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Henry has been waiting and waiting and waiting for his fifth birthday to arrive, then one day, like it always does, the day came. Hallelujah!

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I love reminiscing about the years Henry’s been a part of our family. As our first son, he’s been doted on by his older sisters like he’s had four mothers all his life. From his first smile, he’s captured hearts because his joy, goodness, and kindness oozes from every grin. He loves to be in the middle of any project, especially if a hammer is involved.
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He’s even a willing helper when it’s a consequence for his own less than stellar actions, like hanging on doors and towel racks. I don’t know how many times we’ve had to fix walls and hinges but Henry has been there putting on the finishing touches every single time. He’s honest about his mistakes and doesn’t shirk his consequences (partly because it’s like arts and crafts for him). If nothing else, he’s going to be really good at drywalling and painting for when his own kids use the towel rack like it’s the monkey bars.

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Though Indiana changed laws about when the cutoff is for kids entering kindergarten, our school district has stuck with August first. That means Henry missed the cutoff by twenty-five days BUT in a year like 2020, I’m really not sad that he’s going to be staying home with me another year. I’ve answered his question a million times–he honestly thought he was going to go to school when he turned five but since it seems like I’ve explained it well enough that he gets he’s not going for a full year, he’s shrugged off any disappointment. That means more time being a kid. What could be more sweet than that?
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If there’s a place Henry feels completely at home, it’s in nature. He’s reached an age where I’m okay with him wandering out back as long as he checks in once in a while. He’ll ride his bike, dig in the mud, make a sandcastle, take his fake chainsaw outside to pretend cut-up wood, and his idea of a fun weekend is backpacking and camping. The sweatier and dirtier he ends up, the better.

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What Jack likes, Henry likes. Once we finished the first section of the dock for the pond, Jack showed Henry how to fish from the end. All Henry ended up catching was himself but he didn’t care. The fun was in the experience.

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I know a lot of people joke about teenage boys eating their parents out of house and home but Henry is already on his way to accomplishing that particular goal. Most mornings, he rolls out of bed early because he’s hungry, has a bowl of oatmeal, asks for eggs and toast, makes himself some yogurt and fruit, then is asking for a snack before his sisters even go to school.
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Another thing Henry’s happily picked up from Jack is foraging for food. He’ll eat chives straight from the front yard and redbuds off the tree. More than once, I’ve had to remind him to ask before he eats. All that eating has led to several impressive growth spurts. Let’s just say, by the end of the season, the clothes I bought at the beginning are already too tight and too short.

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Henry has always had his own sense of style. His hair is an asset, he’s not afraid to dress up, and with his charming smile, he makes anything look good.
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I love how fearless Henry is, too. He lives for any shot of adrenaline he can get, from jumping off the dock to rollercoasters. When he screams and laughs, it’s contagious. He can make everything more exciting.

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I think most parents have the tendency to put their kids on a glowing pedestal when you’re talking about them to someone else but I don’t really think anyone is fooled. Nobody’s perfect, including my darling children, but something I’ve discovered through them is that there’s a lot more good in people–especially children–than there is any sort of bad. So what if they get themselves stuck in the office chair and scream their head off until you get them out. Or that they’ve colored on the walls again. Or that they chewed apart your favorite spatula? 😂 What’s life without a few bumps in the road to remind us that we’re all capable of being loved, even when we aren’t perfect?
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Henry spent his special day being thoroughly spoiled. After about three breakfasts, he made his own birthday cake. Chocolate with vanilla frosting with a secret compartment of M&M’s, and Batman and Superman decorations. Did I mention that Henry also loves a bit of extravagance?
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I ran his sisters to school. They love birthdays as much as the person celebrating, and were busy hand stitching gifts for Henry all the way to school so they could wrap them up and give them to him. Gotta say, as much as they sometimes get on each others’ nerves, they really, really do love each other. My mother heart is so proud to know that they’ll always have each others’ backs.

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I came back home to find Henry exercising. All those calories he consumes come out in growth spurts and energy, which he burns off by bouncing off the walls, swimming, running, riding his bike, digging, or jogging on the treadmill. Once he was good and sweaty, we went back up to decorate his cake.

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In the weeks counting down to Henry’s special day, he announced he wanted to have a surprise party for his birthday. Um, he clearly didn’t understand how difficult of a request that was. He’s home all day, doesn’t usually take naps anymore, and is basically my shadow for most of the day. Since I couldn’t invite friends over, it was going to have to be pulled off with his sisters’ help.
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While Henry was outside with Jack, picking raspberries and checking on the animals, the girls and I hurried to blow up balloons, decorate the windows, and put up the Happy Birthday banner. Henry had requested chili and cinnamon rolls, a fruit rainbow, and shrimp for dinner (I had to cut him off there or we would’ve had an entire buffet on the table). Henry’s face when he came back in said it all: the surprise party was a hit.
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Through the blessing and miracle of technology, Henry opened his gifts in a flurry of excitement in front of one grandma, was sung Happy Birthday by his cousins, and spoke with his other grandma. He was so greedy yet gracious with his presents. The happiness in his face was his show of gratitude, and he loved every single thing that was showered on him.
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It’s hard to quantify how much we love Henry. He’s smart, handsome, incredibly curious, innovative, spunky, helpful, a go-getter, kind, the best friend anyone could wish for, industrious, and a natural hardworker. His random hugs are the best, and he can cheer anyone’s day. He is a shining light in the world and has so much potential in him, I can hardly wait to see who he’s going to become and what his life will hold. But, I will happily take it one day at a time with each of them so I can remember each step of the way.

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Happy birthday to our amazing Henry! We love you!
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True stories of raising children, remodeling, braving the elements and plotting out life, all while living on a humble acreage in central Indiana.

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