E&M: 11 Months

Dear Elliott & Mason,

We are officially less than a month a way from your 1st birthday. The day after you were born, the hospital pediatrician came into the hospital room to update us on everyone’s status. He also had twins and he told us that we just had to make it to your 1st birthday and then everything would be easier. He never said that the 1st year was something to get over, but rather that after the first year you would really start to interact and play with each other. And we are definitely starting to see what he was saying. You two now chase each other around the house, talk and laugh to each other, try and steal the other one’s Cheerios (Elliott), and just love having each around. Ben and I love watching you interact with each other and with us. You are also starting to take some risks by letting go of furniture and hovering for a moment before you plop on your tushes. Although you enjoy playing with your toys in the penned off area of the living room, you really just love to scoot all around the house closing doors (only one finger incident so far), picking up the heat grates (nothing or no one has fallen down yet), pulling up on everything, diving on Abby’s bed, and just being the cutest little troublemakers. We now get you naked after dinner and let you crawl down the hall to the bathroom. You two high tail it down there and start putting your toys in while the water is filling up. Seeing your little tushes shimmy down makes us laugh every time and I just cannot believe how much you have changed from when we brought you home…almost 1 year ago.

Elliott: My big man, you are very interested in Mason, or rather anything that Mason has. You want just about any toy he is playing with or any food we give him. Ben has even tested putting a ton of Cheerios in front of you and only one in front of Mason and you still try and go for his one. My thought is that you want to make sure that everything is equal and that we are not giving Mason something cooler. We try to stop it, but really, Mason has learned to hold his own so we’re not worried. You’re just toughening him up. You are very clever. You can figure out puzzles, stacking, etc. You also are a little Houdini. You can sneak out of the penned off area so quietly and quickly–and where do you head? Right to the fire….still. It just amazes you. You know it’s wrong, but no matter how mean of a “no” voice I try to make, you just smile and laugh at me. You have already figured out that momma loves you no matter what…stinker.

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Eating Spaghetti Escaping to the fireplace Just being cute

Mason: Man, if we could bubble wrap you or put a helmet on you we would. Somehow you seem to always bang your big noggin on something–typically the floor. Your little legs and arms just get going sometimes and the rest of you can’t keep up. You cry and then keep right on going. I am just amazed at how fast you bounce back, but I really wish you would stop hitting that sweet head. One of my favorite things to have you do now is dance. I’ll say to you “Dancin’ dancin’ dancin’ ” and you will shake your booty and your head at the same time. It is hysterical. You are still more interested in tearing things apart rather than stacking rings or building things, but you catch on very very quick. Clapping is our new thing, along with keeping you from climbing. You just shuffle those little legs up onto anything now. Sometimes it’s good (you get the toy you couldn’t reach), sometimes disastrous (when you fell over the toy bin, bashing your mouth into the hardwood, and bleeding everywhere). Also, you are getting more inquisitive. You will squish every blueberry on your tray before you eat them–almost like you’re testing them all, and verifying firmness–or as your grandpa says, “tenderizing them.”

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Happy boy Eating Spaghetti Helping with Thanksgiving

We are almost to your first Christmas, and then as previously mentioned, the big first birthday. I’m not sure if you two will be walking by Christmas as once predicted, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened. You two never cease to amaze me.

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New sweaters Making the shopping list for Black Friday
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Riding the rocking horses grandpa made for Xmas Superheroes

 

Love,

Momma

E&M: 10 Months

Dear Elliott & Mason,

10 months! I’m not sure when it happened, but somewhere in the last month you both decided that you needed to learn something new every day. Every day you change. There must be something about this time period for babies. You now both stand, walk along the furniture, crawl EVERYWHERE, eat on your own, mimic us, and are interacting with each other. I came home from work on Monday and watched you two stand across the room from each other and have a conversation, and it wasn’t just “ba ba baing” to each other, you were actually laughing at times to what the other one said. You chase each other around and love to put your heads close together. This is funny to you most of the time, except we got a little too excited the other day, and Elliott you got your first bloody nose when Mason head-butted you. You also understand so much more. No matter where you are in the house, when I turn on the  bath water you come crawling to the bathroom. This past month you had your first Halloween and were the most adorable monkey and elephant, and you also had your first swimming class this week. That “big bath” is a little daunting, but you two loved splashing and floating around. To be honest, your dad and I had a lot of fun too.

Elliott: Your shyness is back, but once you warm up to someone, it’s like you’re old friends. You also have discovered that you don’t like hearing “no” and get a little embarrassed when you do something silly (like fall on your face this morning). You lay down and put your head on your hands…it’s ridiculously pathetic, and sadly cute. You have four teeth, and I’m pretty sure you take after your momma because we think cheese is your favorite food. You are getting much more adventurous in walking along the furniture and I guarantee you and Mason will be walking by Christmas, if not sooner. You have started throwing your food on the floor, which is funny, because you do want to eat it. I love watching you try new things, and even though you seem to be like “The Hulk” and smash and squeeze everything that goes into your mouth, you still eat it all the same. You love any light and giggle like crazy when we turn it off, on, off, on.

Mason: You are still the flirt you’ve always been, smiling and showing off your six teeth to whomever looks your way. Like your brother, you too are walking along the furniture and taking more risks than I would like. You seem to bump your head everyday, but bounce right back up and keep going. You’ve said “momma” a few times when I have walked into the room, which makes my heart melt. I keep trying to get you to say it more and more, but as always, you will do things on your own time schedule. You are pointing and chattering to just about everything now, always taking everything in with thoughtful consideration. We’ve had to ban a few toys in the house now, because you have quite the arm on you and I’m pretty sure you’re going to throw stuff right into Elliott’s head. You are showing signs of dad’s baseball player already.

This post was started when you turned 10 months old exactly, and finished now (7 days later). In one week things have changed, so I will make sure to get the 11 month post out a little more promptly. I just want to have a record of it all, because it all goes by so fast.

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Elliott the Elephant Mason the Monkey
The whole family

The whole family

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Checking out our swimsuits

Love, Momma

Love, Momma

 

Pure Joy

As we get older, there are fewer and fewer things and/or opportunities that are brand new–brand new and so exciting that they bring on pure joy. The boys get this experience almost daily. Everything is new. Most everything is exciting. For example, I bought their Christmas present the other day. I’m sure when it’s all put together they will have fun with it (Laugh & Learn Crawl Around Car), but to be honest, they had serious fun just standing up and playing on and around the box.

Anyways, the weather has been unbelievably beautiful this October so the other night Ben and I took the boys to the park and put them into the swings. Oh the excitement! They giggled and smiled, and Elliott had his tongue out the whole time. And although we don’t get these experiences first hand, Ben and I in turn got something just as rewarding watching them–pure joy.

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E&M: 9 Months

Dear Elliott & Mason,

Every month I write the same thing: how big you are, how much you’ve changed, how fast it goes, etc. etc. And shockingly…it’s all true again…and again, it’s even more amplified. You’ve gotten so big, you’ve changed so much, and it continues to go by so fast. The other day a friend brought in their 5 month old twin boys, and I honestly couldn’t really remember you at that stage…still babies. They blew bubbles and raspberries, grasped my fingers, and sat beautifully doe-eyed in their stroller. I know you were like that, but now you are flirting with not being babies anymore, with your amazing little personalities and ever-changing, growing bodies. You crawl, pull yourself up on things, drive your toy cars, stack rings, have your pincher grasp, and want to go everywhere and be involved in everything that we don’t want you to, or screams danger (like the fireplace). You love each other already and babble in your twin baby talk, laugh at each other, and are starting to interact more (without trying to take the other one down). You wear real big boy clothes (cords and jeans oh my), and although you want to be bigger than your britches already, you still are my babies. The one thing that hasn’t yet changed? How fascinated you are with the vacuum…it still intrigues you beyond belief.

Elliott–You will not be contained or complacent just being still and playing. You are a man on the move. You crawl everywhere, sometimes the right way, but then you want to be there faster so you resort back to the army crawl. You also refuse…REFUSE…to remain on all fours or on your tush. You will stand everywhere and now you are walking along whatever you hold on to. Sometimes this is fun to watch, other times (such as nap time), it is a little frustrating (especially when you peer over your crib and yell at Mason). I swear you will walk very soon. You have figured out how to stack the rings, and even though you are getting better at your pinchers, sometimes you still use both hands to put your food in your mouth (better to not lose anything). You started to shake your head back and forth like you’re saying no, but you just smile when you do it over and over, so I’m pretty sure you just do it to be funny. Ben and I Iove to get you (and your brother) laughing uncontrollably–and dad is especially good at it. You love when he blows raspberries into your neck. You are starting to understand more things too. Last night you were crawling to the fireplace (shocking) and you stopped mid-crawl, looked at me…smiled mischievously…and then took off at a dead sprint so momma had to come running after you full speed. You knew…you knew I knew…but you did it anyways…stinker. I think you just wanted momma to come grab you and squeeze you with love. Any day my big man.

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In real jeans!

Mason–Just as predicted you saw what to do, and then immediately started doing it yourself–crawling, getting to a sitting position to your own, pulling up on things, etc. You crawl almost all the time the right way, and have found innovative ways to get what you want (such as the 360 spin on your tush). You are more complacent playing with your toys, but are getting more curious about what is going on in other places, and off the ground. Just the other day, while I changed the bedsheets, I looked down to find you standing next to Elliott at the foot of the bed. You are AMAZING at your pinchers and will try and eat just about anything. Sometimes I can’t believe that little body can hold so much. After I took off your bib the other night you were desperately trying to find any tiny piece of meatball that had fallen on your shirt. Man-oh-man how things have changed in the last 9 months. In addition to starting to crawl last week, you also started to babble, and when I sing you sing too. Biggest hits? The itsy-bitsy-spider, and Old McDonald. Your singing has a slight gurgle sound to it, and it just makes my heart melt, as with just about anything you do. When I come home from work, you kick your legs, flap your arms, and squeal…oh my chipmunk, how I love you.

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Cutest hat ever!

Every stage just gets better and better. Although I sometimes miss the baby-things, I love watching you get SO BIG!

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Man that vacuum is cool.

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Laughing at momma.

Love, Momma

Two things for me, not momma

A friend of mine asked Ben and I when the babies were around 5 months old what the most surprising thing was about parenthood. We laughed at first and said “how much you talk about poop,” because honestly…that is all we talk about sometimes. But after we thought about it for a minute longer, we both mentioned how life-changing it is to your sense of self. Everyone knows that having a baby (or babies) is life-changing. You know things will never be the same. But until it happens, and time passes, you don’t truly understand how your life is not your own, and will never be the same as it was again. That being said, we don’t want to go back to the way it was without the dudes. We wouldn’t change anything. And we are not unhappy in any way. You just can’t grasp the change until it happens, and even then, it is hard to grasp.

So with this in mind, for the past couple of months we have had numerous talks about being intentional with our time…intentional about our time as a family, couple, and as individuals. And this in itself is hard. Most of the time, time, is fleeting. But as the babies have gotten a little older, there have been two things I have started to reclaim for myself…myself as in Angela…not momma. And to be honest, taking some time back for me, overall makes me Angela, a better momma. So the two things? Trust me, they are no earth-shattering, but they are important.

1. Reading books. I love to read. I could (and have) spend a whole day engrossed in a book. But after the babies were born, it felt like I was wasting my time. I mean, there were babies to take care of, and a house to keep clean, and of course…sleep to be had. But after I gave up the mid-night pump, I realized that I could stay up about 30 minutes after the babies went to bed and still get a full nights sleep. I started off familiar with the Harry Potter series, followed by more popular fiction Gone Girl and Cuckoo’s Calling (apparently I was in a J.K. Rowling mood), and am now back to random stuff from the library and suggestions from friends. It’s only a couple of chapters a night, but it feels good to be reading once again.

2. Running. Hands down, the most important and helpful choice I have made. It wasn’t easy to start again. The only real reason I started was because Miss Jordan and I decided to do the Portland 1/2 marathon (way back in February?) and one doesn’t enter into that distance lightly. It took months of sporadic runs to get back into it…because I was TIRED, and in new motherhood with the running versus nap scenario, nap ALWAYS wins. But as the race drew nearer, and I started to sleep more, AND Jordan started training, Abby-girl and I started hitting the pavement more frequently. Although many days it was (and is) hard to get out the door, running helps me get back in shape (and Abby too), gives me a mental/emotional/physical outlet, lets me have some “Angela-time (no I do not push the babies)” allows me to enjoy the beautiful outdoors, and again, gives me a sense of self. Miss Jordan and I crossed the finish line on Sunday exactly 9 months to the day the babies were born. I am so very proud of my friend who had never run before she started training, and equally, I am happy to have been able to do it with her.

There are still things that I don’t do very often that I used to, such as watch movies, but all things will happen in time. Right now, I am just enjoying my two things…and of course…my family and our new life.

E&M: 8 Months

Dear Elliott & Mason,

Last week you turned eight months. And you did it in St. Louis, the town your father grew up in and where your nana, four of your aunts, and four of your cousins live. To say this momma was nervous about flying with two babies is an absolute understatement. I had visions of you two not being able to adjust your ear drums, screaming the whole way, having blow out diapers, and just being incredibly unhappy about being confined for so many hours. But I have to say, you two blew both Ben and I away with how amazing you were, all FOUR flights (and the other passengers were just as complimentary). And how amazing you were all week with all the attention and commotion. I couldn’t have asked for better babies, and although we don’t plan on making frequent fliers out of you right now, I will not have as much anxiety next time.

All week, and just in general, you two have been such happy babies. You interact with each other so much more, and smile and laugh all the time. You love your baths, being outside, being with each other, eating just about anything we give you, and your faces light up whenever you see people you know, but really when you see just about anyone. Neither of you have the stranger scare factor yet, which makes me happy. I love that you love everyone, and in return, they typically fall head over heels for you.

Elliott–Every month I comment how big you are getting, but you really are a big boy…tall and stocky…with the most rolly, polly thighs. You giggle every time I pretend to eat them. You haven’t mastered the crawl quite yet, but you have the army crawl down, and can move from Point A to Point B in about 2 seconds flat. We have not baby-proofed the house yet, but every time we set you on the floor, we are quickly reminded that this needs to happen pronto…it also shows how dirty our floors are and that momma should pull out the mop every now and again. Within the last week you have learned to pull yourself up on your knees, and if we hold your hands, you can go all the way up to a standing position. It’s amazing how fast you and your brother develop. Yesterday you woke up with your first tooth, and by the time I got home from work, a second one had joined the first. You still have a little shyness, and will smile and turn your head down when seeing people, but in general you are happy to say hi to all now. You babble all the time and I can never get enough of that soft voice. You are hilarious in the tub and we have dubbed you the “splash-monster,” although you only splash with your left hand. Dad is still convinced you are our lefty.

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Very concerned about the sombrero the waiter put on you at the mexican restaurant in STL.

Mason–What a month we have had big guy. Overall, you made it through the month with flying colors. The surgery went great, and minus the bladder infection, you have held-up really well. I know it’s been a hard month, but I think you have handled it much better than your dad and me. These incidents have stressed us out beyond anything we could have thought, but they have also shown us just how much you (and your brother) mean to us. We never, ever, want to see you sick or hurt, and it just broke our hearts to see you go through it all; but again, you were a trooper, and we are so thankful for how strong you are–for all of our sakes. Your fourth tooth is about to pop through, and even though you aren’t quite into crawling yet, you got the spin and swim move down. I think you just like to watch your brother practice, and then one day will just start doing it for real on your own. You continue to make your little chipmunk cheeks and when eating certain foods or playing in the bath, you look around from side to side and go “mmmmmm”….”mmmmmm” like you are just so happy. You love story time at night, and are a pro at turning the pages. You bring us, and everyone else, so much joy.

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Being funny at wedding

With every stage, your dad and I get so excited, and can’t wait to tell each other what you two did during the day. In the next couple of months leading up to your first birthday, we have a bunch of more firsts that will be such a joy to watch you experience: your first fall, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and everything in between. As always, we can’t wait, but are enjoying each and every day.

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The family

Love, Momma

One Willie for Another & Some Gray Hairs Too

For Father’s Day, the boys and I got Ben tickets to go see Willie Nelson at the Maryhill Winery. This was going to be a weekend away for mom and dad and sleepover night for the boys with grandma. Hotel and shuttle were booked, and we were t-minus 2 hours away from leaving. Now, this post is less about that fact that we were not able to go to the concert, but rather how not only have the boys changed our lives, but rather have aged us an incredible amount in the process.

The day before the concert, the Maseman got his catheter out and all seemed well. Then about two hours before the concert, things took a drastic change. Within moments he started to tremble, then shake, then get goosebumps, all with a head that was burning up. I called the urologist immediately, because it just felt like something was terribly wrong. This was definitely my fight or flight moment, and this momma went into fight mode. As the doctor and I talked, I started to panic as Mason clung to me shaking, and making little gasps of breath. I told him we were going to the ER and he said he would call ahead. So two babies were thrown in the car and I tried to keep my cool as I was driving to the hospital, all freaked out because Mason kept falling asleep in the back. I screeched into the front of the emergency wing and unceremoniously left my car out front (although I made sure not to block the ambulance lane). Stroller out, two babies, out, and I flew into the ER. Mason’s temp? 105. The poor little bugger got a bladder infection. While we were waiting for the doctor and Mason was waiting for the medicine to kick-in, Ben and I had a moment where we realized that not only was life different, but we felt older…as in aged. I’m sure there is research out there about how having children accelerates wrinkles, gray hairs, stomach ulcers, etc.; but if there isn’t, there should be. We couldn’t love these two dudes anymore, but man do they put us through the ringer…and we’re only at 8 months.

Well our little trooper got another catheter, another shot, more medicine, and was sent home. I am sad that we missed our concert, but am so thankful that we were still in town and not an hour or so away. Overall, Mason is doing so much better. In fact, he seems like his old pre-surgery self, and even has a top tooth now begging to pop out. All week, Ben and I have been on edge making sure that nothing is wrong, that when he’s crying it is not because he is having pain peeing, that his poop is the right color, and thinking about how we might need an actual weekend away soon.

So as stated in the header, we traded our Willie weekend, for a weekend having to do with another willie (haha, sorry Mason, but you had it coming), but again, we are thankful that we were here, that everything is okay, that life is different but more rich, and that there will be many more weekends away…some that we will make it to, and some that we won’t. But that is life…and even without a Willie Nelson concert, it’s pretty great.

Our Little Trooper

Since the day he was born, the Maseman has had a few extra life experiences than Elliott–and none that he (or we) would call fun. These would include eight days in the NICU (although he came home to a warm house, with parents who finally understood how to adjust the straps on carseat, and not freak out over every tiny thing…sorry Elliott), getting his tongue clipped (he had a tongue-tie, like his momma), having Stricker and seeing the breathing specialist, and the biggest one–having Hypospadia (basically peeing out of a different hole). We knew about this last one since the day he was born, and all the doctors told us that they fix it around 6 months. Now in the beginning, 6 months sounds like forever…it could basically have been 6 years. Also, although the pediatric urologist (or as Ben and I referred to him for a long time…the pee pee doctor), told us it was a 2.5 hour plus surgery, we were still at the two-month mark, and very very delirious, so nothing registered. Well, as the months went on, the 6 month (7 for Mason since they were 4 weeks early) came about before we even knew it, and there we were back in Dr. Lashley’s office (the pee pee doctor) for his pre-op.

Now the surgery was real. It was going to be at least 3 hours with Mason under general anesthesia, breathing tube, the whole sha-bang. After a few terrible Google searches (don’t ever Google anything medical), and looking at what my friend Lucy described as “hippie” websites, I had a small panic attack at work. Then the next day I went to the hospital to give back the pump, and saw where we would check-in. The very nice check-in lady led me through everything (mind you this is a week in advance) and then I had a nice breakdown at the hospital. However once the day was upon us, I was just ready to get it over, and was ultimately glad that we were doing it now when he would have no recollection of it.

But what a tough morning. The saving grace was the medical team and how confident and comfortable they made us feel…oh that, and the Maseman. He was a trooper. And a ham. Everyone fell head-over-heels for our little man. Even when we checked out the nurse told us we could drop him off if we wanted to go on a date night. So we felt that he was well looked after, because let’s be honest, who wants to hand over their 7 month old baby to strangers? For a medical procedure? Nobody. He caused quite the commotion before surgery when he ripped off his ankle bracelet (apparently the nurse had never seen a baby do that), which caused the anesthiologist to get crazy on a couple of nurses (not involved in the surgery thankfully), because he tore the clip off and tried to put it in his mouth-haha…only my kid. But overall, everything went very smooth. He came through with flying colors, woke up, didn’t cry, ate right away, oh yeah, and he basically has a new pee pee. Well, a revamped one. You can look up the procedure if you want. His catheter comes out Friday (surgery was last Thursday), which will be nice because the week has been tough. He hasn’t felt great, his bladder spasms when he pees, and it was hard to sleep in the beginning, but every day is a little better. I’m glad it’s over, will be glad when it’s all over, and am quickly realizing that we now have a lifetime of worrying about these little dudes. This is just one hurdle of many, but if Mason acts anything like he did for everything he has already gone through, I know we will be just fine.

Here he is right before we got to take him home. He looks a little goofy-eyed, but I think that has more to do with my picture taking, then his state at the time.

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E&M: 7 Months

Dear Elliott & Mason,

Seven months. Wow. Now that we are in the latter half of your first year on this earth, time seems to have sped up, especially with all the developments you two are making. You two are now both exclusively on formula and solid foods. Although as I pointed out in the last post, that this was a hard and difficult decision, you two have shown no signs of being worse for wear, and your momma now gets to sleep through the night–which I think overall, makes me a better momma in general. You two have many similarities, but very distinct personalities which shine through more and more each day. And just to remind everyone that you are your own separate person, you are developing differently with some things too. Although you have been very alert of your surroundings for a long time now, you are now putting the pieces together, and want to be engaged in everything. You turn the pages when we read books, sing back at me, splash in the tub, and grab for EVERYTHING. We just can’t get enough.

Elliott–Right now I am watching you suck on a teething ring while pulling on your ear. Your teeth are just begging to pop through–any day now big guy. You are also any day away from crawling. You rock on all fours, do the mountain climber pose, and somehow scoot, wiggle, and roll in every direction possible. In fact, when we lay you down for a nap or at night in your crib, it is much harder to calm you down because you are so intent on exploring every inch of your space. And because you are now exploring so much, your crib (and Mason’s) has been lowered so you don’t fling yourself out on a whim. Your new favorite thing is to scrunch up your nose and make a snorting noise in and out when you’re excited. We laugh and laugh, and imitate you in return, hoping you will continue to do it. You tend to be much shyer than I would have ever expected, and pretty serious too, but when you know people, or are just given a few minutes to acclimate, you laugh, smile, hoo, and give love to all.

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Mason–You have two teeth! Two! I’m not sure why this blows me away, but it does. And since you just wait for people to look at you so you can giggle, we get to see them all the time. You laugh constantly, and to this day, are such a ham and flirt. You are also on the move. You love playing with the mini pianos we have right now, hitting the keys while on your belly, and kicking your legs to the beat. The musical toys are your favorite, and you have surprising rhythm for someone so young. Ben and I love to tell you to “go crazy” when you are in your exersaucer, because as soon as we say “Mason go crazy” you jump around like you are in fact going crazy. Back and forth, up and down, and then you giggle and wait for us to say it again. Your happiness is contagious. Next week you are having a surgery to fix your Hypospadia. I have cried a few times already, even though I know you’ll be just fine. Your good cheer will definitely help with the healing process, and I am reassured knowing that someday you will be glad we took care of this now, rather than we you would have an active memory of it. Just know, that no one is happy that we have to put you through this.

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My beautiful boys. Thank you for everything you bring to all of our lives. You are our little lights of joy.

Love, momma