Nicco’s (18 month) half birthday

Today is your one and a half year birthday yet I feel like it’s my celebration. I just can’t believe how lucky we’ve been to have you in our lives for 18 whole months. Today and every day, you are our gift. 

Nicco…I say your name and it makes me smile, actually it makes me grin, like one of those dangerous side grins where you know the good kind of trouble is right around the corner. You child, were born trouble. You are wild, unbridled, and so very cute while acting all sorts of crazy. 

You are 18 months old now, and you had a pretty big growth spurt lately so you are 2 feet 7 inches tall. You have just as many teeth as your first birthday, 12, but you are currently teething all four canine teeth right now. Most days you handle it like a champ but today was especially hard for you. You are 21.5 pounds so still just an itsy bits of a guy, and you are walking/running like a pro now. You talk all day long in your own language. Your favourite word is “hello” which I adore because you say it like one of those talking parrots. You also say Mom, Dad, shoes, Grandpa, and that’s pretty much it. Except for “don’t touch” which always makes me laugh since you barely have a vocabulary of single words but you’ve heard ‘don’t touch’ so much you say it like a champ. You also love making sounds like roaring like a lion, or chu chu-ing like a train, and you like to pick up your dinosaur toy, and scream in a really high pitch, pretending the dino is attacking me. The funny thing is, you think you are making dinosaur noises but you are actually just mimicking my scared noise instead. Your absolute favourite thing to do is put your hands down your pants, all day, every day. It doesn’t matter if we are singing in church, watching TV, or playing at the park, you constantly have your hand in your diaper. 

Personality wise you are a total hoot. I picture you as one day being the class clown. You love to make people smile and you spend most of your day smiling yourself. My favorite ways you make me smile right now is when I am trying to put you to sleep but you are too wired to even try. After a while I will say in a stern tone “Nicco, you lay down right now and go to sleep or Mommy is leaving your room”, instantly you dramatically slam your head into the pillow, you roll your eyes in the back of your head, close them half way and then lay there still as can be trying to pretend to sleep. After 1.5 seconds you get a giant grin on your face, and pop your head up to see if I’m laughing (which I usually am). Another favourite way you make me smile is when I brush your teeth at bedtime. For the longest time this was absolutely dreadful at bedtime, every part of you hated getting your teeth brushed. I would have to lay you on the ground and pin your arms up with my legs so I had both hands free to get the toothbrush in your mouth, it was terrible. But a few weeks ago you decided brushing your teeth is actually very funny, you now laugh nearly the entire time. Your favourite is to let me start brushing, then you push the toothbrush out with your tongue, tightening your lips as tight as possible until the belly laugh inside of you bubbles over and you just can’t hold it in any longer.

You don’t have much of a medium, you are either hot or cold. Thankfully you are happy 90% of the day but when your firery side comes out, it comes out strong. You now fight Halen back any chance you get, if he hits you, you pull his hair or scratch his face. You also are a little screamer when you get mad so your emotions are never much of a secret. It may take you longer than the average babe to get upset but when you snap, you snap!

In terms of trouble, I don’t know how to explain it. You’re such a good happy baby that nobody believes me when I try to say how much you actually get into. You climb on everything, like actually everything. Your favourite spot to climb up to is our laundry room counter behind the couch. There you find the van keys and press the alarm button then dance to the sound of the horn. When you see me coming you throw the keys the opposite way of your escape plan and then as I run to pick the keys up so I can shut off the alarm, you jump off the counter and run laughing. You have climbed all the way up the TV hutch where I found you banging on the television, you climb up my stacks of Rubbermaid containers when you are left on your own in the basement, or you like to climb up the side rail of Halen’s bed and chuck every single book off the shelf. No amount of “no’s” works for you! You also like to get into all our cabinets but only the ones you arnt supposed to. You love the cabinets with breakable dishes and have actually taken an interest in throwing dishes with the purpose of having them break. No word of a lie, you have thrown and broke at least a half a dozen dishes in the past couple months. The last time you did this (last week) Halen was so exasperated he said “ah man Nicco, now we have to get out the vacuum again! Don’t move K buddy” haha, even he has the routine down for your glass breaking ways. You also like to get into dad’s bathroom cabinet, your goal multiple times a day is to sneak in while no one is looking so you can open your dads deodorant and lick it like a lollipop….mmm, delicious! 

You scratch when you’re cranky, you bite when you’re excited, and hit when you’re mad. You chew your food up and let it fall from your mouth, you dump a sippy of water on the floor every couple days. You have recently taken to decorating the floor with your dirty diapers if I don’t change you within a split second. You are just totally wild. Honestly you max me out multiple times a day but I wouldn’t change you if I could. This spitfire personality of yours is exhausting but also totally entertaining and fun! I love that you bring excitement to our days. 

Thankfully you haven’t grown out of your snugly ways. When you hug, you use every ounce of might you have to give the best squeeze ever. When you are rough, I ask you to use “gentle hands” and then you pet my face, give me a big hug, and you become the most gentle baby ever. You love to lay on top of me, belly to belly with your hands tucked up under your body. Your rub my neck when I’m putting you to sleep and you ask for 500 kisses a day. You also love to give your affection to any stuffy you can find. You sleep with your bunny but spend your days dividing your attention between lots of stuffies you have hidden around the house. You also love to hug any and all stuffed animals you pass by on the shelves of a store. What can I say, you love to love! 

Happy half birthday to my affectionate, rough, trouble making baby. Thanks for being such an adventure to our family. We love you. 

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Brothers…

Every night before I fall asleep, I recount the things I am grateful for. Even on my most difficult days I am thankful for you both, for who you are as individuals and the relationship you have as brothers.
You two are best friends. You have a beautiful connection that I can’t get enough of. When you wake in the morning, both curled up in our bed, you instantly reach for your brother – neither of you wanting to start the day without the other by your side. You eat breakfast together, you play together, you fight together. You don’t want to fall asleep without hugging the other goodnight. You love hard, you argue lots, you protect each other, and when one of you gets hurt the other always offers comfort.
It is often said “the days are long but the years are short” and I feel that so intensely right now. Sometimes my days with the two of you are busy and long, sometimes I can’t wait for the day to be over. Yet when I tuck you in bed, the moment I close the door I am instantly missing you both. I offer myself grace on these tough days and I remind myself to “lean in” to tomorrow. Then I wake to a new day, each morning like opening a fresh gift. There you both are, wrapped in absolute perfection. Loving, bickering, cuddling, finding trouble, playing, a two person team and I am reminded of how blessed I am to be your mom and how thankful I am you have one another. 

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Halen turns three!!

Im not sure how I missed this but today I went to check the blog and realized I forgot to post your birthday blog. Here it is nearly three months late…this may be something you will have to get used to with me.
Today marks a very special day in our home because today we get to celebrate YOU. We get to relish in the person you are, give thanks for the day you were brought into this world, and shower you with love so you know this day is not only a gift for you, but a gift for us as well.
You really are a big boy now. You are 36.5 pounds and you are 3’3”. It’s been six months since I blogged last about you and so much has changed in such a short period of time. In the last six months you have become potty trained, gone to California on a McLean family vacation, your vocabulary is huge and you even tell me when you are ready for a haircut. You can count to ten (usually even in order), you know your colours and most your shapes. Right now we are working on learning your senses as well as the difference between left and right. You put your shoes on by yourself, and get dressed and undressed on your own. You grow, change and learn so much every single day.
You are some of the most favourite company I keep and I am so thankful to have the ability to be a stay-at-home mom and spend my days with you. There isn’t a day that goes by where I am not endlessly proud of who you are, how well you express yourself, or how entertaining you are to be around.
You are a determined little guy who can do nearly anything you put your mind to. On the flip side, you definitely have some stubborn in you and when you have made up your mind about not doing a certain task, it takes quite a bit of convincing to change your mind. Like many kids your age, listening isn’t quite yet your strongest suit. However when Mom and Dad mean business, you don’t tend to push too far (most days). You are loud and wild around those closest to you, yet fairly reserved and sometimes  even shy around people you don’t know as well.
You have started doing “chores” around the house and you love helping out. You are already fairly task oriented. You like to set the table, and you enjoying getting your stool out and unloading the cutlery from the dishwasher. You also like to move laundry from the washing machine to the dryer and you even know how to hit the buttons and turn everything on.
You are already very competitive. You like to point out when you’ve “won” against anyone else who likely didn’t even know they were being silently tricked into a competition. At the co-op they do colouring competitions where names get drawn for prizes of anyone who participates. The first time you entered, your name was drawn. You were over the moon thrilled about your prize basket and now every time you walk past the next prize you say “it’s going to be great when I win that basket and take it home”. Your competitive streak I’m sure has contributed to how well you already do athletically. You completed your first year in can-skate and you did amazing! Best of all, you loved it, maybe even bordering on obsessed. You were the only two year old in your class and you were in a group of 15 kids ranging from 3-5. At your recital you shined! You loved every moment of performing, being on the ice, and having the stands full of people cheering you on. You have watched your dad skate as a Rambler for a couple years now and the night of your performance you thought you were a Rambler just like him. You also love soccer just like your Uncles Conner and Carter. You know all the Soccer lingo and you like to throw a ball into play, then stick your finger in your mouth, blowing your pretend whistle when you’ve kicked out of bounds. Baseball is another favourite sport and you can already hum a ball pretty fast when someone is pitching to you. You are also in dance which has been one of your favourite activities. This weekend is your big recital and my mommy heart is already filled with nerves thinking of you performing in front of all those people, yet I’m confident you will be excited to perform just as you were with skating.
You are a marvelous big brother and definitely happy and proud to take on the role. The other day you and Nicco were playing in his room, you popped your head out at some point, Nicco’s bedtime bunny in hand and said “I’m gonna put Nicco to bed for you ok mom”. I peeked my head in the room and there was Nicco sitting in his bed looking half confused, half entertained, and as I left I could hear you turn his noise machine on and tell him it’s time to lay down. When Nicco cries you say to him “it’s okay baby, I’m here, don’t cry, awwww, it’s okay baby, shhh shhh”. Your favourite line is “look at that cute baby” when he’s doing something adorable. You also love to steal my line with “look at that cute butt”. Last month your dad and you went to Calgary for the night to help GG (which was only our second night apart) and Nicco and I went to Saskatoon for an appointment. When we were reunited I was so excited to walk through the door and hug you but your your first hug went straight to Nicco. Your patients with him is growing (especially since he is learning to fight back some) and you enjoy teaching him hockey guys, having snacks in your tent downstairs and getting him to walk to you with encouraging words like “yes Nicco, you’re doing it. Look mom he’s walking! Come to your brother Nicco, you are doing sooo good”! Your enthusiasm with Nicco is so heartwarming and precious to watch. Almost weekly you ask me “did Nicco grow last night mom” which tends to lead to “is he big enough to sleep in my room now”? The anticipation of sharing rooms is nearly too much for you to handle.
You are a lot more timid than I would have guessed you would be considering your personality. When we go to the store and the cashier asks you how your day was, you hide behind my legs and say “Mom, I’m feeling shy right now”. You also get nervous of quite a few things. When you are in the bathtub and the water starts draining you will scream for me “Mom, come help me, I’m falling down the drain” or when we walk past a sewer drain on the road you start to whimper and say “Mom don’t let me fall in that big hole okay”. Nearly every time we go to leave the house you get in a panic “don’t leave me guys, don’t leave me”. It may be worth noting, you have never been left behind nor fallen down a drain so I’m not sure where these fears come from but they are slightly entertaining. You get quite creeped out over any sort of bug. A few weeks ago we found a spider in the house and you screamed for me to come get it, doing the full-on body heebie-jeebie dance as I killed it. Every once in a while now you ask me how spiders get into the house, and whether I think there are any spiders currently living amongst us, no amount of reassuring seems to do the trick. Bedtimes are going fairly well with you, without jinxing myself, you are pretty much potty trained, and as long as I wake you up around midnight to use the washroom, you usually can make it through the night.
You still love to read, right now you are loving magazines or farm auction pamphlets. You also love yours and mine’s story time where I make up all sorts of tales to tell you. It is so fun watching your face as you hang on my every word, so eager to find out what will happen next. You too are beginning to be quite creative in your storytelling, especially in your pretend play. I love to hear you play on your own to try to figure out the narrative of what is going on. The other day you were pretending to be a Lego man and a wall was crashing down on you. You kept screaming for Nicco to come save you, but he just stared at you blankly not having a clue what was happening. You have started to make up a few pretend words you like to throw into everyday life as if people should know what you are saying. “Clema-shale” is your favourite word right now. “Mom, I would like some breakfast please clemashale” or “I love you Nicco clemashale, have a good sleep”. Clemashale can be used anywhere in a sentence and it is best when used as often as possible.
You are beyond excited to turn three, and you can’t wait for your birthday party! You are most excited to turn three because you know that not long after you will start school. School is a daily topic in our house right now, you want to know what kids do there and when you can start. Being three also means you get to start going to story time at the library which you are also really excited about. Big things happen when a kiddo turns three and you can hardly wait!
Update: You are three years and one week old today which means you had both your friend birthday party and your family party. The morning of you birthday we let you open your gift from us, a giant inflatable bouncy castle. You LOVE bounce castles so we thought this would be a perfect gift for you and a fun way for you to celebrate your birthday with friends. It was indeed a hit and by the end of the day you could barely keep your eyes open from sheer exhaustion.
Next was your family party. This is one of my very favourite days in the whole year. You kids are my everything and there is nothing I love more than to see a group of people you adore, come together to celebrate YOU. This year Auntie Tiff was home from Europe so her and GG were able to make it. Auntie Glennis was in a class that day but she raced back in time to come with Grandma and Grandpa. Then Uncle Roger, Auntie Karen, Aunt Louvain and Auntie Lisa were also able to join us. These really are your people, they are the ones who adore you and who you adore right back. They are the people who love on you, who pray for you, who you are excited to go and visit with. They are in your corner and they were truly happy to celebrate you on your birthday.
This year for your birthday party you picked a farm theme. Mommy made you a number 3 birthday farm birthday cake with sections of land each growing a different crop. O&S gave us loads of Massey Ferguson balloons to decorate the house with, and Lori and Keith lent us hay bails so we could put together a little photo booth. You were so proud of your farm party and I was proud to create such a special day for you.
Enjoy being three my love. This will be a big year filled with lots of changes and new chapters for you and I am so excited to sit on the sidelines and cheer you on. Thanks for being one of my greatest joys. Love you hun.

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Nicco our 14 month old

Nicco, right now you are 14 months old. You are just an awesome baby to be around. You are joyful, content, and hot tempered. You love being included, yet you are content to just sit on the sidelines and watch, you are mischievous, and adorable with a touch of wild. 

You don’t seem to follow trouble, you find it. You are a climber. You love to crawl up the couch and on to the side table, grinning wildly when you get caught. You love to open each and every kitchen drawer and pull every single thing out, giggling when I come around the corner annoyed. When you open the cabinet with breakable dishes, you do it looking me straight in the eyes with a giant smile and unwavering motivation to beat me in my game of rules. Like a person who argues likes the last word, you try to make sure you get in the last opened cupboard door. Apparently you’re so darn cute, you seem to think rules don’t apply to you, and truthfully you do make it tough to be stern with. 

You have a beautifully deep love for each one of us in your family. I love, our love. You are my cuddle bug and you ask often throughout the day to be picked up for a big long hug. At night, if you and your brother happen to wake up at the same time, you are fuming furious if I send you in with your dad while I go help your brother. You could be with your dad any other moment through the day, but in the middle of the night the only person you want to snuggle with is your Mama. You love it when I tickle you, or after a bath when I blow on your belly. Now, when you want me to blow on you, you tighten up your lips in a long straight line and attempt a blowing noise trying to communicate what you want from me. Or, you lightly tickle your stomach, hoping I will do the same. You love to check in with me if I am in a different room and when you see I am there you are content to go back to your activity. You like rough housing and if you are in the mood for some silly playing you will crawl up on my lap and throw your body backwards as a way to coax me to start wrestling with you and hang you upside down. In the morning, you will go to all sorts of extremes to wake me up. You crawl on my head, jump on my belly, or your favourite move is pulling my hair. You are madly in love with your dad. If he is out in the yard working, you sit at the door, looking out the window whimpering like a sad puppy. When he walks through the door you pound your way down the hall crawling at the speed of lightning to get to him and then the two of you embrace in a long, tight hug. When he showers, you sit on the floor and patiently wait for him to finish or you rummage through his cabinet pulling every single thing out since he is totally helpless to stop you. When he brushes his teeth, you excitedly stick out your long neck and wait for him to stick the end of his electric toothbrush to your nose to tickle you. Your dad is your biggest fan, except at supper time when the two of you sit beside each other and you throw your plate of food at his feet to clean up for the hundredth time. Then there is Halen, watching the two of you together is a dream come true and a complete headache all at once. You love to play with your brother and for the most part, he really enjoys your company. He loves to take care of you, when you are thirsty, he holds your cup up for you, when you cry he reassures you by saying “shhh, it’s okay baby”, when you wake up from your naps he runs into your room, shuts off your sound machine and dances for you till you smile. The two of you are also (usually) great play partners too. Halen started this new habit of taking off every single cushion on the couch, throwing them on the floor and jumping on them. This drives your dad and I completely batty. You however, think this game is brilliant and if you want him to do it with you, you weasel your way up the couch, use every ounce of strength you have to pull a cushion down, and then you push it in his direction, hoping he will go do the rest of the dirty work for you. You love to join us for Halen’s bedtime stories but you usually hide behind the top of Halen’s bed and pull our hair while we read, laughing as we whine in pain. You enjoy playing in Halen’s room, sometimes you guys are loud and crazy, other times you are dreadfully quiet. A typical scene would be me walking into his room and finding Halen sitting on his bed reading, and you on top of the farm table throwing every toy you can get your hands on, off the table. You love to hug your brother, and you have recently started walking to him just to get a big squeeze. When you are walking and you fall down, Halen runs to you and picks you up (by the head), stands you on your feet and says “yeah Nicco, you’re walking to brother!!!”. He also has begun to enjoy carrying you from room to room (although it’s quite a panic to watch).

At this age, you get much more TV than your brother ever dreamed of. When the tv goes on, you promptly pound your way over to your chair to get cozy. If it’s a show you’re really into you sit on the edge of your chair, both feet planted firmly on the ground, back straight as an arrow, but if you are getting tired you slump down as low as you can go till you look like a teenager just chillin on the couch. You are a much pickier eater than Halen was and veggies are more of a struggle for you. If it was up to you, you would have Shreddies for breakfast and every meal and snack following would be pasta. You have now fallen asleep while eating a few times and it is beyond adorable. You weigh a whooping 19lbs 2oz (which now puts you in the 10th percentile for weight rather than the third), people rarely guess you are already over a year. You are just freshly weened and seem to be doing really well with it. I think both of us are missing that comfort of snuggling together in silence endless times a day, but we are also both enjoying a bit more freedom from one another. You sleep through the night about 50% of the time now but are an early riser wanting to start your day sometime after 6am. We have also transitioned you to your floor bed for the last few nights, so far so good but I’m not entirely sold yet this will be a long term thing with you. 

We got your gorgeous long red locks cut for the first time a couple weeks ago. Although you don’t have a ton of hair on top, you were growing quite a long mullet so we decided to trim you up. You sat well for your first appointment and looked adorable with a big boy hair cut. Right now you love to scootch around the house with a toy car in hand. Monster trucks, mini cars, or farm vehicles, anything with wheels will do as you get from point A to point B. You have twelve teeth, four of which are molars which blows me away. I can’t believe how happy you are for basically straight teething the last six months of your life. These bad boys arnt giving you a break yet you still manage to keep smiling, I don’t think anything could take your happy away though. You love to smile and I love when you laugh. Right now you think tooting is the funniest thing in the world. I always assumed flatulence humour came when boys were older, but not with you! If you let a toot escape you quickly look around the room to see who noticed, if anyone happens to have the slightest grin on their face, you will spend the next five minutes trying to force yourself to pass gas with a bright red face and a belly laugh to boot. You kid, are funny! 

I think it is safe to say you are officially walking! The last few weeks you have taken 3-4 steps towards us if we coax you. The other day your dad counted 9 steps! And just a few days ago Halen and I were doing a puzzle on the living room floor, you were standing at the couch and you walked towards us without prompting and made it about 7 steps. When you got to us you stood there and clapped, proud of your accomplishment. You can now stand up on your own from the sitting position and take some steps without guidance or coaxing. Truthfully, I think you would have gotten this walking thing much sooner if I was trying harder with you everyday but I have been taking advantage of these crawling days and haven’t been pushing you to walk. Seems like l don’t have a choice in the matter any more, as you are now our walking babe!

You buddy, make parenting such a easy and enjoyable role. I absolutely can’t believe how much you have changed in just two short months since your first birthday. I now understand why parents want to slow down time and just absorb these fleeting days. Like trapping a scent in a bottle, I would love to catch these small yet beautiful moments in my memory forever.

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Favourite Halen Stories…

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Everyday I seem to have a new favourite story about you Halen. Man you are a great guy to be around. You are funny, smart as a whip, and a wee bit crazy all rolled into one. Here is a compilation of some of my favourite Halen stories over the past few months. 

That Man:
Six months ago, a tiny bit of innocence to your idealistic view of the world was taken from you when a man in Walmart stole twenty dollars right out of your hand while sitting in a shopping cart. You were heartbroken and so scared, you kept saying “that man took my money right from my hands”. Still, six months later when you see money laying around our house, you ask if “that man” has brought your money back. Each time I am proud you still have the hope that the world is good and people will do what they need to do in order to right their wrongs.
We decided that you being stolen from was going to be a blessing in our family. It opened up all sorts of dialog we haven’t yet tackled with you. Suddenly we were needing to talk about why stealing is wrong and discuss offering grace and forgiveness, even to those who don’t ask for it. We were able to talk about what it looks like to be financially struggling and how our family is so fortunate compared to many others. It is important to me you kids understand it is our moral responsibility to help those less (monetarily) fortunate than ourselves. So you and I headed back to that same Walmart, filled our cart with socks, underwear, and toiletries and then delivered them to a local shelter your Papa proudly supported, The Mustard Seed. Upon delivery you were eager to hand out hugs to everyone who greeted us from the shelter. You were inviting and kind, you saw zero difference between you and them (because aside from finances, there isn’t any). When one of the men asked you why you were delivering all those gifts you responded “cause Jesus” and my mommy pride hit an all time high. 

I’m sorry:
On one of our Christmas outings we went to Michael’s the craft store to buy Christmas tree decorations. You kept touching things you weren’t supposed to, ignoring my multiple requests to stop. Between me navigating your baby brother in a stroller, a cart full of decorations and a toddler on the loose, you accidentally pulled a big glass ornament off the shelf which shattered all over the floor. It was obviously an accident however totally preventable had you been listening. Your consequence was to tell a store employee what happened, and apologize.  It was heartbreaking, you were so scared and sad. You were fighting back tears and your little chin was just quivering as you said you were sorry. It took everything in me not to burst into tears myself. Thankfully the employee was great with you. She accepted your apology and reminded you to listen better to your mom, she even gave you loads of high fives until you weren’t sad anymore. It was so hard to make you apologize yet another good lesson for you to learn. 

The missing stick:
You are still obsessed with hockey, in fact obsessed may be an understatement. You have three play nets downstairs and play hockey for at least twenty minutes a day. Right now you are really into fighting, penalty boxes, and being a goalie. You went through a phase where you needed to bring a hockey stick with you everywhere we went. On one trip to the mall you brought along your stick, accidentally put it down in a store, and didn’t remember until nearly two hours later. Although I thought the stick was long gone, I decided to appease you as an attempt to steer clear of a melt down and I took you to go “look” for it. Within 2.5 seconds of walking towards the mall play area with a few dozen kids playing in it you yelled “hey that baby has my stick, go get it mama”. Sure enough we walked up to the family and asked if the stick was theirs and they told us they had found it. You had zero empathy when the baby began bawling as his mother asked him to give the stick back to you. You grabbed the stick and wanted to get out of dodge quickly. I’m surprised you didn’t blow your imaginary referee whistle and put the crying baby in a penalty box, and then never look back. That day’s lesson? Don’t mess with Halen’s hockey equipment…ever. 

Baby Mosen:
You love Children’s Church right now, it is definitely a highlight of your week. One of your favourite books is “Hero’s of the Bible”. As an early Christmas gift, Grandpa and Grandma gave you a toy nativity with a book to go along with it. We would read through the Christmas story every night and act it out with your toys. You know all the people within the story and even know the wisemen brought baby Jesus gifts of “gold, myrrh, and fan-den-ence”. During a drive one day this is how our conversation went:
H: mama tell me about Mosen
J: who?
H: baby Mosen
J: sorry babe, Mommy doesn’t know what you’re talking about
H: yes you do, baby Mosen, cryin in the basket in the water
J: ohhh Moses
H: yeah mama, tell me about that baby
Then I told you about Moses and you were quiet for a while. You were staring out the window and suddenly said “I love Jesus mama” I said “yeah, me too. And Jesus loves you so much too” you were quiet again and a while later said “Papa loves you Mama. Papa lives in heaven”. I don’t know how your little two year old brain processes death or who your Papa is, but I sure do appreciate your tiny person affirming me with my Dad’s love.
I love how much you are learning about the Bible already and I love how excited you are to learn all these important stories. When we pray at night you are a passionate prayer baby. You hands stay tightly clasped, your eyes only open a few times to peek around, and you nod your head in feverish agreement when I thank the Lord for something you agree with (particularly when I thank him we got to watch Daddy play hockey that day).

Bedtime Kisses:
Bedtime with you is the best. Our routine starts off with you and your brother bathing. The two of you have so much fun in the tub, slashing and screaming at one another and having all sorts of water fun that drives me up the wall. After bath is a bedtime snack and then we cuddle in to bed for one story, lights out, then pray. Every night you ask for your door to be open “just a tiny tiny crack”. When I say goodnight, you pepper me with kisses. First, you kiss one cheek, then the other, then my chin, lips, nose, forehead, hair, then my neck for a ticklish kiss, then each eye, and then both our favourite kisses, the ears. After you are done kissing me, you ask me to do the same for you. One by one you direct me where I need to kiss next. I love ending our day with this game with you and I will gladly participate for as long as you will let me. 

Endless Talking:
Something happened a few months ago, January 9th to be exact on a trip into Saskatoon. A switch in you turned on, you suddenly started talking non-stop and you literally have not stopped ever since. You have always been great with your vocabulary but typically only spoke when you needed to. We are officially past that stage now as you wake up talking and don’t stop until you are fast asleep. I mean literally, you-don’t-stop-speaking.
Just two months after this speech growth spurt it is wild how much you now talk. Everything is a question, no topic gets left without vocal recognition. It sure it fun listening to you all day long and although I would love a moment or two of silence at times, life would sure be a lot less entertaining if I didn’t have you beside me chatting my ear off.
On January 13th you tackled your first day of potty training and you did amazing! You didn’t have a single accident and you were eager to pee endless times through the day (especially knowing your earned a smartie and a sticker each time).
We are 1.5 months in of potty training and you are doing fairly well. We are finally at a no diapers/pull up stage, even at night. Honestly, potty training is for the birds! It really isn’t much fun for either of us but the bonus for you is mega bribery with stickers, big and small candies and even gifts (basically I’m pulling out all the stops). You’re a trucker though and you keep giving it your best every day. Mommy is so proud of you. 

Dizzy Days:
You are quite the entertainer for your brother. He particularly loves it when you dance around the room like a nutso. On one of your dancing performances you were spinning and spinning while Nicco was laughing uncontrollably. It was the first time you had made yourself dizzy and you hit the floor yelling for me “Mama, mama, help me!!!! Our house is falling down” you were in just a wee bit of a panic convinced your house was falling all around you until your dizziness wore off.

Sleep:
Not too long ago we decided to attempt having a child-free bed. This was a huge decision for me as I love having you babies crawl into bed with us for some solid family cuddle time. It is sad knowing that once we close this door, never again will bedtime and cuddles with you ever look the same. I am grieving this stage ending yet happy to give you more independence and excited for me to receive more rest.
A normal nighttime with you used to be you waking up around five or six in the morning and crawling into bed with us for the remainder of the night. We loved it, especially because if you were cuddled in tight with us we could sleep in far later than when you would spend the night in your bed. However, over the last couple months, you are in our bed by one or two in the morning and my quality sleep hours have drastically decreased. If I am awake enough, I will put you back to bed, but if I am sound asleep I could care less about finding the energy to settle you back in your room. Knowing it is a risk for me waking up and putting you back to bed, you have become quite stealth at creeping your way into our bed. Your escape plan begins with you crawling out of bed and opening your bedroom door without a peep. If there is any sort of noise made you take a minute to stand in silence as to not draw any attention to your getaway plan. When you have made it out of your room successfully, you shut the door behind you ever single night (just in case your parents came looking for you, then they will be tricked into believing you are still sound asleep). You then begin the longest, quietest tippy toe walk down our hallway that a two year old can muster. Again, stopping and standing as still as a manikin when you make the slightest noise (not realizing your heavy breathing is enough to blow your cover). As you reach our door, you stand outside for another moment of silence probably praying to the sleep Gods your parents will not notice you. Our door is fairly squeaky so you never shut the door behind you in an effort to eliminate any risk. Your tiny feet then shuffle to my bedside table and creep up to my water, take a big sip and then get as close to my face as possible to make sure I am still asleep. When the coast is clear you walk to the foot of our bed, crawl up the bed and slither your way up to your pillow. If you accidentally bump me you think quick and give me a big cuddle knowing the probability of me sending a snuggle bug back to his own room substantially decreases. After that whole exhausting episode it takes you mere seconds before you are fast asleep although not before flipping your pillow to the cold side first. This routine of yours is one of my favourite parts of nighttime, often throwing me into fits of hysterics listening to your sneaky ways.
As adorable as this nightly routine has been, with two kiddos often in our bed, sleep is becoming less and less. So, we put a childproof lock on your door to stop you from being able to get out of your room at night. I explained to you that you wouldn’t be able to come sleep with us but if you woke in the middle of the night, you just needed to call and I would come to you. You did not like this plan. You tried to protest as well as a two year old can (surprisingly with words rather than emotion). You asked “Mama, if I cry, will you come cuddle me” and you were reassured when I promised I would. Just when I thought you had accepted your bedtime fate, I was shutting the door and saying goodnight when you popped your head off the pillow and said “Mama…I’m gonna figure that thing out” and then you rolled over and drifted to sleep.
These words made me so proud and a little nervous as I don’t doubt at all that it won’t be too long before you do indeed figure it out and come crawling into bed. You are so smart and the wheels in your head spin a lot more than I realize. I love your deep thought, desire to figure things out and your mischievous little spirt. I’m going to miss these nighttime cuddles with you bud. These are the moments Mommyhood is made of. 

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Nicco turns ONE!

My little Niccochu, how are you one already?! It has been 365 days of absolute joy since you became a part of our family. You are the definition of happiness. You wake up happy, you smile all day long, you are completely easygoing, and you bring a lightheartedness into the lives of everyone around you. You son, are such a beautiful gift to our family.

I remember driving you home from the hospital, just ten hours old and being so so thrilled to have finally met you. Holding you in my arms for the first time was magical and one year later you haven’t lost that magic touch. You are my cuddle bug. You love to be picked up through the day and just held, to be still in my arms. You instantly nestle your face into my neck, throw your arms around me and squeeze me for a big hug. These hugs, multiple times through every day, make me feel so good. These are your non-verbal expressions of love, your hugs are affirming, powerful, and one of the greatest parts of my day. If I was a betting Mom, I would guess you will grow up to be the more affectionate one in our family.

Here is a short synopsis of your year in milestones:
When you were born you were given the name Malik. The name just never seemed to suit you so on January 29th we changed your name to Nicco. After only a short while with you, we could tell you were to gentle for a name like Malik, which although beautiful, sounded a bit hard for your personality. Nicco did indeed suit you much better, so Nicco you became.
Your next big life event was on February 7th when you were dedicated to the Lord at the Eston Full Gospel Church. A fun fact is, when you were born you had a little nub growing off your pinky finger. Even though it was so tiny you wouldn’t notice it unless you were looking, the doctors referred to it as a digit which means on February 9th, your 11th “finger” was removed. In other words, by the time you were five weeks old you had already been renamed, had your first surgery, been dedicated, been on a road trip to Medicine Hat, and went to one of Dad’s hockey games. That’s an awfully busy first month of life!
The following months were filled with more typical milestones. You rolled over for the first time on April 18th, on May 8th you found your toes, on June 6th you sat for the first time for a couple seconds (although I wouldn’t say you were officially sitting until August 29th). You began crawling by July 9th, your first tooth came in on July 25th, and by September 20th you were pulling yourself up on furniture from the sitting position to standing. On October 20th you started going up the stairs on your own, your first word was Dada which came on November 4th and you were walking with a walker by December 16th.
You are an itsy bits of a guy who has weighed in on the 3rd percentile every month since birth (except for when you were a chunky newborn). You wear size 3 diapers and pants are still nearly impossible to find for you as they slide right off of you.
You were such an easygoing baby we decided to do our first family vacation to Mexico when you were just three months old. You loved trying to nap while we were swimming in the pool, you enjoyed all the action of our resort events, and we didn’t regret a moment of traveling with a babe so young since you made it very easy on us. When you were eleven months old we went to California with your McLean Grandparents and Auntie Glennis. Again, you had a blast, you soaked up all the excitement of Disney, you loved the rides and you enjoyed being on holidays with extended family.
You now know about five words: Dada, Mama, GG, Nana (Banana) and Tee (Auntie). You love waving hello and goodbye and rarely miss a waving opportunity. You smack your lips when you are hungry or see us eating something you want a bite of. For your first Halloween you were Curious George and your brother was the Man in the Yellow Hat, you two were an adorable hit. For breakfast you like a big bowl of cereal and a half a banana. You eat just about anything for lunch or supper. Just like your brother, you don’t love potatoes but you can eat a bowl full of pasta with the best of them. You just started shaking your head no last week. You loved celebrating your very first Christmas, and you were (thankfully) sound asleep through your first New Year’s Eve. You have six teeth and although you have a super speed on crawling, you haven’t yet stood on your own or attempted any first steps.

There are so many ways you have made life better since you joined our family. You make me happy every single day of my life. Do you know what a gift that is, to bring such joy to a persons life? You make my heart my full, you make me smile endless times through the day, you bring such a different spirit and energy into our home and into my heart and I am so grateful for that. You and your dad also have a very special relationship. You love having him around, and he loves being near you just as much. If I even say your dad’s name you start yelling for “Dada”. You are perfectly content to have him put you to sleep on nights I am gone during bedtime. You love to snuggle your Dad, and you follow him from room to room whenever he is at home. You in turn bring a giant smile to your Dads face and his heart every day. Your Dad is very protective over you and constantly checks in with me through the day to see how you are. I really enjoy watching the two of you love one another.

Watching you and your big brother Halen interact is one of the greatest daily blessings in our home. The love between the two of you runs deep. From the time you wake up, you want to be with your brother. Every morning the two of you crawl out of our bed and go play in Halen’s room until breakfast. You enjoy just sitting there watching him play. If I were totally honest, you mostly prefer to watch him play because he can still be a bit rough with you, especially when you are playing with his toys. He will snatch things out of your hand or literally just roll over you so you are smushed to the ground. It has become a bit of a defense mechanism for you to watch now, rather than play. That however is changing in the last couple weeks and it’s a new dynamic I enjoy watching. Recently, when you are playing with a toy and your brother tries to take it from you, you hold on for dear life. You pull back, you scream at him as loud as you can (you love screaming right now) and you will not let go even if it means you are being drug across the floor. I typically intervene and say something to Halen however I think it’s important for you to learn how to stick up for yourself, so lately I have sat back and quietly cheered you on. I’m proud of your bravery and determination. With all that to say, your brother is also an amazing big brother. Halen’s love for you Nicco is big! He loves to run up to you when you are sitting on the floor and give you a kiss on the top of your head. He looks at pictures of you (and even carries one around) and says “awww, Mama, Nicky is so cute”. He calls you Nicco, Wiggly or Nicky; Nicky is a new nickname he came up with on his own which makes me find it even more adorable. He loves to come into your room with you and help you play with your toys and I see him attempting to be less bossy and controlling when you join him to play with his toys. When you are apart for any length of time Halen will ask for you before he even asks for me and when we say our bedtime prayers he loves to thank Jesus for you.

Right now, one of your favourite games with your brother is when you sit in the middle of a room while Halen runs around you. He runs and you laugh and laugh, as you laugh harder, he runs faster. You are thrilled to watch your big brother perform, and he is equally as happy to please you and invoke out of you your squeals of joy. When he is dizzy from running around you and you are lying on the floor from laughing so hard, he stops and instantly goes over to you to kiss you on your head. It’s his little way to thank you for the fun, and tell you how much he loves you. All the while I have the joy of sitting back and watching these beautiful displays of brotherly love unfold in front of me and my Mama heart is beaming. You two are quite the pair!

I love you Nicco and I am so excited to celebrate you today. Today we are celebrating your wonderful being and how grateful we are to have a part of our family and our lives. I hope today and every day you feel beyond loved, because you are. Soak in today precious boy.

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Christmas 2016

I am laying on the couch, curled up in my fuzzy blanket, sipping tea and thinking about today. What a wonderful day! Christmas 2016 was absolutely fabulous. You two boys make everything fun but today really was special.
This year we decided to spend Christmas in Eston once again. Halen’s first Christmas was here, and we thought Nicco’s first Christmas should be here also. You boys have been sleeping so great lately but with the excitement of Christmas you were both up by 6 AM, possibly the earliest we have ever started our day. I snuck out of our room first so I could catch your reaction Halen when you walked out of our room. You were a bit hesitant as you walked into a living room full of gifts. You silently walked up to the tree and in almost a whisper asked me “Santa brought these”? Confused by the possibility, intrigued with the magic. These are the moments you live for is a parent. The simple moments that only last seconds long, the ones you would miss if you weren’t looking hard enough. These moments make your heart skip a beat, they completely and utterly melt me as a Mom. Your joy is such a gift to my heart.
We did stockings and a couple presents as soon as you woke up. We wanted some time on our own to experience your first reactions to the day without the busyness or distraction of other people or other action. It was great to have our own little Christmas time and the early morning ended up being a gift to us as it gave us plenty of time to play with your new toys, get ready for the day in a non-rushed matter and just spend some still time together before the day took on a busier pace. You Halen opened up a combine and a magnetic dress-up doll as well as your stocking. Nicco opened his stocking, a pair of boots and a microphone. Surprisingly, the doll was an even bigger hit than the combine and Nicco was thrilled with his microphone, unable to contain his smile when he heard his voice being amplified.
We headed over to GGs shortly after 9am for breakfast. Grandpa, Grandma, Auntie Glennis as well as Uncle Lorne, Aunt Louvain and Lisa joined us. Daddy had to drop us off and go back to push Judy O out of her driveway as she was stuck. Everyone pitched in to make a breakfast feast and we had more food then we knew what to do with. Last year you Halen ate three whole waffles and a cinnamon bun, this year you were so excited to get back home you didn’t even eat a full waffle before you were asking to get home to your gifts! It has been a bit tricky for me this year to figure out how to teach you kids that the real reason for Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus. This year, since you are both so young, I decided to put a candle in Halen’s waffle and we all sang Happy Birthday to Jesus. It was the perfect way to start off the day and remind all of us why today is such a big deal. There are many favourite moments I shared with you today, but singing Happy Birthday to Jesus was at the top.
After breakfast we all headed back to our house to open gifts. When we are in Eston we go to the Christmas Eve service where the story of the birth of Jesus is read. This is a new tradition for me as growing up we never did a Christmas Eve service typically. In my family, our tradition was to take turns each year reading the story before we opened gifts. I remember being young and the story seemed to take FOREVER, but as I grew older, I appreciated that time. I like how even in excitement and anticipation of gifts, we reset and focus on the purpose and the reason we are celebrating. After our bible story, we began to open our mountain of gifts. The gifts of course were great but the company was even better and I am glad we had so many people around to share the morning with.
The two of you opened up an endless amount of presents. My initial reaction to all of your gifts wasn’t what you may expect. I did sort of struggle with it and I would like to look at doing things a little different next year however it was amazing. For every gift under the tree, there was someone on the giving end of the present who loves you both so much. Someone who spent oodles of time in busy shopping centres, during the busiest time of the year, scouring the shelves to find you each the perfect gift they knew you would love. The whole idea is overwhelming and filled with so much love. Halen got a giant 1:16 tractor, a quadtrack, grain cart, auger, clothes, a plasma car, books, movies, Noah’s ark set and an early reader set. Nicco got a singing sound book, lots of clothes, boots, a microphone, a new car seat, rattles, books, and movies.
This year you Nicco could have cared less to open your own gifts, you just enjoyed playing with them when they were unwrapped for you. Your brother was the exact opposite, he was thrilled to unwrap each of his gifts and wasn’t shy to ask others if he could help unwrap theirs as well. Unwrapping presents was most definitely a highlight in itself for Halen as there were a few times he would say “next one” before he even had the first fully open. Halen’s OCD with unwrapping was also quite apparent. It wasn’t until every tiny piece of paper was perfectly removed before he gave any sort of reaction or got excited about what he had received. Confession: there was so much chaos and excitement when opening up all your gifts we didn’t even take the time to read out which gifts were from who. It wasn’t until your dad and I were putting away all your presents at nap time we realized you probably had no clue who got you what! We then had to go through each gift one by one and tell you who each of them were from. Nap time was a gong show, both of you were totally overstimulated and excited to discover your toys so the idea of sleeping was destroying your tiny hearts. We settled with a short sleep and then headed over to your Grandparents for Christmas supper while GG joined the Johnstons at their place. Supper was of course delicious, Nicco’s favourite was stuffing with gravy, Halen’s was the turkey and he was quite underwhelmed with the idea of cranberries on the side. After supper the spoiling continued as we still had our McLean stockings to open up, both your favourite gifts from the stockings was the new Veggietale movies and your Olof stuffies. After supper we headed home, got you kids cozy in PJs and went to Roger and Karen’s for a late night visit with everyone. Nicco and Isla were thrilled to be reunited and so were Halen and Pip. There was all sorts of fun to be had for everyone old and young. The highlight for Halen was when he and Pip shared a bedtime bowl of Shreddies with milk from Pips tea set (a favourite play date of theirs when they were in town), the highlight for Nicco was playing crocono with Isla and Brett and laughing hysterically every time a chip went flying across the board. Being with so many people from our family was a wonderful way to end a great Christmas.
Today is special because our Saviour was born. Your saviour, my saviour. And just like the wisemen, we gathered around one another today and brought gifts in celebration. Gifts to say I love you, I thought of you, you are special to me. Today, I hope as the two of you crawl into bed, you feel all of these things and more. Merry Christmas boys, thank you for such a wonderful day.

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