Tag: birthday

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

Dear Mollie: Super Seven!

Mollie –

How strange is it I have all the time in the world right now, but have been dragging my feet to get you your letter. It is really a weird time we are experiencing and I haven’t been sure what to say. I just hope when you look back on when you turned seven you won’t remember what you lost out on but what you gained. A Zoom singalong! Presents delivered to your driveway! A family day! This will just be a second of your long life my dear.

Now. On to the fun stuff kiddo. You are still my silly, smiley girl who always has a story. You feel big things and love even bigger. I love to listen to you play with Mike – you always have a pretend story in your head and he more than happy to play along. And soon you will be the OLDEST cousin to a new youngest! She will need a strong girl to follow and I bet that will be you.

One of my favorite memories from this year was our family trip to the beach. One of the days you trusted me enough to hold on to a boogie board and float along the waves with me. I taught you want Grandpa taught ME when I was little. When a wave comes you jump, kick, kick, kick to stay afloat until it passes. We had so much fun not just then, but on the whole trip.

I love you Mols. Be brave.


Aunt Jay Jay xo

Happy 5th Birthday Mikey!

My Littlest Love,

You are one whole hand! I remember going to the bank for a consolidation loan when you were just an itty bitty thing and hearing that our loan would be paid off in 5 years. I had to laugh because imagining you being 5 was such a surreal, unbelievable thought – yet here we are! (also, that loan was paid off early ;))

Your Daddy and I can’t believe who you have grown into. Besides having long legs and crazy bedhead all the time, you are a good kid. We hear from Miss Amy and Miss Jamie how you offer to help, show your manners and be kind when you don’t think anyone is watching. Out of everything we want for you, we want you to be kind. It sounds like you are on the right track.

As a 4 year old you had quite a few new experiences!

You took your first vacation to Ocean City and stayed in a ‘big house with lots of rooms’ (or a hotel as we called it).

You moved into a new home with a new space themed bedroom! It’s usually a mess with your treasures, but for now we can step over your Lego collections.

You REALLY got into Halloween this year. You were the cutest astronaut and spent weeks leading up to AND weeks following the holiday talking about skeletons, zombies and pumpkin picking. You even mastered how to draw a skeleton and came home with hundreds of skeleton drawings. 

Your imagination and creativity really came out this year. You’ve enjoyed doing art projects and coloring in the evenings before bed. I have to admit, you are REALLY good at coloring. Recently you’ve take up singing and dancing and just being an all around performer. Your favorite song seems to be The Greatest Show from The Greatest Showman. But you aren’t picky. You love the Ghostbusters theme song too.

SPEAKING of Ghostbusters … That has consumed so much of our time and energy. Daddy and I aren’t real sure where it came from since the movie came out in the 80s, but you are obsessed. You love the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and Slimer the best. You know the difference between the ‘old’ Ecto-1 (from the original movie) and the ‘new’ Ecto-1 (from the Melissa McCarthy movie). We’ve indulged you a bit, but I am sure this obsession will quickly be replaced with something new.

You closed out your year 4 by playing your first team sport – t-ball! You didn’t love it, but you didn’t hate it either. Contact with the ball never really happened unless it was on a tee, and after a few swings you would make contact and it went FAR. We will see how you are feeling this time next year, but Daddy and I enjoyed sitting on the sidelines. You also passed level 1 swimming this year and are totally independent as long as you are wearing your puddle jumpers. We joined the pool this summer, so we are looking forward to seeing you advance.

My sweet love, your belly laugh and requests for ‘nuggles’ makes my heart soar. We are so proud of the boy you are becoming and look forward to you being one whole hand. Keep asking questions, keep looking for adventures and keep being kind.

With all my heart all the time, happy birthday,

Momma xoxo

Happy Birthday Marcie Jane!

Dear Miss Marcie Jane –

You are 1 (and a few weeks)! When on earth did that happen? Some days I feel like you are still a couple months old, but then I remember how much you’ve been through and I think you should be 16 by now. But alas, you are wonderfully one.

My sweet niece, you came into this world with so many people loving you and wondering what your future held – more so than other babies – because of your cleft. Once you were here it was obvious you were not going to be held back by that or anything else for that matter! We spent a lot of time together in the hospital MJ and while I hate that you had so many hospital visits, I am glad I could be there for you and your Momma and Daddy.

You have a personality bigger than I think we were ready for and that is going to take you places! If I had to place a bet, I think you are going to be the one to stand up to injustice. Why you ask? Well, you sit quietly and observe. You take in what’s going on and who is doing what. THEN when you think you’ve been wronged you voice your concerns. Loudly. More ice cream, warmer bottle, being picked up … we know what you want. I think you are going to use that quietness to see things that aren’t right in the world and then use your loud voice to make a change.

Your cousin Mikey is smitten with you. He always says ‘Mah-see is coot’. He will see a toy commercial on TV and say he wants to give it to you. I think between him and your sister you have quite a posse.

You have such an exciting life ahead of you with so many people in your corner. Sweet MJ, if you need anything ever Aunt Jay Jay has your back. I love you!

Happy Birthday,

Aunt Jackie

Dear Mike: My 4 Year Old!

Dearest Mikey,

You are 4. FOUR! I am not sure what surprises me more, that fact that you are 4 or I am the momma of a 4 year old. I have been thinking about this letter for a few weeks but didn’t start it until today because I am not sure how to sum up your year as a 3 year old in a short letter. But I will certainly try.

{Personality} You, my little love, have personality oozing out of your ears! You greet everyone you meet, stranger or animal or bug. You seem to be perfecting your physical comedy these days. When you do something and it gets a laugh you do it over and over (and over). I think Daddy and I are most proud of your manners. We work on instilling that and it seems to be working.  You have your ‘moments’ like every 3 year old, but you bounce back pretty quickly. I get the impress you are a people pleaser.  While you are pretty independent about doing things your way, you never shy away from getting into a lap or offering an unsolicited hug.

{Interests} When you are into something, you are INTO something. This year it has been mostly Halloween things (skeletons specifically), super heroes (Batman specifically) and Transformers Rescue Bots. More recently you have been interested in space and watch shuttle launches on YouTube with Daddy.

You still love reading and lately you have been asking Daddy or me to ‘say the words’ while you turn the pages. Miss Amy at school says sometimes she finds you sitting in the reading corner just flipping pages. Another thing that warms my heart is your love for music. Your playlist is always on in the car and I can hear you singing parts of ‘My Shot’ from Hamilton or ‘Take it All Back’ by Judah and the Lion. You are having the best time dancing, shaking your booty (as you say) and clapping (not quite to the beat). You always ask us to join in and we happily oblige.

You saw your first movie in the theater this year – Sing – and you LOVED it! Perhaps it was the popcorn and candy we fed you to keep you focused, but regardless, we look forward to more movie theater trips in the coming year.

{Daddy’s Surgery} Daddy had a big surgery this year that kept him in the hospital for over a week. You stayed home with Grandma and Charlie and you were SUCH a trooper. Your kindness and empathy were so obvious during his recovery time. You helped bring him things to drink and constantly wanted to kiss his boo boo. Even weeks later you were asking to see his scar and asked if it was all better. Perhaps you will be a doctor or a nurse!

{Preschool} I was a little nervous about you starting preschool – you will learn that changes is harder on Daddy and me than it is on you. But you walked right in with your dinosaur backpack and Batman lunchbox. Your teacher, Miss Amy, has been such a blessing for you (and us!). You even met your best friend, Ben, at preschool! You boys are so adorable together – everyone says you are little old men together. You are learning a ton, we can barely keep up with you. You can even say the Pledge of Allegiance, which I find really impressive.

{Milestones} I feel like I should make note of your milestones since I have 100% slacked on your baby book. There is actually a good chance I didn’t buy one. BUT … you are potty trained! I won’t go into the details that might embarrass future Mike, but it was a bit of a challenge for a few days, then it all worked out.

You now sleep in a big boy bed that you helped Daddy put together. You sneak out every few nights to come see what you are missing, but a few minutes with one of us in your bed does the trick. You also had your first trip to the dentist and you really did well and liked it. The second trip 6 months later was not as fun (not even close), but each trip resulted in a clean bill of dental health.

Well my love bug. You are 4! Practically an old man. I have a feeling this is going to be your best year yet. Daddy and I are so proud of you and the boy you are growing into. You have the best of both of us. Happy Birthday!

I’ll eat you up, I love you so,

Momma xoxo

Happy Birthday Miss Mollie


Dearest Mols –

Happy Birthday sweet 4 year old! You have had quite a year haven’t you! Do you know my favorite part? Watching you become a big sister. It seems like you were born specifically to have a little sister. Your Momma shares so many pictures of the two of you that melt my heart. I bet as the years go on you will have a bond like no other.

You know what else melts my heart? You and Mikey, of course. I will always remember our morning at the ‘duck park’ when Mike was too nervous to run across the playground ‘shaky bridge and you confidently ran up, grabbed his hand and helped him across. That was such a fun morning – feeding the ducks, racing down the slide then coming back to our house for fun on the deck.

You are growing into a kind, funny girl Miss Mollie. You always have a story and a laugh for me. Plus you have quite a fashion sense – all of those things will get you far in life my dear. So, in honor of your 4th birthday, here are FOUR things I love about you right now:

Your giggle that makes your shoulders shoot up like you have a secret that you find hilarious.

Your love of all things Disney Princesses, specifically Ariel because I love her too!

Your adventurous nature – soccer, ballet, RIDING A UNICORN! You are up for anything.

You’re so kind with everyone you meet and everyone in your life – including Marcie and Mike.

Happy birthday sweet Mollie!

Dear Mikey: You at Three

Dearest Mikey –

In the words of my favorite Broadway musical ‘Hamilton’:

When you smile I come undone
My son
There is so much more inside me now
You outshine the morning sun
My son
When you smile, I fall apart
And I thought I was so smart

mike at 3

I can’t believe it’s been three years since you made your grand entrance into the world. It seems like you’ve been here so much longer and other days it seems like you should still be the wrinkly baby who resembled Benjamin Button.  Here is a snapshot of you on your third birthday:

You legs are impossibly long. Each morning when I get you dressed it seems you grew another foot overnight. You are long and lanky for now. Your hair has a personality all it’s own. Geema keeps telling me to ‘train it’ – but I can’t. It picture lots of buzz cuts as you get older! Your eyelashes, OH those lashes. I have to keep my jealousy under control because they are so long. Though your toe nails are … strange, you fingers are so long – perhaps you will play the piano!

You are a comedian already. You love to use different voices and point to things while calling them ‘funny’. Daddy and I have learned quick if we laugh at you it is a promise you will keep doing it. Your laugh is infectious. You lose your eyes when you smile like me and you open your mouth wide even for a giggle.

You put a lot of thought into choices. Whether it’s your shirt, book or snack you tap your finger on your chin and say ‘hmmm’. We try to give you as many choices as possible or you would be eating hot dogs and Minion gummies while wearing the same Batman shirt everyday.

Ah Batman. Where did you learn about super heroes? It seems to have started with PJ Masks and your friend at daycare and now suddenly you MUST, AT ALL TIMES wear something Batman related.

You are impossibly sweet. The minute someone says ow, you are right there asking if they are okay, needing a band aid or, more importantly, a kiss. You had your first urgent care visit this year and handled it like a champ. You were dancing too hard (I find that hard to believe, but alas it’s a thing) and fell into the bookcase. You had a pretty nasty goose egg pop up quickly so while Momma silently freaked out, Daddy packed you up and away we went. Of course you were just fine.

You still are hopelessly addicted to your ‘bubbas’. You only get them at bedtime and nap time and most mornings you are very hesitant to put them back to bed. When you are very very very tired, you cry for them. That’s how we know it’s time for a nap!

Speaking of naps, you are starting to put up a fight at nap time. You are more than happy to jump in your crib and throw stuff around and sing for a couple hours, but when we realize you actually fell asleep? That is like finding a unicorn in the closet. You will regret your lack of napping when you are older kid.

You love anything with wheels – fire trucks (tucks), motorcycles (cycles), excavators (underwear), dump trucks (boom tuck), and even buses. You also love reading which makes me oh so happy! Plenty of evenings I glance over to see you lost in another adventure. You still like Llama Llama, but also Diggers Go and any that feature the alphabet. You’ve gotten pretty good at reminding us when we skip pages too.

You had to do speech therapy for a bit, but now you are a motor mouth. Asking why, what color everything is, what everyone is doing, where we are going, if I am tired (yes my love, very very tired) and for your favorite foods. Food like chocolate milk, pepperonis, gummies, jelly beans, rice, hot dogs, chicken and melon. All at once! Your tastes fluctuate often enough that I can’t think of anything that you don’t like!

My sweet, sweet boy. I am so proud of you and the gentleman you are becoming. Never ever lose your empathy for others and remember Momma and Daddy wanted you so much and love you twice as much. One day I will show you the receipts to prove how much we wanted you. Until then – stay you.

I’ll eat you up I love you so,

Momma xoxo

Dear Mike: March & April 2016

Well hello lovey!

I would call you ‘mini-monster’ (with love), but when I call you that you always say, ‘No. Me Mikey!’, so lovey it is.

I am finally finding time to write because YOU ARE TAKING A NAP! I feel like we might have just witnessed a miracle. You have stopped napping and by 5PM you hate everyone. I don’t blame you of course, but I spend a good portion of the day sending good vibes to Rachel that you sleep at daycare. I can’t remember the last time you slept on a weekend!  I am also finally writing because I decided that being done is better than being perfect.

{First overnight with Geema and Appa} Momma and Daddy decided it was high time we took a trip overnight alone! We packed your bag, met Geema at Wawa before the bridge and off you went! We knew it would be no big deal and we were right. We checked in a few times in those 24 hours, but the report was always good. You were happy and having a great time playing with Appa and Mollie. You might have given Geema a hard time at naptime, but you figured out pretty quick you were going to take a rest.


{Swimming} We signed up for another session at SwimFirst and you had such a great time. I took you a few times and Daddy did the rest. You loved playing ‘Hunty Hunty’ (or Humpty Dumpty) where you sit on the side of the pool and ‘fall’ into open arms. The very last class I passed you underwater to your instructor and he passed you back. It was so funny because he kept telling you to close your mouth and you would squeeze your eyes closed with your mouth wide open. You are quite the little fishy. I am excited for summertime in Appa’s pool!

{Dad Traveling} Daddy spent 2 weeks in May travelling for work, so it was a lot of Mommy time.  You asked about him a lot (Daddy doin’?) but we made a point to video chat with him every night and call him in the morning. We even made ‘love bags’ and you had a great time decorating notes with stickers and scribbles. You are a BIG fan of tracing your hands and feet on just about anything these days.

{Saying Things Opposite} You are certainly speaking a lot more with sparingly cohesive thoughts and questions. However, you are still a little confused with opposites. It took quite a while for us to realize you don’t want to radio ON (when it already was), you want it UP (which I am happy to comply with!). Also seeing and hearing. We take a lot of opportunities to remind you you SEE the truck with your eyes and HEAR the truck with your ears.

{Kinderfarm} We ventured out one day when the weather cleared to Kinderfarm and you had a blast! It was pretty quiet, but you went from pen to pen talking to the animals. You were very interested in the chickens and wished them a happy, fun day. “Hi shick-kins. Bye shick-kins, have fun!”

{Easter} Kid, you are a jellybean eating machine. The Easter Bunny left you a trail of eggs from your crib to your basket and you popped each one open and shoved those jellybeans in your mouth like it was your job.


{Drew’s birthday} You and I traveled back to Virginia to go to Drew’s 5th birthday. You had a great time bouncing in the bounce house and watching Miss Miranda do a magic show.  It was interesting for me to see you interact with kids who are a few years older AND you don’t know. You were so calm, cool and collected. One little girl yelled at you because you had 2 noisemakers and she wanted one. You looked a little shell shocked, like why is this chick yelling at me, and after taking a beat you nicely handed her a noisemaker. Clearly you have mastered picking your battles. Maybe not with Daddy and me, but everyone else.

{Mollie’s birthday} Mollie’s birthday party was so much fun for you because you adore your cousin. You hung out with her friends and played pin the shell on the mermaid. You showed no hesitation with new kids and sweet? I adore that. I know as an adult it’s hard to meet new people in a group setting, but I can see you assessing the situation and jumping right in.

Well my love, it’s time to start planning YOUR birthday party! The days are long (sometimes excruciatingly so) but trust me when I say the years are fast.

I’ll eat you up, I love you so

Momma xoxo

Happy Birthday Mollie!

My dearest Mols –

How on EARTH are you 3 today? It doesn’t seem possible, but then again, I feel like you should be turning 13. I don’t remember life before you and I can’t picture our life without you in it. When I think of ways to describe you, I think of just a few weeks ago on Easter. Everyone was milling around, helping get the food ready and catching up. I glanced over towards the front door and there you are – arms over your head like a ballerina just twirling. You were all alone in your own world dancing. It was in the moment I thought, ‘yep. That sums up Mollie’s world, dancing when literally no one is watching’. It was such a pure, innocent moment I will hold close.

My dear, you are a fabulous cousin to Mikey. Despite your small age range, you have taken it upon yourself to show him the ways of the world, just like we knew you would. He adores you as well! You are a happy, charming and polite kid, which comes as no surprise. You have an opinion on everything and a smile that will convince anyone to hand you the moon. Keep that going kid, it will take you places in life, just use that power for good – I know you will.

I was thinking this morning about where I was when you were born, a story I will probably tell every April 4th. I was on a cramped bus to New York City with my big belly full of Mikey. I had lots to time to pray for your Mom and Dad and think about the person you would become. You have not disappointed me kid.

Have an amazing birthday, thank you for making me an Aunt (and Uncle S. an Uncle!).

We love you,

Aunt Jay Jay xoxo

PicMonkey Collage

Happy 2nd Birthday Mike!

My sweet Bug –

I’m sitting at my desk on this rainy day looking at your pictures on my desk from the last month or so – you watching the snow while Charlie watches your cracker, you wearing your White Rabbit costume at Miranda’s birthday party and you just being you at the BWI Airplane park. Looking at these photos reminds me of a few lyrics from Marcus Foster’s song ‘You My Love’:

It’s true, my love, so kind are your eyes,
I see them in the darkest skies.
If it’s true, my love, I’ve got to see the way
I’ll love you till my dying day.

I can’t help but feel a little bittersweet about your 2nd birthday tomorrow. I know Daddy feels the same. We miss have a little baby to snuggle, but now we have a big boy to snuggle! And you are the snuggliest. You love to bury yourself between Daddy and me in the bed and pull up the covers demanding ‘sea-goo’ time. Sometimes you even grab our arm and drape it over you. If you catch Daddy and I hugging, you run right up and want in on that action. You are truly our little love bug.


This has been an exciting year for you! Right before your first birthday last year we were watching and waiting for you to take your first steps unassisted. Now you are climbing on chairs, maneuvering up stairs and fearlessly walking back down. I won’t even mention chasing you as you squeal with glee.

You’ve gone through some other changes as well. We made the big move from Centreville, Virginia to Crofton, Maryland in January for a variety of reasons and none that we regret. The main reason was to be closer to family and this has proven to be so beneficial. Your Bubbe, Grandma and Grandpa have visited often and we have seen Mollie a lot. Daddy and I are thrilled you will be growing up closer to the family that is so important to us.

With the move came a new daycare. It was obvious by day 2 that I worried myself sick about nothing. You have flourished there, learning new things and making friends. You give me a hug, go to Miss Rachel and immediately you are waving, saying ‘au revoir’ and blowing kisses. If you do cry it is once in a blue moon and probably only for my benefit.

Oh my love, you do have your moments like we all do. You have mastered the ‘lay down on the floor and fake cry’ quite well, but it never lasts long and you are always quick to come find us so we can move on with our day. You can’t keep up the grumpiness for long, I don’t think it’s in your nature!

Mikey, as you turn two my biggest wish for you is to know how much you are cherished and adored. You are growing into quite a kind, easy going, and hilarious kid.  These are all things your Daddy and I dreamed about while watching you roll around in my tummy.

I’ll eat you up I love you so.

Momma, xoxo