Saturday, April 22, 2017

Nursery Legal

Hey Sweet boy,

Hooray! You're finally old enough to stay in nursery! I didn't realize how excited I would be to send you to nursery, since I love to get in all the Devin time I can. But let's be honest, church is hard for you, and when you can go in and play with toys and kids, it's a win for both of us.

This month has been such a fun one, even though you have become much more attached to Mom, which means some things become much more difficult. You've become my little Koala baby this month, because you are attached to my hip at all times. Whenever I try to put you down you pull your legs up around me and hang on with all your might. It's so adorably frustrating because I love that you want me, but it's hard to do things like cook and clean with one hand. Luckily, you're usually good to sit on the counter and "help". You like to stir things, and help put ingredients in a mixing bowl. And sometimes, I can put you on the floor with your own pot and spoon (empty of course), and you're temporarily content mixing your own dinner.

You say "more" whenever you want us to play another game, song, or of course when you want more to eat. It comes out a little bit like, "moh". Sometimes you even want to say "moh" blessings on the food, so you fold your arms, wait for us to fold ours and then excitedly say, "Amen!". It's nice you want to say blessings, even if it's hard for you to sit still and keep your arms folded through one. A few weeks ago we went to the YSA sacrament meeting so Daddy could join us, and the girl saying the opening prayer was a bit long-winded. About halfway through you loudly exclaimed, "AMEN!" Since you were the only one making noise, it was hard to miss your meaning. You can also do all of the "Wheels on the Bus" verses, and we've even added one of our own for the "Devins" on the bus, and I think it's quite fitting.


You are more adept at making your desires known as each day passes. I've spent lots of time around other kids, but watching you become more communicative on a daily basis is an incredible experience. And sometimes pretty entertaining. When you eat something you really love you'll grab the spoon and bring my hand to your mouth to get it as quickly as possible. And when you really want me you'll wriggle in between me and whatever is in the way and push me back so I can reach down and pick you up. My favorite was one day when we had the missionaries and a friend over. You got done eating and would say, "bye" to us and walk toward the front door. You did this a few times, and then finally came over, grabbed my hand to bring me with you, then waved to our guests and said, "bye". Okay. Clearly you're done entertaining and ready for some mommy time.

You LOVE playing with other kids. At Sea World you met another little guy (a bit younger but also a bit bigger) and you both watched the beluga whales together and "talked" to each other. Eventually you grabbed each other to hug and toppled to the ground. You both got up looking suddenly a little unsure of the other guy. This is actually fairly typical. I never realized just how much little kids love to hug, but don't exactly know how to do it gently or effectively. We've gone to meet Grandma Rita at Downtown Disney with her grandkids and they are so cute with you. Last time they brought you a Max from the Secret Life of Pets. So sweet. You also love hanging out with Lochlan, a four year old buddy. It's fun to see you play together and imagine what experiences you'd have as a brother. When they were last over the neighborhood kids were out and wanted to play. As you all started playing he turned to them and said, "This is a Devin. You have to be careful with him because he's little!" It was super cute and sweet.

You loved the fish, sharks, and whales at Sea World, and also had a blast on the carousel and train, though I think the highlights of the day were the giant (but S.L.O.W.) slide that you went down over and over again, and the splash pad. While it doesn't quite match up to the magic of Disney, I loved that Sea World was much less crowded, so you could do things like ride the carousel over and over again. It's one of your favorite things at any park.

You've learned things like showing your muscles and you suddenly got super interested in wearing your play glasses around. You'll even keep a hat on from time to time. You love music and having your back tickled. You love the park and all things that involve being outside. And you really love "Elmo", or basically all the Sesame Street songs we typically play on Youtube from our phones when it's time to just chill. At night before bed we'll snuggle in our bed and watch a few before you go to sleep. You can now sing the Bah bah ba bahs, with Feist, and sing the numbers with the Pentatonix.

I've probably said this before, but there are days as I come down the stairs and see you playing that I realize there's no possible way to imagine this home without you, and yet I still can't believe you are here and we get to experience your life every day. I can never adequately describe the emotions and overpowering love I have for you, Devin. I feel as Shakespeare wrote, "My love's ... richer than my tongue ... I cannot heave my heart into my mouth." The richness of this love gets me out of bed in the middle of the night, encourages me to keep working when I just want to be home with you, allows me to sit patiently (most of the time) through an eternal meal because you just want to play, and carries me through the moments when my worries over your journey through this life feel overwhelming.

You are my sunshine sweet Devin. I admire your love and your determination, and all the silliness that brings laughter into our home every day. We love you sweet boy.


Mom and Dad

Sunday, March 26, 2017

17 Months

Hi Buddy!

I know, I know, you're so close to 18 months it feels pointless, right?! But, your little world is full of so much growing I had to make time to share.

We made our first road trip with just you and I the beginning of February for an overnight trip to Ft. Lauderdale/Miami. Mimi and Papa were passing through after their cruise, and we couldn't pass up the opportunity to see them and our Florida cousins. You weathered the driving like a champ, even sleeping through more than half of the drive home, though that might have had something to do with your lack of sleep the night before. You just had so much fun with Nancy's sweet boys you wanted to keep playing all night long. I was starting to wonder if I would be the one that wouldn't make it through the drive. Luckily, we got JUST enough sleep to get through.

You LOVED all the boys, and they were so sweet and good to you! You loved wrestling with Ben, dancing with Joseph, and being able to play with all their toys. The cash register was your favorite.

Our visit with Mimi and Papa was just perfect, considering we didn't have much time. We found a spot on the beach to visit and put our feet in the water, and then you proceeded to make friends with every. single. person at McDonald's when we stopped for lunch. Your smile definitely lights up my world, but it's fun to see the way you can do that to others as well.

Going to Disney these days is super fun and super hard, since you definitely have your own opinions now, but we had some really fun memories this month. We made a surprise visit one Saturday evening, and you were busy, but so delightful. We snapped selfies, at dinner together, and you pushed the stroller for me most of the night. You grab onto the bar just below the seat, put your head down, and just GO. It was hilarious watching people notice you pushing because you can get that thing moving FAST! You pushed your way all the way through the back of EPCOT and out the back entrance. It's perfect, because you are occupied, and you stay close to Mom! While we waited to go see Dad, we stopped by the American Pavilion and watched part of the Broadway show. It was a great show, but really it was way more fun to watch you. You walked back and forth on the bench and rocked out to the music, and I think everyone around us was having more fun watching you than the show too! I love the way you light up when you hear music.

We also decided to have our Valentine celebration at EPCOT. I got to celebrate with both of my Valentines, which made it super special. Since Dad and I have never been big on gifting for Valentine's Day, we decided to make it a little game. We had to find something that started with the other person's name, that didn't come from the same country as the other person's gift, and that had something to do with Valentine's Day. You were a very good sport as we shopped around for the perfect things, and you also crossed the Potomac and spent time on the countryside with us, since it was the EPCOT Art festival.

During President's day weekend Mom decided she was going to use her extra time off to finally paint part of the house. I wasn't sure how things were going to work with you around. It's pretty easy to do a project on my own, but when there might be little hands touching wet paint and "helping", things get a little more complicated. But, you actually were an excellent assistant, helping Mom sand, and even helping Dad roll on a bit of paint.

We also finally made it to the beach as a family over the long weekend. This was our second attempt at going to Clearwater. The first time was Memorial Day weekend, and we ended up hitching a ride back home in a tow truck after getting halfway there. This time we hit a LOT of traffic, which didn't leave much beach time. But we had enough time to settle into the white sand and spend some time playing in the water. It was lovely. And we'll definitely be back.

Your vocabulary and comprehension are growing every day. On top of your ability to sing, "Row, row, row..." you've now added "Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily..." to the song. Someone else may not know that's what you're singing, but you definitely know that's what you're singing and it is super cute!

You are starting to love nursery, even though you've become a little more aware of whether you're with mommy or not. Occasionally you make it pretty clear you just want to be with Mom. But, most of the time you love hanging out and having fun with friends, old and young.

You've definitely struggled a bit with sleeping here and there. I think sometimes those pesky teeth get bothersome overnight. We've had a few early morning snuggles, and while I'm super tired, I can't help but enjoy the chance to just hold you. Now that you're getting much more independent you're often more interested in playing than snuggling so I try to soak up all the opportunities I have to hold you close.

Trish and Sarah came to town at the end of the month, and we had a BLAST with them! Sarah was such a sweet cousin, and was so patient with you. She was always willing to share her popcorn, hold your hand, and give you sweet hugs. During all the years I waited for you, our nieces and nephews filled that space in my heart that was meant just for kids. I love being an aunt, and it was so fun to spend time with Sarah and see her growing up. We spent a day at Universal and lots of days at Disney, and she went on ALL the big rides and LOVED them! She especially loved the roller coasters, and she was lucky enough to ride most of her favorites at least twice.

It was a special time for me to have Trish here. Since she's just a little bit older than me, she's been the one who has shown me the way all through my life. She's been an awesome example, the most constant and loving friend, and she's an awesome auntie too!! While Trish and I both have drive, she is a worker at heart, and she's always the one to take charge. It was really fun to see her get into "aunt mode" and just have fun with you. While we took Sarah on rollercoasters, she dressed you up in Minnie ears and Aerosmith wigs, and managed to capture a great game of "peek-a-boo" with a giant Aerosmith hat.

You are still a good eater most of the time, though you seem to be less interested in hamburgers than I would have expected (you'd prefer to just feed that to mom), and you're getting to the point where sometimes you'd rather play than eat. You love eggs, and breakfast in general. You also love beans and rice. And while you love treats, you're still just as happy with your avocados and strawberries.

Your favorite place to be is the park, but you're content just being outside and checking out the "woof-woof" next door. You love dogs, you love to say "quack quack" for the duck, and Aunt Trish even taught you to make the snake "sound". You add a new word every day, and it's so fun to communicate with you! You love music and dancing, "helping" mom in the kitchen and outside, and anywhere with a broom. You love going on walks and hanging out with the neighbors, and you are pretty much the friendliest guy I've ever met. You're always saying hi and smiling at everyone.

There are moments when I look at you and can't imagine our world, our home, our life without you, and yet I still can't believe you're here with us and we get this opportunity to be with you and watch you grow. I'm so blessed you are my son, and love the little person you're becoming more each day.


Mom and Dad

Saturday, February 11, 2017

15 & 16 Months

Hi Devy Boy!

December and January both slipped away so fast, and I decided that I was just going to have to combine them. You are learning so many new things daily, and I almost can't keep track of them all! I've done my best to enjoy each stage of your little life, without "can't-waiting" for the next one, and I'm grateful I did. The last 16 months have all been an amazing journey. But... this stage is SO MUCH FUN!! Don't get me wrong, I am a whole new kind of exhausted at the end of most days. But you are such a delightful boy, and it's incredible to start communicating with you, and understanding you more each day. Plus, you can work a room like no one I've every seen! You are always making new friends whether we're eating lunch at McDonalds, sitting in church, or playing at Disney.

You climbed down next to Daphne, and then
just crawled onto her lap. That was adorable, but
then you decided to do that to random strangers.
We decided maybe that wasn't the best plan.
Early in December you learned the 5 Little Monkeys song, and you could do the "can't catch me" finger shake like a champ! We've "visited" nursery a few times when I just couldn't bear chasing you down the halls at church, and the first time we walked in all the kids were lined up doing the song, and you turned to look at me and shake your finger with the biggest smile on your face that said, "Mom!! They know our song! What is this magical place, and why am I just finding out about it?!" Unfortunately, you've been a little more clingy in some of our recent visits, so we'll see how things go when you officially hit 18 months.

One of our first nursery experiments. You had a blast.
Along with 5 Little Monkeys, you also love to say, "Row, row, row..." after which you expect us to finish with, "Your boat, gently down the stream...." You could do that for hours. Dad and I usually last about 3 or 4 rounds.

Your list of words is getting longer every day. So far you're great with Mama, Dada, Mimi, Papa, hi, bye, bubbles, ball, bro (Dad taught you this one), quack (like the duck, which includes an adorable quacking gesture), woof woof, prophet, Jesus, cracker, and avocado. Yes, for reals, you say avocado (it comes out more like "avco", but you very much know what you're saying, and will say it anytime you see one). You don't put words together much, unless you're repeating us, but it's still kind of amazing when it happens. One day, when Daddy was leaving for work, you said "Bye Dad", and both of our hearts just melted!

You love your tent from G&G Cottle!

You also are working on your wink (it's still a work in progress, but when you try you sort of bat your eyes, which is kind of even more adorable), you blow kisses and play peek-a-boo, and you are constantly saying hi to everyone around you. We made a visit to Instacare a couple weeks ago, and my first clear clue that it was a false alarm was looking around at all the sad, droopy faces of the other kids while you sat and waved at the receptionist. Sure enough, it turned out to be a combo of lots of teeth and not enough ibuprofen.

You are a champion eater! You pretty much eat anything, but your favorites are probably still eggs, avocado, and berries. I never expected I would be telling my 16 month old he's already had enough avocado for the day as he's begging for more! Papa asked once, "Does he ever stop eating, or do you just stop feeding him?" He was thrilled that you would eat since most of your cousins aren't huge fans of food, but he was also AMAZED at how much you would eat, and sometimes I am too. I'm pretty sure most mornings you eat as much breakfast as I do. You've also learned to "blow" on your food. I'm not sure that you do a super effective job, but it's sure adorable.


We've introduced you to Sesame Street, and you still love High Five and Mother Goose Club. I don't love a lot of TV in our house, but sometimes I am grateful that you can sit through TV for awhile. Recently our routine has included a little snuggle time in bed with some Sesame Street on my phone or laptop before it's officially bedtime. I just soak up those snuggles! We also do lots of snuggling first thing in the morning when you get up and have a drink. You were sick for about a week at the start of the year (poor Dad was home alone with you for the worst of it), and your sleep was all sorts of screwed up for a bit afterward. That was miserable, except that you'd wake up early, drink a sippy while you snuggled with me, and then roll over and snuggle into my neck and fall back asleep. You wouldn't go back to bed, but I could bring you in and let you sleep with me for another hour or two. If we're honest, I didn't get much sleep... but it was kind of an ok trade off.

You're starting to hold the phone to your ear to talk into it, and you're pretty obsessed with phones in general. You also started making the cutest/silliest face sometimes just because, but it also seems to be your "posing" face for pictures. At first I wondered where it came from, and then I realized it's totally a face I've made since you were born. I guess you finally decided to try it out too.

A shoulder ride with Mom means you can "do" my hair.

Devin, I love all the fun, silly, and interesting things you do each day, but I've also fallen in love with your gentle, kind spirit. We've sat on the same pew as a family with a severely autistic boy a few times in church, and you watch him with the look of someone who understands his heart. I can't think of any other way to describe it. You also seem to gravitate toward his Dad, as you see him caring for his son. You looked at a man in a wheelchair behind us at Target the same way, and you specifically waved to him as we were walking away not for the attention or coupled with your "Mr. Charming" smile, but with a genuine love in your face. I hope your love for others, and your genuine spirit is something you keep throughout your life. You are not afraid of anyone, and you just love others, and assume that they will love you in return. Live your life that way, and it will be so. I know that to be true.

I love you Devin, with all of my heart! You fill my soul with so much happiness. I am so excited to get you out of bed in the morning, and I love the way you say "Bye" and wave when I put you to bed at night (although sometimes you're not super happy about it). I love watching you learn and grow, and I feel like the luckiest in the world that the Lord sent you to our family.


Mom and Dad

One of your favorite grown-up buddies

Already into cars... well, and anything you can climb in

 More Disney... as usual...

 You hang out with Daddy every chance you can get, whether it's chilling out, "helping" him with projects, or getting fancy and going out.

Your buddy and future wife. You guys play together whenever there's a chance.