a-v-a = n-i-n-e

My middle baby turns 9 today. I’m not exactly sure how this happened. It seems like just a couple weeks ago she was heading off to big, bad kindergarten.

And now she’s a FOURTH GRADER. I keep telling her and telling her to stop growing up, but does she listen? NO, SHE DOES NOT. Sigh.

NINE (out of a million) Things I Love About AVA:

1. She has a little mama’s heart. If there is a baby or child within 200 feet of Ava, she’s drawn to the thing like a magnet. Ava is happiest when she’s got a baby in her arms or a toddler on her hip. And littles LOVE her.

2. She gets very, very excited about things. I love her enthusiasm. Love it. It’s so much fun to surprise her with ideas and activities and little gifts. She’s bubbly and passionate, and her reaction is always a joy.

3. She’s a natural. While she can be shy sometimes, she’s got this natural, I’m-so-comfortable-in-my-own-body thing that I admire like crazy. Every item of clothing she tries on fits her, and she can pull off any outfit. She moves in such a free and easy way, without a hint of awkwardness–on the soccer field, dancing when she thinks no one’s watching… love it.

4. She keeps her parents humble. If it weren’t for the frequent “moments” Ava and I (and her daddy) share, we might be oh-so-tempted to be prideful of her amazing-ness and beauty. I have shed more tears (and not the happy kind) over this girl than my other two combined, but the oh-so-hard moments make the wonderful ones that much sweeter.

5. She loves Cambodia. Oh, that girl can’t wait to get across the world and love on some kiddos face-to-face that she already loves heart-to-heart. She’s always telling me how she just can’t wait until December and she’ll do whatever she needs to do to get us there.

6. She’s low-maintenance. Well, in the sense that it doesn’t take much to make her happy. The Cosby Show on Netflix and unlimited supply of ice pops, and she’s good to go.

7. She wears her heart on her sleeve. She never makes me guess how she feels about something. She’s more than willing to give me an earful whether I asked for it or not.

8. She’s got her own drummer. Ava’s typically not too concerned with what everyone else likes or what they’re doing. She’s comfortable in her own skin and marches to her own beat.

9. She’s beautiful inside and out. I love those long, blond locks and her smattering of freckles. Her pretty smile and those blue, blue eyes. Her long, lean body and cute little (big) toes. And she’s got a heart to match.

We love you, Ava! And I know you’re soooo excited about your birthday! Off to put up the birthday banner right now! Tomorrow is a shopping trip, picking up Nia and Emily, swimming, your favorite taco pizza from Eagle’s, opening gifts, making ice cream cake, and lots and lots of giggling and squealing!

We’re so glad you’re in our family! We’re so, so blessed!

Love, Mommy, Daddy, Livi, and Nina

p.s. In honor of Ava’s b-day, The Husband’s Guide to Getting Lucky is just $2.99 ALL DAY (and today ONLY)!

9 thoughts on “a-v-a = n-i-n-e

  1. Megan Bradford

    Happy Birthday Ava! Your mom is so right about you loving little ones! You are always willing to lend a hand with Emelia! She is going to grow up loving you because you love her so much! I’m so glad that we are getting to know your family! Now you and Ethan are the same age (until November).

  2. Chris Yoder

    Happy 9th Birthday, Ava!:) I totally agree with everything your mama said about you, too!:) One of my favorite things is to watch you with the little ones! The love and care you give to them and the way they love you back just warms my heart so much! You’re gonna make a wonderful mommy some day! Grandpa and I love you so much, Ava, and we know that God has some great plans for you!:)

  3. Wendy

    Marla, this is so sweet! I’m proud of the mom you are to raise such a dear girl. I have a 9yo too. I treasure my time with her. Since the walk we’ve been walking 4-5 miles together every weekend and we get some excellent talk time in then. Learning so much about her.

    Happy Birthday Ava.
    ~ Wendy

  4. Sharon W

    As I was reading the 9 things you love about Ava, I was thinking in my head that I would comment that she is beautiful inside and out. Then I read that that was #9 on your list! From what I’ve read and seen, I agree!

  5. Stephanie

    Happy 9th Birthday Ava! I can’t believe you’re already nine years old! I love all the same things about you that your mom listed. I love the way you dress and how you are easily pleased and show your happiness without a hint of holding back. I love watching you love on Mia, and I know she loves you for it too! We can’t wait to see you again, Ava, so please know how much we love and miss you until then!

  6. Shannon Wheeler

    I love that you listed nine things for her ninth birthday! What a great way to celebrate your daughter!!! It always blesses me to hear mama’s bragging on their kiddos. And I am super-blessed to hear of her heart for missions! You’re doing a great job. Happy birthday to Ava!

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