Last year he was unsure about gifts, uncomfortable with the commotion of lots of people, and in NO hurry to see what was in each box.
Last night he dove in!
He called a cheerful "Thank You" to the giver of each gift.
He was thrilled to have us sing Happy Birthday!
He had a blast playing with his friends and cousins!
Last year, his dad and I bought him a trampoline for his birthday - in the hopes that he would learn to jump.
This year his Godfamily bought him rollerblades!
He can jump, run, climb, and so now it is time to learn to skate!
Thank you God, that my son is learning to skate!
He is lovin' the rollerblades!
(I did learn one important thing. When helping a little guy learn to rollerblade, wear shoes! He rolled over my toes and it hurt!)
Mom may have been lazy and had a combined party for the extended family - but I still want each of the birthday kids to have some time that is just about each of them. So today, Joshua got to pick lunch.
If you guesses pepperoni pizza and root beer, you were right on!
The pizza place brought him a special dessert.
He was thrilled!
He even insisted we sing to him before he blew out the candle!
After he got done eating his Birthday meal, he said "OK everybody! Close your eyes!"
We kept chatting - it is hard to get the attention of our crew!
So he repeated, "Everybody! Close your eyes! I am gonna pray!"
I was shocked! He has never asked to pray at a restaurant, in fact he often is uncomfortable if we do. Additionally, praying after a meal is "out of order" and Joshua likes routine. I was truly surprised.
But what the birthday boy wants, the birthday boy gets!
So I quickly quieted our family so Joshua could pray.
He closed his eyes, bowed his head and said,
"Thank you God, daddy mommy buy me two toys.
Thank you it my birthday.
Thank you pizza and cookie dessert.
Some days, I can not even believe how incredibly blessed I am.
This list is finally being typed up a few days later than I had planned. Life is full and rich and beautiful. I have savored these thankful thoughts, recognizing each for the treasure that it is.
It is a long list because in the last year I have been learning about counting gifts. I have been so inspired by Ann Voskamp's words, "I discover that slapping a sloppy brush of Thanksgiving over everything in my life leaves me deeply thankful for few things in my life."
I totally agree with Ann. I have found that as I examine the minute reasons I have to be thankful, my life has become much more bountiful, my soul much more joyful, and my perspective much more positive.
My list is alphabetical, because for many years I have counted my blessings mid-run. It seems when I have run long and hard enough to slow my mind from my list of daily duties, PRAISE emerges. When my mind is clear, my heart sings praise. It is a beautiful thing, really. And because even my mid-run, oxygen deprived brain demands structure (sad but true), I tend to go through the alphabet naming gifts letter by letter as I run.
It is no wonder that I always feel more joyful after a run. Focusing on all that God has chosen to bless me with changes my whole perspective, every time.
Pictures speak volumes, and this picture beautifully how I feel surrounded by my kids, and smiling into the eyes my husband. I am one lucky lady. I look at this picture and I truly can not believe how blessed I am.
And now, after much explanation, MY LIST!
A - ALL mighty God, Author of my life, abundance, appreciation, awe, adoption, Ashlee, Ann Voskamp
One of our family's Thanksgiving traditions includes making lists of things we are thankful for. In fact, my kids are never allowed to make a Christmas or Birthday Wish List before they make a list of things they are grateful for. My goal in doing this is not to discourage them from wanting things! We all wish for things and there is nothing wrong with that! However, we can sometimes get so wrapped up in the things we wish for that we forget about what we have already been blessed with.
Making thankful lists is something that my kids enjoy (especially the youngest three)! If I forget, they remind me about this tradition. I am so thankful for their hearts filled with gratitude!
My youngest three have allowed me to publish their lists.
Enjoy! (and yes! mine is coming tomorrow)
This year I am thankful for:
14.Treasa and Jeramy
28.Shaleen and Tom
29.Ashlee and Luke
Too be continued. . . Brenna chose to interupt this list writing to watch TV. (Shocking, I know) But she says she really wants to write more later! (If you know Brenna, you know this is totally her! It makes me smile to record it.)
This song has made me cry the past several mornings when it "just happened" to be on the radio while I was driving to work.
While I do not personally understand the cancer aspect of this song, I do understand what it means to have a husband that "loves you through it."
I am beyond blessed to be married to a man that chooses to live out the lyrics of this chorus, every day.
When you’re weak, I’ll be strong
When you let go, I’ll hold on
When you need to cry, I swear that I’ll be there to dry your eyes
When you feel lost and scared to death,
Like you can’t take one more step
Just take my hand, together we can do this
I’m gonna love you through it
This Thanksgiving week, I count you, Chad, as one of the things for which I am most thankful.
It is an honor to be your wife.
Thank you for loving me through all the "its" past, present, and future.
Our beautiful, spunky, and oh-so-very-kind Sierra turned 12 today!
I love birthdays, but for weeks Sierra was dreading hers. At first I ignored her comments of, "I don't want to have a birthday this year." I figured she was just thinking she was too cool for a birthday. However, last Sunday, I finally sat down with her and asked why she was not looking forward to her birthday.
She told me, "I don't want to have a birthday! Everyone will come over and bring me presents. Mom, I have everything I need! I feel sad and selfish getting more stuff. I just want to forget my birthday!"
So, I told her that she was WAY to SPECIAL to ignore. I refused to forget her birthday - she is totally worth celebrating! BUT, if she really wanted to skip gifts, then maybe she could think of a way to give her birthday gifts to someone else?!
She perked up right away! Joy reentered her eyes, and she said, "Mom could I ask for money to sponsor a child?"
I gave her a big hug and (maybe a bit tearfully) told her I thought that was a great idea!
She was so excited to "shop" for her birthday gift!
She spent hours looking at different children's profiles on World Vision's website.
Finally she saw a little boy that she connected with!
"MOM! This is him! Can I sponsor him?"
She joyfully completed the online form -
and now she is officially Fortune in Uganda's sponsor!
Here is the introductory email she sent him:
My name is Sierra D. My birthday is November 18. I am 12, today is my birthday. This year I chose to sponsor a child instead of birthday presents. I could not choose which beautiful child I should sponsor, but when I saw your purple shirt (purple is my favorite color). I knew you were the one. You are beautiful and it was my good fortune for me to sponsor you.
Sierra Faith D
She is a pretty special girl, don't you think!
It costa $35 a month to sponsor a child. She has 4 months covered so far. What she does not receive in birthday money, she plans to cover with her allowance and extra jobs for mom and dad. She has a plan, this girl of mine, and she is determined to follow it through!
WE did do a few "normal" birthday things.
Sierra chose supper,
chinese take-out, of course!
And for dessert she chose Oreo balls.
Tomorrow I am taking her and her 2 BFFs to get their hair and nails done (at the beauty school). Then we are going to a fancy restaurant, since they will be all fancied up, for dessert. A (no) sleep-over will follow!
Thursday has become my favorite day of the week, because it is the day (Joshua and) I work for Chad!
Today was extra fun because Chad was doing dirt work, and because Joshua LOVES riding in Daddy's equipment, we went to check on Daddy's workmanship.
Joshua got to ride in all the equipment.
First he tried out the mini-might blade.
Can you see him in the back?
He loved having the seat all to himself!
He looks so tiny!
He liked the blade, but he missed getting to steer!
So, he and daddy took a turn driving the packer!
Aren't they so cute?!
He told me, "the packer is bumpy!
and COLD! The packer no have a door!"
(It was VERY cold - as in 20*)
Not to fear, they were not cold for long!
When they got cold on the packer,
They tried out the backhoe, it has a cab and heat!
They felt sorry for me standing outside in the cold,
and picked me up for a ride too!
(Seriously, he DROVE!)
Chad jokes that in a couple of years he will have to pull Joshua out of school to help run equipment when he is shorthanded! That boy just has a way with machines!
Eventually, our field trip came to an end!
Mommy had office work to do,
and Daddy needed to get some dirt leveled.
We watched the big guys work for a couple of minutes.
It is fun to watch all the equipment running!
And I for one am so thankful that they are moving dirt instead of snow!
I was thinking today about how well Joshua is doing! It is simply amazing!
He is stuttering rarely these days! Our family working on speaking more slowly has made a big difference. When I hear him starting to stutter, I will remind one of his siblings (usually Sierra - she is our fastest, fast talker) to slow down their words. Usually as our words slow down, his flow with ease.
The other thing that has made a HUGE difference in his speech is being able to be at Kristen's house while I work. He is just flourishing there. He loves it! each new experience he has under Kristen's gentle watch helps his confidence grow that much more. I am so, so, so, so, soooooo thankful for our sweet Kristen!
I have also been thinking lately about how picky he once was. He is no longer a picky eater! He eats almost anything. He likes most fruits, warm and cold beverages, and some vegetables. He still prefers things to be cool rather than ice cold, and soft to crunchy veggies - but compared to months ago that is minor! He also has learned to love candy and baked goods.
I laugh when I watch him eat at church on Wednesday nights. Last year he always asked me to remove his dessert from his plate. Sugary treats grossed him out! Fast forward one year and it is the vegetables that need to be removed. . . and his dessert is eaten first!
Today he insisted on making his own lunch! He wanted a "Barney Sandwich" (peanut butter and jelly) without the jelly. So he got out the bread and knife and peanut butter - and fixed a sandwich all by himself! Then he lay down on the couch to watch TV with Jay (who is home sick) and fell asleep.
In one glance, I knew this photo would be one I treasure forever.
Just like the amazing photographer who took it. I did not grow up with a sister - but I am so thankful that my sister-in-law has become my sister. You are a treasure, Teresa. I love that you trust me with your heart. I love that you laugh at all Chad's jokes. I love how you love my kids. But most of all I love how you love me, even when you think I am nuts ;)
One long standing tradition on Chad's side of the family is deer sausage making. And today was the day!
Sierra was by far the best helper.
She helped Chad cut all the meat off the deer bones. (Yuck!)
She helped him cut up both pork and beef to mix with the venison.
She helped grind it all up.
She helped mix the seasonings into the ground meat.
Joshua wanted to help so badly!
Chad let him pour in the cheese.
(This year they added pepper jack cheese to the secret family recipe for sausage. YUMMY!)
Joshua begged to help mix!
He was SO happy and proud when Daddy agreed to let him help!
After the meats, spices, and cheese were mixed, it is time to TASTE!
EVERYONE makes an appearance when it is time to taste!
After the sausage has been given the "Dietrich Family Seal of Approval" it is time to stuff the sausage into casings.
Everyone gets into the action at that point.
Krissy cranks the stuffer.
Jamison keeps it full of meat.
Chad cuts the casings into sausage links.
Sierra twisted them up.
Joshua could hardly contain his "helpfulness!"
He was into everything, until
Daddy found him a job too!
His job was to put the sausage into the cooler.
Tomorrow Chad will smoke the sausage.
Then we will help him package it and fill the freezer.
I am not much of a sausage maker, which makes me even more thankful that our 5 beautiful children are so hard-working and helpful. Making sausage is a lot of work, but they all pitched in, happily! What a blessing!