'Tis the season of birthdays... and thanksgiving of course. Which is why I'm already almost a week late with Alyssa's b-day post. Well over half of our extended family member were born in the last third of the year, so lately it's been party after party. In a rare departure from our family-only dinners of 30+, we also let our newly-minted nine-year old host her first-ever sleepover. The giggles and whispers from a roomful of sweet little girls brought as much joy to this mama's heart as it did to the birthday girl herself. Our biggest baby is clearly no longer a baby at all. We have been so blessed through parenting the easiest infant, the softest-hearted toddler, the most-confident young school-girl, and the most beautiful, mature, nurturing young lady we've ever met. She certainly has her flaws - the most noticeable being those that reflect the sins and nature of her mama - but even in light of those she is a joy. Happy birthday babe!