Summer 2015

My first year of teaching has ended. It went by so quickly. The 3rd graders were great and I am so happy that I had the chance to learn with them this year.

I asked the students on the last day, “What was your favorite thing we did this year?” Responses were varied from “everything” to “angry birds math towers” to our “marshmallow challenge” even to “learning cursive writing”. I learned soooooooo much of what to do and what not to do in the future. So days were great and some days were a real struggle. Our classroom dynamic changed so much over the course of the year from my maternity leave to adding three students at semester to having our first experience with state assessments, what a year!  I know I have a busy summer of planning and organizing to prepare for next years lovely bunch of 3rd graders.

 

I am so excited to spend this entire summer with my little guys. They are growing so fast and in the fall Nolan will be starting preschool. I cannot believe he is old enough for such a thing!  He is very excited about going to “school”, he often tells me about all of the things he learns in “high school”. I love that little precocious guy!

Callan is also growing faster than I can believe. Callan went from kind of rolling around at 5.5 months to cruising along furniture at 7 months. Aaron called him a little wind-up toy the other day because if you start him at one end of the living room he just goes all the way across the room to get down the hallway. Then we pick him up and set him back and he does it all over again. Callan has started to show some of the same superpowers that Nolan had at his age including locating all cords in a room within the first 5 minutes of arrival, tasting them and refusing to play with any object remotely resembling something child safe.  Aaron’s mom has talked about how Aaron loved to play with her hair for hours when he was little. Nolan never really did this, Callan on the other hand constantly is “playing” with my hair. So it is basically impossible for me to keep my hair looking decent. If I took the time to actually do my hair in the morning, then I spend time with my little sweetie, my hair resembles someone who has been rolling around on the ground for an hour. So please don’t judge me next I look ridiculous. Last night Aaron asked, do you like that Callan does that, isn’t it like of neat?  Like it….no he is pulling my hair it hurts, do I think it is neat that he shares some sort of trait with his father…yes that is awesome (and pretty inevitable), but it could be a less painful trait and I would be perfectly happy.

Since April I have been looking forward to the beginning of summer. Nolan and I made a giant check list of SUMMER FUN 2015 things to do. We have been checking things off already. Our list includes trips to visit family, baking cookies, tye dying shirts, fishing, gardening, story hour, playing with friends, swimming  and so many other fun things I cannot wait to do!

Next weekend we are looking forward to traveling to Northwest Kansas for my paternal grandparents, Marvin and Ruby Poe’s 60th wedding anniversary!  It is sure to be a fun time visiting mom and dad, Holly and Luke and seeing the rest of the family that will have traveled in from several states.

I am still trying to get into a schedule for the summer. I know that for me to not lose my sanity I have got to get on a schedule of when we do certain activities during the day. I am working on it but the only consistent thing so far has been when nap time is.  I do feel like I have won a little challenge each time they are both napping at the same time. It is awesome!

I am so happy that I get the summer to connect with my boys, it helps me to feel better about the guilt of being a working mom. I know I am making the right decision working, but I am choosing to cherish the summers with my boys. I love that Nolan is able to help me make this list and check things off. He enjoys it about as much as I do.

My other new adventure for the summer is a garden! I have never in my life grown a vegetable, but this year I think we will have quite the crop. I am truly living up to being a farmer’s wife.  The rain has certainly helped me not kill everything…yet. Thanks to my brother Craig I have about 8 varieties of peppers, broccoli, red cabbages, onions, tomatoes, okra and eggplant and we also have zucchini and yellow squash. Currently we have one red pepper growing everything else is still deciding if it wants to produce any fruit. Nolan loves to help garden; mostly he likes the worms!

 

I am looking forward to sharing many memories of this summer on her to document our fun in Summer 2015!

 

Blur

My life is currently a blur.

 

There are so many reasons this is true including I have an infant, I am in my first year teaching, I have a 3 year old, and my husband is constantly (not really although it feels this way) traveling.

I think anyone of these things is stressful and challenging, all of them happening at once just makes me lucky. Almost 5 months ago Callan was born and I am so happy that he is here. Like his older brother he is an absolutely delightful baby. Of course I take credit for this part of my boys as anyone who has met Aaron knows well that is not exactly who he is.

As I find myself trying to be the best at everything I feel like I am the worst at everything. I cannot be the best mother, teacher and wife at the same time. I know on those days that I am being a good mother and spending time with my boys, I am neglecting the lesson plans I should be writing. And on the other hand when I am leaving the school at 5 each day I know that I have missed out on time with my boys because I worked just a little bit longer in an attempt to be more prepared and provide a better educational experience for my students.

It is hard, but I think it is the right thing for me. I love that my job allows me to spend weekends with my boys, it does not require me to travel and spend nights away. I get the opportunity to always be thinking about education and how that relates to students and eventually how that will impact my own children. Staying home with my boys is enjoyable, but I know from maternity leave and from summers of spending extending weeks and months with my kids that I function better in an environment where a structure is required. When I teach the structure is required, I do not design it, although it is flexible it is firm. At home for the most part it is free flowing I am not structured enough to spend everyday here and feel like we accomplish something. When I think about it, it feels like it doesn’t make sense. It seems like I should want nothing more than to stay home with my own children rather than spend time with someone else’s.  The only way I understand it is that I feel like I am a better mother and a better wife if I do not spend all day everyday with my own kids. Does that mean I don’t give it a second thought?  Absolutely not, I think about it constantly. I try so hard to take the advice of so many grandparents and to cherish this time hold my infant and loving my rambunctious 3 year old because soon enough I know that these days will be distant memories.

I am going to keep on keeping on, loving my weekends and summers and never ever wishing a moment away. Okay maybe the moment when they are both screaming and I am just done…that moment can go away. I love this time in my life. I love being a mother and I loving the massive challenge that is teaching. I also love my husband. He supports me in so many ways, usually it silently and steadfast. I am so happy with my pick of a husband. He has completely brainwashed me into believing he is amazing. I hope that someday my boys will be just as amazing and talented as he is.

 

So as these years blur by and it becomes difficult to differentiate between the passing weeks, months and years I will be focusing on happiness and fullness. My life is completely full and most of the time it is completely happy. What more could I ask for?

 

Updates

Callan nearly 5 months old

rolls from tummy to back

really really tries to scoot on his tummy

rolls from back to tummy

constantly flapping his arms and kicking his legs

loves SMILING

loves Nolan

loves laying on his changing table

enjoys taking baths with his big brother

enjoys exploring everything by putting it in his mouth

doesn’t love alone time

doesn’t love sleeping alone

doesn’t love having is shirt changed

doesn’t love

 

Nolan 3 1/2 years old

loves to pretend he is a super hero

loves to run, jump and play outside

love eating broccoli!

loves his little brother

loves give hugs and snuggles

loves to tell you he loves you

loves to reading books

loves watching shows

loves to make new friends

doesn’t love sleeping alone (but he now does it!!!)

doesn’t love sauces…ketchup, BBQ sauce

doesn’t love when his daddy is away (he generally has a hard time at daycare when Aaron travels)

Nolan has a lot to say and wants to tell you everything about everything. I love him so much!

Callan Traffas

Our wonderful baby boy arrived on October 6, 2014 at 8:02pm at Pratt Regional Medicial Center in Pratt, Kansas. Callan weighed 7 pounds 11 ounces and was 20 inches long.

 

Our lives have been turned upside down from the introduction of this new addition. Who knew 7 pounds of wonderful could change your world so much.

Starting at the beginning…

I started having contractions on Sunday night (October 5) they started out 5-7 minutes apart, as did my contractions with Nolan.  This time I was able to sleep on an off throughout the night. In the morning I went for a nice little walk around the neighborhood, contractions continued and were about 2-3 minutes apart. After calling the hospital they encouraged us to come in so that they could see what was going on. Around 11:30 a.m. we made the 30 minute drive up to Pratt, and of course the contractions slowed to about 10 minutes apart. So I knew that it was not going to be time to admit me yet. But they check and I was only dilated to a 1. Which was fairly frustrating for me because I was just sure that I was going to stall and not progress very quickly like I did with Nolan. So they sent us home. Telling me to come back when “you can’t walk or talk through the contractions”. When we arrived home it was about 2:30 p.m.

We went home and I walked about 30 miles from my living room to my bedroom to my kitchen, over and over and over and over again. My contractions continued they were not very consistent but they were very intense. they were 2 minutes apart then 4 minutes apart then 1 minute apart; this was quite confusing as everything they tell you is that they need to be consistent contractions to be progressing. Around 5:30 p.m. I told Aaron I did not want to be home anymore I just need to get back to the hospital. So we headed up to Pratt. Both of us in the back of our minds fearing that they were going to tell me I had not progressed at all or very little. When I got to the hospital I was almost in tears from pain and just the overwhelming emotions that go along with the whole process.

At 6 p.m. a nurse lead me in to the monitoring room and said that it would be a few minutes before they could check me as my doctor had just delivered another baby about 10 minutes before I got there.  So we “patiently” waited. My doctor arrived and checked and sounded surprised when I was dilated to a 7!  I was amazed. I was certain they were going to tell me I was at a 3.  So they quickly rolled me into a delivery room and asked if I would like to have some pain medication.  I opted to have a spinal, and in retrospect I am very very glad I did. Everything happened very quickly after that.

Callan Traffas (that’s right no middle name, can you believe it!) was born at 8:02 p.m. He was beautiful and on his first test in life scored wonderfully (APGARS). Callan rested on my chest for over an hour while my doctor continued to try to get me taken care of. Eventually he ended up calling a gynecological surgeon because he was unable to stop all the bleeding. At around 11:30 p.m. I was rolled into the operating room and put under general anesthesia for the surgeon to stop the bleeding.

I remember waiting in the delivery room before surgery with Aaron and Callan and feeling scared and wishing I could see Nolan. It already felt like our family was incomplete since Nolan was not there with us.  I was scared to have surgery yet again, even though this was completely different than my last experience.

Six weeks out I am doing great and I feel almost completely back to normal. Callan is growing so quickly! When we went to the doctor today he weighed_______. His favorite activities are EATING, EATING and EATING, he also like to smile and coo. He like snuggle and being swaddled tightly. It has been wonderful spending this time with Callan and I truly don’t want it to end.

Nolan is a fantastic big brother, he loves Callan so much, probably too much sometimes. He has had a few issues dealing with the adjustment, but come on he is 3 and what 3 year old wouldn’t.  Nolan often wants to help change diapers and hold Callan. He like to lay down with him and “teach” him things. It is precious to watch them.

Aaron said it best “it is a lot more work with two!” no kidding. I just try to keep in mind that these are the days when our boys need a lot of our time and attention. We will treasure these moments in our lifetime.  Eventually the boys won’t need or want us to tuck them into bed, read stories, or snuggle. Soon enough they will be too cool for hugs (I dread the day). So even though it is “a lot more work” I am enjoying this new life we find ourselves in. Our lives are full! Full of love, full of dirty dishes, full of snuggles, full of dirty diapers, full of joy, and full of stress. Full, completely jam packed full and I wouldn’t want it any other way!

 

 

 

Wow…Happy Labor Day…Already!

The last several months have gone quickly but the most recent month has flown by.

I started teaching 3rd grade in Attica on August 14th. It is overwhelming, stressful, delightful and very enjoyable. Nolan has transitioned fairly well back to being in daycare. (Thank goodness)

I cannot believe that we are only about a month away from meeting our little guy. As I am growing bigger and bigger he is moving more and more. I feel so lucky that this pregnancy has gone by so quickly but then I realize….I am not ready for a baby! I don’t have his clothes washed I don’t have diapers. All of the things I lovingly prepared in anticipation for Nolan. However since we have been told we are having another boy, I am not too worried as I know the box of newborn clothes I saved will be ready when he arrives.

What a wild ride this year is sure to be. I am lucky to have such a great group of students, I think that they will handle having a long term sub just fine. (I hope) I also met the lady that will be filling in for me while I am on leave and she is really nice. I look forward to working with her.

It would be wonderful if Aaron and I could take this time to enjoy our last few weeks as a family of three. But this is a busy season for teachers and farmers.

Aaron has been busting his butt working so hard on the farm. Generally he works from about 6 or 7 am to 9 or 10 pm. We certainly miss him during these long days. Nolan asked me today “why did you make daddy go away?” My heart hurt a little just hearing that, but I explained to him that daddy is working hard and that soon he will be here working in his office a lot more. We also went out to visit Aaron while he was changing barrings on the disc. Nolan just loves being able to “help daddy work”. Soon enough Aaron will have two little guys chasing him around asking how they can “help”.

Nolan’s 3rd birthday is this week. He is growing up so fast!  I love this little guy so much. I know that soon enough he will be a big boy that no long (thinks he) needs his mom. But for now we are close as can be and I love it! He is such an explorer. Marilyn tells me Aaron was the same way when he was a little guy. He also is incredibly sweet and kind-hearted.

Here is to the end of the summer…Happy Labor Day!

2014-06-25 16.45.00 2014-06-25 13.15.30 2014-08-24 14.56.02 2014-08-22 19.57.12 2014-08-22 19.56.39 2014-08-22 19.42.48 2014-08-22 19.34.41 Aaron and Nolan Hutch Zoo 2014-08-15 20.21.58 2014-08-15 18.03.18 2014-08-09 15.48.32 2014-08-09 11.04.55 2014-07-28 18.11.28 2014-07-28 18.11.19 2014-07-24 17.39.20 2014-07-24 17.31.53 2014-07-24 16.27.25 2014-07-24 11.34.11 2014-07-23 20.56.00 2014-07-23 19.21.55 2014-07-23 09.03.20 2014-07-22 16.10.29




2014-06-26 00.47.04

 

Nolan Nolan Nolan

nolan

On June 1st I took Nolan up to Pratt to have his pictures taken by Stacie Strong. As always Stacie did a great job and was undeterred by this little guy trying to run off after each photo snap. I am amazed that they turned out as well as they did. She was quick with the shots and got some great ones of our little guy. Thank you Stacie we love them!

In these pictures Nolan is about 33 months old as his 3rd birthday will be at the end of August. Nolan is growing up quickly it seems. I am treasuring (and pulling my hair out) this summer as we get to spend so much time together. He is so smart, I know every parent says this about their children, but even so it is wonderful to listen to his questions and watch him explore and learn about he environment around him.

Some of Nolan’s favorite things are:

  • His Daddy, he already looks up to him saying “Daddy is a good worker”, “I’m going to be a good worker too”.
  • Being outside, for as long as I can remember this has been Nolan’s favorite place to be.
  • Other kids, the neighbor kids as especially interesting to him. If we hear voices while in our backyard, there is no chance Nolan is staying in our yard. He will be out the fence and the their yard before I even look up.
  • He loves Jake and the Neverland Pirates, good or bad he likes it and we put up with it.
  • Reading books, he is always interested in sitting down for a good read and refuses to go to bed if we don’t read our stories.
  • Farming, he loves riding on the tractors and combine and he is already telling Aaron about the equipment. He had his first combine ride of the season earlier this week. He loves it, asking so many questions about the wheat as well as every button and sound in the combine.
  • ICE CREAM, can you blame the kid, who doesn’t love ice cream. This does get a little tricky since he is allergic to peanuts but for the time being his favorite is vanilla which makes it easy to avoid nuts.
  • Pretend play, Nolan has always been pretty good at self entertaining as he has gotten older it is really fun to watch. He plays by himself but he carries on two sides of a conversation. He doesn’t really even need toys, sometimes his right and left hands or feet are “talking” to each other, often in a dispute. I guess he is learning conflict resolution. He also likes to tell us that he is just pretending or that it is not real.

This growing boy is amazing and wonderful and I am so very happy that he is ours. It is fun to hear people say that he is just like Aaron when he was a boy. They both make me so happy everyday, I cannot wait to add another man to my life, surely that can only mean more happy right?

 

 

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Time Marches On

Our summer is already going by so quickly; I cannot believe we have been out of school for an entire month.  That means only two more months till I will have a class full of kids! I better get ready!

We had another OB appointment this morning. 23 weeks along and everything is looking good with our baby boy. Still on track for an early October delivery. The little guy is absolutely a mover and a shaker, every time I sit down he is kicking around in there. Last night was the first time Aaron felt the little guy kick. 🙂 Nolan also had a check up today. He is looking good too; height and head circumference are in the 75% and weight is in the 50%.

Over the weekend Medicine Lodge had the annual summer celebration of Junefest. We were excited to host Andrew, Megan and Kylee Piester for the weekend. Megan had her 10 year class reunion and luckily we got to spend some great time catching up with the Piesters. Nolan and Kylee played and played. Downtown there was a bouncy house and an inflatable slide as well as a petting zoo. The kids certainly enjoyed these activities. We had hoped to make it to the pool but the weather was a little chilly and overcast so we played a the park and in the backyard instead. On Sunday Aaron was even able to make some progress on residing our backyard shed. Andrew assisted and they made quick work of the west side, which is the side I see from the kitchen window so it is quite nice to look at now.

Aaron’s mom has been on a wonderful tour of Italy and will return on Wednesday. We have missed her so much. Nolan is really excited to have grandma back. We have received a few pictures from Marilyn and it sounds like she is having a magnificent time. I am so happy that she is taking this trip of a lifetime. Aaron has been staying busy in Sharon. Although we did not receive almost any rain this spring, now that it is time to harvest we have had several showers move through in the last two weeks. Aaron had thought he would be cutting by now, however it is just too wet to head into the field.

Recently my grandfather James (Jim) Hundley passed away. It is never easy to say goodbye to a loved one, but in this instance it did bring some comfort to our family. My grandfather had been living in an care home for the last couple years. Parkinson’s and dementia had made his family strangers. On May 19 we physically lost a great man who we had slowly and painfully been losing for years. I hope that my grandmother can find peace in her sorrow as I know that she devoted her entire life to my grandfather, loving and care for him and his children. They were married just shy of 58 years. I can only hope that I will get to spend that many wonderful years with my husband.

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On June 4th we also reflected that it has now been two years since Aaron’s father passed. I admit I may be “overly emotional” due to pregnancy but it was difficult and I don’t think that time is healing this wound left by this absent father and grandfather. So often I think  about Brian and how much he would have enjoyed seeing Nolan “work” in the shop and how he would have been reminded of Aaron when he was a little imaginative child. It is always hard to think of what he won’t be here to experience, but then I remember that I am so very happy that he was able to meet and enjoy Nolan for the too short 9 months that they did have. Life is so short, I am so glad that I have true happiness with my little family.

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Singing the BLUES!

On May 9th we had our sonogram to check on our baby. HE is a little boy; according to the measurements taken at the appointment he is right on track to be born in early October.

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Aaron and I had convinced ourselves that this one was going to be a girl….he proved us wrong. Aaron is absolutely delighted that he will have two boys and that they will get to have something that he never had…a brother. I am excited; but also a little worried that I will have my hands full. Hopefully the next little guy will be just as wonderful as Nolan.  It was a great Mother’s Day surprise to find out that we were having another little guy. Of course I didn’t get to go shop for a new outfit for him, as I am too practical and know that I have boxes full of clothes for the little guy just waiting for his arrival. I simply reminded Aaron that we will probably have to someday try for another so that we can have a little girl…he is uncertain of my plans, but I think he will come around eventually. 🙂

We are so excited about Megan and Andrew Piester’s recent announcement that they will also be having baby #2 this year (late November). Nolan and Kylee are such great playmates we can only hope that the next set of cousins will be so close! Congratulations to the Piesters!

Summer break has officially begun. Nolan and I had a very difficult start as he was not quite ready for the shift in schedule, but it seems to be going better now. I am trying to get a list of all the fun things we should do this summer together, because before you know it, we will be preparing for back to school and new schedules yet again.

Nolan has officially started potty training. We are on day 4 and he is doing incredibly well. He has not yet figured out have a bm in the potty but he knows what is going on and is very quick to understand what he should be doing. I had set myself up for a real fight on this and he seems to be really doing just fine. Right now he is still very highly motivated by his rewards which range from dum dum suckers, to skittles to marshmallow (can you say cavity, ahh). I am just happy that it truly looks like he will be potty trained before the baby is here!

Aaron and I have started the process of attempting to choose a name for our son.  I remember disliking the whole process with Nolan and I do not like it any more than I did last time. Hopefully something will feel just right like Nolan did.

Although Barber county seems to be covered in rain-repellent we will still be cutting the wheat that is in the fields in a couple weeks. The combine was delivered to the farm yesterday. At the end of this week Aaron will shift his work to full-time farmer and be in Sharon most days. Nolan has enjoyed the last two harvests and I know this one he will enjoy even more. He is already talking about taking rides in the combine with Daddy. Even though harvest is a stressful time of year, it is also full of memories.

 

 

Here we go again!

I am absolutely thrilled to officially (on the internet) announce that Aaron and I are expecting #2!  Baby is due in early October so, I am securely in the second trimester (17 weeks) and so happy to be feeling much better than I did in the first trimester. Next week we are finding out the baby’s gender. Aaron is too impatient to wait and see and admittedly it is fun to find out and plan. So will it be pink or blue??  Nolan seems to believe that his family consists of a mommy, daddy, Nolan and his sister. He often makes little families out of dump trucks, pots, rubber ducks and they are always the same family; no brothers. It will be interesting to see if he is right. I am truly starting to feel and look pregnant. I certainly am not able to “hide” this pregnancy like I was able to with Nolan. My tummy is starting to round out and I believe that I am starting to feel the first little flutters of the baby’s movements.

We have recently had some small successes with our favorite little son (getting that in before I know if I will have another son :). Aaron moved the twin bed into Nolan’s room about 2 weeks ago. I wonder why we waited so long. He sporadically slept on a cute race car bed and our bed for the last year. Now that he has the twin bed he is sleeping all night in his OWN BED!!!  It is wonderful. Unfortunately he does still wake most nights wanting some warm milk in the middle of the night. Thankfully he goes night back to sleep. My bed feel so much bigger without a sweet little 2-year-old kicking between Aaron and me.

Our next big hurdle is potty training. At this point Nolan still expresses very little interest in actually using the potty. I am hoping once I am out of school for the summer(Last day MAY 8th!!!)  we will have a little more time to get focused on potty training. Honestly I don’t want to do it and I know that is not the attitude to have, but I just want him to figure it out….oh goodness we will see. My only motivation is that I do not want to have two kiddos in diapers.

Nolan is absolutely delightful (except when he is a handful). He has such a great vocabulary and loves to run and play outside. Anytime Aaron is working on anything he is always there to “help”. I think Aaron is getting better at accepting this wonderful helper and Nolan loves it. In his spare time, which is nearly non-existent Aaron is working to redo our backyard shed. Nolan loves to help Aaron pick up the old trim and collect nails. I enjoy watching them work together. It is fun to watch Aaron learn what Nolan’s abilities are at this age. Nolan is establishing his independence often asserting that he will “do it all by myself!!” It is adorable and mildly annoying in certain instances. Of course we encourage his independence all the time so it is fun to see him want to use it.

Nolan has always loved going to Sharon to the farm but usually that meant Grandma Marilyn. Although his love for Grandma Marilyn has not diminished he has started requesting to go to the shop in Sharon to work with daddy. He has a ball when we are there. He climbs up and down just about every piece of equipment in sight. He just loves exploring and asking questions about everything on the farm. Usually he ends up dirtier than Aaron, which is quite impressive.

Aaron as always has been busy working away during the day he works for Purple Wave and many evening he heads to Sharon to prepare for the summer work on the farm. As we head into spring we keep praying for rain and unfortunately have come up with very little rain so far this season. We are still hoping for a decent crop.

In the fall I will be starting my first full-time teaching position! Yay, Yikes, Ahh!! I am nervous and excited. I accepted a 3rd grade position in Attica which is about 20 miles east of Medicine Lodge. I am looking forward to getting to know my students, the other teachers and the families of the community. Aaron and I will of course still live in Medicine Lodge for the time being, so I will have a little daily commute.

There are so many things to do between now and August I hope I get it all done! Between starting a new job and having a baby I think 2014 will be quite eventful for the Traffas Family!

 

 

Merry Everything and Happy Always

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graduation aaron nolan diane

My education through Wichita State University has finally come to an end. I graduated with my Master’s of Art in Teaching-Early Childhood Unified a few weeks ago. Although it was not easy at times I am very happy that I decided to further my education, now if I can just find a suitable job in the fall.  I will continue to work as an instructional para educator in the special education preschool through this spring semester.

Back in March Aaron and I bought a house in Medicine Lodge. I decided that I did not want to spend another fall semester living in Wichita without Aaron; while he worked on the farm in Sharon. So in May we moved to our home and have tried to unpack ever since. We painted almost every room upstairs and Aaron made  our living room into a nice media room. Our house has four bedrooms and three bathrooms. I like the space in the kitchen and that we have main floor laundry. It just feels nice having a home that is our own. The transition from Wichita to Medicine Lodge has been fairly easy for me. I think Nolan has had a much harder time of it.

Since August we have had three different childcare providers for Nolan. He is a great kid but sometime it is just hard to endure that much inconsistency. As a mother I am really struggling with family vs career right now. I want us to be able to have a consistent loving caregiver for him; and then sometimes, like as I am writing this I just think how can I expect anyone to love him or care for him like I do. I know many working mothers feel the same way. It is such a difficult decision. I don’t want to feel like my newly attained degree was for nothing. Does it matter if I use it right away? I know that I will never get the time back with Nolan, it is just hard to decide what is right for our family and financially.

I think that Aaron and I are good parents and it is still incredibly hard. Aaron and I have a parenting WIN we want to share. We have struggled with when and how to get rid of Nolan’s pacifier for a while. I told myself that I was going to wait until after I graduated as I anticipated an awful separation and wanted to have the energy to put up with it.  A tip from a friend turned out to be amazing. My friend said that they just cut the tip of the pacifier and their child simply was no longer interested.  I was skeptical to say the least.

Our son was older (28 months) and very attached to the pacifier than our friend’s child. But I tried it, snipping the tip of the pacifier so that it was not noticeable when looking at the pacifier. We had previously reduced the use of the pacifier to only at nap time and bedtime. As we headed down for nap I handed the newly snipped pacifier to my son and he popped it in his mouth. He took it out and put it back in and said to me “mama it is squeaky, wash it off”. I said alright and complied with the request. He tried it again and then again said it was squeaky. I said “well I don’t know why it is squeaky , you can drink your milk and close your eyes.” Otherwise following our normal nap time routine. I allowed Nolan to continue holding the pacifier, but eventually he just gave it to me and said “you hold it”. We are now on day three and he still asks for the pacifier but he tries it then hands it back to me immediately. I feel like this was nearly effortless, I cannot believe we didn’t do it earlier. This going so smoothly has been a nice Christmas break surprise.

This year for the holidays we managed to spend time with both families. We are so lucky to have families that get together and celebrate with food and gifts. We spent the Poe family Christmas in Wichita at Dave’s and Chris’s house. The guys and Holly went to the KSU vs Gonzaga basketball game, thanks to Straub International for supplying some complementary tickets after Aaron participated in a Facebook contest. They enjoyed the game and then we all had Christmas dinner and unwrapped gifts. The Poe family just keeps growing. This year two new cousins were added. Madilyn Poe was born on March 5 to Dave and Chris while Evan Poe was born on September 23 to Craig and Lindsay. It is fun to watch Nolan interact with all of his cousins. Julianna (9) and Gabriella (6) certainly are his favorite Poe cousins, as he can chase them around. They are great at keeping him busy for hours.

The Traffas family celebrated in Sharon on Christmas day this year. The gathering was quite enjoyable, as always Marilyn made tasty food and the gifts were exchanged. As children often do Nolan ended up with far too many gifts this year. Some of his favorites include a semi truck that hauls a loader and roller, a work bench with a “real” drill, and a blue New Holland loader tractor that Grandpa Brian had bought for Nolan at an auction when he was about 6 months old.

I had a list so long when this break started of all the things I wanted to accomplish over break. I am not necessarily proud to say I have not yet made a quilt, made couch pillows, read any books or organized by bedroom. However I have enjoyed some much needed time with my little guy and even some quality time with my big guy. My house is cleaner now than when break started and my laundry and dishes are done and put away. So that is something.

I always try to give an update on Nolan,I could list so many amazing things that Nolan has done lately but there are just too many so here are some recent highlights:

1. Wrote and preformed his first song, we are calling it I can’t fix it 

2. Put his boots on all by himself, after I told him you can’t go outside you don’t have shoes on.

3. Rolled over to me in the morning and said “Mama, I love you so much!” and gave me a kiss

4. He is not shy about his wants or needs, often telling me I need ice cream or I don’t want to take a bath!

5. He has started to recognize some letters of the alphabet and a few weeks ago sang the alphabet song. This is quite interesting to me as I don’t sing this with him, but someone was and it stuck with him.

6. People who spend a little bit of time with Nolan often describe him a  all boy, he love trucks and tools. Often he makes car noises and is always using something as a tool the fix things.

7. Nolan loves his Daddy, Aaron tries very hard to let Nolan work with him which is a real challenge for Aaron. Recently Aaron said “you know it is great that Nolan can talk now, but is he ever going to shut up!?” I calmly replied “No” 🙂

8. He counts 1-11, and then it is back to 8

9.He properly uses the word ridiculous, I often do not agree with what he thinks is ridiculous like when I added the lego window to the train car and he smashed it down and said “mama that is RIDICULOUS!”

10. He loves playing outside, especially at grandma Marilyn’s house.

11. He is sweet and kind, when he heard a baby crying in church he said, “someone is sad, I want to cheer him up with this book”. Of course being all boy he also hits, kick, throws and stomps on things. I love that little guy!

Nolan’s first year

It is so hard to believe that it has already been a year since Nolan was born. What a year it has been. Filled with so much change, sorrow and triumph. Nolan is doing great. He is walking all over. He recently decided that he would rather walk than crawl, although he does still crawl it is becoming less and less often. Nolan has 8 teeth now, four on bottom and four on top. Nolan weighed 19 lbs 7 oz at his 12 month check up on September 6th. I think he has both gained weight and grown taller in the last two weeks as his clothes seem tighter and his pants shorter.

Nolan continues to go to daycare, since he is 1-year-old and walking he has moved to the “transition” classroom. I think he is really enjoying it because he has been worn out the last few days. The group of  12-16 month old kids goes outside two times a day and they have a more rigid schedule. The classroom has 8 boys (no girls). I think the teachers probably have their hands full! Since starting daycare in July Nolan has been in an almost constant state of sick, battling off a cough here or a fever there. He just finished a medication for bronchitis. Poor little guy had a nasty cough. Right after that he got a case of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease which was going around at daycare. It was awful. He had a fever and he obviously felt terrible for a few days. He was not allowed to go back to school until all the spots had cleared up and so Nolan and I spent 4 days at home together.

Nolan had a great birthday party on August 25th at our house in Wichita. It was a lot of fun, Nolan was surrounded by his family. My brother Craig and his wife Lindsay made an awesome train cake. Nolan of course got tons of toys and clothes. So far I think his favorite new toys are his duplos that grandma Debbie and grandpa Ed gave him. Aaron just couldn’t resist getting Nolan started with his own ipod. It is not a new ipod, we have had it for several years, Aaron just got a “baby-proof” case for the ipod so that Nolan can play games on it. Nolan does not yet understand, but I am sure he will soon.

After Nolan’s birthday party we also had a 35th Anniversary celebration for my parents. It was fun. Most of my dad’s family was able to make it in to Wichita for the celebration while some of my mom’s family made it down.

On August 18th we had pictures taken by Stacie Strong. They turned out great. Aaron and I couldn’t be happier (unless the wind wouldn’t blow my hair 🙂  Stacie always does such a nice job and she is so easy to work with. Thanks Stacie!

I started classes at WSU again on August 20th, it is already going quickly. I am trying to stay focused and on track. I am so happy that I only have in person class one evening this semester. I end up getting to spend more time with little Nolan which is wonderful. I also started my new job on August 14th! I am now a para educator at Cessna Elementary school in south-west Wichita. I am working with the 1st grade. I am have already started teaching lessons. I think I am really going to enjoy this year.

Aaron is continuing to spend the majority of his time in Sharon tending to farming operations. Luckily we have managed to see each other about every weekend; which makes the separation a little easier on Nolan and me. Aaron recently participated in the Kansas Auctioneers  Championship Contest at the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson, placing 5th. I had looked forward to watching Aaron compete, but with a sick little one at home, I was not able to make the trip to Hutchinson.