Monday, December 24, 2012

Letters to Carter

Dear Carter,

Every morning, I open your door and you say, "Good M'ohhhhhhh-nin' Mama!"

It makes me laugh every day.  

You are still obsessed with sandwiches.  You say, "figgich please Mama!" more times a day than I will oblige.  You don't eat the crusts unless I attempt to snack on the crust you just rejected.  That suddenly raises the value of the aforementioned sandwich remnants.  Andi gave me a collection of home videos this week from my toddler years.  The resemblance between our mannerisms was unreal.  You are so much like your Daddy in some ways, but are a tiny Teri Lee in many others.  

You hate to have your teeth brushed, you love to play with Samuel, and you are obsessed with trains.  You love to play cars "witch you" and say "way-ull?" with a big shrug after we catch you disobeying and you await the consequence.  You tell me a thousand times a day, "I have a question foh you!" and ask me to sing "Daddy word!" (Hush little baby, don't say a word..." every night before you go to bed.

You have absolutely no interest in the potty, but love to pee in the tub.  Your response to those moments when a lot is happening and my hands are full is always to explode a diaper.  I know you can't do this on purpose...but it really feels like you do.

You make me laugh a hundred times a day.  You go to time out a lot too.  When you go to time out, you act like we have burned all your toys and left you alone in the wilderness to starve.  When we come to get you out, you start laughing and jumping with joy.  You say, "Yes ma'am!  I'mah obey!" like you really mean it.

You love guiding your trains and cars under your dinosaur over and over and over, talking about how they are going under the bridge and through the tunnel.  It's the first time in your life that you have quietly done an activity by yourself for extended periods of time.  It's kind of amazing.

You love, love, love making Samuel laugh, but your "gentle hands" have been a bit rough lately.  You aren't doing it to be mean...but you are testing to see how much we will allow and he can take.  Your brother is a tough cookie.   You talk about "Sam-ool" and "baby brover" all the time.  If you are in trouble, you run to give him a kiss to see if the cuteness of the action will forgive yours iniquity.

It doesn't.

You tell me you love me these days.  They are the sweetest words.  I don't know if you'll ever really know how much I love you back.  I want you to grow to be a strong, creative, loving man.  I do.  But I also want to freeze time a little bit.  I want to savor every minute of you as a strong, creative, loving toddler.  Every mess you make, tantrum you throw, kiss you give, lesson you learn, nap you take, funny phrase you say....I can't tell you how much I love them.  These are the very best days of my life, sweet one.  I love you.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Samuel: 7 months

Samuel weighed 17 lbs and 13 oz at his last doctor's visit...the day he turned 7 months old.

They didn't measure anything else...just peered in that ear for the millionth time and declared it...still infected.

(all air deflates from balloon)


He got a shot of antibiotic (his poor system has already suffered through 4 rounds of oral antibiotics, chiropractic treatment and more natural remedies than Pinterest could offer.)  and a referral to an ENT to discuss tubes.  Such a bummer.

My mama heart aches at the thought of how little he is probably hearing right now, how much pain he is in, and the idea of a medical procedure inside his ear.  I hate it.  I am so, so grateful for medical care, but I hate when my sweet-hearted boy needs it!

Despite the ear infection that has lasted an eternity, our sweet boy is so happy (during the day).  Sleeping is not easy for him these days, but when he is awake, he is a happy soul.  He smiles on a whim and laughs all the time.

He sits up strong and proud all the time, and is really gaining a lot of trunk strength.  This allows him to reach waaaaaay more of Carter's toys.  He's pumped.  He loves cars too!  

Samuel is also making lots of noises.  Some of them are so strange.  He has a Darth Vader growl, a pterodactyl shriek that reminds me of his brother, and a soundless pant that comes around when it is time to eat.  Baby sounds...crack me up.

Samuel loves the exersaucer and books.  He loves to open and close them, pull on their covers, and chew the pages if we aren't watching.  He loves, loves, loves watching his brother..and is mostly likely to laugh in a game of peekaboo!

After a month of practice, Samuel is really getting into solid food.  He loves bananas the most, but I haven't found anything he won't eat at all.  He doesn't like the first bite of anything, though.  He likes we have to mix new things in with old favorites until he gets used to them!

Samuel is such a snuggler these days.  I hate his ear hurts...but I am enjoying all these snuggles in the night.  All the missed sleep is totally worth it when he buries his little furry hair into my neck and whispers his growly snores in my ear.

Samuel is not as big of a fan of tummy time as he once that he has mastered sitting up...he wants to be up all the time!

Samuel, you are the dearest little baby.  I am so glad I get your snuggles every day.  My deepest joy is spending my days with you, love bug.

What a happy seven months it has been!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Fort Castillo

Half of the fun of being a parent is getting to do things you loved to do as a child all over again.  The magic of the imagination on the playground, reading favorite stories, watching classic movies, building forts...the happy memories are endless.

The perk of being an adult is that your motor skills are better...and you know to appreciate each moment :)

Unfortunately, it seems that my understanding of basic mechanics and infrastructure have improved very little since childhood.  We had our sweet friends, the Turners, over to play last week.  I wanted to build a fort for the boys since they are a bit young to do the construction themselves.  I stayed up far too late the night before rigging this tent.  I learned a lot next fort is going to be epic.

Thankfully Levi and Mason really loved the fort, because Carter and Samuel seemed largely unimpressed!

The grand entrance

We spent the morning tucked away, reading, snacking, watching Thomas and playing trains.  The boys crawled in and out and in and out and in and out.  I learned that an adult entrance that doesn't require crawling should be a component of the next fort!

Tucked away in a fort, reading and playing with friends.  I can't imagine a better way to spend a morning!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Santa

We don't place a big emphasis on Santa around here.  My hope is to celebrate Advent and prepare the boys for an exciting celebration each year that God sent a Savior to His people in the most humble of ways.  I am currently looking for good books that tell of the story of St. Nicholas to help them understand the season and the Santa flurry around them as they get older.  I hope they will always enjoy this special season of celebration, tradition, and giving.  

While Santa isn't a "big deal" at our house, I hope I can always take the boys to have their picture made with Santa.  I think it's a fun tradition...mostly because of the way all the pictures look together years later.  The annual growth both physically and reactions to the big guy in the crazy suit are fun!  (Last year's picture...Carter's first Christmas wasn't online)  

This year, we went early enough...and on a Friday evening.  Apparently great timing.  There was NO line!

Samuel was all, " look interesting.  Sure I'll sit here.  Whatev."

Carter didn't freak out, but he did start crying as soon as we sat him down.  We'd talked about the picture for several days, but he obviously wasn't excited.  I told the lady to just take the picture as soon as we sat them down so that when the crying started, we could pick them up as soon as they had a shot.

 Samuel begins to question his brother's response.  Hmm...what's going on here?

They both look in the general direction of the camera.  

At this point, Carter, who was brimming with tears, said, "Please, Mama" really softly and NO ONE could have convinced me to keep taking pictures.  After the picture, Santa gave him a cookie and Carter looked up at him and grinned.  Then he ran around the rest of the night saying, "I had picture with Santa Clause!" grinning from ear to ear and eating his cookie.  He keeps looking at the picture and talking about it now...I think if we went back, he would probably smile, but it's too late for that! :)

Merry  Christmas friends!  I hope your season is warm and bright.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Laugh out LOUD

Nothing makes these two laugh like the other.  

My house is loud...full of the most wonderful sounds.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Letters to the Boys: Being a Parent

Dear Boys,

The way I saw it, adults had it made in the shade.

When I was a kid, I couldn't imagine how life could be any better than that of a grown-up.  They made all the decisions.  They got to stay up late, skip naps, and eat dessert after the kids went to bed (ahem...Terry and Andria).  They got to decide if we were going to get to go swimming...or not.  They had "adult talk" just chock full of secrets I craned my ears to hear from the backseat.  Adults got to drive and buy things.  They never got spankings and they didn't have to do anything they didn't want to.

I remember saying..."Ugh...parents.  They're so lucky."

Now I'm an adult.  I look at my boys and covet their naps, complete lack of knowledge of responsibility, and energy and think I may have been missing something.  Parents all around me sigh and say,

"I wish I had that kind of energy."
"What I wouldn't do to be able to sleep like that!"
"Look at him...not a care in the world."
"What I wouldn't do to be a kid and just play all day long."

So boys, let me just tell you something.  Being an adult isn't the easiest job on the planet.

I mean, it starts right at the crack of dawn.  YOU choose the wake-up time and it is always, always quite early.

But then, to be fair, you come in with the cutest little cowlicks and you always have the sweetest little sleepy cuddles.

But then, you get right to demanding breakfast.  You're all, "Eat...toast!" and "Boooberries!" and "Hep peas" as you scramble to get in your high chair.  I'm the one in charge of cooking.  I'm the one in charge of cleaning up all the crumbs that fall in your seat and the ones that cover the arc under which your food is thrown.  I'm the one who has to eat while nursing a baby and fielding the requests of a toddler for more...everything.

But I'm also the one who gets to see your crummy little face.  And laugh at your hilarious little expression when Maddie barks and you say, "No, no puppy!  Oh, puppy" as you shake your head in mock disdain.  And I do love the way you say "TWO!" with maximum excitement worthy of caps lock when I hold your hands and start counting for you to jump from your high chair.  I mean, breakfast is kind of fun.

Then there's the laundry.  There's always laundry.  Just endless piles of it.  Everyone seems to wear a million outfits a day...and stain at least half of them.

Of course, to be honest, you do help.  You help push the hamper to the laundry room, throw clothes in the washer one at a time (or if you're feeling awesome, three or four at a time), and look at me groaning loudly and dramatically under the weight of the job until I exclaim at how strong you are.  It is pretty adorable.  Even when you throw them all back out...or throw dirty dishrags in with the clean ones...or slam the door and knock off all the clean clothes that were hanging on the frame.'s all cute except the last one...that actually does really annoy me.

And then it's play time....which is all about the kiddo.  Outside, inside, music, dancing, throwing, balls, blocks, or's all at your discretion.  My once neat floor is constantly, constantly, constantly littered with cars, blankets that used to lay happily in their decorative baskets, and pillows that you just launched off the couch.  Just when I get into a book, you decide it's time for blocks.  Or just when I had memorized a book, you determine it would make you happiest to read it 77 more times.

But then, I have to admit...I love playing.  I love the way you dance to the music you like and repeat the words you remember.  I love the way you knock down your blocks, but always remember to help me clean them up...scanning the floor for "mo" blocks, even getting down on your belly and spinning around to make sure you got them all out from under the furniture.  I love the way you recognize words in your favorite books when we get to their page, and the way you request certain books over and over because they are your favorites.  I love the way you always sit super close when we read and the way you identify the colors of your cars as you pull them out.  I love the way you run bent all the way over when I ask you how fast your cars can go and the way you flop around on the couch like it's a trampoline.  I love most of all the way you push and pull my legs to get me to play with you...because you enjoy being with me and interacting together.  Ok...I love playtime.

Bedtime.  Oh bedtime.  There is teeth brushing...which I do.  And diaper changing...which I do.  And pajamas, and books, and bed arranging, and shushing and settling...all me.  While I could be doing other things I used to love to do at night, I'm lying with you, telling you to settle down, getting your water, retrieving Buddy from the living room...or off the floor where you JUST threw him AGAIN...

Yeah, but bedtime is also kind of the best.  I love the way you say "PASTE!" when I tell you it's time to brush your teeth and the way you say, "ewwwww!" when I change your diaper.  I love the way you have to show off how cute you are in your pajamas and the way you throw books from your basket over the bedrail for us to read.  I love the way you curl beside us while we read your books and the way you like to hold hands for a little while before we leave you to go to sleep.  I love the way you look when you sleep...and the way you look when you first wake up.

Ok.  Being an adult...especially a parent is amazing.  There's so much amazing that it can be overwhelming.  I love to rock babies, but it can be hard to appreciate at 3 am..especially when I was also up at 12 and know I'll be back up at 5.  I love to read, but sometimes I need to empty the dishwasher and start the laundry and I feel too busy.  I love to play outside, but sometimes I forget to appreciate it because I've been outside all day with you boys.

The thing is...basic economy says that everything you have in excess seems less valuable.  It isn't actually less just seems that way.  So the struggle is appreciating what you have, even when you have a lot of it.  One day I'll have a lot of the quiet I sometimes crave, and it won't seem as valuable then.  One day, I'll have a cleaner house.  But it'll be that way a lot, so it won't seem as special.  I have a lot of sweet baby time right now....but that doesn't make it one tiny bit less valuable.

Yes. I think being  a parent is kind of the best.

I hope you think being a kid is pretty great too.


Friday, December 7, 2012

Letters to Samuel

Dear Samuel,

I know every single one of my letters to you are ooey-gooey drippy with Mama-love.

I know.

And one day I will write about that toy you threw across the store, the adventure you made up in the backyard, and the funny words you pronounced.

But for just smile and coo and make me melt.

Seriously.  Do you see this?  I can't stop.

We went for a check-up on your ears.  Oh Samuel.  After 3 rounds of antibiotics, you STILL have an ear infection.  It breaks my heart.  We're breastfeeding!  You don't go to day care!  You're the perfect candidate for NOT having ear infections!  Why!?!  We're trying one more antibiotic and then we may have to start talking about tubes.  I'm researching possible chiropractic and essential oils that might help....but it all just makes me sad that you are hurting.  I've been using the saline and syringe bulb like crazy to try to minimize and loosen congestion.  This is the one time you really cry.  You seem like I'm murdering you.  I seriously can't understand why.  It must feel SO good to get rid of all that stuff I suck out of your nose.  You are certain it is a method of torture employed only by the cruelest of mankind.

In the meantime, you have gotten your second tooth, started really loving solid food, and have worked through 4 months of an ear infection that is slowly moving to both ears....with a happy little grin.  Your cheerfulness is one of my favorite things about you.  You are that perfect combination of tough and sweet that makes you totally delectable.  I admire that about you.

You have started waking up some in the night...I know it's because you don't feel well.  I'm so grateful for the time to rock you.  Seriously.  I spent so many nights awake with your big brother that it almost feels strange to sleep so much now.  I appreciate it...but I also really appreciate the time rocking you in the night.  After all, you won't want to be rocked for very long....I'll take it any time I can get it.

You are sitting up so well.  I am a bit surprised at how sturdy you are!  You are so strong.  Your favorite food right now seems to be a pear/carrot blend I made, originally for Carter to use in his Squeezies.  You like it much more than he did.  You also really, really like sweet potato, banana, apples, and avocado.  The only problem you have with avocado is trying to get some before your big brother hogs it all.  That boy LOVES avocado!

Everything is going by so fast, dear one.  I feel like we've hit the sweetest time...a good rhythm.  I want to freeze these moments and bottle them up.  I am trying to learn to be content in each moment. I can't save them all.  I can't write about each thing or capture it all with my camera.  I can only hold you as much as possible, stare at your little face every chance I get, and spend as much time watching you grow as I can.  One day, you'll be a big, strong man.  One day soon you'll be a mighty, adventuring boy.  But for today, you are my baby and I am your Mama and all is right in the world.

I love you baby Samuel,