Penelope's 5th Birthday

Um..hi out there! I realize I haven't blogged in many, many months, but I couldn't let Penelope's birthday come and go without writing her annual birthday letter. I hope you are following me on Instagram where I post much more frequently :) Perhaps I'll be back here someday soon!

Dear Penelope,
Five.
Five whole years.
Five years since you came into our world and changed it forever.
Five years since you made me a Mom.
Five years of sunshine, fun, smiles, infectious laughs and the very best snuggles.
Five years of challenges that I never could have prepared for.
Five years of fun.
The longest and shortest five years of my life.

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A few weeks ago, we got all of our snow gear on for the walk to school. We were running late, as usual. You, in your hot pink coat with furry lining, a matching pink Trolls hat, and bright blue Paw Patrol boots, turned to me as I closed the door and said: Mom I’m going to run.

You took off down our long hallway with reckless abandon, feet churning and long hair waving, running with the pure, innocent joy of a baby. I had to stop and just watch you, to soak in the moment. How much longer will you do these things? How much longer will I see the remnants of a baby before you’re too much of a big girl and too grown to run without self-awareness or worry of anyone watching? It was that moment that hit me like a ton of bricks and all I could do was shed some tears and try to imprint the moment on my brain.

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You had a big year. You finished pre-k 3 and started 4s. You loved summer camp. You learned karate and earned a yellow stripe belt, followed by an orange stripe. You took dance class and absolutely loved it. You were a toy soldier in the school Christmas pageant and absolutely rocked it.

You became the very best big sister to ever exist, I’m pretty sure. Watching you and Henry together makes my heart sing. If Henry is fussy, you happily make him laugh. If Henry is happy, it’s likely you aren’t far away. If Henry needs a diaper change, you say: Mom, let me get my step stool! so that you can help. Not one moment of jealousy. Not one moment of not understanding why henry needs extra attention. You love your brother and you love being a big sister. When Henry was born, you received a big sibling book, and in it was a question about how you felt when you found out you were going to be a big sister. Your response? I always wanted a baby.
 

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This year, we did lots of cooking and baking together. You are always excited to help in the kitchen and lately I’ve started to let you use small knives to chop vegetables and you do such a great job. So meticulous and precise. From vegan cookies to dad’s sandwiches, you’ve made a ton of goodies over the last year.

You still manage to challenge us on the daily. You fight with us about wearing pants, shorts, tights and shoes. Fight is an understatement. In these really tough moments, I pray for strength and pray that you also continue to have courage in your convictions. Because while it’s painful to get us all out of the house in the morning, there’s a small part of me that remembers I still hope that you never stop fighting for what you want.

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You are so close to reading. You can sound out letters and love writing. Will you be a writer someday like me? I would love that so much. You love your baby dolls, and have more than you can keep up with naming at this point. You love school and your friends. I wish I could be a butterfly on the wall of your classroom so I could listen in on what you all talk about (we recently found out that you discuss music and who got to see despacito performed on tv (at the Grammys)).

We just took a big, big trip to Disney World over your birthday. Daddy and I had been planning it for months and I’m so happy to say that it was truly one of the best weeks and trips I’ve ever taken. I had the best time experiencing the magic of Disney with you and I will cherish those memories forever.

Happy birthday, my sweet baby girl. Thank you for being you.
 

On Penelope's 2nd Birthday

 

my dear sweet Penny Jane,

I don't know what happened, but I blinked and you went from being a tiny little baby to a full blown little girl. Today, you turn 2 years old and I'm in disbelief. I could go on about how fast this last year went, but I will probably say that every year for the rest of all the years and so let's not get hung up on that part.

I've watched this year as you took your first steps which turned into walking and now running with reckless abandon. I've heard your first non-crying sounds become lots of jibberish and more recently a lot of real words and phrases. Just this last week, you've begun chatting all the time and stringing words together. Daddy says he cannot wait for you to really talk so we can know what you are saying, but I keep telling him that he should be careful what he wishes for. I know you are going to be a non-stop talker, just like he is...and then I'll have two of you!

Some of my favorite recent words & phrases are:

"It's messy!"

"A big mess!"

"Sheeee!" (--->cheese)

"Mama, mama!" (--->obviously my favorite)

"I see you!"

 

One of our favorite weekend activities is going to the park. Your dad and I love it just as much, if not more, than you! I've watched you go from being terrified of the swings, to climbing up the jungle gym and refusing our help to go down the big slide. I've watched you learn how to use a fork and spoon, and how you love to clean up when you've made a mess. One of your favorite past times is throwing away garbage.

 

You are such a good girl. You play so nicely for hours with all of your toys, your favorites being your baby dolls and your play kitchen & food from Santa. You always make breakfast and dinner for me and these are the moments that I look forward to each day. You recently discovered bath finger paints and so bathtime has gotten exponentially more fun. We paint up the tub and listen to a variety of Disney music every night. You love music and dancing. Sometimes we do 'our dance' which consists of wiggling, twirling and, your favorite, dipping. You don't want to miss out on anything and you have serious FOMO. You love playing with bigger kids and it makes my heart want to burst watching you chasing and playing with other kids.

You are rambunctious and you know what you want, when you want it. I hope that you never outgrow that. My hope for you in life is to always know what you want and that you go after it and make it happen for yourself. Don't wait for things to happen, or for someone else to get things for you. Get things for yourself.

 

While I can see that we are entering the terrible twos (evidenced this week by some hitting and lots of 'mine!'), I know that you will grow up to be a nice girl. I can see already how you share with friends, how you give so many hugs & kisses, how you love to help Mom clean up or in the kitchen, and how you just want to be a part of everything that goes on. I hope that you will always be kind and always see the good in others. You never know what kind of day someone else is having or what they are going through. 

 

I hope you will always be happy in whatever you do. No matter what it is, life isn't life without happiness. I hope you find joy in small things in life and always appreciate what you have and recognize what others might not have. My dad, your Poppy, always told me to make good decisions. I hope that you will always make good decisions. But even if you don't, I'll be here.

 

This last year has been the most fun of my life. It's often hard and exhausting and caffeine-ridden and unshowered and bleary eyed, but Penelope, you've brought so much joy, light and laughter to my life and you are the best thing I've ever done. You make me laugh, you make me cry and you make everyday better. After a rough day, I forget it all when I come home to you. And I usually can't wait for you to wake in the morning because I've missed you already. I think my absolute favorite time of day though is when we do post-bath, pre-bedtime snuggles on the couch with a good movie.

 

 

You really love school and that makes me so happy. It's so hard to leave you everyday, but I know that you are having fun with your friends at school. I go to work for you and for me and for our family. I hope that I make you proud. I hope that when you are grown, you are ambitious and do the things that you love and work hard at those things. One of the aspects of motherhood that I never anticipated is the realization of my own mortality and not to get morbid, but I often just sit back and think about how much I hope that I'm around for a very, very long time to see everything that you do in life.  

 

Most of all, Penelope, THANK YOU for being the sweet, adorable, amazing little girl you are. Thank you for making everyday special. I can't wait to see what this year brings! 

love, Mommy

 

TBT: 2 Years Ago Nostalgia


Monday marks Penelope's 2nd birthday. I have such nostalgia this time of year for 2 years ago when I was awaiting her arrival. Couped up in my apartment while Shaun drove to work every morning, I had set up a back pillow and towel on the couch and enjoyed my last days of alone time. I took short walks in the mornings for a decaf coffee at Dunkin and a little treat, often a brownie batter donut, afraid to venture too far away from home should I unexpectedly go into fierce and quick labor. I worked from home and answered daily texts from friends, family and co-workers, asking if I thought maybe today would be the day? I joyfully gave my symptoms of the day and wondered the same myself.  It all feels like a lifetime ago, yet I remember it like yesterday.

For today's Throwback Thursday I thought it would be fun to link back to some of the posts leading up to Penelope's birth day, and her actually birth story.

 

My due date + final nursery reveal

Penelope's birth story i/ii/iii

These citrus loaf cakes that I made to freeze before her arrival

Evidence of my crazy nesting

What I packed in my hospital bag

What I packed in baby's hospital bag

 

We decided not to have a big party for her birthday this year (we did that for her 1st birthday last year) and instead will have a small dinner and birthday cake with our parents and siblings this weekend. We are also planning a Frozen movie viewing with a few of the kids in our building, but that's about it.



It's crazy how fast time flies and I keep trying to pinpoint when Penelope began becoming more of a little girl than of a little baby. I feel so lucky and my heart overflows with love for this little girl. I never knew how much I'd love being a Mom until she came along. And so for the next few days, I can't wait to celebrate my sweet little P and shed a few happy tears for the light she's brought to my life.

Happy Throwback Thursday!