Sunday, March 05, 2006

Happy Birthday Stephietoo!

(This isn't the best pic of the kids, but when I found it on John's computer, I thought it really summed up the family, giving, and spirit of Steph)

When I first met Steph, John and I were just beginning our relationship. Her husband was a pal of John's and client at his stereo business. I immediately thought Stephie was sweet, pretty and very nice, but certainly I had no idea how much she would become a part of our life. We didn't keep that close of touch after we got married - however, two things stood out during that time. Travis was one of the last hold-outs to want Riles Audio to stay open (something that I did NOT want, so it was kind of funny), and Steph was an employee at Rosen, the company that hired John when he decided to close down Riles Audio. Occasionally, I would see Steph up front at Rosen, smiling beautifully as I came to see John, but that was about the extent of our contact.

Then, we had Brayden.... I remember receiving the most thoughtful gifts from them - a gorgeous Noah's Ark snow globe for Brayden's themed room and wonderful "spa style" products for me. Wow. Then, soon after his birth, Travis showed up at our house- and John and him rekindled their friendship. It's hard to remember just how things progressed, but all of a sudden we began to realize that activities and evenings just somehow became better if Travis and Stephie were over.

Steph and I individually became closer too. We attended a womens' conference together and completely bonded spiritually, and I had the incredible honor of becoming her matron of honor in her wedding (not to mention crashing her honeymoon - but that's a whole different story itself!).

As time has gone on, our feelings towards the Whites have gone from close friends to "adopted family". Our kids have such an amazing relationship with them, they are practically their second parents, though you would be hard-pressed to get Travis to admit that...

Since this is Steph's birthday, I want to let her know how amazing I think she is. The unlimited love she gives to our family has saved my sanity on countless nights when she takes over as mom and I thankfully rest. She is giving beyond belief, to the extent that the kids know if presents are coming from Travis or Stephie, they are going to be awesome. I know they are going to be "overboard", but who doesn't love incredible presents themselves? Steph is a rare find in that I never need to worry if a week has gone by and we haven't talked that things are okay with us - in fact, some of our best memories are evenings we've spent together not talking at all, but just reading magazines together watching football games - and being COZY! But, when we do talk, there is unconditional acceptance, a listening heart that never condemns, and a wisdom that only a fool would not follow. There is nothing she wouldn't drop everything to do for me - when John was in the hospital and we feared the worst their support and presence proved that immensely. I find myself trying to come up with all these adjectives, that fit perfectly, but nothing summarizes better than re-iterating that time is always sweeter when spent with Stephie.

I love you so much, friend - and hope your day is as incredible as you are!


chele said...

Happy Birthday Stephie!
So, I know this is the easy way out, but I certainly echo all of Steph's praises for you and your character. Bless you for being a fabulous friend - always approachable, intensely likable, immensely real, exceedlingly generous, openly honest, delightfully fun, constantly comfortable, and exceptionally encouraging. I only regret that our opportunities to be spoiled in your presence are fewer than I would prefer.
I hope the beach treated you well and Travis and Bogie treated you better. :) I'm looking forward to that lunch date next weekend!
Love you!

stephietoo said...

Wow...... Thank you so very much. I am speechless. I am so honored to be able to call the Riley's and the Schillings (and who could forget mom and dad Alexander), my family. I love you all so very much. Thank you again for the kind words, Stephie.

My birthday weekend was fun. Travis and I didn't get to spend too much time together since he had to work all weekend, but at least I got to go to the coast and spend the evenings and nights with him. Unfortunately, he missed Bogey's first time at the beach. He was too cute running from the waves, just to get on the scent of something and then get soaking wet because he forgot he was running from the water. Bogey loves the beach, running after the birds, and wanting to love on every person and animal we pass by. He won the hearts of some of the construction workers who were renovating the hotel we were staying at, as well as the two different couples who occupied the room across the hall from ours. The hotel manager wanted to take him home with her because he was, "the cutest darn thing" she had ever seen.

Well, I still have a few more hours left of my birthday, so I think I will watch the rest of the Acadamy Awards with Bogey. Have a great evening everyone, and thank you again Stephie and Chele! I love you all!!!

stephietoo said...

I think I might just have the most wonderful husband in the world! Not only did I get beautiful roses on valentine's day (something Travis is not known for) I just got a dozen roses (actually 11 roses with one lilly) delivered for my birthday. The roses are HUGE and are red with a tiger like stripe look of a lighter shade of red. Absolutely gorgeous~ like no rose I have ever seen before. Yup, I think I have the best husband in the whole entire world! Best Birthday EVER!