Thursday, May 31, 2012

Nutella: We don't care if it's not a healthy breakfast food

Dear Em,
A while ago I read an article about a woman who is suing Nutella, claiming their commercials led her to believe that Nutella on toast was a healthy breakfast option for her children. Um, does this woman not know how to read? Has she never heard of nutrition facts being on food labels?

I was telling your Daddy about how rediculous I thought the whole thing was, & he replied, "mmm, Nutella. We should get some of that." Luckily, soon after I found a recipe that called for Nutella on one of my favorite easy recipe blogs, The Kitchen Life of a Navy Wife.

We love breakfast food & knowingly could care less that Nutella is not a healthy breakfast option. Your daddy's Nutella French Toast was yummy amazing.

Haley from Life is Sweet has such a fun blog. I love reading to hear about the fun things she & her family are up to. I loved the blog even more when I read on this blog post about her Nutella Milkshakes. Yup, pretty much instant milkshake craving. Like it was only 9am, but I still HAD to have a Nutella milkshake. We were in luck the rest of our Nutella was still sitting in our pantry. We had almost all the ingredients, all we needed were hazelnuts.

Technically, it wasn't breakfast. You had already had oatmeal & I had yogurt. Let's call it a mid-morning snack.

I took out the vanilla bean ice cream & put it on the counter to soften. Then I asked you to guard the ice cream from Daddy while I went upstairs to get the recipe. When I got downstairs, you were both digging in to the ice cream. With a cute little smirk on your face, you told me Daddy cheated. "You can have some too, Mommy," you sweetly said.

Making the milkshakes was a fun family event. I chopped the hazelnuts, Daddy melted the Nutella, you scooped the ice cream. MMMMM, my mouth waters just thinking about it. These are my favorite milkshakes ever.

You had only a few sips of your milkshake. After that, you didn't really want anymore, but you also didn't want Daddy to have any of yours either. I think it's because you had filled up on 1/4 of a gallon of ice cream. I may have snuck a few sips. Seriously, best milkshake ever.

So thank you, Nutella. You may not be a healthy breakfast option, but you sure are yummy. And a treat every once in a while sure hits the spot.

I love you so,

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wedding Shower Wednesday: Wine Basket

Dear Em,
This will be our last Wedding Shower Wednesday post this year. After this week, we'll be talking about birthday parties in preparation for your 2 1/2 birthday bash (yup, you read right, 2.5).

A few years ago I was at a shower where the bride was given a wicked fun gift. In fact, a teensy part of me wanted to sneak the gift home with me. It was a basket filled with three bottles of wine, fun wine glasses, & fun wine-related trinkets. There was a message on each bottle of wine. One bottle was to be opened on the couple's one year anniversary, one was to be opened on the three year anniversary, & one was to be opened on the five year anniversary.

I just love stealing other people's amazing ideas. So, I had so much fun putting together a fun wino basket for our friends B & E. First I went to the liquor store. My wine choosing is mostly random & very amateur, & I asked for help in the store. The friendly man who worked at the store said most wines keep for about a year, but I needed nicer "probably reds" for wines I wanted to keep longer than that. I chose a fun beachy looking white for year one (they got engaged on the beach), a nicer red merlot for year three, & a nice champagne for year five (the bride loves champagne & what better a time to pop a cork than a five year anniversary?).

Next, I went to hallmark to find some fun wine glasses. They have so many hand-painted & wicked cool ones to choose from. It was hard to choose. I probably walked the isles for at least 30 minutes & changed my mind a bunch of times. In the end, I bought a colorful pair of glasses with phrases about celebrating painted on them.

I bought a basket at Kohls that was perfect to put everything in & also 75% off. Score! I also found a beautiful candle & some wedding-themed picture frames.

I wanted to put the bottles of wine in beautiful hand-stamped bags I found on Etsy, but the order fell through. I put the gifts in the basket & then set to work writing pretty, little messages to the bride & groom. I smiled as I thought of them opening the messages & bottles during their precious celebratory moments.

“Knowing you will be with me in all my tomorrows, makes my today so wonderful.”
B & E, 
Happy 1st Anniversary! 
We know the first year anniversary gift is paper, but we felt wine was in order for this celebration! As you drink, fill your minds & hearts with memories from the beautiful day you said, “I do.” We hope every year is more beautiful than the last, & we’re sure it will be as long as you have each other. 
Brian, Julie & Emma

“I still do.” 
B & E, 
Happy 3rd Anniversary! 
We know the third year anniversary gift is leather, but Em wanted to save the animals. Instead, open up this bottle that has only gotten better as it’s aged, just like your marriage. Let your minds & hearts be full of memories from the beautiful day you said, “I do.” We hope every year is more beautiful than the last, & we’re sure it will be as long as you have each other. 
Brian, Julie, & Emma

“A successful married life requires falling in love many times, but always with the same person.” 
B & E, 
Happy 5th Anniversary! 
We know the fifth year anniversary gift is wood, but we figured it would be more fun to have some cork popping time! Enjoy the bubbles, & celebrate the beautiful day you said, “I do” & the amazing 5 years that have followed. We hope every year is more beautiful than the last, & we’re sure it will be as long as you have each other. 
Brian, Julie, & Emma

I forgot to take a picture f the end result, I know, wicked bummer, right? You'll have to take my word for it, it was really cute. 

It makes my heart happy to think of the fun the basket will bring to a very special couple as they celebrate their amazing adventures over the next five years. So much changes in five short years. Five years ago, your daddy & I weren't married yet. We lived in an apartment an hour and a half away in Connecticut. You were just a dream in my heart. Sigh, I hope B & E's next five years are as precious as your daddy & my first 3 1/2 years have been.

I love you so,

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pink & Purple Flowers: Presents for Amazing Teachers

Dear Em,
I feel so behind on posts, but May has been such a whirlwind of a month. You've been out of school for a week now, & I haven't had a chance to write about the gifts you made for your teachers. They love you & you love them. Along with writing them this letter, we wanted to make sure they knew how much we appreciate them by making them a special gift.

First, you & I went to Home Depot to pick out flowers & flower pots. You were very specific about what you wanted, pink & purple flowers. Through some kind of miracle, we found gorgeous flowers that are pink when closed. As the flowers bloom, they open up with gorgeous purple petals inside. You were thrilled.

As we looked at the terracotta pots, you were very specific about what you wanted there too. In your mind bigger is better. You kept asking me to grab bigger ones. We took them home to paint them. We stenciled pink & purple flowers, green grass, & white clouds (you had been studying clouds in school & wanted to add that touch). We also made your handprint to make into a flower & I painted your teacher's names.

Friday, May 25, 2012

love letters

Dear Em,
Two of our favorite people are getting married this weekend. We're so excited & can't wait to share in their special day.

I've been reading a lot of articles about what love is/is supposed to be & how it relates to marriage. While the thoughts on love were beautiful & touching, nothing seemed to quite fit into what love is to me. Recently I stumbled across the blog Discover Street. In one of her posts, Ruthy talked about a reading that was done at her wedding. I read it & finally thought, that's it! These are the feelings that I've felt within my heart but haven't been able to put into words.

"Being in love is a good thing, but it is not the best thing.  There are many things below it, but there are also things above it.  You cannot make it the basis of a whole life.  It is a noble feeling, but it is still a feeling.  Now no feeling can be relied on to last in its full intensity, or even to last at all.  Knowledge can last, principles can last, habits can last; but feeling come and go.  And in fact, whatever people say, the state called "being in love' usually does not last.  If the old fairy-tale ending "They lived happily ever after' is taken to mean 'They felt for the next fifty years exactly as they felt the day before they were married', then it says what probably never was nor ever would be true, and would be highly undesirable if it were.  Who could bear to live in that excitement for even five years?  What would become of your work, your appetite, your sleep, your friend-ships? 

But, of course, ceasing to be 'in love' need not mean ceasing to love.  Love in this second sense - love as distinct from "being in love' - is not merely a feeling.  It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by (in Christian marriages) the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God.  They can have this love for each other even at moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself.  They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be 'in love' with someone else.  'Being in love' first moved them to promise fidelity:  this quieter love enables them to keep the promise.  It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run:  being in love was the explosion that started it."
- C.S. Lewis

Isn't it lovely when you find your thoughts put to brilliantly written words?

I love you so,

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Happy Surprise

Dear Em,
We have a lot of favorite things, but happy mail & fashion are certainly up there for both of us. Yesterday we got both. My friend Allison, of The Marvelous Adventures of the Meehan Boys,  recently moved out of state. She has two sons, whom you adore. Her son, Jack, has always been so adorable & gentle with you. He was actually the very first boy you tried to open mouth kiss (Daddy was not happy).

Since they moved, we've kept in touch through fun things sent in the mail, facebook, & our blogs. It's so fun to see what they've been up to since they moved so far away.

Allison has become so crafty with her sewing machine lately, but has no girls to make fun things for. I am a disaster with the sewing machine, at least I was when I tried to make a dress in high school. My mom basically remade the whole thing, & I've stayed far away from sewing machines since.

So, when we got Allison's sweet note & adorable handmade dress for you yesterday, it put a smile in both our hearts. You wanted to try it on right away, & we had to wrestle it off you to put you in the bath. We promised you could wear it today so you would finally yield.

Thanks a million, Allison!

Pretty stinkin' cute, right?! We're so lucky to have amazing, sweet, & crafty friends. We're also lucky to have blogging to help us keep in touch.

I love you so,

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wedding Shower Wednesday: Favors

Dear Em,
I know your Daddy & I got married almost four years ago, but I finally got around to using some of my bridal shower favors.

At the time of my shower we were deep in wedding planning mode, & it just seemed like so much money was being spent on our wedding (even with us DIYing to keep costs down). I just wished some of the money spent was going to something better.

I found pink breast cancer awareness ribbons online that bloom into wild flowers when planted. I sent my best friend the link as "an idea for my shower" (yup, even when I'm not planning, I'm planning). The proceeds for the pink ribbons went to breast cancer awareness. My bridal party put the sweetest notes on each table explaining that although the spotlight was on your daddy & I, we wanted to make sure the spot light continued to shine on what was important. Some of the beautiful women who attended my shower, actually made additional donations. It was so touching & amazing to me.

There were tons of leftover ribbons, and my girls gave them to me. First they were stored at your grandparent's house & then we put them in storage at our house. I had mostly forgotten we even had them, but I found them in a basket the other day when I was cleaning things up. The words wild flowers gave me the garden bug, & we planted some of them.

I really, really hope they grow & bloom. I love wild flowers & it would make my heart so happy to see them in our own yard.

I love you so,

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Wine Tasting Birthday Party

Dear Em,
To celebrate another birthday, your Daddy threw me a wine tasting birthday party last week. He sent out a facebook invite to our friends, got a couple bottles of our favorite wine, & encouraged everyone to bring their favorite/an interesting bottle of wine. Your daddy even cleaned the house & set up some appetizers.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Adventuring to the southernmost spot in Rhode Island

Dear Em,
The birthday week that you & Daddy planned for me has come to an end. The highlight of my week was Friday evening when the two of you surprised me with a drive to Watch Hill in Westerly, Rhode Island. It's the southernmost part of Rhode Island, & I love the scenic drive.

The first time I went to Watch Hill it was for a dinner at Ocean House. Originally built in 1868, it was closed in 2003 when it was deemed beyond repair. It's since been restored, & the restorations captured the rich history & beauty of it's past. The Victorian building is both massive & quaint, & I've fallen in love with it's architectural beauty. It's sitiated perfectly along the shore with beautiful ocean views all around. Dinner (& I imagine the rooms) are a little pricey. Still, I couldn't wait to share the scene with you & Daddy. As we drive past it I sigh & feel a calm rush over me, knowing that we are entering historic Watch Hill, a beach that has become one of our favorites.

Each time we go to Watch Hill, your daddy & I are struck by how much the town reminds us of Dingle, a quaint little shore town in Ireland. We've been to Watch Hill a handful of times, mostly during the spring & fall when the streets are quiet. This Friday was my favorite trip, a little adventure.

Friday, May 18, 2012

love letters

Dear Em,
Today is your last day of school. How did a school year go by so fast? I feel like just yesterday we dressed you up in your cute little bumble bee outfit, put your backpack on, gave you a million kisses, & waved goodbye.

It's been such an amazing school year of love & learning & fun. We can't thank your teachers enough. So, we made them little gifts (which I'll talk about next week) & we wrote them a letter (remember the letter we wrote in December?). Here's the letter we wrote...

Dear Miss T & Miss S,
I never thought I would be the type of mom who sent her children to daycare. I always planned to be a mom & I always planned to be a professional. How I always thought my child would never go to daycare, I don’t know. I guess I hoped my mom would be around to watch over our kids. “Daycare” was always a scary word to me. It was where germs go to spread, bad words are learned, & biting prevails. At least that’s what I thought. I know those thoughts are irrational. I know there are some great places out there, & I know so many kids go to daycare & do well. Still, that’s how I felt.

We were lucky for the first year and a half to have two loving nannies & their daughters watch Emma from our home. When they both left us at the same time to follow different paths, we were devastated. For a while, I ignored anything was changing. I couldn’t even admit to myself that we would be sending our child to daycare. I had knots in my stomach, had trouble sleeping, & felt like we were failing Emma.

That’s when Emma started at XXXXX XXXX, & the experience has been an overwhelmingly pleasant surprise. It’s been a place where Emma has gone to learn & play, but also to be loved. Under your care, we’ve watched our daughter bloom & grow from a 1 ½ year old toddler to a 2 ½ year old young lady.

We never felt like we were sending her to daycare, but instead a school. With the two of you as her guide, she’s learned her letters & their sounds, the days of the week, counting, what clouds are made of, & so much more. She learned in such a fun way with songs & activities. We can’t wait to pick her up at the end of the day & hear about all she learned & did. She tells us with excitement & looks forward to her next day when she’ll be able to do weather or the calendar. At such a young age, the love of learning has been fostered in Emma, & you’re such a huge part of that.

One of the most precious moments of my life was the day she first spelled her name for us. It was such an amazing gift, tears filled my eyes. We can’t thank you enough.

Em has learned more than that. She’s learned manners & sharing & compassion. And when Emma has been ready for the next step, it’s the two of you that has seen it before we have even seen it ourselves. Drinking out of a cup without a top, potty training, I don’t think Emma would have done either of those things yet had you not told us that she was ready. You see the potential in our daughter even when sometimes we don’t see it ourselves.

We’ve always felt like you’ve partnered with us in handling the difficult stages, in praising Emma for the things that she’s accomplished, & in transitioning into that next milestone. We can’t describe what a comfort it has been for B & I (& certainly Emma too) to have such amazing partners along the sometimes scary journey of parenthood.

Your classroom feels like home to Emma & it feels like home to us. The two of you have fostered such an amazing atmosphere within your class. When we drop her off each day, we can give 100% to our jobs knowing that Emma is where she is meant to be. We trust the two of you with our child more than most of our family.

It’s not just Emma. We’ve watched the whole classroom learn & grow & develop, from almost babies, into such sweet children this past year. It’s been such an amazing year of love & learning & fun. We hope you both know what a special gift you both have, what a gift you both are. You’re molding little minds & making such an amazing difference in the world. You’ve made such a big difference in our world, & we can’t thank you enough.

In you Emma has gained two people who love her, comforters, cheerleaders, patient teachers, two people to kiss her boo-boos, two people to change her several times a day poopy diapers, & a fun audience for her cute little sense of humor. We’re going to miss you both so much this summer, but with happy hearts we can say that Emma will be beyond excited to return next year.

With so much love & gratitude,
J & B

Thursday, May 17, 2012

chasing boys

Dear Em,
The other day I took you to the park after school. You're growing so big. It was the first time at the park where I mostly sat & watched you play instead of standing a foot or two behind you, ready to help or guide you. It was a sweet way to end the work day.

You found a little four year old friend. She wanted to chase the boys. You wanted to do whatever she was doing. As she ran after the boys & you ran after her, you stopped & looked back at me.

"Want to chase the boys with us, Mommy," you called back to me.

I smiled & told you my days of chasing boys were over.

Yup, we're going to have to add this to the list of things I never thought I would hear you say at age two (remember this post?).

I love you so,

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wedding Shower Wednesday: Etsy It Up

Dear Em,
We recently got the cutest wedding invitation in the mail. Seriously, I haven't "awwwed" over an invitation in a long time. They were personal & original & amazing.

The couple's wedding reception is on the beach in Newport & will include a yummy lobster bake. The invitations captured the feel of their reception so well. They were covered in beachy, blue stripes & red lobsters. The reply card was actually a postcard, & I wished I could keep it instead of using it to reply.

I gushed to the bride-to-be about how much I loved the invites, & she told me she ordered them on Etsy.


How did I not know vendors on Etsy did invites?

Once I learned this, I started perusing the options myself. There are invitations for all different themes & kinds of occasions. Most of them are pretty reasonably priced. Why did I not know this before I started designing your birthday party invitations?

I looked at bridal shower invitations, just for fun. I was overwhelmed by talent & creativity at a great price.

This one calls to the beachbum in me.

From here.

How freakin' fun is this one? Sign me up for that shower.

From here.

This one looks like a boarding pass to wedding shower fun & amazingness. Can someone send me an invite that looks like this?

From here.

Your daddy just threw me a wine tasting birthday party. He created such a witty & cute facebook invite. It was not done with ease. Your daddy is not very facebook savvy. I loved the invite he created, but this would've been awfully fun too.

From here.

I always thought the event inspired the invitations, but it just might be the other way around when it comes to Etsy. These invitations have a way of making me want to schedule an event just so I can use their invites. Or maybe scrap your birthday invites that I just spent forever on...except that I just spent forever on them. 

Sigh. I wish I was as cool as Etsy.

I love you so,

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

precious moments, mother's day recap 2012

Dear Em,
Our Mother's Day was magical. We...

Slept in late.

Filled the morning with bedtime snuggles.

Ate breakfast in bed (thanks, Daddy).

Opened sweet & thoughtful gifts from you & Daddy.

Laughed at the park.

I tried to sit on this side-saddle, but you complained I was doing it wrong.

Meeting with Grandma & Papa at the wall.

Lunch at Aunt Carries. Yummy Fish & Chips & Clam Cakes.

You discovered a hilarious love of ketchup.

A walk to the rocky beach.

Precious moments stacking rocks & finding beach treasure.

 Going home to relax & watch movies.

Phone calls to Nonnie to wish her a happy Mother's Day. You squealed, grabbed the phone, walked away, & chatted Nonnie up ("So, how was your day, Nonnie?"). It was adorable.

It was a beautiful, sunny day full of precious moments & love. It was such a gift. You are my most precious gift. Thank you for calling me Mommy.

I love you so,

Monday, May 14, 2012

the kind of love that lights up the sky

From here.
Dear Em,
Today is my birthday. I'm sure we'll fill the day with sunshine & giggles, hugs & laughter, kisses & snuggles. 

I saw this image & couldn't help but stop & smile. Instead of grumbling about being another year older, all I can think of is the blessing of another year of love. Our family...our truly is all around. You know, the kind of love that can light up the whole sky.

Thank you for lighting up my sky.

I love you so,

Friday, May 11, 2012

love letters

Celebrating Mother's Day last year.
Dear Em,
This weekend is Mother's Day, my third on as a Mommy. I'm so glad I saw this Olympics commercial. While blinking back tears, I couldn't help but think of how spot on the commercial is.

"Being a mom is the hardest job in the world. But it's also the best."

Thanks for giving me the hardest & best job in the world.

I love you so,

Happy Mother's Day to all of the amazing Mommies out there!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Grandma's Beach Bag

Dear Em,
I'm giving your grandma a shout out today via the blog, because I'm in Texas & wasn't able to celebrate with you at home. Today is her birthday, & I hope her day is absolutely amazing. Grandma & Papa live only 25 minutes away from us. Other than us, their house is your very favorite place in the state of Rhode Island.

I love to watch you dance & laugh with your grandma. It's like she transforms into a kid again right in front of our eyes. When you come to visit, she always has such fun things planned for you to do together. You water the flowers, bake pizza, & play hopscotch.

When I told you Grandma's birthday was coming up, you were thrilled to be able to make her a beach bag too. She recently told us her favorite color was green. So, we wanted to give her some Spring green to take with her to the beach. We also slipped in some pink & purple, your favorite colors.

You, Daddy, Papa, & Grandma celebrated with dinner at our house on Tuesday. I can only imagine the wide smile that spread across Grandma's face when she opened her bag that was made with love from her favorite two year old.

I love you so,

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Wedding Shower Wednesday: Basket of Candles

Dear Em,
On the day of my wedding shower I was given one of the most precious gifts I've ever been given. My best friend, your Auntie Jayme, gave me a basket of candles. But, it wasn't just any basket of candles.

Jayme had beautifully decorated the basket with white flowers & leaves. Inside was nine sets of candles, two beautiful candle holders,  & a roll of paper. When I opened the roll, I read aloud a sweet poem to the many ladies at my shower.

"A basket of candles
That come in a pair,
Of all different colors
For you two to share.

The white ones burn first
They're wrapped in white lace,
To celebrate the first night
In your new chosen place.

The mauve pair is shorter
But not any thinner,
To burn when serving
Your first company dinner.

There are candles to burn
Xmas Eve before bed,
Your first Xmas together
That's why they are red.

The navy blue candles are for your
First married fight.
Use them when making up
That very night.

The pink candles will set the mood
And pave the way,
For your very first married
Valentine's Day.

Now when your first year of
Marriage is through,
The cream anniversary candles
Will light for you two.

And sooner or later
We hope that maybe,
You will burn the yellow ones
For the birth of your baby.

And just when you thought
You could put them away,
Take the light blue ones out
For your 5th Anniversary Day.

Now just one pair left
For year 25,
The silver pair
To keep your love alive.

May the two of you be happy
Burn the candles just as I said,
But please don't forget-
Blow them out before bed."

As I read the words, pictures of our future together raced through my head. I thought about excited Christmas mornings we would have sitting next to a lit up tree. I thought about rewatching our wedding video as we celebrated another year of love. I thought about passionate fights & make-up snuggles. I thought about the very first glimpse we would have of our newborn child. I thought about all of these possible future moments & couldn't wait to have them with your daddy.

Now we store all of our candles in my precious basket. So many of these blissful moments have already passed us by, & we burned a pair of candles to celebrate the beauty of it all. Now I enjoy giving this special gift to new brides, in hopes their candles burn during special moments (it's not exactly easy to find the same candles in all those colors).

Do you know what my very favorite candle to burn was? The yellow one of course.

I love you so,

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Things I didn't think I would hear until you were older

Dear Em,
There are some days when I have to do a double take. The kind of double take you do when you can't believe your child just said that to you. I mean, are you 2 or 22?

For instance...

"I'm going shopping. I love you so. Have a great day."

You typically say this with a purse strapped over your shoulder & babies loaded in your shopping cart. You turn your head back & wave bye as you walk away...into the next room. Sometimes you ask Daddy if he wants to go shopping with you. You clearly haven't figured out his strong dislike for anything that involves a store or buying things (except for maybe Best Buy or a Sports Paraphanalia store).

"I'm married!"

This is what you say every time you put a ring on. It started because I accidentally scratched you with my engagement ring. There were some alligator tears, & I told you the story of how & why I got the ring to distract you. The talk went something like this, "Your daddy bought me this ring & told me he loved me very much. He asked me if I would marry him & stay with him always. I love him very much. So, I said yes, & he gave me this ring." You did a lot of "oooing" & "awwing." Now when you see a ring, you triumphantly put it on & exclaimed that you're married. When I ask you who you married, typically you say it's me. I've tried to tell you that you can only marry one person, but you don't care about that trivial detail. For now, it's fun to watch your daddy cringe every time you happily tell him you're married (he doesn't even want you to date until you're 30).

"I want to go on an adventure of my own."

I'm pretty sure we have Alpha Pig (from Super Why) to thank for this one. There was a Super Why episode where pig wanted to go on his own adventure. Since then, you've been packing up your things & asking to adventure on your own. Too bad for you we don't even let you play in the backyard without parental supervision.

"You don't trust me."

I think this is because Mother Gothel says "trust me, pet" in the movie Tangled. In any case, this phrase is hilarious for two reasons
1) This is exactly the thing I said to my parents...when I was 16.
B) You have absolutely no idea what it means. When we ask you to try your broccoli, you will firmly exclaim "you don't trust me!"

"I'm running away."

I have no idea where you picked this one up, but it breaks my heart a little when you say it. I mean, you're a little melodramatic so we're trying to mentally prepare ourselves for the possibility of you in your teen years slamming the door in our face & then yelling this behind a closed door. For now, it only breaks my heart a little. Usually, you start running & then look back with a little smile on your face to see if we're running after you. I hope wherever you run, you always come back.

I love you so,

Monday, May 7, 2012


Dear Em,
If you could choose your own outfits, you would probably be wearing this every day.

Underneath your favorite pink coat, you're rocking a purple tu-tu.

I'm in Texas for work all this week. I set aside outfits for you each day, but maybe Daddy will let you choose an outfit or two on your own. Even though our morning routine sometimes comes along with you arguing with me when I try to dress you in anything but pink or purple, I'm going to miss our morning chats & hugs...I'm especially going to miss the hugs.

I love your style & I love you.

I love you so, 

Friday, May 4, 2012

love letters

Dear Em,
You have a lot of strengths, but patience is not one of them. Funny thing? I remember my grandma saying the same thing about me when I was a little girl (ok, maybe that was only 5 years ago). On days where you're especially impatient (which typically correspond to days where you're running low on sleep), meltdowns can occur. Meltdowns can occur over things like you want chicken nuggets but don't want to wait the two minutes it takes to cook them.

One of my good friends got you the book Llama Llama Red Pajama along with the matching stuffed animal. It's been a favorite of yours ever since, & for a little while you dragged your llama everywhere. Our copy of the book is actually held together with tape. It's been very lovingly abused by your little hands. When I read it with you, I can't help but smile & think of how the little llama sometimes reminds me of you.

"Baby Llama, what a tizzy! Sometimes Mama's very busy.
Please stop all this llama drama and be patient for your mama.
Little Llama don't you know, Mama Llama loves you so?
Mama Llama's always near, even if she's not right here."
- from Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney

I don't know that this book has taught you much patience, but it's such a cute read. Plus, maybe if we keep reading, someday you'll be able to wait two whole minutes for your chicken nuggets.

I love you so,

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Dear Em,
A few weeks ago we met up with friends for dinner. Your daddy & I don't know a whole lot about the Providence area, but we're so lucky to have friends who do. They introduced us to Packarang, a Thai restaurant, & I'm so glad they did. I already loved Thai food, & I think this has become my new favorite spot.

Originally, we were supposed to have a large group of ten, & I worried that the restaurant would fit us all (I had heard it was a smaller place). Things got in the way for people, & we ended up with just a cozy group of six. As we walked in, I realized I had nothing to worry about. The place was mostly empty & there was plenty of room (it was a Wednesday night).

Your daddy & I chatted with a friend at the bar & got some drinks while we waited for the others to arrive.  Once our party was all present, we were promptly seated nearby what looked like a raw sushi bar. I quickly skimmed the menu & was immediately disappointed. Sigh, no nime chow. It's one of my favorite Thai dishes, & I was bummed they didn't offer it. As your daddy & I discussed what other appetizer options there were, I glanced at the specials menu. They had Spring Rolls listed, which is basically nime chow. Seriously, it's the little things that make me happy. Is it silly that I was relieved?

We started with an order of the Spring Rolls, & they were some of the best I've had. Not necessarily because of the rolls themselves. I mean, the rolls were good. They had mint leaves rolled into the middle, my favorite part. The peanut sauce is what really made these rolls, though. I'm not typically a big fan of peanut sauce, but this sauce had a spicy kick to it that made me a huge fan. I would put that stuff on everything.

You'll have to take my word for it that we ate Spring Rolls. They were too yummy for me to stop & take a picture. Soon after finishing our Spring Rolls, our entrees came out. I've liked Drunken Noodles at some of the Thai places we've eaten at in the past, & I decided to try Packarang's take on them.  The Drunken Noodles at Packarang are filled with spicy, fresh noodles, red peppers, onions, jalapenos, mushrooms, & basil. I, of course, asked for squid in mine.

I was a little surprised when I first looked down at my dish. The noodles looked almost like egg noodles.  There also seemed to be a lot more veggies than noodles. This wasn't at all what I was used to when I've ordered them at other places. 

Well, my entree quickly became my favorite plate of Drunken Noodles thus far. The jalapenos gave the dish a pleasant, spicy upgrade. I also liked the dish being heavier on the veggies than the noodles. I use the word heavier loosely, because the plentiful veggies actually made the dish seem much lighter. The veggies were just so flavorful...mmmm...I get hungry just thinking about it. It was a large portion of food & I was able to take half home for lunch the next day. Let me tell you, I was psyched to be able to taste those flavors a second time.

Your daddy ordered the Wild Boar Basil, I think mostly because it's fun to say you're eating wild boar. The plate is prepared with with sauteed pork (which doesn't seem as fun as saying sauteed wild boar) with peppercorn, mushroom, string beans, red peppers, & basil leaves with curry paste.

Your Daddy said the plate was good, but not his favorite. It just wasn't anything special. Apparently, the idea of wild boar is more fun than actually eating wild boar. Your daddy just likes lots of spice with his food, especially his Thai food. His favorite spicy dish is so hot he says it feels like the food is going to burn his face off. You may be asking yourself why anyone would want to eat something that burned your face off. I really don't know, but your daddy does. So, while the Wild Boar Basil was good, Daddy says he's going to stick with the curries next time.

Overall, we had a great night with great friends & great conversation (except for the part when I probably went into way too much detail about childbirth...whoops). While his entree wasn't a hit, your Daddy looks forward to coming back & trying one of Packarang's 8 curries. That's right, there are 8 to choose from. I hope to go back, like wicked soon. It's going to be hard for me to chose between ordering the Drunken Noodles again or trying a curry...but I'm sure I'll overcome this challenge.

I wonder if you will be a Thai food fan. Hmmm, does Packarang have Thai chicken fingers?

I love you so,

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wedding Shower Wednesday: Baby to Bride

Dear Em,
Bridal showers can be beautiful, but they can also be awkward. Getting all the women in your life together in one room can be amazing but also a little weird. You're bound to invite one special lady who doesn't know any of the other ladies in the room. You're bound to be that special lady at some point at someone's shower. What can help to break the ice? Photographs (of course I'm going to say that).

One of my favorite parts of my own bridal shower was the Baby to Bride board my bridal party made me. It included pictures of me from the day I was born up until that day. There were family photographs, awkward high school photographs, photographs from when your daddy & I met, & photographs of special moments with friends. It was kind of like looking at my very own history & was so precious to me.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

lilacs put a smile in my heart

Dear Em,
It's been a warm spring & the flowers have bloomed early. We've had very few April showers, but we do have plenty May flowers, just how I like it. Right now, the warm spring air is filled with the smell of lilacs, one of my very favorite parts of Spring. I love the beautiful smell & the deep purple colors that bloom into a light lavender. I love the way the sunlight filters through the branches.

The hint of the smell of lilacs makes me smile & think of a time when I was 8 weeks pregnant & every scent smelled awful to me...except for lilacs. Luckily, we have two lilac bushes in our yard. Your Papa trimmed a ton of lilacs for me, & we filled the house with them. Whenever I started to get nauseous, I would breathe the lilacs in.

One of my favorite things about Spring has become one of the things I love most about our home. When our windows our open, the spring breeze sends the amazing scent wafting through the rooms of our house.

I no longer fill the house with lilacs, but I like to trim some branches & arrange them in a couple vases each Spring. Our home is filled with the sweet scents for a week, & they're so lovely to look at (& they're free). Maybe that's why you've decided to your favorite color is purple now...well, purple with pink.

I love you so,
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