Saturday, January 7, 2012

2 Years

Dearest Ryan,

2 days old 
You turned 2 years old today. As I have said so many times before, it feels like just yesterday that you were born, and yet, I can't imagine life without you. It feels as if you have always been a part of our life. But when I look back and think of the day you were born it is so vivid. I remember seeing you for the first time when they held you above my head, and I remember that first sweet kiss. I remember watching your Daddy proudly hold you. He was a natural, as if he had been holding new born babies all his life, when in reality you were the tiniest person he had ever touched. I remember nervously and excitedly bringing you home. I remember the early sleepless nights when we wondered what we were doing wrong. And I look back now, on all of it, and I know we didn't do anything wrong. We loved you fiercely from the moment you were born, and every minute of it has been so very right. You have blossomed into a beautiful little boy (yes, you truly are a little boy these days. You're not a baby any more) and your Daddy and I are so very, very proud of you. We know you will change as your grow. You will have your less than perfect moments (as you do now at times) but we will always love you. And we will always be proud of you.

As I said in your 18 month letter, you are a kind, gentle (except when wrestling with Daddy or me), sensitive, funny, out-going, fun-loving, smart, and sweet little boy. Right now, one of the things that people most seem to notice about you is your language. You talk up a storm. You speak in complete sentences and you try to repeat everything we say. You excitedly point out trucks as we drive down the road ("Look Mama! Dat an ec-a-vator [excavator]!" Or "Mama! Dat a fire twuck??? I hear it, but I don't see it!") you tell Nee-Nee and Pop-Pop every single time you talk to them on the phone that "I want to go get Iiiiiice ceam!" When Daddy comes home from work you ask him, "How was your day, Daddy?" and then you go on to tell him about your day, "We go to da libary and da sore [store]. It was fun." At night, when you're stalling and don't want to go to sleep right away you will call Daddy or I back into your room just to say, "I love you sooooooo much!" It's cute and manipulative all at the same time. Lately, when someone asks you, "How old are you?" you will usually answer by proudly saying, "I twenty-seven." I have no idea where you got this number from, but you consistently tell anyone who asks that yes, you are indeed 27.

Speaking of numbers, you can count consistently to 16 and sometimes as high as 27! You know all your colors and shapes, all the uppercase letters of the alphabet and most of the lowercase letters. You love trains and trucks, and you know all the different kinds of each: freight train, tender, caboose, engine, cattle car, and excavators, dump trucks, fire trucks, cranes, bulldozers, etc. You're a sponge when it comes to taking in new information. It is amazing to watch you learn every day.
1 year old 
You are still a very active little guy and would prefer to spend your time outside more than anywhere else. Though, with winter here, you are adjusting to spending time inside and are lately enjoying playing with trucks, cars, blocks, trains, your ice cream parlor, kitchen set, helicopter, and yes, my Ipad. You figured out how to use it almost immediately and I made the mistake of downloading a few apps for you. You would play with it alllll day long if we let you, but of course we don't. Though, I can credit a neat little game called "Zoo Train" with teaching you your lowercase letters. :) But when you’re not playing with the Ipad, which usually you’re not, you are using your imagination like crazy. I love to hear the conversations you have with yourself while playing. You imagine going to the moon, riding on trucks, and fixing things. Sometimes you do all these things at once. Watching your imagination soar is a joy!

I realized as I went back to read your 18 month letter that I didn't mention sleep, and that really isn't fair considering I spent the first year of your life (and then some) complaining about your poor sleep habits. BUT! I must commend you! You slept through the night for the first time EVER right around 14 months. You went back and forth for a while there, sleeping through sometimes and others not. Well, right around 18 months we decided, ENOUGH! We were going to let you "cry it out" if you woke up. Well, you cried one night for 6 minutes, and you have slept through the night every night since then, expect on the few occasions when you're sick or we're out of town. You fall asleep on your own around 8:30, and typically sleep till 7:00. You nap for about 2 hours every day. We couldn't ask for more! If we knew "crying it out" would be so painless we would have done it MONTHS ago! One of the things that seems to help you go to sleep is that you have finally adopted a “lovey.” Your “little duck” is your must have go to sleep animal, and your “Big Duck” is a close second. We actually have three little ducks: one at home, one at Auntie Cindy’s and Uncle John’s, and one at Nee-Nee and Pop-Pop’s. As long as you have one you’re happy! So, congrats on now being a fabulous sleeper! Your Daddy and I are new people now that we know we too can sleep through the night. THANK YOU!

And Ryan, THANK YOU for so much more! Thank you for bringing immense joy to our lives and to the lives of all the people who love you. You truly are a pleasure to be around. You give life a new and deeper meaning. As I have said before, you have made me a better person. Being your Mama is the best thing I have ever done. And doing it together with your Daddy makes it even more amazing. We have a special little family the three of us. And we hope (fingers crossed) that sometime before you turn 3 that we will be able to announce that you're going to be a big brother. When that day comes, I have no doubt that you will indeed be an amazing big brother! But until then, we will cherish the family of three that we are. For it is indeed a very special family.

2 Years Old and very excited about your birthday party! 

 Happy 2nd Birthday little Bubba!

Love always and forever,


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Christmas 2012....oh wait I mean 2011

So, yeah, this post is a bit delayed, and if you follow me on Facebook you have already seen all these pictures. But I need to document our 2011 Christmas (though this is so late in coming that it will probably be closer to 2012 Christmas by the time I actually post it.)

This year Ryan really "got it." He could tell you that Christmas was Jesus' birthday, and that Santa would be coming, and that his reindeer would pull the sleigh. He sang Christmas carols and nearly every night before bed he would ask for a dance session in which we played Jingle Bells (any version would do: Harry Connick Jr, Ella Fitzgerald, the BSO Pops, etc) over and over at least three times. He knew Santa would bring presents and when you asked him what he wanted he would say "Cars and trucks!" The weeks before Christmas were as fun if not more than actual Christmas day. But don't get me wrong, our Christmas day was wonderful, and thus the reason why I must detail every minute of our day (and the night before).  Most of this is for my own documentation, so, be forewarned that I know it is a bit boring.

On Christmas Eve we went to mass at 4:30 with my parents at our local parish. We arrived at 3:50 and still barely got a seat. Ryan did really well considering that that we were seated from 3:50 to 5:30. We only had to take him to the lobby of the church once for a short break. When we got home I made Lobster Newburg for the first time. This is a tradition in Matt's family, and one he wanted to start for our own family. It was DELICIOUS and I will be happy to continue this tradition. Matt's family also always included Kentucky Fried Chicken with the Lobster Newburg. I could do without this, though am happy to oblige. But seriously, who needs KFC when you have delicious lobster?????

After dinner we had a Jingle Bell dance party, put out a cookie for Santa (yes, just one. Ryan's exact words were, "Santa need one cookie. I eat rest") and a big carrot for the Reindeer. Ryan looked out the window for Santa and asked, "When he comin' Mama!?"

We read the Night Before Christmas, and then Ryan was off to bed. Matt and I then filled stockings, and put the presents under the tree. I had already wrapped all the presents prior to Christmas Eve. Santa (and Ryan's out of town relatives) were good to Ryan this year!

On Christmas morning, Ryan woke up and was in no hurry to come down stairs. He came and snuggled in our bed for a bit, and then we went downstairs. He was very excited when he saw all the presents under the tree. He said, "dose [translation: those] presents for me???" and he promptly went to town opening them. We got the initial present opening on video and completely forgot to take pictures of this part. Oops! When I get around to editing the video, I may post it here...but that may be a while. His presents included a large set of Haba blocks, books, his first board game (Go Fish, thanks to Heather for the suggestion! He loves and actually plays by the rules) a puzzle, magnatrucks, and a Melissa and Doug mailbox.

My parents then joined us for breakfast, and I made very special Rudolph pancakes. Ryan knew exactly who it was when he saw them. He quickly ate all of the chocolate chips, marshmallows, some of the pancakes, and only ate the strawberry with much prompting. We also had an egg casserole and fruit.

After breakfast Ryan opened a present that my parents brought for him. As simple as this little garbage truck is, I am fairly certain it is his favorite gift.

We made sure to take our annual "Family Picture in front of the tree with our PJs on" and it actually turned out halfway decent. I can't believe how OLD Ryan looks here. Will he really be 2 in just a few days???

Ryan did not cooperate quite as much when we tried to get a picture with my parents....but, oh well. He was a busy, excited little guy!

After breakfast my brother and sister in law came over with my nieces and the kids exchanged gifts. It was a little chaotic, but thus is the nature of three small children opening presents on Christmas morning. Ryan loved his Elmo Legos and Recycling Truck from Auntie Cindy and Uncle John. He also loved Julia's cleaning cart, which we gave her, and was sad when he realized it wasn't his. Caitlin was excited about the microphone she got from my parents and enjoyed getting her rock star groove on. Christmas is magical with lots of little ones around!   

After John, Cindy, Caitlin, & Julia left we had the late afternoon to ourselves. Ryan took a nap, and Matt and I watched an episode of Mad Men after cleaning up from the morning. When Ryan woke up it was time to head to my parents  house. When we got there Ryan was VERY excited about his stocking. He went right to town opening that but had to wait until everyone else arrived to open his other presents from NeeNee and PopPop, and Auntie Catharine and Uncle Mark.

Eventually everyone arrived, including my cousin Chris, his wife Alissa, and their kids Saoirse & Patrick. We had a great afternoon being together with family and eating a delicious meal made by my mom. The best part of Christmas is definitely being together with family. We sure are lucky to have such an amazing family. Ryan may argue that the best part of Christmas was his train set (from NeeNee and PopPop), his Legos and BC sweatshirt (from Auntie Catharine & Uncle Mark), and his Cars sweatshirt, Mickey Mouse football, and coloring book (from Saoirse & Patrick). Ryan is a very loved little boy and as the years go on, I hope that he too comes to appreciate family time more than anything else. 

After dinner, dessert, and adult present opening Ryan took a bath and got into his PJs. We headed home, fully expecting him to fall asleep in the car. But he didn't. He was too excited I guess. He did go to sleep easily though once we were home. When he woke up the next morning he came down stairs and said, "Santa bring presents again?" We had to explain that no, that would not happen for another year. He seemed fine with that. 

Of all the wonderful gifts we recieved this year, the best gift will always be our happy, healthy, kind little boy.

We had a great day! I can't wait for next year! MERRY CHRISTMAS! 

(If you made it all the way to the end you deserve a medal!) 

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