Saturday, December 10, 2016

Happy 11th Birthday

Dear Alex,

Today you are 11 years old.  I woke you up at 6 am for lacrosse practice with a kiss and a bunch of balloons.  You opened your eyes and said, "Mom."  The most beautiful word in all the world.  I laid down next to you for just a moment and put my arms around you.  And I couldn't help it, the tears came.  Because I remember another December morning, before the sunrise, eleven years ago when I held you in my arms. It was just you and me in those moments before dawn, just as it was on the day you were born.

I know I tell you all the time, but I love you so much.  I am so proud of you.  You continue to excel in school.  I can't believe you are in fifth grade.  You have such a nice group of kids in your grade and have loved every minute of your experiences at Jacksonville.  But change is on the horizon. We have spent the fall applying, visiting, interviewing and shadowing at middle schools.  You have handled this process with your usual maturity and incredible insight. And although the future is still unknown until the acceptance letters come in February, you know where you want to be and I am confident that the school wants you too. What school wouldn't want you?  You are bright, creative, diligent, friendly, kind and a good friend.  I am so excited for you and this next chapter of your life. I know at times it isn't going to be easy, but I will be right here if you need me.

You continue to try new things like computer game programming, yearbook club, and robotics club.  This year you played soccer, basketball, tennis, lacrosse, swam on swim team, and ran cross country.  I love watching you play sports, always a team player, helping a teammate up when he falls and giving a pat on the back when a goal is scored.  But  it was running cross country, where I saw you shine.  The Mighty Milers allowed you to find your stride, literally.  And I was so happy to be on the journey with you.  I was able to run some trail runs and 5K's along side of you.  Well, that is how the season started.  By the end of the season, I was following behind you.  Watching you run with a new-found confidence that made me so happy. And we both got a little teary that day when your name was announced as first place in your age group after a 5K. I hope my body allows me to keep running with (behind) you, because, Baby Boy, there is no better feeling in the world then getting to watch your child's success and confidence grow literally with each step.

You know I could go on and on.  I am your biggest fan.  You are my perfect boy. And nothing makes me happier than when you give me a hug and say to me, "I love my momma." When you put your arms around it reminds me that even though you are no longer a little baby, (one more inch and you will be as tall as me), those four words are spoken so naturally and with such sincerity and love that I know a part of you will always belong to me.  Because you are all the best parts of me.

I love you,

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!