one and a half.

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Today, Nolan is one and a half years old. One and a half.

What. I feel like it was yesterday that he was nuzzling my neck with baby breath.

It’s also strange because I feel like every month he is a different person. Yet, this entire time, he has been the same person. It is a blessing to watch him grow and learn about the world around him, delighting in the smallest things and being such a content, observant kid.

I have this five-year one sentence a day journal for mothers that I try to write in every day (unfortunately, there are quite a few days with nothing written in it…. I even fail at just writing one sentence every day), but it doesn’t allow for a lot of expansion. I wanted to take the time to write about Nolan in this post. I want to remember him as he is right now, today. I’m already struggling to remember him at six months ago. If you don’t want to read me go on and on about my awesome kid, feel free to skip this!

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So. Nolan. Gosh. He loves balls (baseballs, basketballs, giant inflatable balls, little light-up balls, cat balls, all balls), trucks, cars, and animals (owls!). He is slightly obsessed with keys and hats. He delights in tickles, bubbles, being chased, splashing in water, dancing, clapping, ball pits, and running away. He especially enjoys running and being chased. Mommy doesn’t enjoy that part as much.

Nolan is also a talented dancer – bouncing, spinning, and clapping to music the instant he hears it. Music is mesmerizing, he has enjoyed a few small concerts and seems fascinated with guitars. He can also throw a ball with a lot of strength, and frequently makes baskets in his basketball hoop. He enjoys coloring (thankfully, he has stopped chewing the crayons), putting blocks together, brushing his hair and teeth. He loves to help bring shoes, put things in the garbage, move clothes from the washer to the dryer, close the dishwasher, turn on and off the heater, and put away random objects. Nolan is also learning how to pray, often saying, “Amen!” at the table before we have a chance to bow our heads. Silly kid.

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Pasta sauce on his face and that cute little belly poking out of his too-tight shirt. What a cutie.

Nolan loves being outside, frequently running to the front door asking to go out and play, and/or throwing a fit when I tell him it’s time to go inside. His favorite things to do outside are playing with the leaves, collecting flowers/dandelions, picking up sticks and acorns, looking at (and throwing) rocks, finding bugs, chasing chickens, watching birds (and hawks) fly around, and pointing out everything he sees. The moon is delightful! He often gives me blades of grass so I can blow on them to make noise.

Nolan has a great sense of humor, often sticking out his tongue and making silly faces. He loves to hide behind curtains and pop out in surprise. The other day, he tickled me with a feather and thought it was the most hilarious thing ever. His laughter is contagious!

He also talks a lot. Words he can say: mommy, daddy, cat, dog-dog, duck, owl, (and can say animal sounds for cow, horse, sheep, pig, duck, etc.), apple, banana, bib, cheese, water (“wawa”), cookies, milk, cracker, pizza, pasta (“pada”), more, ball, baseball, please, thank you, bye-bye, hi, all done, Danny (Daniel Tiger), hot, beep-beep, flag (“fla”), purple, blue, yellow, moon, star, book, potty, poop, “oh no,” “uh oh,” hat, shoes, socks, help, hug, happy, yes, no, mine, this, up, light, bell, bubble, play, outside (“outsize”), throw, rock, go, I don’t know, and a variety of names of friends and family members. Honestly, I’ve lost track. He can say so much more now than he did a month ago when I started writing this post. We are delighting in his ability to put 2-3 words together (such as “blue ball,” “big truck,” and “outside dog-dog”). He can sign consistently: more, please, milk, ball, book, banana. I’ve seen him sign: tree, big, home, grass, cracker, cheese, wet, wind. We don’t work on this as much as we should, but he is interested. And of course, he can understand much more than he can say. Sometimes he even yells at the rooster when he hears him attacking chickens (“no-no, Bob!”).

Reading is another favorite thing to do. There are some books he doesn’t want me to read at all, and there are some books he puts in my hand to read and over and over (literally, grabs my hand and places a book in it). Right now, he really enjoys:

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He loves to eat. Recently, though, he’s become a little bit picky but is still willing to try everything I give him. He loves cheerios, carrots, black olives (and he even puts them on his fingers like I did as a kid!), all kind of fruits, crackers, cheese, pizza, green smoothies (need to get that kale in him somehow!) and of course, cookies (which we rarely keep in our house).

Of course, he throws tantrums when it’s time for bed, when mommy or daddy go outside without him, when dinner isn’t ready yet,…… patience is something we need to work on! He is showing signs of knowing the difference between the right thing to do and the wrong thing to do, often with a sly smile and sideways glance before throwing the rock he knows he shouldn’t throw (this is something else we need to work on). Nolan has also mastered telling us “yes” and “no” very appropriately. Thankfully, he is often agreeable. His enthusiastic, “YEAH!” is the best.

He also gives the best hugs ever. He’s my favorite tiny human.

We love this little boy to the moon and back and beyond.

So, so thankful God choose us to to be his parents.

Our greatest gift! [540-600]

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Two weeks ago, this stunning gift from God came into our lives!

At almost four weeks early, our miracle baby boy was born on November 7th. Nolan is such a joy. It’s been two weeks and I still cannot believe he is here. We absolutely love him and are so blessed to be his parents. I’m already looking forward to seeing what kind of person he becomes… but of course, holding onto all these baby moments as much as I can while they’re still here. Loving the awe in his eyes as he looks around. Loving the strong grip of his little fingers. Loving his warm body against mine, his gentle breathing reminding me to slow down and take it all in. Loving this new ‘normal’ as a family of three.

Two weeks ago, God’s plans totally wiped mine out. As usual.

I thought I was going to spend that Monday getting things together and ready for the baby. I had no idea my water was going to break late Sunday night. I had no idea that we’d be spending that day at the hospital. I had no idea that instead of my routine OB-GYN appointment, we’d actually be pushing him out. I had no idea I’d be holding a sweet, snuggly, warm bundle of love in my hands that afternoon. I also know that nothing really ever goes according to plan, but I am so thankful that I was able to have the natural birth that I had hoped for. So thankful for that experience, my doctor for working with me on it, and the nurses for being awesome. And, oh, it has been awesome seeing my husband totally take on his new role as father, being so gentle with this fragile little life.

And oh my goodness, my heart is overflowing with gratitude.

Gratitude for the healthy birth of this healthy boy, gratitude for my wonderful doctor and the entire staff at the hospital that helped take care of us, gratitude for a good birth experience, gratitude for the friends that have dropped by to visit and provide us with plenty of food (which has been a huge blessing because I do not feel like cooking anything), gratitude that my in-laws were able to come and visit their new grandson (and the meals they cooked for us!), gratefulness towards all the gifts people have brought and sent (including surprise packages on our doorstep), thankfulness towards all the women that have reached out to me with their breastfeeding struggle stories and support, and so much thankfulness for this adorable little boy that we’ve been blessed with. He is the cutest and I can’t get enough of him! Just so, so thankful. All the good things happening this month has more than made up for all the not-so-good things in the last two years. I think things are finally looking up for us again. Full of love, joy, and gratitude. I sound like a broken record…. but I mean it.

Here’s to life being completely different from now on…..

I’ve barely gotten anything done in the last two weeks. Normally this drives me nuts, and admittedly still does a bit, but this boy needs my attention. And sometimes he just needs me to hold him while I do nothing else at all. Just be with him. And I’m going to hold him, hoping to remember this years from now when he won’t want me to hold him anymore. And all these moments focused on him are more important than other tasks that can wait a bit. Right now, today matters more than tomorrow.

And with that, here is my updated list of gifts…. ❤

540. warmth coming from the earth on a chilly evening. 541. flock of birds flying overhead; a reminder of a promise from God. 542. crescent moon at dusk. 543. community in an open field. 544. exploding pumpkins. 545. chocolate. 546. frost on the windows. 547. beautiful baby shower. 548. amazing homemade cake by  a sweet friend. 549. feeling loved and blessed by a circle of women. 550. my water breaking on its own. 551. doctors respecting my wishes. 552. having a new friend be one of my attending nurses during the birth! 553. seeing my son for the first time. 554. feeling his warm skin against mine. 555. kind nurses tending to me. 556. cooling gel pads. 557. warm sitz baths. 558. decent hospital food. 559. excited visitors. 560. fast healing. 561. mothers’ milk tea. 562. honey. 563. a breast pump helping me keep a supply. 564. warm meals brought to my house. 565. visits from friends. 566. baby’s wrinkly forehead. 567. pursed lips. 568. warm baby body. 569. tiny hands that grip my finger tight. 570. bright eyes looking around intensely. 571. baby finally eating enough and gaining weight. 572. a five-hour stretch of sleep. 573. tiny soft head full of hair. 574. stinky milk breath. 575. moby wrap keeping him snug against me. 576. soft baby blankets. 577. photographs. 578. being able to give to the church thanksgiving offering. 579. lazy evening watching Home Improvement. 580. frost on the grass. 581. fake fireplace warmth. 582. having a full tank of propane gas for winter heat. 583. seeing my husband snuggle with the baby. 584. husband looking at me with lots of love (this is making me tear up!). 585. in-laws visiting and loving baby. 586. baby yawns. 586. gassy smiles. 588. minor breastfeeding success. 589. baby asleep on my chest. 590. paper towels. 591. unexpected baby gifts. 592. unexpected mail. 593. a phone call bringing more hope for the year ahead. 594. twinkling lights on houses. 595. having a radio! 596. holiday music on the radio. 597. dancing with my [probably confused] baby. 598. a sleepy household. 599. Golden Girls. 600. heart overflowing with love for this little boy…..

Happy Thanksgiving, friends.

Wishing you a joyful Thanksgiving reflecting on all that you have and everything you hold dear. Praying that you are able to enjoy the holiday to its fullest, with a heart of gratitude. And please, please hold your loved ones tight and put off the holiday shopping until another time. Those material things don’t matter at all. As I write this, I’ve just heard about another fatal car accident in our small town involving a couple young people. Praying for those families. I can’t even imagine the loss they must be feeling, especially around the holidays. Praying for everyone who has lost a loved one this year. Praying for peace. Praying for you. Much love.