Dear Mike: Nine!

My Sweet Buggy –

Of course, this letter is a little late, but we are busy packing to move to our new house! Eight was a very exciting year for you. Daddy and I truly think you have come into your own this year. You are such a funny kid and your comedic timing is PERFECT!

{School} You are not a huge fan of school, you say your favorite class is lunch, but really it is Social Studies. You finished out 3rd grade with all As and Bs. Even more importantly was how everyone spoke of you. Your teachers, principal, and your friend’s parents all say how funny, kind, and polite you are. We value that much more than grades.

{Talents} This year you tried a few new things. You did a six-week session of archery and did REALLY well! It was really fun to watch you do a sport I know nothing about. You also have been taking piano lessons with Mr. Ari. I wouldn’t have thought to suggest the piano, but you have taken to it like a fish to water. Mr. Ari says you have a great sense of beat and a solid memory for keys.

{Adventures} We ventured out a bit more since COVID has died down. You’ve been showing an interest in World War II, specifically D-Day. So we headed to the Smithsonian to find out more. We had our annual Ocean City beach vacation which was a lot of fun. You really liked how our apartment had ‘lighthouse stairs’ (which terrified dad and me because Hannah was very interested in them as well). You played in the water, hung out, and meandered the boardwalk with us. More recently, Grandma and Grandpa rented an AirBnB for us and your cousins so we could kick off the summer at Hershey Park. We aren’t really amusement park people, but you enjoyed the kiddie wave pool with Hannah and the lazy river with Dad. You had a great long weekend running around with your cousins and watching the train out front go by.

{COVID Life} COVID is far from over, but getting much, MUCH better thanks to vaccines. You bravely got BOTH of your shots and said you barely felt it. We were so proud of you. We are still playing it safe, but you’ve taken it in stride.

{Hannah} You are still, and I am sure always will be, your sister’s BFF. She thinks you are hilarious and does everything you do and you are loving it. We can always count on you to keep a watchful eye on her and make sure she has a snack and bubba. You’re an amazing big brother.

{Growing Up} You are spending more and more time in your room, on your iPad, playing with Nerf guns, and generally hanging out. I am seeing peeks of you as a teenager. We coax you out as much as possible to watch TV and hang out with us, but we know how important your space is.

Baby Bug – it’s a big year for you. We are moving to a new house a few miles away, but you will have a new school. new routine, and new friends. Despite your anxiety, we know you will do amazing.

I love you so, so much. And I am loving the human you are becoming. Keep asking questions, keep trying new things, and keep being kind.

Love always,

Momma, xoxo

Mollie’s Nine & Feelin’ Fine

My Sweet Mollie –

I realize you have been nice for over a month and I am just now getting to your birthday letter! Perhaps you should have been born at a time when Aunt Jackie isn’t so busy. Just kidding of course. I’ve been writing this letter in my head for weeks, so that has to count for something.

As you are getting older, we are spending less time together, especially since COVID and Hannah became a ‘thing’. But that doesn’t mean I don’t see you being you. Who are you? Well, my long-legged beauty – you are wonderful.

First of all, you and Mikey are thick as thieves. Any time we get together it is the two of you scheming and you being in charge. You are a traditional older kid, like me and you OWN it. And in the world we are living in, I have high hopes for you my girl.

You are also sweet as can be to Hannah. I know she likes running with the big kids and you are more than happy to make her your living doll baby.

Mollie, you are so smart, sweet, and resilient. I love you, and welcome to the exciting age of nine!


Aunt Jackie xoxo

Marcie: One Whole Hand!

Dearest Marcie –

Girl! You are one whole hand! How did that happen? How did your parents LET that happen?

What can I say about your turning five? You are a whirling dervish of a sweet kid. I absolutely love to see you interact with your cousin Hannah and hovering over her to make sure she is safe. Uncle Sammy and I talk a lot a out how much we admire you not taking crap from anyone (a lot like your momma), but managing to do it with a smile (like your daddy).

Right before your birthday, we had a funny conversation that really sums up your personality:

Aunt Jackie: Do you want Barbies for your birthday?
Marcie: No, I have a lot of Barbies.
Aunt Jackie: What about a Ken doll?
Marcie: Who’s that?
Aunt Jackie: Um, Barbie’s boyfriend, or guy friend.
Marcie: Oh. She doesn’t need that.
Aunt Jackie: You’re right. Go play.

I was so happy that things were getting back to normal annd we could hang out more often. You are always the life of the party.

I love you kiddo. I love your wild curls, your huge smile, your generous heart, and your always thinking brain. Oh, and your hugs. I can’t forget your hugs!

Love always,

Aunt Jay Jay xoxo

Hannah is ONEderful!

My dear, sweet Hannah Beth,

Where do I even BEGIN to talk about your first year? It was like no other, I can assure you that. I’ve written this note in my head dozens of times and worried I would forget something, but here we are!

So much of your first year will be defined by the COVID19 pandemic. What does that mean? Well it means that our family of four was together. A LOT. In fact, you have yet to see a daycare or babysitter who isn’t family. You napped next to me while I worked, hung out Dad while I helped Mikey with virtual school, watched us play video games on the weekend, and got used to seeing us wearing masks.

We did venture out to a few playgrounds, the Maryland Zoo, and even Ocean City in the winter. You didn’t eat at a restaurant until you were almost a year old!

What does all this together time that mean for us? It means we were able to get to know you and see your personality grow first hand! And what a personality it is.

I can only describe you Hannah Beth, as a joy. You seldom cry out of anything buy pain or frustration and even then it is far and few between. You have the best laugh, especially when Mike is the one making it happen. You laugh with your whole face and body – eyes closed, mouth wide, and shoulders shaking. You sometimes even give yourself hiccups.

You are also very determined when you want something. You are a ‘picker’ – always with your pointer finger digging at Band-Aids, freckles, nipples, and spots on the floor… anything. We try to cover stuff up with our hands and you quickly push our hands away.

You have reached the majority of your milestones (we need to hear some words baby girl!) and are clocking in at the 99th percentile of both weight AND height. We have never had an issue getting you to eat – the only thing you’ve turned your nose up at was ground meat and avocados. Everything else is game on and you can hear the crunch of someone else’s food a mile away. You even transition from formula to milk without a curious glance.

Your list of favorite things typically starts with your guys – Daddy and Mikey. Even when you were teeny tiny, you would light up when Mike came home. Watching you interact with them is such a gift for me. You also love Bluey and Elmo. When Elmo comes on TV you stop what you are doing and are totally focused on the tv until it comes time to dance to the Letter of the Day. You love flipping through books during rest time and having a ball in each hand whenever possible. Like most babies, you desperately want all the remotes and phones. Also, when I started rocking you from day one while I listened to Taylor Swift’s albums Folklore and Evermore. Now when it stops playing during nap time you wake up.

My sweet girl, this year has been a challenge and in all honesty, you have been the light we’ve all needed.

Love always,

Momma xoxo

Dear Mike: Eight is Excellent

Dear Mikey Bug –

You are finally 8! I am not sure why, but 8 seems very … kid. Also, I am too young to have an 8-year-old, but here we are. This was a big year for you kiddo, and Daddy and I got to see you grow and change so closely because we’ve spent SO much time together! You continue to be an incredibly sweet, empathetic kid – almost to a fault. You are my cautious kiddo, always thinking 10 steps ahead. I think this year was the first time you crossed the street alone, which you thought long and hard about.

This was also a challenging year because we were (and still are) dealing with Covid19 and the restrictions that we took to keep everyone safe. Our holidays were different because we didn’t see family. We didn’t have playdates or visit many cool places or even restaurants. Despite a few tough days for you being stuck inside, you handled it SO well. Probably better than Daddy and I did. This is mostly because you wanted to keep everyone safe, which you reminded me of quite a bit. You were our ‘mask police’ and made sure we had ours on and wore it properly.

{Big Brother Status} This was the year! The year you finally became a big brother and holy smokes did you embrace that role. When people ask how you are doing with Hannah, my response is always the same – you both are obsessed with each other. You live to make her smile and sometimes love too hard.

You are so cautious all the time with her and I thought you would implode when she fell off the bed under your watchful eye. You even told me you didn’t want her to walk because it was ‘dangerous’! Any time you walk in the door she lights up. I love to watch your relationship blossom and I hope every day that you both take care of each other. You love being a big brother.

{Virtual Learning} Thanks to COVID19, your school year was different. For the first part, you were going to daycare and they were helping you through your learning online. You were doing okay there, then I started working from home and we pulled you out of daycare and man, we were over virtual learning QUICK at that point. Right now we are counting down the days – 7. We are excited to have you back in school 5 days a week in the fall, but in the meantime, you are super tech savvy, which has been fun to watch.

{Beach Trip} In January we all needed a break from being stuck inside our house, so we found an AirBnB at Ocean City, packed everyone up and decided to go look at four different walls. It was the first trip for Hannah and you made sure she had a great time. It was chilly, but we had fun sitting on the beach with Stomp Rockets, watching TV in bed, walking on the boardwalk, and playing indoor mini-golf. We liked the condo so much, we rented it then and there for our summer vacation!

{Video Games} You have turned into quite a gamer! We bought the Nintendo Switch a bit over a year ago and we have had such a great time playing video games together. You also use the iPad to play games like Roblox and Minecraft. Video games have come a long way since Daddy and I were kids. It is a lot of fun to see you create worlds and learn new skills.

My little love, it’s been a year of ups and downs but we have met the challenges head on and I hope you have grand memories of the year you were 7 and quarantined for the majority of it. I hope you remember our sleepovers in your room, playing Untitled Goose Game with Dad, chasing Monster Truck RCs and Stomp Rockets in the field, and how much time we all spent together.

I have a feeling being 8 is going to be the best age yet!


Momma xoxo

Hannah’s Schedule

I am cleaning off my computer and found this schedule I made for my mom when she babysat Hannah in March. It was too good not to share.


4:30a – Hannah awakes with a smile and a renewed sense of purpose ready to greet the day. She practices some yoga and prepares for another busy day.

5:00a – Mom collects her, changes her diaper, asks if she had a good sleep, and then goes into the living room so everyone can attempt to go back to sleep while she eats breakfast number one.

7:00a – Hannah hangs out in her office (Mom and Dad’s bed) playing while everyone else gets ready. No one gets ahead by sleeping in.

8:30a – Breakfast time! Hannah eats a pouch of food from the cabinet to the left of the sink.

9:00a – Time for Sesame Street! It’s on HBO Max. She can’t get to the corner office if she can’t count cookies. She also takes a bottle. She typically falls asleep. It could be a 10 minutes or 2 hours.

11:30a – Lunch time!

Noon – Play time! Hannah sits on the floor in her downstairs office (ball pit), thinking seat (bouncer), or on the foam mat. This is where she does her best thinking.

1:00p – A future CEO needs her beauty rest. Bottle and nap time. Again, either 10 minutes or 2 hours.

3:00p – Playtime! It’s time to watch some Bluey (on Disney +) so Hannah can learn to be a nice person while her way to greatness.

5:00p – Dinner with the fam.

6:00p – No stinky babies here! Bath time and snuggles. Then into the crib to focus on how to dominate the world tomorrow.


  • Sleepy tell – fussy, covering eyes (part of a bottle will knock her out)
  • Seat downstairs – don’t leave her alone, she rolls around in it.
  • Bottles in drying rack, 6oz of water + 3 scoops of formula
  • Extra bibs/spit rags in 3rd drawer of changing table
  • General schedule – Sleep, play 2 hours, eat … repeat

Clicing and Humming

I full admit I am not sure who I am anymore. I never thought I would be the person to buy a $15 toothbrush for myself OR my kid. I also never thought I would be writing an unpaid toothbrush review on my blog, but here we are.

I never really paid attention to which toothbrush I bought. It was usually mid-priced, on sale, or pretty. I Have no idea my brush type or unique features. But when I was in Target buying our Christmas toothbrushes (not to be confused with our Easter toothbrushes) the Oral-B Clic caught my eye – mostly because it was half off. I didn’t wait for Christmas to try it out and for the first time in my life, I was impressed with a toothbrush. The Clic has disposable brush heads making it not only eco-friendly, but the handle is really heavy duty. Also, since the handle is metal the Clic is magnetic and comes with a round magnet to mount on your wall for toothbrush storage. As for the brush head, I’m not sure what is different, but I feel like my teeth are so much cleaner after a good brushing.

So now that you have your new toothbrush, what about your kiddos? Getting Mike to brush his teeth has always been a challenge. He is really sensitive to how it feels and the taste of the toothpaste. After our amazing dentist found a cavity, we decided it was time to invest in a solid toothbrush. Back to Target, I went and discovered the Colgate Hum toothbrush, which has quickly become a game-changer in our house.

The Hum for kids is basically the gamification of brushing teeth. When it comes time to brush teeth, kids start the app and the camera picks up on the augmented reality enhanced toothbrush. The two minute timer starts and they have to brush along with the ‘teeth’ to wipeout the monster. Getting rid of the monster means (when all the teeth are considered clean) they earn diamonds, open a prize box, and use the stars to unlock worlds, new games, and in app filters. Who knew this was what would get Mike excited about brushing his teeth! We paid about $15 for this brush and it was well worth the price.

So the moral of the story is not all toothbrushes are not made equal. Especially for kids who hate brushing their teeth.

Dear Mollie: Eight!

Miss Mollie –

I truly cannot believe you are 8. Why does that seem so old? Then I listen to your stories and watch your long legs running around the backyard of the ‘compound’ and it all makes sense.

This was a really strange year, wasn’t it? We didn’t see each other as much as we normally would, but when we did, I noticed one thing – you are obsessed with your baby cousin. And in such a good way! When we would get together you would immediately go to Hannah and ask to hold her. I loved how happy you were to sit with her, talk to her, and make sure everyone knew when she needed something.

Because of this, I can totally see you working with kids when you get older. Maybe a teacher? A celebrity nanny? Whatever you decide, I know you will be good at it.

Mollie, I know this will be the best year yet because we will see each other more often! I love you my silly niece.

Love, Aunt Jackie xo

Hannah: 7 & 8 Months

Hello Hannah Bee!

My sweet girl, what a BUSY past few months you’ve had! For a pandemic baby, we have tried to give you some new experiences, but I won’t lie, it is a challenge sometimes. We’ve noticed a bit of stranger danger, which we never experienced with your brother. Despite only knowing life with masks, you definitely prefer we don’t wear one. In fact, you love pulling them down when we are out and about! Let’s look back on your 7th and 8th month.

{Beaching} Daddy was so disappointed we weren’t able to take our annual Ocean City beach trip over the summer, so when we hit a bout of ‘covid fatigue’ that is where we went! We found a cute little Air B and B, went indoor golfing, ordered in meals, walked on the boardwalk, and introduced you to the beach. We had such a nice time just looking at four different walls despite the chilly weather. You had a great time as well! You were a little confused by the sand but loved running your hands through it. We booked the same location for our summer vacation so maybe we can dip your toesies in the water.

{Snow} You experienced your first snowfall too! We did go outside for a few minutes to cheer on the boys while they shoveled snow. You were interested, but I have a feeling you will take after me and enjoy it from the window with a good book and warm blanket.

{Moving and Grooving} In the past two days you FINALLY mastered crawling after what seemed like weeks of getting the arms right and flubbing the leg movement. AND to really keep us on our toes, you are pulling up as well. We got two play pens which we are calling ‘Baby Containment Units’ and you seem to like the freedom, and since they both have a side flap, Mike can join you.

{Doggies} You continue to terrorize the dogs who seem unfazed by you. We’ve caught you more than on either trying to put their ears in your mouth or their dog tags. Either way they just patiently sit there. We are working very hard on the concept of gentle hands.

{Food} Daddy is very happy he doesn’t have to worry about your not eating enough. GIRL. I am worried you are going to start eating the furniture. You get SO excited when we bring out the yogurt drops or a bottle. You’ve taken to holding the bottle on your own so you can manage how quickly you get the goods. So far you have enjoyed all the foods you’ve tried – but peas. We will get there – maybe when you can actually pinch and eat them. We also tried a mesh feeder thing (like a pacifier) and put some frozen fruit in it and you. were. thrilled. You sucked and gnawed on that thing until all that was left were the raspberry seeds. We are still waiting for teeth though!

{Sleeping} I am still in awe of your sleeping. Your brother was never a great sleeper (we didn’t really realize it at the time), but you don’t mind it at all! So many times I put you in your crib wide awake and you just find your bubba, stroke it, and fall asleep. Even when you wake up, most of the time you entertain yourself in your crib.

{Touching} You are super tactile. You love to stroke our hands, pick at the furniture to see what it sounds like, ‘pet’ your bubbas while you sleep, and try to scratch off the freckles on my chest. It’s so cute and oddly comforting. I love that you are exploring.

{Movies} Daddy and I miss going to the movies so much, so when I found out we could rent a movie theatre for throwback movies, I knew what we would do to celebrate my 38th birthday. We invited your cousins, Aunt Rachel, Uncle Dave, Aunt Cathy, Grandma, and Grandpa to see Despicable Me – a family favorite. I am not sure I would count it as your first movie, but you were so interested in the screen and being passed around to sit with everyone. It was really a fun experience.

My sweet, sweet girl. You are a joy. We are so thankful you are here.

Love, Momma xoxo

Registry Must Haves: Version 2.0

Someone in a Facebook group asked for direction on her Amazon registry and when I searched my back blog entries, I realized my registry lists are really outdated. A lot has changed in seven years (I’m looking at you recalled Rock and Play). Here, as a second time momma, is my updated recommendations:

{Fisher-Price On-the-Go Baby Dome} We got this before we realized we were having a quarantine baby and wouldn’t be going anywhere. BUT, I love how compact this is and how we can just plop her in there and she won’t roll away. She has fallen asleep in it as well!

{Diaper Rash Cream Spray by Boogie Bottoms} I am a big fan of the Boogie brand and was skeptical of a $7 diaper rash cream. BUT, it is worth every penny if you use diaper rash cream often. While rubbing cream on tushies works just fine, I HATE how it dries my hands and makes them feel sticky. A few sprays on the tushie and she is set for hours.

{Baby Gowns} I remembered what a lifesaver these were with Mikey so I made sure to stock up. Amazon Essentials is awesome quality, but Touched by Nature gowns are super thick and even zip. No matter the brand, you will be thanking me at 2am when you are fumbling around the change a diaper.

{WubbaNub Infant Pacifier} WubbaNub should hire me as a brand ambassador for all the talking I do about them. First of all, these are adorable. But functionally they are perfect – easy to find and it gives babies something to hold on to while they are sleeping. In the early days, you can use the animal help hold the pacifier in, which is a Godsend.

{Fisher-Price Sit-Me-Up Floor Seat} When Hannah started holding her head up that is ALL she wanted to do. I’m not sure where she gets her nosiness … anyway … this seat helped her be ‘involved’ where the family was. We used it in the kitchen and she could sit up on the kitchen table in it as well as the floor. I only wish it collapsed to go on trips.

{NoseFrida the Snotsucker} Have you ever purchased a new vacuum cleaner, ran it in your house and had a full tank despite thinking you got everything with the old vacuum? Well, that’s how the Nose Frida works. I think this became popular when Mike was born and refused to use it. Somehow sucking boogs out of a baby’s nose did not appeal to me. But then Hannah got so stuffy recently I caved. I was comforted knowing that the tube was super long, so the odds of me inhaling boogs was slim. The first time I sucked so many boogs out of her nose AFTER I used the bulb aspirator it was amazing. So amazing, I bought a second knock off.

{Childlike Behavior Baby Play Mat} We love our hardwood floors, but with two a-hole beagles, we can’t put down rugs. When Hannah started sitting and rolling, we wanted to be able to put her down and thought foam squares would be the way to go – but we didn’t want our living room to look like a garage or daycare. Enter Childlike Behavior! These are great quality and really large so they cover a lot of space – we even have a few squares to spare. The print is ‘adult’ as well and it has held up again the dogs really well.

Remember, your registry doesn’t have to be things you will use right away. Pick some clothing size 6 months and up, chew toys, and a bouncer as well.