not as scary as I thought

One of my biggest concerns regarding tackling homeschooling was in the area of reading. I don’t know why the idea of teaching a child to read seemed so daunting. It might be due to my oldest son’s kindergarten teacher – she was amazing. And fun. And made reading so appealing to the kids. The ability to read opens so many doors for a child, for an adult. The power of reading can change a life. It changes many lives.

Seeing my boys read still blows my mind on most days, especially my younger two boys. It is such an incredible experience to watch a child go from learning to recognize letters and sounds to being able to read those same symbols on a page all jumbled line after line. It is simply amazing. If you are a parent or a teacher, I am sure you know what I mean!

My oldest has a deep love for reading. He wrote a paper this week about his favorite activity, which of course is reading. In it he quoted Helen Keller, “Reading is my utopia.” Her words ring so true for him. He is paving the way for his younger siblings. They follow his lead and are slowly discovering the joys between the covers of a book. It has not been an easy road. In fact, there were many days I thought my fears were coming true – that I could not teach my kids how to read. We’ve pressed on, we are still pressing on through frustrations.

My boys piled together yesterday with knights and detectives and a pig in a wig…and a little sister. Every day doesn’t look like this, but I am thankful for the few that do…the good days help me press on during the rough days.

This picture makes me laugh.  My oldest couldn’t handle not knowing what was going on in his brother’s book. He would read his brother’s book quickly, then read his own book while waiting for his brother to turn the page.
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She likes to pretend to read for a few minutes…then she likes to distract. She is so funny – and she only has a handful of words. I can’t wait until her communication skills catch up with her personality. When she saw me pull out my camera, she wrapped her arm around his neck. I pretty much never ask my kids to pose, so it is really funny that she decided she should do this for a picture. She likes him….and she promptly wanted to see these pictures when I was done.3.14readers-43.14readers-53.14readers-63.14readers-73.14readers-83.14readers-9

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  • heather - the day i noticed my youngest reading for FUN not because he had to was one of the happiest i’ve ever had as a lover of the written word…i am glad i’m not alone finding that amazing :)

  • paige - i think it’s so cool how the big boys are seemingly unaware that you’re even there, with the camera no less & meanwhile, SHE is all about being in the moment as well. what cuties
    and yes, i love it when my girls choose to read. only a couple are voracious readers. one is just too social to sit still that long and deal with it and my youngest is finally finding books that she loves. thankfully.

  • Reesa Heilaman - I love reading your blog and watching your babies grow up!!! It seems like forever since you and Chris sat around my table with me and my brood on Sunday afternoons! But some days it seems like last week. You and Chris are such awesome parents! Glad we didn’t scare you off of having a large family, lol!!!!

  • Meg - The idea of teaching my kids ANY subject scares me! I guess that’s probably a fear any parent has going into home schooling.

  • Sandra - Ha! Little One is looking so much like her sister in those last few photos. Funny girls :)
    I love the reading pics of the boys! You become a better reader mainly through reading. They have a great teacher, I’m sure!

  • Gillian Hall - I love your blogs… the photos of your older two reading, totally engrossed in their books (or both books) is just fab. I love your world. Thank you for sharing, you are all of the wow adjectives!!x

  • jodi - Yes, yes and yes on the fear of teaching a child to read! I think Math scares most people, but as a math lover, that didn’t concern me at all…it was READING!! As someone who loves to read, I know how many doors it can open, and so want that for my children too! I am so thankful for good curriculum and what a powerful tool it’s been in teaching my oldest (finishing 1st grade this year). Every time I hear him read, I’m blown away at how much he’s learned and that I was the teacher…unbelievably amazing! Love seeing the pics of your boys reading & Little One too!

  • Heather - Love this! It fills my heart with gladness to my son enjoy reading so much and to watch him try and read back to us (he’s not even 2 yet, so he doesn’t know all the words, but can repeat some of his favorite book from memory). I’ve been an avid reader since I was small, so I love to see kids appreciate books and really dive into reading.

  • Lori - my little man is starting to really love books and it makes my heart burst when he asks to read all his books 9x each every night. I can’t help but happily oblige. i hope he loves words as much as your oldest. :)

  • angie - 2nd photo from the bottom – so funny!

    And yes, I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said about reading. It’s so easy to take for granted something like reading when there are so many in the world that don’t have the opportunity to ever learn! So sad. It’s such a gift. My daughter just yesterday asked to go to the library for new reads. I love watching her peruse the aisles and to see her excitement when she finds ones she wants to check out. I absolutely love story time before bed and that we can take turns reading to each other.

  • Susie - I always have a LOL moment when I see your kids in your photos. Specifically how they dress. I can never tell what the weather is outside! You must have a super heating system, because it’s early March and your #3 son is barefoot and in shorts! He’d fit in perfectly here in Israel!

    Nothing to do with their reading habits….which seem great from where I’m sitting:)

  • Susan - I so remember the days of fear as a new homeschooling mom but don’t be afraid. Go boldly into “formal teaching” because as parents, we are teachers. Amost everything our children learn from birth to school age is something they have learned from us as parents.
    One thing I learned is that reading parents produce reading children. So read to your children, but also let them observe you reading. It helps them realize that reading is how YOU are learning, even still. And that beyond learning, reading can be done for pure fun!

    What bit #2 on the foot? It looks like someone or something left a mark?! Ah, life with kids! Bliss!

    May God bless you and yours on this adventure called life!
    Susan

  • AshleyAnn - Susan- It’s not a bite :)

  • Angela - My oldest is a reader too and I love it. The younger kids have just followed his lead and if there is ever down time they grab a book to read. It has made it easier on me to instill in all of them the love of reading. But the thought of homeschooling seems impossible. Way to go!

  • AnnMarie - I’m the oldest of eight kids. As a young kid, I was like most others – recess was my favorite subject and reading was mostly a bore. But that all changed in first grade when two girls in my class (who were reading on about a fifth-grade reading level) inspired me to read a certain book. I took it home to my mom and dad and announced I wanted to read it. It took roughly three months of reading with them every night after the other kids had gone to bed to finish it (and a special arrangement with the school librarian so I could keep it longer than two weeks), but I did it. Our family has been a book-crazy family ever since! To the point where grounding us from the library has been the most effective punishment our parents could give us, haha. The power of oldest children in setting the tone for the whole family is pretty strong. ^_^ I hope you have many more scenes like this while your kids are growing up!

  • Laura J - I remember the Hardy Boys era! Has your oldest tried Brian Jacques ‘Redwall’ series yet? My son was a huge reader too and loved them. They are more advanced reading(different dialects makes it trickier), but full of adventure. They made an animated tv series out of it that was very true to the story and very well done. My son also loved Brian Jacques other series ‘Castaways of the Flying Dutchman’. Maybe a bit scary yet for the littler guys, but I enjoyed that book too. I didn’t homeschool, but I used to read some of his favorites so we could discuss them. What wonderful days…. The good news is we still get to read the same book once in a while and discuss it!

  • heather - Your youngest is absolutely adorable! But I’ve got to say the pic of your oldest reading his brother’s book steals it for me. How flippin’ cute is that???

  • Jess Z. - I hope my children love to read as well (since I do!!), but it’s a scary challenge and one I’m not quite sure how to conquer. I hope my oldest (he’s only 5) loves to read like your oldest…imaginations can go anywhere when one reads books.

  • Kayla - Oh my goodness, the second picture from the bottom put the biggest smile on my face! Her little expression is too cute!!

  • Kimberly | Turning It Home - I became my son’s mother when he was already reading and now that my daughter is approaching reading age – I find myself nervous! My son was an early reader and today, at age 10, is a better reader than me! Which is ironic that you post this, since I just thought of asking you what books your son is into? I’m running out of good book suggestions for my son. :)

  • Eryn - She is SO CUTE! Love her little animated faces :)

  • Amy D - Thanks for sharing this… I think about taking my kids out of school one day and homeschooling, but the fear is so big for me too!!! Would you ever be able to share more about homeschooling, like what you guys do, how you balance several kids, the process in deciding on homeschooling? I hate how much of our day is just hurrying to get out the door, driving to and from school, and then a short time to play before it is time to tackle homework/dinner/bed. I’m still thinking about that post about how that is either one reason you chose homeschooling, or one awesome result, that your oldest has so much time to do the thing he loves most. Your blog and perspective on family & photographing your days is SUCH a blessing to me! Thanks again!

  • Cailan - We’re just taking off with reading here too! So now I’m curious what the boys are reading?

  • Maureen - These lovely photos were honey to my heart. My baby graduated 4 years ago,(!)which brought to a close 22 years of homeschooling for our family. I agree, reading, yikes!, every time. My oldest began on his own and was a rabid reader at 5. Each child was different, but our youngest, loved being read to but refused to learn. I took deep breaths and went with it. I read to him, his older siblings read to him and he did copy work, short sentences and scriptures. One day, out of the blue, he said, “Ok, mom, you can teach me to read now.” I was so relieved! When we sat down to start a book… he read it to me. Moral of story: Don’t sweat it if they balk. They are learning. For some kids the ‘formal’ teaching won’t work. Relax, wait, read, read, read, and let them write. It’ll happen.

  • Shelly Cunningham - I started homeschooling this year. Our twins are kindergartners, and I, too, have felt in awe as they have transitioned from letter sounds to reading words. Watching it feels magical. I cannot believe I taught them that!

  • Samantha - Ashley, thank you for sharing these moments of life with us, your readers. I often come on as a fellow mom of 3 boys to peek at what you’re creating or sharing or photographing. It’s a delight to see your boys reading together as our 7 & 10 year old do- of course, our eldest reads a page of his brothers book quickly and moves back to his own book! Loved that. I’ve been praying about homeschooling and asking the Lord to confirm to me His call and leading on this. Thank you for sharing your heart. You are refreshing and your ministry, your children and readers, are blessed by your outpouring. Agape sweet sister. Love from Southern California.

  • Alessandra - We are all avid readers in our family and I hope with all my strength that even the small J will love the books and that they can accompany him at every moment of his life, because there are books to play with in happy times, books in which to take refuge in moments of pain, books that help us understand and books that teach us to accept life.
    At the moment Snow White is at the top of the league, we have to read and re-read it constantly especially the part “… Mirror mirror on the wall who is the fairest of them all?”

    Adorable your little bookworms!

  • Erin Kloosterman - As a 9th grade English teacher, I felt like singing when I read your post! It’s so important to read, and I can definitely tell almost immediately which of my kids read outside of school and which do not. You can see the books reflected in their vocabulary, their reading comprehension, and their willingness to challenge themselves with new literature! Isn’t it great that something so fun, like escaping into another realm for a while, does so much to expand the brain?

    I know when we have kids, my husband can’t wait to introduce our kids to adventure stories like Hatchet, My Side of the Mountain, Sign of the Beaver, Julie of the Wolves, or Island of the Blue Dolphins. Maybe your oldest would be interested in those titles, if he hasn’t plowed through them all already! :)

  • Stephanie - omg… these pics are SOOOO cute! I love watching your daughter blossom within your family. With each picture you can see her growing more confident and you can really sense how comfortable, happy and LOVED she feels. It must be awesome to grow up with such cool brothers and sister.

  • Taylor - So adorable! I love those last pictures of you little ones together.

    xoxo
    Taylor

    http://www.welcomehometaylor.com

  • Julie - I used to feel the same – that reading is such joy and a gift I wanted to share with my children. Then God gave us our oldest – who has a learning difference that made reading incredibly hard for her. We didn’t catch on until well into second grade after most of the damage had been done to her confidence. Our second can read but has yet to find the joy I try to show them. And then there’s our third – who we’ve started before kindergarten with a therapist to avoid his sisters path. (And our 4th still speaks Chinese – I joked to our principal we have no idea about her.) Reading is pushed so hard now on little ones – and what I’ve had to learn painfully is despite all my efforts that it’s not what He has planned, and that’s ok. The bookworm in me has had to embrace the thought that reading is not everything (I can’t believe I just typed that!) I don’t have the answer as to what ireading means to my kids – but I pray that someday the tide will turn and it won’t be such a burden to them.

  • Christina - I can already see her personality shining through in those last few photos. I can just imagine the little girl she is going to be these next few years. I hear you on the reading part. My son is in kindergarten this year and I had thought about homeschooling, but ultimately decided not to since he’s an only child, and we do have an amazing school. But, that is what worried me most. I volunteer in the classroom two days a week and it’s been amazing to see the process of learning letters to reading words. It amazes me to see him reading this year.

  • Mary - I’m a high school English teacher. One of my favourite students-teacher moments is when I sit in front of my class during “silent reading time” and secretly watch my kids be immersed in a book they got to choose! It is totally magical and sometimes I just look at their faces and smile, knowing that I am giving them the opportunity to find joy in reading :)

  • Denise L. - The second-to-the-last photo caught me off guard. A bark of laughter escaped me. I am going to use it as a background on my laptop, if I may. I am going through a very difficult period in my 54-yr-old life (both parents have cancer right now) and I need as many joyful and positive things surrounding me as possible.

    I’ve said it before, the peace and joy and thought provoking things you bring up in this space are ways that He uses to feed me. Thanks so much for sharing, Chris and Ashley.

  • Lynne Pearce - Awesome photos! So great to see little ones enjoying books (and each other) :)

  • Tiffany - So great to see this post. I have a 10 year old son, 8 year old daughter and 3 year old son. I believe God has put on my heart to homeschool for some time now… however.. they are still in our neighborhood public school. God is making big changes in our life lately.. we will be building a home (with 2 acres) and moving out of the downtown okc neighborhood. Anyway… all this to say I am in need of courage. It scares me to think about pulling the kids out of all they have known. Strangely enough.. it seems God has been preparing their hearts. They both are so open to the idea. It truly is me who is lacking the courage. I just wanted to know if you had some bible verses that helped you in your decision… or any words of wisdom. I love your blog and it encourages me often. Blessings….

  • Paige Rodriguez - I just LOVE her little feet!!!

  • Danielle - I was pretty relieved when my boys learned to read, big weight off my shoulders! Adorable pictures!

Salt, Pepper & Shadow {our spring chicks}

I wish I had snapped a photo of my son reading all your birthday wishes last night, but I was sitting next to him caught up in it all. He read every comment and really enjoyed that so many of you posted where you are from. I think it might have blown his mind a little bit to get so many birthday wishes from near and far. It meant a lot to him. Thank you for taking the time to do that for him, for me. It was so very special and was a highlight of his day. Thank you.

In other news, we got a few spring chicks. We don’t have a rooster, so none of our eggs will hatch. However, the next time one of chickens gets broody (wants to sit on an egg and hatch it) we are going to try sneaking in an egg from our friend’s chickens (they have a rooster). I would just love for the kids to see the natural process of a momma hen hatching and protecting her chick.

Until then we’ll enjoy these little girls…please at least 2 of you be girls.
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So, we added to our flock. And there is a lot of smiling going on in my house. The kids are smiling too.

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  • Bambi - Love, love, love them! So cute and perfect and awe inspiring!
    Thanks so much for sharing!

    Here is what inspired me recently:

    http://lasagnolove.blogspot.de/2014/03/best-books-recently.html

    Love from Germany and a sunny day!

    Bambi

  • LeahGeneva - What type of chicks are those? They are so, so sweet! I’m expecting my first chicks in three weeks. Can’t wait to have them in the family :)

  • molly - hi Ashley! love your blog…always inspiring. wondering if you would sell a print of your photo with the three chicks and the scale? I would be interested! thanks!

  • Lacy - They are beautiful! We’re getting some more this month too. What kind are these??

    xo

  • angie - I desperately want to add to my flock. I have 4 hens currently but got them once they started laying so I’ve never dealt with the chick stage. I’m kinda scared of it honestly, but would so like to venture down that road. I went to the feed store yesterday and snapped pictures of the chicks and sent a few to my husband. When he came home he thought for sure I had bought some. I wish but I couldn’t make such a rash decision with a sweet little life!

  • Cheri - What Molly said! I’d love a print (or jpg.)of the chicks/scale too! Absolutely love the chick in the dollhouse doorway!

    I might have to get chicks this spring….. add to my flock of 3 :) thanks for the inspiration!

  • Kimberly | Turning It Home - Having chicks in the house is so fun! My children loved our baby chicken, but sadly it died a couple of days ago – so we bought a baby turkey instead. Ha! We used to have a rooster (along with 12 hens in the city) and although none of our chickens were broody, we hatched some eggs using an inexpensive incubator – it was a lot of fun!

  • Allie - I die. My chicks don’t arrive until the week after Easter, so I’m just going to soak up all of this chicky goodness!!

  • Becky - I always love your pictures. These, though, have to be some of my favorites.

  • Necole@seriouslysassymama - Baby chicks are so cute!

  • Abby - Gosh what perfect names! I want chickens, but our suburban neighborhood might have a problem with it!
    Love the photos of the chicks on the egg crate–so cute!
    Abby

  • Taylor - So adorable! I love those pictures of the chicks together!

    xoxo
    Taylor

    http://www.welcomehometaylor.com

  • Jenny B. - Aw, man! I missed the birthday post, and as I was scrolling back through, I saw that I totally missed your Joss & Main collection too. Where have I been?? So…

    Happy belated birthday, Biggest Brother!! I’m from Northwest Arkansas, so not too far from you guys! My oldest son is 9. He can’t wait to be 10. He would think you are SOOO cool because you are 10 (and for lots of other reasons, too, I’m sure). Hope you had a great day!

    Ashley, I can’t believe he’s 10! I remember your post about when he turned 8 and how you felt about 8-year-olds. That seems like a couple months ago, not a couple of YEARS ago! Goodness. Time FLIES.

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh my goodness – the one in the front door is cracking me up!

  • Marcy - Oh my gosh, the scale photos! love love love!!

  • Jenny - I missed the birthday post yesterday! Happy Birthday, bud, from a military family living in Los Angeles, California! Hope your day was full of all things awesome.

    Love the new baby chicks! These pictures are amazing!!

  • AshleyAnn - Lacy – they are a blue copper maran, black copper maran and a splash copper maran….they lay dark brown eggs

  • AshleyAnn - LeahGeneva – they are a blue copper maran, black copper maran and a splash copper maran….they lay dark brown eggs

  • Julia - Happy 10th birthday to the biggest brother! We wish him all the best and hope that he’ll enjoy reading in his double digit years as well. Greetings from Slovenia (a small central-European country in the shape of a chicken!) :)

  • Pam - Hey Ashley. We are 4Hers and our agency offers Embryology for homeschoolers. You should check out your local 4H for a great experience with baby chicks hatching in an incubator. We have gone through the program twice. It’s a little stinky in the end but a great journey. Oh and I didn’t think to put my location on yesterday’s post but I am in Gibsonville, NC.

  • Emma - I wish we could have chickens in our backyard! We are only allowed if we live out of town, they are just so cute and fluffy!

  • Angela - So, so cute!!! We get our chicks next week and I can hardly wait!

  • Kyra - I needed to see these beautiful girls (fingers crossed)on my computer. So cold and lots of snow here but these ladies remind me that Spring is coming and of Easter, too.

  • Laura - Hi Ashley, I am a Tulsa area mom and we are hoping to start our chicken family this year. Thanks for all the good info about chicks! Would you mind sharing where you get your chicks locally? I have called around farm stores and they all seem to have “assorted” breeds. I would like to pick certain ones but not sure the best way to do that. Thank you!

  • Cathy - Ashley, your family is so inspiring!! My mom always said she wanted chickens and I always laughed at her and told her she was crazy. Now after reading your blog and seeing your experiences with them I would love them! My husband and I are going to move out to the country in a couple of years and I’m totally going to get chickens thanks to you! :) Happy Thursday!

  • mandi@herbanhomestead - Oh chicks! Why can’t you stay tiny forever and lay jelly bean sized eggs?!? We don’t have roosters either, so we put a dozen fertilized eggs under one of our broody girls. It was so fun to see her get to do what she was designed to do! If you go that route, try to get more than one egg. Out of the dozen we put under her, only 3 hatched. Out of those, only two survived.

  • Made ME Smile | Breath of SimpleBreath of Simple - […] these adorable chicks. One of my favorite blogs.  Ashley has her own chicken coop this […]

  • Katie mcminds - Please oh please give me advic to raisin chickens! I want to have them so badly but don’t know where to begin, I’ve spent hours on Pinterest dreaming of my perfect chicken coop, and looking at cute adorable chicks, but I don’t know where to begin or if I should just dive in head first. I’m assuming if I want to start, now would be the time. And should I protect my garden from them or let them wonder around it? I don’t know anything!! Haha

10. ten.

I am excited, thrilled about the future. I look forward to the days ahead for my family. I don’t dread the future or wish for the past. However, today my oldest turns 10…so I’m letting myself be a little sad. I LOVE being his mom. The past 10 years with him – so thankful.

10 is hard for this mom.

I didn’t realize how hard it would be for me because I do look forward to the days ahead. I do enjoy the present. But, 10. Wow. In eight years he will be 18 and I just can’t go there right now.

He made me a mom. I wrote him a long letter today – being his mom is one my life’s greatest pleasures.

Ahhh…my baby boy is ten.

ten-1ten-2ten4ten3ten5ten6ten7ten8ten-11

It is just happening too fast.

Too, too fast.

Tomorrow will be better, but today I’m happy and sad. I don’t want to keep him small forever, but I kinda do!

He likes to read comments on my blog and instagram. If you feel so inclined, I’d love for him to get a few birthday wishes here. Feel free to tell him how awesome his mom is and how he should always think she is really cool:)

Happy Birthday bud, I love you.

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  • Melinda - Happy Birthday big guy- I so enjoy following your mom’s blog and watching you learn new things and develop into a young man. God Bless! Sincerely, Melinda and Katie(Toledo, OH)

  • Beth in Illinois - DOUBLE DIGITS! That’s pretty special! Have a great day today! Blessings to you!

  • Andrea - I have been following your blog for a long time now, but never commented on anything, so this will be my first ever comment on your blog. :-)

    Happy 10th birthday from SWITZERLAND! :-D Have a great day with lots of awesome food, fun friends and amazing presents, and all the best for your future. From what your mum posts about you on here, everybody knows: you’re a great kid. :-)

    All the best,
    Andrea

  • Peggy - Happy Birthday! Wow! What a lucky guy you are! Your mom loves you so much! Have a great 10th year!

  • Jessica Anderson - My first born’s tenth Birthday is today too!! I love who he is becoming but sad he is so big at the same time. Happy Birthday to your boy!

  • Tracy - Happy Birthday Big Brother! With lots of love from cold, cold MN!

  • Michelle Davies - Welcome to Double Digits! I hope your tenth birthday is amazing! Happy Birthday and many, many more!

  • danielle - Happy Birthday! 10 is an amazing year!

  • Christy - Happy Birthday! I actually had the pleasure of meeting your mom at one of Meg’s craft weekends and I can tell you that you are blessed with a great family (especially mom:))! I hope you have a great day and year to come!

  • Anna - Happy B-Day from Slovakia (Central Europe)! Enjoy your day big boy! :) I wish u happiness, coz thats the most important thing!

    Your family is awesome! :)

    PS: happy b-day is in my language “všetko najlepšie” (u can use google translator if u wanna hear how it sounds ;) )

    Anna

  • Lisa - Happy Birthday Master Campbell! Have a truly fantastic day. Just remember, no one will ever love you like your mother.

  • Christi {Jealous Hands} - Happy Birthday from Madison, GA! 10 is SUCH a fun age!

  • Bambi - So beautiful!!!

    Here’s what inspires us today:

    http://lasagnolove.blogspot.de/2014/03/drunk-in-love-3.html

    Love from Germany,

    Bambi and Birdy

  • Susanne - Happy Birthday Biggest Brother! You hold such an important place in your family. You were the beginning of a dream for your parents. It has been fun watching you grow into such a fine young man. Blessings to you!

  • Karla Swalve - Happy Birthday!! I remember very clearly how cool it was to get to the double digits :) Have a fantastic birthday! I only knew your parents briefly, but it does stand out in my mind how kind and gracious they were. You are blessed to learn from them and to see God’s grace through them. Pay attention to what they say as you continue to grow :) Happy Happy 10th!!

  • Bonnie - Happy Birthday from Ohio! I hope you have a fantastic birthday!

  • Alice Labaune - Happy 10th birthday big brother.
    I follow your awesome mother’s blog all the way from France, I love watching you all grow up, blossom into beautiful bigger people… I hope to be here watching you one day fly from the nest & go after your own life…
    Many thoughts xxxx

  • Erica Baker - Happy Birthday from Washington, DC! I have been reading your mom’s blog for about 4 years now (I don’t think I have missed a post!) I was the oldest too and was always sneaking off to read so you remind me of myself at 10 when I see posts about you. (except, obviously we are different genders :) ) I hope you have a great day! Welcome to the double digits!! P

    Praying for the Lord to raise you up as a leader as you grow and that he would break your heart for the things that break His. May the Lord wrap you in His love and plant His seeds deep within your heart. Blessings!

  • Jillian - Happy 10th Birthday! With your recent request for a Bible, you already have the best gift. A growing faith in Jesus is all you will ever truly need. On top of that though, God has blessed you with an amazing family. I have never met any of you in person, but I did take a phone course from your mom. She is beautiful and talented and love just pours out of her. Her pictures speak thousands of words, and you are clearly a wonderful son, an awesome big brother, and a really neat friend. God bless you as you celebrate your first decade. May you have many, many more to come!!
    Love from Minnesota
    Jillian

  • Thuy - Happy BIG 10th Birthday C!! Hope you have an awesome day!

  • Michelle - Happy Birthday from Arkansas! Hope you have a great day with friends and family!

  • Kimberly | Turning It Home - Happy Birthday! My son turned ten in November – it is such a fun age!

  • Helen - Hi there! I’ve been a fourth grade teacher for 29 years, so I know 10 year olds pretty well, and I can tell you with certainty that 10 year olds are some of the coolest people in the world. Enjoy being 10! (Now, go give your mom a hug and pretend to look away when she gets misty. It will give her a chance to wipe away her tears pull herself together.)
    :)

  • Stephanie - Happy 10th Birthday from Philadelphia, PA! Have an amazing year filled with a lot of adventures!

  • RachelC - Wow. Now, I’m crying….memory lane. Happy 10th Birthday C! You are an amazing big brother with a great big heart. It has been a joy to watch you grow from a tiny baby to a handsome young man. You are so smart, and I love hearing about all of the great ideas you have and how you love people. In a few years, when you get your drivers’ license, you’ll have to take me for a spin. We can roll the windows down and sing at the top of our lungs (don’t tell your mom….it might make her nervous). I look forward to watching you grow into a man over the next 10 years. You are awesome.

  • Granny Sandy - WOW, Happy Birthday my dear Grand Nephew. TEN. WOW. Like your Mom, where did all the time go. I still remember the day you were born, it just seems like yesterday. I have enjoyed watching you grow into one amazing young man. And, yes, you do have amazing parents. I hope your birthday is full of fun and love. Happy Birthday, from a VERY PROUD Granny Sandy. Love you.

  • Ellen - Happy Birthday! I hope all your birthday wishes come true.

    p.s. If you see a tear in the corner of your mom’s eye today, just know it’s because her heart is so full of love for you, some of it leaks out every now & then.

  • Sara Morin - Happy birthday!! It’s been a pleasure watching you grow up online. Enjoy your day!!

  • Caroline - Happy Birthday, Big brother!
    I’ve been reading your mom’s blog for a couple of years and I can see that awesome big brother in you!
    May you grow to be a charming young man, from inside out!

    and yes, i really do think that you have the most awesome mom and you should always always love her like she love you so!

    Cheers,
    Caroline from Singapore

  • Pam - Happy Birthday Big 10!

  • Necole@seriouslysassymama - happy birthday big man! My oldest turned 10 last September and it just about killed me. She will be starting 6th grade in the Fall. 6th grade people.

  • Megan - I have followed your blog for so many years; I couldn’t help but let the tears flow a bit reading this!
    Happy, happy birthday big brother!
    Your family is inspirational and your mother is truly spectacular!

  • Amanda - Happy 10th Birthday from freezing cold NY!!! I’ve enjoyed watching you grow on your mom’s amazing blog! Have a fantastic day!!! :)

  • Jaime | Queen of the Creek - Happy 10th Birthday!!!

    P.S. can’t believe how long we’ve been following you! ;)

  • Lauren - Happy Birthday from London UK!

    You have an amazing family and it’s soo cool that you’re the oldest – being the oldest rocks!!

  • Avenlea - Happy birthday, Biggest Brother! Remember that your siblings look up to you. I hope you have a great day! Praying for you.

  • Sarah - I remember turning 10! It was a big deal to become two digits. I am also the oldest child and grandchild so it was a really big deal for my family. That was 20 years ago and the area that I grew up in was really rural. We always had a family dinner or lunch with my grandparents, aunts and uncles, etc. So since turning 10!!! was a really big deal, we had carry-out pizza for my party. It was the first time my grandparents had ever had pizza. So happy 10th birthday! I bet you will always remember it!

  • Alisa - Happy bday from Thailand too. :) I’ve got two boys (though they’re pretty young) and the oldest loves seeing all of the pictures of you guys. I like showing him how awesome it is to play with your siblings – and I love it (!) that you’re a reader! Hope this year is the best yet for you!

  • Alice - Have a happy 10th birthday Big Brother, from up North in Canada!

    Stay warm and enjoy your special day with your family!

  • Kelli - Happy, happy birthday, sweet boy! You are a wonderfully special part of a very special family. I know your brothers and sisters look up to you so much. Have a great day!

  • Celine - 10! WoW!!! Happy birthday, Big Boy or should I say Lil Man!! May you have a birthday that you are wishing for ….. together with God’s many blessings!! Thinking of you today all the way from KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA (in Asia).

  • Stoich91 - Happy, happy birthday dude! It’s been so cool to watch you and your family become brilliant, grow together and train chickens. I hope your birthday brings you all you wish for and more, and you have muchos, muchos mas blessed years ahead of you! *sends virtual birthday cake of choice*

  • Alessandra - Buon compleanno anche dall’Italia!

    It ‘s always a pleasure to read the adventures of your family and join in your joy on this special day … Happy Birthday Big 10!

  • Cindy - Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you!
    Have a wonderful day with your family.
    Love from Canada

  • Theresa W - Happy Birthday, Mr. 10-year old! My grandson will turn 10 the end of this month, so as I look at your pictures growing up, it reminds me a lot of him. I know that your inquisitive, smart and such a good big brother!! Have a very happy birthday! AND your Mom and Dad are very special people…always remember that!

  • Meredith - Happiest of all birthdays to the oldest! I remember turning ten and writing my parents thank you notes for being awesome parents. Such a fun year! Enjoy and eat lots of cake!

  • babs - Happy Birthday from the east coast!!!For your gift,I will suggest a reading of “The Secret Garden”by Burnett. It may seem a “girls book” at first glance but two very different boys are main characters.The main character is 10 years old.It was a favorite of my now grown sons.As you life fills with activity,continue to keep your head in a book.

  • Nan - Happy Birthday, Biggest Brother! Hope you have a great day!

  • Brooke - Happy Birthday! It’s such a pleasure to watch you grow up through the moments in your life that your mom shares with us. You are a wonderful big brother! I hope you have the most fabulous birthday and nothing but health joy and goodness in the years to come. One of the things I admire so much about your parents is how they encourage you all to be yourselves. Pursue what you love, don’t let anyone squash your passions. Being the wonderful authentic best version of yourself has gotten you this far, let it keep carrying you onwards!

  • Courtney - A big howdy and Texas sized greetings for your 10th Birthday!! Hope you have a super fantastic day!!