Lakelyn Danielle

Lakelyn brought the score to an even five nieces/five nephews, and she has been such a fun baby. She is not a year old yet, so there’s still much to learn about her personality, but she already has a great sense of humor, and I look forward to hearing what she has to say when she learns to speak. 

 She grew herself four little bunny teeth, and they make her cheesy grin completely heart-melting. Lake is energetic and bouncy and vivacious, and she’s a dork, in the best way possible. 

PC to Melissa

Alyssa Serene


Alyssa was born in the yard, too anxious to see the world to wait on the ride to the clinic. The winter she was an infant was a crazy one for her family, involving multiple moves, and fights with house mold and pneumonia. But she was the most serene baby you could have wished for through it all.

She is not too quick to make friends, but when she deigns to grace you with a smile, and even better, when she trots across the room to you and wraps her arms around your legs and calls you mama, you’ll be smitten. She’s learning to talk now, along with her cousin triplets, and one of her favorite words is “funny”, usually used after she thinks she’s done something humorous. She’s also a tough kid, and keeps up with her brothers just like her mother did as a child. She is also a sweetheart, and she may have me wrapped around her finger just a teeny little bit. 

Leilani Skye

PC to Merry

When Leilani Skye was born, the second of the cousin triplets, I fell in love with her name before I even met her. Leilani means “Heavenly flower”, and if you’ve met her, I think you’ll agree she is aptly named

Ani is delightfully sweet, and just as adorable as can be (in my completely unbiased opinion, of course). She is also beginning to talk, and is at such a fun stage- repeating words in her tiny little voice, and spouting gibberish which sounds like English, but isn’t. She is a seasoned traveler, and a friendly soul, which is fortunate, given her parents’ love of adventure and people. If a sunbeam ever took human form, it would be Ani.

PC to Merle

Hudson Istenes

Can you believe they’re first cousins?


Before Hudson was born,  I knew Roman and Mimi’s children would be completely darling. I was not mistaken.

Hudson is serene and placid and super laid back, seldom getting his feathers ruffled. He makes friends easily, and if he takes a fancy to you he might come running up with his arms outstretched, as if you’re his best ever friend. He also loves dancing to music or to the sound of the KitchenAid mixer- whichever is available. Basically, he is a mini Roman in personality, only more so (not that I’ve ever caught Roman dancing to the sound of the mixer). He’s just learning to say words in English and Chinese, and he has a wholesome sturdiness you just can’t help squishing. 


Given the way he looks at French pastries, I think it’s safe to say we’re kindred spirits.

Judson Anthony

He was as pleased as punch with his “Birthday Girl” pin

Judson got a rocky start, as a fussy baby, but has made up for it since then with his hilarious personality. He refused to speak for a long time, but made his meaning clear with his personal tonal language. His lack of speaking never deterred him from being a complete dork though, taking after his father. He cracks me up constantly.

He has strong opinions about clothes, which include wearing pants backwards, and mixing prints. He’s adventurous and sweet, rambunctious and cuddly, and I wish I could freeze him at three years old for a long time, because he’s just that much fun. 

PC to Rhoda

Alannah Grace


I think Alannah must have been born into this world for the purpose of spreading beauty into all the corners she can, and I have to say, she’s done a pretty good job of it already. She was a pretty baby from the moment she was born, and she hasn’t ever stopped since.

She is petite and graceful and easygoing, and full of the kind of questions only a three-year-old could dream up. I think Alannah can best be summed up in two words- she sparkles. From her sweet personality to her big eyes and brown curls and charming smile, she’s a delight.

Declan Isaac

PC to Merle

If you ever need entertainment, just listen to Declan “read” the book “Make Way for Ducklings”. Once you’ve heard all the ducks “querwacking with their little querwackers just as loudly as they can querwack” you’ll never read the book quite the same way. His memory is amazing, and he can sing obscure songs and quote whole books just like his Uncle Philip could.

His imagination is lively, his personality is quick to make friends, and his red curls and freckles and elf ears are adorable. He travels like a pro, and has seen more countries than I have! Lately he’s taken to running up to me when he sees me, exclaiming “I haven’t seen you for SO LONG!”, regardless if it was two days or two weeks. Needless to say, I melt.

PC to Merry

Brandon Michael

PC to Rhoda and Michael

The brown boy was an exceedingly sober baby, and making him smile was really an accomplishment, as he preferred to just stare at you with his big brown eyes. He had a large vocabulary, and at a tender young age, instead of just saying “Bag”, he asked me, “Is that the purple bag you use when you drive very fast in your car for a very long time?”

Brandon has left his solemnity behind now, but not his love of words or his gorgeous brown eyes, and he can tell stories with the best of them. He is learning to read now, and loves to pass on the knowledge to his little brother.

His imagination knows no bounds, and I must share his latest brainchild with you. He wished to earn money for something, so he decided that if his mom would just supply him with several cases of paper, he could copy the Winnie-The-Pooh book, and then they could sell the original. Here you can see the beginning of his hefty undertaking. 😀 Also you can see the place where he donated some of his hair for the birdies to use in their nest-building.

Tirzah Joy


I think Tirzah looks a bit elvish, with her golden hair and her dusting of freckles, and I love that her ears stick out just a tad, like her uncle’s.

She has one of the most giving personalities I’ve met. She is quick to make friends, and if she takes a fancy to you, you might be gifted with stickers or drawings of heart surgery (her father is studying medicine after all) or precious stones she has found. When you give her a present, she will thank you many, many times, for days to come. As her name suggests, she adds much joy to our lives.

Weston Michael

PC to Goy
PC to Melissa

Weston was the first nephew on both sides, and the day he was born, his Coates and Troyer aunts and uncles spent the day painting a room and anxiously waiting for the phone to ring. Boy, was there ever celebrating in that room when I answered the phone and relayed the news. A few weeks later when his uncle Isaac beat us all to Heaven, his delightful baby cuddliness was exactly what we all needed as we tried to process the tragedy.

He just turned nine a few days ago (!!) and has grown into a lean and active kid, equal parts enthusiastic about a hard game of soccer, or about burying his nose in a book for hours. He can way outrun me, but I think I can still outread him, for now. He also helped me recently when I was organizing my closet by asking me to evaluate which of my clothes brought me joy, according to the popular author Marie Kondo. I love having a nephew that is old enough to discuss life and exchange literature with.