Monday, March 31, 2014

Dear Gavin,

The next time I write to you you will be SIX!  That's just so hard for me to believe.  One day, you'll understand what I mean....but seriously, the time has flown by.

Remember me talking about Running Club last month?  You started at the beginning of March.  To say you were excited is an understatement.  I'm talking counting-down-the-days-excited.  So you can imagine why I felt like the worst mom in the world when I picked you up that day and you climbed into the van, crying, and handed me a note saying you couldn't participate because Mommy hadn't registered you online for the race in May that goes along with Running Club.  I felt like crying, too.  Luckily, you forgave me quickly and we got you all registered, only for you to fall on your first lap around the track on Running Club Day #2 and skin your palm pretty badly.  We weren't off to a great start, but you are still enjoying it (and ran 1.5 miles the other day!)  Not only are you liking it, but one of the teachers stopped me the on the last day of school before spring break to tell me she loves running with you and thinks you have a natural gait and will be a successful runner someday.  Maybe in ten years when I'm writing to you I will be commenting on your track meets. :)

We had another date night earlier this month.  Daddy took Riley on her first date, so we took advantage of a night together.  We grabbed some Zaxby's and ate in the front seat of the van before heading in and painting pottery for the first time.  You weren't too thrilled when I told you where we were going, but I think you really enjoyed it once we got there.  The dragon you painted turned out so awesome.  Being there brought back a lot of memories for Mommy because I used to paint pottery all the time with your Aunt Meggie.  I loved doing it with you (and loved the plate I painted for us to use as our Special Occasion Plate). 

Last week was your spring break.  We didn't do much for the break because the weather wasn't the greatest and Riley had a little tummy bug, but we did have a family day on Friday.  Daddy took the day off and we went shopping and bought you guys a swing set!  Saturday was spent putting it together and we had a cookout with Harper and played outside until about 8:30!  It was a super fun day.  Today, you had to write in your journal at school about what you did over spring break, and you wrote about having family game night and going to Yum Yos for frozen yogurt.  I loved it.  It just shows me that it's the little things that we do with you that you cherish so much, and so do I. 

We love you, Bug.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Dear Riley,

Just a day late on my goal...not bad! 

This was a special month for you, little girl.  We started the month with your first haircut!  You have to understand what an accomplishment that is.  When I was your age, I was just beginning to GET hair!  Haha.  I wondered how you'd do since you weren't too excited when we talked about it, but when we got there it was a different story.  Such a big girl sitting there!  Miss Ashley just snipped away and you watched her closely in the mirror, looking so grown up. And you looked adorable, of course. 

Later in the month, you had another milestone.  Your first date.  Daddy and I have talked for a long time about how we wanted to take you and your brother on special dates throughout your childhood, making special memories.  I've taken Gavin a few times, but you were still a little young.  Then, we saw that there was a Father/Daughter Princess Ball coming to town and we knew we had to do it!  You and I went shopping to get you a special new dress and Daddy went all out, bringing home a gorgeous corsage for you to wear.  Your first real date.  You were SO excited, and so were your Mommy and Daddy.  It was quite a milestone for you, and a wake up call for us.  You are growing up into a sweet, amazing young girl so quickly.

Daddy took you to the ball with Harper and her daddy, and you all chowed on Chickfila chicken nuggets and danced the night away.  Gavin and I had our own special date that night, but when I picked you guys up, we sneaked in to see you.  The dance floor was hopping, with disco balls and lights galore, and you LOVED it!  They had a 'red carpet' complete with paparazzi taking your picture and you left the ball with a goodie bag with some new nail polish.  It was so special. 

On another topic, you have been feeling a little under the weather again with a low fever and it's resulted in me needing to rock you to sleep for your naps.  I have a little secret for you.  Don't tell anyone!  I love it. :)  I know it's not a good habit to have, but rocking you to sleep every once in a while makes me so happy.  I know my days of rocking you are limited.  No matter how much I think you'll always be my baby, I know you're growing up and won't let me rock you forever, so I just sit there and cherish every moment of it and I rock you and watch your eyelashes flutter and your sweet little lips pucker in your sleep.  I hope you let me rock you for a lot longer! 

We love you, baby girl!


Saturday, March 1, 2014

Dear Gavin,

What a big month you've had at school!  We're so so so proud of you.  You were picked as a Terrific Kid in February and got recognized at Rise and Shine and had a special lunch at school.  You also met your Accelerated Reader goal, just two months after starting AR, and will be recognized for that one soon.  The district also was doing a special One District, One Book project, and you get the trivia question correct and won a pass to Mazzio's Pizza and Jump Zone!  Plus, you were picked for Star Student of the Week, which you've been waiting for all year.  I love hearing you get so excited about school!  And I love that for your 'read a book' homework nights, you pick to read Riley her bed time story.  You know how to melt my heart.

You had another tennis lesson this morning.  It's been a while since you started tennis, and I love that you've stuck with it.  It's fund to see you progress and enjoy something.  This morning, you brought such a smile to our faces.  To start the lesson, you were supposed to do two laps around the court using 'high knees.'  You were first in line and started out great, but your high knees quickly turned to skipping, and there you were, happily skipping around the court, coming in last....but you didn't care.  Speaking of extra-curricular activities, we just signed you up for Running Club, too!  I'm excited for you to start that and for us to do some family races soon. 

What else is new with you?  Unfortunately, you're testing the waters a bit and we're dealing with some back-talking, but I know it's just part of the age and I just have to take a deep breath and make sure you know it's not acceptable.  But, you can drive me nuts one minute and bring joy to my face the when Daddy was out of town a couple weeks ago.  You always get a special night to sleep in my bed if he's gone, but this trip, you decided you should sleep in my bed all week, so I wouldn't be lonely at night. :)  How sweet!   Oh, and of course....your friend, Treston, has introduced you to the world of Pokemon.  Boo!  Haha....I don't know much about Pokemon, but I know I took away a lot of Pokemon cards as a teacher!  Now, it's all I hear about!  Oh well....the joys of being a boy mom, right?

I can't believe you're so close to being aren't 'getting any younger,' after all!  That's what you reminded Daddy and me when we said we couldn't believe it was almost your birthday.  And you're're not getting any younger!  And we will always remember all the sweet things that you did as a little baby and toddler, but we couldn't be more proud of the boy you're growing up to be.  Mommy and Daddy love you, Bug.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Dear Riley,

Oh, little sure know how to keep us on our toes!  Each day is a new adventure in Riley-land.  You were sick over the past month.  We dealt with some sinus issues, which led to drainage that made you throw up.  No fun.  Then, the morning of Gavin's Valentine's Day party you woke up absolutely miserable.  I haven't seen you so sick in a very long time!  Thankfully, you have a super daddy that called into work, took over my volunteer duties at school, and let me me stay home and just hold you all morning until we could get you to a doctor for an antibiotic for an ear infection.  It wasn't fun to see you that way, but I sure enjoyed the cuddles. 

You are most definitely in a princess phase and love dressing up.  We only have tutus at home, so you really enjoy going to Harper's house to borrow her princess dresses.  And speaking of dresses, you had fun trying on some new dresses for this summer recently.  So much fun, that you wanted to wear one of them that day....when it was about 25 degrees.  Our compromise, because as your mommy I've learned to pick my battles, was to wear TWO dresses, one weather appropriate, one for this summer, at the same time while we went to Walmart and to pick up Gavin.  Yeah, I should've taken a picture.  If you could've seen yourself, you would've been so mad at me that I let you go out in public like that!  

Valentine's Day was a fun day for you....we did, in fact, give you your very own microphone and you are quite the performer!  Singing is your favorite!  With that being are NOT pleasant when others want to sing, too.  Gavin and I get yelled at in the car quite often because we want to sing along to the CD, too....but apparently, we're not allowed. You particularly love to sing the songs from Frozen, but you still do sing Never Grow Up, 'your song.'  I love that you have a song that you'll always think of as yours.  

Having a big brother definitely makes your interests unique.  You go from princesses to Power Rangers, from Little Mermaid to Star Wars.  I'm pretty sure you already know more about Star Wars than I do.  We were cracking up last week when you were here on the floor with Gavin saying, 'Pshhooo, Pshooo, it's a Battle Droid!  Get the Battle Droid!'  I have no clue what a Battle Droid is....  You make your Daddy proud and your brother happy!

You are registered for preschool!  We just got word that Miss Misty will be your teacher and I'm really excited about that.  We just need to really get those potty accidents under control.  You do so well for so long and then it's like a major regression.  I know you can do will be completely under control before September. :)  Last week, you and I started Tot School together.  It didn't take long for you to get into it and I'm really enjoying watching your mind take it all in.  It's nice to be able to do some 'teaching' with you....sometimes Mommy misses being in the classroom.  Thank you for letting me get my fix with you!

Favorites from this month - pretending to be a cat, spending time with Harper and seeing Baby Maggie, watching Sheriff Callie's Wild West, and snuggles with Daddy. 

We love you, little lady!


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Dear Gavin,

It's time for me to get better at these letters so I'm starting 2014 off right with a goal to write to you at least once a month, on the 29th of each month, the day you were born. 

The last time I wrote to you I was an emotional wreck as we prepared to get you off for your first day of kindergarten.  Boy, was that an emotional day.  Our morning drop off was a little rough in the beginning, but once we worked out a special routine where I got to walk you into the building twice a week, things improved.  I must admit - some mornings I don't like the thought of bundling Riley up and walking you in when it's 5 degrees outside, but I wouldn't trade holding your hand and getting that kiss goodbye for anything!  It's so special to me. 

You're doing awesome in school.  We just got your second report card and you had all 3s, the highest you can get.  Your reading is unbelievable!  I can't believe that it was not even a year ago when you read your first book to me all alone and now you're reading everything in sight.  Our biggest hurdle this year has been the germs.  The first week of October you got sick with a fever and it's been up and down since then.  Lots of colds, fevers, coughs, and even a stomach bug thrown in the mix.  I hate that you've missed so much school, but I don't mind the extra days you're here with me.  I even got to rock you to sleep the other day...priceless! 

Star Wars and Legos have overtaken your life.  {And the fact that you have Lego Star Wars just blows your mind!}  You're really loving tennis these days, and Mommy and Daddy love watching you.  I'm pretty sure you could survive on mini pancakes and PB&J sandwiches right now...they're all you ever ask for.  I hate that your eating habits are getting pickier and pickier as you get older.  Things you once loved you won't touch anymore and it's frustrating.  Looney Tunes, Tom & Jerry, and Dexter's Laboratory are favorite shows right now for you. 

It's so bittersweet to me that you're growing up so fast.  I love listening to you talk about your friends at school, what you did in P.E., and how you played Jailbreak on the playground, but I miss my little man that crawled around on the floor playing with his Thomas trains over and over again and sang Hot Dog Hot Dog Hot Diggity Dog with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse at the top of your lungs.  You'll always be my little man.  Mommy and Daddy are so proud of you.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Dear Riley,

I have been so awful at keeping up with these letters, so I made it a promise to myself that I'd write to you on the 26th of each month, since you were born on the 26th, and look where we are...the 28th.  I've failed already!  But, no time like the present to do what you say you'll do, right?  :)

Daddy and I just can't get over your vocabulary and conversation skills these days.  At 2.5, you are so talkative and love to carry on conversations with us.  More than talking, you LOVE to sing.  Last month, we took you to see your first movie at a theater, Frozen, and you have been singing the songs from the movie since we left the theater.  I think we're going to surprise you with a microphone for Valentine's Day.  Some of your favorite phrases these days are 'Don't tell me what to do,' 'That makes me really mad,' and 'Hold on to your doggies, kiddos.'  We have no clue where that last one came from! 

We go next week to register you for preschool.  I seriously don't know how that happened.  How did you go from being a baby in my belly while I was registering Gavin for preschool to being the one I'm filling out the application for, in the blink of an eye?  You seem really excited about school, and I hope it stays that way.  I think if I let you, you'd walk right into school with Gavin in the morning without looking back.  Now, we just need to get this potty training thing down so you can actually go to school!  It's been 5 months, dear....we shouldn't still be having accidents! 

We really enjoy our days together while your brother is at kindergarten.  Tuesdays and Thursdays we head to the fitness center.  You like going to the activity center while I work out and on Thursdays, we take Mom and Tot class with your friend, Addie.  Swim lessons will be starting in a couple months as we get ready for lots of swimming this summer!  I know you're going to be a little fish this year. 

Some of your favorites....Foods: Kix cereal, craisins, and spaghetti.  Shows: Sofia the First, Super Why, and Jake and the Neverland Pirates.  Toys: Dress up high heels (that you call wheels instead), your baby Cinderella doll, and the make up vanity we keep in our bathroom.  

We love you so much, sweet girl.  You definitely know how to keep us laughing!  


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Dear Gavin,

As I write this, my eyes are burning and puffy because I was up til 11 last night (yes, that's past your mommy's bed time!) crying.  Why, you ask?  Because I can't seem to wrap my head around the fact that in one week, you will be starting kindergarten.  Of course I knew this day would come, and we've been talking about it for a long time now, but now, it's here.  And it's so bittersweet.  

I can't believe that my time with you here full-time is coming to an end.  We've filled the last five years with tons of memories.  Your first year, you spent a lot of time with Miss Joyce while mommy worked, but we still had lots of fun together, playing in the grass with Valinda and Tink, our road trips to visit Daddy in NY, and your first trip to the beach and Gatlinburg.  I remember our fun times in NY, spending days at  Strong Museum, feeding the birds on our apartment patio, and walks to Lugia's for some monster-sized ice cream cones.  The last few years have been spent here in Arkansas.  When we first moved here, we spent a lot of time learning about new things - farms, construction equipment, and more.  We went on long walks, decorated the kitchen with your art work, and started playing with sensory tubs.  Thanks to some play groups, we met new friends and enjoyed lots of play dates.  Then, your world was rocked when we added your baby sister to our family.  You took it like a pro!  Best brother ever, hands down.  We loved watching grow from our baby boy to our big boy and Riley's big brother.  The arrival of Miss Riley is what prompted us to add 'Daddy Time' into our nightly routine.  You really looked forward to that special time with daddy after having to share mommy's time and attention all day, and two years later, it's still something you do every night.  Preschool started and we enjoyed two fabulous years with Miss Linda, and witnessed you mature and become more outspoken and smarter every day.  I still tried to fill our days with fun; trips to the playground, spending time with friends, and visits to the library.  You're not the biggest fan of crafts, so our art time dwindled.  We had fun family weekends, spent going to the aquarium in Tulsa, visiting Eureka Springs and Fort Worth, and just spending time at the pool and around Bentonville.  Visits to Crystal Bridges, walks on the trail, and mornings at the square created lots of memories.  And, of course, we have the many visits with family and friends, here, in Ohio, and even at the beach for Aunt Meggie's wedding.  So many wonderful memories.  

Here I am talking about all these memories like we won't have time to make new ones.  I know that isn't the truth.  But it still seems so strange to me when I realize that I won't have you here with me all day long.  Your nine hours a week at preschool is now turning to thirty-five hours a week as a kindergartener.  That's a long time to be away from my baby boy.  But, you're quickly becoming a young man, not just my baby boy (don't get me wrong,'ll ALWAYS be my baby boy, and don't you ever forget that!)  I can't help but realize that this is the start of a whole new normal to our family....packing lunches, waiting in the car line, field trips, homework, after school activities, and more. 

Many, many parents have experienced this before me.  I have even experienced this before, just on the opposite side of the table...I was the teacher, welcoming little ones into my class on the first day of school, as they nervously left their mom, who had tears in her eyes.  Now I get it.  I can empathize with those parents so much more now that I ever did back then.  I thought I knew what they were feeling.  Boy, was I wrong! 

You're going to have a blast in kindergarten.  Mommy and Daddy are so excited to watch you learn to be an independent reader and see how your brain absorbs all the knowledge that awaits you in elementary school.  We're eager for your to create new friendships and listen to your stories around the dinner table about what you learned and who you played with on the playground.  I'm so lucky that I get to be here to take you to school and be the one to pick you up every day.  Years ago, I always thought that when the time came for you to enter school, you'd be riding with me to work and waiting around in my classroom with me after school until it was time for me to leave.  I never thought I'd be here with you as your stay-at-home-mommy, and boy am I forever grateful for your Daddy for taking the job in NY and letting this become our reality.  I am so so so thankful for these past four years I've been able to spend every single day with you.  

Enough eyes are tearing up again!  I just want you to know how difficult this milestone is on your mama, but I am so proud of the boy you're growing up to be and can't wait to watch you on this new adventure called kindergarten.  Mommy and Daddy love you to the moon and back, Boo.