Posts Tagged 'Birthdays'

June 22, 2014


Every year I start your birthday letter in much of the same way – “I can’t believe how fast this year has gone!” and “How in the world are you this age already?!” It’s true for this year, too. I just can’t believe that you are three already. That it has been three whole years since they placed you on my chest for the first time. What I CAN believe is that we have spent three years making tons of memories together. It feels like you have always been a part of our family, and I honestly can’t remember what life was like without you in it.

You are hilarious these days. The things you do and say keep me on my toes and laughing. For instance, you like to dress yourself when I’m not looking. One day after I had already gotten you dressed, you came into my room and jumped on my bed wearing your PJ’s again. Granted, they didn’t match, you had your shirt on backwards, and one of your arms didn’t quite make it through the armhole. You didn’t care – you just jumped and giggled and thought life was grand.


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Another day you decided to wear my shirt (which looked more like a dress on you) and some of my flip-flops. You would’ve thought you were wearing a ball gown the way you strutted your stuff.


Most other days you are content wearing normal clothes. However, you are going through a phase where you want nothing to do with your usual shorts and t-shirts and insist on wearing your “egg dress” (Easter dress). Usually it’s dirty, so you have to settle for another dress in the closet. I guess you’re not going to be such a tomboy after all!

Naps. Oh my word, you are KILLING me with your lack of naps! Long gone are the days of you willingly laying in your bed and sleeping for 2-3 hours. No, you fight me with every ounce of your will power when naptime rolls around. I used to fight you. Then I tried to compromise and let you do whatever in your room as long as you were quiet. You would happily play but wouldn’t sleep, and I would pay the price with crabby evenings. Now I have given in to letting you lay on the couch watching a show, and you sometimes fall asleep. On those days, I like to sneak and take your picture because you’re so stinking cute and peaceful.

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Other days, you pretend you’re resting until I decide to take a shower. On those days, I come downstairs to find you getting into some kind of mischief. On one particular day, you decided to take the entire bag of marshmallows we keep for fire pit nights out of the pantry and stuffed your mouth with them. You were a sticky mess, and I don’t want to know how many marshmallows you ate. But I had to grab my camera because it was too funny not to remember.

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Another shower fiasco was when you found my permanent marker and drew all over your face. Again, I had to grab my camera before I cleaned you up. Now that a few months have gone by since the incident, I can more fully enjoy this picture and chuckle at the memory of it.

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You have already started with the dreaded “three behavior,” and I have a feeling I’m going to need to hold on tight to my sanity as we go through this next year together. Your new favorite phrases are (in no particular order), “I’m so FRUSTRATED!” “No, I don’t like you!” “I don’t want to!” “Get away from me!” and “Don’t touch me!” Seriously, I sometimes miss the days when you couldn’t talk. I keep telling myself that this, too, shall pass, but there are many days I want to pull my hair out. And many other days that I wonder if I’m totally failing you as a mom.

Yet for every tough moment we have, we have so many other pleasant moments. For instance, you want me to braid your hair. While sometimes I don’t feel like taking the extra time to do it every day, I know how much you adore it when it’s done. You ask me to hold you like a baby on the couch and we snuggle and watch TV. You request to watch our wedding DVD and both birth DVD’s every chance you can get. You know the songs from each, and if you hear a song on the radio from one of them you’ll shout, “This is from when Mommy and Daddy got married!” I love that you are sentimental and enjoy reliving those days as much as I do. Although there are days that I get tired of watching our wedding for the third time in a row! HA! You also love to play beauty parlor and “cutting” my hair. You say things like, “Your hair’s so messy! I’ll make it beautiful!” You love having your nails painted, and your favorite person to paint them is your daddy. You proudly show people your nails and say, “Daddy painted them!” Melts my heart every time.

You love imaginary play. Baby dolls, Barbie dolls, playing kitchen/doctor/princess. I love that you talk to your babies so kindly, and take such great care of them. I can already see that you’re going to make a great mommy someday. Other times I just have to laugh at your imaginary play. One day I overheard you playing in the back seat of my car with your Cinderella and Barbie dolls. In the most sickeningly sweet voice you could come up with, you made Cinderella ask Barbie, “What the hell are you doing?!” Oh my, your preschool teachers are just going to love you this year!

You are brave. You ride every ride they’ll let you at Kings Island with a big grin on your face and your arms up in the air. The bigger the hills and the faster it goes the better. How in the world you enjoy roller coasters, the Monster, and the Scrambler, I have no idea. You must’ve gotten your thrill-seeking genes from your daddy, Grandma, and Uncle Brad! You have started telling me, “Put your arms up! It’s a rollercoaster!” when we’re driving down hills in the car. You even get Aiden to put his arms up and squeal, “Weeeee!” Your bravery carries over to the playground – you’ll climb every play structure you can find, and never once worry about falling. You make me a nervous wreck, but I can honestly say I’m thankful that you’re fearless. I wish I didn’t let fear stop me from doing a lot of things in life. I know your courage will take you far, and I hope to someday follow your lead.

In addition to brave, you are stubborn and strong-willed. If you want to do something (or don’t want to do something, for that matter), you will let me know and will stand your ground. I have had to drag you kicking and screaming out of too many places to count, all because you weren’t finished playing or weren’t getting your way. While right now your stubbornness is a hard trait to live with, I have a feeling that it will serve you well when you’re older. I know for a fact that you will stand up for what you believe in, and won’t let people walk all over you. You will be decisive and a leader. I am just trying to parent you in a way that you learn to express your opinions in more appropriate ways, while also valuing the opinions of others.

Peyton, I love being your mom more than anything. You have taught me more about unconditional love, patience, and hard work than anyone else I know. You are the best big sister Aiden could ever ask for. You two love each other to death, and I am so glad you are such good buddies. Your daddy and I talk all the time about how smart you are, and how lucky we are to have you. I know God had such great plans in mind when He sent you our way, and we are thankful everyday for the best surprise of our lives.

You will always be my little snuggle bug, no matter how old you get!


Your mama

Now for some pictures of the birthday girl! Here she is posing in her standard dress and braid before we headed out to dinner on Saturday. I just love all her expressions!

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We had a dinner with just our immediate family at Firehouse Grill. We sat outside and listened to live music, ate yummy pizza, and watched the ducks. Doesn’t get much better than that! She even got a birthday sundae and got to blow out a candle.

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Her real birthday will be spent going to breakfast with my parents, heading to daddy’s baseball game and then probably out to lunch after, and then having dinner with the Hamberg’s. I ordered a cake for after dinner which she is SUPER excited about! Of course we’ll also watch her birth video, which we do every year. Speaking of which, I overheard her singing parts of the “I Bless You” song from her video to her baby doll the other day. Too sweet!!!

She is having a Pinkalicious birthday party on June 28th. We’re going to have pink donuts, pink strawberry milk, pink lemonade, and of course PINK CUPCAKES! She is so excited, as that is her favorite book lately. She can even “read” you most of it using the correct words and everything. I will try and post pictures from her actual birthday and party later! Thanks for reading up on our sweet and sassy THREE year old! 🙂

January 20, 2014


The theme for Aiden’s first birthday party was a no-brainer.

The kid has a baseball themed nursery

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He had a baseball themed newborn photo shoot

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It was only fitting that his birthday party was baseball themed, too! Plus, I don’t think his dad would have had it any other way. I had SO much fun planning his party! I am totally IN LOVE with his birthday invites! I tried to get a picture of them to post on here, but wasn’t able to get it to work. If you want to check them out, click here!

I think I got a little carried away with the whole concession stand idea. We had hot dogs (made in a crock pot thanks to Pinterest!), Larosa’s pizza (served at the Cincinnati Red’s stadium), popcorn, peanuts, Cracker Jacks, and nachos. YUM! I bought the adorable popcorn bags at Oriental Trading. I found all of the baseball decorations at Simone Made It, and they were super easy to customize!

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The dessert table was just as yummy as the concession stand! We had baseball cupcakes from Sam’s (super affordable!), ice cream, and COTTON CANDY! Oh, and we also had Double Bubble gum. I put them in a glass baseball that we had gotten flowers in when Aiden was born (thanks, Grandma Marianne!). This party definitely wasn’t the healthiest, but I chose to run with the theme no matter what. I hope no one had belly aches when they got home! HA! I found the cute baseball dessert plates and napkins at Oriental Trading, too. Love that place! 🙂

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I didn’t go too overboard on the decorations, but I was pretty excited about the “Aiden Hit a Homeone” banner I made. I got the idea from Pinterest, and it was the prefect way to display Aiden’s monthly pictures! I am so thankful that my mom and dad let us have the party at their house. As many of you know, our house is pretty tiny and we don’t have much room for entertaining large crowds. Hopefully someday we’ll own a home that can hold all the people we love! 🙂

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We had our guests sign a baseball for Aiden. We will put it in a glass case in his room, just like we did for the ball with his footprint on it from the day he was born. I am a bit obsessed with all these baseballs with sentimental value!

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Aiden loved his baseball smash cake (also from Sam’s!). He was a little hesitant at first, but daddy shoved his hand in to get things started. He ended up literally SMASHING his cake, and it was everywhere. SUCCESS!

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We are so thankful to our family and friends for all of the thoughtful gifts. Aiden has loved every one of them, and so has his sister. 😉

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All the kids went home with a baseball themed goody bag. Inside were baseball tattoos, stickers, a baseball bouncy ball, lollipop (all found at Oriental Trading), and peanuts, Cracker Jacks, and Double Bubble gum. How freaking adorable were the favor tags?! I think they were my favorite part of Simone’s baseball printables!

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We had a great day celebrating our sweet boy. Even though it was a cold and snowy day, we had fun pretending it was baseball season! I hope all of our guests had a great time. We appreciated everyone spending the day with us and loving our little guy!

**Update** I was awarded “Best Decorations” from for Aiden’s party! They reached out to me after seeing this blog post, and I am honored to accept the award. Of course we thought the party was super cute, but it’s flattering to know that others (even complete strangers!) think so too! 🙂


January 20, 2014




It’s pretty late right now, and boy did we have a fun day celebrating your first birthday! I always love taking time to sit down and reflect on my kiddos on their birthdays, and this is a special one for you. Your first year of life flew by, and was filled with such fun and many, many milestones!

I still remember the day I found out I was pregnant with you. It was March of 2012, and I ran out of the bathroom to tell your daddy. We were both a little surprised, as we got pregnant with you a little quicker than we thought we would, but we were both so excited to grow our family! You gave me a fairly easy pregnancy (compared to your silly sister!), and we all couldn’t wait to meet you. Your daddy was SO excited when we found out that you were a boy! He had a huge grin on his face all day, and I thought everyone knew what you were before our gender reveal party because he couldn’t wipe off that silly smile!

We went in for our scheduled induction on Friday, December 21st 2012 and were preparing for a long labor and delivery. Pitocin was started around 9 am, and you were born at 4:10 with only a few pushes! I instantly fell in love with you. I knew I’d love you, but the idea of having a boy kind of scared me. I knew what to do with girls, but boys were a whole different ballgame. Those worries faded the second you were placed in my arms. Just as your sister wrapped your daddy around her finger, YOU wrapped ME around yours! From the get-go, you would snuggle into my shoulder and want to be close to me. Oh, how I loved having a cuddly baby!

You have continued to be a mama’s boy, and I wouldn’t trade that for the world. I hope that even when you’re a teenager you will love your mama and we’ll still have our special bond. I’m already starting to dread the day you tell me you’ve met the girl of your dreams. Of course I’ll be happy for you, but you will always be my baby and it’s going to be hard to share you! 😉 You melt my heart and I often catch myself just staring at the handsome little guy that you are. How in the world did I get so lucky to have you?!

One of my most favorite times of the day is putting you to sleep at night. I reserve that job for myself partly because you can be tricky to get to sleep, but mainly because I love our special time together. I feed you your bottle, and then you snuggle up on my shoulder while I wait for you to burp. I swear you were created to fit perfectly on my shoulder, and I love snuggling with you while I sing you songs. I usually sing, “You are my Sunshine,” and will often put in “Aiden” where it says “Sunshine.” You will then lunge for your bed after you’ve had enough cuddles, and will usually drift right off to sleep. You hold your little baseball lovie close to you and sleep soundly the entire night.

Some things I always want to remember about you are:

*Your HAIR! People are always amazed at how much you have, and never believe me when I tell them you’ve already had four or five haircuts in your first year of life!

*You love to eat! Thank the Lord I don’t have to force food down your throat like your sister. But you inherited your father’s weird texture thing when it comes to food. You won’t eat anything that’s slightly slimy, such as most fruits, mashed potatoes, macaroni, cheese, etc. You live off peanut butter sandwiches, chicken nuggets, and grilled cheeses these days.

*You love music. You like to dance, clap, and “sing along” when music is playing. You have good rhythm, too!

*You are super easy-going. You let your sister boss you around, and if she takes your toy, you’ll usually just find something else to play with. You are starting to stand up for yourself more though, which I am happy to see. Peyton isn’t as excited about that as I am.

*You do the funniest crawl/scoot thing. You are so fast at getting around that way that I really don’t think you see any point in trying to walk. I know you’ll be running around the house soon enough, so I’m just enjoying your silly crawl for now.

*Your smile…oh, that smile! You are the easiest kid ever to get to smile. If I just look at you a certain way, you’re grinning ear to ear. You’re pretty easy to get to laugh, too. You are ticklish, especially on your legs when daddy squeezes them. I could look at that smile and listen to that laugh for hours at a time.

I just want to freeze time. I love every stage that you’re in, but I’m a little sad about how quickly you’re growing up. You are such a fun little guy to have around, and I really cannot picture our lives without you. God knew we needed a happy little boy with a head full of hair, and I’m so glad He sent you to us. I thank Him every day for you.

Your first year of life has been a whirlwind, but such a great one. I can’t wait to see what the next years have in store for you!

I love you, my little man!


Here are his LONG overdue 11 month photos…

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And here are his 12 month pics…

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My parents kept Peyton the night before Aiden’s birthday so that we could spend some special time with just him. We took him to Buck’s for dinner, which is where we took Peyton to celebrate her 1st birthday, too. It’s just a casual little restaurant near our house, but they have the BEST hot chocolate chip cookie and ice cream! We took a candle and sang Happy Birthday to him, and he sure loved his dessert!

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He was super excited to ride in his “big boy car seat” for the first time on the way to and from dinner!

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The birthday boy waking up. He wasn’t too thrilled about his mom taking pictures of him first thing in the morning!

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After his morning bottle, I set him on the floor to play. All of a sudden, I could hear paper tearing behind me. I looked behind the couch, and there was the birthday boy tearing into his present that I was planning on giving him later. So what did I do? I grabbed my camera and let him go at it! Poor Jason didn’t get to see him open it, but I just didn’t have the heart to take it away from him. He loves his Scout Reader!

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On Aiden’s actual birthday, we went to our friend’s birthday party. Riley was born on the same day at the same hospital as Aiden, and his mom is my godmother’s daughter. What are the chances?! Our family had a blast celebrating Riley at Entertrainment Junction. They were so sweet and even got a smash cake for Aiden, too. He was ALL about getting messy, and silly me didn’t bring extra clothes. Thank goodness Ali saved me with some of Riley’s!

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I was going to include Aiden’s first birthday party pictures here, but I have so many from all his different celebrations that this post is too freaking long! I will just do another post about his birthday party. It was super cute, and I can’t wait to share pictures! Stay tuned! 🙂

June 22, 2013


It seems like just yesterday I was sitting down to write your first birthday letter. How in the world has another year passed already?! I have a feeling every birthday letter will start the same way. Time sure does fly when you’re having fun!

This past year has been filled with many changes, and even more joy. You have grown from a baby to a little girl, and it makes me both happy and sad at the same time. I am so happy to see how you’ve grown into such a beautiful young lady. You have such a strong personality, and are Miss Independent. While sometimes your independence tries my patience, I am glad that you have a strong sense of self and wanting to do things on your own, even at such a young age. I hope you carry that character trait all through your life. I am a little sad that you are no longer my baby. You don’t want to snuggle as much, and you’d rather be playing by yourself or with your friends than with your old mom. But I must say…my heart melts when you say, “Rock!” before naps and at night. I gladly rock your toddler-sized body and sing our special songs before laying you in bed. Of course, you usually get straight out of your big girl bed the second I lay you in it, but for a few minutes, you are back to being my snuggly baby. I eat those minutes up!

My favorite thing about this past year is that you’ve learned how to talk! You love to tell me what you want, and often times I can’t believe that you know how to say more complex words and phrases! Some of your favorite things to say lately are, “I sit here!” “No, I do it!” “I’m gonna get you!” “Pool! Swim!” and “Rides!” (You LOVE going to the pool and Kings Island!) I find myself laughing at some of the things you say, and the expressions with which you say them. They are pretty cute now, but I better prepare myself for when you are a teenager. I think your independence and sass may come back to bite me down the road!

You continue to have such a positive impact on the people around you. Your father, for instance, still adores you. You will always and forever be daddy’s little girl. You have a bond with him that cannot be matched. Don’t get me wrong…he loves your brother a ton and will always be proud that he has a son. But you have him wrapped around your finger and he thinks the world of you. He is already dreading giving a speech and dancing with you at your wedding. He gets choked up just thinking about it, and you’re only now turning two years old. I can tell you right now that your wedding day will be one of the hardest days of his life. He will be so proud and happy for you, but man will he be dreading giving you away. I just hope it’s to a guy that is just like your dad. He has such a kind heart, and always puts his family first. His great sense of humor makes me laugh every day, and he makes our household a fun place to be. I can only hope that someday you will meet a man that will love you and care for you the way your dad does.

Your grandparents still love spending time with you. I am so glad that we live close to all of our family so that they can be very involved in your life. You love to go outside and look for deer with Papa Roo (you’ve called him Papa instead of Grandpa lately). You insist on doing this pretty much every time we go over there. Grandma Betsy still tries to take you once a week if she can, and you love playing with all the toys at their house. Your favorite is the van with the mommy and baby in it. You love going to Sunday night dinners at Grandpa Mike and Grandma Colleen’s house. You enjoy playing with the toy washer and dryer, and have started playing on the swing set out back. You learned how to swing on the “big kid” swing at their house with daddy one night. Grandpa Mike can’t wait to take you out on the boats again in Michigan later this summer.

You have such a kind heart, and try to take care of the people around you. When Aiden cries, you go over to him and pat his head saying, “It’s okay, buddy,” or “Don’t cry, Aiden.” It melts my heart to see you with him. You make him laugh every chance you get, and you are so gentle with him. He is so lucky to have you for an older sister, and I know you will continue to take care of him for years to come. Even though raising two kids under two has been challenging at times, I am so glad we decided to have you two close together. I can already tell that you’re going to be the best of friends, and seeing you take on the role of the big sister at such a young age has been a blast. You transitioned flawlessly, and I am so proud of how you accepted him from the moment he came home. I don’t know many kids that are not jealous when a new sibling gets added to the mix. I always ask myself how I got so lucky.

I am thankful that you are healthy (even though you need to gain a few more pounds!), and are well behaved. I always get compliments on how good you are when I need someone to watch you. Luckily (I think?) you save your tantrums and melt-downs for when you are with me. I know it’s just your age and your increasing desire to be independent. I suppose they don’t call them the “terrible two’s” for nothing, and you seemed to hit them sooner than expected!  Your tantrums usually come when I have to end the fun things you’re doing. You HATE when I make you come in from playing outside (you’d live out there if you could!), and same goes for when we have to go home from a play date. But you are learning to get over it. In the big scheme of things, you are SUCH a good girl. You will play happily alone, are learning to share with your friends, and have fun no matter what you are doing. You are learning to use your manners and say “please” and “thank you,” not all the time, but it’s a start. You are usually happy, and your smile and laughter are just infectious. I could not have asked for a better little girl to call my daughter. To say that your father and I are proud of you is an understatement. We are literally in awe of you, and you have tripled the joy in our house. We cannot imagine our life without you in it.

I thank God every day that He chose to bless us with you. I feel honored that He trusts me to raise and shape you. There is no other job in this world that I would rather do than be your mom. I get teary-eyed every time I think about how blessed I am to have you as part of our family. You continue to be the BIGGEST and BEST surprise of my life. I love you to the moon and back, young lady. Happy second birthday, and I look forward to continue watching you grow and change in the coming years.

All my love,

Your mama

As part of our birthday tradition, we will be watching Peyton’s birth video today. Check it out if you like – I cry every time!!!


Jason’s birthday letter to Peyton will eventually go here. He is still working on it! 🙂


Here are the best pics I got at the two year old photo shoot I attempted…

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As you can see from this picture, Peyton was NOT a fan of the photo shoot! Hence why the above pics are the best I could get! 😉

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March 12, 2013


Today you turn 34 years old, and in honor of your birthday, I’ve made a list of 34 reasons I love you. I’m sure that by the time you turn 80, I’ll have 80 new reasons for that list! 🙂

1.) You are the best dad I could’ve ever asked for to our kids.

2.) You value our relationship, and I know our family is your #1 priority.

3.) You still follow your passion and play baseball. As much as I may complain about you being gone so much because of it, I am proud of you for doing something you love.

4.) You still pursue and date me. I so look forward to our alone time together, and am thankful we take that time to grow as a couple.

5.) You are motivated to be the best you can be in your career. You always work hard and push yourself to succeed (sometimes too much!).

6.) You give the kids baths. I know that sounds silly, but I love that you take on that job. Peyton sure loves it when you let her “swing” on the shower curtain rod before she gets in!

7.) I love how you support and encourage me. I couldn’t ask for a bigger cheerleader in life.

8.) Your faith is important to you. I love that we can share our relationships with God with each other.

9.) You make me laugh on a daily basis. Even if an eye roll may accompany my giggle! 😀

10.) You value your family, and are intentional about spending time with them.

11.) You have accepted my family as your family, too. I know my parents cherish their relationship with you.

12.) You are a hands-on dad. You aren’t afraid to play with the kids, go on walks with us, or flip Peyton upside down countless times.

13.) I love that we kiss goodnight EVERY night.

14.) I love how sexy you look driving your Tahoe. 😉

15.) You are dependable and always do what you say you’re going to do.

16.) You toast me. I know that sounds silly…but I’ve never had anyone do that before! It is very romantic when you speak loving words before we eat a special meal together.

17.) I can talk to you for hours and never run out of things to say. My most favorite recent example of this was sitting on the beach in Cancun at night, listening to the waves, and enjoying great conversation.

18.) You have nice handwriting. Again, silly…but most guys don’t! I think yours might even be better than mine!

19.) You are an awesome bedtime story reader. Just ask Peyton!

20.) You are a loyal sports fan. I don’t think the Reds could have a more loyal fan! Oh, and same goes for the Bearcats. Not so sure about the Bengals…

21.) You humor me on an (almost) daily basis. Whether it’s letting me have my way, or smiling for a picture I know you’d rather not have taken.

22.) You work hard to keep our yard looking good. Can I say how thankful I am to have you cut the grass?! I never was very good at that!

23.) I loved the look on your face after both of our babies were born. You had such a big grin on your face, and I knew you were instantly in love!

24.) I love that I can tell you ANYTHING, and know whatever I say is safe with you.

25.) You love your dogs like they are kids. You even embraced my CRAZY Sadie as your own. You’ve saved them from being shipped off to new homes on more than one occasion! Haha.

26.) You are such a fun person to be around. Everyone that meets you loves you. I can take you anywhere, and I know you’ll get along with anyone and everyone.

27.) You are the best grill master. I can’t wait for the weather to get warm so you can grill us dinner! YUM!

28.) You dance at weddings. Best.Wedding.Date.Ever.

29.) You look hot in a baseball uniform.

30.) You aren’t afraid to let your emotion show. I won’t go into too much detail here, but I think I knew I was in love after we watched Marley and Me together in the theatre!

31.) You encourage me in my attempt to learn to cook, and eat whatever I put in front of you. Except maybe my homemade potato soup after you saw all the onions that went in it! Hehe.

32.) You accept me for me – the good, the bad, the ugly…EVERYTHING. I love that I can truly be myself around you.

33.) You support my desire to spend as much time with the kids as possible. AND you acknowledge what a challenge it can be. I am so grateful for the time you’ve given me to be a stay-at-home-mom.

34.) I am even more in love with you today than I was on our wedding day. I can’t wait to see our relationship develop and our love continue to grow!


Thank you for all you do for me, the kids, and our families. Today I am very thankful that you were brought into this world. It is a much better place with you in it!

Love Always,


June 20, 2012

My Sweet Peyton,

How in the world are you turning one already?! It seems like just yesterday they placed you on my chest for the first time. What a special day that was, and our lives have been changed for the better ever since! Here are some of our first pictures taken together, by the fabulous photographer Annie Varland! One of our traditions we’ve started for your birthday is to watch your birth slideshow that Annie made when she photographed your birth. What a blessing it is to have all of these wonderful pictures from your first moments of life! We plan to relive your birthday every year in this way. It makes me tear up every time I watch it!

I have already seen you change SO many lives in one short year! Your daddy, who wasn’t sure what he was going to do with a little girl, has become the perfect “Girl Daddy” (as I knew he would!). You have brought out a side of him that I had never seen before. I think God knew he needed a little girl to melt his heart in a way that only little girls can. He looks at you with such love, and is always excited to see his “little munchkin” when he comes home from work. He gave you every bath until you were about 3 months old, which no one could believe! He laughs when you splash in the water with your arms and legs, and tries really hard to not get water in your face. He is also the professional when it comes to combing your hair. He takes his time, making sure it is perfect. He has been known to stick a bow in your hair that matches your outfit. I don’t know many other Daddies that take such a vested interest in their daughter’s hair, so I think you are one lucky little girl. Your dad ALWAYS wants to see you. When we get to go out on date nights and you stay at Grandma and Grandpa’s, your daddy almost always tries to talk me into going and picking you up afterwards. As much as I want to see you, too, I know you’re already sleeping soundly and I don’t want to wake you. It is so sweet to see how much he loves you and wants to spend time with you – and I’m pretty sure you’ve had him wrapped around your finger since the day you were born! I have overheard him say on more than one occasion, “I fall in love with you more and more every day!” And you know what? That makes me fall in love with HIM more and more every day. We are very lucky to have him in our lives.

Your Grandparents have been changed for the better because of you, too. You are the highlight of family dinners at the Hamberg’s (now we also have Blake to look forward to!). Grandpa Mike and Grandma Colleen love seeing you and watching all of your new tricks. Grandpa Mike always greets you with, “How’s that Peyton?!” and wants to see you do “So Big.”  Grandma Colleen likes to sing you songs that she knows from the preschool where she teaches music. Grandpa “Roo” (since you have two Grandpa Mike’s!) and Grandma Betsy just can’t get enough of you! You get to spend every Friday with Grandma during the school year, and she says it is the highlight of her week. I think she has just as many toys and baby gear items at her house as we do at ours, which cracks me up. When they haven’t seen you in a few days, I can always count on a phone call from the Ruwe’s to get their “Peyton Fix.” You are so lucky to be so loved. I am just thankful that we are able to live close to all of your Grandparents and your Aunt Krissy and Aunt Mandy (who also love you to pieces!). Too bad Uncle Brad lives all the way out in L.A., but someday it will pay off when he can take you to Disney Land! 🙂

And last but not least, you have changed MY life in so many ways! I always knew I wanted to be a mom. I was obsessed with baby dolls from an early age (just like you!), babysat every chance I could get, and loved my students in my 1st grade classes like they were my own. I couldn’t wait until the day that I would become a mom! When that day finally came a year ago, my main goal in life came true and I cried SOOOO many happy tears! (Yes, I know I look all puffy and emotional in your birth pictures, but that is only because I was so over the moon with JOY!) If I had written down my “hopes and dreams” for a future baby, you would have met all the requirements and more! You have been such a sweet and happy baby. Everyone that meets you comments on how good you are, and you have greeted everyone with a big, gummy (now toothy!) grin. You love to talk, and are the only baby I have met that prefers to whisper over talking loudly. Your favorite words or phrases these days are “Yeah!” and “What’s that?” It cracks me up that you point to everything and ask, very inquisitively, “What’s that?” You are so observant and love to take everything in. I am amazed at how we seemed to understand one another even before you could talk or understand what I was saying. Now that you are older, we have such a fun and silly relationship. I know that you understand what I say, and I can’t wait until you start talking more. (Even though Grandma Betsy says that if you’re anything like me when I was little, you’ll never shut up!)  I smile and laugh with you every day. When I look into those baby blue eyes of yours, I feel like I’m peering into your sweet little soul. I know we have a special bond, and I can’t wait for that to develop more as you get older.

There is nothing I look forward to more than having our special time before you go to sleep at night. You are always full of smiles as I change your diaper and put on your PJ’s. We then read a book or two. When you were only a few months old, you would start to suck on your lips and tongue while I read to you. I loved that little slurpy sound you made! Now you prefer to help me read by lifting flaps in flap books and turning the pages for me. You also point to the bookshelf after each book as if to say, “One more!” I am sure you will continue to be a little bookworm when you grow up. When you were a baby, I turned out the lights and rocked you for just a moment, singing you the “Snuggle Bug” song that my mom used to sing to me when I was little. With one last kiss, I laid you in bed and you drifted off to sleep with no complaints. Now that you are older, you don’t want me to rock you before bed anymore. You have turned into such a squirmy wormy, and I miss my little cuddle bug! So our new routine is that you stand in your bed, wide awake, and I stand by the door for a few minutes before I close it for the night. While I’m there, we wave and blow kisses to each other. It cracks me up that you do this every. single. night. It just might be one of the cutest things I have ever seen!

Peyton, you truly are a gift from God. I know someday you’ll figure out that Mommy and Daddy weren’t married when you were born. I am sure that someday you’ll ask me if you were a mistake. I dread that day, because I know that question will break my heart. However, I know what I will say to you. I’ll tell you that I wanted a baby long before I even knew about you. I’ll tell you that God planned you just for us, and He gave you to us at just the perfect time. I’ll tell you that all of our family and friends were so excited to meet you, and that we were lucky that they all got to meet you at our wedding when you were two months old. And finally, I’ll tell you that I could not have planned a more perfect baby at a more perfect time in our lives. We were ready for you, and God knew that.

So on your first birthday, know that you have a family that loves you so very much, and we think the world of you! You are such a sweet and special little girl. We can’t wait to see what each new year of life brings you. We know that in 6 months, you will be getting a new baby brother or sister. We chose to have a new little one because we love YOU so much!!! All I know is…the new baby sure has some BIG shoes to fill! 😉

We love you, Birthday Girl!




I asked Jason to also write a letter to Peyton on her birthday. While he was a little hesitant at first, claiming he “wasn’t good at that stuff,” I am soooo glad he did! I think it is so special that Peyton will have a letter from each of us on her birthday’s. And on a sidenote, can I just say how adorable and sweet my hubby is?! He is without a doubt the best husband and daddy I could have ever asked for. We are truly blessed to have him in our lives, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for our little family! 🙂



You are turning one tomorrow and I cannot believe it.  Where has this year gone?  I can remember like yesterday when your mom told me we were expecting you.  We were scared, excited, and not knowing what to expect.  Your mom is the one that prepared the most and read books / articles to make sure we would be the best parents we could be.  Mommy made sure she told me about the articles to make sure I was prepared too.  She did a great job, because I actually know what to do now!

As the months went on we watched you get bigger in mommy’s tummy.   I remember mommy would eat Peeps and you would do flips in her tummy.   We would also watch you kick and see your foot through mommy’s skin.  That was crazy cool.  I also couldn’t wait for you to get here and hold you in my arms.

The doctors induced mommy around the original due date that they predicted for you at Christ Hospital.  You were not ready to come meet us yet.  You were going to come out when you were ready.  We spent 3 days in the hospital until the doctors sent us home.  A week later, we were told to come back to Christ Hospital.  They induced mommy again and you were going to meet us.  We were going through labor and mommy did such a good job bringing you into this world.  Luckily for me, the Cincinnati Reds had a double header that day, so it gave me something to watch while I helped mommy through labor.  After game 1, which the Reds lost 4 -2 to the New York Yankees, the doctor came into the room and said, “We will have a baby by the first pitch of the next game!”

I started getting really nervous to meet you.  I had a bunch of butterflies in my tummy waiting to meet you.  I helped Mommy any way I could by rubbing her back, helping her walk around the room, and holding her leg back so she could push.

The doctor was right, just before the start of the Cincinnati Reds game, you arrived!  When I laid my eyes on you my life instantly changed for the better.  I fell so in love with you, I don’t even think I can explain it.  You were so pretty and perfect in every way.  You started crying and all I wanted to do was hold you.  The doctor wrapped you in a blanket and handed you to mommy.  You looked at us and stopped crying and started “coo-ing”.  You got to meet a lot of people when you arrived.  Our hospital room was packed with our families wanting to meet you.  Oh and the Reds beat the New York Yankees 10 – 2 in the second game of their double header.  I told Grandpa Roo, the Reds won for Peyton.

After we brought you home, you got to meet our family (Hogan, Lei Lou, and Sadie.)  You were so good even around the dogs.  Most babies are afraid of dogs and you showed no fear.

I have watched you grow and learn so much over the past year.  I am amazed at all the milestones you have accomplished so far in your life.  I can’t wait to watch you continually grow and be a big part of it.  I love you so much and want to support you any way I can.

I look forward to many, many, many more years and many more memories we will share together.



This is one of my favorite pictures of Peyton and her Daddy, taken when she was only three days old. 🙂

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