There’s very little debate at my house over who is the favorite child. You could easily make an argument that any one of them has the preferred spot in my heart– because they all do.

But there are certainly some positions in the family that are easier to inhabit than others. Ben never has to wear hand-me-downs (though he also has to suffer all our first-time parent mistakes) and we all agree that Gabe and Mary have a blissful existence. But 4th boy? It’s a hard spot. It really is. And when your birthday comes after a whole slew of others? Yeah, it’s tough.

Xander came home from school after having a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (you’ve read the book, right? You know all about it.)– a math paper where he had all the right answers but was marked wrong on every problem because he ‘didn’t show his work’ (ooh, I hated that as a kid), a scuffle on the playground, a broken zipper on his backpack and a mother who forgot to bring birthday treats (I was on my way to the store, I was! and then the phone rang and I got distracted…).

But we salvaged the day with a giant orange balloon. Xander loves balloons; he begs for them at the store and spends the next few days attaching Playmobil guys or Lego men to the string and floating them around the house. This was the granddaddy of all balloons. We filled it with helium at the market and bought Xander his own bag of beef jerky.

No one can frown with belly full of beef jerky and a balloon in their hand.

Xander asked for socks for his birthday– nothing else. Grandpa Ken gave him 18 pairs.

I stepped right into the creek after taking this photo and got soaked up to my knees. Turning around I found that Hans had taken his shirt off,

“My hands were cold.”

Gabe took advantage of the situation.

Gabe’s pants fell down right after this. And yes, I did take a picture but I’m not quite mean enough to show his Sponge Bob underwear here.

On top of the world!


A dozen times a day, usually when I’m doing something unremarkable like reading the comics or stirring soup, Xander walks past me and calls out, “I love you, Mom.”

He expects very little and loves me unconditionally.

And I feel exactly the same way about him.

February 4, 2010
February 8, 2010



  1. dalene

    February 7, 2010

    oh i love these! thanks for sharing.

  2. Sue

    February 7, 2010

    Love this tribute to your very cute son…the words AND the photos.


  3. seven smiles

    February 7, 2010

    LOVE that giant balloon!
    Our 4th boy turned 11 last Tuesday. Our 8 year old’s baptism was cancelled yesterday due to a blizzard. And another birthday hits this Tuesday. We have a whole slew of birthdays right now- I feel your birthday-craziness! Enjoy! Loved the pictures.

  4. Selwyn

    February 7, 2010

    Beautiful, as always. You and Erik make gorgeous kiddos!

    (And Wong is going to LOVE the balloons over there!)

  5. Tracy

    February 8, 2010

    Happy Birthday!! We need more Xander pictures! Love these!

  6. Claudia

    February 8, 2010

    Happy Birthday Xan Man! You are one handsome dude. I can’t believe your eleven. Tell Hans he better beware. I can foresee you taking him down in wrestling sooner than he thinks;)

  7. Kim

    February 8, 2010

    What a cutie! Happy Birthday to Xander!

  8. Linkous

    February 8, 2010

    Xander is absolutely one of the sweetest boys on the planet. Who else has the patience and love to follow Elle around and make her completely happy every single minute we are at your house?! Happy birthday, sweet boy.

  9. Mathmom and family

    February 9, 2010

    Hope Xander had a wonderful birthday. The giant balloon is my kind of gift.

  10. Jan Russell

    February 15, 2010

    Gorgeous boy! The pictures with the balloon are amazing! YOU are amazing!

Comments are closed.