Dear Noah on your first decade,

May 21st, 2016

TEN! Ten is huge! You’re double digits now and you’ve plowed right through every day thus far.

You’re still so strong headed (that’s nice for ‘stubborn’), determined, feisty, sensitive, and full of mischief. You’ve made torturing your sister your full time job. You’ll never admit to it, but you love her like crazy. You always want to know where she is and what she’s doing if you’re apart and you’re finding a way to get her attention anytime she’s near (I feel like I write this every year but I don’t go back to look because these letters are for you, not me). I really hope that someday you’ll stop playing so hard to love with her and just fess up. You two have the best time together when you’re behaving!

You love to read, you’re obsessed with a computer game called Roblox and countless apps, you enjoy riding your bike and rollerblading. You would much prefer to be an indoor kid but since you’re no longer doing gymnastics, it’s important to get you moving. You’re interested in tennis, which I promise to pursue when it cools down. You were such a sport to try soccer, even if you only did it so you could stay with Kate. You were pretty good at it, too, but decided not to continue. You’ve also tried swimming, again pretty good, but it’s hard work (which isn’t your style just yet).

You still love Monkey and sleep with him around your neck every single night. That poor guy is threadbare and tattered but it seems that just means he needs to be loved more. In some ways you’re still a little boy but in others you’re becoming more mature and confident. I hope you leave him behind for me to sleep with every night when you go to college (or move out, or whatever you decide to do which is perfectly fine with me – just promise to aim high).

We’re helping you out of your shell when we’re able, but still trying hard not to push you. You’re starting to open up to your friends’ parents, you’re finally ordering your own meals at restaurants, and you’ve stopped being so guarded in front of family friends. I’m excited about this for you but I also love it because it makes situations where people try to engage you a little less awkward for those of us who have to watch you stare at your shoes in lieu of conversing with them.

You LOVE music. You can name any top 20 pop song within 2 seconds and you know all the words to every song on the radio. You love to sing and watch music videos. You get this from me. Your father can throw off the rhythm of an entire crowd at a concert, but you and I, though tone deaf, have a thing for lyrics. You took a year of piano lessons, which you were proficient in, but you clearly prefer lyrics over notes.

Baby boy, you are my wild. You are constantly growing, surprising me, and making me so proud. I love you more than you’ll ever know. I hope the next ten years are filled with adventure and discovery. I love watching you grow into your own in every way. In the meantime though, I love how you cuddle with me when you’re sleepy and come to me for comfort when you’re sad or hurt – those are moments I will hold onto forever.

All my love, forever and ever,

Happy 7th Birthday, Kate!

September 22nd, 2015

Dear Kate,
This has been your biggest year yet and I am so amazed and smitten by the little girl you’ve become. You truly are the coolest person I know with the best attitude, and I hope you never lose that.

Lately you’ve had a lot of questions about where babies come from. Thankfully you came via c-section and I can show you the exact spot where you came from because I’m just not ready for THAT conversation (I don’t think you are either, I don’t want to scare or confuse you about your body), but it makes me think of the day you arrived. I was nervous, my belly was gigantic, and I had guilt over how you would affect your brother. If I had any idea how amazing you would be or how lucky Noah would be to have you, I would have loved every minute of the ups and downs from that day and not even noticed the dramatic fashion in which you entered. I write all this down because I fear someday I will forget even the smallest detail. I’m sure I’ve written your birth story somewhere but it’s a good one that includes all the people who love you, the licking of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, you being stuck, and you flipping us the bird in your very first photo.

In the last seven years you’ve blossomed into a confident, curious, artistic, and selfless little girl. No one gets you down, nothing can stop you, you have compassion and empathy in spades, and you’re giving and nurturing to a fault. If I listed all the ways you are this amazing little person I would have carpal tunnel and you would have gray hair. You’ll have to trust that you’ve never been bullied because you befriend even those who are unkind, you give your last of everything to the first person who asks, you’re so charming that everyone adores you (you have your teachers wrapped around your finger almost instantly), you sneak around and clean the house when you know I’m stressed, you ask to feed the homeless and always wonder how they got in that position, you let your brother win (always), and you will do absolutely anything to make your daddy’s day better. There isn’t anyone who doesn’t adore you.

Your artistic abilities are way beyond your years. You spend hours crafting, creating, coloring, and drawing (usually gifts for other people). Right now you’re really into drawing hearts and writing love letters and affirmations on your pictures. If you see something you like, you instantly create your own version and add it to your collection. You recently saw an entrance that required a palm scan. You now have a construction paper version on your bedroom door, it’s right next to the pin pad you made a few months ago.

You can be sassy. You’ve come out with “Noah is going to pay for this” when he talked you into the splash zone at the Shamu show, “that’s really inappropriate” for something that totally wasn’t, you’ve learned how to roll your eyes, and you sometimes try to mother us all. You’re so giving and so funny. I know these little glimpses of spunk and drama are just a taste of what’s to come. Try not to lose your self confidence and I’ll try to remember the days when we chuckled at your assertions.

Not much has changed medically. We’re still dealing with the precocious puberty and you’re still taking it like a champ. You get those horrible injections and you don’t even flinch. You wear deodorant now and you’re growing like a weed. At your last visit, your endocrinologist told you that things are probably really confusing right now and a little hard because you’re on medicines that make you wonder why you feel so different but someday, hopefully in the not too distant future, you will even out and you can begin to trust your body and the things it is telling you. I hope things aren’t too weird for you but I’ll never know, as you shrugged it off and flashed her a smile that said, “it’s cool!”

You take time to warm up to strangers. This hasn’t always been the case and it can often times be uncomfortable to watch. I don’t want to push you into being the social butterfly you once were but I suspect you adopted this behavior from your brother after it became clear how much attention he gets for it. Being mute and standoffish is so not who you are but maybe you have to decide if you want to let everyone in before you do. Time will tell but I’m guessing this too will even out and you’ll stop staring at your shoes when new people greet you.

You’re a thrill seeker! You love adventure, travel, and roller coasters more than any of us. You are first in line for anything that gets your adrenaline going or scares the pants off the rest of us! Luckily, we friends who volunteer to ride the scariest of rides with you and we’re doing our best to foster your curiosity for new places and experiences. At the fair this year a good friend, Jessica Quevedo, accompanied you on the crazy attractions, she’s as much of a thrill seeker as you are. You had absolutely no mercy and you ran into every line to wait your turn. There was an upside down ride that had your name written all over it and you were so excited until you came up short on the height requirement. You made us promise we’d let you try again next year. Jessica has moved to Texas, I will get on there myself if I have to – a promise is a promise (I really hope we can talk another friend into doing the fair with us)! You rode your first upside down ride a few months later with daddy at Wonder Works in Orlando.

You want to try everything and belong to it all. You’re doing Zumba, taking guitar lessons, you want to sign up for every after school club, and you’re weighing your options between swim, tennis, soccer, and martial arts. You’d do it all if we’d let you! Don’t ever stop learning or being curious!

Today I will bring doughnuts to your class and I will probably get choked up like I do every year. It’s been so incredible to watch you blossom and I can’t believe we’re already to lucky number 7!

I love you so much!

Happy Number Nine, Noah!

May 21st, 2015

I know every year I tell you how fast the past year flew by – but seriously? Nine is huge! You are so much more than a “kid” now. You’re a boy, a young man. You are less snips and snails, and puppy dog tails and more wild, strong willed, and mischievous. This is your last year in the single digits (10 will certainly be a tear jerker) but with monkey wrapped tight around your neck at night (yes, still) this will be a crazy, fun time and I will love watching you blossom.


You are, and have always been, a rule follower. You ask for permission and even when you don’t like the answer, you respect our decisions. You’re still very introverted with people outside of your circle. I’ve worked on not forcing you into being social this year because it’s just not you. Sometimes I get embarrassed because you can pick the most inopportune time to clam up but you’re getting old enough to navigate that on your own so I’m working on letting you do just that.



You love your family. You are happiest when we are all together. That doesn’t mean you don’t torture your sister and push my buttons every chance you get, but it gives me huge warm fuzzies that you want us all and that most of the time, that is enough. You still have all of your grandparents but they are getting older and some of them aren’t in the best of health. I feel so fortunate that you are at an age where you will always remember them. I treasure the memories of my grandparents and hope you will as well. They love you so much and they are such a part of who you have become.

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We finally got the dog you’ve asked for since you were old enough to speak! We surprised you with a whoodle (soft coated wheaton terrier mixed with a miniature poodle) named Maggie. You are her world and you are as amazing to her as I always imagined. I hope having her will teach you about love, compassion, and responsibility. Sometimes the responsibility part gets a little exhausting but everything that’s fun has your name written all over it!



You continue to be amazing at gymnastics. We’re on our second year at TAG and these kids and coaches have definitely become your people. You are still best at the vault and stumped by the mushroom/pommel but this was a good competition year for you. We traveled as far as Knoxville, TN for competitions this year. You had several more all over FL but TN was huge for you and a great excuse for a family trip (we all loved snow tubing and the scar under your left eye is courtesy of Gaitlinburg’s ice skating rink). One struggle we’ve faced this year is passion. I’m not 100% sure you understand what that is, or that you’re even mature enough to feel it, but your commitment to gymnastics was a little bumpy for a bit. We want you to LOVE your sport, to FIGHT to improve, and show us how determined you are. Instead you’re very nonchalant about the whole thing and you are comfortable just doing what they ask, not pushing. You are very unimpressed with Olympians which is partially because you think they are “nice people who are just really good at gymnastics” and partially because you think they are your peers. I just signed you up for a swim team. I’m hoping it will be easier for you to tell me which one you like better than if you want to continue the 200 miles each week to Weston to do something you happen to be naturally good at. Only time will tell. Giving up on gymnastics might be harder for me than you. We’ve been at it since you were three and we’ve all done a lot to get you this far.

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You are great at school! Your teachers are Ms. Finger and Ms. Carter. You have grown so much and done so well. You love to read now and you are so dedicated to getting your school work done, it’s fantastic! This was the first year you did your own science project – and what an experience that was! I let you pick your project and promised to help the best I could. When I made that promise I didn’t realize we would be determining what effect freezing has on rocks (it makes them bounce but absolutely nothing else) and I’ll admit, I giggled a little when your first hypothesis was you thought it would make them softer, but we got through it. Your father shook his head at us the entire time so next year he’s in charge.

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You and I have become very close. Because we spend so much time together (mostly because of gymnastics), you and I have learned a lot about each other. We laugh a lot and we have so much fun but we also butt heads because we are so much alike – stubborn and always right. I love this bond we’ve formed!

So hey, I love you. I love you forever and for always. I wouldn’t change a thing or trade you for the world! I wouldn’t mind if you talked a little more or used your manners more often but I love the person you are and the young man you are becoming. You make me so proud and I am so crazy about you!!

Happy birthday, bud.



Kate is SIX!

September 22nd, 2014

Dear Kate,

I know I say this every year but I can’t believe you’re not a baby anymore! Today is your sixth birthday. Sixth! I can still recount every detail of your birth, down to what everyone who came to visit was wearing. You completed our family and made me a mother for the last time. You really are my sunshine!

You started kindergarten last month. It was a very hard transition for you. You’ve been teacher’s pet at the YMCA ever since you first toddled in at 13 months so public school was quite a shock. There are days you’re still apprehensive but you’re getting there. This is the first time in your life you’ve ever been hesitant. In general you meet life and all of its ups and downs head on!

You are a lover. You love your family and friends with all your might. You’ve recently discovered empathy, sincerity, and appreciation. You’ve also learned that practicing all of these things gets you further (and more spoiled) than those who don’t (ahem, Noah). It’s no surprise that your aunts, uncles, and grandparents are wrapped around your little fingers and will do anything for you. PS It may be confusing but you have a lot of “aunts” and “uncles” who are friends-turned-family because you’re just that cool.

Your fifth year brought another health struggle. This seems to be a recurring theme, please stop. Your old wounds and ailments are perfectly healed (though you say your knee is still bad because of the scars) and now we have something new to worry about. It’s called general precocious puberty. Basically your body thinks you’re nearly eight and you’re maturing way too fast. It turns out your growth spurts (which made so many people confuse you and Noah for twins) were more than we realized. You’ve been so brave through all the testing, poking and prodding. It’s easily treated with hormone therapy which will start any day now. We’re hoping it will help your emotions as well as your growth. You and I have been on the same cycle and daddy may offer to move out if you and I continue to be unbearable.

You are standing up for yourself more and more, especially when it comes to Noah. Though I’m still convinced you would share your last breath with him he’s winning fewer wars. You used to always give in and do whatever it was he argued for because it was easier and kept the peace. Now you’re not afraid to stand your ground on the things that are important to you. This makes me very proud! It also makes me a little worried that one of these days when Noah is really pestering you, you may punch him in the face. I may or may not be willing to turn my head just once because honestly, he may deserve it.

You’ve finally declared your hatred for photo taking. You’ve been so patient and such a trooper all these years but I think you’re done. Whenever we mention pictures you start to whine and fuss. It’s not fair, I know, you and Noah get tortured. We really appreciate you being the guinea pigs though and your grandparents love the results!

Your artistic abilities grow daily! Just like your father, you are a master of pen (crayon) and paper! You have a very unique style and an amazing imagination. I’m still keeping all of your favorites but I’m running out of places to put them!!

Soccer is still your favorite sport. You start again in a few weeks but at a new place with new people. I know you’d give anything to have your old YMCA buds with you on the field again but six brings big changes and you’re going to do great. We may also try tennis or sign up for a swim team this year. You have my coordination, I apologize, but I’m trying to help!

There are a million things you’ve done this year! We’ve all laughed and cried together, we have grown together and we are learning more about what makes you tick. Please continue surprising us (but not our health insurance)! I can’t wait to see how this next year treats you, I have a feeling it will be one of your most formative years. Let’s get those training wheels off and do this!

I love you my fearless one!


Welcome Home Maggie!

September 9th, 2014

We finally did it! We got a dog! Noah has been begging and wishing since he learned to speak. Every wishbone, coin in a fountain, and eyelash was another hope and dream for a four legged friend. I grew up with a ton of pets but Walter had a much different experience so it took him longer to come around.

We decided on a Whoodle (soft coated wheaton terrier mixed with a miniature poodle). She came from a breeder near Titusville who was amazing to work with and provided the most loving experience for the pups and the families who received them. The plan to surprise the kids didn’t yield the reaction we were hoping for. We had six months to plan the perfect ambush and when it happened they were so stunned they weren’t sure what to say. Now that she’s been here a few days they have completely fallen in love and all is well. Now to train her!!


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Our 10 Year Wedding Anniversary!

September 8th, 2014

It’s been 10 years since we said “I do”! I can’t believe it! Some days it feels like a lifetime and some years it seems like we met yesterday. It’s been a wild ride that we are very proud of. We are so blessed and so grateful, I can’t wait to see what the next 10 years bring!




Happy 8th Birthday, Noah!!

May 21st, 2014

The years keep speeding by. Almost like a snowball rolling faster and faster, gaining momentum, and growing so quickly! You are full speed ahead out of boy-dom. You would like nothing more than for us to let you be independent and make your own decisions. Unfortunately, you would be a very messy tv and Super Mario addict with a diet consisting of sugar (which turns you into the Hulk), popcorn chicken, and croquettes.

You have done great in school this year! You still excel at math and have no trouble picking up on new concepts. Reading and writing remain your least favorites. Yesterday your reading teacher, Mrs Devino, asked the class to write about how they were feeling. You raised your hand because you weren’t sure what to write. She told me that when she gave you a few examples and ideas that you looked at her as if to say – you’ve got to be kidding me! I can’t wait to get that assignment home and see what you came up with!

Gymnastics has turned into “your thing”. You competed all last year and did a great job! You have so many medals and tshirts (which you love!) from the different competitions. Your best skill is the vault, you always finish in the top 5! You also do a floor routine, the rings, high bar, parallel bars, and pommel horse (which is your least favorite). The highlight of this season was your competition at ESPN in Orlando where you medaled in vault against some really tough competition, it was also a very special venue. In March we decided to change gyms. By “we”, I mean me and daddy since you weren’t on board right away. The new gym is a lot further and the work outs are much harder but you’ve already shown a lot of improvement. I’m a little nervous for August. You’ll be in third grade with big kid homework and we’ll still be driving to Weston 3 days every week after school. I know we’ll figure it out because as long as you love gymnastics, I will do whatever I can to help you excel, but it might not be easy.

You have really started to like music. You tried a guitar class but refused to practice. You seem to pick up lyrics from listening to the radio so easily these days. You can sing along to most everything on the channel I listen to. You’re favorite song right now is “Let It Go” from the movie Frozen. Your favorite from the Top 10 is “All Of Me” by John Legend. Unfortunately you’re not the most in tune and rhythm is hard for you but you make up for it with passion. Daddy hopes no one ever tells you that you’re a bad singer. I hope you don’t read this until you’re much older!

Ayla and Charlie are still your closest friends. We usually see Ayla every week and I know you love her but you still won’t hug her and that has become one of your favorite games – torturing her by running from her love. I hope someday you’ll let her catch you every once in awhile. Charlie now has a dog, Harry, who you are in love with! You always want to know when you will see him and we always remind you that it’s Charlie you should be asking about. We don’t get together with him very often anymore but he’s still one of your favorites. You have also befriended a boy named Michael in your class. He’s a great kid and you have a ton in common! I’m hoping some of his great manners and behavior might rub off on you! Why am I still reminding you to say please and thank you!?

This year you sprouted! You are the slightest bit more confident on your own, though you’ll try anything with Kate by your side. You have finally outgrown all your little kid clothes. You are now in age appropriate clothes and they FIT! I never thought we’d get here! You have big feet, but you come by that naturally. You are finally tall enough to ride most theme park attractions. This year when we went to Aquatica for your birthday you rode everything – and loved it!

You still love Monkey to pieces, though he doesn’t have much time before he is IN pieces! All of his stuffing has gone to his feet and he looks really worn. To you, though, he will always be perfect! You believe in all the magical people in childhood – Santa, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, etc. I have a feeling you’ll figure them out soon, please don’t spoil it for your sister. Last Christmas we had a special photo session with Santa since I was afraid it would be the last where you believed. The Santa was so old and half deaf, he was more of a prop than a jolly old guy but you didn’t care. You made everything about him that didn’t make sense seem totally legit. I know how much you want to believe and I hope when you do find out you aren’t heart broken. You still want a dog. You’ve been asking for one since you were old enough to talk. We have gotten into teary arguments about when, why not, and how come. You ask constantly and not so subtly. We know how badly you want one, and I think it would be a great addition, but your dad isn’t a huge fan of having one more thing to worry about, so for now we wait. We’re breaking him down slowly. I did a ton of research and think a whoodle (soft coated Wheaton terrier bred with a poodle) would be perfect. I even found a breeder. Keep crossing your fingers and I will too!

Age 8 is a big one and I have no doubt it will be filled with lots of hurdles and learning curves, but I’m also sure it will bring lots of great firsts and new friendships. I have no doubt you will face the challenges head on with the flair of a (former) red head and the stubbornness of someone who has half my genetic makeup. I love you so much and even though we argue as strongly as we love, you will always be my favorite little boy. You can stop growing now!!

xoxo Mom

Happy Easter!

April 20th, 2014



This morning started with an Easter egg hunt around the house, ripping apart of baskets, and Noah losing a tooth. That was the first two hours! After the morning madness we went to church for another egg hunt, service, and a butterfly release and then to Grammy and Papa’s for lunch and a swim. It was a great day and though the sugar gave us some bumpy fits along the way, we had a very happy Easter!

Here are the kids at church before the festivities!

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Hugs from Kate

January 26th, 2014

Kate is one of the most affectionate people I know! She’s always cuddling up to anyone she can get her hands on but she has to run Noah down to show him some love. Today he met his match and couldn’t run away any longer! We were at a park with an egg shaped cage that spun. They both got in and begged me to spin them – again and again and again. They were having so much fun, and I have plenty of photos of that, but then THIS happened. The spin spun them out of control and they fell on top of each other – leave it to Kate to soak it in! She’s pretty awesome and some day her brother may just let her hug him!!



Happy 5th Birthday, Kate!!

September 22nd, 2013


My dearest Kate,


You have made some pretty big waves in your short 5 years! You are the most generous, strong, and selfless person I have ever known. Your love is fierce and unconditional and you never leave a group of strangers without a handful of new best friends.

This year you’ve had some ups and downs medically. Your ear tubes wriggled their way out in perfect timing, you’ve finally stopped catching every germ available but you somehow ended up with lice (please don’t ever put me through that again), and last but certainly not least, you had two knee surgeries. We learned to trust you. You can be a little dramatic and you exaggerate sometimes but you knew there was something wrong with your knee even when doctors couldn’t find anything. You kept telling us your knee *sparkled* (cutest description ever) which was likely numbness or tingling. You were brave through countless doctor appointments, ultrasounds, X-rays, and an MRI that most kids need to be sedated for – but not you! You are a champ and excelled through both procedures without the need for a walker, crutches, or rehab. You stunned us all, even your doctor. Thankfully your knee is now just as perfect as the rest of you. Here’s to hoping we never have to worry about that again!

You have finally found your backbone and you stand up for yourself, sometimes too much. You and Noah still love to play and make believe but you’ve also developed a love and art for confrontation (please stop, he’s the only sibling you have and you’ll eventually see that you need each other). 

You’re pretty darn cute, you’re growing like a weed, and you’re a total tomboy. You’ve made it clear that gymnastics and dance are not your thing. You absolutely love soccer though and what you lack in skill you make up for in pure passion. You work hard and you’re so excited to kick the ball, no matter which direction or for which team (yours or theirs). You ask every morning if it’s “soccer day”. Maybe when you’re older you can go more than once a week, even if it’s just so I don’t always have to disappoint you by saying no. 

Your babyisms are fleeting. You still have a few sayings that we won’t ever correct, I know you’ll figure it out in time and I can’t bare you growing up! Opposed – used as “you’re not opposed to do that” is the one we hear most often, but you also use “crunches” instead of crutches, and chick munks instead of chipmunks. Sometimes you break out the baby talk – huggie, drinkie, etc – these get under my skin but I know they’ll be out of your vocabulary soon enough. You tell stories like a Valley Girl. We aren’t sure where that came from but you are forever telling us tales with the perfect pitch and inflection to make people wonder when you moved here from CA!

You answers to Kate, Katers, Kay-Kate, and Pumpkin Wompkin. You don’t like it when I call you Baby but you put up with it, and for that I thank you. 

You are our artist. You love to color and you have your own style. The lines mean nothing to you and you color block every drawing. May you always march to the beat of your own drum! I’ve tried hard to keep a lot of your artwork because I really think you have a unique style but you draw and color 5-50 pages each day. Forgive me for being selective, I’m running out of room!

I could go on and on about how wonderful you are, how crazy you make me, and how much everyone loves you. I can’t wait to see what this next year brings you. At the moment you have big plans for soccer and play dates and you’re quite nervous about kindergarten. We all know you’ll be just fine though. You’ll have the whole school wrapped around your finger in no time! I love you to the moon and back, my sweet baby girl!!