Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I don't know if anyone ever checks this blog, but if you do, I am sorry to say, I will no longer be updating it.  It was too much to try to keep up with this blog, and our family blog, and our little rascal Noah running around the house.  I decided his first birthday was a good place to stop his private blog, but I will continue putting lots of Noah updates on the family blog, so don't be disappointed!


Sunday, August 12, 2012

One Year Old!

August 8, 2012

My dear little Noah Atticus,

One year ago today, I was up late at the condo in Salt Lake City, writing you a letter about your miraculous arrival into the world.  You were snoozing beside me in your little basinet, all swaddled up in one of your linen blankets.  We barely knew each other at that point, and yet I didn’t believe it would be possible for me to love you any more.

Tonight, I am sitting on my bed in Denver, Colorado, thinking about the year that has passed.  You are snoozing in your crib in the other room, all sprawled out with your bum in the air.  You are my little pal these days—we’ve spent 364 days of the last year together—and though I didn’t dream it was possible then, I love you even more tonight than I did one year ago.

You have changed so much this year.  My scrunchy little newborn is now a rambunctious little toddler.  I feel so inadequate as I sit down to write letters like this to you—to attempt to capture in words what you are like, how you have grown and changed, and how I feel about you.  Writing usually comes very easily to me, but whenever I try to capture my feelings about you, every word feels insufficient and trite.  You are so much cuter and brighter and more unique than I could ever convey in words; just as my love for you is so much deeper and more complex and more all-encompassing than you will ever know. Yet, I have always believed that it is important to chronicle the fleeting moments in life, and so I will continue to try, as lame as my attempts may be.  Any record is better than no record, and I want to remember what you were like at the innocent and darling age of one.

You have been walking for about six weeks, and there is nothing I love more than your signature waddle—arms bent at the elbows and held up for balance, legs spread wide as you hurry from one toy to the next.  You have fat little feet that barely fit into shoes and a little potbelly that is always sticking out in front of you as you walk.  You weigh 24 pounds, which is 90th percentile for weight for your age, and I always tell you that you are “fat and delicious, fat and nutritious.”  Honestly, you are the perfect chubbiness and I love your cherub cheeks and roly-poly thighs. 

You are spunky, stubborn, and high-energy.  You aren’t afraid of anything, which sometimes gives your mother a heart attack.  You love the swimming pool, and you would walk right into it if I didn’t grab you at the edge.  When you are excited, you dive into fluffy pillows or plush stuffed animals, panting and burying your face, giggling with glee.  You love to play, and your dad is your favorite playmate.  When he says, “I’m gonna get you!” you immediately start grinning and running toward him.  (Apparently you don’t really understand what that phrase means, other than you know it’s a signal to play.)  You throw yourself into his arms and he wrestles you and steamrolls you.  I love watching the two of you together.

You love toy cars and trucks, and it cracks me up to see you on your hands-and-knees, pushing a little truck around the apartment going “Vroom!  Vroom!”  I never realized that a one-year-old would already be able to mimic the sound of a car!  And that’s not the only sound you mimic: you pretend to burp if Daddy belches, you fake cough if you hear one of us sneezing or coughing, and you imitate our laughter if we are chuckling about something (this is especially useful if you fall and bonk your head because if we laugh jollily, you forget to cry and instead laugh too.)  You even try to join in as I sing “Woah woah woah, Sweet Child of Mine” from the Guns N’ Roses classic.  Hilarious!  You make lots of sounds and noises but still don’t say many words.  You say “Mama” and “Dada” on occasion, but your favorite word right now is “No!” (Heaven help me.) You walk over to the toilet, put your little hand on the closed lid, and say “No!,” mimicking what I always say to you when you try to dip your hand in the water.  Sometimes you slowly lift the lid as you look at me innocently, as if to say, “What?  I’m not doing anything over here…” 

You are obsessed with drinks.  You love cups, glasses, and plastic water bottles, and you squawk demandingly whenever we are drinking something until you get a sip.  Maybe all babies are this way, but it seems to me like you have a unique fascination with water.  Lately, you’ve even loved sucking on ice cubes.  You are transitioning from your bottle to a sippy cup and from formula to milk.  To be honest, I am sad about it because my favorite times of the day are when I get to rock you and give you a bottle—that’s the only time when you slow down and let me snuggle you, so I am hesitant to give it up.  Fortunately, you are really starting to love books, and you will sometimes sit in my lap while I read you several stories in a row.  I hope this can become our new snuggle time after you give up your bottles.

You are a bit of a Drama King.  When you are mad about something, you throw your head back and scream.  This type of behavior used to give me anxiety, but now it just makes me laugh.   Sometimes I can even tickle you and play with you to get you out of your fit.    I hope I can always keep a positive attitude and laugh about your drama and tantrums throughout the years.  (Not that you will ever have tantrums, right??)

Overall, I can tell that I have developed a lot more patience and perspective this year as I have mothered you.  It feels good to look back and to see that I have grown and changed for the better.  I have learned not to feel frustrated by some of the little things that used to really stress me out, like your lack of naps.  I have learned that I can’t control you, but I can control our schedule, and I can control the way that I react to your stubbornness.  After watching your natural sleep patterns and reading lots of books on the subject, I decided that naptime is from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., and if you wake up before the end of naptime, you can play in your crib or scream your head off, but either way, I’m not going to get you until naptime is over.  This has helped me to feel a lot less anxiety about your sleep schedule, and it has given me a couple of breaks during the day to read my scriptures, pick up the house, start dinner, and just have a little downtime.  I’ve found that when I am consistent, you often do sleep the entire time or just play quietly until I go to get you.  When I open the door, I clap and say, “What a good nap, Honey!  Thank you for not crying!”  and you look so thrilled and join in my clapping.  It is one of my favorite sights in the world—you standing up in your crib waiting for me, a big grin on your face and your little hands clapping in celebration of yourself.  You’ve also started sleeping in a little later in the morning, thank goodness.  I posted on my blog about my frustrations with your early-morning wake time (seriously 5:00 a.m. isn’t even morning yet), and several of my friends responded and said the only thing that had broken that habit for their spunky babies was to let them cry until it was actually morning.  I took their advice and decided that I wouldn’t go to you until 6:30 a.m., and as hard as it was to let you scream for a couple of mornings, you soon learned.  You now sleep until at least 6:30, sometimes 7:00, and you usually wake up happy.  I love it.  It makes the whole morning feel happier and more relaxed.  I know some people are against letting babies cry, and I will admit it is so difficult to do as a mother (my heart races and I feel like I might have an anxiety attack), but it is the only method that seems to work with your stubborn little nature.  Fortunately, you are smart and a very fast learner—you’ve never had to cry it out for more than three days before a bad habit is broken.  And when you are getting enough sleep, the whole family is happier.  This is what works for us, and it might not work for everyone, but I feel good about how I’ve learned to manage this stressful aspect of motherhood.  You are doing so well, and it feels good to know that I have helped you learn to be a decent sleeper.

I love being your mom.  I love that I get to spend every day with you and witness all of your new tricks and phases.  This past month has been my favorite of any of the months previous—you are so interactive now.  You started waving and clapping on demand, which makes me so excited because it means you are starting to understand me.  Out of the blue I’ll say, “Can you clap Noah?” without any demonstration at all, and you will look at me for a second and then start clapping.  I can’t believe you are starting to understand my words!!  It is my routine to blow you kisses at the door when I am leaving you in your room for a nap, and twice this week, you put your hand to your mouth and made the kissing noise when you saw me walking toward the door.  I hadn’t even done it first!  Could anything be sweeter?  You haven’t started giving hugs and kisses on demand yet, but I have a feeling you will start soon.  I can’t wait. 

You are starting to be able to play and explore a bit more independently.  It’s fun to let you wander the apartment to find “toys” such as a package of sponges from under the sink, or a large mixing spoon from the utensils drawer, or an empty toilet paper roll rescued from the trash can.  It cracks me up to see you walk back into your bedroom, and then back into the front room, and then back into your bedroom again, usually emerging with some random object that you’ve picked up along the way.  Back and forth, back and forth—sometimes for a half hour or more.  You are more entertained by a piece of wrapping paper than you are by any store-bought toy. I love watching you learn.  

I’ve noticed lately that you try to put things back where they belong.  When you accidentally unplug your white noise machine, and it stops making the noise that you love, you look at the plug pensively and then try to put it back into the socket.  You do the same thing with my earrings—you pull one out and suck on it, and then you try to stick it back in my ear.  Obviously you don’t have the hand-eye coordination to be successful at this yet, but frankly I’m impressed that you even try.  

You still love being outside, and it’s a surefire way to get you to calm down.  If you are ever extra fussy (which sometimes happens in the morning and often happens in the late afternoon), I just plop you in your stroller and we go for  a walk.  You are constantly on the lookout for dogs, and when you spot one, you make a little “woof” noise and start panting in excitement.  Our neighbor has a tiny dog named Delilah, and she sometimes jumps up and licks your face. You are bewildered by it, but you don’t seem to mind. It’s really funny because you two are the same height when she is standing on her hind legs—she’s your little pal.  You also still love the bathtub, and you always try to drink the water as it pours out of the faucet.  You squat down and stick your mouth underneath the powerful flow.  Too cute.

You are very good in the car, for the most part, which makes it easy to run errands and even to take little daytrips.  I realize how lucky I am that you seem to enjoy the car because a lot of babies scream from the moment they are put in the carseat to the moment they are out of it again.  Sometimes you are so quiet that I think you are asleep back there, but when I reach my hand back as I’m driving and dangle it in front of your face, you grab ahold of my fingers with your vice grip.  I love holding your pudgy little hand in mine.  This is one of those sweet, unplanned moments that make motherhood so beautiful.  Another one occurs whenever we get to our destination.  Inevitably, when I come around the side of the car to get you out, you seem genuinely surprised and delighted to see me outside the window.  You grin at me as if to say, “Hey, Mom!  How did you get out there?”  Melts my heart every time.

I post these letters that I write to you on a blog for our family and close friends to read.  Your birthparents and their families also read it, and sometimes I worry that I shouldn’t be totally truthful about what I am experiencing as a new mother.  If I admit that I am having a hard time, will they think that I am ungrateful for you?  If I reveal that I let you cry in order to sleep longer in the morning, will they disapprove?  And what weighs on my heart most heavily, especially lately, is a question that I’m sure plagues a lot of adoptive moms: If I gush about how much I love being your mother, will it make Katie’s heart ache?  Am I being insensitive to her when I express my joy? 

She has been having a hard time these past few weeks, Noah.  She misses you.  She can’t help but wonder sometimes, “What if?  What if we hadn’t made the decision to place Noah for adoption?”  I don’t want to make things harder for her by posting photos, videos, and cute stories—and yet I know she will be sad if I don’t post these things.  I know what she is feeling is probably very normal and expected for birthmoms—she feels grief sometimes because she loves you and wants to be with you—but I just don’t want to make her pain any worse by sharing my joy.  Sometimes I don’t know what to do.  I only share all of this with you because I want you to know how much she loves you.  It’s been a year since your placement, and she told me that she still thinks about you every single day.  Sometimes she feels peace with her decision; sometimes she feels regret; but always, always, she feels love for you.  We will always honor and love your birthparents for the amazing individuals that they are and the amazing decision they made in placing you with us.  You are so loved, Noah.  Perhaps more so than other children, your story, from the very beginning, has been full of Christ-like love.   

Noah, you are a remarkable little boy.  That’s right—a little boy, no longer a baby.  I think I expected your first birthday to make me sadder than it has, but as I look back on the past year, I don’t have any regrets and thus don’t have much sadness.  Was I perfect?  No.  Was it easy?  No.  Did I treasure every single moment of every day?  Probably not.  Could I have done better in a lot of areas?  Definitely.  But overall, you and I both grew and changed so much, and we both survived and even thrived in spite of the challenges.  I don’t yearn for the baby that you were—I rejoice in the little boy that you are and I look forward with excitement to the coming months and years that we will share together. 

Let’s try to enjoy every minute, okay?

Love you to the moon and back,

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Ridiculously Cute

Today is the first day of your "Birthday Week."  So in your honor, I thought I'd post a super cute video of you playing with your favorite person: Daddy! 

Happy birthday week, Noah Bug!  Mom has all sorts of fun planned for you!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Your First Real Haircut

Your hair grows at incredible rates of speed!  You were born with so much hair, which was amazing, but then we had to shave you bald due to your unfortunate hair loss.  I was so worried that your hair would never grow back, but within six months, you had so much hair again that it was turning into a bowl cut.  It was starting to look quite dorky, so I tried to trim it up myself (that was a mistake).  This week, I decided I would take you to get a real hair cut before your one-year-old photos were taken.

My friend Alisha is a hair dresser at a fancy salon, and she cuts her friends' hair on her day off, so I went to her for your new 'do.  We went to her house and brought your high chair and the secret weapon: your favorite Baby Einstein video! :)  You watched the movie intently and, for the most part, didn't even seem to notice that your luscious locks were being whacked off.  You were so good, and I LOVE the way your hair turned out.  Sooooo cute!

You look a little skeptical of the end result. :)  It doesn't stay spiked this high for very long (your hair is fine and doesn't stay styled), but it's a pretty cute mohawk for such a little boy.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

11th Months Old!

Dear Noah,

You are 11 months old!  How did that happen?  A year ago at this time, I was anxiously awaiting your arrival.  It is amazing to me how much as happened in one year and how much you have grown and changed.

This past month, you started walking!  For a few weeks, you would take a step or two and then fall over, but I didn't really consider that walking--you were just testing your legs.  Then, about two weeks ago, you started tentatively toddling along.  It was so amazing to watch.  You would stick your arms out and very slowly wobble a few feet, stop and regain your balance, and then wobble a few more steps.  I would get so excited every time I saw you do this, and I would stop what I was doing and kneel down with my arms out and encourage you to come to me.  This was probably my favorite thing to witness thus far as a mother.  Sadly, your tentative toddling lasted no more than three days, and then you were cruising.  Three days!!  I am amazed but also a little saddened by how quickly you learn, grow, and change.  Each stage is so fleeting, and I hope I am doing enough to savor the special moments with you.  It's easy for me to get caught up in my to-do list and my desire to be productive, and sometimes when you throw fits (you are a very opinionated and stubborn little guy), it is hard for me to appreciate every moment of being a mother--but I do know that there is nothing more important than the time I am spending with you.  I pray every night that God will help me to treasure it.  You are such a gift in my life.

You a very active little boy, and I have to watch you like a hawk now because you get into all sorts of trouble.  You wander around all day, practicing your new skill of walking, and you grab anything that you can get your hands on.  You've learned how to climb onto the couch by yourself, and every time my back is turned, you climb up there and sometimes even climb from there onto the bistro table that is next to the couch.  Ahhh!  If you make it to age two without any stitches, I will be so relieved!  For some reason, you love to carry things around while you walk, so I find strange objects all over the house, and if something goes missing, I know for sure who the culprit is.  Your favorite thing to carry around, for some odd reason, is your white noise machine.  You unplug it and carry it around the house by its short chord, usually falling over a few times as you toddle along.  You never slow down, and you hate to have your diaper changed because you don't want to be held still.  You scream and wiggle and fight me like I am trying to torture you.  It is kind of hilarious.  Dad and I have figured out a way to trap you under our leg so we can get the stinky diapers taken care of without a mess ending up all over you and all over the carpet.  You are not fond of that leg hold, that's for sure!

You have suddenly become a pickier and more particular eater.  Sometimes I will feed you a spoonful of something that you used to like eating, and you will get a look of outrage and then spit out all of the food and wipe your tongue off in disgust.  If you are really mad about it, you will throw the food on the floor in protest.  Drama King!  It's funny to me that you won't eat vegetables, but you will try to eat wood chips at the park and soap in the bathtub.  I have to keep the bar of soap up out of your reach or you will take a bite out of it.  (Gross, Noah!)  You got three new teeth this month, so you are eager to chomp on lots of interesting objects.

You still don't say much, but you are constantly babbling and making noises, some of which are starting to take on meaning.  You mimic the phrase "thank you" when we hand you something, and it melts my heart every time.  Thus far, the only words that you say occasionally are "Mama," "Dada" and "Thank you," and even those words you don't say often or clearly.  You often walk around the apartment making a whispery hissing noise, kind of like wind.  I think you are just practicing using your tongue and lips, but it is really funny to listen to.

You are learning to wave and clap, but you aren't willing to do it on command.  You want to do things in your own way on your own time table, which is fine with me.  You haven't learned to give hugs or kisses yet, but I've noticed that when I blow you kisses as I'm leaving you in your crib for naptime, you respond by clicking your tongue.  Well, it's a start, I guess!

You have grown up so much in the past month, and I can't believe you are almost one!!!  I have started thinking about your birthday, and I am excited to celebrate.  We won't do anything big and fancy (it seems silly to me to throw a big party for a one-year old), but I do plan to make you a cute cake and to get together with family in your honor.  We are so blessed to have you in our lives.

I love you, my spunky little man!  Thanks for making each day an adventure.

Much love,

Thursday, June 21, 2012



A few weeks ago, you were in a really grumpy mood, and you were crying and whining, and your cousin Callum walked up to you, patted your head, and said, "It's okay, Noah Bug.  It's okay, Sweet Pea."

It made me laugh because those are two of the nicknames that I call you!  Callum obviously picked up on it!  This got me thinking that I need to document some of your nicknames.

-Noah Bug
-Baby Noah
-Noah Nugget (or just Nugget)
-Sweet Pea
-Sweet Boy
-Punkin (the annoying way I pronounce "pumpkin" when I'm talking to you for some reason)
-Punk (this is the shortened version of Punkin, though it ends up sounding like an insult :)
-Pumpkin Pie
-The Hulk (blame this one on Bapa)
-Mr. Big (again, Bapa--of course!)
-Fat Face (though this may seem very insulting, it's Aunt Sarah's biggest compliment and term of endearment for you--she loves fat babies)

I'm sure many more will be added to this list eventually. :)


A Special Quilt

I have been meaning to post about this quilt for months!!!  My friend from Buffalo, Margaret, told me that she was going to make me a personalized baby quilt as my baby shower gift.  She said I could pick the theme and give her a list of people to contact, and she would get all of my friends and family to contribute to it.  I chose the theme "Books."  I know that is really random, but I thought it would be cool if friends and family could contribute titles and quotes from their favorite books.  I wasn't sure how Margaret would work it all into a quilt, but I had faith in her abilities. :)

I love the way the quilt turned out!  She designed it on her computer, and it is really unique and fun.  I hope someday we have a kids' play room or library or reading nook where we can hang this quilt.  In the mean time, it is in your room, folded right by the rocking chair where we read to you.

Some people contributed fun and silly books, others contributed serious books.  These are some of my favorite profound quotes that are included on the quilt:

"It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities." from Harry Potter by J.K Rowling, contributed by Aunt Laura

"Children are a burden to a mother, but not the way a heavy box is to a mule.  Our children weigh hard on my heart, and thinking about them growing up honest and healthy, or just living to grow up at all, makes a load in my chest that is bigger than the safe at the bank, and more valuable to me than all the gold inside it." from These is My Words by Nancy Turner, contributed by Rachel Fordham

"'It doesn't happen all at once,' said the Skin Horse. 'You become.  It takes a long time.  That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.  Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby.  But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real, you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.'" from The Velveteen Rabbit by Marjery Williams, contributed by Kristen Farrell

"Atticus was right.  One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them.  Just standing on the Radley porch was enough."  from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, contributed by your mother (are you surprised?)

"Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrongs." from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, contributed by Amber Price

"We have only one story.  All novels, all poetry, are built on the never-ending contest in ourselves of good and evil.  And it occurs to me that evil must constantly respawn, while good, while virtue, is immortal.  Vice has always a new fresh young face, while virtue is venerable as nothing else in the world is."  from East of Eden by John Steinbeck, contributed by Fran Hauser

"'I'm glad that you are here with me;" said Frodo, 'Here at the end of all things, Sam.'" from The Lord of the Rings by J.R. Tolkien, contributed by Rabecca Pierce

"Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?" from Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, contributed by Carrie Schneider

"A person's a person, no matter how small." from Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Suess, contributed by Aunt Sarah

"A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly.  You can have a wonky nose and crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely." from The Twits by Roald Dahl, contributed by Julie Bastedo

"...of courage undaunted, possessing a firmness and perseverance of purpose which nothing but impossibilities could divert from its direction..." This is a description of Meriwether Lewis by Thomas Jefferson from the foreword of Undaunted Courage.  Bapa said that this quote reminded him of me in my quest to become a mother. :)

So many beautiful quotes from so many amazing books!  I hope you will be a reader, Baby Boy.  I hope you will love books as much as your mama does!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Fathers' Day!

*I wrote this for my pubic blog but thought it was worth posting here. :)

Since Fathers' Day was on Sunday, I have been thinking all week about the good men that I want to celebrate and honor on this blog.  I love seeing each of them with Noah, and I feel so fortunate that my son has so many amazing male role models in his life:

Let's start with the oldest: Noah's Great Grandpa Jack.

We live about two miles away from my grandparents, and they have been a huge part of Noah's life, just as they have always been a huge part of mine.  My 83-year-old grandpa loves kids, and he begs to babysit Noah.  I don't know many old men who would be willing to take care of an energetic ten-month-old, including chasing him around and changing his diapers, but Grampy actually likes to do it.  My grandma tells me that he was a very hands-on father to his own children in a time when that wasn't common.  He got up with the babies in the night, changed their diapers, and supported them in all of their hobbies and interests as they got older.

A few months ago, I left Noah with my grandpa so I could run a few errands.  Grampy asked, "So what can I feed this kid?"

"Well, he just ate," I responded, "but if he seems hungry you could give him a mashed up banana, or some canned peaches, or a cracker--"

"Well, what about ice cream?" he asked matter-of-factly.

This made me laugh.  Of course Grampy would be the one to introduce ice cream to his great grandson.   I told him Noah was a little young for ice cream, but he didn't seem too convinced.  I have a feeling he may have snuck Noah a spoonful or two. :)

Noah is also lucky to live close to his "Bapa."

My dad was called "Bapa" by his first grandchild, and the nickname stuck.  It's appropriate that he has a unique moniker from his grandchildren because he is the king of goofy nicknames, and heaven knows he will give them lots of different titles throughout their lives.  Thus far, a few of the most unusual pet names that my dad has given Noah are "Hunchback" (when he was tiny and floppy), "The Hulk" (when he suddenly got massively chubby), and his current favorite, "Mr. Big" (because Noah is so solid and hefty).  Dad even taught this newest name to my nephew Callum, and it is quite hysterical when Cal will say to me, "Rachel, Baby Noa--I mean, Mr. Big is crying."  :)

Just like his father, my dad is very "hands-on" with Noah and is not afraid to babysit or give a bath or change a diaper.  Recently, I wanted to attend a regional adoption conference on a Friday morning, but Noah was sick, so I didn't feel like I could take him to the nursery that was provided there.  I mentioned to my dad that I was disappointed that I wouldn't be able to go to the conference because there were some classes that I really wanted to attend on adoption topics that I have been thinking about lately.  My dad said, "Well, I could come babysit Mr. Big."  I was quite surprised by this offer because it was a work day, and my dad is a bit of a workaholic, so I never even considered that he would be able to take the day off to help me.  But my dad insisted, so he and Mr. Big spent the morning hanging out together and going for walks while I went to my classes.  Do I have a great dad or what?

Noah also has another awesome grandpa, Grandpa Nielson.

Ryan's dad, Gordon, is a very gentle and loving person.  I've never heard him raise his voice at anyone.  His family sometimes teases him because whenever he is feeling touched, his eyes well up with tears.  I think it is so sweet.  I will never forget when he came to the hospital right after Noah was born.  Tears streamed down his face as I told him the story of Noah's birth and the sacred time we'd spent with his birth parents.  It was such a beautiful moment when he met his grandson for this first time.

During the trips we've taken to Idaho since Noah's birth, Gordon has had such a calming influence on our sometimes fussy little boy.  He takes him in his arms and makes a purring noise by rolling his tongue (I've noticed that Ryan subconsciously makes the same noise when he is soothing babies), and Noah quiets right down.  This most recent trip, we went to one of Ryan's brother's baseball games one evening, and Noah was a little riled up because it was past his bedtime.  I watched Gordon holding Noah and walking him around the field to calm him down.  It looked like he was telling him about the trees and the clouds, the players and the sport.  I loved watching them interact.  Noah is so lucky to have such a patient, loving, tender-hearted grandpa.

Then, there is his birth father.

I've written more on this blog about Katie than I have about Drew, but I want everyone to know how much I love this young man.  When Noah was born, Drew was standing beside me and Katie.  I will never forget sharing that experience with him and witnessing his strength and his love for Noah.  During the emotional hour after the birth, Drew asked me if he could stay in touch with Noah and receive the same types of updates that Katie will be receiving.  I told him of course he could.  I will never forget the relief that flooded his face and the way he hugged me and thanked me.  (As if he needed to thank me when he and Katie were making such a selfless sacrifice.)  He has loved Noah from the first moment he laid eyes on him, and they are so cute together whenever we have visits.  Some teenage boys are intimidated by babies, but Drew has always had such a natural, sweet way with Noah.

It is very rare for birth fathers to be involved in adoptions--most birth mothers face this incredibly difficult decision and the subsequent emotional recovery alone--and it's even rarer for birth fathers to want to stay involved in the baby's life for the long term.  We are so lucky to have Drew in our lives, and I am grateful that Noah will never have to wonder what his birth father was like and whether or not he loved him.

And last, but certainly not least, Noah has his wonderful father.

Ryan is Noah's favorite person in the world.  It is really quite darling.  Noah is currently getting four new teeth (ouch!), and the other day, he was absolutely inconsolable--until Ryan got home from work, and then he was all giggles.  Seriously, all Ryan has to do is walk in the door and Noah starts laughing.  How do dads do that??

Ryan usually puts Noah to bed, and it takes a while.  Ryan only gets about an hour a day with him, so he savors every moment of bedtime.  I think it's important to be consistent with routines, so I recently asked Ryan to teach me how he puts Noah to bed.  As he described it to me, I couldn't stop smiling.  Noah has a small collection of toys and little stuffed animals that stay in his crib.  Apparently, after Ryan reads him books and sings him songs, he lays him down and has all of Noah's toys and animals say goodnight to him.  He picks them up one by one, says "Mr. Dog wants to give Noah a goodnight kiss" and then has the dog (or car or whatever he is holding) walk around the outside of the crib making little barking noises, and then the toy gives Noah a kiss and nuzzles in beside him.  At the end of their little routine, Noah is surrounded by all of his favorite toys, ready to head off into Dreamland. No wonder he falls asleep happy each night!

 I am so grateful for all of these good men in my life and in my son's life.  The impact of a loving father is immeasurable, and Noah is one lucky little boy to have all of these men (and his uncles and his other great grandpas and so many more) who love him.

Happy belated Fathers' Day!  xoxo

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Happy Birthday, Katie!

Today is your birth mom's 18th birthday, Noah!!  What a year she has had!  We are proud of her for all that she has been through and all that she has accomplished.  We are thinking about her today and hoping she has the best day ever.

You were lucky enough to see her a few weeks ago, and you were just so happy.  You love her!

Today, we tried to get a photo of you holding a "happy birthday" sign for her.  You have gotten so wiggly and stubborn that it was almost impossible to get a picture of you holding the sign.  You do not stay still for more than two seconds these days!

First we tried the recliner, but you immediately turned around and tried to climb off:

Then we tried the floor, but you were crawling so fast that the picture was a bit blurry:

 Then we strapped you in the high chair, which you weren't too keen about, so you refused to give us a decent smile:
 Finally Dad busted out Barry the Buffalo and started being silly, and that did the trick!

Then you got a little hungry and decided it was time for a snack:

You are a handful, but we sure love you, Baby Boy!  We are so grateful for Katie and we are hoping her birthday is full of happiness.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Nine Months Old!


You are nine and a half months old!  You are turning into such a BIG boy.  I recently took you to the doctor, and you were in the 85% for height and weight.  Thatta boy!

My family is a little bit obsessed with your chubbiness.  Is there anything cuter than a fat baby?  You have the most delicious rolls on your thighs and your cute little pot belly is to die for.  We love to kiss your chubby cheeks and squeeze your portly girth.  You love to eat and will still eat anything I give you.  In the last few weeks, you've developed the hand-eye coordination to put tiny foods like cheerios in your mouth, and I suddenly have to watch you like a hawk to make sure that you don't eat things that you shouldn't.  Despite my vigilance, you tried to eat a handful of wood chips at the park the other day. I turned my back for two seconds, and when I looked back, you were munching away happily.   Gross!  I made you spit it out, but you would've gladly dined on dirt that day.

I often call you "Fat Boy" (which I mean as an absolute term of endearment).  Uncle Sam calls you the "Half Ton Baby" and once he told me that you are "worth [your] weight in gold." So true!  Bapa has the funniest things to say about it.  He calls you "The Hulk" because you are so big and strong.  He was babysitting you recently, and I texted him and asked, "How is my boy?"  His response: "Fat."  It made me laugh aloud right in the restaurant.  And one time, as he and I watched you wreaking havoc in the living room, pulling yourself up on the furniture and scattering Callum's toys, then crawling like a speed demon over to the swing where Jade was resting and trying to maul her, then throwing yourself into the couch cushions, Bapa commented, "Him extremely mobile for one so fat."  Hahahaha!  (As a side note, I don't know why Bapa uses poor grammar when he's talking about babies, but it is quite humorous.)

Sadly, I think the baby fat is going to disappear any day because you really are extremely mobile now.  You are into everything lately, and you never stop moving.  Whenever I open the refrigerator or dishwasher, you jet toward it as quickly as you can, hoping that you can reach it before it closes again.  It makes me laugh.  Yesterday, I saw you balance on your own for the first time--you were standing up without holding on to anything for just a second. You might be walking within the next six weeks!

You are active, curious, and friendly.  You laugh easily, especially when we play "Here Comes the Wormy" (a tickle game that Dad made up) or when we do airplane noises as we feed you.  Last night, you were laughing so hysterically while I fed you sweet potatoes that you couldn't swallow.  So cute.

You love water.  Bath time is your favorite.  You try to dive in as soon as you see the faucet running.  Sometimes when I am taking a shower, I have Dad hand you in to me, and you love the powerful spray.  You try to crawl over my shoulder and reach desperately for the water.  You put your entire face in the spray and try to drink it.  You are fearless!  I can't wait to take you swimming this summer.

You don't like to miss out on any action, which means that you aren't a great napper.  We are working on it, but as of right now, your naps are brief and always end with you screaming your head off in protest the minute you wake up.  It's like you are saying, "Wait a second...WHY AM I IN MY CRIB WHEN I COULD BE PARTYING?"  I hear that some babies wake up from naps happy and cooing--not my baby!  You also wake up extremely early in the morning--usually between 5:00 and 5:30--no matter what time we put you to bed at night.  Even when we get home late from being out with friends and put you to bed late, you are still up bright and early the next morning, ready for the day!  The pediatrician said that this is pretty typical for babies with your active temperament.  She said that it's a phase that you will likely grow out of, but in the meantime, we need to try to make sure that you are getting as close to 12 hours of sleep a night as possible, so she recommends that we put you to bed at 6:00 p.m. for the next couple of months.  We've been doing that the past few weeks, and it amazes me that you are actually ready to sleep at that time (probably because you're exhausted from a long, active day).   You usually go down without a whimper and sleep until early the next morning.

I am really loving being home with you now.  You are at such a fun age--you are independent enough to explore the apartment for a few minutes on your own, but then you come crawling right back to wherever I am so you can get a little reassuring snuggle.  You like to be in the same room as I am, and you play at my feet while I cook dinner or clean the kitchen.  You are my little pal.

Dad and I just love you.  We love everything about you.  Last night, we were out playing on the grass after Dad got home from work, and he was helping you walk by holding your fingers.  You were cruising and grinning, and you looked so darling in your footie jammies with your belly sticking out in front of you, and Dad and I both agreed that you are not allowed to grow up.  We want you to stay our chubby happy little baby forever.  Can you do that for us?

We love you, Noah Bug.  Thank you for being our son!
Mom and Dad

Monday, April 30, 2012


Dr. Nielson enjoys brushing your two teeth.  Surprisingly, you don't seem to mind either.  Dad lays you across his lap and sings "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" while he does it, and you are perfectly still and concentrated.  It is too cute.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

First Camping Trip!

Last weekend, we went on a camping trip with some friends from church.  I was nervous about how you would do, especially since it was still pretty chilly in the mountains, but you were great and slept like a rock.  In fact, you slept so soundly that I woke up every hour to make sure you were still breathing and not frozen!  (I couldn't believe you weren't making a sound!)

As I was getting everything ready for the trip, you decided to throw a huge tantrum because I couldn't carry you around.  You crawled after me, sobbing pathetically, and threw yourself into the pillows I had put by the door.  It was a total Drama King moment, and I couldn't help but laugh.

Fortunately, you cheered up and had a great time in the mountains!

You slept in your car seat in the tent
Dad wore his dentist glasses with the light :)

The next morning...I love your content expression here.
There was still a little snow on the ground from where it had been plowed.
It was a fun weekend!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

What a Mess

This is what happens when you try to feed yourself:

Oh heavens.