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 6th birthday festivities

Before too much time gets away from me, I wanted to post some pictures and memories of Theo’s 6th birthday celebration(s). I love this kid and I’m so proud of the person he already is and who he’s becoming. He still surprises me every day by saying something I did not expect to hear out of his little mouth.

Tuesday, March 8th: Ryan and I were both able to join Theo at school and eat lunch with him. Sadly, I didn’t realize my camera was on manual focus when it was in manual mode – such a chaotic setting to try and take pictures. Anyway…this would have been decent¬†if it was in focus. ūüôĀ


Theo loves it when we come to lunch at his school. He loves taking us through the lunch line, showing us where everything is, telling us what we’re allowed to get, where to sit, etc. I love it too. It’s fun to see him in this setting where he spends so much time and has developed so much comfort and confidence in his own abilities.IMG_9871

Checking the mail – he got a card and $ from my grandma, which he loved of course!IMG_9872

The first thing Theo said to me when he got in the car was that it was the BEST BIRTHDAY EVER because while he was working on his afternoon writing, something in his mouth felt weird so he touched his tooth AND IT FELL OUT! haha…he got to go to the nurse and get this super cool tooth necklace. He lost his second tooth on his 6th birthday! I keep meaning to post about our first tooth loss/tooth fairy experience but surprise, I haven’t gotten to it yet. Anyway – he was thrilled.¬†IMG_9877 IMG_9884

For his birthday, we had a little TACO Tuesday dinner with some of our friends and Ryan’s parents. Dirt pudding with worms for dessert! We got him Disney Infinity and it has been a big hit.IMG_9907 20160308_184604 (1)IMG_9924

Saturday, March 12th: My sister-in-law, her husband, and our nephew rolled into town and bombarded Theo with even more gifts.IMG_9932 IMG_9945

Sunday, March 13th: The day Theo had really been waiting for…his birthday party! We rented the party room at the theater and had 19 people (including the 4 of us-it was about half kids/half parents) watch Zootopia. First of all, we loved the movie! It was brilliant. Second, I was shocked at how good all the little kids were – we even had a couple of 3 year olds and a barely 4 year old there and they were all so well behaved. No one even had to get up to go to the bathroom. Afterwards we had the party room for an hour.IMG_9950 IMG_9955

In the little favor bags, I included Zootopia coloring sheets, a mini bag of microwaveable popcorn, a cute little paper popcorn container I found at Party City, and a Fruit by the Foot. We just went with a movie theme since the party was planned a month and a half before Zootopia was showing in theaters. I enjoyed the movie theme for something a little different (and NOT a character!). IMG_9960 IMG_9961 IMG_9970 IMG_9982 IMG_9991

Another year is in the books – I can’t believe this time next year he’ll be SEVEN! That sounds so old. He’ll probably only have about 3 baby teeth left, be as tall as me, and be reading Hardy Boys. Okay…maybe that’s a stretch.



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.