>Happy Bday Marti-ay!


 Happy Happy Fourteenth Birthday to our Marta Therese!

Yes, it is finally here, after much anticipation and counting and campaigning for certain gifts.  Today is the day. You’ve changed your  mind about the dinner and the dessert countless times, but today is the day and final (?) call: Chinese food and “Brad’s Berry Chocolate Cake.”

Birthdays are still a new and exciting event, this will be your second officially celebrated bday…here in America and your second personal bday party ever.  We will hang streamers and have festive decorations and plates.  We will stack presents in the center of the table and tell your little brothers, “Not yet, we are waiting for Dad to get home.” We might have to tell you that too, because it’s  hard to wait for birthdays, whether you are four or fourteen!

But, in this place, my place, I do the list.

So, here is Marti-ay’s bday list for fourteen:

You, Marti, have the biggest smile I know.
I call it your “megawatt” smile. 
When you really smile, your whole face lights up, your eyes and eyebrows lift and sparkle.
When you scowl, they don’t.
So we try hard to help you find  your smile again…
You love to laugh and are learning jokes.
Your favorite joke is a knock knock joke and it makes you crack up. 
Which makes us crack up.
Funny is always good.
You are crazy ticklish, which can come in handy.
But mostly you just like to sit really close, especially if it’s next to Mom or Dad…or both!
You love music.
You are hoping for a guitar so you can learn to play.
We are hoping if you get a guitar you will practice and love to play!
You laugh when we sing and dance and, still, are hard to coax to join us.
Someday we will get you to dance with us.
Because we know you know how to do a great Ethiopian dance!
And can shake those shoulders with the best of them!
You have a sweet kind heart.
Your heart is learning to love many people, but it takes time to grow.
You try your hardest most every day.
But some days, you just need a nap.

You love love love school!
Except for maybe science, that is very hard!
Tests make you nervous, but you work hard and do great.
Learning english is still very hard too, but you are talking  more!
You are are impatient
and stubborn.
But we’ve got a few others like that in our family!
You love sun 
and summer
and swimming.
You do NOT love winter
and rain
and cold
and snow.
You love football!
You love going to football games!
Especially if it is a game for your school or a game for Notre Dame.
You love basketball and volleyball too,
but not so much learning to ride a bike.

You love coffee
and yogurt
and pasta
and ice cream
and cake
and tomatoes
and cheeseburgers
and chips
and pizza…
all the teen food groups.

You have been home 16 months now!
And some days it feels like a long time and some days it feels very short.
You still love pink...
and you love your room and your bed and  your house, most days.
You are learning how to love and live with brothers and sisters.
It can be complicated and it can be fun, sometimes all in the same day!
Sometimes it can be hard in a big family.
Happily, puppies help!

We are all learning to love each other better, every day.

And we are all learning that families are complicated, big or small.
New families, old families, new kids, new and old brothers sisters moms dads, they all have the same things: love, smiles, moods, mistakes, laughs, food, chores, frowns, hugs, silly.
They are the same that way.

And those new big families, they make for big busy happy birthday parties –
and they come with big cakes!

So we wish you the happiest of birthday’s our Marti-ay!
We love you so much and are proud of you.
We hope all your birthday wishes come true!
Happy Happy Birthday Marta Terese!