I remember it so well: the weight of overwhelm when we found out I was already eight weeks pregnant with baby number two when Max was six months old. Tears in my eyes watching that original baby sleep in his carseat in my backseat riding away from that doctor appointment wondering what in the world we would do with another baby. I remember how Dave fell on the floor in astonishment when I told him the news.

How could we ever know in those moments how wonderful that little surprise would be for us?

That tiny little newborn body next to her huge 15-month-old brother when we brought her home from the hospital.

Those two becoming inseparable, best of friends.

Still wondering why I needed to dress her in stiff button overalls…

Born on my sister’s birthday, so they could celebrate all the years together…


Complete with inheriting Saydi’s birthday tradition: floating the birthday cake, first together on the lake:

Then in all kinds of ways through the years:

This one was so hot the candles melted…

A pile of blonde hair on the table and a little girl with some scissors in her hand, necessitating her first boy-cut.

Ready for preschool:

Always gathering the sweetest of friends:


A champion of sisters right from the start:

Yep, she played the violin:

…and basketball:

(you can tell how good she was at it by how she’s holding the ball, makes me laugh out loud every time I see this picture.

Tried her hand at a little bit of dance:

And junior high volleyball:

Oh these memories! I can’t stop!

Her old bedroom:


The best adventure partner:

Taring roofs in Mexico:

Survived braces:

Passed up her mother in height:

Drives like her mother:

Survived with flying colors when her parents took her to live in China for her junior year of high school:

Braved the beauty of Hawaii for college:

Study abroad in Jerusalem:

Met her match:

And I am the luckiest to call her mine.

Happiest of birthdays, Elle Belle! I hope it’s the best one yet!

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