Sunday, October 25, 2015

Dear Sheppard...12 Months

Dear Sheppard,

Happy Birthday! Wow, one whole year. This year went by so fast I can't believe how much you have grown and changed. Looking back over this year it has been filled with wonderful times and hard times. Sometimes I look back at the past year and realize I spent a lot of the time just surviving, I felt over my head with having a newborn and a toddler. I wish I could have been a little more present and enjoyed each stage you were in. That is something I am working on now. You have been in our little family for a year and you bring so much joy and happiness to us. You are a lover, a people person, a jokester, a great sleeper, you also like things a certain way and have started throwing hilarious tantrums.

The biggest change this month is you started full on walking. Once you figured it out there was no stopping you. You barely ever crawl now, and you're climbing on everything. We have hit the stage in our house where we have to move all the chairs away from the table because you will be up there in 3 seconds flat. This new stage of walking is a little sad, it means the baby version of you is gone and the toddler version of you is here now. With this walking you have also started to dance....when a song moves you, you start to bounce and stomp your feet.

You really are a lover, you have even started grabbing my face and giving me kisses, saying "mmmmahh" when you press your lips on my cheeks. In the mornings when your papa wakes you up, you tuck your arms under your body and snuggle in tight to his chest. You love being held, and want to be doing whatever we are doing. Good thing we have lots of carriers to keep you close and happy.

You have even been happy and loving through a pretty bad sickness and cutting some molars. Also, with this sickness you perfected your fake cough. It is so funny to see you give this fake sick look and a fake cough to get some sympathy, and when we say "awww poor Sheppard"  and you snuggle in and are so pleased with yourself.

One fun thing is to watch you interact and play with other kids. There are small moments where you and Eisley will play together, however you really love playing with your cousin Ansel. I think you guys like that your older sisters are playing with each other so you both get a break from them, haha. You are both very sweet with each other and I am sure you will be great buds.

You are not talking much, but you make tons of noises. You are really great at imitating're a little parrot. You are really good at yelling "go" to the cats or dog. If you hear a dog barking when we are out you yell "go" at them. I guess we say that a lot to the animals.

The other major change this month is I started working a little. You now don't get to spend every moment with me. I was a little sad to not be with you all day but I think this is the best decision for all of us. Right now I am working just 15 hours a week and you get to spend time with your wonderful nanny, her husband and her sweet little girl. You are fascinated by another human that is smaller than you. So far this transition has gone really great.

Well my sweet little boy, I am so thankful to have had a whole year to love you, to know you and to care for you. I hope you will be able to look back on these monthly letters and see how much we loved you, how we made mistakes and learned from them, and how you fit so perfectly into our family. I love you Sheppard, with all my heart.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Dear Sheppard...Eleven Months.

Dear Sheppard...

You had so many changes this month. It's so fun to watch you grow, change, and come into your personality. Without our encouraging or prompting you are very much all "boy". You are rough and tumble, growl and bang, love dirt and balls. You really love dirt. You love playing in it, pouring it on things, and even eating it...I figure it is just helping your gut flora.

We took a few trips this month and you still hate your car seat. Every trip you scream and cry and throw every toy/food/pacifier I try to give you. I am going to take you out of your infant seat and put you in a bigger car seat in hopes it will help. We took a trip to Salt Lake City to visit your Tanna and Gruncle. Gruncle and your papa went on a fishing/float trip, and your Tanna took care of all of us and took us to lots of fun things in Utah. You are really still such a happy baby, you love being around people and you will go to anyone! You loved giving your Tanna snuggles and even took a good nap in the sling while she wore you. Our second little trip was to the Graeagle cabin, but this time we went with all your mama's family. You went on hikes, played soccer with your cousin Ben, relaxed in the hammock with your cousin Ella, went on bike rides, and ate tons of yummy food your Momo made.

You have really started to play lately. Your favorite game is peek-a-boo. You will grab blankets or clothes or even the wash cloth in the bath and put them over your head then pull them off and squeal. You love chasing balls, throwing blocks, and climbing everything. You love playing with your sister, and when she is being nice you two are so cute together. You have also started "saying" her name, especially when I yell for Eisley, you like to yell for her too.

You still love eating, but lately you don't want feed yourself, you want me to feed you. It's funny because you want to blow on every bite, even if I have already cooled it off or even if it is not hot food. Your favorites this month are still watermelon, chicken, and buttered toast.

Every morning you wake up with a smile on your face. You love it when your papa walks in and scoops you up. When I get you up from naps you pat my back and snuggle into my shoulder. You are such a sweet boy and I am so lucky to be your mama. Even the hard days, and oh-they are many, are so worth it.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Dear Sheppard...Ten Month

Dear Sheppard.

You are now in the double digits, 10 months!  This month you have grown so much. You no longer fit in the same places in my arms that used to. You now want to play and explore and leave the safety of my arms. You don’t need as many snuggles to calm you at night, you are finding your voice and coming into your personality. I miss your little baby fingers, and the way you little head fit so perfectly on my shoulder, however, I love seeing your sense of humor come through and how you love to interact with everyone around you.
You are making so many more sounds. You started to wave and say hi and are pointing at things. You clap your hands and bang them on anything in front of you. You make all these noises that sound like your imitating us talking. There is a new sound that is driving me (and all around you) crazy, you have started this high pitch scream/screech. You do it when you’re eating, when you want to eat, when you want to be picked up, when you’re in the car, when you’re playing, when you can’t reach the ceiling fan…pretty much all the time. I know you are frustrated that you cannot communicate, so I hope all this sign language I’m teaching you helps. 

Recently you started to just stand up on your own. One day I walked into the living room and you were just standing up in the middle of the room not holding onto anything. I think you were as surprised as I was. You have also started to do this hilarious crawl. You keep your back legs straight and do a bear crawl around, as if you don't want your knees to hit the ground. You can go pretty fast that way and it must be a good ab workout! Everyone comments on your bear crawl and how effective it is for you. 

You have started playing a little with your sister. She builds block towers and you knock them over. Sometimes she thinks this is so fun, and some times she gets mad that you knock over her creations. I think this is a pretty accurate picture of your future relationship. You also have had fun hanging out with all the kids in our cul-de-sac and you've even started trying to ride on some of the bikes, scooters, and cars.

This month you have slept great! Most nights you have slept through the night...I could get used to this! You are still taking two naps a day, too bad I can't seem to convince your sister to sleep through the night or nap! You even slept great through our adventures this month. We spent the 4th of July at your Nana and B-Pa's cabin. You had a great time! You loved playing in the dirt (and eating some), watching the fireworks, being held and loved on by all of our family. You also got to try swimming for the first time. I think its safe to say you like the water, time will tell if you will be a water dog like your mama. However, I think your favorite part of the 4th of july weekend was all the watermelon you got to eat!

It is really hurting my heart with how fast time is going, but I am thankful that I have been able to watch you grow a little every day. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Dear Sheppard...Nine months

Dear Sheppard...

Oh how you have grown and changed this month. You are really crawling these days and you can go very fast! If I set you down and walk into another room you chase after me. Your sister is not too pleased with this new development because it means you can go to her and get into all the toys she is playing with. You are so interested in her and want to do what ever she is doing. This makes you both frustrated at times because she is an independent little lady and doesn't want you in her stuff. One day (hopefully soon) you two will be able to play together.

 You are standing and cruising on everything these days, You will even let go and stand up for a few seconds. For the most part you have really good control over your body. When you fall back you usually roll back and slowly sit up using all your abs. You can crawl up and down the two steps in our house. You love to climb into things-- laundry baskets, the dishwasher, toy bins, and bags. You also like to challenge yourself and crawl under the chairs and over our legs. You still have some hard falls at times, but that is part of learning and growing. It seems as though you always have a bruise of some sort on your face.

You are very much a stereotypical boy. You grunt and growl and pound your hands. You're pretty loud and really like to let us know when you do not like something. Your new thing is this horrible sounding pterodactyl type screech. Your sister had this type of screech too when she was your age, but you use yours much more often. At first it was cute to see you find your voice and state your opinions, but now....not so cute. For some reason it seems like you have really been yelling at meal times. However, you love eating, and will pretty much eat anything we put in front of you (except bananas) so maybe all this noise is just that you like hearing your voice, or your excited about your food (especially ribs)...who knows!

Its good that you keep getting teeth to help you will all this eating! You got two more this month, and you handled teething like a champ recently! I think between your teething necklace and my homemade teething rub you barely noticed those suckers popping through. For the most part you have been sleeping great. You take two or three naps a day and get up only one or two times a night. You are still breastfeeding, but during the day you are too busy to get a good nursing session in, but at night you chow down!

You have a slight flare for the dramatics. When you get really upset about something, you fold in half and put your forehead on the ground and is so pitiful and sad. This usually happens when you are stopped from doing something you really want to do, like playing with the cat's or dog's water bowl. You are also crying all the time in your car hate it. Luckily you usually fall asleep pretty quick, but when you don't you let everyone in the car know that you do not want to be strapped down. We did take a few trips this month. We went to your papa's home town of Winnemucca for a wedding, and you had so much fun crawling around the dance floor and hanging out with your great Aunt Vicki and great Uncle Steve. You also got to meet your future bffs Waylon and Paxton. They are the little brothers to your sisters friends, and your mama and papa's long time friend Sylvester visiting from The Gambia, Africa.

You are a busy boy, always moving, smiling, yelling and exploring. We have noticed that you like to sit in W's (see picture above) I guess your papa would sit this way all the time. It is so fun to see what parts of me and your papa you have, and also to watch you come into your own unique person. Sheppy--my buddy, keep exploring!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Dear Sheppard...Eight Months

Dear Sheppard,

You are really growing into a little boy these days. You're making all sorts of new sounds and really love growling, screeching, and making guttural noises. It seems like you are trying to say mama sometimes. When you really want me you start whining and crying mama, you are a big mama's boy, and I love it! You have also figured out how to make a clicking noise with your tongue, and you do it when your really excited. You babble to your toys and your food. Speaking of toys, you love anything with wheels, or moving parts, or anything your sister is playing with.

It is very rare that you will play on your own. You want to be wherever we are, and if we set you down you instantly cry and army crawl towards us. Most of the day I carry you around in one of my baby wearing contraptions, which is ok with me, I love the snuggles. One of the things you have been doing while I wear you is playing with my lips. You think it my lips are hilarious, I don't find it too funny when you fish hook me with your fingers. The one time this month when you were ok being left alone, you army crawled yourself across the whole house, down two steps and out the back door! Time for me to keep a better eye on you these days.

Along with all your army crawling, you started pushing yourself up to sitting, which you are very proud of! You even play a little game where you flop back on your back and then push yourself up. Shortly after you figured out this new trick you started standing up on things. Now you are pulling up to stand on everything! However, you still have a lot of work to do on your balance and you are falling over and hitting your head on everything, you even gave yourself a nice shiner by falling over on the corner of a block. Poor buddy, you're a champ, you only cried for a little bit then you were back to playing.

Everyone keeps saying what a happy boy you are, and for the most part you really are. You love smiling and laughing, and love being around people and will go to anyone willing to smile at you. You are extra excited and happy in the mornings right when you wake up. Most days you wake up babbling to yourself, your papa sneaks into your room and as soon as you see him you laugh, and screech and bounce all around. Then he brings you to me in bed and you get excited all over again. I hope to always remember your sweet little laugh and your twinkly smiling eyes.

You are truly such a sweet boy and I am beyond thankful for you everyday, but to be honest, somedays are hard on me. It is hard to balance my attention and time between you, your sister, running the house, making time for myself, friends, family, and my marriage. I am working on balancing it all, but everyday you bring a smile to my face-- thank you for that, my happy little boy.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Dear Sheppard…Seven Months

Dear Sheppard,

This month flew by and with it more changes for you. You got your first tooth! a little bottom tooth, and then shortly after your second tooth came in right next to it. It is a good thing you are getting teeth because you love eating! You will gobble down anything we put in front of you, you especially love strawberries, carrots, and pears. Also with these new teeth came better sleep, thank goodness. You are back to waking one or two times a night and taking two or three naps a day. Cutting teeth is no joke, you are one tough dude!

You are one determined fella. You zone in on what you want and will not give up till you get it.  You started to army crawl and can get across a room pretty quickly. This has not made your sister very happy. Now you can get to all her toys and she is still working on the whole sharing thing. You two have decided that you want what ever the other one has, and you have given out some epic huge cries when something is taken away from you.

You have really found your voice these days, making all sorts of new noises. Your favorite thing to say is "ah-ta." You will look at a toy very intensely and say "ah-ta" to it over and over again. I wonder what you are really saying? I think you will be a talker like your sister. You are always making noises and staring at our mouths when we are talking.

Loving you is so fun, you burrow into my neck, and squeeze your arms around me. You have even started giving big, gooey, open mouth kisses! It is so sweet, you love to cuddle and be close. You still like to be held or interacted with most of the day, but you are slowing playing on your own more and more.

We added a new family member to our household this month, a sweet and crazy puppy. She serendipitously came into our lives. However, she ended up with an unfortunate name, Dumpy. We tired to change it but your sister and Papa just kept calling her Dumpy. Your Papa is still not very excited about having a dog, but you already seem like best buds! The puppy and cats have been very entertaining to you. You love watching them run around and whenever they settle and start to sleep you scoot your way over to them and give them pets and cuddles.

We went on a few adventures this month, including the 7+ hour dive to Salt Lake City, UT to visit your Tanna and Gruncle. You HATED the driving part, but once we got to their house you loved all the cuddles and attention you got from them. It is so amazing to watch all of our family love and care for you so much! You are one lucky boy.

(You were really hard to photograph this month, you were all over the place!)