These guys drive me nuts sometimes, but they also provide me with so many opportunities to thank God. Today is one of them – siblings enjoying each other.
Micah and Katie having a morning picnic:
Kiera and Sam playing Ticket to Ride:
the shadow of the life to come
8! Finally! There are so many milestones that this number represents for our young Sambo. Between 7 and 8 he went from tiny baby teeth to big adult teeth. Short hair to long and back again. Adventurous eating, baking up a storm, hanging out with cousins, and so much more.
But there is also a lot that hasn’t changed. Lego is still his #1 favourite hands on toy of all time. Lately, Playmobil has featured a bit too. Of course, like most boys his age who have half the chance to get onto any kind of electronic goodies, Sam loves computer games and minecraft. He only gets to play it once in a very blue moon, but loves the creativity and the exploration. Still, Lego is always first place. His favourite creations are his own multi-functional ones – nothing quite like being regaled with the intricate workings of his latest creation, along with missile launchers, machine guns and who knows what else.
This year, Sam’s schooling has taken off. He spent most of first grade hating the discipline of seatwork. This year? While he still would much rather be playing outside, with Lego or on the computer, he has upped his game big time. He now loves his grammar and phonics book, Explode the Code, loves maths and is fast catching up to his big sister in the maths department. I have pretty much chucked spelling with the kids – they do do Spelling City from time to time, but nothing too strict. Sam’s spelling has vastly improved just through reading and writing emails to family. Loving that! He even took it upon himself to enter the Short Story Day Competition this year and was one of the three winners for his age category of kids 9 and under! Best of all? Afrikaans! This boy has been eavesdropping on his sister’s Afrikaans lessons and asked to start doing simple Afrikaans books about half way through this year. I’m blown away with what he knows and so easily picks up. He may well be the one who just gets languages. That thrills my soul, as it’s my one desired super power – to be able to understand and speak every language of the world.
Sam is still our mischievous boy – loving pranks. I’ve lost count how many times he has dived out at me from behind doors or curtains. He loves drama – fully into the drama classes he has been taking this year – and fully into taking part in the kids’ almost daily plays or musical numbers. Loves adventures – like zip-lining earlier this year and 4x4ing with dad. Loves creepy crawly things. We’ve not tested his fear of cockroaches this year, but he seems to have lost his fear of all other creepy things. Nowadays, he and his brother collect snails, spiders and stick insects for pets; happily let beetles crawl all over their hands and didn’t mind the infestation of crickets we had in March this year.
There is so much that I love about this boy. He still talks a hind leg off a donkey, telling me intricate details of his plans, thoughts, stories and ideas. I hope he always wants to share his heart with me. He is helpful and often asks how else he can help me. Of course, there are still times when he moans about having to do his share of keeping his room neat and tidy! And while he struggles in generosity in some areas of his life, there are so many times when he pours out his love for family and friends by giving away his most precious possessions. It’s not uncommon to find a little homemade envelope pushed under my door, filled with his own money that he would like to share with me, or have him offer to help his sister afford something she has been saving for for ages – both of which happened in this last week. It’s at a point where we have to try find the balance between encouraging his generosity and not allowing his siblings to exploit said generosity!
Mostly, I love his heart for Jesus. He is just like most other boys whose little hearts and minds are filled with things of this world as this post attests to, but he is also a little guy who thinks deeply about Jesus and comes up with incredible questions and deep desires to share the love of Jesus with others. Not a night goes by at our dinner table when Sam is not asking to be the one to say grace. I pray that his heart will continue to grow in understanding about who Jesus is and what He has done for him and that Sam’s mission in life will be that which brings glory to Jesus’ name as he recognises always that he is saved by grace.
Happy 8th birthday, dear Sambo. We love you so much and are so grateful to God for blessing us with the enormous privilege of being your parents.
Micah Peter Hayes is 6!
For me, 6 marks the end of of an era of babyhood. 5 is still little. 6? 6 is big. 6 is reading and writing and school. And this little guy is no exception. In just the last two weeks, he has chosen to start reading small three-letter word books on his own accord. This, after a good year of gentle reading introduction through Reading Eggs online. Just the other early evening, Craig and I chuckled when we heard his little voice in the lounge, labouring over a difficult word, sounding it out with all the diligence he never possessed just a few weeks ago. Bob Books are now his favourite thing. For now. But, I figure if patterns are anything to go by, then Lego, Playmobil, Angry Birds and now, Minecraft, will still top the pile of favourite things in days to come.
Even though he is becoming my big boy, there are still those little moments that remind me that he is still my baby. Like his tears when he realises that his favourite little toy rabbit, (Easter) Bunny, is missing. Or the little voice I hear from time to time next to my bedside in the middle of the night, “Mommy, I had a bad dream.” The little body that snuggles next to mine, still smells of sweet baby sweat.
The ways in which he grows more mature are a delight, however. This is the year he tackled riding a bike for the first time on his own. Later than the others purely because we never got to teaching him. But, he pretty much taught himself, thanks to the wonders of the JD Bug. One attempt on a pedal bike at Greyton and off he went, riding like a pro. What delight!
This is also the year he decided to start gymnastics. Loving it? Absolutely.
And his latest step towards greater independence is banana-smoothie making. Or hot oats porridge. Or some other strange culinary concoction.
Not so successful was his attempt at hair-cutting this week. Another big chunk out of his fringe. Yes, another. He did that last two years ago.
But, despite the funny hair, the ever-present aggression that he finds difficult to keep a reign on, and the persistent need to let rip with some daddy-defeating farts (Yes. I do believe that Micah is the reigning champ in that regard) he has this incredibly impish grin that can melt this mother’s heart in seconds.
My favourite thing, however, are his questions. Deep questions. Questions about God. Questions about Jesus. And the questions that start, “Do you know what I’m going to give you, mommy?” Closely followed by breath-squeezing hugs and bruising kisses!
So, six it is – and on we go! My prayer is that he will grow in maturity and understanding – that his questions will gain answers that he will be able to own. And that he never stops with the loving, sweet hugs and kisses.
Happy 6th Birthday, Mr Micah!
What a year! It’s been a ride and a half for you, young lady. So many fun things have happened. Gym contests and even a few podium wins, including a first place! Meeting one of your favourite authors. Writing with one of your favourite authors. Writing your own stories galore. Drama eisteddfods. Infatuation with musicals like Matilda, Oklahoma and Annie. You are on the brink of so much, yet when I compare your “Kiera is 11!” post to the girl we know today, there is so much that is still the same. You are still our hologram girl. Yet, we are beginning to see larger glimpses of the women you will one day become.
The past 12 months have proven once again that you are determined and dedicated. I admire your hard work, each and every day. I wish I had the motivation you have to do things like learning French and Afrikaans, or learn screenplay writing, or churn out another movie. I love that you dive into your interests with passion. One day you will look back at this post and smile – this was the year when you determined that your future job would be … film director! And, screenplay writer. And, singer. And, dancer. And, Broadway stage actress. And, Olympic gymnast. Yes, you’re a normal 12-year-old girl with dreams and ambitions.
Speaking of so-called “normal”, this year you’ve continued to surprise us. No longer the strict “tomboy”, you’re gradually morphing into a girl who is choosing to wear skirts, earrings, clips in her hair and, yes, you’re even been caught wearing pink! But, as fascinating as this metamorphosis is, the changes that warm my heart have nothing to do with gender-stereotypical preferences.
It’s the determination to love, grow and mature in ways that are godly. I love how responsible you are with your school work; how you choose to work hard first and foremost. I love your heart – how you reflect deeply about things. And I love how you are choosing to rise above yourself and exhibit self-control in so many areas. Sometimes you think that I don’t notice, but I do. I notice when you take a deep breath and carefully and calmly restate your case. I notice when you modulate your tone and make sure that we understand your intentions. I love how you choose to speak kindly and gently to your siblings when you’re frustrated with their silly antics. I love how you have come to terms with your health issues and are learning coping mechanisms – taking charge of yourself. I love how you talk with people of all ages with ease and enjoyment. I love that even when you suffer disappointment, you choose kindness instead of anger more often than not. I love how you’re excited about being a part of this family in the way you invest in everyone – making dinners, roping your siblings into your movies, helping them, caring about us all, doing your chores with a great attitude and more. I love your sense of justice – yes, sometimes it feels overwhelming and the world seems so unfair, but you’re determined to see what’s right and fair come to pass.
But most of all? Most of all this year I’m proud of your choice to love your sister. It’s not been an easy relationship over the years. You two are so different from each other. Your struggles in the past have been many. But, this year you chose your sister. Above friends. Above yourself. You chose to work towards a deep and meaningful relationship with your only sister. And it warms my heart no end. Seeing you girls giggling in Katie’s room together. Hearing you read aloud Harry Potter to her, switching out voices with each character. Watching you wrap your arm around Katie and returning hugs. These things make my heart swell with joy. My prayer? That these choices will be more and more characteristic of you. That your desire for justice and goodness will grow, but not overpower grace and forgiveness. And most of all? That Jesus will ALWAYS be your #1!
Happy birthday, sweet Kiera!