Monday, November 25, 2013

Top 40 Hits: Baby Ohgahway

Dear Em,
We don't really listen to much children's music. Sure, you know "The Wheels on the Bus" & the "Itsy Bitsy Spider," but even as a baby you listened to a playlist of songs I loved instead of typical kids songs. We may later come to realize that this was a big parenting fail...especially when you tell people that you love Miley Cyrus & "Wrecking Ball" & we're not there to explain that you've never seen the "Wrecking Ball" video nor have you ever even seen a photo of Miley.

It's been fun to see how your love of music has evolved, with your favorite songs being happy & poppy. You were singing "We are Young" at two years old instead of "Row Row Row Your Boat." You also have a tendency to make up your own songs, which can be equally cute & slightly annoying as you sing the same made up chorus repeatedly for a half hour. One song consisted of you just singing "Ella the owl" on repeat until I begged you to stop.

One day I was cleaning out your closet & you were playing with your baby dolls nearby (most likely making a bigger mess than the one I was trying to organize). You were singing to your babies about "Baby Ohgahway." After the 437,221 rendition of "Baby Ohgahway," I couldn't handle listening to the same few words on repeat any longer. I asked you to sing another song, any other song...something with English words or real names. You tried to sing another tune, but it was clear this "Baby Ohgahway" song was stuck in your head, & you would unconsciously sing it again & again.

When I thought I had heard the words Baby Ohgahway so many times my head was going to explode, I realized something. There were a few more words. "I really want to love somebody, but you're Baby Ohgahway, you're Baby Ohgahway," you sang. You hadn't made up your own song at all.

"Em, are you singing 'Love Somebody'?"
"No, Mommy. I'm singing Baby Ohgahway."
"Well, is it a song you made up?"
"No, it's a song we listen to in Daddy's car."
"That's what I thought. You're singing 'Love Somebody,' & there is no baby Ohgahway. They're singing 'but you can take me all the way."
"No, you're very wrong. The song is about Baby Ohgahway."

I tried to play the song via U-Tube in hopes to convince you, but you held firm on what you knew better than me was the true wording of the song. You continued to sing about that poor baby with the very unique name until I had finally finished organizing. I don't think I've ever been so happy to finish cleaning out a closet.

I guess if you can't beat them, you join them. The song has come on during our car rides many more times, & I started to sing about Baby Ohgahway right along with you. After a while, you felt the need to correct me. "Mommy, it's not Baby Ohgahway. That doesn't even make sense. You're singing the wrong words. Listen, they're singing 'you can take me all the way.'"  Sigh. Now you sing along with the right words, but when I hear the song all I can think of is poor Baby Ohgahway.

I love you so,

Friday, November 22, 2013

Love Letters

Dear Em,
"Nonnie said that when I play with Elizabeth & dress her in her clothes, I could think of her. And I am thinking of her. Because you know what? I really love her, & she is mine."
- Emma, age 3.5

I woke up early one morning & didn't want to wake your Daddy. I could faintly hear you moving around in your room. So, I slipped out of bed & walked down the hall to your room. You were playing with your dolls. I climbed into your bed & enjoyed just watching you play so sweetly. First you made sure that all of your princess dolls had shoes. You wanted them to wear shoes that matched their outfits, but very expertly made sure there was a different colored shoe on each foot.

Then you grabbed Elizabeth, the doll Nonnie gave to you during her last visit here. I watched you patiently & with the utmost concentration undress & dress her in fall appropriate fashion. I watched amazed, because up until recently, changing the outfits on your dolls really meant that Daddy & I (or Nonnie during the summertime) needed to change your dolls' clothes. It's a funny change, but one that once again reminded me that you're growing up.

It's clear that you've been missing Nonnie. You've ben asking about her often & regularly invite her to our house. So, when you looked up at me with such serious eyes & told me that you were thinking of her while you played with Elizabeth, it brought tears to my eyes. It's amazing how your little heart works & the things that you can articulate & understand now.

The sun was still rising that early morning, as you & I shared such simple but precious moments that I would have easily slept through otherwise. I love you for turning the simple & the tired into something special.

I love you so,

Thursday, November 21, 2013

My Fantasy Football Expert

Dear Em,
I have a love-hate relationship with fantasy football. I love that it has taught me more about football. I love that it involves strategy, & it's fun to piece together the puzzle of your line-up each week. I love that it has brought your daddy & I closer together, giving us another commonality. I love that it has made me more interested in football, not just the Patriots football.

But...I hate to lose. What I really hate is looking at the expert projections each week & having them be dead wrong. I mean, I can't believe how off the projections are on a week to week basis. I might as well look at the projections & then plan to score half of what is projected.

I was talking to my best friend about it, & she mentioned that her one year old son might be better at projecting her players' points than the so called "experts." That got me thinking. It just might be true. So, this week I decided to let you project my fantasy football points, in hopes I can put together a better team than I do with the help of the "experts."

We sat down last night, & I asked you how many points each of my players would score. This is what you said:

RG III (Q): 3 (Robert Griffin III may sound distinguished, but to you it means he will be scoring a 3.)
Mike Glennon (Q): 2 (See? Even you can see the QB spot is not my strength.)
Reggie Bush (RB): 4 (Last week he scored 5. That is entirely possible.)
Knowshon Moreno (RB): 65 (Sweet! Big week for Moreno!)
Jamaal Charles (RB): 5
LeSean McCoy (RB): 4 (Interesting, because he is on a bye week, but you are the expert.)
Rashad Jennings (RB): 60
Dez Bryant (WR): 6
Voctor Cruz (WR): 1 (This seems right on.)
DeSean Jackson (WR): 8 (Also on a bye week. Is there a trade in the works?)
T.Y. Hilton (WR): 7
Keenan Allen (WR): 6
Charles Clay (TE): 1
Justin Tucker (K): 2
Steven Hauschka (K): 20 (Looks like my kicker on his bye week will be carrying my team.)

"This seems like a really weird game," you told me after you listed your projections. "It's mostly all numbers." "Well," I explained, "it is mostly numbers, because it's a grown-up game." "Then why did I need me to help you," you asked me honestly & without judgement. Ha! Good point.

So, what do you think? Who do you think I should play?

I love you so,

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

what to do when you have a headache

Dear Em,
This past weekend we had a nice, lazy Sunday. With the craziness of the holidays, I knew it was going to be our last lazy Sunday for a while, & I truly relished every moment. You went back & forth from watching cartoons in the family room, playing, & watching football with us in the living room. During one of our moments together, I mentioned I had a headache. Lucky for me, my headache was about to be cured with some cuteness (& maybe some Excedrin).

You looked at me with solemness & empathy. "Oh no, Mommy, do you need a check up?" I smiled, knowing that I would be poked & prodded for the next hour or so & you would love every second of my check-up torture. I agreed to my check-up, & you ran upstairs to find your doctor kit.

We could hear your despair from downstairs. "Oh No!" We asked you what was the matter, & you came running downstairs with concern in your eyes. "It's gone! My doctor kit isn't anywhere!" You were almost certain it was gone forever & would never return.

I knew better. There are many things you get from Daddy & not being able to see the things that are right in front of your face is one of them. It's not your eye sight. You both have perfect vision, but I have come to accept the fact that it's up to me to find things or most of our house will go lost.

"Em, I don't want to go all the way upstairs just to find your kit in five seconds. Go back upstairs, open your eyes, & really look. Did you look underneath your dress-up rack, because that's where it goes." You hopped back upstairs, but came back down with the same sad expression. "It's just gone, Mom."

Suddenly, a look of hope spread across your face. "I know. Maybe me & Dad can make a new doctor's kit!" You clapped your hands & smiled, clearly thinking you had just come up with the best idea. Leave it to you to think that if we've lost something, we can just make a new one. I don't know if your excitement was more about having a newly made kit or working on a project with Daddy. Daddy laughed, "you want me to make a doctor's kit? I don't really know how to do that. Plus, why don't we just find the one you already own?"

Everyone looked at me. Sigh. Upstairs I went, & wouldn't you know, I found the doctor's kit in less than 5 seconds...under your dress-up rack, right where it was supposed to be. In your defense, there was a boot sitting in front of it- not anything to cover it or hide it from vision. Yup, I'm going to be finding the things that you & Daddy can't find for the rest of my life.

With your doctor's kit in hand, you went to work poking & prodding me for what seemed like forever. Your check-ups are very thorough. Are there doctors out there who enjoy giving shots, because I know you do. I was diagnosed with a fish in my brain, a sheep in my mouth, & pigs in my eyes. No wonder I had a headache.

I think I'll keep you as my doctor, even if I'll have to be the one to find your doctor's kit.

I love you so,

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Nutcracker

Dear Em,
My grandmother loved music. She had tons of records & CDs, & a lot of my favorites were the musicals. Except for when she was really excited about new music, she mostly let me pick what we would listen to. We'd put the music on & sit at her kitchen table & talk.

One of the musicals we would listen to was the Nutcracker. Her eyes would light up as she would describe the story line & what it was like to watch the Nutcracker ballet. I loved to listen to her descriptions & imagine what everything looked like. I couldn't wait until I was old enough to go to the ballet with her.

After I graduated college, Daddy & I got grandma tickets for the three of us to go to the Nutcracker in Boston for Christmas. I was so excited. I couldn't wait to share the experience with my grandma.

But then it started snowing the day of the show. It snowed & it snowed & it snowed. I wouldn't give up. I insisted that we drive up to the show anyway. It took us over an hour to travel a distance that would have typically taken us twenty minutes. I knew we weren't going to make it. With tears in my eyes, I called my grandma to tell her that we had tried, but there was too much snow. Your daddy & I left a few days later to celebrate the holidays in North Carolina, & my grandma enjoyed The Nutcracker with my aunts (they were able to use the tickets for a different show).

I'm really glad that she was still able to enjoy the Nutcracker, but I'm a little heart broken that I never got to share the experience with her. So, when we were listening to Christmas music in the car (we sneak it in before Thanksgiving when Daddy isn't in the car) & you exclaimed, "that's the Nutcracker- I know this one," it brought happy tears to my eyes. Your Grandma had found a Nutcracker cartoon to watch, & you excitedly told me about the Pink Ballerina & the Mouse King. I wondered if maybe you were old enough to experience the Nutcracker with me.

Long story short, I don't think you're old enough yet. Ha!

Your best friend, S, & her mommy were going to a smaller scale Nutcracker on Ice production, & they invited us to join them. The two of you watched the skaters warming up with excitement. "I can't wait to see the pink ballerina."

Unfortunately, I purchased the tickets the night before, we weren't able to all sit in the same row. This made you cry. We were packed pretty closely on bleacher style seats, & I could feel my face getting hot as you cried for S. I could see several younger children but my child was the one crying? That was when I first started to wonder if maybe you weren't old enough to enjoy the Nutcracker, but I began to read you the story of The Nutcracker from the program to calm you down.

The first act began, & you did OK. It think it was hard for you to watch a story with no words. It was difficult for you to understand what was going on. You just knew you wanted to see the pink ballerina. It was also hard for you to see, with the people sitting in front of us being much taller than you. I sat you in my lap so your head was a little higher, but it was hard for a squiggly, wiggly little girl. We were in luck that most of the people sitting around us thought that you were adorable. They didn't mind your millions of whispered questions (mostly "where is the pink ballerina?") or when you shouted "go, Clara, go!"

I think we would have been OK had there just been one act. By the second act, you were really having a tough time sitting still & not understanding why people were skating on the ice & not talking. You were crying because you had to sit in my lap rather than being able to dance to the music on your own. When the last skater took a bow, I think we were both ready to go.

The show had started at 4 & went until 6, & even though I had given you a bunch of snacks beforehand, you were starving to death by the end of the show- or at least you made it seem that way. We hadn't made definite dinner plans, & we tried to think of a kid friendly spot with no wait (since you were going to die if you didn't get food right then) that wasn't fast food. We decided to go with a full cultural experience & go to a Chinese buffet.

You mostly ate pineapple & dessert, & I shook my head & wondered what, for the life of me, would have made me think you were ready for The Nutcracker. I smiled & hoped that my grandma was looking down on us & we had been able to share the frustratingly hilarious experience together.

I love you so,

Monday, November 18, 2013

Our Bird House

Dear Em,
Your grandparents gave me a bird house for my birthday in May. Sadly, it sat on our counter until about a month ago, waiting for your Daddy to put it up for me. You helped him put it in our front tree, & you & I filled it with New England bird seed we had picked up from the pet store. With many of the birds flying south  in a V formation, I wondered if we had missed bird season. The pink house looks adorable hanging from our tree, but it also looks kind of lonely with no one living in it.

You sit on the living room chair from time to time, looking outside to check if "a bird is living in our bird house." I feared you would be disappointed until the other day. You squealed with delight to see a bird feeding in our bird house. I snapped some pictures from inside, but you wanted to take some pictures of your own. We tried to explain to you that birds scare easy, but that didn't stop you from running outside, a little ball of energy, to get a closer look.

Daddy & I laughed from inside as we watched you get too close for any bird to be comfortable. You came to the front steps a little bummed that no bird stuck around for you to take pictures of. You were patient though. We bundled you up, & you sat on the front steps waiting for your little bird to come.

One lone bird was brave enough (or hungry enough) to come back to our bird house for a bite to eat, & it pretty much made your whole day.

Sigh, you're so stinkin' cute.

I love you so,

Friday, November 15, 2013

love letters

Dear Em,
"You're my back bone.
You're my corner stone.
You're my crutch when my legs stop moving.
You're my head start.
You're my rugged heart.
You're the pulse that I've always needed..."
- Phillip Phillips "Gone Gone Gone"

I had a rough week this week. During one particularly disappointing day, where nothing seemed to go right, I felt wounded. I spent the better part of my day fighting an overpowering feeling to just let go & cry before going to pick you up from school. You're eyes lit up when you saw me enter your classroom doorway, & it warmed my heart. "Mommy," you squealed. "Come see my bear tower!" I walked over to see the Magna-tiles tower you had built. You opened the top part of the tower to show me tons of bears "that lived inside." You beamed with pride. I think I kinda beamed too.

You started putting away the Magna-tiles & the bears. You told me that I could help. As we finished up putting everything in it's correct bin, you told me "we make a great team." Then you told me "we should high five." You gave me a precious high five before we left school & headed outside. You snuggled me in tight as we walked through the parking lot to the car, as if you knew I truly needed it.

We drove to meet Daddy. He walked out the front door to meet us. His eyes were understanding, & his arms were open. He knew what I needed at that moment. He let me just bury my head in his chest & stand there for a moment. He also had reenforcements. He held up a box of macaroons (my favorite) for me.

So, I took a deep breath, let it it go, went inside with my family, & ate dinner. We talked, & we laughed. We took you to gymnastics & watched you do the perfect frontward roll. I couldn't help but feel like my seemingly disastrous day wasn't really a big darn deal. Am I still disappointed? For sure. But this is what is important- Magna-tile towers, high fives, dinnertime together, laughter, perfect forward rolls, & a family that holds me close when I need it. It was a rough day, & there will be more rough days ahead, but as long as I have you & Daddy I have all I need. Thanks for that.

I love you so,

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Fall Festival

Dear Em,
I love fall festivals. I love the sights & the sounds & the smells & the food. I especially love the food, all warm & appley. A few years ago, I feel like we filled every fall weekend with some kind of festival or fair. It sounds like fun, but by the end we were all festivaled out...& we were kinda broke. Festivals can get expensive. We've mostly stayed away from fall festivals since then. But when your school was having one this past weekend, & we didn't have anything on our calendar, we decided to embrace fall festivals once again...especially because this one was free.

We let Daddy stay home & play video games while we had a girls day with your best friend S & her mommy. You girls were buzzing with fall festival anticipation in the car on the way. It was very loud anticipation, with singing & giggling & sometimes screaming. You couldn't wait to get out of the car & start having fun, & there was tons of fun that day.

There was a climbing wall.

Little S went up pretty high. You got only a couple feet off the ground before asking to come down (except that I made you stay up for a few more minutes while I took photos), but it was pretty good for your very first climbing wall.

There was face painting.

We were just able to squeeze you guys in, because the woman doing the face painting had to leave early. You didn't get a full-face painting, but you were thrilled to have matching hello kitties.

There were hayrides.

We were bumped into your best friend from school (another little S), & you were thrilled to have her join you & S.

There were new hats.

It got really cold, really fast & I started to feel guilty about dressing you in just a fleece coat with nothing to cover your ears. So, we bought a new hat which is really working out because it doesn't mess up your hair styles when you wear it. Unfortunately, the whole "free" part of the festival is not exactly accurate because we bought a hat, the climbing wall wasn't free, & we bought some hot cocoa (also to help with the cold factor), but at least we didn't break the bank. Plus, you were pretty thrilled to have matching hats with your best friend from school.

There were crafts.

There was also a playground, & I'm surprised that I didn't get a picture of you playing on it because I think you & S spent most of the festival making crafts & playing on the playground. I was thrilled to let you do it & watch you from a safe distance while S's Mommy & I chatted. It was just really nice for us to all enjoy the fresh air...until I was so cold I couldn't feel my hands anymore. Then we had to head home.

S & her Mommy came over our house for dinner & dress-up & a wonderful concert performed by you & S. You headed up to bed with sleepy eyes that night. I asked you what your three favorite things were that night, & you thought about it for a moment. Your eyes sparkled as you began your list. "The festival...S...playing with S at home. Oh no, Mommy, I have more than three things. Can I pick more things.?" I smiled, "Of course." "S (the other little S, your best friend from school)...Mommy...Miss Julie...playing in the leaves with Mommy & Daddy...& walking into the forrest (the woods behind our house) with Daddy."

To you, it was the best day ever. There were no expensive rides or expensive food, but you had everything you could have ever wanted: your two best friends, your family, & a playground.

I think I may be seeing the magic of fall festivals again.

I love you so,

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

you put the fun in raking up the leaves

Dear Em,
We've had such amazing & mild fall weather this season in New England. I was thrilled to take advantage of it by enjoying some outside time this past weekend, which included some yard work. When I think back to raking up leaves growing up, I feel like it took my siblings & I all stinkin' day. I don't really remember it being very much fun.

You put the fun in raking up the leaves. While you used the rake for only a few moments before getting bored with it, I was ultimately thankful that you got bored with the rake. You with a rake in your hand is a dangerous thing. I was afraid I would be beheaded on a few occasions. Instead, you enjoyed running & leaping & rolling in the leaves. Daddy & I enjoyed watching you.

It only took a couple hours (seriously, why did it take all darn day when I was a kid?), but it was so much fun. It's amazing how you can make even yardwork fun.

I love you so,

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Sock Piggy Bunnies

Dear Em,
Your hair is getting longer & longer, & while in some ways that opens you up to more hairstyles, it's also become more difficult to keep your hair out of your face...or your food (after halloween you somehow had ice cream, candy, & frosting in your hair). What we fondly refer to as "messy bunnies" have become progressively messier with the length of your hair. It kind of ends up looking like a big, floppy loop with a long tail. Neat buns are harder to pull off. How do you get them to stay in children's hair without a million bobby pins?

I have seen tutorials for sock buns on blogs & pinterest, but have been too lazy to attempt to cut a sock up. When I was browsing 5 Below for stocking stuffers, I came across sock bun tools & thought "why not try them out?" They came in a pack of two. I brought them home, showed them to you, & you were excited to try them out the next day.

"I want piggy bunnies," you declared that morning (piggy bunnies= 2 buns). So, I put your hair in pigtails, put the tips of your pigtails into the sock bun tools, & rolled each pigtail into a cute little bun.

No bobby pins were needed in the creation of your piggy bunnies. It really couldn't have been any easier, & you loved your new look. Unfortunately, they didn't stay in the whole day. When I went to pick you up from school, your teacher had told me that after a day of hopping around, they had just fallen out. Instead, you had a set of beautifully curled pigtails. I would take it.

Just like that we have a fun & easy hairstyle that will keep your hair out of your face...& food.

I love you so,

Monday, November 11, 2013

Lantern Hide & Seek

Dear Em,
We're not really daylight savings supporters in this house. If I could be an anti-daylight savings activist, I think I would. The two time changes are two of my least favorite times of the year. You refuse to acknowledge the existence of a time change. You notice changes. You've asked us why it gets so dark so early, but although we've explained it, you've refused to let it change you (maybe you are an anti daylight savings activist?). So you & our 2 obnoxious cats have basically woken up the same time you would have woken up pre-daylight savings time change. The cats wrestle each other on top of your sleeping Daddy & I while you peer out your window to see the sun at 5:50am, apparently thinking that is an appropriate time to be awake. While your wake-time hasn't altered since the time change, your bedtime is now one hour later, & we've watched you become progressively crankier as the hours of sleep loss have begun to add up.

I have to say I don't feel like my body has transitioned well either. I too have a hard time sleeping past 6am (maybe it's because I have to cats wrestling on top of me?) & start to feel hungry an hour earlier than I typically eat my meals. I feel depressed when we get home & the sun has already set. We want to make the most of the mild November weather we've had, but it's hard to when it's too dark to even take a walk after work. Sigh.

Last week we found a way to turn a negative into a positive. When life gave us daylight savings, we made lantern hide & seek.

With darkness filling our house so much earlier than you go to bed, it makes for the perfect setting to play hide & go seek in the dark. You teamed up with Daddy or myself each time. One team would hide, & one team would use only the light of a lantern & Rainbow Brite Worm Glo to seek. You kind of give us an unfair advantage when you're the hider. First off, Daddy almost always hides you under the covers. So, I just really have to look in one of three beds. I hide you in more unique spots, but Daddy uses your inability to stay quiet to his advantage. "Emma," he calls, & you answer "What?!" Then he would say, "I know, you're under the bed." "No, I'm in the bathtub," you would yell back. There were giggles & squeals & hugs & excitement for the next round.

I'm thinking we might have to get a flashlight for the person hiding. It's a lot harder to hide in the dark than you would think. It's not like you can turn on a light switch to see where you're going & then turn it off once you've hidden. I hid for at least 15 minutes, & was starting to get kind of freaked out being crouched in the dark by myself when you finally gave up on finding me in my spot.

You still declared yourself the lantern hide & seek champion.

I love you so,

Thursday, November 7, 2013

there's beauty in the tough days

Dear Em,
It's hard to have a best friend who lives in Ohio when we live in Rhode Island. Especially now that we both have littles & would love to see our kids grow up together. We are very fortunate that our families have made the effort to come out & visit each other at least once a year, making it so we're able to get together at least twice a year. I'm not sure how it happens, but our visits somehow seem to coincide with a time when one or both of our kids is sick. It makes for times together. Aunt J & little T came out to visit us a couple weeks ago, so of course both you & T ended up going to the pediatrician...but that's the end of the story. I'll start at the beginning.

The last time we went to Ohio, T was just over a year old. He was starting to say some words & slightly frightened of the way you bound across rooms with arms flailing & the loud way you shout almost everything. While you two played nearby each other, you weren't really able to play together yet. Aunt J & I were excited about this visit. T had been talking up a storm & we couldn't wait to watch the two of you interact.

When Aunt J & T arrived, you littles were both thrilled to have a playmate. You taught him how to cheers with his cup at dinner, & we watched the two of you cheers at least a hundred more times throughout the rest of dinner (& even with your ice cream during dessert). When you guys gave each other hugs before bed, my heart melted. These are the precious moments I've always dreamed of sharing with my best friend.

We spent the next day enjoying the outdoors. You took T for a ride in your mustang & scared the poor kid half to death. Aunt J & I both decided that maybe T should drive when you two get older?

As fun as our day was, we watched little T get clingier & clingier for his mommy. Was he coming down with something? Was he teething? Should we try to find a pediatrician or a walk-in? The not knowing what is wrong or if anything is really wrong is sometimes the hardest things for a Mommy. Every clue seemed to point to teething, & we just tried to make T as comfortable as possible while we figured he was getting his two year molars in.

None of us slept very well that night, but we woke up & got ready for your soccer game. T was crying on the way to the soccer fields. I asked you if you would sing him a song. You sang "You Are My Sunshine." His tears stopped as you sang. Then he tried to sing a long too. It was the most adorable thing. Who needs a radio when we have two sweet littles singing in off-key harmony?

Soccer & our trip to the Umbrella Factory afterwards was a constant seesaw of fun & tears.

We headed home for naps, hoping sleep would be good for everyone. It was then that J & I laughed at our situation. Here we were in the middle of a trip we had been looking forward to since it was planned, feeling absolutely exhausted & emotionally drained. The trip so far was a little bit of a disaster. Being mommies hadn't been easy for either of us that day. We felt so awful that little T was having such a tough time & there was nothing we could really do about it. You had had a frustrating day as well. Listening had not been a strong suit for you.

At the same time, it was still one of the best visits ever. If I'm going to have a really rough day, I can't tell you how amazing it is to have my best friend by my side through it. We'd also had the chance, for the first time, to truly watch our kids talk to each other, interact with each other, & play together. There was cheersing, singing, playing, pumpkin picking, reading, & squeezing (hugs). In the midst of a really tough weekend, there were such precious moments. Aunt J & I both could see that. With us living so far apart from each other, it was such a blessing to be able to have these precious moments.

Even though your aunt J & I probably could have used a nap ourselves, we spent the rest of your nap-time chatting. I had been feeling guilty that day. I felt like I had lost my patience more often than I should have. I was looking at your aunt J & the infinite patience she was displaying with T, & I was feeling a little like a bad mom. I told your aunt J how great of a mom she truly was & how inspiring it had been to watch her with T the past couple days. What she said next really surprised me. She said she was thinking about how great of a mom I was. She was watching how I talked to you & felt like she was learning a lot from me. It put a smile in my heart. We're very different as moms, & that's really nice because there is so much we are able to learn so much from each other. We talked some more about our hopes & our fears. It felt so perfect to be able to just sit & chat with my best friend.

The next day, both you & T seemed to wake up in good spirits, which was fortunate because we were having people over to watch football & visist with Aunt J & T. We enjoyed some outside time before everyone came to visit.

When the two of you woke up from your naps, you were ready for a party. It was so precious to watch all the littles play together while we caught up with our college friends. It's amazing how much has changed since we all graduated.

Us grown-ups may have been having a football party, but you were enjoying a dress-up party.

I enjoyed every moment of the last bedtime the four of us would share for a while.

As I was changing you out of your princess dress that night, I noticed a faint rash all over your body. Uh oh, were you sick too? Sigh, I guess no visit with my best friend is truly complete without sick children. After being asked to yield to little T the whole weekend ("Em, just let him have the toy, he's sick"), you were ready to take advantage of your newfound sickness. "Well, I think I should have the toy now. I AM the one with the RASH." 

The next morning, we took you to Newport Creamery for milkshakes (best medicine ever, right?) before taking you both to the pediatrician. 

The doctor said it was likely you both had a virus & put us at ease that you both tested negative for strep. Aunt J & I gave a sigh of relief that there was nothing more that we could've done for you two than what we had been doing- trying to keep you as comfortable as possible. When you're a mommy & you're not sure what to do, it's such a comfort to hear that your child is going to be just fine & that you did the right thing.

We took a road trip down to North Jersey to drop Aunt J & T off with their family, where they would continue with their trip. There was a lot of singing & cheese ball sharing between you & T in the back of the car. We played in North Jersey for a little while before heading back home to get you some rest (luckily, T started to feel much better from this point, while the virus hit our house full force over the next week).

When it was time to say goodbye to Aunt J & T, you cried. "But I want to bring them back to our house," you whimpered. I understood how you felt. As tough as the weekend had been, there was so much beauty in it. There were so many precious moments between you & T, & being able to share them with my best friend meant more than you can know. We're truly lucky. Even though we may live far apart, I'm so fortunate to have such a dear friend in Aunt J & for you to have one in little T. I'm looking forward to our future visits & precious moments in the years ahead...hopefully everyone can be healthy for some of them.

I love you so,

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