Monday, January 4, 2010

Dear Nate 4th Birthday

Dear Nathan

You turned 4 years old. You have definitely grown out of the toddler stage are a full blown preschooler. You understand jokes, you like to laugh and we have interesting conversations. You also get your feelings hurt easily and really want to get along with everyone.

Marisa is your best friend and your biggest fan. She will play any game that you want to and will do whatever you want her to. You are also good at helping her feel better when she is sad. You can always seem to make her laugh when she is crying with either a silly face or a funny song. She loves you so much and I know why.

You have become so very lovable. You are sweet to everyone, always offering your blankie when someone is sad and sharing your snacks or food. You give hugs and huge kisses. You have become very skilled at talking on the telephone and like to call your Nana, your Grandma and your Daddy. Every night when you go to sleep I sing “You are my sunshine” and then you always get up from your snuggled in position to give me a big hug and kiss.

This year we spent some time at Gull Lake and we went to Great Wolf Lodge (a water park) in the winter. You really loved the water park and we had a lot of fun there. You finally understand the importance of safety items such as life jackets, bicycle helmets, and seatbelts.

For Halloween you dressed up as an astronaut and we celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas at Nana and Papas and Aunt Jenn and Papa Bob came over the day after Christmas to visit. Your favorite gift was what Santa brought you, a new airplane, Buzz Lightyear and Woody. In the winter we made Christmas cookies, decorated Gingerbread houses and went to see the lights. You sure loved decorating cookies! You continued to be a big helper with Mommy in the kitchen. Brownies are your favorite thing to make. We had a fun Easter egg hunt at Nana and Papas house and you and Drew hid in the closet and ate all your candy.

You and Marisa loved to play in the laundry baskets and we had a blast playing outside in the sandbox, with the water table and we even created our own water park in the backyard! Mommy and you took time away together to go to the Ann Arbor Hands on Museum, we had so much fun! Daddy taught you how to play hockey in the basement and wanted to take you ice skating but you didn’t want to go. You also really hate getting your haircut. It’s the worst thing that we could ever take you to do. You really don’t like it, screaming and throwing your body around.

We had to say goodbye to Jake our family dog this year, and we were all very sad. We read “Doggy Heaven” and you pretended to understand. We cuddled a lot with Max and talked about how much fun Jake was. We will miss him very much.

You enjoyed shows like Elmo (mostly because Marisa loved it) and Backyardigans. But your absolute favorite was Curious George and you would even ask for certain episodes by name. Your two favorite movies are The Incredibles and Toy Story.

Ms. Katie was your preschool teacher and Aadi is still your best friend. This year you started to write your name and became very good at the letter N. By the end of the year, you could write almost anything as long as I wrote it for you to copy.

At your Doctor appointment for your birthday you were in the 105% for height and 90% for weight. The Doctor said you were growing great, but you were a big boy!

Your birthday this year we celebrated by getting a giant bounce house for our back yard. We invited our neighbors over and a few close friends. You had a blast. I can’t believe how much fun it was to ring in your 4th birthday. You are gowning up so fast, I’m really proud of you.

I love you,
Your Mama.

Dear Nate 3rd Birthday

Dear Nate

This week you turned three! I have to say so far this was the most interesting year! Your new baby sister was starting to grow on you and you always wanted to lay with her. You had to be independent at times because Mommy couldn’t always play what you wanted and go outside when you wanted when Daddy was at work. You started to let the dogs outside on your own and pick out your own snacks, and snack you sure did. You decided that you didn’t really like to eat any of the foods Mommy and Daddy made for dinner unless it was tacos or spaghetti. But you liked your snacks, especially popsicles and salami.

We did many fun things that summer, we went to Domino’s Farm and Drew came over a lot. The week before Labor Day you fell at school and fractured your clavicle. We didn’t know what was wrong with you and Daddy took you to the Doctor right away. They thought you had croup! We went to the Doctor two more times before they realized that you had fractured your clavicle. You didn’t have a cast or anything, but they
just wanted you to rest.

In May of that year you fell at school again and broke two of your front teeth on the sensory table in your classroom. We had to go to the Dentist and have one pulled right away and we had another one pulled a couple of months later. You adjusted to the gap in your teeth faster and better than Mommy and Daddy who felt very sad that your perfect sweet smile was now different. Although we all got used to it quickly and thought you looked very handsome.

For Halloween you dressed up as Cookie Monster. It was the first year that you chose your own costume. You only trick or treated for a short time, and then came home to hand out candy. This year you met your best friend Aadi. You two are very close and spend most of your time at school together.

You started to become very picky about your clothes and almost every day wore a hat. Your red one was your favorite at the beginning of the year and your orange one was your favorite after that.

When you were 2 and a half we got rid of your crib and bought you a blue race car bed. You loved it, but it took a week or two before you would sleep in it. You also had some sleep issues toward the end of this year. You wouldn’t go to sleep alone so someone had to lie on the floor of your bedroom, and you woke up during the night for Daddy to come and sleep on the floor. This lasted until Mommy and Daddy became smart enough to stop doing it.

Your favorite TV shows were Make Way for Noddy, Dragon Tales, and Calliou. I think you like Calliou because he was almost your age and had a baby sister, like you!

Two weeks before your 3rd birthday I told you that it was time to start using the potty. Although you refused to learn to stand and go pee, you began wearing underwear. It took only 3 days and you learned to use the potty with no accidents! About 3 weeks later you even were wearing underwear at night! We were very very proud.

At two years old you were smart, independent, and very inquisitive. I’m very excited to see how you grow and change.

I love you,

Your Mama.

Dear Nate, 2nd Birthday

Dear Nate

Today you turn 2 years old. I can’t believe how fast this year has flown by!
Your first few months you were an experienced walker already, and wanted to run and climb the stairs. Mommy was so nervous. But everything you tried to do, you did very successfully. I am so proud of you for trying so many things.

During the summer you loved to go swimming, but you weren’t too crazy about riding in Papa’s boat. We spent a week vacation together, and went to the water park, which you got used to after awhile, and went to the Toledo zoo which you LOVED, and your favorite thing from the summer…. Eating ice cream! We played on the deck a lot and you spent a lot of time in your pool and your sandbox. It took you a long time to be ok with the way grass felt, but you adjusted to it.

In the fall we went apple picking and to a cider mill. We got lost in a corn maze and decided never to do that again. You didn’t like riding any rides like on the back of the fire truck or a pony ride. For Halloween you dressed up as a frog. I think you loved trick or treating 10 times more than we thought you would. Daddy and you went out and trick or treated while Mommy stayed home and handed out candy.

You loved music and liked all types of songs, but your favorite was Carrie Underwood “Before He Cheats” You would dance all over the living room when it came on! For a few weeks you decided it would be a good idea to get up every morning at 4:30; which means you went back to bed at 6:30, but wow was that exhausting for Mommy and Daddy. Your favorite TV shows were Noddy, anything with Elmo, and Barney! Every morning we would get up and sit in the chair together and watch your favorite show. It was a nice snuggly time with you.

Christmas time came and we spent it away from home, Christmas Eve at Grandma Carols and Christmas Day at Nana and Papas, you got your talking vacuum which you loved very much, you cleaned the house top to bottom with that thing!

You had tubes put in again and also had your adenoids removed. That seemed to make the ear infections disappear, which was wonderful. Mommy and Daddy left you with a babysitter for the first time; Miss Lisa came and stayed with you. You started talking and your very first words were Maaa (for Max) and Dada, and Mama, and more (because you could do the sign for more perfectly). You liked to say NO to everything. When you were 18 months you learned to say YES! We were thrilled! You began to play more with your cousin Drew. You and him would have car races around the house, and share toothbrushes.

You were a fantastic eater, and your favorite food was Cheeze-its. You ate tons of them, and bananas still were a close second. At 18 months you got all your teeth but your 2 year molars. You loved to smile for pictures and we have LOTS! You also went to your very first MSU football game; you stood on Mommy’s lap and clapped to all the songs. Towards the end of your second year you got a new baby sister when Marisa was born. You started to throw temper tantrums after that, but grew out of it pretty quick. You loved Marisa and treated her very kind and gentle and wanted to do everything for her, including feeding her your precious Cheez-its and giving her your blankie.

Your birthday party was a little smaller, but it was beautiful outside and you got to run around with Aunt Jenn and Cousin Drew, so you were very happy.

I’m so excited to see what we have in store for us next year, I love you.


Letters to Nate

Every year on Nate's birthday (or a few weeks/months afterwards) I write him a letter summarizing the year, hitting on key points and putting all those "firsts" into written words so I don't forget them when his wife asks me in 25 years. I've decided that they do me no good stored on my computer, so I'm going to post them all here. As they've progressed I've begun adding photos. You will see....

Dear Nate

Today you turn 1 year old. I can’t believe how fast this year has flown by!
I remember when we were holding you in the hospital and how you were so vocal from day one. As soon as we brought you home you began to “talk” and you haven’t stopped since. You used to lie under your play gym and coo and tell stories to the animals for such a long time. You talked to us, and you loved to sing songs. Itsy Bitsy Spider was one of your favorites.

You were so eager to accomplish things, wanting us to hold you so you could put your weight on your legs and “stand” at 4 weeks! You sat up at 5 months and rolled over about the same time. Your favorite food was green beans until we introduced bananas into your life. You love your bananas!

I couldn’t wait for you to crawl, and at 7 ½ months you finally did! Although I didn’t get to enjoy it very long before you started to take your first steps at 9 months. You loved to pull up on the tables and push around your car. You also LOVED getting into the dog food, and tearing apart Mama’s kitchen cabinets. One time you climbed in the refrigerator when it was open too long, and you were always in Nana’s cabinets at the lake.

Ahh the illness, you had ear infection after ear infection. Mommy and Daddy took you for your first emergency room visit at 4 months. It was very scary, but we found out you just had an ear infection. At 9 months you had surgery to put tubes in your ears, which seemed to really help you feel better.

Your birthday party was huge with about 40 people coming. You received lots of presents but I think your favorite gifts were the riding car and truck you got from your Nana and your Grandpa Bob.

For Halloween you dressed as a pumpkin and we went trick-or-treating at the mall with Drew who was also a pumpkin. You both fell asleep about 20 minutes in. We celebrated Christmas and you had a blast playing with the paper and laughing with Uncle Shaun. He really can crack you up!

You cried when we rode anywhere in the car, I think it was because you were tired of looking at the back of the seat. You loved throwing the ball for the dogs and you were fascinated by anything that played music.

You still carry around your striped blankie, and love taking a bath. You don’t like the way grass feels, and are mesmerized although scared of the vacuum. I loved when you learned how to wave as it started by opening and closing your hand, then the whole arm would move up and down. You have to be the most smiley baby, you smile at everyone and your great big belly laugh melts my heart. We call you our little peanut and you make us want to have more children.

Thank you for letting me get to know you, I feel so lucky. I love you very much,


Friday, January 1, 2010

THE BEST of 2009

Here we go the best (and a few of the worst) of 2009

Best Snack (as chosen by my children)

Cheez-its. Two years running you fattening little cheesy crackers. At least I feel less guilty with the daily consumption because now I buy the "Whole Grain" kind. Although if you look, it still has less than 1 gram of fiber.... not sure how "whole grain" that is but anyway...

Worst Snack.
Push-up Pops. Are you kidding me? Who invented these extremely hard to manipulate, stain faces for days and carpets forever. Really, my children were stained for two days.

Best Smell
Yuletide Vanilla Pear from Bath and Body Works. Yummmm for some reason smells like apple pie.

Best Day(s) of 2009
1. Completing my first 5K May 31st
2. November 13th the day Marisa decided she didn't want to wear diapers anymore.
3. August 7th visiting Mackinac Island on the most perfect beautiful day.

Best Movie
The Proposal. Ok, say all you want about my movie tastes. I judge a good movie by the ability to make me laugh out loud. This one did.. many many times.

Best "First" for 2009
Probably has to be Marisa using the potty but also memorable... Nate standing up to pee (life is so much easier!).... or Nate's first movie in the theater "Ponyo". Extremely cute.

Best drink for 2009
Malibu and Pineapple. My go-to drink of the year.
Sounds good right now, it's 5 oclock somewhere!

A new beginning

Today is the beginning of 2010, can't say I'm not ridiculously happy to see 2009 go away. A year that started with so much promise. In my job I was reassigned a district that meant I would no longer have to travel so much. 12 schools right around my house, pretty good deal. My family scheduled a vacation for an entire week! We even went to the water park on vacation in March. But that's when the bottom dropped out.... without any advance notice my company let go of 200 employees. While I did keep my job, I took a 5% pay cut. Plus, I was no longer getting the bonuses that my family depends on. :-(. As the year dragged on the news just kept getting worse for our company and things kept changing. It's very shaky right now and each day I'm worried that I will get more bad news. Now to top it all off in the last two weeks of the year our TV broke and we learned what was making Max (our 6 year old dog) limp. Torn ACL.

So here is my hopes for 2010....
Peace. Really. I wish that things would start to financially stabilize so that people aren't fearful everyday of losing a job or a home. That this week of rest and pain pills works on Max so we don't need to figure out how to pay for his surgery. I find time to peel myself away from my very needy daughter without her screaming, to start my exercise regimen again. I begin to read more, relax more and snuggle with my husband more. Hopefully I will also continue my path of reconnecting with my friends again. I can't believe how much time and energy your kids will zap out of you...I can't remember the last time I wasn't some kind of tired . My past 3 performance reviews with 2 different supervisors I've been congratulated on how organized I am, how well I balance work and family, and how even though I have two young children, you can't tell. And I always wonder this....if this is how I appear, what does everyone else look like?

Happy New Year, I hope this year brings you comfort and joy.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I'm bored

Please understand. Not bored in the "I have nothing to do" way. But bored in the my life is BORING way. I work, I go to the gym (when I can spare a moment), and I'm home with the kids. I don't go anywhere, can't really remember when the last time I went out with friends. Last time Chris and I went out it was May. Seriously MAY!!!!! Really, I have no idea, or a plan for what to do about it. It's awkward and uncomfortable to ask anyone to babysit, they all work for me. I takes my parents and hour to get here to babysit, and then the whole time I spend looking at the time because I feel guilty for them driving home so late.

I HATE Chris's work schedule. Tuesday through Saturday 10-9. He doesn't get home until 9:30. Fridays, gone. Saturday's gone. Plus he's gone all day Saturday so the kids and I are home alone. Then I feel like I can't go anywhere when he is home or we are two ships passing in the night and never get to talk. As it is now, I leave for work at 8am and he doesn't get home most nights until I'm asleep, because he goes to the gym, or goes out with friends from work. We see each other approximately 10-15 minutes a day.

I'm sad, I miss my friends. So many things I like about living here, but moving when I was pregnant in the middle of winter, I never got to know anyone, and when would I go anywhere and meet people.