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Jen S

Most beautiful birthday post yet. LOVE the old photos! I have tears. Happy Birthday, Ross! Congratulations on 20 years of parenting, Karen :) I think you both turned out quite well too.

Julie Pilch

Happy Birthday Ross. A wonderful post Karen, Ross is lucky to have such a wonderful caring mum xxx

Amanda @ Click. The Good News

Love these! It's one thing to look at new/recent photos, but I always get so much more pleasure out of looking at old ones, seeing how people & lives have changes, floating back to memories of good times & places. I think the value of photos grows exponentially as time goes on and memories fade. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to him :)


Happy birthday Ross! And happy given birth-day, Karen!
In Germany we say: "You reap what you sow." You have done very well, I think!
Greetings from germany


Crying while I eat my lunch. Such a beautiful post.

I was born when my mom was just 20 and I can relate to this post in so many ways. Thank you.

And of course, Happy Birthday, Ross.


Beautiful! Happy Birthday Ross and hugs to your beautiful, wise Momma :)


I'm teary right now :) You are an amazing person Karen Russell. Thank you for being real and encouraging and funny and a great Mom and real (already said it, but it's worth repeating) and simply you. You are an inspiration to me - thank you for sharing your life with us!

Kim P

You made me get all teary....beautiful post, Karen. Thanks for sharing the great pictures of Ross with us. And Happy 20th Ross!


That is the sweetest birthday post ever! I'm sitting here crying. So beautiful Karen! Happy Birthday Ross!

Nicky from Canada

Happy Birthday Ross - to one of the greatest blessings that occurs. Everything happens for a reason, what a wonderful reason for you!!
God Bless and nothing like a good cry at work!!

Sharesa E

Oh my gosh Karen, that post was amazing! Today is my birthday and I am sitting here reflecting on my life, where I've been and where I'm going. I had my son at 26 and he and I have a special bond. I can totally relate to your story. I was not a teenager, but I was not ready for a baby, let alone raising a child solo. I look back on how far we've come and its like night and day. We have a bond like you describe. It is like no other. Thanks for sharing your family with us!! Happy Birthday Ross!

Stephanie @ La Dolce Vita

Oh my gosh what a cutie! He is too adorable! His face in the pumpkin shot is priceless. As a mother myself, this really choked me up. I'm going to go hug my boy now!

Melinda T

Happy birthday Ross. And Karen, I got teary eyed reading this post. I think you're an amazing mom and woman, bless you!

Shauna Mckay

You made me all teary and your letter to Ross is so sweet..
He sure reminds me of Cole when he was younger :)


Such sweet sentiments, Nellie. Y'all are blessed to have each other.

Happy Birthday, Ross!!!

mandy friend

tell ross happy birthday {and that we'll miss seeing him around:(}


Such a sweet post. Happy Birthday to Ross and to you! :)


Beautiful. Tears here too. Love all the photos. Happy Birthday to Ross!

Laura M

Beautiful post!

ana roat

simply an awesome love story...Happy Birthday Ross!

Congratulations Karen!


Lovely story.

Betty McArthur

Happy Birthday, Ross! And Happy Mother's Day, Karen! Beautiful story.


Happy Birthday Ross!! :)


I'm tearing up. I love it! Thanks for sharing!


Happy Birthday Ross! And as a young mom myself, kuddos to me and you!! :-) LOL!


LOVE THIS POST!!! A teenage mom that grew up (and continues to do so) with my 18 year old. I could have written so much of this myself. Just change the boy's name and age a bit. As always Karen... thanks for sharing your life story with us.


Well we all definitely teared up while reading that one. Love that you are so honest with all your posts. Happy Birthday Ross.


that's beautiful - happy birthday to Ross!

Heather Crawford

I had a teenage Mom (just turned 17) and a teenage Dad (19) who are amazingly still married, but I get the struggling and growing up together wasn't always roses, but as an adult, I pretty much mainly remember the good times :) Happy Birthday to your boy ;)

tara pollard pakosta

whoa, this was AMAZING, I mean like make me CRY amazing.
what an awesome kid and mom duo you two are!
2nd photo he looks like coley!
happy birthday Ross, you really are an amazing person!
go do great things!

Heather S. in VT

Just one word....beautiful! So touching Karen, thanks for sharing!


Aw Happy Birthday Ross. Mama you done good.


Karen, I check your blog everyday and what you have to say always has so much value. You have such a wonderful outlook on life and your children and family are very blessed to have you. Thank you for having a positive impact on my life. Happy Birthday to Ross!

Jessica W



Happy Birthday Ross!


The pictures had me smiling from ear to ear. And then the words? Wow...that moved me. What a great birthday post. I hope Ross reads this, but, if not, I have no doubt he knows how much you love him :)

sasha farina

Happy Birthday Ross!! *hugs* all the way from Singapore!

Michelle (aka mybelle101)

Add me to the list of teary-eyed women! Beautifully written...Happy Birthday, Ross!

Kelli R.

Karen this was a lovely post. I cried like lots of others. You probably did an amazing job with Ross and he would thank you for it everyday. I discovered your blog through Ali's blog and pop in to see how things are and used to check your Josh Downs countdown. I love reading your blog and looking at your photos. You do amazing things!


Happy Birthday to Ross.... this is amazing!

Kathy A

Beautiful post! And so true. I was 19 when I gave birth to my daughter 26 years ago. She also helped me to grow up to be the person I am today. Happy birthday Ross! Remember to always appreciate your mother!

Katie J

Bawling at work first thing in the morning...not good.

You are amazing. That is all.

Happy Birthday Ross!


Thanks for sharing this wonderful blog with us, it's so touching. Happy Birthday Ross!


You beautiful posts about your kids always makes me cry. Happy birthday Ross!!

Nancy Boothe

You remind me of the Proverbs 31 woman, except with a mojito.

She does everything well, and her children and friends rise up and call her blessed.


Oh Karen, you got me into tears! Happy birthday to Ross! He is so lucky that you are his mom (and vice versa).


Hope we can all pray that for our kids. The most important thing here is to grow in the Lord.
1 Samuel 12:24 Only fear the Lord and serve Him in truth with all our heart, for consider what great things He has done for you.
Thanks for sharing this.


This is definitely one of the success stories. You might have been young but you were mature beyond your years raising this sweet boy.


wiping the tears...


i will always love all you guys, karen :)

Alissa H.

That is so beautiful. Happy Birthday to Ross and Happy Momiversary to you! Much love to both of you.

PS - I loved seeing the man we see today in those sweet little baby faces... thanks for sharing!

Tanya A

Happy Birthday Ross! And Happy Momday Karen! What a beautiful post!


Thank you for such a wonderful post. Happy Birthday Ross. I needed this post today. My 18 year old daughter just recently told us she is pregnant. We are really struggling. The story I had written for her is now changing and what will happen in her future is unknown and scares me. This is not how I wanted to become a Grandma. It makes me sad that that was stolen from me. Not knowing how she will be able to handle a child, being a child herself. All of these things are so hard for me to think about. But after reading your post I felt a little peace, it can work out! She is a wonderfully talented girl who will make something of her life. I know this, but it is so hard to see my dreams for her dashed! Your post helped me see things differently. Thank you! You probably have no idea how you touch people you do not even know. :)

Lynn Lynn

Happy Birthday Ross! Awesome pictures...what a cutie!! Beautiful post Karen. You and Ross are blessed to have each other. :)

Suezi Gurzi

Happy Birthday Ross and Happy "Birth" day to you Karen.
You are pretty rocking amazing! I am always tearing up reading your posts. Thanks for sharing your family with all of us and being so real!

laura plunk davis


Kim S.

my oldest baby is 16 today and I've been a bag of emotions all day! where do the years go?? Happy B-day, Ross. Great post, Karen. I am writing my son a letter tonight. You inspired me!

Marsha LL

I ***love*** seeing that as a youngster, Ross' facial expressions and body language are the same as they are when he's 20.

My mom had me when she was 17 and she never really came to terms with it --- she has often told me that my being born ruined her life. It's been tough for me to work to overcome some of those complications (even now - and I am FORTY SIX years old!).

Your story is inspirational and I am grateful for your courage, candor and wisdom. You are both so awesome!


Happy Happy Birthday Ross!! It is so fun seeing all the the photos. He hasn't changed much.. just older looking. You can tell it is him. I loved this post. I was 20 when my oldest was born and it was just she and I for almost 7 years before I got married. My kids are 24, 14 and 5. I miss the days when she was little and it was she and I. I miss spending time with her. She isn't around much.. working, school and friends occupy her time.


Crying happy tears for you guys!

Anita G.

Happy Birthday Ross! Such a sweet post Karen...definitely had tears in my eyes...all your kids are so lucky to have you as their mom!


That's very touching! God bless him and bless your whole family.


Beautiful. simply beautiful.

Jona Panesa

I was so teary eyed. I'm sure you were crying too when you were writing this. happy birthday Ross! you are so lucky to have a wonderful mom.


So sweet. Love.

Auntie Chey-Chey

To Ross aka Puke

I love you to the moon & back and I love how we used to play on grandpa's elbow (our oak tree on old stage that had monkey swings).

I love how you would ask me to swing you for hours.

I love how our "best talks" were in the car too especially the ones after your papa geek went to heaven. I love how you cried and laughed thru your tears about how silly he was & how great he was & how much he loved you.

I love that you have meant more to me than anyone else.

I love that you were born when i was a child & we too grew up together. Thanks to my brother and karen for that unforseen blessing to me.

I LOVE that photo of you in the pumpkin and made darn sure I got one JUST like that when Gibson was born because of how much I still love and think of that when i see a pumpkin in October even 19 years later.

I Love how deep you are, how sensitive, how charming and witty and bright you are.

I Love how i took you everywhere with me and even to this day friends of mine from elementary school ask me how you are.

I love how terrified i was when you took me for a drive when you turned 16. I love we both had jetta's.

I love how you used to climb on top of the counters using the drawers for steps just to get to the Oreo's in the cookie jar.

I love how you loved Docker and how sweet you are towards animals.

I love the man you've grown into. I miss the boy you were. I look forward to the life you will lead. I'm proud that your my nephew because you mean the absolute world to me.

I love you Rossco Peeko-train Miles...

Happy Birthday Puke

P.S. I love how i call you puke because you used to rock yourself back and forth in your highchair repeating how you were going to puke if you had to eat something then forced yourself to do it.

teresa b

Happy Birthday Ross!! Beautiful post Karen!! Your pure honest love shines thru!!

Ashley S.

You have a way with words Karen. What a heartwarming post. Happy Birthday to Ross.

PS One of those pictures of him looks so much like Coley.

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