Brent turned 19 last week. Hard to believe that my firstborn is nearly finished with the teen years. That makes me an OLD parent! OY! Brent's finishing his freshman year at Boise State University. It's been interesting--a year of growth for him. We miss him terribly and are very sad he won't be with us in China this time. He's funny and intelligent, and plays a mean game of basketball. We'd love to see him give college ball a try, but know that HE has to want to do it. He works hard at his job and takes good care of the house he lives in. He won't be home this summer except for a few brief visits, and that makes this momma very sad. But, it's fun to see him testing his wings and actually flying on his own, so the sadness is balanced by pride in a delightful young man.
Hailey will be 17 this week. She's a high school junior, preparing for SATs and her senior year. I'm not sure I'm ready for college applications round two, but I know she'll be every bit as successful in college as her big brother. She's a great student with an incredible servant's heart: helping out around the house, serving in youth ministries at church, and enjoying the opportunity to serve others here and abroad on missions trips. This summer she's headed to Mexico to do some construction and VBS teaching. A basketball player and beginning golfer, she's had her share of "lumps" this year in the athletic realm but we are excited to see what her senior year brings. Her smile brightens everyone's day, and she is the current love of Ryan's life.
Emily is almost 16 already. A high school sophomore, she's our creative one, our artist. Rarely does Emily have a day where she's not singing, laughing, or otherwise bubbling with joy. An awesome student, she had her volleyball season cut short last year with an injury. Knee surgery put basketball out of the picture--likely for good--but she's trying her hand at golf this spring. She too has a servant's heart, and it's great fun to see her loving babies in the church nursery every Sunday. She's excited to spend some time in Mexico on a mission trip this summer with her sister and is looking forward to the opportunity (and repsonsibility!) of being a co-teacher for our two year olds this summer at Vacation Bible School. She'll do very well, but her biggest problem in the class might just be her very own little brothers.
At 13, Victoria is the last of the "big guys." Currently knocking them dead in 8th grade, she's definitely ready to move on to high school with her sisters. Volleyball in the fall and basketball in the winter have kept her very busy, and she looks forward to trying her hand at those sports in the high school. Loved by children, it's hard to find Tori home these days as she's in high demand as a babysitter. Her biggest excitement this year--after the trip to China, of course--is the opportunity to spend a week in Washington DC in June. She's been raising money and saving to pay her portion of the trip, and she's nearly done it. It will be fun to hear her perspective, since both Hailey and Emily did this trip after they finished 8th grade. It amazes me that 3 children living in the same house can go the same places and have such totally different impressions... It will be fun to have the opportunity to help Victoria do a photo journal documentation of our trip to China. I can't wait to see it from her perspective!
And then there's Ryan... Sweet, charming, delightful, fun, and VERY much three years old. Ryan has been with us since he was 9 months old, and he's a joy and a delight. We have such fun with him! Everyone loves his smile and his giggle, and his personality just shines. He is very well loved for a short one. ;) And he IS a tiny mite: just 37" and holding steady at about 27 pounds, he is at the bottom of the height/weight charts. Quite a change from the other giants around here!! He loves to talk and his reasoning skills blow us away. He's an amazing athlete--puts Brent to shame, actually--and has yet to find a sport he doesn't like. Or excel at, for that matter! His new "trick" is learning to ride his birthday tricycle from Gramma and Poppa.
Jim's still working as an engineering manager for a major aircraft manufacturer. Most days he loves his job. It certainly keeps him plenty busy! Me? Well, I wear lots of hats: wife, full time mom, nursery staff at church, daycare provider on Wednesdays and Thursdays, committee chair at school, teacher in Adult Education at church, master scheduler, and general jack of all trades. Busy? You bet. But I wouldn't trade it--or any of them--for the world!