Conner turns Seventeen!!

I enjoy writing birthday blogs and sharing what each year of life with our littles has looked like. I am excited to one day look back on the highlights of these years and reminisce on memories when our kids are grown. This year, a great change in our home has been the addition of you and your brother moving in, and with that of course comes a birthday blog to tell you all about my favourite moments from your sixteenth year…

It’s hard to believe you are seventeen already, I guess it’s true, time really does fly when you’re having fun! When I go back in my memory bank and reminisce on moments from the time you were born, it fills me with such joy. I am grateful to God for creating you just the way you are. There wasn’t one mistake He made when God thought you up. Like a delightful recipe, God perfected you before He served you to the rest of the world for us to enjoy. He gave you courage, brains, and an ability to love in such a loyal and passionate way. He gave you extra scoops of joy with a natural knack of making people smile. He gave you the gift of thoughtfulness, of going out of your way to make people feel good about themselves. He sprinkled you with responsibility, compassion, respectfulness, and like a cherry on top, He made sure to add in a generous helping of optimism to your spirit. What a masterpiece He created (and no, i’m not talking about your abs).

Speaking of memories, your first birthday was by far one of my favourite days I’ve spent with you. It was so precious. Amanda and I had plenty of people we could have invited to share in your special day, yet we didn’t. The four of us tackled that year together, leaning in and loving on one another in a way that cant even be explained so it only seemed fitting to celebrate the day with just the four of us. We served you the most delicious cupcakes you’ve ever tasted only because they were made almost entirely of icing to cover up how burnt they were. We waited till the clock counted down to the exact minute you were born and serenaded you with the sweetest off-tune rendition of Happy Birthday we could muster. The two of you sat there on the living room floor enthralled with the flickering flames of your birthday candles. When Mandy went to serve you your cupcake you were fairly cautious, you backed up, assessed the situation, then quickly reached your hand out to touch the flame, yet stopped at the very last second. Even now, when you see something you think may be dangerous, when you’re faced with temptation, or trouble is on the horizon, I can see you mentally back up and think about it for a moment. You often think quickly and rush towards the fire (which usually makes me panic) yet you stop yourself right before you touch the flame. I am thankful for your wisdom to assess danger and step back when you may get burnt. I pray this is a characteristic of wisdom which will follow you in all your days.

You always have and most likely always will be a guy who loves to stay busy. The more you’re doing, the merrier you are. Since living with us you have been in Volleyball, basketball, and indoor soccer. You were a lead role in the Kindersley Christmas production, you sang beautifully at the Christmas Eve service and recently you joined our churches worship team. In between all of these activities you have had a job as a server at the local restaurant. Every single activity you do, you excel in and work hard at. I constantly hear what a wonderful and polite server you are (never mind always handsome in your spiffy duds). You are a good team player, you are (usually) respectful on the field or the court, and you are a person who your teammates enjoy being around. Somehow the endless hours driving you to and from events, all seems worth it when I have the opportunity to sit back and watch you shine in your passions. You once told me when you are on the field, it is the only time your mind is clear and you don’t think about any problems you could be facing. I wish I had an outlet like this when I was your age and I am proud you are seeking these things out rather than walking away from them.

Yet again, it comes as no surprise how much you enjoy performing. You have had the ability to own a room from before you could even walk! When Uncle Quinn and I watched you in the Christmas production, I got goosebumps seeing you perform so confidently. Once again, I was brought back to your baby days of prancing into a room and getting all eyes on you with just a flash of your cheesy grin or a shake of your little booty. I remember when you were about a year and a half Auntie Tiffany taught you this silly dance. She would sing “wonka, wonka, wonka, wonka” and you would stick your hands in front of you dancing forward in a half robot, half magic hands motion. Then she would sing it backwards “aknaw, aknaw, aknaw, aknaw” and you would do the same dance backwards. Your big eyes, chubby cheeks, and ability to never miss a beat even in a made up song would have people on the floor in laughter. You loved dancing. When we moved in with my parents your favorite bedtime routine was after bathtime, turning on my stereo as loud as I would allow and then jumping/dancing on my bed in the nude until you were dry. Every night ended with a dance party on my bed and i’m pretty sure if I was up for it, you would end the night off the same way still.

You take so much pride in how you present yourself. You work at the local restaurant here and you always look so sharp every time you head for work. You enjoy getting dressed up in your suits, normally you head out with a fancy bow tie on and I constantly get comments and compliments on how handsome and well dressed you are. These habits continue on in our home as well. You take pride in having a clean room and will sometimes spend hours organizing your clothes from dress clothes, down to lounge clothes. Your favorite items are displayed neatly on all your shelves and you know when anything is out of place. I so appreciate your ability to be authentic with who you are, and I see this in the way your showcase yourself and your life. One of your favourite quotes is “Be careful who you pretend to be. You might forget who you are” and I am beyond proud that you never seem to lose sight of who you are, regardless of who is around.

You have somehow managed to get not one but two sets of stitches since living with us (in nearly the same place)! The first set was after a water slide incident between you and your brother at a hotel during one of our visits to Rocky. This last time was during a basketball game when you got pushed during a jump. You hit the wall and as luck would have it, your eye hit the one tiny hook used for the badminton nets. We headed into Kindersley for stitches and it happened to be one of my favorite nights with you. I love our one on one time, we sat there for hours just chatting, holding hands the whole time. I love your affection. I love how confidently you express your love for others. I love that no matter how old you get, you are never too old (or too cool) to show your affection or soak in receiving it.

You are also affectionate with Halen and Nicco in this way. You are an incredible Uncle! You are so gracious when Halen comes barging into your room demanding your attention. Instead of barking at him, you put him up on your keyboard and let him play his heart out. When Nicco sees you, he often wants a big hug or a long winded cuddle. Our guys love you so much and I am thankful you are such a good Uncle to them.

You also have an incredible ability to make people laugh. One of my favourite Conner quotes the last few months was from when you and I were out and a young ladies hockey team walked by us. I assuming their high IQs and big hearts caught your attention because you said to me: “you know, if any of those girls knew I could sing, was athletic, AND had abs, at least one of them would have asked for my Snapchat”
Me: bahahaha okay there triple threat
You: yeah and just wait till I tell them I’m adopted AND a twin, then I’m in for sure!
Oh my goodness Conner you make me laugh!

Conner, as you enter into your seventeenth year, my prayer for you is you know how much you are loved. You are someone who is there for people when it counts, you seek justice for those who are treated unfairly, you are so smart you barely need to try. You ooze beautiful qualities and I am beyond proud of who you are. Happy Birthday Conner, make this a year to remember!

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Carter turns seventeen!!!

I enjoy writing birthday blogs and sharing what each year of life with our littles has looked like. I am excited to one day look back on the highlights of these years and reminisce on memories when our kids are grown. I wish this was something I did with you and your brother when you were young but there is no better time to start then now. So let the seventeenth birthday blog begin…

On this day, seventeen years ago, you were brought in this world surrounded by love, and people thankful for your being. You were celebrated. You were oh so precious. You were created in the image of God who meticulously and purposefully handpicked each and every part of you. God placed a purpose on each quality you carry and He is proud of who you are. I am proud of who you are. You are intelligent, you have a beautiful gift of loving people. You are kind, you are thoughtful, you are resilient. You are strikingly handsome, you are determined, you are incredibly funny, and your presence is light. You are a beautiful gift.

You have been living with us for ten months now and from the moment you came, you have added so much greatness into our home. Life with you is fun! You are so chill, barely anything can get you stressed out or worked up. Life with you is easy. You listen, you are helpful, you love quality family time. You have made it your goal to read more so on any given night I can find you curled up at our kitchen bench reading Seven Habits of Highly Effective People or drawing all sorts of new creations. You are active and like doing rather than just being which makes you very enjoyable company to keep.

You are incredibly thoughtful. A few weeks ago you had a doctors appointment and while waiting in the waiting room, you saw samples of cream for babies with eczema. Most teenagers wouldn’t look twice at that, but you have heard Quinn and I talk about Nicco’s skin issues so you grabbed a sample for us and suggested we try it out to see if it could help. Your thoughtfulness is incredibly heartwarming.

You are an amazing Uncle to Halen and Nicco – absolutely beyond what we ever could have asked you to be. Right now Quinn and I are reading The Five Love Languages of Teenagers and your most predominant love language is Quality Time. I see this so clearly because of the way you are with the littles. You take pride in being a good and active Uncle to them and you do this by offering your quality time. On any given day I will find the three of you wrestling – shirts off, pillows in the air, someone screaming, and a pile of limbs flying around. Nicco comes running up out of nowhere, yelling for you, “chach” he screams, flexing his pipes saying “let’s ress” and you can’t resist. You drop what you are doing and you wrestle till the three of you are sweating and exhausted. You do special things with them like build them forts, or leave carved cheese strings out for Halen when he wakes up from his nap. Halen thinks you are amazing, often when he says his evening prayers, he likes to make a list as to why he is thankful for you. If I were to make a list, I would be thankful for your patience as you navigate learning to deal with a passionate three year old and a wild two year old. Life is crazy in our home yet you nonchalantly go with the flow, smiling along the journey and for this I am thankful.

You love to love and that includes all creatures big and small. A few months ago you got yourself a crested gecko from a young man in Calgary. Your gecko came with the name Carlos but has had many names since as you let Halen name him whatever he wants on any given day. You take good care of your little guy and you enjoy his company. Turns out having a little creature isn’t as creepy as I thought it may be, plus, I really enjoy watching how well you take care of him!

When you were born you came into the world covered head toe in bruises and it was so telling of your character. You sat in your Mom’s tummy, and took a backseat to Conner. He kicked you around, hogged the space, yet you were totally fine with it. Nothing has changed since you were born. As babies, if both of you were hungry, you would wait patiently for Conner to be fed first. If both of you needed a cuddle, you would let Conner be the first to be soothed, looking up at both of us perfectly content, maybe even relieved knowing Conner was being taken care of. As young men, this still rings true, as you are still your brothers keeper. You typically have his back, you usually don’t mind giving him his way, and you love him like crazy. This quality of protectiveness and loyalty is something I have always appreciated about you. I love the quote “a boss has the title, a leader has the people” and I also love that it reminds me of you. You could have the power if you want it, but you don’t. You already seem to know the importance of having the people rather than the title. I am confident this quality will follow you into your future and serve you well.

This year you played Volleyball and went to one day of Football tryouts. Football is an intense schedule around here and since I really value your brain cells, I was happy when you came home after a day and said it wasn’t for you. “Auntie, they like actually just charge at one another to see who can hurt the other one more!? AND, they wanted me to share a mouthguard with them”!! So with that, we happily let that idea go and you joined indoor soccer instead. This is your first year playing indoor soccer and you are already getting used to it and doing great. You are definitely an asset to any team you are on. It has been fun to watch you try your hand in more productive leadership skills – you are growing and learning in your role with a new team and it has been encouraging to see your effort in these areas.

You have also became an all star student! You moved here with a mid 60s average and after endless hard work and plenty of determination, you finished your first semester of grade eleven with an 81% average! How incredible is that?! Words can’t express how proud I am of you. All those early mornings going in to get extra help, the hours of homework making sure not a single assignment was missed, the studying, the commitment, the hard work – Carter, you EARNED this grade and you, in all your intelligence, deserved this mark. You Carter Harold have a goal and your eye is on the prize. Right now you are thinking you would like to get into the finance side of business, you’ve researched post secondary education, you know what your average needs to be to get into these classes and you are working hard to get yourself there. You are like a dog with a bone and there is no stopping you from what you are capable of achieving! This is the drive that will get you places!

Happy seventeenth birthday Carter! I am so proud of the person you are. I appreciate your love for our family, your hard work in life, your capacity to always look at the bright side and your ability to be a joyful presence in our home every-single-day. I love you, I love you, I love you, and I cannot wait to share in your seventeenth year!

 

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Nicco turns two!

Two! My tiny baby boy is two and I am madly in love with every part of you! You are perfection. You are everything I could have prayed for. You are strong, capable, inquisitive, self determined – you are made up of all things good.

Right now, I’m laying in your bed, waiting for you to fall asleep. You are still reeling from your birthday celebration and sleep seems to be the last thing on your mind. Today was an awesome day for all of us. This year you are obsessed with two things, cats and “Yee haws” which is code for your cowboys boots so for your second birthday we threw you a cat themed party. I put pictures of cats all over the wall, made a kitty strawberry shortcake, and we put little whiskers on your nose which somehow made you even cuter! You crawled out of bed this morning squealing “meow” over and over as you tried to look around the room and take in all the cuteness of the adorable kittens plastered on the walls. In true Nicco fashion, you didn’t miss an opportunity to be empathetic though as you quickly questioned me asking me if the baby kitties were sad. Fun, funny, AND a big heart – If that isn’t perfection, I don’t know what is!

This year has been awesome with you! Growing from one to two comes with major milestones: teething, walking, taking, and developing your adorable personality each and every day. A huge change in our home this year was having your Uncles, Conner and Carter move in with us. Carter has lived with us the majority of this year now and Conner for the last six months. You are madly in love with the both of them and they think you are the cats meow as well (wink, wink).

You don’t seem to be nearly as excited with the idea of your birthday as the rest of us. When I ask you if you’re two you say “no, I’m one” and when I tell you you’re a big boy now you say “nooo, ima baby”. I’m more than okay with you staying my baby for a while longer though so I’ll keep pretending right alongside of you.

You are one of a kind Niccochu! If I allowed myself to fully focus on each one of your smiles I would cry in joy at the sight of your happiness. Your mischievous attitude can drive me up the wall and melt my heart all at once. Every night I go to bed thinking I want one good sleep on my own yet I am missing you by the time my head hits my pillow. I love the way you love your family, the way you need random hugs throughout the day, and the way you constantly seek out joy and laughter throughout each day. If I were to guess, you will be our wild child. I picture you jumping out of planes and seeking thrills that will make my heart nearly explode in worry.

You have now gotten in all your teeth except for two molars. Your molars have done a number on your pain tolerance. Your fever shoots up like crazy, you helplessly cry for hours, you want to snuggle constantly and you lay down anywhere to try and sleep away your pain.

You prefer to communicate through meowing, pointing a lot or having Halen speak for you. Although you’re a quiet guy now, if I were to guess, I think once you get more words you will be quite the talker. You know full sentences and whip them out occasionally but you still don’t speak often. We are beginning to learn a whole new code system for how you communicate. “Meow” is Cat, “Yee haw” is for your cowboy boots, “woah” is water, “ding ding” is bike, “bup” is grandma, “juice” is a fruit cup, “woof” is you asking to watch Clifford the Big Red Dog. You can say nearly any word I ask you to, including Halen which nearly melted my heart when I heard you say it for the first time.

One thing I adore is how rather than walking or running, you tend to bounce along your merry way. You’re as light as a feather so you just spring around like a little baby deer with a giant smile on your face.

You are a feisty little guy. Halen can be rough with you but you rarely back down. Your nails grow like weeds and you’re a scratcher when you fight. You have the might of a lion and if he tries to take a toy from you, you hold on for dear life. You like to yell when you’re mad and also when your happy. Sometimes you will just scream at the top of your lungs over and over if you’re bored in the van. Halen gets all worked up “Mom make him stoppp” and then you laugh at his frustration. He may be bigger, but you still win plenty more than people would guess.

You are 24 pounds, and 2 feet 6 inches tall. Your favorite thing to eat are those kids gummy fruit snacks. You ask for a “snack” 30 times a day and that is the only thing you consider a snack. Whether I hand you an apple or a giant bag of cotton candy, if you have a “snack” on your mind you will only accept gummies.

You are a bit of a picky eater. Your appetite starts out big in the morning and tappers out through the day so breakfast is your biggest meal, supper is your smallest. For bedtime snack you eat one slice of Halens apple and your totally content. You dislike any form of potatoes other than fries. You enjoy salad or dip with your vegetables, cottage cheese, and yogurt, pasta is your favourite supper. You won’t eat a piece of meat on its own, you prefer a whole sandwich to be made and then you dissect it all and only eat the meat.

We have a new gadget in our house called the Amazon Echo, it’s a smart device where if you say the command “Alexa” you can ask it all sorts of questions like Alexa play me music, what’s the weather, read me the news, etc. When you are done listening to her you can say “Alexa, that’s enough” and she will stop. You and Halen love when I put on musical performances. You ask me to sing, and dance and the two of you sit on the couch and giggle away at my ridiculousness. The other day I was in the middle of a mighty fine concert for Halen and you walked in the room after a bit of a sour day, looked me square in the eyes and said “Lexa, ‘nough”. I nearly fell over I was laughing so hard.

Honestly Nicco I could go on forever telling you all the new things you are discovering about yourself, or the new things we are discovering about you. In each story, the underlying theme is how magically adorable you are. We love you Nicco and we are proud of you. We are thankful to have you in our lives and there isn’t a day that goes by where we don’t understand how blessed we are to have you a part of our family. Happiest second birthday son, or happy non-birthday I should say? As your mommy, I’m happy to celebrate you and also celebrate you being my baby for as long as you’ll let me.

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Halen’s First Day of Playschool!

Tomorrow you are off to your first day of play-school. This is a big day for you…and a big day for me. You are more than ready to start school, thrilled actually. Me on the other hand, well I’m sitting on the fence. Im excited for you to journey onto this next chapter that awaits, yet the selfish part of me will miss having you by my side, and the mama-bear part of me is nervous to not be there with you to offer protection. With that being said, I am beyond happy you are ready, waiting, and completely overjoyed to begin school. 

Education is a key that will unlock so many doors for you. Your mind is going to expand, your creativity is going to flow, and your independence is going to blossom. Whenever my mommy heart aches thinking of sending you off to school, I remind myself how rewarding it will be to watch you learn. This is day one of a fourteen (hopefully more) journey of structured education and I am so proud to usher you on your way. So go my dear babe, and learn, learn, learn. Allow your mind to soak in all the knowledge offered to you. Allow your heart to open up to the new friends who await you. Allow your character to develop with the leadership of others. And Halen, remember to stay true to who you are because you are one of the most amazing human beings I am blessed to know. Enjoy school my dear, Mommy loves you. 

Here is a little interview I gave you as you enter into play-school:
My favourite colour is John Deere (aka green)
My favourite toy to play with is my Massey Ferguson combine
My best friend is Shane (Pederson). I love Shaney so much
My favourite food is turkey (I would have never guessed this)
My favourite animal is a giraffe (also would have never known)
My favourite book is Daniel the Tiger
My favourite movie is Moana
When I grow up I want to be a Farmer
The part about school I’m most excited about is eating snacks

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Update: You were all smiles as you headed off for your first day of school today. You were excited to discover your classroom and you were giddy hanging out with all your friends. There were no tears as I left, just a simple high-five saying you’ll see me later. When I picked you up, the first thing you asked was if Nicco was waiting and excited to see you. When we got home, I asked about your morning and you completely melted my heart…

Me: Halen did you love school today? What did you do?
Halen: It was SO fun! We sang, played, and ate snacks!
Me: What was your favourite part about today?
Halen: When you came back to get me… 

 

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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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