Letter to Gabe, month 96 of 456



It’s so funny how this has worked out. We never meant for any of this to happen, and it did. It’s the 8th birthday of yours’ that we’re celebrating together I think. So roundabout 95 months that we’ve been together. And 72 of  those 95 months we’ve spent being parents, raising first just one kid and now TWO. I never stop and ask myself “how did this happen?” because we both know how it happened. But also because, I’m usually thanking my lucky stars that things have worked out the way they did. I know you disagree with the idea of a Higher Power or the Universe “smiling” down at us, but honestly- if anything is proof to me that there is some sort of Bigger Thing Out There, you are that to me. Otherwise, how did I get so lucky, so many times in a row?



I’m not very good at explaining things anymore. We’re both tired. Our days are fueled by exhaustion and caffeine and a whiteboard calendar that changes weekly. We’re driven by the same things all families are driven by I assume: soccer practices, bills to pay, mouths to feed, baths to give, fun needs to be had, things need to get done. But through it all I love laughing and living with you. But,  since it’s your birthday I want to try and explain to you – maybe just brush the surface– of how I feel about you.


I love you the way in a way that I never expected to love anyone. It’s not the kind of romantic love that feels like unexpected flowers and sappy pop songs, or slow dances in school cafeterias. It started with butterflies and uncertainty, sure- but that all changes eventually. However, you are so handsome that you still take my breath away sometimes. 1930440_66624925423_7489_n

I know I am not always the kind of partner I should be, but I want to admit that publicly, and then work harder at getting better. I want you to be as happy as I am, at least. I want to keep laughing at you, with you, at our kids, at our life, at everything. I want to keep getting close to you on the couch once a month when I feel the need to snuggle, until it gets annoying and we go off to our separate corners.

I want to work hard at loving you.

I want to keep going, I want to be good to you.

But the best part about this feeling, this drive to want to improve us, is knowing that you put forth that effort too. I so appreciate that about you.

Is it perfect? Of course not! We have days when things are muttered under our breath. We have bad mornings sometimes. And I KNOW you wonder why I never empty the diaper pail, just like I wonder why you never empty the dishwasher.

I want to listen to you more. I want to put my phone down. I want to look at you across our new kitchen table, drink gin and gingers and talk about the epic failures of modern society and culture. I want to give you the space you need when you need a break. I want to be someone you look forward to seeing each day, as I look forward to seeing you. I want us to continue stopping in the middle of what we’re doing to hug, touch, connect- prompting the boys to look at us like, “What are you guys doing?”.

I am not in love with you in the way that I expected to be in love with a husband, if I ever imagined having one. I am in love with you in a way that is so far beyond that.

10366069_723715591023354_8350676238196923661_nSure I take you for granted. I probably take advantage of your willingness to stay home and watch the kids too often. I stomp around when dirty dishes are in the sink or when the clean dishes are STILL in the dishwasher. November2014_PortraitShoppe_IMG_0251

I cook the same meals all the time. They’re “too tomatoe-y” or “too bean-y” based and I can admit that openly. But being your partner means I will continue to search online for healthier versions of the soul food you like. I would like you to live a long time.

You have this patience about you that I do not have, especially with our kids. You are an incredible father. You are so fun to be around. They just love being with you, playing with you, how you connect with them. I am proud to be with you whenever we go places. You have this smile that lights up your whole face and it is so. damned. sexy.


I don’t tell you often enough that I appreciate you. I love that we kiss goodbye in the mornings while you whisk George out the door and I get to kiss you both at the same height and time on workdays when our routines are synced.  I love that you help me do things that aren’t that important to you, but you know that they’re important to me: making the bed, putting away all the toys after the kids are down, cleaning the floors before our parents show up. Truly, you have no idea how much I appreciate you. I should tell you and show you more. I love sitting across a table from you. I love being your partner. 11891082_10155948766070424_2259766806012188088_n

I appreciate you, Gabe. I love you more than you’ll ever really know. I’m not the best at communicating it, but neither are you so we can call it even. And I’ll still continue to work hard at us. Happy 38th birthday, best friend of mine. I love your guts.


Simon letter, month 72 (age 6)

Dear Simon,

You have been six years old  for almost a month now, and I’m so sorry for not having written this sooner. The last part of the summer and each week that you’ve been in first grade- FIRST?! grade…have sped by lightning-fast. You are a boy now. There is absolutely not even the tiniest bit of baby left on you. There is no chunk in your cheeks. You are all knees and elbows and full of amazing ideas and observations. Though I lay my eyes on you every day and am amazed by your growth, one of the coolest things about being your mom, is how much I really just enjoy spending time with you. You are such a nice, thoughtful and funny boy.

No one could ask for a better big brother than you. And George is NOT the easiest little brother, as we know. But you have patience unlike any that I’ve seen before. And you laugh at George when he is doing the most annoying things. He loves you so much and mimics every little thing you do. I KNOW that will get annoying in months and years to come, but consider it a compliment. He wants to be like you because you are SO COOL.

This summer we went on a bunch of adventures- to parks and festivals and picnics. You learned how to ride your bike without training wheels, you had 2 birthday parties (again!) and went on two beach vacations. You started first grade with the smallest bit of nervousness, and only needed me to walk you into your classroom 3 days out of the first 5. We are so proud of you. You have become this incredibly smart and intuitive kid. You pick up on emotions and situations that I don’t think other kids would recognize.

At the same time, you still very much love to imagine and play, which is another reason I am so proud of you! Not everyone can be creative enough to entertain themselves with two metal hair clips, or a travel book light, or whatever thing you’ve found in the house. But, you do. You come up with these great scenarios in your head and I love to watch you play them out, or listen to you play. Your imaginative playful nature is one of my favorite things about you, second only to your caring and kindness towards others. You are awesome and amazing, and turning out to be such a lovely young person.

All of this is not to say that we haven’t had our share of growing pains, ups and downs, fits and dizzyspells, if you will. In the recent past, you’ve gotten incredibly angry with us over seemingly unimportant things (in the grand scheme of life) — though they are very important to you. You have become filled with rage over: bedtime, losing privileges because of the way you’ve talked to us, the fact that we don’t have a finished basement playroom (?!), us asking you to eat dinner, “chores”, among other things. Though it is hard for us to understand in the moment why you are screaming at us, what is very apparent is that you are frustrated to a point of complete and utter loss of control over your emotions. We have talked about ways to deal with being angry. We talk about pillow punching and yelling into the pillow, taking alone time, etc. I know that after you have these fits, that you feel bad about it- I can tell. I can also tell that part of the frustration is our fault. Either I’m not listening, or I’m not stopping to hug and kiss you enough, or I haven’t fully acknowledged your feelings on an issue.

Does this make your behavior ok?


But, I can admit that you are not the only person at fault in those moments. Though surprising, (because you have never been a child to throw fits), I know that I should NEVER be surprised by a child’s behavior, and I should only be surprised by my own reaction to it. And I have been, I have. I hope you know that we’re trying. I hope you know that we’re listening, and that being a parent is almost as hard as being a kid. Rules are hard. It’s hard to not have fun all the time, and to have to do things you don’t want to do like go to bed or wake up on school days. There are lots of times when I too want to scream at someone or completely lose it over what would seem silly to anyone else. We are all just learning together.

And buddy, in the mornings, after dad and George leave for work and daycare, you and I have the house to ourselves. It is quiet, and we talk. Sometimes you watch a show or sometimes we’ll pack lunches together or read a book. Sometimes we’ll eat breakfast together. But it is quiet. It is calm, and most of the time, it is our time, and it is my favorite part of the day. We walk to school and you still hold my hand. You still turn towards me and rub your face in my belly like you want to hug and stay there in the yard of the school instead of going in with your friends. But eventually the bell rings, and the doors open. You find a friend to walk in with- usually Madelyn or Owen, and you run towards them. You turn around when I yell “I love you!” and you sign “I love you” to me, and wave. Mornings with you are my favorite.

This morning after you signed “I love you”, you turned around a second time and signed the word “poop”. I spent about 3 minutes trying to decide if I was annoyed by this or thought it was funny. I’ve decided it’s funny, because becoming a big kid is hard. Wanting to be a funny cool kid is hard. And the sign for “poop” is funny and I don’t think any of the other parents know it. And at least it wasn’t a different sign.

Oh Simon. Watching you grow up makes me wonder how I will ever manage to make it without my heart exploding into a million pieces with love for you and your brother.

I love you. I love you. I love you.




Simon, Questions Age 6

I haven’t written his annual letter yet, but I think about him all the time. So grown up and still so innocent, I’m grasping into these last moments when he still wants to cuddle and snuggle with me. He still reaches for my hand when we walk places. I am so in love with this growing boy.

“Mommy I’m just going to go and read my book out on the porch before school, OK?”

1. What is your favorite color?

“Dark yellow. I mean gold.”

2. What is your favorite toy?

“This thing that has a rip cord that has a ninja on it” LEGO Ninjago thing Lisa got me.

3.  What is your favorite tv show or movie?

Big Hero 6

“Send this to Grandpa. It’s my teenager face.”

4. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?

“Peanut butter and jelly but NOT WITH THE FAKE PEANUT BUTTER”

5.  What is your favorite outfit?

My Big Hero 6 shirt

6. What is your favorite game?

7. What is your favorite snack?

candy. or apple slices with peanut butter

8. What is your favorite animal? Camel

“Let’s take a picture of us in our glasses.”

9. What is your favorite song?

“I don’t really sing that much songs. I like the star spangled banner.”

10.  Who is your best friend? Tommy.

11.  Where is your favorite place to go?

Kids’ Club

12. What would you like to learn more about now that you’re 6?

“Inventions. Like, that they can do all your chores when your mom doesn’t know. She doesn’t know that you have a robot…”

Walking home from school.

13. What do you love about yourself?

“That I have glasses. I like wearing glasses. I like my skeleton.”

6th Birthday Party

14. What does Daddy do at work?

“He makes sure people drive safely. He doesn’t teach people how to drive anymore.”

15. What does Mommy do at work?

“Works at a library. You help people find books.”

16. What do you like to take to bed with you at night?

“I like to take my mommy to bed at night.”

17. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?

cereal bars

18. What do you want to be when you grow up?

An Inventor

Here are Simon’s answers at age 5.

Updates- July 2015

I am embarrassed by how much I’ve neglected our little blog. When I finally get time to sit down and relax, I never think to update here. Sometimes I just think about how much there is to update, and it gets overwhelming.

I mean, all in all, not much as changed. The day to day is the same- working through the week, busy on the weekends, chasing George around and carting Simon to tball or Kids’ Club or the park. But let me see if I can paint some broad strokes here.

DSC_0203  Simon ended his Kindergarten year with a late spring Y-Tribe camping trip, and a final musical program. He had a great year and I don’t think he really knew that there was a “summer vacation” off of school until the very end. Technically for him, there wasn’t really a summer vacation since he goes to childcare all summer long, but in between the end of school and Kids’ Club beginning, we took a trip to Hilton Head with my parents and siblings’ families, and it was so fun, and funny. 6 kids between the ages of 6 months old and 5 years old. It was hardly “relaxing” but it wDSC_0310as definitely memorable and I loved spending time with my family.  Simon loved going to see the music performer Shannon Tanner almost every night. We came home with the CD. The DVD. The Shirt. The Hat. We went on the Pirate Cruise. I think it’s safe to say that Simon is Shannon’s Biggest Fan.

The weather was perfect in Hilton Head and we stopped on the way down and on the way back at Nonni and Papa’s house, just long enough to have a nice meal and hangout, wishing we could do it more often.

June was also the start of T-ball, which was every week for four weeks. Practice was on Mondays and Wednesdays, games were on Fridays. It was quite a lot! But George loved going to the park so often, and we only got rained out like — 3 times? So it was a good time. Almost everyone Simon’s age in our neighborhood played t-ball so it was a nice way to keep in touch with kids over the summer.

We managed to catch up with my mom’s side of the family at a somewhat imprompu Family Reunion for my Aunt Karen’s 70th birthday. The boys were really good in the car and the weather was beautiful. I saw my cousins for the first time in years, and met many second-cousins I’d never met before. It was a nice afternoon to catch up and have great food and conversation.

We celebrated the fourth of July by walking down to the Grandview Yard and having a little picnic. George couldn’t hang for too long because – bedtime. But Simon and I stayed to watch the fireworks they put off downtown. He got a really cool light up sword and it was nice to have a little “Date night” for just him and me.

And recently Simon’s learned how to ride his bike with no training wheels! He picked it up really quickly and I am so proud of how fearless he was at giving it a try. Now he asks to go on bike rides a lot. I also got a bike but have been nervous aout riding again! I don’t feel as confident as he does, I suppose.

This summer has flown by all too fast. We are now prepping for Simon’s’ birthday and another trip to South Carolina, this time to see family, and then school will start on August 18th. First Grade for Simon, and a new daycare setting for George. We have had an awesome summer with lots of fun things to do. I cannot believe how fast these two guys are growing up. I waffle between wanting to slow it down, and trying to catch up. But I always always know how very lucky I am, I have the three best dudes on the planet. Lucky lucky me. XO

For George, month 18


**I wrote this in July, and never added photos. Now I’m well past 20 months and behind yet again. Just believe me when I tell you George, we are busy keeping up with you and your antics.**

Dear George,

Yesterday we had your 18 month appointment, and you have lost 2 pounds. You also grew 2 inches. You are becoming a little boy before you even turn two. This is happening for you far faster than it happened with Simon, who still had chub around his wrists and ankels until he was at least 3. You have stretched out already. You are a very picky eater, and I think it’s still mostly a texture issue for you. You like melted cheese, bread, mac and cheese, bread, meat, yogurt. You will only drink milk out of a bottle, twice a day (nap and bedtime) 4 oz. each time. Otherwise you will only drink water out of a sippy cup. Nothing else. Your favorite treats are yogurt melts, goldfish and pirate booty. You also like animal crackers, graham crackers and cookies. You like carbs and meat. You do not like grapes. You do not like strawberries or blue berries or any berries for that matter. You are a really interesting kid to feed, George.

You stopped calling us Mama and Dada last week. We are firmly Mommy and Daddy now. Your favorite thing to say is “Doe Doe” and sign “go-go”. You want to Go. You don’t even try to say Simon’s name anymore. But, you sign it frequently. When one of us isn’t there, you ask for the rest of us. You want us all together, all the time. I think this is from our vacation last week. I think if we could all sleep in one room forever, you would be happy. So would Simon, honestly. You adore your big brother and will run to him to give him hugs a lot. Simon loves you right back. You sometimes bully him and take his stuff. He doesn’t stop you from doing it, because he is not great at conflict (unless it’s with his parents).

Your favorite things to do are movement and music. Your favorite songs of the moment are Wheels on the Bus and Bringing Home my Baby Bumblebee, but any song at any time will make you move and dance. You also like to wash your hands over and over, and play with running water. You like to be up on my hip or back, and you still like to be carried around in the Ergo carrier.

You love books, but don’t sit still long for them. Before nap and bedtime you drag out the routine asking for more books. You are quick to bring them to us and sit in our laps for a story. Your favorites are No no, Yes Yes, Little Blue Truck, Are you My Mother, Bedtime Peek-a-boo, Baby Signs, and every Mickey Mouse (“hot dog”) book you can find.

You thrive on routine, you like knowing what’s coming next. You are VERY smart and understand whatever we’re telling you. Sometimes you don’t like it, but if I explain to you why we’re doing something, or what we’re doing next, you do seem to understand. It’s very strange how very rational and irrational you can be all at once.


You have these curls, these fantastic curls at the back of your head. I spray them with water and detangling spray so they look bouncy and adorable. Your dad makes fun of me for “styling” your hair but everyone who sees you compliments you on these curls. I love them. You look like 100% little boy, so no one has confused you for a girl yet.


You have completed this family and we are so happy to have you in it. As you grow up, and I get rid of baby things each week, a part of me is sad that the “baby” part of raising you is coming to an end. You were not an easy baby, though- so it’s bittersweet. But your dad and I are also very excited about all of the  Big Kid stuff we’ll get to do in the near future- like amusement parks and camping, throwin the football or frisbee, sporting events and more.


I am madly in love with you and worry I don’t get to show you enough. But rest easy knowing that you are so very special to me, and we love you so very very much Georgie boy.


For George, month 16.5

Dear Georgie,
I never wanted to call you that, but yet that’s what we call you, every day. You’re our “puddin’ and pie” as we say. You are impossibly stubborn and courageous. You want to be at the highest point of the room at all times. If you are not scaling a chair to stand on the table, you are sitting on top of the train table, eating the snacks you demand via sign, and you will angrily look at me and sign/say “No no, down” because you know full well that you aren’t to be up there. You just truly do not care.


You feel ALL the feels. All of the emotions, you go with them fully, and I love that about you. This morning after we’d finished off breakfast and I was cleaning up the kitchen, I put on some music and Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen came on. Daddy made a comment about how that song wasn’t really appropriate for kids to listen to, what with the “Mama…I killed a man…” lyrics. I just laughed and moments later we are all watching you headbang to the best part of that song. No one else was in the room, you just felt the beat and went with it. You like to go fast, feel everything, dance, run, climb, explore, all of it. Your strong will and ambition to do these things makes it difficult to be your parent right now, but it also makes it awesome.
if you are that way NOW, at 16 months old, I can not WAIT to see what you’re like when you get older. You make us smile so hard and laugh so hard, and George- we are very tired.


You mostly sleep, but you do occasionally wake up with very lound yelling/crying. I can’t figure out if it’s your teeth, or a bad dream, or what, but you wake up super angry most nights at least once, usually 2-3 times. You’re getting better about going to sleep at night time and naptime most days, but you still love your bottle, and I’m so reluctant to get rid of it because you love it so much.


You have 6 teeth, and the only fruit you will eat are bananas and watermelon. You really only like bread-like things, and macaroni and cheese. You will also eat yogurt. You are a strangely picky eater, but as long as we have bread and Pirate Booty puffs, you’re pretty satisfied. You have curls on the back of your head that are getting long, and I should probably cut them but I just love them and I’m afraid they won’t come back.

You absolutely LOVE Mickey Mouse. You call him Hot Dog. We bought some books this weekend with Mickey in them and they have kept you occupied all weekend long. You are so interested in them. You still also play with your barn toys and any kind of ball you can find. You absolutely adore Simon, and your favorite thing to do with him is run, shriek and wrestle. You are 100% physical and feeling boy. I love the tenacity you put into everything you do, even if it’s a shit fit you’re throwing because we won’t let you eat crayons. We still love who you are, and are so excited to be a part of your life to watch you grow up.

You are my special baby boy. I catch myself oohing and aaahing (still) over your cheeks and chin, and belly. I will be so sad when those parts of baby melt away as you inevitably grow up. For now I will keep working on my patience, and enjoy each moment of your baby and toddler-ness. You have made this family whole, kiddo. Thanks for joining the show.

I love you more than you will ever ever know.