Monday, August 10, 2015

My “LITTLE” kid is now a kid

Dear Dakota,

I can’t believe today you turn SEVEN!!!! Whenever people used to tell me their kids were 7 or 8 I would always think wow that is old…and now YOU are MY 7 year old!! You are no longer a “little” kid you are an official KID!! It makes me kind of want to cry!!
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I can physically see that you are growing up. You look like you are 7…except your feet! ;) (They haven’t grown much at all since your accident. Still wearing the same shoes you wore back then! Except of course I have had to buy you several more…not because you wear them out but because your mom likes shoes! ;))

But even though you look older, you feel bigger when I carry you, and officially you are now 7…I still am stuck at age 2! Time stopped for me the day of your accident and it has never quite been the same!
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I sometimes let myself wonder what you would be interested in or what you would grab and throw in the cart at the store?? I wonder what your favorite food would be?? What kind of party you would want?? Or even what kind of presents you would ask for?? Who you would want to invite to a party?? Or what kind of party you would even want?? There are so many questions and things that I wish I knew. I wish I even knew what to get you!!!

But in reality…none of those things REALLY matter! None of those things are important! What makes me most happy on this day is that I get to celebrate YOU!!!
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We get to celebrate 7 years of having you as our son and Navy’s brother!!
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(see that sneaky hand)

You have earned those 7 years and deserve to be celebrated!! You have one of the hardest earthly lives of anyone I know!! I know every day is a challenge for you as you have to rely on me and others to get you EVERYTHING you need. Lots of times I don’t always know what you need or what you are wanting and you are loving and patient with me. I know it must be hard for you to watch your friends, classmates, and cousins running around doing what they please…all the while watching on, longing to run and play right along with them!! You sacrificed SO much to choose a life that is physically hard…to teach your mom, your dad, your sister, your family, your friends, and SO many strangers some of life’s greatest lessons! You have been MY greatest teacher and example in my life and for that I could never repay you! No birthday present could do you the justice you so deserve!!

You are my hero Dakota!! I sit by your side and watch you touch hearts and change lives…all without a single word!! You carry with you a spirit that is undeniable!!

A few months ago, a man I had never seen got up in church to bear his testimony. He started talking about how he hadn’t been to church in years and how one Sunday he decided to join his wife. As he got there he realized that it was the primary program that day and he doubted that he would learn anything or feel much from it. He then pointed to you and said…”As I watched that boy get carried up by that man (your primary teacher’s husband Brother Thackeray) my heart was touched and I knew this was where I was supposed to be.” As I watched this grown man in tears talk about YOU I couldn’t have been more proud to be your mom!! Dakota you are SO special!! I know that you know that!!

I hope as we celebrate YOU this day, week, and month (because that’s what we do!) I hope you know how grateful we are that you chose to STAY and celebrate these last 5 years with us when you could have gone back to your heavenly home, free from all the pain and physical struggles and had a much easier life!!

I love you more than words can say!!!

Happy Birthday my sparkly eyed, heavenly smile, angel face Dakota man!!!
(His FAVORITE present was flying home today and seeing his DAD!! He LIT UP when he saw him for the first time!!)

Sunday, May 24, 2015

And then she was 1!!!

I am still trying to wrap my brain around the fact that this little baby just turned the big ONE!!!
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I know every parent feels this way but that year literally flew by and it makes me want to cry just thinking that that tiny infant stage is done and gone and she is turning into a rambunctious toddler!! It still blows my mind that her little brain just soaks up and learns SO much SO fast!! To think she was a blank slate 1 year ago and not she is almost walking and starting to talk is LITERALLY incredible to me! I know I know it’s normal but after what we have been through with Dakota and what we have learned about the brain…I marvel at what the brain can do!!!

It is hard to be too sad though because each new stage is a freaking blast and we love every bit of personality and expression she is gaining…I swear by the minute.
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Over the last few days both Zach and I have heard her several times say, “There you go!” although it sounds more like (ther-a-go). It blew us away. Over her birthday week that we just wrapped up she has been exposed to LOTS of ballons and she decided to say “balloon” (blwoon) and she kinds of blows a raspberry when she says it.

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And just last Sunday Zach was pointing to a picture of Jesus at church and then he passed her off to a friend and they showed her a picture of Jesus on the program and they swear she said Jesus. The best part about this is these big words are some of her first. She went from Mama and momo (more) to that. She skipped right over ball, Kota, and please…the simple and more heard words that she hears every day. That is just Navy!

Zach and I both have said that if we had to describe her in one word it would be SPORATIC! She is SO random and you never know what you’re going to get from minute to minute!! She is ALWAYS on the move and keeps us on our toes for sure! She thinks she can walk although she thinks that means WE need to walk her all day and night. She barely holds onto us but she isn’t quite confidant to really go yet! She has taken a few steps on her own and is scaling along furniture like a champ. She will stand on her own when she isn’t thinking and realizing she is doing it.
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The funniest thing about Navy is how INCREDIBLY friendly she is! She smiles at any and everyone and if ANYONE walks up and says hi to her she reaches and whines for them to hold her…stranger and all! It makes for some awkward moments in public. I’m sure people must think I beat the poor girl for how bad she wants to go to them. At first I thought it was super weird but now I love it!
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One day at the store it was so cute…a random older man just walked up to me and said, “You have the happiest baby!! She hasn’t stopped smiling!” It was so cute!!!

I think it is such a pure example of love. It is the way I picture Christ would have greeted and felt towards EVERY passerby. She sees the good in EVERY person and she shows love to EVERYONE! It made me think twice about my interactions with others. I know I should be more like miss Navy! Share more love and kindness to EVERYONE I meet. It doesn’t mean I need to hug them and cuddle them as she does…but I can do a lot better at smiling and showing sincere love and care for them. It is funny how even at 1 she is teaching me so much!


Other fun facts about Navy…

She LOVES to eat any and everything especially broccoli, puffs, and blueberries. As much as she eats it is SO surprising to me at how much she has thinned out and how little she is now. She is barely on the charts at 3% on weight at 17.3 lbs, height 28 1/4 26%, and her tiny little noggin 43.7 @ 13%. She of course is very independent and LOVES finger foods that she can pick up herself and eat. I’m not sure if she even knows how to use a spoon anymore! ;)
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I caught her stealing her cousins pizza crust when they went to play!!

She loves to babble talk all day. I’m pretty sure we have a talker on our hand! Luckily her brother is a GREAT listener! ;) She has become more and more into Dakota and he into her! She sometimes uses him as her jungle gym and most of the time he doesn’t seem to mind. He is smiling more and more at her every day. She is becoming a little entertainer! The way she lights up when she sees him in the morning and when he gets home from school is pretty sweet!!
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Let’s hold hands!!
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I LOVE this second picture at bedtime!!


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Double bath time in Dakota’s bath chair is a little tricky! ;)

We found this killer ride off of Amazon to attach to Dakota’s stroller, bike, or anything really to make our lives so much easier!!
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It saved my life in March when I had to fly to AZ by myself!!! She would seriously sit there and just wave to people.

She acts SO excited about any and everything. She does the open mouth in shock excited face ALL the time over pretty much anything!! It is super fun. She brings A LOT of excitement into our life with her enthusiasm for life!!
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If she is not making that face she is more then likely saying Uh-Oh to any and everything that drops. I love her sweet voice!!!

Unfortunately for me she has learned to rip all of her accessories off! Headband…gone. Bows and ponytail…gone. Shoes…gone…she can even unvelcro them now. Even her darling little earrings she finally discovered and pulls them out all the time. I think now we have only 1 earing of every pair. She is a little stinker!!
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cShe still likes to wave but not nearly as much as she used to. I miss her little arm straight up, all wrist, open hand wave. Now it is more of just an open hand little wave.

Before her first birthday I had Jodi Thornock a local photographer do a cake smash shoot with her. I KNEW Navy would “kill” it because she LOVES to eat, she isn’t afraid of anything or anyone, and she is SO easy to make smile. She totally did! As soon as we set the cake down she was digging right in. (Hence the reason there is no picture of her cute cake on the darling cake stand.) Once she got a taste of that baby there was no stopping her!! She’s her momma’s girl! ;) It ended in quite the mess!!
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Her cake was SOOO cute but it didn’t last long. The minute we set it in front her her she dug her little fingers in and went right to her mouth. And she just kept going…
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And going!!!
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Oh her sweet face…I could eat it…especially with frosting on it! ;)


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She took the cake smash VERY seriously and stepped on it, sat on it, and quite literally SMASHED it!! YUM!!!!

Her actual birthday she woke up with balloons showering her!
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This was her first experience with balloons and she wasn’t so sure! After a week of partying, balloons became her favorite thing and her favorite word! (bwoon) Every morning still…so the balloons are still going she wakes up and points right at them and gasps with her open mouth face, then repears “bwoon” until you walk over to them and play for a minute! I love her enthusiasm and excitement for life!!

She of course had to have her own birthday cake for a second time. I made this one so let’s just say it was NOTHING pretty! ;) Luckily she didn’t care! ;) (Sorry I didn’t even get a picture just video)

We partied hard with family! She of course had to dress her best for the occasion because a 1 year old really cares about that! I know…I’m one of THOSE mom’s…I’m sorry I just love girl things!! ;)
And of course we had to decorate to match! ;)
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Can you tell I LOVE black and white stripes and GOLD!!! (I mean Navy does! ;))
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This beautiful cake was seriously from Walmart!  Something about that black and white striped vase (toothbrush holder from Walmart..shhh) and pink flowers makes me happier then it should!! They are still alive by my kitchen sink and they make me smile every day!

I told Zach I think I have enjoyed getting ready for Navy's birthday party a little too much! Not sure if I am making up for Dakota's first with Navy since we spent Dakota's first birthday in the hospital with Zach. His family made the cake and brought it and we celebrated in the hospital cafeteria. It was far from an ideal way to celebrate your first child's first birthday...but it brought some sunshine into our dark and scary world at the time. It was Zach's last birthday celebration with a little sight.

 As you can tell...Dakota man did not love the cake as much as Navy! Their little personalities are so different and so funny!!


It was so fun to watch her open presents for the first time. (Christmas didn’t count because she completely didn’t care then!)
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I LOVE Dakota’s face in this first pic and Navy’s in the second! ;)


She got spoiled rotten of course by grammy and poppy and got her very own 4 wheeler! She thought it was pretty sweet!
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When we got her to take her first ride she wasn’t so sure. Now she climbs up on there all by her big girl f and loves for US to push the button. She hasn’t gotten the hang of it quite yet. She has pushed it accidentally  on her own and it freaks her out a little because she isn’t expecting it.

It was such a fun night and she enjoyed her third birthday cake thoroughly.
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Blowing out the first of many candles in her life, at least I hope and pray!!

She was a good sharer…
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Here Daddy…
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And Kota!! Good sister!!

She even freely shared with her cute cousins! Houston and Mae LOVED it…the other babes…not so much! I think they just took turns wiping it on each other!
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Cruize, Navy, Charlie (we missed Lola)
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This picture is HILARIOUS!!! Those tears!
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She topped her birthday month off by going on her birthday date to Toys R Us with Grammy and Poppy. (It is there tradition with every grandkid on their birthday!)
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I hope she realizes how lucky she is to have such a fun grammy and poppy!!!

If your still reading this forever long post…my hat is off to you!! This is what happens when I’m SOOO many months behind on this precious little girl! I don’t want to miss journaling one minute of her life as it happens so fast and I never know what will lie ahead! I was never good about journaling as much as I should have with Dakota and I learned a hard lesson! This little girl is worth staying up until 2 a.m. just to get a dang blog post finished that started a couple weeks ago! ;)

To end I have to write a letter to my birthday girl that I hope one day when she is older she will read and feel of my great love and admiration for her!!!

Dearest Navy,

You turned one this month!! It was an emotional time for me…SO happy and a little sad. Sad because I feel like the time is already going TOO fast!! I want you to be my little baby girl forever although I know that is impossible! I cried tears of joy at the thought of celebrating your FIRST birthday because my heart was SOOO full that our Heavenly Father has allowed me to be your earthly mother for a whole year!!! I pondered about your birth and the joy both me and your dad felt that day. I wish I could relive that day EVERY day because the feelings we felt that day were indescribable!! You brought something to our family that only YOU could bring!! A piece of heaven, a ray of sunshine, and an intense feeling of PURE joy!!

I know Heavenly Father prepared you before He sent you to our family! I’m sure He told you about ALL the heartache we have faced and you knew how much we needed you. You knew your life would always look different then your friends…your brother wouldn’t be able to play like other brothers, and your dad wouldn’t be able to do all the same things other dads can do. You knew your mom would need your extra hands to love and serve your family. Your heart was pure and full of love and so you came…even if it meant it might be kind of hard!!

Navy, I knew you were something special the moment I laid my eyes on you!!! I feel SOOOO blessed to be your mom!! There are SOOO many things I want to teach you and I want you to know…but they will come with time!! For now, I want to play with you, love you, and savor your silly giggle, your soft touch, and your tiny embrace!! I love you with my WHOLE heart and I pray EVERY day that you feel that!!

Happy birthday Jo-Jo!!! May you NEVER take one day for granted and may you ALWAYS remember who you are…a child of a LOVING God!!

I LOVE YOU!
MOM

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(Her little fangs are going away as her top two teeth are coming in. I will miss my Vampire baby!!)