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.





Happy Eleven, 1-1, 11!

Dear Addikins -

Today is the first day of what I consider the “start of the slide into teenagerdom.” When you are just 10, still in elementary school, it kinda feels like you are just “a big kid.” A larger version of the toddler, or little kid, you used to be. But today marks that magical day when you hit tweendom…definitely not just a “big kid” and oh so dangerously close to being a teenager. And frankly, I’m just not really sure how I feel about this development yet.

DSC_7260But then I watch you as you fit in so perfectly with Em and her friends, your seamless introduction to middle school, and this new found confidence that you seem to ooze, and I know…you are ready. And it helps my heart limp along just a little, knowing that this is how it should be. This is you stretching your wings and figuring out who you are going to be. DSC_7277

This past year I think has been one of the biggest developmental years for you. You have literally blossomed right under our noses. From sprouting a few inches to finally making it on pointe, it has been an amazing year watching you grow into a beautiful, confident young lady.


And I so admire your tenacity and determination. When you make up your mind to do something…you charge full steam ahead. It doesn’t always work out the way you’d like, but I hope you never lose that sense of adventure and willingness to just try. DSC_7245

I think the coolest thing about parenting is seeing mundane, everyday things through your kids’ eyes, and watching the world through you the past 11 years, Addikins? That has been a true gift and an incredibly fun journey so far. I can’t wait to see what the next steps in your adventure will bring.

Happy, happy Birthday, sweet Rosey Toes.
We love you with all our hearts.
Mama, Daddy & Gracie

And now we have a teenager…

Dear Gracie Girl,

I kinda can’t believe that it is true, but it is indeed official. You are a bona fide teenager as of today. Yet I’m still trying to figure out how we got from this sweet little girl…


…to this all grown up teenager.


As much as I will always think of you as that little girl of mine, it has become very apparent to me this past year that you are anything but a little girl any longer.

Right before my eyes you have grown into this beautiful, confident, kind and caring young lady.


I’m constantly in awe of you, Gracie Girl. Just when I think I have you figured out, you go and do something totally out of the “Emma-norm” and completely surprise me. And I’m (not-so-secretly) so very happy to have such a talented and creative daughter.


From being the best Big Sister…IMG_1909


To being an all-around good and dependable friend…


I think it is safe to say you are destined for very great things. And I’m so privileged to be around to witness them.

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You add so much laughter, fun, and joy to our family and I’m thankful every single day for you and your great love.

May your teen years be a breeze. Happy 13th Birthday, my sweet, sweet little girl.

Love You Always,

Double Digits…All the fingers…Finally.

Dear Addison Rose,

Oh, Rosie Toes. The day is finally here. You leave the single digit ages behind, and embark on the new adventure of double digit-dom. Finally. Waiting to turn 10, when nearly all of your friends have already had their double digit birthdays – well, that has truly been an exercise in patience, hasn’t it my sweet, impatient one?


Along with a lot of waiting, this long year has brought so many great changes for you. I watched you a few weeks ago as you were so frightened and on the verge of giving up. After you worked through all of your “I can’t do its,” you climbed to the top of a 40-foot tree and then precariously balanced and walked a tightrope wire between two trees. FORTY-feet above the ground. Slowly I could see your fear growing into persistence as you learned that you may be small, but you are definitely mighty. DSC_3856

And your confidence has grown by leaps and bounds this past year. I loved getting to the ballet studio early and peeking in the window to watch you demonstrate a dance combination to the class. And I loved standing in the wings with you backstage watching you while you clasped hands with your friends and anxiously awaited your cue to go on stage. Really I just love any moment when I can sit back and watch the complete joy on your face while you dance or express yourself creatively.


And of course, your love for all animals is still so strong and has led you to becoming a full-on, completely dedicated vegetarian this past summer. (I really should’ve seen that one coming.) Once you make your mind up about something, there really is no going back.


This past year might have seemed like an eternity to you, but you managed to pack a lot in, Addikins. And it is all working for you, kiddo. Keep on, keeping on.


We love the strong, funny, creative, and beautiful girl you are growing into. May your next year be just as amazing.

Happy Birthday, my sweet girl.
I couldn’t possibly love you more,

Happy 12, Gracie Girl!


Dear Gracie Girl,

Wow, it has been a bit of a rollercoaster of a year now, hasn’t it? Sometimes I wonder how in the world you can be turning 12, while at the same time thinking “huh, you are only 12?!” It has been a hard year for me now that you are an “almost teenager” and a full-on middle schooler. I’m trying desperately to walk that fine line between letting you go – an independent little birdie stretching your wings, and pulling you back onto my lap – keeping you safely tucked into our little nest.

So, I think I have been doing fairly well, refraining from posting stories and/or embarrassing anecdotes here on the ‘ol blog. But just for a moment, on today…your 12th birthday, I think I should be allowed to gush about my girl for maybe a minute or two? So hold back your “Moooommm’s!” and your eye-rolling and let me just say this, real quick.

Gracie, I just look at you every day and am pretty much in awe of this young lady standing in front of me (and yes, I might not have to look down any longer, but I’m still not quite looking UP at you…yet.). You are pretty much the daughter that any parent could ever hope to raise. You are loving and kind, smart and funny, beautiful inside and out. And I’m pretty sure you will never know the full extent of how proud of you we are, but I hope you do know how very much we love you and hope that your 12th year is your best yet!


Ok, I’m done. I promise to not embarrass you any more. For another year at least.

Happy Birthday, sweet girl.
Love you,


Worst Blogger Ever.

Jamie told me the other night that he doesn’t think I even qualify as a blogger any more since it seems I am unable to put up any sort of blog post any more. I’m currently downloading 2 months worth of end-of-year activities in the form of photos and videos.

Wow. We were crazy busy and fit a lot into the end of the school year.

I think we need a vacation…and…happy news for us, we leave tomorrow morning for Hawaii. We are spending two whole weeks on a family vacation and it really could not have come at a better time. We are all a little fried and desperately in need of some rest and relaxation.

So, I will be back. And there will be lots of updates, photos, videos and stories. And maybe, just maybe,  I can earn my blogger title back.