Thursday, June 27, 2024

To My Oldest On Your Sixteenth Birthday



And the award for most changed in a year goes to....YOU! What a year of accomplishments you had. You made a point of going outside of your comfort zone and tried (and did) so many new things. While you still love to draw and paint and have an interest in art in general, you had a big presence in your high school theatre department. You had a small role in The Crucible, accidentally said "carrot" instead of curtain in the stage reading of The Man Who Came To Dinner, and had the crowds cheering as your role of Jesus in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. You impressed me beyond words with your performances and dedication to rehearsals. They required many long hours and a commitment that would make a lot of people sweat. Yet, you did it with ease.

Your grades were outstanding, you took your first pSAT, and you absolutely rocked your AP course. I can say over and over again how proud we are of your school work, but it comes easily and naturally to you. I loved seeing you try new classes. 

You also branched out and made a lot of new friends, thanks to theatre, and our days of adventuring are few and far between. Instead, you've had parties, hang outs, game nights, gaming nights and days, and many new experiences (ahem, Greenwood Park night). You're very teenager-y, but I love seeing you expand your horizons and grow. You're also the reason Life 360 was invented (joking, only slightly)! 

Some of your favorite things these days: gaming with friends, musicals, movies, hanging out with friends, Door Dashing lunch to our house, working every Saturday, food and late night snacks, walking on the trails, hiking (when we get a chance), Amazon, clothes on Amazon, long shorts, and hanging out with friends (it's on there twice because that is for sure your favorite thing in life). 

Watching you come into your own through your hair and style choices, through your friendships, and through what you choose to do in your free time, has been a remarkable part of motherhood for me. You pave the way for your siblings, help me parent without even realizing it, and step up whenever you can. I can't thank you enough for being exactly you!

I hope this next trip around the sun treats you just as well as the last. With more adventures, more things to try, more plays, more friends, more laughter, more love, and more living life to the fullest. To the kid who made me a mom and makes motherhood (mostly) easy, Happy Birthday kid!

Love always and forever,


Friday, June 21, 2024

To My Middle Son On Your Fourteenth Birthday


That doesn't seem quite right to me, but I guess it must be true (I did the math and it was correct, this time). Fourteen years of laughs. A lot of laughs lately. You are my buddy, the child who is wholly inappropriate and makes me roll my eyes, laugh, and giggle like no one else. The last year was a big one for you:

  • You got back into the dance studio and hit all of your steps in the recital (and slipped away RBF during the performances-yay!)
  • You advocated for yourself a lot this year and had a stellar year in school. I am so proud of you for it!
  • You graduated eighth grade and are onto HIGH SCHOOL!
  • Daycare closed and you had A LOT of big feelings about it, but you've done an amazing job maintaining those friendships and making sure you and your friends are in constant contact.
  • Your final year of band and flute playing
  • Designing a logo and business plan for your bakery

As always, you handled whatever life threw at you like the ultimate champ. My go with the flow kid, my happy and (mostly) positive kid who never misses a beat. You are my go-to person for a good laugh. You are also the person who I shouldn't sit by when we need to be quiet because we're the most likely to chat away (and be slightly inappropriate together). I love nothing more than our late night chats, giving each other a hard time, and being buddies. I never quite understood the "my kid is my best friend" quote up until the last couple of years. My once most difficult child to parent (I love you, but gosh, those early years gave me all of my gray hairs!), you are now my easiest. Even when it's hard, I know we can have honest conversations about anything and work it out. 

Some of your favorites from the year include (in no particular order): Starbucks, Asian foods, being an adventurous eater, Mainframe Studios, cuddling your cat, going to the mall, Sephora, and Ulta, adventuring (even though those adventures are now few and far between due to everyone's varying schedules), baking, Tik Tok recipes, reels, Roblox, Grey's, and Crumbl cookies. 

You're still always ready for a good time. This once worried me, but now I'm confident you'll use this quality for good. Your life will never be dull because you're a dreamer who will try anything once. These are all of my favorite qualities about you. 

I'm pretty sure I thank you every year, but I want to be sure it's engrained in your brain. Thank you for making me the mother I am. Thank you for making me the person I am. Thank you for showing me to be brave and try anything. I did not easily possess these qualities before you came along. You quite literally changed how I dealt with life. 

I hope as you go through this next trip around the sun that you continue to be true to yourself and never lose the qualities that make you YOU! This next year will also be a big one for you: high school, more dance classes, theatre, and everything that comes along with life changes. I can't wait to see what you do with everything. I am so incredibly proud of you! I love you! Thank you for sharing your life with me.

Love always and forever,

Mom (or Mama, as you've taken to calling me lately)

My favorite oops moment of yours from this year: the night you tried "Kardashian lips" and had to go to school like this the next morning. Lol

You got to come to your first networking event with me at Paws & Pints.

Thursday, June 6, 2024

To My Daughter On Your Twelfth Birthday


What a trip around the sun this has been for you! Your whole year was filled with firsts, new beginnings, and milestones. You're almost to the teen years, riding the lines between little girl, angsty teen, and proper young women. This year held so much emotional and mental growth for you. You gracefully navigated big life changes and conquered them all. I've always been proud of you, but you absolutely left me stunned by your grace through the toughest days.

You completed your first year in middle school. It was a huge change and you did it with an ease I can only wish for. You had a great year with friends (both new and old), classes (those grades we're pretty darn great!), getting involved, trying new things even if you were scared, and staying true to your authentic self. There were dances, sleepovers, shaving your legs, learning who you wanted to be friends with and who you didn't, and everything in between. Saying goodbye to daycare was tough and left a lot of questions unanswered, but I feel like we got a pretty good deal for this summer for you to spend time with some of your best friends.

You've gotten quite the workout in of learning to stick up for yourself and how to speak up for yourself. From teachers to peers, I'm proud of how you handled any challenges that arose. You've always been one to do what you want to do and not give a damn what others around you are doing. While that has been challenging from the parenting side, it is also one of my favorite things about you. I'm thrilled to see that hasn't changed at all. 

Your resilience, fearlessly trying new things, and taking all things to heart are your best qualities. They make you caring, fun, and adds to your ability to keep us guessing (just as you have the last twelve years). Our family dynamic has changed dramatically this year, as I expected as all three of you have gotten older. School, friends, and activities are at the forefront of your priorities. Day trips and adventuring have taken a backseat, making our family fun days a rarity. We have fewer mom and minis sleepovers, but our late night chats and snuggles are still my favorite. I love connecting with you and sharing secrets, even when it's past my bedtime.

We're gearing up for your seventh recital season. You still have the same spark and love for dance as you did that very first year. If anything it has only grown. Your commitment always impresses me, especially because you never waiver in your love for your dance classes.

My sweet, sometimes volatile Elizabeth, I hope your next trip around the sun is as spectacular as this last one was. As much as I hope you continue to exude the extraordinary qualities that make you YOU, I hope you always do what makes you happy. Thank you for sharing your life and love with us! Happy Birthday to the youngest love of my life! 

Love you always and forever.


Saturday, April 13, 2024

End of Summer

Daycare ended, so then what? Then we got busy getting ready for the new school year, a new job, holding a garage sale, and clearing out the last of the daycare stuff. 

The oldest opened his first checking account and I realized how hard this sign is to peel off. It may still be stuck on there...

Nacho night always makes us happy.

One last hurrah at Big Creek the day before school started. We all took a good breather from everything that was going on in life and played.

The original picture from 2013.

6th grade.

8th grade.

10th grade.

Dropped kids off and took ourselves to breakfast.

Took the minis to Mexican after school.

Then I held a daycare closing sale on the hottest days of summer. It was brutal, but I sold nearly everything between the garage sale, Facebook Marketplace, and Craigslist.

We had lots of children's books, so we filled up 20 little libraries around the city!

A hike at Ledges and Whatcha Smokin'? car picnic before our hike.

We had the pool table from my grandparents house handed down to us. With the new couch, it has been the perfect thing to make this room feel a little bit different until we decide what to do with it. The former daycare room is now referred to as the back room and is the place to have friends over and hang out.