Tag Archives: Dear Riley


Dear Riley,

Today you turn nine years old, and just like every other year, I’m shocked. It’s your last year in single digits, which I reminded of you yesterday, and you thought was so cool. Parenting has gotten more complicated. I laugh now at parents who think the toddler years are so, so hard. They are, yes, but parenting an older kid brings a whole new set of worries.


But you, Riley, you’re a dream of a child. You’re magic. If I could have 5 more of you, I would. Though I’m sure I’d have a constant headache because you’re a pretty loud kid who is constantly singing, humming, talking or yelling.


I can’t mind too much. You love to be around your family. You still love to cuddle us and sit on my lap. You sometimes interrupt me just to tell me you love me. These are not things parents are allowed to complain about.



Your 8th year of life was a big one. We moved from the only house and friends you’ve known to a new house and a new school. You were so brave through it all. You appreciate that we have a bigger house, with more space to run around. If you were overly sad about us moving, you never showed it.



You have a genuine appreciation for us as parents, which I did not expect to find in an 8-year old. Today, you told me I didn’t have to get you a cake to enjoy on your actual birthday because I “do enough” for you. Who says that? What 9-year-old boy notices and understands how much their parents do?

You do.

And that’s reason 1,276,899 why I love you so, so much. To infinity and beyond.

Love, Mommy



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Dear Riley,

Today you turn seven years old. 2009 was a long time ago, I suppose. It doesn’t feel that way because it’s still so fresh in my mind. If I close my eyes, I swear I can still see your squirmy newborn self and the way you looked me dead in the eyes a few seconds after you were born. 

You’re almost old enough to start reading these letters I’ve written you over the years. You’ll find them interesting I’m sure, but you won’t fully understand until you’re a parent. I wouldn’t have. 

Today at seven years old, you’re smart, thoughtful, funny and sweet. You stopped your birthday party yesterday because Charlotte accidentally got bumped by a big kid and started crying. “Stop the game!” You yelled. “My sister is hurt!” This is par for the course for you, big bro. 


You’re hilarious. Yes, you’re goofy and punchy sometimes, but you’re classically funny too. Last week your teacher told me you delivered a perfect, “thanks! I’ll be here all week” at the exact right time. Way to go, bud. 

Friday night, after my first week at my new, big job, I was noticeably frazzled getting everything ready for your party when you said, “thanks for always making my birthday parties shine, Mommy.” I asked what you meant and you said that I always make your parties extra special. Your sweetness takes my breath away on a regular basis. And you already notice that birthday parties are my love language. 

You hugged and kissed all the friends who came to your party. At seven, you wanted your friends to know how much you care about them. Some boys wiped your kiss off, too cool of course. But it didn’t bother you. You are who you are and you don’t apologize. Please never lose this. 

The day you were born, you changed me for the better, forever. Thank you Riley. 

I love you to infinity and beyond. 


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Dear Riley,

Today you turn six years old. I want to document what you are like as a little boy so I can look back on this when you’re older and weep dramatically.

camping6As you can see from the photo above, you are a happy little boy who is a joy to be around. Yes, I’m your mom so I’m biased, but seriously, everyone feels this way about you. You make people happy.

You’re a sensitive boy who wants everyone to be his friend. This year you started a K5/1st grade class. I was nervous about you being in a class with “older” kids because I knew you’d want everyone to be your friend and some 7 year olds don’t want to be friends with a 5 year old. You’ve continually impressed us, though. You’re smart, you’re tough and you’re a good friend. I hope you never lose any of these qualities.

Goofy BFFs

Goofy BFFs

You’ve always loved your big brother role to Charlotte but lately we’ve seen that mature. You tell us if she’s doing something you know she shouldn’t and now you try to explain to her why she shouldn’t do something we wouldn’t approve of. You are her lifelong protector and buddy and really, you have been from day one. She’s a lucky girl.


You LOVE your family. Just this week you came home with artwork you made in art class with “I love my mommy” randomly written across it. These little signs of love from you are not rare but they still make me smile every single time. You are a rare, special little boy and I can’t tell you how happy I am that you are mine.


I love you to infinity and beyond, buddy.





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Time is a cruel beast

“I need a bigger towel,” he said.

“No, you don’t, this towel still works!” I said, cheerfully.


Then I thought of something.

This hooded shark towel from Target was the towel we used after his first bath at home almost SIX years ago. Um…maybe he DID need a bigger bath towel. And probably one without a hood because, you know, he’s a big kid and all that stuff.

I got this towel as a baby shower gift six years ago. That first bath at home after getting back from the hospital resulted in a classic Riley picture:


Clearly he was not feeling the bath OR the towel.

Fast forward a couple years to a cold Sunday night where I then tried to recreate this picture with an almost 6 year-old squirming on my lap while I tried to snap a pic on my phone:


You get the gist. That first picture felt like it was only yesterday, but then again, it also feels like a lifetime ago. We had no idea what we were doing with this squirmy, floppy newborn. And we had no clue the awesome child he’d grow into. One who tells the best fart and poop jokes. One who is really sick with a bad cold right now and wrote a note to his daddy saying, “I love you daddy because you help me when I’m hurt.”

Oh time, why do you pass so quickly?

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Riley’s 5th Birthday Party

So the last month or two has really gotten away from me and I realized I still haven’t written about Riley’s 5th birthday party. This is the first year we had a “kids” party AND a “family” party. Usually it’s only been the family party, but now that Riley’s in school, we knew he’d want to have his school friends celebrate with him. So that’s what we did.

Enter Skyzone.

The birthday boy was just a smidge excited.

The birthday boy was just a smidge excited.

Skyzone is an indoor trampoline park and man, this place is a dream for kid’s parties. The entire warehouse-sized building is filled with trampolines. Even the walls are trampolines. It was so fun watching the kids bounce and bounce and fall and bounce some more.

Seriously. Can I join?

Seriously. Can I join?


So since our little man is obsessed with the old school Nintendo that I got when I was in 5th grade (no, I’m not even kidding – it still works!), he said he wanted a Mario party. I was happy to oblige.


I made these 1up mushroom cupcakes, after finding them online. The white dots are actually white candy melts. It was so hard to find Mario “stuff”. Cups, plates, chochkies, not even Party City had them. I finally found them at Bartz’s a small local party store. And I then spent an arm and a leg on them. Oh well. Worth it.


Look at that face. See? Worth it.


The number 5 mustached shirt was an Etsy find, btw.


When the party was over, all the kids got to take one of these game over bags home. Inside was a Mario moustache, Mario fruit snacks and stickers.

After the awesome time at Skyzone, we then welcomed a house full of family over that afternoon for another party. What? We figured we’d get it all over in one day and collapse into a pile of exhaustion for the rest of the weekend. We succeeded.




We bought him a remote-controlled rattle snake. He was thrilled as you can see above. Have you ever seen someone so excited to unwrap a rattle snake?


Store-bought cake for the win!

IMG_7938Again, when your husband is a graphic designer, he can do things like this. Put your child’s head on Mario for a banner and invitations.



So there you have it. Every year I go pretty darn big for my kid’s birthdays and this year was no exception. Check out other parties we’ve thrown here and here. However, I depended much more on store bought things this year. Honestly, this party kind of crept up on me and I just didn’t have the time to go all Pinterest-y on this party. But it turned out great. Take that Pinterest!



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Dear Riley,

Today you are 5 years old. A big kid, but still my little boy.

DSCN1455I remember the feeling of your light, floppy little newborn body like it was yesterday. Bringing you into the world was one of the most profound moments of my life. You are the epitome of what life is about. You made all my dreams come true by simply existing. Being a mom is my favorite (though most difficult) job in the world and I owe all of that to you. Thank you.



Ok, enough of the mushy stuff (for this paragraph, at least). There are so many things I love about you that I don’t even know where to start. I love that you appreciate the little things in life. We’re in the midst of the coldest winter I can remember and you keep telling me that you wish it was summer so we could eat watermelon. Mark my words, this summer, we are eating more watermelon than we ever have in the history of the world.

Please don’t ever lose your sweetness. It is one of your best qualities. You care about other people, you take the time to tell me that I’m the best mommy ever, that the dinner I just made is the best I’ve ever made and that you love me so, so, so, super, duper, schmuper much.

IMG_4763I’m so proud of you. You’re so smart, even meeting all your K4 milestones by the time you STARTED K4. Your teacher says all the kids want to play with you and be your friend. You want to be everyone’s friend, too. Don’t lose that – being nice and including others is so important.

So this weekend we will have a giant party for you. Two, actually. One for your school friends and one for your family. Everyone wants to celebrate with you because you are a little boy worth celebrating.


Thank you for teaching me to be a better version of myself. Someday I hope to be as great as you think I am.

I love you.





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Dear Riley and Charlotte

Dear Riley and Charlotte,

There are times throughout the day that you both do things that are either hilarious, adorable, or a little bit of both and I realize that you won’t do these things forever. Riley, you’ll be FIVE in a couple months, and that just blows my mind.

photo 3 photo 4

Gone are the days of you calling our dog Lola, “Wahwhoa,” or saying that maybe some candy would, “feel me better.” I miss that little boy, but I love the little boy you are today. The one who:

  • Tells me on a daily basis that I’m the best mommy ever
  • Thanks me for making dinner and usually says it’s the best dinner ever, even when it’s just spaghetti
  • Asks uncomfortably inappropriate questions like “Mommy, why don’t you have a wiener?”
  • Loves his sister so much it hurts. Sometimes literally. Yesterday you hugged her too tight and too long and she struggled to get away. Apparently you still didn’t let go and she bit you right on the cheek. It’s a hard lesson to learn, but I think she made her point.
  • Immediately takes my hand whenever you get out of the car. I don’t need to remind you, you do it automatically and I can tell it makes both of us happy.

And Charlotte, you are now 18 months old and you’re getting bigger and less baby-like every day.

photo 1photo 2

I love how you:

  • only call animals by the sounds they make, not what they’re called. For example, your favorite, a horse is a “neigh neigh,” a dog is an “arf arf” a cat is a “meow” a rooster is a “cock a doodle doo” – high pitched of course – and a bird is a “tweet tweet.” I should probably be correcting you, but it’s too cute!
  • are so observant. You see your favorite, a squirrel, from across the room, outside the window and up a tree across the street. You don’t miss much.
  • love kissing. You make a cartoon kissy face and come at us with a “mmmmmMMMMMMWAH!” until we let you plant one on us.
  • I love the way you say yes. It sounds like “yesssshhhh”. It’s too cute for words.
  • Whenever I’m holding you, if I sigh out of the sheer exhaustion of raising two kids and working full time, you instantly mimic my sigh. Because maybe your life is hectic, too.
  • At night, you insist on me reading “moooooon!” (Goodnight Moon) as one of your bedtime stories. However, you refuse to let me open it up and read the pages. Luckily, that was one of Riley’s favorite books too, so I’ve had 4 and a half years to memorize the book. I read it to you every night from memory, while you sit on my lap and hug the closed book.

This list really could go on and on, but I’ll stop here. You two are the best things that ever happened to your dad and me. We can’t wait to see the people you become. You will always make us proud.



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