through all of that, though, and I pray that what we’re seeing are more and more baby steps of faith. We’re having conversations about how unable all of us really are to live our lives as we should and how Jesus offers to substitute His righteousness for our sinfulness. We’re talking about what love and kindness and forgiveness really are. Matt and I are praying that our little Miranda will continue to grow, more and more, into a girl and eventually a woman who truly embodies her name – a lovely and admirable woman of grace.

And in the midst of the soul-shepherding moments, we’re having a lot of fun. From us, for her birthday, Miranda got an adorable little shirt (a portion of whose proceeds go to an organization working with orphans in China) with lyrics from a song she loves…

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…and what is probably a lifetime supply of water beads, which she and Madeleine CaiQun very much enjoyed getting their hands into that afternoon!

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We made a cake…

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…and went out for ice cream (with my dad, who was able to be in town for a visit for the week surrounding Miranda’s birthday!).

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We’re just as in love with this little girl as we were on that sweet day five years ago when she was born 🙂 I continue to be humbled by the responsibility of being her mom, and I treasure the time I get to spend with her!