Friday, December 31, 2010

It Was a Very Good Year

Few words do justice to how I feel about the year 2010. Truthfully, it's been the most prosperous and happy 365 days of my life. It was the year that 'we became three,' the year I felt life grow within me and the year my heart found its way outside the world in the form of the most precious, amazing little boy I've ever known.

Tonight - for the first time ever - I'm perfectly happy staying inside our safe, warm home with my two favorite boys, reveling in how much I have to appreciate about my life. And while I've always felt a bit wistful to leave another year behind (Did I do enough? Grow enough?), this year I am only focused on how much good is ahead and how amazing this past year has been. 

I couldn't ask for more, so I won't. Instead, I'm wishing for good, happy, wonderful days ahead for all of you, for all of your innermost wishes to come true.  Thank you - yes, you - for your support and love this past year and always. You are part of what makes life richer and meaningful to me and my blessed family.

Hugs and love from the Burtons - here's to a bright and beautiful 2011! xoxo Amy

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
To: Twenty Ten
From: Mark

Human nature is to group memories, and society groups them by year.  We are defined by years: the year we were born, the year we graduated high school, or the year we first did this or first did that.  And on all accounts for me (and I'm guessing my dearest Amy), you will forever be remembered as a most remarkable year.

From first learning we were pregnant in January, through the indescribable birth experience in September, the progressive growth, development, and birth of Tate Doty Burton will occupy the most significant memory. Everything else pales in comparison, which is not meant to diminish any others, just simply to highlight Tate.

We have continued growing as individuals, growing as a couple and now finally as a family.  And we are excitedly looking forward to continue down our path of love.

Professionally, as your final seconds expire, so will Amy's selfless career over the past eight years. Day after day she was engaged on the front lines of public service, as one of many behind the scenes who props up a public official.  Congratulations to her.

As for my career, you've brought me a series of high risk moves (calculated as they might have been), and in a bit of serendipity, I am ending Twenty Ten in the place I began (sort of).

For all the new memories being created every day, we continue to cherish the old ones as well.  Auld lang syne, right?

Thank you Twenty Ten - you were a year of great challenge and great opportunity, and you were extremely good to us.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry and Bright

Today is our first Christmas with Tate; both Mark & I agree that for maybe the first time ever, we sincerely want for nothing. Asking for anything just seems silly, when we have SO MUCH. And while we can think of little things we could use, they only pale in comparison to the amazing, simple joy Tate brings to us every day.

I mean, just look at this little guy!

I think he's a little confused, because we told him to never talk to strangers but then we just plopped him right into the lap of this dude...what gives?!

We are staying home for Christmas for the first time in our relationship, in order to start our own holiday traditions that will carry on through the years, lending comforting memories for Tate to share and talk about some day.  I can think of few things more important than just staying and being...right where we are, with all we have.

I pray your holidays are blessed and happy - if I could share the feeling of complete contentment I have in my heart today, I most certainly would.  Hugs and love to you all!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Surely this doesn't constitute as abuse...right?

Well...maybe not *always* jolly.

"Tate, if you stop crying we'll give you PRESENTS!!"

...What's the "present" thing of which you speak?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Waking Up

Mornings have never been my favorite...until now.  Tate is at his cutest and sweetest at this time of day and I can't wait to get up and see him again.  This right here is why:

Tate's Morning Routine from Amy B on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

3 Months

My boy is three months old today.  It was 13 weeks ago tonight that he was placed in my arms, changing my perspective on everything and giving me joy like none I'd ever experienced before.

How did I move through my days before they started with a cuddle and a gluttonous sniff of his tiny little head? Before I could say "Hello, my sweetie!" and witness his face-brightening smile over recognizing my voice?

He is a smiley, wriggly, sweet darling and I love him so much it hurts. At least once a day, tears spring to my eyes as I stare at Tate, pride bursting from within.

This post by Jennie at 'She Likes Purple' made me cry today, because JUST LOOK AT HOW MUCH I HAVE TO LOOK FORWARD TO.  I loved this part, especially: "I refuse to look at my guy and weep over what he was for one moment because that steals something from what he is and what he is is so hair-pullingly frustratingly beautiful. What he is deserves my undivided attention." 

This speaks to me, because every single moment with my guy is precious and gives me reason for pause. I think to myself often, "Enjoy this...stop and just enjoy him." And, you guys? He makes it so, so easy to do.

And now I must go sing "Happy Birthday" to my son -- it's 10:45pm and around here, it's a weekly occasion we celebrate wholeheartedly.  

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thankful - In Sickness and In Health

Mark, Tate and I made the trip to Indiana to spend time with my dad and family for the Thanksgiving holiday.  It was such a wonderful visit filled with introducing Tate to some of his doting maternal relatives, relaxing, and feeling very thankful for all we have.  The usual 7-hour trip there was stretched to 9, due to holiday traffic and stops to feed Tate (I now intimately know some new parking lots!), yet Tate didn't cry...NOT ONCE.  He slept most of the way and when he was awake, he sat and looked around in wonder.

When I wasn't sitting there in shock at how amazing my baby is, I spent a lot of time on the trip thinking about how extremely blessed I am to live the life I'm living.  I thought about how many people don't have family to visit, or don't even like the family they are "forced" to be with on holidays. Here we were, a happy, new family in the car on the way to see relatives that we love and like very much, while leaving behind two other units of family (my mom's side and Mark's family) that we appreciate, love and would miss a lot that weekend.  I don't know much, but I do know there isn't much more we can ask for than this. 

Upon returning home, we instantly all got sick with colds.  Poor little Tate was smiling through the coughing, sneezing and raspy breathing, while I sat there cursing my sore throat.  I went to work on Monday anyway, only to get a frantic call from my mom - who graciously watches Tate several days a week for us - that afternoon saying my sweet boy was projectile vomiting and that I should call the doctor and come home as soon as possible.  I can tell you with no uncertainty that I've never run to my car so fast in all my life.  I knew he was fine overall, but I couldn't bear the thought of him suffering without his mama.  As I was pulling out of the parking ramp, there was a car stopped right where I needed to turn; I didn't think twice before accidentally squealing around the car...only to see it was inhabited by two elderly nuns who looked a bit confused as to where they were.  New revelation: a sick 10.5-week-old will cause a hurried, new mama to scare sweet little old women of the cloth.  AWESOME.

We were able to get into the doctor's office without an appointment, to learn that poor little Tate not only had a cold but also a bug that would later also result in green bile-laden diaper changes.  Tate showed a bit of improvement that night, so I felt relieved that he was on the mend.  The next morning while eating breakfast and getting ready for work, however, I got to witness the projectile action for myself.  Heart racing, I dropped my yogurt on the floor in my haste to get to him.  I don't think I need to tell you that I didn't go to work.  I instead spent the entire day holding and feeding my boy, knowing that while I had plenty I could have been doing at work, there was nowhere I needed to be more than with him.

Tate is doing much better today, and I'm feeling very grateful that he is usually a very healthy, happy baby - so many people deal with much scarier realities than the one I dealt with this week.  Still, I'm realizing more every day that having a child changes everything.  And you know what?  I'm thankful for that most of all.

Monday, November 15, 2010

"Dear Tate" - A Letter From Mama

My sweet boy Tate,

It's hard to believe you've been in my life for two months already, but it's also hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that you haven't always been here.  When I try to remember life before you were in it, it's hazy and feels like a waste of my time, really.  The reality is that I'm a better person because of you, and I couldn't feel more blessed or proud to call myself your mama. 

You are smiling so much every day, rolling over and cooing.  You are a happy, content little boy that lets your grateful parents sleep (since day one!) and you rarely cry unless you really mean it.  Two things make you cranky: hiccups and burps - you ride out the former and loudly declare the latter.  You're a voracious eater and one of my favorite things is hearing you let out a satisfied, breathy "ahhhhh" as you pull away.  Speaking of eating, your fleshy little rolls grow rounder with each day, leaving me no choice but to smooch and gobble you up every chance I get. And your cheeks...oh your cheeks!  I'm pretty sure if we tried to fly with you, they would charge us an extra fee for those delicious cheeks of yours!

Your favorite thing is the fan; when you're grouchy and need a distraction, we walk you under Fanny the Fan and you instantly stop crying and stare intently.  You are thisclose to laughing, and I cannot wait until the day you finally do - I can only imagine it will be the sweetest sound my ears have ever heard.  You are a very strong baby and have been holding your head up since before we left the hospital.  You love looking out at the world and get bored if we aren't placing you up so you can see what's going on around you.  You also enjoy tummy time, to my surprise, and can be found inching along the blanket whenever we put you down. You have a need to go-go-go all the time - when you aren't waving your little arms and kicking your legs, it surely means you're sleeping.  I have a feeling we are in for a very busy time once you begin crawling and walking! 

Your daddy and I are beyond smitten with you - it's sort of pathetic really.  We used to go out to dinner, take in shows and movies, or meet friends out for drinks.  Now we are content to stay at home declaring you the cutest, smartest, best baby EVER - and I hope you know we really believe it's true.  Our number one priority is for you to always feel our love as we feel it...and we will spend every day from now until forever trying to show you how happy and fulfilled you make us and our life. 

Every day from here on, you will learn and do something new - you have given us so very much to look forward to, Tate.  You are the answer to our prayers and the reason why our smiles are bigger than ever these days.

Forever in love,


Monday, November 1, 2010

Best Thing I've Ever Grown

Hope you all had a happy Halloween!  We had fun dressing Tate up and carving pumpkins, as you can see:
Burton Pumpkins (and one watermelon!).  I love how every year, Mark gives his pumpkin ears. Hilarious!
Best Pumpkin of all
We don't need no stinkin' BIB!
Smiley Guy
Little Pea Pod (he hated the hat, as seen below!)
Gardener and Pea Pod (best crop ever this year!)
As the saying goes, you reap what you sow; we'd clearly subjected this little legume to far too much stimulation!
Basket full of YUM
Cutest Bean Ever!
Can't wait until next year when he's old enough to get into the candy bucket! :o)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Tate rolled over for the first time on Monday at 5.5 weeks old. Look at my boy go!

Tate Rolls Over! from Amy B on Vimeo.

I'd had a sneaking suspicion that he would roll over for more than a week before I put him to the test.  Before this night, he'd only been doing 'tummy time' on the exercise I kind of wish I would have put him on the floor earlier!  We put him on the floor and he immediately rolled over.  This video shows his second time ever rolling over (I began taping as soon as Mark put him on his stomach) you can see, he works fast! Guess it's time to start baby-proofing the house, huh?!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Inchworm Dance Party

It's time to 'git DOWN!

And when you hit yourself in the eye...

you just gotta collect yourself...


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Best Daddy on Earth

It goes without saying, but I'm gonna say it anyway: Mark is the MOST AMAZING DAD!  Tate is so loved by his daddy, and it's been such a gift to witness over the past 5+ weeks.  I think so often, the dad gets forgotten in the process of caring for a newborn.  So, today, I wanted to share a few pictures that do better justice to Mark's admiration and love for his boy than my words ever could:

Mark...thank you so much for being the father our beautiful boy deserves.  You amaze me every day with the fierce love and unwavering support you bring to our family.  Not only did you prove my predictions right, you've also made me aware of how much I truly underestimated how amazing you would be at this gig.  We love much!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Staring Has Become My Favorite Past-time

About 15 times a day, I will look at Tate and get this sudden rush of happiness and think to myself, "I can't believe he's mine...I can't believe I made him and get to call him my son."  I wonder if I'll ever stop thinking that?  Something tells me it just gets better from here...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cousins = Instant Buddies

The other day I got an email from my sister, Alicia, sharing the most adorable pictures and story about my 7-year-old nephew, Caleb (one of her four awesome boys).  Apparently he is quite a huge fan of his new cousin, Tate!  See for yourself: 

Hi Amy! 
I had to share with you how much Caleb loves Tate!  Ever since Tate was born, Caleb has been drawing pictures of Tate and Gavin dressed as football players.  He says that since they were both born on the same day*, they are both "ultimate babies", which means they are able to do a lot more than the average baby.  So, they are both football players at a young age!

The first attachment shows a picture that Caleb drew yesterday at church.  Keep in mind that Caleb might be the biggest Michigan fan in our house!  But, he conceded to the loss to State very well, on Tate's behalf.  The picture shows Gavin and Tate as football players and Tate is holding the "Paul Bunyan" trophey!  How cute is that?!  I was cracking up!

The 2nd attachment is of a song he wrote at school.  They were asked to write a song of praise to God about something they were thankful for.  You can see it was written the day after Tate was born.

Here are the words, just in case you can't make them out:

"When my cousin was born, praise the Lord!  Hear this Oh mom, as I sing to the God of Israel!  My cousin was born.  I was happy.  Lord please take care of my cousin."

Pretty adorable, huh?!

How cute is that?! To add to this story, on Tuesday Alicia and Gavin made the trip to visit us for the day.  She said that when she told Caleb where she was going, he refused to leave for school until she let him go with her!  Finally, he said he would go to school as long as she gave him a date for when he could go see Tate himself...they will be here again on Oct. 24th. That is one determined and devoted little boy. :o) And Tate is so lucky to have such great cousins in his life!

Tate and Caleb
Tate and his four cousins: Jacob, Nolan, Caleb & Gavin
*I was going to share this awesome fact with you when I finally posted my birth story (coming!), but this couldn't wait.  Tate and Gavin were born on the same day, just four years insanely cool is that?! 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Four Weeks, One Million Smiles

My beautiful boy turns four weeks old tonight. How has it already been four weeks?! And, more importantly, how has it ONLY been that long since I first saw his face, when it feels like I've known and loved him forever?...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

My Three Boys

When my dad, Yom and little sister, Rachel, visited us the weekend we got home from the hospital with Tate, I was so excited to be able to capture some pictures of myself and the three most important males in my life - three generations and three hearts that I carry within me always.  I'm so blessed...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

"Dear Tate" - A Letter From Mama

Dear Tate,

I was holding you just now while checking emails with one hand when I looked down in time to catch you giving the biggest smile I've seen from you yet.  And I swear, when I saw this, my heart stopped, my stomach did a happy flip, and tears sprung to my eyes.

"They" say newborn babies don't smile knowingly, but I'm calling "their" bluff.  There have been many times in the three wonderful weeks you've been in our life that I've begun talking to you or laughed after a bit of silence, only to be rewarded with a beautiful smile from you.  In that instant, I know you know me, that you remember being inside my belly hearing me talk and laugh during what was - up until now - the happiest time of my life.  This is why the tears show in these moments, my sweet boy.  Because now you are here and my life is filled with even more smiles.

I stare at you all day long, and cherish the early morning feedings with you the most.  All is quiet and you cuddle up to my chest and drink in what my body creates just for you.  You make little flying geese sounds as you suckle, and sigh contentedly as I pull you to my shoulder to burp you.  To the outside world it might not sound like much, but to me it's the most important thing I've ever done or will do.

You are my heart.  Until there was you, I was aware of only half my ability to love.

Forever yours,


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Hard at Work

WOO HOO! Turns out I'm handsome, just like daddy!

I'll tell you what, though...being cute is EXHAUSTING work. Can someone hit the lights so I can get some beauty sleep?