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. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Happy Half Birthday

To My Best Girl -

Today you are 5 and 1/2 years old.  Six months have passed since your Safari Party at the end of the summer.  And what a six months it has been.  We went to Disney World this fall and you loved every minute especially eating at Beast's Castle and getting your pictures taken with the Princesses. We had a wonderful Holiday season and you were such a great helper and so into the holiday spirit. I called you Little Miss Christmas.  You kept track of "how many days until Christmas" and loved finding Stocking the Elf each morning. We have had many snow days this winter and have loved sitting by the fire in our pajamas all day watching movies, playing games and drinking hot tea.

You are a star in preschool.  You love your teacher, Mrs. Barbuti, and all your friends.  You always have a story to tell about what happens at school. Mrs. Barbuti calls you her little "assistant."  You are getting ready for your ballet and tap recital, you go to My Gym with Finley,  and have started gymnastics. You are learning to read and write and love to draw and make books.  You make a picture for your cousin Stella almost everyday.

You are an amazing little girl with a great sense of humor.  You are a sweet sister, a caring cousin, and a fabulous friend.  You love to have sleepovers, play dates and go to parties. You take great care of Zachary, and he loves you so much.  You and Alex continue to have a sweet relationship with a little argument thrown in now and then.  But truly for the most part you are always so caring to each other, always thinking of the other's feelings.

You are a Daddy's girl and he is wrapped around your little finger - don't think that is ever going to change.  He calls you his princess and you won't let him leave for work in the morning without giving you at least "one more kiss." And today for your half birthday, he took you to a basketball game and out to dinner. I never knew you liked basketball, and I think maybe you just wanted him (and Pop Pop) all to yourself. Next week you and daddy will go to your first Father-Daughter Dance.  Oh how I wish I could be there to see that!

You are my best girl.  I love you so much.  You are my dream come true. I love that you love everything pink and girly. I love our manicures and pedicures, our crafts, and time dressing up your dolls and playing store.  I love reading to you at night and snuggling and talking about our days.  I love that you tell me you love me all the time.  Out of the blue you will say to me, "I love you Momma." You will never know the joy those four words bring to me.  You are my heart Isabella Grace.

I can't believe that in a month I will be registering you for Kindergarten and in less than six months you will be getting on the bus with Alex.  I promise you that over the next six months,  I will play with you more, read to you longer at night, listen to every story and enjoy every moment with you.  Because I know too well that my days of having you little are so very numbered.  And although it is so bittersweet writing these letters to you because it means time is passing (too quickly), I also love watching you grow taller and sweeter and smarter everyday. Everyday you astound me with the things you are learning and how the size of your heart is growing. 

Happy Half Birthday Bella,
I love you - Momma

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Happy 2nd Birthday


Yes, I realize that your birthday is January 13th and today is January 16th.  Sorry I am a few days late writing this letter.  I know. I know.  Poor third child.  Well. Third and LAST child of mine, we have had quite a lot of fun celebrating you turning two.  On Saturday, we had all of our family and your little buddies over for a Dinosaur birthday party.  We had balloon animals and dinosaur cookies, cupcakes, nuggets and even dinosaur eggs (rice krispie treats). We had sandwiches for the carnivores and veggies and fruit for the herbivores.  Your face was priceless as we sang "Happy Birthday to Zachary."

On Monday when you woke up I told you it was your birthday.  You ran right in Alex's room and crawled into bed with him.  You said, "Wake up Alex, it's my birthday!" We started the day singing "Happy Birthday."  We put the candle in a "Dunkin Donut with sprinkles." Your favorite!  When we ask you how old you are, you get the biggest smile on your face, "I'm 2." That night Grandma, Pop and Nana came over for birthday dinner.  We sang "Happy Birthday" one more time.  I just loved hearing you sing along to yourself. After cake, you opened your presents.  I think your favorite was the bike helmet.  You made daddy take you outside at 8:30 at night so you could "ride bikes."

So my youngest child, you are very loved.  You say you are a "big boy," but you are our baby.  Ask David, he will tell you.  He knows what it means to be the youngest.  You will always be our baby. And not just daddy's and mine but Alex and Isabella's too. We worship the ground you walk on, you are our cuddle buddy, our entertainment, and our hearts.

You at Two!

  • All of a sudden, you are talking in sentences.  We crack up at how you can carry on a conversation.  We look at each other and say, "Did he just say that?" You especially like to talk on the phone.  You bring me the phone and ask to call one of your grandparents at least once a day.  I hope you always remember to call them :)
  • You are learning to count to 10.  This was news to me today.  I was carrying you upstairs, and I was counting each thing I know you said, "7.8.9."
  • You love to "read books." There are many days I find you and Isabella sitting in your room looking at books. At bedtime you always ask me to "read books," even if I have already read you several.
  • Your favorite things right now are Toy Story, Sesame Street characters, trains, The Wiggles, and Spiderman.
  • You are often seen wearing hats....might be a cowboy hat, a knit hat, and baseball hat, or a bike helmet depending on your mood.
  • You love your Bun Bun and usually need "two ones" (translation: two of them).
  • We are working on learning colors and shapes.  Most things are the color blue to you.
  • You love to eat pizza pie, macaroni and cheese and donuts.  When you ask for more of something you always say more twice ( ie. more. more. pizza pie).
  • You love to wake up Alex and Isabella and you always want your daddy in the morning.
  • When you get hurt, you always say, "kiss it."
  • You always want to play in the basement or outside. "I go downstairs now." You played in the snow for the first time last month.  You always want to play with the big kids.  But you are making your own friends too.  You ask for Brayden, Grayson, Miles and Tanner by name.
  • You say, "please," "thank you" and "I love you" without being prompted. You are so mannerly.
  • I love when I go in your room in the morning and you say, "Good morning Momma." And "hold you Momma."
  • You love My Gym, Music class and anything sports related.  You may be a little dude, but you are a tough one! And you can throw a ball and cradle a lacrosse stick.
  • This year you took trips to the beach, New Jersey, Turks and Caicos and Disney World.
  • You can be an ornery little guy.  You don't like to sit still.  Not a fan of shopping carts or strollers. A trip to Wegmans is a full on battle of the wills.  I try to bribe you with treats but that never works. Inevitably we leave behind a trail of goldfish, bagels and lollipops.
  • But on your terms, you are a dream.  You are social and fun and happy.  You love to play toys. And will take my hand and say, "Come on, Momma.  This way, Momma." 

And I stop whatever it is I'm doing and follow you, because you are my third child, my last baby, and I know this time is fleeting. It has happened to me twice minute you are taking me by the hand and the next you are off to school or playing with your friends.  So sweet, sweet boy, as long as you want me, I will follow you anywhere.

I love you,