Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Happy 8th Birthday Isabella

Dear Isabella,

According to the calendar, tomorrow is your eighth birthday.  How can this possibly be?  Just one minute ago you were my little bald baby who loved to wear tutus and play dress up.  Now you love to dress in "workout clothes." You say it is because that is what I wear.  I call you my "Sporty Spice" and am having a hard time seeing all those dresses hanging in your closet all but forgotten, except for special occasions.   This is the first year you haven't picked out a special dress for your party. This year's theme is soccer and you have your new Under Armour outfit that daddy bought you all ready to go! Your shirt says, "All Heart" and that is the perfect description of you! You have a heart of gold, my sweet girl.

And although some things have changed over the past year, you are still you. You are confident and sweet with a little sass on the side.  Your smile and laugh are contagious.  You have a wonderful imagination.  You are such an amazing and loving daughter and sister. Daddy and I count our blessings every single day. Zachary worships the ground you walk on and Alex looks to you to make sure you think he is cool. You love your cousins and grandparents, aunts and uncles so much. This fall you are going to be a flower girl in your Uncle Dave and Aunt Lauren's wedding.  You and Stella are going to steal the show.  Stella, I have to mention the amazing bond you share with your cousin Stella.  Stella is the little sister you have always wanted.  She follows you around and you are so patient and loving towards her.

You are a second grader.  You play travel soccer.  You can read chapter books.  You are an amazing swimmer.  You love lacrosse, basketball and dance and are learning how to play tennis and golf. You are an talented writer and artist. You love the beach and boating, and Turks and Caicos is your favorite place.  You love to wear flip flops, eat mini muffins, jump on the trampoline.  Fusion is your favorite restaurant.  You love chocolate, but are not a big fan of gummies, ice cream or cake.  Giraffes are still your favorite animals, and you continue to insist that one day you will own one as a pet.  And although you are growing up, you still love to collect stuffed animals, and you sleep with music playing and cuddling your Gigi every night.  

You are a diligent student and always try your best in school. All of your life people have wanted to be near you.  Your smile and hugs can make even the worst day bright again. You have so many friends because you are kind, compassionate and fair.  At any given moment you and Kaitlyn and Sadie can be found at our house in the middle of a never-ending playdate. You work together to create zoos for your stuffed animals and build elaborate lego creations. Or sometimes you just giggle and chat for hours!

We have had such a fun year.   We spent many winter days snowed in, sledding, watching movies and eating s'mores.  We went to Turks and Caicos, took many trips to the beach, spent a weekend in Deep Creek with the Deys, went hiking at Mount Saint Mary's, and spent lazy days this summer at the pool. But even on lazy days, you make life fun.  Your love for life is contagious.  I know that you never lose this zeal and positivity and will always  be the sunshine of our lives!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Zachary turns 4!

Dear Zachary,

My baby. My youngest. My boy.   Last week you turned four years old.

Sorry this letter is late, but we have been very busy celebrating you! For your birthday, you wanted a Toy Story Party at home with your family. We had a great time eating pizza from Pizza Palace (also known as GT), alien cookies, and Buzz Lightyear cake.  We had an awesome magic show.  At the end, you stole the show in your magician's outfit when you made the bunny appear.  On your "real" birthday, we had dinner with your grandparents and you kept asking me, "Am I actually four?"
Daddy bought you your very own BIG BOY bike. And to round out the celebrations, we had a friend party at Kiddie Crusoe, one of your favorite places to play.

Zachary, my love, you are the cuddliest little guy in the world.  You love to give kisses, if you are in the mood.  You follow your brother and sister around, never wanting to be left out and always wanting to be like the big kids.  You love having playdates with your buddies and Thursdays have become what I like to call "Third Child Thursday."  The mommies take turns taking you, Miles and Grayson to bounce houses, playgrounds, the movies, and out to lunch.  Isabella always complains, that she never got to have playdates like that!  But I guess that is one of the perks of being the youngest.

You are in school three mornings a week and you also go to My Gym with Nana on Tuesdays and play lacrosse.  We spend pretty much the rest of our days together.  You are not a huge fan of running errands, but will agree to go to Wegmans if I buy you a pumpkin muffin.  You are a homebody and love playing with legos, my potato head, and watching movies on 'the big tv.' As soon as you come in the door, you either put on a costume of some sort or take off your shirt and put on shorts.  You are so much like daddy in many ways, but especially in the amount of clothing you each put in the dirty laundry  on any given day.

You are fiercely independent and so strong willed.  Not always the easiest kid to get along with. You want what you want.  Bribery and threats do not work!  You aren't a big fan of compromise. But you are very bright, have an amazing vocabulary and your imagination is endless. You are hilarious, everyone says so. I agree, most of the time!   I believe that with that strong personality and conviction for what you want, you will be very successful in life!

Even though you are a big kid now, you are still a Momma's Boy.  You always want me. To read to you. To sit by you. To lay with you until you fall asleep.  No one else, just me.  Like I said, we spend a lot of time together.  And sometimes, at the end of the day when I could use some time to myself, I remind myself that these moments are fleeting.  Just like it happened with Alex and Isabella, one day you will get ready for bed all by yourself and read to yourself and fall asleep without me laying right next to you for five more minutes.  Sometimes I tell myself that I am ready for that, but deep down, I know I am lying to myself. I'm going to miss those moments when they are gone, because I know you are my last baby.

So sweet boy, you can have all my minutes of every single day.  And as much as we butt heads, I wouldn't trade your tough, smart mouth exterior for anything.  You are the one who challenges me most, but I know you love me with the same fierceness that I love you.  And underneath whatever costume you are wearing at that moment, is my baby, my youngest, the one who filled that last missing piece of my heart and made it full.

I love you,
You never stop making Alex and Isabella laugh!

You are clearly in charge!

Mommy's Boy

Daddy's Mini Me
Happy 4th Birthday!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Happy Tenth Birthday, Alexander

Dear Alex,

When you were born and in those days and weeks that followed, I cried everyday.  I didn't want you to be three days old, or a week, or a month.  I don't know how to explain it, but I was so unimaginably in love with you and so happy to be your mommy, I wanted to freeze time in that exact moment because I couldn't stand the thought of each perfect moment with you passing.

And now look at what has happened.  I blinked my eyes and ten whole years have passed.  Ten years of loving you so much that at times I felt my heart would burst. Ten years of watching you grow from that chubby little baby to this tall boy who is almost as big as me.  When I give you a hug, you can look me in the eye and put your head on my shoulder. I remember holding you and rocking you every night as an infant, your head on my shoulder, those same big, brown eyes looking up at me. Just you and me in your nursery on Snowberry Court.  It feels like forever ago, yet I have no idea where the time went.

You are a good boy, Alex.  Not a perfect boy, although I think you are pretty close to it.  You are kind and thoughtful.  A tad impatient. You get easily frustrated when things don't go your way.  But you are a diligent student and a nice friend.  This year at your conference your teacher called you "teacher's dream."  You continue to put forth effort and you excel.  When it comes to your learning are mature and invested in a way that cannot be taught.  This will take you far in life, as will the fact that you live your life being kind and empathetic to others. You are a team player in sports and in life.  You know when to lead and you know when to support those around you whether it be helping someone up on the lacrosse field or giving a word of encouragement to a friend.

You live each day to the fullest.  You are one busy kid, going to school each day, playing tennis, basketball, soccer and lacrosse at night and on weekends.  You love to spend time with your friends in your free time.  But for you, family always comes first.

You are the most wonderful son and big brother.  Being the oldest is a huge responsibility, one you do not take lightly.  You have the biggest heart, and Daddy and I are so blessed to have such a smart, loving son as a role model for Isabella and Zachary.

I knew I would have a hard time writing this letter, because you are too special of a kid for words. I could go on and on listing all the ways you are wonderful and how proud I am of you.  And maybe I'm a little biased. But I don't care.  You are my Number 1 and I will always be your biggest fan, your cheerleader, your advocate,  your momma. And as I sit here writing this letter, I keep looking over at you as you do your homework taking breaks to tease your sister, and I want to cry like I did when you were a baby, because I know this perfect moment, just like every moment of your life is fleeting.  As much as I want to freeze time, it is impossible. So like I did when you were a baby, I am going to memorize how you look, sound and act on this eve of your 10th birthday. And when I go to bed tonight, I will thank God for you like I do every night. May God bless you, because he has blessed me with the best gift in the

I love you so very much,


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Happy Birthday Isabella

Dear Isabella,

Happy 7th birthday to my best girl.  My only girl.  My Sunshine.  My Bella Boo.  My First Grader.

You have had an amazing year.  And I thank God everyday that I am your mommy.  I am so blessed to be able to have a front row seat to your life.  During this past year,  I have watched you grow taller, your curls get longer, and your smile get even brighter. I have watched you ride a bike, swim like a fish, do a cartwheel, read books, play soccer, lacrosse and basketball.  You love to dance and do gymnastics, and you want to be a gymnast when you grow up!  You are so brave.  You are not afraid to try new things, exciting things, like paddle boarding, zip lining and riding roller coasters.

And although you have learned many new things this year and have gotten bigger, you still remain the same.  As I have stated in every letter I have ever written to you, you are you and the best things about you are the things that have been inherently you since the beginning. Pop always says, "Isabella is as good as gold." And it is true. You are such a kind, sweet girl.   Your smile lights up a room.  You love your brothers, cousins, friends and family.  Your hugs are the best. You are such a happy girl, and you spend each day living life to its fullest. People love to be around you. You are chatty and funny.  You love to laugh at your own jokes and that loud laugh of yours in contagious!

You are a girly girl, but you can hang with the boys.  You are a wonderful big sister, so patient and imaginative. Zachary loves to play with you.  He misses you when you are at school.  You are a typical little sister. You and Alex argue sometimes, especially when Alex wants to "teach you something," but the bond you have always had is undeniable. He wants to be your protector and (secretly) you love it!

You are a Daddy's Girl through and through, and I am okay with that! The way your daddy treats you and loves you is the sweetest thing in the world.  He loves all of us, but you are his princess, his one and only. And in my opinion, that is how it should be.

And then there is me, your mommy. No one in all the world loves you as much as I love you.  You are my heart.  My daughter. And I strive to be a better person and woman, because of you.  I know you are watching.  And I pray everyday that I am setting a good example for you. I want you to grow up to be strong and loyal and kind.   And sometimes that means admitting that I am wrong or impatient or unfair. It is important to know that no one is perfect but as long as you try to be your best self, that is all that matters.  One day someone will say to you, "like mother, like daughter." And when you hear those words, more than anything I want you to feel proud.

I love you, my Golden Girl.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Zachary is 3!!

Dear Zachary,

We have had such a fun week celebrating your birthday.  All of our family and your little buddies came over for a football party on Sunday!  You were so excited that it was your party and had a blast playing with your friends.  Your face was priceless as we all gathered around to sing happy birthday.  I looked around and saw love for you on every smiling face in the room.  On Tuesday, you turned three.  I went into your room and said, "Wake up birthday boy!!" You jumped right up and couldn't wait to start the day!  We headed off to school where we celebrated with Ninja Turtle yogurt and cupcakes at snack time.  Your grandparents came over for dinner and there were more presents and more cupcakes! You love to tell everyone that you are THREE now!

My big, big boy!  You are so independent. You can dress yourself and love picking out your own clothes.  You have been potty trained for months.  Soon after, you told me that you were a big boy so you didn't take naps anymore.  And that was that! You haven't napped since.  You are one stubborn kid.  You want what you want.  There is never any compromise with you!

You challenge me in ways that utterly exhaust me.  You are quite a trouble maker.  You love to start trouble and you aren't afraid to finish it too! But in your defense, you do say you are sorry...You say it a lot :)  And when you apologize, I have to say, "It's okay."  You don't mind making me mad, but you don't like me to stay mad at you.  And to be honest, I can't stay mad anyway.  You are too darn cute.  You know all the right things to say. When you throw your arms around my neck and say, "I love you Momma,"  I melt.  Or when you climb in my lap with a pile of books and say, "Let's snuggle," I could sit and read to you all night.

Zachary at THREE:

  • You are our baby whether you like to admit it or not. We absolutely adore you. 
  • You love to have Mommy and Daddy all to yourself.
  • You love your "sister" and your "brother." And you love to go in their rooms and take their stuff too!  As an oldest child, I feel their pain and try my best to keep you out!
  • Your favorite toys are little figures and legos.  You carry your "guys" around.
  • You love peanut butter on raisin bread, yogurt, bagels with cream cheese, and edamame
  • You love to dress up. At any given moment you might be Spiderman, a construction worker or a Ninja Turtle
  • You always have a hat on your head and gloves on your hands - even in the house
  • You always want to be with your "friends." You ask for Grayson, Brayden, Miles and Tanner to come over everyday
  • You still sleep with Bun Bun every night and always ask for it when you are sad or hurt
  • You don't like to watch tv but you do like movies like Toy Story, Frozen, Monsters U, and Despicable Me
  • You love all your big cousins and your "Sweet little Stella"
  • You love to talk on the phone and take bubble baths and play in the basement
  • You ride your Four Wheeler around like a boss (as Alex would say) 
  • You are such a funny kid.  Your facial expressions are hilarious.  We always know how you are feeling by the look on your face (you get that from me)
  • You talk from morning to night.  Your vocabulary is amazing.  You tell it like it is, and sometimes you use some not-so-nice words to do it. 
  • You are inquisitive, smart, silly and all-boy!

So, my Zachary.  Three years old.  Definitely not a baby anymore.  But as your Uncle Dave will tell you, you can grow up all you want, but you will always hold that special place in our hearts as the baby.  You will always be the one that completed our family of five, the little brother who has so much of Alex and Isabella in your eyes and your smile, and the one who can get away with so much more because you have a whole family answering to your every whim. You are the one who makes me crazy with your shenanigans,  but I am crazy in love with you. You will always be Daddy's buddy.  You will always be the center of our world, the four of us surrounding you with all our love and attention.  There is no one like you, baby boy, I mean "big boy" (wink wink).

I love you Zachary.  to infinity and beyond.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Happy 9th Birthday

Dear Alex,

Happy 9th Birthday!!! We have spent a wonderful week celebrating YOU.  Last weekend, we went to New York City with our family.  We shopped at the Lego Store, FAO Schwartz, and Dylan's Candy Bar.  We saw Christmas Spectacular at Radio City and Santa at Macy's on 34th Street.  We ate dinner at Carmine's where we sang Happy Birthday to you and Uncle Drew, and you ate the biggest dessert I have ever seen.  We ate at Ellen's Stardust Diner, where the whole restaurant sang "Happy Birthday" to you!  We visited the tree at Rockafeller Center and the Balto Statue in Central Park.

Then on Wednesday, you woke up a nine-year old.  I volunteered at school, so I could spend more time with you.  As we do each year, we had a wonderful birthday dinner of with your grandparents.  We had crab soup and Pralines and Cream ice cream cake - your favorites!

And then last night, we wrapped up your birthday celebration with a party at Sky Zone. You had a blast with all of your friends and of course, your favorite people in the world, Jake and Luke!

Even though, the birthday celebrations are over, I spend every single day celebrating you.  You are my heart.  Sometimes, I can't believe how lucky I am to be  mom of such a smart, kind, funny, loyal boy.  You make us proud everyday. You continue to excel in school.  You received all A's on your report card, and your teachers say you are an absolute joy to teach. At your conference last month, your teachers said that you have pride in your work, are invested in your learning, and you are like a "big brother" to the other kids. As a mom, I could not ask for more.  Yes, you want what you want and have been known to pout at times, but all in all you have one of the most kind hearts of anyone I know. Ever since you were little, you have been empathetic, sensitive, funny, loving and loyal.  These are traits that have grown with you.  These are the traits that make you the kind of person people want to be around.  You are a fun friend, a team player, and you are heart of our family.  You have a way of making those around you feel good about themselves and that, my son, is one of my most favorite things about you! Because as your mom, I look at the person you are and can see the man you are going to be...I know you will take care of those you love and that brings me so much joy, (especially because you love your momma most).

At nine years old:

  • you love hanging out with your friends
  • you are taking guitar lessons on your new red electric guitar
  • your favorite night of the week is Friday Movie Night with your family
  • you play lacrosse, basketball and soccer, and your dad is your coach and biggest fan
  • you are reading Harry Potter, and so am I! (I love our "book" talks each night)
  • you enjoy puzzles - "games that make your brain think"
  • you love playing games on your iPad, listening to music, running around the neighborhood with your friends  
  • your family comes first
  •  you are an amazing big brother to Isabella and Zachary.  You include them and protect them. You are patient (most of the time) and always put them first, even before yourself

Happy happy birthday Alexander.  Continue to be YOU! There is no one like you in all the world, and no one as lucky as me because I get to live my life as your mom.

Love you, 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Happy 6th Birthday


Happy 6th Birthday to my Labor Day baby.  Wait?  Can that even be so?  There is no way that my sweet little baby girl is six years old.  Was it really six years ago that I looked into your eyes for the first time and fell in love? Even though I had been a mother for almost three years, the moment I held you, I had the life changing revelation that there is nothing in this world quite the same as the bond between a mother and her daughter. Every time in the past six years I have looked into your eyes the feeling of wanting everything right and good and just in this world to be yours is so fierce and overpowering. You deserve the best that this life has to offer, because you are the best daughter and sister a family could ever have.

I have never in my life wanted time to stand still as much as I do when I look at you.  I watched you learn to walk and then I blinked and now you are learning to ride a bike.  I was there when you made friends, and have watched these friendships grow and blossom. I waited patiently with you as you went from a bald baby to a girl with long, curly hair. It took a long time but your wish finally came true.   I spent countless hours reading board books and picture books to you on the rocker in your nursery. Now I lay in your bed with you and read chapter books. I wish for just one day I could go back to that Labor Day six years ago when I held you, my daughter, for the first time.

Tomorrow you are going to get on a bus for your first full day of Kindergarten.  Life as I know is never going to be the same. I waited an extra year to send you to Kindergarten.  You will be one of the oldest in your class.  Everyone says that I will never regret waiting to send you...and I know this is true.  I have enjoyed every second of having you with me over the past six years.  Sure you went to preschool, and My Gym and play dates and even some sleepovers, but you were still mostly mine.  I know that it is time for you to start this next chapter of your life, but when you get on that bus in the morning you will be taking my heart with you.  You are my heart.  My daughter. My sunshine.  I don't know what I am going to do.  Nothing will ever be the same again.  I am not sure how I am going to handle it.  But I will.  Because it is as it should be.  You will continue to grow and learn and become more independent.  I will put on a brave face and be strong for you.  Because if nothing else, I want to lead by example.  I want you to go out into the world and be strong and brave. And baby girl, as you go tomorrow, I want you to know these three things...

1. You are my BEST girl. Always.
2. Be yourself. You are as bright as the sun. Let your light shine. Always.
3. No matter what I will be right here waiting for you. Always.

I love you,

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Two and a Half

Dear Zachary,

You are another 1/2 year older.  You act much older than your age.  You want to be big like Alex and Isabella.  There is no holding you back.  You want to do what you want to do when you want to do it.  You like playing with your "friends" and can hang with the big kids too.  You love to play "the cross"(lacrosse) and can scoop and throw like a champ. You are social and happy and full of much energy.

You weigh 26 pounds and are 35.5 inches tall.  You may not weigh very much but you are as tough as can be.  You love to wrestle and you fear no opponent.  You tackle Isabella, Alex, Daddy and even Uncle Steve.

You are a smart boy with a smart mouth.  You talk back to me.  You challenge me.  But you love me.  When push comes to shove you love your momma, even though you sometimes tell me you don't.  You just like to drive me crazy.  But then you will wrap your arms around my legs and look up at me with those big eyes and I melt.  I love in the mornings when I go get you from your crib you say, "Good Morning Mommy" and snuggle against my shoulder...even if it is only for a second before you run into Alex's room to destroy his latest Lego creation.

You talk nonstop.  You don't like to nap even though it is evident by your dinnertime meltdowns that you still need them. You love the beach and the pool. You insist on wearing your goggles or sunglasses. You want to be outside helping daddy and you love taking rides in the golf cart. Your favorite movies are Toy Story,  Beauty and the Beast and "100" Dalmatians.  You go pee on the potty (when you feel like it) and pick out your clothes and try to dress yourself. Yesterday you picked out an outfit and said, "This is cool.  I wear this." You insist on putting on your own shoes, and I have to force you to hold my hand in parking lots. You are Mr. Independent.  Mr. Big Shot.  

You are loving having Alex and Isabella home this summer. Isabella plays so nicely with you.  She is very patient with you for the most part.  And you follow around Alex and his buddies. They all think you are hilarious. They are your audience and laugh at everything you do.  Makes disciplining you a difficult task for mommy. You torment Alex and Isabella as only a little brother can...but they can never stay mad at you for long. If I discipline you, they rush to you and comfort you forgetting that just a minute ago you were pulling Isabella's hair or hitting Alex.  I say they are your protectors, and they are, but if I had to say what would happen in the future, I bet you will be the one who will have their backs in every situation. Probably cause you are always looking for trouble.

I love you My Little Turkey,

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

8 and 1/2


Happy half birthday.  You are 8 and 1/2 today.  Your sister made you cards and said you needed to have a present.  She sent me to the store to get you LEGOS.  And we bought you one of your favorite sweets for dessert - Berger cookies.

This Spring has been a blur of activity.  You are excelling in school.  The teachers go on and on about what a bright boy you are and how kind you are too. We went back to Turks where you had a blast going down the water slides, jumping off boats and snorkeling.  You had an awesome lacrosse season and played in your first tournament.

Last month you received your First Communion.  I was so proud of how seriously you took learning about Jesus and the Eucharist.  You were mature and reverent.  You wore Grandma Mela's cross and looked so handsome dressed in the suit that Daddy and Pop Pop helped you pick out.  Faith has always been so important to me in my life, and I am so happy that I get to share that faith with you.

There is less than a week until summer.  I am looking forward to having you home. You are such a big help with Isabella and Zach.  And I am excited to go to the beach and make our usual runs to Dunkin Donuts and Wawa.  I love being at the beach with you, because you love it as much as I do. It is our "happy place!"

When I asked you to describe yourself at 8 and 1/2 you said, "I'm an athlete. I think I'm awesome. Ladies love me.  Oh and I love my family."  

Yes, you are an athlete and more importantly a team player.  You are absolutely awesome.  And how could the ladies resist that gorgeous face?  Oh and we love you more than anything.  You truly are the best son and brother we could ever ask for...

I love you with all my heart,

Sunday, March 30, 2014

My Uncle Matt

When I was born, my dad's 11 year old youngest brother became an uncle. Matthew was the youngest of eight children. A little bit of a wild child, always looking for adventure and sometimes trouble. I remember him following my pop around. When I think of Matt, I will always see him as a teenager. A tough guy with a big heart.  Being the oldest grandchild and he the youngest of my aunts and uncles, I spent a lot of time with him at Grandma John's. Being there with all of my family was one of my favorite places to be. Sometimes I felt like a youngest sister rather than a grandchild. I remember when he started dating Kim. And their wedding was like a storybook fairytale. They had three boys 1.2.3. who were adorable and they worshipped their dad. One of my favorite memories was when I was in college, my girlfriends and I did a little tour of Florida. Matt and Kim had us over for dinner, and he made the best piƱa coladas ever. He had us laughing with his stories and I'm sure an inappropriate joke or two thrown in as well. And then there is my most recent memory...just this September I got to spend a weekend with him and all the John brothers and sisters at his oldest sonJustin's wedding. Now more than ever, I am so happy I went to Florida that weekend. It was the last time the 8 of them would be together during a happy time. But happy times or sad, they are always there for each other. This past week, they showed their undying love for one another and unbreakable bond as they went to their baby brother's side. They prayed and talked (we all know they love to talk) and held his hand. They cried. And I bet they laughed a few times as they told stories of growing up on Deer Park Road. 

They had to do the unimaginable this week. They had to say goodbye to their baby brother. But as my dad said, he believes he is in heaven with grandma and pop.  She welcomed him home, and then he and pop went fishing. 

He is at peace. Now I pray that we may find peace as we remember him fondly. I pray for Kim that she will always feel the strength of his love. And I pray for his boys that they may hold him in their hearts each and every day and that they always remember what a great dad he is and how proud he is of them. 

Goodbye Matthew. Until we meet again...

Goodbye Matthew. Til we meet again.