Happy 17 in Quarantine!

Dear Emma Grace -

This has been the craziest month and will most certainly be one of your most memorable birthdays…Ever. When I said I was certain you would make history one day, I’m not entirely sure this was the kind of history I was thinking, but here we are.

Today is day 28 of our Quarantine, and despite being a little stir-crazy, you are taking it all in stride, like you have taken most things for the past 17 years.


While we have been enjoying our “together time” with everything cancelled and nothing on our calendar, I do realize what a bummer it is celebrating your birthday in quarantine. This birthday also serves as a reminder that we only have one more year with you in the nest before you fly off into the world.



But like I write every year, it has been pure joy watching you grow into such an amazing, caring, thoughtful, compassionate and loving kid.

Your patience with your sister…





Your continued activism on behalf of the injustices of the world…



And your insanely funny sense of humor and outlook on life -




…it all seems to have no bounds. And from our front seat view to all of it, it has been awe-inspiring to watch, and makes us so, so proud, Gracie Girl.



Now as we move to the “back seat,” and you drive full speed ahead into this last year of high school, I will keep reminding myself that you have all you need to go out and make your mark on this world. Go out and change it. Go make (good) history. (Ok, except for that list of “things we need to make sure you know before you go to college – but we have a year to check them all off!)

So much love to you in this “last” year filled with so many lasts and so many milestones. And remember if you need Daddy and I you only need to turn around and we’ll be right behind you!

Happy 17, Beautiful Girl.
Love you so much,

Happy 14, Addie Rose!

Dear Rosie Toes -

This is a little bit on the late side tonight, but I kind of feel like that has been a bit what this past year has been like. You – running at top speed, barreling towards being a grown-up kid, and me – just trying to keep up.

I mean, how did we get from this little, messy face…


….to this temper tantrum-throwing toddler….

2157599492_f8f8ea893f_b…to this beautiful young lady…


…in what literally feels like, moments?

This year we watched you tackle your fear head-on when you jumped in (literally) and learned how to scuba dive.

DSCN0913 DSCN1023

And next up is high school…which doesn’t stand a chance. When you put your mind to something, I’m pretty certain there is nothing you can’t do! Not that I want to stand in your way, but maybe you can just slow down a tiny little bit so your old Mommy can keep up?

Hoping this year is full of all kinds of challenges, fun and most of all happiness! Happy 14th, baby!

Love you with all my heart. Always.


Awe…She is 16.

Dear Gracie Girl -

Each year it gets harder and harder to write these birthday notes. Not because you are getting older and closer to leaving the nest, (okay, maybe it is a little bit that too…) and not because I don’t have anything to say, I mean it is the only time of the year I am “allowed” to be mushy and post embarrassing photos of you. But it is just difficult to put into words how incredibly proud  Daddy and I are of you. I often feel like we must have done something good in another lifetime to be blessed with you.

DSC_0364Sixteen years ago I remember just holding you and staring in complete and utter awe, for everything about you was so little, so perfect. And Gracie, I still feel that same awe when I look at you today. You are so kind and caring, smart, funny and strong. I think back to my 16-year old self and am amazed at how much more mature, confident and self-assured you are than I was – I mean, like you are light-years beyond!


Your observant, sit-back-and-watch attitude has served you well and I love hearing your creative ideas and seeing the world through your eyes. And nothing, NOTHING, makes me happier than seeing you with Addie and watching your friendship grow. You were made to be the greatest big sister…and you are killing it. ;)


As you leave that rough year of “15″ behind, I’m certain your resilience and strength are going to move you into your best year yet. And I’ll be here cheering you on, as always. Simply in awe.

Happy Birthday, dearest Gracie.
All my love. Always.

Daddy’s (and Uncle Jeff’s!) Day!

I know I only get on here lately to post birthday notes & BIG special days. But since Jam really hates social media, this is a little less invasive way to tell him how much he means to us.


I can’t imagine a better husband, father, or best friend than this guy. So very lucky that he is ours. Wishing you a very happy year filled with so much love, baby!

Happy Birthday!
Love Forever,
Your Girls


My dearest Addikins -

Today you are finally an “official” teenager. It is a little surreal that you are no longer considered “a little kid,” I mean…you are a teenager…on your way to high school, driving, and ALL THE THINGS!

IMG_9929And while I love watching you grow up into this amazing young woman full of wonder and love, a tiny part of me still wants to go back to when you were a baby in my arms instead of having to fight you to hold all the cute babies now.

IMG_5510While you still LOVE kitties with all of your being, your idea of what you want to be “when you grow up” has changed from being a “vegetarian veterinarian” (what you used to tell everyone – but you really only wanted to help cats) and it continues to change each week.IMG_6322

Maybe a dancer?


Maybe a baker?


Maybe working with kids?


Or maybe a gardener?


Or a scientist?


Whatever it is you decide, Rosie Toes – you are going to be spectacular, I have no doubt. You are determined, smart and incredibly gifted with so many talents, and I just know your first year as a teenager is going to be a great adventure.

IMG_5406Love you with all my heart, Addikins. Happy 13!


25 Years! That is a quarter of a century…

IMG_9213Today is our official 25th anniversary day, although we kind of have been celebrating it all summer long. In truth, we have been celebrating it EVERY day for the past 25 years. I feel so lucky to have found “my one” (early!) and grateful that we have been able to build this incredible life together.

J’s belief in me makes me braver, his support in all I do makes me stronger, and his love is what pushes me to be the best person I can – for us, and for our family. No hesitation, no regrets, wouldn’t change a minute of our life for anything, and can’t wait for our next 25 years together.
#summer2018#25yearsandcounting #stilltheone #lookslikewemadeit

Fifteen…going on Sixteen

Dear Emma Grace -

I can’t believe my easy-going, smart, funny and most beautiful (inside and out) girl turns 15 today. I’m not entirely sure how this happened since it feels like just yesterday when you made me a Momma, Gracie. But I thank all the stars, (little stars and big stars) in the heavens that we are blessed with you. You inspire me to be a better Mama each and every day and I’m so excited to see all of the amazing things you are going to accomplish.

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Happy Birthday my sweet girl. Have an amazing year on your way to Sixteen!

Twelve. At LAST.

Dear Addikins -

Today you turn twelve, Addie Rose. It has been a long year as you are always the last of all of your friends to have a birthday. But for this Mama this year is the last year before you become a teenager, the last year I can pretend I have a little girl, still.

See, the minute I found out about you started a string of “lasts” for me. The last time I’d be pregnant. The last time I’d feel that intense, instant feeling of love looking into my newborn baby’s eyes. The last all-nighter with a screaming baby. The last kid to potty train. The last “first step.” The last time I could carry a sleeping kid up the stairs to bed. A lot of the “lasts” slipped right on by and I didn’t even realize at the time they were the last. And that makes me the saddest of all.
So I am paying attention to every last minute of this last year before you become a teenager. I don’t want to miss a moment as you head into this year of Twelve. I am excited to watch you charge ahead, as only our Addie can, and take the next twelve months by storm.

Happy Birthday, my sweet Rosie Toes. I love you with every last bit of my being. Have an amazing year being an amazing kid.



Dear Gracie Girl -

You’d think since I have a whole year to write these birthday posts that it would be somehow easier and I wouldn’t leave it to the last minute, but…well…that just isn’t so. In fact I think in a way these actually get harder to write each year. But, that is just the way with a lot of things these days – some things are getting so much easier, and others? Well, they just seem so much harder.


Fourteen years ago, bringing you home was the hardest thing I had ever done. We had no idea what we were doing with our sweet little bundle of Emma. But day by day, we figured it out and it kinda just got easier.


You were a very easy baby and have grown into an pretty easy-going teenager, too. You have such a calm, beautiful soul, Gracie. I’m always in awe of how easy you make everything you do appear to be, you seem naturally good at so many things. You are smart, funny, even-keeled and really just easy to love.


Of course it isn’t all easy, all the time. I often get a bit panicky when I think about how quickly you are growing up. It is really hard to sit and watch you stretch your wings, and maybe stumble, or even fall. And I know the day you leave our nest…that day will be a million times harder than that first day we brought you home from the hospital. IMG_0641

But for now I will take all the easy and hard. And I will just pray that this will be an easy year filled with amazing new adventures and happiness always.

Happy Birthday, my sweet Gracie Girl.
I love you with all my heart,



Post-Election Shock and Sadness

Dear Emma Grace & Addison Rose,

I have been up all night trying to make sense of this crazy election and trying to figure out what to say to you when we inevitably talk about it today, the day after our country elected a President who I didn’t think was qualified, or the best person for the job.

While tossing and turning all night, I struggled with these feelings of failing you both. The only thing I can relate it to was feeling very much like having a rug ripped out from underneath women everywhere. One minute we were standing in awe and hope with a woman’s name on the ballot for President, thinking that anything is possible, and the next moment we watched all those dreams crumble, while America decided that a racist, misogynistic, hothead with no self-control was the lesser of two evils. Then these feelings snowballed into tears and I began to have so many questions. “Will a woman ever become President?” “What kind of world are we raising you girls in?” “How can there be so much hate and unfairness?” and “Can we just move to Amsterdam already?”

Finally, I gave up trying to sleep and came downstairs. And in the light of this beautiful morning, seeing your sweet faces, I realized that the hope I carry in my heart everyday…the hope that you both will lead successful, brilliant, happy lives full of love…that hope is still alive. Throughout today I’ve been letting this all simmer in my mind, I’ve been talking with Daddy and reading some really insightful stuff and I think I can finally start to make sense of all of this. And maybe answer some of those questions that kept me up all night long…

Will a woman ever become President?
Yes, of course. It is going to happen and I really even believe maybe at the next election. Or at the election after that, which by the way, both of you will get to vote in! Maybe THAT is when it is meant to happen, and you will get to vote our first Woman President into office.  As for last night, almost 50 million people cast their vote last night for a woman, giving Hillary more votes than Donald Trump in the popular vote. It is all just a process, and albeit a little too slow for my liking, the shift has begun and I have no doubt that the gender gap is closing. Girls will get their day. I loved the line that Hillary said in her concession speech, “To all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable, and powerful, and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.” I think it is only a matter of time until everyone sees men and women as equal. We will just keep fighting for an equal seat at the table.

What kind of world are we raising you in?/How can there be so much hate and unfairness?
So here is the thing. Last night was the perfect example of democracy in action within our nation. Many people are not happy with their current situation and so they used their right to vote, voiced their opinion, and initiated a change. I want to believe that those almost 50 million people who cast their vote for Trump last night were simply hoping to change their trajectory of their lives. Many of them are not as fortunate as our family. They are out of a job, living in neighborhoods that are not safe and they are unable to attend school or provide a secure environment for their families. Or they are just unhappy with the democratic stance on certain issues, and they saw Hillary as another 4 more years of the same policies that President Obama had put in place. I think they felt Trump could be a catalyst for change like he kept promising in all of his talk. I also think, or at least want to believe, that many people overlooked Trump’s (for lack of a better word) gross behavior and the things that were said by all of the supposed “grown ups” during the past few months because they were just so desperate for this change.

That being said, a change in leadership and direction of our country does not mean that it changes us as people. We are still kind, loving, compassionate people with respect for ALL. It is so encouraging that even you – 11 and 13-year old girls – are smart enough, to call people out, to be indignant and even a little bit angry when you see someone bully others, make fun of others, or treat anyone in a demeaning way. My hope that you will continue to recognize this unfairness and be brave enough to stand up to those who feel it is acceptable behavior.

Now, and always, remember our Golden Rule – Treat others who you want to be treated. Or Luke 6:31, – Do unto others as you would have done to you. Just continue to do all things from a place of love and compassion. Many of our friends and family are going to have very different viewpoints on many things – but listen with understanding, speak with love and act with compromise.

Can we just move to Amsterdam already?
Ha! Although I would like nothing more than to just throw my hands up and walk away from all of this,  we can’t. And more than that, we still live in the greatest country in the world. There isn’t another place on this Earth that is as diverse or offers its citizens as many freedoms and privileges as America. We owe it to HAMILTON, Washington, Jefferson…all of the founding fathers of our nation to respect and uphold democracy, otherwise what were they fighting for? We need to be open-minded and allow Donald Trump the chance to lead as President. We will hold him accountable for his actions, for sure, but we will also pray for him and pray that he will be a good President.

One thing is for sure, I’m encouraged by the fact that you will become our leaders one day. I feel confident that this is a great learning process for you and for all of the youth of our world. And when we hand the baton on over to you, I think you are going to do amazing things. Keep asking questions, listening and learning. And remember what the Dalai Lama says, “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”

I love you, my strong, and always amazing, Girls.