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On January 29 we celebrated John's birthday. We had a very special meal. We hadn't been able to find chicken for ages and we finally got some, so we had chicken fixed his favorite way! We also invited the Southern Baptist missionaries over for supper...they left just a few days after that to return to the US for awhile. Anyway, John got lots of nice gifts from both his parents and mine and a few from me, too. I'm so thankful to have this good and godly man as my husband!

Today, February 23, was Daniel's birthday. It doesn't seem like 18 years ago that he was born right here in Niamey. He's a special kid and I've enjoyed every one of the 18 years with him so far. We wanted to make the day special for him, but didn't really know how to do that. The poor kid had a major math test today...and math has been a real struggle for him recently. But he feels like he did well on this test, so maybe his day wasn't totally ruined by it.

Anyway, while he was still in school, Suzanne, another girl in the dorm, the dorm assistant, and I "pinked" Daniel's room. So, when he got back from school, he was really shocked to find that he suddenly had a very girlie room. The plan was that I would sit in his room with the camera and take a picture of his reaction when he came in. Well, I waited and waited and waited. His roommate came and I told him to go away and not let Daniel know what was going on. Then I heard them singing "Happy Birthday" to him out in the dining room and enjoying birthday cake....and I was still sitting in his room waiting for him to come! Finally he did come, but he realized right away that he'd been "pinked" and he ducked, so I didn't get a very good picture. Frustrating after all that waiting! But I did get a piece of the cake anyway.

Later in the afternoon the dorm kids got to go to the Ambassador's Residence to play Ultimate Frisbee with the Marines, so I guess that made up for the math test. Until one of Daniel's friends wished him a happy birthday and one of the Marines said, "How old are you? Eleven?" The guy was serious, too. So then the Marines' buddies were saying to the Marine, "So how old are you, twelve?

We went out for supper to a Chinese restaurant and had "Chinese fondue". My sister-in-law, Lannie, had made this for us when we were at her house because it is a traditional food from her region of China. Last week we had eaten at that restaurant and when Daniel saw that have Chinese fondue there, he knew that's what he wanted for his birthday supper. It was an expensive meal, but, wow! was it ever delicious. It was almost as good as Lannie's, but not quite. Anyway, we had fun cooking our meat and other sorts of vegetables, noodles, tofu, and other "things"????? in the spicy, boiling water. John told the waiter that our son was celebrating his birthday. So at the end he brought us all sparklers. It was karaoke night at the restaurant, so the karaoke dude sang happy birthday and they brought Daniel a cup of sorbet with a lit sparkler in the middle and we all lit our sparklers from Daniel's.

Then we came back here to the Guest House where Daniel's friends were waiting for us. We had angel food cake made from a mix I had brought from the US with strawberries fresh from the gardens right here along the river and cream whip made from a package mix I bought here in one of the grocery stores. It was a wonderful dessert! Then Daniel opened his gifts. Again, he had plenty thanks to both sets of grandparents! We gave him a few things, but mostly we gave him money to spend when he gets back home to the US this summer.

How have these 18 years gone so fast? I have no idea! One mother wrote about her son turning into a towering teen that his growth was something that "caused her to feel approximately ancient, not to mention slightly shorter than your average troll." That is so true! And how did he get all these friends that, like him, look like men and not little boys? And how could he possibly be going to college next year?

Like I said, these 18 years have been great and I pray that as he goes out on his own that he will continue to love God like he does now and that he will turn into the kind of man that God wants him to be.