Happy 9th Birthday Liberty!

Our sweet Lou is 9!

We are so lucky Rhonda braved the traffic and gas prices to join us to celebrate our firework! 🙂

Thanks for the Barbie Becky and Ben!

More presents

Dad is always in style

FaceTime with the more stylish Poppy, Grandma, and Beth

FaceTime and gifts with Nanny

Gifts with Rhonda

I think they love each other 🙂

Sisters and best friends

Thanks for the card Pap!

We enjoyed a nice steak dinner. Then, Rhonda was nice enough to give many tries of getting a picture of 2 adults and three kids

Cake and Candles 🙂 Happy Birthday sweet Liberty!

To Liberty as You Turn 9

Dear Liberty,

Yesterday morning you told me “368 days until I’m double digits!” My heart sank, just a bit, as I thought of you reaching that milestone. Excitement and pride for the woman you will become of those next ten years and grief for missing the tiny girl that snuggles pink owls and spent all day in an Elsa dress. But, mostly, I don’t want you to wish your life away. It is human nature, but we spend much of life wanting to move forward but often spend the rest of it looking back. May you live in each moment, breathe it, savor it, it is the real gift. 

Selfishly, I have felt quite blessed during Covid, I have gotten to be with you every moment. I have watched you create powerpoints, build structures, master facts, and I got to have lunch with you every day as I watched you grow more independent. You really took charge of your own learning! You got your computer set up each morning and sometimes even Adleigh’s if I was running behind with her. I loved cutting your apple snack at 9:30 each morning and bringing it to you to hear what you had learned already that day. I loved watching you pick up a book without prompting and snuggle into a cozy spot to escape into the corners of the written world. I will always cherish our extra time together.

You are tiptoeing on that line between kid and tween. This past year has brought challenges. Still facing a lot of anxiety over COVID you stayed home and thrived in Mrs. Dye’s virtual third grade. You visited (virtually) Mali, learning cursive, multiplied, and were entertained with her many science experiments. You got straight As all year and took the SoL tests for the first time. You also were the only kid in your class to send her anything when her mother died. You wrote her a letter and painted her a picture that she kept on her wall, and probably still does. She wrote to me how much your kindness meant to her during a very difficult time in her life. You saw someone was hurting and you wanted to make it better. 

You are the girl that made dad a paper model of Roxy after she died, you understood how much he was hurting and expressed your special love for him to ease his pain. Others may see your sensitivity as a weakness, hear this girl, it is not. Showing your heart is STRONG. Identifying your emotions is STRONG. Lifting up others is STRONG. Knowing how you feel and what you want is STRONG.

It is easy to ignore problems or find other things to do or places to go. Your determination and kindness will set you apart. You were the girl who got up in the middle of the night to put your shoes on. You are the girl who would not give up and basically taught herself how to ride a bike. You are the little girl who kept running, even while tripping and banging into the side of dad’s car, because you wanted to be able to jump up on the hood. You are the girl that will cry when you don’t understand something, but you keep working at it until it is perfect, and it is ok to experience tears and frustration because frustration is where we build character, and you have it in spades, my love. You are the girl that has practiced perfecting recipes and now you make yourself French toast every Saturday. You are the girl that practices cartwheels and pancake stretches each day because you want to get them perfect. You are the girl that cries at almost every gymnastics class but at the end can’t wait to go back because you know how much you have improved. I love hearing the floor rumble as you practice your cartwheel and yell “Je suis fort!” Yes girl, you are STRONG!

Strength is taking on a new instrument as your first activity leaving the house in two years. You took harp this year, mastered 10 songs, and performed beautifully at your concert. You learned to fix leaky toilets and install a ceiling fan this year with dad. When your siblings scoffed at the idea of getting up close and personal with a toilet you jumped at the idea of learning something new, something someone else won’t have to do for you because YOU can do it. Keep trying new things, it will help you as you try to navigate this life with all its twists and turns. You are STRONG!

You are the girl that takes the cheese off her pizza even when most people question you or mock you for it, you aren’t afraid to tell anyone what you like or what you want. May you always share your feelings and passions, no matter what others may think. You are STRONG!

As you enter this last year of the “first half” of your childhood and transition to adulthood things are bound to change. I already have a teenager. I know having two and then three will bring challenges that will make the sleepless nights, diapers, and mastitis seem like a walk in the park. But know this, I will always be here for you. You are my heart outside my body. I will always be here for you to light your path as you begin to walk a few steps ahead of me. As the center of your universe begins to shift, you will always be the center of mine.

Keep saying it! “Je suis fort!” 

Tu es fort!

Je t’aime hibou!!!

I love you, Lou!!!



Goodbye Roxy

October 21, 2005 a pair of newlyweds decided that their townhouse needed a second dog. We had been searching for a few weeks for the right personality to go with Copper’s cantankerous charm. We knew when we saw a mangy white dog being brought in that she was the one. We waited a long week to get her and we were first in line the next Saturday after her 7 day waiting period was over. I never ever would have believed we would have her for over 16 years!

On October 28, 2005 Roxy became an integral part of our growing Murphy family. From the moment she got into the jeep she was the boss and she and Mike were inseparable. He had to hold her the whole way home and even had to sleep with her in the guest bedroom, Copper wasn’t quite sure about his new sister. But she helped us all grow right from the start.

Once settled we nursed her back to health, healing her mange, helping her put on weight, and become accustomed to her new life.

Roxy and Copper were good for each other. She gave him a playmate, even if he didn’t always want one. Roxy loved going for walks and exploring the townhouse development and desperately missed her dad on his long wrestling days.

The move to Floyd gave this country girl all the room she needed to roam. We would open the door and she would sprint down the hill and run back up before we could even come off the porch. This frantic running would soon be known as “Hyper Rox”. She got her thrills chasing after deer but we had to be careful of all the other wild critters. The commute to work was much shorter so that meant more time with her favorite person. However, she would soon lose her pal Copper to cancer (and lots of other things). Roxy continued to enjoy nature.

The time would come to expand The Murphy family as we welcomed Canton. Roxy was immediately smitten and protective of her baby. One of my most vivid memories of Roxy was when she bit Pap on the neck when he got too close to Canton. Roxy and Canton became fast pals and enjoyed looking out the window together.

The move to Harrisonburg shrunk her yard but probably was better as she began to age. She also had two more babies to protect throughout the time on Koffee Lane. Roxy didn’t care for the wildlife quite as much, she was attacked by a mama bluejay, but she did love the neighborhood walks and her buddy Rascus.

Williamsburg gave her the right size yard for her aging body. She loved to chase the squirrels, rabbits, our neighbor Conner, and bark at the dogs behind us.

Covid was a bit of a blessing for Roxy. Her dad has been with her every day and kept her going. Unfortunately time doesn’t slow down. June 1, 2021 she was diagnosed with stage 3 kidney disease and given three months. Against all odds we had her for a year. During that year she enjoyed her dad and expanded her palate getting whatever she wanted to eat like steak, bacon, and turkey and had all the belly rubs she could ask for.

Over this past weekend we came to the difficult decision it was time to ease Roxy’s pain. She has been hanging on for a long time because of Mike’s love, and maybe a little for her love of cuisine. It took a lot of tears but this was the last gift of love we could do for her. Everyone deserves the love of an animal like Roxy. We are comforted knowing we gave her a home for 16 years, she went from a dumpster to knowing she was cared for and loved every single day.

Roxy, thank you for the unconditional love. You loved us on our good days and more importantly on our bad days. You have been a constant presence in our lives and we will always be thankful for the time you gave us. The world would be a much better place if humans could love like dogs. Thank you for being with us as we grew our family and protecting them along the way. Enjoy your paradise! We love you!!!