Tuesday, October 30, 2012

My Mom's Battle With Cancer

It has been forever since I've updated this blog.  I have several posts brewing, so hopefully I will get to sit down and write them in the next week or so.

In the meantime, I wrote something about my mom and her battle with cancer that is published on Power of Moms website today.  You should check it out because October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and my mom was pretty amazing.  I love her, and I love sharing her with others.  Power of Moms designates a theme for their articles each month, and I swear I could write an essay about my mom to go with every single theme--she was that good.  The website published one of my essays entitled "Creating Highlights" earlier this month about how my mom brought fun to our family through traditions such as Secret Cupid.  I better stop writing about her all the time, or people will get sick of reading my articles!  As my friends can attest, I seriously never tire of talking about my mom.  I miss her and am so grateful for her.

The article that is featured today includes some of my very favorite photos of my mom, in the midst of her 13-year battle with breast cancer.  I am so grateful that she was willing to be photographed during those difficult years, even when she was bald from chemotherapy and swollen from steroids. I read an article a few weeks ago about how important it is for mothers to get into photos with their children.  So often, moms are behind the camera, or they shy away from the camera due to weight gain or a bad hair day.  My mom was willing to be photographed during a "no hair day," and I honor her for that.  I want to be more like her.  Power of Moms is hosting a challenge right now for mothers to submit candid photos of themselves with their children.  You can find out more here.

I am so grateful for photos like these...visiting my mom in the hospital on Halloween
On the morning that my mom passed away, I told her that I would write a book about her.  I still want to do it.  In the meantime, I hope you'll read my essay about her battle with breast cancer, entitled "Worth Fighting For," on the Power of Moms website.  She was one awesome woman.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Uncle Sam Comes to Town

As I've mentioned on this blog several times, my brother-in-law Sam is a Navy engineer, and he just got back from serving an eight-month deployment in Afghanistan.  He and my sister Laura had been living apart for a year (4 months of training prior to his deployment), and their reunion was a happy one!  This is the photo she texted us the night he arrived home:

I think Sam must've been quite pleased to come home to such a foxy wife.  I love that she wore red lipstick and sassy heels to greet her man.  As Laura would say, "Me-ow!" (Love that girl.)

Sam had a three-week break before he had to start work again, so they went on a long trip, and one of their stops was Denver, just for a few days.  We were thrilled to see Sammy, and he and Noah really hit it off.

Sam was also quite taken with Baby Jade, whom he had never met before.

The above photo makes me laugh.  At first glance, it looks like my foxy sister has a seriously hairy leg!  (I might have to take back that "me-ow" from earlier.)

When Sam was in town, he taught Noah how to dance.  He would blast ABBA, and Noah would start booty dropping and spinning in circles...it was hysterical.  Here's a little video of Sam, Laura, and Sarah dancing with Noah at a glow-in-the-dark mini-golf place near our house.  My favorite part of the video is how insane my sisters are with their "Whoop whoop!" in the background.  Being in a public place never quiets those two girls down. :)

Noah Dancing with his Crazy Aunts from Rachel Westover Nielson on Vimeo.

We are so glad that Sam is home safe and sound.  We can't wait to see them again at Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

I do put clothes on my child occasionally...

Despite how my last post made it sound, Noah does wear clothes now and then.  And he looks exceptionally adorable in all of them, if I do say so myself.  (Unlike most parents, I can take no credit for how handsome my child is, so I am allowed to brag all I want.)

Everyone always talks about how fun it is to dress up little girls--with their bows, dresses, and tutus.  I have to say, I think dressing up a boy must be just as fun.  Noah looks like such a little man in his high tops, skinny jeans, graphic tees, and flannel shirts.  I wish some of his clothes came in Ryan's size!  (Not that there is anything wrong with your clothes, Ryan dear, but you must admit that your son is a little more stylish than you are.)

Just so you can all enjoy the insane cuteness for yourself, here are a few of my favorite shots from September:
He looks so GQ.
Look at his hand on the wall--what a little poser!
My favorite PJs
on my favorite boy!
'ello, Govna!

Waiting for Dad to come home from church
Baby skinny jeans?  I mean, honestly, should this be allowed?
A lady at the park called Noah "Batman," but at first I thought she called him "Fat Man."
Nothing wrong with a little baby chub.  
He has grown so much in one year.
Same porch, same weekend in September, same kid...
different pumpkins.
Doing Noah's hair is fun too, though it grows so quickly that we have to cut it every couple of weeks.  If he were a little girl, I think he would have hair halfway down his back by now.  He has had so many haircuts in his short 14 months of life, his latest of which was given by Daddy.  It was Noah's first time experiencing the feeling of clippers on the back of his neck, and he kept giggling (he is very ticklish).  By the end of the haircut, however, he was just plain mad and ready to be done.

Those are some high-quality haircutting scissors, Ry!
And the most stylish piece of Noah's wardrobe?  Most definitely his "man gown."  Though judging by the look on his face in this next photo, I don't think he agrees with me:

"Oh the shame of being seen in public wearing a man gown"
It's a wearable blanket, Noah--and it keeps you from suffocating or kicking off your blankets at night.  You just tell all the haters out there that they shouldn't knock it until they rock it.  Bapa recently admitted that he wishes he had a man gown to keep him warm at night.

"Well, when you put it that way..."
I love this boy.  I think he is perfect.  I want to squish him and squeeze him and kiss him all day long.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Pajamas, Leaves, and Lovin' Life with my Little Boy

Noah never changed out of his pajamas yesterday.  Neither did his mother (oops).  If our defense, it was the first chilly day of autumn, and nothing sounded better than staying in our cozy sweats (or footie pajamas, in Noah's case) all day.

We're having a bit of a napping crisis right now in the Nielson household.  Noah can't decide if he still wants to take two naps or if he is ready to transition to one.  He's never been a great napper, but for the last couple of weeks, it's really been all over the place.  Sometimes he takes a decent morning nap but then refuses to nap in the afternoon, so he is very cranky by bedtime.  Sometimes he only takes a fifteen-minute nap in the morning, so I think he will take a good nap later, but then he only sleeps fifteen minutes in the afternoon as well.  This chaotic schedule has resulted in lots of screaming on his part.  I am happy to say that, overall, this has not resulted in much screaming on his mother's part.  It is really rewarding to notice that I am developing more patience as a mother and letting go of the need to control everything.  Whereas his lack of napping used to make me crazy--and, okay, sometimes it still does--for the most part, I am now able to say, "Oh well, it is what it is."  He'll get through his nap crisis eventually.

Yesterday was one of the tough nap days, and he was extremely fussy (I think he must be getting teeth too), so we decided to go for a walk with a friend.  When we got home and were heading into the apartment, I looked back at him toddling along in his footie jammies, an oversized hoodie zipped over them, a soggy Ritz cracker in his hand and all over his face.  The yellow trees were bright behind him, and the moment was just too perfect to ignore.  I ran inside and grabbed my camera, wiped the cracker off his face (I probably should've left it there to immortalize what our life is really like), and followed him around snapping photos as he played to his heart's content.

I felt so happy as I watched him discovering autumn leaves for the first time.  I felt so grateful that I get to be home with him to share these spontaneous moments of discovery.  Being a stay-at-home mom hasn't been easy for me, but all I could think as I watched him gleefully crunch the leaves that had gathered in the gutter was, "There is no where I would rather be than right here at this moment."  I know how fortunate I am to have the opportunity to stay home with my wild little man.

At one point, a random neighbor whom we'd never met before stopped to watch Noah playing in the leaves. Noah looked up and spotted him, and the man waved and said hello.  Noah sprinted toward him like he was his long lost best friend.  The man was thrilled and spent several minutes kicking piles of leaves with him.  How are there so many good-hearted people in the world?  This guy is an immigrant from Bosnia and had an extremely thick accent and an interesting life story.  One of my favorite things about going out and about with Noah is that people stop to talk to him, and then I get to talk to them too.

Noah is at such a fun age right now.  He is 14-months old, and I think the past month has been my favorite yet (I'm sure I've said that before and will say it again).  He is still a baby but so interactive.  He dances, he is starting to understand me when I talk to him, and he is saying simple words.  His favorite right now is "Hot!" and he says it with a whispered, prolonged "h" sound, which is really funny.  He thinks it refers to anything that he isn't supposed to touch.  He knows that the oven is hot, but he also thinks the toilet is hot and Mama's earrings are hot.  He will put his hands up to my ears and whisper, "No. Hhhhot!"  That will usually keep him from pulling them for at least a few seconds, but then he just can't resist the urge any longer and gives them a good yank.  Ouch.

When I sing him "Pop Goes the Weasel," if I pause at the right moment, he will say the "Pop!" right on cue.  He loves books and is willing to sit in my lap and snuggle if I just keep reading him book after book.  His favorite is Little Blue Truck, and he will make the "Hoooonk!" of the mean dump truck right before I turn to that page.  I am blown away by all that he is remembering and comprehending.

He walks around the apartment opening all of the doors now.  I can't believe he is tall enough to open doors on his own.  And his favorite toy to drag around is the snow scraper that we usually keep in the trunk of our car.  I brought it inside one day because I was vacuuming out the car, and Noah thinks it is just the greatest toy ever.  I have no idea how a snow scraper can be so entertaining, but I am grateful that he is so easily amused.

When we go for walks outside, I will sometimes put the canopy down so the sun or rain doesn't get in his eyes, and he will stick his chubby little hand through the opening in the stroller and hold it out, like, "Is anyone out there?  Will you please hold my hand?"  Oh my gosh, the cuteness just kills me.

And one of my favorite things that he is doing right now is sniffing flowers.  If he ever spots a flower, be it fake or real, he wants to sniff it.  He even carries around our paper topiary all day long, trying to smell it.

I love this little boy with a love I didn't even know was possible before I became his mom.  I'm so glad I have a little buddy to hang out with in my pajamas all day. (Did you notice that in all of the photos above, he is either wearing PJs or just a diaper?  Mom of the Year, right here!)  

And now he is screaming in the other room (nap was only ten minutes today), so I am going to go grab him.  Yes, I think it's definitely time for Mom to make an executive decision and adjust our schedule to one nap.   It's sad that he is growing up--

But it is so, so fun to be a part of it.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Power of Moms

A few months ago, I stumbled across a website called Power of Moms that features tons of great mothering articles and resources.  All of the articles are written and submitted by regular moms about their daily experiences with their children.

I decided to revise something that I'd written for this blog and submit it to their website.  It is published on their website today!  Hooray!

If you have a minute, head over there and check it out: http://powerofmoms.com/2012/10/the-best-year-of-my-life/.

I am going to try to submit an article every month.  It gives me a reason to keep writing.

You can write for their website too!  Here is the link to the requirements: http://powerofmoms.com/empowering-opportunities/become-a-power-of-moms-author/.  I encouraged one of my best friends to submit something that she wrote on her blog, and they published it last week.  It is really sweet, so you should read hers too while you are over there: http://powerofmoms.com/2012/09/expectant-mothers/

Motherhood is awesome, and writing is awesome.  That's just the plain truth.