Today is Caleb's 5th birthday! He has been anxiously anticipating his birthday since the day after Joshua's birthday a month ago. He truly hoped his birthday was the day after Joshua and was sad he had to wait 31 days. The first thing he did this morning was come downstairs and say, "Do I look bigger??". This year he truly understands that birthdays are something to be excited about when you are a kid, and we were excited to make it a special day for him.
We started off the morning by opening one gift - a present from the McGrath family. Then Caleb had a special birthday breakfast of blueberry muffins & berries. And for the record, he's drinking chocolate milk out of Daddy's favorite coffee mug - although he has been known to enjoy a small cup of coffee on occasion!
In Caleb's class each child presents a poster about all of their favorite things on their birthday. Mom of the Year forgot about this poster until last night after dinner. Luckily I was able to quickly print out some pictures that Caleb chose and get his approval before I glued everything down during his bath. We included pictures of our little family (including a map of China to represent baby sister), with his grandparents, and some of his favorite activities/hobbies: water towers, driving his Jeep, the Aggie Band and his experience going to Kyle Field.
Caleb wrote baby sister's name on top of the map of China (it says Hannah in case you can't read pre-school writing). I'll be sure to write more about the name we have chosen for our daughter in a future post.
We gave Caleb the option of skipping out on his occupational therapy appointment today but he wanted to go. He really enjoys "going to see Miss 'Randa"... we think he may have a crush on his therapist, Miranda! :)
When Caleb got home from OT it was time to open presents from Mommy & Daddy! Caleb asked for diggers, diggers and more diggers... so that is what he got! This boy loves construction and it is fun to see how his mind works as he uses his imagination to play with these toys. He was SO excited.
Playing with his presents with Daddy: a bulldozer, a crane truck, and a remote control crane
Once Joshua woke up from his nap we went out to eat for Caleb's birthday dinner. He chose Raising Cane's to get chicken fingers and french fries. Joshua was especially excited about the food portion of Caleb's birthday-- the dinner, and the cake & ice cream too!
Sadly Caleb's birthday cake is considered to be Exhibit A: why I'm not a cake decorator. It was a cute pinterest idea in theory, but when I took the foil out from under the cake (to avoid getting icing on the cake plate) the cake broke apart. I was able to hide most of the damage with more frosting but overall, the cake looked like a hot mess. Sweet Caleb did not care and was just as excited to blow out the candles and eat the Peaches & Vanilla ice cream he picked out.
It seemed like Caleb had a really special, happy birthday. We are so proud of him and how much he has grown in the past year. In the midst of having his whole life uprooted to move to a new place, he has managed to make new friends, learn a lot in school, and improve on so many skills that were previously such a challenge for him. Things that some kids do easily, like getting dressed on their own or other fine motor skills are a hurdle for him and he has made incredible progress.
We've seen him mature in how he handles his emotions and seen him develop a true excitement about Jesus. He leaves church every week wanting to talk all about Jesus and what he did. We are seeing him show more and more kindness to his brother, and also hear him talk with love about the baby sister he doesn't even know yet.
We think of Caleb's early life often and about his birthmother, who we do not know and may never have the chance to meet. While I would never make up anything about Caleb's adoption story for him, I do believe that his birthmother remembers him on this day. I wish she could know that the 3.5 lb baby she gave birth to in a tiny village in Kyrgyzstan is now a strong, 45 inch 5 year old who is insightful, creative, detail oriented, loving, spunky, and so very smart. She may not even know if he's alive, let alone thriving and FULL of life. It's our prayer that somehow she would have peace that he is ok.
Caleb Daniel, we love you so very much and are excited to see how you will grow and change in the year to come. You keep us on our toes (and keep us humble!) and fill our hearts with so much joy. God used your life to redeem so much sadness for us as we waited for children. Your life reminds us of the hope that can come from adoption - both practically for us here on earth and spiritually in our relationship with God. The Lord is writing a magnificent story for your life and we are privileged to be a part of it. Happy Birthday to our first baby! We love you!