Caleb – I want to be just like you! Happy Birthday!

Because this is birthday year number 16 for Caleb, I thought it would be fun to take a journey back in time to honor Caleb and his sixteen years of life! I confess it’s been a true delight for me to look at all the photos of each of Caleb’s birthdays and remember these special days and years like they were yesterday!

Where, oh where, does the time go????

What a gift it is to be able to capture these moments again – in a blog post – and celebrate this very special young man!

Here we go!

Birthday #1


Caleb’s first birthday occurred in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Our family was participating in a six-week internship experience with our mission organization – a year and a half before we would depart for South Africa. Caleb’s birthday arrived in the middle of this time.

For those of you who didn’t know us back then, Caleb was also in the middle of his hemangioma treatments. Soon after his birth, areas on Caleb’s lower lip, neck, and forehead began to turn deep crimson in color and also began to enlarge. At six weeks of age, we met with a hemangioma specialist who put Caleb on steroids to inhibit and eventually stop the rapid growth of these non-cancerous tumors on his head. At six months of age,  a series of laser surgeries were initiated to shrink the benign, hemangiomas on Caleb’s body. Without the steroid medication and the laser treatments, the hemangiomas would continue to grow and disfigure Caleb’s lip, neck and forehead. This birthday photo of Caleb at one year of age is after his steroid treatment and two laser surgeries. He would go on to have four more laser surgeries in his first two years of life and then a plastic surgery in year number three.

Birthday #2

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We call Caleb our Joy Boy. We believe that some of that immeasurable joy that Caleb has inside his heart and that he gives so freely to others comes from his Grandpa Don. These two loved laughing with each other! Joy radiates from them both!

Birthday #3


Birthday #3 marked Caleb’s first birthday in South Africa! We had only been in the country for three months – but as you can see the boys had become quite settled and comfortable in their new home!

Birthday #4

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMicah, Jake and Caleb were eager to enjoy Caleb’s birthday cake!

Birthday #5

172 (08.10.2008) Caleb - I can fit in here!

Caleb relished his three wonderful years at Footprintz Preschool with Teacher Nola. His compassionate, friendly, and fun-loving disposition really was on display during his fifth year of life both at preschool and at home!

Birthday #6


Caleb’s enthusiasm for letting anyone and everyone know it was his sixth birthday shines through with his bright and beautiful,  birthday crown!

Year #7


Birthday #7 was when Caleb asked for his first (and definitely not his last) chocolate birthday cake!

Birthday #8


It’s fun to see this favorite shirt of Caleb’s again! He wore this blue and white soccer shirt until it could be worn no more! It was a solemn and sad day when we said farewell to it.

Birthday #9


Anyone recognize these Hanna Andersson pajamas??? Caleb and his brothers had a pajama party in celebration of Caleb’s ninth birthday!

Birthday #10


For birthday number 10, Caleb asked to go and play a few rounds of miniature golf at Adventure Golf. We obliged of course! 🙂

Birthday #11


Many of Caleb’s birthdays both past and present (like this year!), are celebrated with pizza! And for Caleb’s 11th birthday, we visited Papachino’s where Caleb ordered his very own Regina pizza (ham and mushroom). He ate every single slice!

Birthday #12


Birthday year #12 was a very special one for Caleb because it was the first time in ten years that he was able to celebrate his birthday with his grandparents, some of his aunts and uncles, and cousins. He loved that! We did, too!

Birthday #13

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The Bar One Chocolate birthday cake from the Not Bread Alone Bakery was Caleb’s cake of choice for his thirteenth birthday! It is a chocolate-lover’s delight!!!

Birthday #14

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Can you tell that Caleb is relishing the moment? His family is singing to him, of course – and he loved it!!!

Birthday #15

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We discovered Duke’s Burgers last year and Caleb made it abundantly clear that this establishment would be where he would like his birthday #15 dinner. Duke’s Burgers are known not only for their variety of beef burgers, but chicken, lamb, ostrich, and veggie burgers, too. We enjoy this hole in the wall establishment.

And here we are…

Birthday #16!


I can hardly believe it!

After looking through scores of Caleb’s photos today, I am beyond proud and beyond appreciative of who Caleb has been in his life, who he is now, and who he is becoming!!! From the very beginning of his life, when he was dealing with his hemangiomas and what would develop into seven different surgeries, to working through his speech delays and desiring to communicate clearly and fluently, to his formidable sensory issues, to his learning challenges,  to adjusting to a different culture, you’d never really know if you talked with Caleb today what he’s been up against for so much of his life. His love of his Savior, his love of his family and friends, and his joy and appreciation of life resonate from the tips of his toes to the top of his head. How proud of Caleb we are!!!

Caleb, we celebrate you today! You are an amazingly kind, compassionate, and loving young person who I want to grow up to be just like!

We love you!

Happy Happy Happy Birthday!

6 thoughts on “Caleb – I want to be just like you! Happy Birthday!

  1. Shirley V Hethorn June 10, 2019 — 7:02 am

    I am so happy to know this young man, through your blog and the communication with your family. Caleb has come through SO many though times and absolutely SHINES . I am proud to call him my friend. May GOD continue to bless and use this young man!
    Love Shirley

    1. Thank you, Shirley! We are delighted to know you and call you friend, too! All our love, heather

  2. Caleb, may you continue to savor the adventures that He lays out for you to experience. May you search and find all that He has hidden for you to discover. May you be increasingly confident in His plans for you and His unfathomable love toward you.

    1. Thanks so much, Melinda! We have the same prayer for Caleb! Blessings, heather

  3. Caleb,
    Happy birthday, Caleb! Looking forward to seeing you when you get to the States! We need to find a good burger place for lunch! Love you and miss you!

    1. Thank you, Brad! That sounds like a great plan when we are back in the US. Thanks for Caleb’s birthday wishes! Blessings, heather

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