Saturday, December 9, 2017

Happy 12th Birthday!

Dear Alex,

Tomorrow you turn twelve years old.  And here we are again...birthday weekend. I love that you love to celebrate your birthday. I tease you that you think your birthday is a National Holiday, but I agree it is a big deal. The biggest deal, because it marks another year that I have been able to live my life doing the most important job in the world, being your mom.

This past year has been one of the fastest years ever. I feel like we just celebrated your 11th birthday at Hershey Park.  Today we will celebrate you again!  We are taking you and your friends to the Towson Basketball Game. Old friends, new friends and best friends will be there.  And tomorrow we will have family dinner.  Friends and family. Your loyalty and love belong to your friends and family.  And because of your loyal, funny, and kind nature, everyone in your life counts you as one of their blessings.

Lots of changes have happened this year.  In February, you got your acceptance into three schools, and you chose to go to The Gilman School.  You said, "Mom. I just belong there."  You immediately went outside and put a "Gilman" magnet on my car. You graduated fifth grade at Jacksonville, earning straight A's and The Sportsmanship Award.  You spent the beginning of the summer playing in lacrosse tournaments.  We spent the rest of the summer at the beach, our happy place!  And then it was time to start school.  We went to the school store and bought your supplies, including a book bag with what else but a Gilman patch on it. (A book bag that you left at home on the first day of school, and I had to drive all the way home and back to school with it.  BEST.MOM.EVER).

Let's talk about this drive to and from Gilman and what happens during the hours in between. You and I get up early and drive to school.  You are usually quiet on the drive, but I don't mind.  We chat a little about your school work and which teacher you need to see when you get there. You eat your breakfast. I drop you off a half hour before school starts. You hop out of the car and say, "Bye, mom.  Love you." I watch you as you walk into school usually talking with your friends, and one day I saw you help a boy on crutches who you didn't even know  by carrying his book bag. During the day, I can't see what you are doing, but I know you are learning, and talking, and playing.  When I pick you up, you get into the car, sometimes after a quick stop in the school store for a snack, with a smile.  I always ask, "How was your day?"  You say, "Great!" and then you tell me all about the new things you learned,  funny things that happened with your new friends, the grades you got on the tests or projects, art and 3D printing clubs, and the sports you played in gym. You are thriving at Gilman. You are being challenged, but you are proving you are up to the challenge.  Your teachers say you are a diligent student who stays on task and is kind to others. Your evenings are spent doing homework and playing sports.  You are playing lacrosse and basketball.  You also go to small group training that works on speed and agility. You are one busy boy! I am so impressed with your maturity and work ethic.

I could literally write a book about you and how proud I am of the young man you are and continue to become. But I have to wake you up, so you can study for exams before your birthday celebrations begin!  But before I end, here are a few other things about you at twelve.  You love Chick-Fil-A and eat it several times a week. I tease you that your blood type is now Chick-Fil-A sauce.  You like to listen to rap music, but I hear you singing along to my country music in the car. Like most other tweens, your phone is an appendage.  You love snapchat, silly group texts with your buddies and youtube.  You can give us an attitude and sometimes have a smart mouth, and can be a bit of a know-it-all. I suspect that will just get worse as we transition into the teen years.  We will get through it.  And lastly, it has happened......You are officially taller than me! 

Happy Birthday to my #1.  I love you all the love in the world.
Mom (Momma)

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Happy 9th Birthday, Isabella

Beach time with the family
 Dear Izzy,

Another year has gone by in a blink of an eye. You are starting 3rd grade next week after an amazing summer of family time at the beach.  We spent our days riding on the boat, building castles in the sand, and playing in the waves.  Grandma has nicknamed you 'Mermaid' because your favorite place to be is in the ocean.

I went back and read your letter from last year, and I feel like I could write the exact same words once again.  I say it all the time, from the minute you came into this world you have been inherently you. I may be a little biased but I think you were born as close to perfect as a person can possibly be. You are a ray of sunshine every single day. But as you grow and gain knowledge and experiences, you just continue to glow brighter and brighter with each passing year.  Your smile, your crazy laugh, your love for life, your patience and kindness towards your brothers, your loyalty to your friends and family, truly makes you the heart of our family.
My Beach Babe

Your positive attitude and ability to find joy in the simplest things are going to take you far in this world.  You are so well-rounded, sporty and girly, serious and silly, tough and sweet. You are athletic and a leader on your teams. You love to play soccer, basketball, and lacrosse. You love to swim and dance. You are Daddy's best helper in the yard. You are my shopping buddy, and you love to cuddle and read with me at night. You are the best sister in the world. You play with Zachary for hours, keeping him entertained with your amazing imagination. You shoot hoops and jump on the trampoline with Alex.  He has even been heard saying that you are a cool little sister! You are a sweet and fair friend.  You are a good student both in school and in life.
Birthday Fun!

I know I tell you this often, but I truly thank God for you every day. I don't know what I would do without you. You bring us so much love and joy and laughter (very loud laughter). I know I am the mom, and I try to set a good example for how to live, but even at nine years old, the way you live your life to the fullest each day is an example that everyone should follow. Maybe it is silly to say that I look up to you, but I do.  I think everyone should have a little more sunshine in their hearts the way you do.
Happy 9th Birthday

Monday, June 12, 2017

Fifth Grade Farewell


Today you said farewell to elementary school. I knew I would cry just as I did the first time you climbed the steps of the bus on the first day of Kindergarten. But this time it was different. I cried tears of joy. Yes. I am a little sad that you are growing up way too quickly. But that sadness is outweighed by my adoration and pride in you. Not only have you had stellar grades for your entire time at Jacksonville, but you are so much more than that. When Mrs. Lee described the characteristics of the recipients of the Sportsmanship Award,  I knew your name would be called. You are such a kind, empathetic, and positive kid. You are the epitome of a team player. You always give it your all. And if I have said it once, I have said it a million times, I am so very proud to be your mom.

You have made so many good friends over the last six years. It has been said more than once that your class is a great group of kids. And although you are going to a different school next year, I know that you all will cross paths at the pool, middle school dances, and parties. You never forget your first friends.

I'm so excited to see where this next chapter of your life takes you. You may no longer be a Jacksonville Jet,  but I know you are going to continue to soar. Gilman made a wise choice when they chose you. Go Gilman Greyhounds!

I love you, my #1

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Happy 5th Birthday to my baby!

Dear Zachary,

You are five years old! You are a whole handful literally as well as figuratively. I can't even get my head around it.  It feels impossible that it has been five years since we brought you home from the hospital. But I truly can't imagine what our life would be without you.  You may take after me in stature, but your personality is gigantic.  You definitely think you are older than you are and want to be one of the big kids. I joke and call you my little teenager. You are tough, and you always say what is on your mind.  You are not one for compromise, but we are working on that. You have a great sense of humor and just like a typical five year old, many of your jokes involve potty words.

You are still a Momma's boy.  You still like me to lay with you at night. I read books to you, scratch your back and talk to you about your day. If you had a day where you misbehaved and got in trouble you will say to me, I can't wait to wake up and see you smiling at me Mommy.  I will be a good boy tomorrow.  And if I ever get up and tell you I'll be right back, I better come right back.  You will not fall asleep while you are waiting.  You are a night owl for sure.  You don't go to sleep early, making it tough on your early rising mom!  I am pretty sure I fall asleep earlier than you most nights. 

That smile!  No one has a smile like you.  Mischief and charm all rolled into that one grin.  You clearly believe you are in charge.  Usually we are scared to argue with you....
You tell me, Mommy. You are so beautiful. And you always want to give me just one more hug and kiss, and it absolutely melts my heart... My little ladies' man.  

Over this past year, we have taken trips to the beach, Deep Creek Lake, Turks and Caicos (you have already started packing for our next trip there in April), and Disney World.  You still love dressing up and spent the whole day in character, Jack "Zach" Sparrow, after being made over as a pirate in the Pirate League.  

This year you are in your last year of preschool three days a week.  You are lucky to have your buddy Grayson in your class. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we hang out with Stella, go on adventures with Nana and Grayson, or just stay in our pjs all day.  In a few months, I will take you to Kindergarten registration. I joke that I am ready, but I'm not.  I am going to miss you so much.  I'm going to miss playing legos and doing puzzles, watching movies, going to Wegmans, walking around Hunt Valley with Gabe and Stella,  and taking you and Grayson (my grumpy old men) to Kiddie Crusoe, Chick-Fil-A, Five Below and Five Guys. I'm even going to miss arguing with you about what we each consider too much time on the Ipad. But I think Kindergarten is going to be good for you.  I think in many ways you are ready.  And although you are not one to sit for long amounts of time, you are a quick learner and have a bright mind.  You will do well, I believe in you.

Everyday you challenge me, drive me a little crazy, and make me laugh.  I hope you always see me as beautiful, because I know when you look in my eyes and say I'm beautiful you aren't talking about my physical appearance.  You see the love in my eyes, and that is what makes me beautiful to you. There is nothing in the world more beautiful than the love a mom has for their child.  It is all encompassing and forever. I will always love you. You will always be my baby boy.