Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Connor Matthew: 11 Months

Dearest Connor,

Somehow we are only one month away from your 1st birthday. I truly cannot believe it. While Ryan started Kindergarten this week, and I somehow did not get too emotional about that, I can tell you with certainty that I will be VERY emotional when you turn one. You're my sweet baby. My last. My littlest guy. I wish I could just stop time and keep you this little forever. And yet, you're such a joyful, special little boy that I am simultaneously excited to see what the future holds and to learn more about the little person you will become.

So, what have you been up to in the past month? Well, you continue to be our "HappyConnorC" who smiles constantly. You laugh the funniest laugh. Its actually more of a cackle. You babble and "talk" all the time. You seem to constantly be "saying" something, though we often have no idea what it is. You also do this rather obnoxious yelling thing anytime you want something or someone. You point and yell and reach for whatever it is you want. I do not remember your brothers doing this and I'm not quite sure how to get you to stop! While I am confident that I will never have to worry about you making your voice heard as the youngest of three boys, I am eager for you to be able to say actual words instead of yelling!

But you do have a few actual words. You say "Mama" very clearly and often. I hear you say Dada too, sometimes, but its more often when Daddy isn't here and you seem to be looking for him. You say "Ha" and "Bah" (hi and bye) and wave while doing so. And goodness do you LOVE to wave! You wave at anyone and everyone and you bring frequent smiles to strangers everywhere we go. One of my favorite things about having a baby in tow is the ability to bring joy to other people with such ease. Connor, you do this so naturally as a little guy and I hope that is a trait that will stay with you throughout your life.

You are a great eater, and not such a great sleeper. I may have finally figured out how to avoid a picky eater by the third kid (you'll eat just about anything I put in front of you), but the sleep thing I still haven't figured out. Although, that's because with you (and with Zach) I've taken a much more relaxed view of sleep and most nights just let you join Daddy and me in our bed. That allows everyone to get more sleep!

You continue to love your brothers fiercely and are perhaps at your happiest whenever they are around. Now that Ryan goes to school every day you and Zachary are starting to interact more and more. And every day when we pick Ryan up at school it is so cute to see you eagerly looking for him and then get so excited when he is finally there.

You continue to be very much a Mama's boy, but you are getting more and more used to NeeNee and PopPop. Living here with them, while we wait for our new house to be built, is challenging for all of us. Its certainly no one's fault (well....it might be a little bit our fault. It has to be pretty miserable for NeeNee and PopPop to have their lives invaded by all of us!). But, the absolute BEST part of living with them is seeing the relationship develop between them and you. I have a feeling you will have an extra special bond with your NeeNee and PopPop, and that's saying something, since they already have such a special bond with your big brothers!

In other news, you love crawling up the stairs. And if I take my eyes off you for even a few seconds I can be certain to find you on the stairs, crawling your way up, usually laughing hysterically as you go. Whenever I come around the corner and find you, you start giggling even harder. You know you're not supposed to go up by yourself and yet, you do it anyway, all. the. time. 

And perhaps the biggest news of all, is that you started walking! (Note: I started writing this on your actual 11-month-day, and I'm not finishing it until today, September 3rd) But just this morning, the 3rd, you took your first independent steps. You'll be flying around the house on two feet in no time! You were quite proud of yourself this morning after you took those first few precarious steps! 

Booyah! I can walk!! 

Connor, while I can't believe you're already 11 months, I also can't believe we ever lived without you. You bring such joy to our every day lives. You add to the immense joy we already felt from Ryan and Zachary. We are so glad you're a part our family, and we can't wait to watch you grow (well, we could wait a little....you're just so much fun right now...minus the screaming for stuff you want. ;)

Happy 11-month-day, Sweet Boy! I love you more than you will ever know!

Love always,


Thursday, August 27, 2015

The First Day of Kindergarten

My Dear Ryan,

As I write this you are spending your first day in Kindergarten. You have probably eaten lunch by now. Hopefully you had fun at recess, and are enjoying meeting new friends. I hope its the BEST day ever!!

You were so excited this morning. So. Excited. It made me think back to your first days of Preschool. I remember you sobbing every day for at least a week either when I dropped you off, or often, after I left. You always seemed to keep it together for me, but then once I was gone you just missed me too much and the tears started flowing. Twice I got a call because you were so upset the teacher was worried I would have to come get you. It never got to that point. You always pulled your brave face out about 1 minute before I would pull up to the school and I'd get a call that said, "He's fine now."

But this morning was so different. You were eager and excited to get there. When Daddy, Zachary, Connor, and I walked you up to the front door you were ready to line up without even giving us a hug goodbye. But then the administrator who was about to take your hand said, "What about a hug for Mom and Dad?" Then of course you gave your signature "monkey hugs" and you were off. You headed into school with the confidence and swagger of a kid who'd been doing this forever. As I yelled, "Have a great day! I love you!" you tossed a nonchalant wave my way.

I'm not gonna lie...the ease with which you headed off today stung just a little bit. But mostly, I was just so, so proud of you. I know you're going to have a great day. But I know you are confident that I'll be there at the end of the day to hear all about your day. And I know you're excited for that, and for all that will happen in between drop off and pick up.

So many moms talk about how sad they are on this day. And I suppose if I let myself linger too long on the idea that you will now spend the majority of your days in the presence of an adult who is not me then I get a little sad. But then I remind myself that many parents spend the majority of their days away from their children who are in daycare, from the time they are tiny babies and I am immensely grateful for the past 5 and a half years during which I have been home with you almost every single day.

And yes, if I stop to think about how tiny you were, and how big you are now, and how there are so many moments lost in between that I don't remember, then I get a little sad. I can no longer hear your "baby voice" in my head. I don't remember all the cute words you said incorrectly. Sometimes I wish I could just make time freeze. But I can't. And so, I look at you, and at the beautiful person you are becoming and I rejoice.

Jumping for JOY! 
This morning I sent you off with excitement and pride knowing that you're ready. You are kind. You are brave. You are curious. You are eager. You will do fantastic in Kindergarten. And I am so proud that Daddy and I have somehow managed to help you develop into that beautiful little boy who is so very ready. Daddy and I didn't (and still don't) know what we were doing all the time as parents. We've stumbled and made mistakes. We've yelled too much at times. We've unfairly expected too much of you at times because you're the oldest. We'll no doubt continue to make mistakes from time to time. But looking back, I know each of your days was filled with love. There were always many "I love yous" exchanged, so many hugs and snuggles. Lots of books have been read, games played, matches wrestled, and tickles fought. And at the end of every day you have fallen asleep safe, secure, and confident that you are loved because you're you. And though we haven't done everything right, we've done that right.

So, today I watched you head into elementary school for the first time and I stood in awe of this amazing little person that Daddy and I created and have helped shape into a wonderful boy. I know you're not perfect. I know you'll make mistakes. But I know you're awesome. And today, I'm letting myself take a little credit for that. I am reveling in the fact that WE MADE IT! We made it to Kindergarten with your sense of self not only in tact but strong. I can't wait to see what the future holds for you, sweet boy. I'm so fortunate to have a front seat for what will no doubt be a fantastic show.

Here's to many more firsts!

Love always,


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Night Before Kindergarten

Below is a letter I wrote to Ryan and read aloud to him the night before his first day of Kindergarten:

August 26, 2015
My Dearest Ryan,

Tomorrow you will start Kindergarten. What adventures await you! You will learn new things, and meet new people.  Who knows, you may even meet someone who will be your friend for the rest of your life?! You will have so many new experiences. You’ll learn new games, new songs, new facts, and new skills. You will probably feel new feelings, too! School is a wondrous place. The possibilities of what you can do, achieve, learn, or change are endless. We can’t wait to watch the possibilities unfold.

But Ryan, I want you to know that there is nothing in this world that Daddy and I want more for you than to view school as an opportunity to grow as a person and to practice being kind and brave. I’ve told you before, we don’t care if you’re the smartest, or the fastest, or the best artist. But we care that you are the best YOU that you can be. Try your best, work hard, have fun, and be good. We know you are amazing. Now is your chance to show the rest of the world!

Part of being the best YOU possible is learning to be kind. Go through your day with your eyes wide open. Keep an eye out for the kid who is extra shy, scared, or lonely. Try to help them be a little less scared and a little less lonely. Say hello. Ask him to play. Smile at her. Offer to share your snack…yes, even if the snack is your most favorite snack in all the world and you wish that I had packed more of it for you. Being kind isn’t always easy. But, it’s always right. And sometimes doing the right thing means you have to be brave.

Sometimes it will be hard to do the right thing, the kind thing. Sometimes you’ll worry about what to say, or how to help. But dig deep in that big heart of yours. You are naturally caring. You instinctively know how to make people feel better. Trust those instincts. You’ll be amazed at how much of a difference you can make!
There may be times when you see one student being mean or unkind to another student. These are the times that really require bravery. Don’t stand back. Don’t let that child who is being unkind think that it’s ok. Show him or her that being kind is the best way to be, and that doing otherwise will not win him or her any points or any friends. Show them what being kind looks like by standing up to them confidently. And if doing this seems too hard, or too scary, because sometimes it might, then tell a teacher or grown-up what happened so they can help.

Ryan, there is nothing you can or can’t do at school that will make Daddy and I love you any more than we already do. We already love you as much as we ever could or ever will. And that is a WHOOOOLLLEEEEE LOT! There is nothing you can do to make us love you any less. We love you because you’re you, because you’re ours, and you always will be. We hope that all the love we have for you will help you be able to show that love to the other kids you will meet at school.
Ryan, we want you to love school. We want you to have fun. We want you to explore, learn, create, run, play, ask questions, and have new adventures every day. But most of all, we want you to grow into the amazingly kind, caring, and thoughtful little boy that we already see glimpses of every day.

Have a blast at school sweet boy! We can’t wait to hear all about it! I love you so, so, soooooo much! I love you to Pluto and beyond!

Love always,


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Connor Matthew: 10 Months!

My Dearest Connor,

Today you turned 10 months old. I always find the 10 month mark a little bitter sweet. It's the point where you've officially been out of my belly longer than you've been in it. And it is a reminder of how fleeting those pregnant moments are. I know I will never feel the flutter of little kicks from inside ever again. And while pregnancy can sometimes seem to last forever, it really goes by so quickly. I cannot believe that you've been out and about in this world for 10 months! I look at pictures from a year ago, when you weren't here yet and it seems like yesterday. And yet, remembering our family life without you is hard to do!

I apologize that I didn't write a post when you turned 9 months. As I mentioned when you turned 8 months, I expected that might happen. July was a BUSY month. We moved on July 2nd, one day after your 9 month-day. So, while I am amazed I remembered to take pictures for your 9th month, I did not find the time to blog. And, honestly, its probably just as well. I was a little stressed out with life at that point in time. Who knows what that post would have said! But one thing I can say, is that despite the stress of moving, you were a constant reminder to just soak in the moments and not wish them away. I think as my youngest, you will always be a reminder of that for me. Its easy, when going through life with three little people to wish for the future....when you and your brothers will be more self sufficient; When you won't need me for every. single. thing. And yet, when I think of that, of not being needed as much, I can feel the tears brimming behind my eyes. I know I'll miss these moments. And so, I'm doing my best to soak them in the best I can.


And Connor, there is so much about you to soak in. You are just a joy. You smile often (just check out the HappyConnorC hashtag on Instagram for proof!...Will all those hashtags still exist when you're 30 and one day reading this?? I hope so!) and you giggle delightedly. Your laugh is truly contagious. You wave hello and goodbye at anyone who will wave back. You have mastered clapping and you do it any chance you get, particularly for yourself when you stand all by yourself. You get the biggest smile on your face, clap excitedly, and just wait for someone to clap with you and say, "Yaaaaayyy!" You say "Mama" as clear as day, and sometimes, I think I hear you say "Dada," even if its not as clear yet. You crawl anywhere and everywhere, pull up on everything and cruise around furniture, along railings, and up steps. You can't make your way down yet, and have precariously tumbled a few times off the single step between NeeNee and PopPop's kitchen and family room. Who knew one little step could be so pesky!

And while you are happy most of the time, that's not to say you're never sad or angry. You're very strong willed. If someone takes something from you that you want (but can't have) or tells you no about something you're trying to do, you yell and screech and have even been known to throw your little body backwards in protest or lay face first on the ground. Oh, your toddlerhood is going to be awesome!

But, I am certain your happy, strong-willed nature will serve you well as the youngest of three boys. I have no doubt that you will never let your older brothers take advantage of you. At least I hope not. Speaking of your brothers, they both continue to love you tremendously. Ryan still dotes on you and loves being the biggest big brother who can truly help with you at times. He will often play with you in your crib in the morning while I am getting ready since there is really no "safe" place for you to play upstairs at NeeNee and PopPop's house. Zachary is beginning to realize that you can now get into his stuff and thus you're a bit of a bother to him at times, but overall, he sees you as his "baby Don-na" (he cannot say Connor well, despite the fact that he now talks up a storm!) whom he enjoys playing with and he loves being "the big helper in our family" as Daniel Tiger says. I love watching the two of you play together and lately Zach has been asking to "read" books to you and it is so cute to see him make up stories as he turns the pages in books for you. I've told you this before, and I'll say it again: Your brothers will never be replaced. They are your first friends. They will one day be the only other people who remember your childhood. Cherish them. Love them. Forgive them. Call them (no, texting is not the same. Don't let anyone say it is. Pick up the phone. Hear each other's voices, and check in!). Enjoy them.

We've been busy the past few months not only with packing and moving out of our home, but also with fun. We went on your first ever full family vacation just two days after moving out of our house and into NeeNee and PopPop's house. The timing was terrible (we'd planned this vacation long before we ever knew we'd be selling our house!), but we still had a blast. Together with NeeNee, PopPop, Uncle John, Auntie Cindy, Uncle Mark, Auntie Catharine, Caitlin, Julia, and James we all stayed in a gorgeous big beach house in Bethany Beach, Delaware. You saw the Ocean for the first time, tried to eat the sand, rode a carousel for the first time, went swimming in the pool in our backyard daily, and just generally were a pleasant little guy to be around despite all the many changes that were going on in all of our lives (I don't think you had any idea where "home" was at that time). You had your moments, but for the most part you thoroughly enjoyed having all your brothers, cousins, uncles, aunts, and of course beloved NeeNee and PopPop all within such close proximity. We made many very special memories and had a blast!

Connor, you are so very, very, very loved, and I hope you never, ever forget that. We have so enjoyed you being in our life for the past 10 months and we can't wait to see what the next 1,000 months have in store!

Happy 10-Month Day!