Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Dear Nathan (15 months old)

Dear Nathan,

I can't even believe you are 15 months old now!  I know I keep saying this, but you are growing up so fast.  And yet, sometimes you still look like our little baby.  Like when you are asleep... on the dog bed...

Those poor dogs didn't know what they were getting into when we brought you home.  You play with them, feed them from your plate, terrorize them, steal their toys, hide their toys, and taunt them with your toys that they know they can't have!  And you have actually bitten Kaylee a couple of times.  She's a little scared of  you right now.  But then you pet them and love them and they love you back.  You let Kaylee lick you right in the face, which is something I won't even do.  She loves it.

While last year was technically your first Christmas, this year was your first REAL Christmas.  What I mean is, last year you had no idea what was going on, but this year, you loved it!  You had a cold, but that didn't dampen your mood on Christmas Eve at Nana and Grandpa's house or Christmas morning at home!  Mom and Dad (and Santa) may have gone a little overboard, but it was all worth it when your face lit up - and it's all worth it to see you playing with those toys and enjoying them so much!

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from Christmas morning.

You are super verbal now!  You say cheese, fruit, cup, eat, and about a dozen other words when you want to communicate something with us.  Mostly food-related words, now that I think about it.  You say shoes when you see a pair of shoes, or when you want to go outside.

Speaking of outside, we took you to the park and you loved it.  You had such a great time on the swings and on the slide.  You got to slide for the very first time - it was scary for us but you loved it.

You are gaining a little more independence, which is bittersweet for your Mommy.  I love that you are playing and exploring on your own, but all this "I'll do it myself" makes me feel a little less needed.  :(  But I am glad you are growing and learning and becoming who you are going to become.  And I will never, ever try to stifle that because of my own selfish need to be "needed" as your Mom.  

I do love you with all my heart, though.  And while I love this age and the way you are now, I know that you will be a unique and special individual with an amazing personality no matter what age you are, so I'm looking forward to seeing what you are going to be at 2 years old, and 4 years old, and 10, and 20.  It has already been the most amazing 15 months of my life.  I can't wait to see what happens next.  While still holding you in the present and enjoying who you are right now.  My not-so-tiny baby boy.



PS.  Two more pics.  You giving your dad a high five and our family photo for Christmas this year.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Dear Nathan (14 months old)

Dear Nathan,

You are 14 months old and are continuing to amaze us every single day. What are you up to?  Pretty much anything and everything you want!  You love the dogs.  You like to sneak your food to them when you think we are not looking.  We always see you do it, though.  Never think we are not paying attention, because we always are!

You like to be tickled.  In fact, you will actually put our hands where you want us to tickle you and will laugh before we even start doing it!

You love Baby Einstein.  You ask for it by name.  The puppets are your favorite right now, but we play others for you too.  This is you watching Baby Einstein.  Check out that concentration!

Your eyes have not changed color yet - I think you may have these baby blues forever.  I was so expecting you to have brown eyes like your dad!  But your eyes are perfect, just the way they are, whether they stay blue or change to brown (or any other color, really!)

You are beginning to really try to communicate with us.  There are a few words that you can and will say, but not too many right now.  We're excited to communicate with you even more as you learn more words and can use them to tell us what you want.

Your favorite foods right now are cheese and bananas.  We can count on you to eat those even if you won't eat anything else.  And really, as favorite foods go, those are pretty good ones.  You don't really like being fed anymore, so we have had to get somewhat creative with food these days.  You mostly only want things you can pick up yourself.

We had your first real Thanksgiving, where you ate smoked turkey that your dad spent hours smoking on his grill and sweet potato casserole made without the eggs (just for you, we had a bigger one that had eggs in it for the rest of us - lol) and you really enjoyed the meal.  You had some green beans and other things too, but you really liked the turkey and sweet potatoes.  Evidence below... (you still need to get the hang of using a spoon properly)

You like to dance and you have started to sing.  And that, my love, is the sweetest sound in the world to your mommy.

And finally, two of my favorite faces from this month.  Sweet innocent baby and "oh no you didn't!"


Friday, October 18, 2013

Dear Nathan, (13 months old)

Dear Nathan,

This is such a fun age.  I keep saying that, and each age just keeps getting more and more fun!  You are 13months old, and there is pretty much nothing that can stop you!  You are finally walking - and you can literally go anywhere you want to go on those two little feet!  You are running too, which is pretty funny because you really only do it when you are trying to get away from me or your dad - or if you are trying to get to something we don't want you to have!

It's so funny, because you often look like such a grown-up little boy, but then sometimes you still look like a baby.  Especially when you are asleep or are going to sleep.  You still like to go to sleep on one of us, and then we put you in your crib.  You still look so tiny when you're laying on your Daddy - and when he puts you down in the crib and you curl up with your knees under you, you still look like a tiny baby.

What are you up to lately?  Pretty much everything!  You are very vocal - trying to imitate sounds and words.  You love Baby Einstein's Old MacDonald Had a Farm, and have been working on how to say e-i-e-i-o.  We have to really watch what we say around you now.  The other day, your Nana confessed that she hurt herself and said "crap" and you repeated it right back to her!  Mommy is going to have to be much more calm in the car from now on, it appears.

My favorite moment of your 13th month so far has been when we put shoes on you and you tried to walk in them for the first time.  You picked your feet up SO HIGH, I guess because the shoes were heavy and you thought you needed to lift them as high as you could to take the step.  You got the hang of them pretty quickly, though, and are now zooming around everywhere in your tennis shoes.  :)

You are showing so much personality now.  I'm seeing a lot of me in you, which is a little scary!  You're showing us you have a lot of your dad in you too, though - especially the way you try to figure everything out.  You love to swing.  It's one of your favorite activities right now!  You like to go really high!  When the swing starts to slow down, you get bored and start looking around, but when someone gives you a good push, you get the biggest grin on your face and you laugh so hard!  It's so much fun to watch you having fun.  I absolutely love it.

It's just as much fun watching you learn, though.  Your brain is just a sponge right now, and if you see something once, you can pretty much do it after a couple of tries.  Which makes babyproofing kind of difficult!  We do have you blocked from certain areas in the house, just to keep you safe and to keep some of our more valuable things safe.  I look forward to breaking down those barriers and letting you roam free, but that's probably going to take awhile.

Sweet Nathan, never forget that Mommy loves you very much.  You are the light of our lives.

All my love,

Your Mommy.

PS.  Leaving you with two of my favorite pictures from the last few weeks.  This is you investigating a pumpkin, and the other is you holding your Daddy's hand.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Dear Nathan (1 year old!)

Dear Nathan,

Words fail me.  They cannot describe how I'm feeling at this moment.  A year ago, you came into our lives, a sweet bundle of happiness.  You didn't do much those first few weeks - mostly slept, ate, and left us pleasant gifts in your diaper, but the thing you did was so, so very significant.  You made me a mother.  I thought I was a mother the moment I found out you were coming.  The whole time you were growing inside me, I considered myself a mother.  But I really didn't know what that meant until the day you came into our lives and cried your first cry in the outside world.  You were so sweet and snugly.  And you were ours. I could immediately see the ways you resembled your dad.  You had his chin, his cheeks, the way you crinkled your nose was the same.  I loved you even more seeing how much you looked like him.

You were this tiny, sweet person that we were both afraid we would break!  But as the days, weeks, and months went on, we learned how to be your parents.  And you learned that you had two parents who would do anything for you.  And I loved your dad more watching him with you.  He was so great with you - always making sure you were happy and safe.  I hope that made you feel secure and happy as you discovered your world.

And what discoveries you made!

I watched you discover your hands, your feet, your little baby boy parts!  I saw your first smile, heard your first cry, and held you close to my heart every day.

Now that this first year is done, I look back on it and know that I will never experience anything like it again.  A year of firsts, of sleepy days and sleepless nights, of crying and laughing and watching you grow from tiny helpless baby to the freight train you are today!  (and I mean freight train in the best possible way, I promise!)

You are a joy, and adventure, and a treasure, my sweet little boy.  I can't wait to see what you will discover next, what you will do with your second year on earth, and what lessons I will learn about being a mom to a toddler.  It's time to level up, little man.  And mommy and daddy will level up with you.

Level 1 complete - level 2 has just begun!

Love, Mommy

Monday, August 26, 2013

Medieval Birthday Banner

What's this?  A crafty post?  Awesome!  I thought I would go through the process of making the banner for Nathan's birthday so others can copy the idea.  ;)  Hubby was interested in extending the medieval theme from the nursery to the first birthday party, so we decided to go for it.  It has been fun putting everything together.  I saw lots of posts on Pinterest about banners, but nothing like this.  So I made it up as I went!

First, I found a shield picture that I liked by simply googling "shield."  It was gold and black.  Jon used the same shield on his invitations.

It took a little photoshop magic to turn it into what I wanted: blue, green, red, and yellow to match the rest of his birthday decor.

I used this font to create the message: Happy Birthday Sir Nathan! You can obviously use any kind of font you like, and the site linked above has some great options.

I had a few other medieval choices, but it bothered me when they didn't have capital letters since I wanted to use all caps.  So this is the one we chose.  Celtic knots are a big thing with us (our wedding rings have Celtic knots on them) so we thought it was pretty appropriate.

The only problem was that the blue was too dark for the black outline and the green wasn't really great either, so I opted to change the black to white for those shields and leave the black on the red and the yellow ones (not pictured)

I was excited about how nicely the colors worked with each other and how great the looked all cut out, but when I laid out the entire thing, something was missing.  It felt like they were bare or something - like there needed to be.. more.

So I had some fun with craft paper and decided a look like this would be best.  And then I had to figure out which colors should go with which background.  I used a pair of scrapbook scissors to get the "castle effect" on the outer edges.  The shields are just shy of 5 x 7, so cutting out the backgrounds was a little challenging because I wanted to use one sheet for two.

With the colors picked out, it was just a matter of cutting out all the backgrounds, then using a hole punch to make holes for the string.  I did this. It took probably 2.5 hours to cut all the pieces out and then another 30 minutes to string them up.

I used gray yarn that I had in my yarn bin for a project I never did (surprise, surprise!) and it turned out to be the perfect use for it!  ;)

I'm so excited to hang this over the cake table!  I can't wait to take photos of the entire thing, and especially of him smashing into his first-ever birthday cake!  (egg-free, of course!)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Seeking Mommy Friends

I find myself in a strange position currently, a place I've never been before.  I need friends.

"But Anita," you'll say.  "You HAVE friends."

Yes, I know I do and they are amazing.  I love my friends.  But I need a specific kind of friend right now - Mommy friends.  I do have a couple of these friends and they are awesome.  But their kids are either older or younger than Nathan, and at this stage, it's hard to let them play together unless they are at least at similar developmental stages.  I know, for example, that he would steamroll right over my dear friend Jestina's sweet baby girl.  So we have to wait awhile before they can spend any time together.  But my baby spends no time with other babies, and now he is really noticing other babies at stores and restaurants, and it makes me realize something is missing from his life.

So what did I do when I came to this conclusion?  I did what I always do - research!  I found a couple of mommy groups in my area and was completely excited about going and trying them out!  Until I saw that dreaded sentence on their websites: "A supportive group for Stay At Home Moms."

What?  So working mothers are not allowed at their evening meetings?  Don't get me wrong, I completely understand the need for a support group for stay at home moms.  I know it's hard to spend every day with a tiny person who doesn't talk (or does, but doesn't make any sense) with no adult company other than the TV, so I applaud groups that offer daytime playdates for moms who stay at home and their kids.

But... there are so many working moms who, while they do have the luxury of adult company during the day, they also would like to talk with someone who can feel their pain about dirty diapers, purees flying through the air during dinner time, and all the other things that all mothers deal with on a daily basis.

Why exclude those who have a different routine, when you have meetings that they could actually join because they are in the evenings?

This hurt me more than I can say, because I was hoping to find some friends in these groups, some people I could talk to and some kids that Nathan could play with.  But nope - I'm a working mom (say that with as much disdain as you can, because I'm sure that's how the members of these groups say it) so I'm not worthy of their group.

So here I am, trying to figure out other ways to find mommy friends.  I know lots of people who have had babies in the past year or so, and have even put the idea out there that we should have a get-together, but nobody really responded positively.  It's depressing.  So if you're a mom to a kid who's old enough (or big enough) to hang out with Nathan without him hurting them (he's just really full-speed-ahead right now and I fear that would overwhelm a small or young baby!) and you are near me, please, send me a message.

I feel like I'm failing him by not providing friends for him to play with and I need to fix that.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Dear Nathan (11 months old)

Dear Nathan,

I can't even believe you are almost a year old!  I know it's a cliche but it really does seem like yesterday when you were born.  But it also feels like we didn't really have a life until you came into it.  If that makes any sense at all!

You are so much fun!  I know I've been saying that for awhile, but really.  It's true.  You chase the dogs now.  They love it - they run away and then come right back.  You're standing up so much better these days, and while you are not walking by yourself yet, you are taking steps when you hold onto people or things.  You have started letting go of things to stand by yourself too, so we're just waiting for those first unassisted steps.

We are planning your birthday party right now and even that has been a lot of fun!  Your dad wanted to do a medieval theme - like your nursery - so that's what we are doing.  It will be a small party, family and a few of our friends, but we are all about celebrating your first year of life with those we care about!  And we are going all out for it too!

You are so loved, sweet boy.  Everyone who meets you, loves you.  Your smile, your face, your eyes, the way you wave at people and chatter at them, looking at them like they should totally know what you are saying... you are just so awesome.  And we love you more than we could ever describe.

All my love,


Friday, July 19, 2013

Dear Nathan (10 months old)

Dear Nathan,

You're in double digits!  You have no idea what that means right now, but trust me, it's significant.  We have started planning your one-year birthday party.  A year old - it's so close now!

This past month saw a lot of changes.  We got an aquarium - your dad said it was for you, but he loves it as much as you do!  The two of you will sit there for a long time just watching the fish.  I think it's good daddy/son time.  Your dad and grandpa actually built the bookshelf that the aquarium sits in, and I helped your dad paint it.  It was fun, and is a welcome addition to our great room.

Speaking of the great room, the baby jail didn't work out too well.  You didn't really like being in it, and who could blame you?  You've got a mind like a sponge, and it's eager to soak up every possible experience!  You love to explore the house and taste everything and touch everything.  Yes, I said taste.  The things you choose to put into your mouth astound me sometimes!  :)  But it's your way of discovering things right now, so unless it's harmful to you or the object in question, I let it happen.  So what we did with the baby jail was to stretch it out to cover the two entrances into the great room, so you can't escape that room.  It's mostly baby proofed and is easily the largest space in the house, so it's the best choice.  Your toys are by the fireplace (which will never get used because Mommy is afraid of fire in the house) and you like using the (now very padded) hearth to help you stand up.

Speaking of standing up, you are "cruising" the furniture now.  I feel like you will be walking any day now, really.  And that's when the fun really begins!

You are still babbling a lot, and you sing too.  You have such a sweet voice.  I look forward to spending time in the car with you because we talk the entire time.  You don't like to listen to Clark Howard on the radio anymore, so I turn it off when I pick you up.  Then I put on some music and we talk or sing together.

You are playing with the dogs more now too.  Kaylee is obsessed with you.  She gives you her ball and you throw it (not very far yet, but you will get better!) then she runs to get it and brings it back to you.  Simon is still unsure, but he'll get there.  He runs past you and growls this little (nonthreatening) growl and you just chase him and laugh.  It's absolutely so much fun to watch!  You're very entertaining.  :)

One thing you have been doing that we are trying to stop is biting.  You like to use your mouth and teeth on everything, so biting is pretty normal and natural, but it actually really hurts, so we are working on getting you to stop doing that.

Other than that and the occasional middle of the night wakeup, though, you are an absolute delight.  We love you so much (even at 3 a.m. after you bite me because your bottle is empty!) and you bring so much joy to our lives.

Love Always,


Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Reflections on Motherhood (9 months in)

We've been through so much in the last 9 months.  An unexpected early arrival, a c-section, not gaining enough weight initially, low milk supply, RSV, eczema, a visit to the pediatric allergist confirming an egg allergy, injuries associated with becoming more mobile, and more.

We've also had lots of cuddles, a tiny voice that hums along with me when I sing him to sleep, a sweet hand that caresses my cheek when I'm holding him close, a smile that lights up the entire world, an adventurous and inquisitive nature, an appetite for new flavors that cannot be satisfied, a laugh that is sweeter than the most beautiful piece of music, and a personality that continues to amaze me every single day.  And intelligence!  He works on something until he figures it out, and that spark in his eyes when he does... it's just priceless.

I can see why people say they are "in love" with their child, although I always thought that was kind of a stupid thing to say.    But it really is kind of like being in love.  I find myself thinking about him randomly during the day - pretty much all the time.  I can't wait to see him in the evenings when it's time to pick him up after work.  I talk to him about my day, and ask about his.  He answers, but it is still in that language that adults cannot understand.  He's all I think about and all I want to talk about.  I have to really make a point to listen to the news on the radio in the mornings and read some information on the Internet about current events every day so that I will have something to talk about other than Nathan's latest funny trick or personality quirk.  I caught myself doing that at a baby shower last night and had to stop.  Nobody cares as much about a baby as that baby's mother does.  Except maybe that baby's father.  And/or grandparents, lol.

I feel overwhelmingly grateful that I have been entrusted with the care of this sweet, gentle life.  This precious person who will grow into an adult right before my eyes.  It's a miracle and a huge responsibility.

And I'm glad I waited.  Although it would have been easier on my body to have a baby earlier, and probably would be a lot less stressful to think about having 2.0 if I were... say... 32 instead of 36 right now, I am so glad I waited.  This baby, at this time in my life, is what I was meant to have.  If 2.0 happens, he/she will also be meant to be in that time, but if not, I will be okay with it.  I won't mourn if we are one and done.  Because this one has filled my life with so much joy and happiness.  Do we want another baby?  Yes.  We've always said we wanted two.  Will we try for one?  Yes, probably fairly soon.  But until that happens, I plan to enjoy the heck out of my sweet boy, who is more than I ever could have imagined, and I love him more than I can ever express.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Dear Nathan (9 months old)

Dear Nathan,

You are 9 months old!  It's pretty amazing that we've come this far without major catastrophe!  This month, you have perfected crawling and have started "cruising" the furniture.  That's when you pull up onto the couch and just sort of walk your way down the couch, holding on but also stepping as if you are actually walking unassisted.  It's pretty fun to watch, but it comes with some potential for disaster.

We bought you a baby jail for when we are having to do something outside the room you're in.  I like to keep you out of it as much as possible, but it's handy for when we need to cook dinner or something like that.  Speaking of cooking, I had you in the kitchen with me the other day and you had so much fun exploring!  I thought you were going to die from the excitement of finding the cabinet with the plastic storage bowls!  You pulled a bunch of them out and played with them while I cleaned up after we ate.

You are really talking now.  Your vocabulary consists of several words: mama, dada, baba, huh, hey, and nana.  Now if we can only teach you to answer the phone when someone calls that we don't want to talk to, you will be useful to us.  ;)  You babble all the time too.  I think sometimes you really are trying to communicate something and it gets a little frustrating for you when we don't respond appropriately.  Don't feel bad, we just can't speak your language!

You're eating food from our plates now.  We do have to be careful, so much of what we eat has eggs.  You have enjoyed roast beef, smoked chicken, beans, carrots, peas, and several other things.  You still love cheese.  :)

We did a collage last night after we took your 9 month photos.  It's pretty amazing to see how far you've come!

I love you very much.