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.


The kiddos


It is only fair I warn you of what is coming next.

Before Weston was thought of, I didn’t quite get what all the hype was about. Sure, nieces and nephews were great, but it was just funny when their aunts and uncles got all mushy about how adorable and sweet and perfect they were. I mean, c’mon, it’s not like they’re actually that cute and certainly there are many other babies in the world that compare.

And then Weston was born. And suddenly it all made sense, somehow, because he really was the most perfect baby we could have dreamed of. Ten babies later, they keep on being the best babies ever.

So up next on the blog is a couple lines about each kiddo. If you are still in the camp that looks sideways at the gushy aunts and uncles, you may want to skip them. But if you get it and care to read on, each day there will be a new post about one of them.



Philip was born five and a half years after me, and I was completely thrilled at having a little brother, even if he wasn’t named Jehu as we speculated.

As a kid, he could quote rhymes and stories and songs like nobody else, possibly as a result of having six doting older siblings to read to him. His great memory hasn’t failed with his old age, and he still can quote verbatim more than pretty much anyone I know. He’s quirky, he’s hilarious, he’s rawther good looking, he can work like a horse, and he’s quite creative. And if you need someone to move a couch for you, Philip is just the person. (Sorry, Pip, I couldn’t resist.)

Somewhere, in the last five minutes or so, he turned from a little boy into a man, and is now living in Honduras for two years, pretending he’s an adult and running a bookstore. I miss his face dreadfully, but can’t help but be proud of him for his love of adventure and love of people. 


PC to Micah

We used to say that we couldn’t have two of our siblings marry siblings, but Micah decided otherwise when he picked Michael’s sister. And now, we aren’t even sorry.

Merry is a homemaker to the core, as is evidenced by her careful guidance of her children, her lovely little home, and the abundance of pies seemingly always in her fridge. She can make anything she touches beautiful, and her artistic sewing capabilities are in high demand.

Even better, she isn’t afraid of an honest conversation, and loves to fill her tiny home to the max with people she loves and feed them pie and discuss life with them. Pretty much, Merry is hospitality personified.

PC to Micah


PC to Merry
Micah has the kind of personality that you can’t help but love. He is unabashed and charming and spontaneous. His thirst for adventure means he is constantly dashing around the world with his little family, creating awesome memories for his kids. His enthusiasm for life and free spiritedness are contagious. 

He is an exceedingly helpful person- the kind of big brother every girl needs. Basically, having a Micah is like having a personal mechanic to ease all my auto worries. He gives hours and days of his time and talents to help the less skilled. 

Also, he gives the best hugs. Period.




PC to Rosie

Raphael was on a Bible project team, many moons ago, and stayed at our house in Erandique on and off for several months. He would sit in the kitchen and discuss things with us, and my conversation-starved family quickly grew to love him. When we returned to the States, we became even better friends, since he and Micah hung out a lot and since he lived an hour away he spent a lot of nights at our house. So we were pretty glad when Rosie managed to snag him and keep him permanently in our family.

More than any other friend I’ve had, Raphael has gotten me out of my thought ruts and stretched my mind, which has been terribly good for me. He is good at asking thoughtful questions and drawing people out, he pursues truth instead of being content with a trite answer, and his artistic skills are varied and top-notch. In fact, he’s one of those people who tends to be good at pretty much everything he tries.

Also, he makes a killer latte, which means you should be his friend too.

PC to Ryan



PC to Gretta

Rosie is my go-to person. She’s the one to whom I can send my self-deprecating texts, my purposely awful snapchats, and my whining about feeling like a drugged cow or whatever, and she’s sure to have the right response. She is honest and straightforward, she’s smart and hilarious, she really ought to run a restaurant and write a book, and her skills with kids make the competition tough for favorite-aunt-award.

If you want to feel completely at ease with whatever you’re planning, put Rosie in charge. Everything will get done smoothly and efficiently and calmly, and if the silverware runs short or the food is cold, she won’t panic. Basically, Rosie is one of those people that everyone needs in their life when it’s feeling a little too chaotic, to remind you to calm down, and that you will live and not die.

Somehow the weird pictures end up being my favorite.




Melissa and I were friends long before she became part of our family, although not so long before she wished to be part of our family. 🙂 I remember pouring out my little eleven-year-old troubles to her, and she kindly listened and gave me advice and love and never made me feel small or too young, despite the fact that I was a mere infant in comparison to her nineteen-year-old self. Later, when we both lived in Honduras, she spent hours with me, poring over cookbooks and drooling at all the recipes we didn’t have ingredients to make. She even put up with my beloved pet bird, who for some reason had a special hatred for her toes. 

She’s weathered a lot of storms in life already, and it has deepened her compassion for hurting people, and made her even more beautiful. She cares well for her family, bravely solo parenting when Daniel’s school calls him away. She is an artist, and her lovely soul shines through her words and paintings, and is evidenced in her restful home.