Saturday, January 21, 2012

Happy Birthday Grace

Our sweet Grace is now one. 2011 was a very interesting year. If I had to describe it in one word it would be exhausting. With all of the challenges 2011 presented it also gave us one of life's biggest blessings, a daughter. Our second child. Sweet Grace.

Grace was named perfectly. We didn't know it at the time of course, but this year Grace lived her name. She definitely taught us about the true meaning of grace as she demonstrated toughness and resilience.

As much as I hate hip dysplasia, surgeries, spica casts, braces and doctor's appointments; I know that by walking through this health challenge with Grace I got to experience her character and personality at a much earlier stage than I otherwise would have. Grace is tough. She is not deterred by physical trials. In this short year Grace has taught me so much about motherhood and strength. I am so thankful for her and feel privileged to be her mom.

Grace is a special child. She is peaceful and sweet but also has a lot of fight. Grace never fusses much. Even with the braces and the casts she never cried about it unless she was hot or in pain. However, in December after she was released from wearing the brace during the day, the first night I put the brace on her for sleep she threw a huge fit. If you know Grace you know this is odd behavior for her. I wandered if it was hurting her somehow but could find no signs of discomfort. After a few nights of throwing a fit I realized that she wanted me to know that she did not want to be in the brace. That was Grace showing her fight.

Grace has come a long way in just two months of freedom. She is crawling, pulling herself up, climbing stairs and powering her way up the couch cushions to play jungle gym with Jack. I am so proud of her determination. Today we were at story time at the library with other babies that were walking and Grace spent the entire time trying to stand up in the middle of the floor. She didn't manage to get herself up independently but I would bet that she will figure it out soon.

Grace changed me. I am a different mother and woman because of her. My circle is smaller but my heart is bigger. She inspires me to want more from myself. She has raised my personal conduct standard. She has shown me that determination pays off. She has taught me that you do not have to whine just because life feels hard.

Christian's grandmother passed away last week and the funeral service was very inspiring. One particular line that made me think about our year with Grace was when the priest said that we are not promised life without challenges and that those challenges are really just life at its most honest. Well, our lives have been really honest this year. We are not promised health, good fortune or happy endings. But I did receive life's grace this year in a very real way.

I love my sweet girl. She is one of the three loves of my life. My heart is so full and I do not deserve the beauty Grace, Jack and Christian bring to my life. They teach me so much and give my life such purpose.

Grace is a gift to our family and I am excited to watch her grow. She is going to have a fun year. Happy first year Gracie! You are an amazing little girl and wonderful person. We love you!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Jack is Three

Last week my sweet baby boy turned three. I have often heard that three is a hard age for parents; "it isn't the terrible twos, it is the terrible threes". Well, I have to disagree. I love Jack at three! He is funny, cute, lovable and sweet. He says precious things like, "Mommy's pretty" and "I love Gracie." He laughs at toots and boogers. He is rambunctious and full of energy.

A few months ago Jack found not one but two imaginary friends. The first one to arrive was DooDoo. Yep, I said DooDoo. I believe this name developed because Jack must have heard the word doodoo somewhere and kept bringing it up in conversation. I would simply say, "What is doodoo?" This went on for a few weeks when all of a sudden Jack began talking about his friend DooDoo. DooDoo comes over to play and Jack has me open the front door to let him in. Interestingly, DooDoo has a little sister too.

Jack's second imaginary friend is Scratchy Monster. He got this one off of a cartoon where the main character had a scratchy monster under his bed. One night Jack magically had Scratchy Monster under his bed too. Now each night Christian has to take Scratchy Monster out of Jack's room and throw him in the garbage. We love to pretend with Jack and even invited Scratchy Monster to breakfast one morning.

Scratchy Monster was in the booster seat

I totally stole this from a friend's blog. Here are a few questions I asked Jack last night in order to record what his little brain is thinking at age three.

Me: What is your favorite color?
Jack: green

Me: What is your favorite food?
Jack: mac-n-cheese

Me: What is your favorite toy?
Jack: fire engine

Me: Who is your best friend?
Jack: I like Isaac but I really like Luna

Me: What is your favorite thing to do?
Jack: I like gymnastics

Me: What do you want to do when you grow up?
Jack: Work with big guys.
Me: Yes, but what do you want to be when you grow up?
Jack: Daddy

Me: What are you most thankful for?
Jack: Daddy

This little question and answer session was a lot fun. I plan to do this every year (until he is old enough to think I am super lame and refuse to participate), and can't wait to compare his answers to previous years.

Jack and Christian making candy cane cookies

Jack is a has a gentle nature and often takes a few minutes to warm up in a new situation. He loves trucks, trains, tractors and cars. Fire engines and rescue ambulances are his current favorites. He is a kind child but also has a stubborn streak and knows how to be sassy (I don't know where that could have come from).

Jack fills our home with giggles and joy and love. We are so excited to watch him grow and learn and be during this year of three.