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Caleb – 7 Months

Dear Caleb,


They say that the last child is forgotten in photos, that their life as a child is not documented as the older children’s are. For you, this is certainly not true. Rarely does a day go by that I don’t snap a photo of you. I’m not sure whether to blame it on my increased love of photography or the fact that my iphone’s camera makes it so easy to pick up and snap those everyday moments, but I do know I treasure each and every photo.

Where I do feel I have failed you, my third (and last) child, is documenting your life in words. While I will never truly consider myself a writer, the most precious words I have ever written are those documenting the lives of my children. Sadly, I find it difficult to find the time to sit down and type the words out that I want to say so often. As you pass each new milestone, I try to reach back into my memory to compare you to when your brother and sister passed the same milestones and my memory fails me. To find my memories, I go back to the words I have written, and only then do I remember the details that are growing fuzzy. This is why I am so sad that I have not recorded the same memories for you.


You are seven months old, quickly coming up on eight, and you are the happiest baby I have ever had the opportunity to know. You flash your beautiful smile around to everyone you meet and almost always receive a smile in return. It is so rare to see you unhappy, that when you cry I know something must really be wrong. The last couple of weeks have been a little rough as you have been working on cutting some teeth, and then got a nasty cold on top of that. The last couple of days have seen great improvement though, and your joyful personality has been shining back through.

Developmentally, you are right on track. I have to watch your hands as you will grab anything within your reach. You can sit up on your own now, which makes it much easier to play with all of the toys we still have around from when Zach and Evie were babies. You have the fastest army crawl I think I’ve ever seen and are on the verge of full-on crawling (as soon as you figure out how to not tip forward). I keep thinking you are going to take off on your knees any day, but you are taking your time. That’s okay though, you move fast enough as it is. I already have to remind myself that I can’t leave you sleeping on the bed when I take my showers anymore. I may have to invest in a pack ‘n’ play for every room of the house to keep you contained.


You have started saying a few sounds that resemble words. The first clear repetitive sound was “da-da” (even though I’ll try to keep denying it). I’ve caught a “mama” a few times, and potentially an “ee-ee” here and there. Other sounds are still pretty random, but I have no doubt that you’ll be spouting off all kinds of stuff soon.

You have cut four teeth now, two on bottom and two on top. I’m glad they are coming in because you LOVE to eat. You seem to be quite bored with the mushy baby food though and would really like to eat what the rest of the family is eating most of the time. You love to feed yourself, so I’ve been trying to find soft veggies and fruits that you can pick up on your own. In the last week or so you’ve started fighting for the spoon too, but I’m not sure I’m quite ready for that mess yet!


The one thing you are doing slower than your siblings is using a sippy cup. It isn’t that you can’t or don’t want to use the cup, its that you don’t seem to keep down any liquid other than milk so I’m not sure what to put in the cup. You are still breastfeeding like a champ, but I can barely seem to pump enough milk for your bottles at day care so there isn’t any extra to try in the cup. I’m hoping this issue resolves itself as your reflux lessens, but for now, water and/or juice are not really an option.

I think your absolute favorite time of day is bath time. You seem to know what is coming when I undress you and as soon as I start walking toward the bathroom you start squealing and laughing. Your brother and sister fight nearly every night over who gets to take a bath with you. I think they secretly just enjoy getting to have you all to themselves for a few minutes. You love to splash in the water and play with the bath toys. I think you also love the slippery surface. You flip yourself back and forth from back to tummy, no matter how many times I try to keep you from doing it. You have no fear of the water and love to put your head and/or hands under the stream when the tub is filling.


As infectious as your smiles are, your laughter is even more so. You seem to have a great sense of humor already, and laugh often at the silliest things. You tease your daddy and giggle as you sit in his lap. Your brother and sister can crack you up in an instant. You absolutely love all of our animals and laugh as you put them through your very own brand of torture. (Fortunately, they don’t seem to mind losing clumps of fur too much.) My favorite though, is when I get you right on your best tickle spot – just under your neck, along the collar bone. It was a little tickle there that resulted in your first belly laugh, and I’ll never forget it.

My sweet baby, you are so surrounded by love. Your brother and sister absolutely adore you. Your cousins just cannot get enough of you. Your grandparents, aunts, and uncles love you so much. You have so many extended family members thinking of you, praying for you, and loving you from afar. As for your dad and I? Words can not possibly describe how much love we have for you. My hope is that you always feel that love as you grow and depend on it when things get hard and you need an extra little push in life.


These letters to you may be few and far between. I may not be able to keep up with every milestone or every birthday. Even if I never write another one, I wanted to at least get this down, to remember this time in our fast-paced lives. I hope that somehow, somewhere, this letter survives and that you have the chance to read it someday. When you do read it, I want you to know what an unexpected blessing you are in our lives. I can’t imagine a world without you in it.

Love always,




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Dear Body

Dear Body,

It is time for us to have a little chat.  I really thought that we were getting a little more in sync with each other, but this past month or so you’ve been letting me down.

Back in July, I was feeling good.  You were doing your part – exercising, not pushing me toward the chocolate when I wanted to feed you zucchini, and just being there for me when I needed you.  Things were going really well.

Then August came along.  You performed really well for me on race day.  I even gave you a bit of a break the week after with the intention of revving back up after a few days of rest.  The problem is, you never really revved back up.  Workouts have been sluggish and most of the time you won’t even let me wake up to do them.  I diligently set the alarm for 5:30 every day, giving you plenty of time to wake by 6:00 for our morning run but you keep hitting the snooze and letting me sleep right through.  Are you really just trying to sabotage all of my efforts?

Then there is the whole sleeping thing itself.  Why can you not just rest when it is time to rest?  I know there is the whole allergy onslaught that happens every year around this time that is making you tired.  Then, there is the stress of Zachary starting school, the new routine, the tantruming 2-year-old, and the fact that you rarely even get to sit down in the evenings until after 9:00.  All of this should make you more tired.  When you actually get to go to bed you should be ready to sleep, not toss and turn all night long so that I feel completely drained the next day like I haven’t slept at all (except for those sweet hours between 5:00-7:00 when you seem to want to sleep while I should be waking up).  I mean really, it can’t possibly be me keeping you up when all I want is eight glorious hours of sleep, right?

Oh, and about all those chocolate chip cookies you keep shoving in your mouth?  STOP IT.  I know we’re a little short on groceries right now, but I’ve been coming up with nice (fairly) healthy meals for you despite that challenge.  There’s really no reason to keep showing off and proving the point that I have no control over you.  You are not going to starve.  I know for a fact there are plenty of reserves down there in the hip region.

I really only have three requests:

  1. Give me a good solid 7-8 hours of sleep a night without tossing and turning or strange back pains.
  2. Wake up on time for a run at least 3-4 times a week.
  3. Quit shoving junk into your mouth.

I don’t think that’s too much to ask.  Can we work together on this?  I’ve given up a lot for you, including my Diet Coke (well, all but one a day anyway) which fuels me throughout the day with its wonderful caffeine flow.  I really think you should work with me here.

Oh, and there is one more thing.  If you could just dissolve that little cyst in my foot that is causing me problems, that would be great.  I might even forgive you for the cookies.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at your earliest convenience (as long as it is not in the middle of the night).


The Brain

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Five Years In The Blink of an Eye

Dear Zachary,

Five years ago today, I became a mother.  Some might argue that I became a mother upon your conception, but something inside me changed in those first few moments when I heard your (very loud) cry and got my first glimpse of your beautiful face.  That is the moment when I truly understood what it means to be a mother.  At 4:40 p.m., on June 26th, 2005, I finally knew the meaning of true, unconditional love.


We’ve been through a lot in five years.  I’ve watched you grow from a tiny (ok, maybe not so tiny) baby into a little boy who is a force to be reckoned with.  While I’ve tried to shape you the best that I can, you are very much your own person.  You are so strong-willed and yet also so sensitive at times.  You take after your daddy quite a lot in this way.


You have changed so much over the last year.  You’ve lost every bit of your baby face and now you are just all boy.  You are growing so fast I can barely keep you in clothes and shoes.  I’m just thankful that it is summer now so that you can wear shorts and I don’t have to worry about your pants being too short anymore.  I’m guessing there is another growth spurt coming soon though, because several nights recently you have eaten more at dinner than I have!


This last year you finally got to go to preschool.  You were so excited for school to start.  I think you really enjoyed it for the most part.  There were a few rough times, fights with other kids, and days when you just didn’t want to go, but overall I think it was a good experience.  We also learned that you sometimes have a hard time focusing on tasks.  I’m hoping this is something that will come with maturity and not become a life-long problem.  You do pretty well in a one-on-one environment, but are easily distracted otherwise.  You are so incredibly smart though.  There are still days when you absolutely amaze me with the conversations we have.  My favorite part of preschool was watching you on stage during your school music programs.  You are a true music lover and you practiced so hard to learn your songs.  You were so proud up there performing for your family and friends.  Don’t tell anybody, but I might have cried just a little bit watching you.


After preschool graduation we changed gears a bit.  You are spending the summer going back and forth between your cousins’ house and Miss Paula’s.    I’m glad you are getting a little time to play and relax because in August, a whole new venture begins.  You’ll be starting Kindergarten.  I have very mixed feelings about it at this point.  You seem to be very excited about going to a “big school” but I am a bundle of nerves.  I’m excited for you, but also scared to send my baby off into the unknown.  I’d feel so much better if you could go to Aunt Tanya’s school where I at least know some of the staff.  If I had my way I’d wrap you in my arms and carry you through until you were an adult.  I have this fierce need to protect you from all of this, yet I know that I have to let you go and it’s really tugging at my heart.  I just am not ready for all this growing up and I know that this will be a life-changing year for you.


Five years ago, lying on that hospital bed, I never could have imagined the incredible journey that we’ve been on.  I am so proud of you, of all of your accomplishments, of the things you’ve overcome, of the sweet little boy that you are.  My eyes seem to be watering a bit as I’m writing this because I just can’t find the words to express what I want to say.  The love I have for you is sometimes just so overwhelming.  Of all the boys I have loved and cared for in my life, you are the one who completely stole my heart.

Happy 5th Birthday, Zachary! I love you so much!

Love always,

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22 Months

Dear Evie,

Oh my little monkey, here you are at 22 months old and already I’m seeing visions of your pre-teen years.  You’ve always had a little sass to you, but recently the sassiness has escalated to levels I was not prepared for.  Rest assured, I am not the only one that has noticed this.  You suddenly seem to think that you control the world.  Though I hate to burst your bubble, I have to tell you that it just is not so.


All of this attitude came along with a huge speech explosion.  It seemed like overnight you went from saying single words to speaking in sentences and making demands.  You tell us what you want, when you want it (NOW!), and how you want it.  When we don’t comply with your wishes, you let us know just how unhappy you are by screaming like a banshee and repeating yourself over and over again.  Maybe you’re trying to make us understand your words, but yeah, WE GOT IT.

You have also discovered the fact that humans were blessed with free will and you apparently think that makes all things in life optional.  So now, when Mommy says things like, “Evie, it’s time to take a bath.” you respond with, “NO, I NOT!”  It was charming and rather funny the first few times, but it got old really fast.  Even the things you like to do (like take a bath) usually get a “NO, I NOT!” these days until you figure out that you really do want to do it.  I know you’re only trying to assert your new found independence, but I still dream of the day when “yes” becomes your favorite word.


While it may sound like I’m complaining about all the talking, I absolutely love it!  I finally get to know what’s going on in your head.  We have actual conversations now which just amazes me.  You are one smart little girl.  You have a great memory and surprise me constantly with all the words you know.  The best part though, is when I tuck you into bed at night.  Every night we say a bed time prayer and then sing a couple of songs to help you settle down.  You can almost recite the entire prayer with me now and you always request “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” and sing along with me to the words you know.  It’s a sweet way to end a busy day and I enjoy it every time.

Your brother, on the other hand, does not like you talking so much.  You see, before you started talking, he was under the impression that he controlled the world because he was the only child in the room that spoke.  He assumed that his demands were the only ones that existed, simply because we heard no others.  Now things have changed and he’s having a hard time getting used to it.  He gets really upset when we allow you to make a choice before him (even though we generally alternate) but I suppose it is just something we all have to get used to.  I remember arguing about the same things with my brother and sister.


You are becoming so much more independent all of a sudden that I have to remind myself to just let you do things yourself.  You are getting really good at using your fork and spoon and actually getting the food to your mouth.  You have also started using a regular cup when we’re at the table.  You usually still request a sippy cup full of milk when we’re finished eating, but it is nice to see that you can use a regular cup without spilling too much.

The other thing we’ve been really working on is potty training.  You know exactly what to do when we get you to the potty at the right time, but you aren’t really telling us when you need to go.  I think you’ll be there soon.  You’re brain has just been busy focusing on other things.  You definitely have the right idea.  You do love wearing your pull-ups during the day and can even pull them up and down by yourself now.


A few weeks ago, your day care provider started watching a new baby.  I was a little afraid of how you would react at first because you and your BFF had been the babies there for so long.  You seemed to adjust just fine though.  At home, you started carrying your baby dolls around with you constantly.  You tell us when they are hungry, feed them bottles, change their diapers, and tuck them into bed when they are sleepy.  I love watching you take care of them.  You’ll be a great mama some day.

Each month seems like it goes by faster and faster as I watch you growing up so fast.  Two is less than two months away now.  As you inch towards it, I feel myself relaxing in some ways.  Even though I still call you a baby, you really aren’t any more.  I see more and more glimpses of the big girl you are quickly becoming and I am so proud.

Love always,

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20ish Months


Dear Evie,

It’s been a while since I’ve written a monthly letter.  I got off when I had surgery a few months ago and I just never could find the time to get caught back up.  It’s not that I don’t have a lot to say about (or to) you, I just don’t have the time to focus because you demand that my attention be on you whenever possible, not on the computer screen.

Tonight was a night when I just really needed time to wind down.  Zach was watching a movie back in the bedroom.  You were demanding to watch princesses on the play room TV, and I was ready to go sit in my chair and relax for the evening.  You had other plans though.  As I stepped away from you, you hollered out, “Mommy, Mommy, Mommmmyyyyy!” and held your hands up in the air.  One look into your big, bright eyes and I just couldn’t walk away.  You have that power over me.

I grabbed you up into my arms and then sat on the floor hugging you for as long as you would allow.  We watched a few minutes of Beauty and the Beast before you were up searching for toys to play with.  TV never keeps your attention, even when you beg for your princesses or Elmo.  You grabbed your favorite bucket of toys – your shape sorters and stackers – and we sat in the floor playing together for over an hour.

Even though I know to expect it now, you amaze me with just how smart you are.  You pick up on things so quickly.  As we played with the shape sorter blocks, I named each shape and soon you were saying the shape names with me.  Then you started stacking the blocks to make “towers” just like your brother does.  Perhaps not an amazing feat for a kid your age, but it still impressed me.  You just seem to be doing things so much faster than your brother did, although it could just be my memory failing.

Your verbal skills are definitely good for your age.  You talk all the time.  Seriously, all the time.  It’s not often I get a chance to be alone with just you, but yesterday you weren’t feeling well and went to work with me for a while.  You sat in your stroller (incredibly well behaved) and pretty much talked non-stop the entire time.  Most of the time you were just playing and talking to yourself but it was so fun to listen to you.  Not every word is clear, but I can figure out what most of them are.

Before I had you, I would have sworn up and down to anybody that there really wasn’t much difference between boys and girls (other than body parts).  You, my darling, have proven me wrong.  You have a gentleness about you that I rarely see in your brother.  You are obsessed with princesses, dolls, ponies, and kitty cats.  You love your shoes, purses, hair bows, and pretty clothes.  Sure you like Elmo, your brother’s cars, and wrestling on the floor with the boys too, but when it comes down to it, you are one of the girliest girls I’ve ever known.  And, surprisingly, I love every single bit of it.

My heart aches when I realize just how close you are getting to your second birthday.  I’m so proud of who you are, yet I am really missing my baby.  Every now and then when you snuggle up with your head on my chest I remember those first few weeks at home with you.  Never in my dreams did I imagine that in 20 short months you would be filled with so much personality, love, and charm.

Tonight as I put you to bed, you started crying.  It wasn’t just the normal “I don’t want to go to bed” type of cry.  You were sobbing and becoming hysterical.  I never could figure out exactly what was wrong, but after holding you and singing “Rock-a-Bye Baby” (which has magical powers over you for some reason) a few times you finally settled down.  Maybe it was just a long day.  Maybe it was due to you not feeling well the last few days.  Maybe you were scared about something.  I have no idea.  Whatever it was, I was there to make it better.  I always want to be there to make it better, and take the hurt away, no matter what the cause is.  That’s the thing about Moms, we’ll do just about anything to take the hurt away.

Right now I’d give just about anything to peek in on you before I head to bed myself, but you are too much like your Mama and the slightest noise wakes you up.  Instead of checking in on you, kissing your soft cheeks, and saying good-night one more time, I’ll quietly sneak past your door to my own room.  Just know that I’m looking forward to morning, because I know the moment I crack your door open you’ll pop up out of your bed with a huge smile on your face and yell out “Morning!” as you do every day.  It is one of the highlights of my day and I hope someday you’ll understand just how much it means to me.

With all my love,

P.S. You know that big smile you get on your face with the batty eyes when you’re trying to get away with something?  Save that for Daddy.  I’m on to your tricks, little one.  After all, I’m pretty sure I used that on my Daddy a time or two. 😉

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Letters Simplified

Nearly two years ago, when my daughter was growing in my belly, I thought it would be a great idea to buy some of those pre-cut wooden letters to decorate the kids’ room with.  Since the two would be sharing a room, I was trying to come up with some fun ideas that would give them each something of their own in the room.  I think I searched all over town before I finally found all the right letters for both of their names.  Unfortunately, they ended up being slightly different sizes and styles.  The letters have been sitting on a shelf now for well over a year just waiting to be painted.

A week or so ago, I finally got them out to paint.  When Zach saw what I was doing he wanted to help too.  I let him do the first coat of paint, then I did a second coat to cover up any splotches.


I had really grand ideas of how I was going to paint these. Evie’s were supposed to have flowers and butterfly designs painted on. With Zach’s I wasn’t sure, but I figured I would come up with some kind of design to decorate them with. As you can see, I did none of that. To save time, I just went with solid colors. Since I did Evie’s all in the same color, I used a little bit of ribbon to tie some bows for decoration.

They weren’t at all what I had in mind when I started out, but they’ll still spruce up the room a little.

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