Letter 4

Dear boys,

I don’t have any purpose in writing this letter to you right now. I take that back, I do have a motive in writing this to you. I want to brag about how cute you are. If one day this letter resurfaces in my kitchen when you are men (maybe I am a grandma) and I get to brag to your significant others and/or kids how unbelievably adorable you two were and then SHOW that you are hands down the cutest, then I will be happy.

Here are pics from this week:
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And here is a little story for each of you:

Ryker, this past weekend you got to go on a “date” with both mommy and daddy. Our dates are typically 2-3 outings, including lunch, a movie, and sometimes a play area with other kids. We went and saw an animated movie called, “The Book of Life.” You LOVE the movies. You already know the routine… buy the ticket, get the popcorn, pick a seat, and cuddle. You are still too little to keep the flip seat down yourself, so I always have to hold the seat down so the chair doesn’t swallow you up. You will last in the chair for all of 30 minutes before you decide my lap is better and you watch the rest of the movie from there. This last time, your little intuitive side came out, like it often does. There is a scene at the beginning of the movie where an entire town is gathered in a graveyard celebrating the Day of the Dead. In the movie that is the day where family members who have passed away come and visit those they left behind, but in spirit. The family of a little boy was gathered at the grave site of his mother. His grandmother narrated that his mother is, and always will be, with him so long as he remembers her. His mother’s spirit lovingly cuddled him as the story was told. Ryker my angel, I have been home from the hospital just over a week. I was actually sitting next to you in a bit of pain, and that part of the movie hit close to home for me. I didn’t change anything about my composure, but you reached your tiny hand out and interlocked your fingers with mine and used your other hand to pat my hand, as if you were telling me it was okay. You amaze me.

Cole, in true form, you have been a comedian. Although I will say, you took a page out of your brother’s book and have been an incredible little love bug. When you come home from preschool you never fail to give me a BIG full force hug with a big puppy dog smile, and then pet my hair. Nothing makes me feel more special, especially since you are discriminating with when and how you are sweet. Anyway, the other day you were wrestling with your brother and dad on the carpet we have in front of the television in the living room. Out of nowhere, I hear your dad start cracking up and he tells me to watch. You gave me your cheese smile, and then lifted your dad’s shirt and executed a masterful tummy fart on him. I don’t know where you picked that up, but it was so funny I almost sent myself back to the hospital. Every single day you pull something that is too funny and adorable to handle, and that is just a small example. I could write page after page about the cute things you do and say.

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Love you my boys,

Mom

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Letter 3: Bullying, Pride, Humility

Dear boys,

I am going to ramble a little bit. Sometimes during the day, as I go about my life, I will overcome an obstacle with grace and I will be proud of it. Now, you will be told that you need to exercise humility in life. This is true. If you spend too much time celebrating an accomplishment then you may trick yourself into acting like there isn’t more for you to achieve. You are limitless and will never reach your pinnacle; THIS is the greatest and most amazing thing about being alive. Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because I want you to not be afraid of recognizing your strengths so you can continue to grow them. People WILL try to minimize you in life. Why? Because when insecure people stand next to others, they imagine themselves to be giants- in order to appease their illusion they try to make others feel little. To do that they will pick on anything, but if they see strength in you, that you yourself perhaps don’t recognize, THAT is what they will attack. When it doesn’t make sense why someone is being anything but positive to you, this is likely the case. Ignore it, and focus on your own journey. To tie it all together here… I want you to be proud of yourselves, I want you to use that pride to create more accomplishments to be proud of, and I don’t want insecure people to pause you because they aren’t worth thinking about. As a side note, you may see an insecure person who has achieved an aspect of respect in one or more realms of life. I want you to understand that success built on anything untrue is despicable; do not follow their lead. They will be unhappy soon enough and I don’t want that for you.

All my love,

Mom

Ryker, 3 years old
Cole, 1 1/2
Mommy, 31
Daddy, Old

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Letter 2: A peek into your Nights

Dear boys,

Want to know what your nights look like as little boys? Let me paint you a picture.

Not at the moment (mommy is out of commission for a few weeks), but usually, your mom and dad travel to and from work together. On the way we drop you off and pick you up from what I consider a top-notch preschool. While your dad and I are at work, you and your brother learn about different countries, do yoga, pet horses, try different foods, and learn different languages. With this school, and at this moment, you are legitimately smarter than your father 🙂  How you ended up at this preschool we will save for another letter, which may be useful to you when you have kids.

We typically pick you up from school just a touch before you are ready to eat dinner. What that means for me is I have to HUSTLE to get dinner ready when we get home. For Ryker, the wait isn’t a big deal. For Cole, the world quickly falls to pieces as each minute passes and there isn’t food in his mouth. I often have to wear Cole as a handbag or boot while I cook just so he can see the food progress into a meal to ease his mind.

Cole, my baby, you may be the healthiest eater I have ever seen. Your father called you a mosquito when you were born because you were never satisfied from eating (I credit you 100% with helping me lose my pregnancy weight). You quickly earned the nickname, “Tub-Tub” as you would plump up before a growth spurt from eating man-sized portions of food. When you run around the house, you are affectionately called, “Tubs,” “Cole-Cole,” and “Little.”

Once food is ready, Ryker takes his place at the head of the table. Although his chin is about level with the tabletop, that is his spot. Cole still needs to be confined to his high chair as his shenanigans aren’t yet to be trusted. Now with regard to your meals; Cole you are a DELIGHT to feed. You eat whatever I put in front of you like it is gourmet. You shovel food in your mouth by the handful and smile like it is Christmas. Ryker, my picky little man, I have to use every psychological trick in the book to get you to try things. Last night I told you that lasagna was, “a magic spaghetti square.” Didn’t work. You did eat an entire apple with peanut butter and a piece of garlic bread though. The night before you dipped a graham cracker slathered with peanut butter into ranch dressing. You eat like your mom.
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During any meal, Ryker has to get up and wander the living room between bites. Time to meal completion can be hours. Cole on the other hand spends 5 minutes in beast mode, another 10 minutes in savor mode, and then the last few in, “throw the leftovers on the floor, clean my hands with my hair, and empty my drink onto my tray mode.” Cole’s entire highchair will get pushed into the kitchen, with him still in it, as we start our cleaning ritual:

Step 1: Find the baby under the food.
Step 2: Shake the baby out of the food.
Step 3: Get the baby naked.
Step 4: Take shoes off and play tickle the feet (I need to record that. Cole, you are too cute) Step 5: Sponge the squirming baby
Step 6: Let the baby loose to push his high chair back to the dining room and play.
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During all this, Ryker has learned to wait patiently for his time. By this time your dad has re-emerged from his after work hiding place and will grab Cole for some bonding time upstairs. Ryker, you then get a special big brother treat as I do the dishes. Sometimes ice cream, cookies, or pudding. Sometimes just cuddles. But you and I will hang out together for at least half an hour before bath time.

Now let me tell you about bath time, you little shits. You tiny terrorists will often leave the entire bathroom SOAKED. Cole will jump on Ryker’s back, Ryker stands up and drops for max splash, Cole uses the back of the tub as a slide, Ryker dumps cups of water on Cole, Cole lies down and submerges his face… only luck and God has kept your father from busting an artery. That is a GOOD night. Sometimes, you little a-holes just scream. When we tell you to cool-it, you laugh at us. This, is the definition of karma. Your uncle Pookie and I have driven Grandpa Doodle nuts in equally frustrating ways. One day it will come back to you…
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After the bath, it is run in and out of the closet time. You take turns running in and out of the bedroom and locking each other in the closet. Sometimes you run together and hold hands, sometimes you chase each other, sometimes you go in there together and try to trash it before you get yelled at. Your dad and I just watch you be brothers from the den. No matter how much you fought over toys during the day, at this time of night you are best friends, and it evokes a sense of pride to watch.

Next, dance off. Every. Single. Night. We watch, “Pitch Perfect.” You each have favorite parts, and we visit those scenes at least three times EACH as we all mimic the choreography. I need to say, your dad is a badass sniper with tattoos… he dances to show-choir with you. Ryker, you dance like you are in a club (I fear you get the booty shaking from me). Cole, you dance like a cool guy. To wind down, you brush your teeth in front of the TV with your little electronic Spiderman toothbrushes.

Prayer time. Ryker, you are a champ at this. Every night, this is your prayer:

I love you God. Thank you, God. Protect me God. Protect my Mommy, Protect my Daddy, Protect my brother, Protect Moosh, etc etc etc (we list about 20 people). AAAAAAAMEN.

Cole even gets in on the “Amen” and will often scream DOO-DOO as we list people to protect. He loves his Grandpa. Sometimes he will try to sneak out of the room to play some more though.

Finally, “nigh-nigh” time. At this point I lie down on the floor while you two fall asleep, and sneak out about 45 minutes later. Ryker, you always sneak in a few extra cuddles. Sometimes you pet my head and tell me that I am you best friend. Cole, sometimes you will yell if I don’t say, “Shhhh, don’t be sad. You are a good boy.” Almost always, you boys fall asleep sweetly.

Love you endlessly,

Mommy

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Letters to my boys: Letter 1

My dearest boys,

When your father and I got married we started a blog to keep two international families abreast of what was going on in our lives. It covers me learning to cook, uncle Pookie’s teenage years, and some of your grandparent’s shenanigans; its purpose has morphed from a collection of silliness to a coming-of-age, and eventually became my gift to you boys so you could one day re-visit your childhood in stories and pictures. I also want you to understand some of the lessons your father and I learn as we learn them- it will help your understand yourselves one day.

This post will likely be longer than others to come, as there is a lot of cover. First, how about I let you know how I see you at this very moment.

Ryker, you are one of the most intuitively bright little humans I have ever seen. You don’t allow others to be sad. You can sense someone is unhappy even when they try and hide it, and you can often fix it. You, my son, have an extraordinary gift. Your heart, at three years old, is more developed than most adults. You bend over backwards to make sure the ones you love aren’t sad. You are very much like you grandpa Doodle that way. You are loyal, protective, sweet, and you know without being told what is morally right and wrong. At two years old, you were already protecting your brother from other kids (Cole’s look of pride whenever his big brother stepped in to protect him is something I will never forget). You also seem to have the “Held” penchant for being exceedingly athletic, but falling a lot. A LOT. Your laugh is infectious, and I look forward to nothing more than our Saturday “dates” when you open doors for me and order food for yourself.

Cole, my angel. You my son, are hilarious. There is no being mad at you. Unlike your brother, you are completely unaware if someone is mad and it is often the best ticket to get the moment to pass. You are determined, unwavering, and very bright. You analyze situations before making a move, and once you are comfortable you seek no approval to entertain yourself. You are delightful, fun, and happy, but it is your caution and independence that makes me feel like you will be a force to be reckoned with as a man. I can already feel the pride I will have for you as you continue to grow and develop. I fear for anyone who chooses to cross you. You are kindhearted and don’t seek confrontation, but when confrontation comes your way your eyes shoot a warning that I feel will be enough to get you out of many fights. I already know that whatever you decide to do, you will be an unbelievable successful at.

Boys, I want you to understand that your individual gifts are profound. However I need you to know that what you can do together would be earth shattering. You are both charming in different ways, and both exceedingly intelligent in different categories. You are a perfect match, although I am sure you will frustrate each other to no end. It is my wish as your mother that you each know that your brother is always there for you. If there is a battle, you both fight. If there is heartache, you both cry. If life hands you lemons, as brother you pick up those damn lemons and you throw them together. As brothers, you are more apart of each other than anyone ever will be, and you should be each other’s armor. Should there ever be a rift between you, make it your top priority to mend it.

Now I want you to know about your mom and dad as they are at this very moment. Your father and I work together at a university that allows us more time to focus on you boys. The trade-off between time and money means that you boys get family meals at home, dance-offs before bed, weekends at the park and donuts on Sunday, big breakfast Saturday and homemade cookies, and lots of laughs with your mom and dad. What you miss because daddy is no longer a finance manager and mommy left mortgage banking is Disneyland vacations and designer bedrooms. Your father and I have decided that time is worth the gap on the paycheck. I personally relish every moment I have with you and hope that I am making the best decisions for you daily.

I also want you to know what we have overcome as a family. I have had a handful of health crises that have tested us all. Perhaps we didn’t shoulder through the storms with full grace, but we did it. I want you to know this because much of the faith, love, and support you will experience in your life will be partially fertilized by the shit that we have overcome. If I coddle you, it is because I want to soak up every precious moment I have with you. If I push you, it is because I see the perfection that you are, and I don’t want a moment to pass by where I didn’t help you grab at happiness. You see, my sons, your life will be full. It will be full of things, none of which are good or bad. It is up to you, and you alone, whether those things are positive or negative. You choose everything. You choose to be pitied or celebrated, admired or scorned, happy or sad. When times are difficult, I will be there finding something we can laugh at as we wait for shit to turn into fertilizer, just like your father and I have done these past few years. With family, you will never be alone. With your brother, you will always have a friend.

So here is my advice for you for the moment:
• Know your limits and live near that edge. Find what makes you happy and always work towards it, but don’t lose sight of the happiness when entrenched in the journey
• Help others, and be kind. What you put out in the universe gets stored, and when you least expect it but most need it, it will come pouring out on you. (Ryker, be careful not to give too much. Cole can help you with that )
• Leave trouble behind. There is truly very little worth stressing about. When you have kids yourself, I allow you to stress. But until then there is nothing more stupid to allow into your minds. You were born happy, funny, amazing boys… that is who you are. Stress will eclipse that. Don’t let it.
• Look for the funny, there is always something funny.
• Work hard. Don’t be lazy about anything, no matter now insignificant it may seem. No one will ever fault you for being a hard worker. You naturally have everything else it takes to have whatever you want, so just work hard to get it.

I will do my best to write letter to you often. Your antics are a comedy show, and I hope one day it entertains you as much as it has me. I will see if I can get your dad to write a letter or two as well  One day when life provides you similar circumstances to your father and I, it may help to know your parents missteps and victories.

I love you endlessly, my rascals.

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Baby Pool Anxiety

I have actually never seen this pool anxiety before. When Ryker was a baby we introduced him to the pool right. We let him touch the water, then we let him splash, and then within minutes we had a fish baby. Cole didn’t get the same warm introduction. This poor guy got walked into cold water until he was waist deep. Not a happy camper. He clung to me like a gecko on a wall for about half an hour after that. Well, let me backtrack. Grandma took him and gave him some cuddles after the initial cold water freak-out so that mama could dive in the water and play around a bit– But Cole didn’t like mama’s dive. OHHHHHH Cole didn’t like that at all. I have no idea what went through his adorable head, but when mommy went under the water he became emotional. Of course I took him after that, and that is when he became a gecko. However, anytime Tomis took a dive under the water Cole lost his marbles again.  Our usually tough and easy baby did NOT like to see mommy and daddy under water. Was really sweet, but seemingly traumatic for our little.  Anyway, just wondered if anyone else had ever encountered the same thing?  I hope we didn’t cause his aversion to the pool because in about 2 weeks we are signing up for swimming lessons O_0

 

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Ryker and Cole BIRTHDAY BASH!

Okay okay… I admit, my kids weren’t born on the same day. In fact, Ryker isn’t due to turn three until mid-July when it is SWELTERING in AZ. However, Ryker is my solar powered sweetie and an indoors birthday just isn’t right for my sunshine. Lucky for him, he has an accommodating brother born in April when the weather is perfect. It actually works out so that each boy gets 2 birthdays. Cole had an all day family celebration where he got a specially made breakfast, lunch, dinner, AND cupcakes on his actual birthday. Spoiled is an understatement. Just as a side note (a HUGE, BIG, DESERVES ITS OWN POST, SIDE NOTE) Cole WALKED the day after he turned one!! In July, Ryker will get his family day where mommy spoils him. But the big, share with family, friends, and neighbors shebang??? That was this past weekend. Cupcake decorating, 4 dozen balloons, outside shenanigans, Hawaiian menu (Moosh’s chicken nom nom nom), double layered from scratch chocolate cake; we had a great time. My family is lucky to have such great people around us and I am thankful every single day for it. So thank you all for coming out and celebrating with us. It means a lot to this mommy to have such great people sharing in the lives of her children.

I am actually a bit under the weather at the moment so I am hoping that I make sense… night-time cold medicine will start to take its toll within minutes so please be understanding of any incoherence with the blog haha.  What is worse is that I still have to sign-in to my classroom to complete some discussion questions and I am just barely present. I am certainly not thinking at a “Master’s level”, more like, “why do I have so many fingers” level.Image

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Too tired to be anything but random

I am so tired I don’t even know what I am going to say in here. I think I am at that time of night that I am playing mind games with myself– doing my best to think as lightly as possible so that when I do put head to pillow nothing stops me from collecting a few hours of sleep. There is nothing wrong, but if I allow myself any sort of deep thought I can kiss sleep goodbye for at least another two hours. Masters work, for example, will make me review and review in my head… not a cycle I want right now. 

The past few nights I have slept with Ryker. He has been crying in his sleep, which usually signals an ear infection (apparently I did the same thing as a kid). I took a 3 hour lunch in order to get him to the doctor to get him back on antibiotics 3 days after he stopped them. Poor little guy. We will be seeing an ENT doctor next week to see what we can do about these reoccurring ear infections. Anyway, Ryker and I had a little date after the doctor and before going back to daycare. We had a banana split and talked about trucks and balloons. I love my boy. I could write a novel about his amazing qualities… it is tempting to do just that, because I don’t ever want to risk forgetting how he gives me hugs all the time, why I called him magnet head, how he cuddles me if I make a sad face, how he will pet my face and tell me “it’s okay mommy.” Or just the funny things, when he tells me, “Hey mommy. Go to the kitchen and cook. Go.”

Just half an hour more…

Today was actually nice for another reason. When I dropped Ryker back off at daycare Cole greeted me at the door!  Oh, that baby. I can’t even think about him without smiling. He has such a funny personality. He is by far the most determined baby I have ever seen. He will concentrate so deeply on something until he accomplishes whatever it is he wants. When he wants to talk, he growls. THAT, is too funny for words. Anyway, I got to squish him before driving back to work and got his maniacal giggle to emerge. I could write a novel about him as well, even though he is still coming into his own. He does this sprint crawl when he wants “his” time, and will just dive into my lap. He isn’t cuddly like Ryker, not by a long shot, but he wants his share of attention and he definitely wants his love in his own way. I am so blessed and obsessed with my boys.

I never even mentioned why I am holding off on going to bed… I baked a Carmel Flan and I am waiting for it to cool enough to put in the fridge.  It is for a surprise going away party for a coworker and I can’t let it go bad. She is Southern and I know this will make her day. 

Bear with me on the randomness… I truly am tired. I have 8 classes until I have my MBA. GO ME!  If I can be successful with all I am trying to juggle, I feel like the boys will know they can do whatever they want, too. Tonight though, I think I am at that point where I need to be more smart and less ambitious… and sleep. So good night. Here are some pics 🙂   

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Cole looks like Grandpa Byron here!

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