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,

Monday, November 5, 2012

Julie Fries

Dear Em,
Back when I was in grad school, your daddy & I went to a RedSox game at Camden Yards. Before the game we stopped at ESPN Zone for lunch. I can't remember what we got as entrees, but I'll never forget our appetizer. They were yummy & gooey & bacony cheese fries. I'm pretty sure they didn't contain any nutritional value, but they were amazing & I didn't care.

As soon as we got home, I tried to recreate the large plate of unhealthiness. It wasn't exactly the same, but it was pretty close. I made them for my staff as a staff-meeting snack, & they started to call them Julie fries.

Maybe it was because we started to make healthier options after grad school, maybe we just started to make other munchie things, but years passed & we totally forgot about Julie fries...Until a few weekends ago.

I bought the ingredients, & baked them up. They are just as gooey & yummy & unhealthy as ever. Definately not something I'll be making every week (we'd all die of heart attacks), but I think this is going to be a good get-together snack again.

It doesn't look the most appetizing. In fact, you took one look & said no thank you. I'll share the recipe anyway. Maybe someday you'll learn to appreciate Julie Fries...then again, maybe it's better for your health if you don't.

Julie Fries

Bag of Seasoned Curly Fries
15 oz. Jar of Salsa Con Queso Sauce (we like Tostidos)
Shredded Mexican Cheese Blend
Bacon Bits

Preheat oven to 450. Bake fries on a cookie sheet for 15 minutes. Cover the bottom of a round cake pan with a thin layer of Salsa Con Queso sauce. Pile cooked fries on top. Generously sprinkle with bacon bits & shredded cheese. Pour more Salsa Con Queso sauce on top (you'll use about half of the jar). Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is hot & melted.

The best way to eat the fries is with a fork! Enjoy!

I love you so,

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Our Untraditional/Traditional Halloween 2012

Dear Em,
Halloween was full of surprises this year. I have to say, waking up to find we still didn't have power was a little bit of a downer. Having to go to Grandma & Papa's house to take showers was kind of a bummer (although it felt so amazing to be able to take a hot shower at all). As I was driving to work, a determination grew inside me. Maybe we didn't have power. Maybe our beloved coast had been damaged & destroyed. Maybe towns were postponing & canceling Halloween altogether. Not us, our family was going to have a Happy Halloween & make the most of it regardless.

The fun started with trick or treating, a Halloween party, & a cute parade at your school.

Best Teachers EVER!

Your class photo. It's no surprise to me who is sitting on the ground crying. You wanted to go trick or treating, not wait around for a parade.

It was such a sweet little school parade.

After school, we headed to the Olde Mistick Village in hopes they would still be holding trick or treating even though half their town was destroyed by hurricane Sandy. We were in luck, trick or treating was in full swing. As an added bonus, the Mystic Aquarium had also opened it's doors for free trick or treating since so many towns had canceled it.

We met up with little S, who you have dubbed your big sister. It's become a Halloween tradition to trick or treat with her & her family (Halloween 2011 & Halloween 2010), & we felt so thankful that we were all stayed safe during the storm & could still go out trick or treating. You were beyond excited to see little S.

The two of you skipped together, giggled together, & held hands together. It was adorable.

You were both so excited to see princesses.

Especially Rapunzel.

You were great at saying "trick or treat" this year, & it showed us how much you've grown up since last year. I think we also learned not to give you candy until the end of the night. Once you had a taste, you begged for more. "Daddy, give me candy! I need candy, pleeeeease!"

After the village, we headed to the aquarium.

First stop: beluga whales!

I remember going trick or treating with S's mom when we were young. It's so fun to watch our girls together on Halloween.

It was so kind of the aquarium to open it's doors to all the families for free. It was also crazy crowded & hectic. Once we had started tirck or treating, we realized there was only one way out, & we had to walk the whole thing. It took forever, but you were having a blast with little S & who can say they go trick or treating at an aquarium? All in all, it was a great time.

Just to add to the healthiness of all the candy, we went to McDonalds for dinner. I know I should feel like a bad mom, but hey, you were happy with your happy meal & it beats trying to make dinner in a power-less house.

When we got home, you & I put our skeleton PJs on & used our lantern to light them up so they would glow. I went to grab something in another room & returned to see you had shut the lantern off & had a huge smile across your face. "Mommy, I made myself glow!" You knw just the way to melt me heart. We read a book using lantern light before I tucked you into bed. We said our prayers, & when I prayed for the return of power, you chimed in with "& TV!" 

I couldn't help but smile, thinking about what a special day it had turned out to be. Hours later, it got even better. I was the only one still awake when I noticed a blue light coming from our cable box & heard the hum of our heat turning on. I felt like it was Christmas morning. I shook your Daddy awake & jumped up & down, turning on lights just to be sure. We had our power back!

When you woke up this morning, you mirrored our excitement. You ran to your light switch & flicked it off & on & off & on, with a big smile on your face. You spent the rest of the morning talking about all the things we can do now that we have power again. I don't know if we'll ever take power for granted least not for a while.

So, what started off kind of rocky, ended up being a sweet Halloween memory...I don't think it could've been without you. Thanks for keeping smiles on our faces.

I love you so,
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