Monday, October 31, 2011

Little Bo Peep

At the Dear Em,
If my heart didn't already belong to you, Little Bo Peep would have stolen it this year. I know I'm a little biased, but I think you're the most adorable & amazing Little Bo Peep in all the world.

Almost 28 years between us. I think you kinda look like your Mommy.

I just found your aunt Jennie wearing the costume too. I was Jem (& I was truly outrageous, truly, truly, truly outrageous).

While it seems that my family has a long tradition of being Little Bo Peep, I think the Bo Peep 2011 model is quite an upgrade...
Believe it or not, this is not even all of your lambs. 
My heart just melts 

This halloween photo shoot was a family effort. The MVP award goes to you for sitting longer than 30 seconds & looking so darn cute. An honorable mention goes to Daddy who stood behind me & made fart noises in attempt to make you laugh & smile.

You may notice that there is snow in the background. Yup, our first snow of the season came on October 29th here in Rhode Island. I don't typically drag you & Daddy outside for photo shoots in the snow, but it was finally sunny & light out (& the day before Halloween so I didn't really have any time left). So, I layered you up underneath your costume & hoped for the best. I will love these pictures forever.

Trick or treating was wicked fun. You called your lamb your "little peep." You tried saying "trick or treat" but you were just so in awe of all the other trick or treaters, especially your very favorite angel. It's not very often that you're speechless, & it was funny to your daddy & I. You held out your spider-bag like a champ & got so excited to receive your treats.

Trick or Treat!

Our favorite trick or treating friends.
Sweet treats & sweet friends.
We had only two trick or treaters at our house. So, I gave them both a big handful of candy. As they watched the handful fall into their bags, they exclaimed "whoa!" It was so cute.

Thank you for making my Halloween so magical by just being you.

I love you so,

hope your halloween is berry special

Dear Em,

Happy Halloween! This month has flown by. I feel like October just started. How can it be Halloween already? Sometimes I just need a moment to think of all the sweet moments that have passed by in the blink of an eye.

Last year was our first Halloween as a family of three & I remember feeling magic in the air as we dressed you up & took you on your very first trick-or-treating adventure. I know you weren't exactly old enough to eat candy, but that didn't mean that Daddy & Mommy couldn't have fun, right?

You were the most adorable little strawberry I've ever seen. You were ten months old & had been walking for a month and a half. The strawberry costume allowed you to move freely but had the perfect amount of padding for your little bum (as you were still tumbling & landing on it quite a bit).

Halloween has become so much more magical since you've joined our lives. I can't wait to dress you up in your Little Bo Peep Costume & watch you twirl in excitement. I can just picture you pitter patter from door to door, exclaim "trick or treat" in your sweet, little voice, & jump with delight when you receive your treats. I'm buzzing with anticipation & excitement just thinking about it.

I hope Halloween is as magical for you this year as I know it will be for me. I'm sure i'll be posting pictures soon.

I love you so,

Friday, October 28, 2011

love letters

Picture taken by Shannon Pattie

Dear Em,
Today two of our sweetest friends will say "I Do" & promise to be there for each other in good times, bad times, & all the other times in between. I feel so fortunate that your daddy & I are invited to see them make such a beautiful promise of love.

"For hearing my thoughts, understanding my dreams and being my best friend...for filling my life with joy and loving me without end...I do."

I am so blessed to have your daddy as a best friend & copilot throughout our adventures in life. It fills my heart with joy when a dear friend finds his/her best friend & copilot.

And when you're lucky enough to have a junior co-pilot join you on your adventure, well, that's what dreams are made of.

I love you so,

Thursday, October 27, 2011

suitcase living

Dear Em,
I feel as though I spent the majority of this month living out of a suitcase. We've had so many fun adventures, but I'm kinda ready for life to just s...l...o...w...d...o...w...n. Tonight is my last overnight away from home this month. I'm away for work, & I missed kissing your cheeks, taking your face into my hands, & saying "sweet dreams, I love you" before bed tonight. I miss listening to you breathe in and out on our monitor.

You & Daddy called to say goodnight, & my heart was happy hearing you read books with Daddy. You giggled as you said, "see you tomorrow, mommy." I felt all of the day's stress melt away knowing you were having a special night with just Daddy.

And then I walked into my hotel room. What a happy surprise to find that my room is a harbor view executive suite...sigh. I feel a little bit like the kid in "Home Alone." Ok, maybe a lot. This place is incredible.

The views.

Seriously, this place is so cool. There are shampoo/conditioner dispensers in the shower.

I kinda want to take this bathroom home with me & the robe is wicked comfy.


I'm sure some of my colleagues are living it up in Boston right now...& I am too. Tonight I am living it up by enjoying Boston Harbor's amazing views & doing Sigh.

I can't wait to snuggle you in my arms again tomorrow, but until then I'm going to enjoy life. Life is really so beautiful.

I love you so,

the dress

Dear Em,
This is a photo taken 28 years ago of a little girl who was just about your age- me. This is just one of thousands of photographs taken of me as a child. It might not seem like a big deal to you. We have over a thousand photographs of you from just your first year, but my childhood photos were taken in a different era, an era before digital technology. As a mommy, I can't even imagine snapping photos of you, having no idea what image I actually captured, waiting a couple weeks to develop my photos, & paying for them whether I liked them or not (I'm not even going to get into the difficulties of photo sharing). I can tell you one thing, there would be an awful lot of photos capturing the back of your head as you run away.

I'm so blessed that your nonnie worked so hard to capture my childhood memories.

In most photos I look very similar to the picture above: perfectly posed & all dressed up in pink, bows, ribbons, & lace. Your nonnie claims that I liked dressing that way, but I've always believed the outfits were her idea. Clearly, the excessive frills have led to my current avoidance of sporting anything pink or anything that requires tights/nylons (which I talked about here). I've spent most of my life shaking my head at many of my childhood memories. I can't believe my mother dressed me up in outfits like that everyday. I mean, it's the top.

This particular outfit always kind of reminded me of Little Bo Peep. So, when sheep became one of your loves, I asked your nonnie if she still had the dress for you to wear...for Halloween. Sadly, the dress didn't survive all of our moves, but Nonnie did still have the pattern & some of the fabric she used to make my original dress. Your nonnie (who is so loving & creative & talented & giving & amazing & we are so blessed to have her in our lives) made this year's Little Bo Peep Costume from the same fabric & pattern as my childhood dress.

It finally arrived in the mail earlier this week, & we talked to your nonnie on skype while we opened the package. It's so amazingly beautiful (really, she is so talented). I put each piece of the outfit on you while your nonnie set me straight. She had actually made the original dress for me to wear to a wedding I was going to. I loved the dress so much that she tried to get as much use out of it as possible during special occasions (hence the above portrait).

When I had finished dressing you in the dress, your nonnie & Papi & I watched you giggle & exclaim, "I'm so beautiful!" You twirled & laughed & jumped up & down & called Daddy to "come see me!" It was so surreal to watch you shine in MY dress. In that precious moment- to have your nonnie & papi there (even if they couldn't really be there), to feel your excitement resonate throughout the room, to listen to their stories of me wearing the dress, & to watch you twirl so sweetly- my heart just overflowed. It was...well...magical. Which is fitting, because for me, that is what Halloween is all about.

After seeing you beam in the dress, I finally believed that it probably was me, and not your nonnie, who loved the frills & the pink & the ruffles & the lace. Whoops.

I love you so,

* Readers, I'm hoping to have pictures of Em in the dress to share by Tuesday. In the meantime, Happy trick-or-treating to you & your little loves*

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Dear Em,
I was just thinking of the Halloween before you were born. I was 32 weeks pregnant & driving to Target to pick up some Halloween candy to give out to the two trick or treaters in our neighborhood. The song "Thriller" started to play on the radio, & all of a sudden I felt a swift poke in my belly. I looked down to see my belly moving in all directions. I'm pretty sure you were doing some kind of breakdancing in there. It was such a funny & sweet moment, the moment I realized my daughter loves the song "Thriller."

Whenever I hear the song, I feel such a strong urge to do a choreographed dance (that I don't currently know, but it will just come to me like it does in the movies, right?). I must have listened to this song a million times, but I don't think I've ever really listened to the lyrics. They're kind of scary.

"...You hear the door slam and realize there's nowhere left to run
You feel the cold hand and wonder if you'll ever see the sun
You close your eyes and hope that this is just imagination, girl!
But all the while you hear the creature creeping up behind
You're out of time

'Cause this is thriller, thriller night
There ain't no second chance against the thing with forty eyes, girl
Thriller, thriller night
You're fighting for your life inside a killer, thriller tonight..."

Michael Jackson- Thriller

I've always preferred a Halloween full of magic rather than one that is full of fright. Luckily, thriller dance parties aren't scary at all. Let's dance.

I love you so,

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

hoot-iful halloween treats

Dear Em,
Since I don't have to worry about making you a costume (thanks to your nonnie), I had fun making these with you instead.

When One Charming Party posted a blog about these, I squealed with delight. You love owls! One of your favorite books is Little Hoot, & after your baths we wrap you up in a little owl towel. I couldn't wait to do this project with you.

What we needed:
- Chocolate cake mix (some mommies might make it from scratch, but this was quicker)
- cupcake tins
- brown cupcake wrappers
- coconut pecan frosting
- Oreo cookies (double stuffed)
- Reese's Pieces

We used german chocolate frosting instead of regular chocolate frosting, which I think is both yummier & gave them a more textured look. We first got reduced fat Oreos, but I think reduced fat just means reduced frosting. It was super hard to pull the Oreos apart. Daddy rescued us by running to the store & picking up double stuffed Oreos.

These were so easy & so fun to make with you.

My sous chef is ready

I turned my head for 2 seconds & my
sous chef was covered in batter
It would have been so fun to make these for your classmates, but sadly your classroom is peanut free (I wonder if there is a good Reese's Pieces substitute & if Oreos are made in a facility that is peanut free). Luckily, our friends & family can enjoy our cute, little masterpieces. The best part was watching you eat them.

I think our owls are super cute & so are you.

I love you so,

* Readers, are there any yummy & fun halloween treats you will be making this year? *

halloweening, dwight schrute style

Dear Em,
It's less than a week until Halloween. Somehow I always have your costume planned out MONTHS in advance, but your daddy & I scramble around at the last minute (if we end up dressing up at all).

For parents who are scrambling, I thought these last minute costumes look so quick & inexpensive to make. They're also wicked cute.

I have to say the "Dwight from The Office" costume made me actually LOL. Your daddy & I love The Office. How fun would it be to round up a group of kids & dress them up as the whole cast? You would make such an adorable Pam. I just got a little giddy thinking of it.

Here's to fun last minute inspiration.

I love you so,

* Readers, what will you and/or your little loves be this halloween? *

Monday, October 24, 2011

to trick or treat or not to trick or treat?

Dear Em,
Can you believe Halloween is only a week away? I wonder if when you're my age you will have Halloween traditions. Growing up all over the country, my Halloween experience changed from year to year.

There was one tradition that remained the same year after year. While many of our friends made a trip to the store each year to pick out costumes, your nonnie handmade our costumes each year. Lucky for us! Your nonnie made us the most amazing costumes: Cleopatra, Pocahontas, Minnie Mouse, Jem...we rocked the costume contests.

What we did changed from year to year. There were times we went out trick or treating to EVERY door in the neighborhood until we were all ready to drop (& then fueled up on candy until we were ready to bounce off the walls). Some years we stayed in and enjoyed Halloween as a family with our friends. Other years we went trick or treating at the mall where it was warm & your Nonnie & Papi felt it was more safe. It changed every year.

Last year your daddy & I thought about what Halloween traditions we would start for our little family. I knew we would dress you up...I mean, I had spent 5 years dressing up our cats (to their extreme disgust & your daddy's embarrassment). I was dying to dress up someone who would have fun with it.

The question your daddy & I had a hard time answering was: to trick or treat or not trick or treat? You were only 10 months old & didn't even eat candy. You had just started walking & couldn't go great distances, & trick or treating in New England is typically cold & dark. We struggled with wanting you to have a fun first Halloween experience but being concerned about how safe or practical it would be to take you out.

We heard about Olde Mistick Village from a good friend who was going to be taking your favorite 3 year old. It was the perfect solution. Mistick Village is an outdoor shopping area. On Halloween, the shops open their doors to trick or treaters. It runs from 4-6, before it gets too dark or cold. We didn't have to worry about cars buzzing by. We didn't have to worry about people poisoning you Daddy (Let's be real, the candy was for Daddy) with tampered candy. We didn't have to worry about walking long distances. It was the perfect mix of fun & safety.

Super Why leads the way
to the candy
It was such a yummy first Halloween for the three of us. We can't wait to go again this year.

This year Daddy will have to share the candy.

I love you so,

* Readers, what holiday traditions to you have/hope to build? *

Friday, October 21, 2011

love letters

Dear Em,
You were crying one morning while I got you dressed & a song just popped in my head. I couldn't remember all the words, but you said, "again!" each time I sang the few words I could remember. I downloaded the song & now it's one of our favs to dance around the house to.

Here is our favorite part:
"...Take a good look around
And if you're lookin' down
Put a little love in your heart

I hope when you decide
Kindness will be your guide
Put a little love in your heart

And the world will be a better place
And the world will be a better place
For you and me
You just wait and see

Put a little love in your heart
Put a little love in your heart
Put a little love in your heart
Put a little love in your heart
Put a little love in-
Put a little love in your heart..."

Put a Little Love In Your Heart
sung by Al Green & Annie Lennox

I know the world is a better place with you & your love in it. I love an oldie but goodie, don't you?

I love you so,

Thursday, October 20, 2011

your very own Brutus

J & your mommy rocking our Ohio State
gear & carrying our little loves
Dear Em,
I met my best friend at the University of Rhode Island. I can't say we hit it off right away. It's so amazing & funny how things work out. One day we realized that not only were we both Jersey girls, we grew up only 20 minutes away from each other. Our friendship grew over our 6 hour (sometimes longer during traffic) car-rides back & forth to Jersey. J drove & I fed her candy to keep her happy.

When she left for Ohio State I was both excited to see her follow her dreams of being a vet & crushed that my best friend was moving so far away (I still had another year left as an undergrad). Even far away, our friendship has grown. It's grown with distance & meeting our loves & graduating & getting married & getting pregnant.

Although Ohio State is far far away from Rhode Island, it does have something we don't have in Rhode Island (other than a vet school): an exciting Big Ten football team. Your great grandma was a HUGE Ohio State fan (I loved to bring her souvenirs from my visits with J). So, since URI football is not exactly broadcasted nationally, we've become honorary Ohio State fans. We don't regularly watch the games, & honestly we don't really understand college football (all the bowls & arbitrary rankings...we just don't get it). Basically, we're happy for J & D when Ohio State wins & we enjoy rocking the Ohio State gear that J sends us for holidays. I'm hoping to one day make it to a game. I love love love football, & it would be wicked fun to experience the buzz of such an amazing & big college stadium on game day.

While you didn't get to experience Ohio State on this trip, you did get your favorite Ohio State souvenir, Brutus. You loved Brutus the Buckeye so much, you cried when I took him out of your hands to give him to the cashier to ring him up. Plus, Ohio State won this week. I think you might be an Ohio State goodluck charm. I know great grandma is looking down from heaven with a twinkle in her eyes & a smile on her face.

Isn't J just the cutest pregnant woman ever?
She's so tiny everywhere except her little belly bump.

I hope one day we'll go to an Ohio State, daddy, me, J, D, & their little love. Maybe you'll meet the real Brutus. Wouldn't that be a fun adventure?

I love you so,

corn maze (take two)

Dear Em,
I learned something new about my best friend last week. She had never been in a corn maze before. Can you believe that?! Being a thirty-something & never experiencing the fun of a corn maze? I hope that by the time you're a thirty-something, we've been to thirty corn mazes (which is entirely possibly with the role we're on). So, J & D couldn't wait to take you on their first corn maze adventure.

There was just one obstacle: your nap...or can I just say the lack thereof? Napping was not really the highlight of your Ohio trip. You avoided naps like the plague. I just tried to roll with it & learn to love a napless vacation. However, you are very much like your daddy. You NEED sleep. You without sleep= an adorable crank-a-potomus.

So, with high hopes of a happy toddler, we got into the car & headed off to Iron's Farm for a fun adventure. If you're in the Cincinnati area, Iron's Farm is so stinkin' cute. There was a petting zoo, pumpkin picking, hayrides, a cute tractor-barrel ride, & a building full of yummy goodies.

You were less than impressed. After we walked away from the petting zoo area, you were a downright grump. You wanted to be held & only by Mommy. It was literally a flashback of our last pumpkin picking/corn maze adventure. Yet again, we entered the corn maze with you in my arms.

This corn maze had a fun twist. It included a map & if we found all the hidden checkpoints, we won fresh-made apple donuts. I'm sure their donuts are super yummy, but we decided to skip the challenge. It was a little too challenging with a cranky toddler in tow.

In desperation & exhaustion, I put you down & handed you the map. Suddenly, the clouds parted & you actually smiled. We were happy to let you happily navigate for the next ten minutes. You even found one of the hidden checkpoints. I was so proud of my little navigator.

Then I did the unthinkable...I asked you to take a picture with J & D. That's when you threw a professional level tantrum. Luckily, D scooped you up & put you on his shoulders. I (lovingly) ignored your whimpers & your protests & walked ahead to help J figure out where we were. We got back on track in the maze, & I suddenly realized it had gotten quiet...strangely quiet. I turned around, a little worried D had dropped you off at a hidden checkpoint, to find you still sitting quietly on D's shoulders. You were sitting quietly, but you were fighting- fighting sleep. I watched your eyes droop...your head droop...your body droop...until you were fast asleep in the most uncomfortable looking position ever. I can't believe you didn't wake up to my giggles, because it was hilarious!

body do you sleep like that?!
You woke up when D transferred you into my arms during the hayride back. Good thing too, because you woke up just in time to beg me to squeeze into a small barrel & join you for a tractor barrel ride.

I wonder if J & D will always remember their first corn maze. I know that I will.

I love you so,

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

farm living

Dear Em,
Your great grandma (the one you got your middle name from) grew up on a farm in Ohio. She always hoped to someday go back & loved to hear about our visits to Ohio.

I wish she could have been with us this past weekend to play at the farm J & D live on. I'm sure there are so many differences between the farm great grandma lived on & the one we just visited. For one thing, I bet great grandma didn't have four wheelers.

Mommy, J, & Em ready for a ride

You drove a four wheeler & a golf cart through the golden Ohio soybean fields, & you loved it.

Farm living is so fun. Don't you agree?

I love you so,

kid-friendly skies

Dear Em,
We're back! Well, we've been back since late Sunday night, but Monday I was so exhausted I wished I had a coffee IV permanently attached to my body. Tuesday was a catch-up day for both work & home. With me being such a travel-induced zombie, I was amazed to see you play so blissfully & quietly with your toys. As much as I hate to come back from vacation, it's always so nice to return home. I think you feel it too: appreciation. Isn't it funny how much more you appreciate home & life after you've left it for a while?

I remember the days when I went on trips solo. The travel portion of the trips were not quite as involved. Flying somewhere was almost nice. With just my IPod & a book packed in my carry-on, the flight was a quiet time for book reading, music listening, or sleeping. My biggest concern was the annoying kid kicking the back of my I fly with the annoying (but absolutely adorable) kid kicking the back of the chair. Quiet time to myself has become non-existent.

This was your 6th (or 7th) round trip flight. So, by now we're starting to feel like frequent fliers.

There are so many things I have learned along the way about flying with a baby/toddler:
- Children under the age of two are considered lap children & fly on their parent's laps for free. Some airlines require proof of age (i.e. shot records or birth certificate) & some merely ask your child's date of birth. If the flight is not full, many airlines will allow you to give your child his/her own seat next to yours.
- Most airlines allow parents to bring a stroller &/or carseat without any additional charge (strollers & carseats can be loaded as luggage or checked at the gate).
- Airport security allows baby food & drink. Since I pumped & you bottle fed, we typically brought 2-4 bottles with us in our carry-on. Now we bring a sippy of regular milk for you. We announce that we have milk in our carry-on before sending it through the x-ray machine. Different airports have different protocols for checking/testing liquids, but if it's for a child it's allowable.
- Most airlines have a special boarding time for families traveling with children under the age of 5.
- I read somewhere in a blog (I think DesignMom) that typically people are less likely to get annoyed by well-dressed children. I totally agree! I try to dress you in outfits that are both cute & comfortable for flights.
- You can look online or call to find the exact protocols of the airlines you're flying with (other resources: & TSA guidlines).

The first time I flew with you, you were 2 1/2 months old. I brought a stroller, a boppy, 5 changes of clothes & bibs (you had acid reflux & we used them all), your diaper bag, pacifiers, & 4 bottles. I fed you during take-off & landing to help your little ears adjust to the changing pressure. Otherwise, you mostly slept & the people sitting next to us commented on how amazing you were doing on your first flight.

The most difficult part about the trip (other than carrying everything but the kitchen sink through the airport & onto the plane) was changing your diaper. You were a poo-after-every-meal baby (I know, you are probably so annoyed that I just shared this with the world three people who actually read this blog...sorry). So, I changed you before each flight, in between flights, & (most difficult of all) during most flights. Have you ever checked for a baby changing table in an airplane bathroom? It's there, but there's not a whole lot of space to work with. There is barely enough space to stand up in those bathrooms. Now add a diaper bag, turbulence, & a squirmy's like living a horror movie. I'm proud to say I successfully changed your diaper in that scary space. However, the next time your diaper smelled a little sour, I almost got down on my hands & knees & thanked the woman sitting next to us who said it would be easier for me to change you on the seat in between us. She actually asked what she could do to help, & didn't mind me changing your stinky diaper right next to her seat (I believe that woman was an airplane angel, & it's the most amazing thing to sit next to an airplane angel...the grandparents who smile & say that they have grandchildren just about your age & "understand"...the twenty-something who is an uncle & just experienced a flight with his four nephews aged 7 to 1. These people should be awarded first class tickets on their next flights. They are such a blessing to parents. Fortunately, we've sat next to so many airplane angels & very few airplane meanies).

As you grew older, the acid reflux subsided & we didn't need to bring as many clothing options. However, sleeping on flights no longer became an option & we had to increase entertainment options. Having 5-10 items packed to the brim in our carry-on for your entertainment was ideal. Your attention span lasted from 5-10 minutes. So, we brought out each item for 5-10 minutes & then rotated. We had snacks, books, toys that lit up & made noises, snuggly stuffed animals, & colorful taggy blankets.

You can imagine how there has been very little "me" time for your daddy & I during trips since you were born.

Now you're almost two, & you've discovered digital mediums. I packed our portable DVD player, an IPad, your fav lamby & snuggle blanket, snacks, & your diaper pack in my backpack for the flight. You were mostly happy to watch Super Why & Tangled. I say mostly because you're never really happy to be sitting still. Your feet were constantly bouncing up & down (luckily after the 5,000th time I asked you to stop kicking the seat in front of you, the man sitting in it told us he could barely feel your pitter patter & asked me not to worry about it...yup, another angel).

In order to expend as much of your energy as possible outside of the flight, we enjoy a good run on the horizontal escalators during our layovers.

At 9:55 Sunday night, we boarded our last flight. I was carrying a heavy carseat while pushing a stroller. I had accidentally tried to walk onto the wrong flight & was so mortified with embarrassment I wanted to melt into the floor. I was exhausted & stressed & ready to cry. I couldn't wait to be home snuggling with your daddy while you slept soundly in your bed.

And then you turned it all around.

As we walked to the back of the plane, you said "hi" to every single person in an isle seat. You had the whole plane laughing. One woman said you were sure to someday be the president of the United States. We spent most of the plane ride singing Miss Mary Mac, 10 Little Monkeys, & the Itsy-Bitsy Spider. We didn't need our backpack at all.

When I feel like curling into a ball & sobbing, you always find a way to make me smile & remember everything I love about life.

Thanks for joining me for our fun adventure.

I love you so,

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

you're amazing...

this is how you roll

Dear Em,
During the first year & a half of your life, we were so blessed & lucky to have amazing people come to our home & watch you while Mommy & Daddy were at work. We could put our 100% into our jobs, knowing that you were loved and cared for during our work-day. Last month you started preschool, and it's been a transition for all of us. Our hearts ached knowing how tough the transition must be for you. It must have been so confusing for you to be left with people you didn't know, in an unfamiliar place. Your Daddy & I love the school you're going to & hoped that you would come to love it too, but the first three weeks were difficult, really difficult.

I love you so, and spend my work-day missing your smile. I look forward to picking you up from school & hugging you in my arms. With that said, let me tell you, for three weeks the 25 minute drive from your school to our house was about as amazing as spending an entire day at the DMV. You were absolutely fine during the walk from your classroom to our car, but the moment I clicked you into the carseat, you lost it. Have you ever listened to a fire alarm right behind your ear for 25 minutes straight? I think that may be a far more lenient punishment.

When your dad got home from work, I thought about talking up how amazing pick-up is. I thought about telling him your school gave me a full spa treatment, oil change, & car wash just for picking you up each day. Maybe pick-up would sound so amazing that your daddy would offer to do it everyday for the rest of your life? Instead, I broke down. "I can't handle the drive home," I whined on the verge of tears (I'm sure your daddy wanted to get out of listening to me whine as much as I wanted to get out of listening to you wail).

I knew that you were sleep deprived & confused & feeling abandoned, but there is nothing worst than listening to the person you love most scream in your ears for 25 minutes while you're trying to concentrate on not crashing the car into a jersey barrier. After only a week, we questioned if we had chosen the right school. I was ready to get down on my knees & beg your nannies to come back.

And then, all of a sudden, it got better. We gave you an earlier bedtime, I stocked my car with enough snacks to feed the state of Rhode Island, & you started to feel acclimated at your school. That's when it happened. We had one of those perfect moments.

I had asked you how your day went, & you had already given me minimal details. You were quietly snacking on pretzels in your carseat. I was thinking about what I was going to make for dinner & how I was going to fit all the things I needed to get done into my work agenda. In the background, Bruno Mars' Just the Way You Are was playing softly (we're both big fans of Bruno Mars). Suddenly I heard your little voice sing behind me, "You're amaaaaaaazing...just the way you ahhhhhhh." It was so sweet, happy tears started to well in my eyes. You continued to sing in the most amazing, off key, toddler voice. "Mommy, you're amaaaaaaaaazing...just the way you ahhhhh." I couldn't have been more happy or more touched if Bruno Mars himself was sitting in my backseat singing himself.

Once we got home & I had camera on hand, I tried to get you to do a repeat performance. You would not sing for me upon request. I guess it was more special that way. You gave me exactly what I needed, at just the right time. You gave me such a special gift. You are such a special gift. Em, you are the most amazing person I know...just the way you are. I hope you always know that.

I love you so,

Monday, October 17, 2011

who wants to egg allen gant's house?

Dear Em,
I'm thinking of finding allen gant, the inventor of panty hose, & egging his house. Want to join me?

Every since I was a little girl, I remember hating tights. As an adult, my hatred extended to nylons. We just haven't established a very good relationship. They never seem to feel or fit right. They're all saggy in some spots & all tight like a sausage casing in other parts. Believe me, it's really not pretty. Plus, I've yet to meet a pair of nylons or tights that I can take out for a full day without returning with a run or a snag.

That is why, although I admit I sometimes dress you up for your everyday life as if you were on your way to a run-way gig, I REFUSE to subject you to tights. I may subject you to tutus, pigtails, hair bows, and impractical footwear, but I must draw the line somewhere. The perfect alternative: leggings! At this moment, there are approximately 10 pairs in different colors and patterns folded and sitting in your closet., bringing practicality & fashionability to your whimsical wardrobe.

If I want to wear a dress in between the months of September and May, bare legs are just not an option...we live in New England, afterall. So, I've spent the majority of my life constantly finding myself turning back to my dysfunctional relationship with nylons and tights. When leggings started to become fashionable for women as well as children, I couldn't help but think God had answered my prayers. I ran to my sock drawer with every intention of exterminating every pair of tights and nylons I owned.

The problem? Where are all of the fun adult leggings? Options pretty much include black and grey. Seriously? That's it. You get to rock your polka dots & stripes & red candy canes & I get black & grey?

I don't know if you'll ever realize how lucky you were as a one and a half year old. sigh.

I love you so,

Friday, October 14, 2011

love letters

Dear Em,
Today is your papi's birthday. When I asked you how old he was, you said "Papi one & I two." We all laughed, but I think Papi likes the age you gave him just fine.

Your Papi loved you before he even met you. On the day of Mommy & Daddy's wedding, your Papi spent the entire father-daughter dance talking...talking about you! You might ask, "how can that be? I wasn't even born until more than a year after your wedding." That's true, but your Papi was dreaming of you long before you were born. He was hoping for you, & before you were even conceived he loved you. 

To see the two of you together fills my heart with joy. As I watch the two of you talk, I watch your papi transform. It seems like all of his stress & worries melt away. You make Papi smile & laugh in an amazing way that no one else can quite do.

On your Daddy & Mommy's wedding day, I danced with Papi to the song, The Way You Look Tonight by Tony Bennet. I will always hold in my heart the way your Papi looked that night, & the words of love he spoke about you before you were even born.

The Way You Look Tonight

Someday when I'm awfully low
When the world is cold
I feel a glow just thinking of you 
And the way you look tonight.
Oh, but you're lovely with your smile so warm 
And your cheek so soft
There is nothing for me but to love you 
And the way you look tonight
With each word your tenderness grows
Tearing my fears apart
And that laugh that wrinkles your nose touches my foolish heart
Lovely, never ever change
Keep that breathless charm
Won't you please arrange it? 
'Cause I love you
Just the way you look tonight...

Happy Birthday, Papi! On your special day I hope love surrounds you & embraces you, the sun shines, & God blesses you.

I love you so,

Thursday, October 13, 2011

our first year favorites (part two)

Dear Em,
To continue the discussion of our top twelve first year favorites, let's start with: you were a very active baby. It's possible I still have internal damage from your kicks & punches in the womb. Once you were born, you were always trying to roll, jump, kick, walk, climb. On any given day, our emotions run the gammut from amazed by what you have just physically accomplished to white knuckle scared that you are going to experience an injury from trying to be an olympic athlete.


I don't know if we didn't register for one or we just didn't get one. We realized soon before you were born that we didn't have one & your daddy's cousin offered to let us borrow hers. I cannot believe how much we used this. You were less than a week old the first time you played in the gym, and you loved it. The different colors you could focus your little eyes one & the hanging things that you could reach for & kick fascinated you. We actually had baby playdates with you & your baby best friend in your gym. You loved the gym so much that Nonnie & Papi bought one when we went to visit them, & they let us take that one back with us (we kept one upstairs & one downstairs). The one from Nonnie & Papi also had lights & music. I loved to listen to your baby giggles & your baby gurgle conversations with the hanging animals. Your gym gave me the time I needed to fix my hair in the morning, & it made tummy time (which was often a disaster due to the acid reflux) a little more bearable for you.

Daddy, Em, & her first wheels

Oh-Em-Gee, I can't help but smile thinking of you cruising around in your walker. It was your very first car, & let's just say we're a little more than worried about your future driving skills. You were an early walker (yup, you were only 8 1/2 months old when you started toddling on your own), but we had a feeling early on that you probably would be. From your very first month of life, you were constantly trying to stand & push off with your legs. We tried to be your human walkers, but it was incredibly tiring & uncomfortable bending down & holding you so your feet just met the floor as you put one foot in front of the other. So, off you & I went to Babies R Us to buy a walker. I wasn't originally planning to buy you your first convertible. I plopped you into the one at the store, & you were just too stinkin' cute. In fact, a woman walking by (maybe a Babies R Us employee in disguise) said, "She looks so cute. You just have to buy that one for her." You used that walker everyday from that day until the day you started walking on your own (in fact, Nonnie & Papi bought one for their house & Grandma & Papa bought a walker for their house for when you went to visit). You crashed into everything, & we loved it. I'm hoping we can save your walker for hopefully our grand-little loves, because they don't make this one anymore. 

rocker or yoga ball

Before you were born, I had dreams of rocking you in a rocking chair. I was going to use it to sit on as we read together & as I sang you to sleep. The glider/ottoman were your Daddy's Christmas presents to me the Christmas before you were born (I was hoping you would be my Christmas present that year, but you missed it by 5 days). Your rapid movements before you were born should have clued us in to the fact you would want to constantly be moving once born. As an infant (and for the most part still now), you never wanted to be still. We literally had to bounce our bodies as we held you if we were sitting in a still spot. The glider provided a perfect amount of movement for you as an infant, & we still sit in it as we read bedtime stories and say our prayers before bed. However, gliders (& ottomans) can be quite pricey & also take up space. For some, a rocking chair is not an option, and we found a good alternative: the yoga ball. Like I said, you wanted to constantly be moving, but we live in a multiple floor house. I briefly considered asking your daddy to transport the glider & ottoman downstairs during the day & bring them back upstairs in the evenings. I quickly realized how many ways that could go wrong. So, when downstairs we were forced to stand & rock our bodies while holding you or look like we were having seizures by bouncing our bodies as we sat. Then one day I realized how well sitting on the yoga ball & bouncing worked to sooth you. It's portable, compact, & inexpensive. Your aunt Jennie watched me sooth your baby cries as we gently bounced one night & exclaimed, "you have just taught me that I don't need a rocking chair- just a yoga ball." I guess it's true. Although, I wouldn't suggest bedtime stories on the yoga ball. 
*As an added bonus, your nonnie & aunt Jennie made me bounce on the yoga ball to try to induce labor when you didn't come by your due date. It didn't work, but that's another letter.*


With your need for constant movement, your crib & pack & play were not conducive to sleep in our household. The swing was a lifesaver. The movement of the swing calmed you, & the nice thing about the one that we got you was that we could alter it to swing from side to side or back to front. We could also recline you more or less. You slept in the swing for all of your naps & each night for almost three months. At around three months old you basically signaled to us that you were ready for the crib by screaming until we moved you from the swing to the crib, where you slept perfectly fine for the rest of the night (to my horror! I wasn't ready for you to sleep in your own room, yet...but I guess you needed your space). Those first three months, you made it too easy on us. You started sleeping from basically 11pm to 5 or 6am by the time you were a week old, &, except for a few times when you've been sick, sleep has been a wonderful & easy thing in our house (knock on wood). I give the credit to the swing...& God.


Keeping with the theme that you were always moving, you really enjoyed your bouncer & exersaucer. They both allowed you to always keep your feet and hands active. We really enjoyed the bouncer & exersaucer, because they allowed us to get things done. Once putting you in one of these, we had a good 20 minutes of free time for our hands. We kept the bouncer attached to a doorway upstairs. So, if I needed to put laundry away, fix my hair, or do some upstairs cleaning, you were happy to help me along with my tasks by happily bouncing away. We kept the exersaucer downstairs. The exersaucer allowed us to do dishes, vaccumming, & make dinner. I know, it's a charmed life we lead, right? I've put the bouncer & exersaucer into the same category, because you probably would have been just as satisfied with one or the other. In fact, they make some bouncers-exsersaucer combos. I think they're called jumperoos.

activity table

Once you started to toddle around, you no longer wanted to be confined in things like the walker, exersaucer, bouncer, & swing. So, unfortunately, we didn't get much more use out of those once you turned 8 1/2 months & started walking. I didn't even know about activity tables until one day when we picked you up at the church nursery. You were so excited to be standing & playing without being stuck inside of something. We found that they are very reasonably priced (in comparison to other baby toys), & we bought one for our house. The one that we picked was musical, & your eyes just lit up each & every time you hit a button on the table. You were holding on to the table with the music playing the first time we watched you dance on your own. You rocked from side to side, from one foot to the other foot. You were so happy & carefree as you toddled from your activity table to the ottomans & back to your activity table. I think we loved watching you play at that table as much as you loved playing at it.

There were so many things that made you smile & brought light into your eyes that first year, but these were just a few of our favorites. I wonder if you will have little loves of your own someday & what their favorites might be.

I love you so,

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

a record day

Dear Em,
This past Sunday we had an amazing, record breaking adventure. We woke up to a gorgeous, sunshiny day excited about going out for our annual family pumpkin picking trip. But this year our pumpkin picking adventure was a little different.

Firstly, this was the first year we didn't go to Shartner Farms. Your daddy went to Shartner Farms every year with his family when he was a little boy.

We took you there just months before you were born.

We took you for your very first pumpkin picking last year.

But I had also heard fun things about Clark Farms & I found a Groupon for 50% off of two tickets (I wicked love deals & Groupon has so many lovely local adventure deals). So, we invited Grandma & Papa to join us at Clark Farms for pumpkin picking this year & off to the farm we went.

Clark Farms is so family fun. There were so many activities for us to do once inside. Your favorites were the giant slide, the hayride, & the corn pit (you loved it so much that we finally had to drag you out of the corn pit).

We also braved the corn maze. I say we braved the corn maze because, by the end, we were all scrambling toward the refreshment stand gasping, "Water! Water!" I can't tell you how originally excited I was about the corn maze. I love corn mazes. I was excited about the new corn maze challenge, & I was excited that this year you'd be running around the maze along with us. My excitement was wilted by almost 90 degree weather. I realize 90 degrees is not that hot for people living south of New England, but 90 degrees is not normal for Rhode Island in the middle of October! In fact, it was a record high for Rhode Island. Even in a short sleeved shirt & a skirt, your face was so flushed with heat. You begged me (& only me) to hold you as we made our way through the twisted maze. I was practically crawling as we reached the end.

We learned an important lesson that day. Fall activities are just not the same in summer weather. I may complain about the extremely long & cold winter here in Rhode Island, but no one outside of New England gets an autumn quite like ours.

Heat & all, we had a blast. We think we're going to rotate each year going to Shartner Farms & Clark Farms. That way we get to enjoy a little bit of everything. I love our family traditions & this years fall summer adventure at the pumpkin patch.
Seriously, who wear shorts & short
sleeves pumpkin picking?

I love you so,

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

our first year favorites (part one)

Dear Em,
This week we are going to visit my best friend. She and I were Jersey girls together, RAs together, college girls together, maids of honor in each others weddings...& now we have something new to share. She's going to have a little love too! It fills my heart with such happiness to think of what amazing parents she & her husband will be. I hope you become life-long friends with their little love & you get to share so many of life's fun adventures together.

This week we will be helping her tackle a big job: the baby registry. This makes me think back before you were born when your Daddy & I created your baby registry (your Daddy was mostly there for moral & emotional support). I wonder if someday you'll be creating your own registry (just think of what kinds of gadgets they'll have for babies by then). So, I wanted to make you a list of twelve (it was originally going to be a list of ten, but I just couldn't cut anything out) of our first year favorites. In no particular order...

bottle warmer

A friend suggested we register for a bottle warmer. We added it to the registry, but I didn't know how often we would use it- as I planned to nurse you. Then the three of us were introduced to the wonderful world of acid reflux. It was not uncommon for you to vomit 15 times after each feeding. To eliminate some of the distress you were feeling after eating, I exclusively pumped. We measured out the exact amount of breast milk to a science & gave it to you in a bottle for each feeding. This meant, for the most part, I pumped & stored your milk in the refrigerator or freezer. We then warmed it up for you just before we fed you. Thank goodness for our bottle warmer! This handy gadget kept us from drowsily getting up in the middle of the night, waiting for water to boil & then worrying about how long to put your bottle into the boiling water. Instead, we dumped a pre-measured amount of water into this amazing piece of technology, pressed a button, & waited mere minutes for your bottle to be ready (we still checked each time to make sure the temp was just right before giving it to you). We kept in on my bed-side table. It's almost stupid-proof (& I have to admit, there weren't always a whole lot of brain cells working in your daddy's & my sleep deprived brains back then). I imagine this would be just as convenient for parents needing to warm up formula as well.


I can't say that I used the boppy to position you while nursing, I never quite figured out how to position it & you comfortably- then again, I was exclusively pumping after only one week of nursing. However, you loved laying in the middle of your boppy. It's so soft, comfy, & cute. Unlike a lot of baby gadgets, the boppy is very portable. It went everywhere with us...everywhere we were in the house, everywhere we traveled.  You were comfy & cozy & happy (which also made the boppy an excellent prop for many of your newborn photo-shoots).

changing table

So, I have to admit, the changing table is something I changed my mind on. Before you were born, I didn't see the sense of buying a piece of furniture dedicated to only the first couple years of your life (well, I guess a crib would also fit that description, & clearly you had a crib). I felt that it would just take up space, and, really, we could just change your diaper anywhere, right? I grew up in a house without changing tables, where your nonnie just changed diapers where ever the dirty diapers presented themselves. Unfortunately, I soon realized that I couldn't function without an organized space dedicated to diaper changing. I'm a little crazy about organization. We probably used the diaper changing part of your pack & play for at least six months before I admitted to myself that the pack & play took up way more space than a diaper changing table & wasn't as functional in terms of storage space. So, I swallowed my pride, admitted I was wrong for always scoffing at changing tables, & we bought one. You'll be two in December & we're still using it (although I'm hoping we will be diaper free in the next 6 months or so). I'm so thankful I realized the error of my ways. We not only use it to change your diapers, but you get dressed on your changing table every morning & every night.

video monitor

This was another thing that I didn't think we really needed. I mean, my parents never had a monitor with video & I turned out fine. Why would we need one? Your aunt Andrea offered to buy it for us as a shower gift, and we shrugged & said "why not?" Well, we certainly don't need it, but we do LOVE it. The nice thing about it when you were a newborn was to be able to know what you were doing during quiet moments.  Sometimes I would wake up with an enormous sense of fear in the middle of the night, switch on the video, & feel a huge wave of relief wash over me as I watched you breath in & out. We also didn't inconveniently wake you by opening your door to see if you were up each morning. All we had to do was flip on the video to see if you were sleeping-in or laying awake quietly in your crib. Now it's amazing to see what it is you're doing. My family lovingly refers to the monitor as Emma TV. Sometimes we wish it had a record function as we watch you lovingly rock your bear to sleep or jump up & down in your crib.

practical quality camera

Em & the paparazzi
I'm not sure I know anyone who takes as many pictures as me. I think you can relate to many've been living in the limelight & having to deal with the paparazzi (me) since the day we brought you home from the hospital. Seriously, I took 60 gigs worth of pictures in just your first year. The first few months of your life were probably even more annoying due to the fact I hated my camera. Either the flash washed out everything or everything was blurry because there was no flash. So, I had to take the same picture again & again, at different angles & different lighting to try to capture a decent shot. It was compact & a perfect size to throw into my purse & take it along on our various adventures, but it just wasn't taking the quality pictures I wanted it to. I researched which compact cameras had the best megapixel resolution, zoom abilities, & video function at the time. I would have loved to get a professional camera with the ability to change lenses & manually focus. I just knew that it wasn't practical for me, because I would hate lugging a larger camera around. Your daddy bought me my new camera


Music has always been such an important part of my life, & I hoped it would be a big part of your life too. When I found out I was pregnant, I made a play-list on my IPod for you. I listened to the play-list all through my pregnancy, believing you were listening too. I hoped it would be a familiar comfort to you once you were born. Now you love music. You practically yell at us in the car if we're driving & there is no music playing, "Moo-sic, Mommy! Moo-sic, Daddy!" I can't tell you how much joy you bring to your daddy and I as you sing your ABCs, the Itsy-Bitsy Spider, Hey Baby, and Rock-a-bye Baby (just some of your very favorites). One of the things I love about my IPhone is we have music within reach no matter where we go. We're constantly breaking out in impromptu dance parties. Actually, last week you walked into the family before school & asked your daddy & I if we would stand up & dance with you. It put a smile on my face first thing in the morning. I love that we live in a house full of music, and I can't wait to experience our music adventures of the future.

Stay tuned for your next six first year favorites.

I love you so,

Monday, October 10, 2011

go forth & explore...

Dear Em,
Today is Columbus Day, but what does that actually mean? Well, there won't be Christmas trees or Easter baskets or even a day off for Mommy & Daddy. What it means for us is you get to spend the day laughing & playing with Grandma & Grandpa while Daddy & Mommy work. What does that mean for everyone else?

Christopher Columbus lived in the 1400s & was a "navigator, colonizer and explorer whose voyages across the Atlantic Ocean led to general European awareness of the Western Hemisphere and of the American continents." I think there are many people who would disagree with many of the ways in which the American continents were colonized & developed, but without Columbus' drive to explore the unknown, we probably wouldn't be here right now. I'm not sure what Columbus Day means to everyone else, but for me it's a reminder to explore.

I hope you'll be an explorer. I hope you'll be an adventurer.

I don't think you have to sail into unknown waters to be an explorer. I don't think you even have to leave the state (although, one of the things I hope to instill in you is the awareness that there are other states outside the smallest state of Rhode Island). To me, exploration means always having questions & a yearning to find answers.

Right now for you, that means picking up an acorn, turning it in your hand, and saying "what's that?" Exploration is going to see the different kinds of animals at the zoo & different kinds of fish at the aquarium. It's smelling, tasting, touching, & seeing pieces of our lives for the first time. I love watching you explore now, the excitement in your face as you discover something new. I especially love watching you explore the lovely things this season brings us: hiking & biking & leaf peeping & apple picking & corn mazing & pumpkin carving.

I hope you won't fear the unknown as you grow older. I hope you'll be an explorer in your faith, your education, your travels, your food, & your loves.

I wish you happy & safe travels in life.

I love you so,
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...