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my two girls have the amazing privilege of growing up near their 5 precious cousins. my girls adore their cousins. they get to see them often, play with them, argue with them, go wild and crazy with them, but most importantly they get to grow a deep love for them that i know will last their lifetime. it’s like having built-in best friends. no matter how rowdy and loud they are when they get together – no matter how many deep breaths i have to take in the middle of the chaos, i can’t help but thank God for these gifts to my daughters…and to me…they are my only niece and nephews since i don’t have any brothers or sisters and they hold a very special place in my heart.

here they are in order of appearance into the world:


thomas, age 5, the leader of the pack. where he goes the rest will follow. he’s already a great leader…he is extremely smart, confident and adventurous, but always keeps an eye on the younger and/or more fragile of the bunch. he’s a leader and guardian in one. he’s very brave and tough on the outside with a sweet, soft heart on the inside. i was blessed to be at the hospital when thomas was born and always cherish that memory.


caleb, age 4 (almost 5), the heart of the pack. there’s not a time you’ll see caleb walk through a door and not have a smile and a hug for you. he’ll make you feel like you’re his favorite person in the world – until you realize he treats every person that way. caleb is extremely smart, funny and kind. he is creative, always thinking up games for his cronies. and he absorbs information like nobody’s business. his talent in art is impressive and his heart of gold is priceless.


isabella, age 4, the mother hen; the voice of reason. she has a huge, caring heart – her love overfloweth. isabella is concerned with everyone’s well-being. she’s empathy to the core. if one of her cousins is sad or in trouble, she’s miserable. if her cousins are happy and playful, she’s ecstatic. this girl spends 75% of her days thinking about her cousins, wondering what they are up to about every 2 hours, and i hear her praying for them out loud while she is playing on her own. she loves deeply, cares deeply and is just a passionate person all the way around. (she’s also known, of course, for her saucy sense of humor)


ellie, age 3, the source of laughter and cheer. ellie is sweet, cuddly and hilarious. ellie is always looking for a good laugh – and she’s got one of the best. she is happy all of the time. she is a girly girl to the nth degree. but don’t let her sweet, innocent smile fool you – the girl is feisty and strong and won’t take any business from anyone. she can be fearless and sweet as pie all at the same time. ellie cares for and loves lucia like no other. she takes time to play with her, always brings her a toy and will even hang back with her while all the other kids are off to play.


ethan, age 3, the haas. ethan is the epitome of the “can-do” attitude. there isn’t anything this boy won’t try. not only will he try anything, but he’ll most likely succeed in whatever it is. jump from the counter, to the table, backflip and stick the landing on the bar stool? easy. he’ll even do it while holding 3 matchbox cars in each hand. he is tough as nails and tenacious. not only that, but he is also very smart. i remember his first words being words like “rhombus”. ethan is quick to apologize for any wrongdoing – not an easy thing for even an adult to do. his tough-guy persona quickly melts as he asks for a hug, a kiss or just to be held for a little while. 


tyler, age 1, the looks. i mean, can a face get much cuter than this? but not only does he have the looks, he also has the athlete built right into him. you’d assume catching a ball thrown by a one year old wouldn’t be that hard, but this boy makes you go long…past the livingroom, across the kitchen and into the master bath. he basically needs a stadium for a house. but his good looks and skillz aren’t all there is to tyler. he is as sweet as sweet can be, but you can be sure he is ready and waiting to give the big kids a run for their money.


lucia, age 1, the cream filling. what’s there to say about her that i haven’t already said in this blog? she loves her cousins and is delighted to watch them play. her eyes fill with joy when they play with her and love on her. she’s itching to join the clan in their great adventures and i can’t wait for the day she runs off with them. lucia is the cream filling, the icing on top, the pinch of sugar of the bunch. she’s sweet and cuddly – but her temper is definitely shining through. it’s not as easy to take a toy from her as it once was and i think she’ll be causing trouble with the best of them in no time.