Saturday, August 12, 2017

My 4 Year Old Andie

My beautiful daughter...

You've been 4 for several months now. I write about you often, and these notes are shared in the books I make you for each year, but more often then I write about you, I am thinking about you. You are such a special girl. It's amazing to witness all of your growth and change. You're smart, strong, and you love the people in your life fiercely.

You are such a good big sister to Nolan. You two play a lot - usually making messes in all areas of the house. It amazes me how well you use your imagination. Your favorite things to play with (although you love pretty much everything) are your dolls, princesses, books, purses, and anything outdoors. You are obsessed with dresses - and you change your outfit several times a day, usually switching between princess dresses and the ones from your drawers. I have given up on keep your drawers clean because you love to dig through them and find the perfect outfits. I also don't mind you wearing your princess dresses in public. I love seeing you prance proudly around in them and know this stage will all be a memory much quicker than I would like.

You love your blankets that Gramz had made for you and you sleep with them every night. You still chew on them, although daddy and I are trying to break the habit a little bit because they get pretty smelly.

On June 29th, your cousin, Sadie, was born and you were so thrilled to meet her. You absolutely fell in love and you talk about her all the time. You have also become very interested in other babies, which is good because I am currently pregnant with another baby for you to love on.

It's been a big year for our little family. Besides growing another baby to love, we are building a home and daddy and I want it to be the best it can be for you and our family. We want it to be a place you love, feel comfortable in, and can grow with out limits in. I have really enjoyed designing a bedroom (with some of your opinions, too) for you and I can't wait to unveil that to you in a couple short months when we move in.

This week, you start your second year of preschool (pre-K). I can't believe you'll be going 3 days a week. I know you are ready for it. You love reading, other kids, and being in a school setting. But I have been relishing in the days where we can wake up and have the flexibility to do whatever we want, even if it means I am still in my pjs mid-day. I love 4-year-old you and it stings a little with each passing day to know you're no longer a baby. You are really thriving.

Some of my favorite things I want to remember from right now:
-Reading to you at night. You usually pick out 3 or 4 of the same books and you have them memorized. With out fail, you say to me "when you stop reading, let me read" - which means you want me to make pauses so you can read pages, sentences, or paragraphs.

-You love to sing and dance. Whenever you watch a movie with a dancing or singing part (your favorites) you get up and dance like them. I love watching you with our couch cushion (aka: the Beast) slow dancing at the end of Beauty & The Beast.

-You love to sleep with me and when daddy goes to work, I always let you in. You immediately fall asleep and seeing you slowly wake up in the morning is one of my favorites. You are such a beautiful girl and I love to study your face while you sleep.

-You are a risk taker. We took the boat out with pops the other day and I was so pleasantly surprised that you were willing to try wake boarding - twice! You fell, but got up again, and it made me so proud. I hope you always have the same fearless spirit in life. You really are capable of anything, you just have to keep trying.

- You are playing soccer right now and daddy is your head coach. This is the first year of recreational soccer, and I am excited to see you blossom. No matter what sports or activities you decide to do, we support you and love watching you.

-You love to touch and feel my belly and you talk to the baby all the time. You tell them you love them, kiss it, and ask me about how it's growing. You also think everyone may have a baby in their belly now, so I have to be careful who you ask!

-We took our first mommy/daughter date to dinner and then to see the Music Circus in Sacramento (Gramz & Shelley went too). You enjoyed Beauty and The Beast and you did a great job sitting through it. You loved watching the characters and have asked me a few times since if we can go again.

-You were a flower girl for the first time in Casey & AnnMarie's wedding. It was so much fun for you to be a part of something so special and I loved getting to see you get your nails done for the first time (even though you picked it all off on the drive home), get your hair done, and wear that white dress as you pranced down the aisle. You really enjoyed it and it was so much fun for daddy and I to watch you. It was an honor - especially because you love Annie so much and she was so sweet to you.

-Not only do you love dresses, you also love swim suits. I had a big bin of them in Nolan's room and you two would often come out wearing them, even if they were old and much too small for you. You two pretend to be going to the beach and wear them often.

You are wearing 4and5T clothes and size 9 shoes. You are definitely not small for your age, but you're perfect. You are a great eater and love fruit - you request it for every meal.

For your 4th Birthday, we celebrated in the morning with some special decorations and a few gifts from daddy and I. The week before the big day, we went to Disneyland with Gramz & Pops, Nana, Uncle Joe, Auntie Juju, Stella, and Caroline. A few of daddy's long time friends from Southern California met up with us as well. You loved getting to do the Bippity Boppity Boutique again, this time with Stella. You two were adorable prancing around Disneyland together. You picked Jasmine. The day after your Birthday, we took off for a family trip in Maui. Gramz & Pops were there, too, along with their friends Shelley and Curt. It was so much fun to see you enjoy the ocean and pool. You loved the water slides and although you need to be very closely supervised, you did a great job with swimming.

I still can't believe you are 4 years old. You are such a bright, beautiful girl. It is truly my life's biggest blessing to see you change, grow, develop and bloom. You are so unbelievably special to me and I truly only want the very best for you in life. It is my biggest hope that you never doubt how loved you are, that you always try your best, and never second guess your own potential. Be confident. Be kind. We are here to support you in anyway we can! You make us proud.

I love you so much, Andie Jean. You are one of my favorite people on the whole planet. May you always feel my love.

Mommy


Thursday, December 29, 2016

Dear Nolan... You're 2!

TWO! Sweet baby Nolan, how are you already two?

Last night as I laid in bed, I was thinking about how two years ago I went into labor with you. I remember your chubby cheeks and warm, squishy body laying on me. I loved you so much then, and even more now!

Your personality is really blooming. You are such a sweet little boy. You will randomly come up to us and grab our legs and say "love you" and give us a kiss. You have brought me my blanket if I am sad and when we had to take you to the ER a few weeks ago, I started to cry because I was worried about you and even though you couldn't breathe and were exhausted - you gently turned your head and kissed my cheek - your very own way of saying "it's okay, mommy, don't cry". 

The last few months have been full of growth for you - especially with your communication. You're saying so much now. Some of it, only daddy and me can understand, but you definitely are trying hard to use your words more. You say pretty much anything and just in the last couple of days I love asking you how old you are - you say "two!" (Sometimes you say "four" because that is how old Andie is going to be at her next Birthday)

I have loved watching you and your sister grow closer. Sometimes you two will play for hours together with toys. You love to dump baskets and bins of toys over just because it makes a loud noise. Your favorite toys are definitely balls, tractors, cars, and books. You like to color and you love anything disney related (especially Mickey and Buzz Lightyear). You also love to watch movies! 

You love to be outside. It doesn't matter how cold it is, if it's raining, or 100 degrees - you want to be out playing. You got some new toys for Christmas and your Birthday and you love being able to go and play on them. 

In the last few months we have gone to Disneyland twice. The first time we went, in October, was a lot of fun - you really enjoyed the characters and rides. We also went in December and although you had fun, we also had our first ever trip to the ER at 2:30 in the morning. You couldn't breathe well and after watching you struggle for a couple of hours and doing everything we could to remedy it, we just felt like it was time to get some help for you. We got some help and you were up and ready to go enjoy the park the next day. You were such a trooper, it amazed me. 

We celebrated your 2nd Thanksgiving in Monterey with family and you loved the aquarium. Santa came to our house on Christmas Eve because daddy had to work Christmas and you got a new big rig and cars. We celebrated Christmas at Gramz and Pops house and then made our way to Franklin Ranch with the Z family and celebrated your great grandpa John's 90th Birthday. We are celebrating Christmas and your Birthday right now in Incline Village with daddy's family and Gramz and Pops came along too. It's beautiful and you are absolutely loving the snow. You cried when we had to come in last night because it was getting dark. 

You are wearing size 2T clothes and you sleep through the night from about 7:30pm to 7am. You take one nap a day (usually, you've been skipping it a lot recently) from about 12:30 - 2:30. You love fruit, chicken nuggets, yogurt, and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. You have started showing an interest in going potty on the toilet and you will go quite often before bath time. Bath time with your sister is another favorite of yours and you love the water. You gave up the paci (boba) all on your own a few weeks back. Daddy went to give it to you at nap time and you gave it back to him and said "no". You can't sleep with out your "ginkie" (your word for blankie) and you love to have those to snuggle up with if you get sad.

You are still crazy about your Pops. You love to snuggle him and you always scream with excitement when you see him. You are also extremely snuggly and sweet with daddy and me, and your Gramz, too. I love rocking you to sleep at night and if I try to just put you in your bed with out rocking, you will say "rock" and point to the chair. You are so darn cute - daddy and I always look at each other and smile because we can't get enough of you. You have something very special about you, baby, and I hope you always know just how loved you are! You are capable of anything you set your mind to and my biggest desires for you are that you live a life filled with love, kindness, and the people who adore you most. I am so proud to be your mommy. You've been a little bit of a mama's boy for the last couple of months and I love when you stick your little arms up to me and say "mama". I will always be here to hold you - no matter how big you get!

Loving you is one of the best parts of my life. I am so sad to see you turn 2... but I am also loving each day of watching you grow.

I love you to the moon and back times infinity my baby Nolan.

Mama

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Dear Nolan... You're 21 Months Old

My sweet, squishy Noley-Bear...

Oh, my baby... you've grown and changed so much in the last 3 months. I knew it was going to happen, but I never anticipate it all happening so fast. You are thriving, sweet baby. You love hugs, kisses, cuddling, high-fiving, and being outside.

You're an affectionate child, especially with the people you love most. You are still crazy about your pops... you have a really strong bond with him and when he's around, you still don't want anyone else. It's absolutely heartwarming to see you adoration for him, you reach for him, point at pictures of him and yell "bops", and you cry by the door when he leaves.

One night last month I was putting you in bed and you pointed at the rocking chair, which I knew was a cue that you wanted me to hold you and rock you. So of course, I did. Most nights, you like to sit with us for a few minutes before bed to wind down. You're sleeping pretty well at night - most nights you go down between 7 and 7:30pm and you're up usually between 7-7:30am. You nap once a day and do really well going down on your own. We put you in your crib and you sleep from about 12:30 or 1 to anywhere between 3 and 4. You love your bed and especially your blankies from Gramz, which you call "Gink-ies" and your paci "boba". When I go in after you've been sleeping I still breathe deeply because you have a certain scent that fills the room. I hope it never goes away.

You're communicating with your words better everyday. Your vocabulary is growing and now you can say between 15-20 words. Some of them only I can understand, but you are definitely trying to say more. Some of the words you're saying: mama, dada, bops, boba, ginkie, sissy, Andie, Elena, Mickey, car, fire truck, more, thank you (you say this on your own now, which is adorable), and everyone's favorite word: BYE. You say it so matter-of-fact with the cutest little emphasis on the "i" sound. Sometimes we will copy you because it's so darling.

You also rely heavily on your other forms of communication, especially nodding your head yes and no, waving, pointing, and the occasional screams. When you see airplanes in the sky you point up and yell at us to look! You also like to point at the features on our faces when we are holding you. You will point at our eyes and say "eyes", "hair", "nose", "mouth", and "ear". You know where most of your own body parts are and will point at them when we ask you.

You absolutely adore your sister and you miss her when she's in preschool. She started in August and the first few days she was there you walked around the house looking for her while she was gone. You two are playing really well together and seeing you interact makes me melt. You are always excited to see each other first thing in the morning, you give hugs and kisses with out being prompted to, and sometimes I will find you snuggling in her bed or while you're watching something on tv.

Your favorite toys are trucks, cars, tractors, and balls. You started gymnastics last month and you really enjoy it! Each week I am noticing you getting better at the little skills they're teaching - last week I was so proud of you because you listened to the teacher and waited your turn to do what she asked. You also love roughhousing with dada & your sister and riding in the cozy coupe car your auntie Kelly got you.

One of your favorite things to do is go outside, and we try to get out several times a day. You love riding around on the trikes and cars, playing with rocks, and going down the slide on the little jungle gym we have. You also like to go on the big trampoline and run around in circles with the ball.

We turned you around in your carseat recently because you were still very unhappy facing backwards. I feel safer when I drive knowing I am not paying constant attention to the back seat trying to make sure you have what you need to be content. You love watching out the window and being able to me in the front seat and see your sister next to you.

You're a big eater! You are starting to eat a few more different foods, which makes me happy. Your favorites are fruit and you eat lots of it with every meal - especially blueberries, strawberries, apples, bananas, apricots and peaches. You also love green smoothies from Whole Foods, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, grilled cheese, chicken nuggets, hamburgers (you will eat an entire burger) & taquitos. Sometimes I struggle to get you to eat your broccoli and sometimes you'll eat the entire cup with no problem, I haven't figured you out yet!

You're wearing 2T clothes and pajamas and size 4 diapers. You love bath time with your sister and you also love to shower with us. We spent a lot of the summer in the pool at Gramz & Pop's house and you also had fun at the splash pad near our house. We celebrated the 4th of July with Gramz & Pops and you fell asleep before the fireworks show at the club, so your great grandma Nancy stayed with you at the house and watched you on the monitor. You also got to swim with your great grandpa John in the pool. He loves watching you and commented on how you want to be just like the big kids! He's such a sweet soul, Nolan, what an honor that you share his middle name.

I still stare at you sometimes and am blown away that you're my baby. I love looking at your little body and all of your features. You're a beautiful little boy. Big blue eyes, the sweetest smile - so darn cute! You're happy, easy going, and playful. I am so proud of you and how you love life and your people. I hope you always feel my unconditional love for you and know how much I want the very best for you. Always believe in yourself, because I surely do, my baby.

When I was holding you last night, smelling you and feeling your weight on my chest... I had a vision of the future and I hope you'll always hug me like you do now.

Love you so much, my baby.

Mama


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Dear Nolan... You're 18 Months Old!

My sweet Noley Bear,

Within the last couple of weeks, at night when I am putting you to bed, I ask you "do you want to snuggle or do you want me to put you in your bed?". Almost always, you lay your head on my chest and cuddle. Occasionally, you'll say "beeeh", which I know means "bed". I love how much you're growing every day. You're smart, funny, and ridiculously cute. I have a habit of just staring at you and your little body... especially with your hair cut (daddy cuts it every couple of weeks) you are just so darling and so dear to me.

You have so much love for your family, especially "pops". You're crazy about the guy and though you'll eventually let him set you down after seeing him for a while, you cry and scream when he tries to leave the room. You love to snuggle him, and if he is around, you'd prefer no one else! When pops isn't around, you're very partial to your daddy & I. You aren't a big fan of going to strangers, but you are starting to venture out and explore on your own more often. You're independent, but you are still most comfortable when you're around us.

You are sleeping pretty well at night. You go about 7-7 with one nap during the day from about 12:30-2:30/3. You're wearing 18-24 month & 2T clothes, and size 4 diapers. We go in for your well check next week, so I will update all of your stats, but I would say you're close to 30 pounds. You're solid, but still so tiny to me. A few people have asked me if you and Andie are twins, because when you're sitting down, you look close in size.

The last 3 months have been laid back and we've taken a few fun adventures. In April, we went to Scottsdale, Arizona for 6 days with Gramz & Pops to celebrate my birthday. Daddy and I stayed at a different hotel for 2 nights to celebrate while you stayed and played. We went swimming, shopping, to the train museum, and just spent time hanging out enjoying the desert. It was so much fun, and of course, you were glued to your pops for most of the trip.

In May, we went to Disneyland with Nana, Uncle Joe, and Caroline (Nana's bff). We had so much fun and you loved seeing the characters and riding the rides. You went on almost everything your sister did and you were such a good boy riding in the stroller and taking naps while we were on the go. We made lots of special memories and had such a great time!

And last week, for Father's Day, we went to Monterey for a long weekend. Grams & Pops, Nana & Uncle Joe all went with us and we had so much fun together. We went to dinner, the aquarium, which you loved, rode a big bicycle along the coast (which you waved to people from), and had a water gun fight in the hotel room (thanks for those water guns, Nana!). You loved being with everyone, especially Pops, but had fun going from room to room to say hi.

You've picked up a few new things in the last few months. You're talking a little more, but not things everyone can understand. You say mama, dada, boba (paci), key (mickey), cars (your favorite), bop (pops), nigh nigh, ball, bath, and baba (milk). You started clapping to tell us "yes" because you copied daddy and noticed that he claps sometimes when he is saying "yes" or gets excited. You started with daddy, but are now always doing it because you've realized we have caught on. You will also nod your head yes and no, which is really cute! You can name a few animal noises and you know where most of your body parts are (ears, eyes, belly, nose, hair, etc).

You love hide & seek, being chased, your paci, blankies, cars, balls, and figurines. You also love to dance when you hear music and anytime you see the door open to somewhere you shouldn't go, you will immediately run for it. You are playfully biting (only adults and occasionally sissy) but we are trying to teach you to stop doing that. You love food and are a pretty good eater. Your favorite food is fruit and you love apricots, peaches, strawberries, grapes, blueberries, and kiwi. I go through a lot of fruit and you eat it with every meal. You also like broccoli, chicken, burgers, pasta, and yogurt. Recently, you ate an entire in n out burger! You are drinking milk, but not regularly. You like it, but you don't love it.

With the summer heat, we've spent lots of time either inside playing together, or at Gramz & Pop's house in their pool. I am trying to relish everyday because I know I will look back and want to relive the moments with your squishy little body and chipped front teeth (yikes, that happened 2 months ago - not sure from what). Your smile makes me melt, Nolan. And that precious laugh of yours is so cute. You will scream when something is really funny!

You have such a sweet little spirit. If sissy is crying, you will walk out of the room to go find a blankie for her and bring it to her. You LOVE to give hugs and kisses and do it often with out being asked. You are laid back, happy, and easy going. You are such a good baby and I can't imagine my life with out you. I truly feel so lucky to be your mom, and I always will!

I can't believe you're 18 months old. The time has passed impossibly fast. I knew it would and everyday I just try to keep it all in perspective. This time is so precious. You are so precious. I love you so much, Nolan. You will never know just how much!

Love,
Mama

Monday, June 13, 2016

Love always wins.

June 12, 2016

Dear Andie & Nolan,

I am writing this letter as I keep checking in with you on the monitor while you sleep. We spent the day inside today. Usually in the mornings I am gently awoken by one of you, but this morning I rolled over to my phone beeping “Several people killed in Orlando night club, multiple more injured.” as a breaking news alert on my phone. My babies, today 50 people were killed and another 53 were injured because of a hate crime & terrorist attack.

You are 3 and 1.5 years old. In your short lives, there’s already been several mass shootings. Our world is plagued by words “terrorism” and “hate crimes” leading our headlines. 50 people died senselessly today and I refused to let the around the clock coverage plaster our television for you to see. You’re too young to understand or process these horrific images. I played CNN on my computer and kept checking in for updates. I felt sick. I kept staring at both of you, wondering if this world you’re growing up in will ever change.

As I hugged you both and held you through out the day, I thought of the parents, just like me, who held their babies years ago and have watched them grow into adults… being told their children are gone. I imagine they are desperately begging that this is all just a bad dream, that their babies haven’t actually left the earth. I can imagine they’re replaying these exact moments i’m experiencing with you now in their heads - nourishing, holding, rocking their baby, carefully holding their hand through adolescence and then setting them free into the world only for them to be ripped away. We briefly went out to pick up dinner tonight and I was thinking… how is life just going on around the world, “hello, how are you tonight?”, people just going about their business. This shooting today has deeply resonated with me. I’m furious. I’m sad. I feel helpless.

Just as much as this isn’t about me or you, it also is. My hope is that both of you will accept others for who they are regardless of who they love & spend their lives with. There is no “us” and “them”. There is “we”. We are all human with a desire to love and be loved. My hope is that by the time you are old enough to read and understand this letter, this hatred has passed and we have learned to coexist. But I am fearful things won’t change fast enough.

My wish is that both of you express your love. Tell people in your lives often how you feel, show them. If you have an instinct that someone is feeling lonely, or unloved, reach out to them. All humans have qualities worthy of being loved. Be the one to recognize it. Be kind. It’s something I am working on being better at every day.

I want you both to understand something. Even with the most horrific & awful tragedies, there are good people and I believe we, as a human race, are inherently good. I cried today as I saw hundreds of people lining up to donate much needed blood. I heard stories of heroic actions as strangers helped each other, lifted each other up, used the shirt off their back to help another’s wound, hugged and supported each other. Our nation’s first responders are facing war-like conditions when these tragedies unfold. They’re running in when I am not sure I would have the courage to do anything but run away. There is absolutely hope in this despair. There was one evil man today, but hundreds of heroes.

Andie & Nolan, my wish is that the senseless killing ends before either of you have the capacity to understand it’s happening. As I stared at your innocent little faces today, I wondered how anyone could have it in them to kill these people who were just out enjoying their freedom. I couldn’t help but put myself in the position of those parents, those sisters, brothers, friends, loved ones.

I love you so much and I wish I could keep you safely tucked in this cocoon of our home. But I know I can’t, and I hope I am gifted the blessing of watching you grow and live full and content lives.

As I go to bed tonight, I’m wishing I could do something to help ease the pain of so many suffering tonight. I hope they know I am standing with them, hurting for them, thinking of them, and sending my love.

It’s been a tragic day I will never forget. And when I think of today, I will think of us, in our jammies, safely tucked within the 4 walls of our home as I replayed the interviews and awful images and thought desperately about everyone’s lives who changed in a split second because of hate. May you both always empathize, support, encourage. There is love & courage buried under these disgusting acts of hate. Love always wins.

Love you forever,
Mama