Monday, June 22, 2015


Sweet Cooper,

My how you have challenged us this year! And are continuing to challenge us. Your daddy and I remind ourselves daily that we are the best parents for you. Some days it is much harder than others. We are learning more and more about you every day. We used to think you were very flexible, but are starting to learn that you thrive on routine. Something your mom mom has said from day one, but we are starting to really see the effects of any changes. You are officially potty trained now, and that came with a lot of resistance, but in the end, only took a couple of months. You love to be the center of attention, and if there are too many people around, you tend to act out in order to ensure the attention is all on you. We are scratching our heads every day, trying new techniques to help you understand the importance of being respectful and making the right choices. Teaching character traits has been the hardest thing I've ever had to do so far. Mommy is learning a lot of patience and deep breathing techniques through it all. With a strong will comes a lot of manipulation, and I am struggling with balancing and picking my battles. Some days it feels as though I am fighting a never ending battle. And sometimes it feels that way for weeks on end. Nonstop. All day. Every day. And then there is a reprieve. And it's almost as if you are just as tired of the arguing as I am. You become my sweet, eager to please, helpful little boy. "Would you like some lunch?" "Sure, Mommy!" It is so refreshing to hear that sweet voice. When I want to say "You are driving me insane! I don't want to do this any more!" I try to remind myself to say "Cooper, come here, hug me, I love you very much" Maybe I think the answer to all of this is just smothering him with love. Maybe I just do it because I don't know what else to do, and I am terrified of him growing up remembering all the times I lost my patience or got insanely frustrated with him. But literally, when he is in the midst of his many refusals, I am at a loss. Especially when we are in public. What do I do? He is getting too big for me to just carry him out kicking and screaming. Any kind of bargaining makes it way worse. It just fuels the fire. It is embarrassing sometimes, I feel judged and completely out of control. But, at the end of the day, he always comes at me with his tiny little voice "mommy, i want you to snuggle with me" and then he'll run his hands up and down my arm and stroke my face. And I think about the days events and wonder what I could have done differently. I blame myself sometimes for the way he reacts in situations. I feel like a psych nurse sometimes because I am constantly running through my head potential outcomes of any given situation and what I should do to prevent certain things from happening. But the whole point of this post was to say - you are difficult, Cooper. But I know you were given to us for a reason. Your dad and I have nothing but wonderful intentions for you. We know you will be SO successful because of your drive and intelligence. And I want you to know that even when I am at my breaking point with you, I will always love you so, so much. You are my special boy. I love the smell of you sweaty head after a long day, when you're rubbing your earlobe against my arms. 'I wuv you mommy'.
I love you too, sweet boy. Always and forever.

Natalie: Months 10, 11, and 12!

April 9th, 2015 - 10 Months

In this month you got your first pair of glasses! They are lavender and I think they are so cute! I promise not to ever put you in ugly ones :) Mommy was worried about your eyes from day one - because I had to have surgery when I was 18 months old, so I didn't want you to have to have the same things. Around month 8 we took you to the eye doctor because one of your eyes still wanted to turn in a little.  They dilated your eyes and discovered that you are very farsighted and because you were straining so much to see close up, it was causing the one eye to turn inwards a bit. The shape of your eye is also shorter than most, so the light is refracting different than it should. Hopefully by wearing the glasses, the straining will stop, and you will be able to avoid surgery. You will probably have to wear glasses or contacts for the rest of your life, but maybe in your lifetime the technology will improve and there will be a risk free fix! Some people think they're fake...which is pretty dumb, because I don't know any one who enjoys trying to keep anything on a 10 month old's face for fun.

We moved in to a new house in this month and you finally got your own room! You transitioned really well! Once we got you some curtains, you started sleeping much better, too. When we moved in, your room was a dark purple, and we lightened it up to a color called 'splash of lilac'. It's much softer now, and we love it.

You weren't so sure of the new house at first, but you have quickly fallen in to a new routine here. You love looking outside while you eat, and chasing Cooper around in the basement playroom. You're crawling like a champ now, but not quite pulling up yet. We switched to your big girl car seat and you love that too, although you get antsy after being in the car for longer than 30 minutes usually.

You are very serious, and it takes a lot to get any sort of smile out of you, but when we do, it is the sweetest face we've ever seen. We love you Natty girl, you are such a blessing to our family. xoxo

May 9th, 2015 - 11 Months

In your eleventh month, we took your one year pictures which turned out so cute! We continued to figure out our new routine in our new house. We have taken many walks in the evenings to the playgrounds. There are two by our house! You love swinging! And people watching. You have started to pull yourself up to standing, but are still very cautious. You make different sounds like 'mamamama' and 'dadadada' but haven't associated it with a person yet. We are introducing sign language but you haven't quite got the hang of that yet. We'll keep trying, Cooper didn't pick it up until much later. You love Chick-fil-a nuggets, and watching your brother play on the equipment there. It became our Tuesday routine while daddy was in night classes to take Cooper to soccer and then go eat dinner at Chick-fil-a.

You continue to be my easy going long as you're being held by me...or completely distracted with what you're doing. You are so serious, and very observant. We love you so much, and are still in awe that we have a sweet daughter to call ours. Can't wait to watch you continue to grow - and your dad can't wait to watch your hair grow more! xoxo sweet girl

June 9th, 2015 - ONE YEAR!

Sweet Natalie! You're one! I just can't believe it! This past year went so. fast. That's not even a joke. I remember clear as day when you were a tiny little newborn and I was wishing for my full nights sleep back. I remember thinking I would never be able to sleep again. Ever. Like, I had written it off. It would never happen in our house again.

But! Just when I accepted that fact, you settled in to your routine, and how glorious that was! You have become such a sweet little girl over these past 12 months. You absolutely love being around your mom, and usually cry in her presence unless she is holding you while standing. You love your daddy just as much, and have had lots of quality time with him while mom is at work. You only laugh your hardest at your brother. You share a very special bond with him, and it warms my heart to watch that evolve.

You love music and lights, reading books, and pulling them all off the shelf, taking things out of the basket and then putting them back in, lima beans, watermelon, cantaloupe, cheerios, moms milk, and popsicles. You do not love cows milk, green beans, carrots, prune juice, or the sippy cup.

You have a very nice routine of a long morning nap, and sometimes an afternoon one as well. You are pulling up to stand and starting to cruise while holding on to furniture. You are still real good about keeping your glasses on, and look so sweet in them.

For your first birthday we were actually on a plane to Virginia. But we had your party on the 14th, and we celebrated with family at your Grandpops house. Mommy, Daddy, Cooper, Grandpop, MiMi, Mom Mom, Poppy, your Great Grandmom and Grandpop from Pennsylvania, Aunt Maureen, Uncle Mike and Aunt Lisa, Melissa, Josh & Drew, Tammy, Phillip & Gabe, Aunt Brett and Uncle Craig, Cam and Max, Lisa, Brian, Breanna, Becca, and Michaela were all there to sing to you! You got lots of fun girl toys and pretty outfits. You loved your cupcake, though it took a little convincing to finish it up.