These are letters to Jack, my son, and my daughter, Audrey. You have given me the gift of motherhood. This is just a little gift back. I want to share my experiences with you of your childhood from my perspective of watching you grow - of being your Mom.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

28 February 2006 - Letter from Aunt Erin

Dear Jack,

Boy do we miss you. It’s been three weeks since we’ve seen you. That’s probably the longest we’ve gone without seeing you in this whole first year of your life.

About three weeks ago, you started getting sick. Since then, you’ve run the gamut of illnesses, from fever and ear infections to a nasty case of the rota virus. As parents of a two-month-old, your Uncle Brett and I have needed to keep our distance in an effort to keep your cousin healthy. And the result is that we miss you very much indeed.

Tomorrow is the first day of March, which is your birthday month. Like everyone else in the family, I can hardly believe you are already one year old. Yet in another way, I can hardly imagine my world without you in it.

I often call you a ham because you have a way of making people laugh. Your giggle is contagious and you enjoy the comedic effect you have on others. After your cousin Calum was born, I went for several weeks with very little sleep. On the Tuesday when Cal was three weeks old, I was exhausted to the point that I wondered if I had the strength to smile. I was sitting in your Grandma’s living room nursing your cousin and you started to play peek-a-boo with me. I found myself laughing in spite of it all. You were a glimmer of light when I needed it most.

Since you have gotten sick with this roto virus, we have thought about you day and night. In a selfish way, it has been difficult on us to stay away from you. Your Uncle Brett calls home from work several times a day to see if I have any news about you. I want so badly to come over there, scoop you up into a big hug and stroke the few strands of hair on that bald head. I miss dancing and singing with you. You wave your little hands in the air as I sing, so sweet in your acceptance of my song no matter how off-key.

In the past two weeks, your Mommy and Daddy have had some scary, sleepless nights. They have stayed up all night, holding you and trying to keep fluids in you to keep you out of the hospital. When I have seen your Mom in the past few days, I commented to her that she looked so tired. She truly didn’t seem to notice her own fatigue; you are their one concern. We’re thankful that you are young enough and won’t remember this sickness. But what you will carry with you is how well your Mommy and Daddy have cared for you. That is a feeling that is instilled deep inside you; you are loved, little boy, and your family will always be here for you.

You are a bright, sweet, curious bugger. When you grow up, I am confident you can become whatever you dream of becoming (except perhaps for a judge on American Idol, based on how you like my singing). You are also tough and we know you will come out of this okay, if a little skinny. This morning, you’re Grandma told me that you kept down some solid foods and were smiling. She said you seemed like your happy self, just a bit leaner. I am so happy to hear it.

In two weeks, we will celebrate your birthday. Keep on getting better, little buddy. You’ve got lots of birthday cake waiting for you!

Love always,

Aunt Erin

Monday, February 27, 2006

Rota Virus



You poor little sweetheart! It turns out you didn't have the flu at all recently, but the Rota Virus which is a nasty little virus that gives babies nausea with vomitting and diarrhea. It's been really rough on you!

There was a day last week when we almost had to take you to the hospital for dehydration. You were moderately dehydrated, but we were able to persist with giving you Pedialyte and Lactose free formula in order to get you through that rough period. As of today, you are still struggling with frequent diarrhea and you have a horrible diaper rash, but we think it's slowing down a little.

Everyone has been so supportive. Your Aunt Kelly came by and helped me one evening with the dogs and ran to the store to pick up some more Pedialyte for you and your Aunt Erin has brought us countless items that we have used to get us through this period - wipes, chicken noodle soup, Tylenol, Gatorade, and homemade Butternut Squash lasagna which may be the best lasagna I have ever eaten in my life! Also - a couple of beers to take the sting out of the late nights ;)

On Saturday night, your belly button which has been kind of red and swollen - looked infected so we called your Aunt Kelly who looked at it and thought we might need to bring you to the hospital to have it checked out. We called your Grandpa Dougherty ("Poppa") and he came by at midnight to have a look himself.

After he looked at it, he concluded you had an infection in your belly button that had walled itself off and become it's own entity and needed to be drained. Instead of taking you to the hospital where you could have been exposed to other things and potentially get something else. Also, it would have been so stressful for you, so - instead, Poppa Dougherty and your Aunt Kelly drove with us over to Grandpa Dougherty's doctors office and they opened up the infection after putting on a numbing agent and put in a stint so it could drain for you.

Your belly button already looks SO much better today and I can tell that you feel relief from the pressure that was there before when it was swollen and bothersome.

Your Daddy is now sick with the flu - he threw up yesterday - so we have been trying to give him some time to sleep so he can get better fast. Long story short - we've all been kind of under the weather for more than a couple of weeks now (we had colds before the Rota Virus), but I'm aiming for us all to be recovered by this weekend and we'll have a nice weekend together - appreciating feeling good!

Nothing makes you appreciate being healthy more than immediately after feeling awful!

I have had the comfort through this period of getting a lot of snuggle time with you and THAT part of this period has been nice. We took about 3 long walks this weekend which I refer to as snuggle walks because we just snuggled the whole walk - but being outside allowed us to get some fresh air and sun while we snuggled. It's good for my heart to have those moments of closeness with you. I love them so much!

You are the best little boy ever, J - J!!! Mommy and Daddy love you so much!



Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Jack's First Flu



Oh, I don't think I have ever been so glad to see the sun come up before!

Yesterday and last evening was pretty scary for me and Daddy. You had the stomach flu yesterday and were throwing up everything we tried to feed you and having a lot of diarrhea.

I know you're probably thinking - Mom! Don't write about that... - but it's one of those things that parents go through with their children and I want you to know what it was like for me. One day - you may be up late with your child - worried and feeling desperate because there isn't much you can do to help your little one - and you can know that I've been there and you can call me!

We talked to Grandma and Grandpa Dougherty and called the exchange because we couldn't keep any liquids down in your system. The medical exchange instructed us to take you to the hospital, but we went to your Grandparents for them to look you over first. They said that you were moderately dehydrated, but if we took you to the hospital, we may have to wait long hours, you would maybe be put on an IV and be exposed to the other illnesses that were at the hospital, when we could take you home where you would be more comfortable and keep trying to give you small doses of fluids until we could keep them down. Grandpa checked your heart rate and said that it was higher than normal - you had a little tachycardia and your eyes were sunken from the mild dehydration. It hurt my heart to see you feeling so sick and unable to eat.

Daddy and I brought you home and took you into our bed. We put a bunch of blankets and towels under you so that you could vomit and have diarrhea accidents that we could quickly clean up and put down new towels and blankets and we all made it through the night together.

Your Aunt Kelly came by and brought you Pedialyte from the store while I stayed home with you (she also brought some chocolate treats for your father and me to help us get through the night, too, because she is sweet and thoughtful like that).

At about 3 AM your temperature spiked at about 103 degrees and I was very worried. We called Grandpa Dougherty and he told us to give you some infant Tylenol and change you into light weight t-shirt and diapers so that the temperature would break.

About 30 minutes later, the fever was broken and you were resting more comfortably. We got more Pedialyte in you at about 4 AM and this time - you didn't vomit. You are still having diarrhea and we'll be trying to keep you full of liquids so you can get better, but you were doing so much better this morning that I am very relieved!

Daddy called me after I had to go to work to tell me that you had woke up and were dancing to the theme song from the Simpsons and that you and Daddy were watching TV together and taking it easy. It made me so happy to hear that you are feeling more yourself again. Poor baby! Last night was tough, but you are so hearty - you just pushed right through it!

I love you, baby! I will be going home at lunch to see you and Daddy and then rushing home right after work!

I'm so glad to see your face looking colorful and full of expression again!



Friday, February 17, 2006



You are still getting over your first REAL cold and double ear infection, but you are such a little trooper! You are still smiling and laughing and loving life even though you aren't feeling your best.

I am going to be in a wedding this weekend and last evening I had to go to the rehearsal at the Church. You came along and had a wonderful time crawling around on the altar and toddling in the aisle and yelling Daa-Daaaa in the empty church so that it echoed and the rest of the people in the wedding party would laugh or smile and look over at you.

It got so cold outside last night - by the time we left, the wind had picked up terribly and the temperature had dropped below freezing. We got home and saw Daddy and played a little, but you were so tired and quickly dropped off to sleep. It's almost the weekend and I'm hoping that you'll be feeling a lot better so we can have some wonderful fun times together this weekend!

I love you!



Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Jack's First Valentine's Day!



Today is your very first Valentine's Day and I have just one question for you - will you be mine??? I LOVE YOU!!!

Since you have come into your Daddy and my life, you've changed our lives for the better in ways we never thought possible. You give life meaning like it never had before. On this - your first Valentine's day - your Daddy and I want you to know that we are so glad you are our little guy!

I know that it's not possible to make someone happy all the time, but when you grow up and look back over your years, I hope you find that you were more happy than sad and I hope you know that if there was ever a time when you weren't happy with an answer that your Daddy and I gave you, that there was always a good reason for it because nothing is more important to either of us than what is best for you! We want you to be the happiest, healthiest and most wonderful little boy that you can be and that you are already.

I make you a promise on this Valentine's Day that you can take to heart for always. I will always listen to you when you talk - I will hear your frustration and pain and I will take to heart any confidence you trust me with. I promise to be open to hearing my own shortcomings and making every effort to improve on them. I want you to look back one day and think - my parents did a great job raising me. That is my goal. I want you to want to be like us - not exactly. I realize that no one wants to be exactly like their parents, but the best parts of us. I want you to take the best from your Daddy and me and make those a part of you. You can disregard the parts of us that need work. :)

We love you so much, Baby Jack - and we are going to take you out to a nice Valentine's Day dinner tonight with your Mommy and Daddy and we'll celebrate by coming home and falling asleep together before we transfer you to your crib with a goodnight kiss from us both. Happy Valentine's Day, my little sweetheart!!!



Friday, February 10, 2006

Baby Jack is sick... :(



Poor baby. You are sick today. You woke up with a fever and a runny nose. I gave you some Motrin so that you would feel better, but you look so sad - like you don't understand why you are feeling the way that you do. I just want to snuggle you all day long so you'll feel better - or maybe so I'll feel better.

I didn't realize how hard it might be as a parent to watch you go through something like a cold. Every part of me wants to do something to make it better for you, but there isn't anything that I can do except to make you as comfortable as possible while your body fights the germs.


Last night you were starting to feel a little under the weather so we took it easy. We played with your keyboard and your other toys and I put on The Sound Of Music
movie for us to have running in the background. We didn't really pay any attention to it until a song would come on and then we would stop and sing with it and dance to it and then go back to ignoring it when the movie started again. It was very relaxing and fun!

I hope you feel better soon, little one! The good news is that today is Friday! When work is out - we'll have the whole weekend to concentrate on getting you better.

You make life wonderful, sweetie!

Mommy and Daddy love you!!





Last night you, your Daddy and I ate dinner together and Daddy had to run to the library to get some material for his class.

You and I went upstairs and played with the doughnut stacker that we have in the room with the plastic rings. I had left the TIVO on downstairs and it was playing an old Simpsons episode. The episode ended and another started. As soon as you heard the beginning of the Simpsons show starting, you dropped your toy and started to crawl for the stairs. I walked over with you and we sat at the top of the stairs and you turned to me and said "Daa-Daa?" and reached up and grabbed onto my neck so I could carry you downstairs. You thought that Daddy had come home and turned on the Simpsons to watch TV because you and Daddy always watch the Simpsons together.

It was so cute!

We went downstairs and I played with you on your little push car. I would put you in it and race you back and forth across the kitchen floor. Occassionally I would distract you by calling the dogs over so you could pat them and I could catch my breath before we did it again because you LOVED IT! On a couple of occassions, I tried to stop the activity to start another one, but you became so upset that we weren't going to play the bike game anymore that you would throw your little head back onto the hard wood floor and bump it and then get upset about getting hurt. I didn't want you to bump your head or be upset, so I put you back on your bike and raced back and forth with you again and again. It actually was so cute to glimpse at your face as I raced across the floor. You had an amazed look on your face like you didn't have any idea you could move so fast and you were so thrilled with it - I felt proud to be able to be the one to help you feel that way!

Eventually I was able to stop and we played other games - refrigorator magnets on the dishwasher and stove and playing with your synthesizer keyboard and we even got you in your playpen and played with some of your toys that we play with less frequently because they aren't as exciting (don't light up or make noises...), but they hadn't been played with in a while so they were new to you again.

You are such a smart little boy and such a gem! I am so very, very proud of you, Jack! Mommy loves you now and forever!





Good Morning, little one! Boy - you are growing SO FAST! Your little bottom tooth is really starting to come through now and you are trying so hard to say new words!

Lately, you have still been saying "Daa-Daa" to the dogs, but it's starting to sound longer like: "Daaahg-daahg". I really think you are trying to say dog-dog, but it's so hard to be sure. I'm sure in the next couple of weeks it will be much clearer.

You LOVE the time that you have been getting to spend with your cousin Calum. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, your Aunt Erin brings Calum over to Grandma's and stays with Grandma and you during the day with your cousin and you get to play with them all day while Daddy and I are at work. I know you have such a great time. When you grow up, we'll have lots of adorable pictures to show you of you and your cousin being babies together. I hope you'll both be close all your lives!!

You also have such a great time at your Grandma and Grandpa Rose's on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. You are always so contented and happy when I pick you up from being with them that it always strikes me and I feel so happy in my heart because I know my baby had a great day and felt so much love. It puts me in such a wonderful mood for the rest of the night because there's nothing more important to me than that you be happy and well cared for, sweetie!

Your Daddy ordered you a keyboard through the mail and it arrived the other day. You love music so much that this just seemed like the right thing to do. The demo song on the keyboard is an 80's pop hit: Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go. I LOVED this song in the 80's and still love 80's rock. I have a feeling that your Daddy may tire of it before too long, though.

I love you so much!


Games that Jack loves to play!


Here are some games that I've found that you love to play!:

Game Ideas to Play with Jack:

Rolling Balls across the floor to each other
“Don’t get me”
Play with Jack in a blanket that I could pull across the floor
Climbing stairs
Listening to and dancing to music on the CD player
Walking or riding his toddler walker toy
Splashing in the sink
Playing with the stacking circles – twirling them and rolling them across the floor
Playing peak-a-boo in Jack’s crib and messing with the mobile
Tickle time on the bed
Where’s Jack - under a blanket!
Sliding Jack backwards across the floor – he loves the motion!
Blowing Raspberry’s on Jack’s belly
Reading stories to Jack for a calmer period
Playing the naming game – pointing to objects with Jack’s fingers and saying their names
Messing with light switches
Patty cake
Depending on the weather – stepping outside and looking around at the outdoors and talking about the things we see.
Put on a puppet show with Jack’s animals to entertain him
Play match box cars by rolling them across the floor and chasing after them
Easy horse play on the bed – knocking Jack over and letting him “knock” me over in exaggerated motion.
Laughing in a funny manner or mimicking other character’s voices – the vacuum cleaner, Elmo – to make Jack laugh
How big is Jack? SO BIG!
Where’s Jack’s Belly?
Find an object that I would hide under a blanket that he would have to pull the blanket off of to retrieve it.

Maybe we'll play some tonight! :)




Guess what I did today? I entered your Christmas card picture in a Beautiful Baby contest for Regis and Kelly! :)

I know, I know - still - you are the cutest thing I'VE ever seen, so I had to do it!

Anyway - it's just for fun and because I love you! It's fun to know that you were part of the considered cute babies!!! I love you, cutie-pie!



Jack's First Tooth!



Good Morning, Sweet Baby!

Yesterday your first tooth came in!!! I’m so very excited and proud to the Mommy of such a big boy!

You have been taking this teething thing VERY well. You are always such a happy and content little baby and the teething hasn’t been pleasant and you have been a little fussier and confused by it. You are happy but don’t understand why you are uncomfortable and there isn’t anything that can be done about it. You have been crying more, but we just give you lots of love so that you know that we will do anything we can for you and you seem to be doing well with that.

Last night when I got home from work and wanted to see your tooth, you were so cute and confident that you walked to me!! I was so excited! Then you walked back and forth between Daddy and myself at least three times and then repeated this for Aunt Kelly and Uncle Bobby when we stopped by to visit them. It seems to me that you have grown at least a month older in the last day!

Tonight Daddy has class, so it will be the two of us. I’ve already been thinking about what we can do together that would be fun for you. I want you to have such fun memories of us playing together when you are all grown up and looking back on your childhood. I plan on making a little list of games that you might enjoy so that I can look back on that list if I run out of ideas.

I love you more than I ever would have imagined it would be possible to love anyone, Jack! I’m so very lucky that you came into our lives!

My growing little boy! I’m so proud!




Last night you took your very first steps! I am SO PROUD of you! Your Daddy and I were so excited! I lifted you up in the air after you did it and we yelled and clapped and shouted! You looked surprised, but pleased and tried again after.

What started you to taking your first step is that I was eating some Jello for dessert. I had let you taste some before and you liked it so you wanted a taste. You were making fussing noises to get my attention, so Daddy stood you up and told you to walk to me and get a bite. You took two steps on your own and I grabbed you and then we celebrated and I gave you your jello.

We repeated this exercise about 3 more times before you started to fall when you tried to walk more – maybe your little legs were tired, but it was all so exciting! You are such a big boy and I can’t believe how fast you are growing up.

I plan on making and eating some more jello tonight, so maybe you can walk a little more! Your Aunt Kelly was excited by this news and told me that she might stop by tonight to see if she could witness your steps for herself.

Everyone is so proud of you – but nobody is more proud than your Daddy and me! Great job, baby Jack! You are the best!!!!





Jack – your Daddy and I just spent the weekend with you and we worked on building your confidence in walking. We held your hands and walked you around the house and you really seemed to enjoy it. Buddy – you are SO close to walking! I know you could do it, but I think you are a little afraid that you will fall.

The other day, I would help you walk across the floor and, when we reached the door, I helped you fall back on your bottom and then I held your hands and pulled you backwards across the floor really fast. It was like a ride for you and you smiled and laughed and wanted to do it again and again. I did it until I was tired and tying to catch my breath and so I stopped, but you would have kept going for the rest of the day if I had let you! J

I tried playing “airplane” with you, too, where I held your hands and lifted you up in the air with my feet. Your eyes got really big and you smiled and laughed when I did it and then I would bring you back down and sit up and say “did you like that?” and you would smile and look around.

Also, you have a stuffed bear that I’ve been playing with you by making it move around like it’s alive. You watch it and smile when it does something you like. I make it reach up in your mobile and batt the mobile animals around so that they jump and swing crazily. You really like this and you try to reach up and do it to. We have also been playing peek-a-boo over the side of the crib. I’m trying to get you to not be so afraid of being in your bed. You seem okay with the crib as long as someone is there with you, but you don’t like to be alone and I don’t want to leave you alone – so I always put you to bed only when you are already asleep because your Daddy and I want to be around you all the time when you are awake because you are our favorite little guy!

We love you, baby! J






Well, it’s afternoon and I was just finishing up lunch.

I called to check in on how you are doing today because I’ve been missing you so much today!

Grandpa Dougherty said that you were eating Spinach and that I couldn’t talk to you because you had spinach even all over your ears.

Today you played with your cousin Cal by taking his pacifier out of his mouth and putting it back in. Grandpa said that Cal was awake and seemed to be enjoying the game, too. What a cutie-pie you are!

I’m so looking forward to our family time tonight. There are some fun television shows coming on so that means that we can all snuggle up on the family room couch and floor and play with your toys while we laugh at the programs that are playing in the background. These evenings when we do this are so laid back and relaxed and we all just seem to enjoy having each other close by where we can talk and pause the TV whenever we want to, and have dinner together and have a wonderful night!

Last night was a hard one for you. You woke up probably four times starting at midnight and finally waking up for good at about 5 AM. I think you had a tummy ache, but it could also have been because of teething. I opened the blinds to our bedroom window at one point so you could look out and see the moon reflecting off of the parked cars and trees and the overall peacefulness and tranquility of the night and you nodded off in my arms. That has to be one of the most wonderful feelings in the whole world.

Lately, you have been really enjoying your Daddy more than me. I have frequently wondered how I would cope if you preferred Daddy – I must admit to feeling a little tinge of jealousy at times, but I keep it in check because I love how close the two of you are. Your daddy has such a good rapport with you. I think you really understand now that he is “Daa-daa” although you still call a lot of things that.

Well, I wanted to let you know that on this date and time, you are on my mind – although that is really true all the time. I love you so much – being apart is very hard on me. I don’t want to miss a single minute, but we need the money. Thank goodness for the support of family! I love you, baby! I’ll see you soon!



Your Daddy and I have been talking about how lucky we are and I want you to know that we feel this way. You never know where you are going to be later in life. Something could happen to myself or your Daddy and we might not be able to tell you these things, so I want to be sure to put it down in writing.

We are so thankful for you! You are the best thing that either of us has ever done and we are both so proud of you, Jack!

I want to give you everything you need in life and to be the best parent in the world for you. I hope you feel like you can talk to me about anything. I promise to listen and treat you like the smart person that I know you are going to be because you are more and more of this person everyday and I can see it clearly.


Jack's First New Years Eve!


Your first New Years Eve! To celebrate, we invited your Grandparents Dougherty, Kelly, Bobby, Erin, Brett and Calum over to have dinner and snacks to ring in the new year.

You played with your new Christmas toys and showed them off to everyone and we took pictures and looked at your new cousin, Calum.

You got ahold of your Grandma Dougherty’s water bottle that she was drinking from and you would put it in your mouth and throw your head back in a very dramatic motion of trying to get water out of the bottle even though the cap was still on it. It was very cute and everyone laughed.

You cracked up at me when I played “Hide N Seek” with you behind the wall of the kitchen and you were laughing so hard that we got out the video camera and your Aunt Kelly videotaped you laughing so you can even see footage from your first New Years, if you are interested.

Later that evening, it was time for you to go to bed. Grandma Dougherty had taken you upstairs and there was some noise, so I went to check it out. I called up the stairs “Is everything all right up there?” Your Grandma indicated to me to be quiet so I wouldn’t wake you up, but I wanted to look in on you because you’re my sweet baby, so I peaked my head around the corner of your bedroom door just to take a look and you were standing up in your crib, quietly looking directly at me and pointing at me as if to say “I see you, Mommy!” It was so cute that I had to go to you and scoop you up and cover you with kisses. I then gave you a warm bottle and rocked you in the rocking chair until you feel asleep about 5 minutes later.


Jack – you just recently learned to point at things. It came about because we have been working on trying to get you to show “one” by holding up your pointer finger so you can tell us you are “one” on your first birthday.

As it turns out, you are very proud of this new knowledge and have taken to pointing constantly at anything that grabs your attention. On the evening of 12-30-05, a Friday night, your father and I took you to Steak N Shake for dinner. We were sitting in a booth after ordering and waiting for our food when the people at the table next to us became very interesting to you and you started pointing at them. It was really very funny because you kept pointing at them throughout the meal and staring. You are so cute and it was such an adorable picture that they found it to be funny, too, and we all enjoyed watching you as you pointed throughout the whole meal.



Well, your first Christmas has come and gone and we had such a wonderful time celebrating on Christmas morning just you, me and your Daddy. We opened your presents and played with you on the floor with them. I thought you would be more interested in the boxes than the actual toys themselves, but I think your Daddy and I know what types of things that you like because you loved the presents you received from Santa and from us.

You received a toy vacuum cleaner. You love our real vacuum cleaner and are always trying to play with it so you got a toy vacuum cleaner for Christmas that makes whirring noises like the real vacuum does, but it also talks to you and you love to push it around on the floor.

We also got you a push toy/bike that has all kinds of entertainment on it – things to turn that click and make sounds. You love it because you are almost able to walk and this is a great vehicle to help you practice with!

You also got a police car that is rubber and when you bump the front bumper it makes siren noises that you grin at. You also seem to like to run it into things to start the siren noise again.

You also received a light up and talking telephone that you probably play with the most and you can push it around the floor all you want.

You got a portable push button sing along toy that plays Old McDonald and plays songs and animal sounds.

You also got a tub of Mr. Potato Head parts and you LOVE pulling the glasses off of the google eyes on the Mr. Potato Heads that we put together for you.

You also got match box cards from us to push around and a Koosh ball among other things – including a Dorah doll that you can take in the bath with you.

Your Daddy and I realize that we went a little overboard as did Santa with all of the gifts that you got this year, but we think you deserve them because you are the best little boy in the world!!!

Your Uncle Matt and Aunt Lisa got you a lot of wonderful gifts, but among them are a drum and tambourine that are battery operated and make music when you thump on them. You love these toys because they have googly eyes and light up and play music and you love to play with them.

Your Aunt Kelly and Uncle Bobby gave you a phone that your Daddy and I could record a message on for you. We recorded a message that goes:

“Jack – it’s Mommy! I love you!”
“Jack – it’s Daddy! I love you!”

We plan on sending this with you in the mornings when you have to go to one of your Grandma’s houses while we are at work so you can hear our voices during the day and know that we love you and are thinking of you.

Your Aunt Erin and Uncle Brett bought you some CD’s to listen to because you LOVE our CD player and are always trying to turn on the music and dance to it.

Uncle Brett’s parents came in for Christmas and they brought you a wooden tool set also which you have loved. You especially seem to love trying to gnaw on the hammer.

Your Grandma and Grandpa Rose got you a Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer DVD for you to watch and your Grandma and Grandpa Dougherty got you some clothes for you to wear.

Your Daddy and I think you are the greatest gift that we could ever have received and we spent this Christmas watching you and playing with you and feeling like the luckiest two people in the world.

I was talking with one of my co-workers the other day about different things. Different family dynamics and that kind of thing. She was saying that most of the time in her experience, when parents are angry with their children it comes down to them being afraid that the child will hurt themselves.

It really shown a light for me on the fact that I have never felt upset with you ever yet. Perhaps that is because you are so small. I’m sure as you grow and become more independent and don’t want to listen to things that your father and I tell you, there may be some moments of frustration, but it’s so hard to imagine it right now because I feel blissfully happy and grateful! Merry 1st Christmas, baby Jack! Momma loves you!!!




This morning your cousin, Calum McGrath Shank was born. I know that one day you will look back on this day and it will seem strange to you that there may have been a time when the two of you weren’t together.

I’m so excited that you are going to have a cousin so close in age to you. I grew up with a brother that was only ten months younger than me and we were so close growing up. You and Cal will only be 9 months apart and, while you aren’t brothers, I think you will be as close to brothers as true brothers can be. I hope that for you!

Knowing that Erin was in labor last night brought back memories of your birth and how – even though we were so thankful and felt so blessed when you came into our lives – that appreciation grows each day we spend with you because every day you reveal move of your personality to us and we fall in love with you more. It’s amazing that when you think you’ve reached the depths of your feelings that there is still further to go.

I’m sure one of these days you may look over my thoughts here and think that I’m corny (You may even wonder what that phrase means – it means that I’m being mushy – too sentimental…) but one day you’ll have a little one of your own and you’ll know what I mean. Especially if he’s anything like you, sweet one! J




I am at work and I just got a phone call from your Aunt Kelly telling me that your Aunt Erin is going in right now to be induced with your little cousin Cal.

It brings me back to a little over 9 months ago when I was being induced with you and all the fear and excitement of the birth and the tremendous love that I felt for you. How tiny and helpless you were and how fast you have become the sweet little boy that you are.

How did I get so lucky? I can’t point to a thing that I’ve done in my life that would show that I in any way deserve to be so fortunate to have you in my life and your father. You are both so incredible!

I just spoke with your Grandma Rose who is watching you while I work and she said that you have been a happy boy all day and that you are napping right now.

I can’t wait for the upcoming Christmas break so that I can have more alone time with you.

Last night we had invited your Grandma and Grandpa Dougherty over for dinner and to see you. They came and we had a wonderful time loving you and watching you play. You were so happy and excited to have us all there showering you with attention that you were laughing and aaah-aaah’ing which you do when you are excited. I really need to video tape you when you’re doing this so we can watch it with you when you get older.

My mom (your Grandma) said later that she thought we might have invited them over to say that we were pregnant again. That is certainly NOT the case. I certainly want to have another baby, but your father and I both want to be sure that you get all of the love and attention that you require through your early years before we have another baby in the house. We don’t want to short-change you in any way, but if it happens anyway, we’ll just see that as meant to be!

I love you, baby!




Last night was such a wonderful night that I have to write about it. There wasn’t anything special like any event or anything, but we had so much fun as a family last night!

Last night we had dinner together and you were so happy and excited! We played peek-a-boo with Daddy on the steps and danced to music and you called out “aaaaah-aaaaah” in delight as we danced around. You chased Hercules up the steps only to have him take off when you would reach him.

You also helped me unload and reload the dishwasher with dishes and I made up several new bottles for you in advance. Then we took a break and I fed you a bottle while you smiled at me from over the top of it.

When I changed your diaper, you reached your little hands up to me and I played with you by pretending to eat your belly button and you would belly laugh and then flop over and try to crawl away, but I would catch your little feet and pull you back to me and then tickle your sides as you giggled into the bedspread.

Daddy ran out on an errand and, when he returned you smiled your biggest smile and reached out your hands to him and so I brought you over and we all had a big hug together and you looked so happy about it.

You also really took notice of the Christmas tree for the first time and tugged at one of the branches so I had to come over and take you to the couch to read some Christmas stories together.

We opened some Christmas cards and we received one with three smiling snowmen that had glitter on them. You LOVED the texture of the glitter and carried this card around and called out “AAAAH-AAAH” about it to show me and the world what you were holding.

By the end of the evening, I was having such a great time that I wanted to keep you with us when you fell asleep and snuggle you all night long, but I know that you sleep better when you don’t get too warm and we all tend to get a little too warm when we’re all snuggled in the same bed. So I took you to your bed and tucked you in and then went to my own bed – but I swear that I count the minutes till you get up again in the back of my head.

I love you little Jack! I can’t wait to hold you again tonight!




You are getting so close to talking. It’s so exciting. Yesterday morning when we got up together, I was changing your diaper and I could tell that you were asking for your bottle even though you didn’t say “baa-baa” because you were smacking your lips like you were eating something. I was amazed by this and asked you if you wanted your “Baa-Baa”. You smacked your lips again. I kept saying “baa-baa” trying to get you to say it but you eventually became frustrated because you wanted your bottle and not to talk, so you started to fuss and I gave you the bottle. I am so proud of you! You are such a smart little boy!

You also waived when I said “baa-baa” so I know you are a little confused and trying to distinguish between “bye-bye” and “baa-baa”, but you are getting there and so quickly, too!


Jack's First Thanksgiving


I had such a wonderful day with you today, Jack. It’s the day after Thanksgiving. Your daddy had to go into work today, so you and I are having a nice relaxing day because I have the day off of work today. We had a nice snuggly morning while you had your bottle and we snuggled under a blanket on the couch. After you had your bottle, we kind of lay there together and I gave you your pluggy. You took it out of your mouth and offered it to me. I sucked on it a little and gave it back to you. You offered it to me again.

This is the first time that I think you understand that you are giving me something and I’m taking it and then giving it back. It was so much fun to interact with you like this.

Next I started pretending to gobble your hand when you put it up to my mouth and you laughed and did it again. So then I started to tickle you when you raised your arm and we both ended up laughing and playing together like that for a good half an hour or so. My heart just swelled with all of the wonderful love I felt for you when you look at me and laugh your big baby laugh! You are so precious and I wanted more than anything for you to know that I would do anything for you and I always want to be here for you whenever you need me.

I was never a mommy before and I came into this without any knowledge of how to be one – but you made me a mommy and I can’t thank you enough because it’s the best thing that ever happened to me. Thanks, Sweatheart! I love you, Jack!



Right before Thanksgiving holiday break!


Last day of work before the Thanksgiving holiday! I’m so excited! I know that this holiday isn’t as much fun for children as it is for adults, but I’m excited to have the time to spend with you and Daddy!



Jack's First Thanksgiving



It’s a Tuesday morning just before your first Thanksgiving. Not a special day – no one’s birthday or anything like that, but this morning was so wonderful that I wanted to write about it.

You woke up at about 4:45 AM crying. You don’t like to wake up alone in your crib. You become scared. So many books that I read tell me that you need to learn to self-soothe and to allow you to cry. I tried – I really did. I let you cry for about 10 minutes and it was so hard. Every muscle in me was tensed that entire time and my brain was screaming at me to go to you. Finally, I couldn’t wait any longer. I went into your room and said: “It’s okay, baby” and you quieted immediately. I picked you up and you wrapped your sweet little baby arms around me neck and laced your little fingers through my hair and gripped tightly. You rested your little head on my shoulder and breathed deeply, catching your breath from crying. As you calmed, you picked your head up and began to look around the room in the dark. I realized you weren’t going to go back to sleep so you and I got up and went downstairs to warm a bottle.

I let the dogs out while the bottle warmed and then let them back in – all the while walking around with you while you watched every little thing that I was doing from the security of my arms – and then we snuggled up on the couch. I pulled a blanket over both of our legs up to our armpits and moved you to rest in the crook of my arm. I gave you the warm bottle and stroked your face. You drank and closed your eyes and, before I knew it, you were asleep in my arms. We stayed that way for an hour and 15 minutes and it was the most wonderful time in the world.

I felt guilty for enjoying it so much and wondered if I should have let you cry longer because you were obviously still tired, but then your Daddy came down and saw the look of worry on my face. I told him my concerns and he smiled and reassured me that it was a great comfort to you to snuggle up with me like that. Just like that – all my worries were gone. Your daddy was right. It was great for both of us!

I think you’ll find as you grow and get to know your father and myself – that I worry and second guess my decisions all the time. Most of the time, I don’t realize when I’m doing it, but looking back on it – I can see it. Your Daddy is very patient with me and very understanding. I know he’ll be that same way with you, and I am constantly learning from him about being a good parent. He is always telling me to have more confidence in my decisions when it comes to you. If I want to do something, I don’t need to always refer to the books.

Your daddy had suggested when you were born that we keep a journal for you. I think that was a wonderful suggestion. I know I’ll always be able to recall in my memory the thoughts of you as a baby, but I will never be able to relate the stories with as much clarity as I can do when it just happened, so this may be fun for you to read when you grow up or when you are an adult and have your own child.

Halloween is just ended and thoughts of it still linger in my mind. How exciting it was to be there for your first Halloween. I know you were too young to understand what was going on, but it was SO much fun to experience Halloween through your eyes for the first time. Dressing you up in a costume was so much fun. I held you and you saw yourself in the mirror and smiled the most beautiful smile. You loved the pumpkins that we carved for you and loved the way that everyone reacted to you.

I found your costume at Babies ‘R’ Us (a store that sells exclusively baby items – I registered there for your baby shower!). It was a Jack-o-lantern costume hanging on a rack. I was there with my sisters, Erin and Kelly. Erin was pregnant with Calum (still is, but will be having him in about a month) and we were looking at the items that she had on her registry. When I saw the costume, I decided then and there to try it on you – just to see. I put the costume on you and, as soon as I put the little stem hat on your head, you turned to me and grinned a cute little toothless grin because me and my two sisters where looking at you with full attention and that cute little grin just melted my heart. Two ladies were shopping at a rack close by and they stopped what they were doing and looked over and said “oh, my god! How adorable!!!” I bought that costume right then and there.

You’ll probably laugh when you get older and see how many pictures we took of you and your first Halloween, but it’s one of the best times I’ve ever had in my life.

You are such a beautiful baby. Anywhere we go, everyone reacts to you. You are always so happy and smiling and people can’t pass by without stopping and complimenting us on you – how docile and sweet you are and how beautiful. I think it’s why Daddy and I want to be out and about with you so much. We are so proud and love showing you off!

Right now I am at work (working hard or hardly working? – just kidding) and I am surrounded by pictures of you. Sometimes my co-workers joke around with me and say “man, Bridget – do you have enough pictures of Jack around here? People might think you don’t love him”. I think you’ll find as you grow up that people LOVE to be sarcastic, but I want to be clear that this is what they are being when they say this because sometimes it’s hard to be sure that sarcasm comes across in the written word. I literally have 7 pictures of you on my desk, a screen saver picture of you on my computer screen and a small photo album full of pictures of you on my desk. Outside of my cube, I have four pictures of you on the wall outside so everyone that walks by can see my son and know how proud I am of him.

Well, I’ll be sure to write more soon, but I need to bring this to an end and get back to work. Right now you are with Grandma Dougherty. I am so jealous when I have to go to work of the people that get to spend time with you that day, but the holidays are approaching and that means time off to spend with you!!! I can’t wait!!! I love you, JACK!!!