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!


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,