Gavin - 11 Months

Oh sweet Gav. This past month with you has been so, so much fun. You are just the silliest little thing I've ever seen, and you keep us laughing all the time around here. You are so sweet, so much fun, so very independent, so adorable - I'm a bit obsessed, but in a totally healthy way, swear.

I know every mom goes on and on about her kids, but you really are the best. I know this because everyone who meets you adores you, and you basically have your very own fan club. We spend a lot of time at the church, so the ladies in the kid care area know you well. When we show up I hear "It's Gavin! Gavin's here!" from at least four or five different women. I repeatedly hear that they are obsessed with you, that you are the best baby, that you are so sweet, on and on and on - one lady actually stopped me in the hall the other day and told me that you are her favorite. So funny, but I totally understand ;)

When I try and think about the best way to sum your personality up, the words sweet and goofy are the first things that come to mind. You are just the sweetest little baby ever. You have the sweetest little voice - other than when you're screaming, which you do a lot (playfully, but still). You give the sweetest kisses, although you're not super affectionate. I have to ask for kisses, but then you'll give me like 10 so I get my fill for the day. You'll give me one very sweet kiss, and then when I look away you grab both sides of my face and make me kiss you again, and again, and again. Sweetest ever. You also don't give many hugs, or even like to be held a ton. You tend to wander off on your own, play for quite awhile, then wander over to hug my leg or grunt at me until I pick you up and give you some hugs and kisses, then you're ready to wander off on your own again. You're so independent and like to play by yourself for the majority of the day, but you have to check in every 10 minutes or so, just to make sure I'm still there. You also don't mind dark rooms at all, so I'll find you playing in the dark playroom or shut in a room where the door hadn't been shut all the way, totally happy and playing with whatever you've found.

Your goofiness is just the cutest thing. You laugh all the time, about everything, and sometimes you just sit in my lap, looking at me, and we just laugh at each other for awhile. Literally anything makes you laugh. All we have to do is look at you and laugh, and there you go. You aren't talking yet, but you're a pretty good mimic, so we've got Dada, Mama, and Uh-Oh out of you so far. I think Uh-Oh is your favorite to say, and it's so cute how your little mouth curls up to make the Ohhhh sound. You still love clapping, high five-ing, and you really like to take my hands and make me clap or tap your mouth and then mine to make that silly sound you love.

You have totally mastered the walking thing - although you will be one in TWO days, so I'm a bit late here. When you had actually just turned 11 months you were walking but walking a little rickety still at that point. Now, you're practically running. You actually are running, but tripping over your feet and splatting to the ground every so often. You are constantly, constantly banged up and bruised. Since you have zero fear, you just do whatever pops into your head. Climb anything, dive off anything, crawl into anything - you make me nervous, to say the least. You rarely seem to mind if you get hurt, unless you're really, really hurt, and then we have tears.

Another way you're often hurt is that mean ol' big brother of yours. The two of you have a ton of fun together, but he's mad at you about touching his toys approximately 83% of the time. Aside from that you're all wrestling, giggling, dancing best buds. Watching you two together is seriously the cutest, but I'm bracing myself for years of insanity. It's already pretty insane. Ya'll are LOUD and crazy.

You're a pretty good eater, although you still don't eat a ton most days. You're really weaning yourself when it comes to nursing, and we're at about a four hour stretch during the day most days. If I'm not with you I don't leave a bottle and you're totally fine. You love strawberries, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, black olives, cereal bars, and pizza. I gave you chicken strips and french fries the other day and those were a pretty big hit, and you love veggie straws. You like most things, but then some things, like cheese, you just refuse completely. You eat a lot of those little pouch things, a few a day, but if you see real food you typically prefer that.

You've got eight teeth, and we're thinking another one may be on it's way, judging by the way you've been acting. You're still a teeny tiny guy at close to 28 inches and just 18.5 pounds, but maybe you'll catch up at some point. Or maybe you'll be little and scrappy, you've certainly got the daring personality for that. You're starting to stretch your naps out, and we're down to two most days, sometimes one if your morning nap is super late. You're a pretty good napper, so we usually get one from around 9 to 10:30 or so, and another one around 2 or 3 for at least an hour. You go to bed right about 8, and wake up anywhere from 6:30 to 7:15. A couple weeks ago we had a stretch of waking up before 6 every day for over a week and I didn't think I was going to survive.

 You are doing all kinds of fun stuff these days, but one of my favorites is the dancing. You are such a little dancing machine and it's so, so cute. You are completely obsessed with this Busy Bumblebee song that Nana discovered on Youtube, and we turn it on and you just start dipping and swinging your hips and bouncing up and down and waving your arms around. Absolutely precious.

You're starting to have a bit more of a temper, but usually only when I'm not getting food to you quick enough or I'm not letting you hold your tooth brush. You really hate to have your diaper changed, but it's just because you don't want to hold still. You don't get mad, you just flip over and run away. Makes things rather complicated for those of us changing you. You don't like to be told no. You shake your head no back at us and kind of grunt in disapproval. Aside from those few things, you are a happy camper basically all day, every day.

I absolutely adore this age with you, but I have seriously enjoyed every minute of being your mama so I know I'll never be able to pick a favorite age. You have totally ruined me for any future babies that I may (somehow, maybe, hopefully) talk your daddy into, because it is HIGHLY unlikely I would ever be so lucky to have another baby as good as you. Your crazy, silly little personality is so different than what I was expecting from my mild mannered, laid back tiny baby that I brought home almost a year ago, but oh my goodness I wouldn't trade this for the world. I am loving everything about watching you grow, and watching you and your brother bond, and I am so, so thankful that I get to be your mama. I love you so much my sweet baby!

Abundantly Blessed

Today is my birthday. My 32nd birthday, to be exact. Birthdays are funny. The older I get, the more insignificant they become. It's still nice to have a special day, of course, and it's so lovely to be flooded with texts and calls and Facebook messages from people telling me Happy Birthday all day long - who wouldn't want that?

But I realized something this morning. After I dropped Grayson off at preschool I went to Starbucks to work for a bit. On my drive home, I was praying (as I often do when I'm alone in the car) and I realized that although I of course have so many things I ask God for on a regular basis, more than anything I just wanted to thank him. Over and over again. Because I am wonderfully, abundantly, absurdly blessed.

Of course, life isn't perfect. Nothing ever is, no matter what it may look like through an Instagram filter. It's so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of laundry and feeding kids and cleaning messes and scrubbing floors and folding clothes and wiping noses and changing diapers and disciplining and feeding them again and power struggles and alllll the noise and bedtime routines - it can just be so routine, so mundane, so overwhelming. It's easy to live this life as a mama to little kids and as a wife to a husband who works constantly and just feel a little stuck.

But then. Then I look out the window of my car and see the gorgeous trees and the beautiful homes and the sunshine, and I think - I live in such a truly beautiful place. And then I think about my boys - my sweet, crazy, loud, hilarious, mama's boys - I could not possibly love them more if I tried. And I think about my husband. My husband who drives me crazy and is an insane workaholic, but who truly wants nothing more than to see me happy, who takes me on amazing trips to San Diego and buys me everything I need and supports our family without a single complaint, and I think oh my goodness. I might be the luckiest girl in the world.

I think about the fact that I am getting to chase my dreams, that I have the luxury to do that - how blessed am I? I think about the fact that I live in a safe place, a safe neighborhood, that I don't worry about so many things that so many other people in the world have to worry about. I think about the fact that I have a reliable car, a comfortable home that will always have a fridge full of food, family that loves me, amazing friends. And I think about the fact that God decided I was worthy of all of these things, even when I know I'm not. And I think about the fact that he looked at me in my cushy, comfy life, and he snatched me up and said "It's time." He brought me out of my confused, lost, non-believing but super comfortable life and got right in my face and said "Time to follow me." I didn't do that. No way I would have done that. But He did it. And I am so, so, so beyond grateful. My life has changed, in the most amazing ways, even though it has remained so much the same.

So today, on my birthday, I don't need a single gift. I don't need a single "Happy Birthday." I don't need a special meal or a cake or any recognition. I am exactly where I need to be, I am insanely happy to be here, and I am so incredibly, abundantly blessed.