Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Dear Andie... You're 3!

My sweet, feisty, adventurous little firecracker... you're 3.

Andie. When I think about the last 3 years, I get emotional. You and your brother are absolutely, hands down, the best part of every day. You have such a huge personality. You're smart, you're sweet, you're kind, you're brave and you are absolutely beautiful. You make us laugh every day and you love to play, joke, and laugh.

It's amazing how vividly I remember meeting you for the first time. Your little body, all 5 pounds 15 ounces of you, so warm and sweet, laid on my chest for the first time. The way you looked at us in the following weeks and months, which turned into the way you interacted with us through smiles & laughs, which transformed into your sweet little voice communicating with us so well. I love getting to know you and your spirit. It's amazing that I can hold a conversation with you now. You're expressing your feelings well and will sometimes say "I'm happy, or I'm sad...." You even notice when characters in books or on tv are feeling something. I love when you tell me out of the blue "I love you so much, mama". You have also been known to tell Gramz "thank you so much, Gramz, I love it" when she gets you something. You're very expressive - and you have a way with words at just 3 years old.

The last year has completely transformed you into a little girl. Your favorite colors are pink and purple (you ordered your 3rd Birthday cake all by yourself, you even told the gal which princess you'd like on your cake "Belle"). You can't live with out your special blankies from Gramz, and you have several of them - which is good because you like to chew on them when you're tired and I have to wash and rotate them daily. Your favorite toys: figurines, anything princess related, babies, and color crayons & crafts. If asked who your favorite princess is, you'll reply "Ariel". And you love to dress up in dresses, particularly princess dresses, but any dress will do. Most days, we find you in a dress, and daddy jokes sometimes that you have more outfit changes than Beyonce in concert because you'll rotate several times through the day.

You do not like wearing pants. We will make you wear them when we're out and about, but the second we walk through the door, you strip down to your shirt and undies. You also do not like having your hair done. We struggle every day over hair ties, clips, and braids because it drives me crazy when I can't see your beautiful face... but I also just want you to feel free and comfortable to be yourself. So I don't always force you to wear your hair up. (Although, bribes of wearing my 'pretty necklaces' work pretty well). You love jewelry, make up, and all things girlie.

You potty trained in the middle of February and you did a great job. It was the trickiest thing for me so far as a parent... I wasn't sure how to handle it, but you lead the way with your independent little spirit. I started to doubt you going number two and I was trying to bribe you, yet you still wouldn't go. I took you over to Gramz & Pops house, and the second I walked out the door, you went immediately on your own for them. You didn't want bribes, celebrations, or lots of pressure. You wanted to go on your own in your own time... and that's just what you did! You've had a couple accidents here and there (maybe 4 or 5 since), but only because sometimes you'll get so wrapped up in playing you will forget.

You have two of your favorite books almost completely memorized, Princess Baby and Andie & Ariel Under The Sea. It is so dang cute to listen to you 'read' them to us at night! You stopped napping at about 2.5 years old and although it was a little challenging at first, you've gotten yourself on a pretty good schedule. Sometimes you'll take a little snooze in the car if you're tired, and you will also randomly fall asleep on the couch, but overall - no nap has made you a pretty good sleeper at night. You usually go about 12 hours. Some nights, you'll run into our bed if you have a bad dream, wake up unexpectedly, or miss us... and daddy and I love it. Holding you while you sleep is absolutely amazing... we just love you so much, Andie!

We did lots of traveling this year. We did Disneyland 4 times. The First time was for your 2nd Birthday just a few days before you turned two with Gramz & Pops and it was magical. This last time was for your 3rd Birthday with Daddy's family and it was so much fun for us all to see your excitement. You are definitely a Disney girl... you love the rides, the characters, the shows... the whole experience! We've also traveled to Maui, Monterey, Scottsdale, Bend, and Tahoe. Our trip to Bend was with mama's entire family and we made so many incredible memories. You love staying in hotels and experiencing new things. You will ask us "when are we going back to the hotel?" after we get home from trips. :)

You are a good eater. You love fruit, broccoli, mac & cheese, quesadillas, pasta, yogurt, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, and waffles. You love bath time and every night you and Nolan take a bubble bath. In the last couple weeks, you will actually clean it up after it's over and put all the toys back where they go. It was amazing how you remembered exactly how I did it.

You have a fantastic memory. This year, we took out a Santa doll that Gramz had gotten you a year prior. I pulled it out of the box (you hadn't seen it since the previous December) and you said "hey, Gramz got me that!". You've done that with several toys, and it blows our mind how well you remember little details. You've got your colors down, lots of your shapes, you have a pretty good memory of the ABCs, and you can count to 20 (sometimes!). You know how to spell your name and have quite a few songs memorized that we like to sing together. You are definitely ready for preschool... when we toured the one you're going to next year, you didn't want to leave!

You're on the taller side (about 38 inches if I had to guess, and probably around 30 pounds). You are dense, solid, yet still have a tiny little body. I can't get enough of your little figure. You have a belly just like your mama always has growing up! You have beautiful blue eyes and platinum blonde hair. You also have beautiful little features, I love to stare at your big blue eyes and lucious little lips.

Andie, you make us unbelievably proud. You have such a sweet little spirit, you love to snuggle, give kisses, and hug us. You love your family and with out knowing it, you bring all of us together. You have special relationships with your cousins and watching you all play gives me immense joy. You love your brother, and despite the normal big sister stuff, you are good to him and I know you two are always going to have a strong relationship. You have empathy, you're kind to others, and you really love older kids. You are so much fun to watch!

You are also quite fiery. You know what you want, and you like to make your own choices. I think it has to do a little with your age, but I think you are also a very confident girl. You know what you like and what you don't like. Sometimes you can be very stubborn, but you've learned that we mean what we say. We always try to be consistent with you so you understand... but we also like that you're confident in yourself and your decisions.

Sometimes I wish it were possible to really express to you the depth of my love and pride for you, but words will never do it justice. Andie, you've awaken a part of my soul I never knew existed. You and your brother make being a mom my most favorite thing in the world. I love you so incredibly much and I will forever and ever. I desperately wish time would slow down so I could keep you and your squishy little self safely in my arms, but I am also so proud to see you blossom. You are amazing and I am so proud of you. Everyday, I stare at you in awe.

Never give up on what you believe in. Nothing makes me feel more joy than when I see you smile and giggle. You are my sunshine, baby. I love you so much! I hope you feel it every single day.

Happy 3rd Birthday, my little girl. What an exciting thing to witness all of life's little blessings unfold in the next year.

Love you to the moon & back times infinity,

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Dear Nolan... You're 15 months old!

Oh, Mr. Noley Bear...

You, sweet baby boy, are such a happy, content and mellow guy. You have done so much in these last 3 months since turning one. Even though you were taking steps before you were a year old, it was about 3 weeks after turning one when you because a true walker. Now, you are all over the place and working hard to keep up with your older sister.

You are obsessed (still) with your Pops. It's absolutely adorable. If Pops is around, you don't want anything to do with anyone else. You'll push our hands out of the way if we try to take you from him. You'll grab on tight and cry if he tries to set you down, and you perk up immediately when you see him. You two have some sort of special bond and we all love it. I like to tell people you are the CEO and President of the "Pops Fan Club". You definitely fit the part! And I think it's safe to say he adores you, too.

To sum up the last 3 months... I would have to say: snuggles! You are Mr. Snuggles. The ladies who watch you at the gym all gush about how you love to nestle your head into them. You love to be held, and hold on tight! If we are sitting down and you are playing, you'll come over every so often to offer your snuggles. You make the cutest little "muuuh" noise when you go in for a kiss, and you'll just barrel your head into our arms when you want a hug. Your favorite person to snuggle, of course, is Pops... but I would like to think I am a close second. :)

We had two little getaways recently. We went to Monterey to visit the aquarium, which you loved. It was so much fun to see you react and babble at all of the bright colored fish in the big tanks. You high-fived one of the scuba divers through the glass while they were cleaning the tanks. You stared, in awe, at everything. Daddy, Andie, You and I had so much fun being together, taking long walks along the water, and eating dippin' dots for the first time. We also took a very fun trip to Disneyland with Gramz, Pops, Auntie Kelly, Ryan, & Adam. You spent most of the time attached to Pops - whether it was holding his hand, following him around, sleeping on his chest, being pushed by him in the stroller, or just simply being held by him while you enjoyed everything! The characters were your favorite part and you high-fived and kissed every one of them. I think your favorite was Mickey, mostly because you recognize him! It was so precious seeing you run toward him when you met him. You were so much fun to watch while we were on the rides. It was so special to just watch you observe and absorb the colors, music, and excitement. You also seemed to really enjoy the parades! You went on almost all of the rides with us and you were such a trooper in the parks.

You are getting a little more picky with foods, but I think that's pretty typical for your age. You love fruit - all of it, especially blueberries, bananas, strawberries, and oranges. You love waffles, pancakes, and oatmeal for breakfast, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch. Your favorite food is pasta with marinara sauce, and even though it is pretty messy, I can't resist feeding it to you because you eat so much of it. You like some veggies, especially broccoli and carrots.

You are becoming more and more vocal the older you get. You say "mama", "dada", "baba", and "pops". You will babble and yell at us, even though we don't always understand you, you are still very good at communicating your needs to us. You will also nod your head "yes" or "no" if we ask you a question. You definitely are aware of who everyone is and if I ask you to do simple tasks like "bring sissy her juice", you do it! If we ask you to give "dada" or "sissy" a kiss, you'll walk right over and do it!

One of my favorite memories of you was when we were at Chick Fil A for family night (you love that cow mascot - you chase him around the restaurant, yell for him, high five, hug and kiss him) . I set you down after eating and you walked right over to another little boy, about the same age as you, and just gave him a big hug. You are such a sweet soul. You have such a loving demeanor and it's so much fun to see you interact with other people. You smile easily and are truly a mellow person.

You are wearing 18 month and 2T clothes and size 4 diapers still. You are very attached to your blankies from Gramz, your paci, and your favorite toys are figurines and any type of ball. You kick, throw, and chase after the ball. You're getting pretty fast and it is so much fun to see you and Andie play together. Seeing the bond you two are forming so young is magical and it is my greatest hope that you two keep that bond forever. You love each other so much already! A lot of times, I will just let you and her go off and play together. You will shut the door to her room, and when I peek in to check, you're both just playing! You are biting occasionally, and have gotten Andie a couple of times on the arm. I don't think it's been malicious, I think it's because it feels good on your teeth! You are getting more rough and tumble and you love to climb on everything. Lately you have been climbing on the kitchen furniture, couch, and beds. I will turn my back for a second and when I turn back around you're on top of the kitchen table. You've taken some ugly spills, but you're pretty tough. I think you're slowly learning your boundaries!

You aren't a fan of getting your diaper changed or having your clothes changed. You wiggle, squirm and scream unless I sing you songs or distract you. But luckily, you are doing much better in the car. You did so well on the 14 hour round trip car ride to Disneyland... and I am so grateful that you don't mind it like you used to. It makes our drives much more relaxing, and now, you will usually sleep if it's a long ride.

Last week, you were pretty sick. You had a fever for about 4 days, and despite feeling yucky, you were still so happy. You had a really rough time sleeping because you just didn't feel well. You wanted me, and I loved having that time to hold you and cuddle you. I slept in the chair in your room with you one night and just tried to soak you in. Feeling your weight on my chest is one of the best feelings I get to experience. You still have your scent, and even though I didn't get much sleep that night, it was an honor to just hold you and make you feel secure. It's these moments that mean most to me as a mom... it's the best feeling in the world to feel like I can make you feel better just by holding you.

Nolan, your teeth-y smile (you've got 12 of them, including molars) makes me weak in the knees. I stare at you through out the day and am just in awe at how darn darling you are. You have the cutest belly, squishy buns and legs, and delicious cheeks. Daddy cuts your hair, and even though I am convinced you look a little like me - you definitely look like him with that hair cut! I love when you hold out your little arms for me to pick you up. I love hearing you laugh and giggle, which you do so easily. I love seeing you first thing in the morning when you wake up. I love opening up the door to get you out of the car and seeing your little smile. I love watching you sleep. I love you.

I am so darn proud of you, son. I am proud of the sweet little soul you're growing into. I love you so much and am so blessed to see you grow, develop, love, laugh, and enjoy life. I hope you never doubt it, baby. I love you to the moon and back, times infinity. Forever.


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Dear Nolan... You're ONE!

My sweet son...

It's hard to believe a whole year ago tonight I went into labor with you.  When I think of that night - your daddy at work, Gramz fumbling with the gate to get upstairs to see me, Pops driving me to the hospital, Dr. Harrison miraculously being on shift, the nurse breaking her wrist, contractions, pushing for just a few short minutes... then you, your warm, beautiful little body on my chest.  Some of the happiest moments of my life.

Tonight, as I rocked you to sleep for the last time before you're one, my mind flooded with memories of the last year.  The hundreds of times I have rocked you, sang 'You are my Sunshine', slept in that chair so you could be upright to help your breathing, the hours I spent in the car with a broken heart listening to you cry, the thousands of diaper changes, the snuggles, the kisses... and my most favorite, that smile.  Oh, Nolan... your smile.  You have the most radiant smile I have ever seen.  It's genuine, and I can't help but smile, too, when you flash those big blue eyes.  This year has been filled with a profound amount of love because of you.  I completely underestimated how overwhelming it would be to love a son like I love you.

This last month has been a big one.  We celebrated your 1st Christmas, you met Santa a few times (you weren't too impressed), you opened presents, tried new foods, we took a spontaneous trip to Disneyland, you started taking steps (7 in a row is your record), and spent lots of time with family.  This month you have really fallen into a routine of sleeping, and besides the occasional time we have to sneak a paci back in your mouth, you sleep through the night for 12 hours.

As much as I didn't want to, we also stopped breastfeeding this month.  You took formula for the first time about 3 weeks ago, and within the last 2 weeks have been exclusively on formula.  Tonight you made the switch to milk, and you did very well with it.  You are still eating very well for us.  You love pasta, yogurt, waffles, fruit - all fruit, but especially bananas.

For Christmas, Santa came a little early to our house because daddy had to work, then we celebrated with daddy's side of the family at our house.  You got lots of new presents and Santa brought you a Thomas the Train Roller Coaster, which you loved!  On Christmas Eve, we went to Gramz and Pop's house and had a big breakfast together and opened presents.  Then we went to Christmas Eve night with the Z family.  Christmas day was very mellow.  We stayed with Gramz, Pops, and your cousins and played with new toys.  This season was so special with you.  You really loved the Christmas tree and lights.  And you were a natural at opening presents.

Daddy and I don't think you've grown a ton in the last month.  You're still wearing 12 and 18 month sized clothes.  You are in a size 4 diaper.  We measured you the other day and you were about 29 inches tall, and I estimate that you are about 22 pounds, but we will know for sure at your doctor's appointment on the 30th.

You love your toys - especially figurines, balls, and anything with wheels. You love your paci and have really gotten attached to your special blankets from Gramz.  She had to get a couple more for you because you're starting to love them so much.  You've really been babbling more this month and you are saying "ma ma" and "da da" more often.  You're taking steps and standing all by yourself, but you still prefer to crawl.  You love to play peek-a-boo and will sometimes start playing it randomly, which makes us laugh.  You also clap your hands when we sing.  You give high-fives, wave hello, and you are doing so much better in the car!  You also are very good at sharing, especially food, which is so cute!

Nolan, I have never seen a baby love someone as much as you love your Pops.  You and him really have a special connection, and the thought of it almost brings me to tears.  He is hands down your favorite person on the planet.  When pops is around, you refuse to go to anyone else.  If daddy or Gramz try to take you from him, you tuck your head into his neck and grab on tight to his shirt (sometimes you even snub me!).  If he has to set you down or leave the room, you whine until he comes back.  You love to snuggle him, lay on his chest, and at Christmas Eve, Gramz and I looked over and you were just randomly giving him kisses.  The relationship you two have is truly sweet.  He absolutely adores you and I think you may have a little of him in you, and I am so grateful.  (We think you may even be left handed like him).

I am not sure if you will ever read through these letters that I have written to you over the last 12 months.  They may be a little repetitive, but I don't want to forget a single thing.  If you are reading this, years from now, I hope you can feel my love.  Nolan, I am so unbelievably proud to be your mom.  I'm proud of you, proud of your smile, your sweet soul, and your sense of humor.  You truly bring so much joy to my life.  My wish for you is that you're kind, happy, surrounded by a supportive tribe of family and friends, and you follow your heart.  Believe in yourself... even just looking at your compact little body, I already know you're capable of so much.  Don't sweat the small stuff, stay positive and optimistic, be confident and know that your dad and I are always here for you... no matter what!!  The world is yours... work hard, set goals, and enjoy it!

I love you to the moon and back, times infinity.  Happy 1st Birthday.  Your first year of life has been one of the best of mine.  I rocked you to bed tonight for an extra long time, kissed your forehead, and listened to you breathe.  I wish so badly that I could freeze time, but I can't, so I am going to hold on tight and enjoy the beautiful ride of witnessing you grow, change, and blossom.


Rocking you to bed tonight.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Dear Nolan... You're 11 months old!

My squishy, cuddly baby boy,

11 months old!  How is it possible that you're approaching one year old?  When I think back to the last 4 weeks, many things stick out... but especially how cuddly you are.  You are like a little koala bear.  You grab on to shirts and hug us.  It is one of my favorite things ever.  You are also becoming more and more mobile.  You have taken a step here and there, but for the most part, you stick to crawling because you are much faster at it.

We celebrated your first Halloween and you were a little pumpkin.  You were very mellow about being dressed up (except you would not keep the hat on) and rode around in the stroller with out much of a fuss.  We celebrated at the Spooktacular in Town Center, then went trick or treating with family friends.

In the last couple of weeks, we moved!  It was a big transition for us all, but you did so well at adapting.  We had lots of help from Gramz and Pops while we were moving to make sure that we could get your room all set up and comfortable before you came home for our first night in the house.

You are still very attached to us and close family.  You are starting to get better at going to other people, but usually you reach back for us after a short time.  You are constantly throwing your head back... I think it may have something to do with you teething, but you also like the thrill of falling backwards.

You and Andie are interacting more and more all the time.  She is very clingy to you sometimes and occasionally underestimates her strength, and you do a very good job of being tough.  I think you two will have a very special relationship.  Both of you got your first haircuts together this month, and you look so much older with your shorter hair!!  I can't believe how much you've changed.

You are wearing size 12 month and 18 month clothes and a size 4 diaper.  In the last month, you have started doing much better at sleeping through the night.  You have gone several nights with out waking up, but you still are up a couple times during the week for help finding your paci or a snack.  But how could I say no to your beautiful blue eyes and koala bear hugs.  You are truly irresistible.

You are a huge eater!!  You eat almost as much as I do and you aren't picky.  The only thing you don't really care for is eggs.  You still love all of your fruit and vegetable purees, but you also eat everything we eat and prefer to feed yourself.  When you are hungry, you're very impatient.  You will yell and scream at us while we are preparing food until we get it on your tray.

You love your blankets from Gramz and you snuggle and hold them while you sleep. You also love your paci.  Your favorite toys are books, a Christmas train, and anything with wheels. You don't like getting your diaper changed, but we are getting creative with distractions.  You are doing much better in the car, and I am so grateful for that!

You are babbling all the time.  You say "ma ma ma" and "da da da" sometimes when you're reaching for us.  You are very mellow most of the time and a very happy baby.  We did the big Z family Thanksgiving celebration and you were a little uneasy with all of the people.  You didn't want to be set down and would only let daddy, Gramz, Pops, or me hold you.  You are most comfortable in the surroundings you are used to.

We did our annual Christmas Tree hunt this year in Apple Hill and it was so much fun to have you there for your first trip.  It is one of my favorite days of the year and we have many special memories there.  We had so much fun hiking around and picnicking together.  We picked out a great tree for our new little house and you love seeing the lights.  I am so excited for the Holidays with you this year.  It's hard to believe a year ago you were still in my belly.

We celebrated Thanksgiving a few times this year.  We went to daddy's work and celebrated with his crew and their families, we celebrated with your great grandma and great grandpa, Gramz, Pops, aunties, and cousins, and we went to Pacific Grove to celebrate with your Nana, Uncle Joe, Uncle Dave, and close family friend Carolene.  We definitely are all very thankful to have you - you are a huge blessing to our family!

I've been snuggling with you as much as I can lately.  You have the cutest little belly and body.  I love to pinch your cheeks and kiss your feet.  I am so crazy about you, my little Nolly Bear.  Daddy and I can't get over how sweet you are.  You have added so much joy to our lives.

I love you so much and I can't believe in one short month you're going to be ONE.  So much to look forward to in the coming month, this is a happy time of the year, and you make it even happier!!


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Dear Nolan... You're 10 Months Old!

My sweet Mr. Squishy,

10 months old.  Lovable, sweet, smiley, and the cuddliest baby ever!  Nolan, you have a smile that makes me melt, and every month I fall more and more in love with you.  I still look at your squishy little body and am amazed that you're my son.  Goodness, you make me so proud.

This month, you have really gotten comfortable on your feet.  You're getting more and more stable with standing.  You can hoist yourself up into the standing position from a toy or any piece of furniture and stay standing unassisted for long periods of time.  You are crawling, quite fast, everywhere you want to go.  You like to follow your sister around and watch what she is doing.  You also started standing in your crib when you're ready to get out.  I was quite surprised when I saw you standing up when I opened the door at the beginning of the month. :)  You're not quite ready to walk, but you have taken a step - and immediately fell over.  You are walking easily when pushing toys or chairs around.

You started taking baths in the tub with out the duck this month.  You love bath time, especially when the water is very warm, and you and your sister are sometimes in there for 20 or more minutes playing.  You seem to like playing with toys and splashing!

Much to my happiness, you are doing much better in the car.  You have been doing better for about the last 6 weeks.  You still have an occasional freak out when you get strapped in, but overall, it has been a huge switch from how it used to be with you in the car.  You also started sleeping much better this month.  On October 16th, you slept a solid 10 hours in your crib, which was your longest stretch ever!  Lately, you're going all night.  You still are up occasionally at midnight, or very early in the morning to have a snack.  Your dad and I can't believe how suddenly it happened that you started sleeping through the night.  You went from waking up 2 or 3 times, to just sleeping through.

You love to eat and are a very good eater these days.  You still eat lots of pureed baby food...but this month you made a huge jump into more and more solid foods.  You eat pretty much everything we eat, and you aren't picky yet.  You eat a lot of pasta, bread, veggies, fruit, beans, and some meat.  You like yogurt... and sweet potatoes are still a favorite of yours.  You really love feeding yourself the baby teething biscuits.  Usually, you require a bath immediately after eating because you manage to get it everywhere... your face, arms, belly, legs and hair!  You are still exclusively breastfeeding and eat about 4 times through out the day and if you are up at night.

You are wearing size 12 month & 18 month clothes and size 4 diapers.  You have 4 teeth and are working on getting 4 more (we think) on the top right now.  You are babbling like crazy and started saying "dada" this month.  I think you know I am "mama" and "dada" is dada.  When he facetimed us from work the other day, I showed you his face and you babbled out "dada".  It could be a fluke, but I think you know who we are.

We've taken a few trips to the pumpkin patch this month with your cousins and friends and are getting ready to celebrate your first halloween.  Even though you don't understand everything that is going on, I am enjoying dressing you up in your halloween themed stuff.

I can't believe it's already time to start thinking about your 1st Birthday party.  It's hard to believe how much you've changed and grown in the last few months.  You are truly one of the sweetest, most mellow babies.  I love and adore you so much.  You have such a precious demeanor.  You love being around your family, snuggling, and exploring.  I am so lucky to be your mama.  I love you through and through... yesterday, today, forever.

Your mama