Friday, March 29, 2013

Walk the Walk

Granger really took off tonight. Walking and walking. He always does on the days he gets adjusted. But tonight was different. Things really clicked with him, and everyone was so excited! I am so proud of him. He practices every day and falls down a lot, but his determination and happy attitude is completely inspiring to me!

With all of the applause and praise, though, Nash was being a bit of a downer. He was whining and crying and constantly needing to be held. It broke my heart when I realized his feelings had been hurt. I said "let's practice Nash's walking!" And I let him hold on to my fingers as we walked across the room a few times and scooped him up in big hugs at the end. Dad took a turn, and oh his face just lit up.

That was all he needed. It hit me that these boys are people. Like, going to grow up people. They have feelings and are far more aware of their situation and surroundings than I realize sometimes, I think. They are getting better at being able to express what is bothering them. They are becoming more individual in their specific needs. It is such a confidence boost for me to be able to recognize and meet the differing needs of my children.

We also had a quick talk about why if is important to be excited for each others' successes. Growing up, our family motto was "mature and secure". I never dreamed we would adopt it into our family this early!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The view from here

My family left last night. After so much playtime, the boys were so sad to see them go. And bored. I was feeling lonely again, too. Texas is just really far away. It's like it knew today was a sad day. The weather turned cold almost immediately and I dug out the extra blankets.

After a long morning of inconsolable tears, an angel friend of mine asked if I wanted to go to the nursery with her to get plants for our garden. We packed up and headed out. The boys got all sorts of attention, We bought tomatoes, peppers, cantaloupe, and squash.she helped me divvy up my backyard and brought me a shovel to get started. Grateful to be remembered today and to have a new focus. I live learning something new.

I tucked the boys back in their cribs. It's drizzling outside. They have warm quilts on their tiny sleeping bodies. I'm listening to them snore. It's incredible to think that by the time I can pick the green beans for dinner, or tomatoes for a salad, I will have two toddlers. Boys. That can help carry things inside. Get muddy. Learn. Even talk. But snuggle down and sleep little boys. I'm all too aware you won't stay this way for long.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Goodnight Sweethearts, Goodnight

Lately, Nash has become my biggest fan. He comes and gives me the biggest hugs over and over again, always wants to know what I am doing and must be touching me if there is any possibility of making that happen. It has also caused a little bit of separation anxiety, though, which makes bedtime hard. I have found that talking about the wonderful and fun day we had and singing a few songs right at the edge of their cribs helps calm him down to go to sleep.

Granger always joins the party and it becomes me giggling with him and comforting Nash at the same time. Cameron took this picture without me knowing tonight. I am in love with it. It captures the moment perfectly. My boys are so different and it gives me such incredible confidence as their mother to be able to recognize and meet their separate needs.

They mean everything to me.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Dear Granger

Oh how I love you, my little Gray boy. From the top of your rock star hair, down to your squishy toes. Those toes. I love them. Your pinky toes curl under like mine do. It's the only physical trait I can claim on you. The rest of you is 100% like your daddy. That was the very first thing I thought when I first saw you in the bright lights of that hospital room. He is so proud of that. I love it too.

You have taught me the meaning of joy in this short year we've spent together. No matter what, you are smiling, giggling, squealing, playing. You are a social bug. I love how you always look for eye contact before pulling a funny face or letting out a belly laugh. You are joy. You embody that trait. I have never known anyone do happy to just be. I could watch you for hours, days, years. I love that I get to do just that, for the rest of my life.

I'm so in awe of your content nature. You have a calming influence on me that is almost tangible. One of my favorite things is that you will just sit with me, next to me, near me. I love sitting with my arm around you on the couch. You fit perfectly against my side. I love laying down next to you when you're drinking your bottle. You crane your neck to see me and grin so wide the milk dribbles down your cheek.

You make me feel so completely loved. I love that you sing, and that you love to hear me sing. You love to learn and be taught. I think that shows your natural humility. I hope you hold on to that. I have been so grateful for your contentedness this past year. I love to see you grow up and learn new things, but it is also hard to know that I can never have this beautiful time back with you. Your contentment with life kept you little for longer. You, sweet boy, have done more for my heart than I know how to express.

Thank you for resting your head on my shoulder when I carry you somewhere, even when I know you're wide awake. I love being close to you, too.

Someday, your world is going to be bigger than me and your dad and your brother. It might get scary or confusing sometimes. I will always be here for you. I know you will bring joy to so many around you. You are blessed with so many talents and gifts. I'm so proud to be your mom.

I love you.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Dear Nash

I love you, my sweet boy. I hope you never doubt that. Even when things get hard to understand. You're one year old now. Such a big boy. I have always felt, though, that you have an old soul. Like you are just waiting for your body to catch up so you can show me (and the rest of the world) all of your big ideas.

You are so beautiful. Everyone comments on your big blue eyes. I have loved your little chin since the moment we met. And your soft, pudgy hands with such capable long piano player fingers make me so happy when I feel them on mine.

Your daddy thinks you look like me. I think so too. I love seeing the shape of my eyes staring back at me. I love that you got your Grandpa McGuire's hair. I love your long legs and cute little beany bum. You got your daddy's skin though. It is the softest skin I have ever felt. I love the spot at the very bottom of your cheeks. Almost where it meets your neck. That's where I kiss you when I come to say goodnight to you before I go to sleep.

You are such a fast crawler. You can be halfway up the stairs before I find you. You know how to open doors unless they are shut all the way. You love things with buttons. You love glasses and anything shiny. And you know what you like and how to get it. I love watching you learn about a new object. You turn it over and over in your hands until you have felt every surface.

I love watching you find delight in something. The wind, sunshine, a toy you've never played with before. You throw your head back and grin, soaking it all in. You can't teach passion like that.

You are so curious. You get into drawers and cupboards. You climb the playground jungle gyms and explore the slides fearlessly. You tell me about every single one of your adventures in the car on the way home. Until you drift off to sleep.

Someday, we'll talk about your dreams. I know they're larger than life. I hope they stay that way.

For now, I love that you are my little boy. That I get to carry you up to bed and feel your warm breath on my neck. and smell your soft hair. My baby. You always will be.

I love you.


Gray climbed over my legs while we were on the floor playing and grinned up at me. I noticed something over his right eye but had to take him over by our sliding glass door for better light just to be sure. Yep. A shiner. His first. I was oddly proud. He didn't act like he was in pain. He didn't know any difference unless I touched it, which I did.

I thought about how lucky I am to have boys. Rough and tumble, dirt, sweat, noise BOYS. The kind that don't hold grudges or remember past grievances and use them as artillery later on. Boys who get a bruise, dust themselves off, jump up and try again. Because they live in a world of wonder, and there's far too much exploring to do to worry about silly things like pants or a scraped knee. (Nash currently lacks the first and has the second).

And it's because of this that I absolutely have no idea how he got that black eye. He is a boy. He's learning to walk. He falls. But he is so happy to be so close to reaching that goal that he never stays down for long. Certainly not long enough for me to check him for bruises.

I would do well to take a leaf out of his book and jump back up and try again at a number of things, no matter how many tries it takes.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Best Day

What a difference a year makes! I am blown away by all of the joy that I have been able to experience in the past year. Cameron and I are closer than ever. Every night, we go in to kiss the boys goodnight and without fail one of us says, "Aren't they the best?" or "Can you believe they're ours?" or "What a beautiful life we have. We are so lucky."

March 9th 2012 was the best day of our lives. Without a doubt. And I have never been so excited to celebrate our miracle babies. I have looked forward to being a mom for so long and one of the main things I wanted to know was how it felt to make your kids feel special from sun up to sun down. I had a complete blast planning for their birthday. No birthday party. Just family time. But lots of traditions. And lots of dreams coming true for me and Cameron.

The night before, I went out to pick up the last few things we needed for the next day. And I was stung with the news that there was a national helium shortage. One of the main traditions my mom kept while we were growing up was having a birthday balloon for each year tied to your chair. I just needed one balloon for each boy. After a bit of a panic, I found two frog balloons at the grocery store right before I came home. Mission accomplished.

Cameron came home early from school so I could go get the things that I needed. He is so good at making us feel like his first priority. He does such a great job balancing everything on his plate. I am so grateful for him. The boys adore him. Nash never lets me cuddle him while he eats. But if Daddy is available, he is content as can be in his arms. Cam cuddled Nash and Gray scooted along the floor until he was snuggled up next to him too. What a perfect end to their first year. All of us together. The love in the room that night was perfection. I couldn't ask for more. My heart was so full.

I don't know what it is about special occasions and new jammies, but I just feel like they up the excitement for the next morning. We splurged on these dinosaur jams at Costco earlier in the week. They look so grown up! I love this picture. They are my babies.

After they went to bed, I set to work baking their cakes, wrapping presents and decorating. It was a busy night, but oh I was so happy! It was so exciting to me to see all these things that I had dreamed about actually happening. It's one of those things where you hope that the real thing is as sweet as you imagine it being for so long and it was. It is. And more. At one point I just sat back and took a few deep breaths because this. This is the life I have wanted for so long.

My favorite tradition growing up was my mom painting our sliding glass door after I went to sleep the night before. I couldn't wait until the boys went to sleep to start this. I painted the top half while they were still awake and finished it while their birthday cakes were baking. This milestone, I thought would be full of heartache at my babies growing up, it is just so full of joy.

The night before, I blew up an entire bag of balloons and flooded their bedroom floor with them. I was so excited for them to wake up! They played and played. I love this tradition because I feel like it is a simple way to show them that today is special. Even when they are still so young.

Moment of silence for the train.

At one point, there was too much playtime. Nash took a spill. Cam scooped him right up and calmed him down. It was such a treat to have him there with us all day! He worked really hard to be free the entire day. He is rarely at home in the mornings. I'm so grateful he was able to finish all that he needed to in order to be with us, undistracted, all day long.

We scooted down the stairs for breakfast. Nash has got the "feet first" thing down. Gray baby is still my baby and got carried down for breakfast. I can't turn down that face.

The boys could see something was different when they got downstairs. They crawled right up to the window and checked it out. Good morning birthday boys!

Growing up, my mom had this fantastic birthday tablecloth. I went out to try and find something fun to make a runner out of because we didn't have money for fabric for an entire tablecloth. Hobby Lobby was a major strikeout, but JoAnn's had the perfect stuff! It only took a couple minutes to sew together, and I made the lining out of an old bedsheet, so the entire thing only cost me about $4.

Nash coming to tell me about the excitement.

We put them in their highchairs for breakfast, and they checked out their birthday balloons. Cameron mixed up the waffles, and I made fresh strawberry syrup to go with. Aunt Jess had sent pink chocolate chip pancake mix for Valentine's Day. Since Cameron left for school at 5:30 on Valentine's Day, we saved it. And I'm glad we did! It was SO YUMMY!

It was a pretty dreary day and there were threats of thunderstorms so we took advantage of the decent morning weather and packed up and headed out to feed the ducks at this beautiful park just a couple miles away from our home. There were birds everywhere! And different kinds, too.

Granger was so cute. He loved watching the ducks swim everywhere and the seagulls try to steal their bread. Nash gave us more of a pity smile, but he lit up a few times, I just wasn't quick enough to catch it on camera.

We hit the park right next to the canal for a few minutes and let the boys climb around and go down a few slides. We were so excited about this twisty slide, but it was too flat for the boys. They got stuck unless we went down with them! No matter what, though, the park is always a hit. There was a smaller double slide that brought out the grins.

Not 2 minutes into the drive home and the boys were zonked. We kind of avoided naptime because of the nice weather, so I knew they would be exhausted.

Nash didn't wake up like he normally does when I get him out of his carseat. I adore these pictures. He was completely out. I took him all the way upstairs, changed his diaper, and tucked him in without him moving a muscle.

When they woke up it was time for a late lunch. I actually had to run to a baptism for one of my young women and I was sad to have to leave on their special day. I ended up only being gone for about 20 minutes and the boys got to eat and Skype with Meme and Papa while I was gone. I returned in a much better mood. The baptism was great, and I took the extra cupcakes so they weren't sitting on our counter waiting for me to consume them the rest of the week. I didn't really miss out on anything, which made me feel much better.

And then it was time for cake! I made two little double layer cakes. The top was devil's food, the bottom was party chip. I used sprinkles to put their initials on the tops of each one. Red for Nash, blue for Granger. I had baked and frosted them the night before and kept them in the fridge so I would be prepared for cake time. I didn't count on the buttercream hardening! So the boys had a bit of a time getting to the cake and figuring out it was for eating, but after that we had a ball. Before they got started we skyped in my parents too, so all the grandparents got to watch the cake smash.

We lit a star candle on each cake and Nash pinched his out before the song was over. He didn't like that very much. I think it scared him more than burned him, but we lit it again and held his hands down. Gray didn't really know what to think of the whole thing. Nash drummed his cake for the most part. Gray flipped his over and found the underside that had no icing on it. He liked that a ton and dug right in. Both of them smashed their faces straight into the cakes at one point. It was so fun to watch!

About halfway through, we figured they could use some milk. They guzzled it down, threw the bottles and went back for more.

The aftermath.

We hauled them upstairs to put them in the tub. They were covered, and cake crumbs were everywhere in our house, but they were so happy! Their poor little shoulders in these pictures. I promise they are fine. I didn't realize they looked so stretched. They were MESSY!

Dad dumped them in the tub, pants and all and sprayed them down with the shower head. Once they were all clean, it was time for another nap. Cameron and I laid down too. Celebrating is exhausting!

When they woke up, we got dressed up and hair gelled and headed to Spring Creek BBQ for dinner. Since Gray ate about 2/3 of his cake, he didn't really touch his dinner. Nash loved it though. [Gray loved the leftovers later. haha.] Granger was so funny to watch. He was in a total sugar coma. He kept staring at people or the ceiling with this dazed look on his face.

Dinner was so great. We love Spring Creek BBQ because they have real high chairs for the boys. It makes such a difference when they aren't able to grab our plates! They are happier, and we are happier.

When we got home, we opened presents. We almost forgot to open anything because we had such a full day! My parents bought them a few books. Tickle Monster with monster gloves and Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site. They are so adorable. Cameron and I each put a glove on and did tickle monster with the boys. They LOVED it! Oh I love hearing their belly laughs. They were so giggly!

My Grandma Frost sent the boys birthday cards. These cards are so special to me. I love that they have a note in her beautiful handwriting written just for them. She is always so thoughtful and remembers everyone's birthday. I hope I can be more like her as I mature.
We actually put them to bed right after reading the stories and I completely forgot to measure them. Since they hadn't quite settled down yet, I asked Cameron if we could go get them up! This growth chart project made my heart so happy. It was like I could tell my future self was so happy I was doing this from their very first birthday. I think recording how little they are puts me at peace for letting them grow up a little bit.

It was a perfect day. Better than I could have hoped for. I know the boys are young, but I truly believe it is possible for them to understand when special days are. Days that are different from the normal routine. Days when they feel extra loved. Their birthday, without a doubt, was all about them. Happy Birthday, Gentlemen. Thanks for making your dad & mom's dreams come true. You are the best!