The Tovsky Tribe

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

Saturday, March 3, 2018

A Letter to my Son on his 3rd Birthday!

Dear Decker-

Happy 3rd Birthday to you, my very special little boy.  You are turning 3 on 3/3, lucky numbers, lucky day.  And, though I hope that is true for you, it is really me who is the lucky one. Because, Decker, you are my son and your kind soul and sunshine filled eyes and funny sense of humor and wise ways are my, are all of ours, lucky gift today and every day.

In the last year, you went from a long, curly-haired toddler to a short, straight-haired big boy with an incredible amount of awareness and know how.  It is almost as if all of the baby in you was stored within those curly locks. Last summer, when they landed on the barber's floor, we had no idea that they would not grow back nor that your babyhood was being swept up with them.

2 year old Decker with curly hair

You are fun, Decker.  Moments, days, can be so easy with you because you make it fun.  Your voice is filled with excitement, and your steps bounce with positive energy.  You understand things you are told, like to follow most rules, are careful in the way you do most things, and are happy to just be with whomever it is you're with.  You can play quietly by yourself building towers or guns (😳) out of Legos, racing cars, or making me your special Mac and Cheese for lunch.  We can play together doing these same things, or working on a floor puzzle, or more recently, playing games like memory match. One of us has a very good memory and can find the match easier than the other- do you know which one?  Before bed you like to play Beyblades and see which blade will spin the longest. You love to play with "my guys," whether it be hide n seek, more gun games (😳) or the push game on the beds. Sometimes you'll sit and watch them play X-BOX.   They'll give you the extra remote and you'll think you're playing along too.  I just love it when you're all together.

Lego Tower

Just the guys hanging out

And, of course, there's Netflix. YouTube.  And, OnDemand.  Each available on the TV, the iPad, and the phone. Each of which you can navigate to and through on any device to find any of your favorite shows. On Netflix you usually opt for a movie: The Secret Life of Pets was the top choice for quite some time until we watched Sing as a family movie and you decided you liked the singing animals. It took some convincing to get you to try something new but when we finally did you spent a few months watching the original Toy Story which had every one of us stopping to watch a few scenes each time it was on.  What a great movie!!!  Your most recent choice is the Emoji Movie- originally watched as a choice for all but rose to the top of your watch list due to the poop emoji.  Nothing could be more amusing to a 3-year-old than a sarcastic poop emoji.  At least not to this particular 3-year-old who finds it absolutely hilarious to use the word doody in just about every sentence. Calling everyone a "doody butt" gets a laughing reaction from your brothers who encourage your behavior in the house.  Somehow you seem to understand that you can't use that language (or build or play with fake guns) outside of the house or at school.  You tell me "I know, never play guns or use potty talk at school."  And somehow, I am ok with this fine line.

Your language goes well beyond doody butt, however, with an extensive and developed vocabulary and a diction that is so pronounced that conversation with you is easy.  You even like to talk on the phone and can ask and answer questions with ease and clarity.  You know the alphabet song and sing it correctly most of the time, but are still learning your letters. You have a particular fondness for "H" pointing out each Capital H that you see.  You also point out each "D for Decker," "T for Turner," "R for Ryder," "C for Chase," and "E for Ethan," with enthusiasm.  It is funny, though, because so often you will point at a letter and proclaim it is a D but then when you say what it is for, (Turner, Ryder, Chase, etc.) you will associate the correct name to the letter, which is never a D. You like to sing and be sung to though I think you are learning that I am as bad of a singer as they come.

Your favorite food is cream cheese and jelly sandwiches which verifies you are my son.  You also enjoy cereal, soup, and Go-Go Squeeze.  You still love drinking milk, though prefer chocolate milk to "reg milk" whenever we let you have it.  Drinking milk is an activity for you.  You take your cup and your "banks" and go sit and cuddle the corner of the blanket while drinking the full cup without taking a breather.  You will negotiate for more milk, "just a little bit" you'll say as you squint your eyes and pinch your thumb and forefinger together.  Then, without hesitation, you will go into the fridge and grab the chocolate syrup and the milk, and then a spoon to stir it.  You make it difficult to say no.

You are funny.  Funny because you are a little boy and little boys say funny things.   And, you're funny because you're you and you happen to be funny.  And, silly.  And, exposed to sarcasm and comedy regularly.  You understand the concept of jokes even if you don't always get the punchline and you  know when we are being silly with you,sarcastic with you, or simply teasing you.  Nobody laughs harder at one of your brother's jokes than you and nobody makes any of us laugh nearly as hard as you do.

Silly boy

In school you have Ms. Fern and Ms. Nicole and enjoy going three days a week.  You mention the kids in your class quite often and will hopefully continue to grow up with these kids- Phoebe, Grace, Val, Jonathon, Casy, DJ, and Jaxon.  You still spend Fridays with Uncle Mat and most other days dull in comparison.  And, most Tuesdays, are still mommy day, which is by far my favorite day of the week.  We spend a lot of time at the hockey rink and you seem to enjoy the game.  In addition to playing mini-hockey with your brothers, you never seem to mind sitting through a game, nor the cold.  Though it's true, your favorite part is the Zamboni.

First Day of School in the 2's

Over the course of the year you enjoyed the rides at Great Adventure; spent a weekend in Wildwood and loved being on the boardwalk; took an 8 hour car-ride to Buffalo for a hockey tournament (what else!!)  You were great in the car-ride (though I admit I was worried), fantastic at the hockey games, loved running through the hotel well past your bedtime, and though you couldn't appreciate the beauty of Niagara Falls in the winter, you were a good boy, repeatedly said how beautiful it was, and just went along for the ride.  We were all happy you were there.
Niagara Falls

The most remarkable thing that happened this year is that the Eagles won the Superbowl.   We watched the game at our house with the Benjamin's, the Klaus' and the Van Aken's.  We celebrated during the entire game, cheering on our favorite birds.  Then, a few days later, we took you (and the whole family) down to the art museum to enjoy the world champion's parade.  You may not remember any of it but this was Philadelphia's first superbowl championship and, someday when you're older, you'll be happy to know you were in some way a part of the special first one.

Our Eagles Superbowl viewing party

An important lesson learned during Superbowl LVII

Eagles Parade

You love to hear what I call your song, Can't Stop the Feeling, and will ask for it by requesting "my song." When you hear music you love to "wiggle wiggle" and will often tell us to clap our hands.
You are fun, you are funny, you are sweet, and you are oh so smart.

Wiggle Wiggle

We celebrated you turning 3 multiple times.  First it was the Sunday prior with your grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousin.  By request we had ice cream cake that had cars on it and you ran around playing hide n seek and other games and toys with Max and Leo.  Then you celebrated on Thursday with your school friends.  Finally, today, on your birthday, we celebrated together.  You woke up to balloons tied to your door.  We spent the morning watching your brother's play some basketball then we did our traditional hibachi meal (lunch this time) before going over to the Little Pod.  There you had the devoted attention of your brothers for 2 straight hours of play time.  You and they had the best time and I loved watching them be with you so attentively.  It was a really fun day.

Happy 3rd birthday
Balloons at your door

Hibachi lunch
Making a wish
Brothers who whack moles together, stay together
You are 37 inches and 29.8 pounds. This is over 3 inches of growth and 2.5 pounds of weight gain since last year.  You are slight in your build and your little 3 year old body reminds us all of Chase at the same age.  Although you pee on the potty on demand and have control over your poops you are not expressing an interest in wearing underwear just yet.  We've promised you a big boy bed when you are out of diapers and this is not a bribe that is speeding along any desire for you potty train. You won't let us help you when you eat and though you can use a "boy boy" cup (big boy cup) you still prefer your milk sippy cup and your blue sippy cup for your juice or water.  You are a good boy at bed time in spite of the phase of not sleeping we all endured last fall, and you have a fondness for the bath that makes bath night pretty easy.

It is mind-blowing how big you are getting, how fast it is happening, and how you are skipping steps just to catch up to the "guys."  But, one thing that hasn't changed since the day you were born is that you are truly a light in all of our lives.  You bring joy and smiles to all of our faces.  In the hectic of our days, as we run from place to place, and bicker over homework and chores and activities, each one of us is calmed when we see you; each one of us wants to greet you with a hug and a kiss and a smile; each one of us wants our chance to play with you, hang out with you, be with you.  Because, you are a gift, a joy, a true ray of sunshine.  Turning 3 on 3/3 may be a lucky day but, as I said, it really is all of us that are the lucky ones.

Happy 3rd birthday, Decker.  I love you so......

Decker's 2nd birthday letter

Laughing with your brother

School picture- 2's class

One of the guys

Growing in to the birthday shirt

Playing with your favorite guys
Altitude Trampoline Park- our last mommy day as a 2 year old

Your new favorite camera face

The taste of your first cheesesteak in honor of Ethan's Birthday

Part of your illustrated day with Uncle Mat


Saturday, January 6, 2018

A Letter to my Son on his 9th Birthday

Dear Turner-

9 year old Flyers Fan

Happy 9th birthday! Your final year in single digits, your approach to tweendom.  I am constantly saying (usually with teary eyes as my children laugh) how quickly time flies and before I even realize you'll all be grown. And, it's true. But, somehow, with you, your actual age confuses me and the whole concept of time.   Because Turner, you have always been beyond your years in so many ways that, sometimes, it came as a nice reminder that you were only 8 when we so often thought of you as older.

Turner, this birthday comes as all the others, too quickly, almost without warning. But, unlike each one before it, this birthday marks a significant milestone in your life's timeline.  Today is the halfway point of your childhood, the median between infancy and adulthood.  Prior to this day, the moments whizzed passed us, creating memories of coos turning to giggles and then to fully belly laughs; crawls becoming awkward steps before becoming long-stride gallops; emerging sounds that eventually formed into words before developing into sentences then ideas. It all went so quickly. Ahead of us lies your journey to adulthood; your body will grow, your mind will expand; I hope your hugs stay the same.  Your legs and arms will lengthen, but time won't.  Soon enough you 'll be taller than me, wiser than me, the one in charge.  The second half always seems to go faster than the first.  I just want to reach out, grab you, and hold you back- just a little. Maybe just slow you down.  But I wouldn't.  I couldn't . Not you. You have too much to offer and so much to share.  You thought outside of the box before you even knew what a box was and you'll continue to offer the world, particularly those of us that think the world of you, so much joy that slowing it down is both impossible and unfair.  This moment in time, this halfway mark, all I can do is pause, stare at your round and gorgeous face, see the baby boy that once was, tattoo it again on my mind, kiss those full cheeks, and hug your still small(ish) body.  Then, life will continue at what will seem like double time, and I will marvel as you morph into the man you'll become, a gentleman I know I will be so very proud of.

8 was great in so many ways, even if you often acted as an 11 year old.  You had an amazing year of growth.  You cultivated a fantastic group of friends - the crew, the squad, the meatheads- and when you're all together we are amazed at how great your group is. You were disappointed going in to the school year that none of your boys were in your class, yet your friendship with each of them has stayed intact while you've had an opportunity to foster new friendships with other boys as well. Making friends has never been hard for you.  After spending the summer at camp with Jagger, you and he are still good buddies, and your squad of boys is Alex, Greyson, Chase, and Michael. And, there's Jake and Gavin and James and James.  And, of course, there's Ethan, he's your friend, your brother.
The Squad
You've found passion in both playing and watching sports, and have risen to the status of biggest sports fan in the house.  You love to watch all of the Philly teams, and all of your brothers' teams as well. You'll watch with an analytical eye and discuss the plays, the errors, everything afterwards.  You know stats and figures and who is in contention for MVP. You know team records and which team is playing who, when.  Sometimes you use words that I don't understand.  But I'm trying to learn too. We find that you will know a random sport fact and when we confirm it with Google you are always right.   It's amazing to see the depths of your passion.  You love the Eagles and Carson Wentz.  You love the Sixers and Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.  You love the Flyers, in spite of them sucking, and Wayne Simmonds is your favorite player.  Whenever you watch Chase or Ryder's teams play you watch with the same discerning eye and have the same discussion of errors and nice plays.  You like to get opinions on who is the best player on any particular team and have your own opinions ready to share.  Your favorite birthday gift from your friend was your 200 football cards!  Yes, indeed, Turner you are an avid sports fan.
Happy with your football cards

As for playing sports, this year you were a 3 sport athlete. After participating in Beach Blast last summer with Gavin B you loved soccer and wanted to play again this year. Although you were on a team that didn't win one game I was extremely proud of your season. You hustled, you were aggressive, and you played some nice soccer.  You also chose to play goal tender. You did very well and if you could get some real training you will do just fine.  You are also playing basketball again this year, and are, once again, on the team with your squad.  You guys are so good and so much fun to watch. It's amazing that there can be so much talent within one grade at one small school.  Yet there is. And, this year, you learned to play lacrosse and will begin you first season in just a few weeks.  I am excited to see where you go with this sport.  The sky is the limit with you for sure.

Your first soccer game

Receiving your medal at Beach Blast

And, as deep as your passion may be for sports, you're not a "jock."  You're an athlete, sure, but your personality, at its core, is not jock.  You're kind and sensitive and thoughtful in the most endearing of ways. You have a creative side, and have also learned to play guitar this year. Although you're doing well with it you could certainly afford to practice more. ;). You still love to break out in song or dance and I still love to see it happen.  You went to your first concert this year, Green Day, then a few weeks later followed it up with your second concert, Imagine Dragons.  Both were awesome and you loved it.  You like to play games, play cards, or cuddle up and watch a movie.    You still like to give and receive hugs and I hope this is something that never changes.  You like to climb trees, ride bikes, go fishing, and play outside. You like to just play.  I love that about you.
First Concert- Green Day Revolution Radio Tour

Imagine Dragons concert- Evolve Tour

This year, on one of your many fishing excursions with your brothers and the Van Aken's, you had an accident that, now that you're ok, is sort of funny.  When Ryder went to cast his final line of the day you walked in the path of his cast and he hooked the biggest fish he ever caught....YOU.  He hooked you right in the shoulder blade.  You handled the whole incident amazingly and even when we tried to take the hook out, and dug into your skin, you were brave and you were strong and you never once blamed anyone.  You had to go to urgent care to get it removed, you endured one stitch, and we were grateful it hooked your back and not your precious fae.  You still love to fish and this story is one we will tell forever.

At school, in 3rd grade, you have Mrs. Cerra.   She is so nice and you absolutely love her.  At school you are a true gem. The first thing Mrs. Cerra said about you at conference was "KIND, KIND, KIND" and I could not have asked for anything more.  She said you are so nice and so helpful to everyone and show true signs of leadership. This makes me so proud. Not just a leader, but a kind one. You bring home "caught being kind" notes often and people are starting to learn they can really count on you.   You like math and are learning multiplication.  You like learning science this year. You are working hard to improve your reading and I am optimistic you will get where you need to be.  You spent the first 4 weeks of school at the top of the Dojo classroom leader-board and though you continue to get points regularly Mrs. Cerra has decided to award other kids too.  You're a pleaser and a doer, making school a place where you find great success.  Keep it up, my boy!

Your birthday party this year was once again celebrated during Winter break. In typical Turner fashion you announced last April, after spending a half day of school's afternoon escaping a room, "this is where I want my next birthday party!".  And, so we did. You and your boys all successfully escaped before the squad came back to the house for a sleepover. We served your favorite- tacos (your crew calls you Taco Turner), ice cream sundaes, and sweet and spicy chili Doritos. The night was spent playing Madden and NBA Live on X-Box, playing mini-hockey, and talking football and doing football trivia.  It was so much fun.  Unfortunately, we had to move your family party back a week as we all are recovering from illness, but we spent your birthday at a hibachi lunch and watching Chase play hockey.
You escaped the room with 3 minutes remaining

A room full of escapees
Happy 9th birthday 
The tradition continues with Hibachi lunch
By the numbers, you are now 53.5 inches, over 2 inches of growth since last year.  You weigh 90 lbs.  You wear a size 3.5 shoe.  Your growth is not slowing down.

Turner, you have always been your own person, and you should be proud of that.  You are the reason we all know the rules; you're the reason we know where things are; you're the reason why things get accomplished, as you always are the first to offer a helping hand. This bothers you sometimes, that not only are you the first to help but sometimes the only one to help, but try not to let it, because being your helpful, kind self is who you are and you should be proud!  You are fun, and funny, and love to party.  You are well aware of your surroundings, pay attention to details, know the answers to anything that you've been taught, told, or overheard.  You are empathetic and thoughtful and easy most of the time.  Although you LOVE to instigate your brothers, and often to tattle on them, there is no doubt in my mind that you love all 3 of them with every bit of the deep heart you have.  They love you right back.  The bond the 4 of you share is amazing and can't be shattered by constant bickering even if it makes dad and I a little nuts.

Band of Brothers


Like your big bro

Always making your baby brother laugh

Brother to brother

As you turn 9 and begin this second half of childhood I wish for you so many things.  I hope you continue to try and learn new things. I  hope you continue to dream big.  I hope you continue to put music to your thoughts.  I hope you retain the piece of magic within you that makes you the special kid that you are, one that everyone loves to be around, the life of the party.  I hope you continue to be thoughtful and make good choices.  I hope your sense of humor continues to mature and develop.  And, mostly, Turner, I hope you stay true to yourself in all that you are and all that you want.  I hope you know I support you and trust you and am so very proud to be your mom.

Happy birthday, buddy.  I love you so....

9 year old interview

Your first Flyers game and meeting the amazing Brian Propp

Growing into the birthday shirt- not so big anymore

Turner's 8th birthday letter