Luke — Year Four

Dear Luke,

You made it!!! We’ve been counting down sleeps until your fourth birthday, and now it’s zero sleeps! Even though you promised you didn’t mind staying three just for me, I know that your heart is set on four. It’s okay — you make four look so good, I couldn’t possibly deny you!

Three was a really fun year. You have continually proven that you can handle any new adventure! Swimming? No problem. Baseball? Yep. Hunting? Got your first duck. Gathering? Went about the neighborhood as a triceratops and pillaged strangers’ houses for candy. Building? Check out Dad’s bee boxes. Math? Totally zipped through all your preschool workbooks like they were kids’ stuff. Is there anything you can’t do?

One of the most fun things about this year has been watching you grow as a big brother. You loved Dillon from the moment you saw him, and you’ve always been great with him, but this year he turned into a toddler! That’s a wholly new enterprise, but you have just been so helpful! If he cries, you problem solve. If he laughs, you join the fun. If he is getting into trouble, you either help him to stop or come get me. I am so proud of how you have taken on such an important responsibility all on your own, and I love that I can trust you to look out for your baby brother.

That is just one look into your happy and helpful spirit; you truly have a heart five sizes too big! You light up our home and bring so much laughter and joy. You’re always ready with a joke, a tickle, or a helping hand. My day — my life — is better with you in it, and I’m so thankful for your silly, crazy self! Happy birthday, Lukie Pooks!




My Oracle for Dillon

Yesterday we dedicated our youngest son, Dillon, to God at a special service at our church. In years past, Pastor Bo led in dedicating our older boys, Bennett and Luke. On Bo’s last Sunday as our pastor, he also led in dedicating the littlest member of the Wade Brigade! Yesterday was special and emotional in so many ways.

In keeping with tradition, here is my oracle — my heart’s burden — for my Dillon Kyler.


Oh, my precious son of my womb, son of my vows!
You whom I would protect from every evil —
The world is big;
Temptations, strong;
Sin, easy.

It is not for you to follow the broad path.
The way of the crowd is the way of death.
No, my son.

You are named Faithful;
Your way is with Him.
He has shown you Goodness:
Do justly;
Love mercy;
Walk humbly with Him.
This is what the Lord requires of you.

You are named Little Warrior.
Your way is service;
Your way is bravery.
Your way is to follow The Way,
To pursue the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus,
And to bless many as you go.

This, Faithful Little Warrior, is your calling.
What an honor to mother you toward it.

Bennett — Year Seven


Okay, this is it. You’re officially MORE than halfway to being a teenager! What even! I can’t handle it.

This year, you rocked first grade. We took a BIG step up from kindergarten with the amount of work we had to do, and you totally stood up to the challenge. In CC, your tutor was Mrs. Reyna, and you finally got to be in class with Luci again! I think it was our best homeschool year yet!

Sports this year were SO exciting! You played flag football for the first time, which was a lot of fun even though it got rained out a lot, because Titus was on your team! In the spring, you hit your first home run playing baseball with the Wolves, and you really learned what it meant to be part of a team. You practiced hard and learned so much that you even won the game ball for “most improved” at the last game. As the baseball season wound down, you started swimming. You then worked hard for months to be able to make it the length of the pool and back, and you learned all four strokes. You gave it your all, and I am so impressed by your hard work and all that you accomplished! You can officially swim!

This summer, you got to go on a guy’s trip with Daddy to see the Orioles lose to the “Boo-jays,” and then you two stayed in the Watergate Hotel and toured D.C. You called me every day to give me a recap, and you just made every single moment sound amazing! Strange that this trip still can’t quite compete with the Atlanta trip, though!

And, saving the best for last, you became a double big brother this year! We welcomed Dillon Kyler to the Wade Brigade, and your love for him is just so obvious! You sang an impromptu song for him when you first met, which has stuck, and now you play with him and let him hold your thumbs while he practices standing. His whole face lights up when he sees you, probably because he knows he is so blessed to have a big brother like you, and boy am I blessed to have such a great helper with your little brothers.

Bo, you are just the best. I have seen you grow so much this year in responsibility, commitment, tenacity, integrity, and leadership. You’re learning that life isn’t always fun, but that it is what you make of it, and that there is always something to be thankful for. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to walk through these days and years with you as you grow into a young man. You bring such joy to my life every day, and I can’t imagine life without your smile in it. Happy birthday!


Luke — Year Three

Happy birthday, big brother! For the first time ever, today I have a 3-year-old Lukie Bryant, and I am SO excited about the little man you are becoming! You couldn’t love your new little brother more, and you’re always looking out for him — alerting me immediately when he’s crying, sharing your toys with him, and rejoicing with him when he smiles, laughs, and reaches new milestones. I’m so proud of how you love him, and all of us! You’re so generous with your hugs, kisses, tickles, and “I love yous,” which make us all feel so special.

Over this last year, you’ve really shown your creative side through coloring, drawing, building, singing, dancing, and playing pretend. Your drawing is particularly impressive, as you began drawing spirals and silly faces months and months ago! And I love finding out who you are from hour to hour — are you Batman? Spider-man Monkey? Captain America Mouse? It’s always very serious business, with your costume just right, your fists ready, and your tough face in place as you set about looking for bad guys. We really appreciate the added security around here!

You have such a big personality, and I love that your big reactions leave no question about your opinions! Whether it’s splashing in mud puddles with delight, and then panicking when you’re suddenly covered in mud, or squealing over a dinner roll and then shoving your plate away when you find out you have to eat the “real” food first, you feel your feelings to the fullest. Whether you’re laughing or crying, you hold nothing back. You’ll even lie down in the middle of a trail in Yellowstone when you decide you’re “a sleepy boy.” You do you, Lukie; you do you!

Some other things you love: Reading! Oh the stacks and stacks of books you bring to me every day! You love animals (especially “mouses,” “mipmunks,” and ocelots). Every night, you giggle as Mommy or Daddy “burritos” you in your Mickey Mouse blankie, along with Blue Bear and Roary. Bananas and bread are still your favorite foods, along with all the candy, cakes, and ice cream. You love to play baseball, piano, Connect 4, hide and seek, cars, and all sorts of adventures with Bennett. You will make teams of toys and play in other worlds for hours.

Lukie, you are just such a joy, and you make me proud to be your mom every day. I love you so much. I can’t wait to see what Three has in store for us!


Welcome, Baby Dillon

Well, Sweet One, we are just days away from seeing your precious face. Even though we’ve welcomed two boys before you, I still cannot imagine how I will feel when I finally get to hold YOU on the outside! I simply cannot wait to share that first of many precious moments with you and to begin getting to know you better.


You’ve already shown me that you are such a strong boy. I don’t remember either of your brothers pushing me or kicking me quite so hard or so frequently! It’s just as well, because you will need to come out fighting. This is a superhero family, and they will be ready to “fight” with you at the earliest opportunity! More importantly, this helps confirm to me that you will grow into a strong, brave, and resolute man. Of course, that makes total sense when considering that the name God gave you — Dillon Kyler — means “faithful little warrior.” Wow! What an incredible privilege to get to be YOUR mom!

The Lord also gave me a special verse just for you. I expected it to have the word “faithful” in it, but it doesn’t. Instead, it powerfully illustrates exactly what it means to be faithful:

He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?

— Micah 6:8


What better prayer could I have for you, sweet little man? This is God’s heart for you, and mine as well.

I love you SO much! See you so, so soon.


Family Portraits Eternal Stories-5119

Bennett’s Year Six Birthday Letter

Oh My Bennett!

Happy birthday! Now that you are six, you will have to use two hands to show it! You’ve finished kindergarten and your second year in CC, this time with Mrs. Sickmond. In keeping with tradition, you dropped the “Mrs.,” and just always called her “Sickmond”! We went through our first year with a “real” math book, and it’s been so fun to watch your math brain work. You totally aced it. You’ve also graduated to independently reading chapter books, your favorites being Magic Tree House and Hank the Cowdog. You frequently walk around with your nose in a book, and you’re sure to keep a few on hand in the car for those “long” trips to the grocery store. Just like me, you typically have several books going at once. I just love witnessing your excitement over Jack and Annie’s time travels and Hank’s adventures on the ranch. Your love for reading makes my heart so happy!

On the other hand, you are also always on the go! You create elaborate superhero adventures with Luke every day, protecting the household from bears, monsters, and bad guys. Sometimes you have to swim oceans and climb mountains to do it, but I always know I’m safe with you. You are, after all,training to be Superman. I’ve been so impressed by your dedication to exercise and endurance training in this endeavor; you even conquered White Rock Lake by biking around the whole thing – 9.3 miles – on a bike with training wheels! Incredible. Since then, Daddy took off your training wheels, and you have officially ridden your bike without them! (We won’t talk about the fence that got in the way and slowed you down.) You’ve also learned how to stay afloat in the water, swim short distances, and swim down to the bottom of the shallow end to retrieve diving rings. This year, you played for the Red Sox, and we were so impressed by how much you’ve grown. Not once did I see you put dirt in your pocket this season! You really stayed focused and played hard for your team. You had a lot of fun trying out soccer, too! Oh, and another big milestone: This year, you went on your first real hunt with Dad – full camo and everything. You guys are definitely two peas.

There are so many other things to remember about this year:  The joint jumping celebration with Liam every time you see him; going on adventures with the Bennies at every opportunity; looking forward to GC every week (and very especially when it’s a cookout); going to work with Daddy and taking such wonderful care of his patients; losing two teeth; finding out that you have a new little brother on the way to love and, eventually, to wrestle with; and so much more. It has been such an incredible joy to watch you grow and to learn more about how God made you. I am inspired by your compassion, your energy, your helpfulness, your hospitality, and your forgiving and evangelistic heart. You are an incredible blessing in my life, and I thank God for you every day. Here’s to another year of growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus! I love you so much.



Luke’s Year Two Birthday Letter

Lukie Babe!

It’s your birthday already, Punkin Doodle! You sure have had a big year! You have grown so much — to size 3T, to be exact — and you are showing your personality more and more every day.

You LOVE animals, and you routinely dump out Bubba’s entire animal box onto the living room floor. You don’t exactly love cleaning them up later, though.

You LOVE to read every book you can find — especially The Big Hungry Bear — but you don’t really love it when people won’t read to you ABSOLUTELY RIGHT NOW!

You regularly sing and dance, and it’s never quite okay for the music to stop playing. It’s always, “Uh-oh! Mom! Mom! MAMAAAAA!”

Mama cuddles are your favorite, especially right after you wake up, but you usually don’t want cuddles from anyone else. (And that’s usually okay with me!)

The rest of your time is filled with drawing; coloring; building; going on bear hunts with Bubba; playing catch with Daddy; asking Mama if you can watch

Mickey, Owlegories, or Letter Factory; and discovering letters all around your world and telling people what they say. You are very busy and very focused, whatever it is you find to do!

Lukie Babe, you have brought such spirit and joy to our home in the last two years! You see the donkey in every horse, and respond with a resounding HEE-

HAW! Your cheeky smile lights up our world, your “mohs” charm us, and your “oh” in

place of “yes” delights us. You are stalwart in every way, and I’m so glad God made you that way. I can’t wait to see how He will continue to use you to point others to His goodness, grace, and joy. It’s a very great honor to be your mama. I love you so! Happy birthday, Punky!