Category Archives: milestones

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.



catch the moment: wk 35

I feel like a broken record – it’s been another busy week. I can’t believe it’s almost fall. I can’t believe I have a kid in Kindergarten. I don’t want winter to come. I can’t believe how fast time goes by. I wish I had time to do it all. Every week I find myself making plans to do better at fitting it all in next week. I felt like I was at the gym too much during the week so I’ve been spending more time at home. Now I feel gross and tired and out of shape, but I’m enjoying more time with the boys. Where’s the balance? Can I just request 4 more waking hours in every day? We have some big fun plans coming up in the next couple of months so plenty to look forward despite dreaded fall and winter lurking around the corner.

The boys and I snuck off to Tennessee for the weekend to visit my family while Ryan did some demo work at home. I relished the family time and tried to soak up every minute with my nieces and nephew, my mom, my sister, and my brother-in-law. Seeing them just makes me that much more homesick, wishing we had more time to spend together. I had a big WHOA mommy moment while on the trip. My kids are getting older and more mature. I was worried about managing the 5.5 hr drive alone, but they were perfect angels. They were wonderful at my mom’s. It was more than doable, it was completely 100% absolutely enjoyable. A new phase of motherhood- fantastic! A feeling of increased freedom and confidence. At the same time, I can’t help but still have that WHOA feeling…it’s clear that they really are growing up.

239/365: Thursday, August 27th. Sometimes the best you can do is a POV picture while watching your guilty pleasure trashy TV late at night. 08-27-2015

240/365: Friday, August 28th. Dexter was eating within 5 minutes of arriving at my mom’s. Three words for this boy. Human Garbage Disposal. 08-28-2015

241/365: Saturday, August 29th. My 10 year old nephew, Mal. Seriously one of the kindest, gentlest, and coolest people I know. 08-29-2015

242/365: Sunday, August 30th. Our trip was a whirlwind – we were barely gone for 48 hours. Sunday we said goodbye to my family before niece Penelope jetted off from my mom’s – don’t get your knickers in a bunch, it’s only 100 feet to their house. 08-30-2015

243/365: Monday, August 31st. While we were gone, Ryan tore up the carpet – yes I said carpet- in our kitchen. Decisions, decisions! We finally narrowed it down and selected tile for the kitchen and powder room. 08-31-2015

244/365: Tuesday, September 1st. Speaking of that powder room, here’s what’s left of it. I can’t wait to replace those 1983 touches with modern ones. Goodbye disgusting bathroom!09-01-2015

245/365: Wednesday, September 2nd. What would I do without these two? 09-02-2015All in all a great week! I have been hoarding my PTO at work all summer so that I can take off when the boys have school breaks, so I’m really excited to have a long weekend to celebrate Labor Day and hang out -mostly at home- with my guys.



back to school 2015

This is Theo’s third full week of school and Dexter’s second and I can honestly say things are going better than expected! It was a little rocky leading up to school starting but now that we are into the groove, I couldn’t ask for it to be going any smoother. I don’t know if I can even fully put into words how I was feeling leading up to Theo starting Kindergarten. Aside from the emotional aspect – being forced to acknowledge that my baby is no longer a baby – it was a stressful experience for me as it seemed like there were so many ducks to get in neat little rows. Transportation plans, lunch accounts, aftercare arrangements, in person registration, online registration, school supply lists to fulfill, Kindergarten readiness packet to complete, book fees, back to school night, and the list goes on and on. A week before school started I realized that the school has an odd policy of not allowing parents to walk their children into school on the first day or visit the school for the first few weeks. Heartbroken. Two days before school started, we were scheduled to meet the teacher and see the classroom. I received an email from the principal saying that his assigned teacher was leaving the district and they “hope to find a highly qualified teacher by next week.” That left me feeling like crap. This is where kids can teach us such wonderful lessons about going with the flow. Theo was not phased, despite the fact that we’d been practicing her name (and I might have facebook stalked her once or twice) since we found out that he would be in her class.

Theo’s Back to School night: Tues, July 28.

0001 0002At back-to-school night I overheard her saying she got an offer she couldn’t pass up just 2 days prior with a different school district. She didn’t owe us anything-I think I had already become attached to her on some level because I had to. I had to trust her with my baby boy even though she was a complete stranger. I trusted her to supervise him, take care of him, and comfort him if he needed it. And just like that, she quit on us. 2 days before school started.

Theo’s First Day of Kindergarten: Thurs, July 30.

0003 0004 0005 0006 0007 On his first day, Theo was SO excited. He bounced out of bed and cooperated with every little thing we asked him to do. He grinned for a million pictures and asked a thousand times if it was time to leave yet. We took silly selfies in the endless dropoff line and talked about his plan after school. Don’t get on the bus! You are a car rider today! Ryan drove so I hopped out quickly to get the door for him and give him a hug. As I did, I smashed his ear and he burst into tears. Oh my gosh-I felt like the worst mother alive. The day started with so much excitement and promise and within seconds it was turned upside down. I felt the pressure of eyes on us as he stood on the sidewalk bawling, and I – the mom who wasn’t supposed to get out or walk her kid in or hold up the line or show any emotion at all – basically had to shove him, crying, in the direction of the principal who was waiting to greet all the newcomers. I watched with my head out the window like a happy Labrador as she got down on his level and rubbed his arm to comfort him. I wanted to shout “he’s fine! I smashed his ear! He’s NOT scared!” I’m sure he stopped crying within seconds but I did not. {Immediately after school we went to urgent care, where he was diagnosed with a double ear infection.}

I planned on only working 9-3 that day so I’d be able to drop him off and pick him up and it was the longest 6 hours ever. I thought about him all day, felt awful about how I left him crying on the sidewalk, and was generally anxious thinking about what he was doing and how he was feeling and how did lunch go and is he making friends, blah blah blah.

At 240pm on his first day of school, I got a call on my cell from a number I didn’t recognize so I answered it immediately, thinking he’d gotten hurt or was running a fever. It was school, calling to say that “little Theodore is just INSISTING that he’s a car rider. And honey, we have him down as a bus rider. So we were just calling to confirm that we were right.”

Okay, stop. Pause the scene. This was the part where my jaw dropped to the floor. I had filled out two separate forms prior to back to school night. One at early Kindergarten registration in April. Another online in July. When we got to back-to-school night, the teacher had him down as a bus rider. I explained that he wasn’t riding the bus. Ever. She filled out a new paper and marked on his little pink tag. We put the pink tag on his backpack. WHERE DID I GO WRONG?

What if that sweet lady from the office had not called to confirm? Theo would have just been walking up and down our street while I sat in that pick up line for 30 minutes.

I had never been so happy to get my hands on that little boy and hug and kiss him and hear everything he had to say about his day.

What is so confusing about this?

I found out right away that a new teacher had already started and was there for the Kindergarten babies from the very first day of school! She switched from another classroom and that gave me great comfort. So far, Theo loves her. He has memorized his lunch number. He tells stories about every kid in his class. He seems to know how to behave. I am just in love with him at this age-he’s so enthusiastic about everything. He said to me “Kindergarten is not even like hard work, it’s all about playing and fun.” Good, buddy! You enjoy it while it lasts. I asked him if his teacher ever tells him he’s cute and he said “yeah.” I said, “oh really? How does she say it?” He said, “she just says ‘oh Theo, what would I do without you?'” Love it. The second week I sent a note to her in his folder explaining when he would be a car rider and when he would go to aftercare…just one more time. In case he forgot. In case she didn’t get the memo from the previous teacher. She was so kind-she called me that day to let me know she got the note and then proceeded to chat for 10 minutes. We love Kindy.

Dexter’s Meet-the-Teacher night: Fri, July 31.

Found his cubby but sat right in front of his name…
New guide making a good first impression. He immediately pointed out a favorite book and asked me to read it to him. I said no because it had a lot of words -ha!- and I honestly did not know how much time we were going to spend there. She immediately offered to read the book to him and he immediately liked her. Well played, Ms. Jyoti. Well played.
Montessori boy at heart.

0012 0013 0014 0015.

A year ago today I posted about how Dexter was having such a difficult transition starting pre-school. Long story short, we had opted to put him in a class separate from Theo’s for his own growth and independence. It was rough. He really has a hard time with change so we thought this year would be no different. We found out at the last minute that his primary guide would not be returning to the classroom this year so that added to MY stress, worrying that he would be stressed. I was already concerned that he would have a hard time with Theo moving on to Kindergarten at a completely different school. I am so happy to report that this transition for Dex has been flawless so far. He loves his new teacher and loves that his favorite person in the entire school continues in her role as assistant guide in his class. I can’t overlook his excitement about having his little buddy from last year in the same class again. I think this really gives him something to look forward to. We haven’t had epic meltdowns at drop-off or pick-up (well, maybe a couple that were borderline epic but only because we picked him up before he got to play in the sandbox). Not a single accident. No tantrums in the mornings. Not acting crazy at home in the afternoons. So far so good. He was also excited to be dropped off the first day and we didn’t even have any last second injuries or pain inflicted by a too-hard-hugging mom.

Dexter’s First Day of Pre-School (2nd year): Tues, Aug 4.0016 0017 0018 One big perk to being back in the school swing of things – the boys are exhausted from wearing out their brains and bodies! During summertime they were taking naps at camp and not tired at bedtime. It was frustrating for us just because it was a 2 hour battle/waiting game every night and they were tired in the morning…perpetuating the cycle with those darn afternoon naps. They are back to falling asleep when their little sweet heads hit the pillow at 8 or 830 every night and rolling out of the right side of the bed in the morning. Happy and compliant with all of my crazy morning requests like “get dressed” and “eat your breakfast” that seemed like such chores over the summer. Things are pretty peachy right now and I’m hoping they stay this way for awhile. I am loving my little boys at their current ages and (like always) wish I could freeze time. They are so much fun and bursting with personality. It won’t be long until they are teaching me and I won’t be able to help them with their homework. I’ll look back at these times and remember how much fun they were. School will get more stressful. Less fun. Less exciting. This is only the beginning of their journeys. I’m so happy to be a part of their lives.