Happy Birthday, Aliya!

Dear Aliya,

How is it that 5 years have passed since your birth? That day was one of the most empowering days of my life, and it feels like yesterday. Not only did I finally get the birth I had dreamed of, but I got something even better. You.

On the beach at Busan
My daughter, you shimmer with a quiet strength. Most people, myself included, call you shy. But that’s probably a bit of a misconception. You aren’t shy, you’re reserved.
And graceful.

And headstrong.   Oh, my. Just like your mama. And your sister. A house full of stubborn women. Just like we like it.

You took this photo of me and begged me to put it on the blog. Here it is, darlin.
You have an imagination that just won’t quit. Even at bedtime your little brain is running full speed ahead into your next adventure.
You love to listen to stories, any stories. But if I suggest you do some schoolwork like your big sister? You run in the opposite direction. And then you surprise me. Like today, when you looked over my shoulder and said, “That says ‘slam.'” Guess you are picking up some of those lessons after all.

On your birthday, you had the very special pleasure of going to Woobang Tower Land with the family, our friend Alicia (an honorary Darr), and your uncle Joseph. Here you are on your first roller coaster.
And the best surprise was what you have been dying for since Gianna’s birthday, way back in November.
It took you about a week to get the hang of it, but now you are off and riding!


Aliya, our hope for you is that you continue to grow in the virtues, that you continue to dream and imagine, that you never forget how much you are loved by God and by your family.

We love you, baby girl!


  1. happy birthday to aliya…you have a fun filled day….all the kids are beautiful…god bless…love reading your stories and viewing your pictures back here on the east coast….enjoy your venture…love, cathy smolinsky

  2. I love birthdays! Happy birthday Aliya! From someone who is digging your picture of your Mama.

  3. That was beautiful! Happy birthday to Aliya!

  4. Happy Birthday Aliya. you are such a sweet beautiful person and we miss you!