superheroes, chocolate, and riding horseback

The main agenda of the day today: celebrate! It was Owen’s 5th birthday and we wanted to make sure he felt extra loved and special. His requests: hot chocolate, swimming, a family horseback ride (yup, even mom and dad had to get on a horse), and dinner (pizza of course) at the Speke Resort. We decorated the house, cooked a tasty┬ábreakfast, opened presents, ordered a special cake (one that Owen had been eyeing) from Prunes (it can be hard to find authentic birthday cake here but┬áPrunes is legit), invited some friends to join us for dinner, and completed the other items on Owen’s wish list. He also had a special video from some of our family and friends from back home, and a special playlist- all dedicated to his birthday. He felt so special and so loved. While watching the video he turned to me and said, through the biggest grin you can imagine, “I like this so much.” All throughout the day, he kept thanking me for making the day special, for his gifts, for his cake, and for celebrating. He is one thankful kid, and I am a proud, proud mom.

To be almost 5 years old and to spend 6 weeks in Africa, missing all your buddies, the start of Jr Kindergarten and your birthday, and to joyfully welcome in two additional siblings as if they’d been there all along, is no small deal. Owen is a kid who daily “fights for what is right” and who loves others well. Just ask Elias and Cora… one day I know they will tell stories about their brother and how he embraced them from day 1, making them feel like a beloved gift (Macy is exceptional at this, too… it’s just not her birthday today, ha). He lives with a lightness and an ease that puts others at rest as well, and he is darn funny. His imagination is vivid, his reasoning and intellect incredibly sharp, and his knack for all things sports related is impressive.

To all of you who love Owen, teach him cool stuff, encourage him as he grows, and especailly to those of you who are just your amazing, passionate, talented selves in front of him- thank you. My children’s birthdays always make me feel so thankful for the community of people we are surrounded by and today is no exception.

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The morning festivities.

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Add this to our growing collection of awkward family photos from this trip.

A little chocolate cake/happy birthday magic to close out the day.