Dear Theo: You’re Seven


Four days ago, you turned seven! Seven years ago, your dad and I had just been home from the hospital for a day or two and we were trying to get the hang of taking care of you. Flash forward to today and you do almost everything for yourself. We are still trying to figure out how to parent you most days but we’re all in this together and it’s as much a learning experience for us as it is for you. You’re still giving us lessons on how to approach different things and in the midst of figuring all this out, we’re making each other better human beings along the way.

Sometimes it’s overwhelming, raising a little guy. We put a lot of pressure on you to be a nice boy. But even more than that, I want you to be a good man. A caring brother and friend. A respectful student and son. Eventually a respectable man of his word who loves a family of his own. A person who is kind to others. For now though, we focus on today. We focus on glimpses of the little boy that we still see and hope they don’t disappear too soon. We read stories and we play games. We give goodnight hugs and kisses. We watch cartoons and play with action figures. We color and make Perler bead creations. We pack lunches, do homework, cook dinners, and get by as the weeks start and end over and over again.

In the last year, you’ve grown up quite a bit. You can tie your shoes and you read and spell like a champ. You still refuse to learn how to ride a bike. You just finished an 8 week long season of basketball and we saw your confidence grow bit by bit. You got your very own passport and we took a Western Caribbean cruise vacation. We visited Haiti, Jamaica, Cozumel, and Georgetown, Grand Cayman. You climbed a waterfall and went snorkeling. What a fun adventure that was for all of us! You’ve started doing chores to earn a small allowance and are beginning to understand the benefits of saving up your money instead of spending it as fast as you can. Your smile looks different as you’ve lost your 2 front teeth and now an adult tooth is almost all the way in — but you still smile as much as you ever did. You’re looking older, taller, and cooler with each passing day, week, and month.

You’re an early bird like Pop Pop. You’re up before 7 every day and will quietly play at the Lego table or watch a cartoon on Netflix. You LOVE to scare people – especially me when I am getting ready for work early in the morning. You’ll hide in the dark and wait for me to come, then shout BOO!, scaring the crap out of me! We both laugh and I tell you over and over that you’re JUST like your dad!

You may have gotten a little pickier with the foods you like and dislike over the last year but you’re still a good eater. You have decided you don’t like icing or donuts. You’d probably eat cereal 3 meals a day if we let you. You’ve started riding the school bus to school this year – this was a big step for mom and dad, giving up that control and letting someone else drive you and your brother around. I see you growing up in so many ways. I catch you showing genuine gratitude and it means the world to me. You are starting to pick up on more subtle humor. You still sit on my lap, even though your legs hang down to my feet – and I still can’t stop smelling and kissing your head when you do, just like when you were a baby.

You and your brother are still pretty inseparable but that doesn’t mean that you always get along. Sometimes you fuss and fight but when push comes to shove, you’re the best buddies and would be lost without each other. You guys rely on each other and you drive each other nuts. To be honest, I hope you’ll always have the closeness you share now and the comfort level to put each other in your places as you grown into adulthood. You have some pretty awesome friends and family who really love and care for you!

Theo, what would we do without you? The last 7 years have been an adventure that has gotten us to where we are with you. And where are we? I’d say we’re in a pretty great place. You’re sweet and fun and silly and sneaky. You’re big and you’re little. We’re having deeper conversations these days and I hope you’ll always feel able to talk to me. It terrifies me to think about how fast the last 7 years have gone, knowing in another 7 you’ll be FOURTEEN. I can’t stand the thought of you being so grown up because I know the older you get, the more I will lose a little bit of my baby boy.

Here are some photo memories from your 7th birthday!

You didn’t ask for cake – you asked for Volcano Cake Pops (we’ve been watching a lot of Kids Baking Championship on Food Network). Grammy came from TN to visit the weekend before your birthday and we went to the zoo. I forgot to get a picture with Grammy. ūüôĀ

Your birthday was on a school day – mommy and daddy came and had lunch with you. After school, Nana and Pop Pop came over and you opened your gifts.


Ended the basketball season on your birthday. You had great coaches! ¬† Chicago’s Pizza for dinner and dessert after the game. No traditional birthday cake for this birthday boy!

Monkey Joe’s this morning after a sleepover with Colin last night. You had a great 7th birthday!

I’ll love you forever

I’ll like you for always

As long as I’m living

My baby you’ll be



Theo’s 5th birthday celebration

You all- I took over 400 pictures between Friday, March 6th and Monday, March 9th while we were celebrating Theo’s big FIFTH birthday so bear with me. Getting this post down to less than 40 pictures is quite an accomplishment!

We think turning five is a pretty big deal around here. A lot happens with turning 5. Kids go to Kindergarten, start reading, (hopefully) Theo will start riding his bike, can start losing teeth, and all other sorts of big kid things. It’s just like…he’s a kid now. I don’t know how to explain it. He’s just grown up so much in the past few months. He’s little, but he doesn’t seem like a little kid sometimes. He’s got a teenager’s attitude, says things to hurt our feelings when he’s mad, and can turn on the charm to get what he wants. One thing’s for sure, he keeps us on our toes.

Friday, March 6th. Theo had his birthday celebration at school. It was super hard to get pictures without his classmates’ faces in them so I just have a couple to share. Dexter and Theo were both very excited that Dexter was able to come over from his class to join the festivities. All of Theo’s grandparents were there, too.


Theo held a little globe and walked around a wooden sun on the floor 5 times to represent each of his trips around the sun on Earth. With each year that passed, we stopped and shared a picture of what he looked like and talked about his likes and dislikes each year as he grew. Afterwards, Theo passed out bat signal-shaped rice krispie treats. They were a hit!02 03

Saturday, March 7th. Our immediate family came over for pizza before his big party. We decided to let him open family gifts beforehand to cut down on time spent opening presents during the party. He loves this step-by-step drawing book from Nana and Pop Pop.04

Another of his favorite gifts was a Lego chicken suit guy from Aunt ‘Chelle, Uncle Bob, and Spencer. It was his first Lego, ever (given to him by Spencer a couple years ago), which has been lost for a long time. He’s been saying he wished he still had it for some time now and Aunt Michelle delivered! He was overjoyed.¬†05

The money wasn’t terrible, either.¬†06

Theo’s party was from 1-230pm at a local gymnastics facility. Since there was a ninja skills training component included in the party, we went with a TMNT theme. Ryan’s mom made the cupcakes. She set up the table while my mom put together tabletop cardboard decorations. What would I do without family when I am feeling frazzled on these very exciting days??07 08 09 10

Hey, Dexter…who do you think you are? Pretty sure Theo was not the one that blew out those five candles.11

Sunday, March 8th. We still had not given Theo a gift. I’m sure he noticed, but he hadn’t mentioned it. When he came in our room in the morning and after we’d said “happy birthday” to him and given him a million hugs and kisses, I said “did you realize mommy and daddy hadn’t given you a gift yet? Well, I had an idea…” and we told him that we were leaving that day to go to Legoland Discovery Center in Chicago. He was very excited and ready to pack up and go! But not before Grammy (my mother) took us out for a big birthday breakfast – chocolate milk and all!¬†12 13

About 3 hours later, we rolled into Chicago.14


My favorite thing at LDC might have been the HUUGE Lego model of the city. The detail! It was seriously impressive! The boys were in Lego heaven every minute we spent there.16 17 18 19 20 21 22

I have to brag on the staff at LDC. They were super nice. Three different staff members went out of their way to give Theo a little something special for his birthday. It was an awesome place to spend part of our day.23 24

Afterwards, of course we asked Theo what his favorite part of LDC was and he said … the store. LOL. Well shoot, we could have gone to a Lego store without driving 3+ hours and staying in a hotel overnight! He was super pumped to give this guy his OWN birthday money for a nice new Lego set.¬†25 26

We didn’t have a plan for dinner but we wanted to go somewhere that had¬†cake. We’d thought about Maggiano’s because it was close but by the time we left Legoland, there was a 45 minute wait. Theo acted whiny about it and said he didn’t want cake anyway. So Ryan and I set out to find something that we didn’t have in Indianapolis. I’d seen people on Facebook who frequent Chicago talking about Portillo’s so that’s where we landed and it did not disappoint! The food was amazing and Theo was thrilled to end his big, special day with a mint chocolate milkshake (that he split in half with Dexter). Ryan may have been on sugary drink overload.28 29

Legos before bed…30

Legos when we wake up. It’s really no different from being at home, is it?31

After enjoying breakfast and some hotel pool swimming, we made it back downtown and explored Navy Pier before heading back home.32

It had to be the first nice day this year in Chicago. There were still piles of snow all over the place but it was 50 degrees and super sunny. No wind at all…I suppose the water being covered by sheets of floating ice had something to do with the lack of wind. It was perfect. Totally¬†perfect.33 34 36 37

That dimple was one of the very first things I noticed about Theo, within seconds of him being born. It still gets me.39 40¬†41I can’t think of a better way we could have celebrated little Theo’s BIG fifth birthday!! Happy memories to last forever…



just when i think he’s not a baby anymore

On vacation, we let the boys pick out a few small souvenirs here and there. ¬†One day we were waiting for our table at breakfast and wandered to the super cheesy beach shop next door. The kind with hermit crabs, a million ugly t-shirts, shell necklaces, and knee boards; they are all the same. While perusing, Theo came across this little stuffed animal and started carrying it around the store. It was a smaller version of another one there but he thought the little one was cute. He started talking to the thing (what is it supposed to be?) in a baby voice – the same one he uses when he talks to the cats. ¬†When it was about time to leave, I told him he needed to put the toy back and he instantly protested. ¬†He begged for it and at $6, I couldn’t say no. I figured it would turn into a told-ya-so life lesson that I could rub in his face, for lack of a better term.



Theo instantly named this thing “Cute Cute” and carried it around the condo for the rest of the week. He never asked to take it places with us, but would think and talk about Cute Cute while we were out and about. Even after acquiring other (and seemingly more interesting) souvenirs, he kept going back to Cute Cute – his favorite.

This boy, that is obsessed with Legos and dying to watch shows that are way too old for him, fell in love with a stuffed animal. ¬†He sleeps with it every night. He says and does adorable things for Cute Cute. For instance, on Halloween, he said she would get too cold trick or treating so he sat her on the couch and covered her up so she could be there waiting on him when we got back. He sleeps with her (yes, she’s a girl).


Just when I think he’s growing up way too fast, he does something that puts me right back in my place. He brings a little Cute Cute into our lives. He’s still a baby in a lot of ways. One day he’ll be really embarrassed about all of this, but I don’t care. He’ll always be my baby and that’s all that matters. For now, I am going to embrace and hang onto anything I can that reminds me of how small he still really is.