Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Nolan: Newborn Pictures

Nolan's first year of pictures have all been taken by the fabulous Christine of Natural Intuition Photography. Christine and Justin, who frequently helps her, have won over my boys hearts with pinwheels and flying ducks and pumpkins.  Not too long ago Keaton had picture day at school and when I asked him to wear something nice Hutt ran to his room and started searching through his closet...I tried to explain that it was picture day for Keaton at school and that broke poor Hutty's heart.  He wanted picture day here with "one boy and one girl."

Nolan's newborn pictures were taken towards the end of May 2012; I believe he was about three weeks old at the time.  The majority of them were taken in a park near the duplex we were living in last summer.  This particular park held a lot of good memories from last summer; we took the boys for lots of walks here in the evenings and during the day if we weren't at the job site we were usually at the park. It's likely not a location we would choose now, living back at home, and I'm glad we captured these memories there. A number of these shots made their way into Nolan's 1-month letter and this first one was  used as his birth announcement.

Photo by Natural Intuition Photography

Photo by Natural Intuition Photography

Photo by Natural Intuition Photography

Photo by Natural Intuition Photography

Photo by Natural Intuition Photography

Photo by Natural Intuition Photography

Photo by Natural Intuition Photography

Photo by Natural Intuition Photography

Photo by Natural Intuition Photography

Photo by Natural Intuition Photography

Photo by Natural Intuition Photography

Monday, April 29, 2013

A week....no, TWO WEEKS of Nolan

Next Sunday, May 5th, my baby (My Baby!) turns one. One whole year old!  I can not even get over this.  I've found myself just staring at him lately as his lanky body lays next to me in bed and thinking he really is getting SO big.  It is definitely official, he is no longer a baby; he is very much one of the boys.  While he's still mastering the walking, he plops on his butt often, he's outside playing and inside walking through the halls just like the other two.

I had planned on making this a Week of Nolan - finally getting around to writing his birth story, baptism letter, etc. but I've got some deadlines at work this week and that coupled with the work to get ready for his party (his fiesta party!) I think finding the time to sit down and write is going to be difficult.  So instead, we're going to have TWO weeks of Nolan.  This week I'll share with you some photos from his newborn, 3-mo, 6-mo, 9-mo and 1-year sessions - he'll grow up right before our eyes - and next week I'll get down to writing.

And since I don't have any of his newborn pictures uploaded yet, this intro post will have to be the kick off of our Two Weeks of Nolan. I'll be back tomorrow to spend two weeks celebrating this third baby of ours.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

spring cleaning our lives

Do you spring clean?  Like the deep, scrub the room down from top to bottom, spring clean?  I remember spring cleaning our mud room in the old house.  We pulled everything (everything!) out of the closet, went to Target to get a new organizer and some buckets to hold dirty towels and dirty bibs/cloth napkins.  I took the garbage can outside and scrubbed it out and even though it was sprinkling, I took the blinds down and hosed them off outside.  I hung those blinds over the garbage can to somewhat dry while I pulled a step ladder out and cleaned the outside of the window.  The room was sparkling when we were done.

Oh look, I found that old post. (Going back and reading these old posts and seeing pictures of our old house is always a bit harder for me than I expect it to be.  Sophie made an appearance in this post and....you guys....I miss that cat so much.  I'm choking back tears now because I hate that she is no longer with us.)

I remember going in the mud room after we finished spring cleaning it and just taking deep breaths.  Everything was organized and tidy; standing in there taking in the sight brought me so much peace.

But I also remember what it felt like mid-clean.  The floors were littered with various items that had been hiding in the closet; some shouldn't have been there in the first place, others belonged there but were not orderly.  Collin and I were tripping over each other trying to work on our respective tasks and more than once we had to step out of the room to collect ourselves and calm down a bit.

We spent 2012 just trying to survive. We spent the year sorting through generous donations, repurchasing items that we needed for the new house and the boys, rebuilding the house from the ground up, welcoming a new son, and moving back into the house (before it was really ready). Pretty much everything besides those big ticket items was put on the back burner - our finances, our health, our diet/exercise routines.

We're 4+ months into 2013, a year we've dedicated to getting our lives back in order. We're trying hard to tackle one project at a time, to not take everything out of the "closet" and sprawl it all over the floor. But it's difficult, because, well, taking it all out and sprawling it all over the floor is kind of the way I clean. The thing is, when we spring clean a room the room gets put back together in a reasonable amount of time: a day, a weekend, maybe a week, but the mess isn't out indefinitely. We're spring cleaning our lives and I feel like we are suspended here, in the anxiety ridden mid-clean, tripping over each other as we work on our respective tasks.  I know it will be worth it in the end - I know one of these days we'll get our lives organized, but in the meantime I'm constantly feeling the need to step out of the room, to take a few deep breaths and try desperately to collect myself.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Dear Nolan: 11 Months

Dear Nolan,

At the beginning of April you turned 11 months old.  I can’t get over how fast this year has gone.  I sat down to look through all of the professional pictures we had taken of you this year and seeing you as a teeny tiny newborn flooded me with emotions and memories.  I remember holding you back then, so little in my arms, and wondering what you would look like as you got older, at that time I just couldn’t imagine you as a toddler.  And I wondered about your personality; would you be quiet and shy, letting your brothers talk for you or would you be loud and boisterous, a third child who steals the show?  While we still don’t know all of these things definitively, I feel like we have a pretty good idea now.

In the looks department you continue to be a mix between your brothers, having your own unique look.  Like both of your older brothers, at 11 months you are still pretty much bald, with just a light covering of blonde hair that has started to curl in the back.  Color-wise it seems to be closer to Hutton’s, although I’d say with a slightly more reddish tint, but it is straight, like Keaton’s. Your eyes are still blue but there is a spot in your right eye that I’m watching; I’m not entirely convinced that they will stay blue. Your face seems to change on a daily basis, sometimes it seems slim and other days it’s big and round.  Your cheeks are simply munchable and, just like your brothers, you have a cute little button nose.  I’m interested to see what your 1-year stats are in just a couple weeks; my guess is that you are on the short side as you are still wearing a lot of 9-month pants.  I did (finally!) officially move you into 12-month clothes right before you turned 11 months old.

Personality wise… well… let’s just say you have A LOT of personality. I remember telling you around the time you turned 5-months or so that you were no wall flower, that you could command a room.  That has not changed.  You are vocal. Oh so vocal.  You express your pleasures by clapping and giggling and lots of ahh, ahh, ahhs!  And your displeasures?  Well, they are expressed by screams, the throwing of your head, and tears.  You cry anytime someone tells you “no” regardless of whether it is spoken or signed to you. And you are so, so active.  You get right in there, a force to be reckoned with between your brothers. In fact just tonight your brothers were standing at the window, looking into the yard and you walked over, threw your hips a bit and squeezed yourself right in between them.  Your Dad has made the prediction that there will be no 2 on 1 when it comes to you guys, no, it will be 1 on 1 on 1 and I have no doubt you will be able to hold your own.

Hahahah…speaking of holding your own, oh, do I have a story to share with you.  Nolan Hank, at 11-months it seems you have been in your first bar fight.  It was about 3 am on a Saturday night, things got a little rowdy and out of hand and before we knew it, someone (something?) upset you and you were throwing punches….or, head butts, as the case may be.  The recipient of your fury?  Your father.  Your poor father who is one tooth less these days.  Oh yes, that’s right – in the middle of the night a couple of Saturday’s ago you got upset, threw your head back to express your distress and you KNOCKED YOUR DAD’S TOOTH OUT! I cannot make this stuff up, Little One. You?  You are a bruiser.

On a happy note, your biggest news at 11-months is that you have taken your first few steps.  It started with one or two, then three, four, sometimes up to six before you plop on your butt.  We made the prediction that you’d be full out walking by your first birthday and I’d say you will definitely be very close.  You’ve started pulling the stiff leg on me when I try to set you down these days, refusing to be set on the ground in the sitting position and wanting instead to be standing straight up.  Walking is one of your Dad’s and my favorite milestone so we are particularly happy about this!

At 11-months you still have just six teeth (four on top, two on bottom), but that doesn’t stop you from eating all the food.  Everyone comments on how much you can eat.  You love playing with blocks and taking baths, trying to throw your leg over the edge of the tub on your own nowadays, and you have a sweet tooth.  Last weekend we attended a baptism and I shared my cake with you three boys, you sat at my side smacking your lips until every last bit of that cake was gone.  You continue to be a thumb sucker and when you are tired you put one hand in your mouth and one hand in our mouth.  You still hate your car seat, having things taken away from you, and, as I mentioned before, being told No.  We are just a couple of short weeks away from your first birthday and while it makes me sad to think your first year is about to come to a close, I am so excited to spend a day celebrating you.

I love you with all my heart,

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Praying for Boston; Praying for Peace

It's been quiet around here lately, things have been.....kind of rough. Emotionally, I've been on a downward cycle - they seem to come and go, these ups and downs. Anxiety, depression, stress, they can be a difficult combination.  I had planned on popping in yesterday to finally write some things down, to purge it out of my head, but as I was taking a break to pump around 2 pm I scrolled through Twitter and saw the news.  I spent the remainder of the afternoon between my computer, trying to get things done, and the tv, watching the footage.

It's so hard to make any kind of sense out of things like this.  Like Sandy Hook, the bombings in Boston shook me to the core.  My heart aches for all those (and their family and friends) who were injured and lost their lives; and for those whose lives are forever changed after witnessing such a horrific event.  And my heart swells for all those that rushed in to help, to save, who put their lives in danger to serve others.

The local news was on when Collin brought the boys home last night and before I could change it they showed the explosions again while Keaton was watching.

"Mom, we saw this at Busha's.  Something bad happened. They used a phone, pushed a button and something went BOOM! and then another one went BOOM!"

(He doesn't know anything beyond this, we've been careful not to show him any additional coverage although he saw that "the bang was on the newspaper today." But I've been reminded once again how intuitive small children really are.)

As I was rocking Nolan to bed last night, trying to process all of what had transpired yesterday I realized Keaton summed it up pretty well: Something bad happened.

Shortly after getting Nolan down I snuggled in bed with Keaton - I was scrolling through my phone one last time when he said, "Mom, can we say our prayers?  I'm going to fall asleep."

I put the phone down and turned to him, "Yes, Baby, what do you want to pray for tonight?"

Without skipping a beat he told me: "Peace."

Praying for Boston.  Praying for Peace.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Easter 2013

Breakfast with the Easter Bunny

We had just sat down to eat, the boys' pancakes were cut and Nolan was taking in spoonfuls of applesauce, "Mom, I think that bunny dressed up." Keaton said.

I kind of look at Collin, oh great, here we go....

"Why, Honey?"

"Well, did you see his feet?  He had shoes under his paws!"

Collin, always the quick thinker, told him it was cold out.  And snowy.  And sometimes Bunnies need shoes too.

"Yeah, you're right" Keaton said.  And we were spared this year.

(P.S.  I'm SO happy with this picture!  I really didn't except it to be good at all.  Nolan is obviously distressed, but overall, okay in my book!)

Coloring Eggs

I've always wanted to try dying eggs with natural dyes.  Ideally, I'd like to make my own.  Realistically, I just don't have the time or energy for that right now, so when I found a natural dye kit, I snatched it up.  We had planned on coloring a dozen eggs but there was a little mishap in the transfer from the stock pot to the ice water bowl (I won't name names (collin) :)) and so we were left with only seven.

Seven was perfect though.  The natural dyes took longer to color, having to sit in the color for several minutes at a time (10, 15, up to 20).  Each of the big boys got to pick three eggs to color and Collin did one for Nolan.

While I was nearby for the egg dying, Collin did the majority of the work.  It was Saturday, the day before our Easter celebration with Papa & Busha and Auntie Bea and I was busy cooking.  Wild Rice Casserole, 7-layer salad, and this....my very first Lemon Meringue Pie.  Actually, my very first ANY pie.

It tasted good, but the filling did not set up all the way.  As soon as we cut into it on Sunday afternoon it started running.  I'm thinking I need more cornstarch, but would love your suggestions, if you have them!

Easter Baskets

Hutton woke up first on Easter morning and like pretty much every holiday in the past, we had to remind him what day it was.  Keaton wasn't up yet but the two youngest were rolling and so we woke Keaton as well.  The big boys ran out to the living room and found their baskets under the Easter tree we had decorated the day before.  

Keaton was in a bit of shock when he saw his basket, "I didn't know he DID that!?"

But they quickly started digging in and I'd say their new Brewers shirts were probably the biggest hit.  The biggest hit with me, though, was seeing them immediately put their new ornaments on the tree.

The Egg Hunt

I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed when I realized there was just no way we'd be able to have our egg hunt outside this year (too much snow!) But it didn't matter in the least to the boys.  They had So Much Fun hunting for their eggs and a few other small goodies left by the Easter Bunny and his helper (Busha).  They weren't even done finding all the eggs when Keaton excitedly told us, "I can't wait to do this AGAIN!"

I can't wait to do this again, either.  While Christmas has historically been my favorite holiday, Easter is giving it a serious run for its money these days.  I love all of this, the egg coloring, the hunt, the Easter tree, but mostly, I love the church services.  They have uplifted my heart and I truly feel renewed this week.  I hope you do too.  Happy Easter!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy Easter!

Wow!  These past three days have been an absolute whirlwind.  I think Collin and I have sat down for a total of maybe 2 hours in the last 48.  Our feet hurt.  But it was a wonderful weekend and totally worth it, even if we did oversleep (starting the week off schedule) this morning.

A proper holiday post to come (hopefully tomorrow).

Hope you all had a Happy and Blessed Easter!