Category: Being Mom

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

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

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.

Hannah: 5 & 6 Months

Dear sweet Banana,

Happy half birthday! These months have equally flown and crawled by. You are so interested in everything and generally HAPPY. I swear every morning you wake up like your brother did at your age – as if you are shocked and delighted we are still here. I have to say, we feel the same.

{Rolling Over} You’ve rolled over a few times, but nothing consistent. You are much more interested in crawling and get pretty frustrated when your attempts fall flat.

{Sitting} You are now sitting with a little bit of help and you love seeing things differently. You do get the sways when you are tired, but your balance is awesome. Now you just get mad that you can’t get from laying down to sitting – you want to do it like a crunch and I can assure you that ain’t how we do it.

{Food} The doc gave us the green light to start testing the waters with baby food. The first few times you were excited, but couldn’t get the mechanics straight. But after you figured it out you were all in. So far you love bananas and blueberries and we not so keen on green beans.

{Dogs} It’s like you suddenly realized you have doggies! They are so patient with you even though you aren’t so gentle with them. But the minute they hit your line of vision you are reaching and touching them.

{Your Boys} Speaking of loving on things – your brother and father ADORE you and the feeling is mutual. The minute one of them walks in the room you light up. With Daddy you rub his beard and with Mikey you grab his cheeks with both hands and pull him in. You are one lucky little girl.

{Bath time} I’m calling it now water baby – you are going to have us up at O’dark thirty at swim meets. You LOVE the water. Aunt Phyllis has been steadily upgrading our bath contraptions to keep you happy. It’s to the point where you smile and get excited any time we run the water. You’ve taken to getting a quick shower with us and don’t blink an eye when the water hits your face.

{Holidays} The holiday season was certainly different this year thanks to COVID, but we made the most of it. You were really taken with the lights and our plastic snow globe that blows the ‘snow’ around. You saw Santa on a Zoom call and Mikey told him you wanted bath toys. You were certainly spoiled for both Hannukah and Christmas! You’re favorite toy was a bouncing seat and a new penguin bubs.

{Taylor Swift} You are my little Swifty! Folklore and Evermore came out at the best time and is the perfect soundtrack to put on to sleep because it is all mellow music. Turns out you agree! It is the only music that will put you to sleep and that, to me, is hilarious.

My sweet 18lb chunky banana, you are truly the bright spot in this crazy world. The next six months might not be thrilling, but we can’t wait.



Dear Hannah: 2 & 3 Months

My sweet Baby Hannah –

Yes, I have already skipped writing you a monthly letter. But alas, your 2 month birthday landed on my first day back from maternity leave and your brother’s first day of school. To say I was a little busy was an understatement. I’ll try to do better.

In true baby fashion, once I feel like we’ve hit a groove, you throw a monkey wrench into the plan and we start again. You are hitting your milestones and growing (GROWING) so much every day. I like to say you have more thigh rolls than an airport Cinnabon!

You are obsessed with your boys – and they are obsessed with you. Even Daddy, who is the more serious of your two parents, puts on a silly voice just to get a smile out of you which you give willingly. Your brother always asks me to bring you with me to pick him up from daycare so he can tell people you are ‘freaking adorable’.

You are trying really hard to roll over and figure out how to put your Bubba back in your mouth. Which I would love for you to master because at night when it falls out you immediately start screaming. You are also working on sitting on your own and love sitting in your baby chair on the kitchen table while everyone is getting ready for dinner.

We laugh about your best friend Dr. Phan (our ceiling fan). You can watch him for an hour before dozing off. You still love looking at dangly things and I can see the wheels turning in your head on how to get it in your hand and then into your mouth.

You are the best coworker while Daddy and I are working from home. You pretty much hang out in bed with me while I am working and babble to me or doze off for your morning and afternoon nap. We sneak downstairs to give Daddy a kiss too!

You finally met your Great Aunt Cathy and Great Uncle Bill who were, of course, totally smitten with you. We celebrated Grandma and Daddy’s birthdays on the shore and you were the belle of the ball with your cousins. They are going to be so much fun when you are older.

Well my littlest love, happy 3 month birthday. You are a gift and a joy.


Momma xoxo

Baby Birthing Soundtrack

Guess what? Hannah Beth is here! She arrived right on time via c-section on July 8. I will write more about her birth story and how the past three weeks have been going, but first I wanted to share my ‘Baby Birthin’ Soundtrack’.

I remember with Mike asking my OB if I could request certain music be played during his c-section. She was a no-nonsense type of doc and said that it would happen too quickly to really have a playlist. They did have music playing, so our sweet Mike was born to ‘Fifty Ways to Say Goodbye’ by Train. Which was nice because S. and I love Train (and have seen them live multiple times), but it is hardly what I would pick to hear as meet our firstborn.

Fast forward seven years and we are planning a no-nonsense c-section again and two days before Hannah is born, my new OB mentions making a playlist. So I went to researching the perfect songs to listen to while having major abdominal surgery AND bringing new life into the world.

Google was worthless with the majority of ideas since we aren’t really ‘Butterfly Kisses’ type people. A Facebook friend suggested just playing my favorites playlist, but there is nothing appropriate on that list for public consumption. I am going through a bit of a 90’s rap phase right now.

Thankfully I was able to find some awesome songs from my library for my playlist. Without further ado:

Dear Theodosia (Regina Spektor): As a parent and a Hamilton fan, I couldn’t not include this one.

When you smile, you knock me out, I fall apart
And I thought I was so smart

Welcome to Wonderland (Anson Seabra): I am not sure where I first heard this song, but it has such a pretty lullaby type melody and great visualizations.

Welcome to Wonderland
I’ll be your guide
Holding your hand under sapphire skies
Let’s go exploring or we could just go for a walk

High Hopes (Panic at the Disco): Not exactly the slowest, sweetest song ever written, but I love Panic and played them a lot my last trimester. Miss Hannah always responded to them this song and you can’t NOT smile when you hear it!

Mama said
Fulfill the prophecy
Be something greater
Go make a legacy
Manifest destiny

Cecilia and The Satellite (Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness): I loved this song the minute I heard it and when I realized McMahon was the lead singer for Something Corporate, it made sense. He wrote this song for his unborn daughter and the lyrics are beautiful. This is the song that was playing when Hannah was born.

If I could fly
Then I would know
What life looks like from up above and down below
I’d keep you safe
I’d keep you dry
Don’t be afraid Cecilia
I’m the satellite
And you’re the sky

No Plans (Jason Maraz): Maraz always has great, catchy songs and this one is no different. AND it is how I feel about Hannah right now, I have no plans for us – just sitting around loving each other.

If we dream it, we can be it
I’m putting all these feelings
In giving good vibes to you
I could stay right here all evening
Just listening to you breathing
And taking in the view

Daughter (Loudon Wainwright III): My Dad and I danced to this song at my wedding and it is so sweet and has such great memories for me. And some of the lyrics will probably ring true for Hannah!

Everything she sees
She says she wants
Everything she wants
I see she gets

A Thousand Years (Christina Perri): Anyone who has gone through fertility struggles knows this song by heart. It really speaks to how I felt when she arrived. I FELT like I had waited 1000 years for her.

I have died everyday, waiting for you
Darling, don’t be afraid, I have loved you for a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more

Wait for It (Hamilton Cast): Yet another Hamilton song! This has always been one of my favorite songs from the musical and I really like the surface message.

Wait for it Wait for it
I am the one thing in life I can control
Wait for it Wait for it
Wait for it Wait for it
I am inimitable I am an original

A Million Dreams (Anthem Lights): I am always a sucker for a good acoustic or acapella cover and The Greatest Showman is one of my current favorite soundtracks. A million dreams is what I hope for Hannah.

‘Cause every night I lie in bed
The brightest colours fill my head
A million dreams are keeping me awake
I think of what the world could be
A vision of the one I see
A million dreams is all it’s gonna take
A million dreams for the world we’re gonna make

Don’t You Worry Child (Anthem Lights): I like both the original and the cover of this song and remembered it came out when I was trying to get pregnant with Mike. Heaven did have a plan for us – a family of four!

Don’t you worry, don’t you worry child
See heaven’s got a plan for you
Don’t you worry, don’t you worry now, yeah

I Hope You Remember

Dear Mike,

The last few weeks (and likely the upcoming weeks) have been a challenge. We’ve been inside the house a lot and focusing on staying healthy and not sharing germs. It’s been hard for you to understand why we can’t see family, go to the playground, or go swimming. It hasn’t been much fun most of the time, but there have been some good things I hope you remember during this time in quarantine.

{Sleeping in Mommy and Daddy’s bed} It used to be a rare treat, but lately it’s been a nightly thing. You get the best rest there and it gives Daddy and I time downstairs to watch something other than Spongebob. Plus, there are extra morning snuggles. I know it’s temporary, but it is working for us.

{Playing the Nintendo Switch} I never had a ‘gaming’ system growing up so when Daddy suggested it, I was really hesitant. But our vacation was canceled so we had the extra funds and we (finally) found one and it has been an AMAZING investment for us as a family and individually. We’ve started playing it in the afternoons when our day is done and I hope you remember how much fun laughing and being competitive. Then when it is just Daddy and me, we play old school Nintendo games.

{Seeing Daddy and me working} Every day was the same, you went to school and we went to work. Our jobs aren’t so simple to understand like a police officer or teacher. I hope you remember seeing us on the phone with coworkers and working on our computers. I hope you know our work is important and needed during this time.

{Snuggles} No one will argue that this time is hard on everyone, including little kids. You tend to need quiet time to process things and think about things and I’ve noticed you do that snuggling. I’ve kept a quarantine ‘journal’ on Facebook and each day mentions snuggles. Sometimes you just want to lay quietly under a blanket, some days with a book, and some days watching TV. I hope you remember how it made you feel. I hope it makes you feel safe, loved, and adored (because you are).

{Getting ready for Hannah} While we’ve been home, we’ve been getting ready for Hannah’s arrival! You’ve been helping in the room and picking out clothes and reminding us what we need to get (mostly toys). You’ve been a HUGE help and I hope you remember that.

I hope you remember what little things we sacrificed to do what was right for our community. It wasn’t always fun or easy, but we are continuing to do it.

So much love,

Momma xoxo

Dear Hannah: Your First Letter

Dear Sweet Hannah –

It’s your first letter and the start of our last few months ‘just you and me’. According to my app you are as big as a rollerblade. I am pretty sure you will have no idea what those are, so when you are old enough, ask Daddy. He was coordinated when he was younger and can show you pictures.

I must say, growing you has given me a run for my money. You are busy most of the night and a good part of the day. You are refusing to stretch out higher than my belly button so your Irish dancing is doing a number on my bladder. You really like to hear your brother’s voice and any music. Will you be a dancer like Mike? I hope so!

We’ve started putting your room together and gathering what we need for your arrival. It is so much fun shopping for pink and glitter. I figure until you can decide for yourself, you are going to be a walking sparkle. Will you have hair? I hope so, you’ve been given a lot of bows! I know your cousins will be thrilled.

It’s a strange time my sweet girl. Not at all how I expected our first few months just you and me to go. But we’ve made the most of it and I’ve gotten quite a bit of rest and time to think about you. It is certainly going to be something I hold over you for the rest of my long life. I never imagined after two years of thinking, praying, crying, and wanting you I would be giving birth during a pandemic!

Hannah, please stay in as long as you can and keep cookin’. And for the love of all things holy in this world … move OFF MY BLADDER.

With love,

Momma xo