And just like that, as of mid-June, we have a one year old! My goodness, I knew the tug of nostalgia would get me (it always does), but I wasn't entirely prepared for the onslaught of emotion I felt on Cooper's birthday. Primarily, thankfulness.
We've had the privilege of a year with this little soul. It's easy to forget that babies and small children are souls. And that parenthood and child rearing is so much more than the ins and outs of our regular days.
What a joy Cooper is.
The night before his birthday, I ran to the grocery store to pick up some cashews (for the filling/frosting of his cake) and to get a balloon for the birthday boy. Nicholas took the day off on Cooper's actual birthday and the three of us spent the day together. Despite it being the most-devoid-of-naps-day he's ever had, it was lovely: a family walk, a visit from my in-laws, meals Cooper liked, and a trip to a beautiful park, a long stroller walk, and a drive around town. And my oh my, did he love the balloon.
Nicholas was insistent (rightfully so) that Cooper have cake* on his actual birthday, and so when we got home from the day's activities, we cut into his cake for him before dinner! He loved it. And then, due to the lack of naps, he was fed, bathed, in his pajamas, and happily asleep on his tummy by 6:30pm.
On Saturday, Nicholas' family came over, we had coffee and dessert, and Cooper opened his gifts (with assistance). Naturally, the wrapping paper was very exciting. It was really nice and low-key. He did nap, which made for a much more relaxed day.
This past weekend (and Father's Day), my parents, brother, and Grandma Donna drove down from Minnesota to see us, celebrate two birthdays (Coop's and my dad's) and to celebrate Father's Day.
Friday, we spent much of the day at home, relaxing and catching up, since Nicholas had to work his normal work hours. During Coop's nap, my mom and brother ran out for errands, and I made coffee for the rest of us. The weather was quite hot all weekend, but we managed to go for a short walk in the afternoon. That evening, we played a new-to-us game, called Splendor (so fun!) and my brother made a soup for supper, served alongside my sourdough bread.
On Saturday, we opened Cooper's birthday gifts from my family, along with some very special items from my Grandma's home. He thoroughly enjoyed a few wooden puzzles, in particular. We had leftovers for lunch, and then we got the car, and after determining the beach was far too busy, opted for a closer park, with a lake. It was another hot day, but the breeze off the lake and the abundance of trees made it nice for a stroll and some time on the swings for Cooper.
My brother grilled steaks on the grill for supper and we ate outside on what turned into a rather blustery/stormy evening. Per usual, the steaks were so good. That night we had an early evening.
Sunday, on Father's Day, each household watched their respective online churches and then my family came over. We picked up lunch from a local breakfast/brunch place, and then visited Nicholas' family for the afternoon. It's rare when both of our families can be together, so it always feels special.
I was so thankful to celebrate father's day and my dad's birthday with him in person this year. Thankful for his eagerness to discuss the benefits of hand grinding coffee beans, his willingness to help problem solve just about anything, and for what a good grandpa he is. And of course we know he's special since he is one of only four people to have ever gotten a Cooper kiss (those are very special).
And Monday, my dad's birthday, my family came over to see Cooper before his first nap, and then we visited and played another round of Splendor before they left. It was such a nice visit.
I took photos from the weekends, and I also saved some favorites that family members took. Some aren't crisp images, but I still love blurry, happy photos, and I'm venturing a guess that no one is here for crisp images and curated photos. ;)
Some highlights from my family's visit:
- talking home coffee brewing methods with my dad
- Cooper giving my dad a kiss (very special!)
- the way my brother made Cooper belly laugh when they sat side by side in the truck**
- Cooking with my mom and my brother, Matt
- Getting out for multiple walks, despite the hot weather
- talking Montessori with my grandma (and talking about how much she adores Cooper)
- My mom offering to fold my clean laundry and to stuff diapers (Acts of Service love language in action! :) and Cooper "helping"
- learning how to play Splendor with my family
Some of our favorite tidbits about Cooper at a year:
- Playing a game in his high chair where he tips his head to one side, and where he wants us to do the same. Repeat. Repeat.
- He's started saying "Hi" sometimes. Cutest ever. Frequently says "mama," "dada," and "nom" for food.
- Cruising along the coffee table, couch, etc.
- Gesturing at new/different things, or things he wants, usually with his whole hand (definitely more aware of his surroundings)
- His favorite foods (in recent weeks, as we've cut out all grains for him) : blueberries, egg casserole, turkey meatloaf, green smoothies, coconut oil (I freeze 1/2 tsp quantities), steamed or raw apple slices, and newly discovered bacon
- Wearing 12-month and a few 18-month items, when he needs more room to accommodate the fluffy cloth diapers
- We read together as a family at night, but as of late, he's very busy at bedtime, cruising around his room, exploring, while we read. He is always ready for bedtime when we're finished, so we're okay with the busyness! I don't want to discourage curiosity.
- He loves bath time and taking showers with mom or dad
- He still loves walks and anything outside. He will go stand by the front door and try to reach up and grab the door lever handle (we're in the habit of always dead bolting it, as such)
- Pulling at my pants/legs and waving his arms when he wants to be picked up.
- Sleeping very well at night, usually takes two decent naps during the day (first one is longer than second, usually)
- He still has eight teeth, but I think his first year molars will be here soon
- Giving us sloppy, wet kisses all the time. The other night, Nicholas was lowering Cooper into his crib at bedtime and Cooper reached up, grabbed his face, and gave him a big mouth kiss.
Of course, it's challenging to sum up an entire little person in a blog post, but oh, we love him so. We feel so thankful that God entrusted this little boy to us to raise up to know Him. His tender heart, belly laugh, sparkling eyes, and the way he engages with everyone in the room make my heart melt. We're blessed to be your mom and dad, little buddy.
And with that, we're onward into toddlerhood!
*I made this paleo vanilla cake for Cooper. He loved it, and Nicholas and I enjoyed it too. The cashew frosting/filling is amazing. It was quite possibly the ugliest, flattest cake I've ever made, but that's okay. Taste and texture matter more to me than appearance. ;)
**I don't know if I ever mentioned it here, but after Nicholas' car was totaled in his accident, we bought a used Toyota Tacoma, and we love it.
***Cooper's birthday gift from me and Nicholas arrived just this week: a Pikler's triangle! Cooper was extremely eager to help his daddy assemble it.
Sometimes, it's still a shock to me that we have two little boys. The transition to two has been an adjustment for us, of course. Lots of hard moments and big emotions at times, but lots of sweetness too. Here are some of my favorite photos of our boys, from the last few months.
My dear friend, Molly, of Molly Kate Photography came over to meet Finn and offered to do an impromptu newborn session the other day. As Molly took photos of Finn, she offered to get some photos of the rest of our little family too, spontaneously. I hesitated at first, since we didn't do any prep, per se for having our photos taken.
Hello! Our hands are a bit more full these days, as one can imagine. I've begun a post about Finn's birth story, and I plan to chip away at it a bit, here and there, as time allows, and publish that post soon. But in the meanwhile, I thought I'd write a little bit about life right now, in the haze of baby snuggles and night wakings and adjusting to being a family of four.