Sunday, March 16, 2014

Evan Michael is ONE!!!!!

Dear Sweet Evan Michael,

Today we celebrated your first birthday, though technically you turned one last night at 7:22 pm while you slept peacefully in your crib. When planning the party, I couldn't stop thinking about a sunshine theme. You are blond, fair, and a total joy and are our sunshine! And to think you've only brightened up our lives for one year; it seems like so much longer!

One year ago, I helped lift you out of my womb and onto my chest, where your sweet, inquisitive face was peaceful, welcoming, and so kissable.

At one month, your hair was full and dark and stood up on end when freshly washed. You were soft, round, and with a lower lip that tucked right in.

At two months you were spindly, a long baby boy with a receding hairline and wide, bright eyes. You smiled, and it lit up our hearts.

Months three and four your cheeks filled out, your eyes were lightening to blue, your hair lightening to blonde, and you were keeping me up all night. 

Five months brought a tiny bit more rest, as well as raspberries, rolling and rolls (weight gain for the win!)

Six months and I could hardly believe half a year was past. You were eating, trying to crawl, screaming, sitting, and exploring the world around you.

Our sweet monkey, at 7 months you were crawling, teething, weaning, babbling. It was all so much!

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8 months and you were (mostly) sleeping at night, filling our days with delight, and a cruising, determined little dude.

By 9 months I finally finished decorating your nursery. You celebrated by bouncing on the crib and putting your hands in your mouth. I loved putting you to sleep at night, so easy and peaceful as you nursed your baba and played with the tassels on your blankie.

Month 10 and you were an accomplished walker. You started shortly after turning nine months and in no time you were pushing up to a stand in the middle of the floor and using your two legs as your major form of travel. You grew chubs and were delightfully kissable.

11 months brought more walking, more talking, and more joy. You filled our lives with laughter. You spent the days being inquisitive, loud, playful, quick, cuddly, and full of energy.

And now you are one. Determined. Soft. Smart. Funny. Busy. Crazy. Full of life. Full of joy.

You walk, talk, sign, "sing," make messes, empty the dishwasher and wastebaskets and buckets of toys. You wave bye-bye and point. Mostly you make messes.

Today's party was so, so fun. I worked all week to pull it together, in all its yellow and gray glory. Of course, you noticed none of the details but it was a true first birthday. All of our friends and church family were there. Even Auntie Jennie got to come! We are so blessed that you are loved by so many.

You enjoyed poking and prodding your smash cake (aka lemon muffin with lemon buttercream in the shape of a sun).

My favorite part of the party was watching all the kids gather around for the big event. You had no idea what to do, and they were all full of encouragement and suggestions on where to start. When you didn't eat, they offered you bites. They were so delighted when you finally started eating!

And, because the party was right smack dab in the middle of your nap time, once you destroyed the muffin cake, you screamed to get out.

Happy Birthday, my sweet, sweet boy. You are such a dream baby. Our good news, our gift from God, our surprise third child who totally and perfectly completes our family. We love you, Evan Michael! Welcome to ONE!



Friday, March 07, 2014

Samuel Benjamin is FIVE!!!!!

Dear Sam,

Today you are FIVE. Holy smokes! Welcome to the whole hand club, buddy. It seems like only yesterday that you were born, the shortest labor ever, with the sweetest baby waiting at the end. Then you were one, all giggles and smiles; two, with a full head of beiber-esque hair; three was silly and crazy and snuggly; four, which brought some feisty, and now; FIVE. 

You came into this world calm, wide-eyed, and as sweet as could be.

At one year old you were adventurous, snuggly, and WAY into anything with wheels.

By two you had a full head of thick, dark hair that constantly needed cutting and the sweetest personality. 

Three brought out your mischievous side but you still had a soft, round body and chubby cheeks.

Somewhere in the year you turned four, Mr. Hyde appeared to counter your normal Dr. Jekyl. Our sweet, agreeable, laid-back guy developed a real sense of self determination.

Many years ago in elementary school, I learned that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. And so it is with you, my sweet March birthday boy. At times you are like a lion: fierce, imposing and roaring. At other times you are a little lamb: quiet, sweet and gentle. And here we are, on the day of your fifth birthday, and this couldn't be any more appropriate.

Your heart is huge, so quick to forgive, loving and gentle. You care for others deeply. You notice things. You speak words of encouragement. Every person on the playground is a friend to meet. You greet everyone heartily and with great welcome and are sure to give a robust goodbye when we depart.

You are rough and rambunctious and full of life. A typical boy, you often lose track of your body and exactly where your appendages end and other people/things begin. This month at Six Flags we met the Tasmanian Devil and I laughed as I thought about how many times I've likened your crazy, frenetic, post-dinner mania to this very character yet it was the first time you encountered this name outside our four walls.

You are smart and clever. You build elaborate booby traps and forts, often designed first on paper, in great detail. Figuring out how things work is like a fun hobby of yours. Always designing, building, constructing, thinking, taking apart and building again.

You've made amazing progress in your speech this year, especially in the last few months. Miss Corrie is blown away by how much things are "sticking" and how hard of a worker you continue to be in speech. It's crazy how difficult it can be for you to articulate your thoughts, but you do so with diligence and patience that is beyond your five years. As much as I hurt for you and your inability to speak freely and easily, I also have been so refined in learning to trust God with your voice. He is refining you and teaching you things I can't possibly understand through this struggle. Perhaps some day we'll look back on these years and see clearly what God was doing in and through the struggle to communicate. But know just how much I admire your courage, your hard work, and the confidence it takes to press in to the struggle.

Today was a great day. We started with a traditional breakfast "you are special" plate, with your choice: cinnamon rolls. Then you opened your presents: a volcano kit from Maddie, robot kit and rain boots from mom and dad, a sword and bow and arrow set from Auntie Jennie. You were a happy boy. We played swords, made a papier-mache' volcano, and consumed more cinnamon rolls than necessary all before 8:00 a.m.

At preschool they sang you the birthday song, adorned you with a birthday hat and sticker, and prayed the birthday prayer (and that's where I started crying. yes, I am that mom). You are so blessed to have teachers like Mrs. Sommer and Mrs. Pelley who know and love you oh so much.

At snacktime (popsicles!) we snapped this selfie, which all the preschool friends just had to see.

After school, Daddy and a few special friends met us at the park for a picnic and birthday play date. It was a perfect park day: warm, sunny, and the place was full of friends.

Maddie had her first softball practice tonight, followed by a pizza party, so we just jumped on the party train and brought an ice cream cake to share with everyone. Yay for partying it up with a bunch of your sister's friends (and their siblings, which happen to be your good pals from school!) Who doesn't love to spend their birthday with pepperoni pizza, mug rootbeer, quarter machines, and a chocolate cake with strawberry ice cream??!!!

And now, tucked away in bed, I hear you and your sister talking about your fun day, cuddled together for a special "birthday sleepover" (also your idea). You are so much fun, sweet boy, and so full of wonderful ideas. What a great day we had today! Welcome to FIVE, sweet, spicy, super duper SAM!!!