Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve Is...

Dear Em,
This Christmas Eve is...

Early morning snuggles & cartoons.

Breakfast in bed...then again cheerios & milk in bed is not such a great idea. Scratch that. Breakfast at your table.

Christmas cookie making & batter tasting.

Christmas movies by the fireside (our fake fireside).


Bundling up to go trampoline jumping.

Trampoline giggles.

Warming up inside with hot cocoa & sugar cookies.

More Christmas movies & more snuggles.

Milkshakes with Daddy.

New family Christmas PJs.

Unwrapping one gift & following in my footsteps as a little photographer.

Saying bye to our Elf on the Shelf, Tennessee.

Cookies & milk for Santa & carrots for Rudolph.

Christmas books before bed.

One almost three year old nestled all snug in her bed.

Stockings hung by the fake fireplace with care.

Santa's Elves hard at work.


Sigh, it's magical.

I love you so,

Friday, December 21, 2012

love letters

Dear Em,

"I love Christmas so much. It is important to find a tree with a wonderful aroma. (That's a fancy word for smell.) I think bigger is always better. But my dad says we must compromise. That means we end up with the tree my mom wants."

You love Fancy Nancy, & we've been reading her Christmas book ALL YEAR LONG. I can't help but smile when I read the words above, because that's exactly how it works in our family too. I grew up with a fake Christmas tree, but your Daddy wants you to have the whole picking out the Christmas tree experience. To me, that just means picking out a perfect (perfectly big) Christmas tree each & every year, & every year we've gone home with the tree I've picked.

When the time came to pick out our tree this year, we bundled up, & headed to Shartner Farm. When it comes to Christmas trees, I have to agree with Fancy Nancy: Bigger Is Better! You couldn't disagree more. You're obsessed with Baby everything. As we walked by the tiny trees that have just begun growing, you gasped. "Baby trees!!! Can we have this tree for our house?!" You hugged one of the tiny trees & looked at it with love in your eyes. There's no freaking way. We wouldn't even fit a tenth of our ornaments on the tiny trees you fell in love with. I took a picture of you in the midst of your beloved trees, & tried to distract you with bigger, fuller trees.

When I found our perfect tree, a tree that was much taler than Daddy, you looked at it & scrunched up your nose. "I DO NOT like THAT tree," you said with emphasis. I think Daddy was in agreement with you as he sawed the monstrous thing down. It was too big & fat & heavy for us to carry back to our car, & we had to ask a nice man who worked at Shartner Farm to bring it back on his truck. 

Once the tree was strapped on top of our car, you had mostly forgotten your disappointment in the big tree. You were bubbling with energy. You requested "Jingle Bells" on repeat during the ride home. I have a Rat Pack version. Sammy Davis Jr. shouts "Everybody!" just before the chorus, and you take that request very seriously. "Mommy, Daddy, you aren't singing. You have to sing, because he said everybody!" you sternly instruct us. For sure there was laughing & singing all the way.

We were in luck, our tree does have a wonderful aroma. Last year your Nonnie taught me a great way to fill the whole house with the Christmasy scent & add natural decoration to our home. Before bringing it in, Daddy clipped off some of the bottom branches. I used the branches to fill vases that I place all around the house. I love how pretty it is, & I love that we can still smell our tree no matter where in the house we are.

Once the tree was in the house, the reality of how big & fat it is set in. In fact the tree was a little too tall for our house. After making a big tree mark across our ceiling, we had to trim the top down. Daddy was not thrilled. Whoops.

After some major trimming of the tree, it fit beautifully. We're so lucky to have the most adorable little elf to help decorate the tree. You took your duty very seriously. "OMG! BEST DAY EVER!" you exclaimed as you wore your reindeer antlers (you tried to dress our cat, Charlie, up in them as well) & placed the non-breakable ornaments on the bottom branches. Your face was so precious as I unwrapped my Strawberry Shortcake & Minnie Mouse ornaments from when I was a child. It's amazing how much has changed since I was little like you but how much is still the same. A Strawberry Shortcake & Minnie Mouse ornament can still make a little girl smile.

I have to agree. It was the best day & is the best tree ever.

I love you so,

Thursday, December 20, 2012

DIY Christmas Gifts with Kids

Dear Em,
Last year we didn't make a whole lot of Christmas gifts. You were little & didn't have a very long attention span. It was hard enough to get you to color more than one line on each page of your coloring books. Now you're excited to craft. Once we start to paint, you want to paint everything in the house. I love it! It was so fun for us to make gifts together this year.

Remember the personalized canvas bags/beach bags we made for your teachers, Nonnie & Grandma? Your Aunt Andrea lives in Florida, & we thought a personalized beach bag of her own would be the perfect Christmas gift. We used your cute little hands to make adorable little crabbies. I love how they turned out.

Back in October we were in A.C. Moore looking for craft ideas for Halloween. We didn't find much for Halloween, but we did find lots of fun for Christmas. They had a ton of wooden Christmas ornaments for a dollar. I bought a ton & saved them for a rainy day...OK, let's be honest, I mostly forgot about them. Luckily, I remembered. We painted a couple each night this month & added glitter. 

I'm not sure how many we made. It was A LOT, & you had a blast painting (although I think we were both over it by the end). You did a great job! In the future, I would choose things like snowflakes & Christmas bulbs over things like angels & snowmen. The snowflakes & Christmas bulbs you could paint on your own. The angels & snowmen had more details, & I ended up finishing them up once you were asleep. Maybe it's just me, but I prefer the ornaments that were all your own artwork.

We saved the pink gingerbread man for our tree (notice the pink, yellow, & blue colors...yours, mine, & Daddy's favorite colors), & the rest were gifted to people everywhere. I think they're a fun, cute, & cheap thoughtful gift for our friends & family.

Thanks for being my Christmas crafting partner this year.

I love you so,

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

our third year favorites

Dear Em,
I'm pretty much done with all of my holiday shopping. Between Christmas & your birthday, you are going to be...well, SPOILED. A friend of ours is starting a tradition where Santa brings three gifts (just like the three kings brought for baby Jesus) & Mommy & Daddy give a couple gifts for her children. I love that idea & think that's what we're going to go with next year, because this year got a little out of control. With that said, there are such special things waiting for you to open them up, things that I think will be your favorites for a long time to come.

The anticipation of watching you open up your gifts, always makes me think about all the gifts we've come to love & cherish this past year. I wrote about Our First Year Favorites here & here, & Our Second Year Favorites here & here. From those lists, there are a lot of things that will be our forever favorites. A great camera for pictures & video will always be a MUST for me, & this year we even stepped it up a little with a Canon EOS (love love love!). Music has always filled our home, but this year has been so fun because we get to sing it together. Top 40s sung in your little 2-year-old voice will always be my favorite. Books! Oh-Em-Gee, I hope reading together is always our favorite. We built bookshelves for your room this year just to fit all of your books, & they have even started to overfill. I kind of have a book buying addiction, but there are so many great ones out there. Perhaps, we need to start going to the library. Some of our other oldies but goodies are the trampoline, your puzzles, a bin we have full of coloring books & markers & crayons, & your kitchen set & table.

There were also some new favorites that have emerged:

I wrote about your Magna-Tile set (here) less than a month after you were gifted the set, because they are that amazing. We first learned about them at the children's museum, & it was one of my favorite parts of the museum. The colors, the endless structures you can create...this has always been fun for both adults & kids. In fact, my whole family sat down together to play. It was such a fun sight. We store them in a basket, & almost always dump them out when friends come to play. It's such an easy, no mess activity...& it's tons & tons of fun. My favorite Magna-Tile moment this year was when we built three house shaped structures & enacted The Three Little Pigs. It was one of your first days of potty training, & you were only wearing a sweatshirt & undies. I just remember you as you huffed & you puffed & you knocked down the houses. It will always be such a precious moment to me.

Radio Flyer My 1st Scooter
I put this on your amazon wish list thinking it could be fun, & was so surprised when your uncle Greg gave you your first scooter as a gift. My mom typically does his shopping, but he had picked it out for you on his own. We didn't use it for a little while, not knowing if you were ready. A few months ago we were going on a walk & pulled it out. I know I'm biased, but you are the most adorable scooter-girl ever. It took you a little while to get the hang of it. I laugh to myself thinking of the awkward position you would stand in during our first scooter outing, but now you zoom. You giggle & smile as we chase you down our quiet street. Sometimes your Daddy & I take a turn, but we've recently realized we're going to break it with our weight & will leave the scootering to you. This has become one of our favorite outdoor toys. It's so much fun, & it's something you can do on your own. We love it!

I'm not sure how Lamby hasn't been mentioned in any of our past favorite posts. I'm not sure who gave us Lamby (maybe my mom?), but she was a gift when I was pregnant. I filled your crib with stuffed animals. I think a lot of people wondered where you would sleep in a crib that was so filled with "friends," but I wanted you to always feel comfortable in your bed. I never wanted you to feel lonely. Somehow, Lamby emerged above the rest. She became your lovey, the one you snuggled with & loved above everything else. She still is. She's been by your side through your first day of school, getting tubes in your ears, overnight trips, & has really traveled with us on all of our adventures. We've had to enact a Lamby rule: she must stay in your room. This keeps us from having to go on a Lamby hunt every night before bedtime (you can't sleep without Lamby), & keeps you from being too dependant. I love watching you talk to her & the sweet way your snuggle her tight as you sleep. We had gotten a second Lamby for school. You needed one for nap time, & we didn't want to be constantly taking Lamby back & forth. Even still, Lamby started to look awfully dull. I started to wonder how long Lamby would hold up & pictured your heartbroken little face if Lamby were to fall apart. So, I went on amazon & found more Lamby's. Now I think we have a total of 6 Lamby's (one at Nonnie & Papi's house) that we rotate through, & everyone is happy.

I talked about babies before in our second year favorites, but they are worth mentioning again. You are baby obsessed. You have a ton of them, & you love every single one. Watching you play pretend with your baby dolls is one of the most precious things ever. You rock them & put them in your booster seat at the table to feed them. You "take them to the store" in your carriage & ask Daddy & I to babysit while you "go to work." Recently, they've all been "pooping in their pants." I'm not sure why, but you are always upset with your babes for pooping in their pants. Daddy & I can't help but giggle as we listen to your mothering techniques. You are one tough momma. Your babies spend a whole lot of time in time-out, but you scold them with love. 

I think I bought your easel before you were one. I always knew I wanted you to have one, & there was an amazing deal. I bought it, & we stored it in the basement until your second birthday. There has been so much chalk drawing, painting, & coloring with markers since then. You've created wrapping paper masterpieces. You were coloring with markers on your easel when you drew your very first person (your adorable people seriously melt my heart). It's a thing you can use to let your creativity flow, & it's also a thing we can pull out to occupy you when we're busy with something else. Of course, when we're not occupied in other things, it's great to join in on the art fun too.!

You beg us to pull out your play-doh on a weekly basis, & I have to admit we've said no more often than not. While it's great fun, for the longest time you just weren't able to play with it on your own. It had to be a time when we knew we could sit with you & create with you & clean up the play-doh mess at the end. Recently, it's been a little different. You play with your play-doh independently & so sweetly, occasionally running to us to show us your newest creation. Your favorite part is using the Play-Doh: Fun Factory Deluxe Set to create "gingermans" & make little faces on your little gingerbread men & women shapes. You create whole families. It's kinda cute. I have a feeling that play-doh will also be a fourth year favorite.

So, you don't actually have your own iPad. I have been very hesitant about introducing you to a lot of technology. I know that it's going to be a big part of your life, but I didn't want it to be the ONLY thing in your life. I would rather have you run around outside, read a book, & use your imagination than sit down all day with electronics. You'd never really seen an iPad until Nonnie brought hers this summer. It amazed me how quickly you picked it up. In no time, you were opening up apps & playing learning games on the iPad. When I got one for work, I downloaded a few free children's apps. You don't use it a whole lot, but it's your favorite thing to do when we're all feeling lazy. It's also really great for travel. I think there's going to be a constant struggle for me with you & technology, but I at least feel better knowing that you are having fun learning with it. If we get you any type of tablet in the future, the iPad will be it...but that will likely be far into the future.

Plasma Car
My parents have two of these, & your Daddy & I had a blast riding around on them before you were born. It's a children's car, but it holds up to 250 pounds. So, really it;s fun for the whole family. We couldn't wait for you to have one, & were excited when Santa brought you one for Christmas last year. We keep it inside, because it rides so well on the pergo floors. You use it to "go to the grocery store" & "go to work." You have a blast pushing Daddy & I down the hall in it. Our adult friends have even had the pleasure of going for a ride.

While you watched a lot of TV shows last year, movies were a little too long for you to get into for the most part. You also scared easy at the slightest hint of a darker theme. This year has definitely been your first year where you've developed a love for movies. We have a bunch of Disney & Pixar classics & a few other goodies. Your favorite coming into the year was Rapunzel, but now you're more of a Despicable Me fan. We keep them in your daddy's old CD case. This way they're together in one place & easy to grab when we go on a trip. Your movies have been clutch during long car & plane trips, sick days, & days when we just feel like being lazy. Most of your movies are ones that your daddy & I can also appreciate, which makes for fun, popcorn filled movie nights.

Sigh, so those are our third year favorites in a nutshell. I'm kind of seeing a fun for the parents & kids theme when it comes to our very favs. Weird. I hope playing for all of us never gets old.

I love you so,

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Precious People

Dear Em,
Remember how we like to decorate our back doors for different times of year? This year's Christmas decorations are super special, because they include Emma-original artwork. I had made snowflakes out of scrapbooking paper, but when I found the window markers the real magic began.

You drew your first person this summer, & we've been enchanted by your little people ever since. I told you to draw whatever you wanted on our doors, & our family is what you chose. On the right side you drew you, Daddy, & I. On the left side you drew Grandma, Papa, Nonnie, Papi, Great Grandma, & you "at their house." 

Here's a close up of you with the grandparents (you're the one all the way on the left).

I love that most of the people seem to have frowny faces instead of smiles. I love that you included hair. I love that even at your young, sweet age you seem to know that Christmas is about family. 

I smile every time I pass our decorated doors. Now they don't just remind me of Christmas. They remind me of just how precious you are.

I love you so,

Monday, December 17, 2012

Our NYC Adventure 2012

Dear Em,
Last year you traveled to NYC for the very first time. It was a fun & crazy girls day. I vowed not to take a child in diapers to NYC during the holidays ever again. We weren't really planning to make a trip again this year, but we were missing two of our best friends who live in the city. So, it's become kind of an annual thing (or at lest in the past two years) to take a trip to the big apple, & this year your daddy joined us too.

The weather was calling for rain, & we were bummed out. "Oh no, this is a disaster," you dramatically gasped as you looked out the window & saw the rain drops coming down. Luckily, your Godfather had a great idea: to enjoy the Museum of Natural History. You know, as many times as I've visited the city, I don't think I've gone to a museum. We were excited to visit our friends & explore something new.

We met at a hotel, exchanged gifts, & took pictures in front of the Christmas tree. In New York City, there's beautiful Christmas trees up everywhere during the holidays. It may be crazy crowded, but I love the beautiful holiday decorations throughout the city. While the guys brought our gifts back to the car, you had a blast sitting in every single one of the couches in the hotel lobby. There were A LOT. It really doesn't take much to entertain you.

The streets were even more crowded than I remember from last year. It's not very easy to manuver with a stroller (we learned to have one person from our party walk directly in front of the stroller to help make a stroller path through the crowds), & we were happy to get onto the subway. I think the subway is your favorite part of any city. You make sure to hold on tight, & you make sure we're all holding on tight too.

We went by the Statue of Liberty, at least the one outside of a store. It totally reminded me of your favorite movie, Despicable Me.

After lunch, we headed to the museum. Maybe it's because we were tourists. Maybe it was just an off day, but your daddy & I couldn't figure out the layout of the museum. I'm not sure how many entrances there are, but we kept walking out of them, thinking that we were going into an exhibit. I think it took us 30 minutes at one point just to find an actual exhibit. Luckily, our dear friends came to the rescue, & took us the to dinosaurs. It was the most extensive dinosaur exhibit I've ever been to. Truly amazing.

It was an amazing museum, but it too was crowded. Crowds are hard for you. You don't understand why we have to hold you so close. You want to be free to explore. It also didn't help that you didn't have a nap. There were some frustrating melt downs, but overall it was great. Even though you were exhausted, we had to head to Rockafeller Center. It was crazy crowded, but we managed to get a picture.

Soon after, we found a side street that was not as busy & lined with beautiful lit up trees. We were able to stop & look at the beauty of the area without feeling like we were mashed up against thousands of other people. Of course, it also gave us more photo opportunities.

We ended our trip at the Disney store. I just love walking through Times Square and being in the midst of the lights & the people. I didn't mind that the Disney store is right in the middle of it all. The Disney store was CA-RAZY, but then again it wasn't that bad. It was hectic, yet manageable. Since our Disney trip, you've fallen in love with Minnie Mouse. When we found a Minnie dressed as the Statue of Liberty, it just seemed like the perfect souvenir for you. The line surprisingly didn't take that long to get through, & it cost less than $15. I kinda feel like anything less than $15 is a steal in NYC.

It was a hectic but totally amazing family trip, & we were glad to share it with two of our best friends. Plus, it helped that you were totally potty trained this year. I'm just looking forward to when you're not a disaster because you didn't get a nap.

I love you so,

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Movies

Dear Em,
I love children's movies. I've always been a big Disney & Pixar fan. I have sadly gone to see so many children's movies with no child in hand. There were a lot of reasons that I wanted to be a mom, & having a little to take to the movies was one of them. I just really never thought about how long it takes for a child to be ready for his/her first trip to the movies.

So, we've waited. We've waited for you to be more interested in movies. We've waited for you to be able to sit still longer. We've waited for scary parts to seem less scary. As your movie watching at home  increased, I started to feel like you were ready to try a movie at the theater.

With no free weekend days or nights ahead, the next free time we had planned was while we were on vacation in North Carolina. I asked my family if they wanted to join us, & Nonnie, Papi, Uncle Greg, & Uncle Jared agreed to go to see Wreck-It Ralph.

The hard part about taking a young child to see a movie at a theater is you don't have the opportunity to screen the movie beforehand. You don't know if there are scary parts, where the scary parts are, & you can't fast forward through the scary parts. Luckily, you can at least ask other parents who have taken their littles. I got the green light from a few of my friends.

We headed to the theater, bought our tickets, filled up on snacks & hoped for the best.

For a little while we were the only family in the theater. It was kind of fun to watch you go from seat to seat & pick out the perfect one, & I was able to take a few ton of pictures. Another family arrived, & I realized it probably wasn't a great idea to let you go from seat to seat, because now we were going to need you to pick one & stay in it.

You did great! You were so excited & so engaged in the story-line of the movie. Although you didn't sit through the whole movie, you did at least stand quietly & still throughout the whole movie. We were also in luck during the one scary part. You had to go to the bathroom just as things started to get a little dark. Nonnie took you, & the movie brightened again just as you got back.

You loved Wreck-It Ralph, as did I. Your first night out at the movies was a fun success. We already can't wait for Despicable Me 2 to come out in theaters this summer. Despicable Me is your favorite movie right now. We've watched it on repeat more times than I can count. You were thrilled to see the preview for the new one at the movie theater. It looks super cute.

I'm so excited to have a little movie buddy. Now I just have to work on preparing you to also be my Broadway buddy.

I love you so,

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Bixby's of the Round Table

Dear Em,
We had such a fun & cozy Thanksgiving with my family. This year your Uncle Nick & Aunt Jennie hosted. You know what one of my favorite parts was? Of course the food was amazing, but my favorite part was Nick & Jennie's great big round table.

I have a big family, & it keeps getting bigger. It's not often that we all sit down at one table for a meal. In fact, when we hosted Christmas a few years ago, we had to separate people between two tables. We made the mistake of calling one the "kids table." As you can guess, that didn't go over well.

This Thanksgiving we were able to sit down together as a whole family. There was a giant glass lazy susan that the food sat on, & we rotated it so we all had easy access to the huge spread of yummy food. It was fun, even though sometimes it got a little dangerous.

We held hands as we said prayers. I got to look at everyone's faces as we ate & talked & laughed. At that moment I was so thankful to be right there as a family. Later, we played a board game together...without was so fun!

I think it was one of my very favorite Thanksgivings.

I love you so,

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Happiness is finding the right version of Frosty the Snowman

Dear Em,
I can feel it. This year is going to be special. I mean, all of our Christmases with you have been special, but this one is going to be the best. I just know it.

There have been signs that this year you've caught the Christmas spirit. You actually sat on Santa's lap without pouting or crying. You watch Christmas movies on repeat. When we told you we were going to cut down a Christmas tree, you exclaimed, "BEST DAY EVER." You sat down & watched our fireplace Christmas DVD, which just plays Christmas music & looks like a fireplace. It was erie to watch you sit so still without the help of cartoons. During Christmas decorating, you insisted that we all wear reindeer antlers...even the cats.

You're bursting with Christmas spirit. So, needless to say, we only listen to Christmas music when you and I are in the car together. You have your favorites, & you request them on repeat.

One day I was driving with Christmas music playing, & I heard faint noises coming from you in the back seat. I turned off the music so I could hear you better & asked you what you were saying.

"Oh, I'm just singing Frosty, Mommy. You know, thumpity thump thump, thumpity thump thump, thumpity thump thump, thumpity thump thump..." I'm not sure if the thumpity thump [art is your favorite or the only part you know, but you kept singing only that. I asked you if you'd like me to put on the Frosty the Snowman song, & you squealed in delight & clapped your hands.

There was just one problem.

You see, I have the Rat Pack version of Frosty the Snowman, and the Rat Pack didn't sing thumpity thump thump.

"Nooooooooooo. That's NOT Frosty, Mommy."

I had an idea. I searched for "Frosty the Snowman" in the iTunes store. Surely, they would have the version from the movie you love so much. There must be a thumpity version in there somewhere. Nope. I must have gone through 20 different versions. There was no thumpity thump thumping. "No, that's NOT Frosty," you would yell as the 30 second preview of each one played.

"Em, I don't think that they have the one you want to hear."

"Yes, YOU do. I know you can find it, Mommy! Please just do it."

And then I had a great idea. iTunes may not have it, but YouTube surely would.

And it did.

"You did it! You found it! I knew you could find the right frosty!" You had the biggest smile spread across your face as we both sang our thumpity thump thumps loudly and off-key. And that's when I learned that happiness is finding the right version of Frosty the Snowman & singing it with your favorite girl.

I love you so,

Monday, December 10, 2012

no room for photos

Dear Em,
I wanted to recap our fun Thanksgiving, our amazing trip to NC, & all of our Christmasy activities since. As I was writing a post, I went to include a photo & got a message about the space on my Picasa albums being full. Full?! How did that happen?! Well, I guess I know how that happens. I mean, I take pictures of almost everything.

Unfortunately, in order to be able to post more pictures, I would have to pay a monthly fee. While I love this blog, I didn't start it intending to pay to keep it up. On the other hand, I can't imagine recapping Thanksgiving, our trip, & all of our Christmasy activities without including pictures of your cuteness.

Have any other bloggers run into this? What did you do?

I'm going to have to figure something out. Sigh.

I love you so,

Friday, November 30, 2012

love letters

Dear Em,

You make me feel so young
You make me feel like spring has sprung 
Every time I see you grin 
I'm such a happy an individual 

The moment that you speak 
I want to run and play hide-and-seek 
I want to go and bounce the moon 
Just like a big toy balloon 

You and I, we are just like a couple of tots 
Running along the meadow 
Snatching up all those forget to be nots 

You make me feel so young 
You make me feel there are songs to be sung 
Bells to be rung and a wonderful spring to be sprung 

And even when I'm old and gray 
I'm gonna feel the way I do today 
'Cause you make me feel so young
- You Make Me Feel So Young

Today is Papa's birthday, but I think since you've come along he's only gotten younger. There is a twinkle in his eyes, & it's just so amazing to watch the two of you play together.

The love & the friendship the two of you puts a smile in my heart. It's kind of like magic.

I love you so,

Monday, November 26, 2012

Our Little East Coast Traveler

Dear Em,
You're my sweet little travel buddy. We just drove down to North Carolina & back. I don't even know how many times you've done that, but you're so great! There's no one I'd rather travel long as we have a DVD player & an IPad.

I have been known to get a little aggravated with other drivers while driving, but you keep me smiling. Just a few examples...

Me: "Driving. Why?"
Em: "Oh, no. I'm not talking to you, Mommy. I'm talking to all the crazy drivers. You're driving great."

And you were right. We were surrounded by crazy drivers. We were in the middle of NYC, and moments later we watched an accident involving a car & a tractor trailer truck. I thanked God that we weren't part of the accident & wondered to myself how you had already developed a sense of road rage.

On the way home, you snuggled with the your babies and stuffed animals. You taught them how to dance & were excited to show us how you taught them to sway to the music (even upside down).

Em: (holding your baby dolls) "Mom, I can't wait for these girls to live in my room with me, but Fancy Nancy can't come."
Me: "Why can't Fancy Nancy live in your room?"
Em: "Well, she hit Tiana & she won't say sorry. So, when we get home she's going to sit at the bottom of the stairs until she says sorry."
Me & Daddy: (silently giggling)
Em as Fancy Nancy: (in a high pitched voice) "I'm sorry Tiana."
Em as Tiana: (still in a high pitched voice) "That's ok, we can still be friends."
Em: "Mom! Fancy Nancy said she was sorry & gave Tiana a hug. They're friends now so Fancy Nancy can live in my room too."

Sigh. Thanks for giving us so many reasons to smile even during a 12+ hour road trip.

I love you so,

Friday, November 16, 2012

love letters

Dear Em,
" If you give a mouse a cookie, he's going to ask for a glass of milk."
- If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff

I loved that book when I was younger, & how fun is it now that there is a whole If You Give series? Today we travel to NC for a whole week of family filled adventures. Last night, I kind of felt like my life was part of a new book from the If You Give series, except mine is more of a If You Need To series. Hmmm, maybe I will write a new story for the series.

I will title it: If You Need to Pack a Suitcase (& get a whole lot of work done, but you're exhausted because you just returned from another trip the night before at 9:30pm) by Julie McGovern.

So, here we go...

If you need to pack a suitcase,

Chances are, you'll start a painting project instead. Because, you know, that's the important thing to be doing right now. Maybe it's because you started the project a month ago & never finished it & you wanted to give it to someone as a gift before Thanksgiving...& you know, you're leaving on a week long trip that includes Thanksgiving. Who knows what was going through your mind at that moment.

You'll probably want to involve your almost 3 year old to make sure things really get nice & messy. So, you'll put a smock on her & hand her some paint brushes. You'll probably also be talking to your mom on the phone, because almost three year old children don't need to be watched closely while doing such things as painting.

It's possible that your almost 3 year old will get really excited about using multiple colors & always washing her paint brush in a bowl of water between each use of the multiple colors. In the midst of all of the excitement, she will dump the bowl of water all over the projects you are painting, yourself, herself, the table, & the floor. You'll grab rolls of paper towels to clean it up while she cries because her socks are wet.

She will get so excited about painting, your daughter will want to paint the whole house. Rather than let her smather the painting project with another layer of paint, you hand her random things to paint. Because, you know, you have lots of time & are not at all worried about the mess.

Your husband will give you a look that says, "you have a million things to do, but you're letting her paint now?" You will ignore it, because you're starting to think the same thing. With the level of stress you're feeling & the number of things to do, your husband will probably feel sick & look like he's dying. He will help clean up the paint water mess & feed your almost 3 year old dinner even though he has the chills & is shivering uncontrolably because you're probably starting to look a little scary at this point.

During this time, you may find yourself in an argument with your mother over how many raincoats an almost 3 year old needs.

When you finally get to the packing part of the evening, you will pat yourself on the back for doing the bulk of the packing a few days ago so there is not as much to pack now. Almost at the same time, you will want to kick yourself for not making a list of anything you already packed. You probably have no idea what you packed already & what still needs to be packed. Let's face it, your brain is not functioning properly at this point. In an act of desperation, you decide to throw a pile of shoes & underwear into the suitcase, thinking it's better to have too many shoes & underwear than none at all. You sigh & hope for the best.

You spend the rest of the night working on your expense report & wondering why you waited until the last minute to do it. You also start to wonder if you want to go on a week long trip at all. This may be when you start to feel your head throb.

By the next morning things are actually done (for the most part), & you are excited to be leaving for your trip after work. Plus, you have just enough time to drop off the painting project gift.

Can you tell which one we let you choose the colors for? We got the wooden figures super cheap from Michaels. Such a fun project with kids.

And chances are if you drop off the painting project...well, I'm not really sure. Clearly this sequel is still a little rough around the edges & will need some more work before it's ready to be printed as a children's book. But hopefully, it all means we have a great trip!

I love you so,

Monday, November 12, 2012

precious moments with little friends

Dear Em,
There's such sweet beauty in the precious moments you share with your little friends.

I love you so,

Thursday, November 8, 2012

elections through the eyes of an almost 3 year old

Dear Em,
Well, the election results are in. For the most part, they've been in for a while. For better or for worse, the leaders of our country for the next 2-4 years have been named. As the political commercials & ads come to an end (thank God), I hope that it's the the beginning of developing new ideas & working together as we continue to face big problems in our country.

Here's a little taste of how the morning of election day went at our house.

Me: "Hey, Em, do you want to vote with Mommy today?"
Em: "Sure! I want to vote!" (wrinkle of the nose, quizzical look) "Hey, Mommy, what's voting?"
Me: "Well, we go and say who we want to run the country."
Em: "Oh...well, can we vote now?"
Me: (Both of us standing in our PJs) "Well, we have to get dressed first."
(30 seconds pass)
Em: "Ok, can we vote now?" (This is pretty much repeated for the next hour it takes us to get ready.)
(Get into the car.)
Em: "Hey, Mommy, where are we going?"
Me: "We're going to vote."
Em: "Oh, are you sure we're not going in a BOAT?"
Me: (smiling) "No, we're going to vote v-v-v-vote."
(Get to the polling station. There are political signs everywhere.)
Em: (Gasp) "Oh my goodness Mommy, do you see it?! It's pink door!"
Me: (Laughing, of everything going on around us, that would be what you would notice.)
(We walk inside the polling place.)
Em: "Mommy, what are we doing here?"
Me: "We're going to vote."
(Get to the area where we cast our ballot. You peek your little head over the table to get a glimpse of a ballot.)
Em: "What's that marker?"
Me: "This is what we use to write our vote with."
Em: "But it's black. I don't like back markers."
Me: (Thinking about your perfect world, a world where we vote using pink markers.)
Em: (As I'm filling out my ballot) "So, Mommy, when are we going to vote?"
Me: (Laughing as I pick you up) "We are voting. See, when I draw this line, that's how we say who we want to vote for."
Em: (looks at me like "this is what you got me all excited about this morning?")
(Walk over to put the ballot in the reader.)
Nice Man holding "I Voted" stickers: (looks down at Em) "Hey, would you like a sticker?!
Em: (Full force death glare)
Nice Man holding "I Voted" stickers: (looking kind of scared) "Ok, I'll give your mommy two, one for her & one for you & she can give it to you if you want."
Em: (Full force death glare until we were out of eyesight from the nice man)
(I placed the "I voted" sticker on your shirt, & you proudly smiled.)

And that was your first time "voting".

I love you so,

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Your Triplets

Dear Em,
Nonnie & Papi sent us a fun care package filled with books & little baby triplets. You adore anything baby & your teeny triplets haven't left your side since you opened them up. They even shower with you.

Em: "Mommy these are my babies. I have ten babies."
Me: "10 Babies?! Wow, how do you manage to feed them all."
Em: "Well, they usual don't eat breakfrest. They don't have any teeth."
Me: "Oh, don't they at least drink milk?"
Em: "Nope."
Me: "Oh, well what are their names?" (totally expecting them all to be named Baby)
Em: "Well, I usual only have three right now. This one is Lace-O."
Me: "Lace-O?"
Em: (rolling her eyes) "Yes."
Me: "Oh, that's an unusual name. What are the other two named?"
Em: "Well, this one is Nagnus & this one is Jayden."
Me: "Wow, those are really...special names. Are they boys or girls?"
Em: "They're all girls. I only have girls in my world."

Ten minutes later.

Em: "Hey, Mom, I decided that this one is a boy now. I can have boys in my world."
Me: "Oh, what is that one named now."
Em: (absolutely rolling her eyes) "His name is still Jayden!"

How did I not know that?

Later in the day, you set our dining room table with plates & food from your kitchen set, put two of your teeny triplets into your booster seat, & sat down to have "breakfrest" with them. I guess they do eat food now afterall.

You can just barely see them in your seat.

Is it funny to anyone else that you call every meal you eat "breakfrest"?

I love you so,

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Vote for Emma...20??

Dear Em,
Happy Election Day. Election Day has always been exciting to me. There's something about casting your ballot & then watching as the future unfolds. Typically, I enjoy staying up late to watch the news coverage & election projections, but sadly I'll just be voting & going away for a work trip.

Today reminds me of a fun trip that we took to our Nations Capital a couple months ago. You're too young to understand that you were in a place that such big decisions are made. It wasn't a trip about politics. Instead we got to see Washington DC through the eyes of a two year old.

We started with a birthday celebration. My best friend lives just outside of DC, & we were visiting to celebrate her birthday. We started by bringing a little bit of Rhode Island to DC with an Allies Donut Cake in the shape of a Rhody Ram. I love how when we shout, "Rhody Rhody Rhody" you shout, "Rams Rams Rams!"

After that we headed to the zoo. The Smithsonian Washington DC Zoo is enormous & amazing & free (well, except for paying to park). In a lot of zoos we pass right by the indoor exhibits, because I find then dark, musty, & creepy. The indoor exhibits were one of our favorite parts. It is one of the best zoos I've ever been to.

The gorilla's, chimps, & monkeys were so fun to see up close. This guy was pretty serious, but we also got to hear a howling monkey (omg, rediculous), an orangutan swing from a ropes high in the sky, and cute little monkeys that you called "baby monkeys."

One of the most fun things we got to see while there was a couple getting engaged. The guy proposed right in front of the elephants. I don't have any pictures of that, because you were in the middle of a little mini-breakdown. It was warm. You were tired & hungry, & the whole zoo seems to be placed on one big hill. After lunch & a cool down in the splash pad you seemed to do better. There was a group of kids having a blast at the splash pad. I was a meany of a mommy & tricked you into reaching down & getting squirted in the face. I can't help it. It was funny.

This is one of my favorite pictures ever. You enjoyed watching the seals & sealions, you didn't want to go to any other exhibits.

There was a rain forrest type area where there was no glass or netting between us & the birds & animals.

There was a small farm area with Donkeys, cows, goats, & sheep close enough to pet. The Friday we went was the perfect day to go. It wasn't crowded at all, & you were able to get right up to everything.

We don't have any lions at our Rhode Island zoo. So, seeing "the Lion King" at the DC zoo was great.

The next day, we knew you had gone without a nap the previous day. Typically you do pretty well the day that you've missed your nap. The day after your missed nap is the day we all pay for it. You are a crankapotomus like woah. So, we planned a day where nothing was set in stone & most things were outdoors. We started with a picnic in the Botanic Gardens. Someone had mae the mistake of calling it a park. "Well, where are the swings & the slides?" you continued to ask all day. The definition of a park as an adult is much different from a two year old's definition.

Next we headed to the Capitol Building. I made a snide remark about this being where nothing gets done. But truly, I believe that this is where decisions are made & things happen. For better or for worse, this is what was set up in the Constitution so many years ago.

After that we tossed a football & played frisbee in the grassy fields of the National Mall. The day was so beautiful, we didn't want to waste it by going to the inside museums. Actually, we also didn't risk it. You continued to beg for swings & slides & whine with lack of sleep. A frozen yogurt food truck & a carousel set in the middle of the Mall (located right across from the Smithsonian Castle) were our saving grace. While pricey (who makes parents pay just to stand with their children), the carousel was worth every penny. You had a blast, & I enjoyed watching you twirl around with the Washington Monument in the background.

Then we headed over to the Sculpture Garden. You know what? I don't really get contemporary & modern sculptures, but there was a beautiful fountain that you enjoyed making wishes in & walking around.

We knew (pretty much the whole day) we were on borrowed time. We knew you were exhausted, & we knew we were only adding to it with the warm heat & all the excitement & all the walking. As we walked back to the car, you fell asleep. Most people don't understand how significant this is. You typically need two things to sleep: silence & darkness. Washington DC was neither. You falling asleep truly showed the extent of your exhaustion.

It's true that Washington DC is not as easy to tackle with a two year old as it was when it was just Daddy & I, but it was still truly magical. There's something amazing about being able to travel to our Nations Capitol, to be where the decisions are being made about our country. And it was amazing to share with you...even though I know you didn't really get that. You mostly just liked looking at the monkeys & eating frozen yogurt & riding the carousel. I'm pretty sure if you were the one making the decisions, you would make sure Washington DC had more swings & slides.

So, happy Election Day...come what may. Today & everyday, God bless America.

I love you so,

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