Rusty is 17!!


Oh, how can it be that my mushy little chunk-muffin has been stretched to a height of six foot three and is now almost a man?!



My first son and only son for the longest time.

Now older brother to three younger brothers.

I couldn’t have picked a better child to fill the role of oldest son. His strength of character is just the example I’d like my younger three sons to follow.

Rusty is my quiet servant. He says little, asks for no acknowledgement or recognition, just quietly observes the needs of others and acts without being asked. He is such a blessing to me.

I rely on and depend on his strength (physical and emotional) both in opening pickle jars and in highly emotional moments. There is a steadiness that he exudes that draws people to him.

Rusty is kind. I call him a gentle giant and he is every bit that.

He is quick to smile and what a smile he has!

He has a gift with animals, especially dogs and horses. His gentle, quiet authority calms animals and makes them feel safe.

He loves problem solving and puzzle solving. He like word puzzles and riddles. His mind is quick and so is his wit. Of all my children he and I share the most similar sense of humor (which makes him hilarious!)  😉

Rusty loves to explore how things work, enjoys trivia and his favorite subject is math. He is a black and white, logical thinker. He is great in a crisis and is our family’s one-man-tech department… solving any computer/tv/electronic issue that arises.

Rusty loves all things Disney and considers Walt Disney his personal hero. Someday he’d love to work at Disney World.

For 4 years of Rusty’s life he didn’t speak a single word to anyone outside his immediate family. We did not know if he would ever have the ability to overcome the challenge of Selective Mutism and successfully navigate the world. His anxiety made speech impossible. You’d never know it today.

Rusty is a special soul. I knew it the moment he was laid in my arms and I believe it even more today…

17 years later.

When I found out I was pregnant with a son I was terrified. “I am not a ‘boys mom’ sort of mother,” I wailed. I am so glad God had more faith in my ability to raise boys that I had in myself because I would have missed out on so much. There is something special about the love that exisit between a mother and her son. It is a love different from that I share with my girls.

Rusty was my teacher. I learned to raise boys with him in my arms, and now I am the mom to four. But Rusty will always be my first baby boy. He will always hold a special part of my heart.


For Rusty’s birthday we enjoyed a fun night out at Dave and Busters. This unique restaurant is the adult equivalent of Chucky Cheese. Take away the cardboard pizza and spooky animatronic characters, add some delicious food and state of the art arcade games, and you have Dave and Busters.

It was a perfect birthday choice for Rusty.

And it was a delight to enjoy some playtime as a family.

Rusty’s birthday fell on a Wednesday. The day began with his birthday cupcake and ended with his birthday cake. Because it was a school/work day, his celebration began at 5:00 when Toby arrived home from work.

We began with gifts…



Each sibling did their own shopping and Toby and I bought our gadget loving guy a drone. He had been pondering the possibility of going to school to be a drone pilot and thought this would be a nice way to test and see if it is something he’d like to pursue.

After he was done opening gifts we headed down to Pittsburgh for a night of good eats and fun games as a family.


Because Rusty’s birthday fell on a Wednesday, we were able to take advantage of 50% off all arcade games, making Rusty’s birthday celebration more affordable for our family of eight.


Rusty had a wonderful time. I mean, can you think of a more perfect way to celebrate a 17-year-old boy’s birthday than hours of arcade games?!


We ended up all having a lot of fun and making some special memories as a family.

Happy 17th birthday Rusty!

We can’t wait to see what adventures the next 17 years holds!


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