The Tovsky Tribe

Chocolates, Cocktails, Friends, Babies...A Girl Should Never Have Just ONE!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A Letter to my Sons on their 9th Birthday!

Dear Chase and Ryder,

9!  Nine!  9??? Seems more appropriate. 
You never know where the time goes nor how it could possibly pass so fast yet each year is met with the same disbelief as the one that happened "yesterday."

As you've been counting down the last few days til your birthday I've been joking with you that you'd see me cry that day. I'm only half joking, of course. I'm not sad, necessarily, just emotionally roller coastering between nostalgic, for the babies you once were, and amazed, by the big guys you've become. 

9 brings so many things: a maturity that seems impossible alongside the "tween" freshness that is brought; an intelligence that comes from life as well as the classroom; an understanding that can't be taught just learned in time; a social and activity calendar that requires an assistant to track;and so much more that an attempt to list them seems futile. 

But, also with 9, comes the half-way mark of your childhood.  This moment that I'm taking to write this very letter is acting as a pause to breathe, my very own half- time, in the child-rearing of my oldest sons.   I am at the precipice of time, of your childhood. Yesterday, I was still closer to the babies you once were, but tomorrow the scale tips in the other direction. Somehow, I see the second half going so much faster. Doesn't it usually??  I can only imagine what will become of your lanky bodies, and can only dream about what you will achieve from the talents you're starting to show. I may never stop remembering, even yearning for, the coos and the giggles you gave me almost a decade ago but I'll continue to marvel at the changes, the morphing before me and will  never stop admiring the people you are and continue to become.

We are in the summer between 3rd and 4th grade. You're coming off fantastic school years where more was expected from you and more was received. The friendships you've been cultivating have started to take root and the boys you call friends are becoming extended parts of our family. 

Chase, you're fueled on sports. As lean as you are, you are tough and competitive and quite a good little athlete.  This year you've upped your game in baseball and are starting to really compete. And, after a year of recreational ice hockey you'll be trying a year of a more competitive travel team. Hockey is your first love of a sport and we are hoping  3-4 times on the ice, weekly, will really improve your game. And, though you've been playing since you are 3 and have done well with it, we've decided to sideline soccer for hockey. You're happy playing any sport and I love watching you play. 

You love the Flyers and the Phillies and, as a true fan, don't waiver on that love inspite of their less than stellar seasons. 

At school you had Mrs. Sottung and had a wonderful year. Academically and socially you thrived and I'm excited to see what 4th grade brings you. 

You're also in to magic and can perform a number of tricks so well that you have me fooled even though I know exactly how they are done. Like most things you do, you have applied focus and determination into learning your tricks and present them with a pride to envy. 

You are funny and kind and a good friend and brother. You're happy, sometimes mellow, and wouldn't be you if things weren't a bit messy. You are smart and charming and like to be part of the group. You understand manners and respect and are well-liked where ever you go. 

Ryder, no one on this planet fascinates me more than you do.  The way your mind works; the perspective you have; your clever thought process; it all intrigues me everyday.  You are wonderfully creative and imaginative and your talents are blossoming more and more.  The art you create is beyond what I would ever expect from a young boy and, yet, it comes to you with ease.  You can draw just about anything from the image in your mind and the things you put on paper can come to life.

Although your exploration of music is on hold I do hope it is a temporary hiatus and at some point you decide to pursue it again.  A few months ago you got up on stage and sang a song to an audience.  It was fantastic.  I've always wanted to sing sing for an audience and watching you do just that was an emotionally proud moment for me.

You had a great school year with Mrs. Hasness.  This was her final year of teaching and she embraced it, and you.  She, like all of the teachers you've had before her, were awed by your creativity and your sensitive way.  She managed to understand your dynamic being and allowed you to find success. I look forward to seeing how you grow more in 4th grade.

You are kind and funny and make friends easily.  You are a good and loyal friend and brother and anyone who has you in their corner is truly lucky, even if you don't always let on.  You love playing basketball and enjoy playing baseball and played both sports this year in the intramural league.

Amongst all the things that have happened this year the most substantial change for both of you, for all of us, was the welcoming of Decker.  Every moment since you found out about his arrival you've been excited and happy.  You've both welcomed him with such open arms and delight  and watching you fall in love for the first time melts my heart each time you look at him, kiss him, hug him, or tell him you love him.  You're both wonderful big brothers in your very own way and I sit back, astonished, at the young men you're becoming.

To keep the records straight, Chase you gained 5 pounds (56.2)  this year and grew 3 inches(52 inches)  Though that is a pretty good gain you are still the 3rd heaviest in the family.  Ryder you also grew 3 inches (53.5 inches) and gained 13 pounds (83!)  WOW!

You will celebrate this birthday this coming Saturday with your closest buddies at Gravity Forge Training Center which is an American Ninja Warrior gym, which is one of your favorites.  Should be a great party.

With all the changes, with how much you've grown, in so many ways you're still the exact same babies you were. Chase, attentive and focused, eyes wide open with a grin to pause all action; and, Ryder, eyes full of wonder, imaginative and carefree, full of energy and the need to touch everything.

I look at you both and know you're mine but often wonder what it is I did right or if I just got truly lucky, four times over.  You make me proud, every day. 

I wish you the happiest of birthdays, the very best of years. I wish you happiness always. Every moment, every day, I do love you so....

Mommy  (which you never call me unless you want something)

Growing in to the birthday shirt- almost fits!!

Growing in to the birthday shirt- Mr. No Arms

It's been a while since I had written you letters but here are the last ones.
Chase at 6
Ryder at 6

5 year old letter

Friday, July 3, 2015

A Letter to my Son on his 4 Month Birthday!

Dear Decker,

Days keep passing and they become months and suddenly 1/3 of the first year is behind us. Amazing how that happens. Sadly, though, it's not the fast passing of the first year that has me fighting tears, it's knowing, by looking at your brothers, that in a blink of an eye you will be 9.  I cherish these early days with you more than you know. 

At four months old you are a wonderful dream come true. You have earned the absolute love and delight of each of us who lives with you and the many who come to visit. You're nothing but smiles and coos and laughs.  All of the time.  You truly are the happiest baby on the block- no same titled book to follow required. 

You are strong. You have had head control for quite some time. You roll over both ways, you kick with some force, and you've recently started to try to crawl. A sort of army control that does give you some rug burns but also gets you 3-4 ft across a room. For all accounts it is too early for such movement. You've also been sitting in the high chair to hang out and are now playing in the exersaucer, both things I expected to have to wait until 6 months. 

You're a great sleeper and are starting to put yourself on a schedule in spite of the impossibility of scheduling due to our very busy life. You're flexible enough to have a different bed time each night and still manage to schedule yourself throughout the day, each nap coming about 2 hours after you wake.

You take 7 ounces per bottle with 5 bottles a day, though these past few days you've only had 4 bottles and it seems to be working out.  Although you don't fuss about it, you seem to prefer Similac formula over Gerber.  With the Gerber you seem to throw up more and poop more.  Of course, it was the Gerber we were given a lot of samples of.

Your hair is growing in quite well, and the remaining spot on the back, that looked rather silly when you were bald, has filled in nicely and though the hair from your comb-over remains, it looks less like a comb-over and  more like just a part of your hair, with one long strand.

You gained  1lb 3 oz this month putting you at 14.7 (13.4 at 3 months) and grew a half inch and now measure at 24.5 inches.  You seem big, you feel heavy, and, yes, you are growing up too fast.

Your eyes are still a very beautiful blue!!

Most people say you look just like Turner as a baby and, it's true, I see it too.  But, to me, you are just Decker, my little Dex, I just see beautiful you.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Doing Dorney!

Dorney Park and Wild Water Kingdom

Yesterday, we did Dorney!  4 40something's and 5 kids.  It's sounds like a bad plot line. This adventure was part of, what is turning out to be, the massive kick start to summer and, also, a cousin bonding time before we bid fond farewell to Delaney as she heads back to Camp Nock-a-Mixon for her 3rd summer. 

The meteorologists has been calling for rain all week.  "Friday thunderstorms" was heard repeatedly but it didn't scare us off. It did, however, scare off the rest of the population and we, seemingly, had the park to ourselves.  Just like the Griswold's in the movie Vacation, minus the toy guns.   And, the dead Aunt Edna. Oh, and it never rained.

Being at an amusement park without lines is truly an amazing experience.  In 3 hours we did every ride, multiple times.  Ryder and Delaney were the only kids tall enough to go on every coaster and since Delaney doesn't do the big rides that left Ryder as the sole contender.  But, Todd and I went with him on most of them and I didn't vomit so it was an all around successful day.

It's true, I almost vomited from the first ride of the day, but that was my own fault for allowing a ride that begins with an uphill corkscrew to be my first coaster in 15 years.  And, almost doesn't really count.  It is also true that after that ride, the Stinger, I took a dramamine pill.  And, maybe, there is something to be said that if you need such a pill to go on rides perhaps you shouldn't be riding.  But, either way, it worked and I can say I rode all the big rides at Dorney and didn't get sick.

After many hours in the park, and a drenching from the White Water Landing, we headed back to our cars for a lunch break intermission before heading to Wild Water Kingdom.

At Wild Water Kingdom we stood in the longest line of the day, the ladies room.  And, though the rides were fun and the water wasn't terribly cold, I could have used a warning that partaking in such a park required training, sort of like a couch to 5k runners program, in order to make it to the top of the steps without nearly dying.

Overall, it was a great day.  All of us had a blast and I am pretty sure we raised the bar on the summer just 7 days post-school.

Cousins (Minus 1) before we are Minus 1 for the summer

Looks who is driving!

Fast forward 7 years

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Mother's Day!

A lot of family. A good amount of baseball. A whole lotta love!  A day spent with my all-star, my rockstar, my angel, and my superhero- the boys who made me mom!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

A Letter to my Son on his 3 Month Birthday!

Dear Decker,

Happy 3 month birthday! It's been 3 months of joy, of smiles, of laughter.  Sure, minimum sleep and seemingly endless feedings have been thrown in there, but it's been mostly smiles and joy.  

You are an absolute delight.  A boy whose big blue eyes and adorable smile fill a room and cause anyone who sees you to open their eyes wider and grin a little bigger.

I stare at you in awe. I spent all those months wondering what you would look like, what color your hair and eyes would be, and here you are in front of me, more perfect than I could have imagined.

Your head is perfectly round.  Your nose is tiny. Your eyes are big and a beautiful blue.  Your lashes are long and light in color.  Your cheeks are rosy. Your ears are small and flat against your head.  Your hair is starting to come in and the remaining hair from birth, the few long strands, I refer to as your comb-over.  Your fingers and toes are long.  Your lips are full and pink. Your chin is defined, in spite of the growing double chin, which is only cute on a baby.  When I trace your face with my finger, which I do frequently, I trace a perfect heart, which I love, of course. Your dimples are still oddly fleeting and I can't decide if you have them or not.

You coo and you laugh and you seem like you want to talk, like you have so much to say.  You smile often, sometimes just a grin and other times a full smile with your toothless mouth wide open.  You are starting to laugh, though not a full belly laugh just yet. You are in perpetual motion when you are awake, with your legs and arms always movng. Constantly. They never stop.  You were the same way in utero.  Sometimes I think that if I threw you in a pool you would swim.  You are very strong, have great head control, and though you need to be held you can sit and stand-up with great strength.  And, recently, you started rolling over.


Although you've been sleeping through the night (until about 6am,) the last few days you've been waking up in the middle of the night again.   We make you 7 ounce bottles and, lately, you haven't been finishing them.  You've also have been funky with your napping these last few days.  Perhaps all of this is just a transition and you will be back on track with all of it in just a few days.

You have a laid back and calm demeanor and are passed around to many adoring people.  You love undivided attention and are a natural attention getter.  People will stop in their step to take a look at you and marvel at you momentarily, or longer.

People say you look a lot like Turner, maybe that is true. To me, you are just Decker, beautiful Decker.

Since I have gone back to work you are watched once a week by Mom-Mom Jill and once a week by Mom-Mom Joan.  Both enjoy their time with you very much. When you are with Mom-Mom Joan you spend a lot of time with Uncle Mat.  You seem to love this as indicated by the huge grin you show the minute he picks you up.  Uncle Mat gets silly with you and takes to school every week.  You're learning a lot of interesting things with him that ONLY Uncle Mat could teach.  Your bond with him will be very special.

You are very much loved by all of us. Your brothers adore you in every way and it is starting to become clear that you adore them right back.  Your grandparents, and aunts, and uncles, and cousins all delight in your presence and each of us is proud to have you as a part of our lives.

Our lives are chaotic and we are always on the go and you have hit the ground wonderfully and joined the chaos without any resistance.  For this, we all thank you.  But, you should know, that the quiet moments, as rare as they may seem, when I am holding you and staring at you, or smiling with you and laughing with you, they are the moments that I cherish, that I stamp into my memory.  They are the moments that get me through each day, knowing I had that with you, my beautiful boy.

happy 3 month birthday, Decker.  I love you so...

Turner at 3 months

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

This is MY 40!

A decade ago I celebrated my 30th birthday at the Four Seasons hotel eating fine food, drinking champagne, enjoying chocolate dipped strawberries, and celebrating with the favorite guy in my life.  I had a great time and wondered, as I was struggling to get pregnant, if I would ever have children to help me blow out my candles.

Me at 30!

April 29, 2005

Now, it is ten years later, and my how things have changed.  I no longer can afford a night in such a hotel, nor would I choose to spend my money on something so lavish, and I now have a small army of favorite guys in my life since we've added 4 sons!  4? In my days of infertility I certainly would not have predicted this.

40!  This is 40!  This is MY 40!  Turning 40 means so many things while simultaneously meaning very little.  For one, I am apparently in some club now.  I was never one for clubs, and this "club" that people keep referring to is really no different.  Yet, people keep welcoming me to it.  I am not sure if the proper response to such a welcome is "thanks?!"  Second, no matter how many times you say age is just a number, which it is, there's no denying 40 is a middle aged number, another 40 years is hopeful.  Middle-aged.  It just sounds old.  And, odd.  What is also odd is that I can now refer to things that have happened 20, even 30, years ago with vivid memory.  How can I be old enough to have a 20 year old memory???  40 is also a new check box in age groups, and finding 1975 in the list of birth years in an online survey takes a lot of scrolling.  And, yay!, 40 also means yearly mammograms, which is preventative and wise and, well, ouch!

When I was 20 I didn't think much about what my life would be like when I was 40 so I can't tell you if this is what I imagined, though I can probably guess I didn't think 40 would involve an infant.  An infant alongsde a mini-van.  And, a muffin top.  Sigh.

I see Facebook posts of all of my former classmates, each turning 40 sometime this year, and every time I think, "Oh my goodness, that person is 40?!"  Somehow, I exclude myself from this group of aged folks knowing I was born the very same year they were.  But, they can't be 40.  And, certainly I can't be either.

I remember when my parents were 40.  If they are 40, then I can't be  older than 18?  The age of 40 sounds as if I am supposed to retire my hoodies and my sneakers for some sort of sweater and flat shoe. And, I shouldn't want to sing songs by One Direction or Bruno Mars at the top of my lungs.  But, I won't retire my hoodies, no way.  You'll see me in one tomorrow, I am sure.  I won't throw away my sneakers.  And, I can't stop singing "What Makes you Beautiful" though I would be doing a lot of people a big favor if I just stopped singing in general.

Mostly, I do think age is just a number and I am aware that today is not so different from yesterday, or even last year.  I am not upset to be turning 40, though I do like to joke. In fact, I will take 40 over not aging at all. It is just that 40 is weird.  Weird to say.  Weird to be. I am sure it is just a coincidence that I have a tooth that needs to be pulled and that I am seeing the occasional gray, straggly hair. 

True, when I get into bed each night, the way my bones and joints crack, it sounds as if I am laying on a mattress of bubble wrap. I am sure this is also a coincidence and has nothing to do with age. Just like it's a coincidence that most nights I doze off of on the couch during my favorite show and I choose sweats and a bottle of wine on my sofa over a night on the town.

But, what isn't a coincidence, what has EVERYTHING to do with age, is the dose of self-assurance that comes with being 40.  An aplomb I never had before, a comfort in my own skin, and the lack of a need to be anything other than me.  The insecurity of my childhood, the self-doubt of my 20's, has no room in the ego of my middle-aged mind.  Maybe because this middle-aged brain can't store as much, and certainly can't remember things like it used to.  Whatever the reason, some of those uncertainities didn't make the cut into this new decade.  And, as I age, my sense of humor remains in tact and laughter is still the very best medicine.

I don't know what 40 is for everyone, I can only tell you what it is for me.  And, 40 is just another day, another year, another birthday.   Sure, things have changed from my former life 2 decades ago, but they are gradual changes that happen over time.  There are many days where I still feel like a 20 year old, wandering free.  There are days where I feel well beyond these 40 years.  There are days I can channel my 20 year old self and feel, even momentarily, that carefree way.  And, there are days where I think fast forward was hit and I am stuck at 50.  But, the average day, I am just me.  Slightly flighty, mostly kind, sometimes crabby, usually laid-back, many times funny, generally positive, sporadically stressed, often tired, ME.
10 years later

And, with Alex!  Always a part of our special occasions

Past birthdays have been spent in the Caribbean, celebrated by a royal wedding, and partying with friends.  This milestone birthday has been long, with a mild but enjoyable celebration each week for many weeks. The actual day was the first beautiful day of the spring, spent at my favorite restaurant with Todd and Decker and then, appropriately so, on the ball field that night cheering on Chase and Ryder in my favorite sport. It was capped with ice cream from Goodnoes where we sang happy birthday on a flameless candle because we forgot to bring matches.   Somehow, at 40, this is totally acceptable.
flameless candle

Me and all of my guys


Each of the boys at 2 months old

Who do you think looks like who?