Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Week of Thanks: Thankful Tuesday

My post today is dedicated to the two little men who gave me the most important title I will ever have: Mom. From a young age, I knew I wanted to be a mother and I am so grateful that I was chosen to be Nick and Jack's mom.  Nothing could have prepared me for the joy, laughter, love, chaos, and exhaustion that they bring to my life and I wouldn't have it any other way.

My sweet sons, who are water babies just like their Mama
Nearly six and a half years ago, I became a Mom when Nick was born.  It was a long labor that lasted through the night, but thankfully, it was a wonderfully short delivery.  I will never forget the moment I saw him for the first time.  He looked so small, red, and scrunchy and I couldn't wait to hold him.  He was a snuggle baby then and he is still my snuggle buddy now.  In fact, just tonight, he came in my room while dinner was cooking and asked if he could snuggle with  me while he waited for dinner.   My sweet baby boy, you can snuggle with Mommy any time you want and I hope you always have time for a snuggle!  When he was a baby, he would sleep in the crook of my right arm at night and to this day, he will lift up my right arm to wiggle in close to my side for snuggles.

Nick and I on my birthday this year. 
I love everything about this kid, but I especially love and admire how sweet, compassionate, and empathetic he is.  He wears his heart on his sleeve (I will be the first to admit that he gets that honestly from me and Matt), but he always puts the well-being of others above himself.  Tonight, our cat gave me a pretty nasty scratch on my upper leg (my own fault for teasing him) and Nick was genuinely concerned about my leg.  He asked me several times if I was ok and as I carried him to bed, he told me in his half-asleep daze that he hoped my leg felt better.  He is also wonderfully nurturing and is the best big brother to Jack (see my post about our visit to the Arch for further proof). 

Could this kid be any cuter??
Nick is also incredibly thoughtful.  The day of my Mom's birthday he was able to get a prize out of the prize box at school for completing all of his work.  His choice from the prize box was a birthday sticker for my Mom.  This Mama's heart was about to burst with pride at his sweet gesture and I know it meant the world to my mom.

Nick: I am so proud of the amazing boy you are and I will always be here for you for snuggles. You are sweet, funny, smart, loving, and one of my favorite people in the whole wide Earth.  I love your silliness, your laugh, your smile, your hugs, and your stinky feet! Thank you for being my reading/Cardinal game watching/hot cocoa drinking buddy!  You are a wonderful son and Mommy loves you so much, for always and ever!

When Matt and I decided it was time for another baby, I admit I was nervous.  I am an only child and the dynamics of siblings is puzzling, mainly because it is an unknown for me.  I kept thinking: How do you love the second child as much as the first?  What if they are totally different personalities?  Everyone assured me of two things.  1) Your heart opens up and you absolutely love the second child as much as the first and 2) Chances are they will be different personalities.  (For the record, everyone was right).

Jack-Jack was a few days overdue and boy was I ready to deliver him.  However, the day I was induced, I had a little freak out because I thought I hadn't spent enough time with Nick.  I told Matt that I was afraid I hadn't made the most of Nick's last few days as an only child and maybe we shouldn't induce.  Matt assured me that we had made the most of our time with Nick and shortly (I mean very shortly, like almost didn't get my epidural in time) after my water broke, Nick became a big brother with the birth of Jack.

I will treasure this picture always. 
It is absolutely true that your heart has room to love another child, because my heart swelled the day Jack was born.  He, too, was red, scrunchy, but not so small and I should have known by his quick arrival that this little man was set to take on the world.   He is night and day different than his big brother, which I find completely fascinating and I love how they complement one another.  Jack is independent, fearless, and strong-willed and he isn't afraid to let you know.  I sometimes wonder if these traits are typical for younger siblings in that we, as parents, are a lot more relaxed this time around and he is trying so hard to keep up with his older brother.  In any case, I love watching his determination and focus as he tries to learn about himself, his boundaries, and the world around him.  He can teach me a lot about determination and reaching for your goals!  
He loves to stick out his tongue and his Great Grandpa Steffen would be proud of that! 
This summer when we went to the pool to swim, he was not keen on being confined by his water wings.  He saw the older kids without wings and couldn't figure out why he, too, couldn't just jump in the water and float.  He was bound and determined to swim like the big kids, but eventually he came to (somewhat) tolerate the wings.  I have no doubt in my mind that he will accomplish anything he sets his mind to.  He is definitely going to be my adrenaline craving, push the boundaries child and while this gives me slight heart palpitations, I am also really excited to see where that enthusiasm and love of life takes him as he grows up. Here's hoping his sense of adventure is tempered with a bit of common sense, though!

Jack-Jack:  Mommy loves how strong, determined, loving, funny, and energetic you are and I can't wait to watch you grow and see where life takes you!  I know that you can do anything you set your mind to and I can't wait to see what those things are.  I am so glad you like your big boy bed and that we are both getting a good nights sleep now! :)  I love reading books to you, making you laugh, and our sing-a-longs in the car every morning on the way to school.  One of the best parts of my day is coming home to you and your brother, seeing your toothy grin, and watching you toddle over to me to put up your arms for a big hug!  I love you so much, for always and ever, and I hope you know that I will always be here to help you take on the world, little monkey!   

The two little fellas who stole my heart.
Nick and Jack were the reason behind my weight loss journey and I hope to show them this post someday. After having gestational diabetes with Jack, I knew I needed to get my weight and my health under control so that I could be around for a long time to watch them grow into the amazing young men I know they will become.  I hope that by losing weight and being healthier that I can avoid diabetes, heart problems, and other health issues later in life.  I also want to set a positive role model for them and instill in them the importance of exercise, eating well, and healthy living.  These two boys are my reason for being and I intend "to be" for a very long time!  

What are you thankful for on this Tuesday before Thanksgiving? 

"No one else will ever know the strength of my love for you.  After all, you're the only one who knows what my heart sounds like from the inside."