Dear Theo: SIX


Dear Theo,

I haven’t slowed down enough to read through the letters I’ve written you on your first five birthdays, but I can guess that I am feeling a lot of the same sentiments today. Wondering where the time has gone. Thinking that it feels like just a blink from the day you were born until now. Reflecting on how much you’ve grown in every way over the past year. Remembering all the fun we’ve had together as the months have flown by.

You’ve nearly completed Kindergarten. Any reservations or fears I had for you melted away shortly after you started elementary school last July. You love to learn and it turns out that you’re really good at it. I know it’s just who you are, but I am so unbelievably proud of what a good student you have become. I love listening to you read to me. I love watching you solve problems, follow directions, and concentrate so that you can accomplish your goals.

You’re getting better about helping out around the house. Clearing your spot after you eat, taking your dirty clothes to the laundry chute, and helping me out with little tasks when I need assistance. You love cooking with me and doing crafts together. You love coloring and I love it when you color and draw things for me. You should see my desk – it is an art gallery of yours and Dexter’s work.

You’re getting so tall. Wearing a size 6 in just about everything. You still have medium to dark brown hair and big, bright brown eyes. You still refuse to ride a bike and do not want anything to do with organized sports, but you do seem to love Ninja Gym so far, after just about 2 months. You’ve learned to play Mario Bros. on the Wii and I’m surprised at how quickly you and your brother have learned how to control the remotes and your characters. Playing video games with your dad is one of your favorite hobbies.

You’re still a good eater – just a little pickier than you used to be. You almost always clean your plate so that you can get a piece of candy. You and I both have a giant sweet tooth! You and your little brother have been getting along so well. You two truly are best friends and you have no idea how much I love to hear you call him “bud” or “Dexy.”  The other day you were both putting on your shoes to go outside and I overheard Dexter say”Theo, do you love me? Because I love you. Do you love me Theo?” You said “yeah, Dex” and continued talking, changing the subject. You looked up at me with a sheepish grin on your face. As embarrassed as you might feel and as much as you may not want to admit it, you know it’s true, and you knew it would melt my heart to hear you say that. Thank you, Theo. Thank you for being sweet and for not making a joke out of it when your brother is looking for that reassurance from you. I hope you will always be there for each other.

You lost your first tooth a couple weeks ago and you were thrilled to find out that the tooth fairy had paid you a visit. Now you’ve got another one that’s about to fall out. You were so proud of yourself for pulling that thing out, and I was glad that I didn’t have to do it myself! You still love Legos. You still have your favorite blankets and stuffed animals. You’re getting older, but you’re still little. You still hug and kiss me in front of your friends and I will cherish every one of those hugs and kisses that I get. You still love bedtime stories and extra hugs and kisses before you fall asleep. You wake up around 630am every day….oh Theo. Please start sleeping in before you turn 7! You love watching PBS Kids in the mornings before school. You cheer for the bad guy and love scary and creepy things, whether it’s villains in Disney movies or Halloween decorations at Lowes.

You have a mean streak a mile wide but you make up for it with the kind things you say and do. A couple weeks ago I was handing out snacks, preparing water bottles and looking for your shirts for Ninja Gym. I noticed that you’d both opened your own granola bars and fake pouted, saying “what? You don’t need me anymore? Gah – you guys are so grown up!” You said “Mama, we’ll always need you in SOME way,” and that did me in. I put down everything I was multi-tasking and ran around the breakfast bar to give you a big hug and kiss. There was that sheepish grin again – you knew the exact right words to say and the exact right time. I needed to hear that . You also know the exact wrong words to say sometimes! I hope you make good choices with your words – they are so powerful.

I could really go on and on about how wonderful you are and all the things I love about you. I wish I could pause time and live in this world for a while longer, but I can’t. You will keep growing and changing and those times will be fantastic too. I hope you stay healthy, curious, adventurous, and funny. I hope you reach past your comfort zone and try things that make you nervous. I hope you always love to learn. I hope you’re a good friend. I hope you have a friend who’s just as good to you. You deserve everything good.

I love you so much!

happy birthday Theo.



Dear Dexter (2015)

IMG_2745IMG_1369 3yrsoldDear Dexter,

There’s this smartphone app called TimeHop…who knows if it will be around when you’re older. Every day it shows me a glimpse back at that day of each previous year that I shared something with social media. In the days and weeks leading up to today, I’ve so enjoyed looking back at blog posts from when I was pregnant with you 4 years ago. Life was filled with SO much uncertainty. Would we be able to handle life with 2 babies, just 14 months apart? We didn’t know anything about you. We didn’t know if you were a boy or a girl. You could have been Edyth June instead of Dexter Jay. Actually, you could have just as easily been Crosby Jay and almost were. We debated between Crosby and Dexter from the moment you were born until you were a good 4 or 5 hours old. It’s so weird to think about you being anything but a boy and anyone but our little Dexter Jay.

We didn’t know you’d have blonde hair and sparkly blue eyes or a contagious, constant, happy energy. We didn’t know you would have the laid back personality of someone who’s happy to be along for the ride, regardless of where we’re going. We didn’t know your laughter would make bad days better. We didn’t know you would find such joy in making other people happy. We just knew we already loved you and that love has only continued to grow and grow and grow.

We love seeing you look up to your big brother (except for those times when he’s not being a very good example – ha!). We love that you two are close. Buddies. We love that you love being around him. We love your big huge squeezy hugs and your sweet little tender kisses. We love that you made our family feel completely … complete. We love being together, the four of us, wherever the road takes us.

Before I had kids, I used to say that if I had 2 boys, I’d have 3 kids. I couldn’t imagine life without a daughter. Now that I have 2 boys, I can’t imagine life any other way. I can’t imagine a life without a house full of Legos and Batman toys or closets without holy jeans and dirty tennis shoes. I don’t want to imagine life that way – I know these things will disappear gradually.

You like to color. Every day you are gaining more control. You have surprised us with learning to write most of your name seemingly overnight! School has been a transition for you, but a good one. Your teachers have watched you grow. It’s hard to believe that a year from now we will be signing you up for Kindergarten. Poof! Just like that, the baby years are over. You still like Batman (a lot) but it doesn’t seem to be the obsession that it was 6 months or a year ago. You like heroes and the bad guys. You love water. Bath. Swimming.  You are scared of loud noises like the car wash, ShopVac, big trucks, hand dryers, and automatically flushing toilets. You will scream and cover your ears every time.

Lately we’ve been dealing with a dumb little medical issue. You are so scratchy! You have a common childhood rash on the back of your legs called Molluscum and you scratch, scratch, scratch it. And it gets infected, infected, infected. 2 weeks ago it got so bad that you ended up admitted to the hospital with IV antibiotics. Dexter! Honey! Stop scratching. Easier said than done, I know, and it wasn’t your fault. We are still working with the doctors to figure out how to keep this from happening over and over. But really, stop scratching.

We are all spending your 4th birthday together. Not only do we get to be together, we get to be together at our favorite place ever! Walt Disney World! There’s nowhere we’d rather be and no one we would rather spend the day with. I hope we can find the Star Wars cupcake you’ve been begging for while we are there.

Dexy, I have a feeling this is going to be a great year for you. For our family. You and your brother have grown and changed so much. I like to just sit and watch and listen to you two plan. You have big conversations and big imaginations. There’s no 2 boys I’d rather mother. When I think about you, I think about how blessed I am. Even when it seems like everything is going wrong, I’ve got you to hug at the end of the day. Please don’t stop hugging back!

So much love – Happy 4th Birthday, Dex!



my big four year old boy

Dear Theo, 
My big four year old boy. 
Your birthday was yesterday and it was a fantastic day for you and our whole family.  Some of our dearest friends came over to celebrate you on your special day. 
Grammy and I were so busy getting ready for your party that I didn’t spend much time thinking about life four years ago. I’ve done more of that today, the day after your birthday. I’ve been picturing your dad and I at the hospital, brand new parents to this brand new beautiful baby boy.  The entire four years have been an adventure. You’ve surprised us in small and huge ways along this path and I have no doubt that your journey from four to five will be just as remarkable.
Four!  Four sounds like such a long time.  High school lasts four years.  A bachelor’s degree takes four years.  A presidential term is four years.  Olympics are every four years.  Many amazing things happen in increments of four years.  Four is officially a kid – there’s nothing baby about you anymore.  You have been diaper free for months. You stopped sucking your thumb cold turkey, because you said it was time. You are starting to sound out letters.  You can dress yourself from head to toe.  You have manners and know how and when to use them (even if you don’t sometimes). You love reading stories and playing games. You also enjoy watching movies at the theater and at home.  You’ve been to Disney World and bring up memories from our vacation often. Your favorite thing in the world is Legos.
You have a great appetite and enjoy a wide variety of healthy AND junk foods.  We call you “Green Eggs & Ham” sometimes because when you come to the table you often turn up your nose and say “I am NOT eating that!” But 9 times out of 10, within moments of trying the first bite, your plate is clean and you are saying “Mommy! Next time you make dinner, you should make this again!”  
You are creative and bright and bossy at times. Stubborn to a fault but you know exactly what you want. When you decide you are ready to do something, there’s no going back. You are sweet and shy and unsure of yourself.  You love hugs and kisses and our goodnight routine.  You know you have our undivided attention and you like to draaaag that out as long as possible. But Theo? 
I will read the extra story. I will play the extra round of Curious George Matching or Sneaky Snacky Squirrel. I will get you one last sip of water.  I will sing the extra song. I will brush your teeth a little longer and hug you a little tighter. You’re on your way to being five now.  BUT. That’s okay – I’m all too aware that it won’t always be like this. Today…for now, you’re just four.  My little, big four year old boy.  And I’m gonna hold on tight and fly through this year right beside you. 
I love you so much.