Dear Nora & Braden,
It is 2:20 in the afternoon and you are both napping peacefully in your separate rooms. You sleep at this exact time every day and the house goes silent. It is during this time that I have a chance to bake cookies (as I did today), take a bath, nap myself, or simply sit back and reflect on my day with you.
Nora, you are 2 1/2 years old right now. You still take a binky and you still sleep in your crib. I like both of those things a great deal because not only does it make you feel more like a baby to me, but I know they bring you comfort as well. You are taking up most of my day by asking questions, bossing me around and chasing our new puppy, Heidi. I spend so much time looking at your face because honestly, it is the most precious thing I have ever seen. Your lips are so big and beautiful and you use them in such a matter-of-fact way to speak to me. Your eyes are the prettiest blue and they crinkle when you smile. They look so much like my Nanny's eyes, except hers were green. The shape of them takes my breath away, though, because I can see her through and through. Your hair is long now and you love when I put it up because you say "I look beautiful mommy!" And you do. Every time. This is the first time in almost a year that you will actually leave your hair ties in. I'm thankful! You can count to 11 in English and 6 in Spanish. You know most of your colors and can fully dress yourself. You are the smartest thing I have ever seen, yet you refuse to be potty trained. Of course, I am not pushing it much. You are still such a tiny girl to me. I am focusing on cherishing these baby moments more lately because I feel as if every time I close my eyes, you are changing. Nora Elaine, when I walk into your room in the morning to get you out of bed my day is already perfect. You bring me so much joy and laughter. My heart has been so closely linked to yours from the very idea of having you and yet here you are! My little lady. You are so polite and yet so aggressive. Your favorite food is chicken although you love peas and rice too. You drink chocolate milk every morning and usually want apple or orange juice any other time. You are eating well these days and that makes me so proud. You are a mommy's girl but always get excited to see your daddy walk in after a long day at work. You like to read books and are great at look & finds! Sometimes you frustrate me because you are incredibly mouthy but I remind myself that you are a baby and I'm trying to be patient. I'm learning so much about how to be a good mom now. You pray with me every night and sing many songs! I love to watch your tiny body dance and do somersaults around the toy room. Your tiny toes are almost always painted and they are just gorgeous!!! Nora, when you were in my tummy I asked God to make you a light to anyone that met you. From the first day you came into this world that is what you have been! Not only to me, but to everyone who sees you. They are drawn to you baby. You have a huge and awesome calling on your life! I want you to know that I am always going to support you and stand beside you. I am going to teach you how to pray and encourage you to use your voice in powerful ways. I want you to always look at people for who they can be in God and show them respect. We are greater than no one, Nora, and I know you will understand that. You have many gifts, little girl, and I am so proud to be your mother. I sit back and watch you every day trying to memorize the details of your body and spirit at this very time because it will so quickly be gone. I hope you always feel how deeply I love you and how much you have changed my life. I love being your mom, Nora.
Brother boy--you are going to be 18 months old in a few days! I cannot believe it! You are a dancing machine honey. I have never in my life seen a child who can move his body the way you do and I can see how happy it makes you! You eat all the time and are the happiest with an oreo or chicken nugget in your hand. We recently had to stop giving you milk because you have such terrible eczema on your body. It causes you to scratch and itch all day and usually you make yourself bleed. It makes me so sad to see you be uncomfortable. We're trying hard to find out whats causing it so that you can feel better, buddy. You love nap time and bed time and you still need a bottle (of warm water) to fall asleep. You also take your blue blanky that you love. It's your comfort and it's so sweet. You are such a mommy's boy. You follow me through the house whining and crying alot but always tuck your little legs up under your butt when I pick you up...which makes you feel more like a baby. You're so big and rough. You fall constantly, hit your head against things on purpose, jump off our couches, and drive off the step every day on your little truck. Yet you keep on truckin. You love to hammer and "work" and play with your toy trucks and tractors. You are (surprisingly) far more gentle with Heidi than your sister is and that makes me very proud of you! You are saying alot of words now and even sing with the "Dora" song on TV. You try to do somersaults but are too short and roll to the side. You still look at us until we clap...which we do. Every time. We are proud of you buddy! You babble so much and I know that one day you are going to reach so many people for the kingdom of God. I can see that you will have strong and deep convictions and that you will be a great boy and man someday. If I have said it once, I've said it one million times but you have challenged me, Braden. I am convinced, however, that I am a far better mother because of you than I ever could have been before. I desire to teach you so many things. I want to watch you learn how to swim and ride a horse. I want to see the reaction on people's faces when you walk into a room and pray boldly with assurance in front of them. I see that in you Braden. Your future is paved and perfect and I cant wait to share it with you. Right now, however, I find myself babying you alot. Daddy even gets a little frustrated with us because you cling to me as much as I do you. But I wouldnt trade these moments for the world. I enjoy you so much every day and know that when I go to bed at night I don't regret one second with you. Your hands are so beautiful and I touch them alot. They are tiny and delicate and lovely. Your nose scrunches, much like mine does, and it makes me laugh. In fact, you make me laugh most of the day. I've learned to do that rather than cry or even yell at you when I'm frustrated. Thank you for coming into our lives little guy. You are so important to who I am as a mom. I hope you know that I will always guide you and give you all of the strength you need to be the person I know God is calling you to be. There will be hard days ahead, but we are going to trudge through them together like we have until now. I am determined to be good for you! I love you brother. You're definitely one of the best parts of me. I will always love being your momma.
Together you two bring me so much happiness. There are times when we are worshipping God together by dancing in the toy room and I look down and feel this sense of overwhelming peace. I am exactly where I am supposed to be at this time of my life. I danced with your daddy in the kitchen the other night and you both looked up at us and I knew you saw how much we loved one another and I know you feel how much we try to give that back to you. We devote so much of who we are to being great for you guys. You have no idea how you have strengthened us and made our commitment to one another and to our God greater than it has ever been. I am amazed at how quickly things are changing and amazingly I am saddened sometimes. I don't want to take a single moment with either of you for granted and I promise I will try to never do that. I want you both to be able to trust me, come to me, lean on me and confide in me always. I want you to cry with me, laugh at me, and feel safe with me. These arms were made to nurture your tiny little bodies and they will not change as you grow. They are here. Stable. Strong. Steadfast. For you. Please know how much you mean to me. I cannot express enough how grateful I am to our God for entrusting me to be your mother but I hope you feel it. I am doing my best every day to show you grace, forgiveness, patience, kindness, goodness, compassion and so many other Godly traits. I will fall short, but please know I'm trying. In this home we will always call on Jesus. When you are confused and need answers, please turn to me. In this home you always have a safe place. We will always welcome anyone so please feel free to bring them here. This place is for you, babies. It is all for you. You are the best thing that ever happened to me. I love you both so much.