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

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Dear Braden

Night Mommy

It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged, so this may be a bit rusty. I’ve been holding back on blogging because all of a sudden I’ve become so self-conscious about “oversharing”. I realize I post an almost daily picture (or 2) of my son, but I just can’t help it! And I’m here to say, that I don’t care! Well, maybe I care a little bit… But not enough to keep me from blogging from anymore. 

This was never meant to be about anyone else but me and my son. I blog for me… And Braden. I want to remember as much as I can. And I want him to know how I felt about every major or minor milestone in his life. It makes me so sad when my mom will tell me stories from my childhood that I don’t have an ounce of memory to pull from. I hope that Braden can remember a sliver of how much I loved him at this age, and what fun it is to watch him grow. So, here’s to blogging! 

Tonight. 

My heart become a new kind of full I haven’t felt before. All from 2 words. “Night mommy”. I’ll digress. 

Braden and I have spent most of the past 26 months sleeping in the same bed together. If he wasn’t with me, he was with his dad or some other family member. But, never sleeping alone. 

Co-sleeping was the best decision I could ever make for Braden and myself. My dad asked me once, “when is Braden going to sleep in his own bed?” I said, “whenever he tells me.” My dad is a very black & white guy… He didn’t get it. But, he didn’t need to. He was supportive in his own way, and ultimately it was my decision. And Braden did tell me. Not in his own words of course, but as he grew and matured I knew in my heart it was time to move on. Truth be told, we could have done it a bit sooner, but my heart wasn’t ready to let go. 

My dad convinced me to get Braden a race car bed. Chris and I weren’t super on board with it but figured… YOLO!! In actuality, I think it’s what has made this transition as easy as it has been. 

The first week I started laying in bed with him until he fell asleep. Much like I did in my bed. And every time he woke, I would go in and lay down with him until he fell asleep. I couldn’t take it! I hadn’t been up all night since he was an infant! Not only that, a twin bed is very small. And the race car aspects weren’t helping when I was crawling in and out bed… 🙂 His dad decided to just let him fall asleep on his own, and after a few struggles and miscommunications he was off to bed just fine. But, now it was my turn. 

I wasn’t sure if I could do it. I was imagining what it was like when he was infant. So many tears and so much sadness. But it wasn’t anything like that! Don’t get me wrong, there were a few tears (mostly whines) and a couple yelps of wanting to snuggle… But I would calmly walk in his room and repeat that he has his own bed now, he gets to sleep all by himself, and etc. After a few trips back into his room to make him feel secure, he eventually he went to sleep. 

And then tonight. 

I tucked my little man in, gave him his animals (Mickey Mouse, Teddy Bear, a penguin, duck, and a turtle ☺️), kissed him sweetly on his cheek and said, “Goodnight Braden. Can’t wait to snuggle with you in the morning after the sun wakes up.” He said with the most cheery voice, “Night Mommy!” He then layed his head down in the pillow and made a kiss sound. 

My heart melted. When did my son grow up? Somehow I blinked and my little Braden is not so little anymore. It’s a very bittersweet time as I know he doesn’t need me as much as before…But, it is so rewarding to hear the trust in his voice and See his independence flourish.

 My goodness, I sure am enjoying watching you grow up. I feel so blessed to be along for this ride. But, can you slow it down a little bit please? I just want to sit in this moment awhile longer. 

I love you my little man! 

Xoxo

Your mama 

26 months 

   
   

Night Mommy

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

A midnight snack 

I had every intention as a new mom for Braden to sleep in his own bed. We bought the crib (off Craiglist) and had everything set up, ready to go. Even after attending one of those baby classes, his dad and I rushed home to remove the bumper… Because those were not allowed. We were ready. I was ready.

But, Braden had other plans. Braden did not want to sleep in his crib. He did not even want to sleep in his cradle. He didn’t want to sleep anywhere other than being cradled in the arms of anybody. 

I can remember the first night home from the hospital so vividly. His dad and I unable to sleep… And of course Braden crying. We had heard about the amazingness of a sound machine. I invested in one, and at about 10pm, the first night home we plugged it in. I remember Bradens dad holding Braden up to the machine, as if that in of itself would make him go to sleep. I am able to laugh at this image now, but at the time my hormones and emotions were all over the place, and i snuggled Braden back into my arms on the couch in the den. And there I slept for 2 whole months – with Braden safe and sound on my chest. I became the granola mom I never thought I would be.

Let’s flash forward to 20 months later. Currently, Braden is safe and sound asleep next to me in bed. If he had his way, he’d still be nestled ontop of my chest, in the crook of my arm,  or a hand tangled into my hair. He loves to snuggle. “Gungle” as he calls it. I do not. I’ve learned to love it, because that’s what my son loves. Remember, I’m a granola mom now 🙂 But, if I had my way, Braden would be safe and sound asleep in his own bed or crib in his room…

Well, that may not be all true. You see, as a mom to a very loving, sweet, sensitive and snuggly child, I’ve learned to be all of those things. Not necessarily to everyone in my life, but most certainly to him. It became this natural instinct of mine that I have embraced fully. But, that’s not to say I’m not looking forward to him sleeping on his own – because I am. But, I will be patient. I truly believe there will be a time where he lets me know, that he’s ready. So, until that moment happens we will sleep side by side. A snuggle here and there. A held hand here and there. How could I deny him such sweet and innocent gestures of love? 

Sometimes he’ll wake before I’m ready to jump into bed. I hear him rustling through the monitor, and then I see him sit up in bed. A slightly distressed, “mommy”, is called out. Eyes squinting… Barely open. I quietly enter the room and remind him I’m still here. That everything is okay. And whisper to him to lay back down on his pillow. I slowly crawl into bed with him and rub his little head. He nestles in warmly Inbetween our 2 pillows, holding out his hand for me to hold. And when I do, I see the tiniest form of a smile and a little sigh of relief – eyes still shut. I watch this feeling of comfort take over him. His little piece of a midnight snack. He feels safe. And that, makes it all worth it. 

I love you my little man, 

Your mommy xoxo 



A midnight snack 

Morning walks

Just like that, things change. It happens so fast that you can’t even remember what it was like before. I started this blog because I wanted to remember. Remember those little moments that you think you’re going to always hold on to, but life happens and so you forget. And life does happen my friends. In a blink of an eye your child does or says something new and you grasp onto the moment, overjoyed. But, it’s short lived because there is always something new – and you’re constantly jumping to the next moment. And not to mention…I’m so tired ya’ll. It’s not a “my baby was up all night” tired. It’s just an exhausting life of swimming lessons, gymnastics class, play time, down time, reading time, eating, drinking and bedtime. Plus being mom with work, family, friends, relationships and you time that takes up space in this world that you just want to be filled with your little one.

So, with all of the hustle and bustle I’ve started to make a bigger effort in capturing those every day moments. Because I know when I look back at Braden’s life, it’s those moments I’m going to wish I had pictures of. Recently, Braden and I have started a tradition of going for a walk around the block. It was his idea 🙂 We start in the backyard, he plays in the dirt for awhile – watering his garden. It seems as though every time I go inside for a drink of water, he’s made his way around the side of the house, waiting at the gate to go out front. He explains to me that the trash (“ash”) cans are right next to the gate. I open the gate, he goes straight to the door on the side of the house and says “up”. I know this “up” means he wants me to lift him up to open the door, and then key in the code to open the garage. He wobbles his little legs around the side to watch the garage open. He grabs his supplies: car(s), t-ball, balls and lawn mower. Sometimes he meanders with Papa’s tools, but I always hope that part is short lived. He pushes his car around (mostly plays with the buckle “uckle”), plays with his balls, and sets himself down on the curb. I’m not sure why, but he really enjoys sitting on the curb 🙂

After that, we make our way down to the mailbox. He tells me all about where the keys go, reaching far up on his tippy toes before he takes off down the street onto the next stop.

This is where Braden spends most of his time. Playing with the leaves and throwing them over the curb. I love letting him do his thing. Before long he’s back up running up the hill. He stops along the way to gather some pine cones. Sometimes we bring our car along and he’ll put them in the front of the car. This time we were carless, and he enjoyed throwing the pine cones over the curb and onto the street. As we head back to the house, Braden stops a few times to tell me about his “dirty” feet. They do in fact get a bit dirty…but it just kills me how much he cares about it. I guess he’s going to be one of those kids that has to wear shoes – thanks dad 😉

I don’t know how long he’ll want to do these walks, but I’m going to savor them every morning. Gosh, I love him so much.

19 months old and counting!

I LOVE YOU,

your mommy

ps. please note I am no longer “mama” but “mommy” and sometimes on occasion just “mom” – the worst! :/

Morning walks