Wednesday, November 30, 2011

You're a miracle


Dear Em,
It's day 30 of 30 days of thanks & time to wrap the month of thanksgiving up. I wanted to take a moment to let you know how very thankful I am for you.

I always knew that I wanted to be a mommy, but I never knew it would be like this. My heart has grown in ways I didn't know was possible since you came into our lives. You are a miracle. To think of the way you started as something smaller than a pinpoint & that my body partnered with God to fashion your little fingers & your little toes, it amazes me & takes my breath away.

Every moment & every stage with you has been my favorite. Each day I don't think I could possibly love you anymore & then somehow the next day...I do. When you were first born, the happiness I felt cuddling you in my arms was unsurpassed. Then you crawled & said "momma" (& later on dada) & started to toddle, & my heart swelled with joy. This past year has been an amazing adventure, because while we always had our own way of communicating, you've been learning how to really communicate in leaps & bounds. Every day is something new, & to spend each day exploring & learning & growing with you is truly magical.

You are such a little love. While not always gentle, you are so caring. You cry when someone else is crying just because it breaks your heart to see someone else feel sad. Your love in never in short supply. You are so giving with your hugs & kisses & words of love. When you put your arms around me & tell me that you love me "so much," I think it just doesn't get any better.

The other day, I got you dressed in the morning (you are starting to have more & more of a voice in what you wear each day). After we finished, you ran into my bedroom, stood in front of the mirror, & twirled around. "I'm so beautiful," you exclaimed. While you were twirling & giggling, a smile quickly stretched across my face & I could feel the dampness of tears forming in my eyes. You are so right. You are so beautiful inside & out, & I hope you will always know how beautiful you really are. I hope you will always know what a joy & a blessing & a miracle you are.

I am so incredibly thankful for every second you are in the world.

I love you so,
Mommy

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Papa's Birthday Party

Dear Em,
Tomorrow is your Papa's 60th birthday. We will be celebrating with him tomorrow, but we already got to celebrate once with him this past weekend. I'm pretty sure you were his favorite present.

The two of you were so cute together. When we sang Happy Birthday, you sang "happy Birthday to me" instead of "Happy Birthday to Papa." It made everyone smile & giggle. You & Papa shared birthday cake & ice cream. It was such a precious moment to share.



I'm so thankful for your grandma & your papa. I'm so thankful that they raised your Daddy to be the kind & loving husband & father he is. I'm so thankful for the precious moments you have with them. When they are with you, they are so young at heart.

We are so lucky in family & love.

I love you so,
Mommy

Monday, November 28, 2011

the school our little love goes to

Em's first day of school
Dear Em,
As I said before, we were so blessed that you were loved & watched at our home during your first year & a half. I was able to stay home with you for the first 5 months, your aunt Jennie came out to watch you for a month, your Nonnie watched you for a month after that, & then you were watched by the two most amazing nannies & their two sweet daughters. Your Daddy & I could put our 100% into our jobs knowing that you were loved, learning, & having a blast at home. Your nannies & their daughters became a part of our families, & it filled my heart with joy to see that you loved them as much as they loved you.

Soon after you turned one & a half, your nannies left to pursue other adventures. I knew it was coming & yet I kept pushing it from my mind. It stressed me out more than you can know. What if you didn't like school? What if you learned bad habits from the other kids? What if your teachers didn't pay enough attention to you? What if the kids were mean to you? What if you were the meanie? I was so stressed out, I put off looking at schools as long as I could.

When we finally toured schools, your nonnie came with us. Your nonnie was the one with the tough questions at the first school we went to. She shook her head with disapproval as we walked through the classrooms. I could feel my stress level rising.

I mean, not working, financially, was not an option for your Daddy & I. What could I do? I was ready to sob uncontrollably until your nonnie agreed to move from North Carolina to Rhode Island to watch you for the rest of your life.

I can't tell you how thankful I am that your school was the next one that we toured. Your nonnie smiled from ear to ear as we walked through the school. We were so impressed with the classrooms, the miniature toilets & sinks, the outside play area, the artwork all over the walls, & the teaching philosophies. You were amazed by all the baby dolls that they had in each classroom. By the end, your nonnie actually asked if she could go to the school too.

Your first few weeks were a quite a transition. You had difficulty napping, cried every time you were dropped off, & cried during the entire car ride home. Your daddy & I questioned whether or not we had made the right decision at least 467,123 times. Things quickly started to change, though. You started to talk about your friends & teachers at school & actually clapped your hands & smiled when we pulled into the school parking lot.

You can tell you love your teachers & your classmates & they love you. Each day when I pick you up your teachers laugh as they tell me a story about something you had done that day. Your "friends" at school wave by to you as we leave to go home. When we left for Ohio, your teachers looks genuinely sad as they said, "we'll miss you!"

After a two and a half months, we've noticed so many other differences too. You now clean up one toy before you take out another (well, most of the time). You know the days of the week (although, for some reason you always think that it's Tuesday). Rather than getting frustrated when a puzzle piece doesn't immediately fit, you've learned to turn the piece until it fits. You recognize so many letters, numbers, shapes, & colors now.

I was getting you dressed the other day as you sang. "Is it cloudy? Is it sunny? Oh, Mommy, won't you tell me what the weather is today?" This was not a song that we have sung with you. I immediately knew this must be a song your learned at school. I snuggled you up & squeezed you so tight. It was a lovely moment.

You, your daddy, & I spent the rest of the morning singing about the weather. Your daddy & I smiled at each other & smiled at you, really knowing that we made the right decision.

We're so very thankful for your school- a place where you can laugh, love, learn, explore, play, share, & sing. It truly makes all the difference.

I love you so,
Mommy

Sunday, November 27, 2011

the summer your nonnie made it rain

So thankful to have Nonnie & Papi in our lives.

Dear Em,
This week your nonnie & papi came to visit us, & my heart is so full. I just knew that Nonnie was going to shower you with gifts & Papi was going to fill you up with sugar. I may not have told them (or even realized it) when I was younger, but they are the most amazing parents. I learned so much about how to be a good Mommy from watching them. To see them as grandparents is to see a part of them that I didn't know existed until there was you. When the three of you are together, their eyes sparkle & they seem to get younger right before my eyes. I'm so thankful to have such amazing parents who love us to the moon & back.

Did I ever tell you the story about the summer your nonnie made it rain? It was the summer of 2009. Your nonnie always worries about me a little, I guess mommies always do. This year she was especially worried, because I was pregnant with you. I don't think nonnie & papi could have been happier, the day we called to tell them I was pregnant with you. They were in love with you immediately. Your papi dreamed of filling you up with ice cream & your nonnie learned to shop online just so she could pick out clothes & toys for you.

Your nonnie was worried about us, though. I drive around to multiple locations for my job & am in & out of the car constantly. Your nonnie knew I would be getting out of my car & into the hot heat with a suit on all summer. So, Nonnie prayed.

People who know your nonnie fondly refer to her as a prayer warrior. Nonnie seems to have a direct line to God. She prayed for almost 2 years that we would have sunshine on our wedding day. It rained the whole week before & the day after, but we had amazing sun on our day. When I have a concern, I call your nonnie & ask her to pray.

That summer nonnie prayed for cool weather. She didn't want me to overheat & pass out. She had told me this at the end of spring, & I didn't think much of it. Then it rained most of May. June came & went with more rain clouds. July was dreary, & I started to get cranky. I love summer. I look forward to it all winter long. I bask in the glow of the sun & relish the warm kisses it gives my cheeks. Where was my summer? Where was my sunshine?

I called your nonnie & said, "ok, knock it off. I am miserable & need my sunshine back. God will protect us, even in the summer sun. And anyways, we have central air conditioning! I will be fine & so will the baby." It took us until August, but we finally saw summer that year. Now I promise Nonnie that we will slather in sunscreen so that she will never pray for that again.

Be careful what you ask Nonnie to pray for.

I love you so,
Mommy

Saturday, November 26, 2011

salted caramel mocha

Dear Em,
I'm not a fan of sweet & savory together. I don't like sweet glazes on my proteins. I despise fruit & sweet dressings in my salad. I don't even like chocolate on my pretzels.

I decided to switch up my once a month treat of vanilla chai (with soy milk) at Starbucks & tried the salted caramel mocha instead.

OMG OMG OMG, yummy amaziness!

I'm not even much of a caffeine drinker, & yet I now constantly crave the perfect salty caramel collaboration. I jumped up & down when I saw Talenti Sea Salt Caramel ice cream in the grocery store.

I guess there is room for sweet & savory together in the world, & I'm so thankful to have learned that. I hope you will learn to love to be adventurous when it comes to food.

I love you so,
Mommy

Friday, November 25, 2011

cut the cost, not the traditions

Our family Christmas card, 2010

Dear Em,
I love the holidays. It has always been my favorite time of year. I love the music, the lights, & celebrating with friends & family. This season is something that I look forward to all year long. That's why I was a little surprised when I had a mini-melt down last year.

I mean, when did the holidays get so expensive? I know that this season is about giving, but there gets to be a point when I just feel like we're passing gift cards back & forth. Instead of holiday bliss, I was feeling financial stress. I hated it. This feeling was ruining our Christmas spirit, my Christmas spirit. Instead of falling victim to the holiday burn-out so many feel this time of year, we looked at ways we could cut the costs without cutting the traditions.

Black Friday Shopping
I've been Black Friday shopping for years. What's better than waking up at 3am to fight a sea of shoppers over a Wii that's $50 off? I can't think of anything. You can get what your special someone really wants for a fraction of the cost. Last year, instead of suffering in the crowds, we did most of our Black Friday shopping online. From my comfy seat I was able to get incredible deals. We bought the TV in our family room at a reduced Black Friday price & chose the in-store pick-up option. We didn't have to stand in line before dawn or pay for shipping. It was amazing. I like to make my list each year, scan the online & newspaper ads, & then make my plan of action. Black Friday saves me a ton of money, I get 75% of my shopping done in one day, & it's fun to do with friends & family.

Elfster
As I talked about here, I'm the oldest of 5 kids. Exchanging Christmas gifts with just my immediate family is quite an ordeal & can become quite pricey. In order to cut costs but not tradition, we decided to do Secret Santa this year. Instead of buying gifts for all, we have a $50 limit to buy for only one. The problem: we weren't all going to be in the same room together to pick names out of a hat. How were we going to secretly assign names? I learned about Elfster from another blog. It's an online way to secretly assign names & create wish lists without us all having to be together for the planning stages. You can ask your assigned person questions without the person knowing who the questions are coming from. So far, so good. Although, it seems that the public can also see our wish lists, & that freaks me out a little. Many of us have been asked weird questions. So, either someone in our family is a comedian, or weird strangers are asking us personal questions about our gift preferences. We haven't decided if we're going to use it again next year or have a Secret Santa that's not secret at all.

Yankee Swap
We have so many unbelievable friends. We'd love to give gifts to all of them to let them know how much they mean to us, but that just becomes too costly. Instead, we open our house to our friends for dinner & celebration each year. We call it Thanksmas Swap, & we host it on a weekend night between Thanksgiving & Christmas. It's one of my favorite nights of the whole year. We prepare a thanksgiving meal at our house & everyone else brings hors d'oeuvres, drinks, or dessert. We sit down for dinner with some of our dearest friends & give thanks for having them in our lives. After dinner we gather around the Christmas tree & have a fun (& competitive) Yankee Swap. Have you ever had a Yankee Swap? This site does a great job of explaining how it works. Our Yankee Swaps typically provide eruptions of laughter, at least one "must have" present, & us being able to share such a fun experience with some of the people we love most. We try to keep our gifts in the 10-15 dollar range. This year will be our 3rd annual Thanksmas Swap. It's such an inexpensive way to celebrate with friends & we hope to host it every year.

Christmas Cards
For our friends & family that are unable to make it for Thanksmas Swap, we've asked if instead of presents we could just exchange Christmas/Holiday Cards. Some people still use traditional cards, & I can tell you that their words of love & friendship mean more than any gifts they could give. Most of our friends & family send photo cards. We have a great big cork board in our entryway that I pin the cards to. Most of the Christmas photo cards stay up on the cork board all year through. It's a beautiful reminder of those we love. It's amazing to see how everyone has grown year after year. Last year we used Snapfish.com for our Christmas cards. If we ordered before December 1st, there was an amazing deal. This year I am so drawn to the styles of the Shutterfly.com & they're 35% off. I'm thinking we're going to design our cards on their site this year.

I'm so thankful that we've been able to cut the cost & stress of the holiday season without cutting the traditions & celebrations with our friends. I'm looking forward to the precious moments & memories this holiday season brings us.

I love you so,
Mommy

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Give Thanks...

Dear Em,
Happy Thanksgiving! Today will be filled with food, family, & hugs. My tummy is grumbling just thinking of the yummy turkey smells.

I'm looking forward to smiling & chatting as we're surrounded by people who love us.

Sigh. My heart just overflows. Isn't life so full of lovely blessings? Love truly is all around.

I'm so thankful for this day (& weekend) of celebration & that we're fortunate enough to spend it with our friends & family that we love so. I wish everyone a holiday full of love.

I love you so,
Mommy

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

our second year favorites (part two)

Dear Em,
You have a lot of energy...like a lot a lot. Your teacher, Miss S, says you need to get your sillies out. I think that's just a nice way of saying that you have a tough time sitting still. Many of our favorite things this year have been things that you can do. We've cherished these things that help burn some energy & get your sillies out.

Here are some of our favorites...

Ball Pit
Daddy & Em in the ball pit.
Your ball pit was your first present from Santa. Santa's elf bought it from amazon.com pretty inexpensively (I think it was around $30). We didn't want one that we had to blow up. We were concerned about kitty claws & wear over time. The one that we got was perfect, & it folds up into a small size when we're someday done with it. The expensive part of the ball pit was the balls. Santa's elf bought 200 balls at first. When we looked in the pit, it was less than half full. So, I ordered 200 more balls a couple weeks after Christmas, & the pit was so full that the balls were tumbling out. The ball pit has been a big hit for you & your friends (& our friends) since the first day, & you continue to jump & laugh & play in it. We love your ball pit, but there are a few frustrating things about it. 1) While you seem thrilled to play with the balls inside the ball pit, your friends seem to prefer to have the balls outside of the pit. We've spent a lot of time refilling the ball pit. 2) It takes up a lot of space. I'm looking forward to when we do your bedroom redo & move you into the bigger bedroom. The ball pit will be moving right along with you.

Roller Coaster
As a 1.5 birthday present, your Nonnie & Papi got you an Step2 Extreme Coaster. We had a smaller coaster which was fun, but it was difficult for you to get on & off of it. This coaster is amazing. You can safely sit on it, swiftly coast down (all smiles), & then push the coaster back up the track to do it all again. As an added bonus, it holds up to 200 pounds. So, your daddy & I can ride the coaster too (although my bum doesn't fit quite as comfortably as yours). We have had so many lovely afternoons playing with your coaster. It's fun for you to take turns with friends too.

Trampoline
I grew up loving trampolines but never having one. I told myself that as soon as I had my own yard, I would have a trampoline to put in it. Nonnie & Papi bought me one for my birthday a few years ago, & we all love it. You learned how to jump off the ground with both feet before you were one, & I think the trampoline is a big part of that. Before you turned one, you would go on the trampoline with your little friend S. It was hard for you to even stay sitting up while she was jumping around you. Now it's so cute to watch you both jump together. It's such a fun way to get our energy & our sillies out. I have dreams of you learning back handsprings & cheerleading jumps on the trampoline someday.


Cozy Coupe
I feel like everyone I know has grown up with a little tike car. I was shocked to learn that your daddy never had one. There are pictures of me driving mine when I was your age. I couldn't wait for you to drive your own. Your grandma & papa got you one for Easter (I know 1.5 birthdays & huge Easter gifts. You're the first grandchild on both sides & a little bit spoiled), & we have so much fun with your Cozy Coupe. It was an indoor car for a month or so when it was still so frigid to spend much time outdoors. Once the spring sunshine warmed the air, we put some serious miles on your Cozy Coupe. We pushed you in it during family walks around the neighborhood, & you did donuts in the driveway. We're still in the process of teaching you to use your own feet to drive your car, & we're glad it's a car that you can grow into.

Little Red Wagon
I think every child should have access to a little red wagon. I remember trying to use ours to coast down our street when I was a little girl. We bought you this one last summer so we would have something to pull you and your little friends in. We took the wagon on walks in the neighborhood, used it to tote all of our things to the beach, went for walks in Narragansett, & went on one fabulous outlet shopping marathon. Now you want to be the one to pull the wagon. Who knows what places the wagon will go in the future. Maybe someday we'll have a second little love to pull in there with you.


I love that this year was full of outside fun & activities. I'm thankful for every moment we were able to spend having fun, breathing the fresh air, letting out some energy, & getting out our sillies. Luckily, all of these things are things you can grow with. So, I look forward to a whole new year of outside fun with all of these things.

I love you so,
Mommy

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

shopping with kids

Dear Em,
I used to be able to shop...really shop. Time was not a concern. I could try on clothing until my heart's content & take my time scrutinizing multiple options. I could literally shop until I dropped.

Those days are over.

I have the cutest little shopping buddy now but patience is not a strength of my shopping buddy. When we shop together, we race in & we race out. If I'm lucky, we leave with what we went in for. There's no time for trying on clothes, comparing options, & browsing.

Thank goodness for online shopping. Last week week, I stayed home with you because you were sick. I was able to find great deals for clothes for you, Christmas ornaments for family, stocking stuffers, & Christmas presents for friends. I found this & have been crushing on it for our entry-way ever since. I was able to check customer reviews & check out without even having to brush my teeth.

Some things I've learned about online shopping:
- For most of the stores I shop from, there are frequent sales. I try to wait for the sales. If there is no sale, I google online coupon codes.
- A lot of stores either offer flat free shipping or free shipping after spending a certain amount of money. Free shipping & we don't have to spend any money on gas, that's a win win for me.
- Amazon.com is an amazing place to shop from. Last December there was an offer for three free months of Amazon Prime to all parents. That includes free two day shipping. Birthday party this weekend? No problem, there are tons of things to choose from on Amazon (for good prices). I've shopped Amazon so much, they extended my Amazon Prime membership the whole year.
- Etsy.com has so many unique products that make super fun gifts (some gifts I've kept for myself).
- If you have to make a return & the store is in your area, sometimes it's easier to go directly to the store to make the return.
- Once you order from a store, they often mail you their catalogues & deals.

I'm so thankful for online shopping. All the time I save by buying online means more fun time with my favorite girl.

I love you so,
Mommy

Monday, November 21, 2011

our second year favorites (part one)

Dear Em,
Thanksgiving is this week. That means Black Friday is this week, & I'm in full Christmas shopping mode. This year, with you being almost two, I can't help but think if all of our favorite things from the past year...our second year favorites that you have loved & grown with.

I talked about our first year favorites here & here. By now you've grown out of most of those things, but the monitor, music, rocker, & quality camera continue to be MVGs (most valuable gear) in our home. Everyday is new, & with that there have been new things that we've all loved. My favorites are things that allow us to play & also learn together...things that have helped your imagination to soar. With some of our second year favorites, you've been able to explore & learn & grow right from our house.

Books
We've been reading to you since you were born, but it's really been this past year that you've grown to love it & participate in it. We're truly able to read together. Sometimes your daddy & I read to you, & sometimes we let you tell us what you see on the pages. There are days I come upstairs to find you & you're quietly sitting on your bunny chair reading away. We keep books on your changing table so you can read while we change you (it's the cutest thing), & in the early morning hours you often pull the books off the changing table to read in your crib. It's fascinating to watch how your mind works as we read together. Reading is one of my favorite things for us to do together, & I'm glad it's yours too. We have so many books, they're spilling out of the original bins I got to store them, (this brings us to one of your Christmas gifts for this year which I'll talk about at a later post) & we have so many favorites. I'll start talking about our favorite books in future posts.


Babies
Your Nonnie & Papi's house is full of baby dolls for all the kids to play with. When we went to visit last Thanksgiving, we couldn't believe how much you loved them. You walked around with one in each arm, which was a tough task since the baby dolls were almost your size & you had only been walking for a couple months. Since then, you have been gifted with so many wonderful babies & a beautiful baby bed. It's amazing to watch you as a "mommy." I love watching you pretend, taking your babies shopping, putting your babies to bed, feeding your babies, pushing your babies in at the table, & even putting your babies in time-out. It's both sweet & humorous for us to watch how your mind is working & growing. With the love you give these babies, sometimes I hope that you've learned such love from me being a good Mommy role model. The cute little way you pick your baby up, tap her on the back, & say "it's OK, Baby." You say "sweet dreams" & make sure your babies are covered with a blanket. "Sshh, baby's sleeping," you tell me. Then you take your baby out, drop her on the floor, & run her over with your shopping cart. I die a little on the inside hoping that you haven't learned all your mommy skills from me.

Puzzles
For the early part of this year, puzzles were something you would pull out of your cabinet, dump on the floor, & cry when you stepped on them & hurt your little feet. Midway through the year, your puzzles became something that you actively played with. You got really frustrated in the beginning when the puzzle pieces wouldn't fit on your first try, but you learned one day at a time. I will never forget the Sunday afternoon your daddy taught you how to do your alphabet puzzle. I was cooking up a storm in the kitchen, & smirked when your daddy pulled out the puzzle. "She's not ready to do a puzzle like that," I thought quietly to myself. Up until that point you & I had worked on puzzles with no more than 6 pieces. The alphabet puzzle has 26 pieces that are smaller & curvier than your others. Your daddy patiently talked you through turning the puzzle pieces & finding the right spot for each piece. At the end of the afternoon, you had dumped your pieces on the floor (again). I asked you to pick up the pieces from the floor & place them on the table. When I looked again 5 minutes later, instead of placing the pieces on the table you had put all of the alphabet pieces in their correct spots in the puzzle. I couldn't believe it. We love how you learn with your puzzles while playing. We really like Melissa & Doug puzzles. Because many of them have sounds, you can learn how to put the pieces in the correct spots while also learning about other things. In your farm puzzle the sounds taught you what sounds the animals at the farm make. Your alphabet puzzle says the sound the letter makes & then a word that starts with that letter.

Coloring
We stayed away from coloring for a long time because we worried about you trying to eat the crayons. Now we love to color together. We keep your crayons in a big yellow container that used to be my grandma's. I pulled crayons out of that container & colored so many times as a little girl. Your coloring books are a collection of gifts from other people & books I picked up from the dollar store. You like to color a little on every page, which I think is funny. Your grandma got you a book of stickers, & you have so much fun adding stickers to your masterpieces as well. It's such a fun way for you to get creative while also learning about your colors.

Kitchen Set & Children's Table
Your Nonnie has always told me how much I loved my kitchen set growing up, & I couldn't wait for you to have one too. So, last year for Christmas we asked everyone to help us, & our family put together the most amazing kitchen (seriously, I wish it was my kitchen). Your nonnie & papi got you the most amazing kitchen set (they also have it in pink & while). This thing is decked out. The timer & clock actually work, the knobs turn, & there is ample storage space. Your aunts, uncles, daddy, & mommy got you tons of food to stock the kitchen & a shopping cart. Most of the food came from Melissa & Doug. Your recent favorites are the ice cream that actually scoops onto a cone & the cookies that you can cut, frost, & bake on the cookie sheet. This past week you've been exclaiming, "it's cookie time!" You bake Daddy & I cookies & then we get to taste. Your grandma & papa bought & painted your very own table & chairs. You've hosted tea & fed your babies at your table. We feed you snacks, & sometimes we all eat at your table. Your table is a place to color & play play dough. It gets more use than our actual dining table. The whole set has been an amazing place for you to pretend & play & learn. You put your baby into your little shopping cart, put your purse on your arm, & tell us you're going shopping. When we're making dinner at night, you make dinner at your own little set. Some were a little worried that you were too young when we got you your kitchen, but we've all loved it & it's something I think we will continue to love for years to come.

I'm so thankful that you've been able to learn & grow & imagine while playing with these things...really, we have all learned & grown & imagined & played. There have been so many precious moments.

I'll talk more about some of our second year favorites & precious moments on Wednesday.

I love you so,
Mommy

Sunday, November 20, 2011

fantasy football

Our first family football Sunday, January 2010.

Dear Em,
We are a football family, a Patriots football family to be precise. You were less than a week old the first time you donned your Tom Brady Jersey. It looked like more of a dress on you than a jersey back then. Your daddy, wearing his matching jersey, held you with so much pride.

During the months of September through February you can find us at home most Sunday afternoons. Actually, football was the whole reason we got our first DVR. It made your daddy so sad to miss a Patriots game. The DVR made it possible for us to leave the house on a Sunday afternoon without giving your daddy stress pains.

Ready to cheer for the Patriots, September 2010.
Your daddy is really into all professional football games. I haven't had a big enough attention span to watch the games with teams I don't care about...until this year. Your Daddy has been playing fantasy football for a few years. He & his friends draft players online & manage their own fantasy teams. Their league is just too cool for girls. So, I spent the past few years laughing at your daddy as he lives & dies with his fantasy players...until I got the chance to join my own league. Now your daddy is laughing just as hard at me.

Each week I agonize. Do I start Philip Rivers or Cam Newton? Which defense has an easier matchup? Is Arian Foster actually going to play? I finally understand what your daddy has been going through for years. We play in different leagues & different teams, but we share some of the same players. I'm not going to lie. When Matt Forte has a good game, your daddy & I may be doing touchdown dances in our living room.

It's become something that your daddy & I can share on Sundays. There are so many differences between your daddy & I. It's nice to start off the week with something we can enjoy together. I'm thankful that this is something we can enjoy & share together. Of course, it's made that much sweeter when you join our touchdown dancing exclaiming, "yay, Tom Brady!" You pretty much think that anytime we cheer during a football game, it's for Tom Brady.

It truly is a family event. I heart our family football Sundays.

Our third season as a family of three, September 2011.

I love you so,
Mommy

*Readers, what are your Sunday traditions? *

Saturday, November 19, 2011

working mommy

Multitasking.

Dear Em,
Our weekends are typically spent with an abundance of family together time. We like to ride bikes, go to the park, make popcorn & watch movies, go for a walk in Narragansett, play hide & go seek, have pillow fights...in between everything else that is planned.

I try not to wish my time away. With you growing & changing so very fast, I wish we could hit a pause button almost everyday. That doesn't stop me from longing for the weekends, though. On Monday mornings, I dream of the weekends that we live in sweatpants with an open agenda for the day. I miss crock-pot-football Sundays. I look forward to every second of sleeping in & family snuggles while we watch Sesame Street...Sigh. Wouldn't it be so lovely if everyday was the weekend?

I think that, but I also know that part of the reason I cherish our weekends together is that I am a working Mommy. Monday-Friday you go to school, & Daddy & I go to work. While it's the toughest part of my morning to hug you goodbye for the day, my heart feels happy to know that you are going somewhere where you are loved & learning (& having a blast). I know your daddy & I are going somewhere where our thoughts are valued & we're making a difference for others.

So, even though it's not always easy, I'm thankful for my job...for my career. I didn't know if I would ever say that. The moment you were born, I would have traded all of my career aspirations to spend every second with you. Finances being what they were, I had to go back to work after my maternity leave. I never thought I would feel that way. I went right from high school to college to my masters program to work. Being a professional something was all I thought I wanted.

And then you were born...sigh. It's amazing how your perspective can change.

So, I went back to work. In a time where so many people across the world are struggling to find any kind of job, I'm fortunate to have a job that helps me to provide for my family. I'm thankful to have a job that challenges me but has some flexibility. I'm thankful to work within a company where there is a future for me, & there is a future for me doing something I am passionate about.

I'm thankful that you can see me leave each morning as a professional & come home each evening as your Mommy. I'm thankful that you will someday have the choice of being a professional or a Mommy or both.

Friday, November 18, 2011

love letters

Mothers & Daughters.

Dear Em,

I am so thankful that the world is full of inspiration. There's inspiration in nature, in written word, in the love of others, & from time to time there's inspiration in a link that your best friend emailed to you:

Sarah Kay: If I should have a daughter ... | Video on TED.com

"If I should have a daughter, instead of Mom, she's gonna call me Point B, because that way she knows that no matter what happens, at least she can always find her way to me. 
And I'm going to paint solar systems on the backs of her hands, so she has to learn the entire universe before she can say, "Oh, I know that like the back of my hand." 
And she's going to learn that this life will hit you hard in the face, wait for you to get back up just so it can kick you in the stomach. 
But getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air. 
There is hurt here that cannot be fixed by Band-Aids or poetry. 
So the first time she realizes that Wonder Woman isn't coming, I'll make sure she knows she doesn't have to wear the cape all by herself.
Because no matter how wide you stretch your fingers, your hands will always be too small to catch all the pain you want to heal. 
Believe me, I've tried. "And, baby," I'll tell her, don't keep your nose up in the air like that. I know that trick; I've done it a million times. You're just smelling for smoke so you can follow the trail back to a burning house, so you can find the boy who lost everything in the fire to see if you can save him. Or else find the boy who lit the fire in the first place, to see if you can change him." 
But I know she will anyway, so instead I'll always keep an extra supply of chocolate and rain boots nearby, because there is no heartbreak that chocolate can't fix. 
Okay, there's a few heartbreaks that chocolate can't fix. 
But that's what the rain boots are for. 
Because rain will wash away everything, if you let it. 
I want her to look at the world through the underside of a glass-bottom boat, to look through a microscope at the galaxies that exist on the pinpoint of a human mind, because that's the way my mom taught me. 
That there'll be days like this. 
♫ There'll be days like this, my momma said. ♫ 
When you open your hands to catch and wind up with only blisters and bruises; when you step out of the phone booth and try to fly and the very people you want to save are the ones standing on your cape; when your boots will fill with rain, and you'll be up to your knees in disappointment. 
And those are the very days you have all the more reason to say thank you. 
Because there's nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it's swept away. 
You will put the wind in winsome, lose some. 
You will put the star in starting over, and over. 
And no matter how many land mines erupt in a minute, be sure your mind lands on the beauty of this funny place called life. 
And yes, on a scale from one to over-trusting, I am pretty damn naive.
But I want her to know that this world is made out of sugar. 
It can crumble so easily, but don't be afraid to stick your tongue out and taste it. 
"Baby," I'll tell her, "remember, your mama is a worrier, and your papa is a warrior, and you are the girl with small hands and big eyes who never stops asking for more." 
Remember that good things come in threes and so do bad things. 
And always apologize when you've done something wrong. 
But don't you ever apologize for the way your eyes refuse to stop shining. 
Your voice is small, but don't ever stop singing. 
And when they finally hand you heartache, when they slip war and hatred under your door and offer you handouts on street-corners of cynicism and defeat, you tell them that they really ought to meet your mother."

I hope you find inspiration everywhere you go, you're thankful (even on the days when it's tough to be thankful), & you're like the ocean who "kisses the shoreline no matter how many times it's swept away."

I love you so,
Mommy

Thursday, November 17, 2011

i'm a twilight mom?

I can't help it. He's so dreamy.
created with photofunia
Dear Em,
The strange thing about getting older is it's no longer socially acceptable to do the things you did in the past. Somehow, at the adult age of 27, I became obsessed with a teeny-bopper phenomenon. It's not ok & it's totally embarrassing, but I heart the Twilight Saga.

I blame the entire thing on your aunt Andrea. She came to me one day and said, "Have you heard of Twilight? I REALLY need you to get into it with me." I was living at your grandma & papa's house at the time, & it seemed really strange to me that your aunt was always stealing away to read. Normally she & I would chat or watch TV together, but she was always in her room reading.

I told her that I'm really not into the whole vampire-werewolf scene, but the week the first movie came out on DVD, she begged me to watch it with her. So, I said "what the heck," & so began my first embarrassing, teeny-bopper obsession. I admit, I didn't even think the first movie was that great, but the next thing I knew I read 2,457 pages (4 books) in less than a week. During the last two books, I forgot about primitive things like eating & sleeping altogether.

Your Daddy woke up at in the middle of the night to find me missing from our bed. He wandered into the living room and found me reading on the couch. "Julie, it's almost 4am! Don't you think you should get some sleep," he asked with concern in his voice. "You're not my Dad. I'll do what I want," I shouted back as I turned the next page.

I love to read, but with these books, I couldn't stop reading. Has that ever happened to you? Have you found a book or set of books that you just could not put down? Just like your aunt Andrea, I had to share my obsession with others. I got your aunt Gina, aunt Jennie, & J to read the set (which they also loved). I even got your nonnie to watch the movies with me. The second movie came out in theaters a month before you born. I was in the theater the day the movie came out feeling huge & uncomfortable & having to pee the whole time...& I loved every moment of it.

That's when your aunt Gina showed me a t-shirt she found online that had the words "Twilight Mom" written across it. A sense of embarrassment (for me & you) spread throughout my body. But I guess if the shirt fits, right?

The fourth movie comes out tomorrow. This one has a wedding & a baby...two of my fav things! So, today, among so many other things, I am thankful for the Twilight Saga.

Unfortunately for you, I know that this will not be the only way in which I am embarrassing to you. Sorry in advance.

I love you so,
Mommy

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

potty time

Practicing on the potty.
Dear Em,
You've been asking to go "potty" for a month or so now. Maybe you're learning from the kids in your class that are potty trained. Maybe, at 22 months of age, you're just ready. It's just that your daddy and I are not ready yet.

The holidays are coming. That means gathering with friends & family & a 12 hour (at least) drive down to North Carolina. Your daddy & I made an executive decision that if we're going to potty train, we're going to go all the way. That means waiting until after January 1st (or maybe January 14th when I return from a planned business trip).

Your daddy & I are not ready, but that doesn't stop you. The other day I was standing in the bathroom washing my hands. You ran in & said, "I go potty!" You lifted up the toilet seat & tried to climb on in. You almost stuck your foot into the toilet water. So, I unzipped your jammies & sat you down on the seat. I was so surprised how excited you were about sitting on the adult toilet. We were prepared to start you out on a toddler potty, thinking that the toilet was a frightening place for people your size.

I can't explain the joy, excitement, & pride I felt over you doing your very first "poopy" on the potty! Where did my baby girl go? When did you become a full fledged little girl?

We gave you some jelly beans as a potty prize. Immeadiately after finishing your jelly beans, you asked for more. After I explained to you that jelly beans would follow after you went potty, we spent the rest of the night helping seat you on the toilet every ten minutes at your request & watching you "try" (it's amazing how fast you're able to strip off your jammies & diaper).

You were so proud of yourself, & we're so proud of you. Every day you're learning & growing, & I'm so thankful for it. It makes each day an adventure. We never know what you will learn or what you will teach us. I think these are the things life is really made of.

I love you so,
Mommy

* When we are ready, do any of you readers have potty tips? *

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

video killed the radio star

Saying your prayers with Nonnie before bed.

Dear Em,
I wish I had the imagination to think of the technology advancements you will see in your lifetime. When I think back to the fact we didn't even have a computer until I was in middle school, I can't believe the booms in technology we've had in my lifetime.

There are moments in life when I feel like everything just needs to be turned off. We all need to get outside & enjoy the fresh air & unplug. But, overall, I am so very thankful for the technology that surrounds us in life.

Here are just a few of my very favorite things:
- Microwaves: Did you know that Nonnie & Papi didn't even have one when I was born? So, when Nonnie had to hold me through dinner because I was crying, she finally sat down to a cold dinner without a quick way to warm it back up. That makes me so sad to think about.
- Our MacBook: I had a PC up until I turned 26. It's true what they say: Once you go Mac, you never go back. This thing has traveled all pver the country with us (& outside of the country too). It's held up so well, even with tumbles & toddler poundings, & we haven't had any issues with viruses (knock on wood).
- The internet: It's amazing what you have within reach of your fingertips.
- Skype: Even though Nonnie & Papi live a twelve hour drive away, we talk to them & actually see them almost every day. They've truly been able to see you hit milestones & grow. You really know them & they know you.
- Digital Cameras: I talked about here, but I am so thankful for our digital camera on a daily basis. In fact, your daddy & I were browsing through pictures & videos of you the other day. It brought tears to our eyes to see you so young & little again. Our camera doesn't just capture photographs, it captures memories. Sigh. Words cannot even express...
- My IPhone: I don't even know how I lived before my IPhone. Well, I was probably a lot less productive (while at the same time being more productive somehow). It's my center for communication, music, inspiration, & updates. It's all right there in the palm of my hand. Mine froze for over an hour one day & I almost had a nervous breakdown.
- Pandora: With my job, I spend a big chunk of the week in the car. I have the free Pandora app on my phone, & I plug it right into my car. There's so many stations to choose from & so few commercials to listen to. Gone are the days of searching radio stations for a song I like & listening to five minutes of commercials every ten minutes.
- TV: So, we try use this in small amounts, but an episode of Super Why while I'm making dinner does a body good.
- Our car: the places our car has taken us over the years, it's amazing. We like to bike too, but after going a mere 10 miles with you towing behind, I'm certainly thankful for our car.
- Blogging: What a fun way to connect with other people & share ideas.

I know there is a lot I'm probably leaving out, & I know a lot of these things will sound antiquated by the time you read this. But these are just a few things that help me get through my day, & I'm so very thankful for the people whose innovative ideas brought them into our lives.

I love you so,
Mommy

* Readers, what technology gets you through the day? *

Monday, November 14, 2011

my first four best friends

Dear Em,
The other day I was chatting with a fellow Mommy at your school. She nodded your way & asked, "is she an only child?" The question seemed to knock the wind right out of me. I mean, I guess you are. We just never really thought of you that way. Maybe some of that has to do with the fact we haven't really made up our minds if we're going to try for a bigger family or live happily as a family of three. So, while we're still in this up-in-the-air-phase, we've referred to you as "our first child," but "only child?!" That sounds so sad & final.

I guess it just sounds sad to me, because "only child" were words rarely heard by my family growing up. I am the oldest of five siblings in my family, ranging in age from 16 (almost 17) to 30. I know, poor Nonnie & Papi! Growing up, we didn't really have the luxury of our own rooms or new clothes from places like Abercrombie & Fitch, but we've always had each other.

Our home has always been boisterous, so many of us doing so many things. We have conversations between multiple people in multiple rooms. We're all so different but so stubborn. When we're together, there's bound to be an argument between at least two of us at some point. Can I tell you a secret? I love every second of it.


You see, these people, my 4 siblings, have been my first four best friends. We've moved around the country together, & no one knows me like they do. So, much has changed in this life. One constant has been them. We may not always agree with each other (or like each other), but we love each other so. They have always been there for me & I for them.

When your daddy & I started spending every other Christmas with his side or my side, it was my brothers who said they would rather wait to celebrate Christmas until we could all be together. When I couldn't travel for Christmas because I was due to have you at any time, each one of my siblings braved the harsh New England winter weather & came to us.

Each one of my brothers & sisters are so talented & share their gifts so freely. Your Aunt J is so tech savvy, & has found you the most amazing toys (like your Smart-e Bear & your books with moving images). When she got married, I gained another brother. Your Uncle N is our "computer guy" who is such a kid at heart. Your Aunt G made your daddy & I a beautiful photo montage for our wedding & the most amazing photo montage of your first year. Your Uncle G can build his own computer. He is just such a good guy & I'm excited to see where life takes him. Your Uncle J is balancing work, fencing, school, & soccer. He, more than anyone, has been able to get you to smile from the moment he first held you.

As lucky as I was in siblings/best friends, I got even luckier when I married your daddy. Your Aunt A officially became my sister too. She's so gorgeous & smart & fun. She's a perfect shopping buddy. She's the perfect aunt for you to laugh & play & snuggle with. She's the perfect aunt for you to look up to.


I'm so thankful to have such kind, amazing, & inspirational sisters & brothers in my life. I'm so thankful that now I can share them with you as your aunts & uncles.

That's why, even though we're still undecided, I guess I really hope that your life is filled with siblings who you can love & who love you as much as I love mine.

I love you so,
Mommy

* Readers, what are your thoughts on siblings? *


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Rockapella

Dear Em,
Our home will always be one filled with music...all kinds of music. Recently, our home has rung with acapella music. The Sing Off is a favorite of mine & yours. On the show each week, a number of acapella groups perform some of todays hits. We watch it together & dance together. I think it's so fun that you can take away drums, guitars, & keyboards & still get such an amazing combination of beats & sound.

Tonight you're having a special night with Daddy while I go to see Straight No Chaser. I love it when they sing "The 12 days of Christmas" & "I'm Yours/Somewhere Over the Rainbow." I really hope they perform those songs tonight. I'm so excited to spend a night devoted to music.

I found a The Sing Off Pandora station so I can bring all of the fun music back home to you. We're going to have such fun dance parties. I'm so thankful that music fills our life.

I love you so,
Mommy



Saturday, November 12, 2011

snuggle time

All ready for snuggles.

Dear Em,
When you were first born, you used to love snuggling in our arms. There were days when you only wanted to be held, & you fell asleep in our arms every night for the first 6 months.

Then all of a sudden you were crawling & then walking. You've been on the go ever since, giving us brief moments for hugs & kisses but full days of snuggling are just a mere memory...except for when you're sick.

You've been sick quite a bit the last couple months. Two days ago you woke up with a fever of 102. It breaks my heart to see you sick. I wish more than anything I could take it all away & make it all better. All we can do is get cozy under blankets, watch cartoons, & snuggle. I hate to see you sick...but I relish every second of our snuggles.

I'm so thankful that there is still a place for snuggle time, & I hope there always will be.

I love you so,
Mommy

Friday, November 11, 2011

love letters

kisses goodbye
Dear Em,
It's 11:11 on 11/11/11. Quick, make a wish.

Today is veterans day, & I bet veterans & military personnel are making wishes all over the wold. Wishes for love & wishes for peace & wishes that their families will live in a country where they can thrive, be safe, & grow old & wise.

Your papa was in the Air Force before your daddy was born. Your Papi was in the Navy for 18 years, including the first 16 years of my life. Not only did we spend the first 16 years of my life moving around the country, but we spent birthdays & Christmases & school dances & high school games without your Papi. The things your Papi sacrificed, what we all sacrificed, to serve this country...moments & memories & time that can never be replaced. Papi did it for all of us. He did it so we could live a life where it is possible to follow your dreams.

"But the freedom that they fought for, and the country grand they wrought for, Is their monument to-day, and for aye." -Thomas Dunn English

I'm so proud & thankful for all of the veterans & all of the U.S. military around the world. I'm so thankful that they've protected us at home. I pray for their safety & I pray that America will be a monument to all that have sacrificed & lost for love of their country.

I love you so,
Mommy

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Oh, Mr. Sun

Dear Em,
I love so many thing about New England, but the long & cold winters are hard to bear at times. I know that technically winter doesn't start until the end of December, but it creeps in on us in New England much earlier on the calendar. This was seen this year in the snow storm that froze us...some of our friends in other states are just now getting their power back. The storm was an early reminder of what is to come.

And then the clouds parted & the sun came out, one last warm reminder of the summer sun. The warmth feels like angel kisses on my cheeks. This week has been a week to play in the leaves, roll down the windows, & breath in the fresh air. We're hoping the sun lingers long enough for us to go for a bike ride & trip to the park on Saturday.


We bought the Specialized: Vita this
summer & I heart this bike

I'm so thankful that we had this week. It will probably be the last before we have to wrap ourselves in coats & scarves, rushing from our cars to indoors. This week we had the sun & I'm so thankful for every warm ray.

I love you so,
Mommy

* Readers, what did you do to enjoy the sunshine this week? *

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

my body is a miracle

Dear Em,
There are days when glancing in the mirror makes me sad in my heart. I could certainly lose a few pounds. My belly is a little flabbier than I would like, my legs not as toned. My arms are certainly not as muscular as they were the day I got married. My ankles never really existed, with my legs extending straight into my feet. Each time I stand on a scale or look in the mirror, there are 3,500 different things about my body that I wish I could change.

If I were my body, I would fire me. I mean, on any given day my body enables me to do a million things that I take for granted, instead worrying about the extra chub that lines my belly. I look in the mirror & scrutinize every imperfection without a thought to what an amazing gift my body is.

So, today, and hopefully a little more each day after, I am thankful for my body.

Because of my body...
- I walked down the isle to marry your Daddy.
- I was a cheerleader in high school & experienced the thrill of being on a team.
- I've seen the beauty of the sunset at the grand canyon.
- I can push you on the swings.
- I can dance.
- I hiked the Slieve League Mountains in Ireland & walked the Irish countryside (while pregnant).
- I was able to conceive a miracle, a healthy baby girl, & carry her in my womb for 40 weeks. From the tiniest little egg, my body worked to develop your ears, eyes, nose, brain, & finger tips. It's mind blowing.
- We can run...& run...& run.
- I danced with your Papi on my wedding night.
- I can go for a bike ride.
- I can sit at the dinner table with my family each night.
- I have walked the streets of Boston, NYC, Philadelphia, Providence, Baltimore, & D.C. I've felt the buzz of the city & the history around me.
- I can taste coconut almond bar ice cream.
- I walked at my high school, college, & masters graduation ceremonies.
- I remember my grandma's laugh & the way her eyes sparkled when she listened to music.
- I can show you how to tie your shoes.
- You've joined me in completing two 5Ks, raising money & awareness for cancer research.
- You can put your hand on my chest & feel my heart beat.
- I've sat in the wooden seats at Fenway to watch the Red Sox beat the Yankees.
- I have gone scuba diving & snorkeling to see some of the most fascinating underwater life.
- I am able to speak up & participate in life.
- I can learn.
- I showed you how to do cartwheels on the quad.
- We can sing "Just the Way You Are" at the top of our lungs.
- I can kiss your boo-boos.
- I can hold you in my arms.
- I can go out & follow my dreams. It is endless what this body can do.

So, be kind to your body. Cherish it. You never know where it's going to take you.

I love you so,
Mommy

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

clean sheets make for happy toes...

Dear Em,
I think our cats think they are people too, & I think they want the master bedroom for themselves. When your daddy & I go to bed for the night, they typically sleep on my feet. When I go away, my side of the bed is hardly cold before they take over.

I feel like if the cats could write, they would ask santa for soft sheets, a tempurpedic mattress, & pillows for Christmas. I think they would have pillow fights by day & snuggle up in the pillows by night.

I'm pretty sure this is what they do when I'm away. I haven't seen it, but I do have the pleasure of returning to a face full of cat hair. When I come home from an adventure, typically weary from travel, all I want to do is snuggle in my comfy, cosy bed & fall into a deep sleep. It's a little hard to do while you're inhaling a pillow full of cat hair.

So, the day after I return from a trip has become my bedding washing day. After the bedding has been washed & dried & the bed has been made, I love slipping into the sheets at night. It makes my toes happy & my whole body relax. I always sleep best on those nights. It's simply amazing...a little piece of heaven here on earth. It's the little things in life.

I think the sheets above and these from The Company Store would be so fun to curl up in. What kinds of sheets are your favorite, flannel or regular? Fun patterns or plain?

I'm so thankful for clean sheets & a comfy bed & good nights of sleep.

I love you so,
Mommy

Monday, November 7, 2011

home is where the heart is

Helping daddy paint during our
most recent renovation

Dear Em,
I'm back. It was an absolutely amazing weekend of girl talk, dancing, shopping, eating, & checking out the D.C. area. I loved every moment of my girl time, but it feels so good to be home.

Walking through our front door, hugging your daddy, & tucking you into bed in your warm room- I wouldn't trade it for the world. You & your daddy, you are home to me.

As a NAVY brat, I moved around all my life. I was always facing a new street, new school, new home. When your daddy & I started looking at houses to buy, I wasn't looking for just a starter house. I was looking for a home we could grow into. I was looking for a home on a nice, quiet street. I was looking for a nice town with good schools. I was looking for a home with enough rooms to fit a little love (or two).

We bought this house, our first home. The three of us have really made it a home together. Our doorway is where you waved goodbye as I left for work each day. The family room is the room you took your very first steps in. The living room is where we cheer for the Patriots on Sundays. The kitchen is where we have dance parties while we're making dinner. The dining area is where we've hosted some of our favorite people & where we eat as a family every night. Our office is where you bring in your toy laptop & pretend to do work like Daddy. The walls, we painted every one...one by one by one. The bathrooms are where we did our first family renovations. You even helped paint the walls. The basement is where we have rockband concerts. Our yard is where we have summer badminton tournaments & jump on the trampoline until we're out of breath. Our hallways are where we are inspired by beauty & love. Artwork & photographs of family & friends are hung throughout. Our guest room holds your dress-up clothes. It's where we've had all of my favorite fashion shows. Your bedroom is where we read books & say our prayers & tuck you in at night. Your daddy & my bedroom is where we dreamed of you before you were even born.

We may not live here all the days of our lives, but this home will always have a special place in my heart because it has been the space that we've created my most treasured memories. It keeps us warm & safe. It has allowed you to explore & create & grow.

I'm so very thankful for this home, the first & only home you've ever known. It is so much more than the walls & the furniture that fill it. This home was built by love.

I love you so,
Mommy

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sunday Mornings


Dear Em,
Most of our mornings are spent rushing. We rush to get dressed, fix our hair, brush our teeth, take our vitamins, eat & get out the door. Actually, your breakfasts have lately been in the form of Ego waffles in the car on the way to school in order to get there faster.

So, when Sunday morning rolls around, I enjoy every second of it. We typically sleep in (well, if you call waking up at 7:30 or 8 sleeping in). When you wake up, we bring you into our bed for snuggles. We  turn the TV onto Sprout & watch Sesame Street. Typically you & I continue to snuggle & watch TV while your Daddy goes downstairs to make breakfast. Then your daddy brings us pancakes or waffles or french toast in bed (have I mentioned how amazing your daddy is?).

It's just a couple hours or so. But, it's a couple hours where we take a break from the noise & the stress of rushing. Sunday mornings are for letting the quiet into our lives. I look forward to Sunday mornings all week. The family time, the yummy breakfast, the time to slow down- I relish every moment of it.

I'm so thankful for Sunday mornings.

I love you so,
Mommy

Saturday, November 5, 2011

fall foliage


Dear Em,
New England is a place so full of beauty...especially in autumn. I'm so thankful for the beautiful colors, the crisp smell, & the crunch of leaves under my feet.

This year I'm especially thankful, because I thought hurricane Irene had robbed us of our autumn loveliness. Irene spilled salt water all over our New England trees, & we watched the trees around us suddenly turn brown. I longed for the orange, yellow, red beauty of autumn.

Not to dissapoint, our New England autumn found a way to show it's true colors after all, & I am so very thankful that it did.

I love fall, I think it's the loveliest time of year.

I love you so,
Mommy

Friday, November 4, 2011

love letters



Dear Em,
There are some words that make me think of you & your Daddy. There are some words that make my heart soar with love. Everytime I see this poem, I smile & think of you & your Daddy & how intertwined in love we are...


i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)


i fear no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you


here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart


i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

~ e. e. cummings ~

Although we aren't together this weekend, I'm thankful that I carry you in my heart where ever I go. Always.


I love you so,
Mommy
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