Three Years Old

21 Jul

Dear Benjamin-

Nearly every day we have the same conversation.  I’ll slip and call you “baby” in some kind of endearing fashion, and you’ll indignantly remind me that you aren’t a baby anymore.  You cast your eyes to the side and barely hold in the frustrated sigh when I respond, “yes, you are a big boy, but you’ll always be my baby.”

So today, my will-always-be-my-baby big boy is officially three, and I’m puzzled at where the past 1096 days have gone. I know I didn’t blink, and I remember it all.  I remember the first minutes, hours, days.  I can close my eyes and remember the weight of you as a newborn, a feather in my arms with sweet and silky hair.  I skip the tape forward a few steps and see you smiling and laughing for the first time.  I know where I was sitting the first time you pulled yourself up, and can hear the sounds of your first steps echoing in the hallway.  Even with all these crystal clear memories, it’s a mystery to me how time has flown by and tonight we officially rang in your third birthday with one cupcake, three candles and a juice box.


At three, you aren’t short on personality… or opinions.  I can’t imagine where you get that from (note: by the time you can read this, there will likely be a sarcasm font, there isn’t today so be sure to read that with the solid dose of sarcasm I intend).  I think of you as my sweet and salty toddler. “You need snuggles, mommy,” you ask as you climb out of the car this afternoon.  It’s a common refrain from you, and usually followed by “you like my snuggles, mom, they make you happy?” You worry about if we are happy – Daddy, Lucas and I.  You want us to be happy, to be laughing.  If we aren’t, you are quick to try and cheer us up. If you aren’t happy though… we will never need to wonder.  It’s very, very clear, and not a bit quiet.

In fact, the emotions between elated and devastated don’t seem to exist for you.  You are so, so happy, and so, so sweet, or so incredibly whiny and brimming with tears.  The highs are high and the lows are rock bottom.  We are working on that middle ground and constantly reminding you that there is a tone of voice other than yelling or whining.

You are our fruit and vegetable monster — preferring to order salad at restaurants over chicken nuggets or macaroni and cheese. Most evenings, you wipe your plate clean of strawberries, watermelon, carrots and other healthy stuff only to push the rest aside with a declaration of “I don’t like this.”

You haven’t lost your love of being outside or your adoration for playing in the water. You are still Elsa’s biggest fan, and have made many strangers smile when they walk past you shrieking with joy upon seeing a Frozen toy or Elsa doll at the store.  This year, you discovered Daniel Tiger on PBS and a new best friendship was born. You can be swayed into new behaviors with Daniel’s little ditties and are always delighted to watch a new episode.

You went to Disney twice while you were two years old, rode your first rollercoaster and hugged many a character. You spent a week at the beach with family, and loved swimming in the pool.  You went to fairs and carnivals, museums and theme parks, hunted Easter eggs and trick or treated.  It was a good, good year, full of adventures and rich with memories.

There are so many more adventures ahead.  Life with you, our newly crowned three year old, sparkles with fun and family time.  Lucas, Daddy and I are so lucky to be yours, and we are so lucky you are ours.

I love you every day, Benny.
Your Mama


Five Years Old

15 Dec

Dear Lucas-

I’m nearly a week late in writing you this letter, but I figure that you can wait a week, since I waited 29 years to meet you. Granted, for most of those 29 I wasn’t eagerly awaiting you, but those last few before your arrival, they were pretty painful. They say every baby is a blessing, and you were certainly one for us.  Amazing how the nine months I was pregnant with you seemed to happen in slow motion, and the five years you’ve been here have been more like fast forward.FiveYearsOld

You are so excited to be five.  Almost from the moment you turned four, you were asking when your next birthday would be, when would you be five.  You may have wished away this past year, but I certainly didn’t. It was such a special one for us.

There’s magic in this age.  Amazing magic that I thought we had when you were younger, but really didn’t understand until this year. You truly believe. You take that leap of faith that us jaded adults just can’t take.  For you, every character at Disney was real.  You don’t merely accept this, you theorize around it.  They live there, interacting with each other, waiting for us to arrive and see them.  You aren’t bothered that they don’t talk when we see them, in fact, you are happy to act out elaborate charades with the characters because you believe.   The same applies to Santa… he’s not just the bringer of presents.  He’s the purveyor of magic who flies around the world in a single night, fitting all the children’s presents on his one magical sleigh pulled by a reindeer with a glowing nose.  You don’t even question how this could be possible because you believe so big and so strong. The magic is real.  It’s inside you, and I’m so thrilled to be along for the ride.

And while there is so much magic and belief, there is also so much learning and awareness.  You come home full of knowledge that you didn’t have when you left for school.  Letters, numbers, rhyming, sounding out words, it’s all part of our day-to-day dialogue.  I never know if we will spend dinner talking about the differences between the Arctic and the Indian Oceans, and which one you want to visit first, or perhaps the giant meteor that crashed into Earth and killed all the dinosaurs.  Many times these days, I’m answering your never-ending stream of questions with a very unsatisfying “I don’t know but we can look it up.”


It’s not just the constant learning and yearning for knowledge that’s new this year, it’s also the heightened sense of awareness.  You notice everything, and hear even the quietest whisper.  You embarrass easily, and are quick to scream and cry if we laugh at you. You are the first to tell Daddy and I to “stop fighting” or to take up the cause of the wronged parent with a sharp declaration of “that’s quite rude, Mommy. Say you’re sorry.”  Rude is the word du jour, in fact.  I’m rude, Daddy’s rude, you are never being rude… according to you.

But with this self awareness also comes this amazing glimpse into the boy you are becoming — fighter for the wronged, competitive to a fault, quickest volunteer to help that anyone’s ever seen. You quickly pushed your birthday presents over to your brother so he could help open them when he was sad that he didn’t have any.  When writing thank you notes for birthday money, you wanted everyone to know that you’d be spending your birthday checks on Christmas presents for Ben.  When we pass a police car speeding away, you always say, “Look Mommy, that police car has it’s lights on. I sure hope everyone is okay.”

You love to be busy, and are always sad when plans come to an end. In fact, you aren’t great with any kind of change – the end of soccer lessons, when your socks get holes in them and we have to throw them away (cue: epic tantrum), etc… You’d be happiest if we had lessons, play dates or adventures every day.  This year, you did soccer lessons and swimming lessons – and are great at both!  You can swim across the pool with no float, and your teachers always pull me aside to comment on your soccer skills.  Your friends would probably comment on them too, but they are usually left crying on the field where you edged them out and nabbed the ball FiveYearsOld1away.

You are still our awesome imaginative player.  If we took away all your toys, you’d transform your fingers and toes into ‘guys’ and play for hours.  You would say that you don’t get to watch much TV… which is true … but you love the things you do watch – Paw Patrol still remains a regular choice with several other shows sprinkled in.  You saw your first movie in the theater this year, and thought that was fantastic.

You’d happily eat peanut butter and jelly, dinosaur chicken nuggets, and fruit every day for the next year without complaining.  But, we do force you to eat other things regularly…. although most don’t get swallowed without a fight.  Most nights I need to tell you that I added some kind of “boosters” to your meal to get you to eat it — you are always looking for that extra bump in muscle or speed.  I did mention that competitive streak, right?

Lucas, I’m so grateful for these five years. We are tremendously lucky to be your parents, and so thankful you are ours.

I love you to the moon and back.
Your Mama

4 Years Old

8 Dec

The very last picture of this boy at 4 years old.


A Party to Remember

7 Dec

Our sweet boy is (almost) five, and we celebrated him in a big way this weekend.  Nearly thirty of his closest friends joined us for the big bash.  It was very special to watch him play with people from every corner of his life — and do so in a kind and not (overly) rough way.  I’m just so proud of the person he’s becoming, and it was a joy to spend the morning with so many of the people who are helping to shape him into his future self.

It’s hard to be anything but a ball of sap this week, as December 9th approaches.  He’s been asking lots of questions about what we were doing five years ago.  And I can barely choke back the tears as I tell him how eagerly we were awaiting him… how desperately we had been wishing for him… how he made our whole lives so much richer and happier.  He’s the boy who made me a mom, and although we will celebrate him extra loudly this week, I’m grateful for him every minute.


2 Dec

Some new favorite pictures!





Disney: Days Four and Five

27 Nov

This was, unintentionally, our longest day.  We had planned to go to EPCOT for the morning, come back and nap/swim as we had all other days, and then head over to Hollywood Studios for dinner.  Although, Ben fell asleep just as we were walking out of EPCOT and we knew pulling him out of the stroller would be a guaranteed end to his nap, so we stayed.  It was a thirteen hour park day, and it ended up being a lot of fun (and exhausting).

We haven’t typically gone to the parks on our last day in Disney, but with such a short trip, I couldn’t resist.  We headed over for two hours in the Magic Kingdom the day we left, and made it in time for the Welcome Show and “rope drop” crowd rush.

Disney: Day Three

26 Nov

Day three of this trip brought us to Animal Kingdom in the morning, and Magic Kingdom in the afternoon.  It was busy, very hot, and a lot of fun.

Disney: Day Two

25 Nov

Click to view the photos larger!  Day two spent in the Magic Kingdom!

Disney: Day One

24 Nov

Click the pictures to see larger!  What a great trip.

Lions, and Tigers and Trolls…. oh my!

11 Nov


We headed into the woods on Saturday morning, for a lovely nature hike.  Lucas wasn’t super interested at the prospect.  He told us he’d rather stay home and play, or even better, go to a playground.  We asked if he’d like to look for trolls in the woods, as we’d heard there were quite a few bridges to cross on this hike that could be housing the tricky fellows.  He was quickly all in.


We didn’t lay eyes on any trolls, despite our best efforts.  But we did see some (rein)deer, lots of birds and several ponds (troll bathtubs).


The highlight of the entire walk was finding this structure – which we deemed an Indian house and kitchen.