Before this new little guy arrives into our family, I wanted to write down some thoughts about Will & Levi. Things are going to get a little bit crazier around here, and I'd like to remember some things about the boys before the hazy cloud of infant-hood attacks my memory!
To change it up, I'll start with Levi.
Although both boys love to snuggle with me, Levi comes by it more naturally. There is something in his nature that wants to be physically very close to me. He knows exactly when I need it too. He is quick to notice when I am tired and will offer to massage my feet. When I am putting him down at night, he usually asks to play with my hair and tickle my face. At random times he will say, "Mom, you're beautiful." He really can melt my heart on the spot! Not many people get to see this side of Levi because he is also all boy. He is very into pretend play these days, and sword fights, hunting, scaring off the bad guys, and jumping off of couches and chairs is a part of his everyday life! Although he likes to wake up earlier than Will every morning, I really do enjoy the one-on-one time with Levi. Maybe it has to due with the fact that he comes into our room every morning, kisses me on the cheek, says 'good morning mommy, i love you, can you make my be-breakfast?'. Now that starts my day off right! Speaking of be-breakfast...Levi has begun to add 'be' in front of lots of words. There's no rhyme or reason, but some of these words include: berage (garage), besaster (disaster), beventure (adventure), befridge (fridge). I know there are others, but the other two speech mishaps are pretty funny too. He has always said 'yorgit' instead of yogurt, and his cousin is Caytin instead of Petyon. Zach and I find ourselves using some of his words a lot too. I even wrote down 'yorgit' on my shopping list the other day!
Levi still has the BEST belly laugh. This is wrong, but sometimes I tickle him just to hear him laugh. It is pure joy! Although we talk about baby brother all the time, Levi still has days where he talks about his baby sister in my belly. I'm going to laugh (and then freak out) if he is right and this baby is a girl! I am beginning to hope, for his sake, that our Rwandan baby will be a girl. He wants a sister so badly! And knowing his protective/softy mix, he would be the perfect big brother to a girl.
Levi dresses himself every day, and he usually has a pretty good eye for style! There are some articles that he is particularly fond of...tall socks (although they don't have to match), basketball shorts, a hat on backwards, and even in these hot summer days he likes to wear pants with his 'flats' shoes. He has to change clothes with every changing activity- basketball clothes to play b-ball, baseball stuff for baseball, and he even has scooter clothes for when he wants to go outside and ride his scooter! This makes for lots of laundry and lots of laughs. Apparently Zach was the exact same way as a kid, and he really hasn't grown out of it!
Levi has a tenacity for life coupled with a sensitive spirit. I can't wait to see how he uses those qualities in his life and in his ministry.
Will Cotton has changed quite a lot from his younger years : ). He used to be a very serious baby who spent a lot of time trying to figure out the world with an intense stare. I guess he got it all figured out in the first few years because he is now a total goofball! (Here's a great story about that....one night I was tucking the boys into bed and it was prayer time. Levi's prayer was 'God, I just don't understand this world. I just can't believe it. Amen.' Then, without hesitation, Will said, 'God, I do understand this world and I do believe it.' I sat there stunned and confused for a few seconds until one of them said 'goodnight mom'. Then I left the room to tell Zach and we had a good laugh together. I mean seriously! WHAT?!?) He and Levi can both makes us laugh, but Will has a witty sense of humor that catches us off guard and gets great reactions from us. He also has this dimpled grin that can get him out of all sorts of trouble. Like Levi, Will loves to have sword fights, fight off bad guys, and hunt for all sorts of crazy animals, but Will's favorite activity is still basketball. He loves to shoot hoops, and he actually practices all sorts of moves and shots that he sees on TV. Just last night he showed me his new lay-up, and he has the correct form and everything! He spends lots of time working on form and making his shots. It's actually kind of crazy how good he is. (but maybe I'm a bit biased)
Sometimes I call Will my teenager because of how late he likes to sleep in. For a while there I would go in and wake him up between 9:30-10 every morning! He is also a man of consistency. He likes peanut butter toast for breakfast EVERY morning. I can offer him all sorts of stuff, but peanut butter toast will usually win (pancakes are the only contender). Then, for lunch he wants peanut butter and jelly, and for a snack he prefers peanut butter with apples. He has always been this way, and I have a feeling it will be a lifelong companionship!
Will is extremely observant, and because of this, he can already do some basic reading, word recognition and telling time on a digital clock. He is constantly asking me what time it is when he sees a clock, or he will find a race car or see an athlete's jersey and ask me what number it is. I never knew if anything was sticking in his mind, but the other day he looked at a clock and told me it was 11:30. It was exactly 11:30. We will probably start some more structured basic reading/letter recognition this fall, and I know that he is going to absorb it all very quickly. He also loves to ask me the meaning of words. Most recently, he has asked about: compassion, retreat, privacy, vacation, and forgiveness. There are tons more, but I just can't think of them right now. He is the kid who hears all things around him even if it doesn't appear that he is listening.
Will has turned into quite the fish this summer. He LOVES to swim and jump into the pool from the side. Most of the time he has floaties on, but we will practice real swimming with him and he does a really good job. I think he will be swimming on his own by next summer.
Will has a unique dedication and desire to succeed and a knack for knowing when to crack a joke to lighten the mood. I pray that he will continue to use those qualities in his life, and that he will allow God to mold and shape his observant spirit.
Both Will and Levi are so excited about becoming big brothers. They practice swaddling their stuffed animals, and they love to put them in the baby swing. They are always so sweet with other babies in our small group and families, and I can't wait to see how they adjust to having a baby brother (and/or sister...). Every time I go to an OB appointment, they think that I am coming home with the baby. They always greet me at the door and ask where the baby is...it's so precious to see the anticipation on their faces, and it makes me look SO FORWARD to the end of this month when it actually happens!
These guys are such a blessing and joy to parent. We have the unique privileged of seeing built-in best friends grow up together. Even though they are different in many ways, they always seek out the other one in a crowd and prefer to be in close proximity to one another. We have tried to have one-on-one time (like a Mommy/Levi ice cream date or a Daddy/Will Lowe's run), but most of the time the boys don't like being separated. They will spend half the time asking about the other one and why he isn't with us. It is very sweet how much they truly love being together.
photos taken by Hannah Vickers. love. them.