Monday, August 22, 2016

{a letter to my daughter on her first day of kindergarten}

Dear Lucy,

I just went back and read my letter to you on your first day of preschool and everything I wrote there more than applies to today. My heart is bursting all over again just as it was a year ago. How is it even possible that my sweet little ladybug is starting kindergarten?! The "firsts" always seem so incredibly momentous…and that is because they are. We have been talking about this day all summer. Especially since we moved into our new house and finally figured out where you were going to be going to school. You miss your old school SO very much and it's easy to see why. Your teachers showed you such an incredible amount of patience and love throughout your year in preschool and I just can't help but think about how thankful I am that you had such an awesome year there. Just this morning I texted a photo of you to one of your old teachers letter her know how much we missed her and wishing them an awesome year ahead. She replied that she missed you to pieces and that she hopes you have an amazing year at kindergarten.
I came in to your room this morning to wake you up and crawled into bed next to you. I put my arm around you and gave you a gentle squeeze and you promptly pulled your blanket over your head. I giggled as I got a flash of what it will be like when you're a teenager. I brought myself back to the present moment and said "happy first day of kindergarten, my girl". You threw the blanket off of your head and flashed me a huge smile. Once you remembered what was happening today, you were more than ready to hop out of bed and get ready for the day. And of course, you were more than happy to oblige me when I said it was time for pictures ;)
Your daddy also had a big day today since it was his very first day of his new job! So, of course I had to make him a sign, too :)
 And of course, Elijah also had to get in on the photo action. Unfortunately, he got distracted by the fact that you could still see the moon in the sky at this point in the morning. Ha. Silly boy. Oh, and he was also noshing on a banana. So, these were the best shots out of the bunch:
He refused to leave the house without a backpack on because he wanted to be like you. 
He sure does love you to pieces. 
Elijah and I proceeded to drop you off at school and we all got to check out your classroom for the first time (which was super awesome, btw). It didn't take you long at all to settle in at one of the tables where a coloring activity was setup. You gave me a long hug and a quick kiss and said "Bye Mommy! I love you!" So, that was that! I held back my tears until I got to the car. Just like last year, you were so confident in the face of this new experience. You were so ready to make new friends and take on a new adventure and yet again (as happens very often), I found myself wanting to be more like you.

The world really is your oyster, my darling girl.

"Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So get on your way!"
-Dr. Seuss-

All my heart,
Love, Mama

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

{Dear Lucy | Five}

Dear Lucy,

I am super behind on this post seeing as your birthday was on May 30th, but I wanted to make sure that I wrote this letter to you before the end of the summer. My heart aches with a mix of joy and sadness now that you are FIVE years old. Joy, of course, because it is so amazing to watch you blossom and grow into the amazing little lady that you already are. Sadness because the one who first made me a mama is simply growing up too quickly! I am just soaking in each moment with you, sweet girl.
*with your boyfriend, Max ;)
*super Lucy*

I've gotten to be a stay at home (and work from home) mama this summer and it has been awesome getting to spend my days with you and Elijah. I'd be lying if I said it has always been easy because it definitely is not. It's been a big change for me trying to juggle everything while having two little ones home with me full time (especially with the insanity of moving to a new house), but I've been pleading with myself every day to not take one second for granted. You will be starting Kindergarten in just a week and a half (!!!) and I am going to miss you during the day SO very much. You totally rocked Preschool and I know you are so excited about the year ahead. In fact, we visited your new school today and got to meet the teachers and everything and I just know you're going to love it. Change is hard though and I know you are missing your old teachers and friends from Preschool dearly. You really had an amazing experience there.
*preschool birthday party*

You are still madly in love with your baby brother and I just can't get enough of you two together. There is plenty of bickering mixed in there these days, but you two really just LOVE each other and it makes my mama heart SO incredibly happy. You are always looking out for him. Helping him with whatever he needs. Carrying the toys downstairs for him that are too heavy for him to carry himself. Making sure he doesn't take too big of bites of food. Reading him stories. Kissing his boo boo's. Letting him knock down the towers of tiles and blocks that you build. Letting him take naps with your favorite blankie. Making sure he doesn't go down the big slides at the playground. You truly could not be a more amazing big sister. 

Your favorite things: dancing. baking. crafting. swimming (you finally started putting your head under the water and now you are obsessed!) princesses. super heroes. reading (you are doing an awesome job of sounding out words!). your brother. cartwheels. popsicles and ice cream. sweets in general. playing in the treehouse. going to the park. catching fireflies. riding your bike. roasting marshmallows (the more burnt the better). watching ballerina videos. singing. kings island. Playing dress up. your blankies. 
You had your sights set on a princess themed birthday party this year, so that is what you got :) We got you a princess barbie cake (just like the doll cakes I used to have for my birthday's as a little girl) and you absolutely loved it. We had amazing weather and amazing company. It was a perfect day for my beautiful girl.
My sweet ladybug. You are simply the most thoughtful, sweet, smart, beautiful, creative, generous and amazing little girl. Some days are certainly harder than others but I am so thankful for every moment and thank god every day for choosing me to be your mama.

Happy FIVE years, my love.

I love you to the moon and back.


Thursday, February 11, 2016

{Dear Elijah | 18 months}

Dear Elijah,

I cannot believe that my baby is now one and half years old! Don't mind me….I'm just sitting over here bawling my eyes out. Seriously, where has the time gone?!? Your baby-ness is pretty much completely gone at this point and you are now an insanely busy little toddler. You are so full of life and energy and while it can be exhausting at times for sure, it is mostly FUN!! You are truly just the coolest kid ever and I more madly in love with you than ever!

We had your 18 month checkup last week and you now weigh 24lbs 8 oz. You are in mostly 12-18 month (and some 18 month) sized tops, but 18 month pants are way too big. You are 32 1/2 inches long and it's becoming apparent that you are going to probably going to be shorter than your sister (she is ALL legs at this point!) I honestly can't believe you don't weigh more than you do at this point because you eat SO much!
Speaking of food, we've yet to find something that you really just don't like which is totally awesome and amazing. While your sister is also a great eater and not very picky at all, she is definitely a grazer and we sit at the dinner table begging her to take each bite so we are not sitting there for hours (which does happen sometimes!) But that does not happen with you. You get an adult sized portion for dinner most nights and you gobble it all down like nobody's business. There are some days, though, when you're feeling extra ornery and decide that you'd rather feed the dog. This explains why she loves you so much. You absolutely love using utensils and get rather mad at us if we put your plate down without one. So funny. 
You are insanely verbal these days and I feel like you are learning to say new words every single day at this point. I've really lost count of how many words are now in your vocabulary, but you sure are pleased with yourself when you can just tell us what you want and get your way. And if you don't get your way, you don't hesitate to share how unhappy you are about it! :) Some of your favorite words these days are "Rora (Aurora - the dog), "Woosey" (Lucy), "Mama", "Dada", "Nana" (banana-your most favorite food), "Ba" (ball), "shoe" (you want everybody's shoes on your feet all the time), "choo choo" (you are absolutely obsessed with trains), "more" (you still always do the sign when you say it)….the list goes on and on. You are one smart cookie!
You are still a rockstar sleeper. You go to bed around 8pm and usually wake up around 7:30. You go to daycare in the mornings (so that I can get some work done) and then come home around 12:30-1pm and take about a 2 hour nap. Like I said, rockstar status. And even more awesome is how easy you are to put to bed. You love to be rocked and sung to for a bit while snuggling up with your lovey. Then we lay you down fully awake and off you drift to sleep all on your own. Seriously, you are just a dream.
You are so incredibly funny and entertaining and there is truly never a dull moment when you are around. I just love to watch you play and we are constantly in awe of how incredible your imagination is at this age. You are always watching what your sister is doing and you love to try to copy her. Whenever you see her looking at a book, you will grab one off the shelf for yourself, plop down next to her and babble away as if you are reading. Whenever she is playing with the dollhouse, you sit down in the chair opposite of her and play with the little dolls and babble on as if they are talking to each other.

You love to run, jump and climb. You love to color. You love dancing. The moment you hear any music at all, your little booty gets to shaking and you just get the biggest grin on your face. You love playing banging on the piano. You love playing with the dog (and she actually lets you, which she never did with Lucy when she was little). You are completely obsessed with trains and spend all day running around the house saying "choo choo!" Cutest thing ever!
You love brushing your teeth. You love bath time. You love building with blocks and magna tiles. You love throwing balls. You love stealing shoes and wearing/hiding them all over the house. You love spinning around in circles. You love washing your hands. You love baby dolls….and real babies. You obviously find them incredibly interesting and get the sweetest smile on your face when even you see a little baby. You love making animal noises. You love playing in and eating snow. You love cooking in the play kitchen. You love watching Gigglebellies and Thomas the Train, but your most favorite movie right now is Mary Poppins. You love snuggling. You love singing. You LOVE giving hugs and kisses and it is just the best thing EVER!
You really are just so amazing that it is hard to put into words. How did I ever get so lucky to be able to call you and Lucy mine?! I may never know…but what I do know is that I am so incredibly grateful and never want to take one second for granted. I love you to the moon and back, sweet boy…and there and back again.

Love, Mama

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

{a letter to my daughter on her first day of preschool}

Dear Lucy,

When you were born, I knew I was going to have to go back to my full time job when you turned 3 months old. It broke my heart, but it needed to happen. So, we scrambled around trying to find childcare that was not only affordable to us but that we felt great about. We didn't want to just send you anywhere. It was important for us to really find the right fit. Someone that would really show you love, patience, and kindness. Someone that would really be there for you in the hours that we could not be. There came a point in the search that I felt maybe we weren't going to find the right fit. Everything seemed to be either too far away or too expensive to make it worth it for us financially. That's when I started to think that maybe I should just quit my teaching job and be a full time stay at home mama. I knew it was important, though, for us to have my income. Plus, I really loved my job and looked forward to going there every day. I never thought I was really cut out for the stay at home mom thing anyway - and boy did I feel guilty for thinking that!! In any case - we forged on with our search for the right daycare provider and just in the nick of time, my mother-in-law told us that a spot opened up at Miss D's house. I immediately wanted to know everything about this Miss D. I found out out that she is the step daughter of a woman from our church and that she lives right down the street! As soon as I met her, I knew it was the perfect fit!

So, at 3 months old, I left you in her care and we have counted our lucky stars every day since. She has definitely been like another mother to you. She has gone above and beyond in the amount of love, patience and kindness she has given you. She has given you bottles and changed endless diapers. She has rocked you to sleep and wiped away your tears. She watched as you learned to crawl and then as you learned to walk. She cheered you on as we all worked through the potty training process. She has comforted you when you've been sad and celebrated with you when you've mastered new skills. She has sat next to you at her kitchen table as you worked on learning your colors, letters and numbers. She has taken you on countless field trips to wonderful places and would send your mama pictures to let me know how much fun you were having. What an amazing blessing she has been in our lives.
Yesterday was your last day at her house. I'm not sure that you've fully processed the change yet. In fact, I'm absolutely sure you haven't, but that's okay. That isn't your job right now. We are lucky that we don't have to really say goodbye to Miss D yet since Elijah is going to start going there for just a few hours/days a week. Also, we live just down the street which means it will be easy for us to visit at anytime. will never be the same as it was. You beamed with pride as you gave her the picture frame you decorated (with the picture above inside of it) and the flowers that you picked out for her. Then you gave her a big hug and yelled "I love you, Miss D" as we walked out of the door. Yup. It's been a pretty incredible 4 years.

....and now, here we are on your very first day of Preschool! You woke up this morning filled with the same excitement as Christmas morning. "I'm going to school today, Mommy!!" You jumped out of bed ready to immediately put on the outfit that we had picked out together the night before, complete with your new pink patent leather ballet flats. You didn't even mind one bit when I asked you to come outside on the front porch to take pictures. "Sure mommy! Let's go!" :)
Daddy went to work a little late this morning so we could all go to your new school together. You absolutely loved that. When we arrived at school, you immediately strapped on your new pink, light-up princess backpack and walked with the sweetest pep in your step all the way to the door. We signed you in, hung your backpack on your special hook and then went up to meet your teachers in the gym area. You gave each of us a big hug and kiss and sent us on your way. You were so ready for this. 
I held back my tears as your daddy, brother and I walked back to the car. The whole thing just felt so momentous to me. I couldn't stop thinking about how grown up and confident you looked as you ventured into this new place filled with new people and I suddenly felt myself realizing how much I wish I could be more like you sometimes. You look at the world in the such a beautiful and wondrous way. You live in the moment. You are not yet filled with the worries and anxieties that will eventually creep in as you grow older. Instead, you are filled with magic and amazement at the world around you. 
I continued to hold back those tears for most of the morning. I dropped your daddy off at work and Elijah and I sat outside of a coffee shop while we shared a bagel and I sipped on a latte. It was a beautiful morning and I couldn't stop thinking about you. I smiled at the thought of how much fun you were going to have on your new adventure. I prayed that you were having a great first day and that you were already making new friends. I fought the urge to just go back and pick you up ;) 
As Elijah and I were driving home from the coffee shop, I peered into my rear-view mirror and caught a glimpse of him (thanks to the mirror hanging above him) clapping and grinning from ear to ear. That is when it finally hit me. I just felt this huge rush of gratitude wash over me in that moment. I am so incredibly blessed to be able to call you and your brother my own. The amount of pride I feel about getting to be your mama is impossible to measure. 
So, my sweet wish for you today, on your very first day of school, is that you'll never lose your desire to learn and explore. The possibilities are endless and there are adventures around ever corner. I hope that you will always know how loved you are and how much you have to offer the world. I hope you will always stay true to yourself and treat others with kindness, love and respect. Dream big and work hard. I know there are amazing things in store for you. And always remember, I will be here with my arms stretched open wide whenever you need me. I will always want to hold you close, but I promise to do everything I can to give you wings to fly. 

All my heart, 
Love, Mama

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

{Dear Elijah | 12 months}

Dear Elijah,

I'm weeks late in writing this post, but I am here to wish you a very happy first birthday, my love!! I cannot believe how quickly this year has flown by. Wasn't it just yesterday that I was holding your beautiful, tiny, squishy newborn body in my arms for the very first time?! I think back to that day now and I can remember so clearly the exact feeling that I had the first time I laid eyes on you (even after 28 hours of intense labor). My heart had exploded with joy all over again just as it had when your sister was born. And now...a year later, I still feel that same joy every single day. I am head over heels for you, sweet boy...and I always will be.
 You truly might be the happiest baby that ever lived. Your smile and laughter are just so completely infectious and people are constantly stopping us when we're out to say hello to you. You are a big charmer, for sure. You love to wave and give high fives at any chance you get. You LOVE to shake your booty, clap and dance whenever you hear any sort of music. Your favorite thing to dance to at the moment are any of the songs from the Giggle Bellies. Seriously, you just squeal (very loudly) with glee whenever we turn it on for you. The cutest! You also currently love the Baby Einstein Number's Nursery video which was your sister's favorite when she was your age. But truly - I can start humming any tune in the world and you will start moving and shaking. It is just the best.

I'd say that as of this week (which is actually 2 weeks after your birthday), you are officially standing on your own and walking! You are only doing about 3-4 steps at a time at the moment, but you are suddenly super interested in mastering this skill and it won't be long at all before you're really taking off. Your daddy, sister and I spend hours these days passing you back and forth, having you walk from one person to the other. The reaction you get out of us each time is enough to send you reeling into a giggling fit! Watching your little butt wiggle as you take those tiny steps is just the icing on the cake for me ;)
 At your one year checkup a few weeks ago, you weighed 20.3 pounds which was only 1 pound more than your 9 month checkup! I couldn't believe it. You LOVE to eat and if anything, I thought maybe we were feeding you too much! The doctor was not at all concerned, though, especially since you did grow 2 1/2 inches in that time. But yeah...back to food. We still haven't found anything that you just won't eat, though you definitely are starting to have preferences. I'd say your favorite things at the moment are yogurt raisins, any sort of fruit (but especially blueberries and bananas), frozen peas and cheese. Lately you seem to not be as interested in tomatoes and hard boiled eggs - I'm suspecting that it's a texture thing...but who knows! You no longer drink formula and have since moved on to whole milk. Your big sister had a really hard time with whole milk when she was your age (I'm talking screaming from belly aches and the worst diaper rash you have seen in your life) and could only drink 1%. You, on the other hand, aren't minding the switch one little bit :)
 Other 12 month happenings: You love to throw balls and I must say that you have one heck of an arm! Future pitcher? maybe. You're still a great sleeper - thank goodness! You have finally picked up the sign for "more" and you're not afraid to use it. We are currently working on the signs for "thank you" and "please beautiful mommy" ;) You are obsessed with the iPad and you love to hold our cell phones up to your ear and start babbling away. You LOVE playing with the play kitchen and you've recently started taking pretend bites of play food. Hilarious. You love giving us bites of your real food and sometimes you even fake us out by putting it in your mouth instead of ours at the last second. Silly boy! You've also started to recently enjoy feeding the dog your food despite our efforts to try and teach you not to. You will look me straight in the eye and reach your hand out over your high chair tray and giggle as you drop the food to the floor. My stink eye and a firm "no" means nothing to you as of yet ;) You are still obsessed with opening and closing doors. You are also obsessed with emptying cabinets of their contents (especially the dish towels and tupperware). You love to be rocked to sleep (after a book and a lullabye) while snuggling up with your blue bear lovey. It's the best part of my day. You are still a great car baby! You live for bath time and for the lathering of lotion that comes after. You are so incredibly sweet, but also demanding when you really want something. Your big sister is your best friend.
 Happy 1st birthday, handsome boy! I love you to the moon and back. Forever and always.

Love, Mama