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.

Friday, March 31, 2006

I Am Blessed To Be A Witness



Last night it was just you and me. Your Daddy is on a trip that he will remember forever - he has gone to Las Vegas with his Dad and some of his brothers (Uncle Scott and Uncle Nick). Uncle Phil and Uncle Steve wanted to go, but couldn't, so they contributed to your Grandpa's trip so he could have some fun on them. Your Grandpa Rose has wanted to go to Las Vegas and your Daddy, Uncle Scott and Uncle Nick are all going to see it with him. What a great time for all of them and something your Daddy will never forget. I hope that someday you and him will get to go somewhere together, too, when you are grown up!

We had such fun last night! We pet the kitty cats and the dogs and then I filled up one of the sides of the kitchen sink and put you on the other side. We dumped your unused bottles and some beaded necklaces and colorful cups into the water and added some bubbles and you poured and splashed to your hearts content. I truly think we played like that for an entire 45 minutes which is an eternity for a baby, but you never slowed down. I had the CD player on in the background and we were listening to Kelly and Bobby's wedding CD that you love so much.

You had just discovered that you could see your reflection in the kitchen window because it was light inside and dark outside which made the window like a mirror. You were filling up the colored cups with water and trying to give your reflection a drink of water. At that moment the song "I Am Blessed To Be A Witness" came on. With the song in the background playing and watching you pouring water on the window trying to give your reflection a drink, tears suddenly overpoured me and my heart felt like it had just outgrown my chest. I thought "I AM SO blessed!" Blessed to be a witness to YOU! To be present to watch you as you grow and learn and experience life. I felt so lucky at that moment and right now.

I am going to try to make the most out of our time together at all times. There are moments sometimes when I'm finding myself getting a little stressed because I'm trying to straighten and clean at the same time that I'm trying to meet your needs and I think I need to take away from that moment of realization that it's okay to let things go a little. There will be small moments when I'll have the time I need to catch up on laundry and dishes. I need to be sure that I'm making the time to enjoy you so that moments like last night fill my memory and my heart. I have been smiling like a goofball all morning.

This morning, we said "hi" to the kitties again and listened to the CD player and I planted kisses on you which you laughed at. We read some books about kitties and doggies and a Peek-A-Boo Baby book that we picked up at the library and then I took you to Grandma Rose's for the day. Boy, did your little face just LIGHT UP when you saw her!

I am looking forward with great anticipation to our weekend together, little boy. I'm going to be the most laid back Mommy this weekend - I promise. We miss Daddy, both of us, but this weekend will be fun - and the turning over of a new leaf for me. Goodbye stressed out Mommy, hello new relaxed one!

See you soon, Buddy!



Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Fall that scared me



Yesterday you fell when you were playing by pulling items out of a drawer (one of your favorite games) and you hit right above your eye on the corner of the drawer. It scared me so badly. It was the first time you've had an accident that drew blood and it was so close to your eye that I just freaked! We were so lucky that it was a surface scratch. I spent the rest of the day walking around with the image of you slipping and hitting your head playing through my mind again and again and I kept thinking - oh, god - what if it had been an inch lower. It could have been your eye!

I'm seeing all sorts of dangers everywhere I look now. I think I'm going to have to physically restrain myself from tying pillows to the corners of everything in our house!

This week I have begun opening the door to the basement so that you can visit with the cats. You love them so much! We open the door to the basement and I say "Here, kitty-kitty" and clap my hands together and Lilly and Darla come running immediately to greet us. I only had to do this once and you understood. Now, when we open the door, you start clapping immediately before I can even call them and they come running to your thrill and amazement. You have a command over these animals (or so you think.... nobody is in charge of a cat... :) )

The cats and the dogs get along okay so they have been walking around each other and this is also fun for you to see them interacting without any problems. Clay and I are going to have to put a kitty door on the basement door because you are now obsessed with the kitties and you are ALWAYS wanting to open the door and see them. I can't leave the door open or you'll fall down the stairs and I can't bring them up and close the door because of the litter boxes and Missy, so they'll have to stay down there until we can get a kitty door for the basement.

We went to the library yesterday. You LOVED it! We picked out books on Kitties and Doggies with lots of pictures and I bought some children's books that they were selling for 25 cents apiece. You can't beat that!

I recently got an award for being Employee of the Month at my job and I parked this morning in the garage parking with the executives of our company (one of the perks that comes with the award....). It is SO funny to see my little shiny orange car which I liken to be similar to driving a cute aluminum can with it's bird poop on the polish, the window shades in the backseat and the two baby seats parked amongst all of the nice Lexus, Mercedes and Jags. It really stands out and makes me laugh a little when I go out to the car at the end of the day.

I just want you to know that I'm thinking about you right now and hoping against hope that you don't have any more accidents for a long, long time! Not sure my heart can take it (well, it probably can, but let's not test it... okay?)

Love you!!!!


Friday, March 24, 2006

Always learning!



Your Daddy forwarded me an article today that was recently published about babies and how they learn. It mentioned that babies tend to learn words very quickly starting at around 10 months and can learn 2 new words in five minutes with five presentations of the words or objects provided it's something that the baby is interested in.

It got me to thinking how we had been trying to teach you that you were "1" by indicating a raised pointer finger and saying "1". You didn't really grasp this because it was a concept that was interesting to us, but not to you. At the same time, you are SO fast to learn what you are interested in. You can operate a remote control like nobody I've ever seen. You turn the TIVO on and off with relish, and you have already learned and can identify "belly button", "dog-dog"s, and "hand". You would think that this would be common sense, but I think I've been focusing on things that I'm interested in. I will be focusing more on what you seem to be paying attention to now so that you can learn more and more even more quickly. You are SO smart - your little brain is a sponge and I want to be sure that I'm feeding it as much as it can take! :)

I was talking with your Grandma Dougherty the other day about the day I found out I was pregnant. It was July 5th, 2004 and I remember it like it was yesterday because it was the day after the Fourth of July and your Daddy and I were enjoying a nice relaxing day at the movies which was one of our favorite pasttimes. I had bought and eaten a large popcorn and soda and was feeling a little queasy. I knew it was probably the food, but I bought a pregnancy test anyway because I couldn't remember the last time I'd had my period. So I took it when we got home and was stunned when I read it. I went downstairs and showed your Daddy and said, "What does this say to you?". He looked at it and smiled and looked at me and said "looks like you're pregnant."

Our lives changed forever from that moment. It was like a countdown started in my head from that second and my brain started making this list of things that needed to be done before you were born to be ready for you and that's the way my brain has been functioning ever since. I think it's good, though. I'm constantly trying to stay one step ahead with the daily tasks and the long term goals too. Your Daddy and I are constantly making lists and sharing them with each other of things that have been weighing on our minds that we want to do around the house. We look at the big items on both of our lists and discuss how we are going to get them done. It's been working well for us. I'm just mentioning it now because it's a current thing that we've been doing that you might find valuable someday - or not... :)

Anyway, things have been a little hectic, but good. We are putting up new siding on the house which is happening just after having new windows put in and a tree cut down on the side of the house. Our retaining wall needs to be replaced soon and the stress at my job is no secret anymore. My job has been eliminated with my company. We have been told to get our resumes together and that we will be able to apply for other positions within the organization, but those won't be posted until June, so there are many months ahead of us with uncertainty and that is a little stressful. Your Daddy and I are trying to get in our doctor's and dental appointments now because our insurance is under my current job and we just don't know for sure what is going to happen. The truth is, I do believe that I will be able to get another position with the company, but I'm not sure in what capacity or at what salary, but everything happens for a reason and your Daddy and I know that all will be just fine.

It's important to keep in mind what matters the most and that is our family! Your Daddy and I planned the purchase of the house around the fact that it would be something that we could afford and we could still afford it even if I was working at Taco Bell (which ISN'T going to happen - I'm only using that as an extreme example).

I'm looking into what I can do to make myself more marketable both to the company AEIS where I currently work and long term for any other future jobs I might want to pursue. I am thinking of going back to school, but this is just a preliminary thought right now. I am taking an online course to see what I think of business as a possible major. It's been challenging and I'm only in the first week, but I feel good because I'm doing something.

Well, that's what has been happening in our little world lately. You are the light of our lives and the only reason any of this matters is because we want to give you the best of everything - and we WILL. Regardless of what happens! You are the best, little one! We love you!!



Monday, March 20, 2006

Jack's Birthday Weekend!



It's Monday morning and your first birthday weekend has come to an end. What fun we had!

Friday night, we had Mommy's family over to celebrate your birthday. There was:

Grandma and Poppa Dougherty, Erin and Brett and Calum, Kelly and Bobby, Aunt Suzy, Uncle John, Tricia with Laila and Lola, Anneliese and "GG" Dougherty!

Your cousin Laila helped you open all of your gifts of which you received many and we played with all of your toys and admired all of your clothes. You had so much fun climbing up and down the stairs during your party and playing peek-a-boo with everyone and walking back and forth across the house - but by far your greatest thrill was when everyone came together and we all sang "Happy Birthday to You!". You love music and you just sat very still and looked around at the faces of everyone singing together like that was the best gift you could have imagined. Your little right hand was the only sign that you weren't scared as it moved up and down to the beat of the song as though you were conducting us all.

As it turns out (and I was SO surprised to discover), you don't like cake! I couldn't believe it! You certainly don't get that from me - you must get that from your Daddy. Be glad that is the case because sugar is an indulgence that I wish I didn't enjoy so much. :)

You ended up falling asleep soon after we gave you the cake (which you didn't like). Calum actually outlasted you, but you had SO much fun that you couldn't stay up anymore.

On Sunday, we had a lunch/barbecue birthday with your Daddy's family. There was:

Grandma and Grandpa Rose
Phil, Lisa, Eric, Justin and Brent
Scott, Mary, Nick, Jamie, Lisa, Sarah and Hannah
Steve and Terri

Your Uncle Nick showed up later that night while you were napping and visited till you woke up and got to see him, too.

Everyone was so generous to you - you were showered with presents which you dove right into playing with. You had such a wonderful time playing with your older cousins that you were obviously fascinated with. You kept crawling up the stairs to see that the older kids were doing in the bedroom where we had setup the Playstation 2 with video games and where they were playing.

You spent a long time playing in your bedroom with potato heads and books with your cousins Brent and Hannah. You LOVED playing with them and I think you could have done that for the rest of the evening and been completely content. When it came time to leave and you saw them walking out the door, you reached out your hand. I think you wanted to say "no, wait. You guys have to stay and play with me some more!" We'll need to invite your cousins by some more so that you can get more time with them. It was so wonderful seeing you bonding with your cousins and watching them so closely - studying how they did everything.

Well, big boy! You've crossed a big marker in your life. The first year of your life is past along with a LOT of big "firsts"- but life only gets better, little one! I am so excited and I can't wait for the years and years ahead with you! I love you, baby (little boy, now, actually)!!



Thursday, March 16, 2006

Letter To Jack From Grandma and Grandpa ROSE! :)



Dear Jack (Mr. Spratt),

Today is your first birthday. Its hard to believe that you have been a part of our family for one year already. Time flies when you are having fun. Grandpa and I have had so much fun with you and for Grandpa, it has been the opportunity to see through you the growth of his own sons on a day by day basis. Because you are the first opportunity for him to witness this phenomenon (because he was always working to provide for his own sons), he truly believes you are a genius. And, hey, maybe he is right.

We had expected that our grandchildren from your parents would be of the four legged variety. Imagine our surprise when they announced that a two legged variety was on the way. Unbelievable.

When I leave here today, I am going over to see if your birthday has been posted on Union Road. Grandpa requested it, he wants everybody to know that Jack Rose is one year old today.

Have a fun day today, even at the doctor’s office. We will see you on Friday and again on Sunday to celebrate this happy occasion.


Grandpa and Grandma rose
Jack's First Birthday



I can't believe it!!! You are ONE!

Yesterday was your first birthday and it was one of the most wonderful days! You know the expression - 'the icing on the cake' - which is used in reference to something being good on top of good? Well - yesterday was the icing on the cake!!

Both your Daddy and I took off of work yesterday so that we could celebrate your first birthday with you all day long. We started off just hanging around the house and playing. Then, you went down for a morning nap and Daddy and I worked on straightening up. When you woke up, we went to the doctor's office to get your one year appointment out of the way. The Doctor's visits went off without a hitch and you got the bonus of getting to see your Grandma and Poppa Dougherty, too.

After the Doctor's visits were over, we all went to the Zoo for the rest of the afternoon. We saw the bears who were out and moving around. You were mesmerized by them. You pointed and waived and stared. I tried to wait for you to lose your fascination before moving to the next animal, but you were so mesmerized, we sometimes had to walk away while you were still staring at the animal before us. You loved the Penguins, too. At first, when we entered the Penguin house, the smell of fish and the blast of cold air scared you and you clung to my chest, but as we snuggled in front of the glass to a tank of water, some penguins came swimming by as fast as bullets, chasing and playing with each other - and you completely forgot that you were frightened. You watched those little penguins racing and diving after one another over and over again. Then some big penguins came swimming by slowly and lazily, turning around like corkscrews - so relaxed. You put your hand to the glass to touch them. Next Daddy took you to the top of the glass where a large penguin surfaced to meet you. He vocalized a couple of times and you waved at him and then he swam off.

We met some puffins, too, who seemed VERY interested in you. They came right up to the glass and pecked at it because you were behind it. You called them "dog-dogs" and yelled a lot. You were very excited about them.

Next we went to see some more bears - Malayan sun bears. Those bears smelled the gum that Daddy and I were chewing (Spearmint) and they uncurled their tongues which were really long. You stared - completely transfixed.

We saw the prairie dogs next. A couple of them were fighting over carrots and chasing each other and the lookout was standing on his hind legs and barking warnings to the other prairie dogs because we were so close. You loved them and struggled to get out of my arms. You wanted to climb right in with them and join in the fun!

The seals and sea lions were SO interesting to you. We must have camped out there for at least 15 minutes on two separate occassions. When the seals barked, they sounded like dogs and your eyes got REALLY WIDE and your little mouth hung open. Your Daddy and I tried to bark like the seals, too, to get your attention on us, but you just smiled and continued to stare at the seals like you were saying 'yeah-yeah - I hear you, but the real show is out there!'

When we went to see the big apes, the apes were pretty interested in you. One of them came and sat right in front of you with only the glass between you. You were so innocent and cute. I would have thought you would be scared because he was so large, but you stood right next to him and waived up at him. He pretended he wasn't watching you, but his head was turned just a little and I could see he was watching you out of the corner of his eye as you waived at him.

Finally, we went on the train. We rode around the entire park. By the time we made our way back to where we started, you were completely exhausted. You took a bottle and were sound asleep before we even made it to the parking lot.

We got you home and gave you a nice afternoon nap and then we all went out to dinner to celebrate your birthday. We went to the Olive Garden and you had some spaghetti cut up really small so that you could shovel it into your mouth. You LOVED it! You ate so much and were covered in stringy pasta by the time you were done. I scooped you up when you were done and carried you to the bathroom. I stood you up over the toilet and let all the spaghetti noodles that were on you fall into the toilet and flushed them down and then you were good as new!

From dinner, we drove to the gas station that your Grandma and Grandpa Rose go to because they had a sign out front that announced JACK ROSE IS 1! We got your picture taken in front of it and many people driving by honked their horns and shouted out "Happy Birthday, Jack!" because it was obvious that you were Jack since you were getting your picture taken in front of the sign.

Next, we went home where Daddy had made you a cake when you had your afternoon nap. We gave you your first piece of birthday cake and sang to you. You dug into it, but really only ate the icing off of the cake which ties back to my anology that yesterday was the 'icing on the cake' for all of us! You LOVED the icing and the freedom of getting to dig right into the cake.

I know that for every birthday of yours from here until you are grown (and even after then if you want to!) - your Daddy and I will ALWAYS take off of work for your birthday so we can properly celebrate YOU and the day that you came into our lives making us "Mommy" and "Daddy". These are titles that we both wear with pride and we THANK YOU for coming to us and giving us the tremendous gift of being your parents!!!

We love you, little Jack! HAPPY BIRTHDAY and MANY, MANY MORE to come!!!! :)



Monday, March 13, 2006

Last Night



Last night your father and I went out on a date for the first time in a long time! We went out to have a nice dinner together (along with dessert) and then went to a comedy show at The Fox featuring Ray Romano and Brad Garrett.

At about 3:30, I brought you over to your Aunt Kelly and Uncle Bobby's house and then your Daddy and I got dressed up for the evening and left early for dinner.

When you have a little one, it's hard to leave because you feel that you want to be with your child as much as you can. But - believe me - it's great for everyone for parents to take a little time sometime by themselves. The longer it is between the times, the more awkward it can be in the beginning. Your Daddy and I sat in the restaurant in the beginning looking around at everything around us - not really even talking to each other much, but then dinner came and we started talking about you. Have you seen Jack do this? Have you noticed that he's been doing that?

By the time we had dessert, we were talking about where we wanted to be in our lives and how to get there and more recent plans too, like vacations that we want to go on with you and things like that. It was really nice.

I checked in on you twice. Once early in the evening and I could hear you squealing and yelling and having a wonderful time and I felt SO good hearing that. I knew you were having the time of your life and I felt okay that I was having a nice time, too.

I checked in later on our way home at 9:30 and you were asleep already. You had fallen asleep at 8:15.

When we got home, we got ready for bed and turned on the TV. I snuck to your room and opened the door. I didn't want to wake you and couldn't see you in the darkness, but I listened at the door to your breathing and felt such contentment with everything - my marriage and you.

I think I slept better last night than I have in a long time, and it wasn't the length of sleep time either because I think I only got about 5 hours of sleep last night, but I feel renewed!

I love your Daddy, Jack. I think it's great for children to hear parents say that about each other. Your father is fantastic and I hope you grow up to be just like him!

I love you, Buddy! I'll see you tonight and - what a week we are going to have! Your first birthday is in just 2 days!!!

This weekend - 2 birthday parties!

I can't wait to celebrate YOU!!!



Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Peek-a-Boo Boy



You have been feeling SO much better. You have always been a happy baby, but the past 4 days, you have been laughing out loud with happiness.

You have gained SO much confidence in your walking ability and you know what a big deal it is. You'll reach your hands up and out as you walk towards me or something you want and you will laugh out loud at your progress - so excited that your becoming more and more capable!

Also, lately you have taken to playing Peek-a-Boo by covering your eyes with your hands if there is nothing nearby to hide behind and you can see the big grin on your face when you do so. Sometimes, when you want to see the face of the person you're playing with, you'll put your hands on your face, but not covering your eyes - more by your ears so that you can still play the game, but watch the expression on the face of the person you are playing with. SO CUTE! (You also like to play the game behind the shower curtain when you find your way into the bathroom).

We are having some work done on the house - putting up siding right now. We had new windows installed last week. It's looking very nice!

I read something today that I thought was very true. It was:
"Any woman who has a career and a family develops two personalities like two sides of a dollar bill, each different in design. Her problem is to keep one from draining the life from the other."

As work becomes a little more challenging for me, I want to be sure that it never drains my energy enough so that I can't play with you when I get home.

I love you, Baby! So glad you're feeling better! :)



Monday, March 06, 2006

Feeling better!



Sweetie - I'm so glad to be able to tell you that you are feeling better! You are back to being your happy, healthy little self!

This weekend was such a breath of fresh air! Your Daddy and I got to spend some time with you - all of us healthy and really appreciating it. Your Daddy worked on caulking the new windows in our house (they look EXCELLENT, by the way! :) and I had a very stressful week at my job this past week, so this weekend brought with it a LOT of relief not to mention that it's the first weekend in a long time where we were all feeling better.

This weekend I worked on transferring early video tapes of you as a young infant to VHS so that we could have the tapes clear and ready to use again in time for your birthday. It was so much fun to look at how far you've come!

As I've mentioned before - you love to dance. You love dancing to the opening themes of a lot of television shows that your Daddy and I watch. For example, your Daddy and I LOVE The Office and we watch it every Thursday. You play with your toys on the floor with us while we watch it and, whenever the opening theme comes on, you drop what your doing, stand up and bounce up and down with your hands in the air to the theme song until it's over. Then, the spell is broken and you return to your toys. (It's SO cute that your Daddy and I frequently will turn on a show JUST to play the theme song and watch you dance - sometimes we replay it again and again).

Well, there is another show that your Daddy and I love on the weekends and that is America's Most Wanted. I know it's not supposed to be funny, but there is a section of each program called In The Line of Duty where they will honor a fallen policeman or someone that was killed in the line of duty. During this part of the program, they always play a slow, sad ballad in the background. This weekend, you began your own tribute of standing during this slow ballad and performing a much slower dance of up and down movement with your hands in the air, but very slowly to the tune of the ballad. Your Daddy and I were both amazed and tickled to see you do this. It really cracked me up because you are so solemn about it. Man - you are adorable!!!

Your communication is greatly improving. You have started to consistently call food: "Na". If you ask for "Na", I know it means one of many things: solid food, bottle or pacifier (you don't distinguish pacifiers from food right now. I hope that doesn't signify that food is a comfort to you yet.... I know that is a pitfall that all of us adults deal with throughout our lives as we battle with maintaining our healthy weights).

The other day, I had put a bunch of pacifiers (3 of them) on the tray of one of your stationary toys. You found all of them and put one in your mouth and had the other two - one in each hand. I watched you looking at the other two trying to figure out what to do with them. You raised them up over your head and put them on your head and slowly brought them down to your ears. It was SO CUTE! Trying to have your pacifiers and suck them, too! :) You were trying to put the two others in your ears so you could have all of them at the same time.

I got it on tape and was cracking up about it when I think you picked up on the fact that it was a big joke to me and then you took the extra pacifiers and started throwing them - just to show me how much you didn't really need them.

When you look back over these early years, Jack - I just want you to know that there are stressful times in our lives (both mine and Daddy's) and you have helped us pull through those moments.

I'm struggling right now with a lot of stress and you (and your Daddy - wow! what would I do without him?!? - he's the BEST!) always bring so much joy to every moment.

It used to be that I looked forward to weekends where your Daddy and I had plans because it was so exciting. For example, I would get so excited about a vacation weekend because we would travel and have excitement and memories to look back on forever.

Well, that is EVERY weekend now because of you. There isn't a weekend that doesn't end where I don't look back and think - what a great weekend! - and feel a tinge of reluctance to walk out that door and go back to work, but then I think - there's always this next weekend! and that's what I work for every day. I work for our nights together and our weekends - holding your sweet little body in my arms and talking to you, planting kisses on your pudgy little cheeks!

I love you Sweet Jack! Thanks for being our solid little rock (of happiness!)!

Lots of Love always,