You turned one today, and I can’t believe how fast time has
flown by. You are growing up to be such a sweet boy, and I am so proud of you.
You are so good at sharing, so eager to pray (you always fold your
arms when we buckle you into your high-chair or when you see us get out the
scriptures), so quick to give me a snuggle or a kiss. You are usually even
generous with your “shy” smiles to all your adoring public in the eight
countries you’ve been to in the past twelve months (Singapore, Malaysia, United
States, Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Thailand).
Last night we had your birthday party, with some of your
baby friends: Livvy, Anni, and Sage. You had a lot of fun, especially as we
sang “Happy Birthday” to you, and you ate your very own little cake. You and
your friends played some of your favorite games: pulling tape off the wall and
pushing pom poms into old “puff” containers through a hole I cut in the top. I
had a lot of fun watching you smile and laugh and show off just a little bit.
It was an eventful weekend, and you are making the
transition from baby to toddler so fast! On Wednesday you took your firststep while we checked out of our hotel in Thailand, on Thursday you learned how to turn off
our fridge, on Friday you opened our freezer for the first time, and today you
undid the velcro straps on you shoes then climbed up onto the couch for the first time.
You love, love, love music. You love it when I sing to you:
“Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam” during diaper changes, “Give Said the Little
Stream” while you eat, “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and “The Wheels on the
Bus” just for fun, and “I am a Child of God” or “I’m Trying to be Like Jesus”
at bedtime and when you’re sad. You
could sit (or stand) at our piano for a long time, playing your songs and listening
to me practice. Even your toys have assigned songs that go with them: your
monkey for “Monkeys on the Bed,” Elmo for “If You’re Happy and You Know It,”
and of course your current all-time favorite is your little music player that
plays four or five clips of classical music. You like to fall asleep holding it
to your ear, and you can tolerate just about anything if you have your thumb
and your music player.
You love to hold onto and stroke my ponytail, especially
when you’re sad or nervous. You reach for it almost every time I pick you up,
and you twirl it in your hand until you feel better. Sometimes you reach for it
just to make sure it’s still there. I guess I won’t be cutting my hair short
for a few years, and I certainly don’t mind. I love to feel your chubby fingers
run through my less-than-glamorous hair-do.
You are quick to laugh when you’re around people you know…
and it’s a big belly laugh that leaves you gasping for air.
You think it’s so funny when I say “lady bug bug
bug” as I kiss your little neck rolls, or when I dance silly dances, or
suddenly sing a part of a song really loud. You like
to play peek-a-boo with me and squeal with delight when I'm surprised to
see you appear from behind a chair or your bib. You think it’s funny to push
Dad’s head around in every direction, and to flex your big muscles for us. You
love to sword fight with me, especially when I die dramatic deaths ending with
my tongue hanging out… and whenever you pick up your inflated sword you stick
out your tongue in anticipation.
You love cars and trucks and wheels. You have a little red
car that runs when you touch the top and you chase it around the house. You
have a red car-shaped inner tube that you like to relax on the beach in. You
watch contentedly from your car seat as trucks, and motorcycles, and cars of
every color pass by your window. You turn your toy cars over to spin the wheels
as fast as you can, and you’ve turned almost all of your round toys into wheels
of some sort, zooming and bouncing across our white tile floors while you
studiously watch their variety of paths and patterns.
You still love your books, and you are happy for (literally) hours to sit with us on the big comfy chair in your
room and hand books to us one at a time to read to you. You're also content to sit
by your pile of books and just turn the pages yourself, sometimes even
talking to yourself while you do. Your favorites are the books that go with a
song, because the only better than a book is a book that we sing to you. If I could only find a book with a song about red cars…
You are starting to pick up some sign language. Your eyes
lit up with the realization that when you sign “more” you get more of whatever
food you were eating before. Your delight only increased when you successfully
applied it to other things you like, such as me singing, Dad reading to you,
and getting dunked under the water.
You love the water. You love to swim, to take
baths, to splash and play in any circumstance. You speed-crawl from
wherever you are in the house and whatever you are doing when you hear the bath
water turn on. You can swim in the pool by our house for as long as I’ll let
you, and the only thing that makes the terrible experience of me putting
sunscreen on you acceptable is if you can see the ocean or pool that's the
end of such unbearable means. You aren’t picky, though. You're equally happy
with a bath or to run your hands under the stream of the kitchen sink as you are
with Singapore’s mega splash pads and Thailand’s tropical beaches. That’s how
you are about almost everything, though: happy and easy to please. You are such
a sweet little boy: you’ll fall asleep anywhere, and try anything I give you to
eat. You are so eager to please, and it shows in every aspect of your happy little
We’ve also recently discovered that you love dogs. You always squeal and babble away in delight when we
stop to look at the hamsters in the pet store, but dogs are an uncommon sight
in Singapore, so it wasn’t until recently that you had your first encounter
with a dog at a park. He licked your hand and your face, and you smiled and
clapped and kicked your legs in total joy, until we had to pry you away from
him so his owner could get back to his picnic. A couple weeks later, you saw
a little poodle while we were swimming with your friends. We helped you pet
him, and he licked the water off your hands and face. Your smile was so big I
thought your mouth would have to tear to open wider. You started to say “Dog!
Dog! Dog! Dog! Dog!” And with that, your fourth word was “dog,” preceded only by
“Dadda,” “Mama,” and “Wow.” As the dog walked away, you “walked” with your hand
on the pool side as far and as fast as you could to follow him, and then
shouted “DOG! DOG! DOG!” until he was out of sight. You love dogs. Looks like
your Dad is going to have to get a puppy one day after all!
This morning I woke up next to you snuggled up to me, with
your soft skin and your flawless sweet face with your thumb half in your
perfectly shaped mouth. Your hair was a matted mess. Your breaths were deep and
soft, and you made a little hum as you exhaled your warm, sweet-smelling
breath. I pulled you in a little closer, realizing that your “little-ness” is
passing by, and while you will always be mybaby, you won’t be a baby much
longer. I just wanted to freeze that moment, and keep it forever. You are everything to your dad and I, little one, and we feel so blessed to have you in
Thank you for making me a Mommy. You are worth every minute
and more. Happy Anniversary, Jon!
Last weekend I turned 27. This is the first year my age caught in my throat as I said it... not because I think 27 is particularly old, but more because I realized I'm in my late twenties and I really am supposed to be all grown up and responsible by now. And so with that on top of the fact that this year was my "golden" birthday (turning 27 on the 27th) and I just really love birthdays in general, the celebrations were especially lengthy and festive.
I treated my birthday twin to lunch... between the two of us we're 30 this year.
Then Fabio surprised me with a Chocolate Tasting class,
and then my boys took me to one of my favorite restaurants, Wild Honey, to have breakfast for dinner.
And then, of course... when you're feeling like adulthood and responsibility are officially upon you, what else do you do but book a weekend beach get-away to Thailand with your family on a whim? It's really the only natural thing to do, I think.
When went to Khao Lak, on the Andaman Sea, and it was perfectly beautiful. Our first full day there we met an elephant on the beach...
so Jon fed her an apple.
Khao Lak was one of the most devastated areas in the 2004 tsunami. There's still a huge boat 2 kilometers inland that was a kilometer out at sea when the tsunami hit and was swept up the hill into the jungle. The local people there remember it and it was interesting to hear them reflect.
So why, you may ask, would one choose to go to a place that is so prone to total destruction at a few hours' notice?
Well, for this:
And this, too:
Fabio even had another birthday surprise up his sleeve when he booked a special surprise candlelight dinner on the beach for us at sunset, while Jon watched Barney in Thai with Grandma in the room.
Fabio was quite the romantic little devil this year, which is especially impressive when you consider that on my first birthday after we were engaged he gave me a weird backpack and asked, "So what do you feel like doing?" as we climbed into the car that night. Fortunately he is a very fast learner!
Oh yeah, and our last day there was Halloween... so Jonathan was a shark and we were his victims, for about six minutes. Then we all took off our bandages and fleece shark jackets (poor guy!) and jumped in the pool.
We basically spent four days on the beach, at the pool, drinking fresh fruit smoothies, or taking naps. Since it was a special occasion, we even got Shirley Temples at the pool bar... and the bartender gave Jon his own little fruit juice "mocktail"! It was adorable.
Pool Bar Buddies
And with that I said, "Come and get me late twenties, however significant or insignificant you may really be!" I wouldn't change a single thing about my life right now--I have everything I ever hoped for, and so many things I would have never dared hope for. Twenty-seven is going to be a good year.