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Dear Lucy. 

Dear Lucy,

Oh, my little lady, you are something else. Your fifth birthday is quickly approaching and that just seems impossible. I feel like I’ve gotten used to the idea of Jude growing older (a little bit) but you’ve always been my little girl so it just doesn’t seem right! I registered you for kindergarten last week too which was such a weird feeling. When you become a mom someday you’ll understand the heartache of watching your kids grow. It’s so beautiful and exciting and completely heartbreaking at the same time. Life flies by so fast.

Recently at dinner you prayed the same prayer as always. “Dear God, thank you for my food and my family and everyone who I love.” But tonight you added, “And thank you for giving us baby Lennon.” Then you said, “She is the best baby in the whole entire world!” And you’ve prayed that every night since. You’ve gotten to really enjoy Lennon which makes me happy. I think her arrival coincided with a rough stage for you so there was a bit of an adjustment period, but you seem to be loving on her a lot lately. I hope you and Jude and Lennon are all best friends someday! That’s one of my main goals in life. 

You are so smart, Lucy! In the past I don’t think I’ve given you enough credit for how smart you are. And as crazy smart that Jude has been at vocabulary and talking, you’ve definitely caught on quicker to writing and letters and all that stuff. You have been writing your name for almost two years now and you know all your letters and a lot of sounds. You’ll be reading before we know it! 

You’re kind of a wild card, Lucy Mae. You’re smart and sassy and I never quite know what you’re going to say. You talk about poop quite often. You have the best scowl and get even more mad when I smile at it. You’re snappy and stubborn but so lovable and sweet. You love to hug Daddy tight and call him your “honey beary.” You squeeze me and say, “Oh, you’re just so huggable, I can’t stop hugging you!” And I tell you how I feel the exact same way and I never want to let you go! 

You are sensitive and emotional which is sometimes a challenge but also one of the things that I love most about you. You hate to see me cry. I was once, for some reason, and you came up to me with tears eyes and said, “Mama, you’re going to make me cry!” It was the sweetest thing ever and it’s happened a few times since then. You are quick to have compassion and come to give me a hug or try to make me feel better. It’s a great quality to be sympathetic like that, Lucy, and it’s something I’ve witnessed you master in interactions with me. You are so special, my sweet girl. I want you to always know how special and unique and good you are. 

I told you one time about one of the reasons that you’re so important to me. When Bampy was very sick and dying, you were in my belly. When he went to heaven I was so very sad, but God gave you to me at the perfect time. You were born just when I needed you and you made me so happy. I think you love that story because you have asked me to tell you it again several times since. And I want you to always remember that! You have such a special place in my heart because of that and so many more reasons. You are beautiful inside and out and I couldn’t possibly love you more! 


Dear Jude. 

Dear Jude,

You are now seven. How is that possible? It’s so unreal, time has gone by so fast. I will continue to say this each and every year but it feels like you were just a tiny (well, big) baby sleeping in my arms. I miss those days, man. I love to see you grow and hangs but I will always miss you sleeping on my chest as a newborn. I’ll watching you learn how to walk and run. I’ll miss your raspy little toddler voice and your never ending rants about cars and monster trucks. And your cuddles. Oh, your glorious, pudgy, snuggly cuddles. Every day after nap you’d come out of your room and say “Mama, do you want to cuddle?” I will miss those things for the rest of my days. 
But now you are seven. You are so tall. And your brain…your brain amazes me. You remember numbers and facts like nobody’s business (wonder where you got that from!). You are reading so well and you’re awesome at math. But man, there is so much more to you. One of the things that I love most about you is that you are a great friend. Jude, that is HUGE. I have watched you be so kind and sensitive and inclusive to all of your friends. Being a good friend is one of the most important things in life. It’s something I’ve wanted so badly for you to be, and also for you to have, and you’ve accomplished both. I am so very proud of you for that and you should be too. 

You love church. I can sense that you are proud of it and that is very cool. You suggested to Jim that we make invitations to give out to people so that they’ll come to church. So he did and you’ve given them to all of your closest friends. It’s been so cool to see you initiate that without any guidance from us! You were heartbroken when no one showed up that next Sunday. I told you to keep hoping and praying that they’ll come. So yesterday, on your birthday, Chase and Ben came and you were beyond thrilled! I was so happy to see you learn that your prayers were answered. 

Another thing I love about you is your integrity and discernment. You’ve always been a stickler for doing the right thing. Now, you don’t always do it, but you’ve always been concerned with it. You have a great inner sense of what the right thing is and you’re learning the importance of doing it, no matter what. You have the ability to sense when something may be wrong or inappropriate and you’re willing to ask for guidance. This is not something I’ve taught you, it’s built into your personality, and is just another thing that is so great about YOU. You are trustworthy, Jude, and that’s something that many people are not. 

You’ve done a lot of growing up this year. You feel your emotions hard and strong, as you always have, but you have learned the importance of apologizing and asking for forgiveness. It’s something that I’ve been waiting to see in you. When you were very young you struggled big time with saying you were sorry. It got to the point where I stopped forcing you to say it to cousins or friends because it was such a huge struggle for me to find a way to force you to say it and for you to spit it out. But finally…FINALLY…you’ve gotten to the point where there is no struggle. If you’ve been disrespectful or mean to me or Dad you take a second to cool down and are able to come to us, completely on your own, and give us a legitimate apology. That’s one of the biggest areas of growth that I’ve seen in you lately and I’m so proud of you for this! Apologizing for bad choices or mistakes will help your relationships in life. So many people don’t know how to say they’re sorry and unfortunately their relationships aren’t as strong, so take this with you as you grow because it will be a great asset to you. 

So anyways, you are awesome, that’s all there is to it. You are so loving to me and Daddy and your sisters. Watching you with Lennon has been so cool. You are the best big brother to ever live! I tell you this a lot and I fully believe that God gave you all these little ladies in your life for a reason. I am actually watching you grow up to be such a unique, cool guy and I am so glad to call you MINE! I am so lucky to be your Mom. I love you!


Also, this was a special birthday because you got to go to the Patriots playoff game with Daddy and Papa and Uncle Peter. You have been obsessed with football and Tom Brady this year so it was perfect timing. You also got laser tag guns and we had a fun little party at church with a few of your closest friends. 

dear jude.

I haven’t written in a while. I regret it. But life gets busy and things have changed.

A few weeks ago you finished your first year of school: kindergarten. There’s no way for me to accurately express how proud Daddy and I are of you. You have changed so much since the beginning of the school year. You’ve grown physically and emotionally and I’m just so PROUD of who you are becoming. You started the school year very nervous and timid and ended with so much confidence. I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.

Looking back on your kindergarten experience, a few things stick out to me. On the first day of school, Daddy and I walked you to your classroom and you were such a champ. You hung up your bag and started playing. That was it! We waved goodbye and I breathed a sigh of relief. The second day was a different story.

On the second day of school, Lucy and I walked you to the entrance. At that point, you were expected to walk to your room by yourself. In your eyes, this was not part of the deal. You were terrified. I don’t blame you a bit, you had to walk down a hallway, enter another long corridor and walk through four classrooms before reaching your own. That’s scary! So Mrs. Erickson, the guidance counselor, was there and could tell you were struggling. I did my best to convince you to go ahead, but you didn’t. Mrs. Erickson took us into her office and we talked for a minute. You started to cry as I attempted to break away from you. I cried, too. Lucy stared. Eventually, Mrs. Erickson literally had to rip you away from my arms as I made an escape. I walked towards the doors as you yelled repeatedly “Just one more hug!” It was horrific. I went to work that day. I cried a lot as I replayed the mornings events in my head and worried about how you were doing. I got several texts and emails from school telling me that you had recovered fine. What a day!

From that point on, the first few months of school were a struggle. Every morning was hard. Mrs. Erickson walked you to your classroom each morning until finally you were brave and did it all on your own. I was so proud on that day. And from that point on, you continued to grow and change into a confident boy who truly enjoyed school and had tons of friends. I volunteered at lunch a few times a week and was always shocked at how many kids you knew that weren’t even in your class! You were totally yourself with your friends which made me so happy. Ms. DeBeck praised you over and over about how much you had grown and learned.

At the beginning of the school year your class did a poetry project. It was about picking apples with friends. Every student had to draw 5 friends and write their names down on their poem. Ms. DeBeck said that every single student in your class had chosen you as one of their friends.

That is so huge, Jude! I know I tell you this all the time, but being a good friend is so important. I think you’ve got the basics down, that’s for sure. I was able to watch you interact with your classmates a lot and you were definitely loved by everyone. You really bonded with Isaac, the son of a friend of mine from high school. You guys were connected at the hip! You picked a good best friend. Shelley, Isaac’s mom, told me that Isaac couldn’t have chosen a better best friend. I totally agree.

At the end of the school year you had a field trip to the beach. I wanted to go, but also wanted you to try to go without me there, to prove to yourself that you’d be fine! And you were, of course. You bonded so hard with your little friends this year…I knew you’d be fine. You had fun and apparently loves riding on the bus because from that day in you begged me to let you ride the bus…something you hadn’t done and had previously been a scary thought for you. So, the last three days of school you rode the bus in the morning. It helped that Lillie was riding as well, so you guys sat together. You weren’t nervous at all and loved it!

Ms. DeBeck told me one day that she had chosen you to receive an end of the year award. It was the McGraw Paw Award and went to a kid from each kindergarten class who best displayed respect, responsibility, caring, honesty and safety. She said she was so proud of how far you had come since the beginning of the year and what a great little guy you are. You were so deserving of this acknowledgement and I was just overflowing with happiness for you. I went to the assembly when they called your name and recognized your hard work and it was one of the best moments ever.

In other news, you have another little brother or sister coming in December. You are so excited! You often rub my belly and talk to the baby. It is so sweet. You want a boy, of course.

I love you, Jude! I love who you are becoming. We still have our moments, that’s for sure, but I’m so proud of the progress you’ve made as a 6 year old. Biggest year yet!


dear jude.

dear jude,

the weather has been great the last few days. its been good for our sanity. on the days that i’m home, we usually go to the park in the morning with a picnic lunch. we stay for a while and head home for nap. in the car you tell me about how hungry you are, even though you’ve already eaten your entire lunch. so sometimes i send you to nap with a little snack in order to prevent a major freak out.

you just LOVE to be outside. i love it, too. aunt holly bought you a lightning mcqueen bike. you are such a proud owner. its red, your favorite color. you aren’t great at peddling yet, but we are working on it. you look so cute and old on that bike.

jude, you’re growing up right before my eyes.

you’re all signed up for preschool. school starts in september and it’s only two mornings a week. it doesn’t seem possible. i am excited for you because i know you will love it. i’m nervous, of course.

you started going to the bathroom all by yourself. you don’t need any help from me because you pee standing up now. one day, you told me you had to pee. you said, “but i want to try to go all by myself.” so i let you. a minute later, i peeked my head around the bathroom door and there you stood, trying to figure it out. i showed you how to lift the seat up. and from then on you’ve been a pro! i was so proud of you, jude. i told you that you peed just like a man. the next morning, you were laying in bed with daddy and i. you mentioned something about peeing. then you looked up at me with those huge brown eyes and that funny look. you said, “mom, am i a boy or a man?” jude, i just love how that mind works! it intrigues me.

you always say, “i’ll be very be careful.” and you usually are. i appreciate your cautiousness.

oh, another thing about going outside. you’re obsessed with running! you’d probably call it racing. a couple weeks ago, daddy wanted to go for a run. so we put you and lulu in the stroller and i pushed you guys while he ran ahead. you soon got sick of riding. i got you out and off you ran. you’re very careful to stay on the side of the road, which makes me glad. you took off. you ran nearly to the end of our street and back to our house. you love it! so now you always want to go running.

you’re such a boss. one morning, you were doing some racing with your cars and ramp. you asked if i wanted to play so i said yes. i sat next to you and started to ask a question about your cars. you quickly stopped me and said, “don’t talk during my race!”

yesterday, you were singing and dancing to some music. you told me to dance too, so i did. as soon as i started to join in you said, “nevermind, don’t dance mama!” i guess you don’t like my moves. they are good moves though, don’t forget that.

i had to leave the other night to run an errand. i told you goodbye and headed to the car. i sat down and turned the key. i looked up and saw you standing in the door, in your undies and a t-shirt, yelling “mama! i need a hug and a kiss!” that melted my heart right then and there.

jude, i seriously love you so much.

you’ve been super challenging the last couple months. its been really, really hard on me. its so tiring. but i’m hopeful that this stage will end soon and i look forward to that.

you are my pride, jude. no matter how challenging you get, i will always love you. you are my son, my firstborn, my intelligent little man. you are loved. so, so loved.



dear lucy.

dear lucy,

oh my little love, i just adore you to pieces. honestly, i get so excited to see that squishy, squinty face whenever i’m away. i love watching you from the rearview mirror: you make the funniest faces. you’re constantly checking out whats going on outside.

you are quite the talker. you have the funniest voice. it used to be light and airy but now its kind of deep and throaty. i love it so much. daddy and i always laugh at you and your chatter. at your well child check i told your doctor that you said about 8 words (and know the meaning of many more). she said that was wonderful and they only expect one year olds to say 3. some of your words are: mama, dada, hi, jude, oh wow, yay, and go. you know the meaning of several words, as well. its fun to watch you learn. i wonder if you’ll be a talker like your big brother.

you seem to love stuffed animals, just like jude. you’ve been sleeping with elmo, clarice, minnie, and a baby doll. we typically lay you down and then go in and read with jude before he goes to sleep. we can hear you talking so loudly from the next room. last night you kept saying “ohhhhh woooooow!” over and over. and in the tub you were doing some type of native american chant that was really cracking us up.

you love to give kisses. you kiss me and daddy. you kiss your baby dolls, your toys, the floor. and of course, your big brother. and he loves lulu kisses as well. he insists upon kissing you before naps and bedtime.

i don’t know what kind of things you’ll be into as you get older. i do know, however, that you will be familiar with vehicles of all kinds. you like to play with jude’s cars more than any other toy. he’s getting better at sharing. you like to take his trains and push them around while saying “choo choo!” you make engine noises with the cars. i wonder where you learned that?

you are my JOY, lucy mae. the sunshine of my life.



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