Thursday, October 23, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Em & S

Dear Em,
I have about a gazillion photos on facebook. Seriously, I'm sure half of my facebook friends have thought about unfriending me due to the oversharing of photos.  It all started as a way to share everything with our family who lives far away. I didn't want them to miss a moment. It's also an organized way for me to go back in time. All of my favorite photos are organized by year & month for the past five years.

The other day, I took a few moments to go back in time to October 2010. Your chubby, little cheeks always put such a smile in my heart. What struck me this time was how much your face lit up when you & your best friend S were together. With a two and a half year age gap, even back then you two were the sweetest best friends.

I can't believe all of these fun moments are just from October 2010. Since then there have been so many, many more! Back then, you couldn't talk, but S sure made you giggle. Now it's so amazing to watch the two of you have conversations. You don't always agree, but your love for each other is fierce.

I'm so glad you've had such a precious friendship during these past five years. I can't wait to see what adventures you two have in store together in the next five...ten...fifteen...twenty years.

I love you so,

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Glamorizing Little Pumpkins

Dear Em,
Summertime is so super busy for us, it doesn't give us much time for crafting. By Fall, I can't wait to get my craft on. You agree. You would craft all day, every day if we could. So, having time for crafting is a nice change of pace for our little family.

Recently, we painted pumpkins. We painted little pumpkins a couple years ago, but you had bigger ideas for this year's mini pumpkins. "Mom, we need feathers & pompoms & googly eyes to decorate our painted pumpkins this year!" You wanted each pumpkin to have a face & a complete outfit.

I bought a bag of small gourds & pumpkins for our whole family to paint. We already had tons of paint, paint brushes, & googly eyes, but I bought some feathers & pompoms to add to our crafting bin. Daddy & I each took two pumpkins, & you decorated all the rest. Your pumpkins were certainly glamorous. You painted in your favorite colors & then added glitter to each pumpkin.

We had to wait for the pumpkins to dry before adding additional accessories. When we returned to the project a week later, we all sat together at your little table & got to work. Although you're a little heavy on the glue, you did pretty great. You attached pompoms & googly eyes & feathers until you had covered every pumpkin in glam. It's a good thing you were wearing a smock, & I had laid down a trash bag on your little table. This project was pretty messy & a lot of family fun.

You were delighted with the results. We ended up with three Emma pumpkins, one made by you, one by me, & one by Daddy (can you guess who made each one?).

You made a Joey pumpkin & a Charlie pumpkin (you let me help with the Charlie pumpkin). We used feathers for their tails & ears.

You also made a Mommy pumpkin. Don't I look fabulous?

While you wanted all the pumpkins to be people, Daddy & we managed to make a few that were just fun. I arranged them all into a festive centerpiece for our dining table.

You enjoy looking at them each night when we sit down for dinner & have decided we will keep them FOREVER. I'm hoping by the time they start to rot, you'll be ready to replace them with other fun crafting projects. Thank goodness it's the season for crafting.

I love you so,

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

We Love Wawa

Dear Em,
When I was 16, my family moved to Southern New Jersey. There were many things that would be new to me that first summer. There were jug handles to drive through & people who spoke with a Southern twang my Yankee family was not used to. The food was different too. There were hoagies instead of subs & something called a cheese steak (I love cheese steak now). There was also Wawa.

Named after some kind of bird, Wawa was everywhere in Southern Jersey. As a family, we laughed about what a ridiculous name "Wawa" is. That was before we realized how amazing Wawa is inside its doors.

It's hard to describe Wawa to New Englanders. It's kind of like a 7-eleven, I guess, but so much better. Now that we live in Rhode Island, a Wawa barren state, we don't get to go to Wawa frequently. When we travel it's our hands down favorite pit stop (I actually downloaded a highway travel app just so I could find where the Wawas are along our routes). Here are the top 7 reasons why we love Wawa.

SEVEN. They are perfectly & frequently placed along Interstate 95, making them easy spots to stop for gas throughout New Jersey, Maryland, & Virginia.

SIX. Wawa has the best fresh, self-served coffee in a variety of flavors, keeping us awake & alert during our trips.

FIVE. Aaaaaaand, Wawa also has food. Let's be honest, if you have to stop on a trip for gas at one place & sustenance at another spot, you're wasting travel time (& with all the 12+ hour road trips we take, swift stops are key). I'm not talking crappy gas station food. Wawa is an incredible convenience store, carrying all the typical convenience store food. They also carry healthy options that appeal to littles. Rather than eating crap during our road trips, you're able to choose from fruit cups, yogurt, cheese sticks, & fruit pouches.

FOUR. The staff is friendly & helpful. When our road trips are full of traffic & aggressive drivers, Wawa is a breath of fresh air.

THREE. They always have the cleanest bathrooms of any of the right-off-the-highway pit stop options. It's really true, & you notice. You are in the habit of telling me which public bathrooms smell nice & which are stinky (as if I don't notice), & Wawa always gets top ratings from you.

TWO. The "hoagies" are the bomb. Seriously, I've tried a ton of sub places, & Wawa blows them all out of the water (the bread is especially amazing). The Wawa staff makes fresh sandwiches & salads to order at the speed of light. Instead of placing your order with a person, you place your order via a touch screen. The touch screen provides you with a zillion options (it can be slightly overwhelming for the first time orderer). Rather than being labeled high maintenance with a complicated order, you can order your meals exactly the way you want them. You can order your sandwich toasted or just the bread toasted (or not toasted at all). They don't just give you a choice of mayonnaise or no mayonnaise. You can choose "mayonnaise," "extra mayonnaise," or "a little bit of mayonnaise." Except, you can make that kind of choice with any of the toppings. I wish everything in life could be ordered via this touch screen kiosk, because only at Wawa do I get what I want exactly the way I want it EVERY SINGLE TIME.

ONE. You love Wawa too, actually you call it "Wawas." I asked you once what you liked better, Wawa or McDonalds. You didn't even have to think about it. "Wawas" was the easy winner. It's like a travel game for you. You look at all the highway signs until you spot a Wawa sign (& you're really good at spotting the Wawa signs). You excitedly announce that Wawa is coming up, & then you beg us to stop (I may be begging to stop too). The last time we went to Wawa, you made up your own song & dance. The song basically consisted of you singing, "I love Wawa" a million times. When a lady who worked at Wawa came around the corner & saw you, she had the biggest grin on her face. It basically looked like you had just won a trip to Disney World. I sheepishly smiled. "We live in Rhode Island. We don't get to go to Wawa that often. This is a special treat for us."

And this is why we would like to appeal to the Wawa corporation to please, please, PLEASE come to Rhode Island. We may be a little state with people who say sub instead of hoagie, but we need Wawa! There's a little girl who will eat fruit cups & sing your praises & a mom who desperately needs your subs.

I am aware this may be coming off sounding a little bit obsessive. Sigh. I guess I might as well fully embrace it. I admit it. We are obsessed...with Wawa, one of the most amazing places on Earth.

I love you so,

Monday, October 20, 2014

Little Event Planner

Dear Em,
Since we were away celebrating my best friend's wedding, we didn't do much to celebrate mine & daddy's six year wedding anniversary (to your extreme disappointment). When you heard that it was the anniversary of the day Daddy & I started dating, it was the perfect excuse for you to plan a big event. Your eyes lit up, & you set to work right away.

"Mommy! We have to make a list!" We got out your writing journal. "Okay, first we need candles!" You wrote the words on the page & drew a picture of candles above.

You also decided we needed vases & flowers.

You declared the dress code would be fancy, & I would need need to wear a very fancy dress. I let you know that when Daddy & I started dating, we were wearing sweatpants. So, that's what I planned to wear. You tried to negotiate that I at least wear a fancy shirt. I shook my head no. "Well, you are going to wear clothes, right Mommy?" We finally settled on you wearing a dress & Daddy & I wearing sweatpants. Since "shirts" is a lot easier to write than "sweatpants," this is what you wrote.

Since the majority of the parties you've been to have been little kids birthday parties, you've learned to equate parties with pizza. Pizza was going to be a must for our dinner party. No party is complete for you without dessert, & milkshakes are your favorite...with whipped cream & cherries.

Last but not least, you declared that we would need music. This is your picture of a record player (ha!).

Once you had your list, you got to work getting everything ready. We were keeping everything a surprise for Daddy. You made him an invitation to let him know when to arrive at the event. Then we decorated our dining table with the items from your list.

You set the table with our fancy china, & I lit all the candles. Then you ran upstairs to put on your fancy Rapunzel dress while I baked the pizza. We put on a photo montage your aunt Gina had made for us as a wedding gift. It has pictures from when Daddy & I were were babies, when we started dating, & leading up to the day we got married. It was set to all of our favorite songs from when we were dating & would be the music we needed for our dinner party.

You began checking your list to make sure everything was just right.

When Daddy arrived sharply at 4:30 for the dinner party, you were thrilled to show him the amazing dinner party you planned. I'm not quite sure if it was an anniversary dinner party for Daddy & I or for you. You were definitely the center of attention. While it was a little bit of a struggle for you to sit through the whole montage & to later eat all of your pizza, you enjoyed every second of making & drinking your milkshake.

Thank you so much for such a special evening. I know you are planning to be a princess-ballerina when you grow up, but if that doesn't work out I think there is a future for you in event planning. You truly are the very best.

I love you so,

Friday, October 17, 2014

love letters

Dear Em,
"I'm never gonna let you down
I'm always gonna build you up
And when you're feeling lost
I will always find you love
I'm never gonna walk away
I'm always gonna have your back
And if nothing else you can always count on that
When you need me
I promise I will never let you down..."
- Never Gonna Let You Down by Colbie Caillat

October will always make me reminisce more than any other month...mostly about your daddy & I. We shared our first kiss in October. We started dating in October. He proposed to me on the beach in October, & we got married on a beautiful day in October. Six years ago, we were honeymooning in October. October will always feel like love to me.

Thirteen years ago today, we officially started dating (although, it wasn't facebook official, because we didn't have facebook back then). I really can't believe that we've been together for 13 years. Gawd, they've flown by. 

Just after Daddy threw me in the ocean & just before he first kissed me in October 2001.
Right after we got engaged in October 2006.
Husband & Wife in October 2008.
Honeymooning in St. Lucia in October 2008.

I thank God for your daddy & the past thirteen years. It's not that every moment has been perfection or that we never disagree (actually, we just had disagreements yesterday about leaving the pantry door open & leaving crumbs in chip bags). Love isn't something that always comes easy. It's a decision we make each & every day. Every day I choose your daddy. In Daddy I found someone who will always stand by me, a partner, & best friend. More than anything, I'm so incredibly thankful that your Daddy gave me the greatest gift I will ever

Pregnant in October 2009.
Our family of three in October 2010.
No matter where I go or what I do, our little family of three is my favorite thing in the whole world...

October 2014
...and October will always remind me of love.

I love you so,
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