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In talking about Easter at school, Colton received a sticker that said, “one way to Jesus.” I asked what the one way was, and C replied, “oh, you have to go up a hill.”

Colton was playing a game recently with a piece of rope. He declared, “this is how you get to God: you have to climb up this rope and the person who gets to the top first gets to God!”

We made the Resurrection Rolls from all over Pinterest (with marshmallows and crescent rolls). He was very into making them and explaining how the marshmallow was Jesus. When they finished cooking, I showed Colton how they were empty on the inside and said, “the tomb is empty because Jesus is alive!” C looked at me and said, “he is NOT alive. Because Jesus is the marshmallow and the marshmallow just melted away. So Jesus is not alive, he just melted up to heaven.”

I took Colton into “big church” to see his older friend baptized. While we were there, they served communion. I told him he wouldn’t get to have communion, but explained that the little cracker represented Jesus’ body and the grape juice represented his blood so we could remember how Jesus died for our sins. He requested his fruit twist and water bottle and declared, “the water is going to be Jesus’ body and the fruit twist will be his blood because it’s red!” He then had his own communion with everyone. For several days, he continued to ask for a “Jesus snack” that needed to have two foods, one of which had to be red, “because Jesus’ blood is red!”

 

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Mommy: Colton, I can’t play right now, Mommy’s pooped.
Colton: But Mommy, why’d you go poop?

Colton: I’m going to have lots of brothers! I will call them Tree, Grass, Leaf, Bush, Twig, Berry, Cotton Ball, Bird, and Nathan. ‘Cause that’s the brother I already have.

Mommy: Colton, what kind of things would you like in our new house?
Colton: Hmmm…my own room and a front yard with no holes.

Colton: No is my favorite word!

Mommy: Hey Colton, do you know what sin is?
Colton: When you do bad or don’t obey.
Mommy: That’s right! Did you sin today?
Colton: Nope!

Mommy: Do you know what the holes in your nose are called?
Colton: You tell me.
Mommy: They’re called nostrils.
Colton: Oh! Like ostrich!

Colton: I’m drawing this picture for Dolphin! (his little stuffed animal) When I’m done, you can write our names on it!
Mommy: Great! Can you tell me what letters are in your name?
Colton: I don’t know.
Mommy: Well what letter does your name start with?
Colton: I don’t want you to talk right now. I’m working hard on my picture for Dolphin. Because she wants me to draw her a picture. So that’s what I’m doing. I’m going to use all the ink in the pen for her picture.

Mommy: (getting ready to celebrate my grandmother’s birthday) How old do you think MeMe is? Colton: Six!Mommy: Oh, that’s a good guess. My Mom: (brings out a cake) Cound the candles and see how old MeMe is turning.Colton: (counts to ten) Ten! We were wrong!

Other fun things Colton says right now: he calls a jet ski a ski jet, which cracks me up because he knows the exact, proper names for other vehicle on the planet; instructions are “constructions;” his favorite number is “tenty.”

I wanted to do a “Day in the Life” post to document what life has been like this summer with two kids, before all of our fall activities (school, Bible Study, and Cubbies) start up next month. In some ways, I’m still in newborn survival mode; Colton watches more TV than I normally find acceptable and you’ll notice I don’t have any blocks of time devoted to cleaning. And, while I’m not exactly proud of these things, I think this is fairly typical when you add in a new baby, and it is what life these days is like for us. And while there are some frustrations, like my husband working 70 hour weeks, I’m loving these days and want to remember what they’re like.

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Today is Tuesday; Colton is three years, two months and Nathan is two months.

2:45 – Alarm goes off. Time to get up.

2:47 – Back up alarm goes off as I head downstairs. Sometimes I sleep through the first one, so I always turn my back-up on. I spend about 30 minutes pumping; I usually only pump for about 30 minutes, but since I haven’t pumped since 9, it takes me a little longer.

3:30 – Back upstairs and to bed. Over the past week I’ve skipped pumping at 11:30 and found that I’m actually getting about an ounce more over the course of the day! The downside is that now that I’ve gotten a good, five hour stretch of sleep and have been awake for over half an hour, its hard for me to go back to sleep. I spend the next two and a half hours in and out of sleep.

6:15 – Alarm goes off.

6:17 – Up!

6:25 – Colton is up and wants Daddy to fix him his waffle (we have our freezer stocked with homemade whole wheat ones). Nathan screams while the waffle is fixed; I try to hold him, but can’t do a whole lot since I’m already hooked up to my pump.

7 – I shower while my husband eats, washes bottles and pump parts for me. Colton watches TV while Nathan hangs out in his bouncy seat.

7:30 – I collect all our laundry, since we have quite a few shorts and underwear that need washing due to either accidents or playing in wet sand. Colton briefly locks me in basement while I’m starting the Laundry. He can and does let me out without a fuss; a good thing since my husband was upstairs, totally oblivious with his phone ringer turned down so low he can’t hear it.

7:45 – Nathan is screaming in his bouncy seat. He’s ready for his first nap, so I wrap him in his Miracle Blanket, lay him in his crib, and he’s off to dreamland.

8:10 – Finally have breakfast hot and ready to eat!

20130821-092024.jpg8:30 – I’ve finished eating and unload and load dishwasher. Colton is playing “animal keeper” in his room.

20130821-092041.jpg9:00 – I take C’s school supplies and a return I need to make at the mall to the van and bring in the super cool matchbox car display I got from my grandparents’ house. Then, I get Colton set up with Mighty Machines and a snack (blueberries).

9:20 – I get ready pump and feed Nathan. Just as I’m getting ready to start, Colton has an accident by the potty trying to get his underwear and shorts down. I have to stop before I start to clean that up. 10 minutes later, he goes in the potty, but needs help wiping and getting his undies back on. I’m already pumping, but since he can bring me his wipes and take them to the trash can, I take care of that, but have to stop feeding Nathan. Poor baby!

20130821-092106.jpg10:00 – Nathan is fed, Colton is wearing new shorts, and we’re off to the grocery store! We wander all over the outside of the grocery store, first looking for a car cart, when when we can’t find one, its back off to the other side for a little cart. C pushes his, I push a big cart (to hold our reusable bags and diaper bag since we don’t need a lot today), and N rides in the wrap. He passes out during check-out, and thankfully stays happy and goes back to sleep when I put him in car seat (normally he screams immediately upon removal).20130821-092136.jpg

11:20 – Home from the store and everything is unloaded. Nathan’s asleep, Colton’s playing, and I decide to I want to make muffins! The store had 99 cent blueberries, and we’re home sooner than normal, so it seems like the perfect opportunity! Nathan wakes up, so I put him on the counter in his Bumbo to “help.” (He is fully on the counter, not near the edge, and I stand right by him, which makes me comfortable doing this, even though the Bumbo is meant to be on the floor only.) Colton sees this and requests that I make “little Colton-sized muffins” and that he be allowed to help. He sneaks Skittles, his potty reward, while I fill the muffin tins – little stinker!20130821-092225.jpg

12 – I put the muffins in oven and plan to pump right away. Then I realize mini muffins don’t take as long to cook, Colton goes potty and I need to empty it, get Skittles, etc., and Nathan is happy, so I decide to wait until all the muffins (mini and regular) are finished cooking. By that time, Nathan is crying and ready to eat!

12:20 – I feed the baby and pump, while Colton watches Mighty Machines. When we finish, I serve Colton the two muffins he requests. He takes a bite of one and declares he will save them for later. I put him in the jammies he brings me and send him to his room for nap.

Can you find Colton? This is how I found him when I went to check on him later.

Can you find Colton? This is how I found him when I went to check on him later.

1 – I’m starving so I grab a muffin while I fix my lunch (wrap with peanut butter, banana, and a few mini chocolate chips). Nathan starts out happy, but quickly descends into unhappy wailing. I scarf my food and get him down for a nap. Then I get a few minutes to myself to look at some potential new freezer meals my friend sent me, wash bottles, and blog.

1:30 – Nap time for Momma! I grab Nathan’s monitor and bring it upstairs with me. He’s normally upstairs with me for this nap, but since he’s already asleep in his room, I leave him be.

20130821-092313.jpg3:00 – I’m up and folding laundry while both boys are sleeping. I always try to get up at least 15 minutes before I need to pump so I have a few minutes to do something useful.

3:15 – I’m feeding Nathan and pumping.

20130821-092338.jpg3:30 – Colton is up and asking to get out of his room; I put a gate up when I nap, just in case he wakes up and I’m still asleep. I finish pumping, let him out. He potties and I get out his prize for doing a great job of wearing underwear and keeping them dry — a Matchbox car city. He’s been potty training for exactly a week now, and while he hasn’t been totally accident free, his few accidents the past couple of days have come while he’s trying, and he’s finally not protesting underwear, so I deem it time for the big reward he’s been wanting for quite some time.

4:15 – The City is put together and I take Nathan to his room to play on his playmat and have tummy time while Colton plays with it.

20130821-092352.jpg4:45 – I change clothes so I’m ready to go to the gym after my next pumping session. Nathan starts to get fussy and Colton is playing happily, so I spend some time just rocking him in his room. After he’s been asleep for five minutes, Colton comes in and wants me to play City with him.

20130821-092400.jpg5:30 – I heat up dinner and start eating. My husband gets home right as I’ve started eating, so he grabs his food, heats it, and joins me. Normally, we eat together, but since I’m going to a class at the gym, I need to make sure I eat before I go, and he wasn’t sure if he’d be home in time to eat with me before it was time to feed Nathan.

5:50 – Nathan is suddenly starving, which is surprising because he ate really well last time. My husband feeds him and I pump.

6:15 – I’m out the door and on my way to Yoga at the gym. This is currently the only class that fits my schedule and current ability level. Its only my second class, but I’m going to make an effort to attend it every week, at least until I feel able to take other classes. It’s packed tonight and seems harder than last time, but I feel great afterwards, especially since the last five minutes are devoted solely to relaxation. Ah!

7:50 – Home! Colton and Daddy are racing, and then Daddy gets Colton ready for bed while I hold Nathan.

8:30 – Popcorn time! I also finish an episode of The Tudors I started earlier. Side Note: I really like this show, but there is so. much. sex. And they are long, gratuitous scenes. I keep watching because I like the story line, and it seems like every other episode either has no sex, or is very light on it, but the next its just everywhere. It doesn’t get better, does it? Is there a similar show with less gratuitous sex?

8:50 – I pump, my husband feeds Nathan.

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This is the typical Nathan face — he’s usually either happy or asleep!

9:20 – Upstairs to get ready for bed! Then its my new favorite time of the day — hang out in bed with my husband and Nathan. Nathan is so happy and smiley, and its just a great way to unwind and spend some time with my husband and tell him anything notable and cute that happened that day.

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9:40 – I’m zonked. My husband will do some work downstairs until he feeds Nathan at 11:30 (Nathan sleeps through this feeding) and comes to bed himself.

Dear Colton,

Now you are three! The past three years have been a wonderful adventure watching you grow, seeing your personality develop, and learning to parent you. You have brought so much joy to our lives!

IMG_0085If I had to describe you in a few words, they’d be: fun-loving, sweet, stubborn, silly and energetic. You love to laugh and make others laugh too. Your teachers said you would never sit in your seat during lunch time because you were too busy trying to entertain your friends. I could never drop you off at school or church without giving you a hug and a kiss, and you had to give me one too. Some of my favorite moments with you this year came right before nap-time. I would always say some variation of “I love you! You’re my sweet/special boy!” before turning out your light, and you would say, “no Mommy, you’re my sweet girl!”

Colton gave me a heart necklace for Christmas that says "I Love Mommy." His Daddy took him to pick it out, but he chose the heart and told him what he wanted engraved on it. He was so excited and proud to give it to me. Sweet boy!

Colton gave me a heart necklace for Christmas that says “I Love Mommy.” His Daddy took him to pick it out, but he chose the heart and told him what he wanted engraved on it. He was so excited and proud to give it to me. Sweet boy!

Your zest for life is contagious and overflowing. If you are awake, you like to be playing, exploring, or running. Never before have I seen so much joy in looking for worms, jumping off a tree stump, collecting interesting sticks and rocks, or just simply running down the road.

DSC02101This past year you have especially enjoyed learning about machines and dinosaurs, thanks in large part to the TV shows Mighty Machines and Dinosaur Train. You know so much more about machines than I do! I am forever getting a bulldozer and front loader mixed up, and you are quick to correct me. Not only do you know what they look like, but you also know the different jobs they do, which forever amazes me. I loved seeing you expand your play with trains as you started to play Dinosaur Train with them, and Night and Morning Train, loosely derived from the show. You identified with one of the characters, Don Pteranodon (who is so your dinosaur equivalent), and love pretending to be him, make his signature noise, and sleep in a nest. Thanks to you, I now make a mean Pterandodn squawk!IMG_0291

You recently listed the things you like for me. They are: machines, cars, trains, trucks, planes, helicopters, puppies, kitties, doggies, horses, porcupines, ducklings, dolphins, and probably more. I was trying so hard not to laugh when you got to porcupines that I had a hard time listening to the rest of the things you like.

DSC02140Just before you turned three you became a big brother. I was worried about how you would initially do with this transition, but you have surprised me with how much you love your brother. Of course, you have had your moments of learning how to be gentle, but it is so sweet to see you try to get him to take his paci to calm down or bring him toys to “play” with.

I love you buddy, and can’t wait to see what the next year brings us.

When a giant spring snowstorm derailed our day’s plans, I decided C and I needed a fun, easy to pull together activity.

Since we had just been to an Easter egg hung, we had plenty of eggs, and I remembered the Easter egg lunch I’ve seen everywhere on Pinterest.

I put my own spin on it, serving it in a muffin tin (I didn’t have an egg carton) with the eggs closed. Closing the eggs meant he had to guess what was in each one and since I told him the rule of his Easter Bunny lunch was that he had to eat what was in whatever egg he opened before he got a new one, it meant he ate everything in each egg.

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Our eggs were filled with cheese, carrots, crackers, strawberries, letter cookies, ham, tortilla and one egg had a piece of candy. He ate everything in the dozen eggs I prepared for him, and then fixed six more at his request.

I plan to do this again on a regular basis, not just at Easter time. It was a fun way to connect at lunch time (he needed help opening each egg and I prompted him to guess what was in each one), and I felt like he ate much better than he normally does for me. I think, if I planned this better, he would eat with a much better variety than he normally does.

Two years old is hysterical. And hysterically challenging.

C now says things like “oh-cake!” for okay and “noke-a-nuts” for no.  And at dinner, “I want to see the food in my tummy. Aaaaaaah! Daddy, you see the food in my tummy? Can you see it Daddy?”

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And yet there are days when I carry him out of the house, and he hangs on for dear life to the door handle, screaming. And then I cart him to the car, screaming, and wrestle him into his carseat, screaming and kicking, and deposit him at school. Where he has a fantastic day, go figure.

Speaking of school, we’ve been through some challenging days there with him pushing. Apparently my barely 26 pounds soaking wet toddler was “knocking down the little kids.” His teachers are wonderful though, and were very kind about everything, and even said they didn’t think he was doing it to be mean, just to play. The three of us decided to use positive reinforcement was the way to go, and he receives a Skittle from his teacher at the end of the day if he has a good day of no pushing. He’s gotten one two days in a row now and knows he gets one if “I no push my friends Mommy!” I remind him every morning to use gentle hands, be kind to his friends, and use his words and tell him how proud I am of him when he does well.

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Colton will sometimes sing unprompted, though he mostly likes to tell me what I ought to sing.  Old MacDonald is one of his favorites, but he likes to sing “Old MacDonald had a farm, eieieo! And on that farm he had a…bulldozer. With a push here and push everywhere! Eieio!”

One of the biggest issues we have at two and a half is control. C loves to control anything and everything he can. What we wears, when he gets dressed, what he eats, how he gets in his car seat, how we play when we play with him, etc. Pushing boundaries is is favorite! He’s very strong willed and independent, but what he lacks in cooperativeness, he makes up for in personality.

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Some of C’s favorite things at the moment include: trains, trucks, cars, buses, any and all construction equipment, graham crackers (or graham crack, as he calls them), watering things, and letters. This summer he only knew a few letters and didn’t really care about them, now he knows almost all of the capital letters (W, X and Y are hit or miss) and wants to know “what those letters doing?” This means he wants to know what they say; I can’t believe he’s gone from zero interest to understanding that letters make words, which tell us something in only a couple of months. I feel I should add that I don’t particularly care one way or the other if he’s an early reader or that he knows his letters, I’m just amazed and how quickly he has picked them up!

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Other random things: C sleeps in a toddler bed for naps and at night  and does a reasonably good job staying in his bed; is allergic to peanuts, eggs and cats; loves Mighty Machines, a 90’s Canadian TV show on Netflix, and is so excited about Christmas – decorating the tree has been his favorite thing so far!

I recently had a revelation. Colton is fun. And not just fun in a hey he smiles at me and maybe does something funny once in a while, but fun in that he has a real personality, likes, dislikes and a sense of humor. I don’t just love him because he’s my child, but I like his personality and little quirks that are all his own.

Also, I totally had a phone conversation with him yesterday, and that pretty much rocked my world. I mean, the conversation may have gone, “Colton, Mommy is coming home.” “Yay! Mommy home!” “Do you want to talk to Nona and Popa on the computer with Mommy when she gets home?” “Uh-huh.” “Okay, Mommy is almost home, go wait for Mommy at the door.” “Uh-huh.”

Watering plants.

Part of what is making him so much fun all of a sudden are his communication skills. He’s always been a talker, but now his understanding and social skills have caught up with his plain old ability to talk, and we can have real conversations. We talk about his friends, what he learned about at church (goldfish, not God), what his favorite songs are and what kind of birthday party he wants to have (his request, cake).

Playing peek-a-boo at music class.

Colton has figured out he can say things that are funny, and there are times he really tries to be funny or make a joke. He even has a special face he makes when he thinks he’s being particularly funny; he grins, scrunches his noes so his eyes crinkle at the sides, and holds his bent hands by his face. It almost looks like a mouse impression. This face came out this week during dinner (hamburgers for the adults, a hotdog for the toddler) when we had a bottle of ketchup on the table. There’s a picture of a tomato on the bottle, and Colton pointed to it and said, “apple!” We told him it was a tomato, and he told us again that it was an apple. Finally, I guess he thought we were joking with him, because he made his funny face and proclaimed, “that not apple!” and laughed.

This month, Colton developed a love of watermelon.

Colton loves to get dirty when he’s playing, but then moment he stops playing long enough to realize he’s dirty, he wants to be cleaned up. He loves playing outside, and one of his particularly favorite activities is to sit in our ivy. Today we went to the park, and he picked a flower and clutched until after we’d been home for a while, telling me, “Colton pick beautiful flower.”

Playing in MeMe and PopPop’s fountain.

I’m not sure I can put into words what I love about this kid. I love the way he sucks his lower lip in, bits it with his top teeth and grins when he’s really happy. I love the way he runs, his knees pulling way up to his chest, arms flailing while he yells.

He is awesome.

My husband thinks our son should become a professional photographer. He’s got the stance down (seriously, you should see this – he looks like a mini art student with his legs spread, knees bent, trying to get the perfect shot), he tells his subjects to say cheese, and he has camera operation down-pat.

Maybe, just maybe he needs to work on his framing.

When Colton ran off during dinner a few nights ago, I didn’t think anything of it. He’s not in a booster seat anymore and frequently hops down to play when he’s decided he’s had enough of dinner. I don’t really mind, as it gives Hubs and I some time to finish eating without a screaming toddler who just wants to play. But this time, it was quieter than usual. So, I went to see what he was up to.

I had left my camera somewhere reachable, and he was walking around his room, pointing his camera at his car, the window, the vent, and the ceiling, enthusiastically telling them “cheese!” and snapping their picture.

There were well over 60 of these photos.

Colton's portrait of Mommy.

A budding photographer cannot be stopped.

First self-portrait

It’s official. Colton is a year and a half old. He suddenly seems so grown up. This morning, he just seemed older, looked older, and started doing things he’s never done before.

Stacking blocks for the first time by myself!

This month (this week, actually) brought Colton’s first one-year molar. I was beginning to think he’d never get them when I saw two white spots inside his mouth Monday. I wondered, after hearing how terrible cutting molars can be, how we had escaped the initial break-through without incident. That night, he woke up at 11 pm and screamed until 1 am. He finally went back to sleep at 1:45 am. He’s been doing much better since then, thanks to a nightly dose of Tylenol. Along with this, I’ve noticed some serious separation anxiety/clinginess going on. I’m not sure if this is teething related or something that’s typical of 18 month-olds, but he’s recently refused to stay in the church nursery. Instead, he’s just screamed loud and non-stop until I come to get him. He’s okay with Dad in the mornings, but when Dad comes home, he wants me and we have to really work to get him to be okay being alone with Dad.

Saftey first! (Playing at a friend's house.)

Other than that, the past month has been a lot of fun! Colton is talking up a storm, adding short two to three word “sentences” into the mix. His only official sentence so far has been “Mommy cracker please?” He also says things like, “grape-grape, Nona, Buffy,” which I can only assume means to convey “Nona gave me a grape, and I gave it to Buffy.” He also sings now! Only really “fa la la la” from “Deck the Halls,” but it is super cute.

Best toy ever?

He’s obsessed with Curious George, and seems to be developing quite the love for Caillou. Trains and Elmo are still big, but not nearly as exciting as Curious George. He’s also very interested in hair bows and will point them out to me when he sees them on babies in books. He does tell me that boys don’t wear hair bows. He also tells me he’s not a big boy but he’s not a baby either.

I’ll agree with that.

The big news from this past month is that Colton is walking! At my friend’s wedding at the end of the month, he walked in a giant circle and then in a line a good ways into the reception room. And that was the first time he walked. And then he didn’t walk for another week. Now, he pretty much walks all the time. He still can’t get up without pulling up, but I’m sure he’ll get there soon.

Colton loves drinking out of my water bottle, so much so that I’m starting to only carry mine when we’re going to be out together. The upside is that his insane desire for my water only caused him to learn to sign water and please. Sadly, he has forgone most of his other signs in favor of these two. He can bark like a dog, say car and hi, and roar like a dinosaur.

I asked him to smile; he said "aaaaaaaaaaah" and did this.

Right now, Colton’s dream seems to be to be big. We play fairly often with his friend Jenna, who is close in age to him, but Colton much prefers following her big brother Trevor around. If a big boy is doing something, Colton wants to be part of it. I’ve tried teaching him to play “I’m gonna get you,” but he runs towards me rather than away from me, so he’s got a bit to learn before he’s ready to play with the big guys.

He wears a size 4 shoe, clothing sized 12 months or 12 to 18 months and wears a size 3 diaper. He eats three meals a day, plus at least two snacks, and eats most everything we eat. Favorite foods include raisins, cheese, graham crackers and Pirates Booty. He still gets one bottle a day, before bed. Speaking of which, he goes to bed around 7 and usually wakes up around 6:30. One nap a day seems to be the way to go, but figuring out what time is best for him to go down. All in all, sleeping is much better than it was last month.

Walking has made such a huge difference in how old Colton seems – he’s now an official “big boy!”

Just a 20-something girl living on the East Coast, trying to figure out life. I'm a wife and mom to two. I'm trying to rediscover my love for long walks, yoga and pilates. But not hiking. I still don't like hills. I was raised at the beach, but I don't like the beach. I like to look at it, but I don't like to swim in it, I'd prefer a pool, thanks. I'm just trying to become the best person I can be -- the woman God wants me to be. That's easier said than done!

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Contact me at longbrakeliving@gmail.com - I'd love to hear from you!

Hubby is my all-time favorite guy. A perfect mix of serious, sarcastic, laid-back, handy and nerdy, he is the perfect complement to me. I love his strong work-ethic and the way he always loves and supports me through everything. Some of Hubby's favorite things include: hiking, Virginia Tech football, woodworking, and his family. When I married him in July 2007, I had no idea what an amazing journey we were headed on, and how I could come to love him so much more each day.

Our oldest, Colton, is three years old. He is equal parts sassy and hysterical. He loves all things train, car, bus, truck, and machine related. He has a penchant for made-up words and loves to be the clown of his pre-school class. Our younger son, Nathan, was born this May. He is pure joy and full of smiles! He is such a blessing and a perfect fit for our family.