Tag Archives: celebrate

The Baby is Six

Quinn_chocolate mustache

It is beyond my comprehension that you are six years old already. I will probably marvel at this year after year on your birthday — “I can’t believe the baby is 40!” — but so be it.  You are the baby now and the baby you shall forever remain, regardless of your age.

Six year olds, though, they are big.  They tie their own shoes and read their own books and make their own beds.  They don’t need their food cut up or their car seat buckled.  They play baseball and soccer and swim and they don’t need help with any of those things because they can do them on their own.  And that’s you.  You are big.

Quinn on the Cam

Not SO big, though, that you don’t hold my hand anytime we walk together.  Or snuggle up on my lap for a hug.  Thank goodness for that, because I know for certain I won’t like the day you stop doing those things.

This past year has wrought some amazing changes in you, my youngest boy.  We moved across an ocean and you began your school career in a new place surrounded not by people who knew you since before you were born, but by strangers with accents you did not always understand.  Because school in England begins at age four, you were also a full year behind your classmates in terms of being in a class all day.  In addition to all that, we learned that the way they teach the youngest grades here is very different from the way they do things back home.  Kids here learn their lowercase letters first, which you could identify but had not yet really written.  And they also teach the alphabet phonetically, so instead of learning “A, B, C” the children here knew the letters by their sounds: “ah, buh, sss”.  So very confusing. 

Q first day of school

But you, my bright and shining boy, were not daunted.  Not even a little bit.  You threw yourself into school with the same joyful abandon and wholeheartedness with which you do everything in life.  Your teacher was an amazing help and we worked hard at home every single night to catch you up with the other children.  You never expressed frustration or complained about the extra assignments.  We had you work with a remedial specialist, whom you instantly loved, of course.  Because you love everyone. 

And you thrived. 

You conquered every obstacle in your path, you caught up with your peers by the end of the first term, and you surpassed every hope and expectation I had.  I should never have had a moment’s doubt, but sometimes I still can’t help thinking of you as a baby who needs my help.  You killed it though.  And you continue to rock school every single day.  Well done, my boy.

It was so hard dropping you off that first day of school and walking away.  You did not cry, did not hesitate; you were so excited to FINALLY be going to school.  I managed to keep a brave face, I got in three or four or ten hugs before I left, and then I walked around the corner from your classroom and sobbed buckets.  You had been my daily companion for more than five years, and now you are off, for seven hours a day, forever, and I am home alone without you.  I miss you, but such is motherhood.

Q and Mom at Dover

You have grown up so much through this experience that sometimes I look at you and my breath catches in my throat as I realize how mature you’ve become.  You go to school each day happily and with great expectation that you will have a wonderful day.  You read beautifully and love to do it — and I am always grateful to sit and listen.  It makes my heart so full of happiness that I think I cannot bear it.  You have made good friends and you know every person in your grade and most of the children in the grades above and below you as well.  Your friendliness knows no bounds and your willingness — no your eagerness — to talk to anyone and everyone is one of my favorite things about you.  You see no reason why you shouldn’t befriend anyone who crosses your path, and that is a lovely thing to watch.

quinnie smiles

You’ve not quite developed a full British accent, but you’ve got one with any word you didn’t know before we moved here.  It’s comical to listen as you chat along in your normal American accent, then throw in a random word here or there in a British accent without even noticing.  It’s even better than if you had switched over completely because it makes me realize what new things you’ve learned.

This year has been full of adventures, and you love them.  Although your older siblings sometimes get sick of me waxing poetic over how lucky we are to be living here, traveling, and experiencing all these new things, you never do. You don’t roll your eyes at me; instead you talk about how COOL it was to climb to the top of the castle tower and be able to see across the English Channel.  You are not bored by anything, and it’s so much fun.

You see the best in everything and everyone, and because of that, people want to be their best around you.  You can make your sister smile even when she’s grumpy, and that is an amazing power to have over an 11-year old girl. 

B and Q at Pret

You hold your own with your big brothers and have become one of the little threesome instead of the baby tagging along behind. 

the brothers three

You worship your father and the feeling is mutual; I love watching as you build Legos together or play baseball or “work out” at the gym together almost as much as Daddy loves doing those things with you.

Dadd and Q at Dover

 How much better all our lives are because of your smiling face.

toga party gun show

You are my happiest, sweetest, most joy-filled little baby and I am grateful for you every single day.  I cannot wait to celebrate you as you turn six, and I thank the stars every day that I get to be your mom.  I love you a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck.  Happy Birthday, my baby.

Also, Quinn’s birthday letter from last year.


Lordy, Lordy

Look who’s forty…

Matt is 40

Hint: NOT ME!

In honor of this momentous occasion, forty things I love about Matt:

  1. He always makes the coffee before I get downstairs in the morning and has it ready and waiting when I get to the kitchen.
  2. He gave me these guys:IMG_4389
  3. He’s good at just about every sport he’s ever tried and it’s fun to watch him play.
  4. He’s a patient and supportive coach and teacher — he’ll spend hours playing with the kids and teaching them new skills.
  5. He is a hands-on dad and always has been — he’s changed diapers since the very first one, and never, ever shirked on his share of kid-related duties.
  6. He is a traditionalist, but he’s never against trying something new. 
  7. He makes THE BEST pancakes (always from scratch, no box mixes).
  8. He loves his job and is passionate about what he does.  It’s inspirational to live with someone who actually looks forward to going to work most of the time.
  9. He is friendly and can talk to anyone. 
  10. He is fiercely competitive, and so am I.  We show no mercy in board games, sports events, or any other competition, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
  11. He listens to and supports my crazy ideas — like completely changing the way we eat and switching to all-organic, unprocessed foods, or y’know, moving to a different country.
  12. He is really good at Legos, and teaches the kids how to build cool things. 
  13. He’s always on time. (And by on time, I mean at least 10 minutes early.)
  14. He likes getting dressed up, and he likes clothes shopping.
  15. He never says I don’t need any more shoes. 
  16. He cooks at least 50% of the dinners here, maybe more.
  17. He kills all the bugs.  And he doesn’t get annoyed when I scream at him from across the house to come save me from a spider.
  18. He supported and encouraged me when I wanted to stop working and stay home with kids.
  19. He loves to travel. 
  20. He encourages our children to look at things from other people’s perspectives.  He’s good at doing that, too.
  21. He explains difficult concepts to the children in terms they can understand, and helps them see both sides of a story.
  22. He’s really smart. 
  23. He thinks I’m a good writer, and he encourages me to pursue my own dreams.
  24. He goes to work late or leaves early to see the kids’ important events.
  25. He roots for his home teams without question, but he roots for the Red Sox if the Orioles get eliminated, and the Patriots when the Ravens lose. 
  26. He’ll stay up late combing through moving boxes to find 2 blank pieces of printer paper and get the wireless printer working so we can make sure B gets a Hogwarts letter on her 11th birthday.  He knows those little things are important.
  27. He’ll miss his own softball games to coach the boys’ baseball teams.
  28. He is loyal to his family.
  29. He’s a gracious winner and (usually) a gracious loser.
  30. He cares about teamwork and being a good sport, and teaches our children those values too.
  31. He watches Downton Abbey with me and likes it.  And isn’t embarrassed to say so.
  32. He never treats Bridget differently because she’s a girl, or the boys differently because they’re boys.  He’s teaching my children by example that gender roles are stupid and boys and girls are equals and capable of doing the same things.
  33. He is fastidious about his appearance, but not annoyingly so.
  34. He never lies to me to make things easier on himself; I know if I ask for his opinion, I’m getting his actual opinion, even if I don’t like it.
  35. He would be great in the zombie apocalypse — he’s really good at outdoor survival stuff and he’s a good shot.  (He’s totally my zombie apocalypse team captain.)
  36. He can design and build just about anything I think of.
  37. He looks at maps and basically memorizes them and then just knows where to go, which is useful because I suck at reading maps.
  38. He likes to read.  He leaves me alone when I’m reading.  And he likes to discuss and debate about the things we’ve read. 
  39. He believes that family comes first.  Period.
  40. He makes me strive to be a better version of myself and he holds us all to a high standard.  He never accepts less than his best, and he expects the best from everyone.

And suddenly, at the end of that list, I realize that forty items don’t do it justice.  He’s just a good, good person.  And I’m grateful to be spending my life with him.

Happy birthday Matt!  You make 40 look goooood. 143!

XO, Me

Inspirational Words

youth and ageToday is my birthday. I am 36 — certainly leaning more toward age than youth.  That’s okay though.

Tonight I am going to party like it’s my job (until 10:30 anyway, because that’s when the baby-sitter leaves).  Then I’m going to curl up on the couch with a glass of wine and watch TV with Matt.  ‘Cause that’s how we roll.

(Also, just FYI, anyone who sends me this birthday card will forever be my best friend!)

St. Patrick’s Day

may the road rise to meet youSt. Patrick’s Day in D.C. is NOT the same as St. Patrick’s Day in Boston.  But we make do.

shamrock plate

With Irish bread for breakfast (slathered with good butter), with Irish music on the speakers (which, to be honest, happens a lot more frequently than just this one day), with a highly modified version of a boiled dinner (I HATE boiled cabbage, so substitutions must be made), and maybe a pint of Guinness if we plan ahead (not for the children, clearly.  They make do with something else.)

Irish bread

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


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