Dear Braden

I stand here in your half-lit room trying to put the pieces back together so that it resembles somewhat of a livable space. It’s inevitable that I find little pieces of the you that you were, when you were first here. A much too deflated balloon hidden behind a dresser that we received the day you were born. A stuffed monkey I “had” to have when you were still tucked away in my belly. It always brings me back to a place of happiness and a little smile makes it way onto my lips as images of your life flash in my mind. Gosh, where has the time already gone?

Braden, you have already taught me so much in the mere (almost) three years that you have been here. I could not have dreamt up a better son for me to have. Honestly… You complete me just as much (if not more) than I complete you. You have shown me the meaning of life, pushed me to be better than I was the day before, and loved me unconditionally.

You are gentle and kind and love with all of your heart. I sometimes worry (a little too much) that wearing your heart on your sleeve is going to break that sweet heart of yours one day. But please know, that I will be here to help you put the pieces back together. Your love for people is astounding. You adapt to places quicker than I can even believe. You’re coordinated, musically inclined, smart, sensitive, in tune with people, imaginative and of course handsome.

You don’t throw tantrums, but you do push the limits and question things you don’t understand. You’re stubborn at times and determined to do things your way. But, after a conversation (or 2) you’re willing to see and understand the other side. I love that about you the most, I think. Your ability to want to listen, to want to understand – “tell me” as you would say. You’re inquisitive. And even though it tests my limits and patience, I think that quality is going to take you far.

Two meant; big boy beds, first vacations, potty training, sock modeling, Easter egg hunts, camel rides, play time with Baby Graham, beach days, lots more sweets, love and lots of laughter.

I’m looking forward to three – big boy undies and preschool to name a few! But, I’m more looking forward to watching you grow. I don’t know how two hearts created such an incredibly big heart in you, my little man. But I do know that I am honored to know you. You just get what life is about and that is pretty damn cool.

Here’s to you, Braden.

I love you,

Your mommy xo

BritneeandBraden2016-105

Photos by: Reams Photo

Advertisements
Dear Braden

Fluffy

I love the night before Braden comes home. I clean every nook and cranny (most of the time), and put his room back together as if it’s brand new again. Their is something so therapeutic about making sure everything is in its place. Tonight, as I was putting fresh and clean sheets on his bed, I found “Fluffy” hidden away inbetween the wall and his bed. I couldn’t help but laugh a little to myself because “Fluffy” is actually the infamous Snoopy.  

A few months ago we (Braden’s dad and I) took Braden to Knotts Spooky Farm. It was semi-miserable as it was most likely the hottest day of the year. We really tried to stay positive and make the most of it, but man… It was HOT!

To make up for the heat-infused day, I was determined to find Braden the perfect souvenir. I really wanted to get him the traditional looking stuffed Snoopy, but nothing looked right. They all looked too fluffy. I even said so to Chris, “The only ones they have are fluffy.” 
I ended up deciding on a mini Snoopy with a backpack… Because the backpack was adorable and the least fluffy-like. Off Braden went that night down to San Diego with dad and Snoopy in tow. 

I think Snoopy stayed down in San Diego for an extended period of time, because when he made his way back up North, I completely forgot about him! I took him out of Braden’s backpack and placed him on Bradens bed. 

Later that night Braden held Snoopy up to me and said,”Fluffy!” I said “no, his name is Snoopy.” He enthusiastically replied, “no mommy, this is Fluffy!” I let it go because sure, if you want to call him Fluffy, go ahead! 
The next time I saw Chris I mentioned to him how strange it was that Braden keeps calling Snoopy, Fluffy. Chris paused, looked at me with an almost deadpan face and said, “that’s your fault.” I was so confused.. What?! My fault?! How?! Chris continued, ” you said… ‘They were all Fluffy’, when you were deciding on which Snoopy to buy. He’s been calling him Fluffy ever since we left Knotts.”

I closed my eyes so tight and fell even more in love with my son. He was right. I did say that. You don’t even have to be directly talking to him and he picks up on everything you’re saying. It’s scary but amazing all at the same time. 

I know kids are always learning and growing and surprising you every day. But, I never anticipated my own son to be so smart and in tune with his surroundings. I hope we never lose this Fluffy. Fluffy holds the secret of who my son is, at this exact moment in his life. 

I love every ounce of you my sweet baby. 

Your mama xoxo

  

   
  
   

Fluffy

Almost 2

This exact date two years ago I was one day past my due date. Every year when the 6th approaches I get just as excited as the first time. I wanted my little man to get here so badly. I remember arranging and rearranging his little nook set up in the spare room upstairs. I remember trying so hard to be patient, but he wanted to be fashionably late – one week to be exact! 

I cannot even begin to believe that I will be a mom to a two-year-old boy. My son. I still don’t feel like I deserve him. I’m waiting for  someone to wake me up and tell me that this was all some beautiful dream. 

I never imagined that I would love being a mom as much as I do. I had no idea that this was the way life was meant to be, because this truly is the meaning of life. It’s so scary to think that I almost missed it. I would have never known what true love feels like. I would have never known the meaning of love at first sight. 

There are so many beautiful parts to having a child, but I think the most beautiful part to me is that I get to live life all over again. I get the chance to experience all these amazing firsts that I don’t remember for myself. And to experience life through the eyes of a child is a gift I’m truly blessed to receive. 

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. It’s definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it’s also the most rewarding. And that makes it all worth it. 

I love you more than my heart can even hold! 

Your mommy xo 

  
Waiting for my little man ☺️

2 days old 😍 

Almost 2

No no, Babies.

Words are forever growing in a toddlers world. Every day something new comes out of that little tiny mouth of theirs. It’s astounding how much they can remember and repeat. Did I mention repeat? I don’t know about anybody else, but Braden is a repeater. I’m going to go as far and say that he is an OCD repeater. He actually kind of reminds me of myself in this sense. I get latched onto a term or phrase and will repeat it any chance I get. I guess it’s not one of my best qualities Braden has received from me 😉

I can’t even begin to count how many words he knows, I think at almost 2 years old it’s common to lose count. At least I hope so…

Anyway, I’ve got a repeater, and it’s pretty funny some of the things that come out of his mouth! For some time now Braden has adopted the very interesting phrase… “No no, babies” and “Hey, babies”. For the longest time I could not for the life of me figure out where it was coming from. I mean, he had to learn that somewhere…right? No 2 year old walks around saying, “Hey, babies!”. Does he even know what a baby is?! Is he flirting? Does he know how to flirt? And why does he always have to tell these “babies” no?

But, finally! I figured it out! Every week Braden has swimming lessons at Waterbabies with Miss Vanessa. Miss Vanessa is the best! She’s been teaching Braden how to swim for over a year now, and we just love her. She’s calm, patient, understanding and always welcomes the babies into her class with a “Hey, babies!”.

A-HA! That was it. That’s all it took…one day a week for over a year and he randomly became obsessed. And I mean, obsessed. Literally everything he says somehow comes back to these “babies”. I will even hear him talking to himself in his car seat, all scruffy ” no no, babies”. It’s hysterical. Like, he’s trying to reason with these imaginary babies…”No no, babies!”.

I don’t know how long these phrases will stick around, but I know one thing is for sure, I’m not ready to say goodbye to them. It’s so much apart of who he is right now. I know when it’s run its course, that means he’s grown up just a little bit more. And I’m definitely not ready for that.

I hope I always remember this season.

I love you babies 😉

Your mama xoxo

(23 months)

  

No no, Babies.

Draw with me Mommy

Braden loves to draw. And not just sporadically – daily. I know that if we are going out to eat I should bring paper and markers. The color wonder paper and markers have been a dream to me. If you don’t know what they are, then I highly suggest you look it up. The only problem I have with them, is that sometimes my son will take a bite right off the tip and then exclaim, “uh-oh”…as if he doesn’t know how that happened! But anyway…back to drawing.

My son doesn’t care to watch TV for more than 10 minutes at a time. Which sounds really great on paper, but when you’re in a bind and need to get dressed – 10 minutes isn’t going to cut it! He likes to hop around and do different activities. And he really is quite great at playing by himself. But lately, he’s been asking me to draw with him. It’s nothing new, but the frequency and insistence on doing so has grown. I’m more than likely always about to do something that keeps me from being able to draw with him. He never seemed to really mind when I told him I had other things to do first. But today, today was the day I saw a little sadness wash over his face when I told him I had to dry my hair.

His little arms went so quickly to his side, he turned around, faced the table and hung his head towards his toes. My heart felt sad. He felt defeated. I could tell. He, with the sweetest face and innocent eyes looking up at me to draw. And I said no, for the hundredth time.

I’ve never dried my hair so quickly in my life. At some point during the hair drying process he ran into my room and shut the door. Frustrated with me I’m sure. He never said a word, but he didn’t have to. I just turned on the baby monitor and watched him as he had his moment to himself. After I was finished, I put the hair dryer away. Just as I was getting ready to walk in my room to get him, he came barreling out of the room in rush. He had the biggest grin on his face as he reached up to touch my hair and said, “dry!”. I’m smiling now just thinking about it. How much he knows and is aware of is still a shock to me. His little brain is this huge sponge that just takes everything in. I love it. I love him.

And so after I told him yes, my hair was dry and we can draw now. We did. I sat on the chair that is about as big as my hand, and drew and drew and drew. It was then followed by a tickle fight and lots of kisses. I wish every day could be this sweet and simple. I hope that I always remember to take the time to draw, because what could possibly be more sweet and simple than that?

I love you my buddy!

(21 months old)

xoxo

Your mama

Draw with me Mommy

Growing up is hard to do…

As I write this a dear friend of mine is on her way to the hospital to meet her new baby girl. I can’t help but feel nostalgia (again) for the birthing of my little man Braden. I feel jealous that she gets to experience this miracle. I don’t often think about the day Braden was born. But when I do, it is with such a heavy heart.
Braden is my miracle baby. Miracle in such a way, I’m not sure how he even made it to this world in one (healthy) piece. I often think about his sister that didn’t make it. Does he feel an emptiness that something (somebody) is missing? Most likely not, but I can’t help but feel this guilt that she’s not here for him. When I see him playing by himself I get this nagging feeling that she should be here to play alongside him. Truth be told, she didn’t make it long enough to know for sure she was in fact a she. But in my heart I feel he had a sister.
Questions often pop up in my mind; what would she look like, would they act the same, be best friends? Just a list of unanswered questions. It doesn’t plague me every day as it once did, but…
I think this is why I protect Braden with every ounce I have inside of me. I feel incredibly blessed that he made it. I was so nervous throughout the rest of my pregnancy that I wouldn’t get to meet him… But I did.
And I’ve spent the last 13 1/2 months with Braden. Not just with him… But WITH him. I’ve never spent more than 8 hours away from him. And as excited as I am for this next chapter in his life, I am really anxious.
It’s beyond time for him to embrace the other half of his life with his dad. And I’m so grateful that his dad has been understanding to fulfill goals of mine, such as nursing Braden for a full year, and patient enough to let me feel ready for this new chapter in Braden’s life.
It’s bittersweet to let go of Braden’s hand and watch someone else take the lead. I’ve been the soul protector since he was growing inside of my belly. And I’m not going to lie, it’s going to be hard…
But it’s time to let Braden grow up just a little bit more, and experience every aspect of his life that he can.
So many great “dad” adventures await him.
So many things to learn that only a dad can teach.
So many man-to-man chats to be had.
So many sleepless nights of laughter, junk food to devour, and dirty hands to never be washed.
Oh Braden I love you so, and will miss you on the nights you’re away.
I hope you will miss me in just the right amount. And I hope you’ll be ready for Eskimo kisses and mommy cuddles when you come back to me. I’ll be waiting for you my button.

Love you so manys!
Xoxo
Your mama

20140731-221403-80043698.jpg

20140731-221405-80045715.jpg

20140731-221404-80044790.jpg

Growing up is hard to do…