Friday, August 7, 2015

Happy Birthday, Luke!

I have completely neglected this blog space!  Life has been full and going by fast in our neck of the woods!  When I think of how many pictures and moments that I want to share it simply overwhelms me!

But, today.....well, today is a very special day!  Our littlest man turns 6 today!!! Six!!! He has to use 2 hands now to show how old he is! And when he smiles, there's a missing tooth and a 1/2 grown in adult tooth grinning back at us!(yeah...that's one of those pictures I've yet to post!)

Today is a day to celebrate!  I feel a little sad that my baby boy is growing up!  Luke is such a special part of our family!  I've been reflecting lately on the gift that he is in our lives, so I thought I'd share a little of that a 7 Quick Takes Friday kind of Way!

Why "bonus babies" are such a blessing....

1. Surprises Can Be Good
6 years and 9 months ago(give or take), we got an early Christmas present.  A few weeks before Christmas, 2008, I realized that there was a strong chance that I might be pregnant.  Ellie, our youngest at the time was 5 and 1/2. After such a long break, (we had 7 children in 10 years before that!), Jay and I both thought that our family was complete.  Obviously, God had other plans!

I was trying to find a moment to tell Jay....when he gave me a hug and whispered in my ear, "Are you disappointed that we never had any more children?" To which I answered, "Well....". Then Jay's eyes lit up brighter than the lights on the Christmas tree and he ran out to CVS for a pregnancy test! (He has no patience when it comes to finding out if there might be a new "littlest Hamel" on the way!)

Luke at 6 credit Deanna DiMarzio Photography!
2. A New Level of Appreciation
It had been a while since I had been pregnant and had a baby in the house!  After having such a long break between babies, I appreciated and enjoyed Luke's pregnancy a lot more!  I enjoyed each moment in a whole new way. (Well...maybe not the morning sickness...but all the other moments!)  I knew there was a good chance that this could be my last pregnancy, so I tried to see each moment as the gift that it was!
Luke at his 1st birthday!

3. The Appreciation Continues

One of the benefits of having a "Bonus Baby" is that your have the experience of seeing how fast your children grow up!  When Luke was born we had three teenagers!! Mike was 16, Andrew was 14 and Jon was 13.  It didn't seem like that long ago that they were newborns in my arms!  As the song says, "Don't Blink"! With Luke, I knew how fast it would go! So I tried to soak in each experience....I stressed less about getting things perfect and enjoyed living in the moment more!

.....and yet, I still am dumbfounded that my baby boy is 6, losing teeth, and heading to school full time in just a few short weeks!  Sigh...guess I blinked somewhere!
Luke about 2

4.  Family Changes
Luke is one of the best things that has ever happened to our family!  We worried at first how it would work having teenagers and a baby in the house..and all the other kiddos in between!  Teenagers are interesting creatures!  Having Luke when we did kept the teenagers connected to the family in ways that we never would have predicted.  The teenagers didn't want this new little person to not know them as he grew up.  They made sure to be around so they could be a big part of Luke's life! Luke kept his older brothers grounded in our family life in such a unique and awesome way.  I think Luke's birth made his brothers more selfless because they had someone else to focus on other than themselves.

Our boys...Luke at 3 months!  Photo credit: Deanna DiMarzio Photography

 5. Experiencing Things Through A Child's Eyes
It is SO cool to see the older kids want to do things with Luke that they enjoyed doing as a child!  They love watching Luke's reactions to the movies/cartoons that they loved as a child.  They love watching him enjoy the zoo and going to the beach. Going to Disney is SO much more exciting for them because they get to experience it through Luke's eyes, too!  It's so special to see Luke bring out this childlike excitement in his siblings!
Jon and Luke: almost 4

6. How Does It Feel to Be a Hero?  
When Luke was born, ALL his siblings wanted to hold him all.the.time!  Seriously, it was a good thing I was nursing him otherwise the only time I would have gotten to hold him was the middle of the night!! As much as all of his siblings love him, Luke loves all of them with his whole heart.  They are his heroes!  His big, cool brothers and sisters!  They surprise him with trips to the park, zoo, ice cream store, and the occasional toy store visit for Legos!  They play with him in the pool and make up games in the yard!  They run around the house "pew-pewing" with their Lego creations.(and Luke loves that Andrew and Jon have super cool Lego sets that they let him play with...and that they play right along with him!) 

Luke looks up to his siblings as his heroes!   That makes all his siblings feel pretty special and important!  What does it take to be a super hero? Just spend time with a 'bonus baby' sibling!

Kate, Mike, and Luke, 5 1/2
7. Just Because He's Luke!  
The biggest reason our 'bonus baby' is a blessing?  Because he's Luke!  Luke is our truck loving, Light Saber wielding, Star Wars watching, Lego building little goofball who is so incredibly loving and lovable!  He is so expressive and silly that we often question whether he might be part Muppet!

Luke is clumsy and awkward and happy and loving.  He still loves to snuggle and ALWAYS wants to play with Jay and build Star Wars Ships and construction trucks every moment of every day!  

Luke is such an easy going little guy! He gets so excited about things he loves!(aka trucks, Star Wars, and Legos). He is a very patient and loving big brother and such a joy to our family!  I cannot imagine our lives without him!  

I am so grateful that God blessed our family with this very special bonus baby! We all love him so much!
Luke...2 days before he turned 6!

Happy Birthday, Luke!

Now I just need to figure out how to stop blinking....My baby boy is growing up!