Monthly Archives: August 2013

Dear my two-year-old,

It’s hard to believe this was you on Aug. 23, 2011 and we just celebrated your second birthday!


My sweet, sweet Peyton, where did these last two years go? I think back that they’ve gone by so quickly but then I think about how much has changed during that time with you and with our family.

I look back at your newborn pictures and I hardly recognize that little one. You look so different now. Your eyes aren’t blue anymore but a greenish/hazel, just like your daddy. Your hair is getting lighter and your eyebrows are still hardly visible, another daddy trait. Actually the older you get, the more you look like daddy. There is no denying you are his and I love that he has a little mini me running around. You are still petite, just like you were the Tuesday when you arrived at just 6 pounds 9 ounces, but you are strong. The doctor said even though your size has always been in the lower percentile you are solid and I’m reminded of that every time I lift you up. Those 25 pounds feel so heavy.

Since having your sister around, you look even bigger to me. A bigger body and just a bigger boy who is now completing sentences, using his manners, testing his independence, scrapping his knees at least once a day and always, always snuggling with me first thing in the morning.

The best part of my days are when you are playing independently while I feed your sister and you stop and come running just to hug my leg and say ‘hi.’ Those hugs, while all your hugs, are so heartfelt and it feels like you squeeze with everything you have! I know those days won’t last forever and pretty soon I’ll be the mom dropping you off at school begging for a hug or a kiss before you jump out of the car.

– Yes, Peyton I’m saying it now. I’m going to be the annoying mom who loves on her son, in public. I apologize now for embarrassing you but I’m warning you too.

I am so blessed that I will get 12 weeks with you at home everyday and not going to work. I have loved every minute and even those trying days when I count down the minutes to your nap time so I can get a breather are worth it.

We celebrated your second birthday with all the things you love. Pancakes and strawberries for breakfast, a play date with your best friend at the park, mac and cheese for lunch, spaghetti for dinner and a movie night watching a new Cars movie with your new favorite snack, popcorn.  You got a new train table that you already adore! Most of your days are spent around that table running all your toys with wheels up and down the hills.

The day was perfect and we sang to you when the clock turned 4:28 p.m. Daddy even made sure to be home from work.



Peyton, you are wonderful and these last two years have been so rewarding and fulfilling. I have loved watching you grow into the little boy you are becoming. Here’s to year three and probably so many more changes. As long as the snuggles and hugs don’t end yet, I’m ok with what’s to come.

I love you so much P-Pod,



Dear Waterloo,

I spent so many days and the last part of high school dreaming of the day that I would move far away from the small upstate New York town that I called home. Small is an understatement when I was one of only 5,000 other people who lived in the town with two stop lights. And who cares if there was a corn field at the end of my road, I would argue with anyone that I didn’t live in the country. Hubs still reminds me of the corn every time I say I lived in the village.

I did move far away from that town the moment I got the chance. I picked a small, I’m seeing a trend, liberal arts college in western Virginia, a good 9 hours from home. I was so excited and looking back it was the best decision I’ve ever made. I moved far out of my comfort zone. I learned how to do my own laundry, cook my own meals and learn to live with people from all over the country. It took a little while to understand the southern accents but I embraced it and even found best friends who were Yankees just like me. The same girls stood by my side when I got married, along with some southerners that I still call friends.

After graduation, I had the opportunity to move to a ‘big’ city and I jumped at the chance. Anything was better than moving back home, I thought. So after 10 years, I’m still living in that city but my impression of Waterloo has changed. Maybe it’s my age but I have so much more love for that little town than I ever expected.

Now it’s eight hours away and I try to make the trip a few times a year. Little Miss Mallory made her first trip up north with mom and big brother in tow for a week long vaca at Mimi and Packa’s (Peyton gave my parents their names) house. Both kids were angels on the drive up and they spent the week visiting with so many family members, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends who are like family and their GG (great grandma). We visited all of my favorite places, including a drive in restaurant that looks the same as it did when my parents ate their 40 years ago. They still only take cash (like many places in the ‘loo) still have the same hand painted menu and still have the best, I repeat best, root beer floats I have ever had. Peyton loved it and Mal slept through it so it was a successful outing.

The kids also experienced the benefits of living by the lake in the summer and knowing friends with a boat. Looking back, I don’t understand why I didn’t take more advantage of the water. Now the first thing I want to do when I get home is head to the lake.



It was such a great week and as always it went way too fast. Now having kids, I appreciate that everyone lives only five minutes away from each other and that having all your family around is amazing, not annoying.

I love Richmond and that’s my home now and that’s where my kids will grow up but Waterloo will have a special place in their hearts too, I’ll make sure of it. Who cares if there’s a corn field at the end of the street, I’ll show them one day where I learned to drive on those back country roads that I may or may not have gone into a ditch on my first time.

It was a great vaca though and until next time Waterloo, I’ll miss you. I wish the eight hours was just a little closer.


Kelli, a small town girl at heart

Dear single parents,

I don’t know how you do it, I really don’t. I got my taste of single parenthood for three days with two children and I didn’t like it. It was hard to be the only one all day and all night caring and attending to their every need, boo boo or cry. My three-week-old is up every two to three hours at night so it didn’t give me much time to rest and my rambunctious  (almost) two-year-old is just that. Almost two! He is testing his independence but also still adjusting to have to share my lap with his sister or my attention. If he is in a mood, he doesn’t like that either.

While hubs was out of town for work, I gave in and probably showed a few too many episodes of Little Einsteins while Mal was eating. But it worked and Peyton was happy and distracted for those 30 minutes. Even though I’m with the kids all day alone while hubs is at work, I know that relief is coming when dinner time hits. Even if he’s just watching the kids while I make dinner, change a load of laundry, take a shower or hell even go to the bathroom, it’s worth it. Parents understand that that isn’t even private anymore and most likely Peyton is in there with me.

Also, the companionship after the kids go to bed is something I yearn for. A warm body next to me while I sleep or another set of hands sharing a bowl of popcorn. Parenthood is hard regardless and we do what’s best for our children and make each day work. But going into it with a partner by your side is priceless and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

So to all the single parents out there, you are my heroes. You are probably the strongest and most resilient people and I hope you are using yourself as an example to teach your children. To my friends who are going at it alone, or who have done it in the past, I’m here for you to bring you dinner, change your laundry or watch your kids while you go to the bathroom. I know that quiet, alone time is needed!

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’m sure you don’t hear it enough that you are doing a great job.



Dear my one-month-old,

In an instant, my precious little Mallory hit your first milestone (and so did the rest of us). You are now officially one-month-old. Hubs and I have made it through the first month as parents to two children under that age of two! And I must admit, we’ve done a great job thus far, including Peyton. He adores his baby sister some days and could care less others. His cars and trucks sometimes takes priority over you.

But not to worry those cars and trucks don’t for me. Little Mallory, you are wonderful and just a blessing to our family. I know we are still in the newborn phase but I also know it won’t be that way for long. Before I know it, you’ll be three months, then six, then a year, then sneaking out of the house in clothes that your father wouldn’t approve of. In just one week you look so much older to me. Time, please slow down and please don’t get big too fast. Some of your newborn clothes are becoming a little too tight for comfort and we are going to have to retire them to the attic pretty soon.

You are just starting to smile and I don’t care if it’s just gas, I’ll take it and tell you later that you smiled at just three weeks old. Speaking of gas, girl you are stinky and loud! You’ll be embarrassed later that you mamma is talking about it, but it’s worth mentioning. You can clear a room with that diaper and sometimes just the gas alone makes me run to change you only to realize there is nothing there. Your little tummy has been very upset lately though and that’s caused many, many hours of crying and screaming. Trust me, your mommy and daddy want to take away that pain for you if we could. You pouty lips and sad faces break our hearts.

Everyone always asks how you are sleeping and how tired we are. Well little one, I don’t want to jinx anything but you are a good sleeper at night, only getting up once and at the most twice. That is much different than your brother who was up all the time and so angry each time. You wake up and eat and then typically go back to sleep so peacefully. I hope this continues but really it’s only been a month so who knows what could change.

So let’s slow down a bit, shall we. Please continue to furrow your brow at me throughout the day when you don’t like something or when we forced you to go to Wal-Mart for the first time. Trust me Mal, we didn’t like that either but we just needed to pick something up that we ordered for your brother. And speaking of your brother. He loves you so so much. He constantly wants to give you kisses and share his toys with you. Please realize that he doesn’t quite understand that you don’t want his cars on your head or that your body isn’t his race track. He’ll learn soon enough just how delicate you are but in the meantime, he’s roughing you up a bit. One thing is for sure is that we love having you in our family and I love not being outnumbered with your dad and brother.

Here’s to month two, where you will experience so many other firsts, including your first long car ride to New York to visit all of mommy’s family. Most likely you’ll also visit your first winery on that trip and your first experience of the Finger Lakes. I’ll warn you now that the water will probably be cold but it’s beautiful and you’ll love taking yearly summer trips there throughout your childhood.

My dear, dear Mallory, Mal, Mally and Mal Pal, I can’t wait to watch you grow and see how our family adjusts even more in the weeks and months to come. You are wonderful and I love you so much.