Tuesday, May 14, 2019

My sweet 6 year old, Andie!

Our sweet Andie... you are SIX!

I am not sure how that is even possible. You have 12 days left of Kindergarten and just like a lot of your milestones, I am equally proud and sad at the same time. There is just something about you, your spirit, that makes me beam with pride. You are truly a happy little girl - always smiling, tough, strong, brave, sweet, kind, and just an amazing little human.

These yearly letters are hard because so much happens every single day of your life. You amaze me with all that you are and to fit it all into a page of writing is impossible. But I try, so that someday you can look back and read just a little glimpse into the world of this year of your childhood.

Here are some things that you love:
+Your family. You are so expressive about how much you love us and you hear it right back about 100 times a day. You and Nolan do fight sometimes, but the majority of the time, you two are so great at using your imaginations and playing together. You will disappear for long stretches of time into your bedrooms and I will hear you two playing school, family, and tearing apart your rooms to get all of the toys. You really have a deep love for both of your brothers and already are talking about Spencer, who is in my belly. You call them "your babies" and I know you will always cherish these 3 little guys. You also really love your extended family and seeing you and Stella as best friends is just adorable. I find notes and drawings all over the house that say "I love my family". You do such a great job at drawing pictures of all of us and I can't find it in me to throw any of them away. They make me so happy!
+Arts & Crafts/creating. You are always asking if we can do art, and usually, most days of the week, you will have out all of the crayons, markers, paints, etc. I almost always say yes to sitting down to do art with you because I love watching you create and put your heart on paper. You also love school and learning and it's truly unbelievable how much you have learned in Kindergarten. You are a wonderful reader (it's amazing!) and you've gotten great at spelling. I love seeing how you sound out words and put them on paper to make things for other people. 
+Dancing and singing... oh, sweet girl... you love to dance and entertain. We signed you up for Jazz and Hip Hop and you have been loving learning a new dance routine. You are really excited for your performance coming up next month. At school, you did your Dance Dynamix performance, and you absolutely loved every minute of being on stage singing and dancing. You were so animated and when the performance ended and you were walking off stage, we watched as you turned toward the crowd and took it all in with a huge smile on your face. You were so happy and it made my heart burst just watching you! At home, you are always asking Alexa to play certain songs and you love to dance on the tables (your stages) for your brothers and anyone else who will watch. 
+Swimsuits & dresses. You are as girlie as girlie can be and you absolutely love all things glitter, make up, pink, and especially dresses and skirts. You wore a dress or skirt to every single day of school this year, except the jog-a-thon (& that was a struggle). You even wear a skirt layered over your pajamas if it's not a nightgown.  If you are not in a dress or skirt, you are undoubtedly in a swim suit - which you wear all times of the year, rain or shine. You are so funny about your clothes and you do a great job waking up every morning and picking out your clothes for school. I let you use your own creativity to get dressed and you always look great. We love how independent you are about getting ready for the day!
+Something I have really noticed in the last year... You love all people... everyone is your friend. You talk so nicely about all of the kids in your class. You don't care about differences in culture or appearance, you just love them for who they are. I love getting to see you interact with others while I am volunteering in your class. You absolutely adore your teacher and really thrived this year in Kindergarten! Your teacher tells us that you are a good student, very friendly, and you haven't had any issues. You are doing just what you should be and we are very proud of  you!

The last year we have taken several very fun trips and it was so much fun to see you experience it all. Last summer, we went on a Disney Cruise to Alaska with Nana, Gramz & Pops, Matt & Juju & the girls, and Uncle Dave and Sam. You had so much fun and it was a beautiful trip! You and Stella got to do the Bippity Boppity Boutique (4 times), you got to go dog sledding and hold tiny puppy Huskies, we saw a ton of whales on a sightseeing tour around Juneau, and we did a little hike to the Mendenhall Glacier & waterfall. It was a magical trip and you may not remember every detail, but I will never forget you getting to see it all. We also did a big family trip to Sunriver, OR with all of your cousins and had a wonderful time! We did bike rides, hikes, spent lots of time out on the grass of the house playing, swimming, etc. It was action packed and you loved just spending the time with all of your cousins. We took several trips to Disneyland this year (4 of them) and as usual, you loved it all! We also went to Northstar for Christmas with Nana and your uncles, and then to South Lake Tahoe to celebrate Gramz & Pop's 40th Anniversary in April. You loved every bit of getting to spend time with your family and we made lots of wonderful memories. 

Your determination and courage is so amazing to me. When we were in Sunriver, you hadn't spent a lot of time riding a two wheel bike prior to going and you didn't hesitate jumping right in to keep up with your cousins. You fell off that bike time and time again and you'd get right back on and keep going with out a fuss. Your legs were covered in grease and scratches, but it didn't slow you down. I hope this trait never leaves you, Andie. It was amazing to watch you take it all in stride and just keep fighting for it. You were a pro by the end of the week! For your 6th Birthday, you asked if you could get your ears pierced and I had no doubt you'd do it with out issue. Sure enough, you wanted to go get it done and you climbed right up in the chair with a straight face and didn't cry. I could tell it hurt a little bit, but you didn't budge. It was so cute seeing how excited you were when he finished - you had the biggest smile on your face when he showed you how they looked in the mirror. It was really special because Nana went with us and she got her ears pieced, too!

You are a wonderful combination of courage, strength, feisty, sweet, and sensitive. You don't like seeing other people sad. You are fearless. I hope you know how much we love and adore you, Andie. I am SO proud of you and the little girl you are. You are truly a special person and when I see your kindness, softness, and love for people and the world around you I am just blown away. I am not sure how daddy and I got so lucky to have you as our little girl.

Time is going so fast, I know it will keep passing by at an impossible rate. But I stare at you sometimes and just try to take you in because I am certain that I am going to miss this stage so much. I am also so proud to see how you grow up and the woman you become. When I asked you the other day what you want to be when you grow up, you told me that you want to be a mama, like me. And I hope you know that made me so proud. All I want for you, sweet girl, is to grow up doing the things that make you feel happy and fulfilled, being kind to others, and spending time with our family. We are just in awe of you. Stay grounded, but always know we believe in you and everything you stand for. You are truly a gift, Andie. No words will ever be able to express how much we love you and I hope you always feel it! Six is going to be another fun and fabulous age for you, I just know it.

Keep shining and loving life, just like you do so naturally. 
We LOVE you so so so much. Forever and ever.
Mama

Dear Cody... You're 18 Months

Our little love bug, Cody-bear...

You are giving so many kisses now, and that is my most favorite recent thing. You pucker up your lips and make the cutest little "mmmm" sounds. You can have as many kisses as you want, you are the sweetest and cutest little guy! You also love to blow kisses and the sound you make is so cute.

We can't believe you are already 18 months old. You are so compact and darling, people just want to squeeze you when they see you out and about running around. You love to interact and wave and the way you say "hi" and "bye" is so cute, with a little accent. You are saying quite a few more words now - mama, dada, baba, Pop, "sishy", car, alexa "ah-ah". You love to point, too, and you are pretty good at communicating your needs to us.

On the top of the list of things you absolutely love is your Pops. You are quite Pops obsessed and the feeling is mutual. You go nuts when you see him and won't let anyone else hold you for long when he is around. You love to snuggle and lay on his chest and you throw a big tantrum every time he has to say bye-bye to you. You two already have a very special bond and it makes me so happy to see how your relationship has bloomed.

You also really love being outside. Anytime a door opens, you're attempting to make an escape. It doesn't matter what we are doing, you want to be out and you love playing with all of Nolan's toys out there. Water is also your favorite thing. You love baths and cry every time we have to take you out. You are the only baby I have ever seen who will purposely stick his face in the water to blow bubbles and lay on your back in the bath. You also like to dive around and splash. It is a little scary with you by the pool because you have no fear or care in the world around water. You will go right in! We are going to work with you on learning to swim this summer.

We took another trip to Disneyland in the last 3 months and you loved it. You really enjoyed the characters and taking everything in while we were on the rides. You do so well just hanging out in the stroller and going along for the ride. We also went to Tahoe to celebrate Gramz & Pop's 40th Anniversary. We lucked out with the weather and had a nice little dusting of snow, so you got to sled and enjoy the cold snow. The weather was also sunny and beautiful, so we spent time outside, which you loved. You also got to spend lots of quality time with Pops, so of course you were happy!

You are so great with your brother and sister and you love them dearly. You 3 have been playing more often together and you will use your little voice if they are messing with you when they shouldn't be. You will give them hugs and kisses and always are excited to see them. We have quite a few ride on toys in the house and you love to push them around or have them push you.

You are a great eater and will try almost everything, so we have been taking advantage of that! You really love all fruit, broccoli, potatoes, peanut butter and jelly, chicken, yogurt, waffles, smoothies and fresh squeezed juices. You also love to throw it all on the floor when you are done and you do it often, especially when daddy is home because you know it drives him crazy! You love to eat with a fork and you are a little bit messy, but you are getting better with more and more practice.

Something that got a little challenging for us recently is that you are now opening doors and you love to play in the toilets! Sometimes you will disappear for a minute and we know to run immediately to all of the toilets, because that's where we will find you. We are hoping that love of toilets fades quickly :)

You are wearing size 18 month clothes and size 4 diapers. You aren't a huge kid, but you're growing and thriving, so I never worry about that. You have tiny little feet (size 5 still). You've been a great napper and routinely go down at about 2 and sleep until about 3:30-4, however, it does seem like you might be starting to outgrow them soon. Sometimes it will take you a long time to fall asleep and other times you don't go down at all.

You are still a very chill baby. You are so easily content, very sweet, and you love just taking in the world around you. When I was pregnant with you, for fun we saw a psychic and she told us this baby was going to be a comedian... and you are very funny. You love to laugh and make other people laugh. You are affectionate, cuddly, and have such a happy little spirit. I say all the time that I don't know how I got so lucky to have your sweet little nature in my life, you are a good baby.

Lately, when we go in to check on you before we go to sleep, you are always sleeping in the cutest positions. You use stuffed animals as a pillow and you will snuggle them up under your arms. You are just such an amazing kid, we can't get enough of you, Cody.

18 months is a big deal. We are so proud of the little guy you're growing into. We love you so much and talk about how amazing you are all the time. I hope you never have any doubt about how much you are loved and cherished.

Love you forever and ever my sweet Cody-bear!
Mama

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Dear Nolan... You are FOUR!

My best buddy, you are now 4.

I honestly cannot believe how fast 4 years have come and gone. You are truly one of our biggest blessings. You have the sweetest little soul and you make us laugh every single day.

This was a big year for you because you started preschool. You did so well and the transition didn't seem to bother you at all. I think because you watched Andie go to school for 2 years at the same place, you seemed excited for your time to shine. You are the oldest kid in your class and you easily made some new friends. Your teachers say you are very social!

You are wearing 3T clothes still, slowly moving into the 4T size because you are a little on the thinner side. You are pretty tall and a lot of people say that you are built just like your daddy. You may be built like him and a lot of people say you look just like him, but I think of all of my babies, so far, you look the most like me. I love to dress you in skinny jeans and tighter shirts because you are just so dang adorable. Daddy still cuts your hair!

You are not the best eater, but you do very well at eating all of your fruit (and you eat several servings of it a day). Your favorite food is chicken nuggets and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We are trying very hard to introduce you to more foods and slowly, you are making progress. You also do well with yogurts, waffles, some mac and cheese, and a few veggies. You love any type of treat, especially muffins or cupcakes. You are definitely a little picky, but I know it's all part of who you are and we do our best to keep you healthy but also happy!

You really love your family. You love being home and in your pajamas all day if we let you. You and your sissy play so well together, you have quite the imaginations and are capable of making massive messes. I typically don't mind the messes because you both play so well and enjoy all of your toys. You also love to be outside and shortly after turning 4 years old, you learned how to ride a two wheel bike with out training wheels. We knew you were ready for quite a while, but you had to do it on your own terms. You are also really enjoying doing artwork and have gotten pretty good at painting and coloring. You also learned how to write your name in preschool and shortly after turning 4, you learned all of your letters.

You are a very sensitive guy. You get hurt feelings very easily and you don't like it when we raise our voices even just a little bit. You have one of the sweetest little souls, you are very good at sharing with your sister and brother and you are always the first to offer if one of us needs something. On Christmas, sissy didn't get a pez dispenser like you did, so you gave her half of yours. That describes you in a nutshell, you want the people in your life to be happy and you will do whatever you can to help make that happen. You are a little bit of a mama's boy, and I absolutely love it. You are extremely cuddly and you are my guaranteed snuggle if I need one. You also give the best hugs. You have a sense for when we need them and you tell us you love us multiple times through out the day. I love hearing you say "I love you, mama" from the back seat. You say it often and I don't take one single word of it for granted. You are affectionate, loving, and very sweet.

You love to go to sleep with a toy, usually a tractor, book, or your tools. Those are still some of your favorite toys and recently you have also taken a liking to dinosaurs. You also tell us at night "I love you to the moon" and you always demand a kiss and hug, which you will always get from us!

On the flip side of all of your sweetness is a little temper that comes out only when you are very mad (which isn't very often). You carry quite the punch in your tiny body and you will slam the door or take a swing at us if you are very mad. We are working on talking through your feelings and understanding why you get upset. You always say sorry when you need to and usually after a few minutes of cooling down, we get some love and move on.

This year we took lots of vacations - we went to Maui, our first ever Disney Cruise, and Sunriver. We also took some smaller trips to Disneyland (which you were very excited to be able to ride more of the rides) and to Tahoe to celebrate your Birthday and Christmas with daddy's side of the family.

Family is definitely something you treasure. You love being with all of us including your aunts and uncles and grandparents. When you see us happy, I have noticed that you are happy, too. You are truly adored, Nolan.

You are a unique kid. You have so much to offer the world and I hope you always remember that. You are growing and changing so quickly and I stare at you a lot in disbelief at what a wonderful little boy you are becoming. Watching you grow up is truly among my life's biggest blessings and I don't take one single day for granted. You make me so proud, Nolan.

I love you to the moon and back times infinity. Forever and ever!

Mama

Monday, February 11, 2019

Dear Cody... You're 15 months old

My sweet baby...
We can't believe you are 15 months old. You are absolutely at one of the cutest ages ever - walking around everywhere, not quite completely stable, so you keep your arms up at your sides. When we let you walk around out and about, people can't resist how darling you are. Today when you saw a van driving away while picking up Andie at Kindergarten, you started waving at it and everyone around was just gushing over you.
You are so happy, content, and easy to please. You roll with it, do well in your carseat and your stroller. You love being able to see your sister and brother in the back seat while we drive. You talk and yell at them. Your favorite word is "Dada" and you call everyone that - even me. You do occasionally call me mama and you also say baba. The cutest thing you have been doing for the last couple of weeks is talking to "Alexa". You say "Ah-Ah" - and you look at the device to see if it will listen to what you have to tell it. You also smile every time we give Alexa a command to do something like turn on a light and she does it.
You have a mouth full of teeth now, including a few molars. You are still missing a few on the sides, but it's been a crazy few teeth-filled months for you. You've mostly taken it like a champ with very little complaining, but I could tell for a few weeks that you were in pain.
When it's time for bed - it's adorable because we will pick you up and say that it's time for bed. You will turn around and wave to everyone "nigh nigh". You also are so cute when you blow kisses - which you have been doing more recently. You also give the most precious big open-mouth kisses. You smile all the time - any time someone you know says hi or smiles at you, you give it right back. You aren't a fan of diaper changes. You are a pretty good eater, you especially love all fruits, chicken, cheese, pasta, waffles, peanut butter & jelly and your milk. You love to drive your daddy crazy by throwing food on the floor when you're finished, so we have to watch you closely or you will make a big mess.
The last 3 months have been really busy! We celebrated your first birthday and then it was a whirlwind of the holidays. We celebrated Thanksgiving at our house with your great grandma, gramz & pops, nana, uncle Joe, uncle Dave & Sam, and our little family. You loved having everyone around, especially your Pops. He is your BFF and you are crazy about him still. You won't go to anyone else but him when he is around and you love to snuggle with him. Immediately after Thanksgiving, we went to Disneyland to experience it at Christmas time with Nana & Carolene and Gramz & Pops and you were so good. It was such a treat to have them all with us because you got to enjoy it all and have nice quality naps with Pops back in the hotel room.
We celebrated the season at home in December and you loved the Christmas tree. It was absolutely adorable to see you point at it every single day - you loved it when it was lit up and surprisingly, you didn't try to knock it down or mess with it much. You also had a little tree in your room, which you seemed to enjoy looking at. Your second Christmas was all about a new little chair, legos, and some fun new trucks and tractors for you. You mostly just loved to torment your older siblings by trying to play with all of their new toys. You spent Christmas day with us at home with our little family and gramz & Pops and then on the 29th, we made our way up to Northstar to celebrate Christmas with more family. You did so great going with the flow and really started walking around more while we were there.
You started sleeping through the night at about 13 and a half months old and that was exciting after months of multiple wake up calls for mama. We ended our breastfeeding journey at about your 13th month and although it wasn't easy, you did a great job transitioning to the bottle. Now, you love your milk.
January was another month of big growth. You were walking around more, but you really just found your walking groove in the last two weeks and started walking all the time just recently. You love to play with your siblings and will spend an hour or more with them playing with toys. They do a pretty good job at keeping an eye on you and letting me know if you're sticking something in your mouth. They love you so much and you really love them too, it's so special to see all of your relationships blossom. I am so happy to have our family and I hope you know you are never alone. You really love all toys, anything with wheels especially. You love to be outside and really you just love to be with your people.
You are such an amazing little baby boy. I absolutely wish I could keep you this little forever, you are such a joy. You have such a good little spirit, a wonderful sense of humor (you're already funny and love to joke with us), and you have filled a void in our family. You mean the world to all of us, and I am so thankful every single day. I look forward to getting you out of bed in the morning and it fills me with warmth when you stick your little arms up in the air for me to pick you up. You also love riding around on my back in the pack and I love any extra time I get to have you attached to me.
Cody, we are crazy about you and so proud of you. Daddy and I say all the time how lucky we are to have you and what a wonderful little human you are. I love getting to spend my days with you - you are so special to me. I hope you never doubt how much you are loved - to the ends of the earth and back!
Love, Mama