My boys

Inspired by a couple of people who are at the beginning of their pregnancy journey, and a couple at the end, and their blogging adventures, I decided it was time to get back here. To give an adequate update of what life is like in our family.

William is forever keeping us on our toes by the often surprising things that come out of his mouth. He is quick, witty, charming and pays close attention to everything and everyone around him. He’s a careful observer of his surroundings and not much gets past him. These days his favorite things are playing trains, helping us cook (he pulls a step-ladder up to the stove or counter and actively participates), books, music, watching Thomas, Barney or Curious George on TV (he’s very limited in the time he gets and it’s ALWAYS a battle for more time), going to the children’s museum and just going out – he asks to go to a restaurant or a store every day as he insists he doesn’t want to go home. I think the fact that we always took him out with us for any and all errands means that much like me he is not a homebody. He is much happier on the go.

William’s language skills continue to develop and the ability to have a full-on conversation with him now still blows my mind. He’s very much in a Mommy phase and continually tells me I’m his best friend, I’m his girl, he loves me or offers affection on his own. He currently is testing the waters with Brandon by letting him know, “I don’t like you.” Brandon is being a champ about it (I’m pretty sure I will cry when it’s my turn) but he’s holding steady and letting William figure out the power of language and the ways we use it or don’t use it.

Noah is a full-on walker and climber! He’s strong as an ox, eats like a full-grown man and still offers the affectionate head to chest cuddle when he’s tired or not feeling great. He is stubborn and determined and if you turn your back for a second you can expect to find him standing on a chair, climbing on a table or halfway up the stairs. And he’s now giving us the open-mouth kiss (along with Roxie) and loves to wave goodbye. He’s responsive to music and will dance along with any tune. He’s still not interested in story time – he’s usually pulling things off of a table or climbing under chairs or trying to scale the crib while we do our bedtime routine each night.

William and Noah’s personalities are so vastly different. I know you can’t ever expect that your children will carry the same traits but it is surprising to me to watch those differences emerge and to imagine what those differences will look like over time. I’m enjoying the dichotomy of their respective personalities as they figure out how to interact with one another. For so much of this year, William really saw Noah as more of a pet. He referred to him as “the baby” or “No No” and he would stroke his head or sometimes shove him down to see what would happen! Now, however, they are playing side by side at the train table, William is letting us know when Noah needs something, they pretend cook at their play kitchen and they even team up to cause chaos when Brandon and I are trying to read bedtime stories and get everyone settled down, or clean up the house and get meals ready. William is fiercely protective of Noah when around his classmates and very much claims Noah as his own. I have a feeling that Noah will hold on his own, as he has proven to already, and William will be in for a surprise.

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Much like me, Target is William’s happy place!

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Christmas Pageant!

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Our best effort at a family picture during our Santa visit.

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Both boys saw Daddy play a gig at Strangeways Brewing. William still has a hard time seeing his Daddy at the microphone and not being able to interact.

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This is my “Please don’t drop your brother!” face as William insisted he could hold Noah while we waited for a table.

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Success!

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The Children’s Museum is becoming a weekend routine for us. Watching the joy on their faces as they explore all of the activities is more fulfilling than I can adequately express.

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Shenanigans while we try desperately to get them settled for bed. This is every night in our house.

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This is the photo Brandon sent me when I went out for the night with a girlfriend. Both boys LOST it.

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Again, “Why has my Mommy left me?” There are perks to being his favorite but it’s also heart-wrenching when I want to go out.

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This smarty-pants figured out how to play t-ball on his own within a few days of William getting it at Christmas.

Our life is still chaotic and full of exhaustion and anxiety about how to navigate the demands of each day and still come out on top. We are slowly learning which patterns and routines work for us and which should be tossed aside. It’s been a rough year in our house for a variety of reasons, some known and some unknown, but we are held together by strong bonds of love and connectedness. William and Noah are constant reminders of how new and exciting the world around us can be in spite of the hardship and negativity we see on the daily. They keep us laughing, at them and ourselves, and the occasional dance party or family sing-a-long of the “The Potty Song” keeps us from taking ourselves too seriously. image2 image6 image8  image13

 

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A letter to Noah

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Noah12monthsDear Noah,

In one year you have radically changed the landscape of what our family looks like. We had a pretty solid pattern and schedule and things were going okay. Out of nowhere (well, it was a long time coming) the company I worked for shut their doors the last day of December. I was suddenly staying at home caring for William and stressing to find a new job. Then came March and the surprise of a lifetime. When three doctors have told you that you will never naturally conceive a child, you believe them. I trust science. But, there you were. When I first saw your heartbeat flicker on that screen and I realized this new life growing inside of me, completely unexpected and definitely unprepared, I was a nervous wreck. I was wrought with excitement and terror and happiness and fear. So many emotions were swirling through my head that I had a hard time seeing how it would all just work. And as my belly grew and my pregnancy progressed, I started to understand just how perfect timing the unexpected parts of life can truly be. It had only been a month or so before we first knew you existed that I had said I wasn’t sure if we would have more children. I didn’t know if it would work for us. I didn’t know if I wanted to go through the potential heartbreak of it not happening. But there you were.

My labor with you was one of the defining and life-changing experiences of my life. It probably sounds trite, and you may  never understand being that you are a boy, but the ease in which you came into the world and the way in which I felt so connected to you as I labored gently and without fear was empowering. You gave me the kind of birth story that I will carry with me as a reminder of the power I have over my mind and my body and the way in which I am in control of my own fears and insecurities. So, thank you.

This past year you have proven yourself a gentle, calm, even-tempered, affectionate, loving, hilarious, smart, strong and vivacious boy. Your laugh is infectious and the way you watch William excitedly waiting to be a part of whatever he is doing, or to laugh at his antics, is so reassuring to me. When you want something, you go right for it. When you fall, you rarely cry. You always get right back up and head steadfast on your mission. When you are tired or cranky, you bury your head in my chest and it fills my heart every time. I love to make you laugh and see you dance. You are such a light in my life and I am forever grateful that you came into our family.

Happy first birthday, my darling boy.

I love you always.

Mama

Seriously.

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Sporting his new Hurley jacket from Uncle R.D. He thinks he’s pretty cool.

After we had decorated the tree and hung the stockings, William and I were sitting on the couch taking in all of the lights and colors. I asked him what Santa would put in his stocking and he said, “I don’t know.” I suggested crayons, bubbles, applesauce pouches (because seriously every toddler I know is OBSESSED with these things) and on and on. Then I said, “William, what do you think Santa will put in Mommy’s stocking?” Without missing a beat, William said, “Boobies.” So, I asked, “Why would Santa bring Mommy boobies for Christmas?” And his response….”Because it’d be funny!”

Out of the mouths of babes…

Happenings

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That’s my kid eating spinach. Victory.

Life is busy and chaotic and there is both too little and too much to report. On my radar this week has been the random things that come out of William’s mouth.

Examples: “Noah is a nice man.”

I often curse like a sailor and I thought having children would curb that. I was very wrong. William is great at repeating the word right as it comes out of my mouth. But suddenly, he now will say, “Mommy, can I say that?” It’s as if he knows by the tone or the way I say the bad word that he should question his ability to say it. It’s a miracle, really.

William can no longer go to bed without a spoonful of peanut butter. He also insists that he receive “fresh” water in his nighttime cup. If we forget, the minute we get to his room he says, “But I NEED my peanut butter!” He is clearly my child.

While we don’t regularly attend church and William’s only knowledge of “church” is through the Godly Play activities they do on Wednesdays at his daycare, I have started asking him to say “Thank you” to God each night for all of the people or places or experiences or things he is thankful for. It’s such an eye opener to hear what he will think of. He is quick to include all of his immediate family, specifying “My Noah” and then the list includes random things like shoes, peanut butter, trains, cake and milk. Sometimes he asks that we start the list over and go through the things multiple times. My great hope is that it instills mindfulness for all the things we are thankful for.

Out of nowhere, William has started telling me that I’m his best friend, followed by a kiss and a lean-in hug. He also told my mother that I’m his girlfriend, he loves me and he helps Daddy make me coffee.

It is not uncommon for William to ask Brandon or I at the dinner table, “Do you need a beer?” I promise we don’t drink daily at the dinner table or ask him to fetch us a beer. But, that’s an idea.

He frequently refers to things as “very fragile” which sometimes includes Noah who he likes to say “is JUST a baby!”

 

11 Months

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In anticipation of the looming (and exciting) one year birthday coming up, we finally captured Noah’s 11 month pictures. As is always the case, he was on the move. One of the great things about photographing Noah is how easy it is to capture his temperament. He is easygoing, easily brought to full-on laughter, happy and adaptable. I’m quietly encouraging him to hold off on walking so I can have a small chance of still being able to hold him for a while.

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A letter to my boys

Dear William and Noah,

My heart is heavy today. Last night while I should have been preparing to go to bed, your father and I got drawn into a documentary about bullying. I kept saying I couldn’t or shouldn’t watch it because I knew it would break my heart, but like a bad wreck I couldn’t bring myself to look away. Programs like these were something I used to be able to handle with less emotion. I felt for the situations, and I wanted to figure out how to be a part of the solution, but they didn’t reach me deeply or make me feel powerless. The game has changed now that I have the two of you. The stakes are much higher. The gravity of all the outside pressures and events that have the ability to affect you are now a direct threat to the two people who hold my heart.

I know I can’t protect you from everything. I know that you will have to figure out how to live in this world and navigate all of the scary and hard and ugly things that come your way. And the battle isn’t just protecting you from potential bullying but it’s also raising you to not be the bully. That’s really where I come in. I can’t promise that you won’t be picked on or you won’t be the butt of someone’s insecurity. But I can promise to show you the power and the weight of kindness, of being a friend to those who don’t have it easy. I can show you by example how to care for those who have to work harder to be accepted and valued. Because at the end of the day, it is not your intelligence, your grades, your future career, your talents, or even your gifts that will make me proud of you. It is your capacity for kindness and empathy toward other people. It is the way you treat others, the way you relate to people who are different from you. The most important thing I can pass on to you is the ability to be kind and generous with your heart. If I succeed at that, then I have given you the best of me and I will not fear for the world’s effect on you.

I promise to always lift you up.

XOXO

Mama

10 months

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Noah’s 10 month pictures left Brandon exhausted and frustrated. He was a great sport about it but most of the pictures were of Noah crawling fast and away, or of Noah pulling the 10 month sticker off and attempting to eat it. William insisted on going upstairs to help Brandon with the pictures so the entire experience turned into attempting to take pictures while juggling two fast and curious children.

Noah has started standing for small spurts of time unassisted. He babbles constantly first thing in the morning, even blurting out a “DaDa” and “BaBa” but during the day he remains pretty tight-lipped. He remains a ridiculously easy baby who loves to laugh and adores his older brother. He is incredibly active and will squirm out of your arms to get down and move. And forget about changing his diaper or his clothes.

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Our CA trip in pictures

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Over a month and a half ago, we went to California for my sister’s wedding. We spent a few days in Los Angeles, a few days in San Diego for the wedding, and a drive down the Pacific Coast Highway on the last day to spend one more night in Los Angeles. It was a whirlwind. Traveling with two, two and under, is no joke. It was definitely eventful but we wouldn’t have missed it for the world. It was a beautiful wedding, and there is nothing better than having time to spend with my big sister. And we are over the moon to have her husband, RD, a part of our family. William loves his new uncle!

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