The month of May holds three very special birthdays in our household: the birthdays of Leisel, Cosette, and Austin.
The Lord added a third little blessing to the Spafford family on May 4th, 1993.
Growing up, Leisel and I were the best of friends. There was nowhere that she went, where her little sister didn't follow...which might have explained why everyone around them thought that they were twins ;) Leisel was the perfect leader at getting her sister into all kinds of trouble and came up with the most exciting adventures.
Leisel was a complete tomboy all her growing up, and very much a daddy's girl. During her early years, she could be found fishing with dad, climbing trees with the neighbor boys, or taking bike rides down her favorite trails. In the year 2010, she and dad joined the church bike trip to bike up Mt. Hood.
Her favorite shows growing up were "Cinderella" and "Winnie the Pooh" :)
Her sisters like to tease her about being a "blond" based upon some very substantial evidence :)
We try not to mention the time that she stuck a metal thermos in a microwave, or almost walked "up" a "down" escalator. We even try forgetting the many times that she's gotten her sisters lost while driving through town or traveling in Korea...these moments just make her all the more lovable ;)
Leisel is still very much a country girl. She spent an entire summer working as Dad's contractor for his shop, dealing with all of the builders, plumbers and inspectors. She loves to spend time at the shooting range and looks forward to hunting season this fall. On the weekend, her favorite thing to do is work out in the yard!
It's been such an encouragement over the years to see her devotion to her Lord, getting up at 5:30 every morning to make time for bible reading before her work.
Leisel works as an attendance clerk at the Hockinson middle school and is loved by everyone that she works with.
After Jonathon, mom's last three babies had been girls. He was beginning to feel a bit outnumbered and was hoping that maybe this next one might be a little brother. When we got the call from mom on May 26, 1999, Jonathon sighed; "Another girl!"
...and yet, Cosette would prove to be Jonathon's closest buddy growing up. His lap was her favorite place to sit and his room was where she ran to when she was scared during the night.
Cosette had the darkest skin and hair of all mom's babies, most closely resembling the "Pent" side of the family. Her siblings had fun convincing her when she was very young that she had been adopted from an Indian tribe.
She was the first baby that Daddy named. After watching "Les Miserables" he told mom that he wanted to name their next little girl "Cosette".
Cosette used to come to mom all dressed up in her cowboy gear, playing the part of Messala from "Ben Hur". She'd enter the room wielding her plastic knife and announce whether she was a "good" or "bad" Messala that day :)
She is now a brilliant mathematician, studying both physics and calculus. When my students need help with a math problem, they are usually redirected to Cosette for an explanation ;)
A complete country girl to the core, she loves working out in the yard or helping our cousins with their horses.
It was the first day in May. Mom had been at the hospital for several hours and her family of seven were waiting at home. Standing around a phone, they eagerly awaited the phone call that would introduce to them their new family member.
Finally, the call came....It was a boy! Jonathon had finally gotten his wish.
Over the years, although there are 14 years between Austin and Jonathon, they have become best of buds.
Going to Karate every Tuesday and Thursday, they also find ample opportunities to practice their Kenpo moves at home. Their sisters have become quite accustomed to the sound of yelling and banging coming from the workout room.
Austin likes to find moments when his older brother can read more of the Lord of the Rings trilogy with him or watch what he calls more "manly" movies (war films ;)
At one time, Jonathon tried to teach him how to use a German long sword, and later they tried making their own swords.
Though there were a few minor "consequences" to growing up among seven sisters, Austin also found it had it's benefits :) He has a special relationship with each of his sisters.
They say that having a temper comes with being a redhead...this proved true in Austin's case when he was just a small little fellow. Jonathon would take him to the park to ride bikes. Austin hadn't quite mastered the art of rounding corners. When he'd start riding and come to a wall, instead of turning the bike, he'd throw out his arms and hit the wall going full speed. Immediately, he'd throw down his bike, and stomp away saying, "This is a stupid, stupid day" :)
Austin has a very dry sense of humor, and can say things with the straightest face, leaving his sisters doubled over with laughter. His humor has often been compared to that of Abbot and Costello (a show that he loves to watch with his little sister:)
Since he was small, Austin, like most boys had a variety of occupations that interested him. His conflict between becoming a soldier and pastor troubled him for sometime. A military chaplain would give him an opportunity to do both, he thought. He has an amazing brain for math and has considered taking the same path as his older brother in mechanical engineering.
Austin is a very enthusiastic learner and very hard worker. His responsibilities around the farm include full care of the chickens, their daily feeding and collecting of the eggs. He has also taken charge of the garden, deciding what to plant for the year and then doing all of the labor :)
Austin entered his teen years on Monday. No longer a little man, he is competing in height with his older brother. His sisters have to do a double take now when they hear his voice to discern whether it is Dad or Austin talking.
Here's a little video that Austin recently took part in with his little sister :)