My Gracen,

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You are five years old. We have five years worth of memories together- and yes my life began only when I met you. I seem to have no memories ( none worth remembering) before your existence, and now that you’re here I have no memory that doesn’t include, or revolve around you. Now how’s that for love?

Someday you will read this list (I hope you read them all) and I pray that you are as an adult- every bit of the woman you are as a child. If I had your spirit I would rule the world. If I had your courage, I would fight a dragon. If I had your confidence, I would marry a prince. If I had your hair, I would rock a flower crown. But I have none of those things, instead I have the pleasure of being your mother and knowing that I gave back to the universe someone better than myself.

So here you are a whole year wiser, older, greater than any of the years before. I loved you at four ( if possible) than I did at any year before it. You’re my appendage, my partner, my sounding board at times- and so who better to write a list of you, than me? (Well maybe you, but you’re four! )

IMG_5469 YOU ARE INTERESTING: I don’t think that anyone who knows you, thinks of you as a kid at all. You’re so interesting and worldly- for a kid that hasn’t studied abroad. You say “ta-ta” when you’re leaving your friends and I don’t know why you say it- you just do. You speak in a British accent whenever you have tea party ; you’re the Emily Post of 4 year olds.

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YOU ARE SERIOUS: My child you are very serious.  You treat everything with the up most importance. Even the things that should be fun and silly, are serious to you.

YOU ARE GENUINE: You say what you mean, and mean what you say. You speak your truth and that will limit the amount of fake friends you have in this life.

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YOU ARE INSIGHTFUL: You mostly use your powers for good- but you definitely can feel energy change and shift. You are a lighting rod of emotion. If anything is off with me     (most especially) your whole body and attitude will shift too.

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YOU ARE INDEPENDENT: You are capable of anything and you rarely need help- but that’s not what makes you independent. It’s the fact that your thoughts are your own. You are not afraid to question anyone or any theory, and you love to spend time alone. This is one quality you have that I can honestly say I’ve never seen in another child before. You can, and will, play for hours alone in your room, and you prefer it that way. If we’re out with your friends ( no matter how much you love them) you will start to meltdown if you haven’t had enough alone time. I have watched you retreat from a house full of company, begging to be left alone. You will reemerge more centered and even. It’s been the hardest thing about you for me to accept, because I am more like your brother and crave constant togetherness. But I have to say knowing this about you has made me respect your process, and practice some of it myself.

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YOU ARE MUSICAL: You love music; it moves you. This year you started voice lessons  and continued with ballet. I tear up every time I watch you dance or make up a song. You have a beat in your heart and a song in your spirit. It’s brilliant to watch you express yourself.

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YOU ARE SMART: You blow me away with your brilliance. You can read small books now, and have been for about 6 months, but it’s not your ability to sound out new words that’s so impressive- it’s your ability to comprehend what your reading and the questions you’ll ask while reading to me.  You love math problems and can add and subtract double digits. You’re this tiny thinker- and I so admire your love for learning.

YOU ARE SASSY: I think these go hand in hand because you have to be smart to be sassy.

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YOU ARE AN AMAZING BIG SISTER: I sometimes wonder if I would have been able to expand our family without you. Having you as my first child is the gift that keeps on giving. I tell friends all the time that I rely on you way more than I should. You could give any of our babysitters a run for their money. You are patient, because dealing with your little brother is a full time job. He hits, slaps, pulls, picks, and tackles you every second of every day and you don’t loose your cool. I do- all the time. But not you. You are steady and sweet.

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YOU ARE A LEADER: You will often come up with a game to play with friends, and an idea to try with Daddy and I. You argue your point(s) and you are not easily intimidated. You speak with confidence, and you even know when to back down. This is the trick to womanhood- and you have it all figured out.

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YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL: You are my favorite person to photograph and that will never change. You are lovely to look at my girl, but there is an honesty in your face that makes you magical. This year we spent a lot of time talking about the fact that you’re mixed, that your skin is brown, that your hair is curly, and how all of those elements make you special. It doesn’t matter how anyone in this whole world sees you, what matters is how you see you. I hope you know, that I believe you are the most beautiful person in this universe- but it’s a package deal.  Stupid people are ugly- no matter how beautiful they might appear to be. The same is true for arrogant people, mean people, and people with no sense of humor.

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YOU ARE COOL: Listen, I don’t know what regular school is going to be like. I have visions of me beating up kids that hurt your feelings- and then I remember they’re just kids. You can hold your own. You are so cool. You love Princesses, but you can take or leave the Prince. You adore your friends, but you know your own limitations. So if next year comes and someone has something nasty to say try to remember that no one defines you- but you. And me…I define you daily.

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YOU ARE BETTER AT EVERYTHING THAN YOU THINK YOU ARE:  You are a fantastic friend. You are a great little early reader. You are rocking your senior year of preschool. You are getting better at being considerate. You are awesome at this sister gig. You are killing the grandchild thing- seriously they think you’re amazing. You are a great kid.

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Of all the things you are- YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE. The day you found me, you gave me purpose, but your purpose is so much bigger than me. Your purpose is written in the stars and the whole world is waiting to see what you add to it. Add color and life. Add patience and tolerance. Add beauty- the kind that comes from confidence and self- acceptance. Contribute something so much greater than yourself that when you look back at it you think- I must be made of unicorns and magic. That’s what I think. I think it everyday. I think it every. single. day. that I see you.

“Whatever our souls are made of, yours and mine are the same.”- Bronte

I adore you. You- who are bigger than the sun and more abundant than all the stars.

xoxo- Mommy

 

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This past weekend made me so happy. We kicked off the Christmas season at my friend Amanda’s house. She hosts a Christmas caroling party every year (though this was our first) and it really felt the way Christmas should. Children, and laughter, and joy, and treats, and homemade eggnog!

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Walking into Amanda’s home is like walking into the biggest hug you can imagine- so you take Amanda, her beautiful family, and a piano with sheet music- you’ve got yourself a party!

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Do you see all of these little girls? They’re fans of music, princesses, and Christmas. I sang loudly- and I can’t sing at all. Amanda even added Do You Want To Build A Snowman into the mix and that’s when the kids lost their minds.

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I never wanted the singing and merriment to end. It was actually awkward for Amanda and her husband ( whose responsible for every picture in this post) when I came up to her afterwards and asked for a longer sing along next year…or next week. She’s working on it.

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We later had some adult fun at a friends home ( I have photos of this as I was too busy stuffing my face with sushi), followed by a special Santa party (on Sunday) at my friend Devon’s house.

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We’re pretty lucky because we know Santa personally and he makes his way to Devon’s house every year. The kids keep getting bigger and their toy request keep getting more expensive.

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I highly recommend festive friends. They make our holiday’s merry and bright. It’s just three weeks (or less?) before the big day- so I plan on posting lots of holiday pics between now and then. Stay tuned.

 

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That title sounds promising doesn’t it? Sadly I took very few pictures of all the fun we had. These are from Matt’s cell phone.

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We headed into the city for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. We go every year and I love that it’s our tradition. I will save you the sob story of how happy living in NYC makes me- it’s a dream come true, I get giddy every time we approach the tunnel, times square still takes my breath away, the energy is palpable, and on, and on, I can go- but the coolest thing about NYC on Thanksgiving day is that NO ONE is there! You can take a picture dead in the center of Times Square.

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This year it snowed- so we went out for hot chocolate afterwards and my children spent a weird amount of time being babysat by the most lovely homeless New Yorker. And that likely sounds rude or like I’m being sarcastic- but I’m not. This man literally watched my kids as Matt and I buzzed around the Cosi fetching straws, napkins, more water, etc. He was so wonderful and I think of him daily and we did what we could to repay him.

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Doesn’t the Christmas Spirit just live in the hearts of children? Not mine exactly- but yours I bet. She makes the weirdest faces when you ask her to act like your not taking a picture of her eating.

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We had dinner at my best friend in Queens apartment. It was cozy and warm and lovely to be surrounded by the family that I choose 17 years ago. And the next day we headed to Home Depot and met bootleg Santa. He was fooling NO ONE!

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Sunny kept calling him Santa’s Fake Friend.

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On Sunday Sunny was treated to Disney On Ice by our Queens Family and she literally has never been more happy in her entire life. She dressed up for the occasion and refused to move off of the edge of her seat. Even when intermission approached she insisted on staying right where she was- they might get back on that ice!

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It was a wonderful Holiday weekend! I hope yours was just as festive.

 

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Every thanksgiving I like to give thanks for what I’m most grateful for. It’s a long list and you’re on it!

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I’m grateful for my health.  That’s a not a given.

I’m grateful for my family. All of them- even the crazy ones. Especially the crazy ones.

I’m grateful for my friends. I have so many wonderful and amazing friends. I have friends from coast to coast and most of them I have known my whole life. I wish you guys could meet and know my friends. They’re the best people on this Earth!

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I’m grateful for music so fun and loud that we’re all singing out loud and off key- and when we pull into the drive way we can’t turn off the car, because we have to listen to the full song. “your lips are movin, your lips are movin’ !” (and little boys who dance)

I’m grateful for dreams that come true & thoughts that became reality.

I’m grateful for the ability to love and receive love.

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I’m grateful for my husband and our children, and the life we’re living together. I didn’t want much, just the American Dream plus a few extras. I got so much more! I got my dream, and living this life has made me so happy.

I’m grateful for time with my children. I get to be with them 99% of the time and very few people will experience this.

I’m grateful for wine, that helps me be more grateful for all that time with my children. :)

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I’m grateful for each of you. You invest in our lives by being here and reading these words and caring about us. You support our family by checking in with our family. You’ve recommended my photography and video services to your friends and neighbors and you’ve made this tiny space a space that reflects positive thoughts and images. Thank you so much!

I’m sure you all have your own list of gratitude. I hope you’re holiday is filled with magical people and tons of hugs and love and warmth.

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Happy Thanksgiving.

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Lately we’ve been feeling the effect of having an (almost) five year old in our home. There is a lot of eye rolling and “really”.  As in “really Mommy? REALLY.” To be fair she also has days were she is sweet as sugar- singing her holiday songs and asking me to color with her. I assume five will be an in between age; part toddler/part kid. I think this face says it all.IMG_1401This little man is like an atom, he never stops moving. The exact opposite of his sister, he asks to “nuggle” (as in snuggle) on the couch all day. Which is adorable. The issue of course is we have to take his sister to school and we’re running late, and I forgot to pack her lunch, and crap is it almost 8:30?????!!!!! And where is your brother? Find your brother!” That’s when I’ll find this little man laying on the couch, curled up with Duck ( his blanket) saying “Mama nuggle me peas! Peas Mama! Nuggle?” And then we’re late for school because I will never pass up a nuggle with my favorite little guy.

IMG_1428 IMG_1431I know someday they’ll compare notes. They’ll call each other and be like, “what’s wrong with Mom? Why does she always talk baby talk to me?”

untitled-1417It’s getting so cold out that indoor photos are a must. My new lighting kit came this weekend and I made asked my daughter kindly to allow me to photograph her. I did. We got about 5 shots before the teenage part of her walked off set. That’s my girl. Calling all my shots.

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