Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Holidays

Hey, Jude -

Tonight we're going to Rhode Island to visit Meme & Pepe. Auntie Marissa will be there and everyone is really excited to see you. The most exciting part for Momma & Daddy is that Great Grandpa is going to put on his Santa outfit and take pictures with you. Not many boys and girls get their very own Santa, but you do. Great Grandpa has a long, white beard and he's been dressing up like Santa for years. You're very lucky to get your own Great Grandpa Claus.

I love you, my Jude. My Christmas boy.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah

Hey, Jude -

This time of year there are many holidays celebrated by people all over the world. We celebrate 2 - Christmas and Hanukkah. Christmas is the holiday Momma & Daddy grew up with and Hanukkah is the holiday Momma started to celebrate when she was in college. Traditionally, Christmas is for Christians and Hanukkah is for Jews, but we like to celebrate both because at the root of them is family and giving. Those are 2 of the most important things in life.

I hope that when you grow up and have a family of your own you will celebrate however you think best embraces a spirit of giving and family. That might mean something religious, something secular, something spiritual, something fun, something serious, but most of all something selfless. Daddy & I like to take the best bits of Christmas and Hanukkah and fold them into our winter holiday season. We're really looking forward to volunteering with you when you get a little older. Giving to others is a powerful thing and we can't wait to share that with you.

I love you, my Jude. My holiday boy.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Hey, Jude -

I was thinking today about how important is it to have a family around you for love and support. Family doesn't just mean mom, dad, and baby. Family can mean many things. Daddy & I talk to you about this sometimes - how families don't all look the same, but the love is the same no matter what kind of package it comes in.

This weekend we went to brunch with some friends and it made me think about extended family. Sometimes we don't get to see our friends very often, but they're still part of our big, extended family. When you get older you may have friends that live in different states or countries and you may not get a chance to see them very much. What I hope you experience is what Daddy & I have with our friends - even if we don't get together frequently we still keep the love we have for each other as strong as if we saw each other every day.

I love you, my Jude. My friendly boy.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Tut, tut, cheerio

Hey, Jude -

There have been big developments in your world! Yesterday you tried cheerios! Actually, Joe's Os from Trader Joe's. I gave you some on your highchair tray and you looked at them for a few seconds with a rather puzzled expression... then you tried to pick one up. The first time wasn't a success, but you tried again and eventually you were able to grasp one and lift it to your mouth. Getting it into your mouth was another challenge, but you persevered and were triumphant. Cereal is no match for you!

The look of surprise and pride on your face when you got the first one in your mouth was great. You chewed (gummed, really) it and smiled at the same time. You palm them now, but I know pretty soon you'll be using a pincer grip (your thumb and pointer finger) to pick them up. Watching you grow is amazing and more fun all the time.

I love you, my Jude. My hungry boy.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Hey, Jude -

Thanksgiving is Momma's favorite holiday. There are many days that celebrations happen during the year, but Thanksgiving is the one I love the most. We usually have a big dinner with lots of family, but this year it will be just you, Daddy, and me. I'm really happy about that. It's our first Thanksgiving as a family and we get to spend it with each other in our own way.

History books tell us that the first Thanksgiving was held by the Pilgrims and the Native Americans back when this country was just starting out. It was a big, happy dinner where meals and good will were shared. The real story is a bit different and I'm sure Daddy & I will explain that to you later. Maybe Auntie Marissa will talk about it, too. She's a teacher and she explains it very well. Most people in America have a roast turkey, but since we don't eat animals we'll be having a different dinner.

My most favorite part of Thanksgiving is reflecting on what I'm thankful for. In my life I have many things to be grateful for, but this year I am especially thankful for you & Daddy. Our family is wonderful. Getting to watch you grow and learn every day is what I'm thankful for this year. Thank you, my boy. Thanks for being your wonderful, hilarious, happy, healthy self.

My wish for you is to grow up and know the value of gratefulness. It's important to be thankful and to appreciate good things in this world. We are a lucky family and remembering that makes us even luckier.

I love you, my Jude. My thankful boy.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pumpkin Pie

Hey, Jude -

I often call you Pumpkin Pie. I have lots of nicknames for you. Pumpkin Pie is one of my favorites. It's especially fitting this time of year because Halloween is just around the corner and pumpkins are a traditional symbol for the holiday.

Today Daddy & I took you to Queens County Farm Park. They have a pumpkin patch. You loved sitting in the hay and patting the pumpkins like drums. You also liked eating the hay! As much as we tried to keep it out of your mouth, you kept figuring out how to get another handful of the stuff. You really have a knack for putting dirty things in your mouth.

The farm also has animals. You loved the cows, goats, and chickens. There was a calf there that ate some food out of my hand and you reached out to touch him. Daddy and I thought you were thinking, "This is a very big dog!" As you get older we hope you keep your love of animals. Some kids are frightened or nervous around animals, but not you! You love to touch them and talk to them.

I love you, my Jude. My pumpkin boy.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Such great heights

Hey, Jude -

You have a new favorite thing - standing! You love to hold onto Momma or Daddy's fingers and stand up. You can't do it for very long, but you think it's wonderful. You smile and squeal with delight whenever you do it. You're not very interested in crawling, only rolling around, so standing seems like a very special thing to you.

Every time you discover something new (which is almost every day!) I think about all the new things you'll do in your life. It brings me a lot of joy to see you enjoying new discoveries. Your curiosity makes me proud and inspires me to keep looking for new things in my life. Thank you for that, my special standing guy.

I love you, my Jude. My big boy.

Friday, September 4, 2009

And many more

Hey, Jude -

Today is Momma's 32nd birthday and it was her best one yet because you were there. Thank you for making this year the most amazing so far.

I love you, my Jude. My happy boy.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

New this and new that

Hey, Jude -

Here's something for you - new stuff. New stuff is good. I don't mean new stuff in the sense of new toys all the time, new clothes, new trends, new just for the sake of new. I mean new stuff like new experiences, new methodology, new ways of thinking, new ideas, new opinions, new styles.

I hope you continue your love of new stuff. Right now everything is new to you. You embrace the newness of the world with such interest and zeal (even green beans!). I hope that stays with you to some degree even when you are an old man one day, with grandchildren and aches and pains and wrinkles.

New food, new technology, new friendships, new love, new thoughts. Greet these things with open arms. Don't discard any of the worthy old things in your life, but make room for the new with enthusiasm and a smile. The world is full of luddites who shy away from the new because it unnerves them. Try not to be one of those people. The new brings chanced for discovery and joy that you might not have found if you only stuck with the old.

I love you, my Jude. My eager boy, my curious boy.


P.S. You are doing something funny these days - you stare at the ceiling fan. You actually interact with it quite a bit. You smile at it and babble at it... your favorite place in the neighborhood is the coffee shop because they have 2 ceiling fans. So much to stare at and coo at and love. Your Daddy and Auntie and I joke about the ceiling fan being your soul mate.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Out and about

Hey, Jude -

It's been a few weeks since I've written here for you. It's been a very busy time for our family. We moved! We moved right around the corner from the apartment we lived in for 3 years before you were born into an apartment just a short half-block away. Now we have 2 bedrooms so you have your very own room. You're a lucky boy. Not many kids in the city get their own rooms. You'll appreciate that when you're a little bit older. It is rather hectic to move - all the packing and hauling and unpacking - so I've had little time to come here and put my thoughts down for you. Luckily, I've gotten to spend a lot of time talking to you and telling you all the things I would have written here if I had the chance.

You are growing into a boy who loves the outdoors. This warms my heart. When you were a tiny baby, only 7 days old, I carried you in your sling while I walked around the neighborhood. I explained the trees and the wind and the sun and moon to you. As you've gotten a little older (almost 5 months now!) you've really taken a liking to trees. You gaze up at the branches and leaves when we're in the park. At home you look out our 3rd floor windows at the big tree outside and you smile. You grin at nature and that makes me very proud.

Being inside is good. It lets you cool down on an especially hot day, warm up when it's cold out, sleep comfortably, take shelter from the elements, all the things that keep people safe and sound. But, always try to spend some time outside every day. Even just taking a walk around your neighborhood will do you some good. The breeze will blow across your face and remind you that whatever your preoccupations, you're a small member of a larger natural order. Respect nature and everything in it. Recycle and reuse and take good care of the Earth. It will take good care of you.

I love you, my Jude, my kind boy, my nature boy.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Open wide

Hey, Jude -

The latest and greatest in your life this week was the introduction of solid foods. Until now you've had only breast milk, so solids were a momentous addition. You tried bananas first. You loved them. Next came baby oatmeal, followed by carrots, then sweet potatoes. I think the best so far was the most recent - homemade apple and carrot puree.

You squealed with delight as you took the tiny, rubber coated, green spoon into your mouth. You opened up wide in anticipation of every bite. I expected you to be hesitant, but you never were. My boy is an amazing eater. Your little baby friends aren't eating solids yet. Most babies wait until 6 months or so, but you were ready. You stared at Daddy & me when we ate, watching the food go into our mouths. You even leaned forward with your mouth open as if trying to get a taste of what we were having. We knew it was time to start you on solids at 4 months old.

As I was peeling and chopping the apples and carrots this evening I was thinking about years ago before you were born how I said I'd make my own baby food when the time came. Then today I did just that. I readied the steamer pot, put the chunks of nutritious fruit and veg into the basket, and thought about how every part of what I was making for you was wholesome and good. That was a great feeling - knowing I was helping your little body and mind grow up big and strong and healthy. Daddy and I want you to inherit our love of food and our appreciation of sustainable, local eating.

You've liked every new food you've tried so far and I very much hope that stays with you. I want you to like trying new things. You may hear some people say that you should try everything once. I disagree. My motto is "Try everything twice. Give everything a second chance." That applies to many things - new hobbies, new music, new friends, new ideas. The same goes for new foods. Try it twice. If you didn't like it the first time try it again later. You just might be surprised at what you grow into.

I love you my Jude, my hungry boy, my happy boy,

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Snap, Crackle, Pop

Hey, Jude -

Today brought yet another lesson I hope you learn. It's OK to be in a bad mood now and then, but try hard not to be cranky with other people. When you're not feeling happy or you're tired it's easy to get short tempered, especially with the people you love the most. You'll find that you're the most comfortable around people who love you, so it's easy to let your guard down and unleash some of your bad mood on the very people who deserve your bright, sunshiny self the most.

Right now Daddy and I are getting ready to move our family into our new apartment. We've lived in this apartment for 3 years before you were born and now we're moving into a bigger apartment where you will have your very own bedroom. I'm excited to be moving, but moving is difficult and it can be quite stressful. When I get stressed I can get grumpy and then snap at Daddy. Luckily, Daddy loves me very much and knows that I'm just in a bad mood and he doesn't take it personally, but it's not a nice thing for me to do.

So, try to remember that even when you're in a bad mood it's not nice to be snappy with people. The stress will pass, tomorrow is another day and a whole new chance to have a happy time again.

I love you my Jude, my happy boy, my little learner,

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sorry, little guy

Hey, Jude -

Today we went to the community garden. I had a great time showing you the plants and you loved looking at all the variations of green. You were particularly enthralled with the baby pine cones on the tree by the gate. I showed you how they start out tiny and purple, grow bigger and green, and finally get fully mature and brown.

The lesson I realized I want you to learn from today is that forgiveness is key. It's not good to hold a grudge or keep that negativity within yourself. You've got to find a way to let it go. That goes for forgiving yourself, too.

One of the things I showed you at the garden was a tiny snail on the ground near the gate. I showed you its shell and explained how that was its house, always carried around on the snail's back. You listened as I told you about snails' soft bodies and the need for protection, which is why their shell/house comes in so handy. As we were leaving we walked past the gate and I felt a delicate crunch beneath my sandal. I stepped on the snail. I crushed his house and killed the poor, little fella.

I felt so bad about killing poor Mr. Snail, especially after introducing the two of you, I apologized about a million times... to you and to the squished little thing on the ground. I felt terrible the whole way home and didn't really talk to you much and tell you about what was going on during the walk like I usually do. You didn't get to hear me talk about the rain hitting the sidewalk or the trees blowing in the wind. Instead, I was beating myself up for accidentally killing the snail.

The lesson is that you should be sorry for doing bad things, but you should also try to forgive yourself. If you've done all you can to make it right and you feel truly sorry, then all that's left to do is forgive. No use in keeping that awful feeling inside when it won't fix what went wrong in the first place. That's what I realized I'd like you to learn today.

I love you, my Jude, my smart boy, my nice boy.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Go for it

Hey, Jude -

I thought of another quality I hope you embrace as you grow. Spontaneity. I hope you enjoy the unexpected and get a kick out of shaking up the daily routine now and again. Your Daddy and I are trying to instill this in you already. Take yesterday, for example...

We were on the phone with MeMe in the morning and she mentioned they were headed to our favorite seafood place in southern Rhode Island for dinner. Daddy looked at me and said, "You know, it's really only a 3 hour drive." With that, we packed your diaper bag, got in the car, and met MeMe, Pepe, and Auntie for dinner. Was it a little crazy? Maybe. But that's OK. It was worth it to have a really great day with our family and an unplanned visit with your grandparents and aunt. You got to see the ocean for the first time. You got to smell the salty air, hear the waves lap the beach. It was a special day for everyone because we got to experience that with you.

Being spontaneous is a good thing, my boy. Letting go of what is supposed to happen and reaching out to what might be can make a normal day an extraordinary day. Sometimes it's good to take a chance. Be prudent, of course, but take those chances that make your heart happy.

I love you my Jude, my sunshine, my nice boy.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Live and let laugh

Hey, Jude -

You're almost 13 weeks old. You've been here for 3 months. Something like 90 days. In the past 90 days you've done more than I can really fathom. You've learned to eat, breathe, smile, kick, coo. You have found your hands and celebrate by shoving your fists in your mouth at every opportunity. You've been to an art museum, several restaurants, Rhode Island, a wedding, and the park. You ride the subway on a fairly regular basis. You've changed lives and softened hearts. I'd say that's a pretty good record for such a short time.

You'll never believe what you did this weekend. You laughed. You giggled. You honest to god laughed and it was the sweetest sound I've ever heard. Daddy was, of course, the source of the glee. I have yet to inspire your giggles, but the smiles and coos are tiding me over until then.

I hope you know laughter intimately as you grow up. It's a wonderful thing. When you're lonely or need a pick me up laughter can be the best medicine. When your heart hurts and life is hard laughter can be your bright, shiny spot. If you grow to be someone who laughs easily and smiles often I will be a very happy mother. If you encourage laughter in others I will be over the moon.

I love you, my Jude, my sunshine, my giggly boy.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

You and me, kid

Hey, Jude -

This weekend Daddy went to Vermont and it was just you & me, kid. Well, we can't forget Duke. He was pretty thrilled to be with you, too. It was a full weekend of playing, eating (and more eating, followed by some eating), napping, singing, dancing, smiling, reading, and walking.

I was nervous before Daddy left because I didn't know how well I'd be able to take care of you all weekend alone. You need a lot of attention and care right now and doing that all by myself is exhausting. But, you know what? This weekend was great. We had so much fun together and I felt good about taking care of you. You really liked being outside a lot, so I'm going to make sure you get to go on a walk with me & Daddy every day.

I learned this weekend that independence is a good thing. It's wonderful to have Daddy here as my partner, but to care for you independently is powerful. It made me feel strong and capable and important. That's a lesson I hope you learn - independence is good. I hope that you are an independent person. You will grow into exactly who you are supposed to be. I'm lucky to see that process unfold.

I love you, Jude, my sunshine, my smiley boy.

Friday, May 15, 2009

9 weeks

Hey, Jude -

You're 9 weeks old now. So tiny, yet so much bigger than you were. I've watched you grow every day - some days it seemed like you were visibly bigger at night than you were in the morning. What has it been like watching you grow?

It's been nothing short of inspiring. Seeing your small body get stronger all the time shows how amazing the human machine really is. Your muscles are larger, your tendons are tighter, your bones are longer, your eyes can see farther now (and in color!). Being able to see your growing strength makes me feel stronger, too.

You experience new things all the time. You're still very interested in sneezing. After each sneeze you make a little cooing sound. It's Daddy's favorite sound in the world. He looks forward to your sneezes just to hear you make that sound, like a little chirping bird. You like baths now. Your first few weren't exactly a rousing success, but ever since you've been able to get into the big tub you've had a really good time splashing around in there. Daddy holds you firmly, but lets you float a bit. You smile up at him and squeak out excited "aaahs" and "heees". I gave you a bath tonight. I got in the tub with you this time. You loved it. I loved it. And then you peed on me. Really! For the second time today, in fact.

Right now you're asleep in your swing right next to me. Duke, our faithful, dopey, loving dog is laying on the floor next to you, protecting you, keeping you safe.

I love you, my smiley boy, my nice boy.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

my Jude

As of March 12 I am a mom. Jude came into my life in a rather dramatic fashion. He made me a mom, student, teacher, playmate, genius, idiot, mechanic, maid, nurse, engineer, actor, singer, dancer, and observer all in an instant.

He is my first born. My sunshine. My smiley boy. These are thoughts and wishes for him. My son, my Jude.