Corban at age 4

I told Corban his birth story for the first time the other day. I relived out loud the joyous memory of meeting him for the first time, and he was all smiles. I think hearing it made him feel very special and loved, and that makes my heart leap.

Then I relived it on my own yesterday. This is the first year since Corban was born that I worked on his birthday. Walking out of the building at 5:30 p.m. unexpectedly brought me right back to that exact place and time four years earlier, when I hurried to my car in the freezing cold, tears pulling from my eyes due to the wind, mind racing with nerves and questions, knowing I was likely going into labor.

The memories were so vivid, it felt like I could have been thrown right back into that night (only it was much warmer and I was walking to a different parking garage this time). How little has changed since then, and yet how very, very much.


On his 4th birthday.

Corban and Mara both have this birthday book, which includes a questionnaire for each birthday. I sat Corban down yesterday to record his answers using the StoryCorps app (which is excellent, by the way).

There’s one point in the interview that embodies the spontaneous and surprising hilarity that is a hallmark of this age: he gets frustrated with me and calls me a “nasty [or possibly naughty] hedgehog.” No idea where that phrase came from.

Here is the full interview.

The photos I rifled through for this post are a measuring stick for the subtle changes Corban has gone through between his third and fourth birthdays. Not just in his appearance, though look at the comparison from last year:

The changes that were more apparent in the photos were the fears he’s overcome and the skills he’s acquired in the last year. He’s matured in measurable ways.

For example, in January, this was as far as he would get in a pool without screaming.


And here’s Corban today at swim lessons.


He even jumped in without holding the teacher’s hands for the first time today.

And last year at Lindner Pumpkin Farm, he was afraid to ride the barrel train. This year…


Last year at Cozy Nook Farm he was afraid to feed the cows. This year…



He’s a machine on his balance bike (I’m betting age four is going to be the year he rides a regular bike without training wheels).


He learned how to ride the big kid swings this year, and is pretty successful at pumping his legs.


(He must have worn that outfit every day this fall, ha.)

Corban at age four is is so very observant. He sees, hears, learns, remembers everything (good or bad). He is curious—he’ll “Why?” you till you give up answering, and then some—and is so refreshingly open (though I’m starting to see some self-awareness creep in on this trait I love so much).


He loves us and his extended family so purely and fervently. And he is so cuddly. It. is. glorious. I want to snuggle his soft little self forever.

But he’s not so little anymore! At 40 pounds, he’s getting harder to pick up.


He is definitely an extrovert at this age, in the sense that he loves being around people. He takes advantage of every minute with his aunts, uncles and grandparents, and asks every day if he’ll get to see his friends. It’s a huge challenge to get him to leave any social situation.



Corban can be so sweet and loving toward Mara. In some ways, I know he looks up to her.


Of course, they fight and bicker at this age (and probably will at every age), but I am so thankful they have each other and pray they will remain close. It makes me so happy to see their relationship develop as they play and scheme together.


Corban is also very active and loves sports of every kind. Baseball, racquetball…


He became obsessed with mini-golf this summer, and has played in three states with more holes-in-one than me.


He was so excited to go to dance class with our nanny’s daughter recently. I think he was expecting something a little more wild than preschool ballet, though.


Bocce ball… he’s on it.


Snow… he doesn’t ever want to come inside.


Hiking… he’ll complain at first, but then hike two challenging miles and proclaim, “I love hiking!”




Some other favorites:

  • Jake and the Neverland Pirates
  • Beatrix Potter stories
  • Go Fish
  • Candyland (and other board games)
  • Toy cars and trucks
  • School buses (I always know when there’s a school bus nearby)
  • His “activity books” (these two preschool workbooks he does)
  • Playing outside
  • Building forts
  • Taking pictures with my big camera
  • Sunday school, and any songs with hand motions they do in church
  • Candy/treats (ever since Halloween this has been a big thing)



Sunday school Christmas song this past week.

Being Corban’s mom has slowly but dramatically changed my heart and grown my capacity to love in new ways. I love every part of him, even his tantrums and lies and ridiculous stunts and unreasonable behavior. I can’t imagine stopping loving him.

It is such a sweet, small picture of God’s love for me. Beautiful.


We did have a little birthday party for Corban on Saturday that was so much fun. I will share details soon!

First haircut

And just like that, he went from baby to toddler.


Up until this point, Corban was still a little baby in my eyes. I thought maybe that would change on his first birthday, or when he started walking, or when he weaned from breastfeeding. But it turns out that the first haircut is the true marker of change from baby to little boy.

I had put off the first haircut for so long because I liked his sweet, shaggy wisps. But then it got really, really long. Like, in his eyes all the time — past his eyes and touching his tiny nose. My family nagged me. Several people threatened to cut it when I wasn’t looking. I finally conceded that it needed to be cut, but still put it off for a few more weeks purely out of signature Alison procrastination.

Actually, I had been procrastinating on a haircut for myself too, so on Saturday I booked an appointment for both Corban and I. Yes, my son had his first haircut at an Aveda salon, but the stylist was nice and only charged me $10 for him so I think I got quite a steal.


If you’ve met Corban, this probably goes without saying, but he did great during the haircut. He just hung out, looked around, played with combs, brushes and my iPhone and stared at other patrons. I’m sure he had no idea what was going on, but he didn’t seem to mind being prodded by a stranger.



Although the photo below makes it look like I’m freaking out, I actually was fine during the cut.





It was looking at him afterward that made me (sort of ) freak out. I was NOT prepared for how different he would look at the end! This is partially because we kind of told the stylist to go all out since we didn’t want to book another haircut anytime soon (or have to deal with cutting it ourselves). I spent the rest of the day gushing about how I didn’t recognize my own son.


It’s just that… he’s really a little boy now. The babyness is gone. And that does make me sad. I keep reminding myself that he needed it cut really, really badly. And it will grow back.

Here’s an after of both of us with our new ‘dos. I got a good 3 inches off and it feels sooo good.



I think the haircut really went to his head, because now he’s all like, “Sorry, Mom, we can play later. I’ve gotta take this one.”