happy 5th birthday {to our Riah boy}

Little Riah,

Today you turn 5, and I catch my breath.  Where have these years flown?  I look at this picture below, and remember the most sweet pregnancy.  I felt happy, energetic, and at times forgot I was even pregnant.  You would scare me at times with how calm you were.  I wondered during those nine months if it would be a direct reflection of who you would be.


You joined our world, you enhanced our family.

We took a week and a half to name you.  It drove people crazy.  Since you loved to be swaddled constantly, we lovingly named you, “Burrito Joe” for that first week. :)

After much time and consideration (and nearly going insane on my part), you were named Xavier Yuriah Zwolinski (XYZ).  We wanted to call you Yuriah (light/flame of God), and we did for the first couple months.  Since Adin was two, he could only say “Riah.” It kinda stuck.


You had this amazing black hair that usually stood straight up.

We were all so crazy about you.


I found this photo archived and it was titled, “family chaos.”

Having our new “3z” was a new dynamic, but you made it seem so easy.  You were mild mannered, calm, and loved to sleep- which was the exact opposite of your older sister and brother.

I spent a lot of time in prayer…thanking God for his mercy. :)


Did I mention that we fell in love with you?  We did.  Madly.


This is the day you got the nickname “chip.”  Moments after I took this photo, Priya held you, and then accidentally dropped you.  Your front tooth still has the little chip in it.


And now….

you are still the same baby to me.

Happy, sweet, carefree (with a dash of rambunctious.)  And I don’t know that I would call you “calm” anymore….maybe “bouncy” would replace that. :)


You have such a generous heart….always wanting to give, rarely making a fuss about not getting the same as someone else.


Your best friends are your family, and they love you just as much.  And even though you are third in line, you always seem to teach us a lesson or two.


You are a permanent smile, and a walking sunshine.

I can’t tell you how many days your simple smile has changed my outlook on life.

You are an incredibly special boy.


Happy birthday to you Riah, my 5 year old sweetie.  My prayer is that you grow up with the same sweet spirit, compassion, and loving smile that you have today.

love you,


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July 29, 2009 - 3:33 pm

betsy - This is so precious.

July 29, 2009 - 5:47 pm

Gail - You have SUCH a beautiful family Jess; I know you already know this, but you are VERY blessed :)

July 29, 2009 - 6:43 pm

mitchbaby - this is too precious. God bless you guys. and Happy Birthday, Riah! See ya’ll soon ;)

July 29, 2009 - 8:15 pm

Dana Halvorson - Jess, thank you for sharing with us. I really do feel like I know you and your family. Love to you.

July 29, 2009 - 10:25 pm

Konul - Happy Birthday precious nephew! Sorry I couldn’t see you today on your birthday but I want you to know that you are on my and Leyla’s thoughts and conversations all the time! See you on Sunday!

Jessie, I can’t believe it was 5 years ago today I met and held him first time in the hospital. Now Riah looks so much like your brother Billy. We have a saying – lucky nephew will look like his uncle but Riah doesn’t need luck – he is one of the most blessed children I know!

July 29, 2009 - 11:22 pm

lucy - happy 5th birthday ri ri! you are one of the most loving and giving kids that i know. so full of energy, so full of laughter. and your cuteness factor? well, that just makes me want to eat you. lucy loves riah.

July 30, 2009 - 3:56 am

wrecklessgirl - i just fell in love with him, all over again.

July 30, 2009 - 9:48 am

Bonnie - Just wanted to let you know I gave you a blog award. Nothing big (my blog is just a little thing) but I had to pass it on and your blog is truly one of my favorite blogs. Your pictures are inspiring and your writing just as good. So, there you go!

July 30, 2009 - 9:17 pm

Maya Laurent - Girl, you are stunning pregnant!!!! So cute, have I mentioned that you are a great mom?

July 31, 2009 - 12:42 pm

Amber - This entry made me cry!! What a sweet boy! I love your family!

August 4, 2009 - 12:49 am

holly - go ahead, make me cry. you are the loveliest.

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